Penn Pilsner - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

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Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

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426 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 426
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 14.72%
Wants: 17
Gots: 39 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

Our flagship brand! An amber Vienna-style lager beer that is smooth, mellow and full bodied, with delicate hop aroma. Uses two-row barley malt and caramel-roasted malt. Based on founder Tom Pastorius' favorite German bier.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 426 | Reviews: 239
Reviews by Johnwf110:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long-neck bottle with a blurb about the beer on the back ... freshness date notched on the back label.

Appearance: Very clear golden straw with a fluffy rocky white head that sticks all around the glass.

Smell: Slightly sweet with a trace raw honey like nose from the grain with a fresh mowed hay like hop aroma.

Taste: Smooth with a dreamy textured mouth feel. Lots of grain on the tongue with a palate cleansing vaguely herbal hop bitterness. Touch of sweetness up front but all and all on the dry side throughout. Hops stay assertive even into the finish to keep thing dry along with the grainy flavour.

Notes: Hmmm ... tastes like it was freshly shipped over from Germany. Not bad at all, a good find for any pilsner geek or even a macro brewery Beck's (or similar) drinker.

Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent apricot with 2 fingers of cream colored head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Apricot, pears & grassy hops

T: Grassy & herbal hops, along with breadyness & grainyness up front. Slight traces of honey, along with bready notes, plus herbal hops as this warms. Finishes semi-crisp with nice fruityness & honey malt notes. Almsot pulled a 4.5

MF: Medium boded with soft carbonation & nice balance

Drank very easy a Vienna lager that matches most I had over in Germany

Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker golden,darker than most pilsners I have had,aroma is malty and bready not to sweet.Taste is a nice malt accented crisp as a cracker with some zesty hop in there but this more of crisp,dry malt accented brew.A little more heavy I thought than most of the style but still a appetizing beer none the less.

Photo of muskiecf
4.73/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although this is titled a pilsner it is fact a Vienna Lager. It's a traditional German recipe that's dead on for the style according to the homebrewing bible- Brewing the Classic Styles. extremely smooth and slightly sweet with a dry finish. Low carbonation makes them easy to drink and adds smoothness.I love this beer.

The original owner recently came out of retirement and bought the brewery back. He was upset that his labor of passion was run into the ground and eventually closed and contracted the brewing out of the area. Well Penn Brewery is back and is now brewing on site again and it shows. This is the Penn Brew we loved not that other stuff that just had their name on it. This is what Pennsylvania German craft beer is all about my friends. Thanks to Tom Pastorius for bringing traditonal German craft beer back to Pittsburgh. Try it. It's a great lager. Cheers!

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, medium gold with a one inch beige head that has good retention. Sheets of lacing follow. Nice aroma of sweet caramel malt, lemony ctrus, and a touch of pine. Taste is extremely pleasant. The sweet malt backbone is well balanced by the bittering and aromatic Hallertau hops which lend considerable bittering. This one finishes clean and dry. This may be the best Pilsner I've ever sampled. Certainly, the best American pilsner I've had. This is only my second brew from Penn, but I've been very impressed with the quality of these Pittsburgh brews.

Photo of Billolick
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer sampled, no freshness dating to be found. Pours cloudy orangy amber, with a white head, leaving nice, fine lacing. Nose is of slightly burnt crayons. Not all that fond of this one, lacks the typical clean crisp hopping of the finer pilsners that I've come to enjoy. this is mostly malty thru the midsection, and not as snappy in the finish as would be expected from the top notch examples of the style. Prima Pils, I agree, would be the choice of Pennsylvania Pilsners

Photo of tigg924
2.97/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, gold in color, clear, medium-high carbonation

Smell: big caramel and some grass

Taste: bread, grass, and some floral hops. i just do not feel the flavors come together here.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, medium bodied, sweet start with a slightly dry bitter middle.

Overall: A disappointment for me. This smelled so good, but the taste fell flat as the flavors really just did not mesh well. I have had lots better in the style and will pass on this in the future.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Pours a deep blond in color (darker than I expected). Faint white head barely present on top of the beer. Lots of carbonation bubbling up from the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Nice mixture of the malty sweetness and spicy hops.

Taste: As expected, a noticeable "grainy" flavor dominates. This flavor lasts throughout the flavor circuit, with the bitterness from the hops showing up at the end to help dry this one out as it fades. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Very good carbonation makes for an almost "fizzy" mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not my favorite style of beer, but this does a good job of keeping my interest. A hot and humid Richmond summer day, with a nice grass-cutting session thrown in for good measure, would make this beer taste even better. A good candidate for a transition beer for the macro-minded beer-drinker.

Photo of jakester
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from a sampler case I got at Shangy's. I drank it in a pilsner glass. No date on the case, bottle, or label.

Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a one finger head of off-white foam. Ample carbonation is evident. Splotches of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is of clean toffee malt and spicy hops. Pleasant. Is toffee supposed to be there?

