Lager vs Kveik: The Test

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The Gulper
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It could have finished already, so gravity measurement would be nice.
Absolutely.
The first thing to do when any doubts arise regarding the fermentation: C. Y. G. S. (Check Your Gravity, Stupid Sir)
It well might have been fermented already. Kveiks are notoriously fast fermenters.
 

McMullan

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@amr, if you can manage all-grain brewing, repurposing an old fridge and connecting a cheap temperature controller should be a doddle. Then you can use lager yeast to make better lagers. :D
 

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It could have finished already, so gravity measurement would be nice.
Remember to correct the reading if you use a refractometer.
This, I do not believe, is likely since I see no Krausen at all and also no co2 has come out (I've connected the gas out post to a bottle with a carbonation cap). But I will check though. Thank you.
 

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@amr, if you can manage all-grain brewing, repurposing an old fridge and connecting a cheap temperature controller should be a doddle. Then you can use lager yeast to make better lagers. :D
I actually do use a fridge but the problem is that I don't have a heating element. Just cooling. And it works perfectly fine for normal lager and even ales given the fermentation temp is less than my usual ambient. This was a kveik and hence I'm having th unusual problem of having to go above room temperature. And also, lutra simply showed no activity at 20 which was what was suggested.
 

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There was probably no real connection to the temperature. Most likely the yeast was somehow damaged on the way to you and the cell count was really low. Otherwise kveik really gets going in no time, even with severe under pitching.

But now that it's bubbling, just wait it out.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I tend to agree with the "it is likely done" suggestions. I have brewed several batches with Voss and a couple with Lutra. When severely underpitching Voss, I sometimes saw a lag of 12 to 24 hours, but once it got going it finished in another 24 hours. I have fermented Lutra in the 24C range, and it worked fast. I have also fermented Voss in the 18C range, and it still finished fermentation by day 4.

A 5g pitch of Lutra in a 10L batch seems like a pretty standard pitch rate. That makes me agree that maybe your yeast was not in the best condition to start. I have always had fast starts with dry Voss and Lutra and I tend to pitch at around that same rate (10g in a 20L batch).

I would check the gravity to verify the status, then give it a bit more time to wrap up and settle out.
 

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I tend to agree with the "it is likely done" suggestions. I have brewed several batches with Voss and a couple with Lutra. When severely underpitching Voss, I sometimes saw a lag of 12 to 24 hours, but once it got going it finished in another 24 hours. I have fermented Lutra in the 24C range, and it worked fast. I have also fermented Voss in the 18C range, and it still finished fermentation by day 4.

A 5g pitch of Lutra in a 10L batch seems like a pretty standard pitch rate. That makes me agree that maybe your yeast was not in the best condition to start. I have always had fast starts with dry Voss and Lutra and I tend to pitch at around that same rate (10g in a 20L batch).

I would check the gravity to verify the status, then give it a bit more time to wrap up and settle out.
I actually brewed a pale ale with Voss in my prev batch and that took off like a rocketship and got done in 3 days. This one had absolutely no activity at all as in zero krausen and the beer was super clear. So, I am leaning toward the fact that it was prob. damaged at some level. But thank you for that. I will check the gravity anyway.
 

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There was probably no real connection to the temperature. Most likely the yeast was somehow damaged on the way to you and the cell count was really low. Otherwise kveik really gets going in no time, even with severe under pitching.

But now that it's bubbling, just wait it out.
Fair enough. I think you are right in that the cell count was prob low. It was an older packet that was vacuum sealed but not open for a while. And it was not stored in the freezer but in a dark cupboard at room temp (approx 30c on average). So, I guess you are spot on there.
 

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There was probably no real connection to the temperature. Most likely the yeast was somehow damaged on the way to you and the cell count was really low. Otherwise kveik really gets going in no time, even with severe under pitching.

But now that it's bubbling, just wait it out.

Within 2 hours in my cases
 

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@amr
Next time put some plastic bottles full of hot water into the fridge they will add heat. Don't have the cooling enabled and you will find it should warm up nicely.
Ah! Interesting. I was considering doing that but then was thinking if once the heat goes away, will the temp not drop again?
 

