Kvas | All Stars Bakery

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42 Ratings

Brewed by:
All Stars Bakery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Kvass

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 0.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Kvas is a non-alcoholic cereal beverage which is produced from Sourdough Rye Bread, Malt and Sugar. Kvas has a golden-brown color, the pleasant flavor of Rye Bread, low sweetness and sufficient carbonate to give Kvas a sparkle on the palate.

Added by Derek on 05-04-2008

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Ratings: 42 |  Reviews: 34
Photo of Sammy
3.42/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, like a Belgium without head. A natural carbonation, arising from the bacteria similar to a Russian yogurt drink, and the mouthfeel similar. The bacteria, which is good guy bacteria, interacts in the mouth for an hour and fills you up and dries out the throat as if I had a glass of vodka. There are real raisins floating in the bottle. The taste is a little Belgium, rasiny, a tad of rye. Jeff, owner of the All Star Bakery said to not let it ferment as the alcohol will shoot up from 0.5% after a few weeks in the fridge.An interesting beverage, suggested by Derek.

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Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Knapp85
3.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking to get some Kvass for a while. Recently found out about a Russian Market down near Philly that carried it. Picked up a 2 Liter bottle of this today and chilled it as soon as I got home.

Gave this an aggressive pour into a 16oz chalice, the look of it resembles a dark brown cloudy cola-like liquid. The head had a bit more retention than a soda does. But by mid glass it was gone. The smell of the beer is a little on the funky side. It's yeasty and a bit little sweet too. The taste is sweet, it's much more pleasent than the smell. The taste has flavors of molasses and bread. There is virtually no bitterness. The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated with a syrupy finish. Overall this is my first Kvass, therefor I have nothing to compare it too. I feel that this is a very interesting brew, definitely glad I got to find some finally.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The helpful folks stacking European veggies at the Yummy Market were unanimous in their endorsement of this particular Kvas, over the other dozen or so brands that they offer. "All Natural" seemed to be the selling point. For 3 bucks per 2 Liter pop bottle, I wasn't going to argue.

Laying on its side in the fridge for a day or so, lots of natural ingredients fell out of solution, or maybe were never dissolved in the first place. Upon cracking open the bottle, lots of floaties were evident. The good kind, the kind listed right on the label - raisins and soaked rye bread crumbs.

This beverage pours a cloudy dishwater orange-brown, with soda-like bubbles clinging to the glass, a few fingers of creamy beige head, which leaves some pretty substantial lace as it quickly recedes. It smells like a cross between raw rye bread dough, and freshly inoculated wine must - yeasty, carbonic and a little fruity. The taste lives up to its name - it's sweet like a soft drink, a winey, spiced bread soft drink. It's very much like drinking a filtered (somewhat) fermenting grain beverage. I can smell the yeast, but not really taste it, as the sweet raisiny maltiness takes precedence. The carbonation comes across, mated with the flavour, very much like flat pop. The body is actually decently full, and smooth - a whole lot of heavy grain will do that. This finishes sweet, like the echo of raisin pie after you had that last bite at the nth holiday party...

I don't think this will be supplanting my normal soft drink choices, even if I had the choice, but it is surprisingly drinkable, in moderate amounts, which would severely limit its appeal to the soda drinkers on this continent.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Plastic screw-top bottle pour.

No head. Brown colour. Dark.

Aroma suggests baked brown bread and vitaminy yeast. Cola-like notes. Caramel. Molasses. Sourdough.

Taste is bready, with a fizzy mouthfeel holding it up and preventing it from having an overbearingly full body.

A little dry. Medium-bodied. Well-carbonated.

Overall, it's a drinkable kvass and I find it well-executed if a bit simplistic and rudimentary. Certainly balanced, and not too soft drink-leaning like many expressions of the style. I'd like to see more commitment to the breadiness though.


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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thought I was seeing things when the little Russian lady pulled this seemingly blank 2 liter out of the back cooler at the deli. Turning the bottle around, I saw the "All Stars Bakery" gold label. Score! Had no idea this was even distributed in the states. "Keep refrigerated, serve ice cold."

After reading some reviews of gushing, I opened this over the sink, and the bottle didn't gush at all. The large headspace in the bottle filled with foam that didn't rise up past the neck. First a sharp whiff of vinegar caught my nose, and I could tell this stuff was unpasteurized, and would be different from the commercial examples i've tried so far. Holy shit! Suddenly there are 5 "bloated" golden raisins floating inside the bottle. Wacky.

Reddish brown color, somewhat dark and murky. Some visible micro sediment on the bottom of the glass (bread crumbs listed in the ingredients?). An inch of khaki tan foam rose and settled, leaving a dense skim that never broke.

Aroma is stranger than any other Kvass i've tried, prominent vinegar note, typical raisin sweetness. It gave it a fairly primitive impression, in line with the ancient origins of this drink. I could see how the vinegar element could be unexpected or off putting, but to a fan of wild & sour ales, it's oddly appealing. Reminds me of kombucha tea in a way.

Sour taste, fairly spritzy and drying in the finish. Well carbonated and tart, not overly sweet, yet there is some underpinning of molasses and golden raisins. Vinegar doesn't really surface in the flavor at all. Refreshing and good with hearty food. Seek this out if you want an unfiltered, unpasteurized traditional Kvass to compare to the sea of sweetened commercial versions out there.

2013: Available at Rich's Deli in Chicago and Harwood Heights. Three Sisters Deli, RIP.
Only buy this if refrigerated, avoid dusty or bottles that appear to have expanded.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.16/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Served from a two liter clear plastic soda bottle. Pours a cloudy pale mahogany with a two finger tall foamy tan head. The head reduces but leaves a fairly thick layer over the entire surface of the beer, even thicker at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed and there are some floating raisins in the bottle though none made it into my glass.

S: Extremely bready with some subtle hints of dark fruit sweetness. There is a definite element of rye bread. Very yeasty smelling.

T: Again the taste follows the aroma, very strong flavors of bready malts and rye bread with some subtle dark fruit hints from the raisins. Lots of yeasty flavors like drinking a slice of a nice rye bread.

M: Light to medium bodied with low to moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly syrupy like soda.

O: Kvass is a very interesting style and something I had not ever had before, I'm thinking this is more of an acquired taste that something one tries and loves the first time. The beer was easy to drink though not something I would personally want to have a lot of...

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.23/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally the real deal! I found this in the refrigerated section of Bell's Market in northeast Philadelphia. It had yeast in it, and there were plump round raisins floating along the surface.

Cracking open the clear plastic bottle it emitted a long hiss and the foam rose up threatening to come out the top. It's certainly got some carbonation to it!

Upon pouring, a massive head of yellowed tan foam rose up, and then surprisingly held! This is the first kvas I've tasted that has actually kept its head. The body below was a cloudy russet brown and specks of yeast could be seen floating in it.

The aroma was interesting and complex. It was a bit earthy, and a bit wood-like... perhaps musty? It reminded me of wet-rope along a pier dock-side. Maybe I'm thinking a bit briny... ? And it was more bready than caramelish or sugary, as so many can be.

The flavor was bready with notes of golden caramel and a hint of 'tart' and fruit; and it wasn't sugary at all. It was sweet, and of course it's supposed to be, but it didn't stick in your mouth as some do. A light note of cocoa was left behind though.

Interesting to be sure! Worth seeking out for fans of the style.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 2-liter plastic bottle of this at the little Russian place down the street from me. I've been looking for this for awhile now. Who knew that the place near me (1) had a liquor license and (2) had this in stock. Glad I stopped in to check on their potential kvass selection.

Served in a pint glass with Amyliz4 and drabmuh during this morning's brew session. Pours a dark cola brown with a very fizzy light tan head. Aside from that, there were a good number of raisins floating in the bottle and boy oh boy was this a gusher. I'll be buying another bottle just so I can take a video of this thing.

The nose carries quite a distinctive rye-bread character along with raisins and prunes. Pretty bready. The flavor is much better and is actually quite enjoyable. Although there are raisins in the beer, I got much more of a prune character. Between that and the high carbonation (plus the 2L bottle), this actually seemed to be quite a bit like Dr. Pepper. Quite a bit of rye bread in the background. Soda-like body and of course no alcohol at all. 0.50% ABV? I certainly believe that.

We went through about half the bottle earlier today and I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I'm going to polish the rest of this off in due course throughout the day.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.52/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This was probably the find of the day during my excursion to the Brighton Beach (Little Odessa) section of Brooklyn on Saturday. The woman at the checkout counter could barely contain her surprise at my selections and soon everyone within earshot was looking at the Amerikanski buying Kvass.

I had no difficulty with my bottle, but it was certainly carbonated as all get-out! I put it right into the reefer upon returning home and poured it near, but not over, the sink. I like to live dangerously. Lots of foamy, dark-tan head that foamed and fizzed and finally settled into something that could actually be drunk. Deep hazy brown in color with several bloated golden raisins doing the backstroke in the bottle. I have little to no doubt that this may be as close to authentic short of visiting Mother Russia that I will get to try. Nose was very bready, slightly sour, definitely rye-like. Mouthfeel was very fizzy and acerbic with a pleasant, not overwhelming sourness on the tongue. Finish was utterly dry, leaving me to wonder what purpose the raisins might have served. They lent an interesting visual dynamic to the whole thing, much akin to the bluberries in BOS Beer Works' Blueberry Ale, but no discernible sweetness. It was definitely thrist-quenching, like drinking Ginger Ale pop, really and quite the find. I would have this again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2L bottle with a plastic screw top shared by the Thorpe's. спасибо!

The beer looks like a cola: dark brown with a small head that fades rapidly, leaving virtually no lacing. The aroma is weak, offering some sweet malt, sugar, bread, caramel syrup. The flavor is akin to a sweet cola, like Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb. As this is only my second time with this style, I suppose this is my new favorite kvass. I actually drank my whole glass and didn't hurl, so it's obviously an improvement from my initial experience. The sweetness of the beer becomes a bit much after a while. One glass was interesting and educational, but I wasn't going back for seconds.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I stopped by the Russian Market near work today and purchased this odd beverage in a two liter bottle. They had this in the fridge and it was damn cold when I pulled it out. I guess I should have read the reviews first then I would have known to open this over the sink. I was careful when opening to release the pressure slowly, but once I got the cap all the way off I wasn't quick enough with the pour. Dark brown liquid poured into my glass as well as a good 4 inches of bubbly tan head. Lots of sticky lace down the sides of my glass. There's a weird spicy tart smell in there along with some sweetness in the background, raisins and prunes come to mind if you drenched them in molasses. I'm almost afraid to taste it. The taste isn't as bad as the aroma led me to believe. This one is definitely sweet but has a rough tart edge to it. Malty, caramel, molasses, prunes, raisins. Kind of thick body like drinking unfermented carbonated wort. Lots of bubbles and syrupy mouth coating. This is weird, but it really kind of grew on me. It's more soda than beer. Interesting, but this is probably the only time I will drink this unless I happen to be in Russia, or at East End.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

While searching my local international market for some other things, this elusive kvass caught my eye. Finally, the Kvass Kick crosses the Pond and pounces on the Great White North. This offering to the kvass gods pours a sludgy garnet-sienna topped by a healthy sandstone froth a couple fingers high. The nose comprises rye bread, pumpernickel, light fennel, toffee, and a pinch of cocoa powder. This stuff actually smells like bread...I don't know what to say, considering all of the meeker glasses of kvass that have passed beneath my 'strils. The taste brings in the same uber-sweetness that curses the other examples of this style, along with plenty o' fennel. The breadiness drops out fairly significantly. Luckily, a small does of maple syrup and very light cocoa near the back keeps this one afloat above the others. The body is actually kinda thick (especially when compared to the others), though not overly so, with a mild carbonation (ding ding ding, we have a winner here!) and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, I'd say this is possibly the best kvass I've yet encountered. If you have but one kvass this year, make it this one.

