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Steam Whistle Pilsner - Steam Whistle Brewing

Steam Whistle PilsnerSteam Whistle Pilsner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

262 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 262
Reviews: 123
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 15.99%

Brewed by:
Steam Whistle Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
We believe that world-class results require focus and dedication, so we developed a distinctive recipe for our single brand based on Europe's renowned brewing standards yet is brewed fresh locally at our independent, Canadian Brewery.

We use traditional brewing techniques and only four natural ingredients including spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast - all GMO-free. There is a fifth ingredient in every refreshing bottle, and that is the passion of our dedicated Brewmaster and staff.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2002)
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Ratings: 262 | Reviews: 123 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of box299


1.73/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

I do not understand the fascination with this beer. Locals in Toronto all point to it as an exemplary craft beer. I find it barely drinkable. I think I heard a story that the owner of the brewery is a local celebrity. I also think he came from one of the major breweries.

If I didn't really want a beer on my Porter flight back to Chicago, I would never touched the stuff in the first place. thinking that it might have been in a bad mood that day, I ordered one up to give it a second chance. I was right in the first place. This is NOT a good representation of a growing craft beer scene in Ontario. It's a shame that government controlled monopolies get in the way of opportunities for consumers to try new beer. This is also a poor example of a Pilsner. You are just as good drinking an AB-InBev product like labatt blue.

feel: leaves an unpleasant after taste
taste: no real hop taste and very light malt

thank goodness the Porter light isn't very long.

Serving type: can

10-24-2013 18:25:30 | More by box299
Photo of Shiloh

Ontario (Canada)

2/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not acceptable...Sorry but I did not care for this brew as it left me wanting...no hops in evidence here and the sweet malty taste carried through into the after taste...the packaging was probobly its strong point and that reminded me of a circus clown of low character..

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2003 18:58:58 | More by Shiloh
Photo of DrJay


2.08/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pale straw yellow colour with brilliant clarity and a thin white head that showed some lacing. The aroma was packed full of DMS, vegetal sweetness and sulfury hops. Veggie sweetness carried into the flavour. Bitterness was much harsher than it should have been, given the moderate hopping level. Light body, high carbonation. Not an impressive offering, at least to my palate.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 02:05:18 | More by DrJay
Photo of cyrenaica

Ontario (Canada)

2.08/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well, I'm not sure what to say about this beer. I was introduced to this beer by a friend who brought it to our 20th anniversary hockey pool (He's not invited back btw).

There was very little aroma in my opinion and very little flavour. The colour was a very weak translucent yellow. What little aroma there was slightly grassy. The mouthfeel was slightly watery, but with enough carbonation to save it. The taste was very weak in my opinion for a beer labelled as a pilsener.

Working a short distance from the brewery itself (the old roundhouse at Toronto's Union Station houses the brewery today) and having watched it being built I was excited to try this beer. Needless to say the lack of aroma and flavour were very disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2007 03:40:44 | More by cyrenaica
Photo of ManekiNeko


2.23/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle that reminds me of some old school soda pop bottles I've seen. Served chilled in a glass.

Appearance: Pale straw color topped by a smallish white head that quickly dissipates to a film. No lacing is left.

Smell: Grassy hop aromas with some mild graininess. Not an overly strong nose, to say the least.

Taste: Light cereal malt with a clashingly vegetal hop finish, almost sulfury.

Mouthfeel: Very light in body, too light, if you ask me.

Drinkability: Pilsener does not equal watery, light, and fizzy. Clashing tastes and no body make for a bad beer experience.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2004 20:00:30 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

2.33/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I seem to recall when this beer was first made available that there was a lot of hoopla. The brewery publicized that they only made one beer but they made it well and a fair number of folks have told me the same thing. Having said that, I've never particularly cared for it although I'll try to be objective given my decision to finally review it.

Pours a clear yellow with a short-lived white head. A few bubble streams on one side of the glass, we soon are left with a ring and not much else. Lace is scarce to non-existent although in fairness a quick swirl regenerated some head throughout.

Smell is malty, soda biscuit, wet grass and marsh, a typical pilsener lager aroma in some respects but just not very pleasant. Taste is sharp and dramatic, loaded with malt it seems to me - but lacking in flavour. Hop character missing in action, not enough to make it interesting or round it out. Mouthfeel dry and thin, lacks hoppy presence, malty aftertaste. Body is lacking even considering the style. Refreshment value compromised by a heavy corn finish, taste is a bit heavy but not in a good way.

Altogether, this is simply not to my tastes; with apologies, I doubt I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 02:53:41 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of

2.35/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma - Very pale yellow with a nice little head that quickly dissipates.
Aroma - Bready malt aromas with a touch of hops. Not much going on here, really.
Flavour - Bready, sweet, only the slightest note of hops, not enough bitterness to balance it out. Mediocre at best.
I have enjoyed this on tap in the past, so either it is not as good in the can or my palate has improved.

