There is no real carbonation in Hongcheon DongDongJu and it has a slightly yellow in colour. It is a little sweet but that being said it does have the smell and feel of a makgeolli that you’d get served in the back streets of traditional places like Insadong and Jeonju. It unfortunately doesn’t have the sourness or the bite of the more “traditional” rice wines but it is a good makgeolli and the large bottles mean that you can really make good use of that kettle you bought and left in the cupboard.
Seobaeksan Makgeolli is definitely one of my favorites, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste and is a little thicker than ‘Jangsoo style’ ricewines which is always a plus in my book as I often find the more watery makgeolli to also be pretty tasteless. It has no carbonation and is a slightly darker yellow colour than a lot of other ricewines. It is often referred to as the ‘ajossi makgeolli’ which I’m not sure is to do with the clientele who drink it or its bitterness 🙂
Made by the Daegang Yangjojang Brewery, Seobaeksan is generally found in good makgeolli and jeon restaurants and if you are lucky enough to live near a fantastically stocked Mart then you will should find a bottle or two loitering in their fridges. It goes amazingly well with both gamja-jeon (potato) and kimchi-jeon. The bottle in the photo above was bought in the exceptional Mapo Fisheries Market, a ‘makgeolli hunt’ you can watch in the YouTube clip below.
Young-tak probably needs no introductions as it has quickly swept Korea over the last year or so. It smells like it will be quite sour but it’s actually surprising quite sweet. It is a really smooth makgeolli to drink and like a Jangsoo or a Saengtak is a multiple bottle rice wine that you could definitely drink several of over a session. They interestingly started off with clear bottles but seem to have joined others like Jipyeong and switched to white PET, the reason for this is to allow the bottles to be reused several times..yeah I know!!!
Young-tak was basically created after a contestant on the Chosun TV program Mr.Trot won one of the rounds by copying an old Trot song called ‘Makgeolli Hanjang’. He went on to finish 2nd in the competition, became an overnight superstar and thus the makgeolli was born. When it was first launched you could only buy it via the brewery’s website which was either the greatest Marketing in history or a complete oversight as to how popular it would become. It’s now available in most supermarkets and convenience stores which is kind of a shame as it has now lost a little of its elusiveness and its mystery.
It’s a little weak tasting and you could really be drinking a cup of anything as there’s no corn smell or taste. It’s also really light and quite watery with no carbonation which just adds to the disappointment as it really fails to hit the spot. It’s safe to say that this is not my favorite corn alcohol which I was surprised at as the brewery’s Dodeok (review here) is actually really good so there is no real excuse for this being so weak. Continue reading #74. Gangwon-do Corn Makgeolli (강원도 옥수수 막걸리)
Jirisan ‘Herb’ Makgeolli has a slightly sour aftertaste with the drink itself being quite thin with no carbonation. It is made using Rosemary and Lavendar in the brewing process and although you can smell a slight ‘herb’ odor there is no real ‘herb’ taste which is a little disappointing as it would have made it taste a little more unique as it does have a kind of generic taste. It is a refreshing makgeolli and is definitely one that you could drink several of over the course of a session as it’s subtle and non-overpowering taste make it perfect to drink a couple of bottles. Continue reading #72 Jirisan Herb Makgeolli (지리산 허브 막걸리)
It has a very distinct root taste but like Chigalpsan (review available here) it’s not too overpowering and is pretty mild and light. There is quite a lot of carbonation and stays “bubbly” for most of the cup although I guess that really does depend on how quickly you drink 🙂 It is easy to drink which is good as it generally comes in 1.2L bottles so there’s a lot to of rice wine to get through. It has a strong ‘earthy’ aroma which adds to that authentic ‘root’ makgeolli vibe. Continue reading #70 Gangwon-do Dodeok Makgeolli (강원도 산도덕 막걸리)
This rather elusive Yongin makgeolli tastes a little similar to Jipyeong Makgeoli although I would definitely recommend it before the more commonly found Jipyeong. It does have a perfect balance of sweet and sour although they do say that the longer you keep it in your fridge the more sour it becomes. My friend from Yongin bought me three bottles….but they didn’t really stay unopened long enough for me to put the changing taste claim to the test. It has a fantastically sour smelling aroma when you open it and this along with the balanced taste does make it worth a trip to Yongin to find it…..or try and make a friends with someone from the area if you don’t like long subway journeys. Continue reading #69 Yongin Cheoinseong Makgeolli (용인 처인성 막걸리)
Muhaksan is yet another offering from the Baekryun Brewery and like most of their other makgeolli this one also doesn’t disappoint. It’s easy to drink and is quite smooth and light . It has a slightly yellow-white colour and definitely has a distinct ‘San’ (mountain) aftertaste which is a little tangy and sour but nothing that is going to suck your jaws in. It almost has the perfect balance as it’s also not as thick as some off the other ‘mountain’ rice wines and is perfect on a summer’s day after a hike or sitting atop Namsan with a picnic. Continue reading #68 Baekryun Muhaksan Makgeolli (백련장수 무학산 막걸리)
Made by Baekryun Jangsoo, ‘Wild Ginseng’ Makgeolli has a particularly strong ginseng taste and smell which can be slightly overpowering at first. It sounds like it would be tough to drink but is actually incredibly smooth and refreshing although definitely only a one-bottler. The smell is so strong that you can actually smell the ginseng as you are shaking the bottle. It’s probably not a makgeolli that everyone would like but I definitely recommend trying it, especially on a hot and humid night. Continue reading #66. Baekryun Cultured Wild Ginseng Makgeolli (백련장수 배양근 산삼 막걸리)