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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,277 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,277
Reviews: 583
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 233
Gots: 129 | FT: 4
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,277 | Reviews: 583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ghostwalker
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a LIF, of sorts, from cburian. Thanks!

Dark golden body with thick, fluffy off-white head. A vision coming from a can.

Nose is spicy and sweet. A real treat.

Sweet with a very big spice component. Coriander with a citrus and clove finish. Really interesting and complex.

Mouthfeel is creamy and fluffy. Light on the tongue. It's something else.

Very tasty and drinkable. I would love to try it out in a can koozie on the beach for a true summer drinkability test, but I only have one...

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Derek's can from a trade in WI. Yellow to grapefruit with a good head, lacing. Really easy drinking, 35 IBU but show more. A great summer deck beer. Restrained spiciness including the pepper. Light clover honey mouthfeel, about middling. I repeat, really easy drinking.

Photo of Dotcubed
4.73/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had the pleasure of this one for some time. I think of it as one of my top 5 beers, for any place and time. It pours a nice light head only a few millimeters with a pungent yeasty smell. Clearly Belgian influenced, with a nice apricot and citrus flavor. I wish I could get this all year round. It has a nice lingering orange peel bitterness that sticks to my pallet. I like the fruitiness too. I disagree with what the can says, it's not Black pepper as much as it is pink peppercorns or maybe a little szechuan pepper. Bitter, sweet, and smooth with a lasting orange flavor. I thinlk improving the aroma with some dry hopping and it's five stars in my book. Maybe the brewers will read this and make a special growler batch that I can come by and pick up. Hopefully the do, e-mail me, and make my dreams come true. I will really miss this one if I move out of minnesota.

Photo of Derek
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At first I was a little taken aback by the hop aroma & flavour for the style. It's sort of boarding on a Belgian IPA. I grew to really like.

A: Orange with a slight haze, very little retention or lace.

S: Big orange & peppery spice, tropical fruit & a wheat-like tartness.

T: Orange, steelie grass, spice, rind, light tartness.

M: Moderate body & carbonation, smooth, slight acidity.

D: Very drinkable.

Thanks for the trade DaPeculiarDane!

Photo of SrMonkey
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can to a pint glass. Light orange/yellow, with a scant white head (2 mm) that persisted. Aroma dominated by peach with some pollen, but no funk. Flavor also has peach upfront, finishing with some pepper and bitterness. Fairly dry throughout. Clean taste througout with no nasty aftertaste. I could easily make this a session beer.

Pretty good, although I'd take Hennepin over it as an American Saison. Serve this one somewhat-chilled.

Photo of mwilbur
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from pint can into snifter.
A: Clear golden with high carbonation producing thick white head.
S: Floral, spice, and nectarine/apricot notes. Hops too.
T: Similar to aroma but with a fairly strong hop bite (which actually settles down after the first few sips). Honestly, a little watery (especially in comparison to Surly's other offerings I have tried--Furious and Bender). Wish there was more body (malt?).
M: Light body. Bright and refreshing on the tongue. Fairly average.
D: Very refreshing and a nice summer brew. Not the best saison I've had, but a decent offering. And even a decent beer from Surly is still worth while trying!

4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When I first opened the can I didnt think there would be much carbonation. A three finger head quickly prves me wrong with fat light tan bubbles with nice staying power. Scattered lace is left. Body is a glowing honey color. Nose is very fresh and clean with some spicey crisp fruit notes, mellon, honey, vanilla and fresh cut corn stalk. Enters the mouth very mellow and smooth as the flavors slowly develop. Crisp creamy citrus notes, woodsy hops with bitter bite, all rounded out with a even malt profile to balance this brew. Flowery smoothness is all over the body. This is a very smooth and pleasant mouthfeel on the beer. Exceptionally drinkable, I could see this beer at many a cookout and family get together.

