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Kornøl: The Tale of the Ale of the Grain

From the stark, isolated valleys of western Norway, this traditional farmhouse beer brings together juniper and kveik while skipping the boil. (The yeast scream is purely optional.)

Lars Marius Garshol Aug 15, 2022 - 9 min read

Kornøl: The Tale of the Ale of the Grain Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

As more people have gotten to know Norwegian farmhouse ales, they’ve become especially associated with two things: kveik and unboiled wort. One style that actually has both of those things is kornøl, from western Norway.

I say “style,” but that’s a concept foreign to farmhouse ale. As a farmhouse brewer, you brew what your father brewed, and he brewed what your grandpa brewed, and so on. The ingredients were those you had on the farm, so there was very little choice involved.

Yet the way that cultural influences spread over many centuries still leaves some clearly delineated areas where people brewed in similar ways. Northwestern Norway is one of those areas where everyone brews in more or less the same way, and they all call their beer “kornøl”—literally, grain beer—unlike in the rest of Norway. So, effectively, kornøl has become a style.

The Setting

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