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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,221 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,221
Reviews: 582
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 230
Gots: 115 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,221 | Reviews: 582 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of strangebrew52
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice golden color with about a fingers worth of white head that disappears quickly.
S: Cloves, bread, yeast, and a little fruity.
T: Belgian yeast flavor stands out, slightly sweet honey taste and a nice peach flavor
M: Relatively light bodied, well carbonated, goes down smooth
D: A good summer session beer.

strangebrew52, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from can into Snifter.

Appearance: Mostly clear sunset gold, slight head and lacing.

Smell: Cloves, pepper, banana - very dry smelling.

Taste: Slightly sweet banana, fleshy fruit and cloves upfront and turns more spicy and peppery on the finish. Fairly light overall.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, slightly dry finish but not nearly as dry as other Saisons.

Drinkability: Great thirst quenching summer brew with an ABV (almost 7%) that will sneak up on you.

bsp77, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A--Golden yellow with a finger of head when poured into my pint glass. A web of lacing is left behind

S--Clove and band-aid funk, a bit muted but pleasant for the style

T--Very refreshing saison, the muted scents translate well onto the taste. Orange peel, band aid, yeast, tree bark?. Great beer here, not one of my top styles but definitely one of the best from the style I have tried so far

M--Very dry, medium bodied with a sting of carbonation

D--Definitely the best aspect of this beer. This is just so damn refreshing. Get this beer!!

alcstradamus, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my ommegang 10th anniversary chalice.

Pours a 1/2 finger white head. Fizzles down quickly. Leaves no lace. Color is a clear yellowish orange gold.

Aroma: The first thing that comes to me is the Belgium yeast used in this beer. I read the can and this beer has exactly what it says.. black pepper and honey. I never thought they could mix so well. Then in the back note I definitely get the peach aromas. Very cool smelling beer.

Taste: Initially again is that Belgium yeast with the black pepper and honey. Wow it I have never had anything like this and I really like it. The fruits follow in the back end as well as the aftertaste. Fresh peaches stick out the most to me. I am really liking this offering from Surly.

Mouthfeel: A little bitter, but mainly crisp and funky. Medium bodied. A lower level of carbonation. Leaves a fruity/peppery aftertaste. A nice mouthfeel for a hot summer day... great!

Overall, this is a really great Saison that is offered from Surly. I really enjoyed all the unique tastes and this pint will be gone fast. My mother even enjoyed this beer! I will definitely be drinking more of this beer during the summer. Easy to drink, but backs a ton of flavor!

mothman, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of cvaypai
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can to snifter.

Appearance - Golden orange translucent with now sediment and a 1 fingered head. Looks really rich.

Smell - Alcohol, bread, fruit , peach and apricot come through. You can tell this is a saison, smell of belgian yeasts.

Taste - The can is right on this, I can taste the apricot and peach, and get the peppery finish. Spicy but sweet and fruity. Definitely a good summer beer.

Mouthfeel - Feels a little weird to me in the mouth, maybe a little too carbonated, but light bodied yet and smooth.

Drinkibility - Great, I could drink the whole 4 pack of cans easily, great session beer for the summer.

cvaypai, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of jera1350
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light golden yellow color with two finger head, that shrinks down. Slight bit of lacing.

Yeasty, straw, wheaty.

Yeasty again, some spices, slight hint of some light fruity apricot.

Very smooth. Close to creamy texture. Crisp, light and refreshing.

Great drinkability. This is a perfect summer beer. Easy to put several of these back.

jera1350, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. It pours a light copper/straw mixture with a 1 inch off white head forming that reduces to a full coverage lacing. Carbonation readily visible and no sediment.

The aroma includes a healthy dose of apricots mixed with some floral and grass notes. There is a light caramel component in the background, as well as yeast.

The taste is also heavier on the apricots with a nice yeasty bread component, as well as some mildly spicy notes. Just a bit of caramel sweetness at first and then it is over-ridden.

The mouthfeel is okay with a medium body. It has a foamy sensation to it from the carbonation, that I don't seem to like quite as much. There is a good tang to the feel and a mild dryness that doesn't last real long.

Overall, I do feel this beer is quite drinkable. The taste and ABV are not too much and although the mouthfeel could be better, it goes down fairly lightly, making it easier than many of the more potent beers.

SykDoc, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to natasharai for the trade.

