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Blonde Ale with Kveik yeast - which strain is best?

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Piggy Smalls

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Hi all

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Seeing as the hot weather in Perth is set to continue all week and I have drank myself completely out of beer over the holiday period I have decided to dip my toe in and try brewing a kveik blonde ale. Taking a look at my LHBS website I can see that they stock the Lallemand Loki (Voss strain) and also the White Labs Opshaug strain. I don't really have a preference in regards to using dry or liquid yeast and I have been told that you don't need to pitch much to get a good result.

Some basic Google info I have looked at has led me to believe that the Opshaug strain is very clean and will give a hop-forward flavour to the beer. Voss on the other hand seems to produce more citrusy esters, especially at the higher end of the temp scale.

I am planning on using 90% pilsen and 10% munich light for the grain bill. Will hop exclusively with cascade to about 25 IBUs and a late flavour addition with no dry hop. I am going to mash at 64 degrees to get a dry finish. Has anyone here had experience brewing anything similar with Kveik yeast and would you have any recommendations on which of these two strains would be most suited to this style? I am attempting to ferment as high as possible so I can bottle after 5 days and be drinking a week or two afterwards (the consensus seems to be that the yeast also works very fast in the bottles and full carbonation can be reached in 2-3 days).

Hoping to brew tomorrow so any advice from experience would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Piggy
 

Grmblz

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No experience with Opshaug, but I can guarantee citrus (mandarin) with Loki fermented hot (over 30c) I use it in vintage ales, I think you will be disappointed if you use it hot, hoping for a clean crisp lager.
 

Piggy Smalls

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No experience with Opshaug, but I can guarantee citrus (mandarin) with Loki fermented hot (over 30c) I use it in vintage ales, I think you will be disappointed if you use it hot, hoping for a clean crisp lager.
Thanks Grmblz.

I am not too worried about a little bit of mandarin as it may work well with the Cascade but I will be aiming for fermentation over 30 degrees and there won't be a lot of flavour to hide behind. With this in mind I wonder if the Opshaug might be better...

Do you bottle and if so do you find the bottle conditioning time is significantly reduced with the kveik yeast?
 

Grmblz

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Yes I bottle the vintage but they're typically big (over 8%) and fairly low carb, so I don't try them before about 3 months, the other Kveik beers I make are kegged, I have keg conditioned/carbonated a few lighter ales (6% ish) and they're done in under a week @ 25c.
You don't mention your target OG, but my experience would indicate a 1050 or less @ 35c will be fermented in 3 days, 4 max, a 24/48hrs crash, bottle and condition @ 35c and you'll be done in a little over a week, chill for a week and drink, will probably be a bit rough but that depends on your expectations.
You can get clean with Kveik at lower temp's (18c) but then the ferment time is the same as normal ale yeasts so no real advantage there, lager is a different story especially if you can apply a bit of pressure, it saves time but you end up with what I would call a "Kveik lager" still a good drop just not a "true" lager.
Sorry I can't answer your questions definitively, but hope this helps.
Cheers G
 

Piggy Smalls

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Yes I bottle the vintage but they're typically big (over 8%) and fairly low carb, so I don't try them before about 3 months, the other Kveik beers I make are kegged, I have keg conditioned/carbonated a few lighter ales (6% ish) and they're done in under a week @ 25c.
You don't mention your target OG, but my experience would indicate a 1050 or less @ 35c will be fermented in 3 days, 4 max, a 24/48hrs crash, bottle and condition @ 35c and you'll be done in a little over a week, chill for a week and drink, will probably be a bit rough but that depends on your expectations.
You can get clean with Kveik at lower temp's (18c) but then the ferment time is the same as normal ale yeasts so no real advantage there, lager is a different story especially if you can apply a bit of pressure, it saves time but you end up with what I would call a "Kveik lager" still a good drop just not a "true" lager.
Sorry I can't answer your questions definitively, but hope this helps.
Cheers G
Thanks G. I am excited to see if I can experience similar time frames with my brew. I'm not worried if they taste a bit rough 'fresh' as it will still be an improvement on most commercial beers that don't cost a fortune. I will definitely be posting back on here to share my experience.
 

Grmblz

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Thanks G. I am excited to see if I can experience similar time frames with my brew. I'm not worried if they taste a bit rough 'fresh' as it will still be an improvement on most commercial beers that don't cost a fortune. I will definitely be posting back on here to share my experience.
Please do, I love Kveik, it's not the answer to everything, and certainly suited to some styles more than others, but it's early days, and the more info we can accumulate the better for everyone.
Look forward to hearing how you go, just a thought, how about a split batch? Would give you a real insight into the different strains, and a neutral beer such as you are brewing will highlight the differences (it's a bit harder with vintage ales/barley wines, and RIS's) :rolleyes:
 

Piggy Smalls

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Please do, I love Kveik, it's not the answer to everything, and certainly suited to some styles more than others, but it's early days, and the more info we can accumulate the better for everyone.
Look forward to hearing how you go, just a thought, how about a split batch? Would give you a real insight into the different strains, and a neutral beer such as you are brewing will highlight the differences (it's a bit harder with vintage ales/barley wines, and RIS's) :rolleyes:
I’m unfortunately limited to one fermenter at the moment so i might do another brew exactly the same next week and use the alternate strain to the one I end up using tomorrow. I love the fact that I can pitch a batch on Tuesday and my fermenter will be freed up again by Sunday for the next batch. Once I’ve got a few bottles stocked up again I’m definitely keen to try a slower and lower kveik ‘lager’ too.
 

