Kveik Pale Ale

It happened…I’ve given in to a brewing trend, and am trying a recipe with kveik. As you’ll see in some upcoming posts, I’ve in fact tried a few kveik recipes at this point. This is my first one, and admittedly not my favorite.

red package of yeast from Omega Yeast, Hornindal Kveik strain, with cartoon of cat on front
Kveik culture from Omega

For those not familiar with it, kveik is essentially a Norwegian farmhouse ale culture, with a rich cultural history that has likely been over-analyzed by those outside of the original neighborhoods where the yeast originated. I’ve been intrigued by their stated qualities of fermenting cleanly in excess of 90°, which almost sounds too good to be true. It wasn’t, in the end!

The recipe is inspired by a kit recipe from Atlantic Brew Supply, with major adjustments to pretty much everything. Many of the kveik-centered recipes out there are super-high alcohol, and that just doesn’t interest me. Session ales forever! I looked around at a few different kveik strains, and Hornindal from Omega seemed to hit the balance of a citrusy character that I wanted. I went with my usual session pale ale strategy of Vienna plus some Munich and a little crystal malt. For the hops, I grabbed a South African experimental variety, U1/108, from my local homebrew shop.

Kveik Pale Ale

  • 8 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 lb. Munich light malt (Chateau)
  • 0.5 lb. Crystal 40 malt (Great Western)
  • 0.75 oz. Magnum hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet
  • 1 oz. African Experimental U1/108 hop pellets (15.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. African Experimental U1/108 hop pellets (15.0% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
  • 3 oz. African Experimental U1/108 hop pellets (15.0% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 pkg. Hornindal Kveik (Omega OYL-091)

Target Parameters

  • 1.043 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.3% abv, 6 SRM, 41 IBU
  • Infusion mash, 156°, batch sparge; 45 minute boil
  • Claremont water, with Campden tablet to remove chloramines and 2 g of gypsum added to boil kettle.


  • I mashed in with 3.25 gallons at 168°, to hit a 158° mash temperature. I also added 4 mL of 88% lactic acid to the mash, to adjust pH.
  • The mash temperature was down to 156° after 45 minutes. At this point, I added 1.5 gallons for the first sparge, which raised the temperature to 162°. After 10 minutes, vorlaufed and collected the first runnings. Next, I added 3.6 gallons for the second sparge, with a vorlauf after 10 minutes.
  • In total, I collected 7 gallons with a gravity of 1.039, for 77% mash efficiency.
  • In the kettle, I added 2 g gypsum, and the broil everything to a boil. I boiled for 45 minutes, adding hops and other items per the schedule.
  • After flame-out, I chilled the wort to below 185° and then added 1 oz. of whirlpool hops. Hops were between 175° and 180° for 10 minutes. Then, I continued chilling.
  • After I chilled the wort down to 90°, I let it settle for 1 hour and then transferred to the fermenter and pitched the kveik.
  • The fermenter showed minor activity within 6 hours, and vigorous bubbling within 18 hours. At this point, I measured ~85° degrees for fermenter temperature, with 80° degrees ambient in the garage. I started fermentation on September 5, and fermentation seemingly was done by 9 Sept 2020.
  • I kegged the beer on 13 September 2020, adding dry hops in a baggie at that time. As has been my usual practice lately, I did a mixture of keg priming and force carbonation, targeting 2.7 volumes of CO2. I added 2.8 oz of corn sugar dissolved in one cup water for this first stage, and after a week topped up the CO2 using my cylinder.
  • Final gravity is 1.017, for 3.6% abv.


  • Appearance
    • A hazy gold beer, with a pillowy, fine, and very persistent white head
  • Aroma
    • Aroma is malt-centered, very bready and showing a bit of caramel. Hop aroma is surprisingly low.
  • Flavor
    • Very hoppy, with a slightly rough bitterness. The malt in the background has a bready and toasty quality.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Light bodied, slightly astringent finish, probably from the dry hops. Moderately high carbonation.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Not with this particular hopping regimen. The malt character is fine, and the yeast character is fantastically clean for having been fermented at high temperature, but the hops just don’t do it for me. I wonder if it’s a combination of the hop variety with the low starting gravity, so that the hops aren’t balanced more by the malt. I also think I overhopped on the dry-hopping, so I can’t blame it all on the hop variety. Honestly, the beer was far better before I added the dry hops! That said, I’m super impressed by the yeast, and harvested a ton for use in some upcoming batches.
  • Overall
    • 4/10

First Taste of KPA

Over the past week or two, I’ve been (impatiently) cracking open a bottle or two of the Kamikaze Pale Ale. I don’t think it has fully carbonated yet – after two weeks, it has a nice fizz, but not quite the level of bubbly that I would prefer. My red ale had similar behavior at first, so I think I’m just being impatient. At any rate, I agitated the bottles a bit tonight to see if that will help the carbonation along. Some brewing sites I’ve read recommended this procedure to “rouse” the yeast if it’s not carbonating at the preferred rate. Mostly, I think I just need to wait a little longer.

On first pouring the beer, I get a mild hops scent. The beer is a nice red color (as mentioned in a previous post), and the carbonation (at this writing) is manifested as a light but steady stream of tiny bubbles along the side of the glass. The taste is smooth, with some definite hops flavor, but not overly bitter. The finish is pretty smooth, too. I don’t know if it quite has as much “body” as I’d like on my beers. There is relatively little head, too, but I think this might just be a factor of the present low carbonation.

So what might I do differently next time? I might experiment with steeping another type of malt or two, to add a little extra body (but not too much). Perhaps I just need to crack the pale malt a little finer. I think I’ll also try dry-hopping, to give it a more prominent hops aroma (the aroma is just a little milder at present than I might like). Additionally, I’ll try boiling with a greater water volume – I only did two gallons (modified after one recipe I saw) for the boil this time, but I suspect I’d get slightly better hops utilization if I used 2.5 or 3 gallons. Next time, I’ll also try using dry malt instead.

Despite all these ideas for “next time,” I still think it’s a pretty drinkable beer. I like the smoothness, and it will be even better once that last bit of carbonation settles in.

KPA Bottled

This evening, I bottled up the KPA. I siphoned it out of the carboy (everything had settled out nicely – there was relatively little sediment, and the beer looked very clear). For primer, I boiled 3/4 cup of corn sugar in 2 cups water, cooled the mix, and stirred it in to the beer. I got 37 12-ounce bottles and 4 16-ounce bottles, for a grand total of 41 bottles. Accounting for the pint bottles, this is a slightly higher bottle count than the last batch (which gave me 41 12-ounce bottles).

The beer has a nice amber color, and tastes pretty good so far (if one can trust flat beer). It’s a little darker than I was expecting, so maybe next time I’ll use only dry malt extract (which I’ve read can give a slightly lighter color). Now to wait for carbonation. . .

KPA Update

I just transferred the KPA to my secondary fermenter, to settle out a bit while I’m away for Christmas. Things looked A-OK in the primary, and the beer has a final gravity of 1.011. With my starting gravity of 1.041, this gives about 4 percent alcohol.

The beer has a very nice, dark golden hue, and a good hoppy aroma. The hops flavor is strong but smooth, so I think this will be a very good one once I get it carbonated. Now just to wait a few weeks. . .

KPA Bubbling Away

I just checked on the KPA I started yesterday. . .it’s brewing fine (as viewed from the outside of the bucket – there’s lots of krauesen that I can see when I shine a light through), but no bubbles are evident in the air lock (which is quite firmly in place). So, I’m pretty certain that the bucket lid isn’t entirely airtight, and a little carbon dioxide is escaping somewhere around the edges. Fortunately, this seems to be a pretty small deal in the grand scheme of home brewing, so I’m still not going to worry about it.