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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 152 | Ratings: 192
Photo of Ryan011235
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass on 6/15/10

Batch 1-2009, Best by 9/10

Imperial Pilsner is a captivating display of pineapple gold, straw yellow & tangerine. Swaths of yeast sediment drift down throughout the beer until the colors blend seamlessly. Rather hazy for a pilsner. Visible carbonation bubbles. Poured a billowy, three finger head that has thinned quickly. A skim of retention & minimal lace.

The aroma is solid pilsner. It's very clean, unlike some imperial pilsners I've had which tend to be muddled or wrought with booziness. Pilsner malts shine brilliantly with notes of grass, cut hay & floral notions reminiscent of prairies. Just a hint of biscuity sweetness. Saaz hops offer a zesty lemon counterpoint & a touch of orange peel. Mild spiciness. No appreciable alcohol.

The taste is everything suggested by the nose, albeit with a little more intensity. Still, this is by far the most appropriately proportioned take on the style I've had thus far (it's interesting how much this has changed with warmth - seemingly losing some of its edge, as it were). It still tastes good, though. Grainy pilsner malts interact well with the Saaz hop spice. There's a little sweetness, but overall dryness wins out. Nothing in the way of alcohol is apparent here, either.

Slightly heavier than light bodied. With warmth some slickness is apparent. Carbonation is fairly low for the style, I'd say. At first I was digging the lack of prickliness; however, I have since come to want a bit more. The first half of the glass was crisp though it has tapered off some. Clean finish with faint hints of pilsner malts & citrus zest.

I find it startling how much this beer changed & how quickly. Immediately after the pour it was worthy of lavish praise (especially the aroma), but as time went on it kind of fell out of favor with it. Possibly it's on account of drinking it in a hot-as-hell room; warming too quickly. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

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

This is a great beer, but I just wish it was hoppier.

A- Large head, dissipates pretty fast, cloudy pale blonde color, I respect this in a pilsner that has not been over-filtered.

S- I get a good hop whiff, slightly piney, I would say tasteful.

T- The malt is relatively strong with a more hoppy finish. So this balances pretty well, pretty much in the Czech pils tradition

M- Pretty clean and bright considering the slight cloudiness.

D - Great, I think this would be a perfect session beer, if a little bit pricey for that endeavor.

I would recommend this also as a good intro beer for people stuck on crap American beers, as it is assertive without being perhaps as strong as I would like in the hops category-- stays close to the safe zone while delivering great flavor and a decent "imperial" ABV.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Superb hay and sunshine colro with superb clarity until about the last eight ounces of the 750 ml. bottle. Theres a nice, billowing head to startm but recedes to nothing before I can take a sip , not too mention hardly any bubbling.

The aroma is clean and crisp wet hay. Add to that some toasted white bread and a little warmth from the abv.

The taste has toasted hay and wet grass everywhere. This is a very well balanced Dpils. You get the dry toasted pilsner malt and the grassy malts for balance and crispness. Add to that a high abv. some warmth of palate and depth of flavor.

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


750ml caged and corked bottle received in a trade with a generous BA thanks!

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy straw yellow with a 1 finger white crown made of fairly fine bubbles. The head shows little retention or lace.

Smell: Good amount of pale malt sweetness without much of a hop presence which surprises me considering the imperial status of this concoction.

Taste: Lightly sweet candied lemon, pilsner malt, an herbal hop presence (saaz, hallertau?) that builds as the beverage warms.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Considering the straight forward flavors, the well hidden 8% abv, and the mouthfeel this one is quite sessionable.

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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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Photo of
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Bright golden, slightly murkey and has a huge head. There is some foam on top of the beer down to the last sip. This is generally what beer should look like.

Smells of hay, lemon zest and light grapes. The scent is accentuated by the huge amount of carbonation.

Hops come first in the taste - mostly lemon. There is also a slight spiciness. This subsides and gradually reveals golden apple and grape flavors. The spiciness remains distinct but in the background throughout. This is slightly champagne like. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were excellent. The high abv is very well hidden, and this is light in both taste and feel. I hope I can find another bottle, because one is not enough when you're sharing.

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Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my long-time trading parter, hwwty4, for this 750 mL corked and caged bottle. Batch 1-2009.

A: The pils looks like, well, a pils. It's delicate golden straw color is pale, hazed over because the bottle just came out of the fridge. A large head, over 2 fingers, didn't yield nearly as much head as I expected. After settling out, only a thin sliver remains.

S: At first the nose is rather ho-hum. Green apples, biscuit and crisp hops eventually emerge. The hops are grassy and herbal, not a big stand out though.

T: The nose was inauspicious. My first sip alleviated any concerns that I had. The hops are herbal, vaguely floral, with plenty of earthy dirt. Green apples are prominent, a nice mix with the pale pils malts. The earthy bitterness is strongest at the back end of each sip, but it isn't the intense hoppiness that I'd expect from a double pils. That's not to say that the beer sucks. It doesn't. I especially like the how the hops aren't so over the top. But it just doesn't seem like a pils squared. The intense yeastiness, the apples that I mentioned, I like also. I just can't give it a 4.0 based on the style. Believe me, I want to though.

