De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird) | De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

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De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)
Very Good
263 Ratings
De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird)

Brewed by:
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 06-14-2005

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 263 |  Reviews: 111
Reviews by Reswald:
Photo of Reswald
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of mverity
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Proof. Pours a golden straw color with an inch and a half of bubbly white head. Sticky lacing from the very beginning. Head settles into a thick collar of differing size bubbles, clumps of head across the surface, and thin head where the clumps aren't present. Aroma is apple and grape sweetness, lots of yeast funk, and lots of dry grass. Taste is the grass and funk playing fairly well together. Light carbonation and medium body, slightly creamy mouthfeel.

 471 characters

Photo of JakerLou
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of merlin48
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

NOTE: Beware of cork! After removing wire cage, cork begins moving to the top of the 750ml bottle right before your eyes. This magical presentation resulted in a small indentation in my living room wall. Please be careful!
Appearance: Served at cellar temperature into a St Bernardus goblet, the body is a slightly hazed, golden amber. Vigorous carbonation is so prevalent as to be a bit scary. Large and puffy offwhite head has forever retention and settles into a custard meringue at the top of the goblet. Wow! Nice looking.

Aroma: Fruity and musty aromas drench the room as soon as the cork explodes out of the bottle. Overripe peaches, fresh pineapple, watermelon rinds rotting in the garden compost pile, wet wool blanket, musty sleeping bag from twenty years ago, damp hay, freshly dug dandelions, a bouquet of spring flowers, and more funky, fruity, and floral/herbal notes than I can bring myself to envision. Lots going on here, to say the least.

Mouthfeel: Lively effervescent carbonation and a light medium to medium body. Mouthfeel is the most pedestrian character here.

Taste: Whew! So many layers of flavors here that it's difficult to begin a description. First, the 9% abv is nowhere to be found, until I try to type this review. A fruity character comes and goes at random intervals, strawberries, white grapes, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and melon. Hop bitterness is also random, with an assertive dry grassiness. Yeastiness is, by turns, chalky, musty, earthy, and very funky. Maltiness is bready at times, powdery on occasion. Break a twig off the nearest hardwood tree and chew on it for several seconds, and you will get a hint of the woodsy funk going on here. Vague spices come and go, as well. Finishes bittersweet, with a lasting funky hop bitterness. This is one wild ale!

Drinkability: This is the most exciting bottle of beer I've ever sampled. An excellent journey that is long and strange. Enjoy!

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Photo of valkyre65
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-copper color with a two-finger bright white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light fruits - pears mostly with hints of bananas - with hints of tropical fruits, including papaya. Lurking in the background are pale malt aromas along with good amounts of funk. As the beer warms the funkiness from the brett intensifies but never overpowers the softer fruit aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although the brett has less of an influence on the flavor profile compared to the nose. Light and sweet malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by ripe pear flavors. Midway through the sip the fruit flavors are tempered by a mild dose of funkiness and even milder dose of leafy hop flavors that then carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouhtfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was impressed with this beer - a mild funk-bomb that I think would be a nice beer to introduce people to brett. Well worth a shot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a light straw yellow body that is crystal clear but gains a bit of cloudiness with each pour. There is a thick white rocky head supported by a slow motion matrix of tiny bubbles gliding toward the surface. The head last for the full beer.

S- The clean smell has notes of smooth mellow barnyard characteristics with a faint natural fabric softener aroma that finishes with a wet straw green herbal quality. The aroma is just faint enough to be mysterious and keep me huffing the glass.

T- The pine bite is a surprise but it has a light white cheese rind note to it with a ice tea note to follow. There is a hop greenness to the finish that is not really bitter but more herbal or vegetable.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a faint alcohol heat in the finish that added a nice depth to the beer.

D- This beer had pretty nice hops which was a shock but it had a nice support by some funk characteristics. The hops were not a typical hop flavor or aroma which was interesting as well and they did work well with the funk.

 1,076 characters

Photo of ste5venla
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of CloudStrife
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml split and poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a mostly clear golden amber with a full 2 finger puffy dense white head. Tons of little bubbles sprinting to the surface, very carbonated. Leaves a lot of lacing as the head slowly dwindles over a few minutes.

S: Smell of fruits like pineapple and a raisny fig. Yeastyness in there with a touch of funk.

T: You get a strong belgian pale taste upfront with a slight addition of hop. Interesting twist with the Brett yeast. Has a saison like spice to it. Alcohol is well hidden.

M : Real light on the palate, lots of carbonation. Crisp finish that is easy drinking.

Overall a great beer that is very unique. Authentic belgian taste. Want to try some of their other beers that are more sour.

 745 characters

Photo of JasonSiedman
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Tuckersmth
3.88/5  rDev -1%

Photo of Taylor_Nychole
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Metalmonk
4.92/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Caged corked gives a MASSIVE >pop!!!< upon release.

Pours a hazy apricot juice color with a multitude of bubbles rushing to a soapy, large, extremely well-retained head. Sticky lace strata up and down glass.

The smell is divine. Horse-saddle leather, complete with sweat and all, balanced by rich fruit essences (pear, apple, plum, peach). Fragrant, dirty, earthy, sweet, pungent, and assertive. Pure excellence.

