TIME for another strong cider. Recently, the only other strong cider I’ve reviewed was K from Gaymer which weighed in at 8.4% volume. This one is Strongbow Super from the HP Bulmer Ltd empire, and comes in at 7.5%. It’s about the same price and just as easy to buy as K, which raises the question: will it be 0.9% better tasting?
Like most of the very strong lagers and ciders, this can doesn’t list packaging as one of its strengths. Most of it is taken up with that large and monochrome image of the famous Strongbow warrior image. Apart from the name, and very prominent red “Super” and the little text “Extra Strong Dry Cider”, there’s not much else to mention.
Rotate the can around however, and you can find the small print squashed into a tiny strip down the can. And even this is intercepted by one of the illustrations of an arrow.
Besides the barcode, perhaps the most noticeable thing on there is the 3.8 UK units of alcohol. Being the socially responsible purveyors of low price strong cider that they are, they also include the maximum recommended daily units for men and women. Four for men and three for women in case you were wandering.
As well as the Hereford, England, postal address address for HP Bulmer Ltd, there’s also a careline number. Plus there an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s also a little description on there telling us that this will be a “Strong Dry Cider With Sugar And Sweetener”. And that it “Contains Sulpher Dioxide”. Whatever that is. There’s little else to say about this 500 millilitre can. The only way to say anything more, will be to drink it.
In the glass, and it’s a very deep, dark yellow. Roughly the same shade as mid morning pee.
It has an equally strong, if better smelling odour about it, though. A little different to the very strong apple-y smell of K, but still mouth-watering for any cider fan.
A couple of gulps in, and immediately, there’s something different to the taste compared to K. Where K was sweet, Strongbow Super is dry. And to me, that makes it less drinkable.
It’s no disaster by any means. It’s still very easy to drink considering how strong it is. And the apple-y taste and refreshment that cider is all about are still there.
But a few more gulps in, and surprisingly, I’m not finding it as nice as I was expecting. Aside from the dryness that makes some bitterness and sourness come to the surface, there is something else to make me think twice about it. Yes it’s refreshing. Compared to a stout. But there are beers out there that are more refreshing. And this, being a cider should surpass them all in levels of refreshment. But it doesn’t.
In short then, Strongbow Super wasn’t as good as I had been hoping. Compared to K, it’s not as strong and its dry quality makes it less drinkable. As least to my taste buds. I’m almost certain that some of you out there will prefer the fact that it’s dry enough to rescue the south of England from a medium-sized flood. But I didn’t. Which is why I’m only giving it…
Strongbow Super isn’t the only 7.5% cider out there though. Close to it on the off-licence shelf is something called Diamond White. It’ll be interesting to see if that can do any better.
Have you tried Strongbow Super or any other strong ciders? What did you think? Got any recommendations or any you think should be avoided?
Then leave a comment in the little box below.