Beer Review: Warka Strong

REMEMBER yesterday’s look at the surprisingly just-above-average Warka? This time, I’m testing its stronger stable mate. The appropriately named Warka Strong.

Warka Strong can

This can looks completely different. The gold, black and red colour scheme looks just like Strongbow Cider. But whatever lurks inside this can, isn’t going to be cider.

The front of the can has words such as “Unikalny Smak” and “Najwyższa Jakość”. To the translators out there, any help with this can, would be great. On that subject, thank you to everyone who has been commenting and translating the last few Polish beers I’ve had a look at. It’s good to hear from people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Back to the can, the top has a picture of someone. Presumably named “Kazimierez Pułaski”. Not the creator of this beer, nor the head brewer. According to Wikipedia, Kazimierez Pułaski was a member of Poland’s nobility, and a military commander in the 18th century. Not an obvious choice for the front of a beer can. And not the first. Broughton put an Old Jock on their strong Scottish ale.

Also on the front, is the proudly displayed “Warka” name. And the 1478 date. As that predates even Kazimierez Pułaski by a few hundred years, its doubtful Poland’s medieval population enjoyed Strong. What is undeniable on the front of the can is the alcoholic volume. 7% puts it in “Mocneterritory. Hopefully, Strong won’t be as appalling as other strong Polish beers.

Just like Warka, there’s a side dedicated to a big, sideways logo. Useful if you like to store your cans on their sides. Presumably.

Warka Strong other side of can

Whilst the barcode and ingredients are thrown together on their own ‘side’ of the can.

Warka Strong barcode side of can

I say thrown, because some text is orientated one way. While other bits of text are at 90-degrees. Would it be so hard to put them all the same way around?

Don’t bother trying to read it from the photo. My six year-old camera phone is as useless at seeing the mess in front of it, as a Burmese dictatorship.

Starting with the ingredients list… I can’t understand any of it. But the Grupa Żywiec name is still there. Reminding us that this beer comes from good stock. There’s also a consumer telephone line and an email address. So that you can tell them what you think of Strong. If you do do that, just remember to leave a comment at the end of this post, as I’d be interested to know what you think of this too.

Also on there are some other bits and pieces. There’s the usual “500 ml”. And a web address, which is www.strong.com.pl. A nice, but completely Polish language website.

Now it’s time to see. Is Strong any good? And is it better than what I’m expecting? Which isn’t very much at all.

In a glass, Strong is a darker shade of yellow than I was expecting. It also has practically no head. Just a few bubbles here and there. Nothing like Warka.

Warka Strong poured into a glass

The smell is different too. But equally indistinctive. Just a bland blend of malted barley and some other unidentifiable things. And it smells as natural as energy drink.

After a few gulps, the taste is… nearly as bad as I feared. It’s dominated by an awful, synthetic bitter taste. Similar to the “Mocne” beers of a few days ago. But it’s not quite as undrinkable as they were. Strong tones it down almost enough to be bearable.

Even though I’d rather taste the flavours of the river Thames, you can’t accuse Strong of lacking flavour. The Strong name is true in every sense with this beer. And if you serve it cold enough, and I mean ice-cold, the horrendous taste is hidden enough for you to call this beer clean, crisp and refreshing.

The downsides, start with the taste and flavour. You can’t escape the fact that Strong tastes like a blend of chemicals. And what’s more, that taste lingers at the back of your tongue. On top of that, it’s gassy.

Strong is not an easily drinkable, sophisticated beer. It’s the disappointing black sheep of the Warka and Żywiec family. But, it is marginally better than those other Polish strong beers. If you live in the Britain, there are better, stronger and cheaper lagers with which to get sozzled. If you live in Poland, try Strong before deciding which strong beer is your favourite.

Rating: 1.9

UPDATE: Better than the other Polish strong/mocne beers? What was I thinking? A few hours after posting, and sanity has (partly) returned. This chemistry set inspired flavour is much worse than either “Mocne”. Hence…
New Rating: 0.5

Have you tried Warka Strong? Can you help translate or explain anything?
What did you think of Strong? Is there anyone out there who actually likes this stuff?
Corrections, comments, thoughts, opinions, ideas, suggestions and information in the usual place please.

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36 Responses to “Beer Review: Warka Strong”

  1. Daniel Sandford Says:

    Well known as a girl’s beer – horrible, I agree!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    “Unikalny Smak” = unique taste
    “Najwyższa Jakość” = highest quality :P

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I wonder now what do you think about american beers I don’t even want to read it ….Warka puts to shame almost every american beer !!!

