Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Pilsner - German
Ranked #127
Ranked #27,635
3.8 | pDev: 10.26%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Very Good
Notes: When we set forth to brew a Pilsner, we wanted to pay homage to a region that is legendary in its brewing tradition. This beer is brewed the German way, and you can taste the difference. We even sourced the hops and malts from Germany! It’s light, easy to drink, and it goes just as good in a boot as it does in a stein. We use German Pils malt, 2-Row malt and wheat to create a firm malty character with a crisp finish. This traditional Pilsner malt bill is complimented by German Lager yeast and German noble hops. Pilsner’s 40 IBUs help it finish dry, the way a German Pilsner should.
Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 163 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by AndrewMichael:
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AndrewMichael from Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz can, drank straight from. A grainy aroma, with only a hint of hops. A bit of bitterness on the taste, as expected for a German style pilsner, but at the same time, was just a touch underwhelming and wanted a bit more.

May 28, 2017
More User Reviews:
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Bright yellow golden hue with an active carbonation and a dense frothy white head.

Smell: Clean graininess, a little powdery with a very mild floral hop note.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Spot on crispness in the moderate body. Spicy hops meshes with the grassy grain, a bit juicy upfront with a nutty malt flavor. Lingering dry malt flavor continues far into the after taste. Finishes a tad dry.

Drinkability & Notes: It is nearly impossible to pit this pilsner against a typical German Pils that uses hop extract … which most of them do. Just because it is pale in color does not mean it is lacking in flavor, nor does it mean that it is too heavy being that it comes from a craft brewer. Its beers like this that are missing in the Boston proper.

Aug 04, 2004
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John from New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy straw color. Pillowy white head, spotty lace is left behind. Biscuit-light malt and leafy hop aroma. Flavors of pale malt and the crisp Noble hops are blended precisely. Hops are prominent but are delicate enough not to over power. Mouthfeel is smooth almost creamy, yet crisp and clean. Carbonation level is on the money. This is a fine brew on its own or as an accompanyment to a light meal. An outstanding pils.

Oct 03, 2003
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Pete9094 from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very nice German Pilsner. Crisp,snappy quaffer. Great warm weather beer but I would drink this year round!

Jun 18, 2016
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shirfan from New York

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here's a prime candidate for getting new converts to better beer.

Pours hazy medium gold, with a thin, sticky, white-as-snow head.
Aroma is midly sour lemon and a whiff of saltwater.

Taste is nothing like the typical green-bottle european pilsner. Starts crisp and sharp with hints of lemon and kimmelweck rolls. A mild, refreshing body has enough malt to hold its own. Finishes dry and begs another sip; there are no off or "strong" flavors here to turn away the novice. The baking seaweed flavor typical of imported green-bottle pilsners is conspicuous by its absence.

Very, very impressive for being light and unchallenging yet tasty. Exudes quality.

Feb 14, 2004
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden tone not unfiltered by any means just has a sort of screen over the bright golden tone, very nice two finger sized white creamy head forms beautifully. Aroma: Citric floral tones a zesty hop aroma with an undertow of biscuit malt, mildly bready tones. Taste: Well, it's heading in the right direction the bready sweetness blended with the snappy hop profile is there just a bit misblended, I am getting a lot of lingering bitterness a bit dry and just doesn't haronize the malt and hops like most amazing pilsners do. Moutheel: Medium to light bodied carbonation seems a bit mild but it is smooth going down. Drinkability: Don't know how much I could drink just want a better pils, but this is a solid all around one just not great looking for more balance but our friends at Southern Tier are doing a fine job.

Oct 17, 2003
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RBorsato from Virginia

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jun 15, 2017
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GreatPondBrewer from California

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear golden with a foamy white head and slight lacing with plenty of carbonation bubbles. Smell was sweetly malty with a slight floral hop, bitter grains which were bordering on metallic and a slight doughyness(it seems like all the southern tiers have a little bit of that most likely from the yeast.) Taste was crisp and refreshing, with rose petal notes, slightly metallic malts, nice bitter hops and a smooth finish and dry aftertaste. Obviously well carbonated which would hold true for the style. I can, and probably will drink this beer all summer long. Its refreshing and clean and a helluva lot more tasty than most american pilsners you will find.

Mar 01, 2004
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crookedhalo from Pennsylvania

3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill-hazed golden straw color with a creamy white head. Spicy hops and dulled bready malt aromas with further notes of grassiness. Initially sweet and then the drier hops kick in, finishing with an astringent huskiness that leads me to believe this pils was oversparged or possibly a lot of carapils malt was used to thicken the body. Maybe that's where the serious chill-haze came from. It doesn't even go away when the beer warms. Don't get me wrong, this is a decent US pils, but it has its flaws. Nice and effervescent, with a moderate drinkability.

Tried again on tap in Southern Tier-land/ Lake Chautauqua area. What I'd mentioned as chill haze is simply the beer being filtered with coarser diatomacious earth than usual, thus leaving a cloudier pilsener behind. Quality nonetheless.

