What Kind of Beer Is Super Bock (and Is It Good)?

First impressions might make you believe a Super Bock is a Bock beer, but in truth, it’s not. It’s the most popular beer in Portugal and easy to drink lager in warm weather.
What Kind of Beer Is Super Bock?

Table of Contents

What kind of beer is Super Bock? Is it Bock? Nope.

Is it a lager? Yes – a light-bodied golden or pale lager.

So, if it’s not a Bock, why is it called Super Bock? And why is it so popular in Portugal? Aren’t there other beers aside from Super Bock?

Those are all great questions, and you’ll find an answer for each in this guide.

Where Does Super Bock Beer Come From?

Super Bock is made North of the Mandego river.

Now, there’s an interesting history behind all that. During Antonio de Oliveira Salazar’s regime, foreign companies weren’t allowed to set up beer shops or breweries in Portugal.

In other words, the government during Salazar’s regime made it hard for the beer industry to thrive. But there were 2 beer companies that dominated the Portuguese market:

  1. Unicer – Bebidas de Portugal, S.A.
  2. Sociedade Central de Cervejas, S.A.

Unicer is the beer company responsible for brewing Super Bock. Sociedade is another beer company that produces Sagres.

In Portugal, ordering a Portuguese beer comes down to 2 options: Super Bock or Sagres. Both of which are light-bodied pale lagers, affordable, and easy to drink even in warm weather. But, which is better? You’ll learn more about both lagers in the later sections.

For now, here’s the rest of the story during Salazar’s regime.

Antonio de Oliveira Salazar served as the Prime Minister of Portugal for 36 years. His regime also ruled Portugal for another 6 years.

It wasn’t until 1974 that a revolution erupted to restore democracy to Portugal. Of course, the revolution succeeded and the Portuguese beer market was officially open.

International beer companies could finally set up shops and the craft beer scene could flourish with ease.

However…

That’s not what happened. There were barely any signs of innovation. A few craft breweries opened up and currently, there are a few craft beers in Portugal worth trying.

But even after the restoration of the beer industry and its newfound freedom, everything mostly remained the same.

It was either you drank a Super Bock or a Sagres.

Is Super Bock Portuguese?

Super Bock is a Portuguese brand that was first established in 1927. Ever since 1992, Super Bock has been a market leader in the Portuguese beer industry.

It’s safe to say that Super Bock is the top-selling Portuguese beer around the world. Not to mention, it’s well known all over and easily available in other parts of the world.

Who Makes Super Bock?

Super Bock is brewed by Unicer – Bebidas de Portugal. However, in 2017, the name of the company was changed to Super Bock Group.

It’s worth noting that the Super Bock brand itself is under Unicer, which started in 1927 and was launched as a winter beer.

That’s not all.

When Super Bock was first launched into the market, it was brewed entirely with malt. Why? Because of navigation difficulties, beer production at the time was “forced” to use 100% national malts.

As time went by, the light-bodied lager was refined to meet consumer demand. Their ad slogan in 1967, “the beer that exceeds your requirements” is a famous ad Super Bock is known for.

By 1986, Super Bock is at the pinnacle of the Portuguese market and still remains one of the top-selling beers today.

Over the decades, Super Bock Group (Unicer at the time) launched several Super Bock beers. These include the following:

Super Bock Beers Description Released in
Super Bock Stout A combination of special malts resulted in a dark beer. It has a creamy head and a flavor balance between bitterness and sweetness. 2003
Super Bock Green A light and refreshing beer made with lemon juice. It only has 2% ABV. 2004
Super Bock Mini Super Bock Mini is the smaller bottled version of a Super Bock. The intention was to make it easier to drink under the sun so it doesn’t get warm. 2006
Super Bock Abadia A ruby-colored lager made with a unique variety of malts and spices. It also has a stronger ABV than most, sitting at 6.4% ABV. 2006
Super Bock Seleccao 1927 A golden-colored beer that’s aged in American and French oak barrels after the beer has fermented. It’s a limited edition beer with fruity notes and rich maltiness. 2016

Now, Super Bock isn’t just alcoholic beer alone. In fact, the Super Bock brand offers nonalcoholic beers, limited edition/seasonal beers, and so much more.

These include the following:

  • Bavaria Weiss
  • Bengal Amber IPA
  • Super Bock Christmas brew
  • Coruja America Amber Lager
  • Coruja India Pale Ale
  • Dunkelweizen
  • Japanese Rice Lager
  • Munich Dunkel
  • Super Bock Gluten-Free
  • Super Bock Oktober Edition Helles
  • Non-alcoholic Super Bock
  • Non-alcoholic Super Bock Black
  • Super Bock Alc. 0, 0% Vol.
  • Carlsberg
  • Cristal Branca
  • Cheers Branca
  • Cheers Preta

Why Is Super Bock Called Super Bock?

Now, you might be thinking, is Super Bock called Super Bock because it’s a type of Bock beer?

Far from it, actually.

Bocks are a style of German beer that originated in Germany, specifically in the Northern town of Einbeck.

But the reason why a Super Bock is called a Super Bock happened during the 1930s. Unicer wanted to fuse the idea of refining a Bock, which led to a super bock. As a result, it came to bear the name Super Bock after that.

What Type of Beer Is Super Bock?

A Super Bock is a light-bodied golden or pale-colored lager. It also has an ABV of 5.2%. Compared to the German-style Bock, its alcohol strength is lower and not as strong.

However, a Super Bock has maltiness both in flavor and aroma. What makes it so appealing is that it’s a light beer you can drink any time of the day.

It’s refreshing, crisp, and tastes just as great even when you’re drinking it in warm weather. Without a doubt, Super Bock is a preference for many in Portugal.

You could say it’s the go-to Portuguese beer for many locals or for others, a Sagres. But what about its taste? Does it have a good flavor profile? You’re about to find out in the next section.

Is Super Bock a Pilsner?

Super Bock is a lager, not a pilsner. Although pilsners and lagers might seem identical, they’re not exactly the same.

All pilsners are lagers. However, not all lagers are pilsners. What does that mean? For starters, there’s no doubt lagers and pilsners are identical in some ways, such as:

  1. They’re both bottom-fermented in colder temperatures.
  2. Lagering is part of the brewing process for both a pilsner and a lager.

Now, where do they differ? One thing to remember about Pilsners is they’re light-colored lagers. Or rather, they’re always light-colored lagers, specifically bright yellow.

If you say that in another way, a Pilsner is never a dark lager.

Furthermore, Pilsners have a specific fermentation process that differs from a lager. Lastly, the ingredient profile of a Pilsner isn’t always the same recipe as a lager.

There’s no data on what accurately happens during the fermentation process of a Super Bock. Nor is there a complete ingredient list. Even the Super Bock Group website itself lists Super Bock as a lager.

Is Super Bock a Craft Beer?

Super Bock is not a craft beer and will always remain as a light-bodied golden/pale lager. However, there are craft beers that have been slowly appearing in Portugal.

Although the craft beer scene isn’t as popular as it is in the U.S., it’s slowly starting to spread. You don’t go to Portugal and expect to see a lot of beers being served on tap.

But if you want to try craft beer in Portugal or Lisbon, there are several craft beer labels worth trying. Some of these include the following:

  • Musa
  • Letra
  • Sovina
  • Passarola
  • Dos Santos
  • Mean Sardine
  • Post Scriptum

It’s worth trying a few of the beers under these craft beer breweries. For Sovina, there are 5 beers it produces:

  • IPA
  • Stout
  • Wheat
  • Helles
  • Amber

For Mean Sardine, they’re popularly known for their Amura, which is an American Pale Ale. Other beers worth trying from Mean Sardine include the following:

  • Salema (Witbier)
  • Voragem (Black IPA)
  • Zagaia (Abbey Dubbel)
  • A Walk in Madeira (IPA)

How Does Super Bock Differ From Sagres?

Both Super Bock and Sagres are actually quite similar. They’re both light-bodied pale lagers and dominate the Portugal market.

In addition, a Sagres beer will have a lower ABV than a Super Bock, but not by a mile. While Super Bock has a 5.2% ABV, a Sagres beer will have about 4.8% ABV.

