Recipe: Bygland For the Love of Kveik

“For centuries, Norwegian farmers have been passing down the kveik-yeast that ferment unique, characterful ales between family and neighbors,” says Torkjel Austad, founder of Bygland Bryggeri. “Brewers would dip wooden rings containing kveik into the wort and store them in the rafters. Until recently, you would have to visit a farmer at home to taste these ales untouched by modern brewing.”

However, Bygland’s For the Love of Kveik series of beers is dedicated to honoring the different kveiks as well as the recipes of the farms from which they originate. “In these raw ales, we use juniper-infused water and only a limited amount of aroma hops while fermenting at 30°C [86°F]. This results in the esters the kveik produces [shining] through on both the nose and taste—all rounded out by the smooth and rich raw-ale mouthfeel.”

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.072
FG: 1.014
IBUs: 6–7
ABV: 8.2%

14.3 lb (6.5 kg) pale malt
1.1 lb (500 g) Carapils

Several juniper twigs, freshly picked, for the mash water
2.8 oz (80 g) Saaz at mash out/whirlpool [6.5 IBUs]

Any kveik, but preferably one from the Hornindal or Sunnmøre area, such as Hornindal, Espe, Framgarden, Lida, or Stranda. (Many commercial labs now sell versions of these kveiks.)

Heat the mash water to about 150–160°F (66–71°C), add fresh juniper twigs, and leave overnight to infuse. Remove the twigs before reheating the mash water; optionally, add twigs to the bottom of the mash tun to aid filtration. Mill the grains and, with the juniper-infused water, mash at 151–158°F (66–70°C) for 1 hour, then raise to 167–176°F (75–80°C) and rest 30 minutes before mash out. Recirculate until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle or fermentor; lauter slowly, sparging with hot water (167–176°F/75–80°C) if necessary to get about 5.5 gallons (21 liters) of wort. (Don’t over-sparge and dilute because you won’t have an opportunity to reduce the volume by boiling.) Add hops and steep 15 minutes, then remove. Cool the wort to 86°F (30°C), pitch the kveik, and ferment at 86°F (30°C) until high kräusen has passed, then allow the temperature to fall to room temperature. When gravity has stabilized, package and carbonate to about 2.1 volumes.

Optionally, you can pasteurize the wort before fermenting by running off into a kettle, raising it to 176°F (80°F) but no higher (to minimize risk of DMS), and holding there about 15 minutes. This is also when you can steep the hops.

Hops: If you’re not pasteurizing or steeping, you can simply place a mesh bag of hops beneath the spigot when running off directly into the fermentor. Another traditional method is to separately boil the hops in water or wort to make a tea, then add to the fermentor.

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