Ten Ale
Surly Brewing Company

Ten AleTen Ale
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English Old Ale
4.1 | pDev: 8.54%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Ten AleTen Ale
Notes: Brewed with pale ale, crystal malts, invert sugar and aged on toasted sassafras.
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 176
Photo of champ103
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmm, this is a surprise to see on tap in a downtown bar, in Champaign, IL.

A: Pours a dark brown color. A one finger beige head forms and fades quickly. Light lace is left behind.
S: All malts, toasted and bread like. Chocolate, vanilla, and lots of dark fruits. Like plums and raisins.
T: Like the nose, with lots of malt character. Toasted malts, baked bread, chocolate. Though this is really sweet, almost sugary and cloying in that regard. Maybe a bit oxidizes, but not bad. Dark fruits and tart plums. Lots going on, but doesn't all mesh perfectly for me.
M/O: A lighter body than expected, with high carbonation. This is enjoyable to sip at first, but becomes a bit of a chore once the sweetness and alcohol takes over.

Glad I got a chance to try this, and interesting to see a bar still having a a keg. It seems in as good of condition as this can be after so many years (unless Surly has on occasion made this again). There is a lot going on, but is almost cloying and not balanced as well as I would like. Though if anybody sees it around still, I would still say give it a try.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 22 fl oz bottle on December 31, 2018. Brewed with pale ale, crystal malts, invert sugar and aged on toasted sassafras. This celebratory old ale is meant for sharing. Amber in color with aged flavors of toffee, sherry and vanilla sassafras. Finishes with a warming full bodied swallow.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had a cellared bottle. Age was very kind to this old ale, you can tell it must have had some real bite fresh. Kind of like one of those "everything cookies" with a ton of booze. Barley, molasses, toffee, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, cola, maple, brown sugar, raisin, that wonderful sassafras and oat. Smell is much boozier, and actually get more raisin, plum, molasses, and toffee more than anything. Feel is agressive but surprisingly balanced for the style at least.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hazy muddy brick red with a minimal beige film and a creamy ring.

Smell is caramel apple, cinnamon and toffee.

Taste is caramel, hot thin bourbon, crumpets, green apple and a dry grape must.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jeff for this one. 750ml waxed and capped bottle into a Surly teku. Shared with schen9303.

Nose is chestnut, logan, caramel, brown sugar, molasses and booze. There's a slight sap bitterness also. Great complexity and deep flavor. Beer opens caramel, brown sugar and molasses. Syrupy. There's some sap and maple also. Nutty. Deep, rich with a nice booziness. This is very very good. Body is full with low carbonation. Smooth on the palate and goes down rich and warm.

This is one very impressive beer. I wish I had a bottle or two to age so I could revisit this in a year or 3.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a lot to handle here, insanely strong and sweet, definitely a bottle to share, but a cool continuation of a really great series, just not something i am able to drink very much of in a sitting. one of the first beers i have known to use sassafras wood, which i dont know too much about, but it has a sweet herbal to even medicinal quality about it, mostly in the late middle and finish, some vanilla, but quite distinct from oak, a little bit of a root beer thing going on, cola maybe, kind of strange, but unique is good. murky looking beer, woody even in appearance, thick, with an aroma of rich caramel, dried apples, and fusel alcohol. not sure this needs to be as strong as it is, maybe some cellar time would mellow it out a little, but this is pretty darn intense as it is right now, especially with the sugar. its almost too gnarly to have the special sassafras wood be as appreciated as fully as it might be in a more mild brew, but thats not really who surly is. vanilla and toffee in the finish with the wood, an earthy herbal element as well, and as much residual sugar as i personally can tolerate. cool beer, but pace yourself...

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sweet cherry, caramel, Sherry, vanilla, light chocolate, sassafras, root beer, bitter, butterscotch, tobacco, leather

Very unique and complex. Reminiscent of a better Cherry Amaro from Forbidden Root

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a fairly thick pouring beer. The head isn't too thick, 1 finger. The nose is interesting. It's hard to describe, almost smells barrel aged. I do like the smell of it.

