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Hofbräu Original | Hofbräuhaus München

very good
474 Reviews
For Trade:
Hofbräu OriginalHofbräu Original

Brewed by:
Hofbräuhaus München
Germany | website

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-19-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 474 | Ratings: 1,454
Photo of thehyperduck
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Jan. 29 2015. With this being one of my favourite lager styles, and the Germans in general being my favourite pale lager brewers, I've got pretty high hopes for this one. Served well chilled.

Pours a bright, clear golden-yellow colour, topped with one finger of dense, bone-white head. It soon dissipates into a filmy cap and collar, leaving a curtain of lacing left behind to stick to the glass. The aroma is classic German pale lager - grainy pale malts, a bit crackery, with some grassy hay and floral notes. There's a weak hint of that sulphurous skunk smell, but it works well enough in this context to not be an issue.

Simple, but great. Nice, clean grainy barley malt flavour kicks this one off, somewhat doughy with a light honeyed sweetness. The noble hops round things out toward the end, with their green grassy notes and light earthiness drying the finish off. Crisp and clean in the aftertaste; an absolute pleasure to drink in hot weather. Light in body, with relatively firm carbonation that gives this one an enjoyable bite. Highly refreshing.

Final Grade: 4.01 even, an impressive A-. The Germans are the masters of lagerdom, and Hofbräu Original is yet another testament to this fact. This is an outstanding Munich lager that could easily become a staple - if it became readily available locally, at least. Until then, I'll probably just stick with other imports, but as far as this style goes, I do believe I've finally found a new favourite to displace the venerable (and ubiquitous) Spaten. A wonderful continental lager that should appeal to not only BAs, but beer drinkers in general - grab one while it's available.

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Photo of BeerBob
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hofbräu Original from Hofbräuhaus München pours a bright clear amber from a light green 11.2 oz glass bottle with a pry off cap.

Head went to about two fingers before settling down to a broken carpet of fine foam, with a fair amount of lacing along the walls of my 22oz classic pilsner glass.

Nose is of light damp toasted barley and the slightest of hops.

Taste is a well bittered barley malt, with the slightest of the 5.1% alcohol by volume present.

Clean, crisp, and well balanced German offering of how beer should be.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a finger of head on a clear light straw colored body.
The aroma has a big grain smell with a little lemon in the background, Really nice.
The taste goes from mild bitter to mild sweet, then a sharp moderate bitter note and rounds out sweet again. Great profile.
The texture is crisp, but the body has some weight; and with moderate carbonation.
This is always a winner, and better if on tap.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

NIce soft malt with some soft spicing from hops. Balanced. A little sulfur and maybe a little skunking from green glass.
Very lightly colored and very clear. White head settles out but not gone.
Very full mouthfeel from abundant soft carbonation. Again nice soft malting, but also clear hopping esp. towards the middle and finish in which the hop flavors are particularly strong and lingering. Not necessarily drying, but evident.
I like the creamy feel and balance flavors. Maybe a tad excess on the carbonation, but the flavors are good.

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Photo of Mises85
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this in a pint glass around 44 degrees.

Appearance: light gold color with a lot of bubbles floating to the top. not too much head although I wonder whether it was because the glass wasn't clean enough or whether the beer is like that.

Smell: Barnyard funk, hay, grassy, fruity (pineapple), touch hoppy

Taste: bright but nice spicy noble hop on the finish

Mouthfeel: quite effervescent, medium body

Overall: I normally don't like lager but this one was quite good. Another home run for the germans.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Extremely clean light yellow color. Medium active carbonation for the style. Light head on the pour and not present while drinking.

Smell: Straw and cloves on the front. Bite of skunkiness on the nose as well. Balanced hop body is present yet plays along well with everything else going on here. Slight nuttiness on the back end with a touch of pepper.

Taste: Breadiness on the front. Solid buttery body that compliments some mild fruit hop tones. Oats and barley make their presence toward the back end of the body. Lingering dry malt flavors, with accents of nuts, biscuit, and oats.

