Take Two Vienna Lager

My previous attempt at a Vienna lager was pretty darned tasty, but a little short of the style in terms of coloration. For my next round, I elected to throw in a few additional dark malts, as a short-cut to something more on style. Additionally, I decided on a straight-forward infusion mash, rather than messing around with decoction. The decocted lager I did before was really tasty, but also a bit of work, and I wanted a quicker brew session for this batch.

The recipe was modified from one by Andy Weigal that medaled at NHC in 2015. I simplified the grist slightly (replacing the portion of pilsner malt with Vienna malt, and using regular Munich malt instead of Munich II). Additionally, I switched to Saaz alone for aroma and bittering.

Take Two Vienna Lager

  • 9.5 lbs. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.75 lbs. Munich malt
  • 0.25 lbs. melanoiden malt
  • 0.175 plbs. Carafa Special II malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.25 oz. Saaz hop pellets (5.6% alpha acid), 60 minute boil
  • 0.25 oz. Saaz hop pellents (5.6% alpha acid), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. German lager yeast (White Labs WLP830), prepared in starter to target ~390 billion cells
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. yeast nutrient, boiled in 1/2 cup water and added to chilled wort

Target Parameters

  • 152° mash, batch sparge, 60 minutes
  • 1.051 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.2% abv, 25 IBU, 12 SRM, 6 gallons into the fermenter


  • Five days in advance of brew day, I prepared a 3.5L starter, using 2 packages of yeast and 353 g of extra light DME. After 2 days, I decanted 1L of the starter to set aside a 125 billion cell culture for later use. The remainder was cold-crashed for 3 days, with supernate decanted.
  • On this batch, I followed a water treatment popularized by Gordon Strong. I added 1/4 tsp. of phosphoric acid per five gallons of brewing water, and also added 1 tsp. of calcium chloride to the mash. I am a little surprised by his minimal treatments (especially on the acid additions, given their likely minimal effect on mash pH), but figured I would give it a try.
  • To start the mash, I added 3.6 gallons of water at 167°. This slightly overshot my mash target of 152° (hitting 156°), so I added a half gallon of cold water. This undershot my mash target, so I added a half gallon of boiling water to finally hit the mash target temperature about 25 minutes into. Close enough, I figure.
  • After collecting the first runnings, I added 4.25 gallons of water for the sparge (followed by vorlaufing) and collected the second runnings.
  • All told, I collected 7.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.045. This equates to an efficiency of 85%. Perhaps it was so high because my mash ended up relatively thing…I’m not certain.
  • 20161202_224854I boiled the wort and added hops and other ingredients per the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I removed the hops, chilled the wort, and transferred to the fermenter. Once the temperature had dropped to 56°, I pitched the yeast.
  • I will be fermenting this at 52° for ~10-14 days. I brewed this on 2 December 2016.
  • Starting gravity was 1.052, right about at my target. Not too bad! The wort is a deep amber color…a bit darker than I expected, but still looks to be within BJCP style.