Saku Originaal
Saku Brewery LTD

Saku OriginaalSaku Originaal
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Lager - Adjunct
Ranked #166
Ranked #49,993
2.87 | pDev: 17.07%
Saku Brewery LTD
Saku OriginaalSaku Originaal
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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 88 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

2.8/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes taken Summer 2014.

Served on-draught into a 33cl glass at a bar in Tallinn. Cost was 2 euro.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger in height. Thin. Lacks creaminess. Poor uneven consistency. Subpar complexion. Recedes fully within 1 minute, leaving no lacing.

BODY: Clear translucent yellow/pale copper of average vibrance. Clean, lacking any visible yeast/lees.

Appears adequately carbonated. Not a unique or special appearance for the style. Pretty typical in terms of a macrobrew pilsner/lager.

AROMA: Overly sweet. Corn, low quality helles/pils malts, cheap generic barley. A kiss of grassy hop character - probably Noble. Evokes malt extract.

An inoffensive aroma of average aromatic intensity. I'm not too eager to try it.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Crisp, but not soft. Smooth, wet, fairly refreshing. Light-bodied. Slightly syrupy. Too thick on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Overly sweet malt syrup, helles/pils malts, and generic barley flavours are at the heart of this simple lager. Evokes malt extract. There's a brief kiss of grassy hop character.

It's fairly cohesive in build, but lacks balance, complexity and subtlety. Very pedestrian. Low depth of flavour. Brief flavour duration. Low flavour intensity.

OVERALL: A pedestrian adjunct pilsner. Not a good beer in the style, but passable for what it is. Meh.

Low C (2.80) / AVERAGE

May 03, 2017
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josanguapo from Spain

2.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

From Corte Ingles El Duque. In Bavaria glass. Playing Darksiders 2. Clean, watery with some sweetnees and grassy bitterness. Not unpleasant but boring

Mar 27, 2017
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Saku original

500 ml bottle of saku original aboard the cruise ship. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - pale golden color, small white head of about a half finger which dissipates pretty quickly into wisps of head. Plenty of bubbles. Somewhat clear as well.

Smell - faint grainy and grassy aroma not a lot else. Typical average lager fare.

Taste - fairly bland euro pale lager, but withstood clean and crisp grassy and grain flavor. Starts bland then flavor picks up a bit then finishes with almost. No aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - well carbonated with a. Slightly dry finish. Lively in the mouth. Pretty good

Overall - pretty basic and not exciting, but as far as European American style adjunct lagers go, this is pretty decent. Worth a try, especially if in Estonia.

Jul 20, 2014
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Redrover from Wisconsin

3.18/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz heavy brown bottle with no freshness ating but a informative label that tells me the beer is crystal filtered to give it a crisper taste, crystal clear clarity and freshness of draught.

Poured into my SA perfect pint glass, the beer is a light yellow with the promised clarity. There is a white head that collapses yet stays around in top.

The beer has a light grainy aroma. Not much there but no off or odd smells either.
The taste is slightly sweet, a bit grainy and the finish is slightly bitter (almost astringent). There is a hint of floral hops and touch of spice from the hops at mid glass. Not bad, but pretty average.

The mouth is medium with mid to levels of carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not that interesting, would like to try fresh in Estonia (Which has been on my to visit list for a while now). .

Oct 31, 2012
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Lemke10 from Wisconsin

3.32/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a semi-cloudy golden amber color with an average head. Scent is mild with malts and hints of floral tones. Taste is overly chalky with unique wheat tastes. Drinks rather smooth and has an overall sweet taste. Hard to compare it to anything but if I was, I’d say it a thicker, better tasting Miller Lite. Pretty good for an imported lager from a small country. An interesting find for the mid-west never-the-less.

