CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
CynicAleCynicAle

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

591 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 591
Hads: 1,353
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 8.19%
Wants: 234
Gots: 163 | 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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 591 | Hads: 1,353
Photo of cfrances33
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can thanks to yamar68, poured into a tulip.

Pour: Clear straw yellow with a nice two finger plus of white fluffy head. Head really sticks around, and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell: Spicy belgian yeast, some bready malts, and a light grassy hop presence. Just okay here.

Taste: Really nice breadyness, followed by a clean grass and pepper spiciness. Some light sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly drinkable, and nice and dry. This beer is a great thirst quencher. The best aspect of this beer for sure.

Overall: A highly underrated saison. (539 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy medium golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of gentle carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a finger tall white head that slowly redues to a medium sized patch of thick film, a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of light fruit (apricot and peaches) along with yeast spices (pepper).

T: There are light amounts of light fruit flavors upfront (apricots, peaches, and pear) with some more moderate flavors of yeast spice (pepper) and some clove.

M: Light to medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: This might be the easiest drinking saison that I have tried and it comes with the bonus of being in a can. There is very light dryness (especially compared to others in the style) and good flavors. Quite enjoyable and just shy of sessionable - a little too strong in ABV to be truly sessionable but I could have a couple of these. (1,094 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Ommegang flute from a 16oz can.

Pours a nice rich bright golden color with some slight orange hints. There is a nice 0.5 inch head that is white and dense and is retained for a good bit. It recedes down to a nice thin film.

Starts of with yeasty spice notes with some nice earthy grain notes. There is some slight sweet notes as well.

Taste follows the nose pretty well. Starts off with some fruity sweetness with some good spice notes. Notes of yeasty phenols and slight clove notes. Pretty straight forward saison. Nice crisp mouthfeel.

Good saison. (569 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Translucent straw color. Thin off-white head.

Aroma: Not much in the nose. A little peppery malt and yeast.

Taste: Grainy with cloves and other similar spices. Missing that Surly essence (i.e. hops) or at least the Slovenian hops aren't cutting it. The description on the can says the ingredients create "honey & black pepper flavors." I guess I'd agree with that, although it's not super appetizing. It is, however, very clean tasting with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good effervescence and decently smooth. The taste of cloves and dry finish get a little cloying.

Final Thoughts: This one is geared more towards the BMC crowd (although maybe not intentionally). I wonder why this is brewed year-round. Would I drink it again? No. Hell, Bitter Brewer, and SurlyFest are much better options (close to this style) if you're in the mood to get Surly. (880 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a slightly hazy golden color. It had a nice looking white head on top with a good retention and a touch of lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer has some subtle fruit and spice notes to it, there is an aroma of fresh grain as well with a mellow sweetness. The taste of the beer is light, refreshing and doesn't really show it's true colors till the aftertaste. The settling flavors of the earthy hops and the black pepper notes shine bright. The mouthfeel is crisp, smooth and clean feeling, leaving behind some stickiness in the mouth afterward. Overall I didn't know it was supposed to be a Saison but I could definitely make that assumption from the first sip to the last. (699 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slightly hazy copper colour, finger of head with some retention and no real lacing.

S - Musty grassy hop notes, light citrus and a hint of fruity cloves.

T - Nice fruity cloves, hints of peach and orange citrus, a bready malt with buttery notes alongside a citrus rind and peppery spice.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - Yet again Surly delivers the attributes of the style offering a solid dose of flavour and a unique fruity twist. Flavourful and drinkable. This is a brew that I could drink all night, and I'm certain many would agree. Do yourself a favour and grab a can. (612 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - mostly clear golden orange, solid head that retained at a thick half finger and left lots of whispy lacing
S - grainy, fruity, leafy, with a hint of mineral/metallic
T - must like the nose, the fruity flavours are pear and light apple, leafy hops, cracked grains and a mineral finish
M - light to medium with big carbonation, finishes pleasantly dry
O - a fantastic example of the style with its own surly character, this would be a go to sessioner were it available in my hood (481 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Though it might be yet another yellow beer in a can, this one sports a golden yellow color from the can. Not much head here but lots o' carb's.

Smells of wheat malts barley and yeast come through. Spicy and hints of clove.

Refreshing with a dry finish. Lightly sweetened malts yet spicy and peppery with hints of Beligum yeast.
Hops come through but lightly.
Feels smooth with a med. weight. The carbonation gives a prickly feel as it goes down.
Grainy and a bit metalic in the finish too.
I'm not really big on farmhouse styles, I could take them or leave them but this was most enjoyable. (592 characters)

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 16-ounce can. The “CANNED ON” date printed on the bottom of the can is “07/16/12.”

Appearance: Poured into a tulip glass. The color is a lovely, medium gold with an amber tint. Two fingers of eggshell-colored head dissipated to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Floral, yet spicy and hefe-like. Lots o’ cloves. It has a nice bouquet of floral hops, which is rounded with Belgian yeast, a little funk, and both pepper and clove spice.

