Stepping back in time, Danube Driftin' pays homage to a historical beer style. Vienna lager will thrill any fan of malt-driven beers. Using an array of base malts and just a dash of darker malts for color, Danube Driftin' is a pleasure to sip. This recipe features a deep copper color, medium body, and a modest bitterness with dominant rich toasty malt flavors devoid of caramel and roast flavors while a classic lager yeast strain provides a crisp, clean and dry finish.
- Style: Vienna Lager
- Fermentation Range: 50-60F
- Original Gravity: 1.050
- SRM: 10
- IBUs: 21
- ABV: 5.0%<
- Aroma: Malt dominated aroma of toasted bread and biscuit. Low floral and earthy spiciness hop aromas in the background. Clean lager notes with no caramel or roast.
- Appearance: Deep copper color with good clarity and a firm off-white to light tan foam head.
- Flavor: Rich, malt forward flavor with flavors of freshly toasted crusty bread. Medium-low hop bitterness to balance the malt sweetness, with faint floral hop notes. Clean and crisp lager character with a moderately dry finish.
- Mouthfeel: Medium-low body and very smooth.
“Often times it is really easy to get caught up in the newest brewing trends. Lately all the rage has been about New England IPAs, Brut IPAs, Pastry Stouts, yadda yadda yadda. Don’t get me wrong, these beers are great in their own right, but in this climate of new and edgy styles we frequently forget about the old, traditional and historical staples that got us where we are today. In that light, I present Danube Driftin’. One of my all-time favorite beer styles is Vienna Lager, and this style is largely responsible for the historical popularity of modern pale lagers. First brewed in 1841 by the Austrian visionary Anton Dreher, Vienna Lager was the product of new malting techniques pioneered in England and then fermented with lager yeast. The resulting beer took Europe by storm and was one of the preeminent styles of the day. Unfortunately due to many circumstances, its popularity waned over time and the style nearly became extinct. Luckily for us, the style spread around the globe and its popularity has rebounded thanks to the migration of Austrian brewers to other countries.
History aside, here’s a bit about the recipe itself and the techniques involved. Modern examples of Vienna lager typically use some combination of Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts, continental European noble type hops and a classic lager yeast strain. In the case of the all-grain version of this recipe, I have chosen to exclusively utilize Weyermann Barke malts. These malts are made from an heirloom barley variety and are prized for their depth of flavor and high aromatics - absolutely perfect for a malt driven beer like Vienna Lager. Classic German Hallertau hops provide gentle bitterness and a touch of spicy and floral hop flavor, and German lager yeast rounds out the recipe and provides a super clean and crisp character to the beer to really let the fantastic malt qualities shine. Since this recipe is a lager, temperature control becomes rather important. By fermenting this beer quite cool (45 to 50F), the yeast will ferment incredibly clean and leave behind the signature crisp flavor profile. To accomplish this, a very cold room or a dedicated refrigerator and temperature controller is necessary. Don’t have dedicated equipment for fermenting a lager? No problem! The particular yeast strain in this recipe is very versatile and can still produce fine beers at much higher temperatures, even all the way up to 68F. The tradeoff is that the flavor profile will include some lightly fruity esters and the finish will not be quite as crisp as it would otherwise be, but it’s still a lager! In the instructions you will notice that it calls for a refrigerator for the 4 week lagering process, as that is the traditional method. Again, without a dedicated fridge, just let the beer rest in the same location as fermentation was conducted. Give this recipe a shot and come drift down the Danube with me!”
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