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Kefir Beer?

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Stand

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OK, so I bought Kefir once from a vendor in Russia and liked it, but I hadn't thought about it for years.

Today in the grocery store I found Kefir on the shelf to my amazement and I came home to look at the bottle and it said the sides should be bulging slightly because it is slightly effervescent.

I knew there was bacteria in it, but effervescent sounded like yeast. Could there be yeast?!?!?! 5 minutes later Wikipedia, the source of all earthly knowledge, confirmed this and added this magical sentence: "Kefir grains will also ferment milk substitutes such as soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk, as well as other sugary liquids including fruit juice, coconut water, beer wort and ginger beer. However, the kefir grains may cease growing if the medium used does not contain all the growth factors required by the bacteria."

So now I'm armed with the knowledge that, at least according to Wikipedia, you can make beer with Kefir grains.

So... WHO DONE IT? Somebody has to have tried this. Info please!
 

harrymanback92

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I don't know of anyone who's done this, and to my knowledge it hasn't been done; at least in the way you describe.

But, from what I understand about Kefir, and I have a glass every morning, it's just several strains of lactobacillus.

So I imagine that "kefir beer" taste quite a bit like a Berlinner Weisse. I expect it to be quite sour. Could be interesting, but I think I would stick with Lacto strains that have been optimized for fermenting malt over dairy.
 

frazier

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We used to make kefir, it was good fun and good results. We got some "grains" through the mail (they look like semi-translucent cauliflower florets), and added them to milk in a jar which we left out on the counter. After a few days, it was sour and slightly thickened, and quite drinkable. The grains themselves propagate rather quickly. Eventually we could make a gallon at a time.

At one point I tried adding them to apple juice, just to see... the results were underwhelming. Better to stick with milk.
 

robertm365

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Yes, I've been making it two years. Comes out great, and it's cheap as dirt.
The only recipe I could find online, is... you guessed it, the one I started with.

The original recipe I started with, I would recommend reading it for the extra info. However I've tweaked it to my liking.
www.traditionaltx.us/KefirBeer.pdf

You'll have to get some kefir, here is a link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002HP9HZ0/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Put them in a quart jar filled with sugar water, maybe 3/4 cup sugar. Change the water every day or two (don't let them run out of sugar), until there's 3/4 cup if your going to make one gallon, or 2 cups for six. They still will reproduce slowly in the wort.
Also you'll need a plastic sieve, here is a link.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FESIZPA/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Anyway here is the recipe so you can try it.*

You may want to start with one gallon, to see if it works for you and until your kefir grains have reproduced enough to ferment that large volume in a timely fashion. If you're in a hurry and want to start one gallon (which will ferment faster than a bucket), and then start a bucket shortly after, then when you have a 1 1/2 cups of grains, you can take half of them for you gallon, and keep the other half reproducing.*

To make six gallons in a food grade bucket, which is the easiest for me.
In a large pot, boil for 20min.

1/2gal water
12 cups white sugar
5 cups molasses*
4 handfuls of hops (you'll have to decide what a handful is)

Then put 3gal cold water in the bucket with your grans, so you don't shock them when you pour in the hot.
Use a metal sieve and pour the liquid from the pan into the bucket.
Then I pour cold water over the hops left in the pan, rinsing and cooling them.
Pour that water into the bucket as well.*
I do this a couple times, keeping in mind the level in the bucket, so you don't use more water then can fit.
Then squeeze out the hops in the pan (feed to chickens or compost) and pour the last of the liquid into the bucket.*

Then I like to "dry hop", which is to put 4 handfuls of hops in a mesh bag, with a ton of marbles(maybe 70 or 80)to hold them below the surface, and ferment them with the wort.
I rubber band the marbles in the bottom of the bag, so you can easily change the hops without having to pick through the marbles.*
This mellows out some of the strong flavors and ads some more hop :)

However, if you don't want to do that, another optional thing to do is just add
2 handfulls of hops in the pan as it cools. In this case I might scrimp on hops, and only boil 3 handfuls, so 3and2. It just depends on the flavor you like. I'm sure the breed of hop will make a big difference, but as I said I'm buying closeouts (whatever didn't sell from '08). I buy fromwww.breworganic.com
I just learned that older hops still ad flavor, but don't bitter as well.*

Fill the bucket to a safe distance from the top.*
Check specific gravity (sugar levels) with a hygrometer. Which is not necessary, but let's you know your content.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GYIB0Y2/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

And write it down, along with the date and how much of everything you put in. So you can keep track of what adjustments you made and go back to what you liked best.
Put a lid on it and use a bubbler, which in my opinion is essential.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A6TZCKI/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I bottle when it bubbles every 28 seconds. This is a flavor preference.*
Check the specific gravity and compare to find your content. I just use the alcohol potential reading on the hygrometer, so at the start if it reads 7 1/2 potential and at the end it says -1/2. You have an 8 percent beer. Then write it down. Now you know if you want a 7 percent? Try cutting out a cup of sugar and see what happens.*


Now to bottle, you could use a ladle and funnel, or I use a siphon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AYHWWIC/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E66A4U/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Fill and cap your bottles (after tasting of course).
Leave some beer in the bottom, a cup or two, along with the sludge.*
Rinse everything except the bucket and lid, and pour in your next wort!

It's not that complicated once you get the hang of it.*

Well, let me know how it goes.*
Robert
 
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captianoats

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My name is Kieffer and I made beer today. Does that count


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

lunacalor

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Hi Robert

How long does it take you to get to bubbles every 28 seconds?
Cheers
 

DaWhip

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This thread is the reason I finally stopped lurking and joined the forum:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=381045

It's not exactly what you are describing, but there is a lot of good dairy fermentation knowledge in it.

The kefir grains have both yeast and bacteria, but as mentioned above, the yeast is specialized to ferment lactose (very rare in the yeast world) so may not be very efficient and the bacteria will add a lot of twang (good in your kefir, maybe not good in your beer?). Sounds like a fun experiment. Maybe try applying some wild yeast collection techniques to isolate the yeast and give it a shot in a low gravity brew and see where that takes it.
 

ZooBeebru

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There are two very different strains of kefir grains, milk kefir and water kefir. They are not interchangeable. I have been brewing water kefir for some time as as substitute for pop and have wondered about brewing with malt, what with the renewed interest in gose, lambics and sours , kefir it seemed would make a very interesting beer if it will ingest malt sugars. It should but there is not much codified information I can find. Anyone know a micro biologist?
 
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