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SurlyFest | Surly Brewing Company

358 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: 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.

Added by feloniousmonk on 09-03-2006

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Reviews: 358 | Ratings: 847
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a Sam Adams Octoberfest Stein. Awesome looking color. It's a nice dark orange to brown in color. Nice glow when held to the light. Absolutely perfect clarity on this one. Nice orangey creamcicle colored head on it that absolutely erupts after a hard pour. There is good lacing and glass retention on this as well.

Smell is good, but it's not that strong. Not completely traditional for a oktoberfest style here. Plenty of roasted barley, a helping of rye and as the can indicates it's dry hopped. All that combined with a dose of lager yeast to makes it smell a little more traditional. It's all very nice and well blended, one of the better smelling I've had this year for sure, it's just not that strong.

Taste is awesome, it's literally flawless in my opinion. Lots of rye mixed with plenty of roasted barley. Lager yeaste is a little more obvious in the flavor profile than the smell. The hops arn't overpowering by any means (and they shouldn't be in this style) but they are more apparent here than the smell again, which isn't all that common. Basically it has all the great characteristics of the nose just stronger now.

Mouthfeel is also great. Medium bodied with an excellent carbonation level. Smooth, buttery and well balanced with a clean almost crisp finish. Great drinkability on this one, wish I could have been drinking this already all during the fall. Great beer, great representation of the style. Has some unique characteristics while still maintaining the traditional integrity of the style. Well done Surly and thanks to Noah for sending this one out.

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Photo of Etan
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can into a pint glass.

A: Pours a maple-brass color with a nice off-white head.

S: Mild citric hoppiness with some faint notes of rye and bready malt.

T: Like the nose, very mild notes of rye, palpable hop bitterness, some orange, a little nutty in the finish.

M: Light-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: This tastes fine, but instead of choosing a hoppy beer or a traditional festbier they made a hybrid that seems sort of middling to me.

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Photo of WesM63
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red from a 16oz can into a tulip.

A: Pours a murky dark copper amber color with a nice 2finger head. Decent retention and tons of lacing.

S: Caramel and rye a faint smell of pine hides in the ack.

T: Sweet caramel with some spicy rye and minimal pine.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

O: Not bad. Very mild and not overpowering.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy off-white that reduces to medium sized thick patch, a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts and rye spiciness upfront with some moderate aromas of pine hops.

T: The flavors of this beer start out with some light caramel malt sweetness followed by moderate to strong flavors of pine hops with a light amount of rye spiciness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with slightly heavier than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly coats the inside of your mouth.

O: I really enjoyed this hoppier take on an Octoberfest with the addition of rye - it is just enough different than others in the style but in a positive fashion. Easy to drink and sessionable.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can courtesy of Biniek13, poured into a '12 Surlyfest stein also courtesy of Biniek13.

A- Pours a translucent slightly reddish copper with about a finger of head that recedes fairly fast to leave a completely flat top with almost no head. Some slight spotty lacing.

S- First thing that striked me about this beer was the presence of light citrus hops (some light pine, lemon, etc.) which was definitely more then I was expecting. These hops were balanced with rye, barley, and malts to provide for a typical Oktoberfest aroma with a little bit more hoppy presence. Slightly above normal aroma strength.

T- Nice balance of citrus hops, barley, rye, and malts with a typical oktoberfest taste that is slightly more hoppy then typical. Slightly hoppy barley malt finish with a very light bitterness and lingering aftertaste.

M- Smooth, very drinkable, lightly carbonated.

O- This was a very good Oktoberfest beer, definitely better then most that I've tried. The style isn't my favorite, but I definitely enjoyed this beer. This beer definitely makes for a nice autumn beer. I would drink it again and I definitely recommend it if you like the style.

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Photo of mobius387
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
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

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into imperial pint.

A- pours a clear copper with a 2 finger light tan head. Big trails and blotches remain all over the glass.

S- wow! Big citrus aromas, caramel, and spices.

T- sweet caramel and spicy rye, nic amount of citrus and some pine bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Really smooth and creamy.

O- first of all I didn't know this was a rye beer, thought it was just another Oktoberfest beer. Boy was I wrong. Very good rye beer with big citrus notes and nice amount of bitterness.

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Photo of deebo
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hosted a beer tasting focused on marzens last year and included this one amongst the others as a change of pace. Perhaps because it was different from the others or just that it's a well made brew but this one was high on most of the beer lovers list at the end of the tasting.

A-Poured from a can into a tall glass this brew is very heady. The tan foam laces the glass and remains until the last drop. Clear with an attractive copper amber color. A beautiful brew.

S-Rye and toasty barley malt with a nice tropical citrus hop aroma with a fair amount of spiciness.

T-Plenty of rye malty goodness alongside the Vienna malt but there is also a fair amount of hoppiness (same taste as the aroma) here too.

M-Moderate bodied, moderate to high in carbonation. A bit of a bitter spicy lingering finish but definitely not overwhelming and cleans up nicely inviting the next drink. Vapory alcohol bite is also detected.

O-I've really been enjoying this beer on cool fall days the past couple years. Like all Surly beers this beer will wake up your taste buds. I haven't been a huge fan of rye beers but this one is quite nice. I really like the combination of rye flavor and the generous flavor of Sterling hops. Biggest defect is the alcohol bite in the finish.

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Photo of irrgalaxy
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Drank from the can (as I love to do with Surly beers), but bits at the top are a lovely golden color. Graphic design for this brew is a big departure from Surly's classic logo, but it does stand out on the shelf.

S: Dry aroma

T: Bitter flavors at the back, and very malty.

M: Very smooth, with a strong finish at the back of the tongue. Just what a 6% beer should be.

O: Not a traditional Oktoberfest style beer, but one that's perfect for fall days.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Typical amber brown for a marzen/oktoberfest style beer. Nice white head and very clear.

S - Soft sweet grains, a little roasted nuttiness and a faint whiff of noble hops.

T - After having several of these (not in one night) it started to grow on me. Initially I thought it was a little bland and thin but as I warmed up to it the nuttiness and roast level are spot on. The traditional flavors can be tasted and were appreciated.

M - Medium body with a nice carbonation level with a biscuit like chewiness. Light nutty aftertaste but fades quickly and is easy to drink.

O - I expected more since it was a Surly beer but once I realized what this beer was and is supposed to be I appreciated it much more. A great traditional done very well.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16-oz can, canned on 09/14/12, poured into a seidel.

A- Pours a clear amber color. A vigorous pour produces a thin off-white head that recedes to a collar, leaves little lacing.

S- Very noticeable rye aroma, as well as a floral, slightly herbal hop character, just a bit of pine and citrus. Smells very nice.

T- Sweet bready malt with a bit of rye spiciness, the malty sweetness is dominant until near the finish, lending a bit of fruitiness, until leafy, moderately bitter hops take over.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, alcohol is totally invisible, extremely drinkable.

O- A very good beer, drinkability is through the roof, this is the kind of beer you can pound several of without much trouble.

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Photo of tone77
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A shout out to cpolking for the hook up with this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is hoppy, some pine. Taste is smooth, hops, rye, flavorful and so easy drinking. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall another winner from Surly, damn I wish they would distribute here.

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Photo of JamesMN
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Translucent caramel brown with visible carbonation. Very thin off-white head.

Aroma: Similar to their Bitter Brewer (maybe the same yeast strain?). Hops in the form of citrus and orange peel. Also some peppery notes from the rye malt.

Taste: Robust. There are a lot of malt profiles in here: Caramel, rye, pilsen, you name it. About halfway through you start to get the hops which add a bit of bitterness that transitions into pepper from the rye. The finish is smooth and you are left with rye malt flavor reverberating on your palate.

Mouthfeel: Upper end of medium bodied and effervescent. Although it's a viscous beer, it still attains above average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I knew going into this one that it wouldn't be the standard Octoberfest. Instead, Surly has taken the style in a whole new direction (by adding hops, lots of hops. Oh, and rye) and the result is a great beer. If you are able to get your hands on it, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of pmiller1184
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Really nice rich amber color. Not much foam, no lacing left on glass
Smell: I don't get much of a strong aroma from this beer - a slight biscuity scent.
Taste: The rye is really strong, finishes just slightly bitter, but doesn't linger long.
Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation as you can see when you pour into a glass. Straightforward, but nicely complex feel as the flavors transition from a very strong rye presence to a bitter carmel on the finish.
Overall- I really enjoyed this beer and feel that while it's in line with the myriad of other fall seasonal beers, it breaks out of the mold a little. I would buy it again.

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Photo of sonata2008
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Not much foam, hardly any at all. Nice clear copper color. No lacing.
Smell: A malty biscuit aroma. Holy cow! There is rye in this beer. It has a very definite rye bread smell. Not much in the way of hops.
Taste: Lots of rye bread, and some bitterness at the finish, but not a lot. The bitterness actually sneaks up on you. There's also a bit of sourness. Also a slight taste of caramel or toffee.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation. Slightly chewy mouthfeel.
Overall: A very satisfying beer. A nice blend of ryes. It's very drinkable. I certainly would like another one.

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Photo of yamar68
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4 day old can - score.

Still burnt copper body with a few fingers of off-white head that laces perfectly.

Loads of fresh rye on the nose... oats, subtle hop bitterness, rich red malts, toasted grains, cereal... nice.

More rye emerges... more oats, lots of hop character, fresh bread, faint brown sugar, finishes very clean. Super smooth, thirst-quenching.

Shit's good.

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Photo of azdback
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Surly pint glass. A bright orange/red color with very few carbonation bubbles visible through this crystal clear brew. The head is a large two fingers and sea foam in appearance and color. Lace is sticking pretty good now and stays the distance in a nice ring pattern.

Smell is pretty hoppy, especially for this being canned on 10/10/11. I am also getting some rye bread and yeast but not much else.

Taste is much like the smell. A hop profile that is quite refreshing. Some not so sweet pineapple and yellow grapefruit. The rye spiciness mixes well with the hops. Some earthy tastes but not in a bad way.

Mouth is a bit on the crisp side and the carbonation is round. Body is light and the finish fades quickly and is on the dry.

Overall I did enjoy this but wished it was better. Maybe if I would have drank it in mid December when I received it from Crass3000 it would have been. IMO a must try!!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ultraman for this long time want. 16oz. Can into a Fullsteam pint glass. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger coarse, off-white head with poor retention. Beer is a slightly cloudy copper color. Lacing is patchy and thick with good cling. Average for color and head retention.

Nose is pine resin and citrus. Moderately aromatic but very subtle.

Opens tea, citrus, and a slight hop bite. Some malt body towards the middle with hints of rye seed spice. End is more citrus, pine, and cane sugar. Finishes dried tea leaves with the same aftertaste. Really easy drinking.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and refreshing in the mouth and goes down light and crisp. Clean finish with a slight aftertaste. Super drinkable.

Keeping with just about every Surly beer I've had, this one is subtle, easy drinking, and highly sessionable. Great with just about any meal. Really wish I had easier access to this one.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to MBrausen for sending this one my way so I could tick it and caSSino for handing it off to me in-person! Thanks guys! Served from can into a Samuel Smith imperial pint. Poured a deep red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, spices, bread, fruit, and subtle bitter hops. The flavor was of sweet malt, spices, bread, subtle fruit, and bitter hops. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall was a pretty good brew. All of the components you would expect from this style were there with the spiciness, but it also threw in a Marzen twist to keep you guessing on top of that. A really well done brew that I can't believe I had never tried before. I suggest you try it as well!

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Photo of Heatwave33
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Amber with a beige head.

Smell: Hops, bread, fruit.

Taste: Hops, malts, yeast and fruit.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation and dry.

Overall: This is my favorite Oktoberfest to date. It has a very clean taste which was outstanding. Definitely going to grab some more nect year. Cheers!

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Photo of PerHops
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A copper hue that gets darker moving up the pint glass and reaches a deep amber color that gives way to a quarter inch white head.

S-Hops, subtle apple, minerals, rye

T- Starts slightly sweet with apples, cherries and immediately gets really bitter. Finishes a little sweet with great malt flavor, but a lingering bitterness. A super intense Octoberfest, but what do you expect from surly?

M- Fantastic. Probably my favorite aspect of this beer. Very high carbonation in the beginning, but softening up in the finish as the bitterness slowly finishes.

O- Another beer to make me proud to say I'm from Minnesota.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into a pint glass. Thanks to storminspank for this.

A: A darker amber color with awesome clarity. One finger dingy white head with good retention

S: Not a big aroma. Bready. Some rye. Some light floral notes. Not as grainy as most lagers I've smelled.

T: Some sweet caramel upfront. Light floral hops with a touch of spiciness. Rye and bready malts through to the finish. A touch of grassy notes in the finish.

M: Light body. Medium carbonation. Not super crisp.

O: Pretty decent beer. Again Lagers aren't my style but this one has nothing wrong with it.

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Photo of TroopScoop
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: beautiful deep dark orange. The head was a nice offwhite, but not quite what I expected. Easily the only bad part of this beer, and I'm being very picky.

S: oh boy - great sweet malty & bready tones. The combination also brings a breath of citrus fruits. Its pretty damn good.

T: perfect translation of the smell. The malts, the hops, the fruity/citrus notes. Awesome

M: carbonation- great. Body, just below medium, but not skinny. The aftertaste is a glorius burst of hoppy goodness that seems to come with every Surly offering. Well done

O: unlike any other oktoberfest I've had. Honestly, its so fresh & clean, if u didn't tell me it was an Oktoberfest style, I wouldn't believe it. Really well done. Ill drink it again & again

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can dated 09/26/11 poured into Surly pint glass.
Clear amber elixir, thick, light tan head, plenty of lace.
Caramel, malt and subtle hops in the nose.
Well balanced between the rye and hops. Smooth, medium body, flavorful, with the rye up front and a nice semi-sweet aftertaste.
Another fine brew by Surly.

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Photo of bertram
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice, rich copper with a tremendous amount of white head that is slow to drop.

the smell is sweet - sweeter than I expected.

the taste was a great mixture of sweet and bitter with a crisp finish.

overall a solid Oktoberfest beer that I'm glad I grabbed a 4-pk of and look forward to enjoying again!

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SurlyFest from Surly Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 358 ratings.
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