SŸX | Surly Brewing Company

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 07-19-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 357
Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Big bubbly head and lacey. Hoppy, fruity with tart fruit skins. Orange, sugar, tangerine. Very strong melange, a sour finish. A big beer. A kitchen sink of a beer that can be sipped only. Thanks John.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared at the NWI Tasting Group December Meetup

A - Orange with hints of yellow. Looks to have a light body. Hazy beer that has a nice layer of foam sitting on top

S - Orange, grapefruit, hoppy nose with a strong alcoholic kick

T - Grapefruit and lemony presence with a slight caramel malt on the backbone. It has a strong alcoholic kick in the finish. Overall, this is a bit unbalanced and tastes what I'd imagine Mr. Clean floor polish to taste like. It's a hoppy BW that needs some lay down time given the alcoholic kick.

MF - Medium body and a bit oily. Slightly astringent as well due to the alcohol

O - Too strong right now. It's just a hoppy, unbalanced BW with too much lemon and alcohol that makes it taste almost slightly soaps. Definitely needs some time for everything to meld together.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours bright gold with a small off-white head leaving little retention or lacing.

Aroma is very fruity and sweet. Dark fruits with some caramel malt, honey and citrus hoppiness.

Tastes follows. Lots of sweet fruit flavors. Honey with a big boozy background. Finishes a bit fruity and tart. Almost tastes like a strong wheatwine.

Medium to full bodied. Good level of carbonation.

I don't like it as much as Surly 5, but it came into its own after warming a bit. Very sweet up front, but enough of a booze kick to balance that out slightly and never got cloying. Good mouthfeel brings it all together nicely.

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Photo of John_M
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Generously obtained for me by Ottodyer a few months back.

The beer pours a solid copper amber color with good head retention and decent lacing. This beer definitely smells rich and boozy (to be expected with this kind of abv. I suppose), imparting considerable canned peach, cherry, apricot, tangerine and light vanilla in the aroma profile. This beer just smells as if it will very sweet and boozy on the palate. That being said, the flavor profile is pretty huge and intense in this beer, showcasing considerable tropical fruit, vanilla and butter, but with a goodly dollop of hoppy bitterness in the finish as well. While I was grateful for the hoppy bitterness in the finish, it still wasn't close to being sufficient to tame the huge sweetness and alcohol in this beer. Four sips into this beer and I was already wondering if there was any hope that I'd be able to finish off the 10 ounce glass I poured for myself (I didn't make it, as it turns out). This beer defines the expression of heavy and tiring on the palate, and after just four sips, I could already feel my cheeks starting to warm. Mouthfeel is full, with a long, rich, hot and alcholic finish.

An impressive effort from Surly, no doubt, but this just comes across as a beer that Surly made hugely alcoholic, just to show that they could pull it off. Bully for them I guess, but this is just not a very enjoyable beer to drink.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
2.71/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Shared by Darrell. Thanks man!

I very quickly consumed half a bottle of this. As Darrell pointed out, better to get it over with as soon as possible.

The beer is orange hued with a small white head. Lots of booze in bothe aroma and flavor. I would definitely describe this as hot. Oak and alcohol with a ton of malt and some citrus soaked in alcohol. Flavors clash and the overall presentation of the beer is off kilter. Overall, this was not that great. Not a repeat for me.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at the Smoke & Barrel as part of DC bottle share.

A real nice orange amber body, but a bit of soapy head with quite a thin collar though. The body color seems to be a bit more impressive.

Nose hits with citrus hop, lots of pectin like jam qualities. Tropical notes and some faint powder sugar. Not much of a malt presence it seems but it's a very memorable nose.

Taste is quite wet and watery however. Palate reaches for a very tropical hop front, and wet punch juicy. "This is like pineapple juice", someone mentions. Bingo and bang on (something I never drink cause I don't like). Thin body for such a high abv with a weird mildly sweet finish.

Overall it's got a predominant flavor I don't care for, and strangely doesn't have any malt depth to it. This is one brew I thought would be bigger but just didn't come across as such.

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Photo of xnicknj
2.67/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into tulip - thanks to therobot

Pours a clear golden copper color with a bubbly crop of white head on top. Fades into a carbonated film with some spotty, patchy lacing on the glass.

Curious nose with a mixture of citrus fruits, toasted oak and boozy warmth. Honey and caramel with fruity sweetness and solventy alcohol. There's also a funky, yeasty, butteryness that keeps coming back to me (against my wishes).

Sweet and citrusy up front with some boozy warmth. Pineapple, grapefruit and orange with juicy, pithy fruit flavors. Woody notes with toasted grain followed by honey and syrupy sweetness. Slightly cloying, and there's also a yeasty funk that seems to come through the profile. Finishes with persisting citrus fruit, alcohol and sweetness.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, sticky, chewy and lingering on the tongue. This is the first Surly beer that I really didn't like, which is super disappointing for me. Too sweet, too funky, too weird and completely unbalanced.

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Photo of oline73
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden amber color with a half finger of fluffy off white head. The head fades to a layer on top of the pour and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Lots of sweet alcohol with some juicy citrus notes. I'm getting a strong pineapple note here too.

Taste: Quite sweet with tons of juicy citrus fruit notes. Like the smell, I'm getting lots of pineapple, but there is some apricot too. There is some warmth from the alcohol along with a nice hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the thick side with aggressive carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is really drinkable given the high abv. The fruity notes were really nice. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, alcohol, fruits, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a fruity finish on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but quite strong.

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Photo of maximum12
2.58/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had bits & piece of this brew on tap at a couple festivals & wasn't impressed, but the atmosphere was hardly conducive to serious contemplation. Now I sit in my warm chair with slippers, fleece, & word processor...ah, that's better. 750ML bomber split with my wife.

Pour is IPA orange, it might be amusing to try to pass this off as an IPA to some unsuspecting idiot. Nose is a letdown, which I remember clearly; faint exhalations of honey & grass that's been packed in a wood crate. Not much going on.

Syx is that rarest of creatures - a letdown from Surly. Booze is out of control, rubbing alcohol style. Citrus clashes with this harsh base unpleasantly. Wood enters stage right & increases the confusion. Hops taste almost stale, & add a side of mint, grain, indistinct light fruits. Experience is heavy, sodden, cloying. I'm looking at all the ounces I have to get through, & the high octane ABV, & thinking, oy vey.

Not sure what the brewery was aiming for here, but it couldn't have been this - it's like Surly Three gone bad. A mishmash of tastes that don't mesh well at all. Not a good beer.

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Photo of azdback
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a small tulip. Honey amber colored and clear in appearance. Head is a small one finger of bright white head that quickly becomes a thin collar. Lace is minimal but hanging on in a ringed pattern.

Smell is almost completely yeast, grass, and musty malts. Some tart also. But that's about it.

Taste is a very tart and tangy and not as soggy as the nose. Some super citrus notes and absolutely no wood or barrel in this at all.

Mouth is average and the carbonation is bright. With an average long mouth that is wet.

Overall i wasn't that impressed with this one., but did enjoy the experience.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to tulip. Awesome label art!

A - Translucent medium orange with one finger of egg shell coloured head.

S - Caramel, sweet honey, apple, wood, and light orange zest aromas.

T - A huge hit of alcohol up front that stays distracting throughout and doesn't settle down, even after really getting deep in to this bottle; but for the ABV and the style, this isn't entirely unexpected. The flavour profile includes a big sweet honey flavour that attempts to somewhat tame the alcohol bite. Some woody notes are present as well along with white white flavours and lighter citrus notes in the background.

M - Medium body with a nice chew. Light carbonation.

O - This was certainly unique and interesting but was extremely hot. Would love to secure another bottle of this one to age.

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Photo of hardy008
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange with a two finger off white head. Has nice retention, and lacing, especially for such a high abv. The aroma has oranges, grapefruit, caramel, and honey.

Has a sweet taste with oranges, caramel, grapefruit, mangoes, and some alcohol. The alcohol taste is not as strong as I thought it would be, especially for a 14.50 % abv beer.

Full bodied with modest carbonation. Has a very sweet aftertaste, and has a noticeable warming effect. I can't say that I have had anything like this before, but I like it quite a bit. Leave it to Surly to come up with something this unique, and delicious.

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Photo of gford217
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle with orange wax.

Pours a deep, clear orange with a small soapy beige head that recedes slowly and leaves some sticky legs and lacing on the sides.

Aroma is boozy as hell with lots of alcohol, vanilla, and oak. Sweetness dominates the nose in the form of heavily caramelized sugar and booze-soaked light fruits, apricots and pears. Hints of citrus as well, oranges especially, though it's definitely hidden behind the alcohol and sugary sweetness.

Whoa, and I thought the aroma was heavy. The taste is oaky tannins, molasses, orange zest and straight up alcohol, which just completely burns the throat after each sip. Apricots and pears are still there but the spiciness and boozy burn are the dominant components.

Mouthfeel is heavy and massively sweet and alcoholic. Decent carbonation keeps it from getting completely out of hand.

This is a serious beer and one to be shared as the booze, in my opinion, is not hidden at all. I would peg it pretty close to 15%. Not my favorite from Surly, but, hey, that's a high bar.

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Photo of FourBetter
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank twice. Once cold, then again later. The second bottle was opened, and allowed to breathe and warm for 15-20 minutes before pouring. Big difference. Main review is the warm pour.

Allowed to warm and poured 6 -7 0z from the Syx bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a hazy, golden orange. Very little head but nice lacing.
S: Sweet aroma of orange and apricot. Sweeter malts and spice. Alcohol smell was present but balanced.
M: Nice concentration, not thin like some high ABV's. Just the right amount of carbonation.
T: The warmer pour really allows the flavors to outperform the booze. Sweet fruit flavors, orange/tangerine, apricot, honey. Subtle wood flavor comes and goes along with the malt and some spice to balance out the sweet aspects. Alcohol is definitely there. It nicely warms your throat and tummy the way a good whiskey would but without the burn.

O: Very nice strong ale. The warm (slightly cooler than room temp) really brought out all the layers that Syx had to offer. Each sip seemed to show something a bit different than the last.
The alcohol is not nearly as prominant as when drank cold, where it seems to dominate and taste more acidic, hiding the rest.

My advice: drink warm/cool. Age some and see what pops out after 1,2, 5 years.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to my boy beeruser for sharing this one at our Labor Day tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a golden yellow-orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wood, fruit, and funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, fruit, alcohol, wood, and spice. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. Two words, booze bomb. While the ABV really isn't THAT high, it felt like it. The alcohol dominated this one on the flavor which definitely covered up some more subtle flavors that were present that I couldn't make out. The aroma however was pretty nice with a slight hint of funk which I found to be surprisingly out of place for the style, but a nice integration to the other things that were going on in this one. Not my favorite from Surly that I have had, but I have a feeling they got what they were aiming for on this one. Worth trying at least once for yourself to decide.

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Photo of GarbageMan
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm normally a somewhat harsh critic of Surly brews, but they impress me enough that I was willing to give this a try and I'm very glad I did.

Appearance: Orange/very faint golden color, significant head.

Smell: Smells a little fruity and a little boozy, both in a good way.

Taste: I poured this with some friends and we let our glasses sit for about ten minutes before taking the first sip. The flavor came out as thick and fruity, but not nearly as boozy as I expected, which is impressive given the 15% ABV. The booziness did seem to increase a bit as my glass sat and the temperature rose.

Body: Very potent overall. This beer has a thickness to it that I haven't before experienced in a beer and it leaves you with a warming feeling almost like a good whiskey.

In all, this is an excellent beer and I will make sure I never miss another Surly annual. I definitely recommend that you split a bottle with a friend or two, not so much because it packs a punch (which it does) but because I think temperature plays a significant role - pour your glasses, let them sit for ten minutes but not longer. Too warm and the booziness starts to overtake the excellent flavor.

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Photo of Mdog
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy orange, good carbonation, very good head for a strong beer.

Smell: Sweet, big fruity aroma, malty, citrus.

Taste: Sweetness like hard candy, moves on to a boozy oranges and apricot mix, finishes with a little bitterness.

Finally got around to drinking my bottle of SYX. It's in a category by itself as far as taste, though the orange flavors remind me of the orange flavors in Bitter Brewer, only pumped up to 11 and boozy. It's always an interesting experiment for the Surly anniversary beers, and this is no exception.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml orange waxed bottle, the label says this is 15%abv. Purchased from France 44 online.

It pours a 24K gold with a 1 finger head of foam that refuses to shrink much and when it does, it leaves plenty of lacing behind.

I took this out straight from the fridge so I'm not getting much in the way of smell. What I can get is a fruity kind of sweetness, and some of the alcohol. I'll take some more whiffs when it warms up.

On first sip, the first thing that comes to mind is how dry it tastes to me. A fruity kind of dry; kind of bitter with some hints of tartness. Some sweet notes move in, you should see me shaking my head while swishing the beer in my mouth...or not; I bet it looks silly.lol.

The sweet tastes honey like but I'm not sure on that point. There's a massive attack from the potent alcohol going on now. Another sip in and yes, there's definitely more than a hint of tartness. Intended? In an American Strong Ale? I'll have to check the other reviews to see if anyone mentions it.

The finish is where I taste the fruity tartness the most, and the alcohol. It has a fine mouthfeel but I'm a little concerned over yes, I'll say it again, the tartness.

This is not what I expected from Surly given the style but maybe it's because of the, and I quote from the label, "Utilizing 6 wood species in a "Honey Comb" shape for aging" end of my quote of label.

Warming up during the session hasn't improved things from my palate's point of view. It now tastes dank, tart, alcoholic...not my cup of tea at all. The smell is about on the same level now. Completely off style if it is, in fact, supposed to be an ASA.