The taste of this beer is somewhat sweet. Slight bitterness. It also tastes like it is barrel aged. Itteresting flavor. It feels carbonated on the backside. Very interesting beer.

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Photo of Nates505craft
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle poured into snifter

Pours a deep amber color

Smells of malt, yeast, dried fruit and with a little bit of the toasted sassafras

Taste follows the nose but much more complex, rich malt flavor with with more of the sassafras flavor along with some fruity notes and a nice light hop bitterness.

Feels very smooth in the mouth, could be a little thicker but very nice

Overall this was amazing! My friend brought me a bottle back from his darkness day trip and I highly recommend it if you can find it

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Photo of Taybeh
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

At the brewery into a snifter, pours a dark brown with tinge of reddish amber in the light. Minimal thin crown that dissipates leaving no lacing. Nose is dark brown carmelized sugar, freshly peeled sassafras root, a little sweet clove, maybe a whisper of orange. Taste pretty much follows the nose...adds some vanilla....a kind of full round juiciness married to some toffee really comes into play on the back end, and though I can't discern a lot of different layers or waves of distinctive flavor, it is still quite nice. Body is a little thin for the abv, but on the plus side, everything comes together great. Idk...this one is good, if a little on the sweet side for me, but with some time, I bet The complexity will become a lot more apparent.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A mostly clear brownish color. Decent amount of carbonation with a little bit of a fizzy head. Kind of looks like a cola.

Smells and looks a bit like Root Beer. A lot of caramel/toffee, and some vanilla flavor. A bit thin on body. Good, but not a great Old Ale.

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap into a 4 oz. tulip at the Brewery.

Chestnut and bronze and a bit opaque for the body color, with a bit of tangerine orange hue. Creamy tan collar presented and a slightly bubbly looking body as well.

The aroma is straight up root beer smelling. It's neat, but dominates with a little bit of warmth and heat, but it's very much a one note smelling brew.

Palate is kind of odd. Tree bark and lots of root beer sasafrass flavors. Tannic and very dry finish with some hints of mild caramel sweetness. The aftertaste is hit with a good amount of clove sweetness and heat as well.

A bit of a one note brew, a pretty unique tasting one, but is dominated by a flavor that really doesn't give the base style much to showcase.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights and a half-finger tan head.
Aroma is caramel and toffee with brown sugar, dark fruit and a hint of coffee.
Taste is coffee, raisin, sassafrass, chocolate, prune, oak and a touch of vanilla. Bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is medium and creamy.
Nicely layered and complex.

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Photo of darktronica
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Translucent, dark amber with ruby highlights. Legs on the liquid, but no residual lacing on the half-finger of head. Smells more like a nebulous English barleywine when cold, but really opens up as it warms, with raisin and fruitcake alongside spiced rum and mild botanicals. On the other hand, it tastes most redolent when chilled, with more alcoholic heat and a more prominent bitterness from the sassafras as it approaches room temperature upon sipping. It's still quite luscious and sweet throughout, with a long, rich finish. A great dessert ale that has potential to be a real stunner with age; I would recommend snatching a few up and then holding on to them.

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Photo of stortore
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. Bottled 5/23/26.

Pours a darker amber, semi opaque, with a half inch foamy head and some loose lacing. Active carbonation. Smells of malt, plums, figs, toffee, caramel, dates, raisins, some white grapes, light smoke. Malt leads the taste, then figs, dates, caramel, brown sugar, plums, raisins, a light bitterness on the finish. Smooth, fairly creamy, a good, slightly lighter body for the style, well carbonated.

Well developed flavors and aromas, the creamy feel in an Old Ale is a bonus. Very enjoyable effort.

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Photo of mschrei
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Dark red brown with good particulate but no foam or lacing. Sweet and malty smell, follows on the taste. Nice buzzy, spicy, alcohol feel. Damn good.

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is going to be something special in two or three years. It has the muscular feel and complex malty flavors that make it a good candidate for laying down. Deep brown with ruby highlights and a small finger of antique ivory, tightly beaded head, sweet aromas of caramel, stone fruit and candy sugar. Only fault is that it's a little hot, but time will help mellow that problem.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass from tap here at Surly Brewing Company.

Appearance: Deep mahogany color with medium bubbles and semi-hazy body on top of that has an off-white head rising maybe quarter of an inch dropping to nada. Zero lacing.

Smell: Heavy alcohol scent, comes off a bit jb
Taste: Complex taste consisting of smoked wood, rum and sour raisins. Addicting taste, only that is hard the heavy alcohol which might overthrow some people.

Mouth: Full bodied with a thin body. Sticky after taste.

Overall: Very good brew, shame I didn't grab a glass assuming they had one. Always in a glass, Salud!

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, bottled 05/25/16 printed on the bottleneck. The tenth anniversary ale from Surly, this one an old ale aged on toasted sassafras. No abv listed on the bottle.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark tawny brown body with hues of red in there - a good 'old ale' colored body, with one good finger of frothy creamy khaki foam that stays awhile and leaves excellent bubbly sticky lacing throughout. Appears adequately carbonated. Looks excellent.

S - Very unique and interesting aromatics: huge notes of toasted oak, wood, sticky caramel, vanilla, toffee, raisins, figs, dates, candied dark fruits, candi malt, brown sugar.

T - Taste follows the nose: huge notes of caramelized / candied raisins, figs, dates, & dried fruits, accompanied by huge notes of sticky toffee, vanilla, & caramel. Notes of creamy toasted oak / sassafras are everly apparent. The toasted sassafras definitely lends a uniqueness to this old ale - invoking notes of toasted coconut, vanilla, mint, & moss. Very unique stuff.

M - Feel is very smooth, creamy, sticky, sweet, full, with a warming alcoholic finish.

Overall, a unique and interesting bottle from Surly; would definitely be interested to see how this is in a couple of years; however it doesn't feel like the kind of body (not full enough) that would stand up to serious (5+ years worth of) aging.

Surly Ten Ale -----4/5.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Surly. Too sweet for me. I am glad I shared a small pour. Not sure if this maybe would improve with time? Guess if you have a bottle it wouldn't hurt to put it away for awhile.

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Photo of Strix
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear mahogany, good initial head that fades to a ring.

Sweet malt, hint of bourbon, smells just like a dopplebock

Sweet malt, brown sugar, oak, black pepper, bourbon, vanilla, sugar. Lots of complexity here, which I enjoyed.

Smooth mouthfeel, warming finish.

A bit of a Samichlaus vibe going on, and I'm liking the way it's drinking right now, though would also be interesting to see what it's up to with a little more age on it.

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 Poured into a snifter. Shared this bottle with a couple friends... I that that it was a touch sweet but I'm sure with a little age will improve. Overall a well done Old Ale!

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Photo of megapyro6
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep red brown color. It's pretty viscous with low carbonation. The maybe half-finger head was tight, and fades away to lacing. Light really only penetrates the edges, giving it an almost ruby halo. Really pretty beer.

It smells rich and caramel. There also notes of raisiny dark fruit.,

It's pretty viscous on the tongue, coating a little bit on the mouth feel. It's a really full beer. The taste is wonderful. There are notes of dark fruits, plum, raisins, dark candi sugar, some molasses. There are also chocolate notes, and toffee like sweetness. It plays together well.

I know some people have been complaining about the sweetness. It is sweet, but it's not cloying at all. It's fairly normal for the style and fits well within the constructs of this beer. With age the sweetness should give way to more port and vinous qualities. I plan to age a couple of these. Right now it's pretty good. It's a good sipper or beer to share with a couple buddies. I'm sure it will just get better.

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Photo of gregy55902
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid old ale, not an expert on the style though. People complaining about it being sweet must not know what old ales are (high OG and high FG). The toasted sassafras is a nice touch. Good sipper, and killer bottle art! Share the bottle and you won't get diabetes.

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Photo of bsp77
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Brew Hall. Sweet aroma and taste, with toffee, molasses, sugar, vanilla, sassafras, and dark fruit. I am okay with the sweet aroma, and while I like the taste, it is simply too sweet, especially on the cloying finish. While good, I am glad I didn't buy a bottle.

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Ten Ale from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 176 ratings