Surly Brewing Company

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Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Wild Ale
Ranked #463
Ranked #4,316
4.15 | pDev: 9.64%
Feb 25, 2022
Feb 19, 2013
Notes: This Arcane Seal guards an enigmatic brew that is FUNKY, DARK, and SOUR. If you choose to break the seal, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

100% Brettanomyces Dark beer fermented in stainless and aged in red wine barrels. "Brett" is a unique yeast strain that produces flavors that would be considered offensive if they were not intentional. 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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3.47 by Mac_Cheesin from Maryland on Feb 25, 2022
3.69 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Nov 29, 2021
4.74 by Rhetion from Florida on Oct 22, 2021
3.46 by JustLikeMyDad from Michigan on Aug 22, 2021
4.1 by ChrisMon02 from Ohio on Jun 08, 2021
4.08 by Dope from Massachusetts on Jun 06, 2021
3.89 by rorjets from Connecticut on Jun 05, 2021
Photo of Angus_12
1/5  rDev -75.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1
by Angus_12

This isn't beer, it strictly tastes like your jailcell friends first attempt at making toilet wine. Exactly like the $3 wine they sell at a grocery store that will remain unnamed but less than half the ABV. By far my most regretful purchase of any beer ever. Yes it smells like fermenting apples but so does my lawn on a hot summer day.

Jun 04, 2021
4 by Patches826 from Massachusetts on Jun 02, 2021
4 by prototypic from Ohio on May 30, 2021
Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by clayrock81 from Florida

Poured a ruby-tinted brown body with minimal head and lace down the glass. The aroma is sour, not really tart, acidic, and a little woody. Smooth, medium-bodied, mellows from overtly sour on first few sips to something that tastes like sweet and sour grape juice (would that be blackberry?). The finish is slightly sharper than the beer itself and has some funk to it, but isn't bad and this is beer worth sipping on.

May 20, 2021
3.95 by Jsalz21 from New Jersey on May 19, 2021
Photo of Gajo74
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Gajo74 from New York

Pours a hazy ruby red color with brown prune like dark notes. A modest head rapidly dissipates. Looks inviting.

The smell opens quite funky with notes of wine barrel and tart fruit backed by bready malts. Aromas of sour cherry, red grape, raisins prunes and currants.

The taste is sour and quite mouth puckering. Very vinous and bone dry with notes of oak, grapes and currants. Notes of cherry, raisin, vinegar, peppery and rustic spices, all well supported by a doughy malt backbone.

Medium bodied with a nice malt fullness. The mouthfeel is mostly smooth, chewy at times. The carbonation is moderate.

This was complex and well executed; I liked it a lot. Reminds me of a Flanders Red. I would definitely have this again if I’m in the mood for a strong sour.

May 19, 2021
Photo of Roy_Hobbs
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

Appearance is reminiscent of root beer, both the actual pour and in the glass. Small amount of fizzy, short-lived head. Aroma is quite vinous, but with plenty of sour / funky notes that I am immediately intrigued by. Taste is really interesting. Plenty tart, but not one dimensionally so. There's a really nice underlying funk that is balanced with the vinous notes and maybe a bit of cherry lurking in the background. Overall, this is refreshingly complex and just an overall very interesting beer.

Apr 04, 2021
4.18 by minterro from California on Apr 04, 2021
4.7 by Bear1964 from Nebraska on Mar 26, 2021
4.63 by MacStinson from Michigan on Mar 08, 2021
3.91 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois on Feb 28, 2021
Photo of Merlyn
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by Merlyn from Michigan

Poured into a Bordeaux glass because that's all I really had.. not pouring this into a pint. Small head that dissipated quickly. Nose is funky grape, dried red fruit and vanilla. Some raisin. Taste has the same notes with a good sour kick and some wonderful funk from the Brett, with a hint of coconut and good texture. It smells elegant, rich, and subdued in the way a crimson velvet armchair is subdued, but the sour shocks the flavors awake and creates a wonderful drama. Everything just comes alive and the rich, round dried, stewed, caramel and coconut flavors are perfectly balanced by the sharpness of the Brett. This is outstanding.

Feb 23, 2021
4.42 by d5001986 from Wisconsin on Feb 16, 2021
Photo of bbtkd
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by bbtkd from South Dakota

Surly Pentagram Dark Sour, 7% ABV. Pours deep purple with a half-finger tan head on an aggressive pour that left no lacing. Nose is wine and funk. Taste is quite tart cherry, grape/wine, vinegar, funk, a hint of vanilla, with other subtle flavors mixed in and evolving as it warms. Decent mouthfeel, overall outstanding. The complexity of Abyss - only in a dark sour.

