Experimental Hop Pilsner
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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German Pilsner
3.82 | pDev: 8.9%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: A new take on the Pilsner style
We got access to two new hops that could change the way we think about adding hop flavor to pilsners. These hops, Nug-033 and Steiner 04190, reflect some of herbal and spicy character of their European predecessors, but with a new twist. Notes of lemongrass and citrus are balanced by a slight honey flavor and a smooth, chamomile-like hop aroma.
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 128 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of arizcards
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from the Kings Beer & Wine cooler on 5-25-18 for $1.89. Canned on 1-30-18; cold stored since purchase.

Beer poured golden with a nice white head that has some good hang time.

Nose has hints of grass and noble malts.

Taste is interesting, the malt baseline is a traditional Euro Pils malts combined nicely with a combo of herbal, floral, and grassy hop characteristics.

Feel is soft as opposed to crisp but that could be attributable to age.

Overall i like the western spin on a traditional European style of beer! Too bad i did not catch this fresh!

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Photo of monkist
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Okay now I'm a great fan of the Czech pilsner (and not of the German), and even though the American ones tend to follow the German tradition, they are much more drinkable.
Here we are talking about a craft Pilsner (which is already a good thing) that is made by Sierra (which is even better) and the icing on the cake is that it is a part of the Experimental series, made with these new hops. The end result is a super drinkable, super fresh pilsner with a light body but with full characteristics (not dry), smells really fresh fruity and tastes refreshing and pleasant to drink. To me this was the perfect session pilsner, I could have backed down a couple of more, feels reassuring to know there are two more left in the box. The thord beer from the Experimental Box Set, so far I'm pretty satisfied - but seriously, what else could I be with anything from Sierra?

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Photo of Mandpasbury
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Another selection from the Sierra Nevada 12-pack of experimental hop Brews. I am generally not a fan of pilsners, as I find they are a bit boring for me & remind me of the commercially brewed, big beer pilsners. That being said, this was not bad. Very clean and crisp with enough hop flavor in it to keep it from being a traditional Pilsner. It poured a very clear golden yellow color with about 1/2 Finger of white foam head. As is thr case with a lot of pilsners in my opinion, it was light on my palate. I would try this again, but would like to see a stronger hop presence... But then I guess it would be an IPL. Overall pretty good.

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Photo of IronLover
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful, light golden yellow in color with perfect clarity aside from the tight bubbles swimming to the surface. Poured with a tall, soapy, rocky, bright white foam with very good retention. Clean pilsner malt aroma with light, earthy hop aromas and hints of lemon. Medium bodied with soft, delicate, medium high carbonation and a light, creamy smoothness. Malty flavors up front followed by earthy and lemony notes and hints of bread crust. Medium, mellow, herbal hop bitterness through the middle followed by pilsner malt on the back end. Finished cleanly with herbal and light bitter hoppiness surrounding the light dryness. Hop aroma was a little light. Body, feel, malt character and mellow, herbal hoppiness were fabulous. Smooth, tasty, and easy drinking.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Initial impression from a can:

Grassy. Slightly yogurty. Faint melon. Floral character.

Chamomile? Sure, when I look for it.

Far from traditional, but generally well-executed. This tries to showcase hops, which makes it feel less like a pilsner than an IPL.


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Photo of StJamesGate
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bright gold with puff; grass, melon, and hay; clean grain then grapefruit peel, a hint of pear, and a ton more grass. Snappy with ruthless linger

4 4 4 4.25 4.25

Nug-033 and Steiner 04190

OK, Nug-033 has a name: Triumph. Unfortunately; not much info for that one (Stone says: “dank/onion character mixed with green pepper and lime peel.”). 04190 is “green tea, floral, light pear.” Both seem Noble/good for lager. Sierra’s notes say: “lemongrass and citrus.”
In the event, it’s the “I’m such a pils, brah; not a lager” character than impresses: the body and the bite. A cut above, and maybe the best of the multipack.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


Pours goldenccolor with a foamy white head.smells herbal and grassy,with a hint of citrus. Tastes of herbal, grassy andcitrus hops,pilsener Malt, crisp finish.medium-light body and carbonation.

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Photo of hreb
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz can dated 010918. Pours pale straw yellow with moderate white foam. Mostly clear, but relatively turbid compared to Sierra Nevada's baseline. Aroma is mild, with the usual grassy pilsner smell mixed with green apple and an unexpected fruity, melony hop aroma. Flavor has some edge to it. There's definitely some alpha on the middle of my tongue. But the flavor is decidedly pilsner, or at least not IPA/IPL. I do pick up the honey/chamomile profile, and it's a really interesting match with this style.

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Photo of zeff80
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz can. Poured out a crystal clear, straw yellow color with a small, white head of foam. It smelled of lemongrass, citrus and toasted caramel. Sweet toasted caramel with a citrusy, hop bitterness.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clean golden with a huge white head.

Aroma: Floral and citrus hops. A hint of lemon somehow.

