Where can Portugal improve and differentiate itself? Taking advantage of the wide resources it has. In our beer world, given the whole tradition surrounding wine, it seems strange how little importance, so far, breweries give to this opportunity, especially when compared to our fellow Italians. Be it barrels, yeast, or in this case, grapes.
Grapes my dear. The Grapes….
The result of a movement in which the “Maldito” Gonçalo Faustino has been one of the great drivers, Grape Ale, which does not need to be only Italian, has now returned with more prominence to the productions of the national market. One day, perhaps, it will become its own, well-defined style.
Until then, here at Brett Hotel, we maintain our honorable tradition of messing up everything we can – what we know best.
We married a Portuguese tradition with the organisms from Scandinavia and the American hops – who knows if this will be the next Mateus Rosé.
The grape, of the “Morangueira” variety, is hand-picked in the deep Portugal, where time has a different speed and it was once at the speed of wine.
Kveik, that new genus of yeast that defies all known ideas about beer fermentation. Norwegian of origin, from the Grodås region, but this one as reached us through one of the Portuguese spearheads of the craft beers scene in Scandinavia, Fábio Oliveira. Opportunity to explore another strain of Kveik, “Lida”, which we don’t know yet, but is also starting to be commercially produced. In its flavor profile, the notes of fruit and white grape match perfectly with the grape ale concept. In addition to this Kveik there is another one, but we’ll get there…
The Hops, Denali and El Dorado, American in origin, complete this beer with its notes of tropical fruits, pineapple and citrus. Both with relatively low Co-Humulone for a less harsh bitterness; and well loaded with myrcene, bringing the hop component that an IPA must have.
Let’s do an IPA. Let’s do a Grape Ale. Let’s do a Kveik.
For the malt bill, a simple recipe. Base malt, with Wheat and Oats to help the body and feed the Kveik, a Crystal Rye malt to complement the fruity notes with some spice. Simple brewing, but with increased attention to pH, because Kveik tends to lower the pH more than usual in other strains of Saccharomyces yeast and the beer will still have the acidity of grape must and astringency of the grape stalk. Some tuning to the water profile, we switched our approach and used something closer to the usual NEIPA water profile, with more chlorides in the water and pointed it to a pH in the mash of 5.45. Close enough, there was no need fine tune the pH. Scandalous, we can’t even believe it.
We boiled for 90 minutes to help evaporate the dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from the Pilsner malt. A little bitterness at the beginning, contrasting with the water profile of a NEIPA, and we keep the rest of the hops for the final moments of the boil. Especially after the boil, in a 15-minute whirlpool at 82ºC and for a generous Dry-hop. At the end of the boil an extra dose of nutrients for Kveik, which the boy is always hungry for.
Whirlpool done, the good thing about making Kveiks during the Summer in Portugal is that you save on cooling water. For this beer, we went to the Lida temperature, cooled the wort to 34ºC and transferred it to the fermenter. Quick brewing day, we reached the end feeling a little suspicious that this is going a little to well…
To challenge this state of mind, that does not suit us, we decided to be creative. What else is there to do? With this batch we also used a Kveik Ring smuggled by Fábio, to inoculate the wort. Already with Voss Kveik entrenched in the wood, allowing the reuse of the yeast in this batch. This beer will be a mixed fermentation of Kveiks mixed with what comes in the grapes. An authentic yeast orgy. Do not think that reusing “gær” (the Danish word for yeast) is something new or a post “discovery” advent of Pasteur. In fact, it has been a practice since the 16th century.
Kveik is going to rip through this beer in no time, like a starving person. He also enjoys the sweat of the heat with the fermentation at 33ºC, and takes a mere 3 days to complete the service. We give it two more days to finish eating the crumbs, which is like saying, to clean the sulfuric notes, a characteristic of this yeast.
Halfway to this party, the grapes come in, like a “party-crasher”. We made two steps to add the grapes. Not wanting to risk big changes in the beer profile from the seeds or skins of the grapes, we chose to crush the grapes manually to extract the juice from them. The rest, skins and grains we reserve for later. We’ll still use them to get more color for the beer.
About 1 liter of Grape must, was added to the beer at the peak of fermentation, during the “high-krausen”. As Kveik is a very stressed yeast, all of this happens earlier than usual and in our case it was less than 24 hours after inoculation. You can’t look at the side for ten minutes with this guy.
After a week of fermentation it’s time to Dry-Hop and add the skins for color. More Denali and El Dorado in pellets for more aroma. 3 days of contact for the hops and skins is sufficient.
After that, cold crash and transfer in a closed circuit to a keg, to which we had already added Citra hop oil. IPAs are ungrateful on a homemade setup, but whatever you can do to minimize the intake of oxygen, do it twice as much. Every care with this is not enough.
Completed stage, in an endless journey. Now let’s rest, it’s time to taste soon. I suspect this one shouldn’t last long in the keg.
Kveik Grape IPA
Total cereal: 5.91 Kg.
Original Gravity: 1.062
Boil Time: 90 minutes
70% – 4.14 Kg. Pilsner malt
20% – 1.18 Kg. Wheat malt
5% – 0.30 kg. Crystal Rye malt
5% – 0.30 kg. Flaked Oats
6 gr. Warrior (pellet, 15.60% AA) @ 60 min.
20 gr. Denali (pellet, 12.80% AA) @ 5 min.
20 gr. El Dorado (pellet, 15% AA) @ 5 min.
80 gr. Denali (pellet, 12.80% AA) @ Whirlpool 15 min.
30 gr. El Dorado (pellet, 15% AA) @ Whirlpool 15 min.
100 gr. Denali (pellet, 12.80% AA) 3 days
50 gr. El Dorado (pellet, 15% AA) 3 days
1 ml. Citra (oil) @ kegging
Yeast nutrients @ 5 min. – Freakin Kveik is always hungry…
Craft Labs #11 Lida Kveik
Kveik Ring inoculated with Lallemand Voss Kveik
SO4 to Cl Ratio: 0,6
Saccharification – 60 min. @ 67ºC
Mashout – 15 min. @ 76ºC