Pre-Prohibition Lager

Includes styles: Classic American Pilsner

Recipes:
233
BJCP 2021:
27A
Era:
Historical
Origin:
🇺🇸 United States
Fermentation:
Bottom
Conditioning:
Lagered
Color:
Pale
Strength:
Normal
Taste:
Bitter

Profile

Pre-Prohibition Lager is a beer style that seeks to recreate the American lagers produced before Prohibition (1920-1933), offering a glimpse into the brewing traditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These beers were influenced by the influx of German immigrants to the United States, who brought with them the lager-brewing techniques that had become popular in their homeland. As a result, Pre-Prohibition Lagers tend to have more character than modern American adjunct lagers, which are generally lighter and less flavorful.

In terms of appearance, Pre-Prohibition Lagers are usually golden to deep gold in color. They should be clear with a persistent head that may not be as dense as some other lager styles. The aroma profile typically showcases a blend of malt and corn or maize – which was historically used as an adjunct – providing a grainy sweetness alongside possible DMS (dimethyl sulfide) notes from the use of six-row barley. Hop aromas range from none to light spiciness or herbal quality, reflecting both domestic and European hop varieties that would have been available at the time.

Flavor-wise, these lagers bring together a malt-forward taste balanced by a pronounced but smooth bitterness. The grainy sweetness from both pale malt and corn contributions creates depth without veering into overtly caramelly or toasted territory. Hop flavor is present but restrained, offering a clean finish along with balanced bitterness that can lean slightly towards either malty or hoppy without dominating the palate. This style may bear similarity to International Pale Lagers in terms of ingredients but maintains its unique identity through its higher flavor intensity and historical context.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
4.5 – 6.0 %

In Database
4.1 < 5.3 < 6.4 %

Bitterness

Specification
25 – 40 IBU

In Database
21 < 33 < 45 IBU

Color

Specification
6 – 12 EBC
3 – 6 SRM

In Database
5 < 7 < 12 EBC
2 < 4 < 6 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
10.9 – 14.7 °P
1.044 – 1.060 OG

In Database
10.3 < 12.8 < 15.5 °P
1.041 < 1.052 < 1.064 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
2.6 – 3.8 °P
1.010 – 1.015 FG

In Database
1.5 < 3.1 < 4.3 °P
1.006 < 1.012 < 1.017 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Trending Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Trending Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes