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Share your favorite Vienna Lager recipe

Looking for a good Vienna lager recipe. I was inspired by the recent article in BYO on Vienna lagers and thought this would be a good and forgiving style for my first lager. While the recipe in the magazine looked intriguing I was hoping for a recipe that people have tried and could attest to.

You’ll like this one. Next time I would crush a little less because I feel that 94% efficiency actually hurt the flavor, i.e., watered it down too much. If I’d done no-sparge with this beer, I’m sure it would have been a 50-point beer.


That looks pretty tasty. Kind of a busy grain bill but I like that its a Vienna lager that actually has a majority of the grain bill is actually…Vienna. Do you feel like the chocolate malt was necessary to get it closer to color (style-wise)?

You also say in the OP that the head retention was poor. I thought I read somewhere that decoction mashing helps head retention. Should I expect the head retention to be even poorer doing a single infusion?

The protein rest is what killed the head. Skip the protein rest and you’ll be just fine. Single infusion should work great.

Yeah, the chocolate malt was only for color adjustment, ala Negra Modelo. If you don’t care about color, skip the chocolate.

I should also say… you can make an excellent beer with 100% Vienna malt. A friend of mine won a competition that way. Tasted just oh so beautiful. I think he used Briess but I’m not certain of this. Personally I’d use Weyermann.

I’ve only brewed one traditional vienna but Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles was quite good with my limited experience with the style.

Any suggested water profile for this? “Amber Malty” in Brunwater?

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]You’ll like this one. Next time I would crush a little less because I feel that 94% efficiency actually hurt the flavor, i.e., watered it down too much. If I’d done no-sparge with this beer, I’m sure it would have been a 50-point beer.


That looks like a pretty solid recipe to me. The only thing I question is the miniscule amount of biscuit malt. I have a hard time believing that an addition of only 1.5% is enough to contribute much in the way of flavor at all. I’d probably go a touch higher on the hopping level, too, like maybe up into the low 20s. But that’s just my personal taste. This recipe is definitely well within the appropriate style guidelines, I would say, and I’m sure it’s a darn good beer. :slight_smile:

From what I’ve read, this is a pretty forgiving style of beer to make. In the chapter on V/M/0 beers in his book “Designing Great Beers”, Ray Daniels states: “For 80 to 90 percent of an all-grain grist blend 2-row, Munich, Pilsener, and Vienna malts in virtually any proportion”. I would say this is pretty sound advice. I’ve only ever made one Vienna lager, and it’s been several years, so I don’t have the recipe I used to make it. Off the top of my head, my formulation for this beer the next time I have a chance to make it would be something like this:

Grain Bill: 45% pilsner malt, 45% Vienna malt, 5% Weyermann CaraAroma malt, 5% Carapils malt

Hops: Hersbrucker or other German noble hop for bittering and finishing, to the tune of around 22 IBUs

Yeast: White Labs WLP820 Oktoberfest Lager

Mash Schedule: Multiple step infusion or decoction mash with rests at 122 dF, 142 dF, 156 dF, mashout at 170 dF, sparge and recirculate as per your own preference

Fermentation Schedule: Whatever works for you!

The real key to this style, in my opinion, is getting the body just right, so that all the flavor elements come together smoothly. This style should be fairly malty, but the body should not be heavy at all, and the flavor shouldn’t have any kind of caramelly sweetness. And it should have a fairly dry finish so that the hops can make their presence felt, too. Anyway, I’m not trying to write a book on the subject :blah: I’m probably not even telling you anything you don’t already know. I just happen to be pretty good at formulating recipes, and I thought I’d throw this one at you.

I used moderately hard “malty style” water. I added just a smidge of calcium chloride to my tap water (moderately hard) to get the mash pH down a tad, and that was good enough.

I made a 100% Weyermann Vienna malt, Vienna last year, and it was too pale for the BJCP guidelines and much lighter than most commercial examples. It was more the color of modern, helles Octoberfest. I used a mix of pils malt and munich base with 5% cara-Vienne and 1% black malt for my last version. It is still in early lager stage, but it is tasty. I might add a bit of melanoidin malt for that toasty character on my next attempt.

Since the above link has been destroyed but clicked 50 times, here is a new link at Photobucket which might also be destroyed someday but I sure hope not.

Welp… Photobucket sucks, too, so here’s my latest version, now available on Flickr:

Looks good! My latest Vienna is posted on another thread here.
I haven’t tried the Biscuit yet. I’ve used Aromatic, Melanoidin and Caramunich. Big starter. Just curious @dmtaylo2 , have you switched over to the Shaken Not stirred starters for lagers?

I never owned a stir plate, never will. Been shaking not stirring for 20 years and been happy with it.

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