KOREAN NAME: 월매 막걸리
REVIEW: To review the canned version of Walmae Makgeolli, I thought I ought to have a side-by-side comparison with the bottled version. The first thing I noticed was the difference in ingredients. Besides the usual suspects, bottled Walmae (BW) includes things like multi-oligosaccharide, wheat, pine needle extract, aspartame, citric acid, yeast, lactobacillus wheat, and dextrin; canned Walmae (CW) keeps it simple with three ingredients: rice, multi-oligosaccharide, and aspartame.
What this means for the taste is a little difficult to pinpoint. BW definitely has more going on as the flavors (despite all the artificial additives) have a distinct makgeolli character: earthy, sour, a hint of that fermented funk. CW, on the other hand, is more on the order of an alcopop drink—sweet, light— the sort of fizzy drink that you imagine enjoying on a really hot day. But similar to cheap beer when it gets warm and loses its carbonation, CW quickly transforms into unappealing sugar water.
When you’re comparing two middling makgeollis (and that might be a generous rating), it’s difficult to say which one is better. But, for the simple reason that BW holds up better after it has been opened, I’d say get the bottle if you have the choice.
Carbonation: CW is much fizzier than its bottled counterpart. I was gentle with the shaking and I still had some spill over.
Body: Lighter than the bottled version (if that’s possible).
BREWERY: Seoul Jangsoo (서울 장수)
ORIGIN: Seoul (서울)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, 7-11 (서울, 광진구)
AVAILABILITY: Canned Walmae can be found at most branches of E-mart, Lotte Mart, and Homeplus, as well as at the occasional convenience store.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 6%
INGREDIENTS: Korean polished rice (90%), multi-oligosaccharide (10%), aspartame
VOLUME: 350 ml