1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

SŸX - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SŸXSŸX

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

322 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 322
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 16.84%
Wants: 71
Gots: 159 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  14.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 07-19-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 322 | Reviews: 66 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lars925
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

lars925, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +5.3%

JAHMUR, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of ahalloin
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared by dreadnaught33, thanks bud!

Poured from a bottle. Pours a very clear gold honey color with full white head of tight tiny bubbles. Nice look.

The smell reveals a big depth of wood variants. Straight oak, slight char, fresh chopped wood. Other aromas present show signs of citric, some deep floral notes, a touch of butterscotch, and some minty hops. Pils malt definitely in there. Interesting and lots of depth but maybe not the most pleasing aroma.

The taste is strangely acidic and astringent in some ways. Weak malt depth in my opinion and I don't get much in terms of hops. Woody character creates that odd astringency.

The alcohol heat is fairly strong and detracts somewhat. Overall the mouthfeel seems kind of thinned out.

Overall, I like the aroma a lot and the experimentation is admirable, but I find the taste lacking in malt backbone and kind of astringent.

ahalloin, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Al for hooking me up with this beer, it's not cheap, but looks very interesting. My first impression of the beer from what I'm told is it's a complex wood aging that also features hops that make it a beer to drink sooner than later even at %15.

The beer does not look like a typical 'strong ale,' it's a semi clear orange with deeper dark orange highlights and a ring of head, just a bit of lacing.

The smell is semi sweet very complex wood smell with a slight alcohol heat permeating through. Wood smells ranging from a vanilla to a spicy cedar. A definite honeycomb like note too, funny because of the honeycomb wood aged technique described on the bottle. Also some hop like esters come through, a sort of dry almost British like variety, but it just might have mingled with the big malts of the beer.

The beer has an ok taste but it is just dominated by alcohol. There isn't a lot of malt backbone to this surprisingly, not enough malt to support the alcohol and the wood and almost citrus lemon flavors. Has almost an acidic to astringent feel overall, not enough sweet to balance the dry acidic flavors. Some really nice wood depth here though, it's interesting how these flavors play on top of the acidicness. I really wish it had some malt depth, it just isn't there aside from some honey caramel once it warms. The feel is a little thin and very alcoholic.

Overall ok, but not worth the price tag. Interesting, but could be much better.

Dreadnaught33, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of Curt1
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a cold 750ml bottle.

Appearance: Hazy orange with little head retention which is an off white. Loads of sticky lacing.

Aroma: Alcohol (in a good way) sweet fruits and honey.

Taste: Whoa! What a BEAST! Very much barley wine in taste, citrus with some spice, smooth alcohol, and fruity flavors from the hops. Very complex beer here. Surprising smooth for nearly 15%!

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy with pleasant carbonation.

Overall: Grade "A-". It does become a little harsh as it warms, but I greatly enjoyed tasting it fresh. I'll taste it again in a year to see how this is developing.

Curt1, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of tewaris
2.4/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at Muddy Pig. Served in a 12 oz tulip.

Deep amber with a viscous clarity. Medium head and retention. Doesn't smell like much at first but some malts and fruit come forward as it warms up. I am neutral on the aroma.

Off to taste --- WTF?! Acidic, harsh and somewhat bready but very shallow malt character for the octane. I am NOT digging this weird tartness at all. Drinks like a poorly made DIPA once you get past the acidity. I'd give it a 1 on taste but there is no hint of booze at all, which is something.

Mouthfeel? I am not sure what to expect but I am going with a 3, right in the middle. Not bad but nothing exciting either.

In my humble opinion, this is just not a good beer. Or maybe it's not ready (no pun intended!).

