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Vienna Lager - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Vienna LagerVienna Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

105 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 105
Hads: 649
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 30.93%
Wants: 23
Gots: 187 | FT: 4
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: 105 | Hads: 649
Photo of mdcrouser
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Amber sludgy brown, with no head.

Flat, smells a bit like a homebrew - some malts, little else.

Malty like a big loaf of brown bread, restful on the tongue, mildly hoppy.

Nice in the mouth, sticky and even verging on chewy.

Decent, nothing bad about it, but nothing exceptional either.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this served to me on tap at harpoon Larry's. Dark amber with no head to speak up, minimal lacing. Smell is faint wheat and malts. The taste was slightly floral, with some hoppiness on the tongue, but it didn't hit me with the same bang that Eliot Ness did a while back. The mouthfeel is pretty solid, with medium body and a decent bite on the back of the tongue. Overall, this is a slightly above average Vienna.

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Photo of Chessmaster
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into lager glass

A: Clear, attractive, orange-red appearance, crystal clear. White head disappeared almost instantly leaving no head at all on top - bad. Constant stream of bubbles rising through liquid

S: Caramel, maybe a little fruity, some bready notes. Pleasant

T: Clean, crisp, a little biscuity/bready, malty/caramel

M: Medium bodied

O: The smell and taste are pleasant and this beer is quite drinkable. A little lacking in the appearance but otherwise good.

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Photo of Pantalones
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I've had this one before in bottles, but had it on tap for the first time at a local restaurant when visiting back home for the weekend.

Served in a pint glass, with the head already mostly gone by the time it reached the table (just a little bit sitting on top, which faded away entirely not too much later.) Same nice caramely brown color that I remembered from the six-pack I picked up a while back, clear. Smell was mostly "beery" but just slightly sweet, though considering that food was around I may not have been able to pick up on everything.

Tastes nice. Bready, a little caramel-y, sweet but not TOO sweet, and with a hint of another flavor in there now and then (I'm assuming this is coming from the hops used.) My sister commented that it reminded her of sourdough bread, and actually I can kinda see that comparison now that I think about it. Seemed a bit different on tap than in bottled form (I suspect that maybe the bottles were fresher, considering that I bought them within 10-15 miles of the brewery and had them within a month of the bottling date!), but the caramel-like flavors I remembered were definitely there. Went together nicely with the fish & chips I ate, no odd changes in the flavor at all whether I drank after a bite of fish, a mozzarella stick, some fries, or some salad. The sweetness was a bit less pronounced as the meal went on, but the beer was still good the whole time. Smooth and very drinkable, I could've easily had a second one afterward if not for the fact that I didn't want to run up the bill too much since someone else was paying, heh.

Overall, this is good stuff whether on its own or with a meal, and seems to pair better with food compared to the other Vienna-style lagers I've tried so far--I'm not sure what makes the difference there (maybe the particular variety of hops used in each one, or maybe my taste buds just like these kinds of beers more with fish & chips rather than with spicy chicken tacos?), but it was definitely appreciated at lunch today.


Had a couple pints on tap 5/13/15 -- still very tasty (obviously or I wouldn't have gotten two!) This time I would describe the flavor as toasty with a bit of an almost-caramel-like sweetness, but leaning more in the "toasty and a little sweet" direction rather than seeming really caramel-like. Also got just a hint of something that seemed almost minty on the end occasionally, which I'm guessing is hops-related. I think I was picking up on a bit of this flavor when I had the bottled version months and months ago, too, now that I think about it.

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Photo of wac9
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

wife always picks a good beer on her away from fl and she know nothing about beer , just a copper color beer thats a crisp taste but also some hits of hops taste ans carmel smmoth so drink another

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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 gopens44
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Can't believe I hadn't ever reviewed this! Great color and light beige head. Smells lightly of caramel and crisp yet not overpowering hops. Sweet caramel pops just before a bitter taming from the hops comes around. Smooth and slightly light mouthfeel. Finish is clean, no cloying sweetness in aftertaste. Great all around drinker for almost any situation and fantastic gateway beer for your macro friends.

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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 dmberger
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Thought that this was an ok beer. Nothing too much exciting about it--malt sweetness is about it, with muted flavors otherwise. However, it doesn't offend either, which is better than many beers. Very drinkable, with a low ABV, and if I ran into again, I would consider it. There is a place in the world for good, yet boring, beer.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3/5  rDev -20%

I am on a work trip in VA, so I am devoted to drinking as many hard to find breweries as I can. Went to the Tap Room in Reston, and Shawn the bartender recommended this - he was reaching as the Loose Cannon was all gone. Anyways, had this since it was a low ABV. Need to be responsible. Especially since the next 3 beers may not be as kind. Anyways this beer was a little wispy. No head, golden amber color. Not a hop to be found. Crispy and wet. I will give it that. If there was a fire, I would immediately think to get this beer. My dislike has more to do with the vienna Lager style I think. This was just ok in my mind

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Photo of kellyej
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

A: Amber/golden color, wispy/weak head, clear
S: Oat dust, biscuit, honey, grass
M: Smooth, little coating
T: Clean, balanced beer with notes of grass, honey, wheat bread crust, and toasty-ness

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Photo of oldirtycaffrey
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

I wasn't terribly impressed with this beer. It pours a dark amber with a 1 " foamy head that dissipates VERY quickly to nothing. No real lacing left along the glass as you finish. Smell is malty, with a touch of sweetness, but nothing really stands out apart from the malt. There are slight hints of caramel, but overall the taste is VERY thin. Just not much to it. By the end of one, I was ready to try something else.

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Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of the better examples of the style I have had in a while. Pours deep copper with nice carbonation and decent head. Nice and malty I would get a six pack of this if I saw it again.

