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SurlyFest - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

609 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 609
Reviews: 325
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 218
Gots: 29 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 09-03-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 609 | Reviews: 325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bighuge


1.63/5  rDev -60%

This beer is a bit of a conundrum. I'm not sure if anybody has touched on this yet, but this beer tastes nothing like a marzen. It's more like an IPA or actually more like a DIPA. The blue and white checkerboard background on the can reminds me of a German Oktoberfest banner (like the ones in "Strange Brew" eh?). But the beer inside is not even in the same ballpark. I understand it's a lager, but this has to be the most hopped up lager I've ever tried. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Well actually, in this case there is.

Hazy, tarnished copper. Thin coating of beige head. Lace is moderate in amount. Sickly pungent pine needle aroma. It's like smelling the gooey sap straight out of a pine tree. And then licking it. The flavor is all hops. And in truth, these hops don't appeal to me. My belief is that they're 100% Sterling. If that's the case, Sterling is one hop I'll avoid when homebrewing. I get garlic and onion and clove. And an astringent tannic presence that muddles everything up as well. Ouch. This is not good. And my ratings are not due to the nonconforming style. I rated this as if it were an IPA/DIPA/Rye lager.

This is the first beer from Surly that I have not enjoyed. I see others have, so drink up. But I will pass on this next fall. Unless they try a new hop, like Columbus or Palisade or Simcoe. My opinion is that Furious is 10 times better than this.

02-14-2008 04:41:26 | More by Bighuge
Photo of DaPeculierDane


2.05/5  rDev -49.6%

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.

11-01-2007 15:42:30 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of Proteus93


2.25/5  rDev -44.7%

Shared with CrellMoset and dkachur

A: A golden blonde hue. Head is a little short, white. Not a whole lot going on.

S: Not much of a rye scent going on here at all... rather vegetal, a little metallic. This is not starting off very well.

T: I am hoping that there is something wrong with this can, and presuming that it would be the case? It tastes, quite literally, like overcooked greens. Asparagus, brussel sprouts, collard greens. Oh Lord, it's not a very pleasant taste.

M + D: Feel is alright... medium bodies, but the flavour doesn't go over with it very well. I have been fond of the other rye beer I have had, so I'd be willing to give it another go based on that, but I'm not too interested in getting another any time soon.

01-06-2009 01:14:18 | More by Proteus93
Photo of slaintemhor


2.35/5  rDev -42.3%

Got to try a can of this courtesy of a friend from Minnesota. The colour was golden straw with a thick head. The aroma was nearly nonexistent. I mean, maybe there were some hops and malt there, but I couldn't detect any. On the palate, there were faint hops and faint malt but generally it seemed quite watery. I guess I expected more form the folks who make the Darkness!

11-18-2009 04:35:07 | More by slaintemhor
Photo of Hopstout


2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

09-13-2012 02:07:50 | More by Hopstout
Photo of King_KongDCO93


2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

12-19-2012 19:00:30 | More by King_KongDCO93
Photo of womencantsail


2.65/5  rDev -34.9%

Thanks for sharing this can, Bobby.

A: The pour is a fairly opaque dark amber/light brown color with fairly minimal head formation.

S: There's a really weird aroma to this beer...some nutshells along with peanut butter. A mild breadiness as well as some misplaced acidity. The one redeeming factor is the touch of earthy hops that comes in toward the back end.

T: Lightly bready with a fruit character (white grapes?) that doesn't really seem to belong. Again, mildly acidic with some faint nuttiness. Really all over the place.

M: The body is medium with the carbonation fitting the same description.

D: A rare miss for Surly and this one is way off the mark. I know they're trying to put a different spin on the Oktoberfest, but this just didn't work at all.

11-09-2010 09:45:17 | More by womencantsail
Photo of tourdot


2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

09-22-2013 15:30:00 | More by tourdot
Photo of Revenant


2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

10-05-2012 22:43:05 | More by Revenant
Photo of InVinoVeritas


3/5  rDev -26.3%

10-09-2012 17:12:30 | More by InVinoVeritas
Photo of Danegerous123


3/5  rDev -26.3%

12-26-2013 11:07:31 | More by Danegerous123
Photo of smogfood


3/5  rDev -26.3%

12-02-2011 22:59:57 | More by smogfood
Photo of drpimento


3/5  rDev -26.3%

ahhhh, I don't know.... Right now the overall score here is really good, but I can't go with it. I really like Surly stuff, but this isn't one a their best imho. So so head. no lace. Slightly hazy orangish amber color. Hoppy nose. Flavor picks up malt, a bit of roastiness. Helps make it more drinkable. Sort of an Oktoberfest. I guess. Finish is ok. I could drink a few more of these, but don't know if I'd go out of my way to do so.

12-02-2008 02:44:57 | More by drpimento
Photo of kscaldef


3/5  rDev -26.3%

01-20-2014 22:02:57 | More by kscaldef
Photo of KAF


3/5  rDev -26.3%

01-20-2012 14:59:11 | More by KAF
Photo of sugit


3.2/5  rDev -21.4%

A: Deep orange amber color. A good one finger of off white head, which disapeared quickly leaving a bif a cap. Leaves some lacing behind.

