SurlyFest - Surly Brewing Company

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741 Ratings
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Ratings: 741
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 217
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 09-03-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 741 | Reviews: 333
Reviews by arc3636:
Photo of arc3636
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - golden red color, fair amount of head. Beer is extremely clear

S - faint spicy aroma

T - rye is featured, but there is also a nice spice flavor I can't place

M - full bodied

O - solid and very drinkable, I had 2 pints and could have easily had 2 more. Only complaint is it was tough to find!

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a becker a clear rich copper/bronze with a thick creamy white head atop.Grain and light toast in the nose along with mild spicy rye.Dry on the palate wich I liked alot with German malts toasted bread notes,a good shot of spicy hops and light lactic rye in the finish.I could drink this from a stein all day,a great O-fest beer.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.09/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Many thanks to Mike for the 4-pack.

Great Appearance. Dark orange body with a huge white froth.

Aroma: Huge citrus hops aroma. Touches of rye. No toast. No caramel. I know that this is a Surly hi-bred rypafest but honestly I’m not impressed. This smells nothing like an Oktoberfest.

Taste: Hops, Grapefruit. Virtually no malt. No toast. No caramel. No toffee. Rye? Maybe, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

Mouthfeel: Blistering. Unbalanced, overwhelming bitterness. Medium to light bodied. Aggressively carbonated. Not creamy or smooth as an Ofest ought to be.

Drinkability: Null. Hop heads will love this but I had a very hard time consuming half a can let alone a whole pint.

This beer really disturbs me.

Photo of blackearth
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber body with a thin white head that soon disappears. Aroma is of toasted caramel and peat. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a spicy rye flavor. There's a medium hop bitterness that is discernable as well, but the rye is what shines through. Decent drinkability, but sometimes it depends on the setting with rye beers.

Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 9/14/11

A - Pours a clear red-copper with two fingers of dense off-white head. Head has great retention and leaves some lacing. Looks fantastic.

S - Nice amount of herbal hops, some bread malt, and a bit of spicy rye. Pretty unique aroma.

T - Definitely has a Marzen character, though hopped-up and with a nice spicy rye character. Pretty complex and enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Finishes pretty clean and with a bit og lingering bitterness and spice.

O - I don't know that I would drink this in place of my favorite Oktoberfests, but it is a very enjoyable and unique lager that I would definitely get again.

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

Thanks to Mikesgroove for this beer as an extra. Cheers. I took my first sip without reading the can and thought that this was a weird beer for a fest. Then, I saw it was brewed with rye and dry hopped which explained it. Pours with a thin head and amber. Smells of the mix of rye and hops. Tastes like a hoppy marzen with rye whatever that means. A very unique beer which is tasty & I am generally not a rye fan.


Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into dimpled mug.

Appearance: Clear bright copper with a very thin white head. Looks like a Marzen.

Smell: Citrus, caramel, toast and smoky, spicy rye.

Taste: Slightly sweet malt body of caramel, toast and biscuit with a slight citrus counterbalance. Almost smoky spiciness at the end due to the rye, although the malt also remains through to the finish. Extremely well balanced.

Feel: Relatively low carbonation for a lager with an unusually smooth body. Semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Fantastic autumn beer. While the malts are somewhat reminiscent of a Marzen, the hops and rye clearly move it well beyond Marzen territory. That said, it beats any traditional Marzen by a wide margin.

Photo of CBorg
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice dark copper color with a finely grained head. It may look like a typical Oktoberfest, but it's anything but. The nose clean and hoppy with plenty of citrus, but with a nice malty body in the background to balance the hops. This beer is exceptionally drinkable and downright delicious; And the mouthfeel is pure velvet. Awesome!

Photo of deebo
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hosted a beer tasting focused on marzens last year and included this one amongst the others as a change of pace. Perhaps because it was different from the others or just that it's a well made brew but this one was high on most of the beer lovers list at the end of the tasting.

A-Poured from a can into a tall glass this brew is very heady. The tan foam laces the glass and remains until the last drop. Clear with an attractive copper amber color. A beautiful brew.

S-Rye and toasty barley malt with a nice tropical citrus hop aroma with a fair amount of spiciness.

T-Plenty of rye malty goodness alongside the Vienna malt but there is also a fair amount of hoppiness (same taste as the aroma) here too.

M-Moderate bodied, moderate to high in carbonation. A bit of a bitter spicy lingering finish but definitely not overwhelming and cleans up nicely inviting the next drink. Vapory alcohol bite is also detected.

O-I've really been enjoying this beer on cool fall days the past couple years. Like all Surly beers this beer will wake up your taste buds. I haven't been a huge fan of rye beers but this one is quite nice. I really like the combination of rye flavor and the generous flavor of Sterling hops. Biggest defect is the alcohol bite in the finish.

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

Surlyfest 2008 vintage. Appearance is mostly clear amber-orange with a frothy off-white head. Good lacing. Aroma has some citrus hops and bready malt, neither too strong, with the hops dominating. Initially, the flavors had me scratching my head for sometime because I thought I was drinking an Americanized Oktoberfest so I was relieved to see the heading here as a rye beer. I tasted restrained citrus hop flavor with the bready malt but the malt flavors danced on my tounge for only a moment and was whisked away in a fairly dry finish, which is explained by the rye malt and normally tends to be a palate cleanser when added to beer leaving a pretty dry finish. Mouthfeel was right in the middle making this beer very drinkable. This is unlike any beer I've tried before because it does remind you of Oktoberfest but you've got interesting twists with the American hops and rye malt. Oh, and of course it's absolutely delicious.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz. can into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Canned on 9-08-11.

Appearance: Deep copper like amber orange with lots of rising bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head with very good retention. A decent amount of lacing sticks around the glass.

Smell: Aroma of caramel malts and wheat grains with hints of rye spice. Also has a fairly strong smell of sweet orange citrus hops. Smell is overall pretty malt forward but hops are very noticeable.

Taste: Sweet taste of bready malts with caramel and some toffee up front is followed by some spicy rye and wheat grains. A taste of orange citrus comes from a surprisingly sharp hop presence for such a malt forward style. The hops add a mild bitterness towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very rich, creamy, and smooth.

Overall: A very good take on a rye beer. A very nice balance of sweetness, spice, and bitterness. Complex and tasty.

Photo of OStrungT
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a golden orange color, with a tiny off white color head. The head fades fast, leaving no lace.

This beer has a nice grainy aroma. I can detect some spicy hop aroma as well. It smells slightly bready as well.

This beer tastes much like it smells. It has a more dominate bready flavor. Some grain mixes in. It has a slight spicy flavor also.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a bready aftertaste. The carbonation is light.

This beer would probably make a good session beer. It tastes good, and the alcohol is not too high.

Overall: Thanks go to Scoobydank for being so kind as to hook me up with this one. This beer was great. I would definately drink it again.

Photo of brow1901
4.69/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Extremely happy I was able to pick up a couple six packs surlyfest this year. Cool looking can like most of the surly beer poured into a pint glass.

A- Color is a dark dull orange, bordering on red. Off white head is nill but the great carbonation keeps it alive. Not much lacing.

S- Very different smell from any lagered beer I've had, and it's quite pleasant. The smell of lager yeast is there, definite hop aroma. But theres that other pleasant scent I mentioned, I'd guess it's the rye but I could be wrong.

T- Nice complexities, the hop bitter stikes the tounge (not too sharply) and gets washed away by a smooth almost oily malt and rye flavor. And quickly leaves the mouth dry.

M- Great carbonation, excellent feeling of smoothness on the tongue. And leaves the mouth nice and dry ready for another swig.

D- Highly drinkable, very refreshing and leaves you wanting more. An excellent session beer.

Photo of glid02
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this gem from an LIF hosted by maximum12. I am deeply obliged good sir.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with a one-finger white head into my UGA mug. The head sticks around for a bit before receding into a thin ring around the glass. The lacing is very good for a lager.

Smells good. Really big on the noble hop aroma with a mild sweet malt smell.

Tastes a little better than it smells. The sweet malt and noble hop flavors are superbly balanced, and there's also somewhat of a floral taste that pokes it head out every now and then. There's a very mild bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. There's a good creamy thickness there with subtle carbonation that's not too much nor too little. Very nice.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of the smell, but once I take a sip it doesn't really matter. This goes down very easily.

Overall I'm very impressed with my foray into Surly Brewing thanks to maximum12. I look forward to snagging any more of their brews any chance I get.

Photo of brewgetter
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer pours a light brown with some orange highlights, slight haze

S - I get grapefruit, pine, and lemon. nice.

T - Rye is certainly there, slight maltiness is nicely balanced by huge hops. The can is probably a good 4 or 5 months old, not sure if that would play a factor or not. Not as good as Furious, but still a great beer! can't wait to see what comes out next year!

M - medium body, seems sppropriate for the style, and very good for a lager.

D - Quite drinkable, Don't know if I could drink two in a row...I probably could though:)

Since I'm a confirmed Surly Nut. I love the twist that they've brought to an O-fest, certainly one of the best lagers I've ever had.

Photo of pwoods
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz. can purchased somewhere in Minneapolis, poured into a pint. Review from notes.

Pours a dark coppery amber with a large fluffy white head. Head holds for a bit and leaves good lacing. The aroma is very spicy, loads of rye. Not very typical of an Ofest but interesting.. Very peppery and mildly sweet. Taste is much the same. Lots of peppery, very spicy, loads of rye. Pretty damn dry. Has a very earthy taste and feel. Body is medium to medium light with good carbonation.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.64/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a hop-hazed sienna brown/gold, with a modest head that thins to about 1/8 inch and stays there. Not much lace. 3.5 + .5 for that nice haze.

The aroma is a singularly amazing experience. I have never smelled anything quite like it. The closest is Three Floyds' Gumballhead. It's a breeze of clean fresh pine, closer to scented dryer sheets than hops, but that gives an incredibly negative impression, doesn't it? Whatever it is, however they did it, it's wonderful.

This was sent to me by mnwags, who raved and raved about it. And I have to agree. This is one tasty beer. Clearly made with rye, it exhibits the pleasing sharpness of a great rye beer and is balanced delicately with a very strong, spicy hop presence. They boast of using a single hop variety on the can, and damned if I can tell which variety--but that simplicity comes through in the flavor. Equal rye, equal hops, both huge, both delicious. Citrus rind in the finish makes me want to reach for another sip before I've even put the glass down from the previous.

Texture-wise it's fine, a bit spiky but hardly harsh. It allows the big rye/hop flavor to ride through in a loud rush rather than a creamy wave.

When it comes to brewing low-ish alcohol beers that have huge flavor, Surly cannot be topped. Best lager ever? It's pretty damn close. Stupidly drinkable.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to deliriumfest for hookin this one up.

Pours a nice clear amber/ruby/orange/light brown/burnt color. Big fluffy white head lingers for quite some time and leaves pretty impressive lacing.

Nose is hoppier than i expected. Some earthy malts and a bit of bread and biscuit.

Taste follows with biscuity bready malt, as far as this "lager" is concerned, a big hop presence. Again, relatively speaking for the style. Some slight caramel and bread through the middle. Nowhere near as malty sweet as, say, a marzen, but the malt presence is there. Hop bitterness and a bit of perfume on the finish, bitterness lingering in the aftertaste. A clean, crisp, and quite dry finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, maybe a touch thick, but overall quite good. A very sessionable brew. Great carbonation and a good dry finish.

Drinkability is very good. A super slammable rye beer lager thingamajig. Would love to session a few of these in october.

