The Refreshing Appeal of Yellow Beer

Yellow , often referred to as Pilsner, is a type of that is widely enjoyed for its crisp and refreshing qualities. While it may be criticized by some as “fizzy yellow beer,” Pilsner is actually the gold standard of lagers. But have you ever wondered what causes beer to have different colors? In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to the color of beer and delve into the characteristics of yellow beers like Pilsner and golden ales.

The primary factor influencing the color of beer is the type of used in the process. Malt is a key ingredient in beer and is responsible for the sugars that ferments to produce . Different types of malt can range in color from pale to dark, and this color is transferred to the beer during brewing. Common or base malts, such as Pilsner malt or Pale malt, typically result in a light straw or yellow hue in the final product.

However, the intensity and duration of the boil during brewing also play a role in beer color. The longer the malt is boiled, the darker and richer the color becomes. This is because the heat causes the sugars in the malt to caramelize, resulting in deeper hues. Therefore, a shorter boil will produce a lighter-colored beer, while a longer boil will yield a darker beer.

Now, let's focus on yellow beers specifically. Lager, including Pilsner, is a type of beer that is fermented with yeast at low temperatures. This cold fermentation process contributes to the clean and crisp characteristics of lagers. Pilsner is typically a pale yellow color, reflecting its light and refreshing nature. It is commonly served chilled, making it a popular choice during hot summer months.

On the other hand, ale is a type of beer that is fermented with a different strain of yeast compared to lagers. Ales often incorporate , which are flowers, both as a preservative and to add flavor. Golden or blonde ales fall under the ale category and are known for their approachability and easy-drinking qualities. They have a visually appealing golden color and do not have any overpowering malt or hop characteristics. Golden ales are often described as well-rounded and smooth, making them an American classic.

The color of beer is primarily determined by the type of malt used, with the intensity and length of the boil contributing as well. Yellow beers, such as Pilsner and golden ales, offer a range of flavors and characteristics that make them enjoyable options for beer enthusiasts. So, whether you prefer a crisp and refreshing Pilsner or a smooth and balanced golden ale, there is a yellow beer out there to suit your taste preferences.

What Is Yellow Beer Called?

Yellow beer is commonly referred to as Pilsner. This particular style of beer is known for its light golden color, which gives it the characteristic yellow appearance. Pilsner is a type of lager, a beer that is fermented and conditioned at low temperatures. It originated in the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic in the mid-19th century and quickly gained popularity worldwide.

Pilsner is often associated with a crisp and clean taste profile, with a moderate level of bitterness. It is typically brewed using pale malts and showcases a light to medium body. The use of noble hops, such as Saaz, contributes to its distinctive flavor and aroma. Pilsner is known for its high level of carbonation, which gives it a lively and effervescent quality.

The term “fizzy yellow beer” is sometimes used to describe Pilsner, albeit in a dismissive or derogatory manner. This phrase often implies a lack of complexity or depth in flavor compared to other beer styles. However, it is important to note that Pilsner is widely appreciated for its refreshing and easy-drinking nature. It has become the gold standard of lagers and is enjoyed by beer enthusiasts around the world.

Yellow beer is commonly referred to as Pilsner. It is a type of lager known for its light golden color, crisp taste, and high carbonation. While it may be criticized as “fizzy yellow beer,” Pilsner remains a popular and well-regarded style in the beer world.

yellow beer

Why Are Some Beers Yellow?

There are several factors that contribute to the yellow color of some beers. Here is a detailed explanation:

1. Malt Type: The choice of malt plays a significant role in determining the color of beer. Lighter malts, such as Pilsner or Pale Ale malt, are commonly used in beers that have a yellow color. These malts are lightly kilned, which preserves their light straw or yellow color.

2. Boil Intensity: During the brewing process, the malt is boiled with to extract sugars and flavors. The intensity and duration of the boil can influence the color of the beer. If the boil is shorter and less intense, the resulting beer may have a lighter yellow color.

3. Maillard Reaction: The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars during the brewing process. This reaction contributes to the development of flavors and colors in beer. In beers that have a yellow color, the Maillard reaction is typically less pronounced compared to darker beers.

4. Yeast Strain: The yeast strain used in brewing can also impact the color of the beer. Certain yeast strains are known to produce beers with a more yellow hue. This can be attributed to the by-products produced by the yeast during fermentation.

5. Filtering: Some breweries choose to filter their beers to remove any residual particles or haze. This filtration process can further contribute to the clarity and yellow color of the beer.

The yellow color of certain beers is primarily influenced by the type of malt used, the intensity of the boil, the Maillard reaction, the yeast strain, and any filtration processes applied. It's important to note that these factors can vary depending on the specific recipe and brewing techniques used by different breweries.


Yellow beer, such as Pilsner and golden ale, is a popular and approachable style that offers a refreshing and enjoyable drinking experience. The light straw or yellow color of these beers is primarily influenced by the type of malt used, with common or base malts like Pilsner or Pale Ale contributing to this hue. Additionally, the intensity and length of the boil during the brewing process also play a role in the beer's color.

Yellow beer is often associated with lagers, which are fermented with cold-fermenting yeast and served chilled. This style of beer is characterized by its pale yellow color, crisp taste, and clean finish. It is a go-to choice for many beer enthusiasts due to its smoothness and drinkability.

On the other hand, golden or blonde ale, a type of yellow beer, is fermented with a different yeast strain and often includes hops for added flavor and preservation. This American classic is known for its simplicity and lack of dominant malt or hop characteristics. It presents itself as visually appealing and offers a well-rounded and smooth taste.

Yellow beer is a versatile and widely enjoyed style that appeals to a broad range of beer drinkers. Its light color, combined with its refreshing taste and approachability, make it an excellent choice for those looking for a satisfying and easy-drinking beer option.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.