500ml can with no date. tasted in late april 2009. poured into tulip.

amber honey color. clear gemstone appearance. 1.5-finger, bubbly, sudsy head, quickly reduces to a sudsy layer, then just wisps and ring. very sparse, splotchy lace

aroma: fruity, almost citrus, somewhat tropical, with herbal hops, sulfurous note, and gentle phenols. bready, lightly caramelized malt seems a bit overwhelmed.

taste: just a bit too unexpectedly citrusy, tropical and phenolic for me. at least the malt comes more to the fore. still very drinkable, but again, just not what i expected.

light to medium, with astringency at the finish, seemingly from all the peppery phenols. moderate carbonation gives lift and some complexity.

hmm... if you look at the story and description printed on the can, this peppery, spicy, phenolic character seems to be what they were going for. with that in mind, it's not so bad. just not what i'm looking for in a saison. could use more farmhouse character too.

tai4ji2x, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of katan
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint

A - Pours a golden to dark gold color - appears to be a bit hazy, but not detecting any yeast suspension. Head formation is very light, only a light white film being left behind. Strong bubbling.

S - A combination of yeast breadiness combined with an interesting combination of clove spice and phenolic undertones. Certainly stinging to the nostrils.

T - Starts off with a light sweet malt flavor. High mash temp I bet on this beer as the sugars shine. Bitterness barely builds mid-stream. Finishes with a yeast bite lined up with a bit of a light hop character. Alcohol warming lies underneath, which becomes more dominant in the aftertaste. A bitter bite eventually sits on the tongue. This beer's taste reminds me very much of a tripel.

M - Moderate to light body. Not thin, not syrup. Carbonation which I would have thought would be stronger both from style and appearance, was negligible.

D - Easy drinkable beer - flavors are smooth and easy. Certainly lends themselves as a summer drink.

katan, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of rtepiak
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a golden color and a medium body head. a nose of yeasty protein, apricot, and pilsner hoppiness. i would say that is pretty much the palate... a tad sweet though. not necessarily earthy or dry. not meaty. resembled a pilsner type beer actually with a mealy peach fruit and a bitter finish. in a can i would say the weakest link of the line up of ready available surly beers in minneapolis. that isn't that big of an insult seeing as how good there line up is. don't bother can wise. significantly more authentic on tap.

rtepiak, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of jophish17
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to Jamal32 for sending this one my way... happy birthday to me! 16oz can poured into a standard pint glass

Aroma: nothing very strong, I can probably pick out the hops more than anything (odd) with some of the spiciness and citrus flavors coming out as well

Appearance: medium golden color with about an inch of head that dissipates rather quickly, bits of lacing left on the glass

Taste: sweet, fruity body with hops coming in the finish. Not really farmhouse saison-y like the best Belgians, a bit cleaner. Good amount of yeast and a pretty dry finish. Different, what with the hops being pronounced while the barnyard characteristics are dim, but tasty

Feel: well carbonated, medium in body and pretty smooth on the way down

Drinkability: pretty drinkable. The extra bitterness hurts it a little for me, but still an easy drinker and fortunately the alcohol isn't noticable

CynicAle delivered just about what I expected. A refreshing beer in a can that is nice to cool down after a long day in the summer heat. Thanks again Jamie!

jophish17, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours an amber-orange color with a light beige head that's creamy and settled to a nice cap. A good amount of ringed lace on the glass.

S: Fruity, peppery/spicy, and bready--in that order. A zesty citrus aroma meets a distinct note of pepper. A light bready/clean grainy malt backdrop. Quite inviting.

T&M: Complex and refreshing on the palate. A nice light citrus flavor blends nicely with a light peppery flavor. Finish is lightly drying. Some bready/cracker malt flavors appear later on towards the finish, as well. Body is medium/light with a heavy-ish load of tingling carbonation. Carbonation isn't quite as refined as I'd like, but it still works.

D: This beer is incredibly quaffable. It's got a complex and intriguing flavor, but is light enough to be highly drinkable. I'm impressed by this, my third beer from Surly.

Thanks to mikereaser for giving me the opportunity to sample this fine beer.

BamaBeerBuff, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of blackearth
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright golden color with a thick white head that reduces to a thin foam cap with good lacing in the glass. Aroma is floral and estery yeast. Light bodied with subtle carbonation medium sweetness and a slightly sour and bitter finish. Excellent drinkability.

blackearth, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of spointon
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 16oz can into my Hennepin stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy orange-gold color with a 1.5" foamy white head. The head settled to a thin broken cap in a minute or two, and did not leave any lace behind on my glass.

S= Nice malty sweetness coupled with a lot of fruity esters, green orchard fruits, and grassy noble hops. Some moderate alcohol release when swirled.

T= Like the smell, there was a nice malty base covered over with fruit and hops. Green apple and pear dominated the middle, but honey, clove, and some incredible grassy hops also made appearances. Finish was dry and clean.

MF= Medium bodied, with a fairly soft carbonation feel.

D= A very good saison here. Probably my favorite Surly beer to date and that is saying something! Nicely sessionable despite the ABV.

spointon, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden straw with a thin beige head. Nice nose of herbs, spices, citrus, bready malts and peppery yeast. Taste is also quite fruity but well balanced by the earthy yeasts and floral spices. Light body is well carbonated and has a crisp, lingering finish. One of the best cans around. Can't wait to try more beer from Surly.

rye726, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of ThickestHead
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass out of the tallboy can.
It is a slightly hazy, golden orange body with a tight head that isn't frothy.
Smells yeasty, with a fruitiness drenched in honey.
Tastes crisp and clean, twice as nice as a Bud.
It's refreshing with a gentle bite in the mouth.
This beer is too damn drinkable for it's ABV. If your girl likes a light tasting beer and you want her tipsy in a hurry then toss back a couple of these with her.

ThickestHead, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of hardy008
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy light orange color with a small head and no retention.

Smell - Peaches, apricots, floral hops, yeast, and some malt.

Taste - Peaches, apricot, pepper, floral hops, yeast, and malt. A nice complex beer.

Mouthfeel - Heavy carbonation, lightbodied, clean, and crisp.

Drinkability - A nice drinkable beer, another solid offering from Surly.

hardy008, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of philbe311
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanx to Buebie for this top shelf extra...

A - Big fluffy white head comprised of large chunky bubbles... Very solid retention ultimately gives way to a full and varied lacing... A hazy golden orange color with a slight glow... Lots of rapid carbonation rises to the top, but some clings to the sides of the glass...

S - Distinctive yeasty aroma... A nice earthiness permeates... Pear... Apple... Apricot... Peach... Some faint citrus notes as well with a focus on lemon... An all around wonderful aroma...

T - Fresh baked bread... Yeast... Pear... Mild citrus... Rosemary... Pepper... Honey... A very faint hop kick can be detected at finish... Wonderful balance and complexity...

M - Prickly carbonation... Light to medium bodied... Ever so slightly tart... Fulls mouth fully and evenly... A slight dry finish...

D - I've long been a fan of craft beer in a can, but they typically take the form of porters, IPAs, or pilsners. A word-class American saison is what the craft beer movement in the US Is all about... Maybe not the best Saison out there, but it's very close... Plus, I absolutely love the name of this beer...

philbe311, May 29, 2009
Photo of israel
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Yellowish amber in appearance with a fluffy white head that faded to a thin covering with some nice lacing as well.

S- Bready, apricot, tropical fruit with a touch of spice

T- Hoppier than one might expect for this style and not as yeasty as most saisons, but not to say this beer doesn't have it goin on; because it does. Sweet at first with a nice hop profile that finishes with a nice peppery flavor that lingers on the tongue a bit.

M- Great mouthfeel although the dry finish does make the beer seem a bit thin towards the end.

D- Wish I could order cases of this stuff...

israel, May 22, 2009
Photo of ChopperSmith
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from tall can into large .5 liter Weizen style beer glass. Slightly hazy deep golden color with a nice thick foamy head that laces nicely as it shrinks.

Smell: The nose is great. Hints of sweet tropical fruit, yeast and hops.

Taste: Great flavors going on here. A slightly sweet saison style flavor, but with a bolder hops presence and some nice fruity flavors (peaches? apricots?). Smooth and slightly creamy.

Mouthfeel: A very nice mouthfeel, slightly creamy and refreshing. A great summer brew...but I drink it all year round.

Drinkability: They go down oh so easily. I like most of the Surly styles and seasonals, but this is hands-down my favorite Surly brew, and one of my favorite go-to beers in general.

