Pilsner Urquell isn't the same

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by joegarf, Oct 10, 2019 at 1:06 AM.

  1. joegarf

    joegarf Initiate (40) Mar 5, 2015 Illinois

    I used to love Pilsner urquell, once a great Pilsner, used to be in a green bottle, now in a brown bottle. But it is not what i remember, i believe they changed, does not taste like i remember, now it resembles an Ale. Can anyone who feels the same way that this is not the same, way too much hoppiness, i like ales, but i am disappointed with the current version. If someone can explain why they ruined such a good beer, help me out. Thanks...
    Claude-Irishman likes this.
  2. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Sorry, no help here. Fairly fresh Uquell is a favorite lager that tastes pretty much the same to me now as it has for some years.

    Have you tried looking through the reviews to see if others think it has changed over the last few years?
  3. Overlord

    Overlord Poo-Bah (1,975) Jun 28, 2007 California

    I remember in my early 20s having some fresh Pilsner Urquell in Slovokia. Ahhhh ..... fresh Pilsner Urquell.

    Somehow it never has tasted the same here in the states.

    Of course, I'm pretty sure my BAC didn't drop below .20 at any point during that entire trip, so maybe that had something to do with the fond memories.

    I think I had some goulash at some point that night. Ahhhh ..... fresh goulash.
  4. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,561) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    if you liked the green bottle Pilsner Urquell and don't like the brown bottle Pilsner Urquell, perhaps you like the taste of light struck Pilsner Urquell.

    Just a thought.
  5. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I’d suggest you take a peek at the best by date and backtrack to the bottling date. Age is the bigger set variable here with storage conditions also in play. The color of the bottle is a plus for the brown. I’d also think that a beer that’s been around this long and is truly iconic isn’t different at the start. It’s why you need to check dates, it’s where it ends.
  6. JohnfromPurdue

    JohnfromPurdue Initiate (106) Apr 27, 2009 Indiana

    Canned PU is the only way to go!
  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

  8. joegarf

    joegarf Initiate (40) Mar 5, 2015 Illinois

  9. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Disciple (332) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    Those 8 dollar four packs though.

    seakayak and Superheatnsubcool like this.
  10. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,872) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Perhaps you just got used to drinking older and/or light struck stock. Nowadays they do a great job of getting it over to the US quickly, in cold storage (which helps freshness), and in packaging that prevents or at least fights light. "Too hoppy" could just be a by product of it being fresher where the hops have not started to fade? I buy cans consistently that were canned 3-4 months prior to my purchase date - thats better than most, if not all, other imports.

    One other thought here - maybe your palate has just changed? If its been some time since you had it, its possible that your tastes shifted and it just doesn't taste the same to you.

    Could be some of both too ...
    Dude, they're the best! I get them on sale sometimes for like $5 too ... can't beat it.
  11. Bshaw22

    Bshaw22 Defender (649) Aug 29, 2013 Wisconsin

    Agree amazing
    scootercrabb likes this.
  12. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    No cans here, but I’d be all in under 3 months.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  13. mambossa

    mambossa Disciple (388) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Seriously. If OP is worried about bottle change, canned has always been delicious. Never drank PU from the bottle, personally.
    FBarber likes this.
  14. CheapHysterics

    CheapHysterics Aspirant (228) Apr 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Drinking one right now... Would not got call it hoppy. I mean the hops are there if you look for them, but they very much take a back seat to the malt.
    Bitterbill, TongoRad and FBarber like this.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Pilsner Urquell's bottle and label varied over the years and by country of import, but in the US, the green bottle was used well before "the 1980s" - here's a 1978 ad from their then importer, All Brands:
    Unfortunately, most older ads were B&W, but this one (which won a advertising industry "Hall of Fame" prize for 1971) certainly would appear to show a green bottle, as well.
  16. hopsputin

    hopsputin Poo-Bah (1,883) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    The canned stuff still tastes righteous to me. I was lucky enough to have it fresh in Prague last year and it was sublime.
    ATL6245, FBarber and seakayak like this.
  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,085) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This was my first guess.

    It's now fresher than it was before due to their "freshness initiative". It's actually a fairly hoppy beer at ~40ish IBUs if I recall correctly.
    TheBaldBeerGuy and FBarber like this.
  18. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (74) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    PU, even fresh from a Tankova pub in Central Europe, has ale-like characteristics, and I found it to be strikingly fruity over there. I still enjoy it, and if anything, it has given me a better appreciation for it!
    FBarber likes this.
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That's a coupla bucks cheaper than lots of "craft" beer packaged as 16 oz. X 4 pk. (Plus you get a bonus of 0.9 oz in every can!)

    Plus, it's nearly 50% cheaper than it was 50 years, too (when some people on BA first had it) based on the DoL Inflation Calculator :grin:.

    #19 jesskidden, Oct 10, 2019 at 12:53 PM
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 12:59 PM
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Hmm, I just got back from two weeks in Prague/Czech Republic and I drank many Pilsner Urquell beers in various 'formats': from a variety of Tankovna pubs, at the brewery itself (the unfiltered/unpasteurized version), from kegs at pubs, cans... I personally did not pick up any characteristics that I would describe as being "fruity" or "ale-like". Maybe a difference in palate here?

    I did pick up diacetyl in varying levels - sometimes too much diacetyl (too much buttery flavor) and other times a more subtle diacetyl level comparatively. Maybe this is what you are 'interpreting' as "fruity"?

