Monday, June 11, 2012

Brew Day: Faux-Vienna Lager

As I have said before, so much of brewing for me is about time and place, of recreating the essence of whatever beer I was drinking at a particular time. Like now, when the weather gets painfully hot and the midday sun makes one think of shaded beer gardens and litres of beery refreshment, my mind fixates on lagers. Like those I enjoyed while traveling across Germany and the Czech Republic, a tall glass of a refreshing and flavorful lager at the end of the day was a wonderful thing. Recently, I've had a hankering for a malty, amber colored lager. Like Vienna lager. The recipe for this one is pretty standard - Vienna malt, Munich, and Pils, with a small amount of carafa II for color - and some light hopping with hallertauer mittelfrueh. As I no longer have a refrigerator that I can dedicate to lagering, I'll be using the (supposedly) very clean WLP080 Cream Ale yeast blend and ferment it at a cool 58-60F. I know it won't turn out like a real lager, but hopefully it will be good enough to remind me of the real stuff.

Faux Vienna : Vienna Lager                                                                                                
Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.0
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 12
Anticipated IBU: 22
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

54.7% - 5.00 lbs. Vienna Malt
21.9% - 2.00 lbs. Munich Malt
21.9% - 2.00 lbs. Pilsner Malt
1.50% - 0.15 lbs. Carafa II

1.50 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh @ 60 min for 18 IBU
0.50 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh @ 15 min for 4 IBU

Yeast: WhiteLabs 080 Cream Ale Blend 
Mash 154F for 75 min.
Brewed 11 June 


  1. I've been tinkering with a recipe for something similar (along with one for a dark Czech lager). The main difference between your recipe and mine is that I just got rid of the Pilsner malt and opted for 80% vienna and 20% munich. Which, of course, leads me to a question: is that going to be "too" malty?

    1. I wouldn't think it would be "too" malty at all. I've seen a number of recipe that use a mix of vienna/light munich and that ratio isn't far from the norm. Only reason I included the pils is that I noticed a lot of the 'established' vienna lager recipes added about 1/3 pils to let the vienna malt flavor come through a bit more. We'll see...

      One thing I will say is that I do prefer my amber lagers without carapils and crystal malts. Also, there is a great recipe on the BA website for U Fleku's dark lager. It is a wonderful beer and I've had a few homebrewed versions of it in the past. My latest attempt was good, but I screwed up by using the breiss dark munich (20L), which is basically a crystal malt.

    2. Thanks, as always, for the tips. The BA U Fleku recipe is presumably the one by Horst Dornbusch? I've been eyeing that one for inspiration, along with a couple of others that I've found on various blogs.

    3. Yep, Horst. I'd like to brew this recipe again, though maybe cut the crystal malt back to 5% or so.

      50% Weyermann Floor-Malted Bohemian Pilsner Malt @ 1.8 °L
      30% Weyermann Munich I @ 6 °L
      15% Weyermann CaraMunich® II @ 45.5 °L
      5% Weyermann Carafa® II @ 45.5 °L (at sparge)

      3.9 oz (110 g) Saaz @ 4.5% AA (10 minutes into the boil)
      3.9 oz (110 g) Saaz @ 4.5% AA (20 minutes into the boil)
      4.3 oz (122 g) Saaz @ 4.5% AA (115 minutes into the boil)

      O.G: 1.048+ //F.G: 1.012// 30 SRM// 28 IBU

  2. I used to think lagers should be made with only lager yeast. Why bother even trying with an ale yeast. But I've been happily surprised by the results of fermenting cool with neutral ale strains. My favorite is "classic american pilsner" with 2-row, crystal hops, and WLP001 at 60F.

    Brew Strong!

    1. Agreed! A properly made lager is a truly beautiful thing, but when you don't want to wait 4 months, 1056 does the job pretty damn well. We'll see how this wlp080 holds up. Got to try the kolsch yeast too.


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