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Pentagram | Surly Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.66%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by MasterSki on 02-19-2013

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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 976
Photo of ta_hagen
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was Funky, Dark and sour. Just as advertised. Very yummy, with every drink that goes down, the better it gets and then it's gone. I'm needing another one! DEFINITELY recommend for sure. Worth the wait.

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Photo of LukeSphoto
4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely delicious Brett Sour. I love brett beers and have really come to enjoy sours so this mashup of the two is perfect for me. Obviously the smell is a bit funky as you get the "horseblanket" and "farmhouse funk" from the brett, the taste/mouthfeel are incredible though. Love this beer, personal top 5 list for sure.

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Photo of timfc
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Purchased a 22oz bottle from Milk & More on Diversey in Chicago. Cracked it open and poured into 12oz glass.

The color was a dark red both reflecting the base brew and the wine barrel aging. There was a nice bit of carbonation, but the lace quickly dropped off to just a thin white line.

Aroma: the wine barrels really came through on the nose, lots of grape and oak here with underlying hints of funk.

Body: just enough body to support the flavor.

Flavor + overall: it hits your tongue and then develops for a while. I don't know why people are putting this at 92 overall, while it's not quite supplication or consecration, it's an amazing beer. The balance between the barnyard funk and wine barrel is nearly perfect and well-balanced with the alcohol. I'd drink this every day if I wasn't dropping such a penny on it.

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Photo of Santanax
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a sour ale!!!! Perfect oaking goes almost unnoticed but its there. Bright citrus notes with sour lactic and acetic notes with brettanomyces funk kicking you in your face!!!Mouthfeel is superior along with mouthwatering happening there is some puckering along with crisp dry finish. Superb crazy price ranges for this shit ive gotten it from 16.99 to 30...sadly first one i got paid 25...great stuff!!!!

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Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown, hazy; little to no head. Strong aromas of cherry, funk, and chocolate. Tastes like sweet tabacco, tart cherries, slight roast, also possesses a surprisingly vinous character from the wine barrels - more so than I would have expected.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage served cold in a taster glass.

Appearance: thin, blackish brown and ominous. Murky in the glass with a light brown head.

Nose and Taste: medicinal, sour cherries, raspberry, bitter, very complex and funky with a spicy finish. Tanic acid, chocolate in the finish. Very drying mouthfeel that leaves you salavating and puckering.

Wow. Didn't see this one coming. Super complex and weird. Not like any other Brett beer I've had. It could be the 100% Brett Fermentation. I really need more of this in my life to cellar. A nice combination of the classic barnyard funky Brett and a spicy and complex one. $20 a bottle is steep but so worth it. This store had a 1 bottle limit; I can see why.

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Photo of TheGenesisOfElegance
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: A cloudy red hue, reminds me of a dark cherry soda. Good carbonation but the moderate head disappears quickly. No lacing.
S: It even smells of cherry soda mixed with a sour soda like Squirt or, to a lesser extent, 7UP (even though it's lemon lime based). The brett strain is very prominent as well. Also malt and a hint of wine are present.
T: The brett funk comes on strong, but then the sour kicks in, as well as a nice subtle sour cherry wine flavor. All of it is then rounded off with your typical malt chewiness.
M: A very slippery ale with great carbonation and sour soda fizziness.
O: The super unique flavors make this a hard beer to review because of the brett strain. (this is my second brett beer I've had, so I'm still getting used to the style). It wants to be many things all at once but you can still pick out each individual component. It's a highly drinkable beer and is very satisfying. I highly recommend it if you can find it.

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Photo of toke737
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my first sours. Looks plumy purple like a Belgian Quad. Smell's funky with some sour or citrus. Tingly on the tongue like it has citric acid in it, tastes sour with a less then expected malt appearance. finishes dry.

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Photo of ddedhed
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Doing this from memory. Thanks to a friend of mine for bringing this and some other Surly beers home for me from Minnesota.

