Dutch kuit was a very popular beer in the Netherlands in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was an important and influential style, paving the way for beers like Belgian witbier and even American wheat.
As other styles started to gain more popularity among Dutch drinkers, kuit started fading away. By the 19th century, the style was nearly obsolete.
Do you want to taste kuit but don’t own a time machine? Don’t worry, you can brew your own!
Follow our guide below to learn how to brew a deliciously oaty modern day Dutch kuit.
What is a Dutch Kuit?
Dutch kuit is a historical beer style from the Netherlands. Brewed with oats, wheat, and barley, it’s similar to a Belgian witbier but with a more neutral yeast profile. With nearly half of the grain being oats, kuit has a soft and rich body. European hops accent this smooth drinking ale that sits around 5 to 8% ABV.
The Brewer’s Association classifies kuit under their “Other Origin Ale Styles” category. It has the following characteristics:
- Original Gravity 1.050-1.080
- Final Gravity: 1.006-1.015
- ABV: 4.7%-7.9%
- Bitterness (IBU) 25-35
- Color SRM: 5-12.5
Spelled kuit, koyt, or kuyt, this historical style has luckily been well documented throughout the last 500 years. For that reason, we’re fairly sure our modern day examples closely resemble the original long-lost beers.
What makes a good Dutch Kuit?
For such an old style, kuit is actually pretty close to a modern pale ale or wheat beer. A great kuit should be drinkable but with a substantial, grainy mouthfeel. Bitterness should be low, but subtle European hop character in both aroma and flavor provides an earthy complexity.
The yeast profile of kuit is neutral, more in line with American wheat. Carbonation traditionally was most likely low. Modern interpretations might benefit from medium to medium-high carbonation levels.
Generally, great kuit is characterized by:
- Soft body with hazy gold to hazy light brown color
- Oat forward aroma and flavor (think grainy, bready, oatmeal or porridge)
- Light European noble hop aroma
- Mild bitterness
- Neutral yeast profile with minimal esters and phenols
- No sign of DMS or diacetyl off-flavors
How to brew a Dutch Kuit
Kuit can be a relatively straightforward brew day. Get started with our guide and recipe below!
Kuit is brewed with a 3:2:1 grain ratio of oats, barley, and wheat. That means about 50% oats, 33% barley, and 17% wheat.
Malted oats (or oat malt) is the best choice for the oat component. This type of oat has been malted and contains a husk, making sparging easier. Flaked oats (huskless) can also be used but rice hulls are necessary to prevent stuck sparges.
Wheat can also be either malted or flaked. For wheat, neither malted nor flaked varieties contain a husk so rice hulls should be used to help sparging.
The quantity of rice hulls to use is about 10-15% of the total unmalted grain weight.
For the barley, use pilsner malt for a brighter beer. You can mix in some pale ale malt or Munich malt for a darker color.
Mash Schedule for Kuit
Because kuit uses nearly 50% oats, many brewers employ a step mash or decoction to help convert the starches. Oats also contain a high percentage of protein and fat, which can be detrimental to head retention. A multi-step mash can help foam stability.
If you have the capability, use the following mash profile:
|Protein/Beta-glucan rest||115°F||20 minutes|
|Beta amylase rest||145°F||45 minutes|
|Alpha amylase rest||162°F||10-20 minutes|
If you prefer a single infusion rest, stick to a medium-high mash temperature to ensure full conversion and promote head retention. Use a single infusion rest at 155°F for 60 minutes.
Hops and Boil Length
Kuit should be brewed with low to medium alpha acid (4-7%) European hops. Noble hops are preferred but varieties like Goldings, Mt Hood, Liberty, Perle, or Sterling do a great job as well.
Bitterness should be 25-35 IBU with boil additions at 60 minutes and 15 minutes. The hop schedule is flexible but the style should not have a hop-forward profile. Be conservative with any additions after 15 minutes.
For darker and stronger versions, boil for up to 2 or 3 hours. The extended boil will concentrate and caramelize the wort, making a sweeter, stronger, and darker beer.
Kuit is characterized by a subdued yeast expression. There are a few options for suitable strains.
A neutral German ale yeast (think Kolsch or Altbier) produces a clean character with very light fruitiness. American ale yeasts, like the Chico strain or an American wheat strain, are also great options.
German Ale: White Labs WLP029 German Ale or Wyeast 2565 Kolsch
American Ale: Wyeast 1010 American Wheat, Wyeast 1056 American Ale, or SafAle US-05
Water chemistry for kuit should be a balanced profile suitable for a deep golden to amber color:
|80 ppm||5 ppm||25 ppm||75 ppm||80 ppm||100 ppm|
If your water is high in minerals, consider starting from Reverse Osmosis (RO) or distilled water. For help with water adjustment, check out our easy water chemistry guide.
Mash pH should be adjusted to 5.2 using lactic acid or acidulated malt.
Dutch Kuit Recipe
The kuit brewing process is straightforward but there are a few important steps that need extra attention. Because of the high percentage of oats and wheat, sparging could be slow. If using unmalted oats, use lots of rice hulls (10-15% of total unmalted grain weight).
Our recipe uses malted oat but we recommend using about a quarter pound of rice hulls due to the unhusked wheat.
A higher water to grain ratio will also help as the mash can get sticky. Use about 2 quarts of water per pound of grain.
Here’s our tasty kuit recipe that represents the Dutch tradition while using some modern techniques for a smooth brew day.
|Final Volume||Original Gravity||Final Gravity||ABV||IBU||SRM|
|5.25 lb||Oat Malt||28||2.6||50%|
|1.75 lb||Pilsner Malt||37||2.5||16.70%|
|1.75 lb||Maris Otter Malt||38||3||16.70%|
|1.75 lb||Wheat Malt||39||3.2||16.70%|
|1 oz||Tettnanger||4.50%||Boil||60 min||19|
|1 oz||Tettnanger||4.50%||Boil||15 min||9|
White Labs WLP029 German Ale (Starter recommended)
Step 1 – Mash
- Mash with a multi-step mash at the below intervals.
- Spare the full volume into the kettle.
- 115°F for 20 minutes
- 145°F for 45 minutes
- 162°F for 15 minutes
Step 2 – Boil
- Bring the wort to a boil.
- Add 60 minute hop addition.
- Add 15 minute hop addition.
- Turn off heat.
- Quickly chill wort to 65°F.
- Transfer cooled wort to a sanitized fermenter, leaving behind trub and hop matter.
Step 3 – Fermentation
- Oxygenate wort and pitch the yeast.
- Ferment for 2 weeks at 65°F.
Step 4 – Packaging
- Package beer and carbonate to 2.4 volumes of CO2
- If kegging, allow beer to condition for 1 to 2 weeks in the keg.
- If bottling, allow for 2 weeks minimum of bottle refermentation.
As the style is very hard to find, if you want to taste Dutch kuit, you may have to brew it yourself. There’s only a handful of breweries making the style – even in the Netherlands!
Give our recipe a shot and let us know what you think. It’s a simple beer but the oat-heavy grain bill gives it a unique body and grainy character. If you like witbier, American wheat, or hefeweizen, you’ll definitely be a fan of kuit!