Beer Review: Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne

Okocim Mocne was a disappointment. But it wasn’t the only Polish “Mocne” beer in the shop. So, to see if there are better, or worse, Mocne’s out there, here’s another one: Dębowe Mocne. At a very premium £1.69 from the corner shop where I found them both, Dębowe Mocne is 10 pence pricier. Let’s hope it’s worth it.

Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne bottle

First impressions are that it looks almost identical to the Okocim Mocne. Dark colours with splashes of gold seem to be the norm, when it comes it strong Mocne beer.

The neck label simply has a smaller version of the main logo.

Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne neck label

Quite simply, a picture of a tree. Not as powerful as Okocim’s eagle. And an unusual choice of imagery.

The big, main, front label has no English. So it’s down to you. If you can translate anything, do please leave a message at the end of this post.

Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne front label

Besides the name, the only detail I can make sense of, is the alcoholic volume. Which, like Okocim’s Mocne, is 7%. Like every other Polish beer, there’s a 14.5% “WAG”, whatever that means. Why does every Polish beer have this percentage? What does it mean?

“Naturalna Moc” must be hinting at “natural ingredients”. But “Bogaty Smak”? Possibly the two funniest Polish words I’ve ever failed to understand, together in one place. Priceless.

The back label doesn’t answer any more questions. At least not in English.

Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne back label

There is what looks like a medal. A 2006 “Grupa Media Partner” “Laur Konsumenta” medal. Does that mean anything to anyone reading?

Next to the medal is a paragraph I can’t understand. And a bar cutting across the label with the words “Dębowe Laurowe”.

Then we get to the ingredients. This is always a good place to look for clues. And this one yields a surprise. The familiar name brewing name of Kompania Piwowarska SA from Poznań. Familiar, because it’s what was on that can of Żubr a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it doesn’t raise my expectations. The only thing good about Żubr was its television commercials.

Also on the back label is an “Infolinia” information line telephone number. And confirmation that this is a 500 millilitre bottle. But you could probably tell that from it being exactly the same size and shape as countless other bottles on the shop shelf.

With little learnt from the outside of the bottle, it’s time to answer the big question about what’s inside the bottle. Is it any good?

In the glass, there’s a good, creamy head.

Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne poured into a glass

It’s dark amber in colour. And, unlike Okocim Mocne, doesn’t look all that fizzy.

The smell is utterly unremarkable. Like any cheap yet strong beer or lager, it smells of malted barley and yeast. It’s not the most pleasant of beer aromas.

And the taste isn’t any better. A ghastly bitter and sour taste prevails. And lingers. Not the fine, sophisticated bitterness of a proper beer or ale. Dębowe Mocne tastes like the worst of the high-strength lagers.

On the other hand, at least it’s full of flavour. Even if that flavour is as delecious as a dose of ebola virus. And, if you chill it enough to dull the taste, you could call it refreshing. It’s also not as gassy as Okocim Mocne.

Is Dębowe Mocne better than Okocim Mocne? No. Amazingly, it manages to be even worse and less drinkable. If you want a very strong lager or beer, then Tennent’s Super Strong Lager or Carlsberg Special Brew are stronger, cheaper and at least as drinkable. There’s even less reason to buy this, than there was with Okocim Mocne? One to avoid unless you’re a “Mocne” fan.

Rating: 0.6

Have you tried Dębowe Mocne? Can you translate anything on it? What did you think of this dreadful beer? What sort of reputation does it have in Poland?
Comments, corrections, ideas and suggestions in the usual place please.

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38 Responses to “Beer Review: Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne”

  1. island1 Says:

    ‘Naturalna moc’ and ‘bogaty smak’ mean ‘natural strength’ and ‘rich flavour’

    ‘Laur konsumenta’ means something like ‘consumer medal’ or literally ‘laurel of consumers.’ I notice Warka won the same thing recently, doesn’t seem to amount to much. I had a look at the photo of the back label but it’s hopelessly out of focus, either you’d had one too many when you took it or I’ve had one too many before trying to read it.

    There is a website in (kind of) English http://www.kp.pl/eng/piwo_debowe.html

    My favourite quote: “an excellent proposal for real men who expect from beer truly beer-like sensations”

    • sweet pete Says:

      that is the most boring explenation of the two most funny words i have ever heard, also possibly the best beer in the world next to okocim!

      • tom Says:

        probably you should use google translator…

        I was drinking this bear 2 days ago, and i was quite good, better than e.g. heineken which smells like water and tastes like water.

  2. island1 Says:

    I forgot to mention ‘Dębowe’ means ‘Oak’, hence the tree on the label – a reference to the oak barrels it is allegedly matured in.

    Btw, if you’re interested in Poland check out Polandian:

    http://polandian.wordpress.com/

  3. Dan Sandford Says:

    I’m sorry mate but I think it’s much better than Carlsberg or Super Tennents! Debowe Mocne is a legendary beer and one of the reasons I moved to Poland!

