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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,267 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,267
Reviews: 583
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 233
Gots: 125 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-02-2006)
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Ratings: 1,267 | Reviews: 583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aforbes10
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
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
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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
4.33/5  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
4.43/5  rDev +11%
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 +2.8%
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
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
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
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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%
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
4.38/5  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%
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 +1.8%
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 -8.5%
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
4.58/5  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
4.33/5  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!

Photo of younger35
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beauty from my main man tpd975. This will be my 4th brew from Surly and I've yet to be even close to disappointed. Drank from my Deschutes Black Butte pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a light orange yellow with light hues of pink and a decent half finger foamy head. Lily pad like cap and decent collar come together nicely to leave spotty nice lacing.
Smell- Lightly fruity with soft peach and tangerine like nose. Slightly dirty and lightly spicy it's a fairly subtle nose. Almost has a lemon sourness of some sort in the background.
Taste- Lightly dirty with that familiar yeast spiciness that you'd expect from a Saison. Like the can says, hints of apricots and peaches are indeed present along with a light caramel and honey sweetness. White pepper and perhaps a bit of clove are also perceived. Finishes with a light touch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with an almost creamy feel, medium zesty carbonation with a nice dry finish.
Drinkability- Well, like all of the Surly brews I've had (thank god I got coworkers going back-and-forth to Minneapolis) this one is pretty much really good and super quaffable. I'm not really sure how they do it but all of their beers are so damn appreciable and so delicious. Can't wait for this one to come around again. Big thanks again to Greg!

Photo of theformula
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer #18 in my 366 Days of Beer Quest.
Big thanks to esch for this 3rd Surly!
I didn't know what to expect but I'm glad I popped this one open.

A: Pours a light-orange body into a tulip glass w/ a 2 finger, delicate white head. Retention is decent and lacing is spotty all over the glass.

S: Like a Belgian Blone or Saison, I pegged it pretty well apparently. Understated Noble hops along w/ an earhy, funky yeast. Wildflowers and apricot floow suite as well as a peppery note. Subtle for Surly but enticing and refined; they can do refined too;) Even a berry-like note hides in there.

M: Med. body, crisply carbonated. A little oily but otherwise very smooth.

T: This Saison is different than typical for the style but oh so good anyway. The hop quotient is amped up from your Belgian Saison. The aroma and taste of the loads of Noble hops is beautifully big w/ pepper, apricot and grassy notes. A nice honey-sweet malt bill more than backs it up w/ some toasted bread and finally the funky, earthy yeast brings it all together.

D: Really drinkable stuff and another awesome Surly brew. It's very interesting and Belgian yet has the drinkability of a lager, which fits into the taste as well. I don't know what that is, but this is recommended for sure.

Photo of Lothore
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice golden yellow hue with a huge 2 finger head that just wont quit with lots of visible carbonation. I found myself thinking "now this is how a beer should look"... and I don't think that very often.

S- Smell is fairly mild yet earthy, spicy with hints of belgian yeast.

T- Taste is much different than I was expecting ... not your average saison. Light with an earthy character which finishes with quite a bit of hops and something distinctly lageresque about it that I can't put my finger on.

M- Fairly thick with just the right amount of carbonation.

D- This is clearly a very drinkable brew. Perhaps a bit different than something I would session but I liked it none the less.

Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can courtesy of leftmindedrighty, thanks again!

I popped this one open in celebration of the beginning of my vacation!

Pours a bright hazy light gold color, with a nice big white fluffy head. This looks great in the Duvel glass.

Aromas are of bubblegum, spicy yeast, and pepper.

Taste comes off as being really dry. Dry fruit flavors, apricot like, spicy, and with some yeast flavors. Finish is crisp with a slightly bitter hop bite. Interesting beer...

Mouthfeel is good. Though this strikes me as being almost too dry...

Drinkability is good. This is a very interesting beer, that is definitely worth trying. Not sure I'd go out of my way to track down another, but I am really glad I got to try this, and certainly wouldn't turn another can down.

I've tried 4 Surly beers so far... and in my book, they are 4 for 4.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Tayner for this extra.

Pours out of the can a slightly cloudy (chill haze?) peachy/brown, on the dark side for a saison. Head is good, but goes fast. nice lace. The nose is of wheat, grain, belgian yeast and pepper. First taste brings out wheats and spice. Strong belgian yeast flavors abound with some almost hefeish banana note on the end (very slight). Peppery yeastish wheat on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is on the thick side, and carbonation is strong. Very drinkable saison, but maybe this is just the psychological effect of the can. A great offering and I will certainly seek out some more surly after tasting this one. Thanks again, Dana.

Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sent my way from BuckeyeNation, and served in the Surly pint glass sent in the same shipment.

Light copper honey colored with a frothy, thin off-white head that doesn't rise up very high, and settles out fairly quickkly.

Aroma of clove and yeast.

Flavor initially of ripe fruit, honey and peppery spice, followed by clove and yeast. Some yeastiness, spice and lemony essence lingers.

Full mouthfeel, moderately carbonated, finishes bubbly and tingly, crisp and dry.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from feloniousmonk, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz. can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bananas, spices, light malts and Belgian yeast.

T: The taste is pretty refreshing and has a lot going on. There are flavors of peppery spices, fruits like bananas & apricots, and Belgian yeast up front, but it’s not too sweet. There’s a decent hops presence that comes in and provides a nice balance. The malt character is light but still gives a good backbone. The after-taste is slightly bready with a little sweetness.

M: Crisp and very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, I found this to be a very enjoyable beer. I could definitely keep drinking this beer for a very long time.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dansting for this one. 16oz. can served in a Duvel tulip.
Poured a hazy gold. Plenty of carbonation, about two fingers of white head.
Lots of citrusy fruit in the aroma and some bready malt.
Started off with a lot of orange fruit, then finished with corriander.
Light to medium bodied and a light hop flavor.
This didn't really make a big impression on me, not bad though.

Photo of papat444
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to oakbluff for this one!

Poured from a 16oz. can.

Paired it with pizza.

Appearance: Hazy, amber body with good carbonation. Medium-sized head that grows bigger as i near the end of the pour. Nice & thick.

Smell: Nice floral & light fruit aroma

Taste: Hits you with a bouquet of dried fruit flavor (apricot?) with a slightly mild bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol is nicely blended with the feel, bitter taste recedes & spicy flavor comes to the fore.

Drinkability: It goes down very well & i love the taste! I wouldn't necessarily have one right after this one though, but would definitely have it again for sure.

Overall: It gives a sense that i'm not sure how to describe. Like i should be in a nice cottage in the country in front on a fireplace instead of a city. Definitely a go-to winter snowstorm brew.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly- Cynic

Big thanks to Pimpp for this 1.

A- Reddish orange with an absolutely huge billowy white head. Thick lacing down the glass.
S- Sour whiskey mix, spicy back pepper, clove, bubblegum. Alot like a Hacker Pschorr Hefe.
T- Sour lemon and lime citrus. Big notes of bubblegum, clove, and pepper. Wheat and funky wet straw come through.
M- Sour fruitiness up front with a solid yeasty finish.

Overall- For the style, damn good! My personal preference, I probably could only drink 1. I really liked it although Saisons aren't my cup of tea!

CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,267 ratings.