If you’ve had your ear to the ground in the brewing world or if you’ve been in the company of a brewer, you’ve probably heard them talk about Kveik (pronounced K’vike for us Anglophones). But what the f*** is Kveik? Is this some magic spell? Is this a blessing from the brew gods? No. It is neither of those things.
In short, Kveik is a style of yeast used in traditional Norwegian farmhouse brewing. So why all the fuss? What makes this yeast so special that it literally has some brewers as giddy as as a 5 year old who discovered a mountain of candy in their parents’ closet? I could tell you that there’s nothing special about it. This article would be boring and over. If I told you that, it would also be a big dirty lie.
For starters, Kveik yeasts are massively diverse, genetically speaking and full of characteristics that aren’t common in other brewing yeasts. For example, common ale yeast and lager yeasts ferment at 20-22 degrees Celsius and 7-13 degrees Celsius respectively. Kviek yeasts, on the other hand, can ferment as high as 43 degrees Celsius in some strands and as low as 4 degrees Celsius in others. That’s hardy AF.
Another interesting characteristic of Kviek is that it can be used effectively outside of the farmhouse style of beer. This includes but is certainly not limited to New England IPA’s, English Milds, ciders, meads and even in the mash for distilling spirits. On top of this, brewers have been able to use less Kveik than they would have to use other yeasts. As little as 25% of the amount, as a matter of fact!
Now when your “friends” talk at you about Kveik, you won’t respond with “bless you”. You’re welcome.