My first attempt at a Vienna lager has nicely cleared and conditioned, turning into one delicious beer! My overall evaluation is below.
- The Basics
- Original gravity = 1.055; final gravity = 1.014; abv = 5.4%; estimated IBU = 29
- Spicy hop note, really delicious, with a slight crackery aroma behind that for the malt.
- Light gold, crystal clear, with frothy white head that is incredibly persistent. The beer is definitely paler than a Vienna lager should be, though.
- Bready and crackery maltiness at the forefront; really, really nice. This is balanced against a decent bitterness. It comes across as a somewhat dry beer, which is within line for a Vienna lager. The finish is very clean; no abnormal esters or phenols on this thing!
- Medium body, moderately dry on the finish, with moderate carbonation that seems about right for this beer.
- Would I brew this again?
- On its own merits as a beer, I’d give it a 9.5/10, but in terms of color it misses the mark for a true Vienna lager as defined by BJCP. If I do this again, I would add a slight bit of dark malt for coloration (maybe 2-3 oz. of debittered black malt), but maintain the overall process of decoction. The head and head retention are pretty amazing (almost too amazing–it’s hard to get a good pour!), and I would bet that is the result of the decoction process. I’m quite surprised that the beer didn’t darken up more during the decoction–maybe I should have boiled long enough, or didn’t boil intensely enough? The yeast I used on this one worked out really well, and the water build also seems to have been just the ticket.
Perfect timing- I was gonna send you a comment on this beer tomorrow! I really enjoyed it, thought the bready malt character was spot on, well-balanced by the hops, and I liked the dryness a lot. I agree that there were no off flavors at all. A very nice beer, very well done! Yes, a bit light in color, but if that’s the only flaw then you’re doing pretty great!
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Thanks, Kelli–I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed the beer! I’ll almost certainly be brewing this one up again; the double decoction was a lot of work, but the result was worth it.
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