Overall a pretty tasty brew. A rye lager thing is a nice take on a style aside from marzen for the oktoberfest season. A great alternative when marzens get boring. The extra hop presence in here is pretty nice. Certainly one worth picking up. A good one for those seeking just a touch more flavor and body at the autumn barbeque. Good beer.

Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely needed lager, with a rye edge. Pours yellow body with white bubbly head, and leaving a lace trail down the glass. Neutral to pleasant aroma with some graininess. Easy drinking, above average mouthfeel. Some hops
Had again 3 years later and it was fresh and it may have been tweaked. Got more toast, and hop aromas.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can, pilsener glass, no canning date.

Perfect auburn, fall copper beer, clear like a newly washed window and topped with an impressive survivor of an orange head. That foam really does have a uniquely orange tint.

Pumpernickel, rye crackers, and some nobel hops in an understated, clean nose. Green apple hints.

Immediate rye and hop spiciness are quite enticing. Some caramel leaning towards savory or salted proves there is body to this beer while an overall earthiness make the rye's presence obvious throughout. Just enough bitterness keeps it crisp; this is one flavorful lager.

Prickling carbonation enhances the spicy aspects. This is medium bodied and crisp.

This beer presents the spicy and earthy characteristics of rye more than any other beers I've had that include this grain. This packs a lot of flavor and seems very well made all the way around. Darn, I wish I could get Surly at my store.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ultraman for this long time want. 16oz. Can into a Fullsteam pint glass. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger coarse, off-white head with poor retention. Beer is a slightly cloudy copper color. Lacing is patchy and thick with good cling. Average for color and head retention.

Nose is pine resin and citrus. Moderately aromatic but very subtle.

Opens tea, citrus, and a slight hop bite. Some malt body towards the middle with hints of rye seed spice. End is more citrus, pine, and cane sugar. Finishes dried tea leaves with the same aftertaste. Really easy drinking.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and refreshing in the mouth and goes down light and crisp. Clean finish with a slight aftertaste. Super drinkable.

Keeping with just about every Surly beer I've had, this one is subtle, easy drinking, and highly sessionable. Great with just about any meal. Really wish I had easier access to this one.

Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Okay, so my first thought is that this could be like Stoudts Smooth Hoperator. But no, this has more balls than nearly any hoppy lager (a few imperial pilsners may have more IBUs) and better balance - damn. The aroma is a citrus, resin-y hops juice. The flavor builds with a little white pepper and citrus rind on grapefruit. The malt comes through after the first wave of hops with a mild toasted caramel and biscuit that cuts the hops for a second, before they come back in the aftertaste. Yummy.

I wouldn't call it an O'fest, but what else could it be? I guess if it needs a style...

Photo of Heatwave33
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Amber with a beige head.

Smell: Hops, bread, fruit.

Taste: Hops, malts, yeast and fruit.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation and dry.

Overall: This is my favorite Oktoberfest to date. It has a very clean taste which was outstanding. Definitely going to grab some more nect year. Cheers!

Photo of dbossman
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark caramel hue with a huge fairly quickly dissipating but frothy white head; lacing is okay

S: Grainy malty sweetness with a touch of caramel; lots of rye bread and just a touch of floral/tea leaf hops

T: Lots of rye bread bitterness with a touch of pepper spice; a bit of a sweet caramel maltiness and just a splash of citrus--lemon rind and tea leaves; but man oh man is this bready

F: It's pretty good though still crisp and slightly thin

D: An interesting, complex, and bready brew; really good but quite different

Photo of mikey711
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass slowly and a champange like head formed and quickly left as I filled the glass to the top. Copper colored with load of carbonation rushes up from the bottome of the glass.

S: Slightly spicy and toasted caramel. A bit of yeast is present in the nose as well.

T: The rye comes through subtly in this sweet tasting beer. The yeastiness is present as well but adds to the idea of this being a rye lager.

M: Very creamy and full bodied for a lower abv beer.

D: IS it sessionable yes, but I probably wouldnt want more than two in a sitting.

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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 741 ratings.