The thermoacidophilic Crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius is an important model organism for Archaea and genetic systems are well established. To date, the organism is routinely cultivated on complex media based on protein hydrolysates and no common defined medium is established. In this work we address this lack of a standardized defined medium and replaced the complex protein hydrolysate with sodium glutamate as primary substrate. Starting from an existing medium formulation we stepwise managed to improve the medium regarding formation of precipitates, buffer capacity, concentration of basal salts and trace elements, and optimized growth rates. The differences on the cellular level between the original medium and our new formulation, called VD Medium, were investigated by comparative gene expression analysis and significant differences were discussed. The final formulation of the VD Medium contains 1.75 g/L Na-glutamate, 3 g/L D-glucose and 0.5 g/L citric acid as carbon sources. Using the described medium for the cultivation of S. acidocaldarius DSM 639 in shake flasks yields 1.1 g/L dry cell weight (OD600 = 1.7) after a typical incubation time of 95 h with an overall biomass yield of 0.33 gDCW/gsubstrate.