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Old 12-18-2010, 02:41 PM   #1
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Default Beer Historians - anyone know of "Vienna Brown Ale"

I have been reading about Beethoven (one of my other hobbies) and came across several quotes about a "brown beer" or "brown ale" or "Austrian brown beer". He was in Vienna in the first part of the 19th century. This was around the time of the Napoleonic wars.

I'd like to find out what beer he is talking about. I don't know if it is still made or if there is a recipe out there. I"ve tried looking and can only find vienna lager at a style guide. I have seen some mention of brown ales served in Vienna but no recipes or descriptions.

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Old 12-18-2010, 05:03 PM   #2
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Sounds like Schwarzbier.

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Old 12-18-2010, 05:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EKennett View Post
Sounds like Schwarzbier.
Except that schwarzbier is a "black" lager.

The beer described in the OP does sound very interesting. When was lager yeast discovered? I think alts (old) are so named because they use ale yeast (the yeast they used way back before lager yeast was discovered). Could it be like a vienna lager except that it was fermented with an ale yeast?
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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Lager yeast was only "discovered" in the late 1800's, but the concept and its usage go WAY further back than that. Early 19th Century is definitely well within the time of lager yeasts being a separate entity from ale yeast.

Likely they are referring to the Vienna Lager, which could certainly be considered brown.

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Old 12-18-2010, 07:42 PM   #5
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Likely they are referring to the Vienna Lager, which could certainly be considered brown.
Come to think of it you are right... It was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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So Vienna lager is the most likely target. Given I've never done a lager and I live in southern California and I don't have the extra fridge space to lager anything, is there a recipe for vienna that would use ale yeast so can ferment in the 60s?

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Old 12-18-2010, 08:34 PM   #7
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So Vienna lager is the most likely target. Given I've never done a lager and I live in southern California and I don't have the extra fridge space to lager anything, is there a recipe for vienna that would use ale yeast so can ferment in the 60s?
Well it wouldn't be a true vienna lager......It would be a vienna lager grainbill brewed with ale instead of lager yeast. It wouldn't be as clean. But would still be a decent beer.

I have a vienna lager that took an award in my recipe pulldown. You could brew that with us-05 and keep it in the 60's and it would be a tasty beer.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:47 PM   #8
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It's kind of funny but the last brew I made was a new recipe for me - Munich Malt Bomb. It is mostly Munich malt with 18 ibus or so of Hallertauer and wyeast euro ale. I think this made with vienna malt instead of munich would be super close.

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Old 12-18-2010, 10:09 PM   #9
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Reading thru some OLD books from the early 19th century, Vienna had "nut brown maids" who served "nut brown ale".

And like these very ancient ale recipes, ingredients used were what was locally grown.

DY

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Old 12-18-2010, 11:03 PM   #10
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The term "ale" wasn't much in use throughout Germany by that period. Likely you are reading a writer not from Germany who is writing about German beer, and using the terms he is familiar with. If the beer was made in that area, in that time period, it was likely a lager.

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