|Kvass is a mildly alcoholic, lightly sour beer of Slavic origin. Commonly made from rye bread or flour and flavored
with mint or fruits., it is generally available on street corners in Russia, Latvia, Uzbekistan, and many other
countries of the former Eastern bloc, where it is often dispensed from mobile tanks, as well as in 2-l bottles, like
soda. Its production origins are as temporally distant and as vague as many other house-brewed refreshments,
but it is said to have been a staple beverage in these parts of the world for thousands of years. Kvass is
mentioned in such works of classic Russian literature as Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Dostoyevsky’s The
Brothers Karamazov, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Like the origins of brewing itself, early versions of kvass were no doubt the result of happy accident, with
spontaneously fermented mixtures of water and either stale rye bread or flour yielding a beverage of slight
sourness and mild alcoholic content. Commercial versions were more likely to be fermented with added brewing
yeast, although home versions would use more commonly available baking yeast.
Various fruits have been used to flavor kvass, including lemons, raisins, and strawberries, as well as to mitigate
the sourness of the ferment. Today non-alcoholic versions are sold alongside soft drinks such as Coca-Cola.
Aggressive efforts by large producers have sought to engender an indigenous pride in kvass, a traditional
beverage of the region, against more globalized products.
"Grain out" is the physical process of removing spent grain from the mash tun or lauter tun. This is accomplished
either by mechanical means (i.e., a stirring mechanism, or mash mixer, in the mash or lauter vessel) or by manual
means (i.e., an assistant brewer removing the spent grain by hand).
Larger brewhouses are almost always equipped with a variable-speed, reversible mash mixer in the mash tun
or lauter tun that serves the dual purpose of mixing the mash to ensure even consistency and heat distribution
and, when run in reverse, pushing the spent grain out of the vessel.Other designs employ a plowing device
attached to the lauter knife assembly. The spent grain can then bemoved via closed pipes and pumps or via
transfer bins to a holding vessel or to trucks or rail cars for transport.
In smaller brewhouses, generally under 17 US bbl, mash vessels are often not equipped with a mash mixer.
In such situations, a brewer will open a manway door and physically move the spent grain into bins using
a plastic shovel or similar tool.
Colorants are designed to mimic colors that a beer might otherwise have from a normal brewing process.
While they give color, they are often without the associated flavors that the color depicts. By far the most important
group of colorants used in brewing are the caramel colors and the related malt-basedcoloring called Farbebier.
Beer colorants can give beers the same colors as dark malts and the resulting colors can be measured and
quantified by the same analytical methods as malt-derived color. They can also be used more sparingly to make
minor adjustments to color, correcting inconsistencies in the brewing process or ingredients.
Caramel coloring, which is widely used in many foods, is usually produced by heat treatment of glucose syrup,
sometimes with food-grade chemical catalysts added to ease the caramelization process.
In most countries if a brewer desires to tint beer with colors outside the normal color range for beer, any coloring
agent approved by the relevant authorities for the coloring of food products in general can be used. It should be
noted that this is a highly uncommon practice in breweries at large, and in general such use of other colorants is
only seen in connection with fruit beers, certain seasonal beers, and occasional oddities.
Hope you found this month's column of interest. If you have any questions about beer or brewing
or just want to submit a word for me to discuss here just e-mail it to me.
Thanks and Cheers!
|Kvass // Grain Out // Colorants
|A new column by
|Jack O'Reilly attended the
famous Siebel Institute/ World
Brewing Academy in Chicago.
|I'm very excited to be part of the BeerNexus team. I think my many years in the
beer business both as a brewer and manger will enable me to explain and
investigate many topics of interest for those who really love craft beer. Hope you
join me every month.
More by Jack: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8