CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

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CynicAleCynicAle

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BA SCORE
89
very good

1,341 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,341
Reviews: 595
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 232
Gots: 165 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-02-2006

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 1,341 | Reviews: 595
Photo of martyl1000
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured From a can at Lakeside Street Coffee House. Rather than a saison, I would've pegged this as a very dry, tripel. Definitely solid. Better than solid.

Photo of ARoman
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into a Belgian tulip. The aroma is floral with apricot and peach notes as well as a peppery and woody spice and a present muffin dough. The hue is a clear, effervescent yellow-brown with a white, thin sudsy head that has ok retention and very little lace. The taste is a medium high bitter and sweet (perhaps a touch more bitter than sweet), with a medium light sour touch. The texture is slick and waxy, but on the thin side, with a light fuzz and a medium light body that has notes of dough, underripe stone fruit, bitter citrus, and a touch of a peppery spice that strengthens at the finish which is crisp, with a pepper zip, and is dry and somewhat astringent and a bit wooy. The aftertaste is moderate with a burnt bread crust quality, dough, and spice, which mellows, but lingers.

Photo of Moose90
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into 16oz tulip

A — Pours a light almost hazy yellow color, bright and tall white colored head forms and leaves behind fairly consistent lacing.

S — Smells of bright yeast and ester notes, light wheat and malt presence as well. Banana, mild clove and pepper.

T — Tastes like the nose with a little bit extra sweetness. Nice fresh banana and yeasty notes. Peppery balance, nice and almost wheaty.

M — Medium bodied, long and lasting finish.

O — Nice Saison, would love a little funk in it, but that's just me.

Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into an oversized wine glass an oranged tinged lighter golden with a fluffy white head atop.Overripe tropical fruits stand out in the nose with a bit of a creamsicle element to it,some toasted grain in there as well.Tropical fruits and spicy yeat on the palate with more toasted grain notes,a shot of white pepper hits the throat in the finish.Another bigtime beer from Surly...thanks Eric!

Photo of Barnoloid
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of depth here to this saison. Plenty of spice and yeasty notes with a little bitterness. As mentioned by others there is a sweetness here, almost a dried fruit element.

Photo of chefbigjon
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like tropical forward Saison's so I like this beer.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Mikkeller Bangkok.

Hazy-clear. It smells like fruity-sweet Belgian yeast. Hints of coriander and sour grain. The taste is full, rich, and surprisingly sweet. The aftertaste smacks of a traditional saison, but the maintaste is white grapes and pluots. Interesting and compelling. I like it! Recommended.

Photo of TonyBaloney
4.85/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

My favorite Minnesota Saison by far.

Photo of ta_hagen
4.85/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Spicy and bubblegum, yummy and surly know's how to make there beer for sure. Love the smell of the funk.

Photo of CraigP83
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bubblegum yeasty with a spiciness to it. Ok saison but for the cost I would prefer a lift bridge farm girl

Photo of cambabeer
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funky farmhouse smell, not off-putting. Heavy in the malt sweet smell. Taste is somewhat citrus but a lot of black pepper spices and dry malt finish. This is good beer.

Photo of AuntBea
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Didn't care for this one.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a real generic saison for a brewery i know to be one of the most distinct of all, so this was a real letdown, not that i expected much from their saison, its not their game, but still, this was disheartening. a flat looking hazy blonde beer, thick with sediment and hardly holding a quarter inch head. its all belgian yeast esters, very little real grain character or funk to this, and without that, it needs to be elegant, but unlike the lively belgian or french versions, this one is just heavy with spent yeast and wheat malt, and never gets anywhere. there is a grassy hop thing to it, which is its only real unique feature, but the mouthfeel is dense and sweet, and it really doesnt work all that well. against all saisons on the market, its not at all bad, above average even, but by surly standards, its pretty poor. stick to what you are good at here, because you are SO good at it!

Photo of SerialTicker
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$3.69 single canned 8/8/14 and poured 9/4/14.

Appearance: A deep yellow/golden color with a very slight haze to it. Despite an aggressive pour, there was no head at all. Really, it kind of looks like apple juice. Mediocre looking beer. (3/5)

Smell: Smelling like a Saison. Has those Wit/Hefe characteristics as well. A moderate yeast "funk" with a cherrywood kind of aroma. The can notes apricot and peach aromas, but all of it together smells like something along the lines of cherrywood. Not super wild on the nose, but very nice. (4/5)

Taste/feel: A very, very drinkable Saison. While some are incredibly funky and probably off-putting to many, this one's fairly tame when compared to others in the style. Despite that, distinctively a Saison. The cherrywood kind of flavor comes through in the flavor, as do the peach and especially apricot tastes that are described on the can. Finish is very slightly tart with a biscuity malt flavor and maybe a liiiittle bit of the black pepper that's described on the can, though it's very slight. The finish just has me wanting more. The feel is very good -- moderate body with a moderate/high carbonation. The alcohol's nowhere to be found. (4.25/5, 4/5)

The price is preeeetty steep on this beer (no doubt cheaper per can in a pack), but it is a very good Saison that hit the spot, since it's been awhile since I've had one. Certainly not the most wild Saison I've had, but it's a very, very good example of one and one that is super drinkable. If it weren't for the price (and the fact Surly doesn't distribute to Michigan...), I'd make this a go-to Saison. Delicious.

Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

I just started getting into Saisons this summer and although I don't have a huge sample size to go off of, this was one of the better saisons I have had. I know Surly is known more for their IPAs but this beer was very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%

Served from the can in a tumbler.

Gotta thank VDubb for allowing me to finally try this stuff out. It pours a mostly clear brass-gold topped by a finger or so of white foam. The nose comprises mild clove, black pepper, Belgian yeast, light sourdough, and a touch of dried honey. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a bit of grass and flowers for the sake of it. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty solid saison (or whatever they're calling it nowadays), especially from cans. 'Nuff said.

Photo of robear
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint can poured into taster. 4-6oz.

Appearance: Golden ale, decent amount of head. Can't complain about how it looks in the glass.

Smell: This was the highlight of the beer for me. Tantalizing Belgian aromas, some malt underneath, what you'd expect.

Taste: Spotted Cow on steroids. A farmhouse ale for folks who haven't jumped full-on into the Belgian beer camp.

Mouthfeel: Average, not going to do anything crazy to your palate. Where Spotted Cow shines with a touch of corn, Cynic goes for a more straight-forward mid-level ale feel.

Overall: Alrgiht. Probably wouldn't spend $10+ on a 4-pack, but would like to try this on tap sometime. A decent lawn-mowing beer, a bit more Belgian than I was expecting.

Photo of Flatlands
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian yeast really comes on strong with this one and that's a good thing. Great balance between the malt and hops. This one comes on slowly and leaves you thinking, "dam, that's an awesome farmhouse style beer." If you like this style, this is one of the better examples.

Photo of juanny
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly clear golden farmhouse ale. The aroma was mildly phenolic, but also a bit sweet and earthy. The taste was wonderful and complex. There was a gentle malty flavor with earthy/green components, but a great finish that defines the beer. A sweet honey flavor, with some banana esters as well as yeasty earthiness, not as pronounced as a hefeweisen though. A zest of lemon and possibly pepper is present throughout, but a nice sweet finish really balance it out and made me want another sip. The saison has a light feel and was overall very drinkable, complex but light and sweet, worthy of a summer drink on a patio as we enjoyed it.

Surly Cynic is a light, enjoyable drink that keeps you on your toes with a complex, sweet finish.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can provided by Allen - Cheers friend!
Into my FW Imperial Nonic glass

Notes from 05/02/14

A: Goldenrod colored body with a hazy glow in appearance. Thin layer of ivory fizz sets across the top with too much activity to hold together for very long. Light dotted stick on the glass.

S: Smells mostly of Belgo yeast with some dried banana peel and light bubblegum. I get a bit of stale bread and malted barley coming through. Finishes out with a good amount of peppery spice. Not bad at all and more on the subtle side.

T: Tastes very much the same with mellow yeast notes taking form in banana, lemon peel, pepper, and clove. Has a light bready malt action with a modest amount of earthy bitterness. A decent bite for sure that brings in a touch of garden herbs as well. Definitely more than your standard Belgian fare which I am cool with. There is no alcohol found here and the beer finishes out with more peppery spice and fruity bubblegum. Overall this is a fairly understated brew. Light, crisp, and refreshingly easy to drink.

M: Lighter body with a nice frothy feel from the carbonation. Moderate upper bitterness on the palate. Touch of drying crisp in the finish. Nice balance between wet and dry.

D: Probably my first Belgian style from a can and a tasty one at that. Flavors are rather restrained making this good but not particularly great IMO. Perfect for warmer weather affairs. Light and refreshing with a nice crispness. Surly doesn’t make a bad brew. Would have again.

Photo of paladinjoe
4.66/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer hits the spot! Cynic Ale is often referred to as something you'd want on a hot day in the summer, while that is very true, I do think this one is worthy of it's year round availability, and I'm glad for that!

This a very unique very enjoyable Saison, I like this style of beer, and wow... this stuff is good. As for why it's good, it's refreshing, but not boring at all, the black pepper flavors are flat awesome, I've never tasted that in a beer before. Apricots, pears, and some other light fruits are present in this one, but what's great about this beer is that it's NOT sweet, it's kinda peppery! Just so cool, so good, so refreshing, a very underrated beer, even at the 90-Outstanding rating you see above, in my humble opinion.

Photo of KFBR392
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Canned 11/29/13

Appearance: Pours with a finger of bubbly light head. Straw yellow with some darker orange accents. Light random lacing. Very low active carbonation, especially for a saison.

Smell: orange peel and lemon grass jump out on the front. A slight, peppery yeast backbone with solid bready undertones. Easy, fruit forward aroma.

Taste: Spices and pepper are surprisingly present on the front. Rustic, earthy tones continue into the body. Lemony zest with some brighter fruit tones as well pick up on the back end. Finish is dry but refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is dialed back, yet still has the feel of a saison. Bright fruits mix well with spice tones.

Overall: No surprise Surly brings another high quality brew. Really enjoyed the carbonation in this brew which really made it an easy drinking saison. Excellent balance of fruits and spice.

Photo of Jparker37
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an oversized tulip. Canned on 11/1/13.

A - Nice haze to the golden beer. Fizzy white head holds up strong. Plenty of lacing.

S - Mild bubblegum phenols. Powdery yeast. Unique citrusy hop character (tangerine).

T - Complex base maltiness. MIld acidity. Has a little bit of sweetness but dries up. Big herbal/grassy hop flavor. Here's where the pepper hides, toward the back. Finishes almost like sucking a orange rind, perhaps sharpness from the yeast.

M - Medium body, medium-high carbonation, semi-dry.

O - Tons of unique flavors that are not found in any other style. This is a great rendition.

Recommendation - A must try for belgian drinkers.

Photo of magictacosinus
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to amerak for sending me this alongside other awesome Surly offerings. Poured into a tulip glass out of a 16oz can. At the time of consumption (late December), this was about 2 months old.

Orange amber in color, in the same similar vein as other saisons, but when held against the light, this produces a golden hue that reminds me of Belgian pale ales, as well as slightly more generic ones that are produced around the country (as well as in Belgium). Contains a frothy white head that dissipates rapidly over the course of consumption, and leaves behind minimal stickiness. This is a pretty modest effort overall from a brewery that's known for pretty oily, concentrated beers. Something tells me that this will be pretty light on the hops, for whatever reason.

By golly, I was right - most Surly beers are pretty hoppy and dank in their own special way, but this is among those that are not. This isn't to its detriment, however - the beer produces a lot of nice crisp, grassy, and spicy yeasty notes that good saisons are known for: pears, apples, and white grapes. At the same time, it also embodies lots of aromas that many generic saisons made in this country showcase: bananas, clove, and candy sugar. Finishes quite grainy, with minor notes of toffee. Not a chore at all to wade through, and it's good to see them tone things down a bit. It smells refreshing and down to earth, but it's extraordinarily underwhelming given what I've seen this brewery churn out.

The flavor is far more mild than anticipated, however, and I suppose I should have seen that coming given the simple, nearly anemic profile in the aroma, as far as saisons go. Tastes a lot like a run-of-the-mill Belgian pale ale, with crisp toasted cereal grains, apples, pears, and some raisin notes at the finish. Brief pepper, vanilla, and toffee (as well as candy sugar) finish it off, with a light grassy hopped element that cleanses the palate. Medium bodied, although it does get progressively thinner as time goes on. Definitely really easy drinking, but doesn't embody any of the dry, pungent, or spicy yeasty aromas that I tend to drink saisons for. Still, as far as the style goes, it's really unique to see a canned saison, and see it work out.

I really think that Surly decided to make a pretty easy going Belgian-style pale ale when they made this, and rebranded it as a saison due to the grassy hoppy profile, as well as the spice and funk in the yeast. Don't expect anything super complex, however - this drinks far more like a Belgian pale ale or a lowly pilsner, at the end of the day. It definitely wouldn't be a bad option for me if I had it at a bar or something, but with so many far more complex and intriguing saisons out there, as well as those that are equally refreshing, this does feel a bit lost out at sea overall.

Photo of maxcoinage
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured 16oz can (12/05/13) into tulip - huge fluffy white head took time to settle Color is a medium golden with a slight haze.

Aroma of fruity esters, citrus and floral notes

Taste has some slight malty sweetness / a touch of honey, pepper spicyness, the belgian yeast definitely noticeable.

Mouthfeel - highly carbonated , medium body, crisp

Overall this is an enjoyable saison will def pick some of this up for warmer weather. Binnys had a $2 off coupon so I had to try it

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CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,341 ratings.