Taste: Smooth, creamy, and well-balanced. The floral hops shine and offer adequate bitterness. Much like the smell, there is also a little funk that is spiced with black pepper and cloves. The can mentions honey, apricot, and peach notes, but I do not really get them. It does, though, have a fruitiness to it.

Drinkability: It does not blow me away but it is a very well-crafted brew. Enticing nose, great flavor, and excellent mouthfeel. (923 characters)

Photo of sonata2008
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm always thrilled when Cynic is available as cask conditioned. It is so smooth.

Appearance: Cloudy yellow with about 3/4 inch of creamy white foam. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Strong hops with spicy floral notes and some pine.

Taste: The cask version makes it taste less Belgian. The cask had a hoppy taste with floral hops dominant. The a bit of astringent-ness probably from the hops, but overall, there is very little bitterness. It is extremely smooth.

Mouthfeel: Almost a creamy mouthfeel. No sweetness. A dry finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Goes well with poutine. Would go well with other foods with subtle flavors. (631 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear rich golden honey color with a nice big off white head that settles into a decent lacing.

Light spices like cloves with lemon pepper and some yeast aroma.

Light dark spices with cloves and peppers mixed in a lightly sweet grain malt taste.

A medium bodied beer that has a dryish aftertaste with just a hint of the spices remaining.

A decent enough beer but not really up my alley, would be cool to have this with just a touch of the traditional American hops taste added to it. (495 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy dark gold with a couple finger white head retaining one finger with spotty lacing down the glass.

Aroma is Belgian yeast mostly. Some notes of lemon with a little pepper and floral notes too.

Similar flavors. Lemony up front along with some wheat malt. Clove and pepper kicks in near the end. Not unpleasant, but not flavors I enjoy much. I prefer more lemon than spice in my saisons.

Light bodied with medium carbonation.

Eh not bad for what it is, but Surly has so many better offerings, I probably won't seek this one out again. (548 characters)

Photo of jegross2
3.17/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewing the CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company. This traditional farmhouse saison is the last of Surly's year-round beers that I have yet to try.
Score: 79

Canned 06/13/12, served in am Avery nonic pint glass and enjoyed on 07/22/12 after watching the incredible ending to the Batman trilogy in IMAX.

Appearance: Pours a clean and transparent golden color with a slight reddish hue and two-plus fingers of off-white soapy head that settles to a thin layer. Poor lacing, average retention. 3/5

Smell: Bitter grain, wheat, a little corn, cloves, mellow piney hops and a little lemon. Mile Hefe-like yeastiness too. 3.5/5

Taste: Stale hops, wheat, lemon peel and yeast. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Water-like mouthfeel with medium-light carbonation. Somewhat dry and bitter finish. 3.5/5

Overall: A refreshing and light beer that reminds me more of "a better Spotted Cow" than Hennepin. Bold in flavor for the mouthfeel and definitely drinkable/refreshing in the heat, but this one is barely above average at best.

Recommendation: Surly is one of my favorite breweries, but this is not one of their beers that you need to seek out. I feel that this would make a solid starter craft brew for casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Brats.

Cost: $8.99 for a four pack. (1,254 characters)

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pounder can into a standard pint glass The brew pours a clear golden with 2 fingers worth of white froth. Thick patchy lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma is spicy and fruity with a scent of pear and apple skins initially. More smells reveal clove and some peppery spice. As it grows warmer, it picks up more dried fruity qualities.

The flavor opens woth a strong taste of clove and spice like pepper with an increasing amount of dried fuits. Hints of dehydrated apricot, apple skins and pear. There is a mild fruity alcohol ester that creeps up the back.

This is a light to medium bodied saison. It is crisp and easy drinking with a pleasant uplifting level of carbonation that is spritzy throughout the entire duration. Fans of saisons need to give this one a try. (769 characters)

Photo of vandemonian
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly cynic is a tasty saison which is dominated by malt, spices and lemon. Quite nice.

A: Orange colour and a crappy head. 3.5

S: Spicy aroma. Cloves. 4

T: Malty with strong spices. Subtle lemon flavour. Quite nice. 4

M: Good carbonation. 4

O: 4 (251 characters)

Photo of drpimento
2.82/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hm, bit of a disappointment to me. Poured at a good temperature with a smallish, off-white, foamy head that quickly subsided to a large island and ring with almost no lace. Color is a clear amber with one bubble trail. Aroma is yeast, malt, grass, caramel. Flavor's similar to nose, a little too sweet for style, and sweet up front, some carbonic tang, and yeast/hop bitter. Body and carbonation are ok. Finish is like flavor, kind of long and again, too sweet; couldn't finish it. Not for me. (493 characters)

Photo of NODAK
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma here is quite sweet...definite notes of honey and sweet fruit here...peach....a note of yeast and maybe a little pepper. Overall I really like the nose.

Pours a dark golden in the glass with a healthy head to it.

Many saisons I've had seem to tone down the sweetness and have a pretty decent bitterness on the finish. This one strays from that. It has a pretty big honey, fruity sweetness to it. The can says I should get honey and apricot/peach notes and they're certainly there in quite a big way. Spice is also noted at the same time, playing second fiddle. I get just a hint of yeast near the finish and a very small herbal bitterness peeking through. All in all though, this is more a sweet, smooth saison without much hop character.

