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Pilsner | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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Very Good
132 Ratings

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: German Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-08-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 132 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

 271 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.32/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of kojevergas
2.77/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

"Pilsner." "German style lager." "Brewed with hops and malts imported from Germany." DOB 03/09/17.

5.0% ABV. "INGREDIENTS: German Pils malt, 2-Row malt & wheat, Spalter Select, Magnum & German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops and German Lager Yeast"

CAN: Standard pull-tab. 12 fl oz format. Uninteresting label design. Acquired as part of a Southern Tier 14 pack for ~$25 after tax and deposit in NYC.

APPEARANCE: Pours a typical thin white head atop a vibrant pale copper body. Not the bright yellow of many pilsners, to its detriment. But it's clean, obviously filtered, and the body is aptly devoid of any yeast/lees. Head retention is poor (~30 seconds). No lacing adheres to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

AROMA: Helles malts/pilsner malts, a blip of syrupy malt extract sweetness, generic grassiness from Noble hops. A bit sweet judging by the aroma for the intended style.

Aromatic intensity is average. Betrays no off-notes or overt booze, but the slight syrupy aromatics do have me a bit concerned.

TASTE & TEXTURE: A bit fuller bodied than most pilsners, lacking a light-bodied refreshing feel on the palate. Smooth and wet, but a little to thick, flirting with a syrupy feel. Well-carbonated, with a nice prickly crispness that plays well with its subtle softness. Softer water and a lighter body would help this along.

It's indeed syrupy in taste, hinting at malt extract. Pilsner malt gives this the bulk of its neutral malt backbone, but it isn't a horribly fresh tasting brew malt-wise. Southern Tier's use of wheat malt doesn't seem to have helped this any. Magnum gives this a subtle fruitiness which is unwelcome in a traditional pils; of course, if Southern Tier was as interested in doing a traditional German style pilsner as their marketing wants us to believe, they wouldn't have used a bittering hop released in 1993 (or wheat malt, for that matter).

The balance isn't quite dialed in, and the mouthfeel needs lightening up. Simple fare, but there's some subtlety to it.

OVERALL: A great pilsner is effortlessly drinkable - the kind of beer one could easily handle five of in a single sitting. Unlike world class expressions of the style, Southern Tier's attempt doesn't make me demand a second after having the first.

Nontraditional to its detriment, but not a bad brew. It's an approachable pale lager but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again. Very hum-ho work with some odd ingredient choices.

Low C (2.82) / AVERAGE

05/07/17: 2nd impression from another can.

A: Ugly dull yellow-copper colour. Looks a bit watery. Head is off-white and frothy enough, albeit thin and weak. Lasts a good 5 minutes after a vigorous pour.

Sm: Pilsner malt. Grassy hops. Unwelcome malt sweetness.

T & Mf: Slightly syrupy, and definitely too thick - unrefreshingly so. They went too heavy on the malts. Attenuation is off for the style. I suspect hard water was used given the mouthfeel's weight and heft on the palate; this ain't soft.

O: Another subpar American attempt at the style. Lacks the delicate and subtle features of the best European-brewed expressions of the style. Save your money and go with Rothaus Tannenzapfle or Pilsner Urquell instead. Hell, even Warsteiner or Bitburger.


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Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of russpowell
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent gold with 3 fingers of ivory colored head. very nice head retention & lacing

S: Bready, grassy,

T: Follows the nose, has some nice soapy & floral hops up front as well. Dryness, grassyness, a little grainy sweetness as this warms. Finishes crisp, dry, a little sweet, a little grassy, with some lime & lemon

MF: Medium body with crisp carbonation & nice balance

Easy drinking, well put-together Pils. Much to like here

 457 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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!

 1,556 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

 1,715 characters

Photo of Jason
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of tdm168
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.32/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

 843 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pilsner glass, the appearance was a yellow gold color with a quickly dissipating white foamy head. Messy sticky foamy lacing running all along the glass. The aroma has a clean sweet bready malt subsiding along a crisp sweet grassy hoppiness. Semi-bitter, here and there. The flavor leans towards the bready/biscuity sweet malt. Hops are there still, like a grassy sweetness. Smooth bready malty aftertaste and finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light on the body with a great sessionability about it. Low carbonation is felt. Smooth body. Overall, nicely done malty sweet German pilsener that I would have again.

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Photo of tone77
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. And yes, that can came from the commander of the canquest, woodychandler. Has a light yellow color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of grains, malts. Taste is grains, lemons, malts, light hops at the finish. Feels medium/light bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

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Photo of Nichols33
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of WesWes
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tigg924
4.54/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear, bright yellow in color with 1/2 inch head. Taste is simple but excellent. Notes of grain, biscuit, and light grass. Light bodied, sweet, with medium-low carbonation. Wow is this a good beer. So clean and smooth. Easily my favorite of Southern Tier's non-Blackwater or seasonal beers. I could drink this one all day. One of the better domestic pilsners I have had in a while. Excellent beer.

 412 characters

Photo of pathman
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8/20/17 can

11 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of IdrinkGas
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DrDemento456
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decent looking beer with classic bright yellow color and 1/2 inch of frothy foam. Smell is rather sweet with mild corn and cereal grains and hops hooray! My only complaint on the taste is the finish is a bit dry mostly from people describing a lemon zest taste. In a way it does wear out and the overall malt to hops ratio is perfect. For the style it actually is rather tasty.

 377 characters

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.58/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

So admittedly I had this beer after about 10 hours in the sun and no food for about 5 hours. Plus, I had not had a beer in 3 days. So this was the best tasting Pils I had ever had. Will have to revisit when I can make a more reasoned appraisal.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a half-pint stein. Stamped 18 May 2017.
Fluffy head with heavy lacing. Mild effervescence. Pale gold.
Smells pleasantly sulfuric with a light sweetness. Floral hops.
Mmm, yes. This is the beer I've been looking for. Mild citrus, beautifully crisp lager that's compellingly unique (read: lagery) without being upsetting at all. Clean and lovely and imminently compelling. Highly recommended.

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Pilsner from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 132 ratings
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