Happy and hoppy New Year to all, and thanks for reading my words over the last two years. I appreciate your comments, questions, feedback and just knowing that what I write is being read by a lot of people! Here’s to good things brewing in 2112!
You may remember several months ago I wrote about my friend Walter who had moved back to Austria after several years living in Vermont. Walter started brewing only a few years ago and had managed to become quite good at traditional lagers, particularly what he referred to as a “Märzen”, but which I convinced him was probably more like a traditional Vienna style. He even won the Brewmaster’s Cup in a Vermont-wide homebrew competition. As he said goodbye to us at the Market, he handed me a printed copy of the recipe for his award-winning brew, two different versions, in fact. One has the subtitle “Mexico”, suggesting that it’s basically the style as it evolved when the Austrian Empire included Mexico, and Austrian brewers accompanied their troops and officials to the Americas. In fact, it’s probably close to what was originally brewed by the Modelo brewery, still in existence today.
Negra Modelo (and Dos Equis) have long been considered to be the only remaining examples of the Vienna style still being brewed. Closer examination, however, shows that the modern interpretation they produce is a little darker and a little sweeter than it probably was 150 years ago. Today’s Vienna is more like a Munich Dunkel, according to Michael Jackson. Walter’s recipe produces a lighter colored and drier beer, hoppier and less full-bodied. I made a couple of small changes but this is essentially Walter’s Brewmaster’s Cup-winning beer.
Wallnerbräu, Mexican Vienna Lager
5 gallons, all grain
- 8 lbs. Bohemian Pilsner malt
- 7 oz. Vienna malt
- 4 oz. Melanoidin malt
- 1.5 oz. malted wheat
- 2 oz. Cara-munich malt
- 1 oz. Cara-aroma malt
- 1 oz. Carafa I malt
- 1 oz. Spalter hop pellets (@5% aa)
- 1 oz. Hallertauer hop pellets (@3% aa)
- Mexican Lager yeast (WLP940)
- 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming
Crush grains. Heat 12 quarts water to 165°F. Mash in grains and hold at 154°F for 60 minutes. Heat 17 more quarts water to 162°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 26 quarts of sweet wort. Bring to a boil. After 30 minutes, add Spalter hops and 1/4 oz. of Hallertauer hops. Boil 50 minutes, add 1/2 oz. Hallertauer hops. Boil 10 more minutes (90 total) and add remaining 1/4 oz. Hallertauer hops, remove from heat. Chill to 72°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment at 60°F for three days. Move fermenter to a cooler place (45 – 50°F), ferment six to eight more days, Rack to secondary and lager cold (40°F) for three to five weeks. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and age cold for a month.