Steam Whistle Pilsner | Steam Whistle Brewing

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Steam Whistle PilsnerSteam Whistle Pilsner

Brewed by:
Steam Whistle Brewing
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
We believe that world-class results require focus and dedication, so we developed a distinctive recipe for our single brand based on Europe's renowned brewing standards yet is brewed fresh locally at our independent, Canadian Brewery.

We use traditional brewing techniques and only four natural ingredients including spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast - all GMO-free. There is a fifth ingredient in every refreshing bottle, and that is the passion of our dedicated Brewmaster and staff.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2002

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Reviews: 143 | Ratings: 432
Photo of Sammy
3.05/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ok beer in a retro green bottle. Enjoyed best at their brewery where there is often hoopla. Sweet floral taste with dry astringent aftertaste. Would have enough rather than a national Canadian brand but rank is weak compared to other microbrewery peers.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Last summer, while in downtown T.O. for work, I planned a Saturday afternoon visit to the Roundhouse, and of course arrived there just as the Blue Jays game was letting out across the street. So, massive crowds of already primed sports fans made for a less than optimal experience, and the small plastic cup of their eponymous pilsener that was proffered didn't help things much. This tourist left unimpressed. Now, in much more laid back environs, let's give it a proper shake.

341ml bottle. This beer pours a clear, bright medium golden amber colour, with two pudgy fingers of loosely foamy, soap sudsy off-white head, which leaves a few instances of isolated webbed lace around the glass as it quickly dissipates.

It smells of semi-sweet grainy, slightly biscuity cereal malt, a hint of aged lemon, and mild floral, grassy hops. The taste is grainy, gritty pale cereal malt, and earthy, leafy, and mildly grassy hops. Dead simple, and mostly the better for it.

The carbonation is generally quite laid-back, and not really all that perceptible at times, the body a fairly solid medium-light weight, and fairly smooth. It finishes on the sweet side, as the cereal malt expands a tad to include hints of corn bread.

A decent enough Canadian pilsner, if one a bit too obvious in its pandering to the BMC crowd. Easy to drink, and worthy of a go if your other options are the usual, sub-standard fare.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap: Clear yellow beer with small head with below average retention. Aroma is quite sweet with more or less malt. Taste was quite enjoyable with some refreshing sweetness. Lacking a bit of character and body to make this truly good but better then some other lager that I had the misfortune of drinking over the years.

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Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a clear, golden body. The head settles rapidly and leaves little lace.

S - Bready malt notes with lots of musty, herbal hop aroma.

T - Dry, grainy malt up front with some biscuit notes. More of the same in the middle as herbal hops begin to appear. A hint of honey shows up in the finish along with more herbal hop flavor and light bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - Bready and herbal, this is a well balanced and drinkable pilsner. The hop character is fairly robust with a lot of herbal character, but somewhat anemic bitterness. The malt is a bit lighter than I would like it to be as it has only weak touches of honey and bread though it does provide the beer with some thickness and body. Overall, it is a fairly well made pils that hits most of the appropriate notes for the style.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not only on-tap, but on-tap at the brewery in generous glasses as part of their tour. It was handed to me with a big, foamy, bone-white head. The color was a bright lemon-yellow and the Saaz hops were evident on the nose. The mouthfeel was medium, with a great,dry hoppiness on the tongue. The finish lingered with hops and left me licking my lips for more. I had some in a bottle later, but this was just fantastic!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Canyon. Served in pint glass.

A - Poured a light yellow colour with a lot of visible carbonation and half a finger of light bubbly white head.

S - Light bready malt nose. Not much else going on.

T - Crisp bready malts with a very subtle hop bite.

M - Light body, lots of carbonation.

D - An excellent pilsener. A little more in the palate would be nice but overall this is a very good beer that goes down very smoothly on a hot summer afternoon.

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Photo of biegaman
3.26/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Toast, in Toronto.

Even average pilsners tend to look great. Brilliant, crystalline clarity and a blistering golden colour allows their acrobatic bubbles to be easily observed and their head, fitted tight as the skin of a bongo drum, is invariably pristine white. It's a very attractive and approachable style and this one is no exception. I'm ready to take a drink!

There are two types of Pilsners: those that care about how they smell and those that don't (which is to say, more implicitly, those that are designed to appeal to mainstream drinkers and those that are actually fashioned true to style and have a wonderfully fragrant, hoppy aroma). Steam Whistle, disappointingly, is evidently the former.

Any notions that this local, craft-brewed pilsner will outshine even the industrially produced German examples can be dispensed with fairly quickly. Actually, it's about on par with them. The flavour is slightly emasculated for what it should be, too modest a malt bill and virtually zero hoppiness, and its texture is dissolved by a sharp, piercing carbonation.

Half way through my second pint, something occurred to me: this is really much more of a Kölsch than Pilsner. Its soft, highly attenuated malt profile is awfully redolent of a kölsch, in large part because there's no hop flavour, and so little bitterness, to differentiate otherwise. This is too subtle, too insubstantial for me to truly consider it a pilsner.

Steam Whistle sets out to brew a middle-of-the-road lager and, as their advertising boasts, they do that one thing and they do it really well. To call Steam Whistle ordinary is to understate the fact; while it offers mainstream drinkers a cleaner alternative to most mass-produced offerings it fails to transcend the pedestrian or unmemorable.

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Photo of flagmantho
2.61/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 500mL can into a pint glass. The look of the can makes me think that this is the Canadian Rolling Rock -- we shall see!

Appearance: medium golden hue with a light effervescence and no haze. Head pours two fingers of pillowy white foam that has decent retention. Not too bad!

Smell: quite grainy, and it seems there's even a little skunk present -- unusual since this is a canned beer. There's a bit of cooked corn aroma in there, too, which does detract from the overall effect. I mean, the style doesn't ask a lot, but cooked corn should not be on the list.

Taste: quite corny, with a little malt sweetness and a light bitterness. I thought this might be the Canadian Rolling Rock -- actually, it's worse.

Mouthfeel: light body with a bit of carbonation and an OK foaminess. Not creamy and delectable, not prickly and refreshing, but at least it's not flat.

Overall: I'm a bit disappointed here. Other ratings aren't so bad, but for me this beer is too corny to be really worthwhile.

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Photo of Derek
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very clear, golden hue; pours with plenty of head, very little retention, but it leaves some lace.

S: Pleasant hoppy aroma (grassy, metallic & floral).

T: Plenty of hop flavour (grassy, metallic & floral), modest bitterness, hints of bready malt in the background.

M: Moderate body is silky smooth; moderate carbonation.

D: Very good.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.47/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Appearance – Clear yellow colour with a below average size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is almost no lacing. The head lasted for around 3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Grains, bread, malts, grass, hops, corn

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation. I can taste breads/grains mixed with light hops and some corn. I can also pick up on some malts and a slight grassiness. It finishes with a sweet corn and lightly spicy aftertaste

Overall – Definitely a step up from most of the Canadian macros that you find at every bar/restaurant in Ontario. The taste won't blow you away, but it's refreshing and very drinkable. I could easily go through a 6 pack of these.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml can poured into pint glass sept4 2009

A crystal clear golden yellow with lots of bubbles, and a two finger head with fair retention but no lace

S some floral hops with some grass and sweet grains

T more hops and grains and grass, nothing great stands out but its well rounded overall

M nice and light with heavy carbonation that works quite well for it

D no problems drinking this one nice and crisp

I don't have a lot of bad things too say about this one, if you see it at the bar give it a go. I've met people who will defend this one too the death, it seems too have a cult following

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Photo of bylerteck
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours light golden. Bright. One finger of soapy white head with strong carbonation coming up. Some spotty lace is left with a half finger of retention.

S - Noble hop, apple, pear, and candied fruits.

T - Less noble hop with a grainy note, but definately not corny. Raw grains, some apple as well.

M - Very effervescent in the mouth with small tingly bubbles and a light-ish body with a sweet, grainy finish with noticable noble hops as well.

O/D - Meh. Nothing I would seek out at all. Green bottle is a little off putting but my pops bought a sixer for Christmas so I'm not complaining. A craft beer for people who don't drink craft beer.

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Photo of DrJay
2.07/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pale straw yellow colour with brilliant clarity and a thin white head that showed some lacing. The aroma was packed full of DMS, vegetal sweetness and sulfury hops. Veggie sweetness carried into the flavour. Bitterness was much harsher than it should have been, given the moderate hopping level. Light body, high carbonation. Not an impressive offering, at least to my palate.

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Photo of Viggo
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml can, I've had this tons of times but never reviewed it apparently.

Pours a crystal clear light golden, some amber highlighting, medium sized bone white head forms, slowly settles down to a thin collar before disappearing completely, no real lacing on the glass. Smell is decent, very sharp and herbal, some honey like sweetness, straw and grass, lightly malty, some lemony character, sweet orange peel, not bad. Taste is similar, light on flavour, some toasty/biscuity malt, honey sweetness, light floral, some lemongrass, light finish, no real malt presence or hoppiness. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, pretty refreshing and easy to drink. Maybe a higher quality macro lager, I believe Steam Whistle is all malt. Still not very exciting, but I'm glad they have it in cans now.

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Photo of Gusler
2.53/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The pour a clear and gold color with the head frothy in texture and the color white, size is average with the lace a thin covering upon the glass. Nose is malt and sweet, crisp and fresh, front sweet with a fair malt profile, the top skimpy in feel. Finish has a decent hop presence and the acidity stinging, quite dry aftertaste, drinkable but not much else to be said unfortunately.

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Photo of mynie
3.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A Toronto-based brewery that is apparently held in high esteem by locals, although I never heard of it until I happened upon single pint cans at a beer store in Hamilton, Ontario. The can is neat looking.

Pours a nondescript adjunct yellow, somewhat dark for the style but not very dark in an objective sense. Smells light, crisp, grainy, and sweet, somewhat reminiscent of Pabst only with fewer hints of boiled vegetables.

