Double Dry-Hopped Kvass

Making bread, making liquid, making liquid bread... and double dry hopping it

By Laura Burns and Nik Allen

Aug 4, 2022

Kvass, roughly pronounced kwass, is a style of beer brewed using rye bread, typically associated with eastern European brewing traditions. Historically, kvass was usually made from bread that has been soaked in water and allowed to ferment for anywhere from 12 hours to a number of days, developing a distinctly sour flavor and a light carbonation in addition to its low alcohol content (typically only 1 – 2% ABV). Homemade versions of kvass sometimes incorporated baking yeast to aid the fermentation process, as well as different additives like raisins, berries, or even mint to help offset the lactic acidity that would develop over time.

While we chose to use additional brewing yeast and forgo using bread as the sole inoculation source, the finished beer retains the subtleties of the bread loaves. Just as the malting process establishes the flavor of our grist, the rich character of the added bread is thanks to its hearty grains, motley sourdough culture, and complex fermentation process.

Laura’s Marbled Bread for Kvass

Equipment needed

  • Active sourdough starter 15g
  • Two medium bowls
  • Banneton or towel-lined bowl
  • Dutch oven with lid


  • Dough #1: Bread flour
  • Dough #1: Rye flour
  • Dough #1: Water
  • Dough #2: Bread flour
  • Dough #2: Rye flour
  • Dough #2: Chocolate rye flour
  • Dough #2: Water


Note: Two doughs will be started separately which will be combined to marble” during the bulk fermentation coil folds (step 5 below). Tasty enough for eating, but to be used to make kvass! You will need an active sourdough starter to make this bread — check out King Arthur Flour’s guide to sourdough for help getting started.

  1. Make a levain: feed 15g of active sourdough starter 30g flour and 30g water. Do this 6 hours prior to adding levain to each dough in the next step.
  2. 30 minutes prior to adding levain to each dough, mix all the ingredients above for each dough and let autolyse.
  3. Add 30 g of levain to each dough and hand mix for 5 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Add 4.5 g of salt to each dough and hand mix for 5 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes.
  5. Stretch each dough into a rectangle measuring ~9x12” (~23x30cm) and layer one dough rectangle on top of the other. Laminate with 2 envelope folds in each direction. Transfer to your proofing bowl/dish.
  6. For the first 3 hours, do two coil folds, one in each direction every hour.
  7. For the next 2 hours, do one coil fold with alternating direction every hour.
  8. Rest for 1 hour and watch that the dough volume has doubled.
  9. Shape into boule or round and transfer to banneton or towel-lined bowl.
  10. Transfer to fridge and cold retard for 12 – 24 hours.
  11. Preheat dutch oven (with lid on) to 500°F (260°C) for 1 hour.
  12. Transfer dough to parchment paper and score with lame for a good ear.
  13. Place gently into hot dutch oven, spritz with water using a spray bottle and cover with preheated lid.
  14. Reduce oven temperature to 450 – 470°F (230 – 245°C) for 20 minutes and bake loaf with dutch oven lid on.
  15. Remove dutch oven lid and finish baking for 8 – 10 minutes until desired browning is reached.
  16. Pull out and let cool on a rack overnight. Slice when completely cool.

We chose to brew this as a raw ale — a beer made without ever bringing the wort to a full boil — to retain the bready and rustic qualities of the malts and added a lactic acid-producing bacteria blend to evoke the tartness we would expect in a traditional example. To encourage the souring process, we did not add any hops on the hot side. Finally, while a clean strain of yeast can work here, a fruitier strain will enhance some of the more subtle flavors from the bread fermentation. Hornindal Kveik (OYL-091) was our choice in this version, but anything estery or even phenolic would fit this recipe.

For our recipe we opted to use Amarillo, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops for an updated, Americanized version of Kvass. If you’d like the beer to resemble something more in line with a classic iteration, substitute in continental European hops like Saaz, Hersbrucker, Kazbek, etc.

Throw Bread On Me DDH Kvass

Vital Statistics

  • Batch size 5 gallons (~19L)
  • Boil time n/a
  • IBUs 0
  • OG 12.8°P (1.052)
  • FG 3°P (1.012)
  • ABV 5.4%

Raw Materials

  • Pilsner malt
    6lb (60%)
  • Rye malt
    3lb (30%)
  • Flaked rye
    1lb (10%)
  • Amarillo hops
    1oz, 24 hours after pitching yeast and bacteria
  • Amarillo hops
    1oz, for 4 days near final gravity
  • El Dorado hops
    1oz, for 4 days near final gravity
  • Mosaic hops
    1oz, for 4 days near final gravity
  • Yeast
    Hornindal kveik (OYL-091)
  • Lacto
    Lacto blend (OYL-605)
  • Rye bread
    6lb, cubed (see recipe)


  1. Add grain & bread to 7 gallons (26.5L) of water at 158°F (70°C) for a target mash temperature of 154°F (67°C). Hold mash temp for 60 minutes. 
  2. Recirculate mash until wort is free from large amounts of grain. 
  3. Drain off wort into boil kettle for approximately 5.5 gallons. Sparge as needed for a pre-boil gravity of 12.8°P (1.052).
  4. Bring to 185°F (85°C) to pasteurize (Do not boil!). 
  5. Chill to 90°F (32°C) and move to fermentor. 
  6. Pitch yeast & lacto as directed. 
  7. 24 hours after inoculation, dry hop to inhibit souring.
  8. As kvass nears final gravity, add additional dry hops for flavor and aroma.

Once in the fermentor, there is some room to diverge from a non-traditional kvass profile and bring it into the modern day. The pillowy rye spice melds well with the overripe fruit flavors found in modern hops, so a dry-hopping regimen wouldn’t be out of the question. 

In our recipe, we add the first dry hop early in fermentation to inhibit the lactic acid bacteria. A first dry hop before 24 hours will have the largest impact on acidity, but is contingent on the temperature of the fermentation. If desired, take a pH sample at 12 hours and assess if the acidity is to your liking.

Near the end of fermentation, we add a larger additional dry hop for ~2 – 3 days before packaging to account for any potential hop creep. When carbonating, take into account that higher volumes of CO2 will increase perceived sourness — we were happy at 2.2 volumes of CO2, but make it spritzy if that’s more your style.

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