Surly Brewing Company

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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
3.99 | pDev: 10.28%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
View: Beers
Reviews: 616 | Ratings: 1,518 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 16-oz. can
Glass: Clear 16.5-oz. Belgian ale tulip
From: My cousin Sam
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received July 21, 2018
Consumed: July 27, 2018
Reviewed as: Belgian Pale Ale
Misc.: Canned on May 29, 2018 at 9:33 a.m. CT

Thanks, Sam!

Got this with another 10 from Sam. Was psyched to try another beer from Surly. Online description on Surly’s website read, “A pale-gold hued ale, fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, resulting in a beer that has notes of lemon citrus from the hops, and black pepper spice from the yeast, with a dry “tingly” finish.” Not the biggest Belgian Pale Ale fan, but was still looking forward to this one.

Poured an amber semi-clear color with two fingers of frothy off-white head. Lots of bubbles coming up along the sides of the glass. Outstanding watery lacing. Outstanding retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled cloves, apple, pear, banana, lemon peel, citrus zest, Circus Peanut candy, peach, apricot, Belgian candy sugary, grass and black pepper notes. From the can got pear, apple, cloves and pilsner malt. (Smell - 4.00)

Tasted similar to the nose, maybe not quite as good overall. In order got cloves, apple, pear, peach, Circus Peanut candy, banana, black pepper, apricot, lemon zest, Belgian candied sugar, grass and sourdough bread. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Oily texture. Lively carbonation. Long, spicy finish. (Feel - 4.00)

Really liked this surprisingly. Would recommend this to any Belgian Pale Ale fan. (Overall - 4.00)

3.92 | 88 | B+

Aug 08, 2018
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ipeters1017 from Wisconsin

3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light amber, lots of bubbles and very clear. Strong yeast profile on the nose with a bit of sweetness. Taste is malt-forward, slightly spicy, decently sweet, with a tart and slightly fruity finish. Light bodied, smooth and leaves a dry feeling at the finish. I know I tried this about a year ago and didn't love it, but I've changed my mind (and my palate!). Very refreshing and will definitely be in my summer rotation.

Apr 27, 2018
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VABA from Virginia

3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice light amber color with a slight head and lacing. Aroma had nice saison hints. The taste follows the nose with nice saisin flavor. A well made well balanced beer.

Feb 22, 2018
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surly beers were always too different for me... (I'd be considered a fuddy-duddy, malt-head by much of the craft culture.)
The six Surly beers I Had were all rated below the BA average... two, far below.
I've changed my mind. (And that's hard to do for a fuddy-duddy.)
Despite its name, CynicAle is a very pleasant drink as a session and even more pleasant to complement my favorite food (it involves lots of garlic.)

While this saison opens average and, to be generous, Smells that way also, the Taste is very, very well-balanced. (This balance of not leaning on the hops makes me wonder if this ale almost didn't come from a different brewer.) Malt-forward, spicing for interest write the rules in this can. With English oats in the malt bill, the Feel is soft enough to be nearly perfect to let garlicky food work. But you know what? I missed the hops typical of saisons. So, I had to add pepper to my food for added spicing. (Maybe I'm not such a fuddy-duddy after all.)

I bought a 4-pack of cans (which also is outside the comfort zone of Belgo-phile fuddy-duddies.) It may prove to be my best purchase this month. I was also glad to read on the package that Surly's Beer Hall has an upstairs gastro-pub that pairs their ales and food (and where they send fuddy-duddies.) This gives me cause to visit the Twin Cities and witness who I used to be.

Oct 17, 2017
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beerguy04 from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark orange with a finger width white head, that disappeared in seconds. Taste and smell is of banana and wheat. Mouthfeel is nice and medium. Overall what a great beer.

May 02, 2017
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AZBeerDude72 from Arizona

4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden yellow with thick foam and sticky lacing. Smells of strong wheat tones, biscuit, malt, and banana. The taste is really nice, this is a great beer I must say, nice wheat flavors with a good warm biscuit blended in and banana on the back side. I really like this beer, I am a big fan of the style and Surly did this one justice, excellent!!

Apr 02, 2017
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TX-Badger from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a can: pours a slightly hazy yellow golden color with white head. Smells like a hefe, banana, clove, light fruit, and wheat on the nose; follows onto the palate. Light bodied. Finishes with more light fruit.