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Photo of tone77
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A thanks to woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a clear plastic 2 liter bottle. Has a cola color with a 1 inch head, considerable carbonation. Smell is of molasses, malts. Taste is bready, rye, molasses, not bad but not great either. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a mediocre beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Thorpe and Thorpette for sharing this with me yesterday morning. At the time of this review this is the #2 Kvas on the best of beeradvocate lists. Poured into a pint glass.

Beer is heavily over carbonated, it is a gusher for a long time, overall it is dirty brown with yeast floaties in it and some raisins on the top of the beer. The head is brown / off white and has some odd flecks of brown in it, the head is big and has some retention, carbonation high.

Aroma is a little off putting, mild rye, sweet molasses, some sugar / caramel. It just smells off a little.

Fortunately beer tastes better than it smells. It is thin, soda-like in the mouthfeel and flavor. Almost like a Dr. Pepper or another soda. Sweet, bready, mild yeast, pseudo-dry finish. An odd one but one of the better ones I've had. I went back for more.

On a personal / ticking note, this review finishes off one of my reviewing goals on beeradvocate, at this time I have reviewed a top 3 beer from every style (all 104) on beeradvocate.

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Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Made from Borodynsky rye bread that's past its shelf live, the All Stars Bakery makes over 2000 bottles a week and exports it to Russian Grocers as far as Cleveland and Cincinnati.

The All Starts Bakery doesn't actually sell to the public. I picked this up at the "Yummy Market" on Dufferin St. in Toronto (along with some Borodynsky rye bread).

A: Dark chestnut with a light tan head, no retention, a little leg. Unfortunately, this one wasn't frothy at all.

S: Dark bread, bread crumbs, raisins and molasses aroma.

T: Very malty, bread, caramel & raisin flavours. Sweet with a slightly tart finish.

M: Lightly carbonated. I'll see how it develops over the next few weeks!

A good article: http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/kvass.html

New link (Dec 2014):

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Photo of biegaman
3.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

All Stars Bakery Kvas pours like and looks like soda-pop, which is not entirely coincidental given that it is ostensibly just that. Its carbonation completely fizzed out, leaving a flat cola-coloured liquid that is considerably muddied - what did you expect from something with raisins and bread crumbs floating in it?

Unless you work in an Eastern-European bakery, the aroma is likely to be unlike anything you've smelled before. Sweet and yeasty, it smells strongly of molasses and rye bread. It is odd, but curiously agreeable. Fermentation has definitely left its mark as the smell is distinguished by a certain, shall we say, 'over-ripeness'.

The taste, fortunately, doesn't taste at all like it's from the 'day-old' rack. It is laced with thick, sweet, syrupy molasses and has a slight raisin flavour on the finish. The rustic, earthy taste of dark sourdough and rye bread is lovely in liquid form (full disclosure: I am a bread lover). Its texture is frothy, with a crackling, dry finish.

I have never liked pop - and despise Coca-Cola - but this I enjoy a lot. And while the similarities with Coke begin and end with the syrupy sweetness, this makes a much healthier alternative to soda (less sugar, natural sugars, more protein, no preservatives). It is mightily refreshing and disappears quickly.

I have Russian friends who are fond of telling me stories of drinking fresh Kvas (from dubiously cleaned cups) on the streets of Moscow directly from the barrel. They tell me All Stars' version is *almost* as good as that stuff back home (though it lacks the flabby armed babushka pouring it). That's endorsement enough for me.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.74/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2L plastic pop bottle poured into pint glass 22/10/11

A 2L bottle that's a gusher for sure, the little raisins explode to the top when you crack this bad boy, the tan head actually grows for a few minuets from the most bubbles I've ever seen, the foam slowly falls leaving no lace, caramel brown body with lots of crap floating around, I liked the look of this one for sure.

