Review: Strongbow Cider, H.P. Bullmer


Stongbow
H.P. Bullmer Ltd. — Hereford, England

Stats:
  • Style:  Hard Apple Cider
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Ingredients:   Fermented apple juice or apple juice from concentrate, sugars, water, malic acid, ascorbic acid, sulphur dioxide (to preserve freshness and act as a sulfiting agent)..
  • Calories:  200 per 16.9 oz.
  • Sampled: 16.9 oz. (500 ml) can

Description: "Strongbow ® is a crisp, premium imported cider from the U.K. which delivers maximum refreshment in an authentic, traditional English recipe. At the heart of every successful brand is a clear message. Strongbow® is built on the promise of maximum refreshment of body and mind – through this all the characteristics of the brand are connected. With its clean refreshing taste and striking livery, Strongbow® appeals to import beer drinkers everywhere." — H.P. Bullmer Ltd. 

Random thoughts:  Several cider makers have told me they target beer drinkers as customers instead of wine drinkers. In their experiences, the beer crowd is more opened to trying new things. Bullmer seems to agree based on the last line of their description. According to Wikipedia, Strongbow is the best selling cider in the world and accounts for more than 20% of the cider sold in the UK.

The tasting:  Deep golden (think C-3PO gold) in color, crystal clear, with light effervescence. Fairly straight forward aroma of sweet apple. Flavor is apple, no surprise. Strongbow is a dry cider, but it has a moderate level of sweetness. It's actually nicely balanced—not too sweet and not too dry. I like some sweetness in cider, but can't handle too much. In the middle and finish, a nice tartness kicks in. It's light bodied and alcohol isn't noticeable in aroma or flavor.

Rating:  3 star.  Good. I would drink this again if someone gives it to me.  This is a good cider that I expect would appeal to many. It strikes the right balance of sweetness and tartness. I think it's widely distributed, so if you're looking to experiment with ciders, this is a great place to start!    

Have you tasted Strongbow?  What are your favorite hard ciders?


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4 comments:

Waloshin said...

First time drinking strongbow cider tonight and I like it much better than beer.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Strongbow is the Bud of Cider, so if you like Bud, you'll love Strongbow. ;) If you are more into craft beers than Bud or Miller, look elsewhere.
Strongbow is a soda pop cider that is far removed from the traditional ciders of Western England. It is made by fermenting Apple Juice Concentrate (AJC) - think frozen apple juice - to 15% ABV then diluting 1 part cider to 2 parts water to get you to the 5% final ABV, so how good can this be really. Then the product is supplemented with malic acid and caramel (burnt sugar), colored and preservered for bottling. Also, Strongbow is NOT a dry cider. In fact it is one of the sweetest ciders you will find at SG 1.020. A cider is considered dry at or below 1.005 SG. Perhaps you are confusing the tart malic acid for dryness? In the eastern US, if you want to try a good cider, try "Newtown Pippen" by Original Sin, "Farmhouse Cider" by Woodchuck (NH) (not their regular crap in the stubby 12 oz bottles), and anything from Albemarle Cider Works (VA), Bellweather Cider (NY) and Foggy Ridge Cider (VA). All of these come in 750 ML bottles and are made with 100% fresh pressed apples and little else. There is good stuff from Washington and Oregon states as well but don't know what they are as not distributed east of the Mighty Miss.

emma c obata said...

Angry Orchard is a better place to start than SB. It's like the Sam Adams of cider. SB tastes like someone put a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar and sugar into a full glass of club soda, then added gold food coloring

Anonymous said...

strongbow has diluted the original product to follow Magners success.the bite has gone and the recent bottles all taste watery.I,ve been a fan for over forty years ,am now looking for replacement.

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