Beer Styles 101: Pilsner

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What is a Pilsner?

Pilsner is a style of beer apart of the lager family. A Pilsner is a clean, crisp, refreshing beer that is pale and golden in colour originating from the Czech Republic. They are usually not very bitter and should generally not be fruity in taste. For most beer drinkers a Pilsner is synonymous with lager. Imitation pilsners account for 95% of global beer volume today although most of these do not resemble the original, traditional Pilsner.

The Pilsner style is named after where it’s from. Originating in Plzen, Bohemia in the Czech Republic, pilsners were created as a change from the traditional ales. Pilsner is one of the earliest lager styles and one of the first beers to be light and clear in colour due to a combination of new malt techniques and the water that is unique to Plzen.

Canadian Brewing Awards classifies a Pilsner as: “Straw/golden in colour and well-attenuated. Hop bitterness is low to medium. Hop flavour and aroma are medium-low to medium. Hop bouquet should be herbal/spicy Residual malt sweetness is low; does not predominate but may be perceived. Fruity esters and diacetyl should not be perceived. There should be no chill haze.” As well there are certain guidelines that need to be followed.

Original Gravity (°Plato): 11.0 – 13.7 °Plato
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato): 2.0 – 3.2 °Plato
Alcohol by Volume: 4.4 – 5.25%
Bitterness (IBU): 17 – 30
Colour SRM: 3 – 4

Previous Canadian Brewing Awards winners of this category:

          2012 Gold


          2013 Gold


          2014 Gold


          2015 Gold