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Steam Whistle Pilsner - Steam Whistle Brewing

Not Rated.
Steam Whistle PilsnerSteam Whistle Pilsner

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132 Reviews
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 376
rAvg: 3.43
pDev: 14.58%
Wants: 5
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Steam Whistle Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2002

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 132 | Hads: 376
Photo of Mellonius
3/5  rDev -12.5%
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. (521 characters)

Photo of andrwjedi
2.47/5  rDev -28%
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. (1,192 characters)

Photo of joefinnigan15
3.35/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: golden, 1 finger head, 

Smell: bit of citrus, wheat

Taste, mouthfeel: has some body. Not bitter, which I like, bubbly on the tongue but fades quickly, a bit creamy, can't put my finger on a specific flavour. 

Overall: Refreshing, with some body, less of a clean taste and more of a creamy texture. Pretty decent beer, I'd buy it again (351 characters)

Photo of mick303
3.45/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large white head which takes some time to die down, leaving a nice layer of foam, leaving quite a bit of lacing. Colour is yellow-gold and a decent amount of carbonation.

Good aromas of malt, bit of hops. Seems nicely balanced.

The taste is slightly sharp, fairly nice balance with a bit of a fresh crispness to it. Fairly enjoyable and quite refreshing without being very imposing. Good session beer, the flavours don't overwhelm each other, but neither are they terribly exciting.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, with a bit of carbonation. Aftertaste is smooth, just a hint of bitterness.

I've been drinking this for a few years, and I'd say overall, this is still a pretty good go-to summer beer. There are better beers but its not half-bad, highly drinkable, and a decent style representation. (805 characters)

Photo of NV9
3.97/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pale straw colour with almost no head and what is there fades to nothing in no time.

Bready barley smell, lot of corn in there as well, hint of citrus but not strong.

Crisp flavour, somewhat bitter right from the start and through the finish, the bready flavour is evident in the taste as well.

Light body but a fairly strong carbonate feel in my mouth, finishes dry. (370 characters)

Photo of Converge
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into a 20oz nonic.

A - Pours a super-clean golden straw color with a white head of thin bubbles. Poor head retention and no lacing at all.

S - Smells of clean barley malt, with a real bready character to it along with a mild honey sweetness. Slight citrus tinge with some grassy noble hops in the finish. Call me crazy, but there's even a slight nutty presence here.

T - Rather robust for a pilsener, with a malty character of buttery bread and mild nuttiness. Notes of citrus and honey pop up. Finishes crisp with some light grassy hops. A little too grainy for my liking, but nothing offensive.

M - Full bodied for the style, but carbonation is strangely low. Sort of a peculiar mouthfeel given the flavor profile here.

D - A decent domestic brew for Canada and a nice refreshing beer for the summer time. Nothing to go out of the way to try, but I wouldn't turn it down on a hot afternoon. Pretty much average. (935 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.15/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 355ML can of this w/ my good friend Tony @ the Schlafly Tap Room in St. Louis, MO. Poured from the Bright Green (7-Up looking can) w/ a Whistle and outline of a brewery at the bottom into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Has PKGD MAR 22 2012 on the side of the can.

Aroma- Slight corn on the front and then sweet, typical German Pils aroma. Very clean and easy.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that dies almost right away. Has a clean, golden body with great clarity. Leaves good lacing behind.

Flavor- Very malty, crisp, and once again has some corn that comes around. Light-medium bitterness. Sweetness all the way through.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Creamy, Smooth, and bites with sweetness on the palate.

Overall Impression- Beware! This is a HIGHLY drinkable brew and would be dangerous on a floating trip! Would love to see this guy (and possibly 11 others of it) in the near future. Highly recommend for its style and am a huge fan. (967 characters)

Photo of leaddog
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a golden straw yellow with a finger width of bubbly, foamy head.

Smell - Grains, corn, touch of citrus aromas.

Taste - Strong grain and malt flavour off the bat, followed by a light lemon zest. Very crisp flavours.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth, crisp and refreshing with a dry finish.

Overall - An enjoyable pilsener by Steam Whistle. Not getting much in the way of hops, however, there are some other excellent refreshing flavours (like the hint of citrus zest). (526 characters)

Photo of Hex
3.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aahhh! One of my favorites! am i bias? Never.

Pours very pale, with the soapy head about a finger, finger and a half almost. Doesnt stick around too, too long.

Smells like spring time! Hoppy, grassy, a little earth, a little citrus, (grapefruit maybe? maybe not...) citrusy though.

