Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Steam Whistle Pilsner | Steam Whistle Brewing

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
78
okay
141 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Steam Whistle PilsnerSteam Whistle Pilsner
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Steam Whistle Brewing
Ontario, Canada | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
141
Ratings:
416
Avg:
3.42
pDev:
28.07%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
76
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 141 | Ratings: 416
Photo of Nikolai070
4.77/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

An absolutely fantastic Canadian beer! This is my absolutely favorite beer and I would recommend it to anyone looking to try. The color is pale, the carbonation is refreshing, the smell is intriguing and the taste is phenomenal. I've got all of my buddies drinking it now and anyone who tries it seems to say the same thing: it's an all around awesome beer.

 357 characters

Photo of moniz
4.19/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Is it the best Pilsner around? Probably not. Is it the best in Canada when compared to the macros? Absolutely!! Pale straw color, crisp refreshing mouthfeel, dry, slightly bready aftertaste, but still refreshing nonetheless. It's the beer that got me into micros. It's one of my go to beers always in my fridge ,from where I expand and experiment with other micros.

 365 characters

Photo of atr2605
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours yellow with a white head with good retention
S-sweet malt and corn, no hop presence
T-Has a strange vegetable metallic element to it. Not pleasant.
M-light bodied
O-looks and feel is right but the strange flavor throws off its crispness. Very possible it got like struck due to the green bottle

 303 characters

Photo of TheHammer
3.26/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Alright, I've had more then enough of this beer to give it another shot. This is a review of the bottled version, vs my previous can review.

Appearance - A clear gold color with ample carbonation works with a thumb's worth of head which regrettably did not retain, but did manage to produce some lacing.

Smell - Crisp, but light as a mild staw and biscuit malt takes backseat to some mild moist hopping. Warming didn't help it's case and it's just not very potent.

Taste - It starts with grainy malt as it ebbs and flows to, a floral and earthy hop bitterness the mildly eases down, leaving a crisp end. Simple and crisp, as a good pilsener should be, not with a lot of bells and whistles.

Mouthfeel - It does leave a bit of a dry aftertastes but the transitioning is well done, as is the carbonation.

Drinkability - Apart from the dryness, this beer is quite good as far as drinkability is concerned, its the lighter end of medium bodied, and calms down and goes down smoothly.

Final Thoughts - Now that I've looked back on this one, it becomes clear that my old can review was likely infected, as this is the overpriced Steamwhistle that I've come to moderately like. This is a beer that your macro drinking buddies will enjoy, but overly complex it is not and if the brewery didn't put such an effort towards environmental sustainability, having cool marketing and being a general comrade of the craft beer movement, I'd call foul on the price. It's worth trying though, no question.

 1,492 characters

Photo of Maverick25
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is very much a summer beer for me. Love the carbonation factor, the clean crisp finish, and the mild hops in the aroma and taste. A simple beer, with a nice mouth feel. Airy and light . Although I really like it in the bottle, I do not care for it in the can, or on tap as much.

 283 characters

Photo of zachloveshisbeer
3.46/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

People rant and rave about this one as being the best pilsner they have ever had. Well, those people have never been to Germany or the Czech Republic, heck, even Hungary makes a better pilsner than this one; however, I can appreciate what these guys are doing and I give them credit for changing hearts and minds. The beer pours a straw yellow, with nice lacing and it's got that sweet citrus aroma that most pilsners do. It looks like your typical Canuck lager but it tastes much better than any adjunct lagers out there. This is the beer you give to someone who declares that they will "never drink that expensive craft beer", and the price point is right in line with the big boys of the world.

 697 characters

Photo of JamesMN
3.75/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 500ml can into a canadian Bushwakker glass I purchased in Regina, SK when I was 19 (gotta love that drinking age up north! And yes, I was into craft beer back then) The description on the can states: "Steam Whistle brings you Canada's Premium Pilsner." Bold words, let's see how it stacks up...

Appearance: Crystal clear gold color with visible effervescence. There was a one finger head but it has dissipated into a thin film of white foam.

Aroma: Like popcorn tea. Although not in the blatantly adjuncty way that most macro-pilseners smell. It's more of a yeast influenced aroma that is actually pretty nice. Just a hint of sweetness. Hoping for some crisp pilsener bitterness.

Taste: Finally a pilsener that actually tastes close to the original style! That popcorn tea aroma is present in the taste, but once again it is not the usual corn taste of macro-lagers, it is a full bodied yeast influenced flavor that stays on your palate. The second half and finish are very crisp from the hops. I think it is missing a slight bitterness that would bring it to a whole new level of flavor, but the hop presence is headed in the right direction.

Mouthfeel: Despite the bubbly look of this beer, it is surprisingly smooth. It is also medium bodied, if not slightly above, but still attains easy drinkability (credit for this goes to the crispness of the hops).

Final Thoughts: Canada's Premium Pilsner succeeds were others (macro-lagers) fail. They stick to four basic ingredients: spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast. This is evident in the flavor and overall drinking experience. A beer like this one puts all macro-brewed 'pilsners' to shame! It doesn't boast any fantastic qualities, but it also doesn't have any off flavors. It is simply a beer that's easy to enjoy.

