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Mild | Surly Brewing Company

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very good
61 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Dark Mild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 01-20-2008

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 193
Photo of zeledonia
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Grand Central Cafe in St. Paul on 4 April 2014.

Pours clear medium brown with orange tinges. One finger of off-white yellowish head, okay retention and lacing. Not bad, not amazing.

Smell is a little thin. Faint malts, like toasted wood, a touch of biscuit, and a light airy high-nose smell that I can't pin down.

Taste is rich and smooth. Malty, toasted, a bit of brown sugar. It's subtle, but I really like it.

Feel is excellent. Light body, medium-low carbonation that provides tingle up-front before relaxing to give the flavors the freedom to express themselves. IMO, high carbonation works well with robust flavors, and subtle flavors do better with lower carb. This definitely exemplifies that idea.

One of my favorite (non-sour) session beers. Smooth, subtle, flavorful, and well-crafted.

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Photo of plfahey
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Grumpy's in Roseville, 3/24/11.

Appearance-Dark Brown with garnet highlights. Brilliant clarity. Modest off-white head with good retention.

Aroma-Malt-light coffee roast, toasted bread crusts, hint of chocolate, and light oaty aroma. Very faint earthy spicy hops. Some secondary biscuit and bread notes as well.

Flavor-Malt palate similar to the aroma-light roast, coffee, faint chocolate, and bread crusts. A little bit of acrid malt in the finish along with medium low earthy hop flavors. Finish is dry from low hop bitterness and acidic roast.

Mouthfeel-Medium light body with moderate carbonation. Not bad, but a little thin-this would probably be excellent on cask.

Not bad, but like I said, a little thin on the palate. Milds were meant to be served from a cask, and this beer would certainly benefit from that treatment. Nonetheless, quite drinkable and at 4% alcohol, this is a pint you could stick with all night.

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Photo of bsp77
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from tap into pint.

Appearance: Very dark mahogany with thin off-white head.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, smoke and caramel.

Taste: Espresso, chocolate, nuts, smoke and caramel. Fairly dry despite the relative lack of hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, light body, very dry finish.

Overall: Extremely drinkable and a decent amount of flavor and complexity. Brewers should make more beers like this. Damn you Omar and Todd, can this now!

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Photo of IgneousROX
2.32/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

The palate and finish of this ale are poor. Extremely thin, watery and flat. Flavor does not match the nose (which isn't too bad - chocolate, coffee, roasts) and wrecks the experience. Not a great product from a respected brewer. Pales in comparison quality wise to the rest of the Surly offerings. I realize it's intended as a different beast but let's be blunt and honest - if you tasted this blind you would not reach for it again. Meek would be a better name.

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Photo of rye726
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Up for review is Surly Brewing Company's example of an English Mild. Poured cold into a pint glass. Nice Mild, just lacks the intricacies found in the finer Milds found over the pond. But a very nice session beer. Go get some, try it out for yourself.

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Photo of evanlarkin
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark, brown on the edges. If there was any significant head, I missed it (was sitting away from the bar, and they made sure I had a full pint).

Malty, not super sweet, but a nice smell. Roasted barley for sure, and maybe some dryish smelling caramel?

Not too sweet, not too dry. a little toasty. No real hops, but very malty.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and heavy.

Drinkability: Good, but I don't know if it should be considered a session beer. I could see myself drinking way more Furious, though Mild would probably be a better decision as far as the ABV goes. A great high-taste, low alcohol sipper for a designated driver.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. Served at Cafe 28 on 1/31/11 for the celebration of 5 years of business. Poured into a snifter a darker caramel brown color with a nice 2 finger tan head, at first I thought I had been given Bender but the aroma/look soon made me realize I was given the correct beer. Not sure why I thought this was going to have a lighter look to it. The aroma is more pungent than I would have expected with a light roast coffee and chocolate nose. Medium/Light mouthfeel. Very robust flavor with the roast and coffee notes, some mild bitterness as well. Very flavorful and enjoyable. I really wish this was one that they did all year round.

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Photo of fear025
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

On tap at the Bavarian Lodge, Lisle, IL.

Aroma:Nicely malty and dark.

Appearance:Brown in color, ok head.