Compared to the Pig Nun version of this one, the Surly Bird seems to be more bitter, obviously a higher hops quotient than the Pig Nun. Otherwise it's just as expected. Fruit and yeast, beauty and beast, battling for control, both coming in first. Well-balanced, complex with nutmeg/coriander spices coming to mind, hiding the high alcohol well, and delivering a flavor that puts the yeast out front in the best way. Finish is dry and sour. A good match for what comes before it. A springy, buoyant, bubbly mouthfeel brings out the exotic sides of the flavor even further.

9% ABV be damned: this is highly drinkable. Seems right for all seasons, and could go with a variety of foods (though I prefer this one as its own stand-alone meal). I wish I could make this my everyday beer. Availability and good-sense dictate otherwise, but man, what a fantastic liquid.

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Photo of Sammy
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A barnyard musty smell greets you. Nice creamy head and pale colour. The taste must be acquired, and I have had better, such as recently in Vermont. Some lemony citrus. It will surely scare off most beginners. Creamy and drinkable. I think this should be had with a meal.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Carefully poured, the "surly bird" delivers a clear yellow-gold body beneath a huge head of rocky bright-white foam. Effervescent bubbles can be seen rising quickly beneath; and the head retention is excellent. Add thick rings of sticky, foamy lace and you've got an impressive looking beer in front of you!

The nose superbly displays Brettanomyces characteristics (mineralish, leathery, acidic, musty, barnyard, definite "horseblanket") over a lightly sweet and fruity, candyish malt.

In the mouth it's light bodied, effervescent, and tingly on the tongue.

Sweet and fruity (berries, cherry, apple, orange), tangy, and candyish malt greets you up front, followed by some wet-hayand its earthy and mineral-like side. It's solid bitterness slices through at mid-palate, and some leafy and grassy - almost minty - hop flavors appear in the stunningly dry, dusty finish. A spritz of lemon rounds it out, and leaves it quite drinkable!

Kind of like a Duvel gone astray, this is very similar to the "Pig Nun", and one of the more accessible of the Flemish Primitive line; yet it still maintains a great Brettanomyces presence like the "Spoon Whacker'; and is, perhaps, the most drinkable of the lot. Superb!!!

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Photo of prototypic
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Surly Bird variation of Flemish Primitive Ale is gold in color. It’s hazy and looks to have a few yeasty particles swimming about. Carbonation definitely looks active. It yields a bone white head that stands about two and a half fingers tall. Looks good. It doesn’t look like it will completely dissipate. Impressive. Lacing was sticky, leaving billows of white lace in its wake.

The nose is good. It isn’t quite as strong as I’d like, but it smells good. It kicks off with a mix of earthy, musky, and funky notes. The funky side of it is relatively modest. I like that about it. It features just enough of that barnyard scent to make things interesting. It features a light fruity scent. Smells like apple or pear. Belgian yeast smells really nice and spicy. Pepper and clove are noted. Hops are more prominent than anticipated. They smell mostly grassy. Alcohol is blended extremely well. Smells good.

The flavor is excellent. The flavor is a great mix of grassy, spicy, and funky flavors. It’s very musky and earthy up front. Barnyard funk follows. It is moderate in strength, but complements the other flavors extremely well. It’s has a slightly acidic twist to it, but it’s mild. Belgian yeast is very flavorful and brings an excellent spicy mix to the table. Pepper and clove are the most notable spices. Hops are very grassy and earthy. There’s a hint of apple or pear on the tail. Alcohol is blended well and doesn’t seem like 9% abv. Finishes earthy, spicy, funky, and a little dry.

Surly Bird has a lighter body. Carbonation is active, but it still feels soft. In classic Belgian fashion, it feels nice and smooth despite its light body and active bubbles. This stuff goes down far too easy.

De Proefbrouwerij has an excellent Belgian Strong Pale Ale in Surly Bird. This stuff is delicious and is strong in all aspects. If you happen to see a bottle, do yourself a favor and grab a bottle. Really good stuff!

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Photo of emilylee
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of jheezee
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BeerAndFilm
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of djames
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Not seeing how this is getting some low reviews. Awesome Saison to me! Great hazy straw-colored appearance. Smell is out-of-this-world good, and the taste... to me is up there with the best in this category. Only slight knock for over carbonation. Something I will definitely come back to though.

 296 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of nickhiller
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of zonker17
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of shbobdb
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy horseblanket!

This beer is like Orval, only grown up and ready to kick ass and take names.


We are talkin' some serious brett funk here. It's like drinking a barnyard. The 'wild' in this brew is pretty much wild yeast, not bacteria. Sure, there is a nice crisp finish from the lactic acid bacteria, but man, this beer is anything but clean!

There is also the unwelcome bitterness that others have mentioned. I can't really say I dig it. A 45 IBU wild beer was something best left thought about, not brewed. There is a reason why lambics use old hops and this beer is a showcase for that.

All that said, this is still a pretty drinkable brew. The way it looks man, this is how beer is supposed to look. A beautiful golden body with a head that just won't quit no matter what you do. Wonderful.

The taste is also a wonderful showcase of what Brett can do. I'm not a big fan of brett, but if you like the flavours it produces this is definately the beer for you! Just don't expect any moderation what-so-ever.

Definately a beer worth seeking out. I'm inspired to seek out the rest of the series. A masterfully done beer.

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De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Surly Bird) from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 263 ratings