Monday, February 15, 2010

Samuel Adams Noble Pils (2010 original review)

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - FEB 15, 2010
When I judge a beer I try to take into consideration who the brewer’s target audience is (although that only has a minimal effect on my overall opinion of the beer). The Samuel Adams line was once the trailblazer of the craft beer revolution, but now that the trails have been blazed they seem to be at a loss for what to do next. Since they now have the name recognition and respect of the supermarket beer shopper, I figure this is now their target demographic. A lot of craft beer geeks don’t even consider Sam Adams craft beer anymore.

Therefore it comes as no surprise to me that Noble Pils, which replaces the White Ale as the spring seasonal, seems not only average but purposely pedestrian. It has the typical makings of an American macro lager with its crispy palate and easy drinkability. However, the flavor just isn’t strong enough to truly satisfy.


Poured into a tall pilsner glass, Noble Pils has a straw golden color and is quite bubbly. It forms a well-proportioned, white foamy head which lasts for quite a while and even laces the glass a bit. I was a little disappointed by how quickly the carbonation died down, though.

Samuel Adams’ beers don’t tend to have that generic "beer smell," but that was certainly the case with this brew. While not nearly as bad as the adjunct lagers, a typical grainy aroma was noticeable. There was also a hint of a lime-like, citrusy component and a bit of a garden-like floral scent. I just wish these scents had been more prominent in the nose.


When it comes to a Samuel Adams beer, one thing for sure is that it’s not going to taste like the other major American macro lagers and pilsners. But in the case of Noble Pils that’s not entirely true. As it hit my lips I was immediately reminded of the generic flavor so many of the mainstream supermarket brews tend to have. While I didn’t detect any adjuncts, the initial flavor was similar to the aroma - "beer".

Upon closer inspection I do notice a bit of a hoppy characteristic as the beer is quite crisp and lively in the mouth. It has a clean, watery taste and literally feels "wet" on my palate. As the beer finishes the hint of lime and flowers I smelled are also present in the palate - but just barely. It’s actually quite refreshing, but because it’s so mild-tasting it isn’t strong enough to really impress me. Additionally, there is a slightly dry, doughy/powdery aftertaste which doesn’t linger for very long.


I often hear Joe & Jane Six Pack types complain about how "thick" and how much harder Sam Adams beers are to drink than their preferred macro lagers and "lights." While I would disagree with those people across the board, I think they would be well served to give Noble Pils a try. The flavor is mild enough so as not to intimidate, and the palate and mouthfeel are so light it’s difficult not to simply quaff a bottle of it down. At 5.2% ABV it’s not going to overwhelm or fill up the average drinker and lends itself well to pairing with a meal or sessioning.


I was really on the fence with Samuel Adams Noble Pils. As I was drinking it there was nothing about the beer that turned me off the way a below-average beer would. But at the same time I didn’t find much to like about it. This seems like a lighter version of a beer I would prefer. As it stands, I’m indifferent to it - it’s your call.

Grade: 5/10

NOTE: Read my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

1 comment:

  1. Good review. I just tried this on tap at a beer dinner pairing I went to. I think you're right on about it being a summer beer. I thought it tasted like a pale, but with all the flavors muted way down and not much of the traditional pilsner taste that you'd expect from the body and color. But given the level of quality Sam Adams has been putting out, I thought this was actually a step up for them.