Aroma: Medium to medium-high bready-rich malt and medium-low to medium-high spicy, floral, or herbal hop bouquet; though the balance between the two may vary, the interplay is rich and complex. Light to moderate diacetyl, or very low fruity hopderived esters are acceptable, but need not be present.

Appearance: Gold to deep gold color. Brilliant to very clear, with a dense, long-lasting, creamy white head.

Flavor: Rich, complex, bready maltiness combined with a pronounced yet soft and rounded bitterness and floral and spicy hop flavor. Malt and hop flavors are medium to medium-high, and the malt may contain a slight impression of caramel. Bitterness is prominent but never harsh. The long finish can be balanced towards hops or malt but is never aggressively tilted either way. Light to moderate diacetyl and low hop-derived esters are acceptable, but need not be present.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Moderate to low carbonation.

Overall Impression: Rich, characterful pale Czech lager, with considerable malt and hop character and a long, crisp finish. Complex yet well-balanced and refreshing. The malt flavors are complex for a Pilsner-type beer, and the bitterness is strong but clean and without harshness, which gives a rounded impression that enhances drinkability.

Comments: Generally a group of “Pivo Plzeňského Typů”, or Pilsner-style beers. This style is a combination of the Czech styles Světlý Ležák (4.4 – 5.0%) and Světlé Speciální Pivo (5.3 – 5.8%). In the Czech Republic, only Pilsner Urquell is called a Pilsner, despite how widely adopted this name is worldwide. “Kvasnicový” (“yeast beer”) versions are popular in the Czech Republic, and may be either kräusened or unfiltered. These beers are sometimes cloudy, with subtle yeastiness and enhanced hop character. Modern examples vary in their malt to hop balance and many are not as hop-forward as Pilsner Urquell.

History: Commonly associated with Pilsner Urquell, which was first brewed in 1842 after construction of a new brewhouse by burghers dissatisfied with the standard of beer brewed in Plzeň. Bavarian brewer Josef Groll is credited with first brewing the beer.

Characteristic Ingredients: Soft water with low sulfate and carbonate content, Saazer-type hops, Czech malt, Czech lager yeast. Decoction mashing and long, cold fermentation are traditional. Low ion water provides a distinctively soft, rounded hop profile despite high hopping rates. The fermentation process can sometimes provide background diacetyl. Style

Comparison: More color, malt richness, and body than a German Pils, with a fuller finish and a cleaner, softer impression.

Vital Statistics:

OG: 1.044 – 1.056

IBUs: 30 – 45

FG: 1.013 – 1.017

SRM: 3.5 – 6

ABV: 4.2 – 5.8%

Commercial Examples: Kout na Šumavě Koutská 12°, Uneticka 12°, Pilsner Urquell, Bernard Svatecní Ležák, Gambrinus Premium, Ježek 11° Pivovar Jihlava, Budweiser Budvar (Czechvar in the US) References: Original writeup by Lachlan Strong. Field research by Bob Hall. Review by Stan Hieronymus, Evan Rail.

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