Sterling Pils | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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Sterling PilsSterling Pils

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: German Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
First Brewed: 2011
Starting Gravity: 1048
Bitterness: 30 IBUs
Alcohol %: 4.9
Malt: Sterling
Hops: Premium Pilsner

Added by beertunes on 01-15-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 43
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a sorta colloidal hazed golden... nice white head... good retention.

Nose hits with a nice hoppy bite that previews the coming bitterness. Crisp hoppiness that is a little more floral than spicy... Definitely more PNW than Continental.

Good bitterness from front to back... hops are again floral.. grainy pils maltiness.

Very drinkable... but I think this 6-pack is old... cannot find a decent date, but this seems not quite fresh... still pretty nice.. love a good pilsner.


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Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I will forever hold a grudge against Ninkasi for stealing the name of my pipe dream brewery. I also think their beers are decent at best. Still, I'm a sucker for a trying a new Pils, so I had to give this one a shot.

A: Definitely got the look down. Transparent straw, two finger dirty wifebeater foam. Dissipation is moderate. Not much lacing. Carbonation is vigorous. One of those beers you can hear bubbling away.

S: Got the smell down too. Light, crackery. Bit of honeyed sweetness coming off the nose. Hops are lemon, sulfur, floral perfume and a bit of leafy herbaceousness.

T: Very, very crackery. Think liquid saltines. Lemon oil, herbal/floral notes, touch of malt sweetness, tiny bit of soapiness. Moderately assertive hop bitterness, but very balanced. Clean and dry (duh). Flavors are fairly subtle (except for that crackery note), but are clean and precise.

M: Appropriately light. The carbonation calms down as it warms. Enough body to keep things interesting (and balanced). Not quite soft enough on the palate.

O: It is very reminiscent of a quality German pils. Much better than most American examples I've had of the style. Would most definitely buy this again.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a very good amount of head which seems to have some retention. The head is almost cotton white (there are faint hints of yellow) while the body is a clear pale straw that glows a lemon yellow when held up to the light. Some lacing is left behind and the retention is quite formidable.

Nose- Pretty much your typical pilsner aroma- sweet malt, grain, and faint hints of spice. Some sourness from the grain as well. Has some presence but little complexity. Rather boring but to be expected from the style.

Taste- Reflective of the nose but with some citrus notes (orange and lemon) and a lengthy hops note. The hops are grassy, earthy, and herbal with some spicy characteristics. The hop notes are very well integrated and only reveal their complexity as result of the long finish. There's nothing terribly special about this beer but it is a good representation of the style. A little bit of white grape gives it a bit of a vinous quality as well.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied with a nice smoothness and a slight vinous texture. Carbonation is light and well placed.

Drinkability- Very easygoing, borderline crisp and refreshing. I don't know if I would pay 9 bucks for a 6 pack of pilsner though. However, it is worth it if you are a fan of the style.

Overall- Solid beer and solid representation of the style. This beer won't wow you but is perfect for a summer day.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Sterling Pils pours a clear light golden color with a four finger foam head and semi sticky lacing that then disappears. The smell is spicy with floral notes and really biscuity. The taste has a nice malt backbone with bitterness that finishes on the top of the palate. It probably could have used a little more hops to be a NW Pilsner in my eyes. I consider the Prima Pils the standard in this category for American German Pilsners. The first one of the sixer was good we will see how the others finish out.

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Photo of vkv822
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip
bottled on 3/29/13

Pours a clear, bright, pale-yellow with a thick, foamy white head that leaves pleasant lacing.

Spicy, grassy, herbal, floral hop notes. Crackery malt backing. Clean, crisp finish.

Medium body, fizzy carbonation.

A well done pilsner. Tasty hop profile balanced with a clean malt backing.

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Photo of 100floods
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Typically buzzwords like 'Northwest' tend to carry some baggage. This isn't to say that baggage is good or bad, but it certainly says something. It's reallthe smart ass in me that gravitated towards this beer. I know that a tradition German Pilsener should contain a hoppy punch, by German standards, but is this famed beer ready for the 'Northwest' makeover? Can lederhosen and flannel get along? Am I blowing this out of proportion for the imagery of an older German man dressed like a hiptser? Sure.

After the third beer in my recently purchased six-pack I'm starting to understand this beer, especially how much this beer makes sense. I've never gravitated towards American Pilseners because most aren't that good, and a decent wheat beer is a safer bet on these shores. But if you're going to make a beer that requires hops, leave it to the coast that knows how to hop a beer or two.

This pup pours a grassy, pale lemony yellow. Not much to say about the nose other than it smells like german malt and maybe some grassy citrus. A little bit of haze in the hue tells me this beer won't be too clean, and I like that. The taste is where everything begins to make sense. Crisp, grassy almost toasted malts blend gracefully with the mellow hop presents. There's a crisp lemony finish that becomes a more rindy bitter as it fades out. I'm glad it's there but it makes me want to take another sip to get rid of the flavor. Perhaps that's the point.

Turns out this didn't taste like a hop bomb. Perhaps not turning to the classic NW lineup and letting tradition do the talking made this beer good.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A finger of head on a clear, golden colored body. Looks good.
It has a great grain aroma, pure.
It has a nice flavor: moderate bitterness that has been rounded out by a touch of malty sweetness. Finishes with a mild bitter note.
It has a crisp texture with moderate carbonation.
Nice flavor with a low ABV makes this a beer to have again and again.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 355ml bottle. Pours a bright, rich lemon yellow colour. There's not a whole going on aroma-wise, a little bit of crackery grain and a hint of lemon. The taste is certainly pleasant and true to style. There's a nice minerally dryness to it with a hint of lemony hops. It's refreshingly crisp and thirst quenching. A perfect summer session beer.

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Photo of harrymel
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 12MAR13 (glad to see bottle dates on Ninkasi!!)

It's a golden ale with a solid quilt of bone white foam. Nice, classic look. Smells of grain, corn, rice hulls, some herbal hops, some chalk, slightly sweet nose. Flavor is corn pops, some bitterness, a little wood and floral character and a good grainy base. Medium on full for the style with fine moderately low carb for the style. Overall I'm happy to drink this, if it were canned, I'd take it to the lake probably. Easy drinker for sure.

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Photo of jdavin
2/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had on tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland.
Big diacetyl issue. Mostly ruined the beer for me. I have only an average diacetyl sense, and it was pretty clear to me there was a moderate diacetyl problem noticeable in both aroma and flavor.
Hard to say what the beer would've been like without that, since I couldn't smell hop presence under the diacetyl.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at By The Bottle in Vancouver, Washington. Served with a quarter inch head that quickly dissipates to a thin patchy film. As is recedes it leaves some webbed lacing. Smell is of sweet grains and subtle hop scent. Taste is of floral hops and sweet grain malts. As mentioned below the hops are less aggressive than expected. This beer is working toward the subtlety that is exhibited by European brewers. I don't think that Ninkasi has hit the sweet spot with this beer, but it is an admirable attempt. Also, glad to see some brewers making beers with less alcohol, though not every beer I drink is in the 4 or 5 range, it's nice to have some well made options with a lower alcohol content.

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Photo of beertunes
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in bubble pint glass. Poured a clean, clear honey-golden yellow with about an inch of white head that had low/medium retention and left some nice sticky lacing.

The aromas were fairly typical for the style, nice earthy grains topped up with crisp hops. The hops were a it sharper and bolder than is the norm for an American take on the style, it seemed to me. On the tongue, the hops were even more noticeable. The grains, which I look for to take the lead, were definitely playing second fiddle to the hops. The malt did have a good presence after the upfront tang of the hops subsided though.

The body was fuller than typical, yet retained the crispness that I look for. The beer did have a slightly sticky finish. Drinkability was very good, I could see having a few of these as the weather warms (if this beer is still around). Overall, a nice take on the style and a nice departure from Ninkasi's tendency to be over the top bold. Certainly worth trying during it's limited release. I wouldn't mind seeing this brew in Nikasi's yearly seasonal schedule.

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Sterling Pils from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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