Taste:Tons of dark malts, caramel, chocolate, coffee. This tastes hugely malty.

Mouthfeel:Medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability:Fantastic tasting beer, refreshing and flavorful. As a homebrewer, I find this beer reminiscent of prefermented wort.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draft at Durty Nellies.

A: pours a dark clear brown, with a thin creamy head, some retention, no lacing

S: nose is roasted malts, reminds me of a dry stout with a large presence of roasted barley, some notes of toffee and caramel as well

T: very clean and refreshing palate with toffee, coffee, and caramel. Lots of flavor while at the same time being quite refreshing.

MF: creamy, smooth,

D: this is the definition of a sessionable beer. Tons of flavor with out the huge abv or caloric intake. I wish there were more of this style around.

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Photo of blackenmn
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Served into a pint glass via cask:

Appearance:Served a light brown/amber with a very dense creamy head with plenty of retention. Not the most appealing color in the world but the head made up for that.

Smell:Smelled of caramel, citrus, and definite cinnamon like spice on the nose. Light and pleasing.

Taste:Tasted of caramel, sweetened coffee, and light citrusy hop bitterness. There was enough going un to make this alot more enjoyable than I expected.

Mouthfeel:Pretty light bodied brew, almost watery. Light with a bit of creaminess probably due to taking in the foamy head which stuck around on this until the glass was empty.

Drinkability:Extremely drinkable. I could definitely enjoy a few of these on cask. Plenty of subtle character to this. Sweeter and thinner than I expected. Happy to have it on cask, not sure I'd enjoy this as much at much cooler of a temp.

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Photo of nbeattie
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer is fairly drinkable and does have a dark, coffee-like malt base. It does seem slightly watery but that helps it be drinkable past the first beer. Despite the flavor however, it is NOT brewed with coffee at all says Surly's own Omar. It makes for a good chance of pace beer if you're looking to switch from most of Surly's other stronger beers.

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Photo of herman77
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Semi transparent brown/reddish copper with a decent amount of off-white head.

S: Lightly toasted malt, a hint of sweet malt and coffee.

T: Toasted malt, a little bit of carmel sweetness and coffee. Very lightly hopped, but you can still tell its there to give a little bit of balance. Very straightforward and enjoyable. Tons of taste for just being over 4% ABV.

M/D: A bit on the thin side, a little watery, but understandably so. Somewhat creamy and smooth. Carbonation seems pretty middle of the road. Great drinkability! A session beer no doubt. Easily drink 3+ in a sitting.

If they canned this stuff, I would always have a supply in my fridge.

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Photo of camp0474
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap into a Nonic pint at Cafe 28

A: Poured dark red copper color with nice off white head.

S: Smells of toasted malts with hints of light coffee. Also some subtle sweetness.

T: Lots of toasty malts with some caramel sweetness. Some coffee notes within the malts. Some bitterness from some subtle citrus hops. Not overly complex but great flavor for a beer with such a low ABV.

M: Light body and medium carbonation and little on the watery side. Light crisp feel in the mouth, but more than you would expect for a 4% ABV beer.

D: This beer is extremely drinkable. Only had one but could definitely sit and enjoy quite a few.

To bad they don't bottle or can this great beer. I see why they call it a session beer.

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Photo of jera1350
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Ngon Bistro.

Semi transparent brown color with a very fluffy tan head that leaves a little lace.

Smells of lightly roasted malt and some coffee.

As I understand, this is not made with coffee, but it sure tastes like it. Quite roasty with some coffee. Light hint of hops. Very tasty for a beer of only 4% abv.

Almost medium bodied which is hard to believe in a beer at 4%. Creamy smooth and enjoyable.

Absolute session beer. This is an all around awesome beer. When I hear "mild", this is not what comes to mind. This looks, tastes and feels like a big beer, but drinks so easy.

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Photo of KeefD
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

OK, so this is an interesting story, at least to me. I stop in at Stub and Herb's, specifically for this beer, and was told before it was even poured that Mild is now being brewed with coffee. I hadn't heard this, but took the bartender's word for it. Pours a dark amber color, nearly brown in the middle, with a small off-white head. Aroma is, well, mild with a touch of coffee, some toffee, and caramel sweetness. Taste follows suit. I was surprised with the coffee flavor in the background. Light caramel, some breadiness, and no bitterness. Medium mouthfeel, light carbonation. Again, I was really surprised by the coffee presence in this beer. It was almost like a watered down coffee bender without any of the dark/roasted maltiness in there. Good, easy drinker.

