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Pentagram - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
PentagramPentagram

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

740 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 740
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 9.64%
Wants: 208
Gots: 249 | FT: 29
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.66% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 02-19-2013

This Arcane Seal guards an enigmatic brew that is FUNKY, DARK, and SOUR. If you choose to break the seal, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

100% Brettanomyces Dark beer fermented in stainless and aged in red wine barrels. "Brett" is a unique yeast strain that produces flavors that would be considered offensive if they were not intentional. 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 740 | Reviews: 71
Reviews by alysmith4:
More User Reviews:
Photo of deebo
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery.

A-Served with a weak ringing of light tan head. Color is brown with reddish hue.

S-Compared to Five, Pentagram has a weaker overall aroma, less boozy with a stronger grainy malt presence with a little bit of sourness and a mild amount of Brett funk.

T-Also subdued compared to Five. Low levels of sourness-lactic-like, a bit of funk with a prominent malt quality. Fairly quick finish.

M Moderate-high carbonation with atingly finish. Medium body. No alcohol burn. Smooth and easy to drink for this type of beer.

O-Not my favorite style. Nothing over the top with this beer. A nice change of pace beer. Milder overall compared to Five.

Photo of NilocRellim
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This ale came on tap in a 10oz pour. It looked opaque, brown and murky with a creamy rim. At first smell, this ale seemed potent; definitely smelled like a sour beer with an aroma of fruity cherry, a slight oakiness and certainly tart. The flavors were very brief, but VERY tart with cherry. No lingering flavors or tastes present. Juxtaposition of blended tartness; becomes smoother after the initial shock of that first taste.

Would I buy this beer again? Probably not.

Photo of ehammond1
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (2013)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

Murky, somewhat thick, dark brown. Not a lot of visible carbonation. Thin ring of brown bubbles. Oily sheen left down the glass.

Aroma of vinegar, red wine and lots of oak, and some stinging sour character.

Lots of red wine, oak, and sour character combine nicely, with a hint of a vinegar note, though it works well enough. Straightforward, bold, powerful flavors that come together nicely.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

I wish it had a bit more bubbles, but overall this was quite nice and very flavorful. I think this is easily my favorite sour beer yet from Surly!

Photo of MattyG85
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: Pours a very dark brownish amber with a hint of ruby. Lots of bubbles stick to the sides of the glass. Solid two fingers of creamy off white head that slowly fade into a thin patch. Lacing is pretty good.

Smell: A big aroma of tart and sour fruit along with dark malts. Big hints of red wine grapes and cherries upfront. The tartness, sourness, and sweetness is strong but not overwhelming. Good hints of oak, wood, tobacco, Brett funk, and leather. Dark malts with hints of chocolate, caramel, toffee, yeast, and biscuit. Hints of prune, raisin, and fig as well. A really solid complex aroma that has a good balance of fruit and barrel aromas.

Taste: Follows the nose quite nicely with a solid combination of barrel and malt flavors. Sour and tart taste of red wine grapes and cherries. Good notes of Brett barnyard funk, oak, wood, leather, and tobacco. Sweet dark malts with notes of chocolate, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Also some good undertones of dark fruit with notes of prune, plum, raisin, and fig. The flavors blend together well and the sourness and tartness are not overwhelming. A really solid Wild ale taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and somewhat slick. Goes down very smooth with minimal alcohol heat.

Overall: A very good take on a American Wild ale. Lively and well balanced wine barrel and malt flavors. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one. 750ml waxed and capped bottle into Tired Hands stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 2 finger rich, cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear, dark mahogany-purple. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little cling. Average. Nice color though.

Nose is heavy on the Brett funk. Notes of hay, oak, band-aid and must. Some light grape character lends layers of sweetness and tartness. Light, spritzy and moderately aromatic but pretty appetizing.

Opens big Brett notes. Hay, barnyard, and wet wood funk. Light grape notes lend a touch of tartness and fruit character. Just the right amount of sour. Middle to end is more Brett and cobwebs with an accented sparkling water tartness. Ends lightly fruity. Aftertaste is dry with some sour dark fruit character. I love this!

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down sparkling and bubbly. Finish is accented with a tart, dry, puckering aftertaste. Excellent! I didn't expect this one to be so light and drinkable!

I'm usually not a huge fan of dark sours but this is really an excellent offering. I think the secret here is that the beer is very light bodied, playful and doesn't punch you in the face with alcohol. Its a light sour disguised as its darker cousin. Evil indeed!

