Kvas | All Stars Bakery

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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: 40 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of Urbancaver
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, thanks cooperellis for this treat. Came in a 2liter bottle that looked like it was going to explode! It had swollen to almost twice the size and i feared for my life opening it! I left off a lot of pressure before opening it fully

Pours a murky maroon with a decent off-white head. Looks quite pretty minus the weird floating raisins. Smells like rye and raisins. A bit funky on the nose but interesting. Tastes sweet and malty. Lots of rye and the raisin is very strong. The sweetness is a bit much but it's very enjoyable. If i had access to this i would definitely drink it again.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
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 +10.1%
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 Vdubb86
2.65/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a tulip glass...probably better than this beer deserved.

Thanks to TMoney2591 for constantly bringing an ungodly amount of kvass around.

This beer pours a dark color as would always be expected, with a light beige foam on the surface. The aromatic smelled of...human emissions. There's really no other way to say it. I assume this was carbonated with methane. The taste actually wasn't all that bad. It was the best tasting of any kvass that I've had. But that's like saying I'm the smartest kid in Remedial English. This is pretty slick in the mouthfeel. This drinks okay, but it's hard to get past the overall experience.

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +17.4%
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 papat444
3.26/5  rDev -5.5%
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 Patrick999
2.83/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to the guy who brought the Kvass at a recent tasting. I never thought I'd get the opportunity! Supposedly, this is one of the better commercially available examples of this style. That's what we were told, I can't confirm this one way or the other...hehe

Well, it looked exactly like it does in the picture. A dirty brown body, extremely fizzy head. Raisins were floating around in the bottle.

In all honesty, the aroma was pretty rank. It smelled like rotting raisins - a general "garbage" smell. It smelled like something I did not want to drink.

Thankfully, it at least did not taste like licking the bottom of a garbage can. It was a good deal of slightly tart/sour AND sweet raisins, and rye bread, with some funk. Very bready, like a raisin-bread soda if that makes any sense. Not bad. It was not my thing, but I can't say it was "bad."

It looked like a fizzy soda, and it felt like one. Highly carbonated, which I assume is fine for the style.

I'm glad I was able to try it, but it was not my thing. It did seem like a perfectly decent Kvass per style guidelines, though, so I'll punt on drinkability.

Is there any way that this could be brewed so as NOT to smell like a pile of rancid garbage? That would be my main complaint.

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Photo of grub
2.49/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

group tasting at Derek's place. Derek contributed this one, so thanks!

2 litre plastic bottle. sampled aug 7/09.

pours hazy light brown with raisins floating on top. a big tan head forms, dropping fast and leaving a bit of lace.

aroma is kind of foul. feet. rotting fruit. alcohol. rye and grain. fish. feet. socks. touch of sourness. bit of chocolate. earth. do i really want to taste this?

taste is not nearly as bad as the aroma. bit of toffee and caramel. light sweetness. rye bread. grain. light alcohol. raisin. bit of date. bit of feet and earthy character, but less of the foul/rotted character i got in the aroma.

mouthfeel is ok. medium-light body. just over medium carbonation level.

drinkability is ok. i'm glad i only had a small sample and i won't go back for more, but it is relatively unoffensive if you don't smell it.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
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 Viggo
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
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 Proteus93
3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 2 liter bottle of this from the Brighton Bazaar in Brooklyn, NY. It was in a chiller, and the bottles were only about 3/4 full, which I found kind of odd. Initially, the plan was to take this one back to Virginia and share it, but by evening, the bottle was rock hard, and the bottom had puffed out... it was time to open before it became explosive

Ingredients listed on the bottle include: Filtered water, rye bread crumbs, barley malt, sugar, raisins. I find it kind of odd that yeast is not listed as being an active ingredient.

A: Somewhere between a tea brown and a chestnut brown. There is a slight haziness to it, and after having one glass already, I noticed some sediment left in the bottom of the glass. Head was quite intense on first pour, but much of that is likely due to the bottle not being as cold as intended. It holds onto a little bit of a collar, but it's quite soda-like

S + T: It very literally smells like fermented rye bread. There's a slightly sour/tart kind of element to it that adds an interesting touch, both to the nose and the palate. The raisins don't seem to offer much in the sense of scent or flavour, though they may be playing into the tartness. The flavour has a vinegar quality, somewhat similar to something like a Flanders Red. I personally find it to be pleasing, keeping it from being too sweet and soda-like.

M + D: First pour was very prickly.... having the bottle get warm in the car, followed by slow chilling lead to an incredibly carbonated bottle. It took about 2 minutes to get the cap off without having it burst all over, and that showed in the glass. On subsequent pours, that mellowed out substantially. This is a very intriguing style, though I don't know if I would really consider it to truly be a beer. I'm not even sure there's any alcohol in it at all... it is suggested that there is not, and if yeast has actually been skipped, allowing for all natural fermentation of the rye bread, I don't know if it would get very high at all. That said, I find it to be an enjoyable drink and I would like to revisit it the next time I make it up to an area that serves it.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - uncaps with a rush of carbonation. A bit of a mess as I wasn't ready for that. I pour a mix of foam and fluid into a pint glass. An extreme formation of light tan foam fades back to nil, despite obvious activity below the surface. Lots of sediment and the remainder in the two-liter bottle has a rather disgusting looking plug of slimy brown rye bread on top that looks pretty much like, well, I won't say it. The beer in the glass is notably better-looking, a cloudy muddy reddish brown.

Aroma - very bready and raw, a little like tuna salad on a Saltine cracker, lol. Very unusual and I can't say I'm a fan. Maybe I should have this with some tuna salad? ;-)

Taste/Mouthfeel - sweet, diluted, and bready. Very unusual, but somewhat palatable. The sweetness is obviously raisin-flavored. The malts from the rye bread are essentially undetectable. There is a nice creaminess here, as well as a mouth-filling fluffiness as each drink unleashes lots of bubbles inside the mouth. After a bit, some of the rye flavor works its way in, but it's reminding me of the whole tuna thing. Not near as bad after a while but it does take some acclimation.

Drinkability - as no one at DLD was brave enough to venture into this, it looks like I'll be polishing off the entire two-liter bottle over the course of several nights. Can't say I'm looking forward to it but maybe I'll get some Russian culture and education into the style over a series of tastings. Budem!

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Photo of bobsy
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Yummy Market on Dufferin - a good spot to pick up some Russian specialities. The alcohol for this is at the low end of the range (practically non-alcoholic, although that could be changed by leaving it out on the counter for a few days.

Cloudy oak coloured pour with a bubbly head that had completely faded after a minute. Rye and raisin aroma with a touch of sulphur and coffee grounds. The initial hit is light sulphur, but this gives way to a bready sweetness, some black tea and weak coffee, as well as sugar soaked raisins. Really, it seems a closer relative to a soda than beer, but a tad more fermentation, and I can see this becoming more familiar. Even if it is closer to a soda, it has a lot more depth than one, and is quite pleasing on those grounds. Its a bit too sweet for my liking, and I'm not a big fan of soft drinks, but its probably fitting for the style. I could also see it being very refreshing in the summer. The carbonation is light and short-lived on the tongue, and the body is light-medium. Strangely drying - not immediately, but a few minutes later.

Strange, strange drink. From reading the reviews of other kvass, this sound like one of the better examples of the style, hence the slightly above average scoring. Still, its pretty weird and only worth trying if you're very curious about the style. I certainly won't return.

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Photo of Sammy
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
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 Derek
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
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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Kvas from All Stars Bakery
3.45 out of 5 based on 40 ratings.
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