Serving type: can

04-19-2011 11:25:53 | More by
Photo of andrwjedi

District of Columbia

2.48/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured little to no head in part because I noticed "debris" in the liquid. Poured remaining beer into a seperate glass. Looked like yeast that had settled to the bottom, although I was surprised to find this in a commercial beer. Had a "home brew" feel to it.

Color was golden orange. Much darker than I would expect from a pilsner, and definitely outside of style range. Didn't have the "clear" appearance you expect from a pilsner either.

Aroma was strong malt and no hop presence. A little aggressive aroma from the malt, more than expected. Some fruitiness as well.

Taste was strong malt and cloyingly sweet. No hop bitterness to back up the sweetness.

Mouthfeel was medium. Not enough carbonation for a pilsner or "spritz." The malt flavor weighed heavy on the tongue but cleared off after a few seconds. Very dry as well which was surprising with the malt flavor.

Overall I would guess this is a bottle conditioned California common (steam) style pilsner. It came off more as an extract home brew than a commercial pilsner. If I'm wrong, perhaps I got a somehow-contaminated bottle. Overall disappointing, but a drinkable beer if you don't assume it's a pilsner before drinking it.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2012 23:36:50 | More by andrwjedi
Photo of francisweizen


2.5/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

An odd beer, to say the least. I had this beer on tap at Shopsys in Toronto. The smoked meat sandwitch was killer and I washed it down with this beer. This beer had a standard golden appearance but the aroma was of fritos (corn chips). That's right!, this beer smelled and tasted like freaking corn chips. Now, I am assuming that this is because this beer was brewed with corn and rice. I had no sense of hop flavors or malt flavors at all...just corn chips.
The mouthfeel was average, as was the drinkability, but I would take a molson export over this!

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2003 14:26:43 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Gusler


2.53/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The pour a clear and gold color with the head frothy in texture and the color white, size is average with the lace a thin covering upon the glass. Nose is malt and sweet, crisp and fresh, front sweet with a fair malt profile, the top skimpy in feel. Finish has a decent hop presence and the acidity stinging, quite dry aftertaste, drinkable but not much else to be said unfortunately.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2002 17:30:18 | More by Gusler
Photo of philipquarles


2.58/5  rDev -25%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

500ml can. Pours a clear gold with a fizzy white head that disappears quickly. Smells like a homebrew that was contaminated with cleaning agents--what seem to be chlorophenols dominate pils malt with a very light grassy hop aroma. A turn off. Thankfully, the taste isn't effected; all light, sweet malt with a very faint floral hop presence. Light bodied with medium carbonation. Aside from the slightly offensive smell, this isn't too bad, just uninspired and characterless.

Serving type: can

05-29-2009 01:52:35 | More by philipquarles
Photo of atr2605

New York

2.58/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours yellow with a white head with good retention
S-sweet malt and corn, no hop presence
T-Has a strange vegetable metallic element to it. Not pleasant.
M-light bodied
O-looks and feel is right but the strange flavor throws off its crispness. Very possible it got like struck due to the green bottle

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2013 01:07:41 | More by atr2605
Photo of SaunaKing

Ontario (Canada)

2.85/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6pack of 331ml bottles of this after hearing the insessant commercials on the radio the past few weeks. Being a big fan of euro pilsners I thought I would give this a try as they made a big thing about being a pilsner on the radio spots.
Very cool packaging - both the box and the old skool green bottles.
The beer poured a pale straw colour, but not totally clear - there was a hint of cloudiness.
The smell was a little strong, and the aroma was of granny smith apples, not what i was expecting
Upon first taste the beer was a little sharp, but i dont mean the crispness associated with a good pilsner.
Overall though this would make a good session beer, good summer beer but at $11.95 for a 6pack its waaay overpriced. For the same price I can get 6 500ml cans of Bitburger, Konig and other euro pilsners at the LCBO.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2004 01:10:36 | More by SaunaKing
Photo of timtwoface

British Columbia (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm not really a fan of this style of beer. Maybe the green bottles subconsciously throw me off because it reminds me in many ways of Rolling Rock (another beer I'm not really a fan of) or maybe just the weaker, plainer taste just resonates with me as boring.

Is it BAD? No, just not my style - I can only see myself going for a beer like this on a hot day if I need something refreshing. In that regard it's OK - it's just not really for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 18:28:53 | More by timtwoface
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap: Clear yellow beer with small head with below average retention. Aroma is quite sweet with more or less malt. Taste was quite enjoyable with some refreshing sweetness. Lacking a bit of character and body to make this truly good but better then some other lager that I had the misfortune of drinking over the years.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2004 13:54:45 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of yesyouam

New York

3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Steam Whistle is a transparent light golden lager with an ample white head. The aroma is muted and of bread and fruity and wooden hops. It is light bodied, smooth and crisp. The carbonation is a bit soft. The taste is primarily grainy and cereal. It tastes very fresh and very simple. It has a tiny hop presence at the end of the flavor, which really tightens the finish. This is what Heineken wants to be like. My dad always brings some of this home when he goes to see the Yanks play the Jays.
(rated Jun 13, 2007)

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 05:39:39 | More by yesyouam
Photo of Mellonius


3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Pub Italia, Ottawa. Poured in a shaker glass.

