Zhiguly Beer
Gubernija Brewery

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Pale Ale - English
2.84 | pDev: 27.11%
Gubernija Brewery
Retired (no longer brewed)
View: Beers
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

2.8/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Zhiguly Beer, or ЖИГУЛИ ПИВО, to give it its proper Sunday name, comes in a green glass 16.9 fl.oz bottle, with a bright yellow label replete with blue lettering and a couple of gold colored upright goats leaning on a wooden cask. Yes, well so much for pony-tailed marketing men, for those that are still unaware, this beer is from Lithuania.

It pours a perfectly clear golden color that immediately effervesces and forms a thin white collar type head, which slowly breaks to a scummy covering. Nose is thin, metallic and slightly bitter. The taste has a clean introduction which is pleasing at first – then ruined by that annoying relative that always comes round at the most inopportune moment – that’s him, “Dirty Uncle Diacetyl”, a familiar unwelcome butterscotch mouth lingering taste that spoils this otherwise average, but not bad beer. Good inherent carbonation makes this a pleasant enough beer on the tongue and aids the mouthfeel. I was going to be nice again, but nope, that damn butterscotch taste just annoys the hell out of me and desperately ruins an otherwise clean introduction and crisp drinking beer. That sweet sticky finish just lingers, the only way to remove it is with the next mouthful, but then I find I have no more beer left. Is this why they drink so much of this stuff in Lithuania?

An average beer that reminds me never to leave California to visit this country.

Q: “How do you annoy a Lithuanian?”
A: “Kick him in Zhi-Gulys”

Not bad but somewhat a little too much “butterscotch” for me to be honest.

Feb 03, 2003
More User Reviews:
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Murky haze over a yellowish straw colour, decent white lace. Taffy-like aroma, ghost like phenols and buttery diacetyl. Some grainy wheat like smells also. Real smooth and crisp on a sturdy medium body, light hop bitterness that is clean and to the point. Bit of spicy phenolic and buttery diacetyl within the maltiness, sweet on the tongue with a slight grassy flavour. An ok brew, not out of control or nasty, just ok.

Feb 18, 2002
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WilliamPhilaPa from Pennsylvania

3.2/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a yellow-ish / off white straw color, I guess the aroma was that of taffy as Jason had suggested (I really could not pin it down) The taste is grainy and a bit of peppery spice, a little tart, a little skunky flavor too, but not bad, but nothing great. It was however very clean and crisp, almost a watery flavor to it. I just grabbed it becuase it was from Lithuania...I think this is my first brew from Lithuania...

May 10, 2002
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htomsirveaux from Texas

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

Got this in a little beershop in Galveston TX. Bought it because I'd never seen it before, and I suspect that it might be a bit old. Pours with an enormous white head. Extremely pale clear yellow color. Smells fruity, tart. Very light watered down malty taste. Slightly sweet. Has a staleness throughout. Very light body.

Mar 25, 2002
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Pegasus from Texas

3.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Hazy medium golden color with a modest white head which utterly vanishes in less than a minute. Slight carbonation with quite a bit of suspended sediment, no lacing.

Aroma: Strong aroma of freshly baked bread, quite pleasant, there are also sweet caramel and honey notes.

Taste: Begins with tingling carbonation, rather sweet malts, grassy notes, slight butterscotch, finishes with a lingering mild and slightly spicy bitterness.

Mouth feel: Not unpleasant, nothing notable.

Drinkability/notes: Overall, interesting, and very different from most ales that I have encountered. I suspect it would go very well with cheese and sausage that traditional meal served with beer. I will probably buy this occasionally.

May 04, 2003
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear yellow body topped by a good-sized frothy white head. It holds well at first, dropping to just over 1-finger in height, but eventually dissolves into just a thin collar and some whispy surface covering. In comparison to many other Eastern European beers, it's appearance is actually pretty good. The nose expresses some light, sweetish, and softly bready malt backed by some herbal/grassy hops. It's not a really clean nose, but whatever's there isn't detectable as a "defect". It's light bodied and fairly crisp in the mouth; accentuating the bitterness and helping to sharpen the hop flavors. An herbal/mildly spicy and even somewhat floral hoppiness plays a big role here. The mildly bready malt balances well, but seems dull in comparison to the hop side of things. I think a little less adjunct would help this beer immensely! A rhaspy bitterness helps to meld the malt and hop flavors - tying everything together nicely - but it stands one step short of really establishing its presence. It finishes dry with a flourish of herbal hoppiness and some mineral character that lays at the back of the throat. Overall, a decent beer that's well-balanced with a nice maltiness, an interesting hop character, and some satiating bitterness.

Mar 15, 2003
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Morris729 from Texas

3.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy golden color with a foamy white head that soon fades into a thin lace. Nose is exactly like the bag of Mrs. Baird’s Split-Top Honey Wheat Bread that I opened this morning. Taste also follows suit with notes of sweet malts, fresh grains, and a touch of honey. If I were to mix in some ham and cheese, this would be a repeat of my lunch. Interesting to say the least. Not a bad beer but not really a good one either.

Mar 25, 2003
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kindestcut from North Carolina

1.37/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

My God.

I figured I had experienced bad beer. However, I had never had a Zhiguly Beer. Now that my eyesight has returned, I can write this review.

This "beer" pours a cloudy, dark gold. On the downside (one of the many downsides) there are particles of God knows what suspended in the liquid, like hundreds of little stink bombs just waiting to explode in your mouth. I know this is normal for this beer because folks at the Central Market in Plano have posted a sign on their cooler explaining that this is normal. In other words, we don't want this filth back!

The head was incredibly vigorous. This, and the fact my tongue didn't melt, saves this beer from getting a "1" rating from me. I was mesmerized by the head. At least it was interesting to watch, kind of like a wildebeest being attacked by a lion...it's a fascinating sight but it's probably a bad idea to get in the middle of it.

The odor is not inviting. There's a strong aroma of caramel and brown sugar. The flavor is not good but not the worst in the world...maybe it's just the worst in the western world. Roasted malt dominates the flavor...as in I can taste nothing else. There is no balance because there's nothing to balance. It's easy to juggle one apple.

The mouthfeel is disappointing only because the incredible carbonation evident at the pour has dissipated to nearly nothing. It's also a bit disconcerting because I expect the mystery particles to get caught between my teeth. I would hate to think I would have to floss after drinking a beer.

If this is what I would have to look forward to if I ever visited Lithuania then I think I'll go to Latvia instead. From this point on, I shall refer to this travesty as "liquid cancer."

May 21, 2003
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assurbanipaul from Texas

3.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Call me ebanashka, but I like this beer.

This is a very complex beer with some serious Soviet funk. Wheaty, thick and cloudy with very little hops, possibly a new style altogether. Fruity, yeasty nose and taste; rich buttery flavor, bananas, apricots, malt and probably a few more that I can't put my finger on. Slightly sweet finish.

I had difficulty dissecting this beer and deciding if it was good or not. I can only attribute that to my highly Westernized taste buds, unfamiliar with the ingredients of this culture (I have the same trouble with Indian food).

Sep 06, 2003
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granger10 from Wisconsin

1.41/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

500 ml bottle pours a light copper color with a medium off white head. Malty, bready, biscuity aroma but there's also this metallic well water smell I'm getting which is throwing the other flavors off. Taste is also bready and strong on the pale malts. The water however seems to have been of very low quality. Tastes like sewer water. Lots of nasty minerals and salt and sour flavors. I can't justify drinking any more of this. What might have been decent has been ruined by the water content they put in this beer. Run away.

Mar 18, 2006
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RoyalT from Ohio

2.46/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – Light, hazy yellow in color with some good carbonation and a decent head that left a little lacing.

Smell – The sharp grain stands out, almost completely covering the smallish grassy hops.

Taste – Hmmm. Very different. The grain loses its edge (creamed grain maybe) and the grassy hops come on a bit stronger. The finish is thankfully clear of any disgusting sweetish notes, so I guess that’s a good thing.

Mouthfeel – I enjoyed the mouthfeel of this ale. There’s a bit of jazzy carbonation, it’s somewhat light, and the dry finish satisfies.

Drinkability – If you’re able to get this one down it’s going to have to be the first bottle of the night. All and all not as bad as I thought, though.

Jun 12, 2004
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akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 500 mL bottle poured into a chimay goblet. The ale is cold.

Appearance: The ale is a very pale yellow color. It poured with a decent head and is clear, no visible particles or sediment. Appearance definitely strikes me as too light.

Smell: The ale has a light malt aroma and earthy hop presence (the aroma conjures up Ruddles Country Ale). There may be corn or other adjunct there too.

Taste: The beer has a malty taste, not to overpowering, that is nicely balanced by a light hop note. The hop note provides bit of a bite, just enough to let you know it is there.

Mouthfeel: The hops are muted, clearly European hops. They make for a nice earthy taste on the palate. The bubbles do not overpower either, providing a nice cleansing.

Drinkability: With a low abv and smooth taste, the ale is very drinkable. I'd even consider it a quality session beer.

Jan 23, 2006
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Latarnik from New Jersey

2.75/5  rDev -3.2%

May 25, 2014
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ernie from Russian Federation

1.84/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured yellow (not golden in any imaginable way) straw, formed a fluffy ephemere head.

Smell is metallic, with lots of bread/yeast flavors. Taste is grainy and unpleasant. Sweetish with sour tones present. Hops seem artificial. Aftertaste is equally unpleasant.

Could give five 'Ones' but won't do it. There is a sound excuse: this poor beer makes an excellent rought stuff for home-made bread.

Jun 12, 2006
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Psilo707 from Korea (South)

3.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light, hazy yellow, sitting underneath a frothy and very slowly dissipating white head foam. Standard color for what I believe is going to be a standard beer.

Not good. Not good at all. Smells like old water and chemicals that have been sitting in an old barrel for years.

I won't say it's too bad. Not nearly as bad as some of the reviewers here seem to think. It beats a lot of the standard, popular American beers that most people in the states are used to. But there is nothing special about the taste whatsoever. I find that I can chug it and will not feel any bad tastes stack up on each other - mostly a good thing if you're not into drinking great beer. But for myself, this beer leaves much to be desired on the taste-buds.

Standard. Absolutely nothing of interest to say. It goes down fairly quickly. I would call it "smoothly", but this beer isn't of enough quality to warrant such adjectives.

As previously mentioned, if you're looking for a beer to chug and get drunk off of, this is probably not a bad bet. Overall I don't see any reason to buy this over other choices though.

Overall: Mediocre. I won't say it's as bad as some here claim, but I would never give it more props than it deserves, which isn't very many. Average beer from Lithuania that's worth a taste to beer drinkers. But probably no more than one.

Oct 18, 2008
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Bill235 from Ohio

4/5  rDev +40.8%

May 10, 2013
Zhiguly Beer from Gubernija Brewery
Beer rating: 74 out of 100 with 16 ratings