Appearance was dark ruby. I was drinking it outside at dusk, so not the best lighting to appreciate it. There was a thin head that popped up, but disappeared immediately. It smelled vinous and funky. Definitely a little tart cherry too. The taste was amazing. Earthy, funky, sour dark grapes, some oak from the barrel, and a nice dry finish. Definitely taste the wine barrel, in a very good way. Mouthfeel was thin and typical of a wild ale.

Overall I thought this was exceptional. I tasted with my father in law and a friend, neither of whom drink sours. They were really impressed by the complexity, and so was I. I would really like to get another bottle and let it sit in the cellar for a while. Great beer!

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown-purple body, light tan fizzy head, sediment appears at the end of the bottle. Nose is incredible, the stuff of dreams. Tart dark fruit with potent acidity, mellowed by light oak imparting vanilla and red wine notes, with a slight barnyard funk beneath it all. The aromas are by no means equal in strength, but do balance each other and give this beer a wonderful, inquisitive, intriguing complexity. The flavor is also great, but the aromas have been muddled. Only mild-moderately sour now (which I'm a bit disappointed by, but it does, begrudgingly, make for a more mature beer), there are still notes of sour cherry and blackberry, among other vinous notes, with a very stern mollifying oak note. Deep and brooding. Body is medium weight, highly fluid and crisp, carbonation is between fine and coarse, definitely noticeable.
What an experience. Satan is the new mayor of Yumtown, at least in the nose category. Wonderful complexity, with a wide bouquet of distinctive aromas. Tasted damn good, too, but subjectively I still want to push that sourness up a bit. Could have used a bit more funk, too. Nothing incredible in the feel, but considering how sensational the smell/taste was it's an achievement just to keep up. I'm not sure if having tasted it once makes paying the premium for this more or less justifiable, all I know is that I want more.

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Photo of TCMike
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet, it produced a one finger, cream colored head. Beer color is a deep brown, bordering on black.

The aroma is of leather, sour, dark cherries/grapes.

The taste is similar. Medium mouth-feel, and a medium carbonation, with some effervescence.

This is a very good sour!!

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Photo of brentk56
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottling

Appearance: Pours tawny verging on ruby, with a two inch rocky head; spotty lacing lingers

Smell: Quite vinous, with red wine grape, cherry, rhubarb and pomegranate tones; barnyard funk creates complexity

Taste: Caramel, Munich malt base, with the fruit elements coming on strong, bringing red wine grape and cherry, with subtle undertones of rhubarb and pomegranate; lactic sourness builds, through the middle, with the barnyard funk and tobacco tones bringing up the rear

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: The more I tasted the more I liked; a little age on this beer really makes it astonishingly good

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Pig & Fiddle. L: Pours hazy dark brown under a 3” cream to tan colored foam collar that mounds up above the rim of the glass. S: Tart, funky aromas with hints of darker malts. T: A malty rich start quickly turns funky with plums, sour pitted fruit, darker malts, and lemon. F: surly has nailed the Barrett texture, very creamy soft. O: An interesting, yet approachable, wild ale.

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Photo of joiceed
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a fun beer. Appears like a dark amber. With a very nice head which will continue to lace the glass (or bottle) as you are indulged sip after sip. I drank it on tap, which I feel lucky for. The smell is of crabapple, very pungent pomegranate and even rich coffee. Taste is just as playful. The Brettanomyces present themselves as a wildly bitter component of sourness that one would taste when biting into a grannysmith apple. With that come flavors of cherry, plum, oak, coffee and cranberries. It is a very smooth, drinkable mouthfeel, much like a lager, with the tingling carbonation of a Sprite. Ultimately I would highly recommend this beer to anyone seeking the devilish pleasures of a punky lipsmacker beer that welcomes you to have a glass or two (not more than that though due to the powerful flavor profile!).

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Photo of porter_collie
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

10 oz. draft at the Surly brewery

A - Mahogany body with a thin off-white head.

S - Sour cherry, cranberry, oak, and a slight doggy funk.

