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Kvass

Hi guys. Have you ever tried kvass? It is a traditional slavic drink known at least since 989 year. It is made of fermented roasted dry black/rye bread. It used to be very popular in almost all slavic regions - from Poland, through Belarus and Ukraine to Russia. Now it is popular only in three last and also in Lithuania (probably because of its history, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, when Lithuania was a large country on slavic regions). In Poland this drink is almost forgotten, but it is not so hard to get it. Not so much time ago, even in pre-war era, many people had been making it on their own in their houses, because it is easy to made it. (Well, I've heard so, but myself-made kvass seemed more like bread wine, and is was awful :D maybe someday I'll try again)

Anyway, kvass is a good alternative to all carbonated drinks and - due to its low alcohol contain, about 0-1%- also to beer. It quenches thirst, is cooling and very tasty. My favourite.

And snuffing Brasil Feinst while drinking cooled kvass is one of the most amazing things in the world.

Comments

  • @Viertel Is Kvass sweet? Sounds intriguing. There is a very low/no alcohol malted drink I've had in Mexico that is made from barley and hops. I think it's just called "malt". It has a sweet fermented flovour that is quite nice. Of course for the calories I'd rather drink a nice bourbon...
  • XanderXander Member
    edited July 2013 PM
    Filek's done some home brew of it, documented here: http://snuffhouse.org/discussion/comment/213648#Comment_213648

    I'd like to try someone else's to see if I like it before put in the work to try and brew it myself. Only one micro brewery in the USA makes it commercially, I've read.
  • ViertelViertel Member
    edited July 2013 PM
    @ChipSnuff it depends. So many man, so many ways to make it. But mostly - yes, it is sweet. Like beer with no bitter, like cola-like beer, like something between beer and cola, with strong rye bread flavor. Sometimes with some additionals, most often with raisins or citron juice.

    @Xander, in soviet times kvass were being sold on the streets in East Europe. After Cold War it was still so popular in Baltic Countries that even Coca-Cola had to brew its own kvass - it is called Krushka and Bochka. I believe you can find it in America. It's not available in Poland so I can not tell you if it's good or is it just another mass made product.
  • One time in high school I fermented sugar water with baker's yeast. It tasted awful but it was certainly effective.
  • @Veirtel Yes I've read of its popularity in the Soviet Union. If its imported here, I will keep a look out for it. Different states here have different regulations concerning alcohol though. Some places even 1% alcohol content would change the legality of the type of shop that could sell it. In my state liquor stores can't sell soft drinks and grocery stores can't sell alcohol, so I will have to look both places I guess.
  • @Veirtel Yes I've read of its popularity in the Soviet Union. If its imported here, I will keep a look out for it. Different states here have different regulations concerning alcohol though. Some places even 1% alcohol content would change the legality of the type of shop that could sell it. In my state liquor stores can't sell soft drinks and grocery stores can't sell alcohol, so I will have to look both places I guess.
    It is classified as non-alcoholic. Look for it in Whole Foods.
  • One time in high school I fermented sugar water with baker's yeast. It tasted awful but it was certainly effective.
    @horus92

    I was in the Navy on an amphibious ship that carried Marines. After a deployment with them my division was assigned the task of cleaning the Marine berthings. We found all kinds of crazy stuff but also found several caches of "bilge wine." They would take bread yeast and jam packets from the galley, mix them with water in ammo boxes or whatever they could find, and make some pretty effective stuff. Nasty as hell but certainly effective.

  • @ChipSnuff it depends. So many man, so many ways to make it. But mostly - yes, it is sweet. Like beer with no bitter, like cola-like beer, like something between beer and cola, with strong rye bread flavor. Sometimes with some additionals, most often with raisins or citron juice.

    Sounds tasty. I'm going to seek it out.

  • It's mentioned frequently in most 19th century Russian novels. Yes, it is supposed to be NON-alcoholic traditionally. Always wanted to try it.
  • Yes I'm also huge fan of kvass and how Xander said I've also tried to make it. Unfortunately I only did manage to make a smell of kvass, but the taste was just sparkling water. Maybe I'll try this year again... after my blackcurrant liquor ;)

    From the kvasses I've tried, I would certainly recommend two:
    - http://www.vilniausalus.lt/EN/catalog/product/78/retro-gira/
    - http://www.kvas.lv/en/products/ilguciema-kvass/
  • Kvass is a lovely drink, remember when I was in Russia it was sold from those small tankers on streets. Must check local Easto shops if it's available here.
  • ViertelViertel Member
    edited August 2013 PM
    @Filek

