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Vienna Lager - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Vienna LagerVienna Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

112 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 112
Hads: 670
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 30.13%
Wants: 24
Gots: 201 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: on 12-24-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 112 | Hads: 670
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 7/28/15.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and fruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is smooth and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short white head that died down, leaving some patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Sweet aromas of toasted malts are present in the nose along with some hints of raisins.
T: The taste follows the smell and has flavors of toasted mats along with notes of sweetness and some hints of caramel and grassy hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer goes down easily and is pleasantly smooth. I wouldn't mind having another one of these.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: A bubble show at the outset and then a three inch head settles on the copper colored liquid; patchy lacing

Smell: Caramel, biscuit and a hint of tea

Taste: Caramel, up front, with bit of biscuit and tea flavors developing; caramel dominates throughout

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, very creamy, with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not a style I often seek out but this is a great example of what it should be

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

While many American brewers are happy to dip their toe into the traditional European styles, few actually claim the authentic taste, technique and recipe that garners such praise. But those laborious efforts of Devil's Backbone deserves it!

Their Vienna lager pours with a bright golden color with copper and garnet ribbons. One whiff and a juicy malt aroma exudes. Malty and toasted scents weave into a taste that's right smack-dab in the middle of creamy malt and sweet.

As the flavors open up, the middle palate shares the toastiness of fresh baking bread and toasty croissant. Malt sweetness is playfully volumnous but shies away from caramel; instead prefers the creamy cashew and elegant drinkabiity with herbal noble hop flavors of honeysuckle and tea-like earthiness to ground the taste.

Its delicate and malty-dry finish is medium-light and never challenges the palate. Its high drinkability and soothing texture develops into an herbal bitterness to finish that's only intense enough to offset the trailing malts, revealing a near minty flavor and feel in its wake.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub last weekend.

Pours a clear copper color with a single-finger white head and a ring or two of lacing on the way down. The nose brings some slight notes of bread and caramel and a faint hop presence. The flavor is mostly bread crust and a touch of caramel with light hops toward the finish, providing a nice bitterness. Light body and good carbonation. Another winning lager.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a becker a clear rich bronze with a well defined half finger white head that was pretty quick to fade.Aromas mainly of caramel doughy malt,flavors start out with caramel malt notes along with a whiskey-ish element to it,a decent smattering of spicy hops in the finish.A solid vienna lager not overly sweet with a nice amount of hops.A good beer for yard work and opening day Tiger baseball!

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Do they drink a bunch o' similarly-styled brews in good ol' Osterreich? No matter, this one pours a clear pale amber topped by a finger of quickly-dying white foam. The nose comprises tofee, buttered biscuits, and a dab o' honey. Honestly, this is sweeter than I imagined it would be. The taste is not as sweet, holding notes of light caramel, light honey, rye bread, and a bit o' citrus zest. The body is light, with a light carbonation and a decently smooth feel. Overall, a slightly above average Vienna, nicely drinkable but not much beyond that.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium to dark copper in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and some faint garnet red highlights. The beer has a three finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted malts, caramel malts, brown sugar, and grassy hops with a hint of dark fruit/raisin.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of toasted malts and caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of brown sugar and dark fruit/raisin sweetness. That is followed by a light flavor of grassy hops which contributes a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for long.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable and easy to drink, well balanced and hiding the alcohol well. Definitely worth grabbing and I'm looking forward to getting another one of these.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer is yellow and mostly clear with decent carbonation and a soft white head with decent retention that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Looks like a beer.

The aroma is sweet with pilsen malt and no vegetal or off notes in the aroma, a little weak but still quite good.

Beer is wet and medium to light in body without being watery. Strong malt presence props this beer up nicely. The finish isn't dry or grainy, no apparently acidity just a nice finish. I'd have this beer again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer is copper to amber colored with a half inch of head. The aroma brings lager character, yeast, a touch of fruit, sweet breads, grain. A tad sweet, countered to a small degree by a touch of bitterness. Pretty light in body with moderate carbonation. A nice complement to the bratwurst and sauerkraut.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The bottle backlog here in Chez Woody's kitchen is dwindling, slowly but surely. I am anxious to divest myself of them so that I may resume The CANQuest (TM) in earnest!

