Vienna Lager | Devils Backbone Brewing Company

very good
153 Reviews
Vienna LagerVienna Lager

Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed using a combination of Northern Brewer and Saaz hops with Vienna, Pilsen, Dark Munich and Caramel malts and allowing five weeks for the lagering process and the flavors to fully develop.

Added by on 12-24-2008

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 153 | Ratings: 855
Photo of oldirtycaffrey
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

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 rangerred
2.77/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear lighter brown with a soapy half finger head that quickly disappears. No lacing or head retention whatsoever which is a little odd considering the abundant carbonation.

The aroma is on the weak side but has caramel and toasted malt coming through along with a little bit of hay and grass.

Caramel on the taste with a little bit of toast, prunes, and grass. It all just falls away so quick however leaving nothing but a light bitterness on the tongue. Extremely disappointing as I was hoping for much more flavor but Boston Lager has more taste than this. Mouthfeel is extremely watery with almost a seltzer water-like feel.

Overall, a real disappointment. I had never heard of this brewery but was hoping I might find a hidden gem. Alas it was not to be.

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Photo of bonterra69
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

More like a red ale vs a lager. Nice sweet malty finish. Minimal head. Lacing almost nonexistent. Some cinnamon hints in the aroma but mostly smells lightly of malt. Taste is nothing special although much better when enjoyed at room temperature.

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Photo of Foyle
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
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 rdilauro
3/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
3/5  rDev -20.6%

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 ThisWangsChung
3.02/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A fresher re-review.

Pours a beautiful copper color. The head is a finger high and off-white in shade. Despite being fairly short, retention is decent for the style. Not much (if any) lacing is left on the glass, though.

At its coldest, the aroma brings a fair amount of earthy noble hopping. Letting this open up will reveal some toasted and caramel maltiness - a bit too much caramel, actually. Some fruity twinges also appear. Not a bad nose, just not terribly delicate or nuanced.

Some fruity flavors open the flavor profile up - think apricot or peach. Then, the flavors transition into something resembling toasted caramel, while a gentle touch of noble hops finish it off. This is a fairly simple lager lacking complexity; even worse, the flavors don't seem to balance each other very well. Having said that, I enjoy parts of this.

This has a medium-light body and an initially crisp finish. After a while, though, the texture of this lager becomes thick and a bit too sweet. Carbonation is reasonably robust, however.

I really want this to be a world-class Vienna, I really do. The problem here is, it's a flabby lager that has some interesting notes, but little in the way of subtlety, nuance, or depth. It'll be great with Mexican, at least. This lager lover is pretty let down by this one (again).

3.02/5: The framework for a great Vienna is there...but the end result is pretty damn mixed

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Photo of smanders
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend gave me a Vienna Lager a couple weeks ago. I remember it positively, so I bought a 6'er from TW for $8.99. Poured into a lager glass for review.

Appearance: dark copper coloring with minimal head. No lacing.

Smell: a hint of sweet malt, but not much else.

Taste: honey sweet wheat bread.

Mouthfeel: a tad sticky. Not bad.

Drinkability: a good representative of the style made better by the fact that it's local.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
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 barleywinefiend
3.06/5  rDev -19%
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 Jimmys
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz into tulip.

A: bright copper. brilliantly bright. head is composed of dense white bubbles. big and fluffy. good retention and thick foamy lacing.

S: candied caramel sweetness on the nose and lots of it. a real subtle earthy hop aroma.

T: definitely biting my teeth with a cold sweetness. minor breadiness. kind of missing the bitter pop of noble hops that i expect and love about this style. finish is mostly dry w/ a minor lingering bitterness.

M: a pretty zesty carbonation on a light bodied brew.

D: i actually found this to be a little bit of a miss for me. there is just something missing in both the malt and hop departments. ive had this on draft at the brewpub a few times and i remember it being much better than this. hmmm, not sure if there is substantial difference in the water between the brewpub and production brewery location but that is the only flavor affecting factor i can think of.

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Photo of wac9
3.17/5  rDev -16.1%
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 Alieniloquium
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
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 Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
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 johnnyd10vt
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Disclaimer: I'm typically not a lager drinker and I actually like this beer. Beautiful almost Amber color. Almost nonexistent white head. The smell is completely neutral to my nose. The flavor is sweet and malty without a lot of hops. It's probably right in Stacey's sweet spot; it's a little bland for my taste, but still one of the best lagers I've ever had.

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Photo of bankboy66
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Nice light brown color but no head to speak of. Lots of caramel smell. Thought it was on the watery side.....taste was ok. Liked it but didn't love it. Average example for the style.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker amber color with a thin white head.

Smell: Light sweeter malts.

Mouthfeel/ Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of sweeter malts and a hint of bitterNess.

Overall: Good beer. I would have this one again.

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Photo of wedge
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear copper with a quickly fading off-white head. Doughy, somewhat toasty aroma - not much to it. Flavor has more malty richness, but still comes across as muddled. Toasted, nutty malts, honey, and a noble hop woody spice in the finish. Medium-light, smooth, and crisp. Drinkable for sure, but a fresh Boston Lager is better.

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager pours from the bottle to a brown color with a clear body. The nose on this beer is one of bread, crystal malt, and caramel and is rather subdued, even though not bad.

Moving to the flavor, this Vienna lager doesn’t disappoint. Tastes of dough, caramel malt, toasted bread, and earthy notes greet the palate. The finish is dry and earthy, but the overall flavor is sweet and may be a little too sweetfor some, although I found it just fine.

This beer is a nice, clean example of the style and it makes a good choice for those who want a good introductory Vienna lager and are not sure where to start. The taste is not as full and rich as some of the best in its class, but this is still a good example of this style and one worth trying if you happen to find yourself in Virginia and want a nice, fresh, unoffensive craft beer to sample.

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Photo of tone77
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
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 mattsdenney
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My very nice sis-in-law from DC brought this down to me in Nashville this weekend. Says it's very popular up there.

A: Pours clear with a reddish amber hue. Very thin off-white bubbly head, some retention.

S: Sweet cider, malty, somewhat earthy and husky.

T: Nice balance of frothy malts with slight hop bitterness on the backbone. Clean, with up front flavors of biscuit, grass and corn. No lingering aftertaste to speak of.

M: Thin but not too watery. Light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

O: As they say, very sessionable and enjoyable beer. Nothing groundbreaking here but they've done it right and I would likely purchase this from time-to-time if I lived w/in the distribution area. Til then will have to convince the sis-in-law to bring me more samples from this brewery.

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Photo of kellyej
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

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 KYGunner
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not enough breweries will take on the non sexy beers like a Vienna lager so kudos to Devils Backbone. This is a nicely dark malted lager with a touch of caramel, barley and pecan. Little bit of toasted grain and nut. This is a lager with a nice bit of personality.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap into std pint glass at Fireworks Pizza, Leesburg, VA.
Pours a golden amber. No head or lacing.
Smell is of crisp malt. Taste is slightly fruity, maybe apple, malty but smooth. Slightly heavy and thick, but slightly above average accross the board. Ok brew, not worth seeking out.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
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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Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 855 ratings.
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