CynicAle | Surly Brewing Company

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1,507 Ratings

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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Ratings: 1,507 |  Reviews: 614
Photo of sweemzander
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz. can poured into an imperial pint. Thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a clear yet cloudy orange color that produced a decent white head with decent retention behind it.

(S)- A dry wheat and hay funk with bits of grassy lemon and light creamy banana.

(T)- A dry spicy front with some further dry hay/straw grass-like funk. Finishes with a light lemon/grassy crispness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Crisp and refreshing with a solid profile for the style.

(D)- A solid saison that fits the style well. Crisp and refreshing too. I like the grassy and spice note within the funk. A solid brew.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7-25-10
Reviewed cold from a can to a glass

A - Cloudy orange yellow tint, 1 finger of foam with a good lacing ring as the foam dispersed. Carbonation is present

S - Hoppy, slight malt note lingering about, a bit bready to the nose

T/M - Lighter bodied, bready taste but yet still smooth with a good malt flavor. A light hop piney after taste at finish

D - Pretty drinkable brew, not one of my favorites from Surly but still a good brew none the less. I recommend trying it even if you not into the style

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Photo of hu5om
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can to stell glass, why not?
a- pale yellow straw. a bit cloudy. white fluffy head 2 fingers, a little lacing
s- funk and fruit, peach, orange, banana?, honey
t- fruit and honey first, followed by funk and whit pepper after, a bit spicier than i had expected.
m- smooth then the spice that lingers, not a flash in the pan like fantome
d- for a fraction of fantome's cost, why not? An excellent saison overall, especially for an American that is available year-round, (if you're in the twin cities). try it!

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Photo of scarfield
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours into my glass from 16oz can. Golden or a mixture between yellow and orange in color. Head fades almost to nothing, no lacing.

Smell - Subtle, slight Belgian yeast smell, nothing overwhelming, but nothing particularly exciting either.

Taste - Not a bad tasting beer. I get a bit of bubblegum, malty taste. A bit of fruit that I cant quite place comes along towards the end, and I get an aftertaste of a bit of spicy coriander and a familiar Belgian style aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth but perhaps a bit low on the carbonation.

Drinkabilty - Not a bad Saison, I think that it could have benifited from either a little more hoppy flavors in the aftertaste... or a little more fruit throughout.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz. can into a Becker glass. Pours a slightly hazey pale golden color with good carbonation that produces a nice soapy head. Can smell some lemon, pepper, and peach with some cereal notes. Very nice aroma from the yeast. Taste some lemon and pepper with some honey. Meduim body mouthfeel with a sharp bitterness. A very nice drinkable saison that I really enjoy.

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Photo of Stigs
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours with about half an inch of tight and creamy off-white foam...the beer is hazy, and golden in color. very minimal spotty lacing.

S - very grainy (in a good way), earthy with grassy hops and farm field hay. bit of pepper and lemon rind at the end.

T - lemony and grassy hops hit the tongue right away, some yeasty and slightly fruity (lemon, pears, apples) sweetness in the middle for balance. more lightly tangy lemon, crackery malts and grassy hop bitterness finishes. gets better as it warms, tasty.

M - somewhat thicker body for the style, prickly carbonation barely cuts through. finishes a little dry, with lingering grass notes.

D - very refreshing, yummy, and drinkable. this one really grew on me about halfway through. saison in a can? wish i had more.

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Photo of Schmaltzy
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Clear golden color with 1/2 finger head that disappeared quickly to a ring of foam leaving light lacing all over the glass.

S- A little bit of lemongrass/hay funk with a nice sweet malt backbone and a mild yeasty scent. A little weak IMO.

T- Again starts with a nice lemony grassy taste with a hit of pepper/spice followed by a nice balance of malt, not overpowering, and finishes strong with a nice funky barnyard and sweet yeast flavor which is very refreshing and balanced.

M- Light body as to style, good carbonation, great balance for the style.

D- Very nice and very easy to drink this beer. As stated above I enjoyed the balance of malt/funk/citrus in this beer. Glad that I have been able to try all of these Surly beers, I now know what I have been missing.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Honey and straw, gold and fairly clear. Nice near 1 inch white head, leaves fast to disk, some cling lace.

S - Tart, lemony, barny.

T - Goes to smell, only larger. Massive barn quality, some tart lemonly attributes.

M - Medium body, good carb and coat. Balance a little of for me.

D - Pretty tasty. I could see myself doing a few.