Photo of dirtylou
3.52/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap, brouwers

Excited for the opportunity to consume surly wilds down the street from my home - pentagram comes with a high billing...

Dark, wine barrel, a bit flat, not extremely tart, some vinegar, trace cherry. This is extremely underwhelming and an average wild ale at best. I thought I recalled trying this at a festival and being less than enthused but the high ratings convinced me otherwise.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep reddish brown. Small khaki head that settles to a pencil thin collar.

Smell - Buckets of wine. Caramel malts. Some acidity. Oak and vanilla.

Taste - Sour up front. Musty wine flavors, very grapey. Sweet and sour at the same time. Finishes with more wine and a sour kick.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation and kinda light. Too light, really.

Overall - Too much wine and a little monotonous, but a decent sour.

Photo of morimech
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with crimson tones. Just over one finger forms and has very good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Not really that forceful in the aroma department. Smells tart and acidic with vinous qualities. Notes of cherries, leather, wood, and tobacco. No sign of any Brett funk.

Mildly sour. Has a solid malt foundation that carries the tartness well. The wine barrels really are upfront in this beer. Very vinous with hints of cherries. Just the smallest hint of Brett funk in the finish.

Just slightly bigger than a light body. The carbonation just seems off. For a sour I would want to be a bit more effervescent.

A solid beer but for a $20 beer, I was a bit letdown. Better than Five but I know I am in the minority and thinks Surly should scrap their sour program. They have a long ways to go to rival the great American sour breweries. Awesome bottle art however.

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this gem in a trade. Really glad I was able to come across this beer that has stayed on the down low in terms of hype.

Pours to a gorgeous dark cherry black body that is oh so sinful in itself. A strong pour achieves nearly an inch and a half of nougat brown head. Retention is short and there is little to no lace left behind.

Nose is absolutely inviting and mouthwatering. Funky and tart up front with bursting berries and lots of dark fruit. Powdery sweet and sour thing going on almost like pixie sticks. Really great nose. Spot on perfect for the style.

Now on to the flavor. I must admit that after the anticipation built by the nose that it is a slight letdown, not bad just not as good as the nose promised. First sip is initially tart quickly yielding to vinegar like feel. On the back of the tongue it turns brutally dry and has a hint of black strap molasses. Really dry on the mouthfeel.

This is a really unique brew and is bound to make fans of sour lovers. There is a lot going on in terms of the palate. Super solid over all and definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap at Pizza Paradiso Dupont into a 4 oz. taster.

Quite a nice red amber, while dark quite clear. Faint tan head with a good creamy collar to match. Laces nicely.

Nose is a bit standard but quite solid. Simple malt sweetness and mild tartness, almost Rodenbach like territory particularly on the malt angle, just not quite there but good.

Very noticeable carbonation but not detracting. Light acid with a tartness and good malt backbone with some mild chewy good grainy quality. Borderline crisp. Very different mouthfeel compared to most American Wilds.

Overall a real interesting take on wild, quite decent.

Photo of yamar68
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Butcher & The Boar's release party:

Swampy, murky brown body capped with a thin pale khaki head... after a minute I'm left with a nice consistent collar which laces well even on this subzero February day in Minnesota.

Unsurprisingly, I'm immediately reminded of Five. Mellow vinegar, lush red wine, smooth tobacco. So unique - it takes a direction similar to Supplication with a more pronounced barrel presence.

Mirrors the smell in a number of ways - loads of red wine barrel with a vinous kind of red fruit. Although Five clearly demonstrates a greater sense of balance, this stuff makes me think American Wild for sure. Pungent and direct.

Infused with black cherry warheads? It's possible.

Can't wait for the bottle release. This stuff is solid.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Barry last night.

Pours a dark clear amber, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells pretty strongly of sour green apple, with some lemon, caramel, and oak.

This is one of the more unique tasting sours that I've ever had. Really tasty stuff. A good amount of red wine and barrel here, some good oak, with a pretty sour apple fruity component as well. The apple-y-ness of this one makes it very unique.

This is medium bodied, with a crisp and tart mouthfeel, along with a higher level of carbonation.

A really nice and unique sour from Surly.

Photo of ddedhed
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Doing this from memory. Thanks to a friend of mine for bringing this and some other Surly beers home for me from Minnesota.

