Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager Tribute

02 Dec

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jason Oliver, please accept my compliment. The past weekend’s project was an attempt to recreate the excellent Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager.

While it was intended to be a full mash brew, I wasn’t able to get the amber malt without ordering from two places, so I ordered a small container of extract, and used it all (which over emphasizes the amber). The large mesh bag managed to get burnt when the burner was on to keep the temperature up – which released the grains, and required me to strain it. For that, I scooped out the fluid one pitcher at a time, and finally poured the remnants through a strainer. Took a few minutes, but worked well.


  • 3 lbs Belgian pilsner
  • 3 lbs German pilsner
  • 3 lbs German Vienna
  • 2 lbs Franco-Belges Vienna
  • 1 lbs German Dark Munich
  • 3.15 lbs Norther Brewer Amber Malt Syrup (used as they didn’t have amber grains)


  • Full boil: 1 oz German hallertau pellets, 1 oz Cluster hop pellets
  • 10 minutes from end of boil: 1 oz German spalt hop pellets


  • Quest 2308 Munich lager yeast (in a smack pack)


  • Initial brix: 20, or about 1.084 OG
  • Prior to diacetyl rest, brix was 11, or about 1.019 specific gravity per the NB calculator (started rest on Jan 26th)
  • After diacetyl rest and while racking to the keg, 10.7, or 1.043 SG. May not be really done fermenting.
  • Final brix: 10.6, for a final of 8.2% ABV

Initial fermentation at 50 degrees F.

Fermented at close to 40 degrees F. for 8 weeks.

Diacety rest for 7 days.

Finishing fermentation at 40 deg F, as that’s about the best the fridge can do. Started drinking off it at the first of May, meaning it had just about 6 months to ferment.

Result is quite a nice lager. Like the Vienna Lager, it has a lot of body and plenty of flavor, but this one packs a bit more of a wallop in the alcohol department, and might have a few more residual sugars. Megan tastes a hint of apple, though I’m not sure what contributed that.

1 Comment

Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Brewing


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