Monday, 13 April 2015

Azoth Vienna Lager Brewday

Vienna malt has been a very alien thing to me since I started brewing. The problem is that my local homebrew store sells Vienna (and Marris Otter) as specialty grains instead of base malts so you end up paying out the wazoo if you want to make a beer with them. For Marris Otter, I've been subbing in a small amount of victory or amber malt to get some toasty and malty flavors in my English beers, and it works well enough even if it just isn't the same.

In this case, I decided to just go for it and get the expensive Vienna malt. I've always thought the flavor description sounds great, and I love a beer with some toasty flavor. Couple that with the clean profile of a lager, and the opportunity to use my lagering fridge, and I'm driving home with a heavy bill and a grin on my face.

For this beer, I decided to again try the no-sparge brewing to up the maltiness and also to save some time for the brewday. I mashed in with 7 gallons of 161*F water to reach a mash temp of 154*F. I let it rest for the typical hour or so, vorlaufed, and let it run into my kettle with 1.75 oz of Hallertauer. I used only bittering hops for this beer, again to push the maltiness. I don't want any hops flavor coming from late additions, just the toasty malt flavor and bitterness to balance it.

Vienna lager originated in Vienna around 1840, and was hugely popular for a short period of time in Europe before falling out of style and ending up in Mexico where Austrian immigrants revived the beer style with fervor. Typically, it is a darker shade of beer: copper to amber-brown coloured with flavors reminiscent of toast or nuttiness. A dash of caramel or roasted malts is appropriate for colour, but the caramel flavor should be weak, and only complimentary. No flavor should come from the roasted grains, only colour.

It is of benefit to me that the description of the beer according to the BJCP guidelines calls for water that is moderately high in carbonates. Calgary's tap water is fairly hard and full of the necessary minerals to give a back to the malt in the beer. It's nice to have a beer style that doesn't need me to buy distilled water to start with.

I'm still getting used to the no-sparge brewing, and I have been tending to overshoot my OG in the last two beers that I've done it with. I didn't end up using enough water to dilute the sugars enough, so I ended up diluting the beer with boiled and cooled water in order to reach an OG of 1.054. 

I followed these guidelines and everything went rather smoothly besides the overshoot in gravity. I'm looking forward to bottling this one in a few weeks once final exam season is over at the university.

AZOTH Vienna Lager

1.054 OG
20 Liter batch

8# Vienna Malt
1.5# Pils Malt
0,5# Crystal 40*L
Palmful of chocolate malt for colour
Mashed at 154*F

1,75oz Hallertauer - 60 mins

Cooled to 55*F.
3L starter of Wyeast Bohemian Lager,
Fermented in temperature controlled chamber @ 50*F

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