Appearance was dark ruby. I was drinking it outside at dusk, so not the best lighting to appreciate it. There was a thin head that popped up, but disappeared immediately. It smelled vinous and funky. Definitely a little tart cherry too. The taste was amazing. Earthy, funky, sour dark grapes, some oak from the barrel, and a nice dry finish. Definitely taste the wine barrel, in a very good way. Mouthfeel was thin and typical of a wild ale.

Overall I thought this was exceptional. I tasted with my father in law and a friend, neither of whom drink sours. They were really impressed by the complexity, and so was I. I would really like to get another bottle and let it sit in the cellar for a while. Great beer!

Photo of angrybabboon
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 2/18/14

Appearance: Dark, dark brown - pours with a nice amount of head, retains some nice wisps of a cap, leaves some nice specs of lacing

Smell: Dark malts and Brett funk - manages to have both dark and sour funk aromas, without smelling like a hot mess - amber and caramel malts - lightly toasty and roasty - some nice tart, sour, and funky notes, with some distinctive Brett weirdness - dark fruit, like dark cherry skins, and some red wine

Taste: Follows the aroma with some nice dark and sour notes, without going over the top - some nice caramel, amber, and lightly roasted malts - touch of dark, lightly burnt malts as well - nicely funky, with some Brett - tart, sour, and general barnyard funk - some nice dark notes, with berries and cherries - some nice wood and white wine - very flavorful with minimal booze

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium, nicely carbonated, smooth, dry finish

Overall: Summon demons, slay demons, drink this beer, repeat

Sour stouts/sour "dark beers" are quite the challenge. I'm not particularly surprised that Surly was up to the challenge. This is very tasty. It balances the dark notes with the sour notes in a nice way. It's kind of like a dark Flanders Red. That's totally a style, right?

Photo of mwilbur
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a very murky and dark brown (a dark red hue is apparent around the edges with backlighting) with a faint skim of dark tan head that quickly recedes. Somewhat foreboding in appearance, which fits the bill.
S: Sour brett, tart cherries, vanilla, tobacco, sweet milk chocolate, and some dark dried fruit (e.g. raisins).
T: Wow...quite sour up front. More so than the aroma suggested...nice surprise! Sweet and tart cherries, mild brett (the barnyard funk is nicely subdued here...allowing the other taste notes to shine), and in the background linger vanilla, oak, and a vinous note.
M: Light-medium body. Sour with tart and sweet notes. Fairly smooth and straightforward feel. Gotta love the ABV.
D: A very well thought out and crafted brew. Packs a strong punch (taste-wise) for such a light-weight (ABV-wise). Extremely sessionable...dangerously so. Seek it out and enjoy!

Photo of ShanePB
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml waxed bottle, shared by Greenplastic615. Thanks Jason!

A: Brownish/maroon/crimson colored body, slightly clear in the light. Soap off-white head stuck around for a bit and left moderate lacing.

S: Red wine, sour cherries, oak, funk, chocolate malt, red grapes.

T: Malty on first sip with some chocolatey and dark fruits at the base. Sour cherry and tart red grapes, finished with some dry wine and oak notes.

M: Carbonation is good, medium-bodied, very acceptable for the style. Drinks quite well without drying out the mouth.

I tend to really love Surly's sours and this is no exception. This would be a regularly purchase if I could.

Photo of Santanax
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a sour ale!!!! Perfect oaking goes almost unnoticed but its there. Bright citrus notes with sour lactic and acetic notes with brettanomyces funk kicking you in your face!!!Mouthfeel is superior along with mouthwatering happening there is some puckering along with crisp dry finish. Superb crazy price ranges for this shit ive gotten it from 16.99 to 30...sadly first one i got paid 25...great stuff!!!!

Photo of hail_seitan
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

10 oz. draft at the Surly brewery

A - Mahogany body with a thin off-white head.

S - Sour cherry, cranberry, oak, and a slight doggy funk.

T - Sour cherry and cranberry are the first flavors to hit the palate. These are immediately followed by oak, grape musk, and tobacco. A slight animal funk, too. The malt is similar to dark sourdough rye. Cherry tartness and oak linger.

M - A medium body with a very dry finish.

O - A wonderful, complex Brett beer that spectacularly balances sour, funk, fruit, wood, and malt flavors. If you go to the brewery, a glass of Pentagram and the smoked mushroom and goat cheese pizza are a diabolical combination.

Photo of Ri0
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured 750ml into Teku.

