Beer Review: Super Bock

THIS IS Super Bock. I bought it from a shop in Dalston. And it’s Portuguese. It’s the first Portuguese beer I’ve tried. And I can’t wait to find out if it’s worse than the beer produced by neighbouring Spain.

Super Bock bottle

First impressions are okay. It looks good. But what about that name? What is a “Bock”? And why is this one “Super”? The neck-label answers neither question.

Super Bock neck label

What it does have are pictures of what look like medals. Is Super Bock award-winning? Then there’s a couple of words you read all over the labels. They are even embossed into the glass. “Sabor Autêntico”. Portuguese speakers, do please leave your translations in the comments at the end of the post.

The front-label is a funny looking thing. A straightforward roundel wasn’t enough. So they attached a couple of blocks either side in which to cram the barcode and various small-print. Once again, translators, you are called into action.

Super Bock front label

Around the border of the roundel are some words I can almost understand. Something about winning 23 consecutive medals. Maybe this is award-winning?

Also on the border is a website address of www.superbock.pt. If you’re reading this blog in English however, you might want to go to http://www.superbock.pt/EN/home.html instead. Because that is where they have an English language website. A bit more poking around reveals that they are not just another Euro-fizz manufacturer, because they also have stout and what could be an ale.

Elsewhere on the front label, you can find the vital statistics. This bottle, as you probably guessed, is the ubiquitous 33cl. But the alcoholic content gives you a surprise. It comes in at 5.6% volume. Super Bock is shaping up to be a surprise.

There’s also a link to “Unicer” at www.unicer.pt. No, not a Portuguese UNICEF, but apparently the parent company behind Super Bock among other things. The English language version is at http://www.unicer.pt/gca/index.php?id=209&lng=en. The other web address on there didn’t work at all. If you can get through to www.serresponsavel.com, do please leave a comment saying what it’s all about.

Here is the back label.

Super Bock back label

It doesn’t say anything useful whatsoever. Actually, it does. But you would be hard pressed to find any in that big block of multilingual text.

The ingredients are “water, barley malt, unmalted cereals (maize), glucose syrup, hops”. Good on them for have a full ingredients list. Too many hide behind just ‘malted barley’. Finally, it was produced by Unicer S.A. in Leça Do Balio in Portugal.

What does Super Bock taste like? Is it as good as I’m hoping it will be? Or as bad as I’m cynically expecting? Should you buy it? Let’s find out…

Super Bock poured into a glass

Watch out for the head. It settles down after a minute, but it’s still much frothier than others. If it were sitting atop a darker hued beer, you wouldn’t mind. But on top of this pale yellow fizzy liquid, you must admit; it’s not what you’d call classy.

What does it smell of? It smells the way it looks. Lagery. Not bad. Just that ever-so-familiar blend of malted barley. Yes, there is a bit of variety between lagers. But this one isn’t an exception. It smells of nice, rich malted barley. But you’ve smelled the same thing dozens of times before. Not bad, just uninspired.

What does it taste of? The first couple of gulps are pleasant ones. For a lager. Which must be what this is. Even though the bottle doesn’t say the word “lager” anywhere on it, a lager must be what Super Bock is. There is no flavour. As you’d expect. Fortunately, the bitter “bite” that many lagers deliver isn’t really present either. What you get is a gentle bitter aftertaste that lingers for about half a minute.

What do I like about Super Bock? I like how inoffensive and easy to drink it is. Not as gentle and pleasant as yesterday’s Kirin Ichiban, but gentle for a lager nonetheless. And I like it for that. The drinkability must reflect the quality of the ingredients. Something that also gives it that clean, crisp and refreshing quality that lager style beers should aim for. It’s not gassy either, despite that erupting head. Best of all, it’s not licensed. This is the genuine article imported from Portugal. Not Luton, not Bedford, not Newcastle and not Edinburgh. And it didn’t cost any more to buy either. There’s a lesson in there for the brewing industry.

What don’t I like about Super Bock? As it appears to be a lager style of beer, quite a few things. The complete absence of flavour for one. The uninspired aftertaste for another. The utter lack of imagination that went into this beer is another. There’s so little taste or body, the experience is much like drinking water. In shops here in London, it’s also still a rare right, so hard to find for the time being.

How can I sum up this little bottle of Super Bock? It deserves a place on my list of good lagers. Not as interesting or as easy as some, but so many times better than others. It has the quality. When I visit Portugal, I’ll happily drink some more. And I think it would go well with a spicy takeaway. But, if you’ve got a shop shelf full of interesting bottles, you can do so much better.

Rating: 2.9

Have you tried Super Bock? Can you translate anything? Do you work for Unicer? Do please leave a comment with your translations, opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy.

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21 Responses to “Beer Review: Super Bock”

  1. gr9yfox Says:

    Hello, I found your blog while looking for pictures of a Super Bock beer bottle. I am portuguese so I can help you translate the things you mentioned.

    I have no idea what a “Bock” is.

    “Sabor Autêntico” means “authentic flavor”.

    It says it won 23 consecutive medals, yep.

  2. SS Says:

    Ok, I am Portuguese and I feel I should not be the one translating for what it seems like a “beer specialist” the meaning of bock… but here you have it:

    “a very strong lager traditionally brewed in the fall and aged through the winter for consumption in the spring ”

    Summary, means strong beer traditonally dark but colors may vary.

    Next time pick up a COLD glass and enjoy your beer…

  3. dwarf8 Says:

    Wow, for someone who does beer reviews you really don’t seem to know much about beer!

    Bock is a type of strong lager originating in Germany. Despite the name, Super Bock is actually a Pilsner.

    You could find this stuff out with any simple search on Google. Maybe put a little more research into your reviews. Just a suggestion.

  4. Peter Eckle Says:

    We were introduced to Super Bock in Portugal and thought it was a truly excellent, very drinkable beer. I wish I could find it here in NC, but so far have not been able to.

  5. Emanuel Ferreira Says:

    I thing you should know is that the glass you see in the picture is not the official one to drink the beer. Portuguese beer brands developed a special mark for the bottum of the glass that keeps the bubbles going, and keeps the beer in the right condition for much more time.

  6. Diogo Carvalho Says:

    “There’s so little taste or body, the experience is much like drinking water.”

    sorry but I have to disagree with you. to me one of the best beers i’ve ever tasted and yes it is the only beer to have won 26 consecutive gold medals.

    “This is a truly heroic beer, that does justice to a truly heroic nation” by Tom Lloyd

  7. Daniel Rodrigues Says:

    hello,

    The 23 medals are related to the Monde Selection de la Qualite competition.

    This beer is meant to be drank freezing cold and from the bottle. Otherwise, have to agree, it looses taste, it quickly gets bad. The use of glass flutes may improve the overall experience, but it surely should be drank from the bottle.

    Just to say, the advertising is usually over the top! Well worth to take a look at those to get inspired while enjoying it.

    Again: drink it VERY cold. 🙂

    cheers,
    daniel

  8. Nuno Says:

    The best beer I’ve ever tasted!

  9. S Says:

    My Portuguese friend tells me it is the most popular beer in (North) Portugal. As for why it doesn’t state being a ‘lager’, I’m not sure how common the term is outside of this country. IMO the mild flavour and few bubbles make it a great companion to food. It’s one of the few reasons I go to Nando’s!

  10. lilianasoares Says:

    Hi…
    I’m Portuguese and i’m working in the Unicer competitor (Central de Cervejas) Here we have Sagres Beer (the most popular beer in south Portugal) – You have to try it!!! 😀

    So… Bock is the term for a strong lager of German origin

  11. mark Says:

    I discovered the bock a free years ago and wot ill say is 26 medal means this beer is bocktastic! bocklicious! and your review is bocking out of order bock bock!

  12. warren Says:

    I am a founding member of NJHOPZ a homebrewing club in northern nj. We like to examine many different beers local regional national and abroad. What caught my eye on this one was the name Super Bock. To me this is nothing in the line of bock beer. When you think of bock think of malty coppery sweet. This is more in the line of a pilsner. As a matter of fact pilsner urquel. All well not too much lost but not going to buy this again.

  13. Celso Poço Says:

    Nem vou escrever em inglês. Não saber o que é Bock? E que comentar cerveja? Nem vale a pena comentar o que falou sobre a Super Bock. Aconselho-o a esquecer a Super Bock sim e passar a beber cerveja feita de PALHA MALTADA. Tem mais o seu estilo….Santo Deus, falar mal da Super Bock, que sacrilégio no mundo da Cerveja!!!…

  14. dexter coles Says:

    Looking to import beer t o london.

  15. David NMG Says:

    Nice beer, but, if I had to choose a Portuguese beer, it would be Sagres preta without a doubt. By the way: there are very good Spanish beers if you don’t stick to the big producers. We have loads of microbreweries in Spain.

  16. Abandonedonaisland Says:

    Found it in Tesco 🙂
    Good beer. Once again, drink it REALLY COLD and from the bottle.

    Cheers

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I had Super Bock in Lisbon, and loved it. But I had it ice cold on draft, in slim “imperial” glasses, the way the locals do. It complements the food really well. In a country famous for wine, I loved the beer! I don’t know how it tastes from the bottle, but if I find it in NYC I’ll give it a try.

  18. Ac Says:

    Should be drink fast, thats the idea of this pilsner.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bock

  20. Jorge Says:

    Super Bock is actual a pilsner. After several years fighting with the other Portuguese brand Sagres, Super Bock is the final big winner.
    Super Bock is the beer for young people and mid/high class drinkers.
    Sagres drinkers are mostly old people and less educated workers.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Get a life you prick!!!!!!

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