What Is The Difference Between Pilsner VS. Lager?

There are people who never liked the taste of a beer, there are some who just drink beers without even knowing and understanding what it really is, but there are also beer geeks, they are always curious about the beer they are going to drink.

Ordinary people might be left confused all the time about the difference and similarities of pilsner vs. lager. Today, we are going to find out the differences and similarities between the two and for sure, all of this information will one day come in handy.

Pilsner vs. Lager

Casual beer drinkers do not usually bother to learn or know more about the style of beer they are drinking as long as they love its taste and flavor that is why they are often confused even with the difference of pilsner and lager.

Beer geeks, on the other hand, are often aware about the distinction of all the beer styles from their taste, aroma, and color. And they are often aware that pilsners are actually a type of lager.

What is Pilsner?

What is Pilsner

A pilsner or also known as pils for short, is one of the various lager beer types that you may possibly encounter at least once in your life.

Pils beer enthusiasts are quite familiar with its look even in just a quick glance because of its sparkling yet cloudy appearance that is translucent golden hue. This is undoubtedly to be the utmost distinguished beer in a long period of time for about 150 years and more already.

History of Pilsner

Pilsner was first produced during the 19th century in Plzeň or pronounced as Pilsen: a town in Bohemia, Czech Republic during the 19th Century.

And in a very short time frame after it was first produced, the popularity of Pilsner eventually grew; hence, it became the standard for most lagers: in terms of its quality, taste, smell, and look.

Pros and Cons of Pilsner

Pilsner beers are loved by numerous beer drinkers due to their crispness and lightness in taste, which gives off a very refreshing feeling to whoever gets a taste of it.

At the same time, pilsner beers usually have considerably low calorie and reasonable alcohol content. Nevertheless, some hard drinkers may find this type of beer somewhat not strong enough while its hop-tasting notes may be a little too intense.

A bit light in feeling Not have much alcohol content
Refreshing in feeling Not hard enough
Has a low calorie content Hop flavors are too intense

What is Lager?

What is Lager

A lager is a type of beer wherein it has been fermented and stocked at an extremely low temperature for a prolonged time compared to the other beer types.

You can easily distinguish if a beer is a lager because it underwent a process with the use of bottom-fermented yeast, wherein it can withstand pretty much colder temperatures.

It results in a much-purified beer because the lower temperature helps in reducing the number of undesired by-products that eventually fall down to the bottom during the fermentation process.

History of Lager

Lager beer eventually became popular among many beer styles by the end of the 19th century. The German brewers tried the cold stabilization approach throughout the entire fermentation which was around 1500s when they finally realized that it is possible to make the beers crisper.

The lager was introduced in Europe in the 19th century by ingenious head brewers like Gabriel Sedlmayr of Germany and Anton Dreher of Austria.

Since more and more Germans started to migrate in every areas of America, they started spreading out some brewing techniques of lager beer in America such as the states in the United States, Mexico, and states in South America.

Pros and Cons of Lager

A lager beer also has its own pros and cons. It tends to be more refreshing compared to all the other beer types, especially on a hot summer day, due to its cleaner, crisper, light body.

Moreover, it also has a longer shelf life which is actually a great reason as to why you should buy one. You do not have to worry whether to consume it early or not.

However, it also has its cons; where it is more expensive as it has to undergo a more complicated and longer brewing process which can result in a mediocre product when it is not done accurately.

More refreshing More expensive
Cleaner, crisper, and has a light body Has a more complicated brewing process
Has a longer shelf life Can also result with a substandard product when the brewing process is not done accurately

Different Types: Pilsner vs. Lager

There are 3 different types of pilsner and 2 different types of lager that you may have or may not have ever heard of even though you know some bits and pieces about the two. In this part of the article, we are going deep as we learn more about the different types of pilsner and lager.

3 Different types of Pilsner

We have already determined that pilsner beer is included in one of the many subtypes of a pale lager. However, it also has its own types, all of which were named after the location they were all first produced. Most beer names and styles come after the name or location of where they were first produced.

After all, most beer styles, brewers, and fermenters usually adapt and transform the original recipes in order to develop their own extraordinary variant using their locally produced ingredients, products, fermenting, and brewing practices.

1. American Pilsner

American Pilsner

The American brewers had learned the concept of crafting beers after the time when the German brewers decided to bring with them the pilsner beers.

It is undeniably obvious that American pilsners are a much stronger version of pilsners that originated in America. Its color is typically gold in hue with an alcohol content ranging between 6.5% to 8%.

To make it simple, American Pilsners are an American version where it has much stronger flavors, higher alcohol by volume, and a greater amount of hops compared to the original version.

