Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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955 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 955
Reviews: 126
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 76
Gots: 158 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stvanderwoude on 02-15-2014

This double black as night IPA is too massive for just one brewery's efforts. BLAKKR took the trinity of Real Ale Brewing Co, Surly Brewing Co, & Three Floyds Brewing Co, to actualize this crushing ale. Cheers.

This is the 16oz canned Surly version.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 955 | Reviews: 126
Reviews by ZAP:
Photo of ZAP
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Originally had this on tap at Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes and was surprised with how much I liked it as black IPA's are usually not my thing. Bit the bullet and picked up a four pack for $18 or whatevert it was and I am glad I did. There are some beers worth the extra cash and this is one of them.

A-Dark black with a light brown creamy head.

S-Really a great hop laden aroma....tons of citrus with oranges, tangerines and tropical fruits bursting out of the glass is two feet away from me and I can still smell its aroma drifting towards me.

T-Until now this seemed like an IPA but the "black" part comes in on the taste. I expected it to be very hop forward and while the hops still do shine also entering into the fray are flavors of dark chocolate, light molasses, and roasty malts....the blend is dazzling

M-A bit syruppy....expected the hops to provide a bit more balance on this end of things but the hop strengths seem to be in the aroma and flavor with not much of a tight dryness on the finish.

O-This is really special. I may buy one more four-pack of this before I am done.

More User Reviews:
Photo of nhindian
3.67/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TGanyone for tossing a 4-pack of this into a recent trade as an extra!

Too massive for just one brewery, Blakkr sees three heavy-hitting breweries team up to release this imperial black ale. Generally not my favorite style - I don't exactly like the combination of fresh hops and roast flavors - but if anyone can do it, I whole heartedly place my faith in Surly and 3 Floyds.

Appearance - Rather than being black, Blakkr more closely resembles a dark cola as shades of brown poke out from around the edges. Atop the surface, a light tan head slowly builds until peaks at around a figure in height before fading away, leaving nary a trace behind. Instead a thick lattice of foam speckles the glass.

Aroma - The nose is a cacophony of hop and malt that I find myself constantly wavering about. On one hand, the hops are just as juicy and tropical as a DIPA and the malt is roasty and filled with coffee, but on the other hand, when those two extremes are coupled there isn't a smooth mingling. It is hard to reconcile the spectrum but I truly do love each individual component.

Taste - Much like in the aroma, the flavor has all the punch of the hops and malt behind it. Unlike the nose, however, the ingredients play much more nicely together here. The coffee subsides and is replaced with a licorice note that bridges the gap. A slightly bitter chocolate flavor also meshes well with the pineapple and citrus hop taste.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is imposing without being syrupy. Perfect carbonation helps move the flavors along, and in a beer with so much going on, it's much appreciated.

Closing Arguments - At the end of the day, I still feel like my impressions of this style are unchanged. Unlike other black ales I've had, Blakkr kicks it the hop and roast to a previously unseen level, but still suffers from the fate of not co-mingling the two in a seamless manner. To be fair, taken separately, both the hop and malt components are near top-notch, but there is a clear separation between them. This is much more apparent in the nose than the flavor.

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one was canned exactly 3 weeks ago.

An aggressive center pour from the 16oz. can into a tulip glass produces a strong, dense foamy head. It slowly subsides to a light coating on top and a lovely lace along the sides of the glass. This beer is blacker than most. No light shines through this brew.

The aroma is not extremely strong and is mostly pine and citrus with a little bit of roast coffee or dark chocolate hiding in the shadows. As it warms, the smell seems to grow a bit with some pineapple showing up as well.

The taste is rather amazing. A hoppy, bitter bite right up front quickly followed by dark chocolate, maybe some strong coffee and then finishing with a lingering piney dryness. I want to keep going back for another drink. The alcohol is hidden, buried deep in the inky depths.

The mouthfeel is about right with a hint of creaminess and even a touch of sweet stickiness. The carbonation is just right.

Overall, an excellent beer. This one runs deep.

A little pricey? Perhaps. I paid $18.99 for the 4-pack.

Photo of tomgetz
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 ounce bomber bottle into tulip glass.

A: dark as night with one finger of tan head.

S: great citra hop smell.

T: malty backbone with a hoppy finish. Alcohol level is difficult to notice.

M: full bodied, smooth, very drinkable.

O: solid black IPA. Great collaboration effort.

Photo of bsp77
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into dimpled mug.

Appearance: Near black with moderately sized tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Strong hop aroma with grapefruit, tropical notes and pine. Some light roasted malts, but this smells much more IPA than Black.

Taste: Same as the aroma, this is very hoppy, with lots of grapefruit, tropical fruit, orange, pine and even some darker, sweeter fruits. Very juicy. However, there is also a nice malt base, with chocolate, molasses and light char. Finish is hoppy and roasted with some bitterness.

Feel: Creamy and fairly full bodied. Moderate carbonation with a dry finish. Somewhat oily but also slightly chalky. Not boozy at all.

Overall: Fantastic collaboration here. I can't believe this is 10%. Even though the taste is decadent enough for the abv, it is also fairly easy to drink. I hope this somehow is not just a one and done release.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have had this on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl and from a can.
L: Pours black under a 3” frothy, sticky tan foam collar that provides prominent lace.
S: The nose is richer on tap than from the canned version. The tap version has mild espresso, light roast over cocoa and a light hop accent.
T: Its very soft in the mouth with layers of roast, coffee, cocoa, and toasted bread, with a big bitter finish woven from dark roasted grains and a moderate hop addition. The beer has distinguishable layers of both malt and bitterness.
F: Very creamy, medium to medium full body, medium carbonation, very soft.
O: This is an interesting complex beer with layers of flavor. It is not as bitter as some of this brewer’s brands.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a Surly tulip glass. Canned on 02/17/14.

Appearance: Pours dark and black with some hints of brownish ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head which slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A juicy, earthy, and roasty hop forward aroma with good hints of citrus, pine, and dark malt. Big upfront mix of hops with some earthy, floral, and citrus hints. Dank scent of pine resin and grass. Citrus fruit hints of pineapple, grapefruit, orange peel, mango, and lemon. Solid dark roasted malt presence with hints of chocolate, burnt toast, coffee, biscuit, grains, caramel, and yeast. Also some subtle licorice like spice hints. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a dank and juicy hop forward taste with good notes of citrus, pine, and roasty malts. Ripe upfront taste of floral, citrus, and herbal hops with some good notes of spicy pine resin and damp grass. Big juicy presence of citrus hop flavors of pineapple, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, and mango. Dark roasted barley malts with notes of chocolate, burnt toast, biscuit, coffee, grains, caramel, oats, and yeast. Light licorice spice presence as well. Nicely bitter, oily, and juicy. A very good black ale taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, oily, and pretty drying. Alcohol is smoothed out well.

Overall: A very good imperial Black Ale. Good mix of citrus and piney hop flavors with a good balance of dark malt. A pretty cool collaboration from Surly, Three Floyds, and Real Ale.

Photo of ajchocholousek
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From can into New Belgium "Snifter"

Pours black as night with a two finger billowy light tan head. Stuck around for bit, but didn't leave much lacing. Smell hits you with big citrusy, floral hops floating in a shallow sea of roasty molasses and booze. Taste comes through similarly with a big citrusy hop bitterness up front that finishes nice, smooth slightly roasty, dark fruit and molasses. Even getting some very tropical flavors at the end - pineapple? In a black IPA? Yes! Mouthfeel is a nice medium body with a touch of silkiness. Really nice beer overall. I'm not the biggest fan of Black IPAs, but this one is really nailing it for me right now. Love the amount of hop character here with just enough darkness to smooth things out into a really satisfying sip.

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Did a side by side with the 3 Floyds version

Appearance - Rich dark black. Very thin head with lacing that leaves quickly.

Smell - Bitter hoppiness and chocolately malts balanced well.

Taste - Charred cocoa with some subtle hops thrown in there as well. I like the balance though. Quite a bit boozier than the 3 Floyds version

Mouthfeel - hops come though in the end of this one

Overall - good beer and I enjoyed it more than the 3 Floyds bottled version.

Photo of brians52
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Outlier detected. Justify rating with a review.

Photo of isenblatter
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of Bomber into Pint Glass

A-Dark, dark, dark. 4 finger head, heavy lacing.

S-The aroma of roasted malt.

T-Outstanding taste, I'm not sure what the ABV of this is, but definitely outstanding.

M-Once again, outstanding on the mouthfeel. Very little carbonation. Very "sticky."

O-Outstanding collaboration by Floyds, Surly, and Real Ale.

Photo of cokes
3.79/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thoroughly shadowy, blackened Crimson with an impressive and lasting stack of beige-peach foam.
The nose brings pine bark, burnt grapefruit, toasted sugar, raisin bran flakes, brandy, and flares of pineapple and peaches.
A slap of tropical fruits across the tongue. Peaches, melons, pineapple, lime leaves. A dusting of coffee grounds. Some creme brûlée, burnt sugar and custard notes. More herbal on the swallow. Alcohol is not a factor, other than a twinge of post swallow bitterness.
Thinner bodied than i expected with a trickling carbonation.