I wasn't a fan of the Five. Chalk me up as not of fan of Six. I'll take your regular offerings any day, Surly.

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Photo of Duff27
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

One inch white head in a dark golden/amber body. Great head retention and lacing considering the ABV.

Nice woody/honey aroma.

"White grapey". I feel like there is a sweet honey alcoholy finish. Leaves the mouth burning from the booze.

Medium mouthfeel, adaquate carbonation.

Woo, pretty different strong ale here. Different attributes. To sum it up I would say a honey booze bomb, at least for the time being.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.79/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You gotta try this! This is a masterpiece.

Beautiful honey colored amber tinted pour.

Nose: All kinds of sweet honeyed fruits in the nose. RIPE peaches, mango, pineapple, melons. Little hint of tart/sourness inhaled.

Taste: Booze, fades after a few sips, but the mild warming remains throughout. Little tingling bite. Fucking ambrosia. Same ripe fruits as in the nose, honeyed is the word. Mildly honeyed. Tartness, just a nip, takes the edge of sweetness off a bit and perfectly interacts with subtle citric/grapefruit hops and a clearly spicy bite to produce one of the best tasting beers I've ever had.

Body: nowhere near as cloying as I'd suspect from the nose and mouth, but a bit of that viscous nature. Outrageously quaffable for the abv and sweetness.

Surly amazes me.

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Photo of hop_chomper
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark, orange hue. A little cloudy, with small, slighty fluffy white head. The lighter color surprised me a bit.

S: Stone fruits that evolves to a sweeter citrus. Getting lots of wood with some pleasing floral notes and dry, grainy malts.

T: Malty grains hit me first with some woody citrus. Definitely boozy, alcohol sting & some astringent characters in the finish. Tropical fruits, pine, with some thick toasted caramel color. Punchy, earthy. A sipper for sure.

MF: Thick & chewy, with a prickly dry finish. A bit more carbonated than I would have liked.

O: Aggressive and big, pretty interesting. The wood characters provide some depth that really takes the citrus and malty elements to a different level. A bit boozy. I wonder what this will taste like in a few years.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a glass at 3 Squares in Maple Grove. Yup, that's a strong beer. Oddly, there was a clear sour funk when the beer was fresh off the tap and faded as it warmed. It tasted like a younger sourness, and, I suspect, could make this beer really interesting in a couple years.

This is a thick, fruity beer with a dry funky edge. I get apricot, marmalade, and tangerine up front and then a more toasty fresh oak barrel kick and wood astringency (not too much, just a touch). It's understandably thick for the strength, and well-balanced by the hops. It's a very good beer as is, but I think in a 12-24 months it could be great.

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Photo of zeledonia
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surly makes great, style-bending beers. I've heard this one described as unclassifiable, so I'm really curious what it's like. Enjoyed 15 August 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a medium very orange amber. Clear, with about one finger of whitish head. Decent retention and lacing. Not particularly attractive.

Has a tingly sizzle in the nose. Hoppy in a way that's abrasive to the nose, but in a strangely pleasant manner. It's a blast of all kinds of acids, oils, and esters, so that I have a hard time pulling out anything to put a name on.

Taste is very, very strange. It's really hard to pin down what you're tasting, because it's so different from anything else I've encountered. It's very malty and powerfully hoppy. Tastes like a cross between apple juice and bug spray, that is somehow amazing. I can't even put together how those two things could combine to make something good, but they do. Has a rich base sweetness that's overlain by a tingly buzz of bitter. It really reminds me of when I get DEET on my lips. And yet I like it.

Weighs on the tongue, like slick syrupy oil. Rather dry finish.

An interesting and quite unique beer, that I find really difficult to describe. But it is darn tasty. It's like a wall of sound, with little snippets jumping out from time to time, but I'm often lost in the delicious static and noise. It strikes me as almost masochistic, in that much of the enjoyment comes from the way in which it assaults my senses.

Last note: it's incredible how well the alcohol is hidden. I couldn't even imagine that I was drinking a 15% ABV beer, if I hadn't read the label. Very dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of bfirkin45
4.95/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this both on-tap and from the bottle. Smells great, with sweet molasses, oak, and citrus coming off it.

The appearance is stellar with a deep orange glow and a shallow head on the bear. Swirling it produces an alcohol ring comparable to most wines.

I enjoyed the complexity when sipping this. I got apricot and some other light citrus flavor with a very smooth wood complexity overall. Very powerful stuff.

My first American Strong Ale and it was great, as are most beers from Todd and Omar (just Todd in the Anniversary beers). Hard to find and happy to hoard what I got. An exceptional multi-layered brew with fabulous character.

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SŸX from Surly Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 357 ratings.
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