S Smells like sticks and top soil, yeasty bread and some spices I can't quite place

T molasses comes out strong with some mild cola flavors with some sweet dried fruit and yet even more bread

M feels full and very well carbonated but still not turning to foam, finishes quite sweet

O is it a good Kvass? I wouldn't know one if I was drinking it but this I don't mind

pretty much rating this one on personal preference and the big bastard grew on me as I drank it. I brought this to work so everyone could taste my Kvass and had very mixed results, some asked for more, some didn't make it past the smell
Thanks liamt07 for sending a style tick my way

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2 liter plastic bottle ($3.49), picked it up last week from the local Russian/European food store here in far East Columbus. Served in a pint glass, the brew pours a hazy dark reddish/brown color with about a half inch tan head that fizzled away quickly. Not much lacing. There's also what I think are raisins floating around in the bottle, it looks cool just because of that. Aroma is pretty unusual (but then I haven't had many kvass brews either), it smells like sourdough and dark bread, molasses and a bit of sewer gas (that's the closest thing I can compare the unpleasant smell to), raisins and prunes. If you can get past the aroma, this does taste a lot better than it smells. It's mostly sweet, it tastes like dark bread (rye), molasses, and raisins/prunes. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, and it has moderate/high carbonation. Other than the weird aroma (which I got used to the longer I drank it), I liked this brew a lot. I'd buy this again, I thought it was nice and tasty.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.91/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an America pint glass)
A- This beer pours a dense murky brown body with a thick light tan head and chunks of jetsam banging around that turn out to be raisins and yeast chunks.

S- The yeasty cola note has a white plastic note that finishes with a septic aroma. As the beer opens the septic aroma takes on more of a hair perm tartness with some soy sauce qualities.

T- The slight sweetness of prunes finish with a bit more sweetness and a bread yeast quality with some fruity cola notes coming through. There is a bread crust note that comes through as it opens aswell.

M- The big scrubbing fizz leads to a thin light mouthfeel.

O- The sweet fizzy concoction is interesting but doesn’t have much depth and the odd smell makes it hard to take another sip. I keep sipping hoping to find some old ale or flanders red qualities in the dark fruit and tartness but they just aren’t there.

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Photo of Viggo
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2 liter pop bottle, been meaning to try this one for a while! Thanks Derek!

Pours a very hazy and ruddy dark reddish brown, like cola or root beer, thick and fizzy tan head forms, settles down to a thin ring and leaves some chunks of lace on the glass. Smell is weird, very bready, rye, very sharp, raisins, fruit, sulphurous, some herbal aromatics going on, very strange. Taste is actually not bad, very sweet and raisiny, brown sugar, root beer, cola, rye, lightly spicy in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with high carbonation. Still can't decide if I liked this, very interesting stuff! Thanks Derek.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.25/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of papat444
3.26/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed this at a Russian food store in Montreal, Absolut Plus. The woman told me to open it carefully because it's like champagne she said. Well, i slowly unscrewed the 2L plastic pop bottle and...

Appearance: A literal explosion as the foam kept gushing out of the bottle for a good 5 minutes! After 2 rags and putting the bottle in a large bowl, it was still streaming out like foamy lava. I decided to pour anyways because we could be here all night staring at it. The body was a dark brownish color and saw some raisins and other things floating in the bottle. None of this was off-putting save for the massive explosion. I didn't care for that at all.

Smell: Sourdough, vinegar, raisins and my wife can pick out the rye. Bread-like but not in the fresh baked way. Different for sure but not offensive, to me anyways.

Taste: Sweet at first with some sourness rounding things off. I can taste the rye now which is more in the aftertaste as well as dried raisins. Again, strange but it's not bad.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated for sure (it is a soda) but not as strong as i would have thought given the beginning it had. Kind of leaves a bit of a film on the palate. Not a strong body though it has a pretty clean finish.

Drinkability: I did finish one glass with a few sips to my wife but this is not something i would have often. Once in a blue moon is fine with me.

Overall: An interesting experiment that may be ok in small doses but 2L is way too big. I'd split this with 5-6 people at least. Glad to have tried it and it wasn't a drainpour at least.

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Photo of Satchboogie
2.75/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of Lovely85
4/5  rDev +15.6%

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Kvas from All Stars Bakery
Beer rating: 3.46 out of 5 with 42 ratings