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Once the ferment gets going in the closed box of the fridge it preserves heat well. You can always swap the bottles out when they cool.

I often ferment kveik brews with a sleeping bag over the fermenter, the airlock poking out and then " hot bottles " between fermenter and sleeping bag. When the ferment gets going there is a decent amount of heat produced and I seem to note that once the ferment temp starts to drop it's pretty much done. Info gained using the ispindel in the fermenter watching temp and gravity.
 

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Once the ferment gets going in the closed box of the fridge it preserves heat well. You can always swap the bottles out when they cool.

I often ferment kveik brews with a sleeping bag over the fermenter, the airlock poking out and then " hot bottles " between fermenter and sleeping bag. When the ferment gets going there is a decent amount of heat produced and I seem to note that once the ferment temp starts to drop it's pretty much done. Info gained using the ispindel in the fermenter watching temp and gravity.
Nice. Will keep this in mind. Thank you!
 

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When I brew with kveik, I chill the wort to 37c, pitch the yeast, wrap the fermenter in a sleeping bag, and wait till done leaving it standing at room temperature. IMO, there's no extra heating necessary. The yeast heats itself up and when this stops, completion is near so no need for a stable temperature anymore.
 

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Hullo! Quick update. Looks like it's done (gravity is constant) but when I took a sample last evening to do a gravity reading, I tasted and it seems to have a tart flavour and smell. It's actually not bad in that it's not undrinkable or any such but I do know that the marzen is supposed to be nowhere near tart. I was reading up and what I came across was that maybe that's just the Yeast not having cleaned up as yet and this is common when there have been stuck fermentations or stressed Yeast.

I've added some pressure and let it sit again. Hoping all I need to do is to be patient and wait?

To recap, this is the lutra that I used which probably had some bad health because of which it never took off at 20c but slowly started when I increased the temperature and at 27-28, it finished in 3 days.
 

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Looks like it's done (gravity is constant) but when I took a sample last evening to do a gravity reading, I tasted and it seems to have a tart flavour and smell. It's actually not bad in that it's not undrinkable or any such but I do know that the marzen is supposed to be nowhere near tart.

"Tart" is not an uncommon descriptor for Kveik strains. As much as some folks want them to be universal, magical yeast, they are not.
 

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"Tart" is not an uncommon descriptor for Kveik strains. As much as some folks want them to be universal, magical yeast, they are not.
Interesting. I have only used it once before - Voss in my previous pale ale and it turned out perfectly fine. Does the flavour have to do with the temp profile or the strain itself?
 

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Interesting. I have only used it once before - Voss in my previous pale ale and it turned out perfectly fine. Does the flavour have to do with the temp profile or the strain itself?
It is a bit of a hit and miss. It could be that your severe underpitch triggered the tartness. Lutra seems to be one of the less tart strains, but it is still a kveik and still produceses the kveik tartness, if you ask me. Several factors seem to contribute to the intensity of the tartness, but it is still not fully understood. Temperature could play a role, as well as nutrient availability and pitch rate.
 

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It is a bit of a hit and miss. It could be that your severe underpitch triggered the tartness. Lutra seems to be one of the less tart strains, but it is still a kveik and still produceses the kveik tartness, if you ask me. Several factors seem to contribute to the intensity of the tartness, but it is still not fully understood. Temperature could play a role, as well as nutrient availability and pitch rate.
Got it. Thank you. Is it something that goes away in time? As in, I've just kept it at around 27c and 10psi. Expect to leave it for another 4-5 days. Is it likely that that's gone?
 

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Got it. Thank you. Is it something that goes away in time? As in, I've just kept it at around 27c and 10psi. Expect to leave it for another 4-5 days. Is it likely that that's gone?
In my experience, it might get a bit better but it doesn't fully go away.
 

