Posts Tagged ‘mocne’

Beer Review: Żywiec Tatra Mocne

11 September, 2008

NEXT up from this batch of Polish beers is a can of Tatra Mocne from none other than Grupa Żywiec. The same chaps as those behind the Żywiec Polish Prized Original Beer that you can find in every off-license and supermarket in London. That beer was a perfectly adequate lager. But this is a strong “Mocne”. That pits it against the barely fit for human consumption Okocim Mocne, Dębowe Mocne and Warka Strong. To beat them, all this needs to be is better than ghastly. Here then, is a Żywiec Tatra Mocne.

Just like yesterday’s Okocim Harnas, the whole thing is covered in some sort of promotion. And again, I have little idea what’s written on it. It looks like a competition to win tickets, digital cameras and, oddly, chairs. As usual, all translations, pronunciations and opinions from Polish people are very welcome.

In the big roundel, things look a little familiar. That fellow with the hat and pipe looks a tiny bit similar to the lumberjack chap from Okocim Harnas. Am I imagining it?

Żywiec Tatra Mocne logo

There are a couple medals too. One of them has the year 1856. I don’t know what the awards are. But I’m pleased that it has them. The bottom of the can is all obscured by pictures of mountains and the promotional details. But around the top border, I’m going to take a wild guess at what it says. Does it say something about it being “strong with character”? Translators, you know what to do.

This can actually has different things printed on four ‘sides’. Unlike most others that repeat the same thing over and over again. On the ‘back’, this one has what looks like the full terms and conditions for the promotion.

Żywiec Tatra Mocne back of can

Next is the barcode ‘side’ of the can.

Żywiec Tatra Mocne barcode side of can

As well as the barcode, it has a sensibly large anti-drink-drive message. It also has all the details about the brewer. Which, it tells us, is Grupa Żywiec from Żywiec. There’s a telephone number and email address for those who need such details. They have a website address too which is www.tatra.pl. There didn’t seem to be an English language section when I checked it. What I could work out is that there’s also a regular Tatra and you can get them in bottled form too.

On the other ‘side’ of the can are the vital statistics. At least that’s what I think they are. It’s hard to be sure when you can’t understand the language.

Żywiec Tatra Mocne other side of can

First among the details is that this is the ever-popular 500ml size. Next is the only other detail I can understand; the alcoholic volume. Which appears to be 7%. Without a doubt, this is a “mocne”.

Normally, my expectations from a Polish “mocne” beer are low. Very low. But this one talks about awards and character. Will it be better than the rest? How will it taste? Should you try one? It’s time to find out.

There’s no problem with an insane head this time. Everything is under control with a layer small of froth which quickly dissipates. What you’re left with is a dark amber drink with a patch of bubbles floating on the surface.

How does it smell? Horribly artificial. This is one of the most synthetic and unpleasant smelling I’ve ever smelt. I think they were aiming to make it smell of a blend of malted barley and other beer ingredients. What they created instead was a smell of industrial cleaning fluid.

How does it taste? Almost as bad as the smell. Three gulps in, and my tongue is being assaulted by the strongest and least palatable flavours and tastes since the gone-off milk I accidentally had a few weeks ago. What hits you is a building taste of chemicals. This taste culminate in a bitter, lingering aftertaste. It lingers, seemingly forever. The whole experience is like drinking something as natural as Red Bull.

Is there anything to like about Żywiec Tatra Mocne? Well, it has bags of taste, I can give it that. It’s not too gassy. And it’s an effective means of rapidly becoming sloshed. It’s so strong that you soon forget how bad it tastes.

What are you liable to hate about Żywiec Tatra Mocne? Much of it. It has about the worst taste I’ve ever witnessed. It tastes rancid and artificial. I’ve had Tesco Value ready meals that taste more natural.

To sum up, Żywiec Tatra Mocne is strong yet synthetic and horrifyingly bad. Try it if you must, but you can easily choose something better. If you need a strong lager, then Skol Super or Carlsberg Special Brew taste marginally better, are cheaper and easier to find, and are two-percent stronger. If you want taste and drinkability, then almost every other can or bottle on the shop shelf will be better. There is no reason for you to suffer this monstrosity.

