Pilsner styles of beer originate from Bohemia in the Czech Republic. They are medium- to medium-full bodied and are characterized by high carbonation and tangy Czech varieties of hops that impart floral aromas and a crisp, bitter finish. German pilsner styles are similar, though often slightly lighter in body and color. The hallmark of a fresh pilsner is the dense, white head. The alcohol levels must be such as to give a rounded mouthfeel, typically around 5 percent ABV. Classic pilsners are thoroughly refreshing, but they are delicate and must be fresh to show their best. Few beers are as disappointing to the beer lover as a stale pilsner. Great pilsners are technically difficult to make and relatively expensive to produce.
Pilsners are one of the more recent styles to be “imperialized,” with their characteristics, generally alcohol and hops, bumped up sufficiently to constitute a new style, but with a familiar profile. These new imperial pilsners may sacrifice pilsner’s famed delicacy, but they retain the floral aromas and dry, bitter finish of their progenitor style.