One of the smoothest drinks I've had in some time. Some may lament the lack of high carbonation and hops often found in saisons but I think it only enhances the drinkability and makes this one a great tasting beer. (963 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is in my regular lineup, just never got around to posting a review I guess... this can has just over 4 weeks on it, poured from can to Surly imperial pint glass:

Pours a nice pale straw yellow with a very healthy, swelling white head that leaves gobs and gobs of lacing. Minimal beading.

Fresh spicy yeast notes, subtle hop character, some wheat type aromas at work, just a nice refreshing smell.

Really hits the spot after a long hot day. Tons of wheat and yeast, bready malts, spicy saison qualities, super smooth.

The feel is nice and light - appropriate for the flavors that it supports.

Just one of many fantastic beers from Surly. (646 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Clear yellow, some carbonation, two finger head that tries to leave behind some lacing.

S-Lemon, grass, pepper and spice.

T-Great balance, lemon, grass, wheat and spices. Nice and sweet.

M-Medium bodied, like velvet, good deal of carbonation.

O-A wonderful Saison, not the best one but a solid one indeed. With a few more Surly beers to go from a trade I'm starting to see why everyone is so high on this brewery. (419 characters)

Photo of samie85
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color with two fingers of creamy white head.

Peppery with fruity esters with a light bitterness on the finish.

Follows the nose with peppery and fruity esters with some light bubblegum and finishes with a decent bitterness.

Light and effervescent with a prickly feel in the mouth.

I like this one in that it leans towards the hop side of the spectrum of Saison instead of the spiced side. (408 characters)

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can into a pint glass

A- pours a cloudy shade of yellow with a half finger pure white head. Looks pretty saisonesque

S- very spicy scents. Some flowery aroma from the Belgian yeast. Interesting...

T- there is a light bit of spice here. A little bit of fruity Belgian notes as well. Not bad

M- medium bodied. Its fine

O- not too shabby. The canned format gets bonus points, but I'm not sure I'd love drinking a saison straight out of the can... (460 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Canned on 5/2/2012; Poured from a pint can into my Minneapolis Town Hall tulip.

Golden liquid with a voluminous ivory creamy cap. Thick tendrils of lacing create an ornate web, and thousands of micro-bubbles rise at varying rates to support head retention.

Lovely barnyard aromatics suggest goat cheese, hay, lemon peels, wildflowers, and a wonderful light yeasty funk.

Phenolic palate entry is loaded with yeasty complexity - offering up a flavor profile suffused with peppercorn, coriander, and bread dough. The malt bill suggests honey comb and baguette while a moderate bitterness melds with the phenols to create a dry spicy finish, offset with hints of white peach from the hops.

Smooth (the oats presumably help here), effervescent, creamy, medium-bodied, yet crisp, bracing, and refreshing at the same time.

One of the better domestic examples of the style I've tried - though lacking in the floral notes or intensity of the best saisons - the Surly cult was not founded without reason. (1,000 characters)

Photo of Holland
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mista for this treat!

A: light golden or straw colored with a hefty head made of unnaturally large bubbles. Very clear and pleasant looking.

S: peppery, fruity, and yeasty. Very nice, I like the amount of fruit I can smell here.

T: light malt, pepper, then more light malt to finish. Not crazy, but good.

M: medium to light body with a medium-heavy carbonation. Just as I like a saison to be.

O: solid, nothing spectacular. The smell got me really excited that it would be a bit more balanced in taste, but it's a pretty regular but good saison. (564 characters)

Photo of 4balance
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can with many thanks to Yamar68, poured an inviting golden orange color with 1 finger of white head which quickly reduced to a nice cap/ring with a mild amount of sticky lacing.

Aroma is Belgian yeast up front, fruit, cloves, bubblegum.

Taste is warm toast combined with peach, creamy malt, a touch of floral essence that finishes with a good amount of cracked pepper, the flavors linger on for a good while. No alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, light carbonation, smooth drinking with a crisp dry finish.

Overall nice Saison, interesting blend of yeast, fruit and spice. Really nice balance with this one, good one for an introduction to this style. (672 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Golden orange cloudy body with 2 finger head. lots of lacing. Great looking beer! (a bit darker than a typical saison, imo)

S: Cloves, yeast, banana, some pepper notes

T: I actually can detect peach (near the finish) in the taste that wasn't present in the nose. I personally think this is a bit too peppery and a bit too sweet, but I really love the peach finish at the end. I don't think I get much of the apricot (as stated in the bottle). This is like a mix of saison and wit-bier, infused with peach.

M: A bit too thick, imo, for the style. Carbonation is also on the low side for the style. It's not as dry as other saisons I have had.

O: I enjoyed this beer. As mentioned above, I really enjoyed the peachy taste near the end. I wish it was a bit less sweet and lighter (and more refreshing) in mouth feel. (822 characters)

CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 591 ratings.