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HogsBack Vintage Lager - HogsBack Brewing Company

HogsBack Vintage LagerHogsBack Vintage Lager

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46 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 15.2%

Brewed by:
HogsBack Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Euro Pale Lager |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our inaugural and flagship style is a European-inspired lager with superior flavour derived from using only premium ingredients combining three malt types (2-Row, Munich and Vienna), unique Saaz hops and German lager yeast. The result is a crisp, flavourful lager experience.

18 IBU

(Beer added by: Viggo on 04-05-2010)
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 24 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep golden color ale with a large foamy head with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of lightly sweet malt with some clean cereal notes. Taste is quite refreshing with great notes of cereal with some lightly sweet undertones. Body is quite full for taste with great carbonation. Great drinkable lager and a whole lot better then expected.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 04:09:50 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of ppoitras


3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a dense 3/4" off-white head over the clear golden brew. Head recedes gradually, with slow-falling lace. Aroma is sedate to the point of non-existent.

Taste starts a bit adjunct-sweet, peek of citrus in the middle, lightly bitter through the close. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and drinkability is easy. Approachable, easy drinking, but kind of boring.

Serving type: can

11-16-2013 21:03:09 | More by ppoitras
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

HogsBack Vintage Lager actually has a vintage look to it. Its golden colour appears sun-faded and lightly tarnished by a dusty, worn-down complexion. Clarity is preserved despite the light haze but the head is in complete disrepair; its thin, tattered string is found only along the perimeter and not anywhere on the glass.

The aroma has enough nutty-sweetness to lure a chipmunk, or it would, if not for the cloud of grassy hop pungency that surrounds it. Modest but well-proportioned, this bouquet features a bit of both worlds - the herbal musk of hops and the bready-sweet smell of malt. Taken in together, the combination is delightful (at least to a beer drinker).

The distinctive flavour of Munich and Vienna malts is very difficult to describe. Lightly-sweet and somewhat 'biscuity', it is notably rich tasting despite observing the simplicity emblematic of most European lagers. This particular example showcases all that rich malt flavour as well as minor hints of marmalade, pecan and hazelnut. The finish is dry and abrupt.

While the beer is in fact lagered, it has retained a fair bit of distortion in the form of pungent grassiness and nutty biscuitiness. With an ample amount of both bitter and sweet elements to go around, I think it's accurate to call the beer 'balanced'. It's certainly quaffable (and my guess is copious amounts wouldn't be a problem).

Vienna Lagers showcase the complexity of simplicity. Think of Islamic art: entire buildings are decorated in variegated, circuitous designs that, really, are nothing but basic geometrical shapes. But these patterns, simple though they are, when repeated and weaved into one another become awing and intricate. Similarly, a well-brewed lager can synthesize simple, humble parts to symbolize the transcendence and divinity of nature.

Serving type: can

08-20-2012 16:09:10 | More by biegaman
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle

Appearance - Clear gold/copper colour with an above average size frothy/fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is a faint amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - breads/grains, toffee, hops, a grassiness

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it has a slightly creamy feel to it. I can taste breads/grains, malts, and a fair amount of toffee flavour. I can also pick up on some hops and a bit of a grassiness. It shifts from a malty/toffee flavour to a slightly bitter hoppy dry aftertaste.

Drink - I'm pleasantly surprised with this one. I had low expectations but it turned out to be a decent brew. Not sure I'd seek it out again, but I'm happy I tried it. It could possibly work well as a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 23:49:43 | More by spinrsx
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a golden/yellow colour with a soapy two finger head and medium carbonation. Bright.

S - Grainy, mild noble hop, and some lemony/soapy characteristics.

T - Most of the same but the graininess comes out the least which is sort of refreshing for a lager of this type. I wouldn't dare call this a Vienna Lager but it's good for a macro style lager.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation and a smooth, quasi-crisp finish.

D - I could have a few of these in a night but that soapy aspect could hold this back. Otherwise a decent lager release from a new Ottawa area brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 04:10:39 | More by tbeckett
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour produces a light golden body and a finger of rocky white head. Multiple strings of carbonation bubble up the glass attractively. Some slippery lace spots are left behind after each sip.

The clean nose has notes of lemon balm with a backing of pale malt. Its certainly light and uncomplicated, but makes for a pleasant lager profile. With some warming a hint of toastiness begins to develop.

First impression of the flavour is that this stuff really isn't that bad, but doesn't wow me either. Its certainly a cut above the mainstream brands, but it also fails to wow me like the lagers from Great Lakes (and Elliot Ness in particular). The problem is that while the flavour profile is pleasant, its also very light and fleeting. Fresh squeezed lemon, pale malt, a peppery bit in the tail is all very good, but is just a little washed out and underplayed.

I can't make my mind up about the body. In some respects its very appropriate for a lager, yet its also a little too prickly, and I wouldn't mind a little more heft to it. Again, the comparison to Great Lakes doesn't do this one any favours - once you know what something could potentially be it changes the way you regard a style.

Overall, not a bad brew, and certainly something I'd drink at a party. For use of a better phrase, it would also make a great lawnmower or patio beer. However, I really feel it could do with a little more punch to its flavour than it currently has. I can see how this may be unpopular with the mass demographic, and I understand why the brewery went the way it did, which is too bad, as there's a lot of potential here for a superior lager.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2010 15:43:53 | More by bobsy
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a pint glass. G1612 dating, thus a July 16, 2012 canning date.

Golden orange with a finger and change of white head. Light lace and modest retention. Cereal and grainy nose, pronounced leafy/herbal Noble hopping as well. Lager yeast character comes through, very mild sweetness. More malt on the palate, grainy and bready. Lighter Noble hopping than the nose suggested, but it's still there. Hint of metal and mild bitterness in the finish. Light body, medium carbonation. Not hard to drink, but that might be due more to the fact that it's pretty dang hot outside.

Serving type: can

09-06-2012 03:52:43 | More by liamt07
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A random can procured from the local LCBO.

A - Pours a pale golden colour, slightly hazy, thumb of head with decent retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Lots of grains and grassy notes, hint of caramel and some buttered bread on the finish.

T - Flavour is much like the nose with the bready malts dominating alongside the grassy hops. The buttery notes and the grassy hop flavours continue to linger.

M - Lighter bodied, thin and watery and a touch of dryness on the finish.

O - Tasty but the mouthfeel was a tad thin, and the flavours were a bit mild as well. It fits the profile, but could certainly use a bit of a boost.

Serving type: can

11-03-2012 02:10:20 | More by andrenaline
Photo of TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Looks good, nice big pillowy looking head overtop of clear golden brew. Aroma is interestingly spicy, but also has a soapy/perfumy character. Not sure what to think.

Mouthfeel is rather soft and full, a touch of spritziness. But I'm not much liking the taste. Soap and bread both. Just odd.

Interesting in a way, but not something I'd make a habit of.

Serving type: can

10-06-2012 22:12:47 | More by TerryW
Photo of hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Although lagers aren't my preference, believe this to be a decently brewed example, missing the corn or high fructose corn syrup tang associated with most macro versions.

Can pours a clear gold colour like apple-juice, with minimal white head that dissipates quickly. Although slightly oily, the beer maintains enough carbonation to have a reasonable mouthfeel. Bready and biscuity aroma typical of the German style, with a sweet initial taste that offers a mild bitterness before the end. A lager that ends cleanly, without a lingering finish.

Would stand up well against many German examples, and although not what I'd personally choose, a decent transition beer that may win over some macro drinkers.

Serving type: can

02-17-2013 21:43:58 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chill hazed golden pour. Half finger off white head. Very short lived and leaves minimal in way of lacing.

Digestive cookies, earthy hops, slight grass and a touch of caramel.

Sweet bread, earthy hops, cut grass, slight cereal. Very plain and simple.

Light body, high carbonation.

Serving type: can

11-01-2012 02:13:56 | More by korguy123
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.44/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

473 mL can from the LCBO; packaged in April 2012. I've never heard of this brewery so I'm not sure what to expect from this one.

Pours a clear golden colour with a twinge of amber - rather honey-like in hue, and topped with two fingers of frothy white head. It dissipates slowly over a period of minutes, leaving behind a soapy film while simultaneously smearing the glass in a ring of lacing. The aroma is mild with few distinguishing features - grainy, slightly toasted bready malts, with maybe a faint smattering of caramel. The faint grassy, herbal noble hop presence is certainly appreciated, though.

Clean-tasting, but not very interesting. Lots of grainy malt sweetness, weak caramel/toffee notes and some toasted bread. Some grassy, slightly noble bitterness dries out the finish, but doesn't linger on the palate for long. Pretty straightforward stuff, but at least it's not off-putting. Light-bodied, with a fizzy mouthfeel that gradually softens as the drink goes on. Smooth, fairly crisp and quite refreshing.

Hogsback Vintage Lager is a decent brew, but doesn't strike me as much of a Vienna-style lager. As far as domestic pale lagers go it's certainly above average, but it's still far from memorable. Wouldn't mind trying this one on tap, but it's not the sort of thing I'd buy regularly.

[Updated April 3 2014]

Another can - since this beer is now classified as an EPL rather than a Vienna lager, I figured it deserved a quick update. Hogsback has constructed a pretty tasty little session lager here, which is considerably more malt-forward than the majority of pale lagers - likely due to the employment of Vienna malts in the recipe. The noble hops do an admirable job of countering the malt bill, finishing with a light, grassy bitterness. This is not an exciting beer, but it is eminently drinkable, and I really can't ask for much more from a Euro-style pale lager. Good stuff; all lager fans should give this one a shot.

