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Pilsner vs. Pilsener: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 22, 2024
Pilsner and Pilsener refer to the same type of pale lager, originating from Pilsen, Czech Republic. The difference is merely in spelling preference, with "Pilsner" being more commonly used.

Key Differences

Pilsner and Pilsener both describe a specific style of pale lager beer that originated in the city of Pilsen (Plzeň) in the Czech Republic. The beer style is characterized by its light color, crisp flavor, and notable hop bitterness. The difference between the two terms lies solely in the spelling and regional preferences, with "Pilsner" being the more widely adopted spelling in English-speaking countries.
The origins of Pilsner date back to 1842 when Bavarian brewer Josef Groll created a new beer using bottom-fermentation techniques and local ingredients in Pilsen. This new style of beer quickly gained popularity for its clarity, bright golden color, and refreshing taste. While "Pilsner" is the standard spelling in most of the world, "Pilsener" can sometimes be seen, particularly in German-speaking regions and in some European countries.
Both Pilsner and Pilsener beers are brewed using similar methods and ingredients, typically including light malt, Saaz hops (a type of noble hop from the Czech Republic), and soft water. The result is a beer that is light in body, with a clean, crisp finish and a pronounced hop aroma.
Despite the interchangeable use of the terms, the style has given rise to various regional interpretations. For instance, German Pilsners tend to be slightly more bitter and drier compared to the Czech originals, which often have a more balanced malt profile. Regardless of the spelling, both terms represent a beer style that remains one of the most popular and widely consumed in the world.

Comparison Chart


Pilsen, Czech Republic
Pilsen, Czech Republic


Pale lager beer
Pale lager beer

Spelling Preference

Commonly used in English-speaking countries
Sometimes used in German-speaking regions and Europe


Light color, crisp flavor, hop bitterness
Light color, crisp flavor, hop bitterness

Brewing Ingredients

Light malt, Saaz hops, soft water
Light malt, Saaz hops, soft water

Pilsner and Pilsener Definitions


A pale lager originating from Pilsen, known for its clear, golden color.
The brewery introduced a new Pilsner that quickly became popular.


Used interchangeably with Pilsner, especially in German-speaking regions.
He prefers Pilsener beers for their dry, bitter finish.


A type of beer with a crisp, refreshing taste and pronounced hop bitterness.
She ordered a cold Pilsner on a hot summer day.


Commonly seen in European contexts where the spelling may differ.
During his trip to Europe, he tried many local Pilseners.


A popular style of beer worldwide, often associated with its Czech roots.
Pilsner is one of the most widely consumed types of beer globally.


Another spelling for Pilsner, denoting the same type of pale lager.
The menu listed a traditional German Pilsener.


A term commonly used in English-speaking countries to describe this lager.
Many American breweries have their own versions of a Pilsner.


A spelling variation that retains the same brewing characteristics and ingredients.
The brewery's Pilsener is brewed with the finest Saaz hops.


A beer style brewed with light malt and Saaz hops.
This Pilsner has a perfect balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.


Refers to the same beer style with a light body and crisp taste.
The Pilsener had a refreshing hop aroma that was very enjoyable.


A light, golden lager having a strong flavor of hops.


A light, golden lager having a strong flavor of hops.


A tall, thin, footed beer glass.


A tall, thin, footed beer glass.


A pale, light lager beer.


A pale lager with strong flavor of hops; first brewed in the Bohemian town of Pilsen


A pale lager with strong flavor of hops; first brewed in the Bohemian town of Pilsen


What is a Pilsener?

A Pilsener is another spelling for Pilsner, referring to the same style of pale lager beer.

Why are there two spellings: Pilsner and Pilsener?

The difference is mainly regional spelling preferences, with "Pilsner" being more common in English-speaking countries and "Pilsener" in some European regions.

Is there any difference in taste between Pilsner and Pilsener?

No, there is no difference in taste; the terms are interchangeable and describe the same beer style.

Where did Pilsner beer originate?

Pilsner beer originated in Pilsen (Plzeň), Czech Republic, in 1842.

What makes Pilsner beer unique?

Pilsner beer is unique for its clear, golden color, crisp flavor, and notable hop bitterness, often using Saaz hops.

What ingredients are typically used in brewing Pilsner?

Pilsner is typically brewed with light malt, Saaz hops, and soft water.

What is a Pilsner?

A Pilsner is a type of pale lager beer that originated in Pilsen, Czech Republic, known for its light color and crisp, hoppy flavor.

Is "Pilsener" a German word?

"Pilsener" is a spelling variation that can be seen in German-speaking regions, but it refers to the same beer style.

Can the terms Pilsner and Pilsener be used interchangeably?

Yes, both terms refer to the same style of beer and can be used interchangeably.

Are German Pilsners different from Czech Pilsners?

German Pilsners tend to be slightly more bitter and drier compared to the more balanced malt profile of Czech Pilsners.

What type of glass is typically used to serve Pilsner?

Pilsners are typically served in tall, slender glasses designed to showcase their clarity and carbonation.

What is the origin of the term "Pilsner"?

The term "Pilsner" comes from the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where this beer style was first brewed.

Can craft breweries make Pilsners?

Yes, many craft breweries produce their own versions of Pilsner.

Which countries are known for producing Pilsner beer?

The Czech Republic and Germany are particularly known for producing Pilsner beer, but it is brewed worldwide.

How did Pilsner become popular globally?

Pilsner became popular due to its refreshing taste and the widespread influence of Czech and German brewing traditions.

Do Pilsners and Pilseners have the same alcohol content?

Generally, yes, both have similar alcohol content, typically around 4.5% to 5.5%.

Which spelling is more common in the United States?

"Pilsner" is the more common spelling in the United States.

Are Pilsners always pale in color?

Yes, Pilsners are known for their pale, golden color.

Is there a difference in brewing techniques between Pilsner and Pilsener?

No, the brewing techniques are the same for both Pilsner and Pilsener.

Are there any famous brands of Pilsner?

Yes, famous brands include Pilsner Urquell, Bitburger, and Warsteiner, among others.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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