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Penn Pilsner - Pennsylvania Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

384 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 384
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 15.04%
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: 384 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DogFood11
2.45/5  rDev -31.8%

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.

DogFood11, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of AltBock
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%

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.

AltBock, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of SwillinBrew
3.18/5  rDev -11.4%

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.

SwillinBrew, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of cooncat
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%

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.


cooncat, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of jakester
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

jakester, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

Zorro, Aug 11, 2005
Photo of tgbljb
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

tgbljb, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of beermanbrian
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

beermanbrian, Jun 10, 2005
Photo of ski271
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

ski271, May 06, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%

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

Billolick, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of BuckSpin
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%

A surprisingly warm/reddish gold in color with a 1/2" white head of tight foam that clung surprisingly tight for a beer this light. Nose was difficult, no real discernable aromas other than one might expect from a beer.

Smooth for a pilsner, more malt than hops, with a (theres that word again) surprising caramel peak right on the tongue, which slides into a slightly more hops than malt finish. This was...well, that word...for a pilsner, not bitter at all. Very drinkable. This could easily be mistaken for a lager in a blind test. While not spectacular or a roller coaster ride of taste, its certainly better than everything else that was on tap here in PA, with the possible exception of Yuengling. Certainly worth a try.

BuckSpin, Apr 06, 2005
Photo of tomthumbsblues
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%

A small foamy head is produced from pouring this dark golden, almost amber beer. The smell is light malt and a hint of hops with a sort of metal/oily aroma lurking in the background. The taste is malty, reminiscent of corn and yields to light hopping with slight spice in the back. This beer sits well on the tongue, but might be a bit too watery, however, I say that about a lot of beers. I mean, water is the main ingredient in beer, so.... Anyway, this was a good beer, but for a Pilsner it lacked the sharper hops quality I have come to expect. I'd have a Prima Pils before this one, no contest.

tomthumbsblues, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of freed
3.13/5  rDev -12.8%

Somewhat classy logo, pours a rather hazy golden which is kind of surprising for a pilsner. Nice carbonation though, which compliments the style.

The aroma is nearly absent. Simple pale or pilsner malt, no hop, and not much for the nose.

Taste is similarly plain. Rather common malt flavor and placid flavors doesn't completely turn me off, but its nothing too intersting. A seeming lack of bitterness leaves crispness, a preferred attribute in pils missing. Its not bad, but just not very good.

freed, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of mentor
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%

Thanks to Francisweizen for this one. No freshness date. Pours a light apricot in color with some haze. Very thin head that quickly settled to a ring of teensie bubbles around the glass. No lacing. Smells of honey, apples, and hops (Saaz?). Tastes malty. Sweet with some vienna character. Noticable hop, not bitter, just tasty. Probably not Saaz as I guess in the smell, it's more likely Hallertauer. A hint of frutiy, which isn't to style, rides along with the chalky character of the Vienna malt. Mediuim mouthefeel, a nice example of the style.

mentor, Mar 11, 2005
Photo of BitteBier
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%

Totally clear golden pour with a bit of carbonation and minimal head. Surprisingly thick, sweet smell of malts with a whiff of hop bitterness. Sweet, bready taste that might be overly cloying were it not for hoppy flavors that balance the malts throughout. Uncommonly thick, smooth texture is a real treat and makes this a very drinkable pilsner.

BitteBier, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of tcromwell
3.95/5  rDev +10%

When poured into a pilsner glass you can really get a look at the rich golden color. This beer is an easy drink with a good aftertaste. Unfortunately, I have to cross the border to PA because they do not sell this beer in my hometown. One of my regulars.

tcromwell, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of santoslhalper
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%

Had on tap at Bruno's in Indiana, PA. Pours a clear amber with little to no head. Smells very balanced with nothing but malts and hops. Taste quite bready and malty at first, with the hops shining through at the end. On tap it tastes much hoppier than out of the bottle. The carbonation is great. Got a little bored with the brew near the bottom of the glass. Overall this is a nice pilsner, a little above average, but nothing complex or special.

santoslhalper, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of heidelbeerg
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%

This has long been one of my favorites. It's what I used to keep in the fridge all the time. I took a little break from it though and just had one on tap and am rating it for the first time. The appearance in good. A little more amber color than a pilsner usually is, but it just looks delicious in the glass. The smell is staightforward malt and hops. Taste is outstanding. Perfect balance to my taste. Bready malt flavor balanced nicely with hops that are not overpowering, bitter or dry. Just right. Mouthfeel is good. Not thin, not thick. Carbonation is right on. Very, very, very drinkable. I will be buying a case of the bottles very soon.

heidelbeerg, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of proc
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%

Pours out to a reddish-amber in the glass with a large head. Aroma is that of malt and bread dough. The taste here is very good -- no make that excellent. The Pilsner style is so underdone by American micros, that this was such a pleasant surprise. Malt is prevelant, with a light citrus touch, giving way to a hoppy, but not overly done finish.