Photo of KeefD
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a burnt orange, out of can into a snifter, developing a finger's worth of bone-white foam that recedes awfully quick and leaving some nice lacing down the glass. Yeasty funkiness hits the nose first followed by some hints of orange and lemon peel. Slight malt character in the nose with the typical sour funk of a saison. Flavor is light, lots of sweet malts that turns awfully dry on the finish, some hints of apple cider in the background, bitter rind, and lemon that makes a quick appearance and then disappears. Definitely spicey, with some noticeable black pepper flavors mixed with some clove. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Somewhat light on the body, medium carbonation and pretty easy to drink, although this style is not one of my favorites. A good representation of the style, but I've enjoyed Surly's other offerings to a much higher extent.

Photo of Larrytown
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a deep orange-gold with no head and very little lacing. There's some spice on the nose, but not much else.

The taste doesn't seem quite like any saisons I've had in the past. If anything, I'd compare it to a lighter maibock. It has that combination of some darker flavors offset by a lighter body. Nicely done. The mouthfeel was much flatter and duller than I would have liked. Kick that up and we'd have a really solid beer here. As it is, I'd pick it up again, but probably not seek it out. Certainly more interesting than most beers you'll find in a can.

EDIT: The original review was from a tap, but after having it from the can, I'm adjusting this upward. I don't know if I had a bad keg or what, but from a can the mouthfeel was much stronger and the taste cleaner. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the keg was near the end (or something).

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

Many thanks to esch for being patient with me and waiting for this one to come out to ship our trade. Cheers Ryan!

This one pours a hazy yellowish orange with a white head that just will not go away. Leaves some beautiful thick lacing on the glass. Looks great overall.

Smells of pepper, yeast, doughiness, lemon, fresh grain and some clove. Really pleasant.

Tastes mostly of pepper and spicy belgian yeast then some grassy hops, clove, lemon zest and lots of fresh grain in the taste with a dry peppery finish.

Really carbonated and a nice smooth medium mouthfeel.

This beer is really refreshing and a great summer session beer but the ABV may come back and bite after a few.

Photo of aforbes10
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at stub n herbs in minneapolis. orange colored, wispy not-head. nice lacing though. smells of old orange rinds, noble hops, coriander. Flavor is spicy, citrusy, with a nice strong bitterness to follow. Nicely balanced between the crisp malt, citrusy saison character, and the bitterness on the finish. a good interpretation of the early summer saison style. refreshing and quaffable.

Photo of maximum12
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

CynicAle is back! Bought a four-pack at Zipp's.

Love a beer that fills up my Avery pint glass (with the motto "Hope Freaks Unite!" on the side). Beer is one of the palest yellows I've seen, with almost no head quickly vanishing even with a hard pour. Smells sickly sweet.

Taste is sweet as well. An overarching fruity flavor (apricots?). A touch of hops in the background with lemon. Nice & light, makes me want to down the whole thing quickly. Which I suppose speaks very well to its drinkability.

Ahhh, this is nice. I think I had one last year, but don't really recall. A fine summer beer from Surly.

Photo of Buebie
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased just minutes ago at Heritage Liquore in St. Paul. 2008 release

Poured from a 16 oz can into a 20oz tulip. Head is white and frothy. The beer is an off amber, deep gold. Medium laceing with some head retention.
Smell is of apricots, honey, ginger, sweet doughy bread, mild spicieness in a cracked pepercorn kinda way, mild grassy hops.

The taste on this is a little more mild then I remember last years batch being. Now That could be due to the rumored recipie change. Or, my pallete has changed in a year, which I wouldnt doubt. As I have really become more obsessed with full flavored beer over the last year. Maybe what I thought was stronge then is now normal?

Anyway, I taste sweet apricots up front, then a bitter hoppy pepercorn spicieness hits me, with some lemon. Then it turns sweet again just bofore the swallow. After the swallow I get more apricotty fruit notes, very dry finish with some hop linger and a bit of lemon linger as well.
Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, with a thin quality and medium to moderate carbonation.

I really enjoy this beer. I'm proud as a Minnesotan that we have such a fine craft brewery such as Surly. Great Beer, highly recommend.
I remember this being much more gingery. It is very well balanced.

