Vossaøl tasting (Norwegian farmhouse ale fermented with kveik yeast)

This time last year, intrigued by reading several blogs, especially Larsblog, we decided to brew our first beer fermenting with kveik yeast. If this name doesn’t ring a bell, you can read our entry about brewing a vossaøl, a Norwegian farmhouse ale, emulating a traditional method. You should be able to find a lot of information about kveik there.

Our kveik fermented vossaøl between juniper bushes

First of all, let me clarify one thing. As you can see in the entry about the brewing of this beer, we split the wort in two. Each of them was fermented at slightly different range of temperatures, one of them at 30ºC-35ºC (86ºF-95ºF) and the other at 25ºC-30ºC (77ºF-86ºF). Once we tasted both beers, we weren’t able to find any differences between them, both were pretty similar beers at least for our palate. We even performed a triangle test with a friend and none of us was able to identify the unique sample. Taken this into account, the following characteristics should apply to both beers fermented at different range of temperatures.

Regarding appearance, although in picture above with juniper bushes the beer looks a little more dark and quite hazy, the thing is that this beer was light golden in color and more or less clear. Haziness in the picture was probably due to yeast in the bottom of the bottle and beer mixing due to movement. Below you can see another picture from the day we made the triangle test, so you can compare.

Triangle test with beers fermented at differente temperatures

After brewing the beer, we contacted Lars Marius Garshol to tell him about our experience and he told us that it was too clear compared with traditional examples, since those are usually amber in colour and that this was probably due to the boil time. Although we boiled for three hours, in this type of beer is not unusual to boil for four hours or more. In addition to this, since lautering takes quite a bit, some parts of wort are boiled form even 6-7 hours. According to Lars, this extra boil time is what justifies the difference in colour.

The leading role in aroma is without a doubt for juniper, with pine and citric notes. These citric notes, along some orange could also be due to the kveik yeast, according to what we had previously read about it, although we can’t be sure. No signs of malt here.

It has a low-medium body and high carbonation, with a very dry finish, almost champagne like, what makes it a very refreshing and easy to drink beer… if it wasn’t because of the powerful flavour of juniper, that predominates even more than in aroma. This flavour is something you either love it or hate it. It is a very characteristic flavour, a mix of pine, resin and citric notes, with a gin-like bitterness. When we brewed it we wonder if the amount of juniper was too much, and once we had finished all the bottles we can say that happened to be true. If we brew this recipe again we’ll lower the amount of juniper for sure. But there’s more, some malt shows timidly and some orangey notes are also appreciable, maybe related to the kveiv yeast. One thing I would like to point out is that, despite the high temperatures of fermentation, there are no defects or off-flavours of any kind, confirming us that this type of yeast are something special.

A lot of people was able to taste this beer, with mixed reactions. Some people liked it and others couldn’t even finish the beer. I personally didn’t dislike it. Even with the strong juniper flavour, which faded out with time, I drank quite a few bottles of this beer quite happy. The fact that it was very dry and easy to drink helped with that.

Without a doubt, brewing this vossaøl following a traditional method was a great experience. Brewing beer like they do in other parts of the world always contribute to broaden our knowledge about beer. We don’t know if we will brew a beer with this method again, since it takes a lot of time, but you never know.

On a final note, the best two things we got from this experience. First one, now we are more interested in working with kveik yeast than ever, particularly with no commercial strains, since those are purified strains. We would like to work with original strains, the same that they keep using in farms in Norway, which usually have more than one strain (some of them even some type of bacteria) and consequently contribute more complex characteristics to beer. And second, juniper. We had learn a lesson on how to use juniper in beer, especially about the amount to use. I think that on an adequate proportion can impart a lot of good things to several styles of beer.


This entry was posted in Tasting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Vossaøl tasting (Norwegian farmhouse ale fermented with kveik yeast)

  1. Pingback: Fermenting with Kveik, trying to recreate a Norwegian farmhouse ale | LOS CHICOS

  2. Rune O says:

    I also went this route first. It’s an interesting taste, unlike any other beer I have tasted. Then I went on to use vossakveik for other types of beer. I also recommend fermenting in the 37-40 degree C range. Flavours are stronger then. I have tried it in several beers, and I think it works better in beers with some malt contribution. Both american strong ale (winter warmers), amber ale and APA are beers that I find work well with this yeast. IPAs can also be made, but be aware that the fast fermentation may increase the risk of oxydation when dry hopping.

    Nice start. Keep it up. 🙂


  3. LOS CHICOS says:

    Thank you Rune! I agree, it’s definitely a different taste. We plan on working with kveik strains in the future, brewing traditional Norwegian styles and also more conventional styles. In fact, with a little group of homebrewers we have purchased 5 different “non-commercial” kveik strains and we are looking forward to brew with them. I’ll will take into account your advice for future brews fermented with kveiks.



  4. Pingback: Квайк, норвежский эль и горячие парни – Mage's Blog

  5. Dmitriy says:

    Hi, Los Chicos!
    Many thanks to you for your article about Kveik in action! This kind of yeast is now very interesting for me and several of my brewing friends. Important issue that in our city, Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the summer is very hot. The temperature can reach 38 – 42 degrees Celsius. Thus, only a Kveik can help those of us who do not possess special equipment (such as fermentation chambers) and who would like to continue to brew beer in the summer. I’ve already translated several articles about Kveik, after which I’ve found your articles. I think it will be very useful for me and for my friends.
    P.S.: I’ve translated two of your articles in my blog in Russian for my friends and for Russian-speaking Homebrewing community (Pingback link has been published here, also I’ve published copyright links in my translation). Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOS CHICOS says:

      Hi Dmitriy,
      You are welcome! The main objective of this blog is to share information, so we’re glad that you translated our articles about kveik in Russian. That way, more people can get this information.

      It must be hard to brew in Almaty in summer with those temperatures, I can understand your interest in kveik yeasts. Last year we got some kveik strains from Norway (nor commercial yeast like the one of these articles) and we’re looking forward to brew with them. We’ll let you know how it turns out.

      Thanks again for sharing!


      • Dmitriy says:

        Its would be great to know something new about kveik! I’ll be waiting for updates on your blog, thanks!
        And one question if you can give me some answer. Where I can buy pure Norwegian kveik (not commercial mono-culture) if its possible to do online? Or may be Lars Garsholm can help?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. LOS CHICOS says:

    Sure. There’s a Facebook group where people from Norway sell and ship local harvested yeast everywhere. Just look for Kveik – Kjøp/Salg and ask for an invitation for the group. When you enter this group you can see the different strains people sell and buy whichever you want. For more information about kveik strains you can check Lars’ farmhouse yeast registry. Hope this helps you.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.