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Recipe: Andreas Krennmair’s Traditional 1870s Vienna Lager

Adapted from Krennmair’s book on Vienna Lager, this recipe is based on historic specifications and brewing-process descriptions from the 1870s and 1880s. (Did somebody say decoction?)

Andreas Krennmair Dec 18, 2020 - 4 min read

Recipe: Andreas Krennmair’s Traditional 1870s Vienna Lager Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

Andreas Krennmair, author of Historic German and Austrian Beer for the Homebrewer, has spent the past couple of years researching and writing his latest book, Vienna Lager. What follows is a traditional recipe adapted from his new book. The recipe is a reconstruction of Vienna lager according to the historic specifications and brewing-process descriptions from the 1870s and 1880s—however, in the Brewer’s Notes below, we describe a variation based on more modern methods.

Krennmair’s recipe includes ranges of temperatures or times to account for differences in the historical records. We include those ranges here; feel free to choose more specific targets, or just aim for the middle.

ALL-GRAIN
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 75%
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.018
IBUs: 28
ABV: 4.7%

MALT/GRAIN BILL
10 lb (4.5 kg) Vienna malt

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HOPS SCHEDULE
0.9 oz (25 g) Saaz [3% AA] at 120 minutes
1.8 oz (51 g) Saaz [3% AA] at 75 minutes

YEAST
White Labs WLP820 Oktoberfest/Märzen

DIRECTIONS Mill the grains and mash in at about 97–100°F (36–38°C).

First decoction: Pull about one-third of the mash from the thickest part, bring it to 158–167°F (70–75°C), and rest there for 10–35 minutes. Bring the decoction to a boil, boil it for 5–15 minutes, then return it to the main mash, which should rise to a temperature of 113–122°F (45–50°C). Rest for 5–10 minutes.

Second decoction: Again, pull a thick one-third of the mash, bring it to a boil, and boil it for 20–50 minutes. Return it to the main mash, which should then rise to 140–149°F (60–65°C).

Third decoction: Pull 40 to 50 percent of the mash, but this time from the thinner, more liquid portion. Boil it until the protein coagulates and a hot break forms and settles, then return it to the main mash, which should rise to about 167°F (75°C). Lauter and sparge to get about 7 gallons (26 liters) of wort, or more, depending on your rate of evaporation.

Boil for 2 hours, following the hops schedule. After the boil, chill the wort to 50°F (10°C), aerate, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 50–54°F (10–12°C) until it reaches final gravity, about 2 or 3 weeks. Gradually lower the temperature by 2–3°F (1°C) per 12 hours until it reaches 34°F (1°C), lager there for 4–6 weeks, then bottle or keg and carbonate.

BREWER’S NOTES
In his book, Krennmair includes a version of this recipe more tailored to modern ingredients and methods. These are the main differences:

  • There are two decoctions instead of three.
  • For the first decoction, pull a thick two-thirds of the mash, instead of one-third, with a 20-minute rest at 158–162°F (70–72°C), then boil for 10 minutes before returning it to the main mash, which should bring it to about 149°F (65°C).
  • Boil for 90 minutes instead of two hours, adding all 2.7 oz (76 g) of hops at the start of the boil.

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