    I've tried Retro Gira once. As I remember its taste was quite different, hm, I've felt fruits and it was not raisins. Maybe orange, or something like that. And this latvian one I didn't like very much. I've tried honey, Rycerski and Porter. Well, maybe it is the matter of these big, 1.5L PET bottles. Every drink is better if it's in glass. And due to 1,5l bottle capacity, it just lose fizzy quickly. My favourite is definitely lithuanian Tauras Gira, but it is hard to get it, so my daily kvasses are Gubernija and Bohatyrskij.
  • Yes, Kvas is delicious. I love Russian food and drink, but try as I might I can't get my friends to like Kvas too.
  • @Viertel,
    I think that the Retro Gira and Ilguciema have the same taste and those are my favorites, althrough they are really hard to get.
    Gubernija was also very good, but I can't say the same about Obolon kvass... I feel some honey and maybe that makes it to sweet.

    PS: Don't try Van Pur's kvasses...
  • You can find Ilguciema's kvasses in every Alma store for 5.99zł/1,5l or in 0,33l glass bottles for 3.99zł. I just don't know if "rycerski" is a trademark for polish market, or another brand of it. Anyway, it tastes more like "podpiwek" with no hop for me.

    What's wrong with Obolon's Bohatyrskyj? Sweetness? I find this not even so sweet as cola, but maybe it depends from person. For what I know it's not another mass produced soda, but it is real kvass with all its health benefits. I don't know why is this so sweet, but it is good to have few different kvasses on the market.

    Well Van Pur's can't even compete with any real kvass, but it's not so bad, especially plum one. Good alternative to these strange cheap juices, because it's also cheap (2,79zł/1,5l) and not so bad as - for example Cymes, Caprio, etc. I do really hate cheap juices, but sometimes I have to buy something what is large and as cheap as possible.

    @Filek, have you tried Tradycyjny?
  • Wonderful tonight with Clapton, Kwas and Elmo's :)

  • I saw kvass for sale in a Russian grocery store in the US once. I don't think I ever tried it, or if I did, I forgot the taste.

    I'll keep an eye out for it. For that matter, if I really wanted to find it, I could probably do so by standing outside the Eastern Orthodox church in my area and asking people who enter/exit it.
  • volungevolunge Member
    edited May 9 PM
    Kvass is Lithuanian national drink, popular throughout the Baltics as well (LT: gira, LV: kvass, EE: kali).
    My favourite summer brew.

    Right now I'm sipping best Latvian kvass (IMO) - Bauska Kvass:

    kvass

    Only 2 grams of sugar per 100 ml, not over-carbonated, really refreshing one.
    Available in 1.5 l PET bottles, too.

  • FilekFilek Member
    Now that is a picture that is making me thinking again on making my own kvass again (or at least to try to do so). About 4 years ago I wrote a small booklet for myself about this drink contains such "chapters" as: the history of kvass in XX-century Poland; kvass in Polish literature; Polish kvass recipes from 1902 to 1999. 14 pages of a lot of good information on how to make this sweet nectar of the Slavic and Balts gods. I might to at least try to make use of this this summer.
  • volungevolunge Member
    Pan @Filek, a few years ago I used to see interesting product in Estonian groceries - dried coal-black flat rye bread for kvass making, sold in paper bags with traditional Estonian kvass recipe printed on them. Haven't seen it for a while, though.. I'll look for it next week and tell you more, if I find it.
  • how that Kvass tastes? As I understood its like unhopped beer with faily low alcohol content. For me as for Czech its absolutely unknown drink and always thought its something clody and somehow unpleasant. Jack
  • volungevolunge Member
    edited May 11 PM
    Most modern kvasses are non-alcoholic and artificially carbonated refreshment drinks with sugar, though there are some low-alco kvasses as well. Despite low natural alcohol content (EDIT: up to 1.2%), the latter are categorized as non-alcoholic beverages.

    Although most kvasses are made by breweries, taste-wise they differ from beer (even the non-alko one) greatly.
    Proper kvass is made of water, sugar, dried rye bread or malt with a very small amount of food acid (milk, lactic or ascorbic). Superior product contains only natural CO2, but some artificially carbonated kvasses are quite nice, too. Good kvass tastes quite like rye bread soup (crumbled Baltic rye bread with cold water and some sugar; imagine it carbonated, filtered and bottled). Some kvasses may contain yeast.

    I was treated with a home brewed kvass once. It contained a fair amount of alcohol (up to 5%), but I found it tasting somewhat nauseous (due to the yeast) and lacking in natural CO2. I don't drink alcohol anymore, so I prefer non-alkoholic kvass. But even when I still was a drinker, I found the non-alko kvass tasting much better.


  • FilekFilek Member
    Panie @volunge, if you'll find that recipe, you can post it here. I didn't now that Estonians are also into kvass so it will be a nice addition to the topic.
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