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Photo of mothman
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint at stubs.

Pours a small layer that fades down fast. Color is a dark ruby hued copper brown.

Aroma: lots of malts, very roasted. Reminds me of a lager(bock). Some caramel. Not to much but more than I expected.

Taste: lots of malts, caramel sticks out a lot. Some grassy hops. Not a lot going on here. Not a lot here but expected.

Mouthfeel: smooth creamy and refreshing. Medium bodied and medium amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry.

Overall, this beer is simple but incredible drinkable. This beer is so easy to drink. I am glad I got to try this. My pint won't last long.

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Photo of kjyost
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pint glass came with little head - although lacing was evident. Smelt of toasted barley and had a nice subtle barley taste to it with a firm malty body and no bitterness. Seeing as it is 4.2% nobody should be offended if I call this a great session beer.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A= pours a mild brown color... haha clever me. Its a deep amber color. The head is an off white and suprisingly big being on tap at the place I got it from. A nice finger on it that leaves some sketchy lacing.

S= smells a lot like summits great northern porter. Coffe a little roasty and chocolaty. The best description I can give is great northern porter smell.

T= tastes like a mild great northern porter. Pretty good actually. A little coffee and chocolate but a real smooth mild flavor. A little watery though.

M= slick and clean sort of. Watery but its a mild. The flavor doesn't stick too much.

D= very high. Delicious brew for a mild. Smooth flavor and clean finish

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Photo of younger35
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ever since I got into beers and learned about Surly I was always curious about Surly's version of a mild. Furious and Bender are so incredible that I can only assume their Mild would be bomb.com. Right? Plus I LOVE a good mild. Drank from a Surly pint glass at the #12th best bar in America (which is bullshit because I've been at 3 of the top 10 and S&H is considerably better...).

Appearance- Pours a fairly dark brownish crimson with a somewhat small off-white head. A damned nice cap and collar are left almost the entire beer but not a whole lot of lacing is left.
Smell- Super toasty and nutty. It's got a sort of toasted hazelnut like nose. I know I'm gonna love this because the nose is simple and solid. Like it should be.
Taste- Roasted and toasted as the nutty malt is spot f'n on. I know I've used this before in my homebrewed Mild but it's slightly more aggressive. This is what I wanted mine to be. Some light chocolaty tones creep in as does a touch of smoke. The hops are slightly more noticeable than you'd fully expect from a mild, but this is Surly. A light citric bitterness creeps in the finish with maybe a hint of lemon.
Mouthfeel- Pretty light but able to hold its own all things considered. Medium carbonation that prickly and nice adds to the greatness of this beer.
Drinkability- Must confess. I glanced at the other reviews of this beer as I am reviewing it and was shocked at the scores. I guess I'm a Surly fanboy for the most part (minus shitty Darkness) but this is the best beer I've had from them. I'm far from the style police but this brew is on point. Flavorful, drinkable, and just plain tasty!

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apparently this style, while not sounding very exotic, is extremely hard to come by in the states. I jumped at the chance to knock this style off my list, and who better to brew it than Surly?

The beer is brown colored with ruby highlights when backlit. A light khaki head is served with the brew, but doesn't stick around for very long. Doesn't leave a ton of lacing, but there is some. Looks like a tasty beer, but the lack of head and retention knock down the score for me. Maybe I'm being too harsh and my standards are unrealistic to the style, I guess I'll have to try more of the style to find out.

The nose comes right out with the caramel malt. Sort of sweet, but earthy at the same time. Definitely malty, with little to no hop presense.

Tastes mild and subdued, but hey what did you expect. I wasn't expecting a palate blaster so this is a nice surprise. Sweet malts and earthy tones blend well nicely with subtle hints of cocoa and toffee. A biscuity maltiness dominates.

Light and crisp, lighter than I expected. I know it's a mild, but it looks heavier than it actually is. Drinkability is pretty good.

