Style Details

New Zea­land Pilsner
Pro­vi­sio­nal Styles
BJCP Style Code
0 X5
Straw to deep gold in color, but most examp­les are yel­low-gold. Gene­ral­ly quite clear to bril­li­ant cla­ri­ty; hazi­ness is a fault. Cre­a­my, long-las­ting white head.
Medi­um to high hop aro­ma reflec­ti­ve of modern New World hop varie­ties, often show­ca­sing tro­pi­cal fruit, citrus (lime, white grape­fruit), goo­se­ber­ry, honey­dew melon, with a light green bell pep­per or gras­sy aspect. Medi­um-low to medi­um malt in sup­port, with a neu­tral to brea­dy-cra­ckery qua­li­ty. Very low DMS accep­ta­ble but not requi­red. Neu­tral, clean yeast cha­rac­ter, optio­nal­ly with a very light sul­fu­ry qua­li­ty. The hop cha­rac­ter should be most pro­mi­nent in the balan­ce, but some malt cha­rac­ter must be evident.
Medi­um to high hop bit­ter­ness, cle­an­ly bit­ter not harsh, most pro­mi­nent in the balan­ce and las­ting into the after­tas­te. Medi­um to high hop fla­vor with simi­lar cha­rac­te­ristics as the aro­ma (tro­pi­cal, citrus, goo­se­ber­ry, melon, grass). Medi­um to medi­um-low malt fla­vor, grai­ny-sweet, brea­dy, or cra­ckery. Clean fer­men­ta­ti­on pro­fi­le (fer­men­ta­ti­on esters are a fault). Dry to off-dry with a clean, smooth finish and bit­ter but not harsh after­tas­te. The malt may sug­gest an impres­si­on of sweet­ness but the beer should not be lite­ral­ly sweet. The finish may be dry but not seem crisp or biting. The balan­ce should always be bit­ter, but the malt fla­vor must be noticeable.
Medi­um to medi­um-light body. Medi­um to medi­um-high car­bo­na­ti­on. Smooth­ness is the most pro­mi­nent impres­si­on. Never harsh nor astringent.
Over­all Impression
A pale, dry, gol­den-colo­red, cle­an­ly-fer­men­ted beer show­ca­sing the cha­rac­te­ristic tro­pi­cal, citru­sy, frui­ty, gras­sy New Zea­land-type hops. Medi­um body, soft mouth­feel, and smooth pala­te and finish, with a neu­tral to brea­dy malt base pro­vi­de the sup­port for this very drinkable, refres­hing, hop-for­ward beer.
Typi­cal Ingredients
New Zea­land hop varie­ties, such as Motue­ka, Riwa­ke, Nel­son Sau­vin, often with Paci­fic Jade for bit­te­ring. Other new world varie­ties from Aus­tra­lia or the US may be used, if they have simi­lar cha­rac­te­ristics. Pale base malts, Pils­ner or pale types, per­haps with a small per­cen­ta­ge of wheat malt. Fair­ly low-mine­ral water, typi­cal­ly with more chlo­ri­de than sul­fa­te. Clean lager yeast or very neu­tral ale yeast.
Lar­ge­ly defi­ned by the ori­gi­nal crea­ted at Emerson’s Bre­wery in the mid-1990s, New Zea­land Pils­ner has expan­ded in cha­rac­ter as the varie­ties of New Zea­land hops have expan­ded in num­ber and popularity.
The hop aro­ma­tics often have a simi­lar qua­li­ty as many New Zea­land Sau­vi­gnon Blanc wines, with tro­pi­cal fruit, gras­sy, melon, and lime aro­ma­tics. Often bre­wed as a hybrid style in New Zea­land using a neu­tral ale yeast at cool tem­pe­ra­tures. Limi­ting the sul­fur con­tent of the finis­hed pro­duct is important sin­ce it can clash with the hop cha­rac­ter. If jud­ging in com­pe­ti­ti­on, this style fits best within Cate­go­ry 12. Pale Com­mon­wealth Beer.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Crou­ch­er New Zea­land Pils­ner, Emerson’s Pils­ner, Liber­ty Halo Pils­ner, Pan­head Port Road Pils­ner, Saw­mill Pils­ner, Tua­ta­ra Mot Eureka
Com­pared to a Ger­man Pils, not as crisp and dry in the finish with a sof­ter, mal­tier pre­sen­ta­ti­on and a ful­ler body. Com­pared to a Czech Pre­mi­um Pale Lager, less malt com­ple­xi­ty, a clea­ner fer­men­ta­ti­on. Simi­lar in balan­ce to a Kolsch or Bri­tish Gol­den Ale, but with a hop­pier aro­ma. Com­pared to any of the­se Ger­man styl­es, show­ca­sing New Zea­land hop varie­ties with tro­pi­cal, citru­sy, frui­ty, gras­sy cha­rac­te­ristics, often with a white wine-like cha­rac­ter. Should not be as hop­py or bit­ter in balan­ce as an IPA.
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.044 - 1.056 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.009 - 1.014 SG
2 - 7 SRM
4.5 - 5.8 %vol
25 - 45 IBU