Five - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

493 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 493
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 14.22%
Wants: 180
Gots: 225 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sarro on 08-23-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

In the Surly brewhouse, brewing our Anniversary beers mean one thing: forget what ya know and try something different. In honor of FIVE glorious years we bring you a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dark ale aged in red wine barrels. Flavors of sour cherry, tobacco, oak and classic "brett" barnyard funk balanced by dark Munich malt chewiness. Enjoy immediately or age at cellar temperature for a couple years.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 493 | Reviews: 135
Reviews by nppeders:
Photo of nppeders
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll start this off by saying..I had a chance to try Pentagram which was a single barrel version of this beer. I most say...that single barrel version was absolutely amazing. This blended batch is good...but I think it needs a little more time in the bottle to come together.

appearance - very dark...they must have used carafa II or III as there isn't much for roasted malts in this beer. Extremely dark, held up to light you can't see through it but you get slight ruby colors. head dissipates to a very thin layer.

smell - slight tobacco, slight oak, but predominantly dark chocolate cherries.

taste - tart, a bit sour like sour apple, sweet cherries in the middle, then tart cherries on the end and finishing with more of the apple sourness. Dry's out in the finish and and then the mouth waters a bit. Sour apple dominates when I wish the tart cherries would take over.

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel with low-medium carbonation.

overall- Wow...this is a very fine offering from Surly. I probably won't open another one until Surly 6 comes out. The brett needs to come forward a bit, and complement the sourness from the bugs. Hopefully it will come together...and if it does...holy crap this will be tasty!

It's a sipper, one to drink and age like a fine wine. It actually resembles a wine more then a beer. Very fine craftmanship and a great representation of what has gotten Surly to this point, and the direction they are headed! Cheers, Surly! You have never once let me down.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Mora2000
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BMan1113VR for sharing this bottle at bu11zeye's 10,000th tasting.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is fairly straightforward. I get some tart cherries and toffee, with not too much else going on. The flavor is basically the same. The toffee and caramel notes stand out, but there are some tart cherries and oak thrown in for good measure. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Very dark brown with a thin cream colored ring around the glass.

Smell: Mostly cherry, with vinegar, light Brett funk and touches of oak.

Taste: Sharply tart upfront with cherry, vinegar and light roasted characteristics. Some Brett-horseblanket and vinegar, with loads of oak and pepper in the finish. Almost seem to be some tannins as well.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, fairly dry but very tart finish.

Overall: This really comes across like a sour Pinot Noir. Very good, but maybe a titch rough. I wonder if letting my other bottle age a while will smooth and balance it out.

Note from October 19, 2012: Aging does NOT improve this beer. Becomes more sour and loses complexity.

Photo of deebo
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap tonight at Republic release party for Surly's fifth anniversary beer Five.

A-Weak tan head that is gone almost immediately-a little hangs on rim of glass. Color is dark brown with reddish hue.

S-Boozy aroma, some caramel malt with a hint of an acid bite.

T-Upfront sour. The sour is not an overpowering Brett bite. A mild lactic acid bite, not acetic like some sours which makes it smoother than others. Mild malt flavor is also there.

M-Fairly tingly. Moderate-high carbonation. Thin body. No alcohol burn-hidden nicely for a stronger beer.

D-More drinkable than dark sours I've had such as Rodenbach Cru. This one would be easy to have multiple pints.

O-A good sour. A nice entry to sour dark ales for those that are new to the style and expect it to taste more like "traditional beer". Will be interested to see how these age in the cellar.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a sampling glass, green wax.

Pours very dark brown with a small light brown head with no head at all. Nose is malty, rich, sweet and very tart.

Taste is obviously quite sour but not over the top with tartness its quite refreshing and so smooth its a crazy beer, super drinkable and be your tasty.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to pete for bringing this to our last tasting!

750ml waxed and capped bottle poured into a darkness snifter.

pours out much darker than expected, almost black, a very dark ruby red color, tannish colored head.

intense barnyard brett funk and sour cherry. really attacks the nostrils.

sour pie cherries, tons of barnyard, musty brett funk, rich maltiness, tobacco, leather, almost a bit of lactic funk.

medium bodied, nice feeling carbonation, so intensely sour.

overall, a really solid sour, such an intense sour brett character with still a nice rich maltiness. reminds me a bit of bruery oude tart or marron acidifie, flanders red almost.