T - Sour cherry and cranberry are the first flavors to hit the palate. These are immediately followed by oak, grape musk, and tobacco. A slight animal funk, too. The malt is similar to dark sourdough rye. Cherry tartness and oak linger.

M - A medium body with a very dry finish.

O - A wonderful, complex Brett beer that spectacularly balances sour, funk, fruit, wood, and malt flavors. If you go to the brewery, a glass of Pentagram and the smoked mushroom and goat cheese pizza are a diabolical combination.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this beer for some time! Poured from a 750 ml. bottle into an appropriate Surly snifter.

A: Pours a deep crimson/mahogany color with a thin cream-colored head that quickly settles to a thin ring on the edges.

S: Cherries, some wood, and a faint hint of barnyard funk, followed by some caramel and dried fruit undertones.

T: Really vinous up front, with tart cherry, plum, and a touch of spice. Just the right amount of tartness on the mid-palate with some balsamic notes. Finishes tart, but with nice caramel notes and sour cherry.

M: Medium-bodied, this beer attacks all taste buds with complexity, and finishes long and intense.

O: This is an awesome sour! I can't get enough of it. Pentagram has everything I look for in this style of brew. Drinkability is superb, and I can't wait to see how it turns out with some age!

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Photo of Halfbrother83
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep plum in color with one finger of initial foam head that dissipates into a thin lace as it settles.

S: Tart fruit, dark malts, pop rocks, sour cherry.

T: Wow! Smooth, tart push of lightly sour cherry, grape, white wine, Brett funk. Very well balanced and juicy; on the lower end of the sour spectrum.

M: Thin bodied with crisp, light carbonation. Very clean and refreshing.

O: Truthfully, one of the first wild ales that I've thoroughly enjoyed. My only discrepancy is the price, which is a bit more than I feel is fair for this beer, but overall, a very, very solid offering from Surly.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml waxed bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brownish amber with a hint of ruby. Lots of bubbles stick to the sides of the glass. Solid two fingers of creamy off white head that slowly fade into a thin patch. Lacing is pretty good.

Smell: A big aroma of tart and sour fruit along with dark malts. Big hints of red wine grapes and cherries upfront. The tartness, sourness, and sweetness is strong but not overwhelming. Good hints of oak, wood, tobacco, Brett funk, and leather. Dark malts with hints of chocolate, caramel, toffee, yeast, and biscuit. Hints of prune, raisin, and fig as well. A really solid complex aroma that has a good balance of fruit and barrel aromas.

Taste: Follows the nose quite nicely with a solid combination of barrel and malt flavors. Sour and tart taste of red wine grapes and cherries. Good notes of Brett barnyard funk, oak, wood, leather, and tobacco. Sweet dark malts with notes of chocolate, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Also some good undertones of dark fruit with notes of prune, plum, raisin, and fig. The flavors blend together well and the sourness and tartness are not overwhelming. A really solid Wild ale taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and somewhat slick. Goes down very smooth with minimal alcohol heat.

Overall: A very good take on a American Wild ale. Lively and well balanced wine barrel and malt flavors. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

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Photo of Emersonio
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour: On draft at Smoke and Barrel in D.C. Poured into a snifter. Appearance: Deep brown to virtually black in color. Bone colored head that starts out moderate but reduces as the brew settles. Lacing present on the sides of the glass. Aroma: Immediate Brett funk. SOUR sour cherry all the way. Lots of barnyard as well. Almost medicine-like but not too distracting. Taste: Very sour. Pucker inducing immediately. Packs a punch right on the first sip. As soon as it smacks you taste buds with a sour wallop it reduces in intensity. What is revealed is a nice complex balance of sour cherry and Brett funk. Some acidity is there but nothing to oppressive. Aftertaste: Follows the end of the taste. Sour cherry and Brett funk all the way. Notes: This is as straightforward as it gets and doesn't disappoint. I wasn't ready for the sour intensity but was happy that it dissipated and revealed a nice balanced beer. Loved the extremes. Result/Rating: Very Good/ 4.45

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown color that is somewhat cloudy and reminiscent of a dark woody color. Head is light tan fizzy and fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell is awesome semi sweet tart cherry and raspberry aromas are forward in the nose with a great oaky wood presence that blends incredibly with the earthy grape skin aromas that follow.

