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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

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very good

1,301 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,301
Reviews: 586
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 232
Gots: 142 | FT: 6
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: 1,301 | Reviews: 586
Photo of jamie2dope
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to tprokop for this awesome extra. Poured in to my Stella goblet a glowing, slightly hazed orange/gold, with a white laced heading. Smell reveals some clove, chalky medicinal smell, bit of must, orange and peach. Taste is dominated by the peach, but some floral notes come in to play as well, similar to chamomile tea. Some bitterness is there to balance out some of the initial sweetness. Body is medium, with lots of different complexities with each pull. Drinkability is very good, I only wish I had more than one. Great Saison from the guys are Surly, this one is as good as any I have had. A beer to take your time with and let unfold. Cheers

Photo of Cresant
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 16 oz. can into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. No date. The body was a golden apricot color. The moderate head was white and made of fine bubbles.

Smell was Belgian yeast. Somewhat dusty. Fruity. Chalky. Hints of clean wet concrete.

Taste was peppery. Stewed fruits. Sweet light bitterness countered the tart bitterness.

Mouthfeel was on the thinner side. Light/moderate carbonation.

Photo of marcpal
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into an oversized chalice.

Thanks a lot to Pepsican for sending this one along in a trade to give me the opportunity.

A: Hazy belgian orange look. Looks like a sugar filled iced tea. Super thin receeding white head. Bubbly like a saison should.

N: Banana and spices. Like a hefe with the yeastiness, not catching the 33 ibus. Enticing spices.

T: Some sweetness and malts, and the hops make an appearance. Extremely flavorable, first time Ive had anything like this style out of a can. Tasty, doughy and spicy- no heat.

M: Fairly thick and viscsoos. No burn at all and the spicy carbonation definitely clears and cleanses the tongue.

D: Extremely drinkable. Good saison. Balanced, tasty and a hidden kick. Glad to have the extra 4 oz that is offered by surly.

Thanks again to pepsican.

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

I was at the brewery for the first tapping of the first keg of CynicAle but the beer was not quite ready with yeast floating all over the place and very little carbonation. That beer showed promise but I couldn't review it because it was not clear what it would become. That beer was far more fruity and far less hoppy than this.

Well, I now have the packaged product at long last! Huge fluffy white head and golden brew beneath are very much in the realm of a Saison, however, the strong hop aroma blocks all my farmhouse receptors.

The taste is so overpowered by hops that I had to divorce myself from the idea that this was a Saison or Farmhouse Ale by ant definition. After doing that I could see the farmhouse qualities start to emerge & I imagine that after about a year (@55 degrees) this will start to reveal its hidden beauty.

Overall: At the moment it reminds me more of a amped up Stella Artois because the hops hide so much of what I was looking for. But this clearly has a lot more complexity to show over time.

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

This was a nice Saison, didn't knock my socks off but it certainly was nice. It pours a cloudy amber with a 2 fingered white head. The smell is nice of the wonderful yeasts and malts used to make this beer. The taste is nice and smooth you get the nice belgium spice flavor as well as the malty saison flavor. The mouthfeel is comfortable, seemed a little too carbonated for me. I could see myself drinking a few of these but not an all nighter.

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

Served on tap at the Map Room in Chiacgo and served in a large flute like glass.

A: Pours a sort of macro looking clear golden straw and topped with a foamy half inch head that fades way into a thin ring and leaves a rather whispy looking amount of lace. Does not really look like any saison I've come across a bit brighter and clearer and not as bubbly as I would have expected.

S: Smell is quite hoppy for a saison, that is to say its more hop forward and less barnyard yesat forward. Don't get me wrong that yeasty earthy aroma is still there but coverd slightly by a rather generous helping of piny hops.

T/MF: A very nice balance is struck between the yeast and hops in this beer. The carbonation is quite active on the tongue but comes across a bit to soda like in my opinon. Taste is very nice, good yeasty spiciness, very mild bananna all melded together with a rather fruity (i.e. citrusy) hop profile.

D: All together not a bad beer, nicely balanced and quite tasty which helps this beer go down quick and easy, but just not what I was expecting from a beer that calls itself a saison.

Photo of Atron67
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into a duvel snifter

A- pours a foggy lighter amber/ darker golden color with an almost white head on top that had pretty solid retention. light wet lacing lasted on top. pretty highly carbonated with bubbles continually rising to the top keeping the head going

S- yeasty, light wheat, maybe a dash of coriander some light fruit notes as well. I would go with apple and pear very delicate.

T- light malt flavors, the general spicing again, the yeast is a little more subdued here compared to the nose, the hops are relatively noticeable for the style, being taste-able, but pretty solid and flavorful. pretty smooth, near where the yeast comes in, the light fruit character.

M- medium body with a solid carbonation. lingering yeast and fruit give a general stickiness to the tongue on the finish.

d- very drinkable, goes like a lower ABV session beer.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Lightly hazy golden in color with thick foamy white head. Great retention and lacing.

