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De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird) - De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)

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

201 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 201
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.91%

Brewed by:
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot) visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 06-14-2005)
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Ratings: 201 | Reviews: 101 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dogfooddog


3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

very foamy blond beer, has a sweet-sour nose that reminds me of Zoetzuur, from the same brewery.

taste resembles the nose, cloyingly hop-dry and sweet taste, hint of sourness in the back of it, really somewhat odd in a blond ale. this dries out some and there is some offsetting bitterness as well, the two match well together.

hard to describe such an atypical product as this. I do like Surly bird, though my favorite has to be spoon-thumper.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2006 05:56:28 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of shbobdb


3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy horseblanket!

This beer is like Orval, only grown up and ready to kick ass and take names.


We are talkin' some serious brett funk here. It's like drinking a barnyard. The 'wild' in this brew is pretty much wild yeast, not bacteria. Sure, there is a nice crisp finish from the lactic acid bacteria, but man, this beer is anything but clean!

There is also the unwelcome bitterness that others have mentioned. I can't really say I dig it. A 45 IBU wild beer was something best left thought about, not brewed. There is a reason why lambics use old hops and this beer is a showcase for that.

All that said, this is still a pretty drinkable brew. The way it looks man, this is how beer is supposed to look. A beautiful golden body with a head that just won't quit no matter what you do. Wonderful.

The taste is also a wonderful showcase of what Brett can do. I'm not a big fan of brett, but if you like the flavours it produces this is definately the beer for you! Just don't expect any moderation what-so-ever.

Definately a beer worth seeking out. I'm inspired to seek out the rest of the series. A masterfully done beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 17:34:59 | More by shbobdb
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A satisfyingly loud POP! greeted my ears on cork extraction and was soon followed by the entry of this gorgeous beer into its glassy confines. Surly Bird is yeast-riddled brilliant gold with multiple streams of sparking bubbles hurrying up to a wonderful looking crown of ivory colored foam that is softly sticky, impossibly rocky and deposits thick ropes of lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

To the best of my knowledge, I haven't yet had a beer that contains Brettanomyces. I have had a few that smelled like this one though, so I could be wrong. Bring on the barnyard funk! It isn't hard for me to imagine that I didn't like this sort of aroma the first time that I smelled it, but all that really matters is that I love it now. The usual scents of malt and hops are barely detectable. Beer like this is all about the sour, spicy, off the wall, funktastic yeast.

Whoa, that first mouthful was a real doozy. *Wild* ale is right. This one is going to be a strap yourselves in, hold on tight, keep your eyes wide open, rollicking ride on the funkadelic train to funksville. I wish I could think of more ways to say funk because this is one of the funkiest beers that I've ever had and I funkin' love it.

Thankfully, the 800 lb. gorilla that is the yeast strain doesn't feel a need to crush everything within reach. There's still a fantastic malt-hop stew underneath it all. The semi-sweet blonde maltiness lays down a solid foundation and I can even appreciate the noble elegance of a considerable quantity of peppery, spicy, grassy hops.

There's a huge amount of depth and complexity here. I'm glad that I have 750 ml to become better acquainted with each one of the fascinating facets of funky fabulousness. The intense, sour tanginess of each mouthful is something to behold and dovetails perfectly with the crisp, snappy, ultimately dry finish. I like a little mellow alcohol flavor in my BSPAs... and that is just what De Proef has provided.

The mouthfeel is well within the bounds of the style, although it favors the lighter end of the spectrum. It still manages to be lightly, lushly silky and is an absolute pleasure in the mouth. I don't usually love generously carbonated beer, but this one wouldn't work nearly as well if the bubbles were reined in. The mouth party that is the flavor needs a suitably jazzy mouthfeel.

From the bizarre Hieronymous Bosch painting depicted on the bottle to the beer contained within that bottle, the Surly Bird version of the De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale series is quality personified. I can't wait to drink Pig Nun, Spoon Whacker, et al. The fact that they could all be this good boogles the mind.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2006 15:35:49 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Caged corked gives a MASSIVE >pop!!!< upon release.

Pours a hazy apricot juice color with a multitude of bubbles rushing to a soapy, large, extremely well-retained head. Sticky lace strata up and down glass.

The smell is divine. Horse-saddle leather, complete with sweat and all, balanced by rich fruit essences (pear, apple, plum, peach). Fragrant, dirty, earthy, sweet, pungent, and assertive. Pure excellence.

Compared to the Pig Nun version of this one, the Surly Bird seems to be more bitter, obviously a higher hops quotient than the Pig Nun. Otherwise it's just as expected. Fruit and yeast, beauty and beast, battling for control, both coming in first. Well-balanced, complex with nutmeg/coriander spices coming to mind, hiding the high alcohol well, and delivering a flavor that puts the yeast out front in the best way. Finish is dry and sour. A good match for what comes before it. A springy, buoyant, bubbly mouthfeel brings out the exotic sides of the flavor even further.

9% ABV be damned: this is highly drinkable. Seems right for all seasons, and could go with a variety of foods (though I prefer this one as its own stand-alone meal). I wish I could make this my everyday beer. Availability and good-sense dictate otherwise, but man, what a fantastic liquid.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2006 22:33:26 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - a full finger of rocky white head atop a dark yellow straw colored brew, with moderate carbonation

S - first thought, smells like Duvel, sweet 'n' spicy, like a citrus flavored honey with a meld of ginger interwoven

T - very smooth, an orange zest flavor, with the same sweetness and ginger from the aroma, it has a great bitter finish to it

M - smooth with the aforementioned bitter finish, well balanced and easy to swallow, very pleasant

D - high, a great Belgian, nive medium bodied

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 01:07:36 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of kmo1030


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hazed golden with a large white head that sticks around.
mango, apricot, citrus, soft banana bread and slight pineapple aromas dominate. there's some good'n funky hay-like, but relatively mild, qualities mixed with a slight ocean air (good). wow, this smells delicous. a strawberry cream aroma develops with significant warmth.
the taste has a lot more banana than the smell, with it hijacking the middle completely and part of the finish. the tangy fruits are all here from the aroma with the addition of bubblegum, vanilla wood, and a more musty funk than originally expected from the aroma which was more barnyard less basement. reverse that here in the taste. a little and i do mean little bit of booze in this one, which i haven't noticed in the series so far.
slightly heavier side of medium bodied with active sharp carbonation.
very good drinkability. good lord i've been nothing but very impressed with all these beers, get out there and grab any of these that you can find.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 00:00:23 | More by kmo1030
Photo of DrJay


4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enormous white head capped the clear, straw-yellow/light gold beer. There was a lot of long-lasting, clumpy lace throughout. Interesting, complex aroma with funky barnyard elements, lemon, bready yeast, mild spice, and some leather. The first flavour that hit me was sweet tarts, followed closely by a lemony funk. There's some residual sweetness and a grain husk character. Acidic towards the end and it finishes with a slightly aggressive spiciness. Some alcohol warmth. Very high carbonation, light body, creamy texture, off-dry with light astringency. Quite tasty. Split between myself and Wintermute, this was a treat.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2006 01:34:32 | More by DrJay
Photo of pons

New York

4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at American Beer Distributing on Court St.

It is hard to review a beer like this and not let bias get in the way too much. This beer is unlike any belgian blond I've had. The first time I tried Surly Bird from Proefbrouwerij the only other blond I had tried was Duvel; it is far and wide the most genuine beer I'll had.

Surly Bird's strength is in the combination of high alcohol content and a piquant taste. For another person the taste may be too acrid upon intial smel/sip. However, there are citrus aftertastes, semi-sweet and overipe yet dry. the wild yeast used certainly lends its own funk to the beer which finishs rather smoothly for such a powerful brew. The malt is characterstic of a blonde, which is great, yet there is noticable hoppiness to this beer. It certianly has more hop character than the Pig Nun variety, of which it's very similar.

When opening, the cork is easy to come off, and opens quite forcefully. There's quite a lot in the way of carbonation which yields a great head that lingers throughout drinking. It looks quite sexy in the proper glassware.

Overall it is worth it to try this one, especially if you're craving a more exotic tasting beer. It's sure to compliment more funky cheeses if you want to be really adventurous.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2006 02:24:21 | More by pons
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very highly carbonated. Definitely a beer to open and pour over the sink. Thankfully I was forewarned. Poured this nicely over a few minutes. Amazing smell, hard to describe. It ranges from citrusy fruit one moment to sour yeast the next.

Mouthfeel: Let the carbonation slow down and it's a very almost light bodied easy to drink beer.

Taste: This one almost defies description. A fruity character comes and goes at random intervals intertwined with a likeable and agreable sourness. Unlike most beers I'm used to, this one does not nicely proceed through the flavor spectrum as it comes up to room temp from the cellar. It's almost like the beer wrestles with your tastebuds and berates you for not keeping up. Flavors come and go so quickly, one minute it's sourness, the next its hints of strawberry, apricot, citrus. It keeps you coming back for more.

Drinkability: This a very wonderful beer. I would highly recommend anyone try it. It's not for the faint of heart!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 14:21:50 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of blackie


4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: All it took was a little nudge to shoot the cork speedily towards my ceiling, at which time a small, controllable eruption occurred all over my desk. The pour into my snifter produces a big 2" airy meringue like head. It takes quite a bit to settle down and allow my first sip. The beer is a bright golden color, with floaties suspended uniformly throughout, despite my careful pour. Some slight lacing is left behind on the glass.

smell: Killer. The aromas are slight, yet seem to be diverse. I've yet to smell a beer like this. The descriptor "horse blanket" makes complete sense to me now...having just been at the stable earlier today, it is fresh in my mind. Definately a big appley presence...in a cidery kinda way...sour crabapples too. Funk. Mascerated strawberries and kiwi. Overexploited, silty farm soil. The slimy smell of a fresh caught flounder...or just brackish estuarian water. A piece of oxidized iron sitting in an old wooden barn next to a stack of hay. The evaporate from a pile of dead plant matter that was rained on a few days ago, but has begun to dry in the hot sun. Also a nice, considerable hop spiciness. There's much more in there, but I couldn't begin to describe it.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is very very smooth, so smooth that I can't really qualify it...I guess somewhere around the lower end of the high range. The body is on the heavy end of the light range. Very dry.

taste: At first, I get a mix of green apples, sour apples, winey apple cider, and a light grainy malt sweetness. Horse blanket in the aftertaste. Just a slight hop bitterness and flavor. I wish the complexity of the flavor could hold up to that of the aroma.

drinkability: I consumed this bottle over a period of an hour and a half...but for what it is, the drinkability is good. Not a hint of the 9% ABV anywhere...save for the warming and intoxicating effect, of course.

The cork is coded FP 3 54. Been sitting in my cellar at least 4 months.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 06:32:22 | More by blackie
Photo of numenor1

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First wild ale i've had.

Pours a hazy golen orange with a towering rocky head, laces in clumps an never fully disappears. Quite beautiful. Smells metallic, mineraly and with an unmistakable smack of banana pudding. Initially candy sweet estery fruits, banana, passionfruit, starfruit, with an undertone of acidic sourness. Then beautiful earthy spicy bitterness slowly wipes everything away. Ponderous. Mouthfeel is medium light, with effervescent carbonation. Very drinkable. Magnificent.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2006 22:01:11 | More by numenor1
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A barnyard musty smell greets you. Nice creamy head and pale colour. The taste must be acquired, and I have had better, such as recently in Vermont. Some lemony citrus. It will surely scare off most beginners. Creamy and drinkable. I think this should be had with a meal.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2006 02:01:07 | More by Sammy
Photo of twelvsies


4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Is this any different from the Pig Nun version? I don't get it. I'm assuming the different labels mean slightly different versions, but I'm not sure. Had this one the other night at the Public House. Tasted pretty damn similar, and pretty damn amazing. This could be my new favorite beer, or perhaps just an affair from my first obsession, which would be Fantome. I'm not going to get too into it, because I feel like it is almost identical to the other version Pig Nun, which I already reviewed. But, it's incredibly floral, fruity, and slightly tart, yet still keeping an excellent light and airy dry mouthfeel. So good. So drinkable. So unique. I've check out a few other beers by this brewery (De Proef), and this guy, apparently a mad scientist/brewer, knows the deal. I have a bottle of the Spoon Whacker in the fridge which I plan on drinking later, and hopefully that will help me figure out if these beers are different or not. [Or, if you're one of those nice people who knows what they're talking about, maybe you'll beer mail me and clear this one up for me.] Either way, regardless of the painting on the label, this is up there with the best of the best in my opinion. Go get surly.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 05:36:45 | More by twelvsies
Photo of Dukeofearl


4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in late summer 2005 in southern California for approximately $8.99; reviewed and enjoyed in November 2005.

Pours a moderate golden color with a huge pillowy head that is fed by a strong, steady stream of bubbles from the bottom of my Duvel glass. Quite attractive.

Aroma is very yeasty, with very slight sweetness (orange fruit), but this is about yeast. To be honest, the aroma isn't as strong and distinctive as I remember the other Flemish Primitive I had (the Pig Nun). It's pleasant, but not anything that I can grab onto.

Now the flavor, that's a whole 'nother story. Spicy in several directions- black pepper, mustard seed, caroway, with a distinct wild tartness that is the main characteristic. Hops? Not that I can tell. Malt/Bread? Nope. But lots of interesting spices (I wish I was better at describing them).

Mouthfeel is quite nice, although there is a bit of an alcohol burn at the back of the throat that detracts from the overall presentation.

Quite a nice beer- I like it!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2005 04:29:36 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of ypsifly


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750 without dates poured into a tulip. This was the loudest pop ever! Soon as the caged was unwound, I had a mini howitzer in my hands. I have guns that are quieter than this bottle.

Clear apple juice supporting a couple fingers of white that is a bit noisy. Good retention, minimal lace.

The nose sez, "Hello my name is Brett!" An old barnyard that is littered with apples fallen from the tree and just starting to rot. So earthy and funkalicious. There's an old box of nails in here. Fruits underneath including the already mentioned apples and some dark charries and a few plums. Very, very interesting.

Starts off briefly acidic and tart, but this is quickly balanced by the dark fruits that come through just enough. The earthy nature of this beer follows with some hay and dusted yeast. Slight alcoholic pepper way in the back towards the end. Bitter hops are paired with the tangy fruits in a lingering dry/bitter/earthy finish. Damn....

The mouth is almost killed by the acidic to tart qualities, but there's enough maltiness to give it a body that isn't eroded by the brett or the carbonation. So interesting I could drink a lot until the abv got on top of me.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2005 05:07:53 | More by ypsifly
Photo of Sephiroth


4.88/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recieved in trade from AlexJ. Thanks, man. Into a tulip it goes, the yeast staying at the bottom of the bottle. I swirled the bottle as soon as I made some room. The body is a cloudy golden yellow, with seemingly endless creamy looking foam. The aroma invites me to jump in. Funky, sweet and sour yeast. Earthiness.

The taste is complex and refreshing, no hint of the 9%ABV. Yeast driven light fruit, maybe kiwi-strawberry. A slightly sour, but definitely tart flavor comes next. Finishes crisp and clean, with a faint bitterness on the tongue. I am trying so hard not to guzzle.

Mouthfeel is of carbonated silk. Drinkability is a five. If you are't extremely disciplined, you'll have a bottle drained in half an hour, tops.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2005 22:12:33 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of merlin48


4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

NOTE: Beware of cork! After removing wire cage, cork begins moving to the top of the 750ml bottle right before your eyes. This magical presentation resulted in a small indentation in my living room wall. Please be careful!
Appearance: Served at cellar temperature into a St Bernardus goblet, the body is a slightly hazed, golden amber. Vigorous carbonation is so prevalent as to be a bit scary. Large and puffy offwhite head has forever retention and settles into a custard meringue at the top of the goblet. Wow! Nice looking.

Aroma: Fruity and musty aromas drench the room as soon as the cork explodes out of the bottle. Overripe peaches, fresh pineapple, watermelon rinds rotting in the garden compost pile, wet wool blanket, musty sleeping bag from twenty years ago, damp hay, freshly dug dandelions, a bouquet of spring flowers, and more funky, fruity, and floral/herbal notes than I can bring myself to envision. Lots going on here, to say the least.

Mouthfeel: Lively effervescent carbonation and a light medium to medium body. Mouthfeel is the most pedestrian character here.

Taste: Whew! So many layers of flavors here that it's difficult to begin a description. First, the 9% abv is nowhere to be found, until I try to type this review. A fruity character comes and goes at random intervals, strawberries, white grapes, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and melon. Hop bitterness is also random, with an assertive dry grassiness. Yeastiness is, by turns, chalky, musty, earthy, and very funky. Maltiness is bready at times, powdery on occasion. Break a twig off the nearest hardwood tree and chew on it for several seconds, and you will get a hint of the woodsy funk going on here. Vague spices come and go, as well. Finishes bittersweet, with a lasting funky hop bitterness. This is one wild ale!

Drinkability: This is the most exciting bottle of beer I've ever sampled. An excellent journey that is long and strange. Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2005 22:39:17 | More by merlin48
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear pale golden straw with a huge white frothy head which was large bubbled and lasted well to slowly lace the glass as it retreated back to the surface. The cork tried to oust itself from the bottle over time as the bottle sat warming with the bail removed.

