Makgeolli #27 – Jinro Makgulli


REVIEW: I really never expected to find makgeolli in the tiny town of Ashland, Oregon. And then, without even looking for it, a bottle of Jinro Makgulli was staring me in the face at a high-end, local store called Market of Choice. Even more surprising: Jinro Makgulli is not horrible.

Compared to your typical pasteurized makgeolli, this brew is thicker giving the mouthfeel a slightly more complex character. In terms of flavor, Jinro has made a very simple and easy to drink makgeolli; definitely the right way to go with a market unfamiliar with the product. (As I mentioned in my post titled Makgeolli in the USA, I had to assure the woman at the checkout counter that I was not buying “Korean milk”.)

I was pleased to see that Jinro Makgulli doesn’t use aspartame. Or so I thought… The ingredients list includes something called phenylalanine, which, it turns out, is a key ingredient in aspartame. And yet, their website states, “No preservatives or artificial flavor.” Unfortunately, the phenylalanine is put on a bit thick making this brew fairly sweet.

I’m not saying that I like or would even recommend Jinro Makgulli but, when compared to the other readily available bottles in the US, I’d prefer to drink this.

Carbonation: None.

Body: Watery.

Smell: Faint oatsy, chalky scent.

SCORE: 3/7

BREWERY: Jinro (진로)



PURCHASED: Ashland, Oregon, USA, Market of Choice

AVAILABILITY: Jinro is importing this into the US and distributing it from their headquarters in LA. I haven’t seen it for sale in Korea.


INGREDIENTS: Korean rice (100%), purified water, phenylalanine (read: aspartame)

VOLUME: 750 ml


OTHER FACTS: It’s interesting to see that Jinro has decided to call their product makgulli as there is an ongoing debate regarding how to Romanize the word makgeolli. I choose the latter spelling because it seems to be the most ubiquitous online, and yet, the matter is not settled. Variations like the ones represented on a survey from K-SUL range from makuly, makkolli, makguli, to the somewhat standardized makgeolli.

Jinro Makgulli

Jinro Makgulli

Jinro Makgulli


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