Mar 16, 2017
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TH28 from Florida

3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

16oz can. 2/8/17 can date. Appearance: Golden and lightly hazy, with a low lying white foam head. Aroma: Strong banana and Clive, reminiscent of a German weizen yeast. A touch of pear as well, but I don’t pick up any pepper as I would expect. Taste: Starts with a punch of aggressive clove phenols that is almost cloying, and an underlying bready, wheat maltiness. Light pear and a touch of pepper on the back end with an abrupt, moderately strong bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a touch of creaminess and a low to moderate carbonation. Finish: Lots of clove and banana linger, with a surprisingly strong bitterness. Overall: An interesting take on a saison, with yeast character much more suggestive of a weizen than a saison. Clove is a bit too aggressive, and the peppery character is barely discernible. That said, this beer is still very good, with a nice creaminess to the body

Mar 12, 2017
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A deep gold almost orange beer with a nice haziness to it. A White fluffy head of about two fingers fades rather quickly and leaves a spot or two of lacing. The aroma is bananas, cloves, lemon and coriander notes. The taste is pleasantly sweet with the same tastes as in the nose. The banana and clove stick out the most but the beer finishes with the lemon/coriander flavors and some mild bitterness. Nice and very tasty beer.

Jan 14, 2017
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superspak from Ohio

4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with The-Adjunct-Hippie. 16 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 5/6/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, apple, peppercorn, light clove, biscuit, light honey/toasted bread, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, apple, peppercorn, light clove, biscuit, light honey/toasted bread, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Moderate yeast spiciness and light herbal hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, peach, pear, apricot, apple, peppercorn, biscuit, light honey/toasted bread, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from yeast spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy/creamy/sticky, and fairly crisp balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol for 6.5%. Overall this is a great saison. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth, easy, and fairly crisp/clean to drink. A bit on the malty side for the style; but still stays spicy/drying enough to feel like a saison. A very enjoyable offering.

Jan 01, 2017
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colored with a trace of haziness. There's an inch of off white to tan creamy dense head. I smell peppery to earthy Belgian yeast and faintly bready light malt. The taste is sweet Belgian yeast and bready malt. The mouth is moderately carbonated and otherwise light.

Dec 10, 2016
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ctylinebeer from Pennsylvania

3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16 oz. can slow poured into a tulip glass. Plastic ring 4-pack. Bought in Minnesota. Description on can says it was brewed with French barley, English oats, Slovenian hops, and Belgian yeast. Definitely of the saison/farmhouse ale style.

L - golden yellow color, super hazy/cloudy hue. Lots of effervescence of the champagne sort. Fancy beer from a can

S - usual suspects of clove and banana, lemon, spice. Belgian yeast is very distinct vs. German yeast.

T - wheat, spice, clove, lemon peel, Belgian yeast. Not as malty as you'd think with the oats but the yeast is quite potent.

F - watery to fluffy when swished around. Malts and yeast punch the tongue of a little bit with a fine clove clean finish

O - saisons are a very popular style and I'm glad that Surly put their own spin on it. Usually part of the fancy Belgian beer club, this will fit in the crowd of regular canned beer and a fancy beer when in a glass. A champagne beer if you will! Cheers!

Nov 11, 2016
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A sunny, honey colored vibe with a fluffy 2 finger head, that lasts only a little bit until it descends to a ring.

Floral, spicy, fruity aromas. Belgian spices, dry wheat, coriander.

Flavors of the Belgian spice, caramel malts, dry wheat, toffee, some dried banana, dried apple, white pepper, lemon pepper.

Feel is immediately parching, with a semi-dry stickiness throughout. Carbonation. Medium or light-medium bodied. Refreshing.

This was a lot better than I thought it'd be. Surly makes a pretty good Saison. I like the caramel notes.

Oct 17, 2016
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Light hazy gold color with Med-heavy bubbles. White head is just under an inch with a hard pour. Body leaves zero lacing.

Smell: Sweet yeast with lemon.

Taste: Complex taste, lemon skin and light peppery. Feels sweet but on the lighter side. Honey dose is just enough to offset the flavors.

Mouth: Sour finish, has its ups and down but breads feel comes off pretty good.

Overall: Good brew. Acquired taste which just takes a few sips to get adjusted to. Salud!

Aug 25, 2016
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irrevjim from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

from a can to a beer tulip
look; bright golden caramel, 3/4" fluffy head leaves a covering, not a lot of retention or lacing
smell; cream soda, some citrus, yeast, banana
taste; like a belgian cream soda, some crisp floral hoppiness, pepper, yeast, malty cream soda flavor,
feel; a little peppery tingle on the tongue, otherwise smooth, creamy, a little odd
overall; nice, interesting belgi-cream ale, refreshing, moderately carbonated but almost too creamy to be refreshing

Aug 09, 2016
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KTCamm from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

3/266...served in tallbot can. Pours cloudy rusty orange. Very low foam and sits still. Fruity, funky, yeasty. Lemon fruit juice blend. Citrus throughout. Smooth, crisp and clean. Honey apricots. Really tasty.

Jul 04, 2016
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of spices, yeast. Taste is yeast, spices, pepper and ginger stand out, some malts and fruits are present. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a smooth and refreshing beer.

May 23, 2016
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matcris from Arizona

3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Amber/orange, hazy, mild carbonation rising, a finger + of off white head that lingers a while and settles to a ring. Very slight lacing.
AROMA: A bit like a Hefe. I get fruit like banana, apricot, a bit of that bubblegum note. Also, it's not really funky but I do get a hay bale type thing. Smells very mild, but pleasant.
TASTE: Belgian yeast, banana, almost a coriander flavor, a bit of pepper. Apricot as well.
FEEL: Medium body, full carbonation, a little slick up front and drier towards the back.
OVERALL: Interesting beer, so much like a Hefe in a lot of ways.

May 13, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bright yellow pour, big 1" white head on it. Aroma didn't do much for me, not much there.

Taste had some clovey spice rack, pretty clean, pepper. Lots of carbonation, some banana phenol comes in later. Lots of belgian yeasty-ness to the beer. Hid the alcohol decently. Not my favorite saison, but it does do the traditional non tart or sour thing if you're looking for that. Too much spice rack and not enough levity and dry mouthfeel for my tastes.

Mar 22, 2016
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NolaHopHead from Louisiana

3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can. Pours clean deep golden orange, finger white head fades quickly, small spots of lace. Light grain, Belgian yeast in the nose, mild. Taste is a combo of light bread, lemon, pepper, yeast. The flavors come together pretty well with pepper lasting thru the dry crisp finish. Mouthfeel on the thin to medium side. Not a huge saison fan but enjoyed this one, refreshing.

Feb 28, 2016
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DaverCS from Arizona

4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Christmas gift from Tom after his Minnesota trip.

Pours a clear golden color with tints of orange. A rather small, 1 finger of fizzy head that retains only around the outer portion of the glass is observed. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma reminds me of a slightly muted Duvel. A Duvel light if you will. Lemon peel, straw, damp hay, moderately spicy yeast, and notes of floral hops mainly displaying as lavender.

Taste is smooth, but much less carbonated than I expected. A lot of the same taste as the aroma. Bright lemon, straw, lavender, and some ginger. Bright bouquet of flavors for a rather low abv beer.

Overall, this is a good beer. It would easily jump up into the mid 90 range if it had more carbonation. I see this pairing well with a nicely seared white fish. It gets a 86/100.

Dec 27, 2015
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: golden color, nice head
S: faint fruit, Belgian yeast
T: fruity, some peach...a little peppery finish
F: coats the tongue upfront, dry finish
O: another winner from Surly, becoming one of my favorite breweries

Sep 04, 2015
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Kurmaraja from California

3.52/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light gold, slight haze, couple inches of rocky head that retains fairly well. Aroma and flavor are fairly subdued; light hay, white pepper, some lemon, maybe stone fruit. Light and clean finish. Solid summer beer but not very distinct.

Aug 19, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours gold with a slight haze under a sudsy 1” white foam collar. S: Citrus and floral, fresh bread, light fruit. T: Pineapple to apricot, light bread, pepper on the finish, finishes dry. F: Medium body, medium high carbonation O: An outstanding saison that has a good balance between the hops and yeast flavors.

Aug 12, 2015
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Sludgeman from District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a large stemmed tulip at the new Surly facility.

An above average saison 3.75
A – Pours a hazy orange with an off white head. 4
S - Funk, very minimal pepper, citrusy - orange and tangerine, with some peach. 4
T - Citrusy yeast and hops bitterness with a balancing maltiness. Biscuits 3.75
MF - Medium light with a very dry finish. 4

Aug 11, 2015
CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 1518 ratings