SurlyFest | Surly Brewing Company

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945 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: German Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with three different types of Rye and a single variety of American Hops. Malted Rye, Flaked Rye, and Crystal Rye impart a distinctive biscuit flavor to the lush Vienna Malt body, and dry-hopping with Sterling Hops adds bright, floral hop aromas.

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Ratings: 945 |  Reviews: 383
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant pale golden color with a nice white head that leaves some lace. The aroma has a nice spice to it that goes perfectly with the hoppiness of this beer. I definitely wouldn't think it's a rye lager based on the aroma. The taste is similar, but has a fuller than expected body and more complexity that I imagined. I really appreciate when rye is used well. Both the aroma and the taste have some grass-like characters to them. Great take on this style from Surley.

Thanks again to Deliriumfest for this extra goody.

 530 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of argock
2.87/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a 16 oz tallboy into a clear glass 20oz mug. Canned on 08/18/15 on bottom of can. Lugged by my parents from IA -- thanks M&D.

A; Slightly hazy light amber with 1/2-finger of off-white head with average retention but no lacing.

S: Minimal maltiness with a little bit of doughy, bready maltiness but none of the active aromas. Minimal to no hop aroma. No yeasat aromas. Bland.

T: Bland also with a bit of musty malitness. I will admit that I had a Bells Oktoberfest lage on tap this evening beforehand and it was not even close. The Surlyfest is very flavor-shy as a comparison.

M: Light bodied with moderate carbonation and clean finish.

O: Easily the worst Surly beer I have had. It was below average for the style and tasted like an average brown Munich Helles at best. This beer is overrated really badly -- not even close to 90.

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Photo of Vidblain
2.13/5  rDev -47%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

I still don't understand why they dry-hop this. A marzen should be roasty and malty and warm. The hops add a floral element that makes the taste garbled and strange. It's the worst marzen I've had in years. I say this as a Surly fan - stop over-hopping everything. It's gratuitous and unnecessary.

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Photo of Bighuge
1.66/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer is a bit of a conundrum. I'm not sure if anybody has touched on this yet, but this beer tastes nothing like a marzen. It's more like an IPA or actually more like a DIPA. The blue and white checkerboard background on the can reminds me of a German Oktoberfest banner (like the ones in "Strange Brew" eh?). But the beer inside is not even in the same ballpark. I understand it's a lager, but this has to be the most hopped up lager I've ever tried. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Well actually, in this case there is.

Hazy, tarnished copper. Thin coating of beige head. Lace is moderate in amount. Sickly pungent pine needle aroma. It's like smelling the gooey sap straight out of a pine tree. And then licking it. The flavor is all hops. And in truth, these hops don't appeal to me. My belief is that they're 100% Sterling. If that's the case, Sterling is one hop I'll avoid when homebrewing. I get garlic and onion and clove. And an astringent tannic presence that muddles everything up as well. Ouch. This is not good. And my ratings are not due to the nonconforming style. I rated this as if it were an IPA/DIPA/Rye lager.

This is the first beer from Surly that I have not enjoyed. I see others have, so drink up. But I will pass on this next fall. Unless they try a new hop, like Columbus or Palisade or Simcoe. My opinion is that Furious is 10 times better than this.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a four-pack of pint cans at the Trig's Cellar 70 in Rhinelander last week. The canning stamp says this one is good for another three months. Poured right from the fridge into my Samuel Smith pint glass.

L: Pours a clear, bright orange blossom honey color with about two inches of very dense off-white head that sticks around for a very long time and leaves considerable lacing on the glass. Profuse visible carbonation--like a whirlwind of bubbles--is present.

S: Caramel and bread-like malt notes are at fore, with grassy hops spicing things up. Just a bit of earthiness and floral notes, as well. At least at the initial pour, the bouquet is very pleasant but unassertive. As it warms, it takes on a more robust aroma.

T: Bread-like malts are there at the outset--more cracker-like than sweet. There's a tartness immediately lent to the malts from the hop presence--it's citrus, grassy, and floral in flavor. The middle retains the malt notes and brings a heightening of the hop flavor, with the citrus especially gaining some punch. An earthiness emerges here, as well. The back end has more of the nice malt bill showcased, an increase in the earthiness, and a nice level of citrus rind and slightly resinous hop bitter to close things out.

F: On the lighter side of medium-bodied, this one drinks just a touch more watery than the carbonation implied. It has a bit of astringency at the front, some creaminess to the middle, and a nice level of bitter at the close. There's just a bit of stick, as the hop bitter lingers on the palate for a short while.

O: Well, this one probably shouldn't be categorized as a Märzen; if we're gauging this one on those grounds, then it definitely misses the point/mark. However, as far as hopped-up lagers go, this one is impressive. Surly has deftly handled the competing flavors in this one and delivered a beer that should appeal to the both the lager and pale ale camps. I recommend giving this one a try.

 1,965 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can provided by BitterBeerGuy.. Thanks George!! Poured into my trusty slim tulip so I get a 2nd pour... foamy white head.. the brew is clear light amber.

Big toasty maltiness with some slight cocoa notes in the nose.. hops are light and floral.

Flavor mirrors the nose with a sorta dry maltiness... rye malt is there (I guess) but I would not pick it out in the crowd.. again a little toasty on the finish..

Body is light/medium... carbonation seems light... small bubble...

Interesting... Not exactly right, but down the right street..


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Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 9/14/11

A - Pours a clear red-copper with two fingers of dense off-white head. Head has great retention and leaves some lacing. Looks fantastic.

S - Nice amount of herbal hops, some bread malt, and a bit of spicy rye. Pretty unique aroma.

T - Definitely has a Marzen character, though hopped-up and with a nice spicy rye character. Pretty complex and enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Finishes pretty clean and with a bit og lingering bitterness and spice.

O - I don't know that I would drink this in place of my favorite Oktoberfests, but it is a very enjoyable and unique lager that I would definitely get again.

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Photo of Another6Pack
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned in 9/2010; opened on the date of this review. Thanks to mnbearsfan for sharing this one with me.

Perfectly copper appearance with a finger of dirty tan head. Decent lacing. Smells like a well-hopped lager.

Nice but slight hop presence. I can tell this one would be different when fresh. Hops in this one have faded to the point that I pick up faint organic flavors similar to iced tea. Nice caramel malt flavor provides the foundation for each sip.

Mouthfeel and drinkabilty are good. Will update this review when I get a chance to try another within a month or two of canning.

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Photo of qcbrewer
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of StompingClover
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of mikereaser
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a nice clear copper color with a 1/4 inch of foam that just left a layer of fine bubbles and plenty of lacing.

S - aroma is earthy and bready with just a hint of spices

T - nice maltiness with a bit of rye taste along with a nice bit of hops

M/D - Very nice balance of all of the above to make a very drinkable enjoyable brew. I'd love to get more of this.

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Photo of phishbfm
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of jakemn91
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jsprain1
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a ruby-copper with a thick off-white head. Lots of lacing.
S- The smell is a delightful blend of earthy notes and citrus hops.
T- Initially hoppy but that fades midsip in favor of a malt and spice flavor that flows through the rest of the sip.
M- I'd like a little more weight behind it, but the carbonation is spot on.
O- A fascinating idea of a hoppy rye octoberfest. The octoberfest aspect gets slightly lost in the mix. That's ok, it's a tasty beer.

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Photo of ucis
5/5  rDev +24.4%

Photo of heytomcat
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of popery
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to deliriumfest for this beer.

A: Medium amber liquid with a puffy white head that dissipates to a fine but uneven pattern of lacing.

S: Sweet and doughy. Some hop character that I can't quite place.

T: Good lager flavor. I would give it a higher score in a different category, but I expect a bit more from a Rye beer. Fresh grains and dry yeast. Some sweet breadiness. Mild rye flavor. Some nice bitterness in the finish.

It's a good beer with a good lager flavor, but it's not as complex as I was somehow expecting. I would prefer a good German lager with a crisper bite.

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Photo of mobius387
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

havent reviewed a beer in awhile, so...

appearance: dark almond gold, inch thick white head with bubbles. i love the look of this oktober. most others look softer and lighter, this one sets the tone for a darker fuller beer

aroma: not much going on, but what O-fest does have big nose?

palate: very hoppy for an O-fest, mild body, bit boozier than other fest beers, a like it

taste: got a nice malty base with some piney hoppy kick, but finishes clean for that classic oktober taste.

overall: not your average oktober, much darker/bigger and hoppier, and i give surly credit for that. its got less of that classic clean, spicy taste and more of a hoppy kick than i expected. most importantly, surly's finger print is all over this one. its got that same finish i get from a furious, cynic, bitter brewer that we've all grown to love. i'd still take a furious or abrasive over this one any day, but a very good oktober from a top notch brewery

 947 characters

Photo of EJJ1848
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of ckeegan04
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bronzish-orange with a thin off-white head. Thin veil of lace left behind. Light haze.

S - Light, sweet maltiness. Breadines comes through as the beer warms. Nice balance of spicy rye lingers in and out of the breadiness.

T - Light bradiness up front before a strong rye flavor comes through. Rye is dominant through the back half of the drink and well into the finish. Light spiciness.

M/D - A touch thin and very dry. Easy drinking. Excellent rye profle makes for an excellent rye beer.

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Photo of codynevels
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Sweffin
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mnbrewery
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of smogfood
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 945 ratings