Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Pentagram | Surly Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
92 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
PentagramPentagram
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

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:
976
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
9.4%
 
 
Wants:
226
Gots:
368
For Trade:
47
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 976
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with fruit, acidic, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

 551 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

my first bottled offering from surly. this had been described to be as just like consecration, so needless to say, I was stoked hard. it pours a similarly cloudy autumn red color with not nearly as much carbonation, and a minimal white head. there is a bunch of super fine suspended yeast in this too. the nose is cherry heavy, with the wine treatment also being quite obvious. it smells sour, but its front of the tongue stuff, not all encompassing as consecration is. the flavor has plenty of oak too it, lots of tart fruit, and a sour profile that's true to the nose. its piquant and acidic, maybe a little too much so really, at least if it wants to be more drinkable. all the components are present, but the unity is whats missing in my opinion. the acid detracts the mouthfeel after a glass or so, my teeth start to dry out and hurt, and my tongue feels like ive been hammering sour patch kids. its actually really good, and an impressive first (I think?) sour beer from surly. contrary to popular opinion though, this does not stand up to consecration at all. better carbonation than it shows, and the body is only medium. very long finish despite its drying effects, a funny but enjoyable peculiarity. overall a worthy beer, and a treat to try, but I would not buy this with a consecration on the shelf.

edit: just had the 2015 edition and was totally blown away. as good as any in ins field, bumping up a few scores to reflect the quality of this new batch. just the right sourness, lots of barrel, bright in the mouth. fantastic!

 1,540 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a deep burgundy color with a tannish hire head on top. The head settled leaving a soap ring around the edge of the glass. Light lacing as well. The smell is big with sour notes and wine barrel aging. It's also got a nice sweet aroma, slight cherry-like aromas on the nose. The taste isn't as sour as I thought it might be. The beer has a subtle tart flavor with some cherry or grape flavors. There is some earthy tobacco and malt. The mouthfeel is smooth, moderate carbonation and medium bodied. Overall it's a very drinkable brew, glad I got to try it.

 572 characters

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

 659 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml brown glass bottle with waxed-over pressure cap and great label art/theme acquired from my sister and served into a Lost Abbey teku in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof; I loved Surly Five. I love the unique etching on the black wax; I've never seen a brewery etch symbols into the bottle wax before. Presentation is awesome as a result and fits the theme of the beer.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of nice khaki colour. Good creaminess and thickness. Nice supple retention - about 3-4 minutes. Soft complexion.

Body colour is a very dark ruby-brown. Opaque but not solid. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Looks pretty good for the style; rich and decandent. Looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Acetic, with some guiding undertones of oak. Obvious sourness - more lactobacillus than anything else; I struggle to find any funky bretts. Cherry and currants/berries. Acidic. Grapeskin. I guess I get the red wine notes. Light caramalts. Some tart fruit. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. The sourness is clean and clinical, but inviting; I definitely don't suspect lambic yeast or bacteria was used - no true spontaneous fermentation here.

T: Acetic. Caramalts. Nice guiding cohesive sourness. Gestalt great balance. Acidic. Light tart fruit. Lacto yeast is dominant. Cherries and currants. Grapeskin. Hints of red wine. Barrel notes are restrained; I get some generic woody notes but not any evocative oak. A biteen reticient, but it's got good depth of flavour nonetheless. I don't get any funkiness or bretts; I'm a bit surprised. But the lacto is better anyway. It's a good build for a sour. Average flavour duration and intensity. A well balanced brew that could use some more complexity. Has nice subtlety, though.

No alcohol comes through. Constructively, the third act is a bit empty compared to first two.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Good body and thickness. Good carbonation. Complements the flavour profile nicely. Acidic. Good presence on the palate. Quite approachable - especially for a sour. Acetic.

Dr: I remember liking Five a bit better, but this is definitely a great sour. I'll have little trouble killing the bottle in short order. Recommended, but perhaps not amongst the very best in the style. A good sour from Surly, if a bit too clinical and clean for a style that demands spontaneous fermentation and a lack of control. I'd happily get it again at its market price. Reminds me of Rodenbach - which is always a good thing.

