Sierra Nevada Vienna Style Lager - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Vienna Style LagerSierra Nevada Vienna Style Lager

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very good

108 Reviews
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Reviews: 108
Hads: 585
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 8.27%
Wants: 16
Gots: 61 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ThreeWiseMen on 06-24-2009

Vienna-style beers are among the world’s first light-colored lagers and were on the brink of extinction until American craft brewers helped revive the style; it’s a good thing they did. These delicate and extremely balanced amber beers rely on semi-sweet and bready malt flavors but walk a fine line with both malt and hop character shouldering equal weight. Our take on the style features whole-cone European hops, which add to the dry finish.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 108 | Hads: 585
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, golden, amber color with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, imparting aromas of freshly baked French baguettes or English muffins. There are also aromas of caramel, black pepper, and a touch of floral, piney, citrusy, hops. Really, really, delicious!

Taste: Wow! Delicious! Strong flavors of bready, toasted malt, up front, followed by caramel-like sweetness, black pepper, and a touch of floral, piney, citrusy, hops. Really, really, delicious! Exceptional, actually!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, crisp and very effervescent as there is a lot of carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.3%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Wow! What an exceptional American-version of a Vienna lager! One of the best I’ve had in fact. It’s definitely up there with Devil’s Backbone’s Vienna Lager, which is my favorite American-made Vienna Lager. It’s Malty, slightly sweet and beautifully balanced with floral, piney, hops. Sierra Nevada’s knocked this one out of the park! (1,238 characters)

Photo of cyclonece09
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured into a mug. Beer is red orange with a small white head. Smells of sweet grain, little fruit. Tastes of sweet caramelized grain, very slight berry. Beer is light bodied and very easy drinking. Overall an above average beer. (235 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada Vienna Vienna-style Lager, SNBC, Chico, CA. Alc. 5.2% by Vol. Final beer from the fall seasonal sampler pack. I kind of wish, though, they hadn't included SNPA, and tossed in something else, like their Stout. Hasn't everyone had SNPA by now?

clear, bright amber coloring, fierce carbonation, brief white head.

aroma: sweet, grainy malts, mild hop bitterness. slight fruitiness.

taste: crisp, clean, lean and sweet. Just like you'd expect from any Vienna. Noble hops appear on the palate to contribute to balance and do a little waltz on the tongue. Nice and crisp tingle keeps the sweetness to a manageable minimum. Lean-bodied and extra-drinkable. No doubt about, it's another classic rendition.

Let's gander at that label copy: "This amber lager is one of the world's most balanced beer styles. Nuanced flavors drift from semi-sweet, bready malt notes to a floral and spicy kick from whole cone European hops." And more: "Vienna style lairs were on the brink of extinction until American craft brewers helped revive the style. It's a good thing they did. These delicate beers lean on light and bready malt flavors, but walk a fine, balanced line with whole-cone European hops contributing a dry finish." (1,224 characters)

Photo of bgillespie
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light clear orangey brown with a nice head.

Smell: Sweet bready malt.

Taste: Similar to the smell, a sweet bread malt. Slight hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, perfectly carbonated.

Overall: One of the few Vienna beers that I have had. The sweet bready taste is nice and different than a normal beer. It grows on you as you drink it. (380 characters)

Photo of atr2605
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-pours an orange/copper color with an off white head with nice retention
S-very bready/biscuity with some sweetness following, low/no hop aroma
T-more biscuit, toasted malt, finishes slighty sweet and dry with nice hop bitterness balancing it all out and is almost a bit herbal
M-medium bodied and smooth, fair amount of carbonation
O-very delicious beer. wish I had tried it sooner (383 characters)

Photo of Nugganooch
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the Fall pack to my SN Balloon glass
Notes taken on 10/08/14

A: Soft amber body that takes on more of a hazel brown color with some light hazing throughout. Another thick and rocky billow of khaki stuff forms on top. Fairly signature of Sierra Nevada I would say. Good amount of hang time before settling down to a few chunks that adhere to the glass as the drink progresses.

S: The smell is big in the toasty bread and biscuit department. Earthy with a rich wholesome nuttiness. Its a dense and crusty bread likeness with a trailer of some flowers and spice hops. Very warm and inviting to me.

T: Liquid bread. Malty and delicious. The fresh baked whole grain stuff with that earthy toast nuttiness and some light floral kitchen spices coming through. Frothy and smooth with a great balance. I get a touch of stone fruit ester action and light bitters drying out the finish. No alcohol or harsh elements. Purely the tasty stuff.

