October 20, 2009

Now On Tap - Pilsener

A pilsener (also "pilsner" or simply "pils") is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from being developed in the 19th century in the city of Pilsen, Bohemia (Plzen in the Czech Republic). Until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were top-fermented, dark & cloudy. The taste and standards of quality often varied widely, and in 1838, consumers dumped whole barrels to show their dissatisfaction. The officials of Pilsen founded a city-owned brewery in 1839, called Bürger Brauerei (Citizens' Brewery - now Plzensky Prazdoj), brewing beer according to the Bavarian style of brewing. Bavarian brewers had begun experiments with the storage (German: "lager") of beer in cool caves using bottom-fermenting yeasts, which improved the beer's clarity, flavor & shelf-life.

The Bürger Brauerei recruited the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813 – 1887) who, using new techniques and the newly available paler malts, presented his first batch of modern pilsener on October 5, 1842. The combination of pale color from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops from nearby Saaz (since 1918 Zatec) and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation.

Improving transport and communications also meant that this new beer was soon available throughout central Europe, and the Pilsner Brauart style of brewing was soon widely imitated. In 1859, “Pilsner Bier” was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Pilsen. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquell trade mark was created to put emphasis on being the original brewery.

A pilsener is generally regarded as different from other pale lagers by a more prominent hop character, particularly from the use of Saaz noble hops. While pilsener is best defined in terms of its characteristics and heritage, the term is also used by some brewers (particularly in North America) to indicate their "premium" beer, whether or not it has a particular hop character.

Our Pilsener follows the Bohemian tradition. We use imported Pilsener Malt and a lot of Czech Saaz hops to produce a refreshing crisp, hoppy lager that you’ll want to drink all day. This beer was brewed in July and has been lagering since. It is filtered to show off its brilliant golden color.

Brewer's specs:

Malt: Pilsener , Carapils & Crystal

Hops: 90% Czech Saaz, 10% Hallertauer

Fermented with McCoy's house lager yeast

OG 11.3 Plato
4.4% ABV


  1. This sounds really, really good and we just had a conversation about Pilsner vs. Pilsener over on my blog for the Muehlebach Pilsener vs. the Boulevard Pilsner. John pointed out that it seems backwards for Czech to drop the 'e' where Germany leaves it in. Maybe the country borders were different in Bohemia days.

  2. That Pilsner post was very impressive - nice research! It does seem a bit weird they're switched like that...

    Are you coming to the Trappist Dinner? I thought about asking some of the KC bloggers to come out a bit early for a brief meet-up if there was enough interest. It would be cool to meet some of you guys, although I suppose I could quit being a turd and come check out one of the Brew Days...

    Hope you enjoy the Pils - cheers!

  3. I'm surprised this turned out at all since you fermented at 122° F!