Bela Imperial Pilsner

Bela Imperial PilsnerBela Imperial Pilsner
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Pilsner - Imperial
Ranked #45
Ranked #34,341
3.71 | pDev: 18.33%
Illinois, United States
Bela Imperial PilsnerBela Imperial Pilsner
Notes: Bela may sound like a sweet name, but she's actually quite bitter. A beer style that does not technically exist, the addition of over 25 pounds of Czech Saaz hops in this small-batch beer results in high hop bitterness and quite obvious Noble hop aroma and flavor. It is also a high alcohol beer with a nice warming effect, medium-body and some malty residual sweetness to remind you that Bela might still have a sweet side after all.

85 IBU
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Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 31 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of dcotom
dcotom from Iowa

3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear dark copper color with a voluminous fluffy white head. Aroma is earthy and fruity, with notes of plum and pear alongside the sweet malt. The tannins are not too pronounced on the palate, but there is quite a bit of sweetness. The hops may have faded a bit in my sample, as there was not too much bitterness or spiciness. The finish is dry, not tannic or astringent at all. The alcohol is quite prominent, especially so as it warms. This is a rather unique beer, with a doppelbock-like character. I didn't get the bitterness and hop spiciness I was expecting, which might be more pronounced in a fresher sample. Still quite good, though.

Jul 21, 2016
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laketang from Arizona

4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a hazy orange, white head, had great lacing.

sweet and floral notes. I,m guessing from dry hopping the saaz hops?

tangy bitterness, earthy like fresh dug dirt. oak tannins make for some complexity.

medium body , finishes dry. bitterness on sides of mouth

for a 10 abv. not really felt.

Jan 23, 2016
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mactrail from Washington

1.85/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Looks nice enough, with the dark amber color and adequate foam. Smell, though, is that plasticky funk of bad homebrew. Plenty of carbonation and mouthfeel is OK.

Sourish yet sweet, hot with alcohol but leaf mold taste. Sugary spoiled fruit. What on earth is this stuff? It is in no way an imperial Pilsener. Fortunately it's only 500 ml down the drain.

Jun 24, 2015
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Moose90 from Washington

4.11/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A – Pours a bright yellow with a nice and thin bright white head, great lacing left behind.

S – Smells slightly tart and bright, white grape, green apple, lemongrass, oak.

T – Tastes of greatly balanced sweet pilsner malt with bright and oaky apple and grape sweetness.

M – Medium bodied, high ABV is nonexistent.

O – Great beer, wonderful balance and great tart and funk level.

May 22, 2015
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superspak from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into lager glass, no bottle dating. Pours slightly hazy golden yellow color with a 1 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big lemon, lime, cracker, bread, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, spicy oak, and herbal/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of bright earthy/spicy hops, oak, and moderate pale malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big lemon, lime, cracker, bread, light honey, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, spicy oak, and herbal/grassy earthiness. Good amount of herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, lime, cracker, bread, light honey, pepper, spicy oak, and herbal/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice robustness and balance of bright earthy/spicy hops, oak, and moderate pale malt flavors; with a crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Fairly clean on lager flavors with some light yeast ester notes present. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice imperial pilsner style. All around good robustness and balance of bright earthy/spicy hops, oak, and moderate pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the high ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

May 05, 2015
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BeerFMAndy from Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

500 ml bottle poured into a Destihl tulip.
10.2% ABV, 85 IBUs

A - Beautiful raw honey golden colored, this pilsner is crystal clear with a steady stream of carbonation feeding the off-white head which sticks around for some time, despite the higher alcohol's best efforts to ward it off.

S - Honey-drizzled warm biscuit and lightly toasted white bread give the beer a great pilsner malt aroma that's blanketed by sharp spicy Saaz hops with notes of earthy wood on the finish from the oak spirals.

T - Opening with a bready malt aroma would tend to suggest the beer will be quite malty with a fuller body but the Saaz hops win out in flavor, prickling the tongue with herbal and earthy spiciness with lingering oak nuances.

M - Wonderful carbonation keeps this medium-full-ish bodied imperial Pilsner drinking crisp with a great smoothness from the beginning to the delicately dry and bitter hop finish.

O - While Destihl admits there's technically no such thing as an imperial Pilsner as far as styles go, I consider this a benchmark for what one might look for in an imperial Pilsner. Like the classic, Urquell on steroids, Bela dishes out plenty of spicy Saaz hops sprinkles over fantastic bready malt characteristics for a dangerously drinkable high gravity brew!

Feb 08, 2015
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mynie from Maryland

1.31/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

On tap at the brewpub in Normal, IL.

Pours very dark orange. Smells... very limp and sweet, not at all what the menu promised. Nodes of carrot juice and mustard seed and light hints of flowers.

Tastes cloyingly sweet, almost like malt extract syrup. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying they use extract in their beers. I'm saying their beers taste like extract, which is actually worse. The effect is very closely to a bad, underhopped, high gravity malt liquor--sweet in a poisonous way, like drinking it makes you rot.

Billed as an "intensely hopped Imperial pilsener," this beer is a prime showcase for why it is that most double pilseners are--nay, *must*--be intensely hopped. Because, without a shitload of hop flavor (which this beer lacks), the beer comes off like sweet, chemical cough syrup. Avoid.

Nov 25, 2012
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pmcadamis from Illinois

2.53/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Cloudy carrot orange with a white one inch cap. Lots of nice lace sticks to the tulip glass that this was served in.

S - Pungent spicy mustard and pepper, with a vinegar-like note that reminds me of super-funky Belgian brews. Not at all what I was expecting this to smell like.

T - Sour and tart with brettanomyces-esque funk (I don't think that they actually brewed this with bret, but the Dijon mustard notes have the same vibe going on. Odd.

M - Medium bodied and voraciously carbonated. Finishes with a slightly off-putting sour sweaty flavor that lingers for quite a while.

D - This is definitely one bizzaro brew that doesn't taste at all like the noble hops and dry cracker-y malts that I was expecting. I was only planning on trying two beers, so I went with what I thought would be the most unique and interesting brew first.

Jun 26, 2010
Bela Imperial Pilsner from DESTIHL Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 31 ratings