  21. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Crusader (752) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    Pilsner changed because they now condition it differently. (More efficient than 150 year ago process), but tastes like crap. The stuff from the good old days was god's nectar. I can't agree more. I read several articles about the reason but it was like 4 years ago. I don't want to give you wrong info, but you can Google exactly what happened-
  22. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,607) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    I quit buying the greed bottled Pilsner Urquell because more often than not it was skunky. The brown bottle removes that issue and they have done better recently getting the beer to the US in a timely manner. Many years ago with the fall of communism they upgraded the plant and got rid of some of their wooden aging vessels and this would have had an impact of flavor.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I took a tour of the PU brewery recently and they still do have wooden vessels in their cellars where they ferment in open vessels:

    And post fermentation they lager for about 30 days in wooden tanks. At the end of the tour they pour glasses from the lagering tank for you to try:

    These beers are available for consumption at the brewery and a few select locations - one of those being the Na Parkanu Pub:


    At this pub they also had the unfiltered/non-pasteurized PU on tap so we all ordered a 0.5 liter glass to drink with our lunch. This beer was very good (just like at the brewery).


    The stated purpose for why they still brew 'the old way' is as a means of quality control - they can compare the beers brewed in wood in the cellars with the production brewed beers (in stainless steel) to ensure they taste the same.

  24. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (1,952) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    I am not sure of what "ales" you drink if you think Pilsner Urquell tastes like one.
    stevepat, rodbeermunch and steveh like this.
  25. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,561) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    They started using above ground stainless steel tanks for fermenting and lagering in 1992. They continue to brew some beer using the traditional below ground wooden tanks, and they taste test to ensure the modern method still tastes the same. They call this process "parallel brewing."

    Their distributed and bottled/canned beer is filtered and pasteurized. The unfiltered and unpasteurized is only available at the brewery and at selected pubs in Pilsen, and occasionally at special events elsewhere in Europe.

    Here are a couple of sources:

    Parallel Brewing: The Secret to Perfect Consistency

    A Taste of History at Pilsner Urquell
    AlcahueteJ, seakayak, pat61 and 3 others like this.
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    As others have noted, the ingredients and methods Plzeňský Prazdroj uses to brew Pilsner Urquell have changed, but "Used to" and "the green bottle" doesn't much help with determining exactly when someone first drank Pilsner Urquell. In another recent thread, the topic came up and I noted that:

    SAB bought Plzeňský Prazdroj in 1999, after much of the modernization had already taken place. According to M. Jackson in his Beer Companion (2nd Ed., 1997), after describing the 30 hl. uncoated open oak fermenters and the 30-35 hl. pitch-lined casks, etc, used "until recently", he wrote:
    In 2005, the brewery noted that:
  27. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Disciple (332) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    The unpasteurized unfiltered stuff hits the states a couple times a year also.
    tzieser, seakayak, MNAle and 2 others like this.
  28. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    An important observation which many either don’t know or seem to ignore when claiming, “It doesn’t taste the way it used to before the change.” Sometimes change in flavors only takes place in the mind. :grin:
  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I was always careful with my purchase of Urquell in the green bottles, so I never really got any skunked beer after taking these steps. When the cans started being sold I always turned to them and found them delicious and clean of any skunk. The brown bottled Urquell matches my findings with the can.

    I know I drank Urquell prior to 1992's "modernization" of the brewery, but I'd be blowing smoke if I said I could remember how much better it was than today's beer.

    From my review of 10 years ago:
    "Starts out with a hit of spicy and bitter hops, followed by lightly sweet, bready malt. Some vague butteriness, but not really to a diacetyl character. Finishes dry with a lean toward bitterness."

    Ale like? Just because it has a hop character? Welcome to Pilsner.
  30. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (4,528) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Yep, I always try and track some down if I know the unpasteurized unfiltered PU is hitting bars around Houston. A few usually carry it and is awesome I think.
    StubFaceJoe and FBarber like this.
  31. rodbeermunch

    rodbeermunch Poo-Bah (4,845) Sep 30, 2015 Nevada

    I prefer all my Euro lagers a bit skunky. Pull out an ice cold PU out the cooler and let it sit in the sun on any typical summer day on the river. . .that light exposure while it gains 10-15 degrees to optimal drinking temp. . .

    I am in flavor country.
  32. marquis

    marquis Crusader (774) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    The ad seems to have forgotten that pale lager only dates back to around 1840.
  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,850) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, that was also discussed in two posts in a previous thread, too, although I edited one of the images, deleting this quote from 1992. So, this myth (myth-information? :grin:) was used in both the US and Canada, and by two different US importers (All Brands and Guinness).
    #33 jesskidden, Oct 10, 2019 at 4:47 PM
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 4:59 PM
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  34. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (347) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Looks gorgeous! That unfiltered golden haze is beautiful.
  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,085) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Is that a ticket from the tour?

    @JackHorzempa you must have had both versions on your trip, did they taste the same?
    tzieser and FBarber like this.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,150) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I discussed my PU tour in a trip report post.

  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,085) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Oh sweet, link? I'd like to read that report!
    tzieser likes this.
  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Can't answer for Jack, but that would seem to be the point of the Brewery taking the time and expense of doing in both ways. Quality control should include a tasting panel to do flavor matching. Otherwise, why spend the time and money on that part of quality control?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  39. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (973) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yeah, years ago (in the States) it was sometimes flabby, going towards still, and capturing the limestone aspect a bit too much. Nowadays it is crisp and zippy, yet full and rich, like I remember from Europe.
    FBarber likes this.
  40. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,618) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Not sure if this has changed recently, but up until maybe 3-4 years ago I found PU to have unmistakable diacetyl roughly 1/2 the time. I don't think I've had an obviously buttery version in quite some time, though. I consider that an improvement, although it was one of the only beers with that note that I could handle.