M: Ahh, about time a subjective category comes up. The earthy hops and sweet appley yeast are the most enjoyable attributes.

D: I'll drink it all day long, a good beer with a storied tradition behind it. Call it a regular pils and I'm behind you 100%.

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

Poured from 750ml caged and corked bottle into Tulip.

A. Poured an effervescent 3 finger head. Fairly delicate head of foam. Color is light golden. Good retention. Ok lacing.

S. Yeast, hops, citrus, lemony, malt. Sweet smell.

T. Clean and elegant. Yeast, hops, citrus. Very smooth. Not even the slightest hing of 8%abv. Not overly complex or flavorful, but very good at what it is.

M. Crisp clean finish. Very dry. Light/medium bodied. Not a lot of carbonation.

D. Extremely drinkable. This beer is what I expected. A very well crafted beer, that is a simpler style. Without doubt the best pilsner I have had. Hopefully there are more collaborations to come. This one is damn good!

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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 ktrillionaire
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Beertracker for the Boulevard hook-up.

A - Golden and pale, translucent, and possessing an exceptional white frothy head replete with sticky lace.

S - The aroma is very full and rich; which is not to say that it smells like a 'big beer', but instead that the aromatics and nuances are sharply expressed, making for a superbly clarified dynamic. The hop is relatively assertive, and quite herbal and spicy for a lager; it adds a great deal of freshness to the character of the brew.

T - An uncommonly complex and delectably delicious lager. Exceptionally refreshing; a pristine spring water and mineral taste sits distinctly separate from the brew's malt, yeast and hop flavor elements. The malt flavors in this brew are so sublime, ranging from traditionally dry- pale and husky to tropical-fruity, sweet and berry-like. The yeast seems to have imparted more flavor than usual for a lager, but it is not in the banana-ish realm, instead reinforcing the nuances of exotic fruits. The hop contribution imparts a delicious leafy green spiciness that leaves an impression of herbal-floral organic freshness.

M - Very nice mouthfeel, velvety with a nice effervescence.

D - I could drink this every day. After a long hot day spent working under the Florida sun, I need a brew like this to revitalize me. And as I sit here eating my Dirty South dinner of chili and cornbread, I cannot imagine a brew making for a more sublime pairing.

Another example of why Boulevard is among the great breweries on earth.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear golden yellow that started with a slight chill haze. Poured a 2 finger rocky stark white head with good retention. Laced in sticky patches.

S: Light bready malt, a light fruity note and lemon-pepper bitter. Alcohol.

T: Full bisuity/bready malt flavors. Mild citrusy hops. Mild, lingering bitter. Warming alcohol.

M: Light to medium body; especially for a pils. Moderate carbonation. Smooth, crisp and referhing thought full-flavored.

D: Very drinkable. Not disguising the abv - its prominent - but it isn't inhibiting.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 05/02/2010
Type: 750ml. Bottle
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip
Vintage: 2010

*Shared w/ Beerloco and Mrs. Beerloco, thanks Alan!

Poured a golden straw color w/ an aromatic, fluffy one finger head and decent lacing. Can see the Orval characteristics in this collaboration. Nose of bread, belgian yeast, biscuity malts, earthy hops, and an interesting metallic smell. Taste was on point w/ the nose w/ good hop bite on the finish. Mouthfeel was thin, crisp, and clean. I really enjoyed this one as I have been really getting into Imperial Pilsners as of late. Despite the high ABV which was well masked, I would definately classify this as a great "lawnmower beer".

Recommended brew from Boulevard and Orval.

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Photo of JoePat
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a bright golden straw color with a white head.
It smells of earthy hops and little lemon zest. Very effervescent.
The flavor is clean, smooth and hoppy. A little malty sweetness balanced by an earthy bitterness.
The mouth feel is smooth and creamy. A kind of syrupy creaminess.
This beer is definately drinkable. The 8% abv should be showing in such a light beer but not with this one.

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Photo of sevopie
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slightly hazy straw color with a massive fluffy white head that takes absolutely forever to die. Also, as previously mentioned, the cork on this one is one tough son of a gun.

Slight biscuity malt, citrus, and spice; pretty typical of a pilsner.

The flavors on this one are really anything but a pilsner, feels more like a Belgian Golden. Great light citrus note blends into a bit of tart apple with a typical spiciness that I associate with a Belgian yeast. There's a touch of the hops on the end, just enough to counteract the sweetness.

Medium body, but light enough on the tongue to not overwhelm. Carbonation on the higher side, but its a finer type of carbonation that makes it smoother on the tongue.

This was not at all what I was expecting. I saw pilsner and shied away from picking it up for a month, but finally gave in due to the Orval influence. Man is this one hell of a beer, and incredibly easy to drink. There's really not a hint of the 8% ABV, and the flavors end up fairly light so its easy to partake. I almost gave up on Boulevard after the first few beers I tried, then I tried Saison-Brett. Now this one has completely shocked me, and I think I might have to give more of their beer a try now.

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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 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 TrippnFiasco
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into both a Pilsner glass and a snifter (Two people tasting)

Appearance: Large snow-white head, very clear, crisp, glowing yellow beer. It should be noted that this drastically changed as we went through the bottle. the last 2 glasses were the same color as the initial glass, but there was a definite increase in opacity and a decrease in head.

Smell: Not much to offer, typical pilsner scent. Slight alcohol aroma, slight hop smell with a separate floral aroma with a bit of a fruitiness. Did not change.

Taste: Very crisp, surprising amount of flavor for a pilsner. Mild Citrus and hops balanced very well on the tongue, with an interesting tartness very briefly on the finish. Taste dies off fairly quickly but mild maltiness lingers and leaves the mouth refreshed.

Mouthfeel: Initially very thin, crisp and carbonated. Thickened slightly through the bottle as carbonation decreased, while crispness stuck around.

Notes- Fantastic Pilsner, above-average overall beer. Not the best bang for your buck though, I much prefer other Boulevard Smokestack beers, but I look forward to future collaborations!

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Photo of gnemesis
3.06/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got via trade with JJFoodie. Poured from 750ml bottle into pint glass on 4/4. Pours a light golden hue with huge white head. Smells of belgian yeast, slightly bitter, light hops. The taste is good for the style, floral hops, slightly spicy, grain present, alcohol is well hidden. Light body and heavily carbonated. Drinkability is good but not great. 750ml bottle is better shared rather than attempted solo anyways.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a bright gold pour, thought slightly hazy, with a small head that fades quickly. The aroma is disappointing, with some light hops, but little else. Good flavor--it does capture the character of a good pils, which is probably difficult to do with a beer of this strength. The taste is a nice balance between very floral, lightly spicy hops, moderately bitterness, and a crackery, grainy malt base. Very clean, finishing dry.

Interesting enough beer. Not worth buying again, though, especially at the $12 price.

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Photo of hardy008
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw color with a 3+ finger head. The Orval influence is very evident in the impressive head. Looks to be well carbonated. The aroma has yeast, lemon, hops, and grass. Very interesting combination.

The lemon and the hops are the most dominant flavors. Sweeter than expected, also some funk present. Quite good. Light to medium bodied, smooth, easy to drink, and finishes dry. This is a very nice collaboration between Boulevard and Orval. I look forward to more collaboration beers from Boulevard.

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

750ml bottle.

Pours clear, light gold with an inch-plus head of dense white froth. Plenty of lacing and a solid coating on the surface for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of grassy, earthy hops. Honey-drizzeled malt with a husky edge follows through along with wet hay and white pepper dust.

On the light side of medium bodied with a pillowy, crisp mouthfeel. Drying and crackery.

Biscuity malt with honey and spicy hops start the palate. Hints of lemon zest, peppercorns and cut grass. Quite drying except for shades of honey.

Finishes with a lingering, pressing bitterness, earthy hops, and husky malt.

Pretty tasty. Not over-the-top hops but certainly enough to catch your attention. This would be killer with a blazing hot pizza.

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Photo of Fnord
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Clear effervescent yellow with a huge white head.

Smell - Grassy hops, alcohol, and honey. Saaz hops already evident.

Taste - Starts with honey and alcohol, then finishes with crisp hops. I'm getting hints of yeast and clove, making it finish almost like a Belgian IPA.

Mouthfeel - Medium-light body with high carbonation.

Notes - I think this is the first imperial pilsner I've had, and the style name fits: it's pretty much a pilsner with ramped up alcohol. I'm actually not a huge fan of this, though I suspect it's the style that disagrees with me rather than the beer itself. To me, the main attraction of pilsners is that they have lots of flavor while staying light and drinkable, but this isn't all that light and drinkable anymore. Oh well. I'm a big fan of both Orval and Boulevard, so I'm disappointed. Hopefully the next Boulevard collaboration is in a style that I can appreciate.

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

A: A cloudy, sunshine yellow with bubbly and high foaming head; pretty nice lacing

S: Typical grain and straw pilsner aroma but there is also a hint of floral and citrus that pervades through the end of each smell; there is also a slight sourness that is pleasant

T: A crisp and flavorful pilsner; the subtle hops hit the tongue up front and that citrus quality blends well with the malty graininess that coats the tongue on the way through the mouth; on the back end there is a slightly funky sour taste that numbs the roof of the mouth just a bit--this actually enhances the beer positively

F: Good mouth feel-a bit thin at first but it stays in the mouth longer than expected

D: Alcohol is well masked and this beer comes off as a delicous and flavorful pilsner--one of my favorites and definitely the most well made imperial pilsner that I've ever had. Kudos to Boulevard and Orval on this fantastic collaboration.

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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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