frequently asked questions

for homebrewers, by homebrewers

We want you to have the best possible kveik experience. That is why we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate through anything from purchasing to pitching. Please do not hesitate to contact us should  you have any further questions. 

 

SHIPPING Q&A

WHAT IS YOUR RETURN POLICY?

We do not accept returns for resale. This is to ensure that only yeast with high viability and vitality reaches our customers. Yeast is classed as a perishable foodstuff and retailers are therefore not required to accept returns if you change your mind at a later date under UK law. We will of course endeavour to put things right in the unlikely event that you receive damaged goods. For further information, please see our Return Policy.

DO YOU OFFER A TRACKING SERVICE?

We offer both tracked and untracked shipping options, so you can choose which option best suits your needs and budget. Please click here for a list of countries eligible for tracked shipping. If you spend £44.99 or more, you qualify for free international Standard shipping. If you spend £89.99 or more, you qualify for free international Tracked shipping. 

 

**HOW DOES COVID/BREXIT IMPACT DELIVERY TIME?

The delivery time estimates are based on information provided by our shipping provider, Royal Mail. Please note that because of the ongoing covid pandemic, actual delivery times may be unpredictable, and will likely deviate from these estimates. For up to date information regarding your shipping destination, please see the Royal Mail International Incident Bulletin here.

WHEN CAN I EXPECT MY ORDER TO BE DISPATCHED?

Packages are usually dispatched within 2-3 business days. Where tracked shipping is selected, or where orders qualify for free tracked shipping, packages may be dispatched next Saturday. 

DELIVERY TIME ESTIMATES

UK, from 2 business days*

Europe, from 5 business days*

International, from 7 business days*

*Estimates are based on Royal Mail's pre-covid delivery time estimates. Actual delivery times may deviate from these estimates.**

DELIVERY COSTS

Untracked Shipping:

UK Standard FREE
Europe Standard £3.50
International Standard £4.50

Free Standard Shipping when you order 5+ packs!

Tracked Shipping:

UK Tracked £3.90

Europe Tracked £8.90 

International Tracked £9.90*

Free Tracked Shipping when you order 10+ packs!***

***Tracked shipping is not available for all destinations. Please see here for a list of countries eligible for tracked shipping.

 

WHAT IS KVEIK Q&A

HOW DOES KVEIK DIFFER FROM BREWERS YEASTS?

‘Kveik’ denotes a group of yeasts domesticated by traditional Norwegian farmhouse brewing methods. Kveiks, in their original form, are not single isolate strains, but cultures consisting of several similar strains (often around 10+) with various fermentation properties, and in some cases contain other microorganisms. Kveik cultures have grown accustomed to being pitched in high gravity and high temperature wort, dried and stored for prolonged periods, and reused for generations. These methods of domestication differ greatly from that of commercial brewers yeasts, which are handled with greater care, pitched in lower gravity and cooler worts, stored only in the form of slurry, and reused for far fewer generations. It is not surprising then, that the different methods of domestication have resulted in Kveiks being genetically distinct from other commercial brewers yeasts. And though the kveiks, like many brewers yeasts, are part of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae family and exhibit fermentation properties similar to brewers yeasts, often the kveiks' abilities will surpass brewers yeasts. And though the kveiks' fermentation properties are culture specific, they tend to boast interesting properties like (i) high thermotolerance (fermenting between 16-40°C), (ii) short fermentation time (24-72hrs), (iii) high flocculence, (iv) high alcohol tolerance (12-16%), (v) POF-, (vi) desirable secondary metabolites, (vii) lower pitching rates, (viii) storage in the form of dried flakes. 

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING KVEIK?

The above fermentation properties are hugely important for commercial- and homebrewers alike, not only for reasons of creative outlet and product differentiation, but also for cost minimisation: High thermotolerance means directing fewer resources toward cooling wort; shorter fermentation and maturation time means higher turnaround of fermenters; the opportunity for nearly indefinite repitching, longer storage, and generally lower pitching rates means lower yeast costs.

 

WHY THE HIGHER ETHANOL TOLERANCE?

Historically, the ability to brew strong beers displayed wealth, generosity, and skill as a maltster and brewer—traits paramount to one’s social status. After all, up until the 1800s all Norwegian farmers brewed beer not just for personal enjoyment, their brewing was even required by law—demonstrating just how important brewing was to Norwegian culture. It is stipulated that traditional Norwegian farmhouse beers were relatively strong, typically in the range of 5-10% ABV, because brewing would only take place a few times a year as limited amounts of barley could be allocated away from food production. This would suggest that when one finally did imbibe, a highly intoxicating effect was not only sought after, but expected. Kveiks’ ability to survive being dormant for long periods each year, and then thrown into the unforgiving environment of a high gravity wort would depend on their adapting to tolerate high osmotic and ethanol stress. Recent work shows that kveiks perform well compared to brewers yeasts in regard to fermentation rate, ethanol production, and maltotriose utilization.

