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Penn Pilsner - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

386 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 386
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 15.32%
Wants: 15
Gots: 18 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 386 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished gold with a significant contribution from orange. The ivory colored cap has a better than average look. Its gently rocky surface sticks to the glass in spots, leaving behind tattered sheets of lace as it descends.

The nose is capable enough without being a standout. I'd like more of a toasted maltiness than is present. There really isn't much of a contribution from the malt at all. Only the Hallertau hops are noticeable and they don't exactly bowl me over with their brilliance.

Thankfully, things improve quite a bit on the taste buds. If the nose is a disappointment, the flavor is a more than pleasant suprise. A brewery's 'flagship' beer had better be good, or there's no hope for them at all.

Pilsner's best feature is the interplay between a lightly toasted, cracker-like, malt sweetness and a perfectly counterbalancing herbal, spicy, German hop bitterness. This is one of those beers whose list of ingredients doesn't excite (me at least), but that is much more delicious than the sum of its parts. I could drink a lot of this stuff. Solo... with meals... tailgating... you name it.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly full for the style. Maybe it's the carbonation deficit, but I like the way it lingers on the tongue and allows one to focus on all the various flavors in turn. The malt sugars keep it from being crisp and clean, which is more than fine with me.

After the smell test, I was concerned that Penn Pilsner would be nothing more than another forgettable, Euro-style lager. It's much more than that, though. It's a very good example of a style that too few American craft brewers will tackle. Even though I've only had two beers from these guys (St. Nick Bock), I'm mightily impressed so far.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 14, 2007
Photo of PorterLover83
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This came in a sampler pack that my wife "let" me get on our anniversay in Pittsburgh. We bought it direct from the pub.

I poured the 12oz bottle in to a pint glass and it had a ordinary appearance for the style I believe. It was a light gold color. The smell was pretty much of adjuncts like corn. It was a good crisp smell. The taste pretty much followed suite with the smell, it had sort of a corn laced taste, but was crisp and refreshing. Hit the spot so to speak. There was barely any head, I don't know enough yet to know if there should be for this style. :( It felt great in the mouth and I feel would be a good summertime beer. It was pretty drinkable because it wasn't too heavy in the mouth or stomach. I would very much get this again if I am ever in Pittsburgh again to visit the brewery or can find it somewhere here in Ohio.

PorterLover83, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of jkrich
4.5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no freshness date; purchased at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH. Served in pilsner glass - poured a deep, clear golden color with a sustained, white head.
Spicy, perfumy hop aroma.
Tasted very clean, malty and bready with just the right amount of noble hops to balance the flavor; dispite the dominant malt flavor, the hops never allow beer to become cloying.
Medium body mouthfeel - nothing is overwhelming on the palatte.
This is an extremely drinkable, light version of a vienna lager which leads me to question the name, "Penn Pilsner." Even the brewery website describes the beer as a "vienna lager." In any event, I quality lager I highly recommend; despite the lightness of the beer, the taste is complex and remains appealing.

jkrich, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of DrJay
3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very clear and dark gold with a short cap of fine, white foam. Good head retention with lots of lacing that showed some stickage. Big hop aroma, mostly floral and a bit sulfury, with a mild grainy malt quality. The flavour was quite malty, but not overly sweet, with a low, solid bitterness. Some grain character with faint caramel and spicy/floral hops. Fairly dry with a light body and moderate carbonation. A decent lager, though it misses the mark for a pilsner, and a decent summer beer.

DrJay, Aug 26, 2007
Photo of LeftyBWS
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a mug.
A: Clean golden color with orange hues near the top. Slow-rising bubbles are constantly appearing. Foamy head, a full 1.5 inches with little cling.
S: Yeasty and bready, with a hint of banana.
T: Crisp overall. Bready at first, with some nippy pilsner hops appearing in the middle. Small amount of malts show up in the finish.
M: Bubbly and crisp and as well. Clean but a little dry.
D: Reasonable. It's not as refreshing as other pilsners I've tried. I could have a couple in a session if I wanted to, but I won't stock my fridge with them.

