Penn Pilsner | Pennsylvania Brewing Company

240 Reviews
Penn PilsnerPenn Pilsner

Brewed by:
Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

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Reviews: 240 | Ratings: 453
Photo of dungledauf
1/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pour into pint glass from 12 ounce bottle. Case said drink by date is February 8, 2013. Case stated amber-style Vienna lager with smooth, mellow, full-bodied taste and delicate hop aroma. 2-row barley and caramel roasted malt used.

Appearance: Slight head with disappered quickly and no lacing on the glass on the way down, straw-colored, little to zero carbonation, lifeless, dull, and very cloudy which seems unusual for a lager.

Smell: Beyond belief because there was no smell expecially no hop aroma whatsoever. This did not even smell like a beer.

Taste: Little yeast and malt flavor especially in the after taste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy with a medium body.

Overall: This was not a Vienna-lager. Whatever style it represented it was awful. I am confident to say this because I have enjoyed this beer for over 15 years. This was not even comparable to Sam Adams Boston Lager or the Great Lakes Eliot Ness. This brewery does not consistently produce this product well. I am not sure why this beer is totally different than in the past, but I will never order it again.

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Photo of rabsten
1.59/5  rDev -56%
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.


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Photo of drpimento
2.1/5  rDev -41.8%
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.

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Photo of DIM
2.12/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Well now I get it. I ordered this because I wanted a pils. I was disappointed because I thought it tasted more like a vienna lager. Yeah for my palate, boo for my taste buds. Reviewed as a pilsner since that what the handle read.

This was kind of a hazy amber color. It had off tasting muddled, grainy sweetness. This was probably at least partially due to dirty lines at PNC park. But still...

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.4/5  rDev -33.5%
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.44/5  rDev -32.4%
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.

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Photo of emsroth
2.46/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. No freshness date but there is a code.

app: pure gold with a small but frothy head

Smell: sweet malt that reminds me of cooked apples. no hop scent that i can discern

Taste: Light taste up front. All flavor is later in the sip. A mix of rough, dry malt, minerals, and slight bitterness. Overall a flat, boring taste.

Tastes like a hopped up adjunct lager.

This is the second Penn beer I've had, and both had a very strong mineral taste which I cannot stand.

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Photo of cdkrenz
2.56/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thank Bill

A - Golden yellow with a thin, half inch white head. Looks to have a bunch of carbonation too.

S - Grainy soap aroma with a bready fill.

T - Malty start with a bitter end and an even more bitter after-taste.

M - The feel is somewhat coarse in the finish. Prior to that it's watery and somewhat uneventful.

~ Other than the looks I'd have to say this is one you might wanna pass on. I will say this though, I like the photo of the old man on the label. Now if only the beer had that kind of character.

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Photo of DuqTroops
2.6/5  rDev -28%
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.

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Photo of mjc410
2.66/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The pour into my Prima Pils glass raises a two-finger off-white head, slow to fall. The lacing is sudsy but sticky. The body is too hazy for a Pils, and in fact, I see it labeled here as a Vienna Lager. I don't see it to be dark enough for that either, despite their website's claims. It's a barely transparent dark gold. The nose is actually quite weak, with only a slight sweet grain aroma. The taste is close to what I expect from a Dortmunder, with less pronounced hop taste, but more body and "kick" than a helles. There's really not much to it. The mouth is somewhat thick, and the carbonation is tingly. This is indeed easy to drink, but I'm glad this is my last bottle, since there's not much going for it, and the beer has something of an identity crisis.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.67/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am not impressed by this short of my expectations of what a true pilsner should be.
Maybe I have a bad one here but I don't think that's it.
Medium dark golden colour with a light white crown which departs quickly.
Body medium/full.
Carbonation very light.
Aroma has a light sweetness to it...bready.
Taste is malt heavy to begin and continues to the end. Evidence of hops midway thru but lacking.
High points for this brew are the "smell' & "mouthfeel"
How sad is that?

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Photo of JoshW
2.68/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a medium brown, small head. Hazy in appearance, odd for a pils. Not a real strong presence of anything to me in the aroma of this beer, hoppy, grassy, and a light hint of sweet apple.. I don't know if it's because it's 10 am in the morning, but I smell an undertone of bready Guinness in this one for some reason. Tasted bread notes, grainy and malty.. Started out a little sweet and finishes a little bitter, nothing outstanding in the taste either. Mouthfeel is thin and light, drinkability is pretty average to me.. Overall not a bad brew for something from my own state.

