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Pentagram | Surly Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
92 Reviews
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PentagramPentagram
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
92
Ratings:
948
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
30.36%
 
 
Wants:
228
Gots:
359
For Trade:
45
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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 948
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 Taybeh
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Usually have this at least once a year but have never reviewed... this one is on tap in a shaker (of all things) at Stub & Herbs.
Pours a murky reddish brown with little to no head.
Nose is oaky, vinous and some vinegar, fleshy and somewhat tart cherries and berries, maybe a little plum too. I don't get much Brett. A lot of good stuff there, but I don't get the waves or layers that I do in the wild ales I think of as really standing out.
Taste and Mouthful are a step up from the nose...everything is there in more detail, as well as a little sweet and juicy tobacco drowning out what I thought would be more plummy. Cherries and dark berries are still there, and it is moderately tart and sour. Body is light to moderate, carbonation is also middling, decently crisp considering the tannins that coat my tongue. Pentagram always reminds me of a Flanders Red, and it does so again. This is very enjoyable. In comparison to the best, it isn't quite as much of a standout as some of Surly's other beers, but I'm not going to complain.

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Photo of FBarber
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark deep reddish brown color. Semi opaque with some haze. No head to speak of.

Smell had aromas of red wine, grapes, oak, vinegar, with that signature barnyard funk to it.

Taste followed that nose with some red wine, grapes, oak and maybe some overly ripe cherry. Undertones of tobacco, acidic notes and vinegar along with a funky flavor. Some strong metallic flavors were also noted in conjunction with the vinegar flavors. Im no connoisseur of wild ales, but I doubt that metallic flavor is supposed to be there.

Feel half mild carbonation, body was light, thin, dry.

Overall, this may be a very good example of the style, from my limited experience Id say its not an outstanding example, but an ok one.

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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 ONovoMexicano
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into an oversized tulip. 2014 bottle.

Not sure what style I'm dealing with here, but the bottle mentions a "100% Brett dark beer fermented in stainless and aged in used red wine barrels." It also mentions dark Munich malt.

From the pour and the aroma, I'm on the fence on whether this is an oud bruin or Flanders Red. As I'm no expert, I find the two styles similar. Based on the burgundy color here that resembles a dark red wine, I'm guessing this is a Flanders Red.

Nose is vinous, tart, oaken, with a brown sugary sweetness that I generally find in Oud Bruins but I think is common in the Flanders Red too. Had a Rodenbach Grand Cru recently and recall it being similar to this. There's a vague similarity to vinegar I get in both the aforementioned styles and thankfully, as in the best of both, it's meek in its presence.

Sometimes I'm incapable of describing flavor and feel separately and this is one of those cases. As I was thinking about the taste, my first thoughts were that it was tart and vinous. These attributes seem to encompass both and are accurate so I'm gonna run with them. I get that brown sugar flavor, some vanilla, a pulpy berry or cherry flavor, and a dry, oak finish.

This is good. Plenty to absorb and enjoy.

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Photo of Peepskp
3.52/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this at Surly beer hall. Angostura bitters, sour dried dark fruit, leather, musk. Very interesting but not my cup of tea. Rather have red wine when it is this close.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful bottle - once the wax is broken and the cap off, the aroma hits right away. Pours murky, with medium head that quickly dissipates. Aroma of fruit - heavily cherry. Taste is complex, with a smooth fruity finish. The body is medium. This beer was surprising good - highly recommend it.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery
A: Murky brown with a thin head
S: Sour cherry, lemon, red wine, brett
T: Sour cherry, sour green apple, red wine, Brett funk. Sounds weird but it works
M: Medium-bodied, sour & crisp
O: Not the most puckering or most complex sour I've had but certainly solid/enjoyable

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 opened in April 2016

A- Redish brown with think head
S- Cherry, apple, leather, wood
T- Tart cherry and green apple up front then fades to plum and then nearly nothing... where did the aftertaste go?
F- Thin
O- Interesting. Not too funky. Love the cherry notes.

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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 larryarms847
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark red brown with an active finger of purplish-red foam that dissipates quickly.

Subtle oak/earthy undertones are dominated by cherry, wet hay funkiness, and vinous notes.

Cherry, red wine, oak, subtle vinegary acidity, and surprisingly muted Bretty funk.

Light-medium bodied, medium carbonation, subtle funk, dry, tart, and pretty refreshing.