My aggro pour created a pseudo-cascade that formed a brief finger of tawny head that quickly exhausted itself and became wisps. Color was a deep-amber (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very sweet with notes of maple syrup and clover honey. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, very soft on the tongue. The taste was much like the nose - quite sweet with notes of syrup and honey along with molasses and brown sugar. Finish was semi-sweet, not quite as cloying as I might have expected. Once again, this was more of a curiosity for me than anything else and now my curiosity (and thirst) was satiated.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real nice amber body, hinting at red and crystal clear but makes barely an off white head of about a finger, creamy looking but doesn't stick around at all. There's very little carbonation to see hardly.

Nose is interesting. Grainy, with a butter brown sugar sense, sort of baked and cookie like but it's a very small nose and quiet closed. Sense that this is quite light in body coming.

Taste comes in fits and bursts. Light toasty aroma with some good mouthfeel depth. Lingering malt lightness mixes with faint brown sugar ever so slightly, even a little char. The depth is here, but the taste seems hammered down. Some warmth later brings faint sticky caramel, and maybe even some chocolate sense.

Overall it's actually pretty decent but sort of tuned down I think a little too much. THe sweetness comes a little more noticeable as it warms up. It's alright.

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Photo of Gavage
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: copper in color with a short 1/4" head that broke apart quickly.

Smell: caramel and some fruit sweetness came through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, soft fruity tones, some mild grass flavors, and a hint of bitterness makes up a nicely balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: superb sessionable beer as this went down quickly and the alcohol level is low. Great flavors make this one a must try while at the brewpub.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Copper body. Small off-white head. Settles very quickly to just a very thin collar.

Smell - Nutty malt. Some wheat. Slightly phenolic.

Taste - Phenolic character is much stronger. Nutty and wheaty. Sweet caramel in the back.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. A little low in carbonation.

Overall - Meh. I don't even think it's that good for a Vienna.

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Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Hot damn, I can see why this has garnered a couple GABF medals. It holds a rich, deep malt character over a crisp dry body. It's deeply delicious and satisfying, and also oh so drinkable. The barley brings a sweet caramel note, with toasty bread crust, smooth husk, and a hint of fruit juice in the finish. Great beer, go find it.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap in a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, vibrant, caramel color with no head. Aromas of subtle caramel and toasted grains, with some subtle floral highlights. Flavors are richly sweet forward, with roasted caramel on a toasty backbone, subtle floral highlights, and an underlying hops bitterness. Big and smooth in mouth, with a crisp and clean finish. Roasted and rich caramel aftertaste. Good beer.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured copper with a medium white cap, transparent body, crystal clear, the head fades in a New York minute leaving a copper liquid ithout any lacing or bubbles present

S: Nose is faint with a lightrly toasted note, some nuts thrown in for good measure and a very faint windex like note

T: Initial taste is a bit astringent leading into a combo of toasted grains, biscuits and nuts. A little toffee is detected but there is a underlying bitterness that tags along throughout the taste, really detected more upfront and mid taste. The finish is light, somewhat refreshing, more toastiness and nuts with a light bite

M: Light bodied as it should be, well carbonated for the style, no major complaints.

O: No major flaws, recommendation is a tighter, longer head. The nose could be stouter, a little more sweetness could happen and less bite.

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Photo of corby112
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, dark golden orange color with apricot colored edges and a one finger, frothy white head.  Nice retention, only slowly settling into a thick, lasting ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.

Floral aroma with grassy hops, straw and earth followed by pale malt, subtle spice and light fruit notes. Spicy, peppery hops with oil-y resins and pine along with bread, biscuit, grass, straw and subtle light fruit.  Faint hints of apple and pear presence in the nose.  An aromatic spicy hop presence elevates the aroma to above average.

Clean and crisp with a spicy hop bite that lingers over the yeast, pale malt and light fruit notes into a spicy, dry finish.  Slightly peppery with crisp earthy hops.  Somewhat floral with dank pine needle and grass followed by bread,  biscuit, pilsner malt and light fruit notes.  There's some nice apple and pear sweetness comlimenting the biscuit malts and crisp hop bitterness.  Nicely balanced and easy to drink.  Nothing too out of the ordinary but surprisingly flavorful and quite drinkable.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark gold beer with a small, slowly settling head and some patchy lacing. Aroma is bready and slightly toasty malt; some sweetness detected as well as a faintly floral note underneath.

Sweet and somewhat bready malt flavor with assertive caramel sweetness. Light floral hop presence emerging mostly in the swallow and finish; overall low bitterness.

