Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dogfish Head Piercing Pils

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1072) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 29, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Dogfish Head Willibecher glass. It was bottled in December of 2013 and cost $3.80 ($0.32 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright honey-like hue over a hazy body. Constant effervescence visible. Pours to a large, white, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: Initially quite skunky like a green bottle pilsner (though, that’s probably due to the Saaz hops). That smell eventually fades and there is a slight fruity sweetness. Otherwise, it’s rather typical pilsner aroma.

Taste: We all know Dogfish Head is known for making eccentric, experimental beers, but even when they make something rather “mainstream,” they still do it creatively. Piercing Pils seems to be a exactly-to-spec Czech-style pilsner at the core, but the incorporation of white pear tea and pear juice puts a new spin on an Old World product. It’s seemingly brand new and old hat at the same time, though I think they played this one just a touch too conservatively.

If you’re familiar with true, pure Czech pilsners, then you’re already halfway home with this beer. It has the light malty base coupled with the spicy/dry bitterness from the Saaz hops. These hops dominate the nose and the palette in the first few sips, making this reminiscent of Heineken for a moment or two. My palate quickly got used to it and I could eventually taste and appreciate the sweet fruity flavor that emerges on the back end. The pear component is more of a garnish in this case, despite the fact the brewery describes the beer as a perry/pilsner hybrid (the fruit must’ve faded fast I guess). Regardless, it’s still satisfying as a pilsner – no more, no less.

Drinkability: It should come as no surprise that since Dogfish Head Piercing Pils tastes like a pilsner, it also drinks like one. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side, but a little softer and more ale-like, though it is crisp like a lager. It goes down smooth and is a bit refreshing while in the mouth, though the Saaz hops do impart some bitterness and a hint of skunk in the aftertaste. I’m not sure why this beer has to be 6% ABV, as it doesn’t seem to support this much weight and drinks like a sub 5% brew. It’s a bit too strong and expensive to consider sessioning, though.
Grade: 7/10

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