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Photo of krisandajt
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of mymrrngjckt. Thanks Kevin!

Appearance: An easy pour from the can into my Poperings Hommel bier glass, the beer is a clear, vibrant gold. There's about a half inch worth of finely bubbled white head floating on top of the brew, but it fades quickly leaving behind only a small ring of bubbles where the beer touches the glass. As the beer settles down, it leaves thin soapy rings along the glass as it rests.

Smell: Sweet, with a little bit of yeasty funk and some grassy-ness to it. A bit mild, but not bad.

Taste: A bit of peppery spice, with some earthy, grassy tones to it. There's also some nice overall sweetness to it, which is pleasantly refreshing. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Nice body, good carbonation, goes down smooth. I've noticed that I find a lot of Surly beers a bit thin in this department, but this one really hits the mark for me.

Drinkability: A very tasty and drinkable saison. It has some simple but good flavors, and isn't intense enough in any category to take away from its sessionability. I'm really enjoying this, and I look forward to the next time I get to try it. Thanks Kevin!

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Photo of cbros
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type- A pint can poured into a chalice.

A- Pours a dark yellow orange color. There is a small one finger white head that transitions into a fair white lace that seems to be sticking around until the conclusion. There is also some carbonation activity after the pour as well.

S- I am picking up Belgian yeast notes along with a peppery backing. This beer's smell reminds me a lot of what you would expect coming from a Saison. Overall a decent smelling beer.

T- I am getting the spice and Belgian yeast in the taste as well. There is also some nice mellow malt undertones. A nice tasting Saison.

I have been saving this beer for awhile now and once I decided to raid my cellar I wanted to give this one a try. This is a good tasting beer and is the second Surly offering I have had and their stuff has been up to par so far.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a beautiful golden straw hue with two fingers of lily-white head.

Smell -- Quite yeasty: bubblegum, banana, and clove, along with biscuit malt and grassy hops.

Taste -- The most prominent flavors come out from the yeast: clove, bubble gum, band-aid. Coriander and other spices are present. Biscuit is the dominant malt flavor, with some faint sugar sweetness. Hops are floral and vegetal; they add more bittering than is typical for the style, but creating more of a "green," fresh flavor. Finish is spicy and vegetal; it does not linger.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to light in body, ample prickly carbonation. Smooth, crisp, absolutely to style.

Drinkability -- Not my favorite saison, but certainly a solid offering from Surly. There is very little chance that you will find a better saison in a can!

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

Presentation: Poured from a can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Golden copper color with a one finger thick off-white head with moderate head retention.

S: Notes of coriander and clove-like spices play a part with the slight sweet honey malts and orange peel aromas. Floral hops are present and, like the can says, there is also pleasant fruity notes like apricot and peach (which if the can would not have mentioned it I might not have been able to determine). Overall a very good aroma which is both fruity and spicey.

T: There is a nice honey/caramel malt base which support a lively spice and fruity body which is characterized by notes of apricot, perhaps some peach-like flavors, coriander, and belgian-style spices. Hops are prominent then one might previously think, they provide a nice backing of bitterness and floral notes throughout the palate. Finish is a bit on the hoppy side with lingering notes of spice.

M: Crisp, smooth, and refreshing with a moderately-high carbonation.

D: This was quite good and it is refreshing enough and not overly powerful in any regard so I feel I could drink this one all night without any boredom or tediousness on the palate.

Notes: I really enjoyed this saison and I woudl definitely buy this one again. At $10 a 4pack its a bit steep (obviously not by much) but it is refreshing enough and complex enough to keep me coming back.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, golden color to it. Moderate aroma-somewhat fruity and yeasty. Almost wet hay smelling. Crisp, wheat flavor. Mild spicyness to it. Yeasty and somewhat clovey-comes off like a low level hefe to me. Very solid hop biterness. Solid mouthfeel. A bit sweet and sticky in the finish. Enjoyable beer-bring on a hot day for this one.

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Photo of Norsebrew
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the can.
A-Belgian yeast with spicy pepper and fruit. No hops aroma
Ap-deep gold and clear.
T: Spicy and citrus. Mild malt. Very smooth and balanced.
MF: Medium light body. Medium high carbonation. No alcohol
Overall, a very enjoyable drinkable saison. Good buy.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Scott from the Gratuitous Buffness BIF for this one. Poured from a 16oz. can into a tulip.