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In my experience, it might get a bit better but it doesn't fully go away.
Noted. Will report back in a bit. One last question - does the pressure have any impact at all? As in, should I release the pressure or leave it as is
 

Miraculix

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Noted. Will report back in a bit. One last question - does the pressure have any impact at all? As in, should I release the pressure or leave it as is
I have no idea, I never used it under pressure.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Got it. Thank you. Is it something that goes away in time? As in, I've just kept it at around 27c and 10psi. Expect to leave it for another 4-5 days. Is it likely that that's gone?
In my, fairly limited experience with Lutra, yes it will clear up significantly with some age. A buddy did a split batch with Lutra vs a lager strain (Wyeast 2308) where the Lutra was fermented hot and fast and the lager was more traditional. By the time the lager had some age, when tasted side by side the Lutra was so clean to be bland. I had some tartness in some bottled Lutra batches at about 3 weeks in the bottle, but this disappeared at the 5-6 week mark.

I am not 100% sure what niche Lutra fills. I am not convinced it is a great "lager" strain, but might fit well for those that can only ferment at warm room temps. I am slightly more interested in Lutra as a fairy clean yeast to quickly ferment ales when my fermentation chamber is tied up and I don't want the orange character of Voss.
 

easttex

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Hullo! Quick update. Looks like it's done (gravity is constant) but when I took a sample last evening to do a gravity reading, I tasted and it seems to have a tart flavor and smell. It's actually not bad in that it's not undrinkable or any such but I do know that the Marzen is supposed to be nowhere near tart. I was reading up and what I came across was that maybe that's just the Yeast not having cleaned up as yet and this is common when there have been stuck fermentations or stressed Yeast.

I've added some pressure and let it sit again. Hoping all I need to do is to be patient and wait?

To recap, this is the lutra that I used which probably had some bad health because of which it never took off at 20c but slowly started when I increased the temperature and at 27-28, it finished in 3 days.
The Apartment Brewer released a video on YouTube a couple weeks ago wherein he makes a split batch of Marzen wort and ferments half with Diamond Lager yeast and half with Lutra. If I recall, Lutra finished a little tart because the yeast lowered the pH lower than the lager yeast did. I'm curious if that might be case with your Marzen as well.
 

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The Apartment Brewer released a video on YouTube a couple weeks ago wherein he makes a split batch of Marzen wort and ferments half with Diamond Lager yeast and half with Lutra. If I recall, Lutra finished a little tart because the yeast lowered the pH lower than the lager yeast did. I'm curious if that might be case with your Marzen as well.

This is what usually happens.
 

CascadesBrewer

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The Apartment Brewer released a video on YouTube a couple weeks ago wherein he makes a split batch of Marzen wort and ferments half with Diamond Lager yeast and half with Lutra. If I recall, Lutra finished a little tart because the yeast lowered the pH lower than the lager yeast did. I'm curious if that might be case with your Marzen as well.
I have heard this from many sources, and I think I believe it. I did a 3 gallon batch split with US-05, Lutra and Voss. The finished beer pH was very similar, but oddly the US-05 batch had the lowest pH. My measured values at the time of bottling were:
  • US-05: 4.14
  • Voss: 4.17
  • Lutra: 4.21
This batch had a measured mash pH of 5.3 and was based on my water treated with some Gypsum and Lactic Acid.

I am a bit curious about some of the wildly different results with a yeast like Lutra. I wonder how much of the differences is by the taster's sensitivity to certain flavors, or if there is something different say with the recipe, the water, or the brewer's process that drives differences. I often hear similar comments on lots of yeast, like US-05 being a crappy yeast that throws odd peachy flavors...or off flavors with Nottingham, S-04, 34/70, etc.
 

DrGMG

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I have heard this from many sources, and I think I believe it. I did a 3 gallon batch split with US-05, Lutra and Voss. The finished beer pH was very similar, but oddly the US-05 batch had the lowest pH. My measured values at the time of bottling were:
  • US-05: 4.14
  • Voss: 4.17
  • Lutra: 4.21
This batch had a measured mash pH of 5.3 and was based on my water treated with some Gypsum and Lactic Acid.

I am a bit curious about some of the wildly different results with a yeast like Lutra. I wonder how much of the differences is by the taster's sensitivity to certain flavors, or if there is something different say with the recipe, the water, or the brewer's process that drives differences. I often hear similar comments on lots of yeast, like US-05 being a crappy yeast that throws odd peachy flavors...or off flavors with Nottingham, S-04, 34/70, etc.
I have tasted the peachy flavor with 05, but only on one or two IPAs, never in dark beers.
 

