Range of Pilsner flavors

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Roybert, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    I'm having a fantastic time exploring the style and I'm surprised by the range of flavors. At this point in my adventure, I'm trying to put my finger on exactly what flavors like in a pilsner and what constitutes a quality example. I've tried ~50 pilsners and I am sorry to say I find the majority to be unpleasant. However I dont know if the ones dislike are poorly made or if I just dont prefer their flavor. What say you pilsner lovers, am I too selective or are there a lot of bad beers out there?

    I love the following:

    ABGB- Industry Pils
    Wiseacre- Tiny Bomb
    Real Ale- Hans Pils
    Pizza Port- Crazy Pils
    Bearded Iris- Pharmacy Pils

    Found to be very unpleasant:

    Fair State- Pils
    Almanac- VIBES Pilsner
    Lagunitas-Pils
    Bell's- Lager of the Lakes
    Melvin Brewing- Pils-Gnar
     
  2. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    Dates on these beers are going to be extremely important. The range of styles of pilsners within the ones you found to be unpleasant implies to me that the age of those beers could have had a bigger influence in your appreciation rather than the beer itself.
     
  3. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    In all fairness, I didn't check dates. However, I did buy them at shops that move beer quickly. The thing that puzzles me is these beers didn't have any obvious flaws, they were just odd tasting. In fact, the flavors did not seem faded or weak, they were bold and unpleasant.
     
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  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,456) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The Bell's and Lagunitas are described as Bohemian Pilsners. You may not like the Saaz hop, malt, and yeast combo.

    Have you had the Live Oak Pilz or the ABGB Czech Pils?

    I love ABGB Rocket 100, a pre Prohibition Pils using Corn. See if you like that one.
     
  5. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    That's something I can explore. thanks.

    I haven't had ABGB Czech Pils, but I love Rocket 100. I'm absolutely ashamed to say I dont care for Live Oak Pils. I like LO Gold well enough, but it doesn't tickle my fancy.
     
  6. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    lager of the lakes is pretty traditional and Lagunitas is, well, Lagunitas.
     
  7. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,783) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    So I have to ask. What are your thoughts on Pilsner Urquell?
     
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    The 'better' or more precise you could describe the flavors you find to be non-good the better we can help you here. Is there a specific flavor that you find to be non-good?
    Well, I personally like some of the Pilsners you enjoy (e.g., Wiseacre, Real Ale) but I also like some of the Pilsners you do not like (e.g., Live Oak Pils).

    I am not prepared to state that the Pilsners you dislike are "bad beers".

    Cheers!
     
  9. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    A fine beer indeed. I'd love to find out what it tastes like fresh.
     
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  10. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    Describing flavors is a skill I do not possess. I wish I could.

    I totally agree. I know LO Pils is a top notch beer. That's why I want to keep exploring the distinctions.
     
    #10 Roybert, Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  11. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (210) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    What is your thoughts on Austin Beerwork's Pearl Snap Pils? I like it but it has a different malt profile than I normally get, a bit more biscuity with the spicy herbal hops.

    Or B-52's Pils? It's been possibly 2 years since I've had it but I really liked it. It was very strong flavored (it killed my palate for their NEIPA that I bought at the same time) but the malt and spicy herbal hops were both very pronounced, but I thought it retained great drinkability.

    I'm not sure what it is that turns you off on the beers but it seems like it could be some of the pronounced malty flavors from pilsner malt.

    I used to like Real Ale Hans' Pils but lately every time I've had it all I can taste is a tangy fruitiness that overshadows the malt. I have found this in most beers that load up on Saaz or Tettnang aroma additions.

    If you ever get it I think Manhattan Beer Project (in Dallas) beer called Necessary Evil would be in your wheel house. I think it tastes a bit like Hans' Pils.

    Personally my criteria on a good pilsner is having noticeable malt flavors to balance out a strong hop character. I prefer spicy, herbal, or floral hop flavors but with a very restrained hand fruity ones aren't out of bounds imo.
    But the beer needs to retain good drinkability and remain sessionable. This is where I find the biggest problems with pilsners that are dry-hopped or heavily load up on aroma additions.
     
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  12. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    Do you get the cans near you? They are generally pretty fresh and have a clear and plain date on the package.
     