Dark straw color, almost orange. Little head formation, it disappeared very quickly.

Smell is somewhat grassy, citrusy and wheaty.

Very light on the palate, refreshing and drinkable. Not very characteristic as a German Pilsner, though. Lacks the bitterness and the richer hop complexity of the genre.

A nice beer for a warm afternoon, especially if you're eating spicy food. Not special, though. I would not try it again in a world full of new things to sample.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2012 00:31:55 | More by Mellonius
Photo of Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - poured a one finger head from a nitro can - pale yellow - head did not last long - little lacing

S - light malt - some floral notes - bready

T - light malt up front - stale biscuit - a little bitterness - nothing too complicated

M - light bodied - dry - a little tart - decent carbonation

O - a very average beer that I used to enjoy much more - to be fair I am not a huge pilsener fan

Serving type: nitro-can

06-27-2011 03:35:07 | More by Stocean1
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ok beer in a retro green bottle. Enjoyed best at their brewery where there is often hoopla. Sweet floral taste with dry astringent aftertaste. Would have enough rather than a national Canadian brand but rank is weak compared to other microbrewery peers.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2003 17:12:16 | More by Sammy
Photo of MTNboy


3.05/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know that a lot of people are going to hate me for this but I don't understand why so many people are in love with this beer.

Appearance: The best part of this beer is the way it looks. It has a nice bright yellow body with a beautiful thick white head and lace.

Smell: very grassy and somewhat earthy.

Taste: Average mass produced lager. I thought it had grassy taste to it.

Mouthfeel: I would say on the lighter end of a medium bodied beer. Lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: A good once and a while beer.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2008 06:06:29 | More by MTNboy
Photo of jneiswender


3.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this beer at the brewery in Toronto. I've had it both in the bottle of the line and in the tasting room. Nice white head and gold clear body. Smells nice and grassy. Light but not lacking in flavor. Nice and drinkable. Good beer. I have to say I would have this again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2011 14:47:41 | More by jneiswender
Photo of midweb23


3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at the brewery after doing a tour.

A - A golden yellow color with a thick, fluffy, 2 finger head.

S - Slight smell of malt and hops. Nothing stands out.

T - An initial taste of grain followed by a nice hops aftertaste. The hops are much more noticeable than I anticipated for this style.

M - Very crisp and smooth.

D - The beer is very smooth, and goes down easy, especially when cold.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2008 12:27:29 | More by midweb23
Photo of slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmm, a below average pilsner, but alright too try once. Attractive green bottle with history on the back. Dangerous in that green can cause skunk, but the beers were fine. Poured into the mug with a whooosh of carbonation, causing a fast rising head that dissipated even faster. Smell of barley and pine were apparent in this brew. Taste was crisp and sweet with malt, but lacked the necessary hop balance. Mouthfeel was crisp at first, but after a few sips became annoyingly sticky. Drinkable, but not something I would want to consume alot of at once.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2003 09:54:25 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of MattyV

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear deep yellow, short-lived soapy white head. Aroma is slightly grassy and earthy, but is mostly dominated by sweet grains and corn. A light caramel sweetness is detectable throughout, along with a weak bready/biscuity malt backbone and metallic undertone. Little to no hop flavour or bitterness, just a touch of grassy flavour on the back end and a splash of bitterness on the tongue in the aftertaste. Lots of sweet corn flavours begin to come out more as it warms. Modest body with plenty of sharp, somewhat harsh carbonation. I've had this on occasion but never had the opportunity to review it. Not great, but well-distributed and perhaps slightly above the usual macro offerings.

Serving type: can

07-03-2011 04:22:47 | More by MattyV
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Steam Whistle seems to be totally going for that post-retro style of marketing kitsch and nostalgia, and the historic location of the brewery doesn't hurt either. I kind of like the silkscreened green bottles, but on the whole the actual beer itself is average.

It's a very clear pale straw colour, poured with a wafer thin head that quickly dissipated. The nose is of sweet grainy malt, and nothing else. Flavour is very unassuming, not much going on, a bit of an astringent kick at the end, perhaps a reminiscent phantom of the clearly missing hops in the formula.

However this stuff is pretty drinkable, I'll give it that. Yet I drank most of the case after chilling it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then directly out of the bottle. Great for barbequing. The glass pour exposes where it falls short.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2003 08:19:31 | More by IronDjinn
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Steam Whistle Pilsner from Steam Whistle Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 262 ratings.