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Blind Pilsner Tasting

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I’m finally getting around to posting the results of my blind Pils tasting. I gathered up 8 Pilsners, with some classics and some American craft versions to see. I’m partly curious how the Urquell and the Trumer do against the American’s and I’m curious to see which craft brewer makes the best Pils. This is blind, but I have tried all but 2 of them before, so I’m wondering if I can remember their flavor profiles. I’ll write down what beer I think it is.

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Beer 1:

Middle range color with head fading slightly.

The nose has a nice malty backbone with a slightly bready aroma.

Good mouthfeel, fairly thick for this category with good carbonation.

The palate is fairly hop aggressive with breadyness from the malts with a nice honey flavor and a fairly bitter backend.

I like this one. Definitely hop aggressive, so I’d guess it’s the Prima. Good flavor, good drinkability. 88 points for beer 1.

Beer 2:

One of the darkest in color, much more orange, and the head is lasting.

The nose is more closed, and definitely not as hoppy, much more malt comes through.

Mouthfeel is also lighter and more carbonated.

Palate is kind of boring with a bready, almost cardboard covered with honey flavor. Very little hop bitterness.

Definitely not as good as beer 1, pretty boring. 83 points.

Beer 3:

Also on the darker side of the colors, but less head retention.

This nose is much different. Some bready malts with a lot of diacetyl. Really not that pleasant of a nose.

The mouthfeel is also on the lighter side with considerable carbonation.

Lots of diacetyl on the palate and very bready malts. Can’t really taste hops here, except for a little backend bitterness.

I’m almost certain this is Urquell, as it has a pretty unique flavor profile, and frankly it tastes mass-produced. I’m not a huge fan. 79 points.

Beer 4:

The color is back to a much more pale yellow, but also keeps a pretty good head.

This nose is a bit skunky, so I’m assuming this came from the green Trumer bottle. Reminds me of the last beer with lots of bready malts and some floral hops.

The mouthfeel is very light, too light.

The worst beer yet. I’ve got some typical bready malts with floral hops, but tastes watered down. It does have some slight hop on the backend, but not redeeming enough.

I’m guessing this is the Trumer, and it’s not very good. The slight skunk is off-putting and the watered-down flavor is unacceptable. 75 points.

Beer 5:

Color is in the middle of the range and also has some decent head and lacing.

Slightly closed nose, but decent. Honey, floral, and slightly bready, and I’m also picking up a faint smokeyness that I really like.

Mouthfeel is pretty light without a ton of carbonation.

Palate is much better than the last beer. Some bread, honey, floral notes with a pretty hop aggressive backbone.

This one I liked quite a bit. I’m going to give this one 88 points. Beer 1 and 5 are now rated the highest.

Beer 6:

Slightly on the darker side, but still mid-range.

This nose has a lot more spicy hops than the other beers, and I get some earthyness from it.

One of the better mouthfeels without too much carbonation.

Wow, this is pretty hoppy. Lovely floral hops and honey with slight malts, and a good level of bitterness.

Actually, I think this is the best one so far. I really dig the hops on this beer, definitely American, and I’m willing to bet that this one is, in fact, the Prima. 89 points.

Beer 7:

On the darker side with a bit of head left.

Different nose here with a lot more fruity-ness than the other beers and quite a bit of citrus. Very pleasant nose and remind me a bit of a girls body spray.

Decent mouthfeel, not bad.

Yep, definitely the most fruity, easy drinking one of the bunch. Low on hops and I would like to see more.

I wish there were more hops here, but I can see this being the crowd favorite. 85 points.

Beer 8:

The last beer is one the pale yellow side but is still holding some head and lacing.

Another fairly closed nose. Fairly typical Pils nose again, but I’m getting a bit of a gasoline component.

Good, medium bodied mouthfeel.

Wow, this one is actually pretty bready. It has a nice honey and berry flavor, but awfully bready.

This beer is okay, but needs much more hops to balance out. 84 points.

So there we have it. There results are as follows, from first to last place: 6, 5-1, 7, 8, 2, 3, 4

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1. Victory Prima Pils-89 points
2. Tied: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils & Sierra Nevada Summerfest-88 points
3. North Coast Scrimshaw-85 points
4. New Belgium Blue Paddle-84 points
5. Full Sail LTD Series #03-83 points
6. Pilsner Urquell-79 points
7. Trumer Pils-75 points

So there are some interesting and not-so-interesting results here. It’s not surprising that the big guys came in last and that the highly rated Prima Pils came in front. I am surprised to see the outcome of everything in between. I’ve actually reviewed 3 of these beers before. I’ve rated the Summerfest an 89 in my original review and gave it 88 here, so I’m pretty happy with that. What really surprises me is that when I reviewed Mamma’s Little Yella Pils, a review I havn’t even posted yet, I gave it an 81. I did not think much of it stand-alone. It is beer 1, but I was trying all of them before I started writing notes, so I’m guessing that the flavors just held up well against the others, very interesting. The other big surprise was the Full Sail, as I gave it an 88 in my original review and have been fond of that beer, but seems to have not held up as well in competition.

So, some interesting results here. Tell me what you think, have you had any of these beers?

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