Feb 07, 2021
Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

Pours a browner version of garnet with very limited head and lacing. It looks like a Flanders red mixed with a bit of red wine.

Aromas of almost sweet-tart malic fruitiness meet oak and special vinous wine notes that open and fill out as the brew warms. It's finished with brett funk, the slightest bit of unexpected molasses/brown sugar and both malt and apple cider vinegar.

The brew hits the tip of the tongue with more malic sourness and vinous character before giving way quickly to a spectacular array of flavors. Graham, honey, brown sugar, and slightly toasted malt flavors deliver an unexpected sweetness that creeps up around the tip sides of the tongue. Dark fruits, oak, red wine, vanilla, brett funk, and leather all arrive in the midstream and last to the end, where more tartness and a touch of very well hidden alcohol arrives. As a result, the brew initially delivers just as much tartness as the nose suggests, before quickly balancing the palate with the hidden malty surprise.

Perhaps a shade beyond medium bodied, it has low carbonation. Still easy to drink owing to some strong acidity.

Some may find this brew a bit too domesticated for the style. It does seem a bit more like a Belgian sour than a true wild ale at times--until the surprising toasty sweet malts are factored in. So ultimately this is an extremely well-constructed and sophisticated wild ale that provides remarkable background balancing sweetness to compliment the expected funky sourness and woody wine notes. One of the best beers I've had in some time.

Jan 31, 2021
4.21 by beerdedking from Pennsylvania on Jan 29, 2021
4.04 by Burgy from Minnesota on Jan 23, 2021
4.25 by mcrawford from Michigan on Jan 22, 2021
4.39 by nruhlig from Minnesota on Jan 10, 2021
Photo of MadtownMaltman
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by MadtownMaltman from Wisconsin

2015 750 ml bottle chilled on the front porch. A thin head that disappears fairly quickly. Smell of oak, cherry and some kinda funk. Tastebuds feel a little pucker and sour; feels warm and smooth. A great beer for the holiday (or any day you can take some time to savor!).

Nov 26, 2020
3.83 by eppie82 from Illinois on Aug 17, 2020
Photo of DTOB
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by DTOB from Minnesota

Pentagram receives a perfect score from me because it is the first beer that got me genuinely interested in beer. My first time drinking pentagram was at the Surly brewery in Minneapolis. After the first few sips, I remember thinking to myself that it was an interesting brew. A few sips later, and I remarked to myself that this was a really unique flavor experience. Finally, I started to attempt to decipher the flavors I had tasted. I couldn't do it, as there were too many, including many which I would never have expected to notice in a beer. Pentagram really showed me what an adventure beer-drinking can be.

After drinking Pentagram at every opportunity for years, I can gladly report that the flavor has held up. It's an exciting mixture of oily leather, with wine, oak, tobacco, brettanomyces, and perhaps a little smoke. The smell is of grapes, leather, and oak. The appearance is dark brown with a small head. It's drier than most beers, but not overwhelming in that regard. My only complaint is the tacky name and ABV (pentagram? 6.66 ABV? come on, folks). But that's negligible given what an incredible beer this is.

Bottom line is that if you are lucky enough to have access to this beer, I'd recommend that you try it at your soonest convenience.

Jul 18, 2020
3.75 by crobinso from Colorado on Apr 24, 2020
4.12 by jmh21 from Minnesota on Feb 03, 2020
4.38 by videofrog from Texas on Dec 09, 2019
3.98 by Chilmer from Iowa on Nov 03, 2019
4.34 by JeffSK from Wisconsin on Oct 29, 2019
4.13 by EdFed from Illinois on Oct 11, 2019
4.35 by Old_Dead_Oak from Wisconsin on Aug 31, 2019
4.1 by hopkrid from Florida on Aug 18, 2019
4.1 by ian_graf from Minnesota on Jul 28, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by GuyFawkes from Illinois

Bottled February 2014; drank 6/14/14 @ Yuss Haus.

Semi-opaque ruby hue.

Cream-colored head; minimal lace.

Mild strawberry tartness in the nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

A pleasant, mildly tart strawberry flavor; session-able but a bit too shy.

Jul 14, 2019
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

750ml bottle. Waxed and capped bottle. Bottling date is March of 2016,
Muddy brown colored body, with red cherry when back lit. Slight off white head which quickly disappears. No lacing.
Aroma of dark cherry and slight barnyard funk (sour). Slight coating of tobacco and leather.
Taste is slight sour, with much influence from the wine barrels. Dark cherry with barnyard funk. Abrupt dry end.
Medium mouth feel. Very good carbonation.
This is a very mellow Brett sour.

May 12, 2019
Pentagram from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1103 ratings