Taste like spring. The hoppy come about a little bit, not too strong, not too light. Mild citrus, mild grass, and very mild earth.

Leaves your mouth with a tingling dryness that request you pick the bottle back up. (DOnt SIT mE DoWN) it shouts.

Overall this is a decent beer. Very easy to drink but not really lacking in character. The flavors are light and free and refreshing. Could very well be socially drank at a cookout, a baseball game... something. (744 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.35/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours light golden. Bright. One finger of soapy white head with strong carbonation coming up. Some spotty lace is left with a half finger of retention.

S - Noble hop, apple, pear, and candied fruits.

T - Less noble hop with a grainy note, but definately not corny. Raw grains, some apple as well.

M - Very effervescent in the mouth with small tingly bubbles and a light-ish body with a sweet, grainy finish with noticable noble hops as well.

O/D - Meh. Nothing I would seek out at all. Green bottle is a little off putting but my pops bought a sixer for Christmas so I'm not complaining. A craft beer for people who don't drink craft beer. (647 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
3.12/5  rDev -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. (272 characters)

Photo of timtwoface
2.9/5  rDev -15.5%
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. (443 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.47/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My parents picked up a nifty 12 pack of this, in the form of a suitcase, while they were up at Fenway north. Sweet green retro bottle. Bonus points for superb packaging in both the suitcase (I kept it and use it to bring homebrew places) and bottle.

Clear gold with a thin head. Thin skim of retention floats in the shape of a question mark. A beer for self inquisition?

Honey, floral aroma with some Wonderbread in back. Smells like springtime in the morning.

Crisp and refreshing with mild earthy/herbal hop in back to balance the springtime fresh sweet malt.

Perhaps it's the fact that this beer triggers sensory images of springtime hikes and lakeside trail runs but I love this beer. The packaging doesn't hurt either. I'm a sucker for a pretty bottle. (763 characters)

Photo of RyanBelle
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

steam whistle BA review

I will not hesitate to say this is an incredible beer. It really is an amazing example of balance in a craft beer. It's got a cracker/bready/biscuity taste that I've fell in love with since the beginning of my beer drinking days. It also has a bitter edge with a fresh hop taste that is grassy, and slightly lemony.

A - Good carbonation and lacing that sticks fairly well to the bottle and glass.

S - Very grassy. Slight alcohol seems to perforate through the nose. This is not so much reflected in the taste.

T - Grassy, lemony, peppery but not before you taste the cracker/bready-ness at the forefront. Beautiful balance.

M - Very carbonated but not so much that the notes can't shine through. It's comfortably bubbly, I guess.

Overall: Must try and must have. (793 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - straw color, clean and clear with solid carbonation providing a thin, stark white head.

Aroma - sticking my nose in the glass I get some grassy notes, a bit of citrus as well as some sweet and almost sour notes. There is also some elements of hay as well some earthiness.

Taste - once this hits the tongue I'm reminded about how much this style is about being crisp and clean and not about the flavors that are provided by so many ales. Steam Whistle has some light sweetness, some sharp notes along with an earthy, dry finish. There are some decent grainy, cereal flavors but overall this is a beer that's about being smooth without a lot of aftertaste. It accomplishes that quite well.

Overall - don't ever let anyone tell you that brewing a good pilsner is an easy task. It's certainly not the simplest style, it has no flavors or colors to hide imperfections and lagering beer cost money. Steam Whistle does a good job of living up to their motto of "do one thing, and do it really, really well." Their pilsner is refreshing and well put together. We give extra credit to any brewery willing to take on the big guys. Well done in that department Steam Whistle. (1,179 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned on august 15, 2011, 500 ml Aroma sorta familiar, pilsner malt, mild hop, but there is an aroma that's different...cant really explain what it is. Maybe its the Canadian water? Just has some type of aroma to it that's unique and it comes forward in the taste a bit also. Taste is certainly lager like, mild biscuit/bread, mild sweetness and bitterness. Easy, vey easy to drink. Not bad at all. (399 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Appearance – Clear yellow colour with a below average size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is almost no lacing. The head lasted for around 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Grains, bread, malts, grass, hops, corn

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation. I can taste breads/grains mixed with light hops and some corn. I can also pick up on some malts and a slight grassiness. It finishes with a sweet corn and lightly spicy aftertaste

Overall – Definitely a step up from most of the Canadian macros that you find at every bar/restaurant in Ontario. The taste won't blow you away, but it's refreshing and very drinkable. I could easily go through a 6 pack of these. (758 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

I've had this a few times, but it was always in a social setting so I haven't bothered to review it yet. Steam Whistle pours a brilliant golden-yellow colour topped with a thin white head that dies down to a patchy cap within a few minutes; some lacing on the sides. A torrent of bubbles rushes from the bottom of the glass to the top for most of the session. The smell is nice - floral hops with some sweetgrass and underlying pale grain malts, about what I would expect from a pilsener. I have had some slightly skunky Steam Whistle in the past, but the can seems to eliminate this problem.

