CynicAle | Surly Brewing Company

610 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: 610 | Ratings: 1,473
Photo of tone77
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of matcris
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
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 NolaHopHead
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of tlema1
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
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

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Photo of Kurmaraja
3.52/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
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

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Photo of maedhros09
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: dark gold, slight haze with a couple fingers of white head
Smell: floral, tropical fruit
Taste: Great balance, starting a bit on the sweet side and fading to a acidic (lemony?) peppery dryness and finishing with a puckery herbal bitterness.
Feel: Perhaps a bit more carbonated than average but not effervescent like most bottle conditioned saisons

Overall: Cynic captures the smells and flavors of a good saison with a very nice balance. The main pitfall is that it doesn't have the explosive effervescence that I love in saisons (Hennepin, Dupont, Stateside), although the carbonation level is pretty good. The ABV is nicely moderated at 6.7%. Even if it doesn't find a spot in my fridge on a regular basis I would be happy to get it on tap if I were looking for a solid saison.

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Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I must admit that this is my favorite summer beer, and definitely one of the most unique and flavorful Belgian Saison beers

A- A very light blonde with medium amount of carbonation.
S- The Belgian yeast character jumps right out with floral, fruity notes and you get a slight pepper aroma.
T- The fruity yeast supplies orange, lemon, banana and other floral notes. But the pepper taste along with balanced malt makes it such a tasty combination. What a crisp and clean finish
M-Medium body and moderately carbonated.
O-A distinctive Belgian Saison that delivers such a pleasing and refreshing drinking experience.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured From a can at Lakeside Street Coffee House. Rather than a saison, I would've pegged this as a very dry, tripel. Definitely solid. Better than solid.

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Photo of ARoman
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into a Belgian tulip. The aroma is floral with bread notes, apricot and peach notes, as well as a peppery and woody spice and a bit of a muffin dough. The hue is a clear, effervescent yellow-brown with a white, thin sudsy head that has ok retention and very little lace. The taste is a medium bitter and sweet (perhaps a touch more bitter than sweet), with a light sour touch. The texture is slick and waxy, but on the thin side, with a light fuzz and a medium light body that has notes of dough, underripe stone fruit, bitter citrus, and a touch of a peppery spice that strengthens at the finish which is crisp, with a pepper zip, and is dry and somewhat astringent and a bit wooy. The aftertaste is moderate with a burnt bread crust quality, dough, and pepper, which mellows, but lingers.

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Photo of Moose90
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into 16oz tulip

A — Pours a light almost hazy yellow color, bright and tall white colored head forms and leaves behind fairly consistent lacing.

S — Smells of bright yeast and ester notes, light wheat and malt presence as well. Banana, mild clove and pepper.

T — Tastes like the nose with a little bit extra sweetness. Nice fresh banana and yeasty notes. Peppery balance, nice and almost wheaty.

M — Medium bodied, long and lasting finish.

O — Nice Saison, would love a little funk in it, but that's just me.

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Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into an oversized wine glass an oranged tinged lighter golden with a fluffy white head atop.Overripe tropical fruits stand out in the nose with a bit of a creamsicle element to it,some toasted grain in there as well.Tropical fruits and spicy yeat on the palate with more toasted grain notes,a shot of white pepper hits the throat in the finish.Another bigtime beer from Surly...thanks Eric!

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

Lots of depth here to this saison. Plenty of spice and yeasty notes with a little bitterness. As mentioned by others there is a sweetness here, almost a dried fruit element.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Mikkeller Bangkok.

Hazy-clear. It smells like fruity-sweet Belgian yeast. Hints of coriander and sour grain. The taste is full, rich, and surprisingly sweet. The aftertaste smacks of a traditional saison, but the maintaste is white grapes and pluots. Interesting and compelling. I like it! Recommended.

