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Old 09-30-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
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Default 10# Vienna = 5# Munich + 5# Pilsner? If not, how close?

Hi folks,

It's getting close to the time of year that I brew two beers that use a good bit of munich (7lbs in each batch). I'd like to order a sack from North Country for the money savings, but figure it will take me way more than a year to use a whole sack of munich. Vienna, on the other hand, I could see finishing a sack in a reasonable amount of time if I had it laying around. I'd be making vienna SMaSH pale ales with every hop in the freezer. But is the difference between Munich and Vienna quantitative or qualitative?

I think the decision breaks down three ways, and I'd like some advice on what people would choose:

1) Buy the sack of munich. I break down my sacks into 5lb ziplock bags and I've never had any base malt get stale, but I've never had any last longer than about 4 months. The munich would probably be around for over a year.

2) Keep buying munich by the pound at much higher price; consider that I'm broke enough to be asking this question in the first place.

3) Buy a sack of vienna and come up with a best guess at subbing for the munich, e.g. the thread title. I'd definitely like some advice on the numbers if anyone thinks this will work.

Of course there's always a sort of option 2.5, keeping a pound or two of munich and replacing the rest with a vienna/pils combo, I guess. . .

Here are the recipes, for those interested:

#1: Oxtoberfest (the O.G. justifies the "x")
7 lb Munich
5.25 lb Pilsner
.25 lb Aromatic
.25 lb biscuit
.25 lb Caravienne
.25 lb Carapils

[so, with my Vienna subbing theory, this would become something like 10.5 lb Vienna, 1.75 Munich, and then the specialty malts]

About 7 HBUs for 90 minutes, pitched onto a big S-23 yeast cake. My gravity readings are approximate, but I got OG 1.068, FG 1.018. I know many here are not fans of S-23, but I love it in this beer. It's really a kolsch, I guess, since I do all the fermentation at 55-60 degrees, but it sure seems lager-smooth to me. This is my favorite beer that I've made, and a recipe I can actually recommend to the advanced brewers here, as well as the people like me who simply don't have the stuff to lager properly.

#2: doublebock (currently BeerToBeNamedLator)
8.5 lb Pilsner
7 lb Munich
.25 lb Aromatic
.25 lb Caravienna
.25 lb Melanoidan
1 oz chocolate
2 oz crystal 75

8 HBUs (1/2 oz Warrior) boiled 90 minutes, pitched onto the S-23 of the previous recipe (reduce, reuse, recycle!). OG 1.075, FG 1.022. I was going for a Salvator clone here; I tried them side by side and think mine is similar but not quite as good. Considering I didn't lager it (55-60 degrees), didn't do a decoction, and made something that tasted 90% like Salvator, I was pretty happy.

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Old 10-01-2009, 03:11 AM   #2
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SRM wise they are probably close, but i would think the 5/5 combo would be maltier than 10# of vienna... my .02 cents.

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Old 10-01-2009, 02:27 PM   #3
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It will work.

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Old 10-02-2009, 01:31 PM   #4
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Or another option: get with some local brewers and find someone to split the sacks with and have half a sack of each.

That is what I have done. Although the grain does keep and I do find myself wanting the whole sack...

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Old 10-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #5
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David - thanks for the encouragement. But when you say "it" do you mean the general idea of subbing vienna for munich, or my guesswork ratio in particular?

I wonder, following defenestrate's suggestion (because I am more interested in flavor than color) if the answer might be closer to 5lb Munich + 5lb Pilsner = 9lb Vienna + 1lb Munich?

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