Up front the taste is mostly slightly sweet barley malt, with some underlying floral hop bitterness and a faint hint of spiciness. Slightly dry in the finish, but ultimately there isn't much hop character for a pils. Bitingly heavy carbonation with a thin to medium-thin mouthfeel. I could see this being a decent session beer option.

Steam Whistle is not exactly an outstanding pilsener, but it's still crisp and tasty with a fairly balanced flavour profile. I would appreciate some more hoppiness, but I accept that styles are always open to a certain level of interpretation. I've had better pilseners, but this is highly drinkable with no serious flaws. Worth a try if you see it, but not really worth going out of your way for.

[Updated Oct. 30 2013]

Picked up another 500 mL can, this time from TBS. The database used to have Steam Whistle classified as a German Pils, which I tend to expect different things from than an APL. While I still consider this a middling example of a pilsener (it simply lacks the noble hop presence I want from that style), as far as regular craft lagers go, this is a respectable offering with a clean barley malt flavour that goes down easy. This beer's success probably derives from the fact that it can easily be enjoyed by both macro drinkers and a plurality of craft fans – perhaps not the more anal-retentive amongst us, but those looking for a straightforward and clean-tasting lager to session should find this to be a safe option.

Final Grade: 3.59, a B grade. (2,106 characters)

Photo of Matt1516
3.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale gold in appearance with a slight head.

Smells faintly of lemon and graininess.

The taste is a little watery with mild carbonation. Not much for hops. Some breadiness. To the positive it is crisp and clean.

One of those inoffensive "soda-pop" beers you often see at the cottage/camping. (293 characters)

Photo of MattyV
3.17/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of Stocean1
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
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 (393 characters)

Photo of marty21
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear golden yellow with one finger worth of white fizzy head. Settles to a ring around the glass but doesn’t leave a whole lot for lacing.

S: Grainy and biscuity malt with a few floral hints.

T: You get the grains up front and it finishes with the biscuit malt. A bit of floral hops once in awhile on the tongue after you swallow.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

O: I heard a lot of good things about this beer. It didn’t knock my socks off but I did enjoy it. It did a great job refreshing me on a hot summer day on the patio. (571 characters)

Photo of Ardon
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very thin looking with a foamy head, which does not sustain itself.

Smell: Sweet tobacco and cracker malt. Crusty bread.

Taste: More of the crusty bread character. Light hoppy bitterness. Not overly complex but the simple flavours it has are delicious.

Mouthfeel: This is where this beer falls short. Light bodied but lacking anything impressive. A little bit bitter, a little bit refreshing. Very thin but with a club soda like carbonation.

Overall: An acceptable beer, which I know will be fresh in my area. Enjoy the simple flavours of this beer, so reach for it occasionally. (595 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.32/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for the local!

Green bottle, nicely oldschool.

Pours a pale straw color, white head, didn't stay long. Aroma is crisp, malt rich, with a bit of nuttiness. That carried over pretty equally into the taste: Malt rich, nutty. Feel was slick and creamy, but crisp and light in body. A pretty standard pilsner; not bad at all, but doesn't wow any. (365 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a clear, golden body. The head settles rapidly and leaves little lace.

S - Bready malt notes with lots of musty, herbal hop aroma.

T - Dry, grainy malt up front with some biscuit notes. More of the same in the middle as herbal hops begin to appear. A hint of honey shows up in the finish along with more herbal hop flavor and light bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - Bready and herbal, this is a well balanced and drinkable pilsner. The hop character is fairly robust with a lot of herbal character, but somewhat anemic bitterness. The malt is a bit lighter than I would like it to be as it has only weak touches of honey and bread though it does provide the beer with some thickness and body. Overall, it is a fairly well made pils that hits most of the appropriate notes for the style. (888 characters)

Steam Whistle Pilsner from Steam Whistle Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.