The flavor is comprised of sweet cereal nodes and a little wisp of yeast and saaz in the very back end. The front is a bit watery, but then grain comes washing in and the finish is full and refreshing. It accomplishes what I think the brewers set out to accomplish, as it comes across like a combination of a Canadian pils and a Czech pills. Well brewed, for sure, but certainly nothing your average BA user is going to attempt to seek out.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.57/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a nice golden colour, finger of head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Grassy hop notes, bready malts, bread crusts and sweet corn.

T - Much like the nose, sweet corn, bready malts, the grassy hops and wheat flavours linger alongside a hint of honey.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - Easy drinking, decent flavour profile and one of my go-to brews in a pinch. Nothing mind blowing here, but it'll easily please the masses.

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Photo of francisweizen
2.5/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

An odd beer, to say the least. I had this beer on tap at Shopsys in Toronto. The smoked meat sandwitch was killer and I washed it down with this beer. This beer had a standard golden appearance but the aroma was of fritos (corn chips). That's right!, this beer smelled and tasted like freaking corn chips. Now, I am assuming that this is because this beer was brewed with corn and rice. I had no sense of hop flavors or malt flavors at all...just corn chips.
The mouthfeel was average, as was the drinkability, but I would take a molson export over this!

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Photo of Jeffo
3.54/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at the local LCBO

From a bottle into a mug

APPEARANCE: Pours a medium-thick two finger white head with decent retention. Amber or golden poppy yellow in color and is perfectly clear. Lower end carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a thin film and eventually totally disappears, leaving no lacing at all.

SMELL: A good strength nose of toasted malt and rye bread. Bold and enjoyable.

TASTE: Toasted malt up front with some rye bread again. Some malt sweetness in there with a touch of honey. A bit of straw in there and some nice floral and bitter hops to balance it out at the end. A mild and short lived aftertaste of toasted malt and floral bitterness is nice and appropriate.

PALATE: Medium-light body and medium carbonation. Creamy soft on the palate, goes down smooth with a crisp finish. Ends slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: Steam Whistle only makes one brew, and, like they say on the bottle, they make their one brew very well. This is a very good pilsner that can really hit the spot on a warm afternoon. Very drinkable as well, this is one worth trying if you get the chance. Well done.

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Photo of kwjd
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap as the other choices were horrendous, as is often the case. Poured a pale yellow with nice white head. Good enough retention and a leaves a few spots of lacing. Smell is grassy hops and bread malt, typical pilsner I guess. Taste is muted, but a slight bitterness. This beer is good enough to order when the rest of the beer list sucks, but not good enough to seek out.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.32/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to korguy123 for the local!

Green bottle, nicely oldschool.

Pours a pale straw color, white head, didn't stay long. Aroma is crisp, malt rich, with a bit of nuttiness. That carried over pretty equally into the taste: Malt rich, nutty. Feel was slick and creamy, but crisp and light in body. A pretty standard pilsner; not bad at all, but doesn't wow any.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty good pils that is highly drinakble with enough character that a glass is desired. The nose is there but I could do with more hops but it looks good and drinks clean and crisp. The finish is fairly abrupt for the style making it more of a patio beer than a year round lager.

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Photo of merlin48
3.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Green bottle pours a crystal clear golden body with a small white head. The head quickly falls to a ring and leaves only a few spots of lace. Aroma has a hint of spicy noble hops and some wet grain. Light medium body has plenty of carbonation. Taste has a dominant sweet bready maltiness that is balanced by a nice hop presence that is spicy, slightly floral, and has a hint of skunk. Drys out at the finish which saves drinkability.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.47/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My parents picked up a nifty 12 pack of this, in the form of a suitcase, while they were up at Fenway north. Sweet green retro bottle. Bonus points for superb packaging in both the suitcase (I kept it and use it to bring homebrew places) and bottle.

Clear gold with a thin head. Thin skim of retention floats in the shape of a question mark. A beer for self inquisition?

Honey, floral aroma with some Wonderbread in back. Smells like springtime in the morning.

Crisp and refreshing with mild earthy/herbal hop in back to balance the springtime fresh sweet malt.

Perhaps it's the fact that this beer triggers sensory images of springtime hikes and lakeside trail runs but I love this beer. The packaging doesn't hurt either. I'm a sucker for a pretty bottle.

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Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have tried Steam Whistle before from a can, but have always been hesitant of purchasing the green bottles. Luckily I was served a couple with out having to pay for them myself.
Pours a clear, yellow gold color, with a short and thick, white head. Foam faded slowly, minmal lace. Smell is slightly grass and herbal, no skunkiness detected. Taste is a nice mix of light bready malts, and floral balancing hops. Slightly acidic, but no real bitter hoppiness. Mouthfeel is light, medium carbonation, refreshing and easy to drink. Great for the patio. This may have been my first green bottle lager with no skunk (Thank you, Heineken, for my paranoia)

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Steam Whistle Pilsner from Steam Whistle Brewing
3.42 out of 5 based on 432 ratings.
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