Sep 12, 2012
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thekevlarkid from Maryland

3.03/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It’s extra original because of the extra ‘A.’ Sooo…. Anyway. Out of a bottle this beer was a clear golden color with lots of rising carbonation and a cap of white head. The foam was short-lived however and it left minimal lacing. The aroma was of dry grains, a bit of corn, some hints of citrus hops and bready malt. The flavors were generic, but not unpleasant to my palate. I tasted notes of pale malt, sweet malt, corn, dough and saltine crackers with a clean, lightly hoppy finish. The mouthfeel was average, the body medium/light and the carbonation a touch high. Easy to drink but nothing I’d seek out again; the Saku Porter is much more interesting, in my opinion.

Mar 05, 2012
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flagmantho from Washington

3.47/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 500mL into a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: light golden hue with a touch of haze and two fingers of frothy white foam. Haze is a bit out-of-style, but I like the lacing on the glass.

Smell: sweet malt aroma with a touch of earthy hops. A bit plain, but I like it.

Taste: sweet malt aroma with a light bitterness. There's a hint of spiciness here which I rather like. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a decent level of carbonation. Not exactly creamy, but fizzy in a refreshing way.

Overall: a totally acceptable adjunct lager. In fact, I would have a hard time placing this as an adjunct lager; it tastes pretty much like barley to me.

Jan 30, 2012
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As an easy drinking and no-frills lager, Saku Original is the type of beer to encourage your swill-drinkin' buddies to enjoy better beers.

Saku pours with a light straw color and an light overcast haze. An airy white head builds on the beer, but then colapses just the same. Mild intermitten pockets of foam are fueled by steady streams of carbonation.

Aromas of grain and malt give a slight bready note but majorily of raw barley. Light lemon and apple scent overcomes the moderate sulfur note (think burnt match sticks). Very clean and simplified scent but the more astute beer enthusiasts may find it somewhat banal.

Flavors behave much the same: part-malt, part-grain notes lead to a grainy taste but with mild light breads and yeast. Acidity of lemon and green apple make for a refreshing taste, but there's not enough malt support to properly balance the beer. Again, some sulfur and mineral elements should halt when giving the beer a crisp flavor, but they go too far and bring undo attention to these characteristics- causing balance and flaw issues to the forefront.

Light and crisp throughout, the beer doesn't carry the 'heaft' of even moderate German pilsners. Grain character leads to mild astringency and acidity to the point that it hurts the mouthfeel. All leading to a somewhat watery feel late.

Pairing with hot/spicy foods may provide a nice complement because of the high rate of consumption and without interference from flavor or intensity that this beer provides. But as a stand-alone session, Saku Original lacks the balance, complexity, or courage to become rewarding.

Mar 15, 2011
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

2.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bright honey gold with corn silk highlights and a faintly crackly cap of eggshell colored foam. The head looks pretty good right after the pour and doesn't disappoint as it descends. Too bad very little lace sticks.

The nose is shockingly underpowered. What is appreciated is no great surprise: a faint pale graininess and a whiff of Euro hops. At least the beer doesn't smell past its prime... if it ever had a prime.

Saku Originaal doesn't make much of an impact on the taste buds either. I've had light lagers with more flavor. Given what *is* appreciated, this Estonian adjunct lager's relative subtlety is unquestionably a good thing.

It's amazing that as wimpy as this stuff is, it's still better than the best-selling lagers in this country. Largely because there's almost no nastiness, not even as it warms. Very little malt (probably nothing but pale and/or pils) and very few hops (almost certainly Saaz) will do that.

The mouthfeel is light to start, fades to watery before the finish, and is lacklusterly bubbled. The only reason the score isn't lower is that the mouthfeel matches the extremely light flavor profile acceptably well.

Saku Originaal isn't quite as good as Viru (good being a relative term), which is the only other Estonian brew that I've had/reviewed. Both make me feel sad for the people of Estonia if this is best beer that's available to them.