Easy to drink. This is a very good pils.

proc, Oct 18, 2004
Photo of BruceBeerman
4.47/5  rDev +24.5%

I have had Penn Pilsner in bottles many times but when I bought a keg, I was stunned by the freshness and much hoppier flavor. This adds to the overall score. If you can get it on tap...do it!

Amber color is strange to true pilsner style. I always thought pilsners were meant to be straw in color. However, with the added hop and crisp taste, I guess it fits the style other than color.

A very dinkable beer (especially on tap) and I had the pleasure of getting very fresh in Pittsburgh. The head retention is very good with nice streams of carbonation going up the sides. not as nice as the true Czech Pilsner's, but definately like the German Pils. This is a German style up and down. But I don't remember too many amber pils in Germany. I'll be sure to look harder next time I am in Frankfurt.

All-in-all a very nice beer.

BruceBeerman, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%

Pours a deep golden pilsener color with a big thicket of off-white colored head. Bready, biscuity and grainy pilsener malt profile with a bit of floral-like hops thrown in to balance. Tastes mostly malty sweet with a small hop finish that is pretty crisp. Good for a U.S. brewed German style pils, but pretty average when compared to it's European counterparts. Enjoyable.

crookedhalo, Jul 30, 2004
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%

This poured to look like a very promising brew - a medium amber color with a minimal head but heavy lacing. The reddish tones were surprising and promised an interesting experience...

The smell was pretty typical of a pils, semi-sweet malt nicely balanced with a grassy hop note. The taste followed suit - the malt had some very nice fruity notes of orange and peach while the hops were very refined - just enough to really 'crisp up' the finish of the sip without being 'pucker up' dry.

Mouthfeel was pleasantly complex - rather thick on the tongue with some real body but light enough to leave a clean palate.

This is a very drinkable brew and I'd certainly recommend it... I'd have given a higher ranking for both taste and mouthfeel but I felt I had to deduct points for deviating from the style. When I drink a pilsner, I expect a more carbonated, light-bodied beer with a pretty light taste and a crisp finish. If you had handed me an unmarked glass of this brew I would have guessed it was an amber ale and would have said lots of very complimentary things about it - it's a complex, well-balanced brew. But it's not what I'm looking for when I open up a Pilsner.

RedwoodGeorge, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of TheOtherMike
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Another good find while traveling through Erie, PA. I picked this up in one of Erie's "six-pack" stores.

Appearance - dark golden color with a slight head.

Smell - both malts and hops are evident, fairly well-balanced.

Taste - light bodied with distict malt flavor and a bit of hops to round it out. Somewhat bread- or cracker-like.

Drinkability - a good beer that could be enjoyed on any occasion.

TheOtherMike, Jun 30, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%

This beer (and it's advertizements) seem to be everywhere in Pittsburgh. On a recent trip, I had pleanty of bottles, and was suprized at how drinkable the beer is. It's golden and clear, with a thick, bubbly head. Moderate carbonation and a nice flowery hop aroma. It's initially sweeth and malty, with little breadiness. Very soft and extremely drinkable. I didn't expect much, but the beer was fantastic.

Suds, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%

Appearance: Pours a medium amber color. Head is a thin layer of off white clingy foam.

Smell: Malty aromas predominate, there's also a nice floral hop background.

Taste: Very well balanced levels of a malty sweet taste and a slight hoppy bitterness. No aftertaste noticed.

Mouthfeel: Not very dry, carbonation level is dead on, feel overall is crisp and clean.

D&N: A very nice beer from a local (to me, at least) brewery. Alcohol level isn't too high, smells and flavor are very nice. I'd recommend this one.

JackTheRipper, Mar 25, 2004
Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 384 ratings.