Nein Ale
Surly Brewing Company

Nein AleNein Ale
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German Hefeweizen
3.96 | pDev: 11.36%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Nein AleNein Ale
Notes: Nein was inspired by a trip to Bamberg, Germany and it is brewed with oak-smoked wheat malt and fermented with German Hefe yeast. The beer is then aged on charred oak and packaged in 750ml bottles.
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Reviews: 46 | Ratings: 219
Reviews by BYOFB:
Photo of BYOFB
4.16/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More User Reviews:
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark and caramel colored, shining crimson highlights at corners and edges. Beautiful brown head that crumbles quickly.

Aroma spills out bananas and smoke, together. Wheat-y wafts and creamy tones. Caramel and toffee tickle the nose, while alcohol looms in the distance. Dizzyingly complex.

More complexity invades the senses once Nein boards the palate. This one ain’t fooling around. Whiskey barrel-aging, smoked malts, hefe weizen yeast, ringing in at about 10% ABV. Boom, boom, boom, boom. All the while, myriad flavors travel the tongue and delight the senses, as long as the senses are still around.

Okay, I love dunkelweizens, adore barrel-aged beers, delight in the smoked stuff, and cheer on the big and ballsy brews. This much you may have gathered if you have read this section of the internet I call home with any regularity. Here in Nein they come together as never before.

I had this for the first time at the Black Forest restaurant in a glass mug, and then in a plastic cup, with the noise of a crowd and an accordionist distracting my brain. With my choice of glassware and personal pick of music or not, I can relax in contemplation of the many brilliant aspects of this brew. How to unpack and parse them, though, how to pick apart and lay bare? Chocolate slips in for a bit, oak and vanilla knock on the door, whiskey speaks it’s peace, and that undercurrent of banana tones keeps whispering in the background. Meanwhile, the brute from this bottle bellows and calls out not to forget that we’re in double digits, in terms of alcohol percentage.

Talk about this beer has been that it’s the best anniversary beer since Five, a return to greatness, I guess. I did like Syx, Seviin, and Eight, but they were a bit out there. Not for everyone. Neither is this, though. Look, if you can’t hang, scram, we ain’t got no room for no squares, man.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a waxed 750 ml bottle into a Surly Nein flute glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with a hint of amber. Moderate amount of bubbles and about one finger of off white head which settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves lots of lacing.

Smell: A smokey, fruity, and spicy German style aroma with a scent of yeast, dried fruits, and lots of smoke. Upfront scent of Hefeweizen yeast with some spice hints of clove. Big hints of smoke along with some oak and wood. Wheat and toasted malt with hints of biscuit, chocolate, caramel, and grains. Dried fruit hints of banana and apple along with some subtle dark fruit hints. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Hops are pretty subtle. A really nice aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a smokey, fruity, and spicy German style taste with notes of yeast, dried fruit, and smoke. Lots of Hefeweizen yeast with big notes of clove. Big presence of smoke along with some notes of oak and wood. Toasted malt with notes of wheat, grains, chocolate, biscuit, and caramel. Dried fruit presence of banana along with some notes of apple and subtle dark fruit. Sweet notes of sugar. Light background notes of earthy hops. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and fairly chewy. Alcohol is hidden well.

Overall: A very good twist on a big German style brew. Seems like a cross between a big Doppelbock and a Hefeweizen. Nice mix of smoke, clove, and fruit flavors.

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Photo of Can_if_you_can
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is solid, wasnt expecting it from this beer. Surly did a good job with this one, wish there was more hefe flavors, specifically bananas and bubble gum, but fir a "smoked hefewiezen" this is great! I mean has anyone ever made a smoked hefe?!

The body is pretty light, id say medium/light. There is a very pleasant dry after palate, with slight smokiness. No hops to mention in aroma or flavor. The most outstanding aspect of this beer is the lack of booziness, i can not believe this is 10% id peg it at 7% tops. Great beer worth the buy, especially since $urly decided not to rape on this one, thanks for once, do it more!!

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber served into a tulip.

Appearance is great. Pours brown and amber with light khaki head. 5

Smells like a fire. Campfire. Smoked ham. Love that aroma. 4.25

Damn. Did I just taste banana smoothie? This is like a hefe meets a rauchbier. Rauchweizen? Is that a style? The banana is really sweet and dessert-like and I get some major smoked ham. Even getting some light milk chocolate in there. Damn. I like this. 4.25

Maybe a tad thin in the body and the sweet banana deal may not be for everybody, but this beer drinks well. Super smooth and rich. Actually has a potently bitter finish. Bites. 4

Well done, Surly. Creative brew. Delicious too.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a not-quite-black color tinged with brown and a tiny head. The aromas are of banana, vanilla, chocolate, and burnt banana. The flavor leads with a slightly savory flavor, then chocolate, then a mild but lasting smoke, and then some fruit banana notes. The mouthfeel is nice and thinnish, and somewhat flat. Overall this is a really unique brew. If I just smelled it I would think it was a quad. If I just tasted it, I would think a belgian smoked wheat. This is a really cooll one of special.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with white head that dissapeared quickly. Scents of sweet malt, banana, and cloves. Flavor is banana, roasted malts, dark fruits, and cloves. Moderate carbonation and mouthfeel. Good overall offering!

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Photo of Jonnydrinker
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Shuga
4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mpgrif2
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Gold wax over cap.
Ruby brown colored body. Brief light tan head, simmers back to a skiff and a thin ring. No lacing.
Aroma of medium smoke wheat malt and light vanilla.
Taste of smoked wheat malt with a bit of sweetness from vanilla. Banana and clove are a brief memory.
Medium plus mouth feel. Very good carbonation.
This is still a good tasting beer, but the Hefeweizen aspects have faded. Now the smoke and oak aging provide the majority of the beer drinking experience.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.16/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I realize I'm a little late on this but purchased today. This is a pretty damn good beer.
Kinda' boring to look at with a dirty water brown color (close to a dunkel) and minimal head that leaves in short order. The aroma is a slightly sweet smoke with hints of the fruit, oak and wood that come in the flavor.
And the flavor is good. Really enjoyable. Nicely complex. At this age it has lost any hefe yeast qualities (no clove), but what remains is good. The alcohol is blended well and inspires the other flavors. Almost has a big lager feel with a smoothness that is neither thick nor heavy but big enough to know a beer of some heft has passed the gullet. The fruit is a nice cherry flavor - cherry smoked wood. Nice.

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Photo of ZAP
4.74/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Who the fuck listed this as a hefe-weizen...this is a Weizenbock without question and an elite one...right up there with Ramstein, and Aventinus.

L-Deep brownish black color..creamy, but light tan head.

S-Classic overripe bananas mashed with chocolate syrup. Light smokiness as well.

T-Smoked banana....light cocoa....light vanilla/ how this comes together...

F-Perfect texture....smooth and creamy...medium heat....

O-Weinzenbocks are one of my favorite styles and this is among the best I've had. Great beer.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

jon’s bottle. Smoked and drinkable. Above average drinkable. Very drinkable and approachable.

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Photo of Mdog
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby highlights, good head.

Smell: Banana esters then smoke, sweet smelling.

Taste: Sweet bananas to start, then smoke and tar mixed with a hint of chocolate. Somewhat heavy feel.

Overall: Surly's anniversary beers are always an adventure. This smoky hefeweizen combines a couple styles that I enjoy, and it delivers. Nice mix of banana flavors and smoke, plus the price wasn't up around $20 for a bottle this year. Congrats on nine years!

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Photo of Evilyak
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

hard to tell much about this one if it's unfiltered and cloudy, as it's the color of cola.

smell is boozy burnt bananas.

taste is banana up front, then the oak hits, and then some malt sweetness with a touch of clove.

mouthfeel is cloying. it's thick and a little syrupy. i'm struggling to finish the bomber.

i think this beer is less of a "can you do this" kind of thing and more of a "why did you do this" brew. it smells, and tastes, like an imperial, oak-smoked hefeweizen, but i don't know as people were really screaming for that to be made.

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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Poured out a very dark brown color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It smelled of wheat, yeast, banana, clove and oak. Sweet wheat with spices, vanilla and char.

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Photo of drewone
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of largadeer
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of deebo
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of morimech
3.34/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Very dark wheat beer that is black in the glass. One finger of head forms and quickly settles to a thin film. Very little lacing is left down the glass. Really timid aroma. I pick up some smoke, banana, and some alcohol. The first thing I taste is alcohol, followed by banana liquor that has been left open next to a campfire. Does not meld together very well. Too boozy and the smoke does not blend into the wheat beer very well. Do not know where Surly went wrong, but the Poles do this style very well. Lacks the Beechwood smoked malt of Bamberg beers, and lacks depth that the Polish greats have. Despite boasting 10% ABV, feels thin and watery. But it goes down fast as a result.

Thought I would love this beer and never thought I would rate a Surly beer so low. I believe this is Surly's first attempt at a wheat beer. I will say shelve it along with their sour program. Cannot expect to be great at everything.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7's dad for picking this up

Consumed 10/25/15

A: Pours dark and moderately ominous - Dark brown with some medium brown around the edges - Pours with a medium, tan head, fades quickly to a few wisps, leaves a few streaks of lacing,

S: Dark, smoky wheat - smoked, charred malts really dominate the aroma, with straight-up smoke - oak and barrel aromas, with some musty cellar and some charred wood -some dark wheat, smoked wheat, wheat twang - the hefe yeast lends some banana, clove, and some spice - some hints of alcohol, but I would not have guessed this was 10%

T: Woody, and smoky with some light sweetness - smoked wheat, with some burnt malt - lots of smoke, though not excessive, nicely charred - chewy oak, with some musty character and barrel funk - yeasty, with some ripe banana, bubblegum, clove, and spice - some dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, lightt wheaty sweetness - minimal booze, nicely hidden, not too hot especially since this is still young

M: Medium body, low carbonation, nicely smooth, finishes smoky and mostly clean

O: Don't say nein

This could have been a trainwreck, and Surly deserves serious props for not going over-the-top on any aspects of this experiment. The levels of smoke, wood, and Hefeweizen yeast are high without being extreme. It's very odd overall, and I'm not sure if it will get better with time, but at the moment it's pretty good.

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Photo of mothman
3.52/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picture on BA is very deceiving. Golden orange color. White head. On tap.

Belgian yeast flavors but a German lager feel to it. Bananas, cloves, and spices. Smoked malt and bacon flavors. Very interesting beer.

It's alright for what it is, but I'm not overly impressed.

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

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Nein Ale from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 219 ratings