Mouthfeel: Clean malt really shines on the palate. Light hop bitterness hangs around with a substantial malt, grainy body. Carbonation is mild but fitting for the style.

Overall: Just a classic munich helles lager. The hop tones play along seamlessly with a airy biscuit malt body. A beer I would share with anyone with conviction that this would be enjoyed by all.

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3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Lager glass. Gold color, crystal clear appearance. White froth, lasting head. Slight sulphury odor, pale malt, grain, floral & Noble hop aromas, hints of hay & vanilla to the nose. Crispy upfront, sweet pale malt flavor ar first sip. Light body. Moderate carbonation. Dense to watery texture. Subtle spicy & grainy flavors in the middle. Funny & sparkling palate. Low hoppiness resolves in a long bitter/sweet finish. No flat, no fat, but clean bitter beer. Easy drinkability.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a flute. A lighten golden yellow brew with a massive white head, immediately making its presence known via a pleasant noble hop spice and sweet doughy malts on the nose, a touch of vinous fruit as well. Good head retention. Palate is dominated by clean pale malts (with a hint of pancake), only faintly sweet, with hints of lemon rind, licorice, hay, cinnamon, and strawberry candy. Clean and crisp, with an uber-smooth mouthfeel and soft carbonation. Damn near perfect helles lager except for a little skunk and metal in the dry spicy finish. Less sweet and more malty than other commercial examples with a complex array of German hop flavors that of course do not overwhelm what is essentially a malt showcase. Not hard to find and well worth it if you wish to experience a classic helles flavor.

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Photo of Ohiolager
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

i first had this brew about a year ago on my birthday. i instantly found a favorite. it has to be my favorite german imported lager.

the beer pours very nicely. a two finger head that stays around longer than i thought it would. gives way to minimal to no lacing. the appearance is not quite straw yellow but not quite gold either.

it smells like a fresh beautiful spring day. crisp, clear and refreshing. a little hint of skunk was found but most german lagers are a little skunky. maybe the green bottles?

it tastes great. at first a crisp grassy taste followed by a hoppy taste with a touch of honey. the after taste is hoppy with a touch of skunk. pardon my language but even the burps taste good. very crisp, very clean and nicely carbonated

mouthfeel is a little watery but at 5.1 abv its not an IPA. so i did not expect a thick feel. however this brew is all about the taste.

at $8.99 a six pack 11.2 oz bottles. there are craft beers at this price point with higher abv. but like i said this is about having an authentic munich specialty lager. worth every penny, if you ask me.

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Photo of Act25
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hofbrau Original
(Tasted again in Munich Airport on 5-18-15, and again a home run. Reliable lemony refreshing tingle)

I was ready to dismiss, ready to make a black and tan out of it.
But HB just totally pleased me, here in the middle of winter. A beautiful clear lager.

A: Bright pale golden color, the big frothy white head comes up, and leaves dots of lacing, but there's very little visible carbonation to support it.

Smell: Clean, fresh grassy aroma, faint but balancing noble hops.

Taste: Super fresh and crisp. Pears, grass, hay, nobel hops, fresh golden apple, on top of an unsalted soft pretzel malt base. Refreshing, and surprisingly big, with a great finish and a long pleasant clean aftertaste. Will be GREAT with food.

Feel: One of the best mouth feels for a light beer ever. Must try.

I wish I could get a permanent supply of this in cans. As others wrote, it's not much to analyze, just drink, enjoy and not wonder why it's so simple yet so good.

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Photo of DionysusAwakened
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A good beer that purposefully has a skunky smell to it. It was enjoyable and refreshing, with a good mouthfeel and clear but flavorful taste.

Glue was stuck to the underside of the lip of the nozzle on one of the beers which detracted from the taste and was poor packaging. Other than that oversight it was a delicious beer.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Bert's
Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a smallish white head that dissipates rather quickly. Huge skunky aromas as soon as I pop the cap and pour into the glass. Luckily those dissipate rather quickly revealing a pleasant bready decocted pilsner malt aroma with a hint of floral earthy hop. The flavor is rich melanoid and pilsner malt with just enough earthy hop flavor to provide some balance. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick almost sweet mouthfeel. Decent Helles, I've have had better, but I could drink this.

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Photo of utopiajane
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden with a brilliance and perfect clarity. Fat head of off white foam that fell well to a ring and some clusters of foam on top. This beer is shining. Nose is pristine. Light sweet grain, doughy malt., a touch of floral and some fresh cut grass and wet hay. Crisp and light on the palate with just enough bubbles to tickle the tongue. Wet grassy flavor in the middle and drinks so easily and refreshing. The noble hops are so light they engage the palate effortlessly as the lightly sweet grain kisses the drink as a faint little bitter leaves you wanting more. Truly motivating. Simply outstanding. You could drink a few of these.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This reminds Raul of that one time he found himself driving through the flatlands of Iowa/Nebraska; this thang is just clean, crisp, grassy, and smooth. A bit bready like your granmama's baked goods, and dry like socal's rainy season.

I like it. I'm not trippin' on a splinter, but it's a bit more than aite.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled last night on 11/26/13 (and one 9/26/15 from a 330ml (11.2 ounce) bottle. Chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a handled-glass "HB" .5L stein.

Brew pours a clear golden-yellow in color with a 2+-finger foamy white foamy head that doesn't last long. Some streaky lacing was seen when sipped. The aroma is of some grassy malts for the most part. Most brews that come in a green bottle have a 'skunky' smell for some reason, this one had just a very light hint of that BUT not like many others. The taste was clean and crisp with a very slight drier finish with the malts and floral hops in the mix also. No harsh or bitter aftertaste. Overall a very good brew despite the higher carbonation. Lighter-side of medium-bodied with good carbonation.

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Photo of RandomExile
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: pale, translucent gold, soft foam head which quickly recedes; clingy foamy lacing early on
S: characteristic clean, "papery" nose; faintly grassy/herbal; malt
T: fresh, bright, papery, what other reviewers note as dough, bitter
M: thin but crisp, dry
O: a near-perfect example of its kind, somehow the sum is greater than the parts. Beautifully constructed.

250mL / Tulip Glass / Schmankerl Stube, Hagerstown, MD

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Photo of RJP159
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Golden with a generous head that dissipates quickly leaving a couple millimeters on top.
S: Earthy with some citrus
T: Grain and and a touch of hops combined with substantial carbonation. A touch of citrus made this lager dynamic.
M: The sparkle is most pronounced.
O: Crisp and flavourful. Definitely a beer I will have again.

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Photo of Brenden
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Exactly what I expect a Munich Helles to look like, particularly one that's more likely to stick to tradition, this beer is a bright pale yellow-gold and plenty transparent. It brings up a nice froth of soft but very firm, pure white head that resides neatly at about one finger's height and takes plenty of time to recede. Some remains always, dropping behind plenty of patching as it does.
With a nice, light hops bitterness and a good supporting dry malt, plenty of grassy and flowery notes with a touch of perfume, this beer is the cleanest, most refined and, thus far, deepest representation of this delicate and likely difficult style that I've had. There's an aspect of the malt that isn't "grainy" and isn't exactly "wheaty," but something almost doughy through dry, maybe crackery, that's fairly unique set beside a real freshness to the hoppier notes. Very light sweetness of soft pale fruit flesh add something else to make a very complete beer.
Light and fairly crisp, with plenty of nip but lots of give as well, this beer is active but flows smoothly and easily. It's fluffy without being airy, and is really very nice to drink.

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Photo of hopsputin
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a: slightly hazy bright golden yellow with lots of bubbles streaming from the bottom. 2 finger rocky white head that fades to around .5 fingers and sticks around

s: right away you pick up that distinct 'lager' aroma. some pale malts, sweet citrus, earthy grains, and finishes with some clean hops

t: fresh dough right away. creamy sweet citrus, straw, clean caramel maltiness with some faint honey. ends with that clean earthy straw flavor and the faintest hops. real clean tasting

m: lighter mouthfeel, but has a lot of carbonation. the fizziness really helps the sweeter citrus flavors pop and blend well with that nice doughy flavor

o: i went in not expecting too much on this, and i was pleasantly surprised. it doesn't have the biggest of boldest flavors, but its put together real well, and the that taste is crisp, sweet, and refreshing.

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Photo of Tone
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, straw color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of pale malt, slight sweet malt, hint of hops, hint of sulfur, and a hint of adjunct?. Fits the style of a Munich Helles Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sulfur, pale malt, slight sweet malt, hint of hop, and a hint of adjunct. Overall, I'm sure this is better in Germany, but still not too bad here in Missouri; decent Munich Helles Lager.

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Photo of MajorTim
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a clear pale gold, 2 fingers of white foam, high carbonation, leaves very nice lacing.

Smell: malty sweet, slight smell of hops, pretty standard.

Taste: Starts malty sweet but finishes slightly bitter and dry, underlying taste of noble hops

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied, clean and crisp, moderate to high carbonation, very drinkable.

Overall: A very good lager and an excellent example of the style.

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Photo of mjurney
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep golden color, a little haze. Lots of carbonation rising. Thick bright-white head.

Sweet, bready, biscuit, a little caramel.

Very rich malt, bready, biscuit, dash of caramel. Hop bitterness is mild. Finish is crisp and clean. Medium bodied, very refreshing, crisp, clean, a little dry.

It's an excellent beer.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle from LCBO for$2.80 CDN into a pint glass. To be enjoyed before June 27, 2014.

Appearance - Clear crisp golden colour with bubbles continuously rising to top of glass. 1 finger of head is poured and recedes quickly. Looks refreshing.

Smell - Malts override the hops here to a certain extent although both are mild. Some grassy scents here as well. Nothing overwhelming for the style.

Taste - Crisp and Refreshing, Slight malt backbone shines here, but mild hop flavors also present. Grassy, slightly earthy notes also detected. Overall, the taste is not overwhelming but just tastes damn good. Vague sweetness to the beer as well, but only on the back end of the beer and in the aftertaste,

Mouthfeel - The carbonation allows this beer to hydrate above and beyond expectations, and the feel in the mouth is nothing if not refreshing.

Overall - Really enjoyable especially if you need something to quench your thirst. I can also only imagine the copious amounts of this that is served at Oktoberfest every year in Munich, and wish I was there to enjoy it on tap.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 330 ml. bottle marked L-045-M-120:35. Sampled on October 2, 2013.

It pours pale yellow with a quick lasting white head and moderate clarity.

It was from a green bottle so there is a touch of skunkiness. But once I navigate around that I do pick up a decent malt forward, grainy, and doughy character.

Light to medium in body with a smooth feel on my tongue.

The bready, doughy, and malty characters are just as prevalent in the flavor making this tasty in the German tradition. Clean but dry finish that lingers briefly. I bet I would have liked it more from a keg or a brown bottle.

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mason jar. Clear light gold with a snow white head. Just the sight makes me want a big soft pretzel.

Pretty standard pilsnerish aroma. Almost a little sourdough.

Much fuller flavor than I expected. I guess I've been conditioned by american beers of the same appearance being so watery. Bready malt, lightly backed with some german hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, light oily mouthcoating and lingering bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall, not my favorite style by any means, but I can enjoy a few of these. I've never been to Oktoberfest or the Munich Hofbrauhaus, but I've had a few layovers in German airports and some mugs of this with some soft pretzels are always a bright spot on miserable travel days.

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Hofbräu Original from Hofbräuhaus München
85 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.