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

Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial PilsnerCollaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner
Liked This Beer
4.11 w/ 192 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 192 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of shakeheap
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of the typical Smokestack bomber into a german Pilsner glass. That took awhile because there is tremendous head on this. Looked like the top of grandma's lemon meringue pie.

Definitely more yeasty flavor here than in the typical Pilsner.

While I absolutely back this new collaboration trend and am psyched that Boulevard is planning more in the future I find this brew to be overpriced. Something more in line with most of the Smokestack Series would be fair but this was on par with the Doublwide IPA pricewise. Doublewide delivers on it... the Imperial Pilsner, not so much.

Still... great brewery and a good brew. Looking forward to the second edition in the collaboration series.

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Photo of xtalman
3.44/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As with most reiveiws this came from the 750 ml bottle as all the Smokestack brews do.

Pours a hazy golden colore good crisp white head.
Nose is unremarkable, mostly malt very light hop notes.
Taste is good fairly dry and biscuty (is that a word), slight hop prescense in the end. MOuth feel is crisp. Alchohol is subduded.

Overall a good brew, I was a bit under whelmed given the hype and the price. IMHO the other Smokestack offering are better. There are also better pilsners out there.

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

Boulevard has to be one of my favorite breweries. Their regular year-round offerings are all solid and very enjoyable, but I have found pure bliss in many of their Smokestack Series beers. I don't think I've had one I didn't like yet.

Naturally, when I heard back in October that Boulevard was pairing up with Orval, I couldn't wait! Then word came out that it was an Imperial Pilsner, and while kind of shocked, my excitement grew. Finally, after waiting a long time to try this, I get to crack open an extremely fresh bottle.

Pours a slightly hazy, mostly clear, golden color. The initial pour produces 4 finger of fluffy white head, with great staying power and leaving behind some massive lacing. This already looks like a Pilsner on 'roids. It seems as though the head on this always seems to be perfect. I would stop pouring with about an inch left at the top of the glass and the head would fill it in, maybe go a couple milimeters over and stop, just before you think it's going to flow over the edge.

This smells absolutely fantastic! 100% pale malt and 100% saaz hops and it smells every bit of it. For such a simple brew, the aroma is fantastic. Sweet and bready malts, with a nice spicey and grassy hop character in the finish.

Taste starts out with pears and apples, fruity and dry. Bready malts kick in about mid-palate and finishes with a spicey dry hop character. This tastes fantastic.

Mouthfeel is on the light side, but for a Pilsner what do you expect? Crisp carbonation but has a smooth feel to it. Incredibly drinkable, and doesn't drink any bit of it's 8.4%.

Overall, this is a fantastic example of a Pilsner. I could drink this all day. This will hence forth be the Imperial Pilsner that I judge all other Imperial Pilsner's by. Excellent stuff.

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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 Parrotbeak
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy straw color, with a two inch, frothy white head.
Light malts, banana, perhaps some very faint pineapple.
Taste is slightly sweet and citrus-y. Decent malt backbone. Little bit of bread. Some faint hops.
Mouthfeel is fresh and fairly crisp. Slight, pleasant dryness.
Good drinkability. Not what I was expecting, but pretty good nonetheless.

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Photo of nickd717
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle from The Wine & Cheese Place (bought online).

Excellent bright golden color with a huge, foamy, lasting white head and great lacing.

Pale malt and grain on the aroma, very clean and crisp, with some slight grassy hop character.

Flavor is really nice, with sweet pale malt and grain, along with lots of fresh Noble hops.

Very dry on the palate, like Orval, with lots of hop oils and medium body.

Pretty drinkable with fairly high carbonation, although drinkability suffers a bit from the extreme dryness. Still though, this is about as fine an imperial pilsner as I've ever had.

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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 Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muted cadmium yellow body with a stacked seashell white cap sitting on top. The strong and sustaining head drops lace all over as I drink. Malt aromas of bread, biscuit and cracker. Nice. Subtle floral hop aromas as well. Beer is smooth as it enters. Medium to medium-full body. A bready and doughy maltiness forms a solid base. Great malt flavor. Hops add some floral attributes and spiciness too. Nicely balanced pilsner that focuses more on the malt side of things. Alcohol is not perceptible, but merely blends into the context of the whole beer. This is a good one. I envision this working together perfectly with some Thai red snapper in tamarind sauce or even better with some duck in red coconut curry sauce.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml Corked and Caged bottled poured into my Tulip(had no pilsner glass cause it broke)

Let me start off by saying it took way too much effort to take this cork off.

Pours a light golden color with a huge frothy four inch white head. Thin layer of foam sits a top of the beer and around the edges with great head retention. Little patches of lacing are left clinging to the sides of my glass.

Smells very much like a pilsner should. Sweet smell coming from the grains, wheat, hay, oats, very German like qualities.

Taste is semi sweet upfront with herbal characteristics. Pretty much all I can think of.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation. Very crisp and refreshing as the style should be.

For the high ABV, this drinks superb

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Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Boulevard tulip. Thanks to Reaper16 for this from our recent trade!

Batch Number 1-2009
Best By Date 9/10

A: Pours a beautiful hazy pale gold with some light green tinting (!). The head is immediately about four fingers thick, very dense & creamy, and fed by some pretty active carbonation. Needless to say, retention is incredible and gobs of rocky lace was left clinging to the glass.

S: Ok. Grassy hops as well as mild citrus. Faintly toasty grain and snatches of fresh honey.

T: The taste follows the smell VERY closely. Fresh cut grass and citrus with toasted grain, honey, and a sliver of aspirin.

M: Completely lacking in the typical "thinness" that I've come to expect out of pilsners. Smooth, sticky, and dare I say, thick. Toasty malt in the finish. Peppery/prickly in the beginning, middle, and finish, but mixed in amongst that are some sweet honey, tangy citrus, and dry/toasty malt for balance.

D: I was a little underwhelmed by the style these guys chose to collaborate on. I should know by this stage in my life, you can't judge a book by its' cover! An absolutely world class pilsner. Not a trace of alcohol and incredibly refreshing!

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Photo of NStLincoln
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This 750 mL bottle pours the same color as your normal pilsner, but has some good haziness that makes this beer a little thicker on the mouth than you might suppose. Tall white foamy head.

A menthol coolness with hoppy citrus notes and some mowed grass. Lackluster.

Your typical pilsner taste that really explodes on the back end with a ton of floral hops. Great bite that stays with you.

Good and crisp, a quenching beer. Not as aromatic as I'd like, but at $11.99 a 750, it's a pretty good deal.

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Photo of elniko
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 into pilsner glass. Batch 02-2009 and best by 9/2010.

A: Hazy bright golden coloring with huge head and very heavy lacing. Really nice looking brew.

S: Nose surprisingly not very strong. Grassy tones with alcohol fairly apparent.

T & M: Mouthfeel almost a little buttery. Compared with other imperial pilsners that I've had this one definitely has the best balance. Full finish with a floral, apple toned dry bouquet.

D: For the high ABV quite drinkable. This is the best imperial pilsner that I've encountered. I look forward to future Boulevard collaborations.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip...

Very hazy pale yellowish appearance with a thick ever increasing white head that finally disappears after several minutes.. Very wheaty appearance actually with all of the haze to it...

Very pilsner-like here with the pilsner malts and noble hops but there's also a spiciness here from something else that one would find in a good hefe or something... It's not bananas or cloves but there's definitely a wheaty aspect to this which is surprising but not unpleasant at all..

I'm really digging on this one... It has a distinct pilsner characteristic but theres something else here, maybe a little extra hoppiness and spiciness that gives this one a little oomph... It's very balanced and delicious.. Much like a top notch pilsner only a little kicked up and that's a good thing..

Very very drinkable brew... I could make the mistake of sessioning this one and going down for the count if I wasn't careful... I downed this bomber in no time and plan on going back for more.. I liked this one quite a bit...

Very nice for the style.. It's nice to not have a hop bomb pilsner but rather a well-crafted one that doesn't disappoint..

Boulevard is getting it done with this Smokestack series.. These guys are stepping up..

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

Boulevard Smokestack Series Collaboration No. 1

Cloudy golden body with an over-sized fluffy white head. Wisps of lacing, long retention. One good looking beer.

The aroma is grass, pepper, and coriander.

I poured this into a Duvel tulip glass and boy was that an appropriate choice. This beer drinks a lot like Duvel, which if you think about it, really is the Belgian Imperial Pilsner.

Toasted grain, honey, coriander, grass, pepper, a dry finish with a soapy quality to it. Many flavors going on, but all fall in line, allowing no individual to gain much prominence. Live Duvel, this is an easy drinking, session type of beer with a paradoxically high ABV and full flavor.

A great beer, but then it is from the Smokestack Series, so what else would you expect?

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Photo of SpecialK088
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into the boulevard goblet from the bottle

A-light to medium copper color with a light quickly dissapating head no real lacing. Hazy near the bottom of the bottle.

S-not a huge amount going on in the nose. Little bit of spice and fruity sweetness as well as a mild yeast note. Overall very subtle

T-flavor in this is really complex and very good. Nice subtle hop flavor that blends extremly well with the malt and alcohol. Tons of flavor with spices hops malt and sweetness all very noticeable.

M-a bit thin but it suits the beer very well does not come off watery at all and is very complex and goes down smooth

D-for 8% it is not boozy or hard to drink if this was in a six pack I would drink a few 12 oz very easily. Another great offering from boulevard.

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Photo of naterock
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a smokestack goblet. one finger white head and a slightly cloudy yellow/grainy color. a lot lighter than I expected.

Smells of a very aromatic pilsner malt and a kiss of spicy and earthy hop. a very inviting fruity quality comes out after it warms a bit.

Tastes quite a bit like it smells with a crisp clean finish and a bite of alcohol. I was taken off guard from this beer, maybe expecting it to be bigger. I will honestly say that I am pleasantly impressed and I am glad that boulevard went this direction with it (and not the 'cram a shit load of hops in it' approach) Great job

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Photo of alli4051
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint.

A: Pours a cloudy, lemony yellow. Thick, foamy, white head that recedes slowly with little lacing.

S: Typical pilsner smell with hints of citrus and grassy hops.

T: Interesting blend of pilsner malts combined with grassy hops. While the taste is good I expected a little more punch from something labeled an imperial pilsner. Good nonetheless.

M: Very dry and crisp. Surprisingly little carbonation considering its appearance.

D: This is a tough one. The pleasant flavor and clean finish make this very drinkable. However, for the $13 price tag I expect a little more.

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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 lightindarkness
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

caged and corked, though the cork was ridiculously hard to get out.

Pours a gleaming golden clear with white bubbly head on top.

Smells of coarse biscuity malt and some background floral hop.
A bit funky with some clover and honey faintly wafting.

Oh, what a nicely palatable pilsner! Mildly bitter with toasty biscuit and thin grains. Mild white floral flavors fill in and create a more delicate - yet pleasantly hardy - taste.

Mild carbonation, nice stiff body without being too full. Slightly thick on the finish.

Drinks with remarkable ease. Very tasty and delicious, especially for the style. It honestly doesn't stand out for me though as a unique imperial version. I can't decide if this is a detraction or benefit, in that it drinks so well as a pilsner, but lacks exceptional character in my opinion.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Pours a clear fizzy light yellow gold with a big meringue-like white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is soft - some musty yeast, a little fruit and metallic hops. As it warms, some sweet honey and floral hops come out that are much more appealing.

The flavor is sweet, slightly vegetal, malts with a dry musty finish that has some metallic noble hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, pretty simple and restrained for an 8% beer. I didn't really care for all the parts individually of the beer, but overall it was nice. A bit too expensive for a repeat buy at that level though at $13.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is poured a golden yellow colour, but it's pretty cloudy. There is a really nice head on the beer though. The nose on the beer is pretty nice. Lots of nice toasty pilsner malts with a balance of hops. I was kind of expecting more hop character out of the nose, but it smells really good. If I didn't know it was an imperial pilsner, I'd say it would be a wonderful pilsner. The taste however, is slightly lacking. It has a smooth malty flavour with a nice hop bite at the end. The flavours have a good balance, but nothing about this beer jumps out at me. I guess my expectation were a little high, but still. A collaboration beer should do something special. It's a little watery in the flavour, like it's over attenuated. Not much alcohol in the flavour or nose, but it's not bad. Since I think the flavour is pretty watery, the mouthfeel seems week. It's pretty drinkable though.

All around the beer is tasty and something that I can drink, but it's nothing special. Just solid.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice Pilsner, although nothing much too rave about if not for a fair craft simplicity and some stimulating Pilsner cleanliness.

Presentation: 750 brown corked bottle. Front label design around the idea of an exclusive certificate for the collaboration with name of the brew, branding and artist signatures of the two brewers. Back label offers a narrative with intent, history, main ingredients, and general description. Shows storage and serving indications, batch number (2-2009), and best by date (9/10) Notes Alc. by Vol. (8.0%) Served on a broad tulip glass, second pour served on a tall Pilsner glass.

A - Straw to pale gold pour with, faintly hazy although more so in the final pour, with a rich and generous head, fine retention, some lacing and a fair surface memory.

S - Soft nose, it is nice but it is very tamed. Biscuit malt, a bit of a hoppy grassy range... Overall a nice Pilsner scent emerging slowly.

T - Expands the nose with a broader grassy Pilsner malt character. Early hoppy bite with a lightly sweet and a bit of an earthy sense coating it. Finish develops a shy sweet note.

M - Light to light-medium body with low carbonation. In fact it is a bit flat towards the end and even for an "imperial" Pilsner a bigger dose of bubbles is missing. Crisp finish, bitter and dry but at one point the lack of carbonation hinders its enjoyment.

D - Starts with a nice drinkability expectation and the sweet and slightly heavier body for a Pilsner does not seem to hinder it in any way. Unfortunately a second pour starts to turn it into a blander and a bit dull experience. However, I must admit that Pilsner is not a style I´m typically too fond of so my appreciation is in part mediated by that bias.

Notes: Hmmm, not something for me in the end. I´m glad to have tried it, but while fair this does not seem to deserve the praise of a collaboration... Good for them, but we do not have a particularly intriguing or different brew thanks to it. In a way I wonder why bothering, on another side I think it is great to have these offerings as part of the mix although they are leaning a bit much, if not towards a marketing ploy, certainly towards a fad.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle $13. Very interesting cloudy yellow color, looks cool. It smells nice and tastes great. i feel really bad that I could not accurately describe what I was tasting or smelling other than the fact that it might be one of the best pilsners ever. I need to grab another bottle so I can drink the whole thing.

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Photo of Goliath
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with a two and a half inch bright white head. This beer has excellent head retention, and there is some streaky lace left behind.

The aroma is nice. We definitely have that familiar pilsner aroma here which is a first for me when it comes to Impy Pilsners. There's some pale bready malt with a hint of banana. Not a whole lot else going on.

The taste is quite good. I wasn't expecting so much flavor on account of the nose. There's a nice showing of pale malt here, it's bready and lightly grainy. There's not really complexity of flavor here, but I really appreciate this beer because it's very much like a pilsner. Many Impy Pils seem to be more like IPA's so this is refreshing to see.

Mouthfeel is great. This is what I'm really digging. They have kept the appearance, and nose very pilsner, but they upped the flavor profile just a bit. Where they really made this beer feel like an Imperial Pilsner is here in the mouthfeel. The body is full with a low level of carbonation. You really wouldn't expect such a texture from such a pale looking beer which is what really is impressing me.

Drinkability is high. The flavor profile to me is great which keeps bringing me back to the glass. The ABV is moderately high, but well incorporated into the beer which makes the drinking experience quite pleasureable. I really am digging this beer and look forward to delving a little bit deeper.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much under-enthusiasm among the beer-drinking public when this one was announced - I'm approaching with a clear mind though.

Pure golden and clear, with a big white head that dies down, leaving behind significant lacing.

Obviously a pilsner on the nose, but much bigger than anything I've ever enjoyed - pretty intoxicating.

A bigger, bolder pilser without being over-bearing. There is a hint of Belgian yeast as well, expressed as banana and spice - characteristic of Boulevard.

Dry and crisp in the mouth, with high effervesence, and a distinct and lasting bitterness from the hops at the close.

I've enjoyed the bottle, but there are better options from Boulevard out there.

Not my favorite of the Smokestack Series, but definitely a unique new addition to the lineup.

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Collaboration No. 1 - Imperial Pilsner from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 88.5% out of 100 with 192 ratings
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