  4. klok Says:

    Its like a an angel pissed over my tong

  5. Ewa Says:

    huh..I read it and I’m shocked..If you drinked beers like Calsberg or Heineken it’s nothing strange that your throat is not used to such a sophisticated beer like Debowe. It’s a very good polish beer, just like Żubr or Lech(those 2 ain’t strong)…Sooo..if you are not a fan of strong beers why you drink it and give your opinion about it?

    And it’s opinion in Poland: I love this beer maybe you are right about the smell, but like for me every beer smells the same maybe not flavoured beers…but most of beers smalles the same…People in Poland mainly drink Tyskie and Żywiec..like for me those are pretty awful. If you’ll ever have an occasion try Lech or Warka those may ‘fit’ you better..

    Besides if you have problems with reading and understanding polish maybe you should start learning languages, huh?

  6. Adam Says:

    14.5% “WAG” refers to Platto scale I think. Dębowe has average reputation in Poland considering beers from large companies. Unfortunately you will not get good beer outside Poland as they are brewed by small local breweries. And all this stuff from Kompania Piwowarska, Żywiec – Heineken Group and Carlsber Poland are trully crap…

  7. Helge Says:

    Jeg har smagt en ½ liter af denne, som dåseøl, og syntes den er aldeles uovertruffen. Jeg fik den foræret at nogle herhjemme arbejdende gæstearbejdere, og syntes den var så god at jeg gemte dåsen, så jeg kunne huske den, hvis jeg fandt den på de danske hylder. Det er endnu ikke sket, og hvis nogen ved hvordan jeg fremskaffer denne øl, uden at skulle rejse til Polen, er jeg meget modtagelig for oplysninger, om dette, men gerne, så lokalt på Hobro som muligt.

  8. Daimoniac Says:

    Afternoon, myself and some friends run a night at a bar that stocks Polish beers, and i’ve been through an awful lot of them – what i’ve found personally is that the Mocne beers are pretty tasty – from the 4 i can remember off hand, Debowe was easily and is still easily the best of the lot – it tastes a lot better than the fosters / carling / carlsberg, thats for certain!

    i drink this on a regular basis, but its got to be ice cold to get the flavour – we even got some of the fosters drinkers who said they just stick to what they know on to it.

    taste wise, its really smooth, with a non-sickly yet sweet aftertaste that can only really be compared to a real ale/IPA if you’re looking for a british equivilent. on a similar note, it is quite deceptive strength wise. and is a little too drinkable for its strength.

    hope this helps, and enjoy the beer!

  9. MARKLIKESBEER Says:

    BOGATY SMAK translated is rich savour I think , have no problems with this beer

  10. albert j. johnson Says:

    just trying zamkowe mocne 2day. 1st mocne; 1st polish. iam american and like beer. depending on when, where, what cooking, i like ‘em light, dark, thick, ale, malt, pilsner, lager, whatever. so far i like every beer i’ve ever tasted except anything brewed in africa; japan; korea; china; or by bud; miller; corona; pabst. i don’t consider high gravity to be beer.

    this mocne is real beer. old time, real beer. it’s good beer. i don’t want to drink ‘em on football sunday afternoon, but after a good steak, watching the sky from a ski lodge deck… alas… i regress.

    whistlersmom from las vegas

  11. Muzza Says:

    I can’t see how is this a dreadful beer, it certainly isn’t the best I’ve had but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Well i have to say this is the best tasting beer i have ever tasted.
    I have tryed unikalny smak/mocne/debowe/ and soon will be trying some others.
    This beer is 7% and taste crisp and smooth unlike the super brews tennents carlsberg 9%. Which will cost you considerably more than the polish beers… CRACK HEAD PILL STOCKS THEM IN SOUTH WALES NEWPORT AND DONT FORGET IT!

  13. condor Says:

    ive recently been prescribed smak by my doctor, i thought i could handle it but i couldnt,the 20 mil’s u know the blue ones doc,were almost as good as the debowe. but being in pill and all those drugs, drink and beauty queen hookers i couldnt resist!

    im writing this from st cadocs library now, i broke out of my straight jacket like mel gibson my hero.

    pill massive

  14. TG Boleyn Says:

    Didn’t look at the other comments, so I don’t know if this point has been made. In regards to your comment about the tree on the label, the reason it’s there is cause Debowe is Polish for Oak. As in the tree. Debowe is stored in oak casks during the brewing process. Mocne means ‘strong’ The name is literally Oak Strong. I like the play on words.

    As for the color. Debowe has a bit more red in it than Okocim. It’s also got a bit sweeter after taste, on account of the sugars used, which are known to be slightly singed for a carmeling effect.

    ‘WAG’ is per weight, much like the proof or per volume measurements on spirits. ‘Naturalny Moc’ means naturally strong. It’s pointing out that unlike some Polish strong beers, it’s not loaded with spirits to up the alc content. ‘Bogaty Smak’ means rich flavor (taste).

    Finally, I was never a fan of beers before spending five years in Poland. Debowe was the beer that changed that for me, as it has actually sweeter and fuller taste than any American beer I’ve had. It’s possible the bottle you got had soured, as is the case from time to time in Polish bottling. Very common with Zubr (Bison) beer bottled by the same company. I’ve had every Polish beer on the market, and Debowe is the only one I actually enjoy. I wish I could find here stateside, but no luck as of yet.