I really don't know what to do with this. I like it as an Imperial IPA with touches of roastiness. But the style is one I can't really embrace, nor know what to expect. The IPA part of this works, but the black part seems completely underdeveloped. And I'm not sure if I like it more or less due to this (lack of) balance. Ultimately, it's a handicap, because I still have no idea what I want in black IPA, nor have I found an example to adore. Not here either.

Sorry Blakkr, it's not you, it's me.
But at $16/4-pack, I'm not going to try any harder to salvage this relationship. But I know you'll make someone else very happy.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.67/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I loved Blakkr last year from Surly... I would have called it my favorite black IPA. This year, not the same story. This first can seems strange. Its either the hops or yeast, I can't put my finger on it. Almost a strange Belgium yeast taste this year.

Photo of alphagnome
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black body allows no light to pass through. A thick, light brown head with great retention and lacing.

This is a potent black ale, and I love it! More pine and tropical fruit than any other beer I've had to date. Very fresh aroma - clean and earthy. A hint of roasted malt and cola.

This hop forward beer packs a punch. Plenty of earthy pine notes and some and a bit of grapefruit and tangerine. A malty backbone, rich with bittersweet cocoa and roasted coffee. Has an interesting sweet flavor on the finish and it clashes a bit with the booziness of this brew. However, it's still highly enjoyable.

Quite thick for the style and lightly carbonated. Dry finish.

A fantastic brew that is best enjoyed one slow sip at a time. The explosive flavor of this one will catch you off guard if you don't prepare yourself. Worth every penny!

Photo of Stimulus199
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2/17/14 can date. Beer pours super black, nice three-finger head. Hop aroma is like a subdued Abrasive. Taste is fairly flat, one-note, but has a very pleasant roasty, hoppy aftertaste. Alcohol is virtually undetectable, but sneaks up quickly on you. Hard to justify this over other great options at this price-point, but will gladly drink the remainder of the 4-pack.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.65/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Jeff for this one. I love Surly but hate Black Ales... first world problems. 16oz can into a Surly snifter.

Tall pour yields a big2.5 finger coffee colored head with excellent retention. Beer is dense and pitch black. Lacing is stringy, sticky, and layered. Doesn't really get much better.

Nose is ash, roast, pine, citrus hop bitterness and a touch of caramel and smoke. Weird but aromatic and fits the style.

Opens smoke, roast, pine and citrus hop bitterness. Ashy in the middle with hints of liquorice, roasted malt and a biting, bitter hop presence. The issue here is that I associate the bitterness with ash instead of fruit/pine. Ends caramel, more liquorice, and a slight boozy bitterness in the finish. Resiny and smoky in the aftertaste. A good beer with nice complexity but I'm not a fan of what's happening here.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lively, rich and slightly hot in the mouth and goes down warm and smooth. Messy finish with a long, filmy, lingering aftertaste. Solid.

There are very few offerings in this style that do it for me and even though I love Surly, Blakkr is not one of them. Just too aggressive and bold with too much happening. Certainly representative of the style but I'm just not a big fan.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Some edge transparency. Off-white head. Wispy surface with a medium collar.

Smell - Hoppy. Black IPAs always seem grassy to me. Roasted malt. Dark caramel.

Taste - Grassy hop flavor. Grapefruit. Immediately bitter. Roasted malt and caramel. Lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Very roasty. Very bitter. Medium body, though.

Overall - Black IPAs need to be very good. This is good, but doesn't stand out.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark as can be with great retention and lacing from the head.

Smells like a super hopped up stout. Currant and blackberries. Lots of roast. Dark chocolate. Pine.

Pine needles and char. Bitter. Light coffee. Dark berries.

Moderate carbonation. Heavy body.

I'm generally not a fan of black IPAs but this one borders hoppy stout. It's a nice medium between the two.

Photo of morimech
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Here is the much anticipated Blakkr. Do not have any death metal to listen to while I drink and review this beer. First think I notice is this beer is not black at all, but brown. An attractive two finger head caps the beer and fills the glass nicely. It slowly settles to a thin skim. Massive amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma is hops, and more hops. Citrus and pine fills the nose. Cannot pick up any malt notes.

One of my requirements is if a beer wants to call itself a black ale, black IPA, or in this case Imperial Black Ale, is that I taste the black. I cannot in this case. To me this tastes straight up DIPA. Even though I cannot taste the black, I do think it influences the flavor in way that makes this an easier drinking Abrasive. Maybe its added sweetness. The bitterness is not so blistering and allows the hop flavors to be relished longer. Those flavors being citrus, pine, dank weed, and earth.