Overall, I expected a great deal more from this considering it's price point, but it's actually rather good. It's not outstanding and I probably won't purchase again but it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of frasergrove
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours surprisingly lighter than expected - a dark amber which is very hazy. Aroma is a light mixture of Brett funkiness, tart red wine barrel, and a touch of earthiness. Lightly tart on the tongue with residual funk to the finish. Pepper, under ripe blackberry and mild tobacco on the tongue. A nice sour.

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Photo of Umdrunner
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I'm not generally a fan of sour beers or wine. I tried this fresh on tap about a year ago and the sour wine taste over powered it for me. Today I tried a bottle that aged for a year and the sour wine taste really mellowed to my liking. Solid beer, not my favorite.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
2.77/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From my notes at a 2014 Craft Beer Expo. Not a fan of the name or the ominous ABV.

Look : 2 finger head, 80% opacity, honey brown color.

Smell : Medium strength bouquet. A soy sauce/sour aroma - like rotted watermelon and discarded fruits, light hop.

Taste : Sour melon flavors, a bit of rose, high alcohol presence. Very tart like a Mead.

Feel : Semi dry, light to medium bodied, wet.

Overall : Not bad but not great. I'd probably skip it next time.

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Photo of Myotus
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml 2014 vintage bottle into a tulip.
LOOK: Pours with a finger's worth of brown foam that dissipates into a line after 35 seconds. Mahogany in color. Rising bubbles are extremely subtle. Lacing is low and thin.
SMELL: Smells like a Flanders Oud Bruin with brett; strong sour yeast and oak aromas, mild tobacco, cherries, and subtle hay aromas. This is not a special aroma. Very generic.
TASTE: Initial taste is of strong sour yeast and mild tobacco flavors. Strong oak flavors and subtle cherry flavors enter immidieately after. As all flavors persist, mild flavors of red wine and subtle hay flavors enter lastly.
FEEL: Somewhere between medium-bodied and light-bodied. Subtly carbonated. Finishes very dry. Sourness agitates the tongue.
NOTE: Had a very generic aroma, but was made it for in it's somewhat unique taste. The red wine barrels add a nice addition along with what little brett there was.

 920 characters

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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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 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 jzlyo
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is cherries, lactic/milk and sour/fruit. The flavor is cherries/berries, fruit, mild sweetness/lactic acid and a tart/sour/slightly funky finish.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, 2015 vintage.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - It pours a dark reddish brown body with about a finger of frothy khaki cream colored head that stays for a while. Some okay scattered strands of fat lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The aroma begins with a sour / tart fruitiness, sour cherry, notes of vanilla, and oak wood. Very complex and layered stuff.

T - A beautiful blend of sour tart fruits, and barrel flavors. Vanilla.

M - Sour and tart, dangerously drinkable stuff. Medium-bodied with excellent carb.

Overall, a wonderful sour from Surly. Not sure this is one I would like to age, but I would surely have it again if it was more available!

Surly Pentagram -----4.5/5

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Surly pint glass.

A: Pours a dark fermented plum color with a smoky orange undertone. A creamy white head dissipates with little lacing.

S: Green apple, cherry, red grapes, slight hints of pomegranate, slightly yeasty, oak, overall quite tart.

T: Wow there is a lot going on in this brew. Green apple, cherry, red grapes, rhubarb, pomegranate, cranberry, grapefruit, oak, tobacco, and a undistinguishable tarty funk.

M: Light to mid-bodied, highly carbonated, crisp almost champagne like finish.

O: A truly unique and funky brew. This is the best sour I've had to this point. It's a fantastic ale but not for those without an open mind.

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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 paco1029384756
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep burgundy with quite a bit of sediment. Rich oak is the most prominent character. Light sugar, tart yeast, hibuscus, tobacco, earth and hints of dry fruit in the finish. Less tart than many other sours, but worth a try if you like oak-forward beers.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a murky brownish red color. It boasts a very small tan head that fades pretty quickly.

This beer has a nice tart aroma. I get some tart cherry aroma and a slight apply as well. Some earthy funk aroma mixes in as well.

This beer tastes like it smells. It has a nice tartness, with some pleasant fruity flavors.

This beer is carbonated well and leaves a slightly tart cherry aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is great! I really like a well done sour beer. Thanks so much Sarah for this one!

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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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Pentagram from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.
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