 1,790 characters

Photo of maclean25
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank a pair while on vacation in Ottawa. It has been recommended to me several times in the past and I've had it before - I remember it not living up to the hype. The first beer poured (into a tall, slim glass stein) with no head and the second with a small amount of white, creamy head that stayed there entire time. The body is clear yellow, with a slight golden tinge. The aroma has apple, grape, and grain (presumably from the hops). The taste has that noble hops quality continued. It is a lightly flavoured beer; the flavour is similar to buttered bread. It is light to medium bodied with an almost perfect carbonation (little bit more would have been great). It feels very smooth. Overall, I find it to be a good, decent pilsner. I would gladly drink it again (would be a good session beer). I think I understand its popularity: it is light enough for mass appeal, but with a distinctive enough taste for people to think it is something unique and amazing.

 964 characters

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)

 648 characters

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

On tap at Pub Italia, Ottawa. Poured in a shaker glass.

Dark straw color, almost orange. Little head formation, it disappeared very quickly.

Smell is somewhat grassy, citrusy and wheaty.

Very light on the palate, refreshing and drinkable. Not very characteristic as a German Pilsner, though. Lacks the bitterness and the richer hop complexity of the genre.

A nice beer for a warm afternoon, especially if you're eating spicy food. Not special, though. I would not try it again in a world full of new things to sample.

 521 characters

Photo of andrwjedi
2.47/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured little to no head in part because I noticed "debris" in the liquid. Poured remaining beer into a seperate glass. Looked like yeast that had settled to the bottom, although I was surprised to find this in a commercial beer. Had a "home brew" feel to it.

Color was golden orange. Much darker than I would expect from a pilsner, and definitely outside of style range. Didn't have the "clear" appearance you expect from a pilsner either.

Aroma was strong malt and no hop presence. A little aggressive aroma from the malt, more than expected. Some fruitiness as well.

Taste was strong malt and cloyingly sweet. No hop bitterness to back up the sweetness.

Mouthfeel was medium. Not enough carbonation for a pilsner or "spritz." The malt flavor weighed heavy on the tongue but cleared off after a few seconds. Very dry as well which was surprising with the malt flavor.

Overall I would guess this is a bottle conditioned California common (steam) style pilsner. It came off more as an extract home brew than a commercial pilsner. If I'm wrong, perhaps I got a somehow-contaminated bottle. Overall disappointing, but a drinkable beer if you don't assume it's a pilsner before drinking it.

 1,192 characters

Photo of joefinnigan15
3.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: golden, 1 finger head, 

Smell: bit of citrus, wheat

Taste, mouthfeel: has some body. Not bitter, which I like, bubbly on the tongue but fades quickly, a bit creamy, can't put my finger on a specific flavour. 

Overall: Refreshing, with some body, less of a clean taste and more of a creamy texture. Pretty decent beer, I'd buy it again

 351 characters

Photo of mick303
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large white head which takes some time to die down, leaving a nice layer of foam, leaving quite a bit of lacing. Colour is yellow-gold and a decent amount of carbonation.

Good aromas of malt, bit of hops. Seems nicely balanced.

The taste is slightly sharp, fairly nice balance with a bit of a fresh crispness to it. Fairly enjoyable and quite refreshing without being very imposing. Good session beer, the flavours don't overwhelm each other, but neither are they terribly exciting.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery, with a bit of carbonation. Aftertaste is smooth, just a hint of bitterness.

I've been drinking this for a few years, and I'd say overall, this is still a pretty good go-to summer beer. There are better beers but its not half-bad, highly drinkable, and a decent style representation.

 805 characters

Photo of NV9
3.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pale straw colour with almost no head and what is there fades to nothing in no time.

Bready barley smell, lot of corn in there as well, hint of citrus but not strong.

Crisp flavour, somewhat bitter right from the start and through the finish, the bready flavour is evident in the taste as well.

Light body but a fairly strong carbonate feel in my mouth, finishes dry.

 370 characters

Photo of Converge
3.24/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into a 20oz nonic.

A - Pours a super-clean golden straw color with a white head of thin bubbles. Poor head retention and no lacing at all.

S - Smells of clean barley malt, with a real bready character to it along with a mild honey sweetness. Slight citrus tinge with some grassy noble hops in the finish. Call me crazy, but there's even a slight nutty presence here.

T - Rather robust for a pilsener, with a malty character of buttery bread and mild nuttiness. Notes of citrus and honey pop up. Finishes crisp with some light grassy hops. A little too grainy for my liking, but nothing offensive.

M - Full bodied for the style, but carbonation is strangely low. Sort of a peculiar mouthfeel given the flavor profile here.

D - A decent domestic brew for Canada and a nice refreshing beer for the summer time. Nothing to go out of the way to try, but I wouldn't turn it down on a hot afternoon. Pretty much average.

