Surly Brewing Company

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American Wild Ale
4.12 | pDev: 14.32%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: In the Surly brewhouse, brewing our Anniversary beers mean one thing: forget what ya know and try something different. In honor of FIVE glorious years we bring you a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dark ale aged in red wine barrels. Flavors of sour cherry, tobacco, oak and classic "brett" barnyard funk balanced by dark Munich malt chewiness. Enjoy immediately or age at cellar temperature for a couple years.
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Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 509 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is drinking really nicely right now, the vinegar aspect of the sourness seems lower than some of their other beers like pentagram, and the red wine fruitiness here is incredible, a very complex beer that seems now like it had to be a little bit ahead of its time when it was first released. deep burgundy color, aroma and flavor both of slight farmy brett, bacterial sourness, oak and red wine tannins, sweet dried cherries, some german tasting malt oddly enough, earthy brewed black tea, raisin, and even cranberry, lots going on here. the sourness is middle of the spectrum, the funk is lighter than that, lots of room for the red wine notes to shine through, and lots of room for the grain, which often gets overlooked or is an afterthought in barrel aged wild beer, but here, its a distinguishing feature, dark and toasty but without the roasted bitter element, bready and european tasting, a neat platform for sure. this has done great with age too, no oxidation at all, and a super well integrated maturity about it and the sourness has not at all run away or taken over this. really well made beer, one of my favorite sours i have had from surly. they should make this one again, seems more complex and interesting than pentagram, might just be the age...

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Photo of Stevedore
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml light green wax bottle. Served in a Surly snifter.

Pours a dark brown body, one finger offwhite head, fair bit of retention, not much in way of lacing. It looks like a dark wine, really. Smells of lemon, touch of leather, deep rich roasted chocolate, touch of oak and red vinous character. A moderate acetic acidity. It reminds me a lot of Side Project Black & Wild in that regard. Very promising aroma that combines chocolate and acidity. Flavour impresses more, especially for a five year old bottle of Five. Milk chocolate, roast, touch of espresso acidity, oak, moderate acetic acidity, cocoa, touch of leather and lemon, with red vinous flavours lingering on the palate. Really nice complexity to it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lighter on the carbonation. Vinous flavours cling to the palate on the finish. Overall, a very damn nice brett wild with a nice vinous character to it. As mentioned previously, this reminded me a lot of Black & Wild in its complexity and combination of a dark beer with Brett and acidity. This has aged very well.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.22/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Brown, ruddy, turbid pour, yields zero head. Swamp water. Rotten eggs and dark fruit aroma.

A 2 on the 1-10 sour scale, lot of vinegar/acetic acid notes, brown malt, wet wood and other assorted dark fruits. Like, did they fuck a quad up and call it a wild ale? A little bit of leather, funk, ashtray.

Total fail of a beer.

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Photo of YalovaIA
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was fantastic treat shared by Omar at Reds Alehouse on Surly/Toppling Goliath night. Poured from a (very hard to open) bottle, it was beautiful dark brown/red and tasted fantastic. The sour and wood were perfectly intertwined. I real loved this beer.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured a dark brown hue. Mild, dark head fizzles away. The aroma comes off as aged, soggy oak, funked dark malt and sourness. Smells of aggressively puckering Brett. The flavor, despite a few years in the bottle is very sour yet well integrated. The oak has seemed to die away a bit but it still brings elements to the flavor. Dark, rotty fruit, Barolo wine. Sour. Body is interestingly full. Carbonation is softer; perhaps losing its edge. Overall, I had this next to two vintages of Pentagram and liked this a lot more. A tasty, aged treat.

Had by bottle.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Almost black. Deep brown with a bit of red. Nice head as I pour it, but settles to nothing.

Smell - Cherries and lots of red wine. Some oaky mustiness. Dark malts. Some chocolate.
Taste - Much more red wine. Really dominates. Oak too. Cherry sourness. The dark malts aren't very prevalent here. Just an undertone of dark malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium body and pretty sour. Dry.

Overall - Without being a huge fan of dark sours, this is pretty good. Intense red wine. Mild dark malts. Works well.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.74/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

2 years in the cellar. It has a nice deep brown hue. The aroma is certainly that of funk. The flavor is complex, rich, delightful, and inviting. The finish is a bit on the rough side but it may be due to the low temp at which I'm consuming it. Is it worth the $23 I paid for the bottle. In my first few sips I have to say, yes.

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Photo of drewfull
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ Mackenzie's (Surly tap takeover leftovers)

A- Very dark color. Can see a hint of red if held to the light, but otherwise could easily be mistaken for a dark beer. Thin head that dissipates quickly.
S- Cherry. Cherry sour everywhere. Smells just great, with a hint of the oak barrel.
T- Cherry tart. Definitely get some red wine feel in there. Very bright and sour, although not a ton of complexity here it's not necessary as the base flavor is delicious.
M- Very nice, a little chewy. Well carbonated, extremely drinkable.
O- Clearly excellent. Happy 5th anniversary indeed. Unique take on the style from a wonderful Minnesota brewer, and makes me look forward to sampling the Pentagram in my basement even more.