Taste is very light caramel candy/toffee, with a spicy hop background. Just enough hop bittering to be tasted. Are you sure this is a pilsner? It seems more like a Vienna, like Dos Equis or something. Crisp and refreshing, but with a noticeable level of residual sugar. It's a very good lager, anyway. Aftertaste is clean, slightly sweet, but crisp, if that makes sense.

Mouthfeel is semi-sweet, with a little zing from carbonation. Well balanced. Finish is sort of short and clean sweetness?

I would get this again. I'm not sure it's in the right style; I think it should be a Vienna. It's pretty damn good, whatever it is.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.23/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Already reviewed this beer in the bottle version, just tapped a keg of it the other day on my new draft system (still missing a shank for the third tap) was drinking on the deck on Memorial Day really enjoying it and decided to review the draft version.

Poured into a tall 22oz pilsner glass left about a 1" head on it,a slightly off-white color with good retention. The color was deep golden with an amber hue very clear.Very lively throughtout constant streams of tiny bubbles racing to the surface.

Very fruity aroma,seemed more so than the bottled version. Very clean with a nice light toasted carmell aroma. Some delicate perfumy/flowery aroma making the aroma very inviting.

Clean.fruity taste with a toasty carmellness with some slight grassyness, leaves a sweet malty taste with pleasing fruity tartness lingering on the palate. Well balanced and very tasty.

A fairly light mouthfeel,tangy with some slight cloying. Very easy drinking, could drink this beer all summer long. Very good summer session beer. Could keep this beer on tap all summer long

Photo of Osiris9588
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle no date. Pours a clear, rusty gold. Two finger white head, shows slight retention before receding into a thin disc, a bit of lacing.

The aroma is warm, sweet grain and malt. The flavor is more of the same, with a honey and berry, and gentle herby hops.

It's light-bodied, but got some depth and complexity. Very drinkable.Solid

Photo of ADR
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back in my Pittsburgh days, I was a big fan of the brewery as it was one of the first to open a public beer garden on site...Penn Pilsner is my favorite of their bottled products, but not as hoppy as the Kaiser Pils on tap at the pub...nice color (bolder than a Pilsner Urquel) mouthfeel is good and a nice aftertaste...(the slightly maltier Dark has all the charm of a Michelob Dark)...but, now, I'm an avowed ale guy and rarely stray into cold fermenters except for malty Oktoberfests and Bocks...

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears an amber gold in color with an off white cram colored head. Leaves rings of lace as the glass empties. Aroma consists of caramel like malts with mild floral hallertau hops kicking in the background with a sweet buttery nose. Very sweet taste at the forefront with a mildly syrup like flavor that is balanced by the delicate hop bitterness this beer will live on as a true classic from the Pittsburgh area. Mouthfeel is medium to light in body, but the sweet malt rolls over the palate sticking to the tongue as each sip is swallowed down. As for drinkability the flagship beer of the Penn brewery is one of the most refreshing/satisfying session beers around.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a strange)

A- This beer has a warm copper body full of color with a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles. There is a thick film of off-white that last most of the beer as a thick ring.

S- The smell of soft metallic copper has a fresh dry pale malt smell to it with a slight biscuit quality to it. The metal smell is slightly sweet and actually pleasant.

T- This beer has a dry raw fresh grain flavor with a light yeast hint and a soft sweetness that is quickly overcome by a soft green hop note at the finish.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a dry texture and a tight fizz finish that keeps it crisp.

D- This beer has a nice full flavor for a Pilsner and good depth yet still subtle. I was shocked at how quaftable this beer was.

Photo of sloejams
3.32/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sunday afternoon, Super Bowl to be celebrated with my good friends from Pittsburgh and 15 of their Terrible Towel wavingest friends – what beer would be best? Iron City. , except you can’t get that in Los Angeles (you won’t hear me complaining). Second best choice (and more importantly available)? Penn!!!

$3.99 a six at Beverage Warehouse in West LA, can’t really balk at that price. Were I just shopping for me, I would have certainly stepped to the Penn Dark, but this was more appropriate for the "Bus" beer.

It pours a hazy orange color, emanating a malty tone with a slight sweetness. Very different from what I expected, beefier than a regular pilsner. Taste was malty too, grainy almost malty. To me it tasted like a watery Sammy Boston Laaagaaah. It went well with the fan-fucking-tastic Superbowl chili I made though.

Yeah my chili is goood.

Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.16/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date poured into American shaker pint.

A--Orange and honey-toned body with a fizzy one finger head that dies immediately without lacing--even the skim is faint and ringed.

S--Heluva nose for a subtly hopped lager. Really an accomplishment: I get grassy brightness followed by crackery, husky malt, and even a bit of lemon tang in the back, at the very end of the sniff. Definite interplay between the malt and the hops that is both straightforward and totally satisfying. Wow, couldn't ask for much more and still stay authentic.

T--Very close to the nose, especially the husks and the breadcrusty and crackery character of the malt--very pronounced and complex barley presence, which also contains caramel aspects. Hops are noble and quite present at the end of the tasting, lending bitterness if not that dry-hopped puckering (or even the citric elements of a Boston Lager's finish). No off sulfur flavors, and the hops are so delicate that you even get a bit of that lemon tang from the nose carried over into the mouth.

M--A bit watery, but that might just be me being bitchy and nit-picky. Carbonation is spot-on and inviting for another big swallow. Definitely embodies the lager gulpability principle, as this ain't no sippin beer.

D--See above--gulpability is more appropriate. I'd love a few of these in the summer over a barbecue or just sitting out in the sun. Refreshing and full-flavored. The gold or the kaiser pils might be better for dog days weather, but right up to then this sucker would work great. It also is extremely versatile with food, as different aspects of its profile come out depending if you are eating something sweet, spicy, bitter, etc.

If you like SA Boston Lager or Brooklyn Lager, I'd say give this one a try. Doesn't have the same hop character--American style hopping is truly unique--but is much fresher than a similar-styled beer coming from Germany. Not a pilsner, so the name's stupid, but just forget that once you pour it into a glass!

Photo of dacrza1
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

DATE TASTED: May 7, 2015... GLASSWARE: Hennepin pokal... OCCASION: a good Thursday night... APPEARANCE: thin, creamy white head settles reasonably on a golden amber body with lively effervescence; clear as crystal;.. AROMA: caramel malts meld with a sugary, bready base and what purports to be Centennial hops; floral and alluring...PALATE: dry, medium-bodied, and smooth, with some late character in the finish... TASTE: strong caramel luster with some roasted malt presence; sharp Saaz cuts through the malt strength--a good balance, with some astringency... OVERALL: a flagship! This reads more as a lager than a pilsener, save for the Saaz; a solid, reasonably favorable drink that could be enjoyed in multiple venues and moments...

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Penn Pilsner

A- Light clear golden orange with a small filmy white head, no lacing.
S- Light sweet wheat, grass, and bread crust graininess.
T- Sweet grainy malt. Bread crust, caramel malt, earthy grassy hops.
M- Sweet and malty up front with a good dry earthy hop backend. Finishes off with a thick grainy malt.

Overall- A simple easy drinker.

Photo of QXSTER1
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An authentic version of this much copied style. A nice balance between the grainy malt flavors and the subtle spicy hops give a smooth satisfying taste.

Photo of asabreed
3.47/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Appearance: Bubbly head into the glass quickly dissipates. Decent carbonation floating up to the top from the bottom of the glass, and it's got a long way to go. Hardly any lacing. Color's a mild yellow with slight brown hues.

Smell: Malt, mildly sweet, and some alcohol. Hops come in toward the end for some bittering in the nose. Average but nothing great.

Taste: Good combination of the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops. Finish is slightly sweet at first, then becomes dry, with hops lingering well on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than I expected for a Pils. Moderate carbonation combines well for a full mouthfeel, with a spritz of carbonation at the end.

Drinkability: A solid Pils, and one I'll definitely drink again. I'm sure there are better out there, but for a pretty tasty session beer when you don't want something super complex, this is definitely good for that.

Photo of Stigs
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a standard pint glass.

A - about a quarter inch of loose bubbly slightly off white foam disperses to a thin film within a couple minutes. the beer is crystal clear, gold colored.

S - very sweet roasted malts, some brown sugar, and cinnamon. underlying and subtle grass and earthy hops. some fruit and doughiness as well.

T - starts off lightly fruity, with some berries and pear mingling with lightly toasted grains. Lingering grassy hops finishes the show.

M - medium body and very slick, oily. carbonation is active and present, somewhat refreshing.

D - nostalgia for me, one of if not the first craft beer i ever had. did me very well back in my college days. this is easy drinking all night.

Photo of emsroth
2.46/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. No freshness date but there is a code.

app: pure gold with a small but frothy head

Smell: sweet malt that reminds me of cooked apples. no hop scent that i can discern

Taste: Light taste up front. All flavor is later in the sip. A mix of rough, dry malt, minerals, and slight bitterness. Overall a flat, boring taste.

Tastes like a hopped up adjunct lager.

This is the second Penn beer I've had, and both had a very strong mineral taste which I cannot stand.

Photo of Sammy
3.42/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A medium bodied vienna with a dry and sweet finish. Now, knowing the style as a vienna I understand its malty aroma and malty taste. Satisfying, not offensive nor interesting. Corn and carmel too, a macro brew replacement. Apparently not made by the brewery.

Photo of cjgator3
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow/orange color with white head that quickly turns into a thin lace. Aroma is faint with sweet malt and caramel. Smooth and malty taste that finishes with a dry hop bitterness. Overall, this is a pretty decent brew but lacks anything to make it stand out.

Photo of tempest
3.63/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think there's some identity confusion between the "pilsner" on the label and actual style, but it's still a good beer regardless. It doesn't have the rich caramel malt of a SA Boston Lager, but there's still a smooth sweetness with a touch of esters. A crisp, grassy hops note finishes out the beer to make it a nice, clean lager with character.

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Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 426 ratings.