Dec 29, 2003
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longpondbeerman from Maine

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich gold with a thin white head. Only a wisp of lacing as the head recedes. Almonds, some floral, and ginger are most distinct to the nose, and the initial taste I found rather tart. However, it mellows to a certain nuttiness as it moves along the palate, and the hoppy finish is overlayed with bread and yeast. The mouthfeel is right on: medium body, sparkling, and just a touch of syrupy texture. A good pilsner.

Jun 22, 2004
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beergeek279 from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at Mad Mex in a pint glass. The color was golden, with a film of head. The smell was a slight hoppiness. The taste was a nice hoppiness and the light malt had no noticable off-tastes. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, could definitely have a few.

My first actual review of 2004. A decent pilsner, with a nice hoppiness, and certainly one I'd have again.

Jan 01, 2004
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WesWes from New York

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pale golden color with a a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It has a nice hop aroma along with a light malt scent. The taste is good. It is a light, hoppy, and malty beer with a real character. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. As far as pilsners are concerned this is a really good one. This is a great sessions beer.

Feb 03, 2004
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HappyHourHero from Indiana

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big froathy white head leaves a nice coat of lace. Light aroma, a bit doughy and a little grainy. Clear golden beer with a stream of small bubbles rising up the side. Light flavor, a bit husky/grainy and an almost flowery flavor starts to kick in only to be beat down by the the lightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is light and smooth, a light bodied beer but solid enough. Not much to this beer, and I'm not really leaning one way or the other. I bet it would be good really fresh on draft, but what do I know.

May 14, 2004
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yelterdow from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pilsner glass at just over fridge temperature.

Appearance- This pours a mostly clear, golden straw color with lots of action inside the glass. The head begins at about an inch and settles to a 1/4" mat, which is constantly being replenished by the terrific effervescence. Nice clingy lacing down the glass.

Smell- A clean, German style hop profile balanced nicely with the malt creates a sweet, delicately floral aroma. Interestingly, I am getting notes of chlorine as well.

Taste- A clean, zippy bitterness envelopes the subtle hop and malt character... very simple and approachable, and perfect with sushi at lunch.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good rolling carbonation that pushes the hops and lays the malt firmly on the tongue, with no detriments. Drinkability soars, as the alcohol is undetectable and the beer drinks so easily... I could see this as an all day quaffer this summer for sure.

Apr 27, 2006
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Onceeven from New York

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Next up on my personal quest for a tasty pils we have Southern Tier Pils. I'd been casually looking for a successor to the now defunct DeGroen's Pilsener by Baltimore Brewing, and this may have filled that void in my life.

Appearance:Poured a honey gold with a finger-thick head, and very nice lacing. Ample carbonation, but the head receded rather quickly. Fairly clear and clean, but attractive nonetheless.

Smell: This is where the other beers of this style fell short. This one smells of clean grain and flowery hops. Not sure if they've used noble hops or not. Wouldn't bet on it, but this one does smell similar to the German imports, just fresher.

Taste: Light, refreshing, flavorful, spicy, tangy, a perfect summer beer. Would be perfect on it's own or with some lite cuisine. Refined taste but still remains interesting. I would have liked a bit more hop character, but this'll do. A very balanced easy drinking beer.

My quest for a better pilsener isn't over.. but I've found a darn good one here.

Apr 19, 2005
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limpid yellow-amber beneath a pure white head that persists for a bit and generates an attractive display of lace; broken sheets up top, solid sheets down below. The cap remains humped in the center as it melts, looking for all the world like a marshmallow milkshake.

The nose is snazzy and Saazy. It's floral and spicy and lemony all at once. This is my kind of pilsener nose, heavy on the citrus zest. I'm betting that those noble have some companions who speak with American accents. Lightly toasted malt is noticed as well, which is both surprising and welcome.

The flavor follows the nose fairly closely, with the exception being that Saaz hops are now clearly in charge. Lemon zest has, unfortunately, taken a back seat. Overly lemony, citrusy pilseners may not be classic (don't tell Victory), but as a combination lemonophile/hophead, I love 'em.

There's no doubt that the flavor profile is as rounded and as approachable as it is because it's coddled by a generous quantity of pils malt. The result is a very well-balanced, easy drinking beer that I could put away by the jeroboam. I'm pleased to report that the finish is increasingly bitter and features a return engagement with lemon zest. An active mouthfeel works well given the rest of the beer's attributes.

It's difficult for me to find pilseners that I really love (Prima Pils is an unapproachable standout). This one is very good though and I could see myself purchasing a few sixers every summer if I lived in the distribution area. Pilsner is yet more evidence that Southern Tier is one of the great, underrated craft breweries. Consider yourself lucky to have ready access HappyHourHero, and thanks for giving me temporary access.

Nov 25, 2004
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fruity and a bit metallic aroma. Very lacey. Light colour. Easy drink and fruity, with lemon promient taste and drying, a tad metallic finish. Citus and a tad of tabacco aftertaste. Above-average carbonation. Satisfying summer beverage.Nice balance with understated malt.

Jun 12, 2006
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necoadam from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale lager? No, this is more of a pilsner, like the bottle states. Pours out a hazy golden color with a huge amount of carbonation which should be common in a pils. Smell consisted of hops, malts, and some pine aromas? It was something along those lines but it did seem strange. Taste was hoppy and citrusy, almost like a grapefruit-like bitterness to it. Lots of carbonation in this brew and it makes it good. A good pils should have a decent amount of carbonation. This would make a great session beer. I really like the bitterness in this one, it's not over the top, but it restates what the taste is like. A fine brew.

Jun 05, 2004
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ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Shippos. Thanks for the opportunity...

First imperial pint glass pours with a 1/2" bright white head, which laces well. Slightly cloudy dark straw/light amber brew, with a balanced pale malt and hops aroma. Taste is smooth pale malt body carrying some citrus and a crisp hops bite. Mouthfeel is a bit above average, the citrus flavor tends towards sour a bit much for me. Drinkability is about the same, but I could see session written all over this one.

Aug 05, 2004
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Willie McBride's in Branchburg, NJ.

Straw to light gold in color and clear. Fluffy white head that has good retention and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass. Clean aroma that strikes a nice balance between lightly sweet grains and honey with noble hops. The balance gets shifted a little bit in the flavor, where the hops shine a bit more. Grassy and slightly spicy that leaves a light bitter aftertaste. Medium-light bodied with a dry finish.

Clean, light, and crisp. I really enjoyed Southern Tier's take on the German pils. The fresh malt flavor could have come through a bit more, but that's my only real knock on it.

Jan 11, 2017
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tgbljb from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

part of sampler pack.
Poured a hazy golden color with modest white head that quichly fel to a thin ring. Smell is floral and lemony with a touch of malt. Tste is on the dry side with a hint of lemon but little crispness. Mouthfeel continues with the dryness. Wasn't quite what I was expecting, but good nonetheless.

Jul 10, 2005
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

There are (at least) two ways to do things - the right way, the wrong way and (perhaps) The CANQuest (tm) way. The first applies in this case as this should NEVER have been an add. It existed, was known to the database & simply needed to be taken out of retirement. I am shocked by the person who performed this egregious act and it has been reported. I hate to be Norbert the Nark, but this f**ks me up in terms of keeping track. It is neither a vintage nor a new beer! For shame.

From the CAN: "German Style Lager"; "Brewed with Hops and Malts Imported from Germany"; "Why the hell not?"

Did anyone catch any mention of "2016" in that? No! Why? Because it does not exist! Oh, on the underside. Should we add the date to every CAN & bottle on here? Nonsense!

Putting aside my boiling anger, I CANducted a Crack! & inverted Glug. The massive two-plus fingers of foamy, rocky, bone-white head came roaring up and then sat down just as quickly. Color was Pale-Straw (SRM = 1 - 2) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a nice Saaz grassiness, but overlain by a biscuity malt presence. I generally prefer the Czech & Czech-style Pilsners simply because the hops are more prevalent. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, not watery, but not much beyond it and still appropriate for the style. The taste was less grassy than more like freshly-mown hay! Big difference. Plus, the malts were not forward at all, making it more Czech-like than I expected. Finish was dry and refreshing, not at all like a German-style Pilsner. I loved it, but stylistically, it was wack, yo!

Jul 30, 2016
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ejimhof from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aug 10, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours clear and golden, with a massive head; looks just like a pilsner should; clumps of lace hang around

Smell: Bready with lime and grass tones

Taste: Bread forward with the lime arriving quickly; somewhat grassy, through the middle, with a crisp, dry finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Never thought of Southern Tier as being a brewer of German style lagers but they have done a nice job here

Dec 23, 2017
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Ego from New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ran into this @ cable beverage, bardonia, NY (thanks yelterdow!), we picked it up for the hell of it to have with sushi.. damn were we surprised.. this must be a fresh batch judging from the flavor but there is no bottle date to be sure..

sticky lace on this one, one full finger of head,
yoda says: "clingy this is for a pilsner"
pale straw color, not crystal clear, a bit hazy (not much), a good lookin pils.

a nice euro smell with a bit more hops infusion, a little bread, a little honey, nice.

taste etc...
just short of being too thick for a pils (ever notice a bunch of the bigger pils are almost syrupy.. not here), the carbonation is mild making this easy to drink, it is pretty full in the mouth and not at all watery, just enough malt to balance out the more aggressive hopping souther tier uses. it is refreshing with subtle lemon notes buried deep ... and it satisfies the beer geek in me at the same time.

find it fresh grab it. I will be going back to pick more of this up for the summer months, it was in the cold case so it should keep just as well. a great pils for the coming warm months. this one surprised me as it was picked up on merely a whim...

Apr 19, 2006
Pilsner from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 163 ratings