Style Details

Ger­man Pils
Pale Bit­ter Euro­pean Beer
BJCP Style Code
5 D
Straw to light gold, bril­li­ant to very clear, with a cre­a­my, long-las­ting white head.
Medi­um-low to low grai­ny-sweet-rich malt cha­rac­ter (often with a light honey and slight­ly toas­ted cra­cker qua­li­ty) and distinc­ti­ve flowery, spi­cy, or her­bal hops. Clean fer­men­ta­ti­on pro­fi­le. May optio­nal­ly have a very light sul­fu­ry note that comes from water as much as yeast. The hops are modera­te­ly-low to modera­te­ly-high, but should not total­ly domi­na­te the malt pre­sence. One-dimen­sio­nal examp­les are infe­ri­or to the more com­plex qua­li­ties when all ingre­di­ents are sen­sed. May have a very low back­ground note of DMS.
Medi­um to high hop bit­ter­ness domi­na­tes the pala­te and lin­gers into the after­tas­te. Mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly-low grai­ny-sweet malt cha­rac­ter sup­ports the hop bit­ter­ness. Low to high flo­ral, spi­cy, or her­bal hop fla­vor. Clean fer­men­ta­ti­on pro­fi­le. Dry to medi­um-dry, crisp, well-atte­nu­a­ted finish with a bit­ter after­tas­te and light malt fla­vor. Examp­les made with water with hig­her sul­fa­te levels often will have a low sul­fu­ry fla­vor that accen­tua­tes the dry­ness and leng­thens the finish; this is accep­ta­ble but not man­da­to­ry. Some ver­si­ons have a soft finish with more of a malt fla­vor, but still with noti­ceable hop bit­ter­ness and fla­vor, with the balan­ce still towards bitterness.
Medi­um-light body. Medi­um to high carbonation.
Over­all Impression
A light-bodi­ed, high­ly-atte­nu­a­ted, gold-colo­red, bot­tom-fer­men­ted bit­ter Ger­man beer show­ing excel­lent head reten­ti­on and an ele­gant, flo­ral hop aro­ma. Crisp, clean, and refres­hing, a Ger­man Pils show­ca­ses the finest qua­li­ty Ger­man malt and hops.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Con­ti­nen­tal Pils­ner malt, Ger­man hop varie­ties (espe­ci­al­ly Saa­zer-type varie­ties such as Tett­nan­ger, Hal­ler­tau­er, and Spalt for tas­te and aro­ma; Saaz is less com­mon), Ger­man lager yeast.
Adapt­ed from Czech Pils­ner to suit bre­wing con­di­ti­ons in Ger­ma­ny, par­ti­cu­lar­ly water with hig­her mine­ral con­tent and dome­stic hop varie­ties. First bre­wed in Ger­ma­ny in the ear­ly 1870s. Beca­me more popu­lar after WWII as Ger­man bre­wing schools empha­si­zed modern tech­ni­ques. Along with its sis­ter beer, Czech Pils­ner, is the ances­tor of the most wide­ly pro­du­ced beer styl­es today. Avera­ge IBUs of many well-regard­ed com­mer­cial examp­les have drop­ped over time.
Modern examp­les of Pils tend to beco­me paler in color, drier in finish, and more bit­ter as you move from South to North in Ger­ma­ny, often mir­ro­ring the increase in sul­fa­te in the water. The Pils found in Bava­ria tend to be a bit sof­ter in bit­ter­ness with more malt fla­vor and late hop cha­rac­ter, yet still with suf­fi­ci­ent hops and cris­pness of finish to dif­fe­ren­tia­te its­elf from a Hel­les. The use of the term ‘Pils’ is more com­mon in Ger­ma­ny than ‘Pils­ner’ to dif­fe­ren­tia­te it from the Czech style, and (some say) to show respect.
Com­mer­cial Examples
König Pil­se­ner, Left Hand Pole­star Pils, Pau­la­ner Pre­mi­um Pils, Schön­ra­mer Pils, Stoudt Pils, Tröegs Suns­hi­ne Pils, Tru­mer Pils
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.044 - 1.050 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.008 - 1.013 SG
2 - 5 SRM
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
22 - 40 IBU