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HogsBack Vintage Lager | HogsBack Brewing Company

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HogsBack Vintage LagerHogsBack Vintage Lager
71 Ratings
HogsBack Vintage LagerHogsBack Vintage Lager

Brewed by:
HogsBack Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: Euro Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

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

Added by Viggo on 04-05-2010

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 71 |  Reviews: 29
Photo of Catalysts
4.25/5  rDev +25.7%

Bought it because it said European style Lager. Brought it to my British boyfriend and he gave it a stamp of approval, so that says something. I liked it as well :)

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.23/5  rDev +25.1%
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!

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Photo of Mindsquall
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

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Photo of slackt
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of fiftyorbust
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of IdeaSpeeder
3.92/5  rDev +16%
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

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Photo of JamesMN
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.79/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Golden-copper, clear with a thin white head that wisps. A little lacing, but not much.

S - Sweet grains, honey and a slight floral note. A bit of grass.

T - Follows the nose, with a strong sweet malt forward open and a mild bite of acid and bitterness in the close.

M - Lovely to drink, clean and quaffable.

O - I'd nearly tilted this one back before I wrote a word, so it being easy to drink is not strong enough. Ultimately not very deep or layered, but if it were local I'd keep some around for its easy drinking.

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Photo of BGDrock
3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
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

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Photo of bryanzk
3.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Natureguy12
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of Yoozeo
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of HATS4BATS
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of BigGruntyThirst
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of Vyronian
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of staubot
3.69/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can and produced about a finger of head which dissipated rather quickly with little lacing. A somewhat pale hazy colour. Smelt of Tasted of a nice malt melody with noticeable back up of hops and ended with a taste of butter. Smooth feel and only slight bitterness that is cut off quickly at the end for a good feel. Is somewhat unique in taste. So far one of the better brews brought back for me from this region.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of Antikythera
3.67/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of kestik
3.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 1,478 characters

Photo of D-HopSupreme
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours to yield a lightly hazy golden body, with a strong, vigorous head. On the nose, the beer is fairly grain-heavy, with some sweet malt and some very faint floral notes. On the palate, a crisp hoppy sharpness accompanies fairly clean malt flavours and a nice herbaceous hop flavour, leading into a very clean finish. This is a really good, flavorful lager, that does so without being to heavy on the stomach.

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Photo of mintjellie
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

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: 3.52, a solid B.

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HogsBack Vintage Lager from HogsBack Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 71 ratings
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