4, 3, 2, 3, 2

tewaris, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of SaxmanRick
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

SaxmanRick, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of homebrew311
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears clear orangish gold. Dense white head with splotchy lacing and terrific retention. Nose is intensely full of caramel malts and a thick honey sweetness. Earthy hops cut through the sweetness. Notes of oak and toast come through. Taste starts sweet with honey and caramel. Dry woody notes come next and provide warm toasty bread qualities. Tons of honey present along with molasses and heat at the end. The mouthfeel provides high carbonation and plenty of body. Overall, another delicious brew from surly (what's new?). A little in the hot side... Definitely a nod to the barleywine style.

homebrew311, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

zonker17, Aug 09, 2012
Photo of copslovebeer
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

copslovebeer, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of vobr0002
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

vobr0002, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of vic21234
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Waxed bottle poured into a snifter. Got this one shipped to me from an online shop based in Minnesota.

A- Pours a light orange/ amber color and very cloudy. About a finger's worth of head fades to a film along with lots of sticky lacing along the sides of the glass.

S- Alcohol and and overall sweetness dominate the smell. Some slight hints of some fruity/ floral hop notes are in there as well.

T- Wow, this might be the most alcohol-forward beer I've ever had aside from Utopias. Once you get past the overall sweetness and booziness, I get some citrusy floral hop notes.

M- Heavy on the alcohol, a definite sipper, with some hop bitterness.

I know its 15% ABV, but I was expected this to drink a little better. It's kind of a sweet boozey mess in my opinion. I'm sure some time in the cellar would do it good, but unfortunately I could only get my hands on one bottle.

vic21234, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of fuzzcherry
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

fuzzcherry, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of zirkusaffe
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

zirkusaffe, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of deebo
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a beautiful looking brew. Orangish-red with pretty good clarity. A thick dense creamy white head that has a little staying power.
S-tons of aroma; sweet floral honey dominates. Plenty of grainy barley malt aroma
T-similar to the aroma, sweet with plenty of grainy malty goodness.
M-medium bodied a fair amount of carbonation, boozy warming finish that doesn't linger
O-a beer for contemplating. Aromatic, sweet and strong. A beer that stretches the limits of what a beer can be. Drinks like a barley wine, enjoyable fresh. I wonder how a bottle will taste with a little age.

deebo, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of Shango42
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Shango42, Aug 03, 2012
Photo of olmane
4/5  rDev +5.3%

olmane, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of Petcha
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Petcha, Jul 30, 2012
Photo of stpaulsipper07
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

stpaulsipper07, Jul 30, 2012
Photo of bigbeers84
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

bigbeers84, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of joh04587
5/5  rDev +31.6%

joh04587, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Glowing copper-orange with decent sized white head that settles back to a thin line. Unique color and surprising that it actually produced a head.

Smell: The base aroma is similar to an American Barleywine, with toffee and dark fruit, but an unusual level of citrusy hops on top. There is also a ridiculously high level of booze that burns my nose if I smell too deeply. A touch of oak and honey.

Taste: The citrus, spice and oak are very apparent in the taste. Similar to the aroma, the backbone is Barleywine-like, with toffee and dark fruits. Also, has some minor mead qualities, although I am not aware of honey being used. I know that the oak additions were in a honey comb shape, but that certainly is not actual honey. Speaking of the oak, it imparts a sour mash taste on the finish, along with the hoppy bitterness.

Feel: While the body is certainly thick, it is actually lighter than I expected, which is nice. Carbonation is also livelier than expected. Finish is very dry. While all those qualities are very commendable for such a high abv beer, it is also warming to the poin of almost burning. The Jameson that I sipped later that night actually burned less than this.

Overall: This is certainly a unique beer, and the oak adds an extra layer that is different from the typical barrel or oak aged beer. However, the base is quite simply a way too boozy Barleywine. I wonder if they could have tried to create a similar profile at closer to 10%. I really did enjoy this, but it is also a disappointment. I will let my other bottle sit a couple years and see how or if it improves this.

bsp77, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of MattyG85
4.75/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml waxed bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear pale golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. A solid three fingers of off white head which slowly recedes into a thin patchy layer. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Huge aroma of citrus hops. Ripe grapefruit, pineapple, mango, orange, apricot, tangerine, peach, and lemon. Quite vibrant with the fruits. Doesn't smell overly bitter with the hops. Good hints of wood. Bready malts with hints of toffee and caramel. Some honey like sweetness and sugar. A little alcohol in the aroma. A pretty sweet and fruity smell. Quite complex and interesting.

Taste: A very vibrant and juicy taste that is a lot smoother than expected. Rich and sweet citrus hop esters with good notes of mango, pineapple, grapefruit, apricot, orange, tangerine, lemon, and peach. A good amount of wood taste and some honey. Solid backing of malts with some notes of caramel, toffee, and biscuit. Some alcohol heat comes in towards the finish and lingers into the aftertaste but it isn't too heavy. Hops are pretty juicy but the bitterness is cut down like an imperial IPA with some age on it. On the sweeter side of juicy. Very complex and good.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with a carbonation on the lower side. Juicy and chewy. Somewhat syrupy. Alcohol heat comes through pretty good but this has amazing smoothness considering the ABV. Probably the smoothest I've had at this alcohol range.

Overall: Another amazing brew from Surly. Great citrus and wood flavors while doing a great job keeping it fairly smooth. It will be interesting to see how my other bottles age. Really interesting brew.

MattyG85, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of jera1350
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing bright orange with a little head of super soft light khaki foam that leaves some light lacing. Decent retention.

Getting almost only pure orange juice from the nose. Juicy, sweet and citrusy rounds it out.

This is such a different flavor than what I was expecting going in. I hear "american strong ale" and always think dark and loaded with malty sweetness and booze. This is definitely different from that. Loads of citrus up front with fresh mandarin orange and pineapple leading the assault. Light bitterness and fruity citrus sweetness. Maybe a little orange blossom honey. Warm, bordering on hot alcohol at the end, but not overwhelmingly so. The heat does linger long after drinking. Some hoppy bitterness at the very end also.

The body feels WAY lighter than a 15% beer. Not a complaint at all on my part. The heat will remind you that it is all of 15% though. Actually has a nice summery feel to it especially with all of the orange. Finishes lightly sticky, but still feeling the warm alcohol.

I have to say that this is a very original take on the style. It's bright and IPA/DIPA citrusy that you just don't typically find in the style. Can't personally tell that this was wood aged, but maybe it is just adding to the citrus component of the overall beer. Enjoyable, but yes, boozy and hot. I'll lay one down and save it for a future date for comparison, but very glad I tried it fresh also.

jera1350, Jul 29, 2012
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surly Syx. I don't know how to do umlauts over the y. I don't know why I should. Except that it's metal!

Before I crack the crown, and drink it up, a word about the label. It's the latest from Michael Berglund, who did last year's Darkness as well as other artistic efforts throughout the past annum. I was moved by his recent revelation that this demon character was derived from a wooden work of a friend of his who had recently succumbed to suicide. A beautiful act, to immortalize his art in another work, and what better commemoration than a Surly bottle?

Appearance: clear tangerine. with a thick snowy white head, dotted, and leaving lace. Looks great.

Aroma: fruit aplenty, mango, tangerine, apricot, orange, lime…all kinds of citrus. And the looming presence of alcohol.

Taste: Mmmm, fruit and booze, that's the first impression. You can't have this much ABV (15% is what's reported) without it making it's mark. Flavor rises higher, as well as the alcohol feel. More of the same, the tropical fruit, the citrus, a tingle of pine. And there's some woodiness covering it all, but don't expect me to pick them all out of the honeycomb. (Cherry, ash, ...dang, I had a few of them, now I forgot.)

Flavor increases in complexity, there's more and more coming through. And, all the while comes the boom-biddy-boom-boom. Shammalamma ding-dong. Boom, shackalackalaca.

What's more, this is really what we should expect from Surly. It's a one-off anniversary brew that defies categories, but it is so remarkably delicious that it only underscores Surly's ability to craft brews such as these with the greatest of ease.

After six years, this is the beer Surly should be making. It follows no clear precedent. It adopts no formulas, falls in line with nothing. And it is so goddamn tasty.

Aging isn't a question for a brew this big and boozy. Definitely put some away for a little mellowing. It's a special brew, let's slowly savor to enjoy what six years has brought us.

feloniousmonk, Jul 28, 2012
SŸX from Surly Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.