We’re beyond excited for the release of Payment Plan, our latest collaboration beer with Barreled Souls! To give ourselves a distraction from constantly sampling this beer, we thought it would be a good idea to take some time to discuss this beer in further detail. To be specific, we would like to discuss the yeast we selected. We chose a fairly new and exciting family of yeast to the American brewing industry, Kveik.

What is Kveik: Kveik is a family of yeast that have been used in Norwegian farmhouse brewing for generations and, in the US, have become a topic of serious interest among many brewers.

Kveik yeasts are simply some of the most fascinating yeasts we have learned about in recent memory. Most notably their fermentation character. For example, a typical ale strain will ferment somewhere in the range of 64-72 fahrenheit. Most kveik yeast on the other hand can ferment anywhere from 68 - 110 fahrenheit with more interesting and more desirable fruity flavors and aromas the hotter you are able to ferment. Kveik are able to be drastically under-pitched compared to a regular ale pitching rate (we used an amount of yeast appropriate to ferment a four barrel batch of beer for a 30 barrel batch of beer!) and still go from start to finish of fermentation in anywhere from four to six days. Kveik seem to prefer fermenting in higher gravity wort (we used our four barrel pitch to ferment wort with a starting gravity of 1.070 which is not too far off from where our double IPA Jonah starts at). The last thing we would like to note, is even though these beers ferment at such high temperatures they produce beer that is very “clean” meaning free of any off flavors typically associated with fermenting at such high temperatures. So, putting all this together, we have seen US breweries report on fermenting a Barleywine with kveik yeast at 95 fahrenheit in four days with no off flavors and come in at a whopping 16% ABV! Needless to say, this family of yeasts is pretty cool.

Where did the Kveik we used come from? When these yeasts arrive in the US, often times sent over by Norwegian brewers, they usually arrive as a mix of multiple saccharomyces yeast strains and in some cases include lactic acid bacteria, most notably lactobacillus. For reference, most beers produced in the US are fermented with a single saccharomyces strain and only include lactic acid bacteria when producing a kettle sour, our All the Way Up series is an example of this.

For Payment Plan, we used Raftevold Gard kveik from Mainiacal Yeast Labs out of Bangor, Me. This culture came to Mainiacal Yeast as a mix of saccharomyces and lactobacillus. The folks over at Mainiacal were kind enough to remove the lactobacillus strain from this culture and propagate the saccharomyces strains up to a four-barrel pitch in just two weeks!

The Beer: For Payment Plan, we started with a simple grain bill of 2-Row, flaked wheat, flaked oats, and a touch of caravienne to provide mouthfeel, head retention, and a little bit of color, while allowing the yeast and hops to really shine. For hops, we used Topaz and Motu (not Motueka) in the boil and these two hops plus Amarillo in the dry hop. The Topaz provides a resinous, lightly tropical character, while the Amarillo and Motu provide beautiful notes of mango, passion fruit, and stone fruit. The resulting beer has huge notes of mango, pineapple, orange zest, pith, and pleasant notes of “rustic farmhouse” character.

As we stated above, we are insanely excited about the release of this beer and we hope that you enjoy the results as much as we do. So, join us at the brewery on Friday, October 26thmat noon, to try this awesome beer for yourself!

 Simon Burhoe / Brewer

Want to learn more about Milk the Funk or Kveik yeast? Check out these links:
Milk the Funk Wiki: