James Squire Original Pilsener | Malt Shovel Brewery

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James Squire Original PilsenerJames Squire Original Pilsener

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: Czech Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 51
Photo of bylerteck
2.58/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Woolworth's. From notes.

A - Poured golden, bright, and effervescent. Film of white head on top leaving spotty lace and no retention.

S - Corny, lagery, light noble

T - Mild noble hop, sweet grain.

M - Strong carbonation, light to medium body and a crisp finish.

O/D - Plain. Not a great lager. Slightly better than a regular lager. Pretty ordinary.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a three ivory finger head from only a moderate pour - coarse bubbles fade after a while. Some lace. Golden straw body. Nice.

Aromas of grassy hops, malt and a hint of lemon.

Taste is malt driven, not too sweet, some bread/dough. Hop bitterness catches up as the bottle goes down.

Mouthfeel sharp and on the money.

Overall - good drinking beer. Whole more than the sum of the parts

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Hero of Waterloo in Sydney after a long day of sightseeing.

Poured into a branded schooner glass. Pale golden, good crispy head, some lacing. Not bad looking.

Nose is floral hops, a bit of citrus hops as well, with a strong whiff of grain, bread and cracker.

A bready, malty pilsner with some soft hopping to start, but finishes quite bitter. A bit sweet and grainy for my taste, but certainly quite enjoyable on a hot afternoon. Would make for a great evening drinker.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Time for a Pilsner face-off! Two decent Australian (and one Kiwi!) Pilsner's battle head to head for my admiration, who will win? Let's see! Second brew to test it's due: James Squire Original Pilsener.

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a 500ml Stein glass.

A: Amber body with cascading bubbles leading to a 2cm almond white head, which slowly dissipated to 1cm. I'm liking the colour however it's not as clear or pale as the classic Czech pilsners.

S: Toasted biscuit malts provide a base for floral hops and some cut grass. From the aroma you could almost mistake it for an American pale ale style... almost.

T: What?! This is a pale ale surely; toasted malts with a big grapefruit/citrus hop finish (not to mention the mouthfeel of an ale). The Malt Shovel boys could have called it an ale and I doubt anyone would have been the wiser. The hops leave a bitterness that feels characteristically out of proportion for Saaz hops (which aren't nearly as bitter as most other hops).

M: Creamy and light on fizz, a medium-heavy body.

D: I like it! Don't know if it really is what it says it is on the bottle (a classic Czech styled Pilsner) but I still like it. If you're looking for a Pilsner in the classic sense I would look elsewhere, but if (like me) you love a good ale well I think James Squires Pilsener will be a pleasant surprise for you (I can certainly go for a few more of these!).

Food match: Thai, or Chinese, it's got that "It-would-go-great-with-Asian-food" feel to it.

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Photo of drtth
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review based on notes taken during a recent visit to Sydney.

Poured into a wine glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a bright clear golden yellow with a 1" white head. The head recedes slowly leaving some patches of lacing. Sipping leaves some scattered lacing for much of the beer.

Smell: The aromas are light but pleasant and include both pale biscuity malt and some grassy herbal hops (Saaz?).

Taste: The flavors are dominated by the pale malt and its light sweetness but the grassy herbal hops do show in the background.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to light bodied with adequate carbonation. The finish is medium length and begins sweet with the hops eventually showing through at the end as the finish turns lightly dry.

Drinkability: This is ok for drinkability but I'm learning I definitely prefer the crisp and hoppier profile of the German style Pils to that of the Czech style. I'd be willing to have this one again, but won't go out of my way to find it.

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Photo of DIM
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a slightly cloudy pale goldne color. It was served to me with a white, whispy head.

s: Light biscuity malts and some herbal hop notes.

t: Clean overall, with a slight mineral finish. Maybe a bit sweet.

m: Crisp and refreshing.

d: Pretty standard pils, very nice after a tiring day of hiking.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.52/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden pour with a good-sized head but lacking in persistence.
Green nobles hops on the nose, grassy and spicy. Quite clean with some biscuity and bready malt.
Flavours are very hoppy, again quite green. Bready malts come through, but are slightly grainy. The bitterness is bold but makes for a somewhat boring finish.
Good carbonation (moderately high) with a nice light body.
Excellent example of the style.

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Photo of dgilks
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a light amber which is perfectly clear. A nice, bubbly white head is also present with decent head retention.

Light spicy hops on the nose backed up with a touch of sweetness. Tasty.

Spicy Saaz hops are there from the start. Caramel notes indicate the presence of a malt backbone which holds the beer up well. A slight toastiness is present for a split second and hop bitterness lingers for a short time.

A light but not watery body is nice in this beer. There is a fair amount of carbonation as well which makes the beer fairly gassy.

A decent pils which is tasty and doesn't knock you out. It's the kind of beer which doesn't excite you but makes a pleasant easy drinking beer.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark orange-gold with effervescent bubbling, continues with a thick, steady bead up to a snowy head of medium-sized bubbles that sinks with the sound of steaks barbecuing, but still retaining pretty well. Doesn't leave a whole lotta lacing, which is a shame because otherwise it looks damned nice and refreshing.

Has a slightly subdued nose, although all the characters are there. Light caramel, slight grassy hop, almost a eucalyptus aroma, that's about it. Thinking it may still be a bit cold, but waiting and warming doesn't produce much more character. I think it's just a bit weak. Otherwise good elements.

Taste is far more robust and dispels that "Mummy, it's too cold" myth. Strong, flavourful hops throughout the palate - herbal mostly with a kind of sage (the herb, not meaning 'wizened') acidity to it. In fact, I think it's definitely just the Saaz hops - it tastes a lot like Saaz pellets smell. There is a slightly gummy base to the palate which gives evidence of malt but flavour-wise there is only a slight hint on the front, not very complex. Mouthfeel though IS full and complex with a good carbonated sensation, and because of the bitterness of the hop, goes down very crisply and easily.

A flavoursome drop, absolutely. In this case it sadly doesn't translate to complexity. I enjoy it though, maybe a bit too strong to be a cleanser or sessioner. Too big for its boots, I think.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Summary- Quenching Hoppiness

Appearance- Pale Lager Golden Hue, Full Carbonation, Whishy Head---Smell- Saaz Hop, wonderful piney and citrusy--- Taste- Simply the Hop and the typical lager mouthfeel and slickness. Its not original or unique, rather just well done. It paired nicely with my Fish and Chips and cut the heat of my English mustard.

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Photo of juju7
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour, nose and mouth-feel all point to what is essentially a very good, honest interpretation of a Czech Pilsener. The distinct presence of the saaz and lovely bitterness are in wonderful balance. Really not much wrong with it as far as Aussie pilseners go.

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Photo of WHROO
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a decent head that quickly receded although maintained nice lacing...
Golden colour with minimal carbonation, even looked a bit flat
Aroma: quite weak, little noble floral hops, some grapefruit.
Taste: Not as malty as other pils. Very citrusy with grapefruit hops...also floral. Very fresh, I can taste something in the lines of pear or plum but just can't get my tastebuds around it. Definate kick of lingering bitterness as expected.
Mouthfeel: Not as flat as looked...actually the bitterness combined with the carbontion left a spicy & spritey mouthfeel...quite alive a while after the swallow.
Drinkability: I do enjoy less bittered beers than this & have found this to be one of the more bitter pils I have tasted (not that I have tasted heaps). Good for you if you like bitters. Glad I tried it, & sat on a 6 pack no probs at all...very clean with some character.

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Photo of foles
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly the best Australian made pilsner (not many to choose from) I've had the pleasure to consume. Fresh presence on the palate, with a crisp lightly bitter finish. Maybe not as broad a taste profile as a true pils, but has more than enough to please the average drinker. This was pretty much all my friends drank during our (big) night at the Portland hotel.

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Photo of madvoice
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber colour. Head about 1cm that dissipates quickly (though it could have something to do with the NT heat). Has a pleasant earthy aroma. Is rather malty with slight initial sharpness however, the aftertaste is rather sweet and smooth. Is not overly fizzy which makes it easy to drink.

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Photo of LittleCreature
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.5
A finger and a half of barely off-white head that reduced steadily in patches. The colour is a orange-amber, a little darker than average for the style.

Smell - 3.5
Some skunkiness at first, but this reduced to almost nothing. Not a great deal of smell upfront, apart from a general "beeriness" as well as some grassy hops.

Taste - 3.5
Not as tasty as many of James Squire's other offerings, but far from bad. Quite smooth, moderate hop bitterness, a decent amount of malt sweetness and lots of grainy, bready flavours.

Mouthfeel - 3.0
Disapointingly, the carbonation reduced rather quickly, from moderate to a low that in my opinion is too low for the style. Moderately weighted in the mouth.

Drinkability - 4.5
Like most pilseners, this will go down pretty easily and is definitely sessionable. Personally, I'd rather something with a bit more taste (or a more interesting taste).

OVERALL - 3.55
This is a slightly better than average pilsener. My comments may seem a little derogatory, but that is mostly because I let the beer warm a little too much before drinking, which reduced my enjoyment. Perhaps a re-review one day. Like the rest of the James Squire beers, this is good quality stuff for a very reasonable price.

Re-review - I have recently sampled this pilsener for a second time, and found that it is clearly better than my first review indicates (either it has improved, or because of the better temperature).

Re-re-review - I am thinking that the quality of this beer varies from time to time. The most recent bottle I drank was quite delicious, so I have changed my scores to indicate this.

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Photo of brendan13
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice golden colour with a medium head that falls away leaving a thin layer on top. Scattered lacing.
Spicy aroma from the hops. I found the taste to be a bit maltier than I expected but this probably made it better for me.
Quite a full body, lingering bitterness.
I prefer more hops or more malt but if I have to pick a session beer for a hot summers day then you can't go too wrong with this.

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Photo of Finite
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Apperance: Standard pale colour, reasonable head and retention.

Smell: Grassy and spicy quite good, maybe a tad malty?

taste: smae, grassy and spicy, good balance, sits well in the mouth and goes down ok.

Doesnt really do anything to offend but you cant make friends by sitting in the shadows.

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Photo of vancurly
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium gold colour, nice tight frothy off-white head. Attractive lace as the drink goes down.
Good, healthy "green" hoppy nose. Touch of sulfur and a little tropical fruit.
Spicy hop flavour, touch of pale malt.
Lingering, metallic bitterness at the back.
It has more body than your average pilsener, but is matched by the bitter length. Well balanced, and very drinkable.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber hue, lots of carbonation. Decent head, which creates some lacing. Not a bad looking beer.

Not a great deal on the nose. A bit of fragrance. Hoppiness and grassiness, it's an organic smell. It's got quite a good pils profile, but it's a bit subdued.

Taste is rather better. Nice fragrant bitterness, based on hoppy notes. A touch of fruitiness, but predominated by the bitterness of the hops. Finishes quite yeasty, and leaves a little bit of distaste in your mouth.

Mouthfeel is quite tingly and almost puckering with the bitter hops and dry finish.

Certainly a drinkable beer. I think it's far superior on tap than in its bottled form.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

For a Pilsner, this sure tastes like an ale. Floral nose, malty character with a little clean hop zing at the end. It's not a bad looking beer at all on tap, and leaves a bit of lacing. Mouthfeel is a bit heavy for a pilsner, in my opinion, and hinders quaffability (is that a word?) a bit.

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Photo of BeerNutta
2.46/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at the portland hotel.

A = Pale orange colour with a thin foam head that quickly dissapated into nothing.

S = Little to now smell. Slight fruity smell.

T = I thought it tasted kind of bland. There was a very low key maltiness that carried through to a slightly hop finish. Blah really.

M = Average.

D = Rather drink the Golden ale.

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Photo of jarmby1711
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark gold and crystal clear the bead was active feeding a persistant cloud like white head.
The most disappointing aspect of this brew was its innocous aroma .I failoed to get anything other than a bland "beer" smell.
The taste however defied the smell It integrated hops and malts wonderfullythat extended a rounded bitterness as along after taste.
In the mouth the bitterness overpowered and fruitiness they may have been there ,but perhaps there shouldnt be much there to detect.It became one dimensional .
I think this isa pleasant enough beer but really best in the warmer months

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Photo of annatar
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

something odd going on with this beer - some people seem to get a really golden clear pilsener while others (like me) get a darker redder lager. however the word 'original' did not appear on my label or in the name, sold as James Squire Pilsener - perhaps theres a difference :?

anyway - great cream head which falls quickly and appetizing amber color, smells terrific.
bitter start into very strong malt taste then back to the bitter bite of the hops. Roughish mouthfeel, but very easy to drink.

i believe there are strong similarities between that other largescale-micro lager titled with the name of a famous early 1800's pioneer.

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Photo of joecast
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

re-review 11/05
wow. two years on. dont think i have had this since then as i wasnt so impressed.
darker in color than most in the style. might be a good thing.
aroma is still faint, but what is there is good.
crisp flavor with a balanced amount of bitterness. much better than i remember.

crystal clear golden color. fluffy head with the finest bubbles i have yet seen. makes for an inviting appearance.
decent aroma but not as good as i was expecting.
has a malty, lightly sweet flavor to it. the munich malts (it says so on the bottle), are pretty obvious if you have tried their IPA.
overall it didnt leave much of an impression. in the JS range it is overshadowed by the amber ale and IPA.

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Photo of diablo14
2.06/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

while i agree with the assessment on the bottle variety being a bit hit and miss at times, on tap its excellent. even in the bottle at its best its still a fair sort of a beer.

the thing i like about this pilsener is its an AUSSIE pilsener. like pale ales, pilseners tend to have their variations depending on region. other aussie 'pilensers' have just been crappy lagers hiding behind the name (tooheys pils springs to mind). truly a misnomer. i think malt shovel brewery have given a nod to the czechs and then brewed their own interpretation. that in itself i feel is admirable.

its slightly deeper in its golden hue than most other pilseners, but maintains the ever present light foamy head. its got a lovely floral aroma that really appeals to me, and while the level of malt has been critized here, i find it to be spot on. it doesnt take away from the hoppy tastes and aromas, and gives it a body that is lacking in so many other pilseners. the saaz hops get full reign on the back palate, with a crisp dry finish that still maintains that floral nature of the beer.

we can go thru all the names of the worlds great pilseners one by one, and this isnt up there in that exalted company for sure. but this is australia, and this is its first real pilsener. and in australian conditions there is no better pilsener going around if you want to sit around at the bar or by the pool on a stinking hot summers day and down a few pints. its at this time the things that are good about this beer come to the fore and are to be appreciated and commended. besides, id rather this than vb or tooheys new!

EDIT 7/2/07: i'd just like to add that i would halve the rating of this beer now. Since i did this review JS have been outsourcing their brewing and the quality of this beer has fallen away accordingly. Now it basically just tastes like any other Aussie lager, with the occasional bit of Saaz hops poking its head out. OK i've rescored it. Originally it was 4.15, but nowadays, this is where it's at.

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James Squire Original Pilsener from Malt Shovel Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 51 ratings.
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