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Photo of r44z
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

A very nice representation of the Vienna lager style from an up-and-coming Virginia brewery. Slightly amber in color, with a pleasant, mild malty aroma. Medium-bodied, not overly carbonated, and relatively smooth on the palate. Flavor is not extremely complex, but pleasantly sweet, with a slight hint of toffee, bread, and dried fruits.

Not a lot of hops detected, but finishes with just enough bitterness to balance out the predominantly sweet, malty flavors. Overall, a very drinkable beer that most will likely find to be non-objectionable, but not a revelation.

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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 neenerzig
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was recently on a vacation with my wife and her family visiting some of her extended family in Virginia and there was a Wegman's located close to the hotel we were staying at so I went in there and grabbed some singles of beers from Virginia breweries that I have never seen in Cleveland before (or anywhere else that comes to mind for that matter). This is one of the ones I grabbed. Poured into my pilsner glass, this beer pours a clear, medium amber color with a nice looking white head that is initially at least 2/3 of an inch thick when poured. it doesn't want to stick around long at all unfortunately, opting to quickly settle to a medium sized ring lining the inside of the glass. Not much lacing at all either unfortunately. Aromas of come caramel malty sweetness along with some other grains, perhaps including oats. Has a somewhat sweet caramel malt presence upfront that gives ways to hints of raisin and some oats. Also has a bit of a peppery aspect that lingers and that is followed my a mild hint of hops on the very back end of the tongue. Has a crisp, slightly prickly, and smooth, light to medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in the was good beer should be. Certainly worth a try.


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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 Foyle
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a thin ½” sudsy head that recedes quickly. Light lacing. Color is reddish amber and mostly clear. Significant carbonation bubbles streaming.
Aroma: Bready malt dominates with a bit of hop aroma as well as yeast. The bread aroma smells like fresh whole wheat.
Mouthfeel: Mostly watery and crisp with a dry finish.
Flavor: Liquid bread is the correct description of this beer. The bready malt is the primary flavor but adds some caramel malt sweetness and a nice hop bite for balance. There is a ’burnt toast’ bitterness that seems to be common in Vienna style lagers that I have tried.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Nice amber color. Head does not last long with this one at all.

Smell - Straw, oaty, and malts for sure.

Taste - Ok this is where it shines. Lightly sweet and very crisp. Nice malt build as well. Oaty and a great example of the Vienna Lager

Mouthfeel - Crisp, simple, lightly sweet, but very refreshing and smooth.

Overall - I am NOT a Vienna Lager fan, but this beer is quite tasty. Glad I got it as an extra in a trade!

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Photo of JamieDuncan
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My beer guru sent this one to me to try. It was a great pour, carbonated but and overly sized head, the head stuck around and clung to the glass. I normally do not care for a clear beer but liked the appearance of this one. Nothing interesting in smell. Decent tasting beer, especially from someone who is typically "meh" about Lager. Overall a pretty good beer that I enjoyed. One I would enjoy again but not seek out.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. The head's about a finger high, eggshell in shade, and with poor retention. Almost no lacing left behind. Not a very aesthetically impressive offering, truth be told.

S: Toasty, nutty, caramel-y - all the things I expect from the style, really. There's even a pleasant stone fruit note hanging around there. It doesn't amaze, but it hits all the right notes decently.

T: Much like the nose, there's a slight opening fruitiness (like apricot) that I'd consider the highlight of the beer. Toasted caramel malts are the dominant note from the middle all the way to the aftertaste. I could use a touch more bitterness to take this one to the next level, though.

M: The carbonation seems to be fairly biting, even for the style. It's a touch on the sweet and heavy side, which helps counter the powerful fizz to a certain extent.

O: Not bad. It's a respectable lager lacking in pizzazz. I wouldn't buy again, but it would make a solid go-to in a place with mostly just BMC.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz, "boxed on Dec 28 2013". Rec'd as an extra from Matt out of Virginia; thanks! Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 3/2/2014.

Review #464.

App- Clear amber body, reminds me of a nice Märzen, one finger white head with good retention, dissipates into a thin film and thickened white collar; lots of lacing.

Smell- Cornflakes, bread, a touch of caramel.

Flavour- Caramel, biscuits, honey, cornflakes. Noble hop character brings a slight floral and earthy contribution.

Mouthfeel- Thin in body but not watery at all, pleasant drinking, not terribly bitter but just enough to balance out the malt sweetness. Nice balanced floral and bready dry finish.

Overall- Nice take on the Vienna Lager style. I maintain that GLBC's Elliot Ness is a better representation, but this is certainly a very solid take on the style.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear, medium-amber color. Head was off-white & thin, faded quickly, and left no discernible lacing.

S: Wheat bread, cut grass, and a hint of pear.

T: The initial flavors are bready and sweet malts, but those vanish quickly to be replaced with mildly tart fruit (for half a second) and then a bitter finish with a mixture of grassiness, fatty acid, and a hint of phenol; late in the finish, the bitterness fades but the grain notes poke through again.

M: Moist, but with a nice kick of prickly carbonation before a slightly dry finish.

O: A friend told me about stumbling upon the Devil's Backbone brewery/restaurant during his travels, and spoke well of it. When I saw a bottle of this beer I had to try it. I'm not the world's top lager fan, and this one didn't convert me, but it's a very drinkable (i.e. sessionable) beer, and for the price I'll be buying a few more to pair with meals.

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Photo of donscott
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is probably one of my favorite lighter colored beer. I have introduced it to several friends and family. They all do a double take at the beer and a mental note for their shopping list. Devils Backbone for me came out of no where and have been producing a great product.

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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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Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.