Two cheap Spanish supermarket beers triumph in expert rankings
Food and drink

Two cheap Spanish supermarket beers triumph in expert rankings

Own-brand beers lead the way after an analysis of quality and taste by a panel of experts

Almudena Nogués


Friday, 21 June 2024, 16:25

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Malted grain, hops, yeast and water. Put like that, it may not attract much attention. However, the result of the alcoholic fermentation of these raw materials gives rise to one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world: beer.

There are traditional beers and speciality ones, which have been gaining ground in recent years. The latter are characterised by a higher alcohol content, more body and richer in cereals. But which are the best ones available to buy in the supermarket? The Spanish consumer organisation OCU has analysed 16 special canned lagers (light, mild, light-bodied, with an average alcohol content of 5.6% and between 13% and 15% dry extract) to give its verdict. And the results are surprising: two own-brand beers - and therefore cheaper ones at an average of 0.38 euros, compared to 0.84 euros for top brands - dominate the podium.

The final results include both the laboratory results on aspects such as composition and fermentation, as well as the assessment of its labelling and the scores of a blind tasting carried out by five expert judges under the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) methodology. Some of the most striking conclusions include the fact that no beer is 100% malt.

"All of them incorporate, in addition to barley, small amounts of other cereals such as maize or rice, which, although they can be used to reduce costs, also serve to make the beer smoother, which is why they have not been penalised. What has not been detected is the presence of added sugars, unlike in the previous analysis of classic beers," the organisation says.

Other factors that also influence the final rating and make a significant difference are the choice of water, the choice of yeast (and consequently the fermentation, which is low in this type of beer), the type of hops and the proportion of cereals used.

Two beers stand out among the best:

Top rated beers in the OCU study. SUR

- Ramblers Especial (Día). Price: 0.37 euros/can. Alcoholic volume: 5.9%. "One of the best rated beers in the tasting test is characterised by its low bitterness, medium body and high carbonation. It incorporates corn and unmalted barley in its recipe," the judges highlight.

- Steinburg Especial (Mercadona). Price: 0.37 euros/can. Alcoholic volume: 5.69%. "It also scores well in the blind tasting: low bitterness, low body and high carbonation. Adds corn to the recipe," say the experts in the OCU report.

In addition to these, a beers that obtained among best scores in the expert tasting wwas Mahou 5 Estrellas. In addition to the sensory properties, other aspects were assessed, such as bitterness, body, gas and foam of each beer.

Although with these drinks consumers tend to be more driven by personal taste and preference, price is always a factor to be taken into account, states the OCU. "Our study reveals that the price of a can of supermarket own-brand beer is usually less than 0.40 euros, while a top brand costs more than twice as much," they conclude.

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