Piggy Smalls

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Hi all

Just an update on this...

My LHBS was out of White Labs Opshaug so I decided to go with the Mangrove Jacks dry Voss strain instead of the Lalbrew (I had great results with Mangrove Jacks when I did a Belgian Golden Strong last year).

I ended up brewing yesterday and let the wort cool naturally overnight. Got up this morning and the wort in the cubes was sitting at 33 degrees C. I've transferred to the fermenter and pitched one pack of the yeast straight in without rehydrating. Just over two hours later I have a thin layer of krausen completely covering the wort and it is starting to churn away. Even though I was expecting things to happen quickly this is absolutely ridiculous for a dry yeast.
The temp is expected to hit 38 degrees today and I've got the fermenter in a spare room so i reckon I could get right up to the upper limit of the range today once things are really cranking along.
Due to less than expected boil off volume I have ended up with 26 litres instead of 23 and will get a lightly hopped blonde which BF calculates will be around 22 IBUs and 4.5% ABV. This should really allow the Voss characteristics to be clearly present and identifiable in the finished beer.
I will provide updates as I go regarding fermentation time, bottle conditioning time and of course flavour.

Happy brewing!
 

Nickedoff

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I've done a few brews with Voss and Oslo now, and found that they go nuts for a day or so but can stall. I've been fermenting at 30c but found I needed to give the fermenter a bit of a shake and ramp up to 35c to get it to finish off. Might just be me though.
 

Piggy Smalls

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I've done a few brews with Voss and Oslo now, and found that they go nuts for a day or so but can stall. I've been fermenting at 30c but found I needed to give the fermenter a bit of a shake and ramp up to 35c to get it to finish off. Might just be me though.
Hi Nickedoff - Do you recall what kind of OGs you had? I haven't had the increase in ambient temp that I was hoping for yet and the fermenter is still showing as 32 degrees. I am a bit worried that as the temp drops to 26 degrees overnight I may end up back below 30 degrees by the morning so this may be an issue for me too. I'm only starting from 1.041 so hopefully it will be pretty close by then anyway.
I've definitely got an active fermentation happening at 32 degrees. The krausen on top is thick and foamy and it is starting to really churn now. The mandarin smell is very apparent even at this temp. I am hoping it works well with the cascade flavour hops and doesn't overpower the beer. I may be detecting a little bit of sulphur too but could be mistaking something else for this.
Also - how do you find the Oslo compares to the Voss and what styles are you brewing with kveik?
 

Nickedoff

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I've done a dodgy Czech pilsner with Oslo. OG 1.039. Mashed a bit higher than intended so that might account for the stuck fermentation.

Did @Grmblz dodgy 'harmless lager' with Oslo that got stuck. Didn't bother measuring OG for that but it was very green apple after fermentation stopped. Gave it a good shake and brought the temp back up and it went along again happily for a couple more days.

Also did a red ale with Voss, which I didn't have many issues with.

Currently have a brown ale going with Voss that slowed down a quite bit when it hit 1.020 (from 1.050). Shook it up a bit and raised the temp to 35c and its going well again.
 

Piggy Smalls

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I've done a dodgy Czech pilsner with Oslo. OG 1.039. Mashed a bit higher than intended so that might account for the stuck fermentation.

Did @Grmblz dodgy 'harmless lager' with Oslo that got stuck. Didn't bother measuring OG for that but it was very green apple after fermentation stopped. Gave it a good shake and brought the temp back up and it went along again happily for a couple more days.

Also did a red ale with Voss, which I didn't have many issues with.

Currently have a brown ale going with Voss that slowed down a quite bit when it hit 1.020 (from 1.050). Shook it up a bit and raised the temp to 35c and its going well again.
Sounds like maybe the Oslo is more prone to stalling than the Voss but it also could have just been chance that it went that way.
Mine is just sitting at 32 degrees. Its even hotter here tomorrow (41 freaking degrees) so I will just move it outside if it stalls overnight.
 

Nickedoff

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Might just be me and something to do with how I'm brewing. Just something I noticed.
 

Piggy Smalls

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Stayed at 32 degrees overnight and it has gone from 1.041 to 1.020 in the first 24 hours and chugging along. Had a sample from the hydrometer tube - it is strange to taste it so hot. I think it is going to be fairly clean, there is still a fair bit of sweetness from the unfermented sugars but there are no noticeable off flavours so far and only a very subtle fruitiness detected.
 