M: Frothy and smooth with a lightly moderate filling body on account of all the malt heartiness. Bit of drying lift in the finish. Crisp and clean through and through.

D: Superb drinkability in that this has a ton of malt flavor with a great body to balance. Seems fairly traditional to the style and rather well done to me. Not sure what the purists think but I enjoyed this quite a bit and would take it over a Sam Adams any day of the week. (1,422 characters)

Photo of fank2788
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass
Nice and clear orange copper in color with a bit of a frothy head that provides a bit of lace. The aroma is a bit thin but does seem right for the style. I get biscuity grain with a good bit of sweet caramel there is also a dose of grassy flowery hops as well. The caramel and malt are the focus in the taste however a good deal of bitterness is in there as well without much in the way of specific hop flavor that is. The finish is pretty neutral as the sweet character of the beer is only just surpassed by the bitterness to leave just a slight hop tingle on the tongue. Overall this is good but maybe not as good as some others in the style. (683 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright shiny crystal clear copper body, topped by a fist plus of billowing oatmeal-white foam. Drips of lace coat the glass.

Inviting fresh bread aroma.

Sweet but not too sweet caramel foundation. Floral Euro hops. Extremely well balanced.

Light smooth mouthfeel with a little lean toward medium.

An excellent take on a classic style. (339 characters)

Photo of HoppyBastard
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, packaged date 7-22-14.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear copper color with one-finger off-white head that dissipated quickly leavibg a ring of small bubbles around the glass, minimal lacing, medium carbonation.

SMELL: flowery, sweet caramel, bread and some spice.

TASTE: the taste follows the nose, initially sweet caramel then a mild, spicy, hop profile also the taste of bread.

PALATE: medium carbonation, somewhat creamy.

OVERALL: this is my favorite from the SN Fall Pack, I'm not a huge lager guy but I would definitely buy this again, SN can do no wrong, even beer styles I do not normally like are good when they make it (see Black IPA), SN brew masters are like rock stars of the craft beer world. (763 characters)

Photo of UrbanCaveman
2.52/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a nonic pint at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Poured the color of clean synthetic motor oil, and when pooled into the glass, took on the color of the good, home-raised honey a friend of mine gets from his hives in northern Kentucky. Minimal head formed, and died quickly into a patchy cap and thick ring. Bubbles stream from the bottom of the glass like they're white girls heading for a Starbucks that just announced Pumpkin Spice Lattes at 50% off.

S: Lightly cinnamon-sugared toast with some caramel-covered toffees on the plate.

T: The flavors open with a lightly roasted caramel toffee toast, as promised by the aroma. This is quickly subsumed by a piney-earthy hop flood with hints of citrus underlying it, which plows into the forefront with all the grace and subtlety of a tanker truck loaded with nitroglycerine slamming into three school buses full of screaming children and a gunpowder factory. That hop barrage takes over completely through the middle, and lingers long after the finish, which is a severe disappointment to this malthead.

M: Very light, but saved from feeling watery by the lively carbonation.

O: I wanted to like this beer. I really did. I love Vienna lagers, to the point that the GLBC Eliot Ness is one of my favorite beers of all time. But when you take a Vienna lager and do your utmost to transform it into an Americanized hop monster version, you lose me completely. (1,434 characters)

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.25/5  rDev -16%

A- Looks exactly the style. Had a great big 2 and a half finger head that died to a nice rim. Light amounts of lacing. Body of the beer is a bright copper color. Pretty clear.

S- Toasted caramel malts. Toffee and caramel sweetness. Honey. Light fruitiness. Biscuity. Hop spice for sure. Light black pepper. I mean light on the peppery note.

T- Sweet, but not cloying. Toffee, caramel, and honey are the main flavors on the tongue. There is somewhat of a grainy quality here. Biscuty notes and a slight hop spice. The bitterness is higher on this one than in the Sam Adams Boston Lager. It's piney and earthy hop bitterness. I'd have to guess the bitterness is in the mid 30 IBU range. Biscuits and light black pepper is noticeable. The fruitiness is there, but the fruits are not identifiable. I notice light rosted coffee at the end as well. It's much spicer and hoppier than the Boston Lager.

M- Medium feel to it. It's crisp, clean, and it does refresh. Dries farily quickly. It is grainy with sweet toffee at first, then changes to a coffee type note before it dies.

