You’ve probably seen the word Kveik in craft beer with increasing frequency over the last few years. What is it? Where does it come from? What does it taste like? And what makes it so special? Read on to find out.
Kveik (pronounced “K vike” or “K wike“) is commonly and wrongly referenced as being a style of beer, but rather the name refers to the yeast itself. Kveik is a Norwegian farmhouse yeast or Nordic/Viking yeast.
The word Kveik translates to “yeast” and stems from the old Norse word ‘kvikk‘, meaning ‘healthy, lively‘. It might sound like the English word ‘quick‘ which comes from the same root origins.
For hundreds of years Nordic families would share and reuse this resilient “house” yeast which was then passed down through generations of brewers. Brewers would dip the yeast into the wort to awaken and hydrate it so fermentation could occur. After the brew, the yeast was recovered and would then be dried for the next brew.
Over the years Kveik has been developed into commercial strains from suppliers at Escarpment, Omega, WHC, Yeast bay and Fermentum Mobile and has gained a sweeping popularity across the world.
Properties Of The Yeast.
The yeast contains properties unlike any other. Not only is the yeast known for fermenting at super-speeds (as quick as 30 minutes!) but it can survive at blistering temperatures and has been known to perform exceptionally in temperatures from 20° to 40° C. It can also make its lively presence known after years of dormancy.
Kveik Flavour Profile.
It has been known to provide a tropical profile and boasts aromas of pineapple, mango and tangerine. Kviek provides an almost juice-like profile and is perfect for brewing modern styles in that vein such as West Coast IPA‘s and ales that push a tropical vibe.
Given the profile it produces, many brewers decide to brew with little or no hops when using Kveik.
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