Final Grade: 3.44, a B-.

Serving type: can

08-04-2012 06:50:47 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of seand


3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a straw yellow amber with a fair amount of light white head. Just a ring around the edge of the glass retains, leaving minor lacing.

S: Sweet, grainy, and lightly hoppy.

T: Lightly sweet, light grain, and light malt. Pretty mild overall, though not a bad mix.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, decent but kind of mediocre.

Serving type: can

12-31-2013 23:41:48 | More by seand
Photo of funkengruven

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't normally seek out lagers as they're typically not my favorite style, however this one was a new one I hadn't seen before and felt it was worth giving a try, and I'm glad I did.

This poured a yellow amber with some foamy head, Smell is of hops and malt, pleasant. Taste is really good, this has a strong malty base with slightly aggressive hop flavor, with a clean finish. Mouthfeel is thicker than a typical lager but finishes clean.

I rather liked this one, and would be likely to fill my fridge with a few more of these moving forward.

Serving type: can

12-03-2012 23:06:09 | More by funkengruven
Photo of JamesMN


3.88/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy straw color with visible effervescence and a thin off-white soapy head.

Aroma: Very light on the nose. Some sweetness, I'm assuming from the malt, and a touch of earthy/citrusy hop character. A little yeasty.

Taste: A nice clean malt bill and overall flavor to this one. Pilsen/Crystal malts and a touch of something more in the amber category. The hops deliver a brightness to the palate and impart a crisp lager bitterness that is never more than moderate and slowly fades in the aftertaste. Really good balance of flavors in this one. Nicely robust for 5.2% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with average carbonation and good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: From the name 'Vintage Lager' I assumed they would have skipped the adjuncts when brewing this one and I was right. A nice 'classic' lager taste that approaches thirst quenching range. Would I drink it again? Sure, would be great while watching a sporting event and having pizza.

Serving type: can

11-08-2012 01:10:16 | More by JamesMN
Photo of ChrisCage

Alberta (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a yeast hazed golden color with a nice white soapy head that just sits there, retaining well. The lacing is excellent with a mountainous looking shadow drawing clinging to the glass. Also, there is some slow moving carbonation rising to the top....a nice looking brew!

S- A well rounded mixture of yeasty bread, malt, brown sugar and perhaps some caramel. I find the hop quotient to be very muted as well....overall a sweet, rich smelling beer.

T- Again, well rounded flavors make up this beer, but with the added goodness of some hop bitterness. The caramel and roasted malt sweetness show nicely, while the brown sugar and yeast qualities move more into the background. The aftertaste left behind is of some mild bitterness.

M- This is definitely a medium-full bodied lager....very creamy and mild carbonation. The richness of the malt shines through brilliantly!

O- This is a very good lager, and I'd be happy to enjoy this as a session beer. Well rounded flavor and a fullness not felt in most brews of this style, I'd be happy to recommend this one and hope it becomes available in my area sometime!

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2012 01:33:31 | More by ChrisCage
Photo of mintjellie

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep gold in colour with a good amount of off-white head. Mediocre retention and patchy lace. Light bread and nut aroma with herbal undertones. Very inviting. Toasted bread and nut flavour, gentle leafiness and light hop bitterness in the short finish. Light bodied and dry, and lacking a little in carbonation. A decent and quaffable session lager.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2012 23:22:06 | More by mintjellie
Photo of bryehn

Ontario (Canada)

2.98/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Found a six pack at my local LCBO here in Ottawa.

Poured into a lager glass, I found a nice clear golden colour with a decent white head that stuck around as a collar.

Has a relatively hoppy and surprisingly "boozy" aroma. Also has that Ontario craft beer smell to it, which is to say dank and Earthy when it's first poured. These "moldy" traits thankfully dissipate as the beer warms a bit.

I find the mouthfeel quite bubbly, this European-inspired lager has a medium carbonation.

Taste is more bitter than I'd expect up front, but carries a malty sweetness as well towards the end thanks to a three-malt blend. Halfway through my first sample I'm not really getting any accents of note; maybe a bit of wood in the aftertaste.

Hogsback Vintage Lager is easily the best beer I've had that's produced in my adopted home town of Ottawa. It has the familiarity of mass-market lagers with accented bitter and sweetness on either end of the spectrum.

After Trying other local beers I didn't expect much, but found a satisfactory beer I could serve to my casual beer-drinking friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 19:23:20 | More by bryehn
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.31/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

473 ml can picked up from LCBO and poured into a pint glass. Intrigued by the label, which led to a purchase.