Taste: A tad bitter, this hoppy lager has a nicely light body but plenty of hoppy goodness, with an almost sour lemony hint. Citrus and floral hops dialed up here. Good brew.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.04/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

look - great light yellow copper color with a big last white head and sticky lacing
smell - grainy pilsner scent with a slight floral citrus
taste - straight up german pilsner with added slight citrusness, refressing
feel - medium body with a crisp medium light carbonation
Overall - fantastic twist

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Photo of GrandpaGeorge
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased the 12 can (3x each) sample pack of the Experimental Hop Series. This was tied for my favorite of the four, but given a choice between the top two, I'd pick this one. It was really good and the smoothness of the lager style was immediately evident as compared to the others. Nice looking yellow color in the glass, with a nice pale yellow head of foam. Not much lacing to speak of, though the grassy/piney hops was present in the nose and at initial taste. I kept looking for the name of the hops varietal, but Sierra Nevada says they're only known by numbers (they're new hybrids). Even so, the flavor was enjoyable and I'd definitely try this again, given a choice. In fact, I hope they market it as a "stand alone," so I don't have to spring for the mixed pack. I don't regret buying it, however, as who can go wrong with experiments that involve beer? ;)

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Photo of woodychandler
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Happy Hoppy New Easter April Beer Fools' Sunday (Week 684)! Between hops & wanting to make a fool out of myself, this seems like the perfect way to spend the day. I am off tomorrow as part of an amended Spring Break (Good Friday & tomorrow, but not Maundy Thursday), so I feel like I have been given an imbiber's green light. Even better is the opportunity to further The CANQuest (tm), which has now become an impossibility - new & limited-release CANs hit the market EVERY day (or so it seems). I am not giving up, but CANversely, I know that I am missing out. C'est la guerre & I do not suffer from FOMO, mofos, since I have more than enough to keep me satiated for a LONG time. Onward!

From the CAN: "Family Owned, Operated & Argued Over"; "Experimental hops offer exciting new flavors"; "Please recycle".

I Crack!ed open the vent & CANmenced a slow, gentle Glug into my awaiting tapered Pilsner glass. Unbidden, that is sans in-glass swirl, it raised a finger of dense, rocky, foamy, bone-white head with excellent retention. Color was Straw-Yellow (SRM = > 2, < 4) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a grassy, hay-like quality acCANponied by a light honey-like sweetness, very much like a GER Pils. It left me a little curious, however, since I find the CZECH Pils to be more hop-driven as they seemed to intend for this beer. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium & since nobody should expect fullness in a Pilsner, it was okay by me. The taste was very hoppy, very grassy & dry with a lemony spritziness that added to its refreshing nature. I still think that it was closer to a CZECH Pils than a GER Pils, but that is a subtle distinction. There was no question in my mind that it was a Pilsner & these new hops neither detracted nor distracted from the overall effect. I am unsure of their mention of "chamomile", but there was a tea-like quality to the very dry finish. This would be a nice beer on a hot, humid summer's day. I CAN see filling my cooler with CANs of it.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz. can served in my Spiegelau pilsner glass. Pours a bright, yellow-gold with a dense, fluffy, two inch, bright white head. Only the slightest haze to the clarity. Nose is fairly clean - hints of lemon, grass and earthy notes. Taste consistent with nose; however, more earthy, some sour mash and a bready quality as well. Mouthfeel is light in body with an even carbonation. Overall, a decent beer; however, I prefer my German pilsners a little cleaner and the experimental hops combo doesn't really do the style justice in my opinion.

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Photo of jakecattleco
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

24 oz. bomber pkgd 01/31/18 into a becher pint glass.

L: Pours bright golden with nearly 3 fingers of variable density white head with good retention and left some mixed lacing.

S: Vibrant nose, crisp citrus with some floral notes, some bready undertones that grows in prominence and perhaps the faintest hints of earthiness.

T: Nearly all citrus, overwhelms the malt. Malt gains a bit of prominence as the beer warms, but hops continue to dominate for my palate. Finishes with somewhat crisp with mild bitterness and moderate astringency, astringency lingers on the palate.

F: Light bodied with medium carbonation, lively on the tongue with some tingling/sting from the astringency.

O: It's an interesting pilsner, that comes across a bit too much hop forward. I enjoyed it for my palate and preferences, but it needs a bit more malt profile/contribution.

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Photo of Impetuous
3.39/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Clear golden body with small white head and no lacing.

Flavors are pepper and hay and bitter citrus. Light malt. Effervescent carbonation.

It’s ok.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can. Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with a medium frothy white head that goes to a thin film that laces the glass some.

The aroma is sweet straw malt with a little fruit and grassy hops.

