I've searched around, but I still would like an elaborate review on the difference in taste between these two base malts. Only interested in North American varieties, also.

I'm not sure what "grainy" tasting means, either. Is that generally looked on as good or bad? I've read Pilsner is more "grainy" tasting, is this true?

Which one is more malty?

Which one is more "clean" tasting?

Can I substitute Pilsner for APA, Blonde, and American Wheat beers?

I get away with 20 minute AG boils with 2 Row. No DMS, full hop utilization (you simply boil hops for 2-3 minutes separately in a pint of water, then dump into wort after hot break). So, will I not be able to get away with boiling Pilsner for only 20 minutes because of the DMS issues? Like I said, no DMS with 20 minute 2 Row boils. Awesome beer, too!

  • I'm pretty sure Pilsener is a kind of 2-row...
    – baka
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 22:01
  • I'm positive Pilsner is a kind of 2 Row. Just want to hear anyone's opinion on the differences...
    – Zane
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 0:36
  • This is one of those things you need to taste yourself. Make to beers the same way using the different base malts. And to your DMS free 20 min brewing position, you might be relatively insensitive to the flavor of DMS. I know several people that are much more aware of it in a sample than I am. Lastly, 2row (pale malt) will have less DMS than pilsner beers, its just a chemical reality. But how different people perceive it is different. That might be why you are remarkably "getting away with it".
    – brewchez
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


2 row is a variety of barley grain, as distinguished from 6 row. Pilsner malt refers to the killing process applied to the grain. To make things confusing, some maltsters market a "2 row" product. In my experince, this is a more generic malt than what is sold as "pale malt" or "pilsner malt".

Visit your maltster's website to see the quantitative differences between malts. I get my Pilsner malt from Canada Malting. Compared to the malt they sell as "2 row", the Pilsner malt is paler and lower in protein.


  • What's the difference in taste? That's what I'm after, mainly. Can you elaborate?
    – Zane
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 3:26
  • Your question is kinda vague, but if you mean what's the difference in taste between pils and pale malt, it's very little. Pale malt will taste a tiny bit toastier. There is a difference, but it's a minor difference.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 17:11
  • 1
    The taste difference is that 2 row is slightly more bready and toasty than pilsner. Pilsner is simply sweet and tastes like malted grain. People must taste things for themselves if they want to figure out the differences. Its subjective to the taster.
    – brewchez
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 16:21

Find a mildly-hopped pale ale recipe that you like, and make one batch with pilsner as the base, and one with pale 2-row as the base.

Flavor descriptions can be useful, but nothing beats letting your own taste buds tell you the difference.

  • This is good advice. but not an answer to the questions.
    – brewchez
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 20:26

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