Beer is the quintessential beverage of relaxation and leisure time. However, with so many different varieties available in the market, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. Pilsner and Lager are perhaps the two most commonly consumed beer types in the world. Although both pilsner and lager are beers, they are different in taste, color, and brewing methods. In this article, we will endeavor to demystify the pilsner versus lager debate by breaking down each beer variety’s unique characteristics.
Pilsner Beer Explained
Pilsner beer is characteristically smooth and has a rich, golden color. It originates from the Czech town of Pilsen and dates back to the mid-19th century. The brewers of Pilsen sought to create a beer that was lighter in color and smoother on the palate than other beers of the time.
Ingredients: Pilsner beer is made using high-quality malted barley, which gives the beer a golden color and a crisp taste. The beer is also made using Saaz hops, which have a distinct, earthy flavor that enhances the beer’s overall aroma and taste.
Pilsner beer is made using a special brewing process known as bottom fermentation. In this process, the yeast is added to the bottom of the barrel and allowed to ferment slowly at lower temperatures. This method makes pilsner beer smoother and less bitter than other beers.
Alcohol Content: Pilsner beer usually has an alcohol content of around 4-5% by volume.
Popular Pilsner Brands
- Budweiser Budvar
- Pilsner Urquell
- Stella Artois
Lager Beer Explained
Lager is perhaps the most widely consumed beer in the world, and it comes in many flavors and textures. The beer itself dates back to the Middle Ages, where it was first brewed in caves and cellars to keep it cold.
Ingredients: Lager beer is made using lighter malts than other beer varieties. It is usually fermented using a bottom fermentation method that gives lager its smooth taste. It is also made with noble hops that impart a subtle, spicy aroma to the beer.
Lager beer is generally brewed at colder temperatures than other beers, with the yeast being added to the top of the barrel. This method of fermentation is known as top fermentation. By fermenting the beer at low temperatures, lager beers retain a crisp, clean, and refreshing taste.
Alcohol Content: Lager beer usually has an alcohol content of around 4-6% by volume.
Popular Lager Brands
- Bud Light
- Coors Light
What is the Difference Between Pilsner and Lager?
While both pilsner and lager are beers that use bottom fermentation, there are critical differences in terms of ingredients, brewing techniques, and taste. One of the main differences between the two beers is the choice of malt used to make them. Pilsner beer is typically made with high-quality malted barley, which results in a richer, more golden color and a crisper taste. Lager beer, on the other hand, is made with lighter malts that result in a lighter color and a smoother taste.
Another major difference between the two beers is the choice of hops. Pilsner beer is made with Saaz hops, which are renowned for their earthy flavor and rich aroma. Lager beer, on the other hand, is typically made with noble hops that impart a subtle, spicy aroma to the drink.
The brewing methods used for pilsner and lager beers are also different. Pilsner is brewed using the bottom fermentation method where yeast is added to the bottom of the barrel and allowed to ferment slowly at low temperatures. In contrast, lager beer is brewed at colder temperatures, and the yeast is usually added to the top of the barrel.
While both pilsner and lager beer may look similar, they have unique differences that set them apart. Pilsner beers are typically golden in color and have a crisper taste due to the use of high-quality malted barley and Saaz hops. In comparison, lager beers are lighter in color and have a smoother taste due to the use of lighter malts and noble hops. Knowing the differences between these two beer types can help you make a more informed decision the next time you’re at the bar or the store.
Most Commonly Asked Questions and Their Answers
- Q: Is pilsner beer stronger than lager beer?
- A: No, the alcohol content of pilsner and lager beer is usually around 4-6% by volume.
- Q: What is the origin of pilsner beer?
- A: Pilsner beer originates from the Czech town of Pilsen and dates back to the mid-19th century.
- Q: Can pilsner beer be classified as a type of lager?
- A: Yes, pilsner beer is technically a type of lager beer.
- Q: What’s the difference between ale and lager?
- A: The main difference between ale and lager is the type of yeast used in fermentation. Ale is fermented at warmer temperatures using top-fermenting yeasts, while lager is fermented at colder temperatures using bottom-fermenting yeasts.
- Graham, J. (2019). Understanding Pilsner and Lager Beer. Retrieved from https://www.brewersfriend.com/2019/09/05/understanding-pilsner-and-lager-beer/
- Beer Advicate. (2021). Pilsner. Retrieved from https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/style/37/
- Beer Advocate. (2021). Lager. Retrieved from https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/style/120/