  13. Roybert

    Roybert Aspirant (262) Oct 2, 2014 Texas

    I've only seen it bottles in Austin. If anyone knows a spot, let me know please.
     
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  14. mkh012

    mkh012 Defender (686) May 7, 2015 Colorado

    I'm not super versed in pilsners - I gravitate towards IPAs and stouts (yeah, yeah...I know) - but I will say I like the pilsners that exhibit lemon, honey, and only light bitterness more than the ones that exhibit sulfur, minerality, and high bitterness. Still not sure which are which style-wise but the austere and dry ones aren't my fav.
     
  15. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,783) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
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    Remember when they put out a variety of can designs a few years ago? The only cans that I ever saw. Brown bottles are what we have now and I am quite satisfied with how fresh they taste.
     
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  16. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,854) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
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    We get the bottles and cans here. Every few months they release a new set of 4 can designs. The cans are generally not more than 3 months old when I get them fresh.
     
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  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    That skill may come with time. The good news is that via "I've tried ~50 pilsners" this means that you are trying here.

    Permit me to share some of my thoughts concerning Pilsners and the variety of flavor profiles.

    One Pilsner sub-style is Bohemian Pilsners (Czech Pale Lagers). From my personal perspective these beers should feature a depth of malt flavors that are rich and aromatic. For those beers that are brewed in the Czech Republic they typically use Moravian Pilsner Malt and often times the flavors of these malts are closer to being like English Malts vs. German Malts. A characteristic of Bohemian Pilsners is that they solely feature Czech Saaz hops. Czech Saaz hops can vary in their flavor profiles depending upon where the hops are grown, when they are harvested during the season and crop year. For my palate they typically have an herbal/spicy flavor but every once in a while I pick up a hint of lemon flavor.

    Another sub-style is German Pilsners. These beers as brewed in Germany will feature German Pilsner Malt which has flavors which can vary from providing a sweet-ish flavor profile to the other end of the spectrum being bready and even sometimes cracker-like. German Pilsners will feature a variety of noble hops from Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Tettnanger, Spalt and even Czech Saaz on occasion. They will also use non-noble hops like Hersbrucker, and lately more modern hops like Saphir. So, there can be some breadth of variety of flavor profiles here. FWIW my preference is a German Pilsner which features a bready maltiness accompanied by an herbal/spicy hop flavor.

    There is one more Pilsner sub-style of Classic American Pilsner but that is a discussion for another day.

    Best of luck with your continuing journey of drinking a variety of Pilsners.

    Cheers!
     
  18. AugustWest1

    AugustWest1 Initiate (55) Feb 23, 2016 Texas

    I’m a big Pearl Snap fan. I think I prefer German pilsners. Even though I’m a big IPA fan, I prefer my pilsners to not be overly hoppy.
    What are some good American versions of German not overly hoppy pilsners?
     
  19. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Problem is the cans, like the bottles, have only a "Best Before" date, on the top of the 4 pack "wrap" and dot-matrix stamped on the base of the can, which is based on MC's (still the US importer, although owned now by Asahi) recommend shelf-life period of 9 months.

    Without knowing that, it's difficult to know how old the beer is - especially since 9 months is somewhat shorter than many European beers from large brewers, where 1 year is common and some are even longer (Jever's 15 (!) months).

    Freshest stuff I've found around here lately:
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (210) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Well there's Austin Beer Garden Brewery (ABGB) and their German pilsner.

    St. Elmo makes a pretty good German Pilsner... I think it's called Vaughn.

    I've had an excellent one from Oddwood but they regularly make change out beers. Normally I like whatever lager they have but the last pilsner was overhopped and tasted more like Hans.

    Up in North Texas so far I think that Braindead Brewing makes the only noteworthy Pilsner that's not hopped up to being citrusy.
     
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  21. eppCOS

    eppCOS Savant (972) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado
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    Both St. Arnold's and Live Oak make great pilsners in Texas.
    Howdy cheers! :wink:
    Can't wait to get back to my ol' grad school stompin grounds of Austin in October.
     
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  22. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (332) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Listen to @JackHorzempa regarding this style

    Even if the store moves beer quickly, still check the dates on pilsners. Pilsners don't get the love and respect they deserve so, while IPA's, NEIPA's, etc fly of the shelf, pilsners are likely to have been sitting around a while.

    Were the beers you disliked disliked for the same reasons (all of them were too... none of them were...)?
    Lagunitas & SN (Summerfest) call theirs Bohemian, Sixpoint calls The Crisp German. To me the Summerfest is more like a German pils, Lagunitas more of the American style, with Crisp straddling the two.

    I prefer the smooth balance of Bohemian/Czech pils and enjoy crisp Germans, but I don't care for ”American” style pilsners or that Italian style from the other thread. I find them to be overly hopped.
     
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  23. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,771) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    Mamas Little Yella Pils is another one you can add to your rotation. As far as what you dislike, not sure. I find there are a couple of things that can be noticeable in a pils. Crispness, some have this more than others. Crispness I define as how fast the beer gets off your palate. I usually like this in a pilsner because it makes you want to go back for more. Also sometimes called dryness.
    Some pilsners are a tad bit sweeter than others, and that causes them to linger on the palate a little longer. Again it is preference on which style you prefer.
    When trying to decide what you like and dislike about them, sit down with one of each and just try to jot down what you are getting out of the beer and what do you like about it and what do you not like.
    Two good beers to pair off on each other would be a Pilsner Urquell and a St Arnolds 5 o'clock pils. I love both of these beers, but find the 5 o'clock more crisp and slightly hoppier than the PU which can have a little residual sweetness. Both of these beers have been thru a decoction mash and use the same hops (the SA beer having a higher hop rate) and drink pretty different.
     
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  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Do you have details here? How many pounds per barrel does St. Arnolds use vs. Pilsner Urquell? Also, what are the respective IBUs of the two beers?

    Cheers!
     
  25. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (871) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    I'll never complain about Sierra Nevada Summerfest. If you want to branch into German Dortmunder Export style, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold is fantastic and they have many awards to prove it.

    I'm very cautious/dubious of American brewers with pilsners, because they have a tendency/habit to bomb them out with citrusy American hops (or other stuff). That said I do enjoy Founder's Pilsner (formerly PC Pils) and Sixpoint The Crisp. IMO, both are well balanced and use some restraint with the American-style hopping.
    I'd agree.... Sixpoint uses all traditional German malt and hops with a little more dry-hopping than typically found in Germany for a slight American touch.
     
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  26. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Randy, this is the first time I heard that Sixpoint is dry hopped. Do you have any more details here? For example, do you know which of the hops (both?) are utilized for dry hopping? Do you know the rate (i.e., what quantity of hops per barrel) for the dry hopping? What is the contact time for dry hopping?

    Cheers!

    @SixpointMikey
     
  27. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Crusader (728) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey
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    For a solid German style pils I will go for Victory Prima, If I want a very good Bohemian style I usually stick with von Trapp
     
    #27 Claude-Irishman, Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
  28. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,479) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Similar to the OP, I find the vast majority of pilsners (especially US made attempts), to either be very bland in flavor and/or too heavy on the bitter/crisp hops, mostly like a hopped up/more bitter AAL unfortunately. I like the ones with really noticable aroma of Noble hops and tastes to match, balanced out nicely with a doughy/cracker/bready body. Freshness is critical as well. Pilsner Urquell is a decent one, but IMO is a touch bland/boring for my liking. Maybe I rarely get it fresh.

    Speaking of P.U. I've been looking for cans everywhere for last year or so and have yet to find. Well I did find an overpriced gimmicky Lunchbox with 4 cans in it at a shop in Martinsburg, WV, but that is only time I've seen in in cans, and I've been in higher end bottle shops in MD, PA, OH, VA, NC, SC, Bay area of CA ....haven't seen it anywhere. Where are these P.U. cans showing up state-side?
     
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  29. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,062) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Even if they move quickly, there's no guarantee they arrive to the store fresh either.
     
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  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I live in the 'burbs of Philly and all of my local beer retailers carry the PU cans (4-pack of 16 ounce cans). FWIW I solely purchase the cans; it has been a looooong time since I bought the bottled version.

    Cheers!
     
  31. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (332) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    An excellent beer. One of my favorites and almost always in the fridge.
     
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  32. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (871) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    I think the can used to say it was dry-hopped and I remember Shane Welch mentioning it, but I wouldn't be able to find it again. I did find an old discussion logged on a homebrew forum that Sixpoint (probably Shane again) chimed in on that mentions:
    "...0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
    0.50 oz Hallertauer, New Zealand [8.50 %] Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
    "
    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/sixpoint-the-crisp-anyone-have-info.507697/
     
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  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Hmm, that recipe reads ‘out of whack’.

    Below is how Crisp is detailed on the Sixpoint website:

    “…at Sixpoint we go straight to the source for the prime cuts — the Tettnanger and Hallertau hops in THE CRISP are sourced 100% directly from farmers in Tettnang, Germany. This way we personally select what goes into our beers.”

    https://sixpoint.com/beers/thecrisp/

    Hopefully Mikey (@SixpointMikey) will chime in and straighten things out.

    Cheers!

    P.S. Maybe they brew Crisp using German hops plus Cascades and New Zealand Hallertauer?:confused:
     
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  34. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (871) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    The homebrew discussion was many years ago and The Crisp recipe has changed slightly over the years. I know one of the reasons for changes was being able to buy hops directly from German growers.
     
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  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,128) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    And on some iterations more than slightly.

    It will be interesting to see if Mikey informs us that this brand's recipe has now been settled upon.

    You likely know this already but Crisp is now being brewed at the Victory Brewery in Parkesburg.

    Cheers!

    P.S. Spoiler Alert: I will be discussing a 'new' locally brewed German Pilsner in the next NBS thread.
     
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  36. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,479) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Ok, I'll keep looking. I've stopped in Gettysburg, York and Lancaster stores and didn't find any, I rarely go through Philly area, but will look for them if I do.
     
  37. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (871) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania
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    Cool. I always assumed The Crisp production would move to Parkesburg someday, but I missed the news of specifically when. Another one to add to the list of great pilsners brewed in SEPA.

    I wonder what it could it be... :grin:
     
  38. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (210) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I don't have any info on PU. But according to Saint Arnold's site 5 O'Clock Pils is 40 IBU, it does use some decoction and they say they use extra hops.
    https://www.saintarnold.com/year-round-beers/

    I'll say when I had it at the brewery I thought it drank more like a pale ale than a pilsner. I think they may use more hops than PU even if they're the same IBU because they probably do more late hopping.

    I have a problem with American pilsners that use all German (or Czech) hops but then treat the beer like an IPA loading them up with late hopping additions.
    I don't know if they have to add more Noble hops than other varieties due to lower oil content but it always comes off to me as harsher even citrusy and decreases the drinkability.

    I know most people rave about how good The Crisp is but it's definitely one of those pilsners that I get a harsher hop flavor off of. I don't care that they use traditional ingredients. They don't seem to use them in a traditional manner which imo doesn't work as well.
     
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Why not just ask your local beer retailer to order it? Seems easier to me given that it is imported by the second largest beer marketer in the US and, as such, is likely distributed locally by the area MillerCoors house which almost every US retailer deals with. Granted, there are possibly some MC houses that only carry the bottles but, at least, you'd find that out, too.

    I don't understand why so many BA's are reluctant to ask retailers to carry a specific beer or package. Heck, I'm sure most of them WANT to know a beer is desired even if it's only one (steady) customer. Rather order that than something that might not sell at all.

    Ah, "gimmicky" ? Really? Yeah, it is - but it was so damn cute - I fell for it (and without being tricked into thinking it held more than 4 cans which it could have with a slight reconfiguration). I figured "Oh, well, I'm sure I can find something to store in it...". Going on 2 (maybe 3?) years now, and so far - nothing. :grin:

    A few months back, I saw around 4-5 fresh cases of the 4pk X 6 PU cans on the floor of a local chain liquor store. Grabbed one of them suckers and brought it to the register ... where the barcode reader at the register found that it was "not in the system" yet. :angry: (I hate when that happens).

    An assistant manager shows up and says something like, "Uh, you don't wanna buy that it's going to cost over $65."

    "Wha...?! It's $7.something a 4 pack up the road at the Buy Rite!"

    I realized after I walked out (on my way to Buy Rite:grin:) she was likely thinking of the price of a case of the "Lunch Box" packages.

    Just picked up that case in post #19 the other day, "Best Before Feb. 2020" for ~$38. A goddam bargain in this day and age.
     
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  40. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,771) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
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    Jack, no I don't, just going from the taste, both have the same IBU. That is my personal comparison above, not something from the brewers. The SA beer, maybe due to the finish, comes across as more hoppy on my palate
     
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