Eight Ale | Surly Brewing Company

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Eight AleEight Ale
BA SCORE
4.14/5
Exceptional
323 Ratings
Eight AleEight Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jhartley on 07-23-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
38
Ratings:
323
pDev:
12.08%
 
 
Wants:
35
Gots:
141
Trade:
21
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 38
Reviews by zeledonia:
Photo of zeledonia
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I've had Surly's anniversary beers going back to the Four release, and they're always interesting. Tasted 13 December 2014.

Pours dark rusty amber, murky and opaque. One finger of yellowish off-white head, good retention and lacing.

Smell is really nice. I'd heard rumors of infection, and my first whiff relieved my concerns about this bottle. It's a delightful warm sweetness, what I often get from sweet barrel-aged barleywines. But there's more behind that, a fullness that I think will show up more clearly in the taste.

Taste is excellent. So many things going on in here, and they all blend well. Soft whiskey notes, the candy-like sweetness that whiskey barrels sometime impart, and a whole lot of unidentifiable but delicious flavors from the base beer. It all flows together into one smooth, sweet, powerful deliciousness.

Feel is outstanding as well. I'm amazed how much the oats come through; don't remember having an oat-heavy non-stout beer before, but I dig it. It's fluffy, mouth-filling, with carbonation that's like light foam.

Yum. This is really tasty. It's unique, and a typically creative Surly creation. The oats, the rye whiskey barrels, the sugar... it's an odd combination, but it really works.

 1,225 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of MattyG85
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: Pours a deep and hazy brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of off white head which settle into a thin patchy layer. Leaves some decent lacing.

Smell: A nicely sweet and boozy malt forward aroma with big hints of oat, whisky, and vanilla. Good barrel presence with hints of rye whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet malt with hints of caramel, toffee, oats, straw, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet hints of honey and sugar. Subtle fruit hints of apple, raisin, and sour cherry. Can’t smell much hops. A really interesting and good aroma.

Taste: Like the smell indicates, a sweet, malty, and barrel forward taste with big notes of rye whiskey, vanilla, and oats. Upfront barrel presence with notes of rye whiskey, sweet vanilla, oak, and wood. Good malt presence with notes of oats, caramel, toffee, straw, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet taste of honey and sugar. Subtle fruit undertones with some notes of raisin, cherry, and apple. Sweet tasting but not overly syrupy. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and slick. Surprisingly smooth and easy drinking for a barrel aged brew. Minimal alcohol heat is felt.

Overall: Another very good Surly brew. Good whiskey and sweet vanilla flavors that avoid becoming overly sweet and boozy. Thinner body than expected but the flavor doesn’t suffer.

 1,452 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.68/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bottle shared by Barry last night, thanks man.

This one pours a clear medium-dark brown, with no head or lacing.

This one smells pretty funky, and pretty bad- sweaty socks, mainly, with no aspects of the barrel or base beer coming through. A bit of poop, too, honestly.

The taste is luckily better than the aroma, but the apparent infection has affected the taste as well. There's a bit of tartness, some caramel, and some astringent woodiness. It's not entirely unpleasant, but this is very clearly not what Surly intended for this beer.

This is fairly thin bodied, too light, with a lower level of carbonation. The drinkability is fairly low.

Meh. I'd like to try a good bottle to see what this was supposed to taste like.

 729 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: utter opacity, dark, rugged, rustic burgundy coloring, under a lush, off-white, creamy-toned head.

Aroma: comes screaming out of the glass…. whiskey all over the place. Vanilla, coconut, oak, …huge, vast, immense, …all the adjectives. The richness wraps over all other flavors, but that's alright, I don't mind.

Taste: yeah, let's…mmm, bright, bold, vibrant, and incredibly complex. Whiskey tones (more vanilla, more sweetness, still some coconut) are king of this jungle, standing tall above all, …and making me wish I could get a taste of the original, pre-High West barrel-aging to compare them. An oat barley-wine, rich, fruity, delicious, and strong. But, not too strong. Some have been reporting this as "hot", but having tasted it, I am here to declare them to be positively pussies. "Waah, wah, it's 'hot'!" Get over it, it's a barley-wine, it's supposed to be strong, be a man, and drink a beer! (Or be a woman, too, either way. How about this one: "person up!" Okay, I'll keep searching for the politically correct term.)

I'm barely halfway into this and it's tasting better and better, and feeling stronger and stronger. Pro-tip: share this one. Not wise to drink it alone. But, that's what I'm here for, taking it for the team.

An oat wine. How many of those are there? The wheat wine is a thing, sure, but Todd has always been pro-oat, and mostly anti-wheat. Smooth and supple and utterly delicious. Once the whiskey barrel-aging effects wear away, the brew below shows it's stuff, and it's goddamn gorgeous.

We're getting towards the end, and I'm close to surrender. This is the best way to enjoy this beer (screw sharing!)…late at night…got nothing to do tomorrow…let the time pass away, and accept every beautiful moment.

Here's where I read the label to you: First off, Omar: "When it's done is a phrase we've used to describe release dates for our beers for many years. When you're putting the beer first, it just makes sense. Our anniversary is technically in February, but this unique Oat Wine style ale needed to age in High West Distillery Rye Whiskey barrels until well…until it's done. Here's to eight great years, and we'll all be celebrating soon in our all-new Destination Brewery. …The idea behind our anniversary line-up of beers was to give Todd, Surly's Head Brewer, fee rein to use whatever ingredients and methods he wanted to brew the beer. This year's bottle artwork is a one-of-a-kind illustration collaboration between Todd and local artist Josh "Jawsh" Lemke." …and then, Todd: "This beer was designed for barrel-aging, so it's been a great opportunity to work with our friends at High West Distillery, in Park City, Utah. Brewed with Golden Promise and Aromatic malt, and milk sugar fermented in stainless steel, then aged in high West Distillery rye whiskey barrels, this golden-hued Oat-Wine style ale summons notes of spicy vanilla marshmallow and aromas of honey and whiskey."

Wait, there's information missing…why can't I find the ABV? Odd…well, I heard that it's 10.7% ABV. It's got to be on there somewhere….nope, nowhere…oh, well, worse things have happened.

Okay. This is incredible now. And it could be different later. I say get as much as you like, but drink it fresh, then stash some away and break it out on special occasions, but don't freak out about aging it. Probably the best advice anyone can ever give you about beer: don't freak out about it.

 3,453 characters

Photo of cjn40277
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of tvenne
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mmcurran
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of deebo
2.98/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

On tap at red cow Mpls. $9 for 10 oz.
Served in a tulip with a thin slice of light tan head on top of a murky brown brew. Aroma is strong of bourbon. That's really about it. Taste is silky but needs more flavor. Oak and vanilla flavors top the whiskey oat brew. It's just whiskey beer at this point. The mouthfeel is hot yet smooth. Overall a beer that needs some beer qualities to carry the whiskey barrel aging. Not bad but needs some character.

 449 characters

Photo of MNMike
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Dave11899
5/5  rDev +20.8%

4 separate small 1oz pours at ABR2014

Less sweet than a Barleywine with a heavy malt bill in the aroma and taste. It's a strong old oak character that usually is a turn off for me. Yet incredible.

Those of you who didn't appreciate SeVIIn... Or enjoy it much, like myself, will enjoy this.

High ABV hidden moderately
well and complex.

Can't wait to get to try it in a bottle... Supposedly November!

 408 characters

Photo of warmbier804
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of OStrungT
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a murky orangish brown color, and sports a thick and fluffy light brown head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice lace.

This beer smells much more mellow than I expected. I detect some oak and vanilla, the standard for a barrel aged beer. I also get some whisky as well but it is ever so slight. Some caramel sweetness also.

This beer tastes of vanilla and toasted coconut. Some oaky flavor mixes in. Mild whisky as well.

This beer is really smooth. It leaves an aftertaste of vanilla.

Overall this beer is pretty good. It isn't overly aggressive, and that is nice. I could drink a lot of this, if it wasn't for its high, but well, hidden alcohol content. Thanks Sarah for this one. I think I'll put a little time on the other bottle.

 761 characters

Photo of roostor07
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of brians52
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of rightcoast7
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of andesite83
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A big thanks to Jeff for this novelty. 750ml waxed and capped bottle into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a luxurious, 2 finger light cream colored head with outstanding retention. Beer is a dark, clear mahogany. Lacing is thick and spotty with excellent stick. A really nice looking beer.

Nose is sap hop bitterness, peat, lightly tart wet wood, molasses, mass, caramel and brown sugar. Very deep and clearly a barleywine. The tartness worries me a little though.

Opens boozy. Notes of hazelnut, peat, wet wood, tobacco and molasses. Grainy brown sugar in the middle with a healthy does of caramel and semi-ripe purple plum. A bit hot on the finish with more dark fruit and rich syrup flavors. Same aftertaste. Pretty good.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Thick and rich in the mouth and goes down super smooth. Semi-dry on the finish with an oily, slick, lingering aftertaste. Really nice.

Surly's anniversary series beers have really spanned the spectrum from awful to decent to very good. Eight lies somewhere in the middle though it is a very good representation of the American Barleywine style. Certainly a sipper.

 1,147 characters

Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Eight Ale from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 323 ratings