The mouthfeel is where this beer is perfect and I think the dark malt had its biggest influence. Full, rich, decadent, and smooth. Feels like a superb imperial porter or stout. A wonderful texture.

I am a Minnesotan that won't automatically give a Surly beer a high score. I think Blakkr failed as a Imperial Black Ale, but it has outstanding hop aroma and flavor and is immensely complimented by its body. But this is not the next greatest thing.

Photo of jwerner23
4.95/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is very good beer from three very good breweries. I tried a can cold and tried one warm. Cold it is a good beer but at room temp this beer shines. You get more flavor at room temp and I think that is the way to drink it, let it warm up a little bit and the flavors meld a lot better. Either way its a good beer but so good letting it breathe and warm up a bit.

Photo of VeganUndead
3.04/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Canned 3/30, so maybe this is a case of the hops falling apart in less than 3 months? A malty mess

Photo of smakawhat
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the cask at Churchkey into a snifter glass.

Wonderful cask condition presence. Supper bubbled collar and half finger tan head, slightly soapy appearance. Body color has a great looking dark red ruby and brown mahogany hue to it as well. Just impressive.

Aromas are a mix first of dank earth and some fruit. I am strangely getting watermellon off of this and cantaloupe aromas. Earthy, dirt and soil, even a bit juicy with no sense of roast but very inviting.

Palate comes with a huge contrast. Expected warm and soft cask like feel, with just enough natural carbonation to make the flavors pop but come out very different from the expected nose. Huge leafy tobacco and emphasized roast and slight char on first sip. Nice soft sugars, an a big sense of sticky molasses. The hop bitterness kicks in the finish, but the emphasis brings out more of the roasted characters of bakers chocolate and black licorice.

Huge contrast between what's on the nose and the flavors presented on first sip. Really unexpected and quite a surprise. Really impressed by this one and a real unique beer in the black IPA realm.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can shared by a kind soul at the Jack's Abby tap takeover at The Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This tastes basically exactly like the Three Floyds version.

Opaque dark black pour, ominous and threatening. One inch of tan foam, and lots of lacing down the glass.

Smells like burnt pine needles, roasted malt, huge citrus fruits, and other dank herbal aromas (hint, hint, marijuana)

Very charred and smoky taste to this Black IPA. Huge hoppy front end on this one, lots of citrus and pine, but finishes with a creamy roasty flavor, punctuated by by a crazy astringent bitterness.

Medium bodied, creamy but dry mouthfeel. Drinkable for the ABV, despite the bitterness.

They scorched the crap out of me with this one, it tasted quite good nonetheless.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 fl oz. can, with canned on date 04/16/2014 printed on the bottom of the can, so this is some pretty fresh beer right here. The Three Floyds / Surly / Real Ale collaboration effort; not sure why we need so many different entries for this beer, but my can was brewed and canned by Surly Brewing Company. Scored the four pack from the local beer store for something like $19.99. Expectations are good based on the beer's current high ratings.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola brown colored body; opaque in the glass, but not what I would call "black" by any means. Three fingers of creamy fluffy tan mocha foam for a head. Leaves behind nice thin webbed lacing. Appears well carbonated and the head has some very good staying power for the high abv. Looks very nice.

S - The smell isn't particularly unique or appealing to me. Has a very dank fruity / piney hop bitterness to it, a bit of creaminess, a light touch of roastiness.

T - The taste is basically all IPA forward - extremely bitter resinous hop bitterness - pine, grapefruit, oranges, citrus rinds. There is just a touch of bitter dark roastiness going on. Otherwise this thing is a major hop bomb. It's on palate destroying par with beers like Stone Ruination IPA.

M - The feel is extremely dank, bitter, piney, and resinous. Tasting this blind, I might not know that this was a dark ale. Crisp carbonation, yet smooth, lightly creamy, and easy drinking for the hefty abv.

Overall, a nice beer, but definitely overrated, and not the best example of the style. Way imbalanced in favor of the hops. This thing needs more roasted malt content for damn sure. As it is, it is a nice beer, but slightly above average at best. Recommended but not worth the money I paid for this.

Three Floyds / Surly / Real Ale Blakkr Imperial Black Ale ---4/5.

Photo of CraigP83
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep black with a tan head, about what I expected for this style. Smell is.....MANGO and pineapple, wow I wasnt expecting that. Flavor is malty beer with citrus and pine, fucking fantastic!

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 955 ratings.