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Penn Pilsner - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

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400 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 400
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 15.08%
Wants: 14
Gots: 29 | 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: 400 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dogbrick
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On draught at Heinz Field. Amber color with a medium thin beige head with decent retention. Cannot comment on lacing as it was a plastic cup. Lightly malty aroma. Medium-bodied and sweet with malt and caramel flavors. There is a touch of hops character too. The finish is mostly sweet but has touches of bitterness here and there. Pretty average all around.

Photo of xzqrut
2.84/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured from the bottle, came out a nice dark golden color, some orange tint. It produced next to no head, with next to no retention, with next to no lacing. It gave off a decent smell, with good malt and some sweet caramel aromas. The taste was OK, but somewhat below average I thought of the style. Again some roasted malt with lightly sweet undertones. Mouthfeel seemed somewhat syrupy, mild carbonation. Overall it was OK, but probably the worst beer I had from Pennsylvania Brewing, which produces some otherwise really good beers.

Photo of rabsten
1.59/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Okay, I need to qualify this by saying something must have gone wrong with this six pack . Really wrong. I bought it from a retailer I trust, though, so I don't blame them. Further, Penn products haven't been available in this area long, so it's not an issue of being old. I don't know what, but age and retailer hadling are not the causes.

It poured well enough into a pint glass, with yellow amber color and decent head and carbonation. That's as good as it got. It smelled, tasted, and felt like vinegar. Acetic acid overwhelmed everything. It simply wasn't drinkable. Four bottles of the six were like this; I don't know about the other two.

I recently visited the brewery and really enjoyed it. I've also picked up a few bottles of Penn Dark around here and they've been fine. When I go to Pittsburgh next month I plan to revisit Penn and sample this beer from the source. When I do, I'll revise my review. Until then, however, this is what I have to review. Probably not constructive, but I feel I needed to say this nevertheless.


Photo of plaid75
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a light copper hue with a one finger foamy head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell waqs very grainy and bit on the sweet side.

The taste was very grainy as well and overly sweet.

The mouthfeel was a bit slick. The sweetness coated the tongue.

Overall not the greatest example of the style. Certainly drinkable, but there are better out there.

Photo of jpkoch1962
2.4/5  rDev -33%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in Pilsner glass at 50 deg F. Poured a light amber. Spritzy, thin head that lasted for only a few minutes before leaving a small lace on glass. Slight malty aroma with spicy hints. Starts with a light, sweet, almost toasty flavor, the middle is a bit thin as the mouth feels goes to hell. Finishes with a slightly bittersweet butterscotch taste.

This is not a pilsner. It looks and tastes like a weak amber lager. Even for that style, this beer does nothing for me.

Photo of Maestro
4.15/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an orange pilsner with a thin, bubbly head. The nose is quite floral with generous helpings of biscuit and fresh bread aromas. The beer tastes very clean with citrus and date flavors. The carbonation is fairly low and the mouthfeel is crisp. Drinkability is good. This goes well with light, vegetarian fare.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.08/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 ounce bottle picked up as a single in a mixed pack of Penn beers from Hollingshead Delicatessen in Orange.

Red label with a Victorian style Brewery painting and the words ‘Penn Pilsner’ emblazoned across it. No strength or freshness date. Has a rather cool looking logo’d crown cap though.

Appearance: Copper body with a large foamy looking dirty white head. Darker than I anticipated. Conditioning is pert and affluent which has a zingy rise with a gentle tip of the glass. Head retention was good, frothy looking rather than creamy though, which made it look agitated.

Nose: Malty nose with a spicy latter third and a sweet middle.

Taste: Starts with a lot of grainy malts, the sweetness pumps up in the center whilst the finish has a rather off-putting dusty smoky ending. I didn’t like the finish at all, far too intrusive and grainy with a horrid sting akin to licking a used ash-tray.

Mouthfeel: More than expected, above average body with a decent feel but the grainy smoked dusty texture was just too much to ignore. I’m starting to get to the end of this Review and beer thankfully.

Drinkability: The grain finish was a little too much for me to rush back to trying this one again, I like my Pilsners to be clean and crisp with a spiced hop tingle, I must have missed all these traits in this one. Despite that expectation, what was there in its place was not to my liking either.

Overall: Curiously listed as a Vienna Lager and called a Pilsner. Darker and maltier than most, it seems to fall between the two. Styles aside, I just found this to be “So-so” with a finish that was “mucky”, as say in Yorkshire.

Photo of Sammy
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
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 TurdFurgison
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at a country club outside of Pittsburgh. I felt like such a snob getting into this place, and then I felt like a beer snob looking down my nose at this one and only tap beer they had.

It looked pilsnery, clear golden color with thick white foam. But there wasn't much hoppy component to it in smell or taste. I place this as more of a German interpretation of pilsner than a Czech version. I prefer the Czech so this gets lower marks from me.

An easy session ale, but pretty forgettable for flavor.

Photo of Phatz
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very approachable Vienna Lager. Like SA Boston Lager it would make a good transition beer. Very easy to drink.

Appearance: It pours an appealing golden amber color with a huge white head and some lacing.

Smell: It is a sweet malt aroma that has plenty of grains and bread filling the nose. A bit buttery, and the hop character came through as salty, to me.

Taste: There is a bit of toastyness to the malts. I also got a pleasant drop of sweetness like a splash of honey. Very nice. There is a bready smooth grain flavor that is followed by an assertive but gentle hop bite, that seemed to present itself as a salty attribute. (butter & salt; I can't help wanting some pop-corn:)

Mouthfeel: This is a very malty smooth pilsner that maintains its hop crispness in the slightly bitter, dry, lingering finish.