S - Phenomenal yeasty aroma of banana and other fruits. A little spice as well.

T - Puckering sweetness up front with a quick bitter bite. Very fruity, primarily banana, much like the nose. A faint spice lingers late in the drink.

M/D - Light to medium bodied and very crisp. Easy drinking saison...out of a can!

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pale amber in color, hazy but fairly clear. Not a lot of head on this one, which is somewhat unusual for the style.

Smell: Peppery and floral, semi-sweet, lots of estery fruit character (honeydew melon, banana).

Taste & mouthfeel: This one opens with a mix of esters and spice, white pepper being particularly prominent. A bit of melon-like sweetness appears mid-sip, followed by a strong resurgence of spice. The finish is long and peppery with a firm bitterness. Body is medium-light, right on target for the style, though carbonation is a bit low.

Notes: Very good stuff, definitely up to Surly's standard of excellence. Doesn't quite compare to a lot of authentic Belgian saisons, but great nonetheless (plus I love the idea of a saison in a can).

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

Received from OHLRangers in our recent trade. Thanks Ed!

Pours a slightly hazy orange/gold with a bubbly two-finger off-white head that fades quickly to a sticky ring. No lacing.

Smell is tangerine, clove, peach, and some spicy floral hops.

Taste starts with some sweet peach, tangy tangerine, and clove. Yeast and bready malts lead into some musty hay before finishing crisp with more clove.

Medium-bodied, well-carbonated and crisp mouthfeel.

A well-crafted saison that was quite enjoyable. Cheers to the folks at Surly!

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

As one person mentioned at our IPA tasting last night, who knew you could put good beer in a can and it would still taste fresh and delicious.

Yet another impressive beer from Surly.

The beer pours an amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is quite exotic and includes white pepper, banana, clove, cherry and honey. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose and the beer is flat out delicious. It has many of the properties of a good German hefe, but there is a bit more spice. The beer starts off moderately sweet, but then takes on this drying sensation I normally associate with German wheat beers. The beer is not the least bit heavy or tiring to drink and drinkability is exceptional.

Another excellent beer from Surly. Wouldn't hesitate to order this beer again if I ever see it.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from OneEye in a trade. Thanks bro!

A. Poured from a 16 oz pounder into a pint glass. A bit of loose head forms and retains decently well. Fizzy carbonation abundant. Light yellow and clear.

S. Wheat, doughy yeast, some sweetness as of molasses.

T. Some malts, wheat tinge. Barnyard elements are there as well. Brown sugar. Good.

M. Medium bodied, somewhat creamy.

D. For a beer of its strength, this could be a staple.

Thoughts: My first Surly experience. So far, worth the hype. One of the best canned beers ever.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this in a trade with Lofgrep. Thanks Peter!

This Saison pours from the 1 pint can a slightly hazy orange gold and a small 1 finger head of foam with some good lacing.

The smell has notes of yeast, pepper, some clove, and some hoppiness. An inviting nose for sure.

The taste is more complex than the smell. I get the pepper and the nice yeasty flavour right of the bat but there's some fruitiness with orange and some apricot there, some spices. I'm thinking coriander, some earthy tones right before the finish, and the finish itself has some pepper and some hop bitterness. Ok, I failed to mention the honey and yeah, it's there and I don't usually like a brew that has honey in its taste but...for this one, it works well. Nice job Surly!

Good medium mouthfeel and the carbonation is fairly brisk. Very drinkable as the abv is a big non factor.

What more can I say other than, it's a thrill to get the style in a can but a bigger thrill to get so good an example of the style, that happens to come in a can. Great stuff and highly recommended.

Photo of lightindarkness
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden amber with a uniformly champaign bubbled white head that sits down to a fine ring.

Even from a distance I'm getting some great whiffs of complexity. Notes of pepper and grains with a soft sweetness of melon and honey. A little coriander and herbal spice offset the softness, though it's brought back in with a mild floral overtone.

Taste has as many facets as the nose, with more pepper and coriander notes over a light grainy background. Some peach and mango fruitiness isn't overly sweet but stays earthy with a little dry hay flavor and minerality. Finishes with a dry raspy bitterness softened with clover and honey.

Lighter medium bodied with mild but notable carbonation. A brief moment of sucking dryness from the bitter finish, but still leaves a light film on the tongue.

A very intriguing beer, wavering between soft fruit and full strong light grains. Taste keeps me coming back for more as it develops new flavors with each sip. Pleasantly drinkable.

Photo of sholland119
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy golden yellow with a moderate white head and nice lacing.

S-Nicely peppery with good citrus peel aroma and a nice Belgian yeastiness.

T-A nice fresh summery taste with lemon zest, some graininess and a mild hop bite in the finish.

M-Nice and light, moderately effervescent.

D-A delicious sessionable saison.

Another great beer in a can from Surly.


Photo of hopsleeroy
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to JDV and pintsized for sharing

A-Orange, amber tinge, slightly hazy
S-Citrus hop upfron with underlying eaethy yeast
T-Drying in mouth with grassy hay feel to go on top of hop taste and bitterness. Earthy flavor underneath with grain malt.
M-Pretty smooth feel with decent carbonation
D-Probably wouldn't reach for another-maybe not my favorite style. Enjoyed the beer mostly because of the added hop flavor.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap, this was a solid beer. golden amber and mostly clear with a thin white head and lacing. tropical fruit in the nose along with some honeyed and floral notes. also a bit of vague funky earthiness and spice. lightly sweet bready malts upfront lead to a drying finish with a light, smooth bitterness. creamy and somewhat lightly carbonated. light to medium in body. i would have guessed that the abv was lower than it is. seems sessionable based on the flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can received from Scoobydank in trade. Thanks Bill! Into my Duvel tulip

A: Clear amber colored pour with a pleasing white head with good retention

S: Fairly complex with notes of honey, caramel sweetness, mild pepper and a hint of mace. Floral with rose and jasmine. Very good!

T: Spicy with pepper and clove dominant along with some nutmeg. Mild sweetness comes in with a hint of honey but dries up very quickly, leaving a spicy, dry finish

M: Excellent carbonation, wonderful, drying finish

D: I'd drink another!

Photo of shadow1961
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly Cynic Ale pours a massive loose head over a slightly
cloudy deep yellow brew. Carbonation is slow but steady, and
the nose is that nice clovey, peppery, fruity, Belgian yeast funk.
The flavor is light malts, clove, a bit of some undefinable fruit
all up against a surprisingly assertive peppery, herbal hop off
the back. The can says the hops are from Slovenia (where my
folks are from), which means it's probably some form of Saatz.
Very nice, by the way- it's more peppery than herbal which really
goes well with the Belgian yeast esters. This is pretty light bodied
and easy to drink, but at 6.5% alcohol by volume, it's a little too
boozy for sessions. This is a Saison, and stylistically it's pretty
spot on- a great summer quencher, but just a little assertive.

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cans purchased in MN.

As a style, Saison/Farmhouse, is hit or miss for me. A few have been outstanding when paired with the right savory dish. But overall, I haven't developed full appreciation for the style. If you enjoy the style you will enjoy this beer. This is every bit a saison. The coloring. The aromas...citrus, grassy, yeasty, fruit and that funk ick smell. Surly hop smell is there.

The taste grew on me a bit. The taste is complex enough and lacked an overwhelming funk. When paired with some spicy deli meats, peppers, cheese, crusty bread and oil....this was a good beer.

Mouthfeel is light...creamy. I love the feel.

This beer is refreshing. I think the hops made it a bit more drinkable.

I'm thinking about using some in a bread recipe.

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

Served in a pint glass at Paramount Room 7/13/08. Thanks to Heidi Morris for the assist!

A: Served a nice looking straw yellow color with a small, creamy, white head on top. Small amount of lace left behind in the glass.

S: Aromas of citrus, toasted grain, pepper, grassy hops, and a bit of funk.

T: Lemon, spices, and toasty wheat along with orange zest, pepper, spicy hops, and some funk. A little more hops and a little less funk than I expected.

M: Very nice levels of tangy citrus, oily hops, and a dry spiciness that I found compelling.

D: Easy to drink and very refreshing. I really liked the slightly amped up hoppiness.

Photo of DrDogbeer
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tytoanderso for the MN goody! Poured from the can into a sam perfect pint. Light orange color with a small white head. Dissaptes quikly with no loacing. Smells of some fruit- peach, orange- a good saison aroma. Taste is fairly full- lots of the fruit and a bit of bite- maybe the pepper they say. A bit oily for me, not enough crispness or carbonation. Pretty drinkable, though. Good flavor for a summer type session beer!

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

Golden amber in color, nice white head caps it off and leaves spots of lacing down the glass. Smell is very nice. Earthy, somewhat funky. Sharp fruit scents. Some grassy, floral hops. Taste is pretty nice. Definite Belgian yeast. Some peach is present and hints of other fruit. Tangerine and apricot. Reminds me of a Witbier crossed with a Belgian IPA for some reason...This brew is solid but not one that I could see myself enjoying on a regular basis.

Thanks to Scoobydank for this one in a mixed Surly 4-pack.

Photo of timbro81
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dfried for the opportunity. Pours a soft copper/orange with little to no head. Carbonation is weak. Smells is equally as weak, maybe some fruity esters, pepper/soft spicey hops, MAYBE. Taste is balanced, as it should be, but isn't hitting in all the right places. Some maltiness with minimal sweetness, a nice spicey hop finish. Not a very dry finish. Maybe some oranginess to it as it warms. Good but could be better.

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...

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CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,301 ratings.