Craft Beer

The Difference between Pilsner and Lager

A pilsner is a type of lager that originated in the Czech Republic. It is made using an aggressive amount of hops and yeast.

A lager is a brew that originated in Germany which was made using a long fermentation process and storing period. The name Lager is actually German and it means “to store.”

The main difference between a Pilsner and a Lager is that a Pilsner is spicier and is more hop flavored.

Lagers were first made in the 19th century by German brewers who would dig out cellars, fill them with ice from lakes and rivers and then store beer in those cellars throughout the summer. This would then lead to the fermentation and aging of lagers.

The ice in the cellars facilitated cold temperatures in which the yeast in the lager would consume the sugar slowly hence bringing that clean and crisp flavor.

Lagers are the second most common brewing styles in the world, after Ales. However, making lagers is one of the hardest brewing style to master since it requires very specific conditions to ferment.

Types of Lagers

There are two main categories of lagers; that is pale lager and dark lager. These two categories are then sub-divided into other subcategories.

The Pale Lagers include Helles, Pilsner, Märzen, and Bock. The Dark Lagers include Dunkel, Doppelbock and Scwarzbier.

Pale Lager

This is the most common lager beer produced in the world. It has a mild and welcoming flavor. Pale lagers are mostly served cold for the best taste.

Pale lager brewing was introduced in the 19th century by Gabriel Sedlmayr who brought Pale Ale brewing styles to the Spaten Brewery in Germany.

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Dark Lager

This was the original method of brewing before Pale Lagers were introduced.

Like the name suggests, Dark Lagers are found in very dark colors and the brightest one comes in a red-brown color. Dark Lagers have a robust and bitter flavor but are less focused on the hop flavors.

Some well-known lager brands include Pilsner Urquell, Heineken, Corona, and Carlsberg.


A pilsner is a type of pale lager that was first brewed in 1295 in the city of Pilsen in Czech Republic. However, it remained a local brew for hundreds of years since the brews made in the Czech Republic were known for being highly fermented hence producing a taste that was not popular with the western customers.

In 1839, Pilsen officials founded a brewery owned by the city which later came to be known as Pilsner Urquell. This is one of the leading beer brands today.

After realizing the German technique of cold fermentation which improved the shelf life and taste of beers, the Czech brewery hired a Bavarian brewer, Josef Groll who brought fresh methods and ingredients to the brewing industry.

Using his knowledge, Josef Groll combined his brighter malts with the high-quality water of Pilsen and some local hops to create this beautiful golden beer with an amazing taste. This beer became a sensation and was named Pilsner.

It helped that glass manufacturing industries in Europe had lowered their prices hence everybody could afford beer glasses which could showcase this beautiful golden beer.

The Differences between a Pilsner and a Lager

As stated earlier, a pilsner is a lager which came about later than the other traditional lagers. Pilsner is a type of pale lager which has a golden color and forms a large foaming.

READ  Lager vs Ale

Today, pilsners are manufactured from malted barley and a huge hop concentration to give them their characteristic aroma and taste.

Pilsner is considered one of the most drinkable beer type since it has a strength of 4.5% to 5.2% depending on the brand.

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