LeftyBWS, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of musicjustintime
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this in my "beer fridge" for some time now. Not sure how the shelf life of this is...but it's still pretty good.

Nice dark red/orange color. No head or lacing to speak of. Some sediment floating around. Not sure what that is?! Taste is very smooth, fairly light, and decent flavor. Drinkability is prob. pretty high with this, being that it's pretty light. Very malty...caramel-ly...and yeast-y. Not a bad brew, but I think I like the Penn Dark better. (Although that's light too, for a dark beer, but it's good.) I'd recommend Penn's brews. They seem to do a quality job. Just not sure why the Pilsner is brewed out of state, and not in The Burgh like the rest. Good stuff, Penn. Bottoms up my friends!

musicjustintime, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of bluejacket74
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, the beer pours a clear bright gold/orange color with a half inch white head which goes away very quickly. It smells like grassy hops, sweet malt and some bread/grain. Overall the aroma is light, but clean. It tastes like toasted malt, grassy hops and bread with a slight bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light/medium, and it's crisp and smooth. Drinkability is good, it goes down easy and it wouldn't be hard to drink a few of these at a time. Overall I think this is a decent beer, good and easy drinking.

bluejacket74, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of treehugger02010
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this beer on-tap at Jean Bonnet;s Tavern in Bedford, Pa.
Appearance: An oddly dark color sort of a light amber with a big head holding well and producing good lacing.
Smell: Nothing impressive just a general light malt aroma.
Taste: Fruity (strawberry), very malty to boot.
Mouthfeel: Smooth with spots of ridgity.
Drinkability: Decent, not to good.
Don't drink and review.

treehugger02010, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- transparent dark yellow body with thin white head that disappears quickly. No lacing left behind in the glass.

S- some malt and light hops.

T- Initial taste is quite malty. This is followed by a light refreshing hop aftertaste. Good but nothing special.

M- Light carbonation and medium weight body. Well done.

D- This was pretty good overall. I'd session it if it was the best choice available. My least favorite of the Penn Brews that I have had so far and it happens to be their flagship. go figure. Its a decent pils but I probably won't have it again being that I like thier other brews so much.

PittBeerGirl, Jun 18, 2007
Photo of stewart124
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden orange color with a small amount of white head and lace. I am a little upset that the lace didn't follow the beer down the glass.

Smell is very clean with a floral aroma and bits of grains .

Taste is very crisp, clean and sweet up front. Subtle notes of honey but the grains are present and tasty to round out this beer. Mouthfeel is still sharp and crisp. This pilsner leaves a good aftertaste.

A nice German pilsner all in all and a another good beer by the Pittsburgh Brewery.

stewart124, Jun 08, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very clear golden body with tons of carbonation and a nice thick white head that dont last long.The smell is like a macro pils,I smell some earthly hops.I taste some lemon in there.It is a clean taste and perfect for summer,very easy on the palate and a great session beer.Leaves no lacing.All together this is a nice beer and I reccomend it.


MmmIPA, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
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

Osiris9588, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.22/5  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

jcdiflorio, May 28, 2007
Photo of ejimhof
4.38/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

All Penn beers taste best when fresh and on tap this is a very good beer. The consistency once was a problem but with more in house brewing this beer seems to taste good every pour. Not really a pilsner, not really a Vienna, but a very good lager. A little bit sweet but very easy to drink more than one. Highly recommended when in Pittsburgh.

ejimhof, May 19, 2007
Photo of quasimoto
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a bright deep gold. Has an inch thick bubbly head that dissipated rather quickly with a little bit of lace. The aroma is of light spicy hops with some fruity undertones. The malty aroma is in the background and comes through in the flavor. It balances nicely with the hop flavors. There are some light DMS flavors in the middle. But they are only light. The mouth feel is light and crisp. But it has a rather salty feel to it. Overall its a rather drinkable beer, but not outstanding.

quasimoto, May 02, 2007
Photo of HumuloneRed
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the beer of the month club. 12 oz. Bottle. The beer pours a clear golden yellow with a white head and slick lacing. The aroma is full hop sweet malt and earth. The taste is smooth and malty with a light body and crisp, clean finish. Very drinkable and clean pilsner.