IS KVEIK A RAPID FERMENTER?

Kveiks typically exhibit shorter lag phases, which in fermentation trials often outperform commercial brewers yeasts. Indeed, both historic accounts and contemporary reports by current farmhouse brewers and brewing scientists reveal extremely low fermentation times: It is not uncommon for a 6-8% beer to ferment in 36-48hrs. This stands in contrast with commercial yeasts which typically require a longer fermentation and maturation period. Kveiks produce relatively few off-flavours, and do not require further maturation.

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DOES KVEIK FLOCCULATE WELL?

Most kveik strains are high flocculators. Some strains, of course, do not exhibit this trait. But because kveik yeasts are cultures consisting of several strains, which are genetically similar, but sufficiently different to exhibit differing fermentation properties, some strains within a culture do not develop the same level of flocculence. But kveik cultures do, however, undergo co-flocculation, and therefore perform well in regards to flocculation when compared to commercial brewers yeasts.

WHY THE HIGHER THERMOTOLERANCE?

The typical fermentations temperatures of kveiks (25-39°C) stands in stark contrast with commercial ale strains, which are typically pitched at 18-22°C. Not only do kveiks exhibit unique thermotolerance, their production of secondary metabolites are just as fascinating: Whereas commercial ale yeasts’ performance decreases, and off-flavours like diacetyl increase, when fermentation temperatures increases, most kveiks will produce pleasant fruity aromas at any such high temperature. Below this threshold however, kveiks are reported to produce relatively clean and crisp beers, for which kveiks have gained popularity in brewing pseudo-lagers.

 

One explanation for the practice of high temperature fermentation is suggested by farmhouse brewers historically being, unlike industrial brewers, unequipped to effectively cool their wort. Thus, the typical 100-150L batches would be left to cool on their own. This was clearly time consuming, and brewers would be incentivised to pitch their yeast sooner rather than later to avoid spoilage organisms’ free entry to their wort.

WHAT ARE COMMON PITCHING RATES?

Kveiks are typically able to perform well on much lower pitching rates than commercial ale yeasts: The traditional inoculation rate in Norwegian farmhouse brewing is about 1-2 million cells/mL for worts of specific gravity 1.061-1.083—a fraction of what is used for commercial brewers’ yeasts. Generally speaking, lower pitching rates improves ester production, whereas higher pitching rates, though they may contribute to faster and more reliable fermentations, will see less of the fruity aromas coming through in the final product. However, recent work shows that this attribute is culture specific, and brewers should beware that not all kveiks will benefit from such dramatic underpitching.

WHAT ARE KVEIKS' NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS?

Kveiks have lost the ability to synthesise the nutrients they need, primarily because they are accustomed to fermenting high-gravity worts, which are rich in nutrients. It is therefore advised that brewers add generous amounts of nutrients when brewing lower gravity beers. One nutrient, whose importance is often understated, is oxygen. Yeasts that come from a tradition of open fermentation tend to have a greater need for oxygenation. This means that kveik yeasts, similar to English Ale and to some extent Belgian strains, have a greater need for oxygenation. Proper oxygenation is especially important if you plan to harvest yeast. Harvested yeast from under-oxygenated wort tends to have a lower viability than harvested yeast from well-oxygenated wort. Off flavours and bad ferments can arise. Stored yeasts will perform (have a higher viability over time) better if harvested from adequate oxygenated wort.

BREWING WITH KVEIK Q&a

HOW MUCH SHOULD I PITCH?

While there exists some debate about the ideal pitching rates for kveiks, acceptable pitching rates are thought to include anywhere from 10% to 100% of conventional pitching rates. Generally, pitching rates on the higher end of the spectrum may produce less esters than pitching rates on the lower end of the spectrum. Some research suggests the positive aspects of underpitching are strain specific, for instance Voss and Hornindal show higher aroma intensity with a lower pitching rate, whereas results were unclear regarding other strains like Arset and Ebbegarden. However only a minority of kveiks have been surveyed with respect to this attribute. Bear in mind that fermentations with lower pitching rates may take longer than fermentations with higher pitching rates.

 

Dried kveik has a cell count of about 9-18 billion cells per gram. The quantity provided (3-3.5g) contains about 27-63 billion cells, making for a pitch rate of 1.1-2.5 million cells per ml for a 25L batch. A pitching rate of 1-2 million cells per ml is typically used by traditional Norwegian farmhouse brewers for worts of specific gravity 1.060-1.080. This means the supplied amount suffices for regular homebrewing batches of 20-25L depending on your preferred pitch rate. The use of yeast nutrients is advised, especially in worts with a gravity of 1.050 or lower. As is making a starter to ensure sufficient viability in case the package has endured unfavourable environmental impacts on its way to you. When planning a pitching rate, bear in mind that recent work suggests a 6-8% reduction in the viability of dried kveik , with a total of 50% loss in viability after 6 months, when stored in the freezer. 

DO I NEED TO CHANGE MY PH?