Photo of ehammond1
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for sharing, womencantsail!

Dark brown with just the fainest of ruby edges. Thin khaki colored head. Spots of lacing left down the glass.

Dark fruit, roasted malt, and chocolate in the aroma with just the faintest bit of vinegar/sour character. The fruit consists of charred cherries and perhaps raisins. Interesting, though not particularly pronounced, vibrant, or aromatic.

The flavor is an interesting combination of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, cherry, and a mild sourness underneath it all. While all that sounds good on paper, the flavors don't truly combine for all that pleasurable of a drinking experience. The roast and chocolate are dominant and the flavors are very muddied. I would prefer less roast and chocolate and more fruit and sour.

Thin to medium bodied with somewhat low carbonation.

A fair enough stab at the style, though not a particularly enjoyable drinking experience. An interesting and unique sour, but nothing very special.

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown with hints of amber red. Starts with a lot of bubbly rising carbonation and a decent two fingers of tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin patchy layer. Lacing is very light.

Smell: Aroma is like acidic red wine with some vinegar. Sour and tart cherries, oak, lemon, and vanilla with hints of barnyard "Brett", tobacco, and some dark malts. Smells very balanced and complex. Very appealing.

Taste: Very fruity up front with cherries that are fairly tart and sour but not overbearingly so. Hints of lemon mix in with the cherries. A good presence of oak chips follows with light hints of vanilla, Brett and tobacco. Finishes with some dark roasted malts and some cherries that linger in the aftertaste. Very cherry forward tasting. Sweet and sour but nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Very smooth and no alcohol burn is detected.

Overall: A very nice brew from Surly. I typical don't care for both cherry beers and wine but this beer avoids the aspects of those two drinks I find difficult, excessive syrup and a fermented fruit flavor. This brew manages to be fruity and sweet while keeping the sourness and tartness in check well. It is nicely balanced by the oak and other aspects. This is my first experience with a Wild Ale and I'm liking the style.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.42/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a muddled brownish red burgandy, but a little darker than that description. No head. Aroma was weird. Sulpher and figs.

Taste was mildly sour and associated with vinegar, raisins, currants, figs, wood, but still muddled and less than impressive. Tartness is just muddled with all the other stuff. Gritty at times. Rarely has something I've had contained so much of a vinegary presence. This was like that recent bad Veritas but with carbonation (although still not as good as even Veritas 09).

More like an unintentional mild sour stout or something else, some roastiness and chocolate (very little) came through in the mouthfeel. What a conundrum this beer is. And don't forget, it also has a taste of Fonzie's jacket.

Cool bottle design. Other than that, don't believe the hype. I loves me some Surly and MPLS Town Hall, but come on homers, not everything is great from them, and this one is far from it.

Photo of jeonseh
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at DLD.

A - Dark, hazy brown with good carbonation .

S - Sour brown ale with tart cherries, lactic acid, slight vinegar and a funky blue cheese presence

T - Tart cherry up front with lactic acid that gives it a nice tartness and bite. Good blue cheese funk that comes on the back end and lingers on in the finish

M - Good carbonation with a slight creaminess to it. Light astringency on the backend from the tartness

O - Solid sour with a good balance between tart cherries, lactic acid, and a nice funky presence

Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sour aroma, dark bodied with substantial head. Very creamy for the style. very good drinkability for a sour. Brett and the blending are nicely done and result in a balanced creation. Cherry and oak flavours are understated. Thanks Pete for sharing another Surly gem.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25.4oz bottle mostly stored in a fridge since I received it, Duvel tulip.

Very Porter-like looks; a light brown with more yellow highlights and scant light head.

Lightly tart strawberries, quite oaky, vanilla, a bit of barnyard, raspberry iced tea, and chewy malt in the background. Strawberries and cream, with a more pronounced acid note as it warms.

Again, it's lightly tart and I could see it being downright sour in the future. The berry flavors are more toward raspberry and the oak is expressed with much more tannin.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit slick. Not many bubbles. Alcohol isn't really apparent anywhere. The acid and tannins dry the mouth moderately, enough to get the salivary glands going.