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In my, fairly limited experience with Lutra, yes it will clear up significantly with some age. A buddy did a split batch with Lutra vs a lager strain (Wyeast 2308) where the Lutra was fermented hot and fast and the lager was more traditional. By the time the lager had some age, when tasted side by side the Lutra was so clean to be bland. I had some tartness in some bottled Lutra batches at about 3 weeks in the bottle, but this disappeared at the 5-6 week mark.

I am not 100% sure what niche Lutra fills. I am not convinced it is a great "lager" strain, but might fit well for those that can only ferment at warm room temps. I am slightly more interested in Lutra as a fairy clean yeast to quickly ferment ales when my fermentation chamber is tied up and I don't want the orange character of Voss.
This is the first time I am using it and from what I saw, at lower temps it does ferment very clean. I sort of took David Heath's word for it as well (the man does know his stuff!) and so decided to try it. Perhaps my batch of yeast was not great and another experiment might well be worthwhile. Perhaps there should be a dedicated Lutra thread for people to share experiences!
 
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OK. I'm back. Long story cut short - I almost quit brewing a few months back, but I'm back. To the topic at hand, lager vs kveik.

I killed both kegs. Quickly. Some of the quickest kicked kegs ever. Both beers after a few months in the keg, turned out absolutely incredible. Worlds apart, but both fantastic. As a quick summed up version of the two, here we go:

Diamond Lager:
This beer was clear, crisp, hoppy, fresh and distinctively Pilsner-like up to the last sip. It changed drastically from fresh (1 month after kegging) all the way up to around 2 months after kegging, and then the "development" of the beer stopped. The beer's flavour was on point, sweet, with the hop flavour and aroma I wanted in that beer. It also made a fantastic shandy that my wife enjoyed thoroughly. Overall, it did what the Diamond Lager yeast was expected to do, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Kveik Lutra:
This beer was clear, and distinctively ale-like. I don't know how to describe it, but it just wasn't crisp, light, fresh. The hop character was severely subdued and it felt like it evaporated off the beer during the vigorous fermentation from the Lutra, which correlates with other reports I've heard saying the same. The beer also seemingly improved as time went on, up to the last glass, becoming more and more smooth and easier drinking. It didn't "stop improving" with time, so to speak. However, there was an almost umami-like note in the beer, from early on, and it didn't get worse with time. The flavour wasn't overpowering and it wasn't terrible at all, but I tasted it in there. As I mentioned before, it reminded me of Marmite, or Vegemite, if you're familiar with it. It's a yeast extract so while I suspect it could be autolysis, I highly doubt it and it doesn't make sense to me in the short timespan it spent in the keg. So I don't know.

I have to make it clear again - both beers were great. I cleaned the kegs this past weekend, and what was interesting was how solid the sludge in the bottom of the Lager keg was. It was solid enough that I had to spray it off with the hand shower in the tub, and eventually had to scrub it a bit. The Kveik yeast's sludge just rinsed off easily.

As a final point - if you want to make a hoppy Pilsner, get Diamond Lager. Kveik destroys the delicate hop aromas and flavours that's associated with it, and it's not a fit for this style of beer. It's not clean enough, it's not crisp enough and it's not a substitute for a decent lager yeast, in my opinion, and that's my last notion on the topic.

The other side of this test, as you may remember from before, was seeing if the beer conditions better or worse warm or cold. As such I bottled two of these beers, and sat both in a cool closet for 2 weeks to carbonate naturally. After that, one beer was moved to the fridge and stored at 2°C for the past 3 months, while the other sat in the closet, conditioning at office room temperature, mostly between 20°C and 22°C. It sat there for 3 months and was moved to the fridge the other day, ready for the test. I hope to do a side-by-side comparison of the two beers very soon and to post a video about it on YouTube, so keep an eye on this thread!
 

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I hope to do a side-by-side comparison of the two beers very soon and to post a video about it on YouTube, so keep an eye on this thread!

Thanks for sharing your evaluation notes. They tend to follow my thoughts on yeast...different yeast strains produce different beers, but most yeast strains can be used to make very enjoyable beers. A good brewer can made a very good beer with Lutra, even if it is not exactly the same beer that could be made with a traditional lager yeast and method. I am looking forward to your comparison. It does seem like Lutra needs a bit of time conditioning...which might defeat some of the benefit of using a "fast" yeast like Lutra.
 