A: Pours a coarse, 2.5 finger white head that dissipates quickly. Beer is cloudy orange-grapefruit. Lacing is non-existant. Spots creep up but they drop down quickly.

S: Belgian yeast and spiciness, with a hint of lemon and cane sugar sweetness. Also a bit of rich honey with caramel overtones. Overall quite appetizing with a bouquet of sugar.

T: Pepper, lemon, and honey. Flavors are very subdued and muted. Signature Belgian yeast sweet and breadiness are apparent in the middle. Black pepper fades to the back but still tickles the throat. Yeasty bitterness and spice right at the end gives this one a crescendo effect. Finish is clean and leaves no aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, but rather smooth. Watery though with a thicker body than most beers this style. Finish is clean. No aftertaste.

D: Saison's really aren't my thing but with that being said, CynicAle is really quite solid. Not that I'd expect anything less from Surly. Great mouthfeel and complexity though a little bit dull at points. Flavors are muted to a point due to the odd heaviness of this one. Seek this one out if you're not really into Saisons. It might change your mind!

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Photo of bevenson
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - Deep golden and crystal clear. Rocky white head that hangs around for a minute before falling to the sides of the glass. No lacing left on glass. I would like a little lacing on this beer, but otherwise looks inviting.

S - Sweet, bready malt at first which is quickly followed with lemon, peppery spiciness and apricots. Understated on the aroma; nothing blows you away, which hints that this may be an easy drinking beer.

T - The Belgian yeast really comes forward on the flavor. From the aroma I would have thought this would have been a malt forward beer, but instead it's a blast of yeast spiciness and a somewhat rough hop bitterness. Grassy hop flavor that lingers well after consuming. Candylike sweetness lingers behind the yeast and the hops. I would prefer a little lighter hop bitterness; the hops seem to be fighting the yeast on this one.

M - Medium to light bodied and dry with high carbonation. Very refreshing beer. Slight alcoholic warmth. It's a shame this is 6.5%; it's refreshing enough to be a session beer, but too strong to be one.

D - If this beer were about 2% to 3% ABV lighter, I could drink this all night. Maybe I'm just getting too used to some of the cleaner American hop varieties, but I felt the bitterness was a little rough on this beer. Still, I think it's a beer that you should get if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from millah- thanks man, love me some Surly!

A: pours a clear yellow/golden with bone white head and some splotchy lacing

S: lemon, grass, toast, black pepper, and a dose of funky Belgian yeast. Not as hay like as some saisons which for me is a good thing

T: the front feature some sweet grains along with some citric like acidity, followed by notes of bread and yeast

MF: crisp light body, refreshing

D: this is a great saison. Saison is one style that I have trouble enjoying, but I think this one is nicely done and features a lot of unique flavors with good balance.

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Photo of gatornation
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a mostly clear golden color with a small head in comparison to most saisons ..the smell is classic with that belgium yeast with honey and pepper notes then some clove and bananas..the taste is citrus and honey and pepper with a nice clove bite with some oats and barley this is really delicious,,it has lots of flavors but its all balanced out at the end..a pleasure for the taste buds..the mouth fell is medium but with lots of carbonation and crispness..this is very well done ..but no surprise her it say SURLY on the can

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always get a kick out of these wonderful beers decanted from a can. CynicAle definately qualifies as a wonderful Saison.

The beer falls clumsily from the can because of the unusual lip of the aluminum. But afterwards, a short but creamy head forms from a stark white foam. Light lacing and significant haze are both evident. A nice look but not as creamy or billowing as I need from great Saisons.

Sharp and spicy phenolics and pepper strike first, but with a quick follow-up of pears and appricot esters. An earthy (nearly musty) note blends into the sweeter and breadier malt base. All weave together with attention given to each scent with each visit to the glass.

Flavors of the bready, doughy, biscuity, confectionary malts give a very bold flavor to the beer- kinda odd for a Saison. But those peppery/phenolic and fruity esters are quite the quentessential flavors expected. Pears, apples, appricots, and lemons quickly become the leading flavors of the beer. Light soapy notes give a strange flavor but bounce off of the musty and acidic tastes.

While the beer starts off creamy and relatively full, the dryness never really comes into play. Even as the carbonation regresses, the beer remains sweeter and more bready than do classic Saisons, leaving the beer fuller and richer- keeping it from the evaporative and digestable qualities that keep me reaching for another. While the oats are a great bennefit to the creaminess early, the slickness on the tongue late only add to the full/fatty texture in the finish.

A very nice and smooth beer, but the long lasting sweetness and weight hurt the beer's body in the end. Thanks Chicksdighops!

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Hazy, dark golden amber, thick tannish head that settles to a ring around the rim, thin layer of bubbles on top. Nice legs on the side of the glass.

S-That unmistakable Belgian smell, deep dark dank. Spicey pepper, toasted, a hint of sweet malts. Citrus hops. Banana, fruity esters.

T-Citrus hops, malts, something in the end that I don't know the word for. Mushrooms? Bitter in the end. Taste like a sweet fruit but I can't say which one. Is that some tartness? Funk?

M-Light to medium carbonation. Perfect though just enought to let the flavors dance on your tongue. great body(light to medium). Stands up to the flavor.

D-Great smell, taste carbonation and body. I don't get any alcohol. I could do a few cans of these.

Simply amazing that this much complexity came out of a CAN! I CAN't believe it. I never expected anything like this! As much flavor if not more then some of the best Belgians.

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Photo of hawks10
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into an imperial pint glass...

Pours a somewhat hazy golden yellow/orange with some amber highlights...three fingers of soft meringue-like white head quickly forms and sticks around for a while, leaving some lacing behind...

Smells of earthy/leafy hops with a decent touch of spice. Peppery with a definite Belgian yeast aroma, a bit of sweet citrus fruit balances things out...

Citrus fruits mixed in with some peppery spice, Belgian yeast, clove and a nice helping of semi-bitter, earthy/floral hops...complex but still simple enough to enjoy this in quantity...

Medium bodied with decent carbonation, somewhat slick on the palette and bitter in the finish...

Overall a pretty good beer, and anything decent from a can is awesome to me! Drinks more like a Belgian pale than what you would expect from a Saison, but still good nonetheless...

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Photo of kbeals
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew from younger35 at DLD, much appreciated and much anticipated!

A- A billowing, creamy white head sits atop a glowing, bright yellow body of beer. Multi-tiered lacing make for an excellent appearance.

S- Hints of fruity esters and an earthy, spicy quality to it. Bananas, cloves with a bit of tropical fruit. Looking at the can I see peach and apricot on the bill.

T- Taste is great. Good mix of spice and fruit with the aforementioned smells all located within the taste. I really can't find much wrong with this one.

M- Light and bubbly just as expected.

D- Pretty drinkable, each sip left me wanting more but 16 oz. was plenty. Very pleased with this beer as I have been with every other Surly beer. Surly is slowly creeping it's way up as my favorite brewery.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Lukafer for sharing this with me. Also, thanks to gratefulbeerhead for giving this one to Lukafer. Review from notes.

A- Pours a semi-hazed golden orange color. One and a half finger cloudy white head takes a short while to come to a cap over the beer. Left some nice ringing lacing on the glass.

S- A lot of the belgian yeast in here mixes with some citrus fruits and light peppery notes. There is some floral hops in here as well along with something else...peaches maybe?

T- Nice beligan yeasty flavor upfront with a dash of citrus fruits. This gives way to light peppery notes and some floral notes. The floral keeps into the ending of the beer. There is a sweet alcohol in the backing which is the only downfall for the beer. Nothing to annoying though.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little higher than I like for the style. Yeasty off-flavors left on the palate with floral notes in the aftertaste. Flavors were bright, crisp, and clean like everything Surly does.

D- Surly makes yet another amazing beer. This seems to be the norm with Surly though. I will be on the lookout for more of this beer. Damn...please for the love of God come to Indiana!

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Photo of ufotofuturo
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had one of these from a can at the Bedlam Theater, and it kind of blew me away. Fantastic drinkability, going hand-in-hand with a sharp, bite-you-in-the-ass kind of flavor. I've only had two beers from Surly, and they've both seemed like "regular" beer, but this one's on the good side of regular. Don't hesitate to pay $5.00 for a can of this guy.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy golden color, very clear in the body. Massive head results from an aggressive pour and dissipates extremely slowly leaving a beautiful lacing.

Smell is ultra zesty, some lemons and citrus, a little peppery notes as well followed by a light bready malt aroma.

Taste is crisp with light bready malts followed by zesty spices. Lemon, citrus, pepper, Belgian yeast. Great beer for a lovely summer day , preferably on the golf course. Very solid saison from a can, for a glass.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, good, maybe a little high on the carbonation though.

Good drinkability, good saison.

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CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 1,507 ratings