    Perhaps you’d be better suited to a nice weak Tyskie beer, if you don’t like Debowe. Just a thought.

  15. Billy's Booze Blog » Debowe Mocne Says:

    [...] my main source of info for polish beer, even if I disagree with almost every one of his reviews, Hywel’s Big Log) I now know some things. Dębowe means Oak, named so as it’s matured in oak barrels, and the [...]

    • Milena Says:

      Fun observation. Often, when I see signs like Cold Beer: $3 I wodner if I could start a store next door that would sell Warm Beer $1.50 .Lots of other analogies apply.

  16. Ekson Says:

    Thats my favorite beer of all its just my type of taste, ziwiec is also one of my choises of great beer from poland, take care

  17. Anonymous Says:

    all polish beer is far superior than any common lagers found in U.K e.g warka,okocim,tatra,deboew,lech,tyskie,zwiec etc wipe the floor with the watery other rans

  18. Hippo Says:

    BEST. BEER. EVER.

    I worked together with a Polish guy once, and everytime he went home to poland i had him smugle in a few cases for me. Sadly i had my last one about 3 years ago :’(

  19. Cristian Says:

    ok … nice beer . remebers home … ROMANIA
    we have the same bear named Stejar (translation for Debowe or Oak tree) just with longer history. we talk here about the old communist times :0) when we enjoyed Stejar together with Zimbru and Azuga.

    try the link …. http://www.bereastejar.ro/#page=/esenta-tare/1261/
    comparison.

    alcohol … same
    strong taste … the same
    Logo … identical
    only difference is done by the slight more clear look and feel of the Romanian Stejar comparing to Debowe. probably because of the different water spring.

  20. Tom Says:

    “laur konsumenta” is a sort of food prize in poland there’s a butter that has it, some juices and other shit as well…

  21. blau Says:

    Good news! Dębowe have a new design :)

  22. Chrissie Says:

    After reading this I was terrified to try my my Bogaty smak, but it’s actually pretty darned nice.

  23. OCK Says:

    Thank you to (almost) all of the previous contributors. I have just Googled Debowe Mocne. Somewhere in my retirement no doubt aided by the tearing down of the accursed ‘Wall’ l have discovered East European lagers.Today is my first sample of this one given to me by a friend who keeps one of the best independent wine emporiums in England. My current tipple is Stastrava from CZ.
    I am looking forward now to my post-dinner drink, thanks again

  24. Klinsi Says:

    Try Zywiec Porter and review it :)

  25. sarah Says:

    i think this beer is awesome, im a stella drinker, if this was on tap at the pub, id choose it over stella :)

  26. dan Says:

    Tastes like a flat pint of lager, horrible taste. No wonder the corner shop was selling 8 cans for £7 pounds. Just brought the one to try thank god i did not buy 8!

  27. Rhodri Says:

    I think you were a little harsh on this beer, but not a lot. I found it inoffensive, which for a lager is already an improvement on most. I was tempted to try it, despite my previously bad experiences with Polish lager, because of the very nice looking packaging which made me think that maybe this would be better than the rest, but I was wrong.
    It’s a shame that the beer on sale in Wales for the consumption of the Polish workers is always their bad lager because there are some good Polish beers. The strong porter for example is very good.

  28. Jack Bauer Says:

    I’m drinking it now. Love the fact I can’t read a single word on the can. By the time I finish it I doubt I will be able to focus on a single word on the can!

  29. Anonymous Says:

    The tree is an oak tree you tit and the name translates as “Strong as Oak” you cant drink and you should stick to cola you fag

  30. Anonymous Says:

    smak = taste (cognate of the German word “Geschmack,”)
    I like this beer better than Tennents or Carlsberg strong beers. Definitely better than Stella, which IMO is chemical fizz.
    My local Polish shop sells cans of Debowe Mocne for a quid each.

  31. Johnny John John the third Says:

    Its better than all the usual crap you will find in the British off licence, if you think fosters and carlberg are nice then stay away cos your a lady boy.

  32. Andy the welsh asrehole Says:

    They sell this stuff in North Wales for 95 pence per can, it tastes far better then there 9% alcohol beer cousins and is strong enough for my hard drinking co-workers to pallet, this was recommended by one of our Polish co-workers, we like it just because it is a good value beer, highly recommended for the harder drinker on a budget who doesn’t like spirits.

  33. DC Says:

    I won’t berate the reviewer, cos taste in beer can divide opinion in the same way as politics or sports. But for me the flavour of this beer is great, smooth with a long, slightly bitter finish. And, as other people have commented, more refined than your Special Brews and Super Ts. I buy this regularly.

  34. bearwoodbrewhouse Says:

    This is probably the only beer I have had that is so awful I couldn’t finish the glass.

  35. t Says:

    this is a nice beer with a full favour and smooth , if you are looking for a beer which you can drink can after can this is not for you! as it
    is quite strong perfect for relaxing or with a ploughmans lunch.

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