Drinkability: This is an easy drinking beer that will satisfy year round and at nearly any event. It is a drinking beer for party. The style is not generally very complex and this beer falls in suit. I suggest taking this to your next part with Macro-Drinking friends and I'll guess it'll go over very well.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of Drew966
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Penn Pilsner pours a yellow color with a nice white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is somewhat hoppy with a bit of sweetness. The taste is nicely hoppy, but not overpowering, it doesn't hit you over the head and steal your wallet like some of the double IPA's out there do. There is a bit of sweetness, but it finishes with hops so it doesn't seem too sweet. Nice sessionable pilsner, worth a try.

Photo of goschool
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got a six pack of this stuff for $4 at Beverage Warehouse in Marina Del Rey. I guess they aren't going be distributing in LA anymore (I didn't know that they had been).

It looks good before the head disappears, but it's too dark to be a pilsner. It smells nice, but it's too sweet and bready to be a pilsner. The taste? It's a Vienna lager, with all of the malty, toffee and caramel flavor that you'd expect from Sam Adam's Boston Lager and the like. I was expecting, and looking forward to, the crisp, spicy hop flavor profile of a pilsner, so I'm disappointed, but a solid Vienna Lager for $4 is still worthwhile.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold body, light carbonation, topped by a big scoop of pure white froth. Some nice lace.

Rich fresh bread nose. Very inviting.

Smooth caramel start, not overly sweet. Big splash of noble hops deliver a crisp, refreshing hop snap, before a very clean finish.

Tingly ligh mouthfeel. Very good drinkability.

Another fine traditional german-style beer from Penn Brewing.

Photo of sloejams
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
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 DuqTroops
2.6/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a Pilsner glass. Reviewed January 15th.

Orange / Amber in color. Some head formed, but it went away rather quickly. Unsure if this is normal.

Not too great of a beer; will drink again, but only because there are 4 left in the pack.

Photo of asabreed
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
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 DogFood11
2.44/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hey for a lager this is inviting. almost copper, nice head with decent lacing. Vienna lager for certain.

This is one of those pils that makes such an effort to bring in the malts that it forgets it needs some balance. Hops are mellow and thats all good and fine for the style but introduce them somewhere. Sweet and light, borderline watered. Some toasted wheat bread comes through to save it. I know my review sounds bad but in the end its about average in my sometimes overly critical opinion.

Notes: Not for me thats for sure. I love a good pils but this one falls a few yards short.

Photo of AltBock
3.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle that I got in the Penn Brewery variety pack. Another bottle with no date. It didn't even have the month letters on the side.

Poured a clear light brown color with a 1 inch head of white foam and plenty of carbonation bubbles through out the entire Pilsner glass. There wasn't much of an aroma with this one. Mostly some sour hops and with little malt in the background. Not too pleasant. The taste was like the smell except it wasn't sour, Mostly hops with just a little malt in the background. The mouthfeel was a bit too watery and thin. There also some bitter hops in the aftertaste. It did make for a nice above average Pilsner beer, but it isn't my favorite from Penn Brewery.

Photo of SwillinBrew
3.2/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The second of the Penn brews i've tasted.

Had it in a pils glass. Was a clear honey color leaning towards golden with a finger of good white head. The bouquet was biscuity and on the grain side which is a good seguey to the taste. That of toast and bread crust on the dry side. Good balance and carbonation on the crisp side. I wasnt wowed but the brew was good. I'm new to the Pils style so i'll revisit this brew after i have more of the style under my belt.

Photo of cooncat
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving was from a chilled bottle (not too chilled, mind you).

With a fairly vigorous pour, only a small 1/2 inch head developed, which quickly disappeared. Very minimal lacing left behind on the glass as I swirled it it help discover the nose. The nose is pleasantly hoppy, and that was (perhaps) this beer's most endearing characteristic.

The mouth feel was decidedly thin, yet crisp and citrusy. I would say this would definitely be a refreshing beer for hot, lazy afternoons. There was little malty background notes, which I guess is to be expected. The finish is dry, with a light hop after taste.

From *my* perspective, I would rate Victory's Prima Pils a 5, Pilsner Urquell a 4, and this Penn Pilsner a "struggling" 3. Your tastes might vary, but I think this a fair appraisal.


Photo of jakester
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
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 Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark golden brew looks good.

Smell is biscuit malt and spicy citrus hops. Quite strong scented for a Pilsner.

Taste is light malt and fairly spicy hop flavor. There is a fair bit of citrus flavor here. The bitterness builds as you drink this one and the initial impression that this was sweet goes away.

Mouthfeel is good.

An OK drinkable beer but this did not wow me.

Photo of tgbljb
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

label states "brewed and bottled for Penn Brewing by Frederick Brewing Co". Poured a dark amber color with slightly off-white head that lasted throughout the glass. Smell is malty and a bit sweet. Taste follows through with the maltiness and a nice finishing dryness. A nice tasting easy beer.

Photo of beermanbrian
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear gold in color. A little darker than you would normally expect from a pils. Thick lumpy white head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing. Smell is mostly malts with a slight hops citrus. Malt taste that is balanced nicely by the hops. Just a touch of hops bitterness at the end. Nice drinkable beer. As a friend of mine said it's Yuengling Lager without the skunk.

Photo of ski271
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Medium-orange-amber with a large, white, frothy head with good retention. Good lacing, too.

Smell: Quite mild. Fairly sweet and nutty, with a little grain.

Taste: Very bready. Nutty, grainy, grassy. The honey sweetness is strongest up front but stays around for a while until giving way to a slight hop bitterness on the short finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, slightly creamy texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I have had this in bottle before, and I didn’t remember this being so malty. I think it’s so malty that it really doesn’t taste like a pilsner, more of an American lager. Still, it was enjoyable and very drinkable. But I did have to dock it some points for not being a good representation of the style.

Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 400 ratings.