The aroma was earthy with an acidic bite. The farmhouse Belgian yeast was present in grand fashion with and estery profile and a dose of Brett. A light citrus aroma emerged as the head fell back.

The flavor was very interesting and complex. Was predicting a sour acidity and that was not the case at all. The flavor was fruity with a light citrus and a nice earthy hop presence which was nicely bittered and kept the malt at bay. There was a light Belgian yeast spice that included a peppery flavor and a Brett yeast character which was complex and well done.

The finish was dry with a lasting light peppery and earthy hop flavor and a light citrus very plesantly into the aftertaste. The body was medium and creamy with the carbonation level. A great beer!

750 ml corked and bailed bottle purchase at Sam's in Durham, NC. Looked for this beast for months and finally it shows up all over NC. Will wonders never cease! 45 IBU according to Shelon Bros site and extra finishing hops.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2005 22:09:36 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of mntlover


4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Uncaged the bottle set on the table pop wow the cork blew out by itself bounced forceably of the ceiling, now the dog is eating the cork oh well time to pour, but be careful.

Pours a hazy peach color with a huge billowing white head that stays around so long feed by lots of rising bubbles eventually falls to clumpy pond scum bubbles lots of lace, beautiful.

Aroma is way fruity mostly strawberries, but also mellons, peachs and grapes sweet malt light tartness also under the sweetness reminds me of currants grassy hops hay like.

Taste is lots of fruit sweet to start then mingling with the tart currants and bret with a nice grassy hops adding there flavor some barnyard hay shows up with a lingering bitterness. In the finish is also some dry chaulkiness that reminds of currants.

Mouthfeel is good light side of medium loaded with flavor nice easy to drink, good carbonation.

Drinkability is good an enjoyable beer easy drinking 9% don't know where they hid it. Want to thank the Pop The Cap people for this one nice find at Greenlife in Asheville.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2005 02:24:32 | More by mntlover
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Full sized 750ml brown glass Belgium bottle that has a silver cage and black cap restraining its cork. The plain cork only has the code “FP 3 54 e” on it. The main label has the striking 16th Century Gothic art from Hieronymus Bosch. Stark, shocking and symbolic…the Surly Bird label has almost no information on it…adding yet more of a mysterious quality to this strange range of brews from De Proefbrouwerij. Listed at 9% ABV. Cost $9.99.

Appearance: Darkish golden pour has a hazed shredded marmalade golden sunset body like the Pig Nun. Humungous white head rises and rolls ever upwards like the mushroom cloud from an Atomic bomb. Settles to reveal a thick creamy cap which fills my Duvel glass to capacity. The head collapses very slowly to reveal a crusty lacing and a craggy surface. Softly dissolved fine tuned carbonation supports a solid conditioning. Superb presentation!

Smell: This one reminds me of that back-of-the-neck hair-raising experience I had when I first took the deep breath from my first ever Orval. Gorgeous funky Brett character, acidic dry hops, fruity and yet ever-so-delicately sweet. Light horseblanket, but nothing striking, flashes of alcohol and a reflective Cider Apple sharpness.

Taste: Wild Earthy tones run through this organic rural farmyard. Lots of Brettanomyces in this one, in fact several strains are used I believe, the depth of character and fruity bitterness in this one is a little bit more complex in nature from that which I recall in the Pig Nun. Bold bitterness and lots of fruity flavors slickly licks the edges of the horseblanket and yeasty crab apples.

Mouthfeel: Resplendent body, soft, smooth and yet impressively complicated. The texture is unforgettable – luxurious and a sheer pleasure to imbibe.

Drinkability: Exceptionally palatable and supremely brewed. If you have ever had the pleasure of sampling a range of aged Orvals and enjoyed them, then you will love the Surly Bird, it exhibits all the complexity of those Trappist monsters. Edit - References are often made to Duvel in Reviews here I note, this confuses me and is a misplaced reference for Surly Bird is nothing of the sort; this one is a Brother, quite literally, of the Trappist Orval.

Overall: Very little is actually known about the life of Hieronymus Bosch, strange given the striking nature of his paintings. Not much more is known about this brew either except that it is another variant of the Primitive Wild Ale which has 45 IBU’s and extra finishing hops. Striking stuff though!

Highly Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2005 05:14:10 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of TurdFurgison


3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750mL bottle, poured into Watou chalice.

Appearance: Deep orange, hued slightly yellow. Decent head, dissipates quickly to a thin white layer.

Smell: This smells very much like Orval to me. Horse blanket is maybe the correct word...

Taste: Tastes like Orval, but was much more reasonably priced.

Notes: I liked this, and will buy it again. Unfortunately I haven't found this in Columbus, I had to buy it at Cloverleaf in Detroit during a business trip.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2005 01:58:21 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of putnam


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The closure detonated from the top of the bottle. Lines of Champagne-like fizz race through the tanned blonde liquid. The top is an eery mess of airy, pearlescent irregularity -- splotchy. Toasted, moist whole grain bread aromas launch bitter orange peel, sticky herb, radicchio and tar smells. Staccato pineapple rind flavors intermix with earthy bitterness and raw green seed spices. Rotting apple and pepper flavors lead to a long finish deeply penetrated with resiny bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2005 00:08:21 | More by putnam
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Carefully poured, the "surly bird" delivers a clear yellow-gold body beneath a huge head of rocky bright-white foam. Effervescent bubbles can be seen rising quickly beneath; and the head retention is excellent. Add thick rings of sticky, foamy lace and you've got an impressive looking beer in front of you!

The nose superbly displays Brettanomyces characteristics (mineralish, leathery, acidic, musty, barnyard, definite "horseblanket") over a lightly sweet and fruity, candyish malt.

In the mouth it's light bodied, effervescent, and tingly on the tongue.

Sweet and fruity (berries, cherry, apple, orange), tangy, and candyish malt greets you up front, followed by some wet-hayand its earthy and mineral-like side. It's solid bitterness slices through at mid-palate, and some leafy and grassy - almost minty - hop flavors appear in the stunningly dry, dusty finish. A spritz of lemon rounds it out, and leaves it quite drinkable!

Kind of like a Duvel gone astray, this is very similar to the "Pig Nun", and one of the more accessible of the Flemish Primitive line; yet it still maintains a great Brettanomyces presence like the "Spoon Whacker'; and is, perhaps, the most drinkable of the lot. Superb!!!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2005 21:59:57 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of erica


2.85/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This was a strange beer, and my scores might not make sense at first glance, with great aroma and not so great taste, but I can't score it any other way. It'd be a lie. I split a 750ml of this, not really knowing what it would be like, since I'd never heard of it before. But I was willing to try it, as the bartender said it was more sour than he likes... So I thought Oh good, sour. I'll love it!!


Appearance was nice enough, it was a cloudy dark yellow/straw colour, with perhaps a slight tinge of orange. It had a lively white fluffy head that soon diminished into a thin layer of bubbles which coated the entire top the entire time.

It smelled fantastic!! Really great. Very sour like a gueuze (while writing my notes I couldn't figure out the correct way to spell gueuze/geuze/gueze, so I crossed it all out and just put Cantillon. Self-explanatory.) So anyway, it smelled like a Gueuze, mixed with a funky French cider apples and spices too. Very wild and fresh. It got me all excited. And then... the first sip. I actually thought it tasted very good, some sourness, apples, grapes, maybe a bouquet of wildflowers thrown in, along with just a hint of oak in the background. However, after maybe the 2nd or 3rd taste, I began to get more of that bitter Orval-like taste, the brett. I guess it is. And from there on, all I could taste was this overpowering non-hop bitterness. And the aftertaste lingered way too long and didn't disappear even after some big gulps of lemon water. It began to give me a stomach ache, so I ended up dumping about 1/3 of what I had into Francis's glass. I couldn't take it anymore.

So, moving on, mouthfeel was fizzy and light, that was nice. But drinkability, not so nice, considering I couldn't even finish what I had. I would have to say to my fellow beer-drinkers:

If you like Orval, drink it all!
If you're not a fan of Brett, this isn't one to get!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 16:10:04 | More by erica
Photo of NoLiberty


4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The corked bottle let loose when uncaged from under the cap.

Appearance - Pours a frothy tall head and cloudy golden body. Tiny bubbles take up residence at the bottom of your glass and keep working a nice leathery head through the finish.

Aroma - Flowery and multi-layered. Wild flowers, honeysuckle and sour-sweet like rotting hay.

Taste - Sour front and warm well-balanced middle with strong flavors or wild flowers (honeysuckel, beach rose, yeast) into a clean hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Fills mouth and leaves a clean dry taste at the end with slight film in mouth..

Drinkability - yes, more please.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2005 21:50:00 | More by NoLiberty
De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird) from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
88 out of 100 based on 201 ratings.