Rating: 0.7

Have you tried Żywiec Tatra Mocne? What did you think of it? Can you translate anything?

Do please leave your translations, corrections, opinions, requests and recommendations here. And check my next post for another Polish beer.

Beer Review: Piwowarska Dębowe Mocne

17 May, 2008

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.

Beer Review: Okocim Mocne

15 May, 2008

REMEMBER my review of above-average Polish beer Okocim? Well, I’ve since found a corner shop that sells it in bottles instead of cans. And, best of all, they sell a more exciting version: Okocim Mocne

Okocim Mocne bottle

This bottle cost a premium £1.59 pence. So let’s hope it’s worth it.

The bottle and labels have a much darker and more foreboding look. My first thought was that this must be a stout or a dark ale. But after closer inspection, I think the word “Mocne” must simply mean “strong”. Or, if you’re Polish, “medium”.

The neck label kicks things off with pictures of what look like medals. But they’re much too small to read. It does start the stylish gold on black colour scheme which I like though.

Okocim Mocne neck label

The main, front label is where the imagery gets serious. An eagle symbolises one thing: power. And this label uses it to great effect.

Okocim Mocne front label

Most of the text at the top, I can’t read. Apart from the part that says “Strong Beer”. Under the Okocim Mocne logo and name, is that year again: 1845. A year that makes Okocim one of Polands most established beers.

At the bottom of the label are all the usual details. That this was brewed by Okocim in Poland. That the bottle holds 500 millilitres. And the alcohol volume. Except that little detail is worth re-reading. And that’s because it’s 7%. That brings this beer into the territory of strong ales. And nearly up to the level of the strong ciders and lagers. If it’s even moderately drinkable then, it will be doing very well indeed compared to its UK counterparts.

Just like the can, the back label doesn’t give up many details.

Okocim Mocne back label

There’s a UK consumer helpline number. And a Polish Infolinia number. There is also a set of ingredients in both Polish and English. For the very curious, the ingredients are water, hops, malt and yeast. Just like the can, the Polish side of the ingredients mentions the name of European brewing colossus, Carlsberg. Plus, there’s a mention of the town, or city, I really don’t know, called Brzesko. What is that place like? It sounds delightful. Lastly, there’s a web address of www.okocim.pl, but you might need to look for links to the English language pages.

In the glass, I’m a little disappointed to see that it’s not as black as crude oil. But rather, it’s light shade of amber. It’s also big-headed. But wait a few moments, and it settles down to a reasonable, creamy layer. There are a lot of bubbles in there, so I’m preparing myself for a lot of burping.

Okocim Mocne poured into a glass

The smell is not exactly distinctive. Yeast, hops and malted barley are the order of the day. But its strength makes it slightly more pungent than usual.

Three gulps in, and I’m already burping. This is a gassy beer. It’s also surprisingly full-bodied. No wateriness at all. The strong flavour that hit me was familiar. It reminded me of the mega-strong lagers. It’s a sharp, tangy bitterness. And it lingers on the back of your tongue. Different in character to the hoppy bitterness of ales. I don’t like the taste, but at least you get a lot of it.

It could be refreshing if you serve it cold. And, for the strength, it’s easy to drink. At least compared to the super-high-strength lagers on the market.

But it’s hard to see past the downsides. Okocim Mocne will make you burp. And the taste is as pleasant as blue tongue disease. If getting drunk is your aim, then there’s no reason to choose this, over the cheaper, and more potent lagers (9% vol.) and ciders (7.5% – 8.4% vol.) on the market.

I truly wanted to like Okocim Mocne. Especially after enjoying Okocim Beer. But there is simply no reason for you to spend your money on this beer.

Rating: 1.8

Have you tried Okocim Mocne? What did you think?
What does “Mocne” mean? Can you translate anything else from the labels? What reputation does it have in Poland? Are other strong Polish beers better? Or worse? If you have any corrections, additions, opinions, suggestions or ideas, do please leave them in the comments.


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