10# Vienna = 5# Munich + 5# Pilsner? If not, how close? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
Jan 2009
Martha's Vineyard, Mass
Posts: 45

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
Senior Member
defenestrate's Avatar
Sep 2008
edgewater, MD
Posts: 1,043
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

SRM wise they are probably close, but i would think the 5/5 combo would be maltier than 10# of vienna... my .02 cents.
(dē-fěn'ĭ-strāt') To throw out of a window.

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Old 10-01-2009, 02:27 PM   #3
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
Liked 158 Times on 148 Posts

It will work.
Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

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Old 10-02-2009, 01:31 PM   #4
Dec 2007
north Georgia
Posts: 1,327
Liked 9 Times on 6 Posts

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...
Reformation Brewery: We went professional
Obsessing over: starting a local brewery (hence I am not here much these days!), Pickles, my wife, 3 year old and 6 year old
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #5
Jan 2009
Martha's Vineyard, Mass
Posts: 45

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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