Surrender Monkey
Big Boss Brewing

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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
Ranked #1,551
Ranked #51,859
3.7 | pDev: 22.43%
Big Boss Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 10 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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rtratzlaff from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged version from 2006 tasted in 2009

A slightly cloudy reddish amber body with a thin white head.

The aromas are sweetish malt faint alcohol and spice along with a fruitiness that I can't quite pin down.

The flavors match well with the malt quality shining through pretty well. A hint of mint in the finish along with that fruitiness that I can't pin. I remember this being complex back in 06. It now has a sour quality to the taste that hits up front and blends well with the flavors.

The mouthfeel is light and somewhat well carbonated. The alcohol is well hidden and this beer is pretty dangerous in that regard. My pint was empty too soon.

Apr 16, 2009
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SIRIUS2 from North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had a pint of Surrender Monkey at the newly opened Tyler's Taproom in Apex, NC. It was served on-tap in a pint glass and served with dinner.

A: This was brought to the table very quickly after ordering. It showed clear dark orange gold in standard pint glass. There was no head, just a smattering of bubbles. No lacing.

S: Not much. There was some faint pale malt with just a smidge of light fruitiness and perhaps something a bit spicy. A little difficult to tell in the restaurant, but there was nothing that really jumped out at me.

T&M: Light malted sweetness balances quite well with the bittering hops and spices. There is definitely something a little different in here, some adjuct or something that gives it an interesting spiced or herbal character, but ever so lightly. The weight in the mouth is pretty average and the carbonation is relatively light overall. This brew finishes mostly clean with just the slightest warming in the linger. Overall not a bad job of masking the alcohol in something of this ABV.

D: Generally speaking, Surrender Monkey is a decent brew with a lot of bang for the buck. However, I just kept sipping it trying to figure out what was missing. Somehow it seemed lacking in something minor that would have just made this a knock-out. Still worth checking out and I would probably order it again.

Jun 15, 2008
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drperm from Virginia

2.1/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sample at the 2007 WBF. This one was terribly disappointing -- Farmhouse ales are generally my favorite overall style. I’m not sure what they were going for, but in my opinion it just didn’t work. I'm not sure how this is supposed to be a Saison -- it seems to lack all the key components that I so love in the farmhouse style. I suppose that a warehouse in downtown Raleigh *can't* reproduce the essence of a rural European farm. Go figure! Overall, disjointed and lacking depth.

Dec 17, 2007
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wagenvolks from Texas

4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this at Horniblow's Tavern (Big Boss' brewpub), but decided to review Surrender Monkey from a 10oz. pour at the Village Draft House.

The appearance didn't show me anything super-special. A dusty, deep brown body sat below a swirling, vanilla head that was thin, albeit well-retained. Not much lacing. Aroma was fairly weak, but I remember it being better at Horniblow's so I didn't knock it down too far. Some nuttiness, spice, and a touch of sweetened malts.

The taste, on the other hand, is exquisite. I definately agree with the change in style; it surely doesn't taste very "saison-like", but hits the palate with a bubble-gum sweetness, lots of fruity plums, peaches, and bananas. The body is thick, but not overly so, and the crispness and carbonation levels are great. Easy to drink, despite the >9% ABV, I could have at least 2-3 in a session without getting bored with the flavor. Nice job, Big Boss.

Oct 07, 2007
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blackie from Oregon

4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Certainly the darkest of the style I've seen. The Edenton version was dark as well, but not quite as much. The beer is a deep prune in color, with a lighter head.

smell and taste: Would love to try this beer in a Belgian glass. Various dark fruits are found, including raisin and prune. Good mix of subtlety and richness. Moderately sweet on the tongue. Really nice fruits in this beer with a pretty varied and complex malt presence. Lightly hopped, papery and light citrus. Seems very BSDA.

m: very smooth, with a rich heavy-medium body and smooth carbonation

d: quite easy

I remember being initially unimpressed with the first incarnation of this brew, but after aging it turned into something great. Would love to see what this one does with time, and I hope for a bottling.

Aug 30, 2007
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MuddyFeet from North Carolina

2.54/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

An odd beer. Big Boss website describe it as a farmhouse ale but something seems off. Like they used extra ingredients for some of the flavors rather than let the yeast speak for themselves after munching on the malts.

Pours a dark brown color but rather weak and thin in appearance. Light shone around the edges giving off a dark cherry shine. Nose was a huge disappointment. I thought I had a cold but could not pick up much--if any--aroma.

Like I said before the flavors were just odd. Almost chemical-like in nature. Not saying they are additives but just as if after fermentation someone said: "Crap, this is not what I wanted." And then threw in some extra stuff. Kind of rather tasted like cider. Medium body but got some nice heat from the alcohol. May give this one a second shot seeing that it has scored well in other reviews but there was nothing that made me think I got a bad pint.

Aug 25, 2007
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CWiggins from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently toured the Big Boss Brewery. They have undergone a business makeover during the past year, and, as a result, none of their beers have been available by the bottle. Plans are to resume bottling in September '07, so expect to see their offerings on store shelves soon. During this time, I've had the privilege of trying a few of their seasonal offerings on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham. Their wheat beer was okay, the Surprise Attack was superb, and now, for a very short time, Surrender Monkey is available. It's described as a Saison, but it seemed to me more of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It's not crisp, fruity, and dry, which are the characteristics I normally associate with Saisons. That having been said, it's still a very nice beer, and I highly recommend it.

It pours a dark, chestnut brown with a dense, off-white head that lasts for a few minutes. The aroma is of dark malts, with a slight fruity sweetness and a bit of spice. I found the flavor to consist mostly of dark and sweet malts, with some pruny sweetness and a little molasses. It has a creamy texture with medium carbonation. The finish is sweet, but with a nice, slightly hoppy accent.

I hope I get another shot at this one before it's gone!

Aug 14, 2007
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atsprings from North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served a nice deep amber almost brown with a decent lasting head that left great lacing on the glass. The aroma was of dried fruit and spice with some yeast present as well. The taste was a wonderfully complex blend of dried fruits, sweet malts, caramel, molasses and a hint of citrus. The beer was slightly heavily bodied but the alcohol was somewhat hidden. This was one of the best beers these guys make, and this years version is no exception.

Jul 28, 2007
Surrender Monkey from Big Boss Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 10 ratings