Mar 12, 2011
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JohnnyBarman from Canada (ON)

2.12/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Can picked up at the LCBO as part of my Eastern European Lager series of beer tastings. Saku will, like for most people, be my first foray into Estonian beer - the other will most likely be A. le Coq if I ever get around to doing so. Knocks another nation of my beer drinking list.

Poured into a pilsner glass. Looks pretty good for a pale lager - I must have got one from a good batch. Pale yellow, lots of visible carbonation. Good fluffy head, decent lacing and retention.

And thus end my compliments for this beer.

The nose is sweet and corny, which is not something I look for in any product except for sweet corn. Based on the nose, if there was any hop extract or malted barley present in this beer, it has long since been washed out.

Then there's the taste, which consists principally of two basic elements: corn, and nothing. Actually, scratch that - there is, in fact, a third flavor that I'm getting now, and that's an astringent metallic tinnyess that has proceded to assault my tastebuds with every sip. At least Budweiser and Molson have done us the courtesy of attempting to mask their corn/rice adjuct flavors with some sort of hops or malted grain; Saku didn't have time for all that. At least it's well-carbonated...yay?

Two thirds of the way through the can and I've had enough. I could waste my time with the rest of this brew, but I have three cans of Creemore and a bottle of Aventinus Weizenbock in the fridge, which would make for a far better use of my time / caloric intake. Down the sink it goes...

I may have successfully added another beer country to the list, but it comes at the expense of my tastebuds who weren't prepared for such a brutally boring experience. Avoid.

Feb 07, 2011
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metter98 from New York

3.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear pale yellow in color and poured with a finger high white head that slowly faded away. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are light aromas of grainy malts in the nose along with some hints of floral hops. Fruity flavors of apples also become perceptible as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, flavors of grainy malts stand out in the overall taste, which also has some malty sweetness and a slight amount of bitterness from the hops. There are some notes of apple juice.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a medium amount of carbonation
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink, but there's nothing that really stands out in it that would want to make me try it again.

Jan 08, 2011
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BeerNinja007 from New Hampshire

1.81/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Got this 500mL single from Manchester Wine and Liquors in Manchester CT for $2.49. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Clear piss yellow brew with a fairly solid 3/4" of eggshell head. The head is too good to be an AAL, the Estonians are making a beer too nice for the style. At least they got the color right (i.e. bad enough). Smell is flat, grainy and thin with mashed corn. Feel is thin, fizzy, watery. Taste is almost nonexistent, just a mild crappy high-alpha hop.

As an AAL this out-does most American macros in the lowness it has achieved. As a beer, it is absolute crap. This is about the lowest rating I can give a beer without it having some sort of spoilage or other unintended flaw.

Oct 23, 2010
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Offa from California

3.47/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this to be a pretty good lager, definitely more of a "Euro" pale lager with a definite, if simple, hoppy character.

Slightly deep gold, it has a medium white head steadily shrinking to a foamy ring.

Aroma is strong, slightly rough spicy herbs, grain, honeyish apple. It is a perfumy Euro lager aroma and fuller than many.

Taste is dry, crisp appley grain and lightly herbal grassy hops tasting strongly of wet green leaves and a hint of spice. It has very light sweetness with pretty nicely balancing light, spicy bitterness that just barely dominates the finish. Flavour and character are light, but it is pretty good, clean, dryish, with some malt and hop character noticeable throughout. It has enough flavour to combine with the easygoing nature and lack of any roughness to make it very drinkable.

Oct 08, 2010
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

2.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Saku Originaal is spelled with an extra 'a' and it's appearance has an extra bit of colour in its tone; this lager is more golden than yellow and that bodes well for a beer that was initially expected to have little to no flavour. Turns out instead, it has little to no head (this despite the fact that its bubbles - to no ado obviously - continuously try to revitalize the surface).

One tiny whiff of the aroma sent my head sailing back at breakneck speed (fortunately my computer chair is padded). It's putrid. I can picture a giant vat of processed corn syrup sitting somewhere in Iowa; if you're going to use adjuncts, fine, but have some pride, do something to disguise it. Please. This is not going to entice anybody to drink.