High B

 2,729 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud for sharing. 2013 vintage.

Light fizzy head disappears almost instantly, clear ruby mahogany color.

Nose great sour funk, nice vanilla like barrel thing, little mineral dark malt, little funky cherry, sour lacto creamy bit acidic funk.

Taste brings candy sweet malts, nice sour cherry like fruit, nice sour funk, lacto creamy funk, little acidic, little cocoa, sour brown malts, little metallic thing, toasty caramel. Finish is sticky touch flemmy, touch metallic with sour funk lingering.

Mouth is med bod, light carb, little flemmy sour.

Overall nice but seems like there are things missing to really make it amazing, but still pretty good.

 667 characters

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber copper in color. No head.

Flavor profile is sour cherries, caramel, and bready malts. A lot of sour flavors here. Oak and vanilla. A bit of vinegar. A mild acidity.

Mouthfeel: sour and tart. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Maybe a bit high.

Overall, this was pretty enjoyable. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Pretty easy to drink.

 357 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 05/19/13 notes. Again, big thanks to the founder of WTWBA for bringing out a few bottles of this; was a big Want of mine.

a - Pours a deep reddish brown color with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour fruits, dark fruity malts, red wine, oak, brett, caramel malts, vanilla, toasted and roasted malts, vinegar, and sour cherries. Lots of sour dark fruits and sour red wine; really awesome nose.

t - Tastes of sour dark fruits, roasted malts, burnt malts, toasted malts, cherries, oak, sweet fruit and vanilla, and chocolate malts. More roasty notes and malts here and not quite as sour as the nose, but still really good.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, tiny bit acedic.

o - Overall I liked this one a lot. I thought the nose was awesome, just full of sour red wine, cherries, and dark fruits, working in a little bit of brett and some roasty chatacteristics. Taste has more roast and malts, but still nice. Easy to drink, would love to get another bottle of this one.

 1,061 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.

 295 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep reddish brown. Small khaki head that settles to a pencil thin collar.

Smell - Buckets of wine. Caramel malts. Some acidity. Oak and vanilla.

Taste - Sour up front. Musty wine flavors, very grapey. Sweet and sour at the same time. Finishes with more wine and a sour kick.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation and kinda light. Too light, really.

Overall - Too much wine and a little monotonous, but a decent sour.

 464 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from jcwattsrugger, huge thanks for the opportunity!
Slightly cloudy medium brown color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of tart cherries and lemon with a bit of brown sugar and chocolate at the edges. The flavor is light lactic tart with a healthy dose of funk but still has a bit of residual malty sweetness left to it. The darker malts lend to a slightly chalky mouthfeel, medium body and a moderate level of carbonation. Decent wild ale but nothing horribly exciting.

 508 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap at Pizza Paradiso Dupont into a 4 oz. taster.

Quite a nice red amber, while dark quite clear. Faint tan head with a good creamy collar to match. Laces nicely.

Nose is a bit standard but quite solid. Simple malt sweetness and mild tartness, almost Rodenbach like territory particularly on the malt angle, just not quite there but good.

Very noticeable carbonation but not detracting. Light acid with a tartness and good malt backbone with some mild chewy good grainy quality. Borderline crisp. Very different mouthfeel compared to most American Wilds.

Overall a real interesting take on wild, quite decent.

 623 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surly Pentagram Flanders Red Ale, I mean, American wild ale, 6.66% ABV (naturally) was first released in kegs and bottles in February of this year. My earlier posting on a Beer called Pentagram was the unblended version from 2 years earlier. I bought a few bottles and opened one up finally last night. Here are the notes I took:

Surly Pentagram, bottle, aged, what? 10 months, nine? Not sure. I wrote about a beer with this name when we tapped it in 2011, as part of the Surly 5th anniversary celebration, when it was one of the threads that would later become Surly Five. IS this the same beer, or a new one? Whatever it is, it's called Pentagram.
I bought a bunch of these when it was released in, again I ask, what? January, February? I forgot. But I haven't opened one since. Until tonight…

Deep magenta hue, with ruby-tinged highlights. Small brown-tinted head rests above.