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Photo of AMo
2.7/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pennsylvania Brewing Company Penn Pilsner pours a clear golden yellow typical of light lagers. Smell is ever so slightly malted, but mostly nothing. Aromas given off are similar to that of a German style lager. The taste is as well, but its watered down and on the weak side with not a whole lot to offer. Mouthfeel for the best part is light and smooth, but it is also thin and watery. Drinability is fair at best, it's easy to choke down but its lack of everything makes it rather dull.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.73/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in a trade from dpodratsky3.

A - Beautiful golden amber color, with bubbles going to the top. Slight head, little retention. Very nice looking lager.

S - Not enough going on here for me. Smells more like grass than grain. Something about this smell actually bothers me, almost like there's a hint of vomit or something, don't know how else to put it. Not quite there, but that's what it reminds me of.

T - Got better as I drank. I'm a big Vienna lager fan, but this is not one of my favorites. Dry, just doesn't finish full enough, sweet taste left on the tongue at the end borders unpleasant.

M - Nothing special, nothing particularly bad. Decent amount of carbination makes this beer a lot better than it could have been.

D - Easy to go down, could put these away all day, especially watching football and eating pizza.

Everything about this beer just seems to border on reminding me of something horrible and disasterous. It's not bad, but I almost feel like something bad will happen when I drink it. I could drink more of these, but not going to seek it out by any means.

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Photo of xzqrut
2.84/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of JamesS
2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very yellow/golden (not anywhere near amber) color, but with some nice head and lacing, along with a lot of carbonation. Very malty and lager-ish aroma, more of a macro "skunk" lager aroma than having a clean and crisp scent. Decent taste, a nice crisp maltiness, and just a slight bit of noble hoppishness at the end. Goes down fairly well, but a bit over-carbonated.

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Photo of ActonBrewer
2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A -Unfortunately the appearance was the best part. Nice head and a beautiful golden lager

S - Almost reminds me of a sweaty sock. Not sure what I was picking up, but the smell bothered me.

T - Lemony and grassy. The smell strongly effected my ability to taste this beer.

M - Decent carb and body.

O - Not my kind of beer. Nothing special going on overall. The smell ruined it for me.

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Photo of ZAP
2.9/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

An easy drinking, relatively malty pilsner that lacks some of the qualities I expect in a Pilsner....I want a Pilsner to look clean, and clear, and special....this is a dark gold hazy color....the haziness is a turnoff right away...On the nose I want some spiciness...with this I get fruitiness like apples....On the finsih I want a crisp spicy hop bite...On this I get pretty much nothing except lingering sweetness....On the plus side, this isn't a bad tasting beer. It's easy drinking with some good maltiness on the taste but overall I find it lacking in many areas....I suppose I could have a bad bottle but it doesn't taste spoiled or old...Nothing special here in my opinion...

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Photo of changeup45
2.96/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad but wouldn't be my pick for a nice Pils to drink on a warm day. Golden colored, smallish head but some nice lacing is produced. The flavor is sweet fruits with some grassy notes. Mild hops but they are sweet and the whole flavor seems just a little too sweet. Decent mouthfeel but not as crisp as I'd like a Pils to be. It's quite drinkable but no better than average.

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Photo of tigg924
2.97/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, gold in color, clear, medium-high carbonation

Smell: big caramel and some grass

Taste: bread, grass, and some floral hops. i just do not feel the flavors come together here.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, medium bodied, sweet start with a slightly dry bitter middle.

Overall: A disappointment for me. This smelled so good, but the taste fell flat as the flavors really just did not mesh well. I have had lots better in the style and will pass on this in the future.

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Photo of plaid75
3/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

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Photo of beerguy101
3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium amber color. Small head. Aroma is malty and slightly sweet. A medium bodied pilsner. Darker colored and very malty and hoppy for a pilsner. Perhaps it supposed to be a cross between a Pilsner and an amber? Malts are nutty and slightly sweet. Hops are citrusy. Touch of orangish flavor in the taste. I'm not sure what this beer is supposed to be, it not a pilsner and not an amber or Vienna. Its somewhere between the two and gets sort of lost somewhere along the way. Its drinkable but lacks any sort of identity. Mouthfeel is round. Finish is dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of psugrad98
3.02/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear golden in color. Fresh smell of quality ingredients. Rather boring taste, not enough in the way of subletees or nuances to warrent a higher praise. A little spritzy. A pedrestian brew, but an above average lawnmower beer.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.06/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Penn Pilsner from Pennsylvania Brewing Company
3.61 out of 5 based on 453 ratings.
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