“Vienna” Lager recipe ideas

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Sacred Knot Brewing

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Hey all, I am going to preface this by saying I know my recipe is not quite "traditional," and frankly that is what I am going for. So if you are going to get on me for going against the grain, this post is not for you. I am first generation German-American so I wanted to find a hybrid of both old world style with a modern, American flare. Vienna lager is by far one of my favorite styles and so it only seemed right. Anyways, I am looking into trying something "different" with the hops. My grain bill is already set and I think I am happy with what I have in that regard.

So the dilemma is this: looking at new and experimental hops on Hopsteiner I came across "Akoya" hops. Their website gives aroma notes of tea, spicy, green fruit and pepper. It's main growing country is Germany so I thought that could be an interesting choice. But I was also thinking about jumping on the Loral bandwagon. It is described as a "super noble" hop and according to Yakima Valley's website: The aroma profile of Loral® has been described as a “super noble hop” with its wonderful floral and herbal notes followed by a backdrop of citrus and earthy character. A touch of sweet fruity aroma rounds out this well-balanced hop. In beer, the floral notes are accentuated yet complemented nicely by fruity and citrus with just a hint of herbal. Don’t expect an in-your-face fruity character with Loral® as seen with some recent U.S. variety releases - this hop is approachable and balanced. Great for distinctive IPAs and pale ales but perfect for sessionable and lager-style beers.

From what I can gather, Akoya would be the safer option as it sounds almost like a "new" noble hop. Loral sounds like a more "unique" option for a Vienna lager, but I am a bit hesitant as I think I have only seen it in IPAs and so I am afraid its going to be too fruity. I've not ever worked with it. A touch of lemony citrus zest might be a nice addition, I just don't want something that will give off a super juicy flavor. Thoughts?

Here's my recipe for reference:

Hygge - Vienna Lager
All grain
Batch size: 5 gallons
Total water volume: 8 gallons
Total grist weight: 8.75 lb
Est mash pH: 5.28

Target OG: 1.048
Target FG: 1.007
Est ABV: 5.4%
IBU: (aiming for) ~ 28
SRM: 12.00

Grain bill
6 lb (68.6%) Vienna
2 lb (22.9%) Light Munich
0.25 lb (2.9%) Victory
0.25 lb (2.9%) CaraMunich I
0.25 lb (2.9%) Pale Chocolate

Hop schedule
~ 21 IBU Akoya/Loral @ 60 min
~ 7 IBU Akoya/Loral @ 170 degree starting whirlpool (est 10% utilization)

Yeast
Saflager S-189 Swiss Lager

Water adjustments (salts added to mash only)
1.5 g Gypsum
2 g Epsom salt

Single infusion mash at 153 x 60 min w/ 3 gallons of strike water. Sparge w/ 5 gallons water @ 170 degrees. 60 min boil followed by whirlpool beginning at 170 degrees. Chill to 50 degrees and follow typical lager fermentation schedule.
 

RCope

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I made a Vienna lager a couple of months ago. Used Vienna malt and a touch of acidulated, H. Mittlefruh and Saaz. It was excellent. Your grain bill will make beer, and it may be awesome, but I don't think it will be recognizable as a Vienna Lager. Perhaps cut out the Pale Chocolate and Caramunich and instead add another 1/2 lb of Vienna. But if you like your grain bill, stick to your guns :).

I've also made a Loral IPL last year. Even upped the citrus with an oz of Citra in the WP, and an oz in the dry hop (with 2oz of Loral). It was also excellent. So I think Loral will work great in a Vienna Lager. But probably not with your grain bill (my 2 cents). I've never used Akoya. Cheers!
 

Dland

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Agree w RCope, that grain bill looks like something else to me. The Vienna is already pretty malty, I'd loose the Munich, Cara & especially the chocolate if going for that style.

My Vienna Lager grain bill is more like 50-75% Pilsner malt, balance of grain bill in Vienna malt. I've brewed it 100% Vienna, and even that is somewhat over sweet & malty for my taste. Not familiar with that hop, so I can't comment on that.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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I appreciate both comments and the feedback, but please refer back to the beginning of the OP. I mentioned I recognize it’s not traditional, nor is it my intention. I’ve seen all 3 of those specialty grains used successfully in Vienna lagers. I might take Dlands suggestion and drop the Munich in favor of more Vienna but I think I’m going to leave the specialty grains and if it doesn’t work I can always adjust later.
 

Protos

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No citrus in Vienna Lager, or else it's not a Vienna, the hallmark of which is Saazer hops.
Why invent from the scratch an American-German hybrid if it exists already for more than a century: California Steam Beer and Pre-Prohibition Lager. Both are beers invented by German brewers adapting to American ingredients. No citrus zest, though.
Also, Mexican Lager is a direct descendant of Austrian Vienna-like beers. No citrus, again.
Nothing wrong with inventing new styles. Just give them new names as well.
"IPA-ization" of classic Germanic styles... Urghhh...
 
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monkeymath

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Can you elaborate a bit more on what you are trying to achieve?

You repeatedly mention the style "Vienna Lager", but add that you're not actually trying to make one (in the traditional sense). You say you want to try "something different" with the hops, but that leaves a lot of room - virtually anything besides noble hops could qualify here.