The flavor is sweet grainy malts with some fruit and a noble hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a nice pils - a bit on the sweet and fruity side.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The brew pours a clear golden amber color with a one finger head of foam. The head fades relatively quickly to leave light lacing on the sides of the glass .
Smell - The aroma is a nice mix of floral and herbal hops with some cracker and bready smells as well. Along with those aromas comes some yeast and some light citrus, producing a very inviting aroma overall.
Taste - The taste begins with a bready and cracker flavor mixed with some of the citrus fruit that was in the nose. The cracker dies out as the taste advances with the bready and fruit being met with some caramel and hop. The hop start out as citrus upfront, but are joined by hop flavors of grass and herb later. In the end one is left with a rather pleasent moderately hopped sweet, yet crisp taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel - The body of the brew is crisp but somewhat chewy, producing a rather nice media for the hop, cracker, bread, and sweeter flavors of the brew to be appreciated.
Overall - This was a very flavorful, and easy drinking brew with a crisp yet "Thicker" feel while only clocking in at 5.5%. Quite tasty!!

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Photo of schoolboy
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Here comes a pilsiner that is a little something extra but still true to the style. A winner.

It pours pale yellow with medium sized bubbles that continuously refresh from the bottom. The aroma is appropriately of finishing hops - well balanced aroma. The taste is slightly bitter from hops, yet sweet enough. Again, a great balance. The aftertaste is extra bitter and slightly biting, from great hops. A very satisfying pils.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of teromous
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottom of the can: "PKGD 010918C12:28"

Appearance: The body is a pale amber color with just a light bit of haze. There is a lot of visible carbonation flowing to a short white cap that has very good retention.

Aroma: When smelling the empty can there is a nice aroma that comes from freshly processed hops. The glass dissipates a lot of the aroma. There is a touch of what smells like cereal grain and just a hint of what smells like a noble, herbal hop aroma. It's about average for what you would expect.

Taste: Up front there is a very nice herbal hop flavor that has a bit of a cedar character. Towards the finish it picks up a bit of a peppermint character which is interesting. While drinking the beer it starts to pick up more of that "fresh hop" flavor that is a bit earthy and raw.

Mouthfeel: It is crisp in the beginning and middle of the beer. The end contains a strong bitter finish that has a bit of rasp. It has a light body and very good carbonation. While the beer does have a crisp beginning and middle, it just doesn't feel clean overall.

Overall: The beer could use more aroma and it could be a bit cleaner feeling. Otherwise the beer has good flavor, the bitterness is enough to satisfy any hop lover, and it looks great in a glass. I am on the fence with this beer because it does have some redeeming qualities but it just doesn't feel complete. It's one of those beers that you could pick up and enjoy but it isn't good enough to prompt me to buy it again.

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Photo of Tone
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy gold color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of floral hops, slight citrus hops, pale malt, hint of spice (nutmeg), hint of alcohol, and a hint of piney hops. Fits the style of a German Pilsner. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation an elevated bitterness. Tastes of slight citrus hops, pale malt, hint of alcohol, hop resin, and a hint of piney hops. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

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Photo of Beejay
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy yellow with a small white head.

S: Herbal with lemon flavor and honey. And also a touch of noble hops.

T: Grassy, with some herbal character, and a sweet light honey flavor in the finish. Some light grapefruit, and a touch of stone fruit.

M: Medium light, with fairly aggressive carbonation.

O: Overall an interesting tweek on the style. The honey flavor is perhaps a bit too pronounced for the style, but I do like the interesting twist.

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Photo of Squire
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Light gold color with small white cap.

Aroma waifs in as if riding on a Early Spring Breeze carrying the scents of soft citrus tree blossoms touched with fresh Honeysuckle flowers. Smells simply divine.

Oh man, I was liking everything about this beer until I tasted it. Aw com'on guys, this isn't a Pilsner, it's a Session Ale under another name and an undeserved one at that. The actual hop flavor is strongly piney/herbal in that West Coast style that solidly smashes flat the beautiful aroma like a heavy asphalt steam roller. Then like an angry bull circling for another charge there is just enough time to notice the malt is actually like the brewer suggests, mildly rich and slightly honeyish, before herbal bitter hops are back like a tide and that's the end of it.

Medium full texture with balancing carbonation.

It's like I ordered chocolate cake and was served something different being told it was "the restaurant's interpretation of chocolate cake being lovingly created in the traditions of chocolate cake displaying the robust richness of chocolate cake in the restaurant's unique way of presenting this extraordinary desert" at which point I interrupt to say this is mocha. Yes sir, it's mocha. Well I ordered chocolate not coffee take it back. I'm just glad I didn't buy a six pack of this Pilsner labeled product under the mistaken belief I was getting something like, say, a Pilsner.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear yellow with a massive white head that dissipates quickly leaving minimal lacing. The aroma is lemony with a bit of grass. Flavor is sweet citrus with a hint of noble hops. Great carbonation for a crisp feel. Overall a pleasant beer.

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Photo of Spikester
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold with four fingers of white head. Rings of lace as the head descends.
Smell is noble hops with cracker malts.
Taste is herbal noble hops with cracker malts.
Mouthfeel is light with good carbonation. The finish is lightly bitter and soft.
Overall an easy drinking Pilsner.

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Experimental Hop Pilsner from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 128 ratings