S: Pine and citrus hops. Some nice caramel malts. Given the sytle, I thought the hops were too aggresive. Almost like a IPA with a good malt backbone.

T: I haven't had many Rye's so I did a bit of research on what I should be tasting from this style. I pick up a little of of the sour and spicy taste associated with a Rye beer, but not as much as I would have though.

Much like the smell, I taste citrus hops with a malty backbone, with the spice and sour very faint. As it warms I get a bit more of the spice, but still not as much as I was expecting.

Not bad tasting, but not what I was expecting.
M: Low to mid carbonation and body.

D: I could put quite a few of these away given the low ABV. Not something I will crave more of though.

This is a tough one for me to grade. For the style, I don't think it hits the mark. Too much like a malty IPA. Not sure if that was what they were trying to do with a Rye, but it didn't work.

12-31-2010 04:44:57 | More by sugit
Photo of Chaz


3.2/5  rDev -21.4%

Pours a lightly-hazy/dusky golden copper in color, and is topped with a nice, medium-tan head. Head falls after a minute or so but leaves plenty of sticky lace as it falls.

The nose offers up a blast of fresh hops --and I'm no expert when it comes to the newer varieties that are used-- but this strikes me as a very contemporary American-style hop profile (is that safe to say? If I were ever to become King of All Beer, my first motion would be to dispense with the qualifier "West Coast" with respect to the word "hops" when reviewing American-style ales -- and now lagers. American Craft brewers' collective love of hops and native varietals is pretty clear-cut by now, eh?)

Aside from the almost heavy-handed use of a single hop varietal I am not getting much by way of rye or base malt character. A touch of the spicy rye character perhaps, but I'll be sure to dig deep into this one as it warms.

Lightly-sweet, grainy, and just a touch spicy on the first sip, and with a smooth mouthfeel (medium-full bodied... quite drinkable for its weight). I'm not catching much in the way of hops on the first or second sip -- so I take it the focus is on up-front aroma? As this one warms it seems fairly subdued, rather 'sessionable' as it were. Rye notes seem muted; I seem to recall hearing that Surly uses oats in all of its beers, and indeed there's a kind of 'house character' coming through with respect to mouthfeel, body, and drinkability. On the one hand I can respect that in terms of consistency and such, but I wonder a bit if it doesn't play foul with the rye.

Not bad . . . pretty easy to drink . . . hmmm.

Although SurlyFest isn't really my cup of tea, but it would be downright uncharitable to fault the brewer and brewery for coloring outside the lines here with respect to release date ("Oktoberfest" lager season), as plenty of Craft and True Micro breweries are known for 'harvest ales' and such, so they are not totally out of place in terms of the sort of creative efforts made by American Craft breweries these days.

On the other hand, I feel like tempering my review a little, just to keep it honest. On the other hand, oh hell, maybe I should just join the crowd and quit giving Surly a hard time? Nah.

10-22-2011 22:21:15 | More by Chaz
Photo of weeare138


3.23/5  rDev -20.6%

Appears a transparent, light gold with a mild, light white cap that quickly fades into a gentle collar.
Smell is of yeasty, sourdough, and light caramel.
Taste mirrors the aromas with the yeast coming through and a touch of spicy hops found in the flavors.
Mouthfeel is yeasty, medium bodied, and spicy.

01-14-2009 21:39:04 | More by weeare138
Photo of Curt1


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

11-30-2012 23:18:31 | More by Curt1
Photo of DonFrap


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

02-14-2013 03:18:00 | More by DonFrap
Photo of mndanika


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

12-18-2013 18:43:35 | More by mndanika
Photo of Atron67


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

I like it, but its definitely got some rye kick to it. a tasty maltiness to it and a definitely nice rye and spice charachter from the yeast. however i do have a slight problem with this beer. however tasty the individual characteristics are it doesnt come together all that great and it gives a 'lemonade-y' type flavor as a part of the combination. its brief between the rye spiciness at the start and the yeast character at the lingering finish. It hurts the drinkability alot.

11-08-2008 00:28:36 | More by Atron67
Photo of SwinginParty


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

07-26-2014 23:57:40 | More by SwinginParty
Photo of mogburn1317


3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

05-18-2014 19:11:54 | More by mogburn1317
Photo of xpdrinker


3.28/5  rDev -19.4%

Thanks to @ShawnBGP for the hookup. Tried this 16oz. can in the Surly pint glass he included with his box of trade goodies.

A- Poured a brown-ish amber with thin, off-white head and was very filtered and crystal clear - I could see right through it past the opposite side of the glass.

S - Expected very little as it's labeled a lager, but it had a surprisingly pleasant hoppiness in the aroma, reminding me very much of a pale.

T- Hop notes in the aroma were a tease, as they did not translate to the flavor. Very malt-forward without being sweet. Well balanced, though I picked up no rye in the taste or aroma.

M- Medium-bodied, which is perfect for me when it comes to this style. Any lighter and I'd feel like I'm drinking macro. Carbonation is average and just right for this style as well.

O- Solid for the style and although the hoppy aroma teased my expectations for the flavor, it's a decent beer and worth a try.

10-12-2011 04:24:44 | More by xpdrinker
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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 609 ratings.