A - Midnight plum colored with a 2 finger off white head. Thick foam fades into a collar and leaves chunks of lacing on glass.

S - Starts off with aromas of malts and moves into the funkiness. Sour cherry and dark grape notes with some light tobacco.

T - Flavor is less malty and somewhat tart. Not sour, but tart with notes of tart cherry. sour dark grapes. I pick up some wine notes and hints of tobacco.

M - Lighter bodied and well carbonated. Not as dry as the aroma would have you think.

O - This is a nice dark wild ale by Surly. It aged gracefully and I enjoyed drinking it in the middle of winter.

Photo of TCMike
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, it produced a one finger, cream colored head. Beer color is a deep brown, bordering on black.

The aroma is of leather, sour, dark cherries/grapes.

The taste is similar. Medium mouth-feel, and a medium carbonation, with some effervescence.

This is a very good sour!!

Photo of JamesMN
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage.

Appearance: Very dark plum body with a thin layer of off-white foam.

Aroma: That vinegar punch that comes with a good sour.

Taste: Very smooth and on the lower end of the sour spectrum, some of which could do with its age. Pentagram starts with a bright, almost sweet, dark fruit flavor that slowly turns deeper. The sour Brett yeast creeps in near the finish, just potent enough to make you pucker for a moment before it turns into a rich near-ripe cherry flavor. The red wine barrel aging has definitely smoothed the flavor and lent a complexity to the finish and aftertaste that makes for a great drinking experience. Much lower alcohol content than I expected at 6.6% ABV but just goes to show how flavorful a beer can be.

Mouthfeel: Between thin and medium in body, which is typical for the style in my experience. Aggressive but somewhat sparse carbonation. Average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: Was it worth the year long wait in the fridge? I guess it met my expectations. Sour lovers should check it out but don't splurge if its not one of your favorite styles. Would I drink it again? Maybe.

Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown, hazy; little to no head. Strong aromas of cherry, funk, and chocolate. Tastes like sweet tabacco, tart cherries, slight roast, also possesses a surprisingly vinous character from the wine barrels - more so than I would have expected.

Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage into a stemmed tulip. Awesome glittery black waxed 750ml with a pretty crazy label. Thanks to Yamar68 for this huge want of mine!

A - Pours a dark, dark purple that borders on black. Two fingers of purple stained khaki foam. Great edging and super long retention and lacing.

S - Massive red wine barrel presence. Oak, vanilla, grape juice, cherries and some rich charred malts. Man does this smell like sour grape juice!

T - Tart cherries, vinous red wine, oak and vanilla, tobacco and some chocolate malts. Not overly funky, just incredibly tart and barrel heavy. Finishes with an odd mashup of smooth oak and sour fruit. Has that lactic twang that most Flanders brouns and reds demonstrate. Mouth feel is a bit lacking and watery.

O - This is a super odd beer. Very similar to a Flanders bruin but with red grapes replacing the dominant cherry notes. I really enjoyed this one, total heartburn though.

Photo of AirZombie
3.09/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

third sour ive tried and not a fan of the style except ng oud bruin

Photo of portia99
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml black waxed bottle poured into an Idle Hands tulip.

A - Pours a dark and somewhat muddy brown in the glass with a short lived foamy cap of off white head the leaves behind a thick collar and sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Earthy, a touch of nuts, dark fruits, cherries, red wine-like tannic/tart, hint of caramel, low funk with a bit of mustiness, lactic with a mix of acetic/vinegar also.

T - Earthy in the flavor as well, yeasty, woody oak, leather, tobacco, slightly medicinal bitterness, cherries, red wine, acidic - acetic vinegar, medium level tartness, extremely minimal funk that takes on the earthy character - little to no barnyard from the brett. Fermented out very dry, almost no residual sweetness left.

M - Thinnish medium body with ample carbonation that is bubbly and tingly. Plenty of wine character with the tannic, solid cherry and oaky flavors taking front and center. Funk is well contained...actually a bit too clean for my tastes in a wild ale.

O - Good wild ale overall...nice integration of the wine barrel. The barrel ends up dominating the base beer giving lots of earthy and woody flavors and heavily influences the overall with a big red wine character. Sourness/tartness is held in check a bit - a nice mid-level intensity almost on par with a Flanders Red - which this beer resembles in flavor. Tannic, fruity, reasonably dry overall. Nice beer.

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Pentagram from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 740 ratings.