Overall it's a fine beer. I wouldn't rush to the store to buy a 6 or 12 pack if that was available for this beer. But it's just slightly above average. The hop profile throws me off a little in something this malty. But that's just me. I'd say get the Fall seasonal pack of Sierra Nevada beers if you still see it in your area and give it a try for yourself. (1,433 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DATE TASTED: October 12, 2014... GLASSWARE: Weihenstaphaner pokal... OCCASION: Happy sixth birthday, Michael... APPEARANCE: handsome dark amber body; reasonably effervescent; thick, rich three-finger off-white head that settles into articulate Cyrillic arcs and arches ... AROMA: slightly smoky; superior caramel malts; some pepper and peppercorn; some oats and dough late--a burnt toffee ending... PALATE: medium-bodied, slightly creamy; slightly crunchy, with clean finish....TASTE:sweet, tempered toffee malts meld with spirited hops--bright and slightly floral--to develop a symbiotic sip... OVERALL: a crisp, malty/hoppy lager that delivers a sweet toffee reward; a good appreciation of the genre.... (706 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a bright, clear, copper body with a white head. Smells of fresh whole grain bread, grain, and grape nuts. Tastes of whole wheat bread with honey, caramel, toasty grains. Mouthfeel is moderate with a light stickiness and a prickly carbonation. Really good example of a Vienna lager. (297 characters)

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%

Appearance (4) : Three fingered head, creamy appearance, leaves little swabs of lacing on the glass. Body is a light copper/amber appearance. Opacity is about 40%.

Aroma (4) : Barley malts, grain, herb, oats, caramel, and some very faint oily hop. Very fresh and aromatic. Bouquet is medium strength.

Taste (3.75) : It's got a good malt and hop balance. At the end the malt wins out which is my preference anyways. It's got some slight bitter bite at the front, with a caramel malty body, with barley heads, corn, cereal, and wheat. Right at about 80% to the finish the hop bite comes in and packs a quick jawbreaker, but then the malt floats up again and finishes out the taste profile.

Mouthfeel (3.5) : Incredibly carbonated, buzzes on the tongue. I think if it weren't for the carbonation, it wouldn't be as enjoyable as the malt is pretty strong and so is the hop. The finish is a little dry, and just slightly pasty.

Overall (3.79) : This Vienna is a pretty decent beer. I'm not gonna say it's the best beer I've ever had, or even the best Vienna (that goes to Sam Adams' Boston Lager), but it is a good beer. On tap I'm sure this beer would kill. It's a good combination of malt and hop and though I wouldn't go out of my way to buy a six pack, I would have it again in a single. (1,293 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass.

A- Poured a clear orange color with visible carbonation and off-white frothy head that left some splashy lace.

S- Big toasted malt, bready notes, sweet fruity notes, and floral hops . Very strong aroma for the style and well-balanced between the malty and hoppy notes.

T- Big bready notes, toasted malt, sweet fruity notes, and a kiss of floral hops.

M- Very smooth, medium body, soft carbonation, and dry.

O- This is one of the best vienna lagers I have ever had. Very well balanced, great aroma, and a very smooth mouthfeel. (583 characters)

Photo of BubbleChamber
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

From bottles dated 07/08/14, part of 'Fall Pack Seasonal Sampler' 12-pack: A pleasantly sweet malty lager with notes of lightly toasted grain and dark honey. The sweetness is balanced by a crispness and rather mild bitterness from the hops. If I recall correctly, the hop presence is lighter here than in Great Lakes' Eliot Ness Vienna Lager, which is one of my favourite brews. A floweriness comes to the fore in the finish. Carbonation seems nearly perfect, if erring on the low side. A superb accompaniment to salted pretzels, with potent mustard and cheese. —Reviewed 26 October 2014 (595 characters)

Photo of Chiefy770
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

12 Fl. Oz. Bottle
Bottled on June 18th, 2014
Reviewed on October 25th, 2014
Served in a Nonic Pint Glass

Crystal clear copper / light amber body. Big foamy head collapsed and left a good amount of sticky white lacing.

Earthy grains. Sweet bread. Noteworthy hit of citric hops.

Bready malts. Subtle notes of sweet grains. The hops broke through pretty well with a cross between citric notes of grapefruit and floral notes which led to a dry finish. Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Not a bad take on the style but I found it to be pretty mediocre. Sierra Nevada did a good job hopping up this brew but this is a style I prefer to lean towards the malts rather than the hops. Definitely not a waste of my time or money but not something I would run out and buy again. (798 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%

A-Clear amber orange, not much carbonation and a one finger head that doesn't last long.