So, what do you have in mind? What do you want your beer to taste like?
Moreover, I think very few people will have experience with Akoya hops.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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No citrus in Vienna Lager, or else it's not a Vienna, the hallmark of which is Saazer hops.
Why invent from the scratch an American-German hybrid if it exists already for more than a century: California Steam Beer and Pre-Prohibition Lager. Both are beers invented by German brewers adapting to American ingredients. No citrus zest, though.
Also, Mexican Lager is a direct descendant of Austrian Vienna-like beers. No citrus, again.
Nothing wrong with inventing new styles. Just give them new names as well.
"IPA-ization" of classic Germanic styles... Urghhh...
This was the type of feedback I was looking for. I don’t want it to be reminiscent of an IPA in any sense. So loral won’t be the route I take for sure.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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Can you elaborate a bit more on what you are trying to achieve?

You repeatedly mention the style "Vienna Lager", but add that you're not actually trying to make one (in the traditional sense). You say you want to try "something different" with the hops, but that leaves a lot of room - virtually anything besides noble hops could qualify here.

So, what do you have in mind? What do you want your beer to taste like?
Moreover, I think very few people will have experience with Akoya hops.
What I’m trying to achieve, I guess is a Vienna-like lager that doesn’t use just typical Hallertau or Saaz etc hops. I have no problem with noble character and in actuality that’s what I’m looking for. But I’m also not opposed to using a new breed of hops that might impart flavor or aroma that is atypical. My goal wasn’t to have a citrus bomb in an amber lager.
 

Protos

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Actually, your recipe looks nice and promising. That could produce a fine beer!
Just why do you call your recipe a Vienna?
Classic Vienna Lager is historically a single-malt and single-hop (Wiener / Saazer) beer. Besides citrusy hops, it doesn't contain Crystal or Roasted/Chocolate Malts. Even if it's not brewed with decoction (which it traditionally should be), single English-style infusion mash is quite uncommon for the true renditions of the style.
A classic Vienna Lager is radically different from your recipe, which essentially is not a modification of a Vienna but rather a completely different style. 68% Vienna malt in the grist alone doesn't make it a Vienna - though it makes it an Amber Lager!
If anything, your recipe seems to be closer to a modified modern American version of Festbier/Märzenbier.
You'd call it Amber Loral Akoya Lager and nobody will tell you you're doing anything wrong :)


Here's THE ultimate example of the classic Vienna Lager style, an authentic recipe of 1870 published by Andreas Krennmair: Recipe: Andreas Krennmair’s Traditional 1870s Vienna Lager
I brewed it last autumn, triple decoction and all, still have several bottles.
That was the Vienna of all Viennas I've ever tasted and one of the finest beers I've ever brewed.
As one may see from the recipe, important characteristics of Vienna Lager include very simple ingredients and a very complicated process.
 
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Spundit

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I made a lager with a similar grain bill.

6lb vienna
2 lb munich
.25 lb melanoidin
.25lb pale chocolate

I used tettnang as the hop, only hotside editions so a little spice not much fruit. 25 ibu

It was a very nice lager... very enjoyable. Malty but not heavy or sweet. Finished dry.
 

Spundit

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^ That (sans Chocolate) is actually my favourite recipe for a 7% Dunkelbockbier.
25 IBU Tettnanger too!
Yes I may leave the pale chocolate out next time. I dont think you could tell If you didn't know it was in the recipe. It may have helped give the perception of a dry finish (that was the intent).
 

bwible

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What I’m trying to achieve, I guess is a Vienna-like lager that doesn’t use just typical Hallertau or Saaz etc hops. I have no problem with noble character and in actuality that’s what I’m looking for. But I’m also not opposed to using a new breed of hops that might impart flavor or aroma that is atypical. My goal wasn’t to have a citrus bomb in an amber lager.
Pre-Prohibition lager was mentioned. Those typically use Cluster and Styrian Goldings. Steam beers would feature Northern Brewer hops. I found some Hersbrucker Spat that I’ve never used and I’m thinking of doing some kind of lager with those.

[edit] on their site, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager says:

Malts:

Vienna, Pilsner, Dark Munich, CaraAmber

Hops:

Northern Brewer, Saaz
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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A little update to this if anyone cares:

I did some research on BJCP guidelines. I updated my grain bill a bit to include some flaked corn and we will now officially classify it as 2B - International Amber Lager? ;)

I am thinking about using Pacific Jade. Still wanting to hybridize the old vs new styles so I thought it would work well. I’ve not ever used it but from what I have read it seems like a nice “modern” take on Saaz.
 

ghpeel

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I’ve made a dark Vienna beer several times using Vienna, Munich, aromatic, some medium crystal and carafe 2. It’s delicious! Not a true “Vienna Lager” per the style but more like a malty schwarzbier. I don’t think that Vienna is overly malty by itself. I’ve done SMASH beers with it and it’s definitely just a nice flavorful base malt kinda in between Munich and Pale malt to me.
 

CornKing

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All good discussion here. Personally I would encourage you to use loral. I too am very interested in this hop, because of the noble profile. I think it would be well suited to the style.
You could also buck tradition and go with a semi-citrus profile. Mandarina Bavaria is a new school german hop and I've had it in traditional german style beers (KC Bier Co has a mandarina IPL that is fantastic). Or, Mandarina bavaira and Huell melon, also a modern german variety. Loral seems like a safer bet while still being interesting. I haven't used it yet but am itching to hear someone else's experience and feedback!
 

monkeymath

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All good discussion here. Personally I would encourage you to use loral. I too am very interested in this hop, because of the noble profile. I think it would be well suited to the style.
You could also buck tradition and go with a semi-citrus profile. Mandarina Bavaria is a new school german hop and I've had it in traditional german style beers (KC Bier Co has a mandarina IPL that is fantastic). Or, Mandarina bavaira and Huell melon, also a modern german variety. Loral seems like a safer bet while still being interesting. I haven't used it yet but am itching to hear someone else's experience and feedback!

Sorry, but how do "traditional German style beer" and "IPL" go together?
 
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