Author Topic: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...  (Read 678 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« on: September 09, 2021, 04:41:23 pm »
I was doing some homework on kvass just so I understood what it was, how it was made, etc.  For those who don't know...

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Kvass is a traditional fermented Slavic and Baltic beverage commonly made from rye bread, which is known in many Central and Eastern European and Asian countries as "black bread". The colour of the bread used contributes to the colour of the resulting drink. Kvass's alcohol content from fermentation is typically low.

First off, I'm not really interested in making kvass.  But the description reminds me of stories where brewers have used any number of things in their mash that were off-the-map... day old soft pretzels, doughnuts, bagels, etc.  Weird, I know.  But what would happen if you were to brew a standard beer (say a 4.5% ale that was low-to-moderately hopped) and threw rye bread into the mash?  Would you get flavor?  Would you get any fermentables?  Would you be called weird?  Would you have a stuck runoff?  I was watching a show where the guy goes to the fridge and pulls out two mason jars of kvass that he made.  I also see kvass all over my local diverse grocery store so I am mildly curious.  Anyone got an opinion on it?
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline chinaski

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2021, 05:43:38 pm »
You might get some rye flavor, but in my experience it takes a lot of rye (malt) to get the flavor.  Also, a lot of folks confuse the flavor of caraway seeds for rye because rye bread often has caraway seeds in it.  Throwing baked goods into a mash might be a good way to use up old crusty bread.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2021, 05:50:49 pm »
You might get some rye flavor, but in my experience it takes a lot of rye (malt) to get the flavor.  Also, a lot of folks confuse the flavor of caraway seeds for rye because rye bread often has caraway seeds in it.  Throwing baked goods into a mash might be a good way to use up old crusty bread.
Yeah, I have never actually used rye in my brewing and I get that rye bread tastes more like caraway that rye and that might be the flavor I'm looking for.  Maybe I just grind up some caraway seed and throw THAT into the mash.  :D  I'm just spitballing.  I rarely experiment with stuff like this but I like the idea. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 07:12:50 pm »
Following is a link to some tasting notes for the kvass I made a few years ago.  It was an interesting experiment, and I don't think I'll bother trying it again as I didn't love it.  Whatever you can imagine kvass looking like or tasting like...... it doesn't.  It's not spicy.  It's not deep and dark and malty.  It was a pale mild wimpy yeasty bready mess.  To me it seems similar to a Berliner weisse, except not sour, lower alcohol, and just generally not as good.  Might have been more tasty with fruit added.  There's a picture on here too that you can click to zoom.

https://untappd.com/b/mandatory-zen-homebrewery-gourmantine-s-bread-kvass/1855946

If you like Berliner weisse, make a Berliner weisse.  If you want to add fruit to it, add fruit to it.  If you want caraway, that is something ENTIRELY different from any of the above.  Rye itself tastes NOTHING like caraway.

So in the end... toss around ideas, and brew whatever you like.  Just, probably, don't call it a kvass, because it probably ain't.
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Offline fredthecat

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2021, 09:24:32 am »
You might get some rye flavor, but in my experience it takes a lot of rye (malt) to get the flavor.  Also, a lot of folks confuse the flavor of caraway seeds for rye because rye bread often has caraway seeds in it.  Throwing baked goods into a mash might be a good way to use up old crusty bread.

yes, this happens with rye bread too. i get rye bread from a different place and think "this doesn't taste like "rye", aka the rye bread with caraway i'm familiar with. the rye bread i'm familiar with which has been a major source of bread for me throughout my life is described as "swedish rye" and is definitely on the light side of rye flavour with no caraway, so i always considered it more just "bread" than "rye bread" especially.







also related to kvass: the scene in tarkovsky's Stalker, where they are at the table before entering, discussing the trip and they are all drinking a black drink (presumably either beer or kvass). lol, i always wanted to know what it was. i had in my mind that it was black beer of some kind. but more than likely kvass, yet do they drink it out of beer mugs? i thought it was treated more like pop or juice.



Offline BrewNerd

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2021, 07:40:38 am »
also related to kvass: the scene in tarkovsky's Stalker, where they are at the table before entering, discussing the trip and they are all drinking a black drink (presumably either beer or kvass). lol, i always wanted to know what it was. i had in my mind that it was black beer of some kind. but more than likely kvass, yet do they drink it out of beer mugs? i thought it was treated more like pop or juice.


Ah yes, of course.. the kvass scene.. that's where all those commonly available t-shirts and posters come from. +1 on a VERY deep reference.

Kvass strikes me as a bit of a "proto-beer" that was just made with whatever was at hand. Not trying to make it a beer, just trying to get a bit of alcohol from left over food. Just the thing to pass the time on a freezing Russian night.

Looks gross, reportedly tastes disgusting, I can't wait to try it.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 04:29:15 pm by dbeechum »

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2021, 01:32:51 pm »

also related to kvass: the scene in tarkovsky's Stalker, where they are at the table before entering, discussing the trip and they are all drinking a black drink (presumably either beer or kvass). lol, i always wanted to know what it was. i had in my mind that it was black beer of some kind. but more than likely kvass, yet do they drink it out of beer mugs? i thought it was treated more like pop or juice.


Ah yes, of course.. the kvass scene.. that's where all those commonly available t-shirts and posters come from. +1 on a VERY deep reference.

Kvass strikes me as a bit of a "proto-beer" that was just made with whatever was at hand. Not trying to make it a beer, just trying to get a bit of alcohol from left over food. Just the thing to pass the time on a freezing Russian night.

Looks gross, reportedly tastes disgusting, I can't wait to try it.

did me referencing media you don't like upset you? next time ill go for a MARVEL related thing.

also i checked, the script mentions beer, so it is actually a black beer. pretty neat that wherever it was filmed they would consider beer black, maybe it is a translation error or maybe its a dark lager, baltic porter or something unknown?

ive met some russians in real life and i feel like there is still a lot that is unknown and untranslated/unexported from there. there could be many hidden beer styles out there somewhere.


also, just curious what is the difference between a proto-beer and a beer?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 04:29:34 pm by dbeechum »

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bear with me on a wild topic (hint: Kvass)...
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2021, 07:19:53 pm »
Kvass strikes me as a bit of a "proto-beer" that was just made with whatever was at hand. Not trying to make it a beer, just trying to get a bit of alcohol from left over food. Just the thing to pass the time on a freezing Russian night.

IMO we generally are probably too reductive in thinking about how beers and other foods/beverages came to exist and why they continued to exist in pre-industrial communities. In times of greater scarcity and more work required to produce food it would make sense that leftover bread, which goes stale quickly when not filled with preservatives, would be recycled into another product. It would make sense that the recycled product would become a cheaper product for less wealthy members of society or kids due to the lower ABV. OTOH maybe they simply enjoyed the flavor.

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Looks gross, reportedly tastes disgusting, I can't wait to try it.

I've had modern, mass produced kvass from Russia. It looked a lot like root beer in color and clarity. It wasn't disgusting but I haven't sought it out, either. Kind of like flat cola with a little brown ale mixed in. It isn't quite as sweet or acidic as cola. I could see in a society unaccustomed to plentiful sugar why it would be a popular beverage.
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