S-Malt, caramel, not much else.

T-Similar to the nose; malt and caramel. Maybe a little grass but really lacking in a lot of flavors.

M-Medium to lighter in body, not much carbonation.

O-A bland an boring beer, not much in the way of flavor. But there is nothing bad about it. (370 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean copper with pleasing head of off-white foam. Thin and wispy lace.

Nose is caramel malts, toasty grains, and definitely a touch of citrus hops. Not bad.

Taste is toasty and malty up front, with a nice citrus hop zing at the finish. Light, balanced, and very well done. Enjoyable. (294 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect pint glass. Liquid comes out a nice golden amber color. After an aggressive pour the bubbles rise up quickly producing a thick head about two and a half fingers thick, mostly small bubbles. Head goes away after a little bit, not much in the way of lacing. The golden liquid glows a bit if you hold it up to the light, absolutely perfect clarity. Nice looking beer.

Smell is really good, smells of nice hearty somewhat sweet bread with a solid crust. Almost as if there's a modest honey glaze on the malts, caramel and pale if I had to guess, maybe even honey. European hops provide a nice spiciness in addition to some solid floral notes. Pick up the lager yeast at the end. Really well balanced.

Taste is a slight step up from the smell, it really has a lot of flavor. All of the above mentioned malts seem to make their way through in the flavor here, sweet, and even a little buttery. Picture a hearty slice of freshly baked then toasted hearty homemade bread with butter and then sprinkled with honey. After that they European hops provide a nice earthy, spicy, almost herbal flavor. Again this is perfectly balanced, both bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel is probably the best part. Nice medium body so it's not too light or heavy, yet it possesses a nice full flavor. While it's buttery, it's still clean and pretty smooth. Carbonation isn't too strong, but I wouldn't describe it as modest either, it's perfect for the style. Hits both the sweet and bitter parts of your tongue in a big way and balanced perfectly. Starts sweet yet gets a nice buttery and spicy (somewhat) dry finish. Crazy drinkable, could be a year round beer for anyone who likes beer. Really solid brew. (1,746 characters)

Photo of corywalston
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A. Easy poor ¼ inch white head. No carbonation. Color is a beautiful gold/orange. 4
S. Alcohol, citrus, rice? 3.25
T. Taste like the bottle says very bready, light orange peel. After taste is thick and skunky in the best way. 4.25
M. Crisp and slightly chewy, dry. 3.5
O. Pretty good I’m not a big fan of the style of beer but still pretty good. Give it a try. Hard ass buzz for 5.3% ABV. 3.75 (396 characters)

Photo of curasowa
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, copper color with one finger of fluffy white head that fades with chunky lacing.

Aroma: Bready malt, some faint graininess and floral hops.

Taste: Bready malt up front, slightly sweet with a dry, resinous hop bitterness building, becoming quite pronounced on the finish. Also some faint nuttiness and a little spice on the back end.

The Rest: Great looking, excellent body and carbonation, this is a stand-out lager. (441 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, amber, nice head. Aroma is roasted malt, some grassy-like hops. Taste is much like the smell, some sweetness from the roasty malt, and a very nice hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is very crisp, almost full-bodied, not like a normal lager. Overall, I really liked this beer a lot. It is a very refeshing and well-crafted beer - but that's what you've come to expect from Sierra Nevada, and they deliver nicely. (418 characters)

Photo of BWED
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle into craft tumbler.

A- Light amber in color, with great clarity. Off white head is foamy and holds at one finger.

S- Mild toast, even more mild malt sweetness, and a slight noble hop sting.

T- Toasty malt again, and the sweetness is really mild. The hop bitterness balances the sweetness out, and is a bit spicy.

M- Great balance of malt and hop characters. The malt has a toasty bite with a mild sweetness, and the hops are mildly spicy and dry. Body is medium light. Finish is crisp and dry.

O- Nice beer. Really drinkable, crisp and flavorful. Love the balance of toast, sweet, and hop bitterness. (621 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Much darker in hue than your average lager this displays a proud foamy cap. The nose is a touch bitter and piney but it leads with a biscuity, bready and tea leaf maltiness. The flavor is malty at the front end with a finish of sweet caramel malt. The front presents a grain, biscuit and bready malt with an almost amber like toast. It finishes rather dry and bready. (367 characters)

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Sierra Nevada Vienna Style Lager from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.