Photo of HopDerek
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 release enjoyed on tap at Cafe Twenty Eight

Poured a slightly hazy golden yellow with a light amber center. One finger of frothy off-white head has good retention and leave lovely lacing. Smells of an assortment of fruits like pineapple, apricot, apple, as well as wheat, floral hops, and a touch of honey. Tastes of pear, pineapple, melon and apples up front with wheat and spice following as well as a hint of bubble gum. Finishes dry with floral hops. Medium in body with good fizzy carbonation. Refreshing and fruity, a perfect summertime brew that hides its ABV great.

Photo of brdc
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to stoutsnipas for this one.

It is just a bit hazy, clear if compared to what I remember from the on-tap version, golden in color, with a nice white head and good retention.
Pleasant aroma, hoppy but not as obvious as on-tap, with a more obvious fruitiness, some earthiness and perhaps honey.
Very light on the palate, with pleasant fruity notes, mostly lemons and oranges, with some hoppiness but not as pronounced as on-tap, likely because this is not nearly as fresh. There are some spices, and a mild earthiness and malty sweetness. Well balanced and refreshing, but could use a somewhat lower ABV.

Photo of brewgetter
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy Pale orange with a white head and lace. Smells of orange zest and lemon w/ a grain background. Malt is a little more pronounced than I remember it from previous tastings, could be because the can is about 6 months old. I love the hops in this beer, they play so nicely with the lighter malt, and the yeast used. That yeast is also one of the highlights of this beer, enough so that there is no doubt that it's a Belgian style, but not enough to overpower the other flavors. A very well balanced beer. It leaves you wanting more and more. Mouthfeel is very good. This is one of my favorite summertime beers cause it's light but extremely tasty.

Photo of Greggy
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- A very nice 1 finger head with some nice yeast suspended. A great farm house representation.

Smell- Pineapple, Apple, Pear, Light hopiness. Great!

Taste- A little more malty and sweet than I thought it would be, but still very nice. The pineapple and pears really come through here, with some nice hopiness. It's almost like a light barleywine. I would love to see how this ages.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation that is really nice for the style.

Drinkability- @6.7%, I wouldn't call it sessionable, but I can definitely see having this in the future.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A careful pour left me with a crystal clear medium amber brew with a thin white head that left quickly. Lots and lots of lace on the way down the glass. Aroma contains some dried fruits and spicy hops. Tastes of bready malt, spicy, peppery, earthy, barnyard funky, quite complex tastes coming through. Great crisp carbonation, medium body, leaves a spicy taste in your mouth. Overall I was surprised by this one. This is not my favorite style of beer, but I rather enjoyed this tasting tonight.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pitmonkey for the opportunity to sample this one.

Pours a slightly hazy pale golden color with with a big foamy white head that fades slowly. Visibly effervescent surface pools struggle to keep the head alive. A good amount of Belgian lacing left behind. The smell is earthy yeast, light and floral with a touch of orchard fruit. Towards the bottom it picks up a spicier character. Nicely carbonated, the mouth feel is medium bodied and refreshing. Full flavored, the spicy orchard fruit taste and earthy yeast follow the nose and linger appropriately. A real nice drinker.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 16 oz. can, poured to a pint glass. Felt like spring is fast-approaching this week (only 3 more months of rain!), so this intriguing saison was due to come out of the fridge. Thanks to tayner for adding this as an extra.

6.5% ABV, 33 IBU.

A: Golden honey with a light haze of microscopic sediment. Plenty of rising carbonation, abundant at first then mellowing. Fizzy off-white head climbs to just about one-finger before become a thin cream, dimpled where the bubble streams pierce it. Good lace bits cling on the opposite side of the glass.

S: Holy cow, that is an appealing aroma! Loads of sweet, juicy apple, peach, honey, melon and a burst of pineapple. I'm two feet away and can smell it as if it was right under my nose. Spice is more noticeable when inhaled right before that first sip. Just a little more dryness, 'traditional' barn-yard tartness/funk and this gets a '5'.

T: Remarkably similar to some of the finer Belgian/French versions I've enjoyed. Sweet bread/barley graininess upfront, doughy yeast, floral and fruity (from cantaloupe to ripe pear to a tart apricot). A dusting of nutmeg and an earthy woodchip flavor? Finish is big and peppery, drying in a slow, lingering conclusion.

M: Fairly crisp, zesty carbonation. Medium body that coats gently, though the malt stickiness begins to give that 'furry teeth' feeling by about halfway through the glass. Not quite as 'refreshing', starts to seem chewy. But bigger mouthfeel isn't too much of a turn-off...

D: A terrific version of a wonderful style. Surly is making some amazingly good beers; the novelty of "beer for a glass, from a can" is rapidly disappearing. Not quite a 'Saison Dupont', but very good...likely the best US-made version I've found to date. Thanks again, Dana; this is one I'd love to have again and one I strongly recommend.

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks great, pours a big head and there's some lacing. Color is golden. Smell is just you would think a saison would taste like with the farmhouse smells, but then there's also floral aroma hops that make a big hop character. Funky farmhouse with huge hop floral notes that remind me of perfume, then leaves a bitterness on my tongue my lasts a while. Yeah, the hops are very perfumatic with their almost grassy fruity flavors. Mouthfeel is full and smooth, very good medium-full bodied beer. Overall I like it, but something in the hop character makes it a once in a while beer instead of a "drink many of them" beer. I think I just have to get used to grassier hops...especially since it's paired with a Belgian beer profile, I haven't had many of the grassy hop profile beers. Just read Surly's website and they imported some new hops for fruity character, so that's the perfume hops I must be smelling.

Photo of udubdawg
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz can...my last one till summer I guess.

Pours a hazy apricot/copper color, with a large off-white head of very fine bubbles. Initial lacing is excellent, later it is much more spotty.
Nose is rich and full. Very complex, tons of fruit, ample sweetness from malt and I believe honey, easily noted hops, plenty of (mostly undefined until I taste it) spices and an earthy quality. Almost too much for my nose to handle.

Excellent flavor even if it isn't my favorite style. I usually find saisons extremely refreshing, but I think this might just be too flavor-packed to qualify as light and refreshing. Dig the bitterness in the finish, which is joined by a sweet aftertaste that falls short of clooying. The peach and apricot mentioned on the can are there by the bushel, with a bit of something sweeter like mango, along with more honey and a gentle peppery spiciness. Some cardamon perhaps?

the body is medium and carbonation likewise. Could possibly use a bit more carbonation, and I wouldn't object if the sweetness were less - a bit dryer beer would likely be more refreshing to me. Still, there's little to complain about here.

Excellent drinkability. Can't say that I've ever had more than one at a time due to availability, or lack thereof, but if this was sold here I'd buy it in a heartbeat, especially for summer.

Photo of ggaughan
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured a somewhat cloudy yellow color with a nice white head. The nose had a touch of citrus and some definite wheat characer. The taste is scotchy and sweet but also had some bitterness on the back end. Overall a well rounded beer and medium body.

Photo of hero27
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16 oz can.

Pours a slightly hazy gold, head consists of a thin layer of off-white foam.
Aroma is of white pepper, Belgian yeast, lemon zest, orange & various spices. The flavor follows suit, with the addition of banana, fruity esters, citrus, and a decent dose of hop bitterness. There is a soft, bready mouthfeel from the yeast and it finishes mildly dry.
This stuff is so easy to drink..one 16 oz can doesn't ever seem like enough...give me a bomber...no, wait...a growler of this. Delicious.

This is simply another superb brew from Surly. It's unfortunate this is a seasonal release, I wish it were in the rotation all year long.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint can, contains poured into a Stone OG tulip glass

Appearance is a murky caramel orange hue, fair amount of off-white runny foam dissipates mostly, watery lacing

Smell is floral hops with light grainy malts, tones of light fruits (apricots, peaches), citrus honey, and yeast

Taste is initial dominated by honey and subtly sweet fruits, transitions to grassy floral hops and bread-like malts, Belgian yeast is present throughout, some pepper and cloves in the background, finishes dry and prickly

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied, watery smooth texture, prickly carbonation

Drinkability is moderately high, I can't believe that such a well-balanced and flavorful saison came out of a can, score another winner from Surly!

CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,277 ratings.