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A good brewer selects an appropriate yeast strain to ferment the wort he or she has gone to trouble to make. There's really no reason at all to struggle trying to get inferior yeast to 'sing'. Unless you're a fashion victim hoodwinked by blogs and aggressive marketing campaigns pushing romantic beliefs engineered to sell. Choose an appropriate yeast strain to begin with. That's what good brewers do. If the intention is to brew a 'Norwegian farmhouse'  spud moonshine ale, select a 'crikey' strain of some kind and pretend you're a  troll viking. Otherwise select a more appropriate strain.

Edit: Sorry, lost my train of thought. As a 'wet yeast' brewer generally, I am more than happy to recommend Diamond Lager yeast.
 
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OK. I'm back. Long story cut short - I almost quit brewing a few months back, but I'm back. To the topic at hand, lager vs kveik.

I killed both kegs. Quickly. Some of the quickest kicked kegs ever. Both beers after a few months in the keg, turned out absolutely incredible. Worlds apart, but both fantastic. As a quick summed up version of the two, here we go:

Diamond Lager:
This beer was clear, crisp, hoppy, fresh and distinctively Pilsner-like up to the last sip. It changed drastically from fresh (1 month after kegging) all the way up to around 2 months after kegging, and then the "development" of the beer stopped. The beer's flavour was on point, sweet, with the hop flavour and aroma I wanted in that beer. It also made a fantastic shandy that my wife enjoyed thoroughly. Overall, it did what the Diamond Lager yeast was expected to do, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Kveik Lutra:
This beer was clear, and distinctively ale-like. I don't know how to describe it, but it just wasn't crisp, light, fresh. The hop character was severely subdued and it felt like it evaporated off the beer during the vigorous fermentation from the Lutra, which correlates with other reports I've heard saying the same. The beer also seemingly improved as time went on, up to the last glass, becoming more and more smooth and easier drinking. It didn't "stop improving" with time, so to speak. However, there was an almost umami-like note in the beer, from early on, and it didn't get worse with time. The flavour wasn't overpowering and it wasn't terrible at all, but I tasted it in there. As I mentioned before, it reminded me of Marmite, or Vegemite, if you're familiar with it. It's a yeast extract so while I suspect it could be autolysis, I highly doubt it and it doesn't make sense to me in the short timespan it spent in the keg. So I don't know.

I have to make it clear again - both beers were great. I cleaned the kegs this past weekend, and what was interesting was how solid the sludge in the bottom of the Lager keg was. It was solid enough that I had to spray it off with the hand shower in the tub, and eventually had to scrub it a bit. The Kveik yeast's sludge just rinsed off easily.

As a final point - if you want to make a hoppy Pilsner, get Diamond Lager. Kveik destroys the delicate hop aromas and flavours that's associated with it, and it's not a fit for this style of beer. It's not clean enough, it's not crisp enough and it's not a substitute for a decent lager yeast, in my opinion, and that's my last notion on the topic.

The other side of this test, as you may remember from before, was seeing if the beer conditions better or worse warm or cold. As such I bottled two of these beers, and sat both in a cool closet for 2 weeks to carbonate naturally. After that, one beer was moved to the fridge and stored at 2°C for the past 3 months, while the other sat in the closet, conditioning at office room temperature, mostly between 20°C and 22°C. It sat there for 3 months and was moved to the fridge the other day, ready for the test. I hope to do a side-by-side comparison of the two beers very soon and to post a video about it on YouTube, so keep an eye on this thread!
Interesting! Looking forward to the results.
 

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Update on the beer.

Has been at 28c at 10PSI for the past 3 days. The tartness is still there but it seems to be sort of mellowing out, as in, it seems to be more rounded in its tartness. Or maybe I am imagining things. I will let it be for another 4-5 days and report out again.
 

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Sure I can share!
I brewed three recipes from the Brewing Nordic blog: Rongoteus (the author calls it a Dubbel-like beer), Rye Porter and Sahti.