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Photo of brydeen
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed as part of Blind BIF round 8

A: Pours a cola color, with a thin, fizzy tan colored head. This seriously looks like a glass of Pepsi.

S: Lightly toasty. An oaky presence, with a faint sour aroma (wine?) with a subtle underlying sweetness. Consider me stumped.

T: Tart and lightly acidic up front, which only seems to intensify as it warms. I'm absolutely clueless here. Is it a sour brown? Nothing seems to be standing out. Probably wine barreled, but sour is all I'm tasting.

M: Surprisingly light in body. Good amount of carbonation, but not overly done. No alcohol detectable at all.

O: I'm really perplexed at what this is. I'm guessing a sour brown, probably wine barrels, but I'm still left wondering. It's certainly sour, but not in a vinegary way. It does strike me as slightly one dimensional. It's tasty, but just doesn't seem to have a ton going on.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at DLD.

A - Dark, hazy brown with good carbonation .

S - Sour brown ale with tart cherries, lactic acid, slight vinegar and a funky blue cheese presence

T - Tart cherry up front with lactic acid that gives it a nice tartness and bite. Good blue cheese funk that comes on the back end and lingers on in the finish

M - Good carbonation with a slight creaminess to it. Light astringency on the backend from the tartness

O - Solid sour with a good balance between tart cherries, lactic acid, and a nice funky presence

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Photo of lovindahops
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Getting amped up for my 32 can surly delivery from France44 next week, I felt this brew would be a great kick off. I love Surly and I'm kind of glad that its tough to get Surly brews. I would go through cases of the stuff! So on this this cold and wet spring, its time to get Surly!

A- five pours a look of the darkest ruby color you can imagine. A massive head of tan foam with red tints blasts to the top of my Hill Farmstead wine glass. Even in the darkness, shades of red ruby show through, as well as spotty floaties of sediment. No lacing on the edges, but plenty of character with the appearance

S- delicious sweet red wine, Brett, barnyard funk, darkened... But ripe black cherries, tasty apples, and hearty malt. This may be off the chart enhanced due to cellar time. I have never sampled a scent of such a dark, yet flavorful American wild ale. The Brett has slept nicely in this bottle. What a balanced scent profile!

T- massive funky tart flavors are almost "candy coated" with a red wine shell. Cherry and apple flavors are almost chewy and in harmony with the aforementioned taste. I am confident that cell wrong this not only mellowed it out, but also brought out some great qualities of balance and enhanced flavor. Tart and tasty. I have had some poor examples of red wine barrel brews, and this not one of them at all

M- good carbonation and slashing flavors all over the mouth. This is very tasty

O- best American wild ale that bundles red wine barrels and darkened ale properties. What ever has happened in this bottle is amazing. The tart fruit flavors mesh perfectly with the funkiness of a wild ale. What character and enhancement of the Brett and red wine barrels. I wish I could find this again!!!

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Photo of beerpirates
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

75 cl bottle poured into a tasting glass

A - Dark brown, minimal 1/2 finger head that fades fast

S - Cherries, flanders red aroma, oak and oranges.

T - Very oaky, slightly sweet, hint of funk and a nice tart finish. Cherries are throughout but not getting the "wine barrel" aspect noted on the label , it tastes like a " soft/light version " of a good rodenbach grand cru "

M - Light body, dry and sweet with light carbonation

O - Decent beer but not something I’d seek out.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Reddish-brown with a finger of frothy tan-khaki head. Fades normal.

S - Sour cherries, oak, vanilla, red wine, other dark fruits, some dark malts, funky Brett, and some tart green fruits.

T - Sour cherries, funky Brett, oak, vanilla, red wine, dark fruits, dark malts, tart green apple and other green fruits.

M - Medium bodied with moderate-light carbonation. Smooth with a tart and sour finish.

D - Nice wild ale. Good overall balance and complexity.

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Photo of gatornation
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with some garnet highlights. Notes of sour cherries,chocolate, leather.oak and prune. Taste follows nose nice tartness and a little sourness, some sweetness,fruity and a dry finish..

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Generously shared by Rutager.

A: Black liquid with a slight tan head around the edges of the glass.

S: Smells like an oud bruin. Caramel malt and sourness.

T: Pears, white wine, red wine, oak, chocolate, hazelnut and caramel.

M: Medium to thin viscosity and a low level of carbonation.

O: Interesting wild ale reminiscent of an oud bruin.