Appearance - Nice rich golden color, very transparent. 1 finger of head is yielded and quickly dissipates with low retention and no lacing.

Smell - Slightly maltier than many other lagers, only real detectable thing otherwise are some faint grassy notes. Not unpleasant, but not a ton going on here.

Taste - Very little that is discernible, standard lager fare, but a certain richness and fullness of the flavor, means this is one you want to be going back for. Just the faintest hint of smoke is there, which is where it differentiates from others.

Mouthfeel - Nice, smooth, I could see myself throwing a few of these back no problem. Lowish carbonation, but still enough so that there is nothing wrong with the beer. Dry finish.

Overall - While it's definitely not the best beer I've had, it's certainly tasting and thirst-quenching and avoids any unusual or unpleasant flavors, which is why it's one of my new favorites in the style.

Serving type: can

10-13-2013 20:02:55 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of BGDrock

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: slight chill haze; orange/amber like a bourbon; head fades quick

Aroma: bready malt; sweet fruit (strawberry), caramel; minimal scent

Taste: great caramel/toffee malt all the way through, with some buttery fattiness at the end which lends some balance to taste and texture; malt flavours are much more pronounced than the average lager and even offer some complexity; earthy/woodsy hints, maybe maple syrup have a subtle presence; just a tinge of metallic flavour

Overall: not usually a fan of lagers, but this has great character and balance, and is way too easy to drink - however it still has that lager sweetness that can get tiring

Serving type: can

08-12-2012 00:08:34 | More by BGDrock
Photo of IdeaSpeeder

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type - 473ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a crystal clear, darker golden colour, with finger of lacy head which fades into what looks like soap.

Smell - A surprising amount of toasty malt character in the nose, with some light cereal grains

Taste - Sweet caramel and toffee malt flavour, with some grains and grass thrown in for good measure. Theres some light bitterness, not too much, but enough to keep my attention. Exceptionally well balanced lager.

Mouthfeel - Very silky texture on the tongue, pretty low carbonation for the style. Still has a crisp, satisfying finish tho.

Overall - 3.75/5

Serving type: can

06-16-2013 00:57:05 | More by IdeaSpeeder
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hogsback Brewing Company is a relatively new venture, bringing its first beer to market in April 2010. Hogsback has chosen to start out as a contract venture, with its production performed by Cool Brewery in Toronto. Bucky picked up a 473 ml can of Hogsback's Vintage Lager ("Vintage") from his local LCBO for $2.60. Vintage was 5.2% alcohol by volume, and the can was stamped with a production date of June 4, 2012.

Vintage poured a slightly hazy amber/golden colour which become much deeper when backlit, with some slow rising carbonation bubbles visible through the haze. Pouring produced about 1/2" of compact white head that disappeared within three minutes, retreating to a thin collar and film that left a small amount of spotting down the glass. The aroma from the can was of rich, sweet malts with a touch of hops, the aroma being much more subdued when poured into my glass. Its taste was certainly dominated by the malts, beginning with a sweetness that reminded me a bit of brown sugar, and finishing with a mild hop bitterness. There is a good balance here...the hops kicking in just in time to moderate the sweetness of the malts, but not lingering too long. Vintage's mouth feel is clean and crisp, with a level of carbonation appropriate to the style. Overall, a solid but pretty straightforward brew...certainly a cut above mass produced beers but nothing to knock your socks off. Its price is middle of the road...not overly expensive, but no bargain either.

Serving type: can

04-13-2014 22:19:12 | More by BuckyBeerBeaver
Photo of Antikythera

New York

3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: a bit darker and brassier than the average lager. Very pretty colour. Thin but tenacious head.

S: pleasantly wheaty. There's something I can't identify that's almost grassy? If I drink this in the winter it might be like summer in a can.

T: toasty and light, no bitterness.

M: refreshing, a bit fizzy.

O: I don't usually buy lagers but I might buy this one again. It's just interesting enough to be above a lot of the other offerings in the category.

Serving type: can

08-07-2012 22:28:08 | More by Antikythera
Photo of Foddz

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Beer pours a crystal clear gold hinting at copper. Barely any head formation though it does retain a soapy film on the top. Some carbonation can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass.

S: Earthy, grains, some subtle malt characteristics underneath. Hops are mild but distinguishable. Pleasant, clean, and refreshing, but nothing too special.

T: Clean grains and light malt caramel undertones. Hops again very mild with no lingering bitterness. Balances very nicely.

M: Clean and crisp on the palate. Smooth and pleasantly light without being watery. Perhaps a little bit lacking in carbonation but that's the only knock I have against it.

O: Refreshing and enjoyable to drink. This is a no-nonsense lager that goes down easy and tastes great doing it.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 02:54:38 | More by Foddz
HogsBack Vintage Lager from HogsBack Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.