Taste follows the nose with flavors of tart cherry and raspberries along with some sweet white grape flavors forward. Moderate oaky presence along with a stickier sour flavor and mild vanilla tannins adds a great boldness to the midsection. Some nice toffee and light grain husk flavors are on the exhale along with more oak and fruit.

Mouthfeel is very nicely balanced. Mild sweetness and tartness start before moderate carbonation and a sticky sour balance each other nicely. Slightly dry finish.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a very murky and dark brown (a dark red hue is apparent around the edges with backlighting) with a faint skim of dark tan head that quickly recedes. Somewhat foreboding in appearance, which fits the bill.
S: Sour brett, tart cherries, vanilla, tobacco, sweet milk chocolate, and some dark dried fruit (e.g. raisins).
T: Wow...quite sour up front. More so than the aroma suggested...nice surprise! Sweet and tart cherries, mild brett (the barnyard funk is nicely subdued here...allowing the other taste notes to shine), and in the background linger vanilla, oak, and a vinous note.
M: Light-medium body. Sour with tart and sweet notes. Fairly smooth and straightforward feel. Gotta love the ABV.
D: A very well thought out and crafted brew. Packs a strong punch (taste-wise) for such a light-weight (ABV-wise). Extremely sessionable...dangerously so. Seek it out and enjoy!

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a dark brown pour with a finger of head which quickly diminished. as soon as the cap popped off, you get a mix of apple/cherry aromas, wine barrels, lots of barnyard funk. a closer inspection (once poured) and you get a nice hint of subtle roastiness/chocolaty scents. an initial sour kick, followed by a subtle roasted grain flavor, then immediately a wine barrel - pinot noir? - tastes of chocolate, tobacco, green apples.. very funky, very amazingly delicious. the longer you sip, the more it starts tasting like a flanders ale.
medium in body with a higher than usual carbonation for a stout, perfect for a wild ale.

this is a fantastic drinking experience. can't say i've ever had a stout like this, and can't say i'd call this a stout. it's a great wild/sour beer - more leaning towards wine barrel flavors and barnyard than it is sourness... has a nice amount of apple-tart qualities. i know this bottle's a bit expensive, but it's worth trying.

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Photo of mnphish
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml waxed bottle (2013 edition) served into a snifter. Pours a murky dark red/brown with a half inch head that stays afloat. Smell is of sour cherries, vinegar, barnyard funk, and red wine. Flavors of sour black cherries, tobacco, red wine, leather, and cocoa hit the palate. No metal taste whatsoever. Relatively dry mouthfeel with low carbonation, very chewy. I am very happy Surly chose to make this an annual release. Surly Five is one of my favorite sour beers and this is very similar. Way to put MN on the map Mr. Haug!

edit: I've noticed some variation in sourness from bottle to bottle. The stuff I had on tap wasn't as tart as the first bottle I reviewed.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark ruby color with brown tints. The head is half an inch of white foam that recedes quickly into nothing. The aroma is of sour cherries, green apples, and jolly rancher. The taste is has some nice sour and tart notes, but doesn't quite create the pucker factor I usually look for in a sour. It does, however, have a really nice complimentary funkiness that fills in admirably in place of the pucker. In fact, the sour-funky combo give this beer a dimension that I can't recall encounterint before. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and dry with spritzy carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is another winner from Surly. I only wish I'd have bought more than one bottle when I had the chance.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by RussianDragon. Thanks man.

Mahogany body, hints of crimson, mild to medium haze, notable sediment (after an aggressive pour), half inch of lasting beige head. Aromas of funk, oak, cherry, wine barrel. Sour cherries, oak, funk, leather, black currants. Piquant and delicious.

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Pentagram from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 976 ratings.
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