2. Czech Pilsner

Czech Pilsner

Did you know that the Czech Pilsner is the original version out of all the types of pilsner? It highlights the balanced flavors of spicy Saaz with soft malts. Hence, it often results in a clean finish with a slight hint of bitterness.

It is easy to detect if a pilsner beer is a Czech Pilsner because of its hue, that is ranging from pale yellow to the shade of light gold with an alcohol content of 4.5% up to 5.5%.

3. German Pilsner

German Pilsner

German pilsner has a balanced taste of malty sweetness and subtle citrusy. It usually has a low alcohol content that ranges between 4.5% and 5.5%. Moreover, you can create a German pilsner by brewing it with some German hops and Saaz.

2 Different types of Lager

We have listed 2 different types of lagers, namely pale lager and dark lager. Learn more about these two types of lager by reading all throughout the article.

1. Dark Lager

Dark Lager

As the name implies, dark lagers are typically dark in a shade that ranges from amber red to dark brown. It has a low alcohol by volume that scales from 4.4% up to 6%. Moreover, its flavor is naturally malty and cloudier.

2. Pale Lager

Pale Lager

As its name suggests, pale lagers are usually lighter in color that ranges from a pale gold shade to dark gold. Moreover, it is one of the most famous types and most common types of beer that is produced and served in the world.

Normally, it has a mid range of alcohol by volume that scales in-between 4.1% and 8%.  There is a wide variation of pale lager namely American lager, pilsners, Helles, and dry beers.

Characteristics: Pilsner vs. Lager

Pilsners and Lagers have varying characteristics from one another. When it comes to taste or flavors, pilsner often has that clean crisp and a subtle hint of spiciness that gives off a refreshing feeling in comparison to the clean crisp usually has a dry finish of a lager.

Moreover, there is also a balance between subtle hints of bitterness and sweetness for lagers.

Additionally, when it comes to the color or appearance of both pilsner and lager. You can obviously see their distinction from one another as pilsners have a pale yellow to translucent gold shade, unlike lagers, wherein it has 2 shades: pale gold shade to dark gold and amber red to dark brown.

Lastly, the alcohol by volume of both pilsner and lager are not far from each other because pilsner has an ABV of 4.5% to 8% while lagers have 4.1% up to 8% ABV.

Characteristic Pilsner Lager
Taste/Flavor ● Subtle hint of spiciness

● Clean crisp

● Clean crisp

● Usually in dry finishes

● Balance between subtle hints of bitterness and sweetness

Color/Appearance ● Pale yellow to translucent gold ● Pale gold shade to dark gold

● Amber red to dark brown

Alcohol by Volume ● 4.5% up to 8% ABV ● 4.1% up to 8% ABV

How it is brewed: Pilsner vs. Lager

Both the pilsner and lager do not have much difference when it comes to their brewing process. Pilsner often undergoes a process that is called decoction mashing, wherein it is considered to be one of the most traditional ways of brewing a beer.

The fermentation process of a pilsner is usually done for only 1 and a half weeks at 4 degrees Celsius. And for its lagering stage, it is usually stored for at least 5 weeks with a temperature of about 0 up to 2 degrees Celsius.

On the other hand, lager is produced by using bottom-fermenting yeast, and it is usually made at a much colder temperature in comparison to the process of pilsner.

Lager beers have to undergo a fermentation process that is usually done with a temperature of at least 4 up to 13 degrees Celsius for about a week or up to 3 weeks.

When it comes to its lagering stage, it has to be stored for a much longer time that ranges between 2 weeks up to 6 weeks with a temperature of 0 up to 2 degrees Celsius.

Who invented it: Pilsner vs. Lager

Who invented it Pilsner vs. Lager

Who invented Pilsner?

In the month of October year 1842, a Bavarian brewer named Josef Groll produced and developed the first pilsner.

Who invented lager?

On the other hand, though it is not stated as to whoever really invented the first ever lager, according to most of the historical records, the first ever lager appeared in the 1400s in Bavaria that was perfected and consummated by the monks.

The way it is served: Pilsner vs. Lager

Pilsner beers are best served using a pilsner glass. It usually has a serving temperature of 5 up to 8 degrees Celcius, but most oftentimes, people appreciate it best when it is served at 3 degrees Celsius making it more refreshing while it retains its natural flavors.

Moreover, pilsner is best paired with a wide range of food, such as spicy foods, light snacks, Salmon, Salads, and Chicken.

On the other hand, lager beers are best served at a slightly warmer temperature in comparison to pilsner beers which normally range from 7 up to 10 degrees Celsius because it casually brings out the subtle hints of hops.