Aroma is flush with wine-like flavors, which are swiftly subsumed with sour. Each new sniff (shout out to D L-H), the flavors widen, deepen, grow in complexity.
Deep malt, chocolate tones emerge just to be cover by the wine barrel's work. Just plain ol' gorgeous. I could drink it in deep all night long.

Now, to taste: Ah! Starts out bright, fresh, vibrant, bursting with bold flavors. Sourness isn't overbearing and is exquisitely balanced. Lush, juicy dark fruit flavors continue on the palate, some oaky/woody-ness, a bit of caramel malt, but mostly the sour cherry. All together it's a lot of mmmm, and a good dose of ahhhh.

Let's read the label, shall we? "Beware! 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 used 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."

What it is, is rather remarkable and definitely delicious. I have two more bottles that I intend to age even longer. What will it be like at one and a half years? Two? But right now I can't wish for anything better.

 2,289 characters

Photo of ShanePB
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml waxed bottle, shared by Greenplastic615. Thanks Jason!

A: Brownish/maroon/crimson colored body, slightly clear in the light. Soap off-white head stuck around for a bit and left moderate lacing.

S: Red wine, sour cherries, oak, funk, chocolate malt, red grapes.

T: Malty on first sip with some chocolatey and dark fruits at the base. Sour cherry and tart red grapes, finished with some dry wine and oak notes.

M: Carbonation is good, medium-bodied, very acceptable for the style. Drinks quite well without drying out the mouth.

I tend to really love Surly's sours and this is no exception. This would be a regularly purchase if I could.

 647 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Barry last night.

Pours a dark clear amber, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells pretty strongly of sour green apple, with some lemon, caramel, and oak.

This is one of the more unique tasting sours that I've ever had. Really tasty stuff. A good amount of red wine and barrel here, some good oak, with a pretty sour apple fruity component as well. The apple-y-ness of this one makes it very unique.

This is medium bodied, with a crisp and tart mouthfeel, along with a higher level of carbonation.

A really nice and unique sour from Surly.

 580 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared with others. 2013 vintage

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a clear garnet hue with a thin head that fades to leave thin wisps

S - Aromas of mild funk, nice cherry, mild acidic note.

T - Taste is light vanilla, good funk, Nice cherry, good light chocolate, faint malts, faint booze, very pleasant funk and acid.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, bit flemmy.

O - Overall this beer was nicely funky and lightly cherry. Pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

 471 characters

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.

 399 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky brown color. Thin, bubbles tan head pops away to nearly nothing.

S-Funky, malty and tart. Some soggy wood, rotten dark fruits and Brett. The base beer is detectable but has been clearly manipulated.

T-Tart cherry, rotted wood and a sweet underbelly. The Brett is noticeable but it doesn't steal all the attention. Not violently sour; its tart but its also quite sweet.

M-Seems dry during some sips and sweet during others. Tight bubbles.

O/D-A neat sour. Not a stunner but its quite interesting. One of those beers that seemingly brings a new flavor with every sip.

 586 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, served in a FFF/DMC snifter 6/21/2014.

A- dark red-brown body, half finger white head with fine retention, no lacing.

S- oak, a bit of funky hay, sweet red table grapes. Not complex but certainly pleasing.

F- mild vinous character, funky musty hay, oak barrel. Semi-complex but missing something compared to the likes of Saint Lamvinus for instance. Could use either more funk or more red wine character.

M- medium body, smooth and dry. Good carbonation. Vinous finish.

O- nice red wine sour; not complex but has more character than most American wild ales do.

 584 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 3.27.13

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a one inch tan head that fades slowly.

S - Funk, Some dark fruits.

T - Tart, then sour fruit, but the sour fades fast to some farmhouse earthy flavors.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Tart and funky, but not overpowering like some other sours.