Photo of 46and2
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally snagged a late bottle after much searching, found at Hastings MGM on 9/1/11. (Thanks to my persistent wife)

A - Pours dark brown, deep cherry red when held up to the light. Light brown head that dissipated very quickly.

S - Heavy red wine, oak characteristics and obviously a Brett brew

T - Follows the smell, close your eyes and you might be deceived that you aren't drinking a beer almost.

M - Thinner than expected but a perfect lower level of carbonation to match the red wine characteristics.

D - I drank the whole bomber but wouldn't have wanted more, I did enjoy sipping it and noting character changes as the temperature warmed.

I enjoyed it quite a bit overall, I will say I am less versed in the wild ales than any other style, but I was impressed with this offering.

Photo of Heatwave33
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Very dark brown with a tan head. Some sediment floating towards the bottom.

Smell: The red wine and sour cherries come through at first. Then the oak and toasted malts follow very nicely.

Taste: The red winr comes though at first just like the aroma but I get more oak than cherries. Folowed with toasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, smooth and a light dryness on the palate.

Overall: A very goos brew. I love just sipping on it. No way I could tackle this bad boy on my own. Good balance too. Not very sour either but I'm not complainig. Cheers.

Photo of plfahey
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep brown mahogany in color with ruby highlights and high clarity. Very low tan head is disappears almost immediately. Almost looks like red wine.

Aroma-Tart cherries, oak, vanilla, black currants, lemon, and a little bit of raisin. Just a hint of brett horse blanket character.

Flavor-Lightly tart with lactic and slight acetic notes. Very fruity up front with notes of cherries, black currants, and lemon rind. As the acid and fruit up front fades, tannic oak notes come through along with some ash and tobacco. In the finish, a toasted malt character, with subtle shades of caramel, chocolate, and coffee roast, expands on the palate. Flavor is dried by tannic wood notes, and the aftertaste is a complex interplay of the wood, fruit, and malt notes. Brett character is still rather subdued at this point, though I suspect that that will increase with age.

Mouthfeel-Medium to medium full in body with rather low carbonation. Smooth on the palate-the oak character is not overly tannic or astringent.

Good god this is delicious. Reminds me of something in between a Flanders Red and flanders brown, this is superbly crafted with a wonderful balance of acidity, oak character, fruit, and brett, with a substantial malt backbone that is often absent in these types of beers. Wow.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.53/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Almost black. Deep brown with a bit of red. Nice head as I pour it, but settles to nothing.

Smell - Cherries and lots of red wine. Some oaky mustiness. Dark malts. Some chocolate.
Taste - Much more red wine. Really dominates. Oak too. Cherry sourness. The dark malts aren't very prevalent here. Just an undertone of dark malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium body and pretty sour. Dry.

Overall - Without being a huge fan of dark sours, this is pretty good. Intense red wine. Mild dark malts. Works well.

Photo of mobius387
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured out of a bomber. great look to the bottle by the way. i know i shouldn't judge a beer by its looks, but i love the artwork and the aesthetics to this beer.

Appearance: pours out dark brown like the bottle, makes a 1" chocolate brown head that fizzles kinda like champagne. the head disappears and then it kinda looks like a coca cola in the glass

Aroma: light hints of chocolate malts, also i picked up some raisins and i thought i caught some hoppiness at the end, maybe simcoe?

Palate: lots of carbonation but theres an undertone of some softness on the tongue. doesn't sting like other highly carbonated brews. you get a nice residual taste after swallowing

Taste: this is my first wild, so i dont know credible i am rating this or comparing it. i get the sourness pretty bold, but the malty smoothness is also there. i get some cherries in there as well. theres a lot going on in with this beer, very interested in seeing how it ages. i hope the chocolate tones come out more as it ages

Overall: the hype for this beer was very very high, and the beer ended up being very good. so a little over hyped IMO, but still a solid beer. very unique and a great mix up from my usual dose of IPA and Stouts that pretty much makes up my entire cellar. $18 seems a bit steep for this beer, but its a unique experience so that maybe makes it worth it.

but im definitely keeping the bottle :)

Photo of thagr81us
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to MBrausen for helping me out to get a few of these bottles! And also thanks to caSSino for picking them up and bringing them to me. Thanks guys! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a massively dark reddish brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, tart, sour, fruit, sour cherry, and wood. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, sour cherry, wood, funk, and very subtle tobacco. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I was expecting quite a bit going into this one, and this one brought the goods. It was quite complex in both the aroma and flavor. Some of the flavors like the tobacco definitely threw me off quite a bit, but it worked quite well with everything that was going on here. A really well put together brew by Surly that everyone must try. Nice job Surly!