Moreover, serving it at a warmer temperature will enhance its true flavors, especially for dark lagers. Pale lagers are often served at a colder temperature, similar to a pilsner. After all, pilsner belongs to a pale lager. Lagers are usually enjoyed with spicy foods and meaty dishes.

Ingredients used: Pilsner vs. Lager

Ingredients used Pilsner vs. Lager

In this portion, we are going to discuss more about the primary ingredients used in making pilsner and lager.

Ingredients used in Pilsner

  • Malted Barley
  • Spicy Hops
  • Lager Yeast

Ingredients Used in Lager

  • Water
  • Grain/Barley/Malt
  • Hops
  • Bottom Fermenting Lager Yeast

Why do people love: Pilsner vs. Lager

Non-alcoholic drinkers may be clueless why most people, in spite of age (of course, we are talking about legal age here), are fond of drinking liquors, especially beer.

Though the fact that it even tastes bitter, there is a satisfactory feeling it gives to whoever drinks alcoholic booze.  With this, we are going to discuss and understand why people love drinking specific types of beer, such as pilsner and lager.

Why do people love Pilsner?

Have you ever heard that out of all the various beer types, pilsner beers are considered to be the most mimicked ones?

It tastes much better compared to the other beer types, especially when it is fermented the right way since it results in a finely balanced taste and an invigorating feeling to whoever gets a sip of it.

The key qualities of a pilsner beer include its harmonious balance between sweetness, spiciness, and bitterness of the beer.

Why do people love Lager?

People love lager beers because it is often suitable for their taste buds for having a refreshing feeling yet smooth and mellow once you take a sip of it. Moreover, it tends to be crisp as well. Moreover, it does not have a spicy flavor in comparison to all the other beer types.

2 Frequently Asked Questions

2 Frequently Asked Questions

You may have wondered what are the famous lagers and highly recommended pilsners to try, so we have listed them out for you below so you can choose which one to try first.

You should absolutely try out these valuable beers that are a perfect companion after a tiring work day or if you just want to celebrate the small things that you did today.

What are the famous Lager beers?

If you want to try a lager beer at least once in your life, we have listed 11 options below. These are great companions on a chill Friday night talking about life and everything with your friends or special someone.

  1. Lite (Miller)
  2. Idyll Days Pilsner (Omme Brewery Gang)
  3. Prima Pils (Victory)
  4. Narragansett Lager
  5. Corona
  6. Heineken
  7. Brooklyn Lager
  8. Eliot Ness (Great Lakes Brewing Co.)
  9. Dos Equis Amber
  10. Yuengling Lager
  11. Brahma

What are the highly recommended Pilsner beers?

We have also listed these 9 highly recommended Pilsner beers that you can buy at a local grocery store near  you. These are a perfect complimentary drinks for a simple celebration such as birthdays, anniversaries, or even thanksgiving in your backyard with your friends and family.

  1. Pilsner Urquell (Pilsner Urquel Brewery)
  2. Pivo Pilsner (Firestone Walker Brewing)
  3. Russian River STS Pils
  4. STS Pils Bohemian Pilsner (Russian River Company)
  5. Heather Allen Pils
  6. Summit Keller Pils
  7. Notch Session Pils (Notch Brewing Company)
  8. Prima Pils (Victory Brewing Company)
  9. Palatine Pils (Suarez Family Brewery)

2 Facts about: Pilsner vs. Lager

We have listed 2 facts about pilsner and lager that not everyone, even the beer geeks, is familiar with. Well, at least you got something you know that not all people know about. The information below will one day come in handy especially when you and your friends want to go into the beer conversation a bit deeper.

Did you know who the founder of Pilsner Urquell is?

Did you know that Pilsen Urquell was constructed by a 24-year-old man named Martin Stelzer, who had never experienced building a brewer before this? However, he mastered making one to the point wherein he was then celebrated as a great brewery designer.

Did you know that lager beers even vanquished in England?

For a long period of time, that it even reached centuries, the United Kingdom has a history of having a long ale-brewing tradition. However, when it reached the 20th century, lager beers’ charms took over the ale-addicts of the entire British population. Hence, lager beers outsold ale.


We have finally come to the end of this article about pilsner vs. lager and we already know a lot about the two. Ordinary people might be left confused every single time about the difference and similarities of pilsner vs. lager while beer geeks are always aware about its difference.

There are various types of people who drink beers: there are some who just want to drink just to make them feel better when they are down, then there are some who just drink without even knowing and understanding its content, but there are also beer geeks who are always curious and conscious about the beer they are going to drink.

Ordinary people might be left confused all the time about the difference and similarities of pilsner vs. lager. Today, we are going to find out the differences and similarities between the two and for sure, all of  this information will one day come in handy.

What Is The Difference Between Pilsner VS. Lager

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