Served properly chilled, the corn taste is moderated by an appreciable maltiness but, the second ambient temperature begins to break through, the corn goes from 'loose cannon' to 'army of destruction'. It is a cloyingly sweet and synthetic flavour that saturates the tongue in a corny syrup that is slightly more disagreeable than it is insipid.

I always become (understandably) skeptical when the beer's label goes out of its way to boldly state the beer contains barley malt. I just assume it does... it is beer, right? Perhaps it's made so clear on the can because it's so equivocal on the palate. There isn't an ounce of bready, grainy texture or taste, but rather, a watery, toneless blandness.

When this Estonian brewery began operations in 1820 I guarantee they weren't making beers like this. This is insipid, shoddy and paltry at best, borderline unpalatable at worse. It's a shame that Estonia couldn't export something more distinctive and reflective of its gastronomy or culture as oppose to another ubiquitous, trite, emasculated lager.

Jul 27, 2010
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Graham5161986 from Canada (BC)

4.26/5  rDev +48.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I think this might be my first Estonian beer! Looking forward to it!

From a tall-boy can, this lager pours a pale gold colour with 1 and 1/2 fingers of white head that doesn't last very long and leaves a bit of patchy lacing on my glass.

I get some really nice fruity apricot, herbal and honey aromas floating off the top of this brew along with classic euro pale malt and grainy, grassy hop notes. Some candied sugar is noticeable as well. Quite a bit more interesting than your typical euro lager.

Taste is full of honey, herbs, light stone fruit and caramel malts with notes of grassy hops and some bread on the finish. Simple, clean but lots of nice flavours. A bit of coconut streamed rice on the linger as well - very nice.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, but not overly so, allowing for the richness of the malts to come through. Finish is oh-so-clean.

At 4.6%, it's hard to knock the drinkability factor of this beer. What can I say, it's super easy to drink and, given its relative wealth of flavours and aromas compared to many other euro lagers, I could see myself enjoying this beer on its own all night any night of the week. I hope this one stays around all summer!

Apr 23, 2010
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DoubleJ from Wisconsin

2.95/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It is a reasonably warm afternoon as I type this....time to go outside and catch some rays...and maybe open a 500 ml bottle of Estonian lager. On to the beer:

I'm using a flute for this lager. Some large carbonation bubbles run around in this pale gold colored beer. The head is soapy and leaves no lacing. Head retention is okay. Hmmm...I've smelled this before. Some pale malt sweetness to smell, a touch too sweet smelling, also notes of honey, and don't forget some husk. Ok, time to take the plunge.

Not exciting to taste, but not really offensive either. Some pale malt sweetness, sourdough, husk, minerals. Husky in the aftertaste. A semi-crisp bite from this beer is the best part of the adventure.

I'd put this Estonian lager a half-step above the other mass-produced Euro lagers. Drink it to say that you've had something from this tiny Baltic state.

Mar 16, 2010
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.47/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 16.9 oz. bottle. Has a pale golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts. Taste is a good mix of malts and hops, slightly sweet. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this makes for a fairly good brew.

Jan 30, 2010
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Halcyondays from California

3.87/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle, I've seen this one in Michael Jackson's book, and I'm excited to try it out,

A: Pours clear golden, with a soft white head, fair head retention, no lace.

S: Nice noble hop smell, grassy, vegetal in a good way.

T: Light sourdough bread type malt flavour which is well balanced by grassy, hay-like hops. Good taste. Big hop character for its style, almost pils like.

M: Crisp, relatively clean, dry, smooth.

D: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. A nice session lager and certainly at the top of its style.

Dec 12, 2009
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cfrancis from Canada (ON)

2.02/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pretty run of the mill pale lager. Skunky smell and taste. Crisp yeast and alcohol bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall a bland lager that I won't be drinking again. LCBO needs to carry more beers than just lagers. I wouldn't recommend this beer to others.

Oct 15, 2009
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trbergman from England

3.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500mL bottle into a shaker pint.

A - Clear and golden with vigorous carbonation and a thin, foamy head.

S - Clean, with cracker-like malt, an underlying cereal quality, and a hint of floral hop aroma.

T - Crisp, with the same light bready and cereal malt profile. There's a touch of sweetness lurking in the background, as well as a more upfront sour note. Some spicy hop flavor and a surprising level of bitterness. Finishes very dry.

M - Very light, effervescent body.

D - I wasn't expecting much from this beer, but I'm pretty surprised at the level of quality. The sourness in the middle of the palate bothers me, though. It really bumps this from a decent beer to something mediocre.

Oct 08, 2009
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

2.8/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a slightly hazy pale straw colour, with lots of puffy white head, which leaves sparse lace around the glass. It smells of white cracker grain, and acrid grassy hops. The taste is sweet rice and cooked corn, and medicinal, skunky hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body fairly weighty, but cloying, and it finishes off-dry, with a sweet graininess.

Pretty average for the style, another run-of-the-mill Euro-lager.

Sep 10, 2009
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

2.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into pint glass aug 10 2009

A golden yellow with a big head that fell fast and left no lace whatsoever

S a little sour with some lemon

T a little skunky with floral hops

M/D pretty basic and nothing special

dont go looking for this one

Aug 11, 2009
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IronDjinn from Canada (AB)

2.06/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From a 500 ml blue can, can't figure out the freshness date stamped on the bottom though. Pours out a dull golden light amber, a bit of white head that settles quickly.

Bready malt in the nose, yet also accompanied by a slight sour funk from what I'm assuming are adjuncts.

Fortunately the flavour contains that rich biscuity malt but for now passes on any off flavours hinted at in the aroma. Crisp, drying sensation on the finish, aftertaste is mostly a thin bubbly carbonation more than any one flavour. Pretty straight forward and one-dimensional, however more malt flavour to it than any national domestic micro lager. A little bit of funk does come out of the woodwork in the aftertaste once it warms. Okay, I had to bump it down a full point on that factor, I can't shake that husky sour cooked veg aftertaste that continues to linger on and on, much to my dismay. Sadly that's my final memory and impression of the stuff, and not the okay malt.

Mouthfeel is thin with small pockets of carbonation here and there.

Starts out okay, but the true colours come out eventually and I can't be friends with this Estonian lager any more.

Apr 26, 2009
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atis from Finland

2.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle from somewhere in Estonia

Pours brilliant gold, no lacing, lots of carbonation - streams of small bubbles. Aroma is weak malty with herbal hops.

Taste is malt, light hop bitterness, enhanced by high carbonation, dryish finish and malty aftertaste that does not last long. Mouthfeel is light, effervescent, but carbonation diminishes towards the end.

Overall, it had very, very industrial feel and taste.

Apr 08, 2009
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Ralphus from Canada (ON)

3.18/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saku Originaal is Saku brewery's flagship and an Estonian market leader since 1995, which is is about the time they got a heavy investment from the Carlsberg Group. My bottle, produced 5 months ago and purchased from the LCBO, was one of the few remaining on the store shelf.

Originaal pours lightly pale with a bright white head but recedes quickly leaving no lacing to speak of at all. It smells of light honey and wheat and tastewise it's quite mild.. well balanced and behaved but not remarkable in any area. The mouthfeel I enjoyed though.. quite silky smooth with a little bit of carbonated bite.

My 500ml bottle was done before I knew it. I kept looking at my glass wondering where the rest had gone. Originaal probably wont be your favorite, but if your looking to introduce someone into expanding their horizons this would be a decent first step.

Sep 08, 2008
Saku Originaal from Saku Brewery LTD
Beer rating: 67 out of 100 with 88 ratings