  4. Adam Says:

    Awful “beer”. Most of Polish Strong (or Mocne – it means the same) are made for people who want to get drunk and do not seek any real taste. There are some exeptions though.

  5. James Dietrich Says:

    I thought It was a very nice beer! But yesterday I found some kind of rubber washer in the bottom of the bottle while I was drinking it

  6. James Dietrich Says:

    Is there any way to contact the brewery to let them know of this??

  7. James Dietrich Says:

    anyone know how to contact them

  8. Alex Bartels Says:

    i must disagree with you people, i got a few cans for present and i liked it a lot. Normally i drink Belgian beers ( the stronger ones 7% – 11,5% ) and i must say, this beer seems to be VERY natural, tasteful and NO headaches after drinking a lot. I suppose you guys also DON’t like Tsech beer, ever heard that they did invent pilseners????

    I suppose you like Bush beer, which is 12%, it tastes like ale with jenever in it,,,,, yak,,,,

  9. BASRA Says:

    This beer is excuisite I have had a lot worse, you have to get used to the flavour it is an aquired tAste. Don’t knock it.

  10. will Says:

    i just brought it in a bottle and i quite like it, tastes good!

  11. Peter Says:

    I think, this is one of my favorite beers. Unique taste, unique beer.

  12. Bastiaan van Zwieten Says:

    Drinking one right … NOW!

    And I have to say, it’s not that bad.
    Gassy yes, but not more so than any regular pilsener.
    It tastes best at about 6° C, but is no high-flyer like Amsterdam Navigator.

    It is a welcome addition to the reasonably priced specials in my refrigerator!

  13. Chris Johnys Says:

    Hi all,

    I live in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK where there is a significant Polish community – enough to warrant every off-license selling several Polski beers and a shop nr. the swimming pool with many Polish foods (some of which I have tried and enjoyed very much so far!)

    I agree that the Mocnes such as the ones from Okocim and DeBouwe are basically like weaker forms of Tennents Super but ‘Strong’ from Warka has a rather better taste. These beers will never compete with, say Belgian Trappist-style top-fermented beers like Chimay or even the ubiquitous Duvel but they are Ok for what they are; strong and palatable drinks and a damn sight better to drink than Bud, UK brewed ‘Continental’ lagers, cheap wine, White Cider or similar.

    I praise the unikalny smak of this unusual beer and I challenge anyone who has ever enjoyed a covert can of Special Brew to dislike its comparably subtle aroma and taste!

    God bless Poland!

    CJ.

  14. Chris Johnys Says:

    PS: I have only tasted the bottled version of Warka Strong. My experience is that all canned Polish beer is not quite up to the standard of the bottled versions. I write after my first ever experience of ‘Strong.’

    PPS: Not too gassy; nothing like a Brit strong lager; as my senses recover I feel that it is better and not worse than I originally thought! I give it a Buddhist 8/10 for overall character – compares well in flavour to certain vintage Brit ales and US porters.

  15. will Says:

    how much does it cost in the UK? in OZ its about $5 (£2.50)ish.

  16. Polska Forever Says:

    Your special I think.
    Strong out does any beer. Hands down.

    Your drinking out of a can…give me a break. Minimum bottle, or at best out of the tap.

    Try again.

  17. margaret Says:

    I had it in Krakow on tap and I thought it was really good. It was my favorite of the Polish beers. I think it reminded me of Newcastle? But, that was on tap; I can’t speak for it bottled or canned. Polish beer is ok but nothing spectacular, I think.

  18. mark Says:

    I had a bottle of this stuff last night, and was quite impressed. As my wife said, it is a good summer beer. To me, it has a clean taste with a good amount of hops.

    I understand that bottles aren’t available to everyone, but for the guy who did the review, try finding a bottle, pour it in a nice pint glass, and enjoy. Also, don’t have any other beers before you re-try the Warka Strong.

    Also, a full-sized bar code has to be in that orientation on a can. So they probably put related items with it in that direction.

  19. Mike Says:

    The reason why Pulaski is on the can/bottle is because he is from the town of Warka. The Warka brewery was established in the late 1400s and yes his family did have some ownership of it at one point.

  20. Krol Maciej Says:

    this is my favorite beer in the world its sweet and tasty, no hangover and better then anything else in bc and you people that dont like it cant say its bad. just becouse you dont like it means nothing maybe you have bad taste

  21. Anonymous Says:

    having one right now…new to polish beers…quite interesting,but,yes,gassy!

  22. Matthew Van Matre Says:

    Rich and robust taste with small bite and a smooth aftertaste, like that of a German boch beer (think Trader Joe’s Boch). As strong as an amber ale but smooth like a lager. If you prefer weaker, watered down lagers at 3.5%, this beer will not please you. Interesting choice for a spokesperson: Kazimierez Pułaski – known for saving the life of George Washington; also, commander during the American Revolution. In fact, he has his own national holiday in the USA (I teach American History).

  23. Jay Says:

    The battle at Fort Pulaski (named for the aforementioned) during the Civil War in Savannah, GA is the first example of “rifled” cannons (meaning the ordinance spun upon leaving the barrel, thus greatly increasing accuracy and distance) being used in a successful siege of a heavily fortified military position. (I do not teach history but have had 3 warkas and am remembering random facts from middle school)

  24. Jay Says:

    Oh and I very much enjoy this beer. Almost a sweet/nutty flavor, but both strong and drinkable. I have only ever seen it in one store (here in AZ). Is this pretty easily found in other regions?

  25. Doluk Says:

    Op is a fagot

  26. arti Says:

    very good beer max jump max jazz max sweet beer

  27. kishkintai Says:

    One of my favorite beers. I had only tried a bottled version, haven’t seen a canned one in the stores I shop for it (it is in Chicago area). It seem to have a hint of a honey flavor. I saw it classified as lager. Has anyone mentioned Pulaski was a general of American Cavalry (well, at least for a while – he resigned due to lack of English and some character traits)? There many places in the USA named after him. Polish people I know in US and Poland regard Warka as the best polish beer.

  28. Mark Says:

    I am English, I like strong beers, duval, Kwack to name but a few.
    I saw a chap in my local shop buying this beer, and thought I would try one.

    I bought my regular beers (holsten pils) and one of these, , it is good, has to be served cold, nice a malty, you can’t really drink more than 2/3 (on a week night :-) .

    Once I tried it, my holstens seem bland and timid in comparison. Thanks Poland for a great beer. I am off to buy some now, just typing this I am salivating. Just call me Pavlov! :-)

  29. Eric Says:

    This is really good beer for the price. You must have a vagina.

  30. karol Says:

    I was surprised that a hero of the American Revolution is on the Bottle.
    If you go anywhere in New England, there are statues, streets, parks,etc. named after this Polish noble. My experience is that most Poles have no idea who he is and are shocked to see his name everywhere.

    They also surprised by the presence of Polish American clubs and churches. Especially, when they learn they are over hundred years old.

    Good piwo! Budweiser or Warka! No choice, but hard to find.

  31. Greg Says:

    To the guy or should I say young girl who reviewed this beer, I’d like to say you are way off. Strong is a great beer with a huge loyal following. Maybe you should drink some Michelob Ultra that seems like it would be your up of tea.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    I haven’t had Warka Strong since my last visit to Poland, which was at least five years ago, but I distinctly remember it being one of, if not my favorite brew.

    I don’t know what you base your assumptions of flavor on but it sounds to me like you’d prefer a nice urine-colored glass of sapporo.

    What leaves me doubtful as to your expertise in the field of beer is not only the quality of your description (chemical-tasting? what the hell does that even mean? Alcohol is fermented, that in itself is a chemical reaction.) but also the fact that you needed time to recover from a tall can of Warka :]

    On a side note, yes, it does have a reputation for being a women’s beer – not because of poor quality but rather due to the high sugar content (which, also explains why it’s gassy – more sugar added during the bottling/canning process means more carbonation)

    Frankly the only description you bothered to make about this beer is on how much you don’t like it. Not very informative, amigo – thumbs down.

  33. Bryla Says:

    Warka was tha best beer I ever had in 2001 before I left to usa now warka has different taste and difeerent bottle sticker and is not as good as it was 10 years ago on the sticker sais highest standards of beer but I think warka is a history its not the same beer as it was

  34. lawrence Says:

    http://www.thepolishvodkacompany.com
    all beer 99p per can
    zywiec okocim warka ect…

  35. Anonymous Says:

    The worst beer I have ever tasted.

  36. Clarisse Says:

    I would like to know where exactly this beer is made, its ingredient and the type of alcohol there is there.lot have come up in the press in terms of alcohol in cheap drinks ; e.g methylated spirit and all sorts of chemicals used in paint etc.A girl died some time ago in Thailand out of buying Gin, which turned out was toxic chemicals.I am afraid there are loads of such toxic beverages on the U.K market which is slowly killing drinkers, because the government has no control over them.I want the UK government to publish a list of approved lager/beers/ciders approved by the ministry of commerce in this country so that people can drink safely.I am afraid this STRONG beer is suspicious.

    Thank you

    Clarisse

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