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Photo of Rutager
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Huge thank you to Steasy66 and Mikesgroove for each getting me a bottle of this!

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown with half a finger of khaki head.

Smell. Malt vinegar and sweet dark malts, a little cherry and dark fruit. Yum!

Taste. Sour, cocoa, red berry tartness, old dank barrel, a little dry funky brett.

Mouthfeel. Lighter than medium body, lowish carbonation.

Overall. Interesting, different and very tasty.

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Photo of Jfriz25
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Dark brown with ruby edges. Thin off white head that's fades to a film of tiny bubbles.

Smell- The dominant smell is sour apple but underneath there is some earthy funky stuff going on.

Taste- The taste follows the smell pretty closely. Sour apple, some cherry, funky leather seems to finish.

Mouthfeel- Fairly thin body but the carbonation makes the overall mouthfeel smooth and almost creamy.

Overall- Really glad I got a chance to try this out of the bottle after having a sample at the great taste. It lived up to my drunken memories. Great beer.

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Photo of Jriggz
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with tan head that discipates quickly to ring. Smell sour cherries with slight funk. Taste sour cherries, red wine, moderately sour with slight notes of oak and funk finish. Mouthfeel lively with dry finish. Decent Brett brew. Nice job Surly!

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Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at the November Baltimore BA tasting. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a mostly clear mahogany color with hardly any off white head. The head fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: I'm getting lots of dark sour smell, some wine and a hint of red berry tartness. Just enough malt sweetness to compliment the sourness.

Taste: Wine and red berries with some malt sweetness in the background. Just a touch of vinegar and a hint of bitterness. The finish is tart with some fruity vinegar notes.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with tingly carbonation and a finish that is a bit dry.

Overall: This is a nice dark sour. Quite smooth and I think it will age quite nicely. I would have more in the future.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color, with a reddish hue. Light, off-white head. Scent is a good amount of cherry with some red wine vinegar. Slightly tannic and acidic. Somewhat funky with nice tart fruit aromas. A hint of tobacco as well. Taste is just as it smells. A lot more dry than I was expecting. This one is DRY! The cherry and tobacco flavors go lovely with the sour and sweet fruit flavors. Tart red wine flavors, and some acidity that compliments it well. Mouthfeel is extremely dry and somewhat acidic. Puckering. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, this is the only wild ale I've ever had from Surly...could be the only one they've brewed...I'm not sure. However, whether they were new to this last year, or this is something they are looking to get into, I encourage it. Very lovely experience with this beer. Would love to have another bottle of it.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a waxed bottle into a Hennepin tulip

A- pours lack with a one finger tan head...that's a little odd looking for a sour. Decent carbonation, and real dark. Huh...

S- aroma is of light cherries, wood, and a little funk. Tannins are high in this one. Not bad

T- the taste is largely of vinegar, with some funk. Also getting some tobacco coming through. I don't get much of the base beer, but I do get a lot of the barrel....very disappointing

M- thin body, part for the course

O- I expected a lot more from a brewery from Surly, but this one is a whiff IMO

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Photo of brystmar
3.37/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Jon!

Brown-black body pours zero head or lace. Aroma is very mild and disappoints; some sour fruit, mild roast, tiny bit of funk. Meh.

Tart and acetic up front. Roast fades in favor of some fruitiness. Acetic once again. Not too much going on here, honestly. A good attempt at a sour; hope they continue the testing.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surly Five is an ok wild ale. Dark and harsh. A little too much vinegar for my tastes. Not so great.

A. Black colour and a crappy head. 4

S: Sour with a little maltiness. 4

T: Malty with a sour kick. Vinegary. Pretty nice though. 3.5

M: A little flat. 3

O: 3.5

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25.4oz bottle mostly stored in a fridge since I received it, Duvel tulip.

Very Porter-like looks; a light brown with more yellow highlights and scant light head.

Lightly tart strawberries, quite oaky, vanilla, a bit of barnyard, raspberry iced tea, and chewy malt in the background. Strawberries and cream, with a more pronounced acid note as it warms.

Again, it's lightly tart and I could see it being downright sour in the future. The berry flavors are more toward raspberry and the oak is expressed with much more tannin.

Mouthfeel is thin and a bit slick. Not many bubbles. Alcohol isn't really apparent anywhere. The acid and tannins dry the mouth moderately, enough to get the salivary glands going.

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Photo of korguy123
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with red hues. Thin ring around the glass, no lacing.

A nice mix of red wine and grape juice. There is some roasted malt that adds a nice sugar sweetness. Oak is subtle.

T-Red wine and sweet malts. Not as juice like as the noise leads you to believe. There is a slight char and dark roast in the taste. lingering finish.

M- Light bodied, good carbonation, slightly sticky on the lips.

Really reminds me of the Monk's Cafe Flanders. Very good.

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Five from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 509 ratings