Tasting Notes: Vienna Lager (Beer #39)

December 9, 2012 by Jack

The Vienna Lager I brewed back at the end of September is starting to come around after soem bulk-aging time at 34°F. Time to take some tasting notes…

Vital Stats:
Target OG: 1.050 Actual OG: 1.053
Target FG: 1.010 Actual FG: 1.012
ABV: 5.2%
Color: 10.8 SRMĀ (Calculated)
Bitterness: 27.7 IBU (Calculated)
Yeast: White Labs WLP830 German Lager Yeast
Fermentation Temperature:50°F until finshed, then 67°F for 3 days

Aroma
Pronounced vienna malt character. Some light fruity esters suggesting raisin, fig, etc. Maybe a very light touch of diacetyl. Some light, spicy/earthy hallertau hop aroma.

Appearance
Medium amber color. Medium-sized off-white head consisting of various-sized bubbles with very good retention. Clear, but not brilliant. Slight haze.

Flavor
Primarily vienna malt with a nice, soft character reminiscent of light toast and subtle raisin flavor. Low-medium hop bitterness balanced well with the malt, though the balance is definitely towards the malt. Off-dry finish with a lingering soft bitterness. Low-but-detectable earthy/spicy noble hop flavor.

Mouthfeel
Light-medium body. Medium carbonation creates both a creaminess and a slight acidic bite on tip of tongue. Slight warmth on the finish. Finishes crisp.

Overall Impression
A pleasant malty amber lager. It’s dryer and less rich & malty than Oktoberfest/Marzen, making it much more digestible. A touch too fruity and a hint of diacetyl detract very slightly from an otherwise very good beer.

I initially rushed this beer, moving it from the lagering fridge to the kegerator after just two weeks to get it ready to enter in the Butler Brewfest competition in early November. It wasn’t very good at the time. The beer was cloudy and the flavors were muddled. It was giving off fruity aromas that were totally out of place. After bottling my competition entries I put the keg back into the beer fridge at 34F and left it there for a month. I also added 1 tsp of bloomed gelatin to help it clear. Today the beer is much cleaner. It’s nearly brilliant in clarity and the flavors are clean and crisp. Another couple months and hopefully it’s tip-top in time for the competitions in spring and early summer.

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