Strange as it may seem, beer and kvass are not that different — the only thing that separates them is alcohol content and hops. That’s why it was only a matter of time before craftsmen came up with a method of making beer from kvass wort at home. Fortunately, this method is much simpler than the classic beer making technology. However, the resulting drink is technically not a beer. Connoisseurs of porters, stouts, and other dark beers should definitely try to brew at least one batch of kvass beer.
Any liquid barley or barley and rye concentrate of any brand will do; adding some rye or corn flour is okay. The fewer preservatives and chemical additives, the better. The concentrate should contain as many dry substances as possible—this will make the beer thicker and tastier. Even if the label says that 0.5 kilos of concentrate is enough for 15-25 liter of kvass, but when making a homemade beer this amount is enough only for 5 liters of water. Using more water will make your homemade beer too watery.
Kvass wort concentrate contains almost no fermentable sugars, thus yeast have nothing to convert into alcohol. For kvass, which is supposed to be alcohol-free, this is normal, but you’ll have to add sugar to give beer more potency.
The amount of sugar depends on the desirable beer potency. 1% of fermented sugars in the must give out about 0.6% of potency. To simplify the calculations, we’ll only mind water-sugar mixture, disregarding the concentrate.
The amount of sugar can be calculated using this formula:
Required amount of sugar (kg) = desired potency (%) * amount of water (l) / 600.
For example, in order to obtain beer that has ABV of 6% from 5 liters of water, you’ll need 500 grams of sugar (6 * 5 / 600 = 0.5).
To make non-alcoholic beer from kvass wort, you should add sugar on the stage of carbonization and also shorten fermentation time to 1-2 days.
Only dry hop cones can be used to make homemade kvass beer. The more hops you use, the bitter and hoppy the beer will turn out.
You’ll also need top-fermenting beer yeast (ale yeast), which can be purchased in specialized brewery stores. At the very least you can do with dry baker’s yeast (10 grams per 0.5 kilos of sugar is enough), but this will significantly debauch the taste.
- Kvass wort concentrate – 0.5 kilos
- Water – 5 liters
- Sugar – 0.3-0.5 kilos
- Hops – 10-15 grams
- Yeast (top-fermenting ale yeast is preferred) – per 6 liters of must
- Fermented malt (rye or barley) – 100-150 grams (optional)
How to Make Kvass Beer
Pour water into a 10-liter cooking pot and bring it to a boil, add sugar and stir. After that, add the kvass wort and fermented malt (optional). Stir the must till it becomes homogeneous.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Add 75% of hops, which grant the inherent bitterness, and stir. Simmer the must for 30 minutes, insuring that it doesn’t boil and stir it every 5-10 minutes. Take the decoction off the stove and add the remaining 25% of hops to make it more fragrant. Cool the must as fast as possible to protect it from pathogens. This can be achieved by immersing the mixture in a cold bath with ice.
Once the must cools to 25-28 °C, pour the yet to be kvass beer into a fermentation container and add activated yeast. Install an airlock and move the container to a dark place with a room temperature of 18-25 °C.
Leave the must for 5-7 days until fermentation stops, and the airlock stops emitting gas.
Strain the beer through a cheesecloth folded in 3-4 layers. Put sugar (5 grams per 1 liter of volume) at the bottom of each beer bottle (plastic works best) and fill the bottles. Leave at least 5-6 cm of free space and seal with caps. Shake a few times.
Leave the homemade kvass beer for 5 days in a dark place at 18-28 °C for carbonization. Afterwards, transfer the bottles to a fridge or cellar and leave them for at least 25-40 days (or 7-10 days if you can’t wait).
Note that you should check the pressure in bottles and let some gas out to prevent them from exploding.
As a result, you’ll obtain moderately carbonated dark kvass beer with a characteristic fragrance of hops and malt, hints of caramel, coffee and no strong alcohol scent. It has a mild taste with hints of bitter chocolate. It somewhat resembles stout and porter.
Homemade kvass beer has a shelf-life of 6-8 months. Open bottles can be stored for 2-3 days.