Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Vienna Lager - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Vienna LagerVienna Lager

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

94 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 94
Hads: 623
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 10.64%
Wants: 24
Gots: 175 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 94 | Hads: 623
Photo of oldirtycaffrey
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%

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. (425 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (185 characters)

Photo of r44z
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%

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. (574 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (1,078 characters)

Photo of neenerzig
3.91/5  rDev +4%
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.

Eric (1,236 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (791 characters)

Photo of Foyle
2.94/5  rDev -21.8%
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. (612 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
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! (438 characters)

Photo of JamieDuncan
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (419 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
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. (1,036 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (824 characters)

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (897 characters)

Photo of donscott
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (280 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
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. (265 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (396 characters)

Photo of rdilauro
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An acquaintance brought this in for me to try. It poured like a think semi-brown light beer. Not much of a head to talk about.
No distinct aroma or bouquet.
The taste was very clean and crisp.. But beyond that, there was really nothing I could pick out from this beer.
Its one of those beers that you can drink, but really not thinking about it. (345 characters)

Photo of mpyle
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful amber color, crystal clear. Pours a nice white head, tight and creamy and with good retention.

Bit of a toasty malt character, some malty sweetness, but generally quite clean in the aroma.

Malty initial flavor, with some complexity as it moves to a nicely balanced finish. Overall the flavor doesn't blow me away as I remember the draft version having done.

Medium body and moderate+ carbonation. Probably drinking slightly warm which is amplifying the carbonation intensity.

A nice German style lager made in the Mid-Atlantic. I do remember draft versions being more malty and fantastic, so it is possible that the bottled version (or at least the one I got) isn't quite as good. (695 characters)

Photo of delta490
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- deep clear brown with a short lived creamy white head. Some lacing.

S- some caramel notes as well as fresh bread

T- light caramel sweetness with just a slight pleasant hop bitterness on the finish

M- very smooth and a nice feel on the palette

O-a very good Vienna lager (277 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (1,049 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (307 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The pours a very off-white creamy head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is a dark brownish amber that it is clear. The beer appears to be very clean and filtered but the carbonation seems to be lacking a little bit.

The beer smell is very malty and yeasty with very little hop bitterness. The malts have a sweet caramel smell and the yeast has a bready smell. However, the yeast dominates the nose. The hops do come out in the nose but barely.

The taste, on the other hand, is primarily dominated by the caramel malt taste with the bready yeast taste as an afterthought. There does not seem to be a a large hop taste but some hints of it do come out but not enough to balance out the malt taste.

The mouthfeel is very smooth with very little carbonation. The beer is medium bodied but on the heavier side.

Overall, a decent lager that isn't Sam Adams and worth getting just for some variety. (909 characters)

Photo of dwren89
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: tan-amber color with great clarity but surprisingly little head

Aroma: toasty, clean yeast flavor, slight nuttiness with a little bread aroma as well

Taste: balanced and very flavorful with great toast, bread, and nut notes that finish crisp and clean with some reenforcing bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: crisp, smooth, and very refreshing. Lower carbonation for a lager

Overall: Great balance, great flavor but missing something by not holding its head very well. This is one of those beers that should taste better than it does simply by looking better with a thick, fizzy head. One of those weird situations where appearance shouldn't, but kinda does, affect taste. However still a great beer overall!

3.5/5 (730 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
3.91/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap at my hotel in Washington DC. Pint glass brought up to the room

Devils backbone Vienna. Pours light rusty amber see thru some foam. Very humble nose only malt. Taste is a sweet solid caramel malt firm carbonation and slight hop to close. Crisp finish. Nutty hints. Quite good. 4 35 4 425 4 (304 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

single from the Caboose, Ashland

a: served in my mother earth cylinder, this beer is a clear caramel amber in color, sporting a pale head that falls back to a thin coating

s: the nose features a toasted lager grain sweetness, touches of honey, mild hops of a grassy nature

m: carbonation perhaps a little low for the style - somewhere on the lower end of the medium range, with a body just under medium carrying a bit of sugary weight

t: toasty vienna lager malts give a somewhat sweet, grainy bread flavor, hops fairly mild with a grassy presence, finishing with lingering grain flavor and a delicate bitterness

o: a nice, simple vienna lager, a little sweet and undercarbonated for my personal taste, but one I’ll likely go back to as it’s strong overall (765 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted this at the Ebbitt Grill BrewHaHa during DC Beer Week 2013; this is a well made lager that balances malt and a sufficient amount of hops. Good balance and decent body makes for a superb sessional beer. Hope to grab one in a more relaxing setting next time. (263 characters)

Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.