Beers fermented with kveik yeasts tend to finish at a lower pH than your regular brewers yeasts. pH impacts the organoleptic properties of your beer. Lower terminal pH is often associated with a thinner body and may also bring out harsh and astringent hop character in your beer. It is recommended that you shoot for a slightly higher terminal pH compared to when using conventional brewers yeasts. 

CAN I PITCH DIRECTLY INTO THE FERMENTER?

While each unit contains more than enough cells to ferment 20-25L of wort, it is advised that you make a starter of sorts to ensure peak viability in case the package has experienced unfavourable environmental impacts on its way to you. Most often it is sufficient to rehydrate the yeast in a sample of your first runnings. Best practice is to build a starter on a stir plate the day before brewing commences. Alternatively, you could overbuild a starter and save some of the yeast for future batches. Bear in mind that recent work suggests a 6-8% reduction in the viability of dried kveik, with a total loss in viability of 50%  after 6 months, when stored in the freezer. 

WHAT FERMENTATION TEMPERATURE SHOULD I USE?

Different kveik cultures produce different flavour and aroma compounds at different temperatures. Generally speaking, fermenting around 20°C and lower subdues the aroma intensity, making for cleaner, crisper beers. Fermenting at warmer temperatures 30-37°C, on the other hand, enhances the aroma intensity, making for fruitier and funkier beers. 

SHOULD I CHANGE MY OXYGENATION REGIME?

Kveiks have lost the ability to synthesise the nutrients they need, primarily because they are accustomed to fermenting high-gravity worts, which are rich in nutrients. It is therefore advised that brewers add generous amounts of nutrients when brewing lower gravity beers. One nutrient, whose importance is often understated, is oxygen. Yeasts that come from a tradition of open fermentation tend to have a greater need for oxygenation. This means that kveik yeasts, similar to English Ale and to some extent Belgian strains, have a greater need for oxygenation. Proper oxygenation is especially important if you plan to harvest yeast. Harvested yeast from under-oxygenated wort tends to have a lower viability than harvested yeast from well-oxygenated wort. Off flavours and bad ferments can arise. Stored yeasts will perform (have a higher viability over time) better if harvested from adequate oxygenated wort.

 
 

PRODUCTION Q&A

HOW ARE THE YEASTS PROPAGATED?

Kveik yeasts are sturdy organisms. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be handled with care. Consistency in yeast viability and vitality is our top priority. This entails a compromise between staying true to traditional farmhouse yeast handling methods and embracing contemporary scientific consensus in the brewing sciences. For these reasons, our kveiks are propagated in lightly hopped, well aerated, and nutrient rich wort of 25°C with an original gravity of 1.045, that are constantly agitated, and are scaled up in small increments. This ensures greater yeast growth and viability of all the microorganisms present in the culture. 

IS THE YEAST FREE FROM SPOILAGE ORGANISMS?

Kveikshop is very much a work in progress, and as such we do not have a dedicated lab yet, and cannot therefore locate, isolate, and identify potential spoilage organisms at present. We do, however, practice aseptic techniques, the quality control and quality assurance measures presently available, and our propagation equipment is dedicated to kveik cultures, with an additional separation in equipment in place for propagation of cultures with bacteria and cultures without bacteria. We do not handle diastaticus strains at our production site. Nor do we presently handle phenolic strains, but we are currently looking into how to safely incorporate phenolic farmhouse yeasts into our product portfolio for future releases. We have not detected any phenolic or diastaticus contamination within our portfolio at present. But although we take every precaution, please understand that we cannot provide an exhaustive account from a microbiological point of view until our lab is up and running. Please see our Terms of Service for more information.

 

WHERE CAN i FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KVEIK?

There are lots of useful resources online about kveik. Beware that a lot of information in circulation on brewing forums may not always be corroborated by scientific evidence as there exists little peer reviewed material at present. We find the following selection of literature on kveik particularly illuminating:

  • The Milk the Funk Wiki covers a lot of ground on all things kveik related, and is regularly updated with new scientific developments.

  • The Escarpement Labs Blog is another go to for scientific analysis of kveik yeasts.

  • Lars Marius Garshol's blog, LarsBlog, details his experiences with various farmhouse brewers, their yeasts, and brewing methods. Check also out The Farmhouse Yeast Registry for information on specific cultures, and his book Historical Brewing Techniques to learn all about farmhouse brewing. 

Peer reviewed literature:

  • Garshol, L.M. and Preiss, R. (2018). ‘How to Brew with Kveik’, Master Brewers Association of Americas Technical Quarterly, vol. 55(4), pp.76-83. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1094/TQ-55-4-1211-01

  • Preiss, R., Tyrawa, C., Krogerus, K., Garshol, L.M. and Merwe, G.V.D. (2018). ‘Traditional Norwegian Kveik Are a Genetically Distinct Group of Domesticated Saccharomyces cerevisiae Brewing Yeasts’, Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 9(2137), pp. 1-18. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02137