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Photo of cambabeer
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funky farmhouse smell, not off-putting. Heavy in the malt sweet smell. Taste is somewhat citrus but a lot of black pepper spices and dry malt finish. This is good beer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a real generic saison for a brewery i know to be one of the most distinct of all, so this was a real letdown, not that i expected much from their saison, its not their game, but still, this was disheartening. a flat looking hazy blonde beer, thick with sediment and hardly holding a quarter inch head. its all belgian yeast esters, very little real grain character or funk to this, and without that, it needs to be elegant, but unlike the lively belgian or french versions, this one is just heavy with spent yeast and wheat malt, and never gets anywhere. there is a grassy hop thing to it, which is its only real unique feature, but the mouthfeel is dense and sweet, and it really doesnt work all that well. against all saisons on the market, its not at all bad, above average even, but by surly standards, its pretty poor. stick to what you are good at here, because you are SO good at it!

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$3.69 single canned 8/8/14 and poured 9/4/14.

Appearance: A deep yellow/golden color with a very slight haze to it. Despite an aggressive pour, there was no head at all. Really, it kind of looks like apple juice. Mediocre looking beer. (3/5)

Smell: Smelling like a Saison. Has those Wit/Hefe characteristics as well. A moderate yeast "funk" with a cherrywood kind of aroma. The can notes apricot and peach aromas, but all of it together smells like something along the lines of cherrywood. Not super wild on the nose, but very nice. (4/5)

Taste/feel: A very, very drinkable Saison. While some are incredibly funky and probably off-putting to many, this one's fairly tame when compared to others in the style. Despite that, distinctively a Saison. The cherrywood kind of flavor comes through in the flavor, as do the peach and especially apricot tastes that are described on the can. Finish is very slightly tart with a biscuity malt flavor and maybe a liiiittle bit of the black pepper that's described on the can, though it's very slight. The finish just has me wanting more. The feel is very good -- moderate body with a moderate/high carbonation. The alcohol's nowhere to be found. (4.25/5, 4/5)

The price is preeeetty steep on this beer (no doubt cheaper per can in a pack), but it is a very good Saison that hit the spot, since it's been awhile since I've had one. Certainly not the most wild Saison I've had, but it's a very, very good example of one and one that is super drinkable. If it weren't for the price (and the fact Surly doesn't distribute to Michigan...), I'd make this a go-to Saison. Delicious.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

I just started getting into Saisons this summer and although I don't have a huge sample size to go off of, this was one of the better saisons I have had. I know Surly is known more for their IPAs but this beer was very refreshing on a hot summer day.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%

Served from the can in a tumbler.

Gotta thank VDubb for allowing me to finally try this stuff out. It pours a mostly clear brass-gold topped by a finger or so of white foam. The nose comprises mild clove, black pepper, Belgian yeast, light sourdough, and a touch of dried honey. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a bit of grass and flowers for the sake of it. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty solid saison (or whatever they're calling it nowadays), especially from cans. 'Nuff said.

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Photo of robear
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint can poured into taster. 4-6oz.

Appearance: Golden ale, decent amount of head. Can't complain about how it looks in the glass.

Smell: This was the highlight of the beer for me. Tantalizing Belgian aromas, some malt underneath, what you'd expect.

Taste: Spotted Cow on steroids. A farmhouse ale for folks who haven't jumped full-on into the Belgian beer camp.

Mouthfeel: Average, not going to do anything crazy to your palate. Where Spotted Cow shines with a touch of corn, Cynic goes for a more straight-forward mid-level ale feel.

Overall: Alrgiht. Probably wouldn't spend $10+ on a 4-pack, but would like to try this on tap sometime. A decent lawn-mowing beer, a bit more Belgian than I was expecting.

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Photo of Flatlands
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian yeast really comes on strong with this one and that's a good thing. Great balance between the malt and hops. This one comes on slowly and leaves you thinking, "dam, that's an awesome farmhouse style beer." If you like this style, this is one of the better examples.

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Photo of juanny
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly clear golden farmhouse ale. The aroma was mildly phenolic, but also a bit sweet and earthy. The taste was wonderful and complex. There was a gentle malty flavor with earthy/green components, but a great finish that defines the beer. A sweet honey flavor, with some banana esters as well as yeasty earthiness, not as pronounced as a hefeweisen though. A zest of lemon and possibly pepper is present throughout, but a nice sweet finish really balance it out and made me want another sip. The saison has a light feel and was overall very drinkable, complex but light and sweet, worthy of a summer drink on a patio as we enjoyed it.

Surly Cynic is a light, enjoyable drink that keeps you on your toes with a complex, sweet finish.

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CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 1,473 ratings.
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