Photo of morimech
3.49/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sort of a Flanders Oud Bruin type of beer, at least in a couple of areas. Pours a brown color and appears black in my tulip. A small head forms and quickly disappears. Not much lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma of white wine vinegar and wine barrels. Definate wine charactor with hints of cherries. Just a light aroma of brett funkiness.

Flavor is moderately tart with low brett funkiness. Very vinous with lactic acidity. Notes of oak and leather. If you like tart without the bretty charactor, this beer may be for you. Just the faintest hint of brett funk in the finish. Alcohol is not detectable.

The body is larger than what ones finds in sours. It is also not that well carbonated. I would of like more bubbles to liven the palate.

I think I would take Monk's Cafe over this. I would not buy another bottle especially at Surly prices. Did not live up to the hype. Maybe their next sour will be more impressive.

Photo of emerge077
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft served in a small footed goblet.

Second time trying this, first time with a full pour. The color appears black at first, with a brown hint in the lower meniscus of the glass. Towards the last third of the glass, it's a reddish transparent copper color. Thin ring of froth around the edges, it didn't have much head to speak of.

Tart and vinous aroma, wet barrel and cherry skins.

Flavors are similar, black cherry, some tannic cherry skin bitterness, lightly oaky and toasty. Feels a bit thin, though there's an ample level of tartness to it, lending some acidity that carries it through. Finishes somewhat dry and clean. The flavor profile seems Flanders-inspired, which always hits a sweet spot for me. It was good and i'd have one again if the rare opportunity arose.

Photo of Rutager
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Huge thank you to Steasy66 and Mikesgroove for each getting me a bottle of this!

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown with half a finger of khaki head.

Smell. Malt vinegar and sweet dark malts, a little cherry and dark fruit. Yum!

Taste. Sour, cocoa, red berry tartness, old dank barrel, a little dry funky brett.

Mouthfeel. Lighter than medium body, lowish carbonation.

Overall. Interesting, different and very tasty.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Weebay for sharing this one.

A - Dark brown, almost black in colour with some red wine coloured glow around the edges. A ring of cream coloured head formed on the poor and quickly disappeared.

S - Sourness up front with a big oak presence and some dark cherries.

T - Sour up front with a big black cherry flavour. Tart. Some red wine and oak flavours come through in the finish.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

Photo of vandemonian
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surly Five is an ok wild ale. Dark and harsh. A little too much vinegar for my tastes. Not so great.

A. Black colour and a crappy head. 4

S: Sour with a little maltiness. 4

T: Malty with a sour kick. Vinegary. Pretty nice though. 3.5

M: A little flat. 3

O: 3.5

Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Thanks goes out to translucent.

A very small tan and foamy head that disappears fairly quickly. giving off lots of snapping carbonation. Not a collar left. Body however is incredibly dark with a classic dark walnut brown/black body. Impressive to see that color on such a wild like beer.

Nose is an interesting sweet green apple, and hint of tartness. Great balance and a sense of almost baked apple pie. Very nice nose on this. Mild brett sense, but a nice apple angle on this.

Very fleeting taste. A sense of oud bruin malt and sour, but falls quickly. Apple sour comes through and vanishes after a swallow but there are other flavors that seem to follow. Mild cherry, definitely sour fruit, but a very fast finishing beer. Mouthfeel goes toward extremely light bodied without much viscosity. Some nice noticeable tight carbonation which is enjoyable and not distracting.

Overall nice tasting but also very fleeting. Enjoyable to drink no major complaints.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep red almost purplish hue with a small brown head and a little lacing.

Smells like a medium bodied red wine with a lot of oak character and some brett funk along with sourness.

Similar flavors although the brett stands out a bit more. Again a lot like a medium bodied red wine with lots of lush red grape and some oak along with the bretty funk.

Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

Had this on draft at the FFF XV party and loved it so decided to age my bottle. Not holding up quite as well as I'd like, but still a really wonderful beer and one I apparently like more than its rep. I wish I had more.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Five from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 493 ratings.