Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner | Boulevard Brewing Co.

152 Reviews
Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial PilsnerCollaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
For this inaugural installment of collaboration brews, we invited distinguished Belgian brewer Jean-Marie Rock to join our own Steven Pauwels for a zymological alliance. The two conspired to revive a recipe from the very beginning of Rock’s career, the memory of which he has cherished for more than 30 years. A starkly simple recipe combined with a painstakingly complex brewing process produce an Imperial Pilsner of subtle elegance and delicately balanced contrasts. First wort hopping, a very old technique in which hops normally added late in the boil are put in at the beginning, and allowed to steep for a much longer time, gives the beer an especially refined hop aroma and flavor. The 100% Pilsner malt makes a clear, yet restrained statement, answered by a stead, harmonious chorus of Saaz hop bitterness, echoes of which linger in the dry, crisp finish.

29 IBU

Added by bort11 on 01-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 152 | Ratings: 192
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Any collaboration between two great breweries such as these has be result in a world class beer.

The Belgian influence of this beer is immediately noticable with lemony, fruity, funky, acidic aromas that showcase under-rippened berries, crab apples, lemons, and pineapple. Not shy on hops, an earthy-spicy note comes through with a little note of lemon-grass and pilsner grains. Peppery and lightly medicinal notes round out the aroma.

Glowing and spritzy, the solid straw color shows a mystic haze, great head formation, retention, and lacing. Reminds me of Duvel.

And the comparisons to Duvel continue into the flavor. Decidedly malty with deep fresh breads, lightly cracker-like, and powder sugar sweet. Light grain flavors and husk show in the finish. Lightly musty and vinous, the beer has a salty/sweaty flavor that seems to amplify the acidic fruits suggested in aroma. But again, the medicinal/plastic flavor seems to over-ride other notes of white pepper, corriander, and curraco.

The beer drinks much more like a Belgian Pale or Strong Golden Ale than a big pilsner. Though maybe the beer is a bit mis-represented, it makes for one of the better beers in this intended style.

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Photo of brentk56
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy goldenrod with a massive head that leaves considerable lace behind

Smell: Bready malt aromatics dominate, though the noble hop and pineapple elements are also present; a bit less hoppy than I would have expected

Taste: Opens sweet, like a pineapple upside down cake, with a growing herbacious, noble hop character developing by mid-palate; somewhat piney, after the swallow, with the bitter herbal flavors countering the sweet elements

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: A very nice beer, with considerable complexity and easily the best Impy Pils I have tasted; still a bit too sweet for my palate

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Photo of largadeer
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nickd717 shared this one about a month back, reviewed from notes. Golden body with a slight haze. High levels of carbonation feed a frothy, sustaining head. Bright and crisp aroma, crackery with noble hops, hay, faint pepper. Tastes of spicy, peppery noble hops and grainy pilsner malt. Hints at honey like sweetness up front but transitions into a dry, peppery, herbal, lemony flavor. Nice subtle level of hoppiness. Finishes dry and crisp with no hint of alcohol. Light bodied and easy drinking, I'd never guess this was over 6%. The hop character reminds me of fresh Orval. I really liked this one.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a Duvel tulip, it pours a hazy golden orange. Generous foam, a few fingers of billowing white foam rise after the second pour. It has a mellow, glowing sheen to the surface. Random crescents of lace hang around the walls of the glass.

Clean spring-like aroma of wet grass, milled grains.

Fresh tasting, snappy noble hops, dewy hay. Very crisp and clean, medium bodied yet still quaff worthy. Firm bitterness in the aftertaste. Vague fruity essence, sweet and somewhat dusty in the finish, drying the palate. Effortlessly drinkable, perfect for a spring or summer picnic. Reminds me a little of Saison Dupont.

Perfect pairing with some washed rind cheese, or probably just about any other foods.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a slight hazy bright yellow color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of lightly sweet malt base with a solid dry hops aroma. Taste is a nice mix between some lightly sweet floral malt bill with nice notes of dry European hops. Body is quite full with average filtration and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very drinkable with nice complexities and nice balanced mix of hops.

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Photo of oline73
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy yellow/golden color with two fingers of white foam. The head fades to a layer on top of the pour and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt with some mild herbaL notes as well as some citrus. Very pilsner like.

