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Kvass – Russian Rye Beer

September 16, 2014

If anyone browses the drink section on this blog maybe they will notice that I am a bit of a fan of lightly fermented alcoholic drinks. This is now number 4, after being given a recipe from a friend I had to have a go at making it.To recap we have had tepache – made from pineapple, ginger beer – everyone knows that, sima – made from lemons, a bit less usual but not too odd sounding, and now kvass – made by fermenting rye husks!

It’s light and summery tasting with a delicious sour twang, perfect for hot days (which are sadly drawing to a close for the year!). To make kvass you need to use proper loaves of rye bread (not the crispbread stuff that is easier to find in the UK), most cities in the UK now have a few Polski skleps so try one of those or health food stores to find the bread if it isn’t readily available. When complete the drink will come out in the 1-3% percent range and get stronger (as well as less sweet) the longer you leave it. The recipe was given to me by a friend and has been pretty much copied straight here, just with a little reformatting.

 – Kvass –


1 loaf of rye-bread // 8 litres of water // 55 grams of yeast // 220 grams of sugar (or more, if you like it sweeter) // raisins (a handful)

  1. First, you need to slice the bread and put it into oven (to rusk/dry it). Be careful not to overcook it.
  2. Then you boil water and add the sugar into it.
  3. Put the rusks into a pot and add the sweetened water. Leave it until it cools down.
  4. Next add the yeast. Don’t cap the bottles you’re using (my mum used big 3-litre glass bottles), just cover them with a canvas or a towel and leave them on the table or window sill for one day to a day and a half.
  5. After that, filter it and add some more sugar and raisins. You can also add peppermint/blackcurrant leaves or ash-berries (we’ve never tried this, though).
  6. Leave it for one more day, filter it again (you can wash the raisins and put them back into the drink). Pour it into plastic bottles and put into fridge, it will be ready to serve once chilled. You can adjust the flavour before serving by adding more sugar if needed.
  7. The mash left from filtering can be used again (put rusks, yeast and sugar again). If re-used the next portion will be tastier and stronger.
    That’s it.


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