 319 characters

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

on-tap, brouwers

Excited for the opportunity to consume surly wilds down the street from my home - pentagram comes with a high billing...

Dark, wine barrel, a bit flat, not extremely tart, some vinegar, trace cherry. This is extremely underwhelming and an average wild ale at best. I thought I recalled trying this at a festival and being less than enthused but the high ratings convinced me otherwise.

 404 characters

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.

 151 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle sent to me as an extra from an overly generous trader. No date on bottle. Thanks!!! Pours dark brown cola color with a one finger, quickly receding khaki colored head. Tart funky Brett aroma, some sour acidity here, light roasted grain, and definite oaky vinous red wine notes. Flavor is oaky berries, cherry, leather, tobacco, very tart, some additional funky barnyard thing, acidic and sour, graham cracker, vinous warmth in the throat. Lighter bodied than I expected, with a super dry finish and low to medium carbonation. This is a pretty good sour brew with nice cherry and tobacco undertones

 604 characters

Photo of mynie
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I’ve never trusted the goth aesthetic. For personal reasons. The kids who adopted the clown-white personas in high school were shitty little wieners in middle school, the kind of terrifying children who got their kicks by disemboweling Beanie Babies or pooping their pants right before sliding down the playground’s fire pole. These were the kids who grew up to post craigslist ads asking if any local teenagers wanted to be photographed while eating a jarful of hair follicles. If they didn’t become cops, that is.
That kind of visceral, disgusting aberrance is a cover up, an attempt to disguise pedestrian tastes and normal intellect. It’s a pale imitation of being actually interesting, and I knew it as soon as those little fuckers started bathing in bleach. In 8th grade, it’s all “Tristan turn this Sonic Youth album down, it’s just a bunch of noise and we should re-listen to my tape of the Lion King soundtrack.” Then in 9th grade it’s “What do you mean you haven’t heard of Skinny Puppy? Everyone who’s anyone simply adores Skinny Puppy. They’re way brutal.”

Of course they weren’t brutal. Just bad. Some people confuse offensive ineptitude for the deeper sort of profound offensiveness, the sort found in Lenny Bruce’s racism jokes or Jimmy Carl Black’s teeth. More often than not, offensive things are offensive not out of any profundity but because they just suck and are gross.

So naturally I’m going to be leery of a goth beer. And don’t go telling me this is metal, not goth, because I can tell by the font this is goth. The inch-thick coating of wax was as moronically unnecessary as the combat boots that Germans wear while dancing, and the rambling description on the bottle’s side is neither campy nor earnest; instead, it’s mechanical, tinny, only semi-self aware. Just like a goth album.

Pours much less brutal than I was expecting—less the devil’s sputum, more Lipton “Brisk” Iced Tea. Tastes like tame brett with some lightly fruity malt nodes. Nice and balanced, sessionable, but hardly the raging maniac of a beer the bottle’s font and color scheme had led me to expect.
Surprisingly refreshing. Really a nice, pretty beer, once you get rid of the wallet chain and wipe off all that mascara. It’s like the girl in the after school special who realizes she doesn’t need to be extreme to fit in and then at the end she’s in a swim suit and you realize you’ve wanted to fuck her the whole time. She just needed to stop trying to be interesting before you were able to properly objectify her.

Full review: http://mynie.com/?p=636

 2,615 characters

Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep burgundy brown body that lets a peak of light through. Thin head that is more of a tan ring around the glass I guess.

The nose is quite wonderful. Notes of wine grapes, sour and tart cherry, leather, and earthiness.

Much like the nose here as well. Highly complex I must say. Funky and tart, but not overly so. Lower sweetness, oaky, earthy and wine like. Leather on the finish. Really makes me want to keep sipping to taste what develops next.

Lighter feel, pretty thin, very dry, lower carbonation.

I am not a big sour fan at all, but I really like this one. The funk and tartness are more approachable for the style, but the come itty of the flavor is what grabs my attention. If not for the price tag, I would buy up another couple of these. Well done overall for the style though.

 798 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Pentagram from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 976 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe