1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hofbräu Original - Hofbräuhaus München

Not Rated.
Hofbräu OriginalHofbräu Original

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,180 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,180
Reviews: 438
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.93%
Wants: 38
Gots: 127 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hofbräuhaus München visit their website

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-19-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hofbräu Original Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,180 | Reviews: 438 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of droomyster
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden orange body with one finger of bright white foam that clings pretty well to the glass. Aromas are grainy and grassy and quite subdued and uninteresting. The taste is fascinating in that the front and mid-palates are Exactly the same as the finish. Grains and honey from beginning to end. One of the most uniformly flavored beers I've ever had. Uncomplicated to the core, but in a good tasting way.

droomyster, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of bierbirrabeer
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Preface: Okay, true to form, I can't just review a beer without first adding in a few nuggets of introspection. It is important to understand that the first time that I drank Hofbrau I was in the Staatliches Hofbrauhaus in Munich and it came straight from the tap. For those who have not been, the experience is second to none. If you consider yourself a person that enjoys beer, you should make a point to get to Munich. People really appreciate their beer there. I think that, because the olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) senses are so tied to memory, it would be difficult for me not to enjoy this beer immensely. Nonetheless, I hope you have a chance to tie this beer to such a pleasant memory.

Appearance: The beer pours a very pretty light yellow. The head is two fingers at first, but settles to a pleasant coating arounds the side of the glass.

Smell: It smells like a German Beer Garden, or does a German Beer Garden smell like it? Probably more the latter. Anyhow, I would classify the smell as an enjoyably sweet aroma.

Taste: The beer is a very smooth lighter beer. To me, I get the faint undertones of the pretzels and wurst that accompanied it in Munich, but that's something that's not likely to be tasted by everyone.

Mouthfeel: Very enjoyable. Let it swirl around and touch each of the taste regions. This beer is worth it.

Drinkability: Screw Bud Light. This is what it means to be "superiorly" drinkable.

bierbirrabeer, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of bmwats
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a pilsner.

A: Medium golden hue. Heavy carbonation rises throughout the brew. Pours into a giant 3 or 4 finger, foamy, white head. Settles fairly slowly, leaving peaks and craters, and large pockets of bubbles. Dry sticky residue persists, sparsely populating the sides of the glass. Plenty of beer ring lacing remains. And bubbly carbonation continuously repopulates the head.

S: A little malty, very yeasty. Baked French bread.

T: Really great balance of grains here. Sometimes with this and similar yeasty styles, either the malt or yeast holds sway.... not in this case.

M: Light body. Yeast and just a slight bite. Steely aftertaste.

D: This thing is the type of beer you drink, enjoy, and you look down at your glass and it's gone.... you say to yourself, who drank my beer.

Atmosphere is really nice. Really full, imperial appearance, and a full although simple nose. Really pristine, and true to the style. Flavor is not complex, but very very well balanced. Just the way you'd want it to taste, and nothing puts you off. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

bmwats, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of BeerNinja007
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle, $2.99, Hoosick Beverage in Troy NY, code L 019 J 07:41. Served in a chilled weizen glass.

Crystal clear yellow brew, good head that does what it's expected to do... billow up on the pour, linger a while, settle slowly to a moderate layer and leave spotty lace after each sip. Smell is Saaz, silage, a little yeast. Taste is right from the smell. Feel is light with rigorous sharp carbonation, very crisp.

I've never been very successful at differentiating between pilsners/helleses (expecially germans) so I'm trying to work on that. To that end... this one is maybe more earthy and the skunk is less sulfury and pungent than average. And I think I get a flash of bubblegum on the palate after it has warmed a bit. Other than that I'm at a loss.

It brings to mind the old anecdote that eskimos have 20-some odd words for "snow". Well I really wanna know, are there people out there who have 20 different words for "skunk"??

Damn you Germans, damn you for being so damn conformist!! [/steps off of soap box]

BeerNinja007, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of Shrews629
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very clear, pale yellow, straw color with a super white, soapy head. Several bubbles coming up from the bottom. Looks similar to a macro lager or pilsner, but with a better head and retention. Decent lacing.

Smell - Getting a very clean smelling grass or grain aroma. Only slightly hoppy in the nose. Nothing offensive, but nothing outstanding. Picking up the faintest hint of butter or dough.

Taste - Not detecting a whole lot with the taste. Maybe a bit of grain with a hint of the alcohol bite at the very end. Minute bitterness and only a tad sour.

Mouthfeel - Thin mouthfeel. Slight bit watery. Does have a crisp finish and is somewhat refreshing.

Drinkability - I really thought this brew would have more "kick" or "bite". It's not a bad beer by any means. It's very drinkable and is still better than any macro, but I was just expecting more considering its very high rating. Would pair nicely with a real hot spring or summer day however.

Shrews629, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of GallowsThief
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 500 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a light golden straw color with about one inch head that receded fairly quickly. Left almost not lacing.

S - Grassy and grainy smell. Comes across with a bit of sourness.

T - Nice. Clean. Some nice tasty breadiness. You get some malt and a good finish of hops. Extremely nice. Wow.

M - Great. Period. Light. Refreshing. Winner.

D - Extremely drinkable. Get a bunch and a designated driver,

GallowsThief, Aug 31, 2010
Photo of ibbjamin
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my go to German Lagers. I'm finally reviewing a 12oz bottle pouring into my Oktoberfest glass.

Dense white head of about a half inch. Transparent pale yellow in color with a few carbonation bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. A thin layer of retention and good lacing.

Very balanced and smooth aroma of bready yeast and mild sweet malts. Some leafy hops round things out.

Taste is very German and so pleasant. Tastes of high quality fresh bread and yeast. Some leafy hops and mild sweet malts as well, this is an essay in subtle balance.

Medium body with nice carbonation levels. Goes down so smooth with a nice crisp finish. Excellent drinkability. For a session beer, this one has become a staple in my fridge.

One of my favorite German Lagers, this one demonstrates the subtle flavors that I have become so fond of in this region and style. Highly recommended. Much better than the American macros that I used to have for this type of situation.

ibbjamin, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of BeerNemesis
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hofbräu Original | on-tap | 5.1% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Staatliches Hofbräuhaus (Hofbräu München)
Style: Munich Helles Lager
Glass: Pint

Sparkling yellow-gold with a frothy white head.

Grassy malt and hop oils.

Big grain taste, cut hay, and noble hops. Fresh.

Light-bodied, crispy and refreshing.

It's a great example of the style. Too light for my tastes though.

Would I get it again?:
Yes, I'll try it with food -- bratwurst perhaps.

BeerNemesis, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of Franz4
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- poured very nicely with a decent head that stayed around through the first couple sips. Nice golden color.

S- Nothing too striking here, pleasant, relatively mild.

T- mild floral notes, refreshing

M- Noticeable carbonation that fits the style, not overpowering

D- Very drinkable, refreshing, great for a hot day

Franz4, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of NODAK
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smell here is mostly of sweet grains and a bit of Noble hops. Pretty nice.

Slight bit of grassiness upfront. Very fleeting, with a some tart flavor sweeping in....with a good snap of Noble hops afterward. Finish has a tart twang to it with a bit of malty sweetness lingering. Pretty clean.

Refreshing beer. A good amount of flavor and highly drinkable.

NODAK, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of bgildea
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very light yellow color. Little head that doesn't fade too quickly. Large carbonation bubbles.

S: Smells of sweet barley and typical German lager.

T: The taste is a nice mixture of sweet and malty. The sweetness tends to linger in the mouth. The biggest fault in the taste is that the carbonation tends to overpower the other flavors at times.

M: Thin beer, with little chew. A lot of carbonation too, which I'm not a huge fan of.

D: It's a decent beer so it's drinkable. I would go out of my way to get another, but I'm not the biggest German Lager fan though.

Overall: Overall, it was a pretty good beer. Nice taste of sweetness to it, with a little too much carbonation. Not my preferred style, but still pretty good.

bgildea, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of jneiswender
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Hofbrau in Munich. Served in a liter sized crug at a cool temperature.

A-gold body, bright white and thick head.

S-clean, floral smell and slightly metallic

T-cereal, nice bitter hop finish at the end.


D-very good drinking beer. I would drink this beer again but I would only want it on tap.

jneiswender, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of tone77
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a green 12 oz. bottle. has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of grains, a bit of sweetness. Taste is crisp, mild, some grains, just a tad bitter. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a decent brew.

tone77, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of xylophonica
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a schooner.

A - Very pale yellow golden colour with a good finger of head and plenty of carbonation bubbles.

S - Wheat, grass and honey.

T - Initially quite bitter and spicy but with a malty sweetness to follow that softens the palate.

M - The intial bitterness subsides fairly quickly as the malt coats the mouth and softens out any possible harshness.

D - Very easy to drink, a good refreshing lager for a hot summer's day.

Quite enjoyable, have had this on-tap before many times but this is the first time from the bottle. Much more spicy and malty from a bottle. On-tap you still get the crispness but the malt doesn't coat your mouth in quite the same way.

xylophonica, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of DrRosenscrotum
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

About 2" head when poured from bottle. Thin lacing on weizen glass after first sip. No fruity taste just a clean crisp taste with slight hint of the hops. Pale orange color with heavy mix of yellow hue. Great beer to enjoy anytime especially when temp of beer is around 40 degrees.

DrRosenscrotum, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured clear light yellow in color with a thin white head that quickly faded away. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: Aromas of grainy malts dominate the nose along with some hints of floral hops.
T: The taste is rather malty and has a slight amount of sweetness; a mild amount of bitterness present throughout the initial taste and finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, clean and crisp on the palate.
D: It's very easy to consume this beer so it is sessionable and well suited for drinking several of these in one sitting out of litre-sized mugs.

metter98, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of gkunkle
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I absolutely love this beer, I was able to enjoy a liter of it at the Hofbrau House in Munich (did you know that in the 40s one of hitler's pieces of artwork hung on the wall there?) Also, I was serenaded by a drunken yodeling swiss man as i enjoyed this beer, which made it even better.

The beer is a clear golden color with a nice thick white head (got a little on my nose, good sign) Smells hoppy and malty. Tastes very fresh, in the front is a sweet malty flavor and it finishes hoppy with a little bitterness. The bitterness is perfect, enough to make you want another sip, but not enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth. It has a medium/light body and is pretty easy to drink, very sessionable (the way this style is meant to be)

gkunkle, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of JMD
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Crystal clear golden yellow with some light peachy tones. Thick white head that fades quickly and leaves very little lacing.

S: Clean aroma of grains and fresh fruit. Some light hops as well.

T: Grainy, earthy flavors. With a blast of fruity sweetness that reminds me of fresh apples. Light hop bitterness as it finshes.

M: Light bodied, low carbonation

D: Munich Helles Lagers are intended to be light and very drinkable while still having some depth and flavor. Hofbrau Original is finely crafted and spot on for the style.

JMD, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear and light gold with a fluffy white cap. Decent head retention, lots of sticky and streaky lace. Cereal grain and malt aroma, with floral notes and a hint of spice. Solid hop bitterness that has just a bit of bite, floral and grassy up front with more of an herbal finish, almost minty. Mild malt sweetness and flavour throughout. Light bodied, moderate carbonation, a bit dry. Crisp and refreshing, quite tasty. I ended up liking the hop profile even though I wasn't sold on it at first taste.

DrJay, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A perfectly clear gold color and a soapy white head that provides some lace.

Earthy smell of European hops and bready malt. Flavor follows suit with a clean lager flavor, leaning heavily on the malt, which is probably of a Munich origin. In fact, this is a Munich Original. A malty lager and a tasty one at that. Hops are subdued and just do enough to balance, slight earthyness and soft bite.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and fairly smooth, good level of carbonation.

Drinkability: A good session lager here from Hofbrau, and one that I may revisit someday soon.

Stinkypuss, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of Boneheadmx
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The last time I had this, it was on tap and I remarked at just how damn good it was. Finding this finally in a bottle, I had to snag it...

Pours out to a copper-ish yellow with a head that subsides to nothing.

Smell is very faint, of apple and the hops. Quite pleasant.

The taste isn't quite as good as I remembered it, but even still, better than many! Extremely light malty taste with a lingering hops in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is a thicker than it looks, with medium carbonation.

Drinkability is phenomenal!

In all, I'm very glad that I know where to find this in the case that I want something tried and true.

Boneheadmx, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a clear yellow color with a large white head. The aroma is grain and grassy hops. The flavor is more of the same with some light malts and some grassy and slightly earthy hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Jul 10, 2010
Photo of generallee
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It was poured from a green 11.2oz bottle into a Pilsener glass. The bottle has no freshness date or any info other than the style.

Appearance: It has a bright yellow body with very good clarity and some visible carbonation. The head is tall and full of soft white bubbles. Its retention is good as it slowly fades to a thin covering, that with a little swirl of the glass, lasts all the way to the last sip. On the glass it leaves behind some nice spotty lacing.

Smell: There are note of light pale malt notes with a solid floral/spicy/grassy hop presence.

Taste/Palate: Its flavor has a delicate sweet bready or sugar cookie like maltiness up front with a lemon meringue pie like undertone. Nice spicy/floral hop notes soon move in and add their bitterness and character. The hop character is in my opinion is in perfect balance to the malt. The finish has a good snappy, crisp and dry character that makes it extremely drinkable.

Notes: Again to sum up this beer it is well balanced, tasty and easy to drink. It makes for a good summer drinking beer and works well with a light snack of soft sour dough pretzels.

generallee, Jul 01, 2010
Photo of BigIrishman
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear golden color with a big white fluffy head and tons of bubbles running through it.

Smell: Sweet buttery malt with hints of those awesome spicy aromas given off by noble hops.

Taste: First off I'm amazed that this green bottle made it's way to my table without being light damaged, simply amazing. The sweet malts dominate those backburner noble hops that give off a spicy grassy/freshly mown lawn flavor. The malt here reminds me of butter cookies, but not in a bad way. Overall this is pretty decent.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp with a bit of jumpiness from the high carbonation.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable brew, I usually never pick it up due to the high probability of it being light struck. This time the fates were aligned and I lucked out. If I make my way to the Hofbrau house in Munich, I'll be grabbing a liter or two.

BigIrishman, Jun 24, 2010
Photo of SamN
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Odell Brewery specialty tasting glass. Awesome.

A- Looks like your average macro: yellow and clear. However, the yellow is more of a golden straw. Huge carbonation activity visible thanks to it's perfect clarity. The head starts off wonderful, full and rocky and bubbly. Fades to an inch of fine bubbles. Nothing to compare it to, as this is my first Munich Helles, but if the goal of the appearance is to make me want to drink it, mission accomplished.

S- Slightly soured adjuncts up front. Powerful aroma, much more than I expected. Sour, bitter, herbal and metallic hops. Big hops profile, however, I just don't care for this smell much at all. The strength is welcome; the actual aroma, however, is not.

T- Hmmmm, interesting. Flashes of that strong strong sour hoppiness, but quickly fading to a subdued flavor profile that includes and surprising amount of malt characteristics (faint breads), better tasting floral hops (tulips/roses) and a fading sharpness. Somewhat balanced, more than I expected from the aroma. Bittered and almost tart finish with a sweeter metal lingering taste. Not bad. Not bad at all.

M- Outstanding. This beer really shines here. More than a light body, but not heavy whatsoever. Unbelievably smooth and just solid feeling. So good.

D- Not bad. Not exactly my cup of tea (or beer, as it were), but I could definitely see this as a good change up from PBR or Coors, a real German beer that serves as a great intro to "real" beer.

SamN, Jun 23, 2010
Hofbräu Original from Hofbräuhaus München
86 out of 100 based on 1,180 ratings.