CynicAle | Surly Brewing Company

608 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by tavernjef on 06-02-2006

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Reviews: 608 | Ratings: 1,465
Photo of EgadBananas
2.66/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a soft orange color, white head of a solid finger leaving nice lace.

Aroma is lightly peppery with a soft belgian yeast note and mild citrus tones.

A bit of a spicy bite on the taste, folowed by some light fruity esters and citrus notes.

Light, creamy body, slick with pretty good carbonation.

In the end, it's really a boring Saison. Maybe having several Stillwater Saison's has ruined me. Either way, for as long as this has been a want, I'm left unsatisfied.

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Photo of exonthebottle
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

this beer is very aggressive in coriander flavor. I never been a fan of coriander and this feels over the top to me. the beer itself is light and a bit watery. does not taste like a saison. more of an american version. not impressed Surly makes a great IPA so far nothing else

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the first Surly I've had, and I really wanted to like this beer, as it is a new local microbrewery. Haaa.

Very little head that went away quickly, but as it was on tap, it may have been under carbonated by the bar. Strong hop aroma with not unpleasant citrus and some malt. The taste is where it really went downhill.

Flavor was overly bitter, without some of the nice volatiles that go alone with proper hopping. Perhaps they relied too much on boiling hops, and not enough on, say, dry hopping?

Missed on almost all counts for a saison. Needs spice or more creative fermentation, and better use of hops.

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Photo of drpimento
2.82/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hm, bit of a disappointment to me. Poured at a good temperature with a smallish, off-white, foamy head that quickly subsided to a large island and ring with almost no lace. Color is a clear amber with one bubble trail. Aroma is yeast, malt, grass, caramel. Flavor's similar to nose, a little too sweet for style, and sweet up front, some carbonic tang, and yeast/hop bitter. Body and carbonation are ok. Finish is like flavor, kind of long and again, too sweet; couldn't finish it. Not for me.

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Photo of Chico1985
2.85/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Got as an extra from surlytwinsfan, thanks!

Pours hazy orange, thin white head quickly dissipates to a slight cap and ring around the edge. A little lacing left.

Faint belgian yeast and spice in the scent, a decent hop presence...not too much there.

Taste is somewhat astringent to me...yeast, peppery spice and coriander are overpowering. A jumble of fruity tastes such as pear and orange along with floral notes and bubblegum, bready finish.

Somewhat high carbonation, feels soapy. Some decent flavors but just feels like a big unpleasant mess most of the time.

I hate to be harsh, but the Americanized hoppy saison just doesn't work for me, it's a clash of flavors that just tastes like a mess.

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Photo of corby112
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Pours a clear light golden orange color with a thin foamy off-white head that immediately fades leaving no lacing.

Bland aroma with little more than some earthy hops and light crisp fruit notes.

Medium bodied with hints of honey, floral notes, light crisp fruit such as apple, pear apricot and peach. Slightly spicy with hints of pepper and lemon zest as well as a subtle hop presence and a nice malt backbone. Dry finish. The flavor of this beer was surprising considering how unimpressive the appearance and nose were but I would pass on this one again.

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Photo of bismarksays
2.91/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Poured a golden/light orange color with a nice amount of head and had lacing present. No complaint about appearance

S-A bit of pepper, belgian yeast, citrus, and pear. Not as intriguing as some saisons I have had, but certainly a decent nose

T/M Just bland. It has a touch of pepper, but not much. It has a touch of citrus, but not much. The Belgian yeast is okay when cold, but as it warms up, it gets musty, tasting a bit of old library book. I suppose one might call this "funk", but it is not even funky enough to be that. The mouthfeel was okay I guess, nothing wrong with the carbonation and not too sticky.

Overall- When I poured this and smelled it, I had some high hopes (or at least hope). However, it simply is not on par with Le Merle, Saison DuPont, Tank 7, Hennipen, Sofie, or any of the other go to saisons I enjoy.
Not a bad beer, but not a must have.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

In a Poker BIF box, from Retail1lo who killed that box w/ several choice/want brews. 16oz can into 8 oz taster.

Canned on 6/13/11 - don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Consumed a week after receipt on February 3, 2012.

Thin white bubbles rim the glass, the pour is brite, well carb'd and gives a nice appearance in the faint copper coloring.

Nose is yeast: bread and sour apple.

Very peppery initially but that fades quickly. There is a touch of bread at the back end but most of this is empty.

Mouthfeel is good for the style, light, carbed, but the end on this is not pleasant. It is white pepper and 'off' sour dough. There isn't really any 'funk' more just a flat experience.

Certainly the Surly offering I've been most disappointed with. Not sure if it was a freshness issue, or a 'dead period' for this particular batch but this is a pass for me in the future. By no means a drain pour, just average.

NOTE: My can is also listed as 6.5% abv, not the 6.7% currently listed on BA.