Clean and crisp with a semi-dry finish. Medium to slightly light bodied with medium carbonation. Decently refreshing. Not bad at all but also not particularly exceptional; might be just a touch too sweet for my liking. Easy drinking.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/1/12
*From notes

A: Clean jack o'lantern orange. A good pour yields a clean 1.5 finger ivory white head. A thick white collar and decent lacing rim the glass.

S: Sweet malt and grain. Not overly earthy, and not the old world type you may think. As it warms, a touch of hops become evident.

T: Initially a bit sweet. The toasted golden malts and a touch of buttered toast arrive on the mid and wash to the back. A kiss of hops linger on the finish. Not quite as robust as Sam Adams Boston Lager or Great Lakes Eliot Ness, yet just as tasty.

M: Plenty of body and complexity to go around. Thick and creamy with proper carbonation.

O: Devil's Backbone has crafted a really killer session lager with this one. A bit lighter on the toast then some of the better known in-style, yet just as quaffable and easy to drink. I could see this being a great gateway beer for the macro crowd, and something I'll purchase again when it finally comes to Northern Virginia.

Another winner from Virginia. Easily recommended.

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some light malts. Taste is crisp, some toasted malts, a bit of grains, a refreshing and sessionable beer. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good brew.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden body with a slight amber hue with good head and carbonation that die quick with little lace on top of a light aroma, not much there, but pick up some bitter hops and touches of caramel sweetness. Light bodied, easy to drink, and hitting the spot, there's not much at all going on with this beer but it is enjoyable. Not as bitter or dry as I am accustomed to, a good balance is in here from the dry, floral hop notes to some sticky sweet caramel. As said, not too much going on here but not a water light beer either and I can't complain.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Belmont House of Smoke in Norfolk, VA.

This one pours a light amber brown, with a small head, and a small amount of lacing.

Smells like toasty and bready malt, nuts, and some slight grassy hoppiness.

This one tastes pretty similar to the way it smells, great deep maltiness without being heavy- toasted malt, bit of tobacco and grassiness, and a great nuttiness. Really drinkable, could see drinking a lot of these.

This is medium bodied, goes down easy, with a moderate level of carbonation, and a bready mouthfeel.

A really excellent Vienna lager, one of the best made in the US.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've heard great things about this brewery, and hopefully they deliver. Bottle from Chevy Chase.

A dark amber with a dense, white head that falls off to a ring rather quickly, leaving no lace, this looks decent. The nose is pretty excellent. A nice, rich, complex, bready Vienna malt character is present, with a firm noble hop bitterness, a little leafy and a little lemony. This smells extremely clean.

The palate opens with a blend of earthy hop bitterness, a little calcium/chalky mineral character and a toasty malt character. A little bit of burnt sugar, toffee, toast and bread are also present, all excellent flavors in great balance. What this beer does lack, however, is a little bit of body to carry these flavors, as it is a little watery on the mid-palate. Drying, mildly bitter (herbal, leafy) on the finish, with a light mineral character, this beer is light (too light) in body and has a medium-high level of carbonation. Solid stuff, definitely worthy, but I think the Sam Adams Boston Lager is a better alternative.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.62/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass.
4.9% ABV, "Boned on Aug 15 2012" printed on shoulder in black.

Thanks to Chaney for another brew sent in his ungodly large and generous box!

A - From the beer's incredibly designed, painted, illustrated label to the fact the bottle reads "boned on", it's already scoring points and the beer hasn't been poured yet! Once in the glass, a turbid pour froths up a dense off-white bone-colored head with specks of lace dotting the glass once it disappears. The beer is a brilliantly shimmering sienna color with little carbonation streaming through the crystal clear beer.

S - Devil's Backbone Vienna Lager has an amazing crispness about it's aroma that's so simple and intoxicating upon first whiff. Vienna malt creates a plethora of light complexities from wheat toast and flaky biscuits to woodiness that works well with the beer's hop notes of faint herbal and spice notes.

T - Sweet malt suggests caramel tones with a thick bready flavor following and toast notes finishing. Hop balance is certainly prevalent, but it's flavors are near absent. The taste is quite elegant and delicious but not as subtly deep as the aroma.

M - Soft creaminess washes over the tongue while sipping this medium-light bodied lager. Gentle carbonation keeps the feel lively with a touch of dryness on the finish that's balanced by the hops.

O - Devil's Backbone Vienna Lager is a malt-forward classic rendition of a great German style. Soft and smooth with a well-balanced malt sweetness, the beer is easy drinking, delightfully simple, but filled with understated complexities.

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Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.