This one is hard to judge. I'm a huge Surly fanboy, and maybe they are trying to make a more approachable crossover brew. If thats the angle, they have succeeded ten-fold. This is a great tasting, easy drinking, sessionable dark mild. For my intro to the style, I was impressed and enjoyed it.

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Photo of MPLS
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think when reviewing beers that have 4.2% in mind you certainly have to keep the style in mind. This was had at a Surly event that included a sample of the mystery cask beer - which turned out to be a scotch ale.

A: Brown bodied with red accents. A light brown head that wasn't there for long as the bar tender handed my the pint glass.

S: The nose of this beer was primarily malt, caramel with a sliver of cocoa. What a well mannered boy, but please give me more.

T: There is a lot of flavor for being just 4.2% ABV. The caramel/cocoa that I smelled in the nose is evident in the taste with the caramel dominating most of the flavor. There is a coffee like bitterness to this beer, rather earthy. The finish doesn't linger, sort of reminds me of a mild cocoa cereal.

M: Appropriate for the style - light-medium bodied.

D: This beer has session written all over it, but in Surly's case I'd more towards the Hell especially in the summer months. A good job of creating flavor from a low alcohol beer.

I wonder what will come of this cask scotch ale sample I had?

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Photo of supercolter
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hmm, good appearance, no real head but a nice color and very clean looking. Smell and taste are very similar. Light on the malt but some decent flavor from it. Nutty and bitter chocolate with just a hint of dried fruit. Mouthfeel is a bit weak, as I mentioned the malt was a bit light. Drinkability is very nice.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Blue Nile at the Surly Three release party.

A: Pours a deep brown, much darker than I expected it to be. Small off-white head with okay retention and not much lacing. Looks very nice though

S: Very mellow with malty tones accompanied by earthy tones and some caramel/toffee.

T: Mellow and mild of course with strong malts and caramel flavor with some small earth tones and a little bit of clove. For the style it's very good, although mild, as it should be, its complex and delicious!

Overall: Great tasting beer with moderate carbonation that made almost perfect feeling and amazingly drinkable, something I could sip on all day long. Very impressive for the style, another great one from Surly.

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Photo of optiontwo
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been waiting a while to try this one so I was happy to see it was on-tap at Common Roots Café

Appearance: Clear brown with strong ruby hues. Half inch head, not much retention, but nice lacing.

Smell: A clean nut aroma wafts from the glass accompanied by crisp apple and brown sugar. All these aromas are somewhat muted but this isn't an extreme beer so I wasn't expecting an extreme scent.

Taste: The nut brown flavor hits first but is quickly followed by the apple/pear flavors. What is really interesting about this brew is the strong earthy finish (strong in comparison to the rest of the flavors anyway) It isn't the type of earthy I'm used to though, more dirt like than grassy. Reminds me of a mustiness you might find in some whiskeys. Finally there is a tiny nip of bitterness. For some reason, as "mild" as it is this brew makes my mouth water.

Mouthfeel: Nice light and crisp.

Drinkability: Nearly perfect. I could drink pint after pint of this delicious beer and not have to worry about getting sick.

Overall: This is not my favorite offering from Surly, in fact it may be my least favorite, but it' still great so that's gotta say something. This is as true to style as I've ever seen from Surly but a style that's not done much anymore. Good job Surly.

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Photo of TheObsession
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just tried a pint at my favorite bar, Stub and Herb's. It was the perfect beer for wrapping up my night, as I was looking for something delicious, drinkable, and low in alcohol. The beer appeared a rich auburn color, with a dense and smooth head that fit precisely to my expectations for an English Dark Mild. The aroma was toasty and sweet with hints of toffee. The first sip teased my taste buds with a light creamy sweet flavor that evolved into a caramel malty finish. It went down superbly smooth, leaving me with a light chocolate/toffee aftertaste. In the mouth, it felt substantial in a way that it was thick, but not too heavy...the description may not be too precise, but it is what I expect from the style. Lastly, the drinkability was unrivaled by anything I have had in recent memory. I could drink this all day and all night long. I am sad that I will not get any while watching the Superbowl tomorrow.

Good work Todd!


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Mild from Surly Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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