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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.11/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light yellow color, good white head to this. Aroma is almost nonexistant.

Taste, clove, not dry enough, no funk, sometimes people just see the style and write 'funk' I guess. A little bit of pepper to it. Refreshing, good carbonation to it. A little more banana. Yeasty in a belgian way. Hides the alcohol nicely. Light, light colored fruit appearance.

Another beer that seems to benefit from some homerism. Totally lacking in complexity, barely made up for in its simplicity and drinkability.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Hard-poured into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Pale gold with excellent clarity and a little effervescence. Head is noticeably lacking and lacing is negligible.

S: Pepper seems prominent, followed by lemon zest and a touch of fruity hops. Some grain.

T: Leads with two-note punch of belgian yeast: spicy pepper and lemon fruitiness. A little more sweet and less tart than expected for style. Big grains here, almost grassy. A little bitter and spicy for finish.

M: Possesses a relatively big body and lacks bright carbonation. Soft on palate.

D: Cynicale feels a bit too symplistic for the style, but I think what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in drinkability.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A can with onix1agr.

A- a hard pour yields a thin finger of bright white head that settles quickly and leaves a solid ring and a wispy island on top. Crystal clear golden orange yellow in color.

S- light honey sweetness and a powdery dry yeasty hit. Wild flowers and just the faintest touch of spice.

T- very sweet and flowery up front with lots of honey. Slightly herbal at times and a touch of a medicinal thing going on.

M- on the lighter side of body and very lightly carbed giving a kind of watery feel to things.

D- its all right not the best of the style or from this brewery.

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Photo of jegross2
3.17/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewing the CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company. This traditional farmhouse saison is the last of Surly's year-round beers that I have yet to try.
Score: 79

Canned 06/13/12, served in am Avery nonic pint glass and enjoyed on 07/22/12 after watching the incredible ending to the Batman trilogy in IMAX.

Appearance: Pours a clean and transparent golden color with a slight reddish hue and two-plus fingers of off-white soapy head that settles to a thin layer. Poor lacing, average retention. 3/5

Smell: Bitter grain, wheat, a little corn, cloves, mellow piney hops and a little lemon. Mile Hefe-like yeastiness too. 3.5/5

Taste: Stale hops, wheat, lemon peel and yeast. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Water-like mouthfeel with medium-light carbonation. Somewhat dry and bitter finish. 3.5/5

Overall: A refreshing and light beer that reminds me more of "a better Spotted Cow" than Hennepin. Bold in flavor for the mouthfeel and definitely drinkable/refreshing in the heat, but this one is barely above average at best.

Recommendation: Surly is one of my favorite breweries, but this is not one of their beers that you need to seek out. I feel that this would make a solid starter craft brew for casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Brats.

Cost: $8.99 for a four pack.

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Photo of orcasteve
3.19/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

this one was poured into my duvel tulip, poured a slightley cloudy orange/yellow color with minimal head on it, the smell is sour and bitter. the taste is yeastey and golden malt in the begining, apricots, peaches honney, and a strong spicey black peeper notes in the middle, the end is floral/piney hops that fade quickley and leave only a minimal aftertaste.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

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Photo of TVolt1
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear golden yellow color with pinky-sized head. Not much lace when swirled. Nothing very unique about the appearance but will give it a average for the clarity. I mean heck, I can read the computer through my beer.

S: Not a fan of the smell. Makes my nose wrinkle and does not make me want to drink it. Has somewhat of a musky smell.

T:The taste suprised me somewhat. I like the initial taste of it. It has a fruity taste along with a taste of a pilsner-type beer. The finish leaves my nose turned up a little as I still taste whatever the muskiness is I smelt. I have a feeling that this just isn't a style of beer I care for. I am more pleased with the taste than smell and the more I drink...the more I still am not a huge fan.

M: good mouthfeel, pretty light with medium carbonation. Any heavier and it would be too much to handle!

O: Overall, I am glad I tried this beer. I do know it's not a style of beer I usually go for but can appreciate the appearance and the fruity smooth taste of this beer. I would recommend it to a person who likes this type of beer for sure.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark gold in color, almost a walnut color. Frothy head of foam. Mild nose of malt and faint banana notes. The initial attack is gentle banana. The mouthfeel is that of a traditional ale. The flavor goes from the gentle banana beginning to giving way to a rush of banana flavor and then a smooth malt finish. Its pretty easy drinking, but way too much banana in my opinion. I haven't really found the saissons that I have tried to have much in common. Eventually I expect that they will be widespread enough to develop some kind of "theme."

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Photo of bret27
3.31/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Can courtesy of photomike

A: Quite like apple juice, extremely quickly fading head

S: Yeasty, earth

T: Earthy, yeasty, spicy citrus

M: Thin, with carbonation dissapearing quickly

D: Pretty good

Overall: Not that much to say really. American style saison.

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Photo of timbro81
3.32/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to dfried for the opportunity. Pours a soft copper/orange with little to no head. Carbonation is weak. Smells is equally as weak, maybe some fruity esters, pepper/soft spicey hops, MAYBE. Taste is balanced, as it should be, but isn't hitting in all the right places. Some maltiness with minimal sweetness, a nice spicey hop finish. Not a very dry finish. Maybe some oranginess to it as it warms. Good but could be better.

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Photo of Docer
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade from Brentk56, thanks man.. love the brewery.

- Very clear light golden ale. Couple fingers of white fluffy head... settled down to a ring of white lace... slight dusting of fizz all over.

- Biscuit, light banana, bread.. slightly peppery, cream soda-like.

- Creamy sweet banana Belgian. Bready biscuit, sweet grain, corn, light bitter hopping..

- Light bodied, healthy carbonation, slightly chewy.

- Overall a good Belgian.. hits the style very well.

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Photo of Freethyhops
3.34/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can sent my way by Buebie. gracias, Brian.

a- pours a light golden orange. good clarity shows constant bubbling. not the most impressive head retention, but a bit of the white foam stayed around til the end.

s- wheat/graininess, light fruity yeast esters, a bit of barnyard, and some floral hop influence. this really doesn't hit many of my favorite elements I expect from a saison

t- starts a bit sweet with fruity yeast esters, but those elements seem to be crushed by strong clove spice and some medicinal/barnyard flavors. very drying after the initial bit of sweetness. I could use some more fruitiness, but it really hits the right notes with the drying, funky, slightly bready finish.

m- dry, effervescent, light-medium bodied. fairly plain, but staying within style.

d- personally this doesn't perfectly click with my palate, but I would definitely reach for this on occasion. you have to give credit to a brewery having an affordable year-round belgian style ale. plus the can adds some style points.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the 8th street bar and grill. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given the brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and okay retention. Colour is a semitransparent copper.

Sm: Amber hops, light cherry, cream, and full barley.

T: Cinnamon spice - especially on the finish and aftertaste, light cherry tones obscured by light amber hops, and assorted spices. Maybe a touch of Belgian-inspired candied sugar on the climax. Not horribly complex, but pleasant and refreshing for the style.

Mf: Tingly, smooth, and wet, suiting the flavours mildly.

Dr: Very drinkable, but innovative for the style. A unique take on the style that I'd have again. Lovely on draught.

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Photo of peck95
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

bought a four pack of this and the furious on my recent trip to fargo/moorehead area wish i would have bought more bender instead of this one.
A) pours a nice gold color with a good head and nice lacing. To say this beer is cloudy is an understatement there's a lot of yeast floating around and in some fairly large chunks, which reminds me of homebrews
S) an average aroma some sweat citrus followed by some funky smelling malt
T) the taste is exactly described on the can a very sweet citrus, followed with a black pepper flavors
M) is also good a nice constancy and some good carbonation
D) for a beer that I initially find to be good for some reason with every can I find myself struggling to finish the beer once i get past 3/4 of the way through a can. although the 6.7% abv is well hidden

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Photo of JamesMN
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Translucent straw color. Thin off-white head.

Aroma: Not much in the nose. A little peppery malt and yeast.

Taste: Grainy with cloves and other similar spices. Missing that Surly essence (i.e. hops) or at least the Slovenian hops aren't cutting it. The description on the can says the ingredients create "honey & black pepper flavors." I guess I'd agree with that, although it's not super appetizing. It is, however, very clean tasting with a dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with good effervescence and decently smooth. The taste of cloves and dry finish get a little cloying.

Final Thoughts: This one is geared more towards the BMC crowd (although maybe not intentionally). I wonder why this is brewed year-round. Would I drink it again? No. Hell, Bitter Brewer, and SurlyFest are much better options (close to this style) if you're in the mood to get Surly.

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Photo of n2185
3.42/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, yellow-gold with a finger of white head which recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Coriander along with some sweet, floral citrus aromas of oranges, nectarines, and bananas at first. There are some light bread and yeast aromas on the finish.

T: Similar to the aroma, pepper along with other spices and sweet citrusy flavors up front followed by bready and lightly bitter yeast flavors on the finish.

M: Light body with surprisingly light carbonation. The lack of a strong carbonation presence keeps the beer from reaching the desired crispness and it ends up feeling a bit watery.

O: Not a bad saison, but not great, either. The body is a bit weak and the flavors somewhat bland.

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Photo of brystmar
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 2/15/2012.

Golden body with orange hues. Crisp bubbles form minimal white head and leave beads on my glass.

Aroma is uncharacteristically malty; spices, yeast, and hops are in the background.

Bready, malty, spicy, hints of banana. Finishes mildly hoppy with lingering bitterness. Flavor profile is quite mild for a saison. Almost as though they blended a full-flavored saison with a pale ale.

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CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,465 ratings.
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