(A beverage of ancient heritage)
(The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1911),
"Kvass (a Russian word for leaven), one of the national
alcoholic drinks of Russia, and popular also in Eastern
Europe. It is made, by a simultaneous acid and alcoholic
fermentation, of wheat, rye, barley and buckwheat meal, or of
rye -bread, with the addition of sugar or fruit. It has been
a universal drink in Russia since the 16th. century. Though
in the large towns it is made commercially, elsewhere it is
frequently an article of domestic production. Kvass is of very
low alcoholic content (0.7 to 2.2%) . There are, beside the
ordinary kind, superior forms of the drink, such as apple or
THE PREPARATION OF KVASS
1. The water used for kvasses, meads, and cider, must be
2. The wooden vessels must be strong, clean, well
steamed-out, with strong
hoops and a tight bung.
3. The bottles must be absolutely dry, washed ahead of time
and then dried in
an inverted position.
4. Since kvasses undergo fermentation, especially if raisins
are placed in the
bottle, it is advisable not to fill the bottles
completely, to seal them
with good large corks, and to tie with cords or to seal
with pitch or tar.
5. Having been poured into bottles, kvass must be stored in
possible place (on ice), the bottles being in a
6. Conversion of measures:
1 gram = 0.25 zolotniks (approx.)
1 tbsp. flour = 10 grams
1 tbsp. salt = 20 grams
1 Russian Funt = 14.4451 oz.= 96 zolotniks = 9216 dolias
= 0.025 Russian poods = .409814 kilograms
= 0.90282018 pounds avoirdupois
1 kilogram = 2 European Funts = 2.4419 Russian Funts =
1 vedro = 12 liters = 405.817 fl. oz. = 3.17 US gallons
1 Russian vedro = 2.7056 Imp.gal.= 415.596 fl. oz.=
= 3.246849 US gallons
1 liter = 4 stakans (cups)
1 stakan = 250 cubic centimeters = 8.46 fluid ounces
COMMON TABLE KVASS
3 funts of rye malt and 1 funt of barley malt cooked in a
sufficient quantity of boiling water to produce a thick, but
pourable, gruel; mix to smoothness,put in a cast iron vessel
and place in oven for several hours for full infusion. Remove
and pour into a large pot, dilute with boiling water to the
desired consistency, allow to settle, and then decant. From
the decanted liquid, take 2-3 stakans, and dissolve therein 30
grams of yeast and 2 tbsp. of wheat flour, allowing the mass
to rise in a warm place, after which, pour back into the pot.
Add sugar to taste, 0.25 funt of raisins, 3-4 pieces of hops;
mix well and place in a warm room until the yeast and raisins
come to the top and form a hemispherical foam "cap". Remove
this with a perforated ladle, pour the kvass into bottles,
seal them and put in a cold place. The kvass may be drunk the
KVASS FROM DRIED BLACK BREAD
(This is the type of kvass we used to make by the barrels in
Slice 2-3 funts of black bread, put on large cookie sheet,
place in heated oven till bread is dry and hard. Place bread
in a wooden tub and pour over it 18 liters of boiling water;
cover the tub and allow to stand until luke-warm; strain
through cloth without pressing. To this liquid add 2 funts of
molasses (treacle), having mixed it well, and 30-40 grams of
yeast mixed with 1 tbsp. wheat flour; allow to stand for 12
hours in a warm place. Then strain, pour into bottles,
placing 1-2 raisins in each one; seal and put in cold place.
The kvass is ready in 2 days.
Clean 20 funts of apples and 20 funts of pears, removing the
centers, and dry them. Cover them with 30 liters of water
that had been boiled but allowed to cool and allow to stand
for 2-3 days in a warm room; then put in a cool place and
cover the bung-hole e with linen or muslin, leaving it until
the kvass begins to ferment, at which point, seal the barrel.
In 3 weeks, pour the kvass into bottles, placing 2-3 raisins
in each. The bottles are sealed and stored in a cool place.
HUCKLEBERRY (MOORBERRY) KVASS
Knead 4 funts of huckleberries, boil in 12 liters of water,
strain, add 3 funts sugar, boil again, allow to cool.
Dissolve 10 grams of yeast, add to kvass, mix well, and,
having allowed the kvass to stand in a warm place for 24
hours, pour into bottles, adding 2-3 raisins to each; seal,
put in cool place and in 3 days it is ready.