In a Sagres beer, the cereal aromas do stand out, which isn’t something you’ll always smell in a Super Bock. Sagres also offers a variety of beers worth trying, such as:

  • Sagres Dark: A dark beer with an intense flavor
  • Sagres Radler: A Sagres beer with less alcohol and a taste of lemon
  • Sagres Bohemia: Has a higher alcohol percentage and intense fruitiness

Now, if you were to ask the question which of the two is better, well…

There’s no clear answer for that.

Some prefer a Sagres over Super Bock and vice versa but don’t necessarily reject either. Some will have their own reasons like how a Super Bock is sweeter than a Sagres so they prefer Sagres since it has more bitterness.

Others prefer a Super Bock because it’s lighter than a Sagres or because it’s what they grew up drinking.

Either way, there’s no one true answer to decide that a Super Bock is better than a Sagres or vice versa. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference.

Ultimately, both are excellent beers.

What Does a Super Bock Taste Like?

A Super Bock will have the following flavor profile:

  • Citrus
  • Sweet malt
  • Bready
  • Light fruit
  • Herb

Its aroma is also similar to the flavor profile, so you smell a lot of malt aroma in a Super Bock. Apart from malty aromas, you also smell caramel and sweet grain notes. Some brewers mentioned they caught a whiff of herbal and grassy notes, while others said there is a slight toffee aroma to it as well.

Since Super Bock is a light lager, don’t expect a full body. It’s more of a light to medium-bodied lager with a smooth mouthfeel and clean finish.

What about bitterness? You should taste a pleasant bitter note, but it’s worth noting that this lager doesn’t impart harsh bitterness at all.

It’s one of the more gentle lagers out there – similar to a Kirin Ichiban. Although, a Kirin Ichiban is much gentler and more pleasant than a Super Bock.

Nevertheless, here’s to answering one of the most important questions in this guide. Does a Super Bock taste good?

You bet it does. It’s definitely one of the good lagers that’s worth drinking a second or third bottle. After all, drinkability is an important attribute of any beer whether it’s a lager or an ale.

Some may disagree that Super Bock doesn’t live up to its “hype”. However, Super Bock isn’t a complex lager. It’s a simple, gentle lager that’s perfect as a refreshment for a warm afternoon or breezy night.

What Alcohol Percentage Is Super Bock?

Super Bock has an ABV of 5.2%. Now, take note. This is the ABV of the Super Bock Original as mentioned on the Super Bock website.

Other online stores might mention it’s only 5% or even 5.6% ABV, but this isn’t true. Considering how Super Bock Group has several Super Bock styles, then it means there are varying ABVs for each too.

Below is a table of Super Bock beers and their respective ABVs:

Super Bock beers ABV
Super Bock Gluten-Free 5.2%
Super Bock Oktober Edition Helles 4.9%
Super Bock Stout 5.0%
Super Bock Green 2.0%
Super Bock Abadia 6.4%

How Many Units Is Super Bock?

The units in a Super Bock depend on the following factors:

  1. ABV or alcohol percentage
  2. Volume of beer
  3. Packaging size

For example.

Super Bock Original has an ABV of 5.2%. Say you’re drinking 1 bottle today, so that’s 330 ml (11 oz).

You can easily get the number of units using the ABV and volume of your beer/drink. The formula is as follows:

(ABV %) x (Volume of beer/drink in ml) ÷ 1,000

So, using the example and formula above, you get…

(5.2%) x (330 ml) ÷ 1000 = 1.72 units of alcohol. Put simply, 1 bottle of a Super Bock Original will have 1.72 units of alcohol.

Now, how exactly do units of alcohol work? Here are some pointers to take note of:

  • Units tell you how strong your beer or drink is.
  • 1 unit is equivalent to 10 ml (2 tsp) of pure alcohol.
  • On average, the body can process 1 unit of alcohol per hour. That means if you drink beer with 1 unit of alcohol in it, the alcohol leaves your bloodstream after 1 hour.
  • The time it takes for the body to process 1 unit of alcohol can vary. Some of these factors include age, gender, height, and weight.

Seeing as how a Super Bock has 1.72 units of alcohol, it should take about 1 hour and 40 to 45 minutes to process.

But what about the other Super Bock beers? Here’s a table to give you the complete list:

Super Bock beers ABV Units of alcohol for 1 bottle or 330 ml (11 oz) Units of alcohol for 1 pint or 568 ml Units of alcohol for a 6-pack (1.98 L or 1,980 ml)
Super Bock Christmas Brew 5.7% 1.88 units 3.24 units 11.29 units
Super Bock Gluten-Free 5.2% 1.72 units 2.95 units 10.30 units
Super Bock Oktober Edition Helles 4.9% 1.62 units 2.78 units 9.70 units
Super Bock Stout 5.0% 1.65 units 2.84 units 9.90 units
Super Bock Green 2.0% 0.66 units 1.14 units 3.96 units
Super Bock Abadia 6.4% 2.11 units 3.64 units 12.67 units

Where Can I Buy Super Bock Beer?

If you ever find yourself touring Lisbon or Portugal, go to Time Out Market. It’s one of the best places to buy Super Bock beer. Not to mention, you might even be lucky enough to try all their other beers and smaller-batched brews like:

  • Seleccao 1927 Bengal Amber IPA
  • Bavaria Weiss
  • Munich Dunkel
  • Super Bock Christmas Brew
  • Czech Golden Lager
  • Rice Lager
  • Imperial Stout
  • Cascade Blonde Lager
  • Scottish Smoked Lager
  • British Colonial Stout

Is Super Bock Sold in the US?

Super Bock isn’t as readily available as it is in other parts of the world. However, United States Beverage Company is an exclusive importer for Super Bock.

Currently, United States Beverage is the 7th largest beer importer among all the other US beer importers. You can use the Brand Finder tool on their site to find where you can get Super Bock in the US

Furthermore, you can always try online platforms, such as:

  • Drizly
  • Halftimebeverage
  • Amazon
  • LCBO
  • Totalwine
  • Gotoliquorstore

Can You Get Super Bock in the UK?

You can get Super Bock in the UK in several supermarkets like Drink Supermarket, Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Beers of Europe, and Asda.

You’re also welcome to try online stores. However, it’s a lot easier to find in the UK than it is in the US. Amazon UK is one online platform you can buy Super Bock from.

Aspris, Ginspiration, and Noblegreenwines are also great options to buy Super Bock in the UK.

How Much Is in a Super Bock?

As listed in the Super Bock website, a Super Bock will have the following ingredients:

  • Hops
  • Water
  • Barley malt
  • Unmalted cereals (maize and barley)

There isn’t any specific information as to how much exactly Super Bock Group uses in their brew. In addition, it’s quite clear that the ingredients given are only a general list.

A specific ingredient list along with the ratios is, without a doubt, a trade secret. However, there are a few recipes online you may be able to use to brew your own Super Bock.

One of those recipes lists the following ingredients:

  • 95% Pilsner malt
  • 2% Crystal or Caramel malt
  • 2% CaraMunich malt
  • Northern Brewer hops (75%)
  • Tettnanger hops (25%)
  • Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager yeast)

Other recipes will use different hops and different malts. For example, one recipe might include Dextrine malt and Spalt hops. While another recipe will have similar ingredients but add Irish moss to improve clarity.

How to Order a Beer in Portugal

It’s not that difficult to order a beer in Portugal. Just remember these key words when ordering one.

Ordering a Beer in Portugal (Words to Use) Meaning
Uma Cerveja Means “a beer” but, a bartender will almost always ask what size you want.
Um fino Instead of saying Uma imperial, you say um fino in the North of Portugal.
Uma Caneca Means you’re asking for a 500 ml sized beer. It’s the closest size to a British pint that you can get in Portugal.
Uma Imperial Means you’re asking for the standard 200 ml sized beer.
Uma Garrafa de Garrafa stands for bottle. So when you say “uma garrafe de”, you should specify the bottle. For example, you can say “uma garrafa de Super Bock”.
Uma lambreta Means you’re asking for something smaller than an “imperial”. This should be around the 150 ml range.
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