Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Imperial Sourdough Neo Kvass

My first attempt at Kvass came out so well that I decided to give it another go. However, being an ADD brewer I couldn't brew the exact same recipe again, so I made a few changes.

First I decided that instead of letting the bread stale, I'd toast it instead. I never found a great explanation for why the bread needed to be stale anyway, seems like it is just a part of the tradition for using up stale bread. The only thing I could think of was that the staling leads to a retrogradation of the starch which helps the bread retain some structure when it is cooked (the same reason day old bread and rice are best for French toast and fried rice respectively). The toasting will accomplish this same task without the hassle of waiting around, and the melanoidins from the toasting will give some added flavor to the beer.

My second change was the yeast. The first time I used American ale yeast for half, and bread yeast for half, this time I swapped out the 1056 for San Francisco sourdough starter from Fermented Treasures. This starter contains Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, a relative of the bacteria that makes Berliner Weisse sour, and yogurt tangy. It also usually contains strains of Saccharomyces (brewer's yeast) and Candida (found in lambics).

My final change was to add the "bread juice" to the grain bed at the end of the sparge. This had the unintended consequence of bumping my gravity up .010. I decided to just roll with the sugar increase and call it an Imperial Kvass.

The picture shows the liquid starter I made from the fresh culture of sourdough, and the flour I started at the same time. I have since made several tasty breads with the flour starter, but it has yet to develop a significant sourness.

Imperial Sourdough Neo Kvass

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 2.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 3.69
Anticipated OG: 1.044
Anticipated SRM: 10.3
Anticipated IBU: 7.1
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68 %
Wort Boil Time: 35 Minutes

2.50 lbs. Maris Otter
0.94 lbs. Rye Malt
0.25 lbs. Brown Malt

0.25 oz. Crystal @ 30 min.

0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 20 Min.

Split between San Fransisco Sourdough and Red Star Bread Yeast

Mash Schedule
60 min @ 154

Brewed 5/18/08 by myself

Toasted 90% of a loaf of Whole Foods Organic Jewish Rye for 30 minutes @ 300 degrees. mixed with 1 gallon of distilled water w/ 1 g CaCl @ 170 Degrees. Strained the solids from the liquid next morning at the start of the brew day.

3 gallons water prepared for the brew, 1 g each CaCl, Salt, Chalk, Epsom.

Added the bread juice to the end of the sparge.

Added 1/4 g of Red Star Bread yeast to the green jug and ~1/4 cup of San Fransisco sourdough starter to the clear jug. The sourdough was cultured from a dough starter from fermented treasures, stepped up once.

Placed in the freezer at 64 degrees. Sourdough one started within 12 hours, bread yeast in 18.

5/30/08 Fermentation seems to be complete for both, took out of the freezer for 24 hours to make sure, then returned to the freezer. Both are at 1.012 (73% AA)

6/15/08 Took out of freezer to make room for Big Funky to go in, gravity on both is ~1.012. Ambient temp in 70s.

6/23/08 Bottled with .5 tsp of turbinado per bottle.

7/02/08 Decent carbonation already, the sourdough bottle I tried was surprisingly mild.

8/05/08 First tasting

8/23/08 I sent a bottle of each to Scott (the Brewer at East End) here are his comments: "Compared to mine (which is the only comparison I have to work with) I found it to be similar in many ways... mouth feel, aroma. Took me right back. I did get a bit more sweetness in the flavor that really just shifted me into tasting a "different" bread - like the way whole wheat bread varies in sweetness. Color was a little darker too, almost like a weizenbock is a darker version of a hefe, but to a lesser degree if that makes any sense. Sourdough version was enjoyable too with a nice crisp tang." I'm glad he liked them.


Josh said...


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Thanks mom.

That's the one problem about using a brew pot the stretches over two burners, it vaporizes anything in the grease traps and deposits it between the burners. This Sunday I am doing my last brew before I take the summer off, it'll get cleaned after that.

Josh said...

haha. OK, my wife hates it when I ruin the stove also. What's I've found works so very well is a product called Seafoam from pepboys. It's basically a carbon cleaner for your engine. Since we're not brewing at anything close to engine temperatures, you can spray it on, wait a moment, and wipe it off. It has a delicious mint smell and I keep threatening to brew beer with it.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Actually, my roommate hasn't really complained, the stove is about 60 years old anyway. I'll check out Seafoam, sounds like it will save some scrubbing.

Sergei said...

Traditional (Russian) recipes call for toasted bread, not stale so it was a good call.

Thank you for the recipe. I was looking for information on the East End Kvass. It looks good and I may give it a shot in the near future.

James said...

Hi, I know that this is a rather old post, but I wanted to try and ask how you prepared the sourdough starter to be used to ferment your wort. Also, do you think that this technique could be used on a consistent basis and for most any gravity beer? I think that this is a really cool idea and reminds me of why I was drawn to brewing, out of my love for bread, in the first place.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Surprised I didn't take better notes on it. I took about a tablespoon of the sourdough bread starter and added it to about a cup of starter wort. After it got going I stepped it up again. I was only pitching into 1 gallon, so it didn't take much.

Hope that helps, good luck!