There's many sources on Sahti in the interwebz but that one seems to be the only one that considers Kveik a legit yeast strain for making Sahti. I think it actually isn't (as the traditional Sahti bread yeast is POF+ to begin with, while the Kveik strains aren't), but whatever, a Sahti grist fermented with a Kveik yeast just blew my mind. (To be more exact, I brewed several my own takes on Sahti with different Kveik strains and kinds of Dark Rye: I followed Mika's recipes from his blog and from his book Viking Age Brew and changed the process, as I had brewed several true raw Sahtis before and never cared for the unboiled beer's green & boozy twang and its poor storage ability, so I combined the Sahti grist and the Kveik process, and the results far surpassed all my expectations).

My favourite of those recipes is Rongoteus. I definitely recommend it to anyone who's into stronger, sweeter and fuller beers as I am. As well as to those unsure what to brew with their Kveik yeast. Rongoteus is an amazing beer and it doesn't need any exotic malts.

The mysterious Finnish Kaljamallas Rye malt that's required in some recipes, could be substituted either by [almiost equally unobtainable] Baltic/Swedish/Soviet Fermented Rye Malt or by Home-toasted Rye malt. I tried both, toasting my Rye following Mika's instructions, and I can say it's quite close to the Fermented Rye (and probably to the genuine Kaljamallas) and is a great beer ingredient in its own right.
When you say "..combined the Sahti grist / Kveik process", does that mean a standard mash / boil / pitch with Kveik yeast?
Thank you.
 

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Well, I mean I use grist composition from Finnish Sahti (Pilsen+Munich+Dark Rye Malt) and mashing/boiling schedule from traditional Norvegian Farmhouse ales (very hot and long mash, long boil, pitching Kveik yeast).
The principal differences is that Sahti mashing scheme is an extremely long gradual temp rise starting from cold water, it isn't boiled and the yeast used is more similar to baking yeast rather than to Kveik. Otherwise, both styles produce a pretty similar brew - hearty, thick and strong, very minimally hopped if at all, juniper-infused, best drunk very fresh.
I like the combination much more than each of the styles taken alone.
 

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Sure I can share!
I brewed three recipes from the Brewing Nordic blog: Rongoteus (the author calls it a Dubbel-like beer), Rye Porter and Sahti.

There's many sources on Sahti in the interwebz but that one seems to be the only one that considers Kveik a legit yeast strain for making Sahti. I think it actually isn't (as the traditional Sahti bread yeast is POF+ to begin with, while the Kveik strains aren't), but whatever, a Sahti grist fermented with a Kveik yeast just blew my mind. (To be more exact, I brewed several my own takes on Sahti with different Kveik strains and kinds of Dark Rye: I followed Mika's recipes from his blog and from his book Viking Age Brew and changed the process, as I had brewed several true raw Sahtis before and never cared for the unboiled beer's green & boozy twang and its poor storage ability, so I combined the Sahti grist and the Kveik process, and the results far surpassed all my expectations).

My favourite of those recipes is Rongoteus. I definitely recommend it to anyone who's into stronger, sweeter and fuller beers as I am. As well as to those unsure what to brew with their Kveik yeast. Rongoteus is an amazing beer and it doesn't need any exotic malts.

The mysterious Finnish Kaljamallas Rye malt that's required in some recipes, could be substituted either by [almiost equally unobtainable] Baltic/Swedish/Soviet Fermented Rye Malt or by Home-toasted Rye malt. I tried both, toasting my Rye following Mika's instructions, and I can say it's quite close to the Fermented Rye (and probably to the genuine Kaljamallas) and is a great beer ingredient in its own right.
Brewed the Rongoteus yesterday and it's bubbling strong. Horrible efficiency of 62%, therefore a bit weaker than the anticipated 1.07 og, I got 1.062 instead. Bitternes also tasted a bit stronger than 23 ibus to me, more like 30. lesson learned, full volume without boil off is only efficient with biab. My bag just burst.... Need to buy a new one.
 
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Protos

The Gulper
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My congrats! You'll have an excellent addition to your cellar to savour!
Just yesterday I drank a bottle of my 4 months-aged Rongoteus. A heavenly brew.
 
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