Serving suggestion: .5 liter Weizen style beer glass.

ADDITION: I have found this beer to be an excellent pairing with spicy foods, especially spicy curry or Indian dishes.

ChopperSmith, May 18, 2009
Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Can received as an extra in a trade a while back.

Appearance: Pours a lovely honey orange with a 2 finger slightly off white foam head. Lots of retention and lacing.

Smell: The nose is all sorts of delicious. Lots of mango and pineapple with a strong dose of pepper.

Taste: Outstanding flavor profile going on here. For me, it starts with honey sweet note, then opens up a bit with a dash of mango fruit, and closes with a pepper wave leaving a smooth sweet finish. I'd like a more pronounced "belgian quality" out of the yeast though.

Mouthfeel: thin/medium bodied and well carbonated. a touch too thin imho.

Drinkability: easy to down this refreshing brew.

koopa, May 11, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can into red wine glass. Thanks to Dev (buckeyesox) for yet another amazing extra!

Pours a nice, cloudy glowing orange-gold, with a beautiful, lush two-finger bone-white head on top that refuses to let go of the glass as it settles into a thin, dense cap. Great lacing.

Nose is great too - notes of mangos and pineapple mix with grassy hops, tangy yeast - mmm.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose, but is still quite good. Yeasty, definitely peppery, light tropical fruit notes, with a pleasant light, grassy bitterness that lingers lightly through to the finish. Also on the finish you get a nice dose of said spicey yeast. Nicely done, not jaw dropping, but good.

Mouthfeel is nice as well - a bit creamy, smooth, medium body with a lowish, soft carbonation.

Drinkability is, as ever with every Surly beer I've tried, top notch. This isn't exactly a world shattering beer, but it's still quite satisfying after a 3 hour walk and visit to the botanical gardens. Kudos once again to Surly.

JohnQVegas, May 10, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, a perfect Minnesota day for a CynicAle. Hot and slightly humid, just enough to make my glass sweat.

Pours a golden orange color into my pint glass. Nice foamy white head. Slightly darker than I expected, but this is Surly, they don't play by the rules. Ample carbonation and impressive lacing.

Jeez, does this one have a Belgian nose on it. Plenty of Belgian yeast and spices. Not so much fruity, much more spicey. A tinge of alcohol and a little bit of funk.

Taste is very different from what I would expect from the nose. Definitely yeasty and spicey, but there is a peppery note that I haven't had the pleasure of tasting just yet! Also, a much higher bitterness level than the average Saison (33 IBU's if my mind doesn't fail me). Bitterness isn't overpowering in anyway, it just sits there being a friendly reminder that your drinking a Surly.

Mouthfeel is very light and crisp. A stark carbonation tickles your mouth. What a great brew to have on a humid summer (or spring) day.

Once again, I'm glad I'm a Minnesotan, if only so I could get Surly!

Mistofminn, May 06, 2009
Photo of twelvsies
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once again, great Surly haul - props to sonicdescent. I'm generally a fan of the can, but this just reaffirmed my enthusiasm for it. I just love the fact that I poured a beautiful saison out of a freekin' can. Awesome. Bright orange color, nice head initially but wish it would've lasted a little longer as per the style. I drank it out of a pint but maybe I should've gone with something more shapely. Great nose on this - peppery spice with a nice pale malt sweetness and honey notes (as suggested in the description on the can). Excellent cripsy flavor, lightly malty and plenty of herbal floral notes and spicy hops. Fruity flowery yeastyness. Creamy, honey flavor too. These guys do so many styles so well - all I've tried have been great "textbook" examples of the style while remaining individual and unique. Big points for that in my book.

twelvsies, May 06, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into an imperial pint glass from Bristol. Pours a nice golden-orange with about a half inch of foamy white head. A little darker than I was expecting (not really "fizzy yellow beer" like the can says, I'm OK with that).

S: Wow, can you say belgian yeast? It smells so good, a little bit of alcohol with funky peppery citrus notes to, I like it.

T: Fruity, yeasty. Kind of a peppery bite, some good hoppiness.

M: A little heavier than most saisons, kind of a medium body. Moderate carbonation, tingly, very good.

D: Pretty easy drinking, might have to stock up on this next time I got to MN. Great summer beer.

aggiearcher13, May 05, 2009
CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,221 ratings.