HumuloneRed, May 01, 2007
Photo of oelergud
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Classic clear golden lager body with low carbonation. Big off-white head with a lemon tint. Decent retention and lace.
Malty toffee and grassy scent with some fruit and floral notes.
Slightly toasted toffee malt flavor initially, but quickly followed by a nice balancing hop profile. Some honey comes through with warmth. The aftertaste is fairly short but pleasantly reminiscent of grassy fields and summer.
Medium mouthfeel, some coating and slick sensation.
Good drinkability. A nice and relaxing session lager.


oelergud, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of matthewfuchs
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light golden, low carbonation, with a thin white head. Smells slightly of toasted caramel. Has a mild tart start and a malt finish. Smooth and tasty, a good session beer, and good staple to come back to. Not a true pilsner, but hey, who's counting?

matthewfuchs, Apr 09, 2007
Photo of cichief
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally found a few six-packs in Maryland.

A- Pours a light amber color, with a light tan head of foam, about one-half inch thick.

S- Smell is bready and slightly hoppy, very inviting.

T- Very balanced between the malt and hops, with a slightly toasty flavor, followed by the hops.

M- Very well carbonated, not too thin, not too fizzy.

D- A very good beer, which could, and no doubt, will be, enjoyed all night.

cichief, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of drpimento
2.1/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This bottle was a gift from friend Paul B. Poured with a nice head that soon faded; no lace. Has a hazy amber color. Nose was sweet, bready, caramel malt. Flavor is a bit tart however; maybe from the carbonation. Shallow beer. Not at all a pilsner. The finish is the sensation of the carbonation on the tongue and not much else.

drpimento, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of jockstrappy
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent copper color with a short-lived white head. Aroma consists of mild fruit notes with a touch of the hops...not much else there. Taste begins with some slight hop bitterness, with a hint of orange peel, and finishes with a bread / cereal like grain character that lingers for a bit. Light bodied...carbonation might be too much, but doesn't hurt it's drinkability. Goes down the hatch very easy. Not exactly a benchmark for the style, but it is a quality beer in it's own right, and is very much available in the surrounding areas.

jockstrappy, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Crystal clear, true golden color. Modest, off white head.

Bread/dough aroma. Sweet wheat bread, but faint. Grassy & floral notes.

Herbal & spicy, with a biscuity malt character. Very little sweet flavor, if any. Bitter lingers nicely.

Light in body, with medium + carbonation (perhaps a bit too high). Dry.

Excellent. A fine beer. Refreshing & sessionable. Not going to blow your mind with flavor or ABV, but a pleasure to drink. I think this is going to start me exploring this category again.

, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of bigdeuce
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice thick white head. Carries some decent lacing down the glass. Smell, very average, as are most of Penn's beers. But it tastes of slight twingy hops and a very malty sweet front. Very easy to drink. Six can probably be consumed in a short period of time. A very nice session beer.

bigdeuce, Feb 22, 2007
Photo of tugdriver7
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cloudy gold in the glass with a small foamy head that went quickly, leaving a fairly flat, foamless top. Not much in the way of visible carbonation (cloudy?) but definitely there in the moderately thin mouthfeel. Smell is mild malt with a touch of fruity hops; taste is the same, but with a somewhat pleasant tartness that is really unique (if a true German-style pils). Incredibly fresh taste and oh so smooth that it goes down with food or as a session drink. In this case, it's lack of complexity is actually a benefit, as you can really enjoy the drink. I bought a whole case (had to... it's PA) a month ago and have been enjoying it ever since. As Penn's brews go, this is one of the least flavorful and yet it's great.

tugdriver7, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of Boto
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draught: This one pours a slightly dark, mostly clear golden color. Mine had very little head and only a little bit of lacing. The aroma was a bit lighter. There were some notes of sweetness, otherwise fairly non-descript. The taste was OK. A decent beer, but not a true pilsner. Some malts, a hair bitter. Not a bad session beer, but nothing special.

Boto, Jan 04, 2007
Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 386 ratings.