Taste: Not a whole lot of sweetness, maybe a bit in the finish. Pilsner malt with some mild citrus notes. Some alcohol and a bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with prickly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: One of the better examples of the style I have had. I'd have another if I ever get the chance.

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Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a slightly hazy, straw yellow color with gold highlights. It had a huge (3 finger) head of white, bubbly foam that left behind thin, patches of lace.

S - It had a very yeasty nose with floral notes and a strong grain/caramel malt blend. There was a touch of spice and funk.

T - A fascinating taste. It has all the great pilsener qualities of caramel malt with floral hop notes but brings a funky, farmhouse saison quality and a fruity, tripel kick.

M - It was very dry, crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied lager.

D - This is one of the best (and certainly most unique) pilseners that I've ever had. It's a great collaboration beer that I wish could become a staple.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at City Wide in Mishawaka, IN. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pour yields a very light yellow-to-straw-colored brew with a good bone-white head and a good deal of lacing. The nose brings forward some light herbal and earthy hops and a bit of spice. Mild bready yeast character there as well. The taste is mostly grain with some slight hops and a bit of bread. Noble hops in the finish, which is quite dry. Light body and good carbonation. There is also a bit of hay and straw toward the tail end. Really enjoy the dry finish. A bit pricey for what it is, but I'd certainly drink it again.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dale for this one.

Pours a slightly hazy straw yellow with a strong billowy white head which fades to clumpy lace and stringers. Smell is meaty malt and bready yeast with cracked pepper, grass, and floral qualities. Taste is a brightly malt/yeast body with lingering pepper and dry flower finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. Started out thinking this wouldn't be very interesting, boy was I mistaken. Enjoyed and would certainly like to enjoy again and again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The label states Batch #1 with a 'Best By' date of 9/2010.

Appearance: Pours out a cloudy, sufficiently yellow-hued body underneath a tall, dense, near white head with steadfast retention. Why, it's positively elegant-looking.

Smell: An aroma evincing its 100% pilsner malt and 100% Saaz hop composition with notes of French bread dough, honey, cut apples, moist-damp grass, and spice.

Taste: Soft pilsner malt taste with a delicate flavors of sliced quick bread and wildflower honey. Medium-low sweetness. Floral, peppery, lightly grassy Saaz hops with a reserved level of bitterness. A bit of apple and standard lemon fruitiness tucked in the background. All the while, there's an understated funky wildness to it. A bit more spiciness and sweetness remains for the amply carbonated finish. It is subtle, but it's got an air of sophistication about it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: Not only a fantastic, well-balanced beer, but it puts all others in its class (save the more hop intense Sam Adams offering) to shame! I shared this with TheLibrarianGirl, and even she was kind enough to agree that it makes every other Imperial Pilsner appear to be peddling brewed bottles of monkey feces.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2-2009. Sun-faded lemon with a light yeasty blurriness and a large crown of ivory colored foam that is the best part of the appearance. The head has loads of character, lasts a long time, and is beginning to leave an underwhelming amount of scattered lace.

The nose smells like the ingredients say it will. 100% pilsner malt doesn't make much of an impression, but the Saaz hops deliver an aromatic cloud of meadow grasses, lemon zest and a light earthy spiciness. Here's hoping the brewery added enough of them.

Imperial Pilsner just showed up on local shelves within the last several weeks, despite the fact that newer batches are available. Oh well, it's still hoppy enough and is wonderfully crisp and refreshing big beer. The alcohol is masked very well, which helps.

It's a tough call between 'good' and 'very good'. In the end, the lack of a buzzsaw-like and tongue-tingling lupulin load tilts the score in a downward direction. Fresher beer probably would have pushed it in an upward direction. A 'best by' date of September 2010 is reasonable, though it will be a much different experience by then.

The malts add an untoasted white breadiness and a background sweetness that is right where it should be. Saaz hops (really the only reasonable choice) add a generous amount of flavor that mirrors the nose: grassy, lemony, white peppery. Simple isn't necessarily a bad way to go. Sometimes it's the best way to go.

The body/mouthfeel is close to excellent... without quite getting there. It has a pleasing combination of feathery softness and prickly carbonation, but could use a little more Belgian ale-like creamy expansiveness. Yeah, that's probably nitpicking.

Imperial Pilsner, with no negatives and plenty of positives, is another Smokestack Series beer that is well worth the asking price. Boulevard has a great thing going and I sincerely hope they continue to give us Midwesterners more of the same, in all sorts of different styles.

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Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #1 BBD 9/10
Scored this at Macadoodles in Joplin last week, there weren't many bottles left from what I could see...

Pours an effervescent straw color with 4+ fingers of ivory colored head into my Paulaner Pils glass ( they recommend a a tulip, but this is an imp pils so I'll try it this way first, so maintain my baseline for the style. Stellar head retention & good lacing

S: Grassy & orchard fruitty, but a touch restrained IMO, almost pulled a 4.0

T: Apples, pears, lemony & grassy hops up front, plus serious breadyness & a touch of booze. Dryness, pears & lemony hops dominate as this warms along with more breadyness & grassy hops, along with a hint of honey & grapefruit. Finishes very crisp all things considered, although honey malt & breadyness make a great showing too, along with some herbal notes as well

MF: Fairly delicate for the ABV, slight carbonation, starts to get a bit chewier once warm, but maintains crispness on the finish, great balance

Drinks fairly very for the "style" & ABV, nice collaboration, gutsy call all in all, this is a beer where flaws would scream at you, I see none. Not sure how this will hold up over time, drinking fine now. If this was half the price I could drink this near year round, a nice indulgence, in my mind this is what more more pils need to taste like; forget the double or single labels.... Would love to try this on tap...

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Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured a light golden color with a thick white foam covering the top of the beer. Nice looking color to it.

The aroma has a crisp, citrus rind quality to it along with some tart fruits. I also get some sweeter pale malts and slight herbal spice.

The taste shows a little more of an herbal, earthy hop presence to it. I get some crisp, tart fruits to it along with some lemon rind zest.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonation is high. Overall it was pretty decent beer of the style. It was pretty drinkable and flavorful as well. I'm not usually a fan of double or imperial pilsners, but this one wasn't bad.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a nice straw yellow color with a very large fluffy white head.

S: The nose is somewhat mild but offers up some cracker malt and a earthy, grassy hop aroma. There's a touch of "wildness" to the beer in the sense that Orval has.

T: The flavor has quite a bit more than I was expecting. The pilsner qualities of the beer are subtle, such as the spicy hops. There's also a Belgian Pale Ale feel to the beer as there begins to be some fruity, yeastiness which I wasn't expecting.

M: The body is a bit on the lighter side with a smooth, full, creamy carbonation.

D: I liked this one quite a bit. I was a bit hesitant seeing as I'm not always the biggest lager fan, but this had a lot of depth to it and some really nice flavors.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 5/21/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a pale golden color with light carbonation and 1 inch of white head.

s - Smells of pale malts, a little bit of sweet sugar, and grain

t - Tastes of sweet malts, and grain or wheat. Not much here.

m - Light body and light carbonation.

d - I wasn't a fan of this pilsner. I thought it was too weak in the smell and taste, and that that was there was just sweet sugar or malts. Wouldn't want to have again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh on two separate occasions. Thanks Matt!

The beer appears slightly hazy and pale yellow in color. The head stands in at around half an inch thick and leaves a fair amount of lacing behind.

The aroma is of floral, citrus, with some light grassy notes.

Well balanced and pretty tasty. The hop component is definitely there, but not overly assertive. A subtle grassy character adds a nice touch of complexity to the beer. Overall, a simple beer and less daring than I was hoping / expecting from an international collaborative effort.

Nice feel and easy on the palate. Carbonation level is solid.

A decent beer, but nothing too exciting taking place.

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Photo of Tone
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, pale golden color. 3/4 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of pale hop, slight sweet malt, pale malt, yeast, and slight citrus. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial Pilsner. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with a high carbonation level. There is a slight dryness as well. Tastes of sweet malt, slight pale malt, yeast, pale hop, slight citrus, and slight alcohol. Overall, a good aroma and body, but the blend is a little off.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split this with a couple of people the other day. Beer is yellow and appears thick. It has a mild haze to it. Forms a big white head of medium bubbles and carbonation is steady. Not a lot of lace, looks good.

Beer's aroma is mildly sweet and some graininess overall a moderate aroma level but smells pretty good.

Beer is medium body and kind of sweet with an aftertaste at the backend. There is some bitternes at the back but its mostly from the grain. Its pretty good for an imperial pilsner. I enjoyed it overall.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very slightly hazy yellow golden amber with a two finger white head and lacing. Malt and hop aroma. Full bodied with bready malt and nice pilsner flavor. Light hop finish. Well made and satisfying, but not one of my top styles. Glad to have tried it. Might revisit if it was available in smaller bottles.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Share this corked and caged bottle with a friend. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that this had a very Belgian feel for an imperial pils. It also reminded me of Bouldevard's Saison and Tripel for their mellow vanilla and pepper undertones. Otherwise there's a smooth doughy and cracker malt base and herbal candy yeast character followed by a spicy hop kick that stands up, but never overpowers. Check out this interesting take on the style.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I needed a pair of pliers to get this damn cork out. Jeez.
Soft pop upon opening. Huge big large head, reminds me of a saison, and a slighty hazed body do not remid me of a pilsner. Still, looks good regardless. Belgian-y

Biscuit malt and slight spice/citrus aroma. Orange zest comes and goes, soft.

The carbonation isn't as powerful in the mouth as it looks in the glass. Again, the malt is pronounced as light biscuit. Spicey, no more intense than a regular pils, but more complex. White pepper, some clove. Not sure if this is the correct classification, but it's darn-tootin' good nonetheless.
750ml bottle didn't last long at all. Easy drinking

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Photo of Mora2000
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy straw color with a white head. The aroma is fairly faint, with some bready/biscuit malt, honey and light grassy hops. The flavor is better than the aroma, with honey, pilsner malt and some flower, grassy hops. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

This is not near as hoppy as some of the imperial pilsners I have tried. This one retains the balance that I love in a classic pilsner while still being amped up a notch to the imperial level. A very good beer.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The wife let me buy one nice bottle of beer to enjoy tonight... Poured into my Delerium goblet. Big foamy 3 finger head... looks like meringue.. nice lacing... hazy very pale golden.

Grassy/spicy hoppiness... a bit of bready pale malts...

Good bitterness.. spicy hoppiness... biscuity pale malts... simple yet complex and very drinkable... a bit of "saison" qualities show with some white pepper notes.... pretty dry throughout and finishes crisp with a bit of spicy hops.

Body is pretty sold medium with an abundant yet small bubble effervescent carbonation.... Yummy. I think this is going to go down as an excellent version of an emerging style... very drinkable.

Edit: I love the simplicity of this beer.


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Photo of Bitterbill
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle(batch 1-2009 best by 9/10) courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Good lord that is a stubborn cork! Ended up using a corkscrew, a cheap one, and it was still way tough.

A hazy straw yellow coloured brew with about a 2 finger head of foam. It looks very bubbly and it keeps the foam from shrinking quickly. Some lacing ensues.

It smells very Pilsner like, which I was hoping for. Good hoppy notes with some light bread and I think a wee bit of spice. Nice.

The taste is also nice. I get some lemon zest type bitterness from the hops and the malt has some earthy tones and some semi sweetness and there's a spicy note in here as well...maybe a dash of pepper?

Pumping up the abv to make this an Imperial Pilsner seems to work ok and I say ok as the more I sip, the more I notice the spiciness which is now more of a slight hint of funk and the more it seems, to me, to deviate from the general Pilsner flavour. Not a huge mark against it as I still do like what's going on here and the abv is hidden pretty well. This *is* a collaboration with the folks at Orval so I expected something different from the other IPs I've tried.

The body is pretty thick and expected and nice. The carbonation is on the high side of medium.

Drinkability? The brew hides the abv pretty well so it goes down easy but I know the alcohol will catch up to me at some point. If I sipped quickly, which I am *not* doing. No fooling me! ;^)

Good drinking and good Imperial Pilsner. I heartily recommend it.

The body is

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this bottle from 99 Bottles Federal Way, Wa

A: Poured a bug straw yellow color much like any other pils, good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Some hops, grains and thats about it

T: Some grains, booze not overbearing with good amount of hops. Some spice and still throwing off CO2 which seems to be a common theme among many Smokestack brews these days

M: This beer was missing that extra crispness and mouthfeel I look for on a good pils

D: Ok

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Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner from Boulevard Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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