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Checked this morning at exactly 48 hours post pitch and the krausen has completely dropped away and it is at my expected FG of 1.007. There’s definitely a fair bit of yeast character present but it is hard to describe it while the beer is warm and flat.
Not sure whether I am going to bother with a cold crash now. Might just let it sit at room temp for another 24-36 hours to clean up and ensure it has finished and then bottle on Sunday arvo. With the way this stuff flocs I am thinking I will get a faster carbonation leaving it hot and I’m pretty sure it will drop clear in the bottles after chilling anyway.
I think going grain to glass in 7 days is definitely achievable with this batch.
 

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Checked this morning at exactly 48 hours post pitch and the krausen has completely dropped away and it is at my expected FG of 1.007. There’s definitely a fair bit of yeast character present but it is hard to describe it while the beer is warm and flat.
Not sure whether I am going to bother with a cold crash now. Might just let it sit at room temp for another 24-36 hours to clean up and ensure it has finished and then bottle on Sunday arvo. With the way this stuff flocs I am thinking I will get a faster carbonation leaving it hot and I’m pretty sure it will drop clear in the bottles after chilling anyway.
I think going grain to glass in 7 days is definitely achievable with this batch.
I don't think it will be properly carbed going grain to glass while bottle conditioning but who knows. Kveik is a beast, but I feel like when I bottled the earliest it was at its prime was about 3 weeks. Gave time for the co2 to be absorbed and the bottles to settle out. Kveik may be quicker but from grain to bottle to conditioned to glass may be a bit longer than 7 days?

Either way it sounds delicious and as soon as my RIS is out of the fermenter I will be doing an Amarillo SMaTH with Citra and Veloria malt using Voss. First time, so interested to note your thoughts on the yeast character! Keep us updated!
 

Piggy Smalls

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I don't think it will be properly carbed going grain to glass while bottle conditioning but who knows. Kveik is a beast, but I feel like when I bottled the earliest it was at its prime was about 3 weeks. Gave time for the co2 to be absorbed and the bottles to settle out. Kveik may be quicker but from grain to bottle to conditioned to glass may be a bit longer than 7 days?

Either way it sounds delicious and as soon as my RIS is out of the fermenter I will be doing an Amarillo SMaTH with Citra and Veloria malt using Voss. First time, so interested to note your thoughts on the yeast character! Keep us updated!
I agree it will definitely get better with some ageing in the bottles but I’m keen to see if I can get a drinkable beer in 7 days, if even just to test the limits of the strain. I’ve read a bit online about people that have done it bottled with higher OGs than 1.041 but all of those agree it was drinkable but not ‘finished’ after such a short time frame.
In regards to your SMaTH I have read that Amarillo in particular works well with the citrusy esters from the Voss. I definitely could smell a lot of mandarin/tangerine early on in the ferment so I am expecting at least a bit of this to come through in the final taste.
I will definitely keep posting updates as I go!
 

Grmblz

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Three ways to go for a 7 day finish.
Boost og a bit and bottle before fg is reached, be careful, if trying this use champagne bottles preferably.
Pressure ferment and counter pressure fill.
Keg, force carb and counter pressure fill.
If bottle carbonating don't forget to keep it hot.
I'm enjoying the episodes btw, keep up the good work.
 

Piggy Smalls

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Three ways to go for a 7 day finish.
Boost og a bit and bottle before fg is reached, be careful, if trying this use champagne bottles preferably.
Pressure ferment and counter pressure fill.
Keg, force carb and counter pressure fill.
If bottle carbonating don't forget to keep it hot.
I'm enjoying the episodes btw, keep up the good work.
Thanks G. I’m glad you’re enjoying the updates. I’m really enjoying my experience with this yeast so far and looking forward to seeing how this beer progresses.

I’m going to have to go with option 3 as I don’t have champagne bottles or the ability to pressure transfer ( I do have a fermentasaurus but never got the pressure kit and find myself using the Coopers kit fermenter most often). It’s going to be a solid week of mid to high 30’s in Perth so keeping it hot shouldn’t be an issue, especially now I’ve decided not to cold crash.
 

Grmblz

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Shame you're in Perth, my wife doesn't drink tea or coffee, just water and "bubbles" with G&T's as a cleanser, a habit she's passed on to her daughters, so after the festives I'm drowning in champagne bottles.
Oh well big Belgians, barley wines, and Ris's for the foreseeable future, and like Kadmium I've got a 35L Robo so I predict a rather large order for extract going to Coopers, that might be sacrilege in some quarters but I find a 1050 grain in the Robo beefed up with a couple Kg's of extract/sugar is the easiest way to do 1100's, and I've got a new (for me) Kveik strain (Lutra) I'm itching to pitch.
It's supposed to be ultra clean and capable of a lager like beer, which I doubt but as I'm not brewing lagers that's no big deal.
If I get time (still renovating this bleedin house, and switching to commercial couplers) I'll post some results, I can feel a Brulosophy moment coming on.
 

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