 935 characters

Photo of DCon
4.15/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 355ML can of this w/ my good friend Tony @ the Schlafly Tap Room in St. Louis, MO. Poured from the Bright Green (7-Up looking can) w/ a Whistle and outline of a brewery at the bottom into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Has PKGD MAR 22 2012 on the side of the can.

Aroma- Slight corn on the front and then sweet, typical German Pils aroma. Very clean and easy.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that dies almost right away. Has a clean, golden body with great clarity. Leaves good lacing behind.

Flavor- Very malty, crisp, and once again has some corn that comes around. Light-medium bitterness. Sweetness all the way through.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Creamy, Smooth, and bites with sweetness on the palate.

Overall Impression- Beware! This is a HIGHLY drinkable brew and would be dangerous on a floating trip! Would love to see this guy (and possibly 11 others of it) in the near future. Highly recommend for its style and am a huge fan.

 967 characters

Photo of leaddog
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a golden straw yellow with a finger width of bubbly, foamy head.

Smell - Grains, corn, touch of citrus aromas.

Taste - Strong grain and malt flavour off the bat, followed by a light lemon zest. Very crisp flavours.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth, crisp and refreshing with a dry finish.

Overall - An enjoyable pilsener by Steam Whistle. Not getting much in the way of hops, however, there are some other excellent refreshing flavours (like the hint of citrus zest).

 526 characters

Photo of Hex
3.73/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aahhh! One of my favorites! am i bias? Never.

Pours very pale, with the soapy head about a finger, finger and a half almost. Doesnt stick around too, too long.

Smells like spring time! Hoppy, grassy, a little earth, a little citrus, (grapefruit maybe? maybe not...) citrusy though.

Taste like spring. The hoppy come about a little bit, not too strong, not too light. Mild citrus, mild grass, and very mild earth.

Leaves your mouth with a tingling dryness that request you pick the bottle back up. (DOnt SIT mE DoWN) it shouts.

Overall this is a decent beer. Very easy to drink but not really lacking in character. The flavors are light and free and refreshing. Could very well be socially drank at a cookout, a baseball game... something.

 744 characters

Photo of tbeckett
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.

 647 characters

Photo of jneiswender
3.12/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this beer at the brewery in Toronto. I've had it both in the bottle of the line and in the tasting room. Nice white head and gold clear body. Smells nice and grassy. Light but not lacking in flavor. Nice and drinkable. Good beer. I have to say I would have this again.

 272 characters

Photo of timtwoface
2.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm not really a fan of this style of beer. Maybe the green bottles subconsciously throw me off because it reminds me in many ways of Rolling Rock (another beer I'm not really a fan of) or maybe just the weaker, plainer taste just resonates with me as boring.

Is it BAD? No, just not my style - I can only see myself going for a beer like this on a hot day if I need something refreshing. In that regard it's OK - it's just not really for me.

 443 characters

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.

 763 characters

Photo of RyanBelle
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

steam whistle BA review

I will not hesitate to say this is an incredible beer. It really is an amazing example of balance in a craft beer. It's got a cracker/bready/biscuity taste that I've fell in love with since the beginning of my beer drinking days. It also has a bitter edge with a fresh hop taste that is grassy, and slightly lemony.

A - Good carbonation and lacing that sticks fairly well to the bottle and glass.

S - Very grassy. Slight alcohol seems to perforate through the nose. This is not so much reflected in the taste.

T - Grassy, lemony, peppery but not before you taste the cracker/bready-ness at the forefront. Beautiful balance.

M - Very carbonated but not so much that the notes can't shine through. It's comfortably bubbly, I guess.

Overall: Must try and must have.

 793 characters

Photo of indiapaleale
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - straw color, clean and clear with solid carbonation providing a thin, stark white head.

Aroma - sticking my nose in the glass I get some grassy notes, a bit of citrus as well as some sweet and almost sour notes. There is also some elements of hay as well some earthiness.

Taste - once this hits the tongue I'm reminded about how much this style is about being crisp and clean and not about the flavors that are provided by so many ales. Steam Whistle has some light sweetness, some sharp notes along with an earthy, dry finish. There are some decent grainy, cereal flavors but overall this is a beer that's about being smooth without a lot of aftertaste. It accomplishes that quite well.

Overall - don't ever let anyone tell you that brewing a good pilsner is an easy task. It's certainly not the simplest style, it has no flavors or colors to hide imperfections and lagering beer cost money. Steam Whistle does a good job of living up to their motto of "do one thing, and do it really, really well." Their pilsner is refreshing and well put together. We give extra credit to any brewery willing to take on the big guys. Well done in that department Steam Whistle.

 1,179 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned on august 15, 2011, 500 ml Aroma sorta familiar, pilsner malt, mild hop, but there is an aroma that's different...cant really explain what it is. Maybe its the Canadian water? Just has some type of aroma to it that's unique and it comes forward in the taste a bit also. Taste is certainly lager like, mild biscuit/bread, mild sweetness and bitterness. Easy, vey easy to drink. Not bad at all.

 399 characters

Steam Whistle Pilsner from Steam Whistle Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe