Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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957 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 957
Reviews: 127
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.77%
Wants: 77
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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Ratings: 957 | Reviews: 127
Photo of M_chav
1.65/5  rDev -60.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

I fee like this may have been infected. terrible taste, I've had in the past and it was not this bad - at least that I can remember.

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 Jeffo
3.05/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can of this from Digita a while back. Thanks dude!

From a 16oz can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a one finger, looser, foamy, off-white head with good retention. Head fades to a foam cap and clings to the sides of the glass with a huge stream of carbonation up the middle. Clear dark brown body. Nothing special here. Too much carbonation and the looser head isn't all that impressive either.

SMELL: Hops and more hops. Pine, melon and lots of grapefruit on the nose. Nice hop profile, but nothing black about the nose.

TASTE: Lots of hops again. Pine and melon notes, with lots of bitter grapefruit at the swallow. Big and lingering aftertaste of more grapefruit and piney bitterness, grassy hops, and just a faint hint of roasted malt. Very light. Mostly a hop bomb with very little black to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Slightly creamy on the nose, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A bit of bitterness lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: A good hop bomb for sure, but it's all IPA. There was really no need to make this beer dark brown, as any kind of roasted or chocolate flavors that would be produced by these dark grains were not allowed to come out and play anyways. The trick with a hoppy black ale is to hop it up, but show just the right amount of restraint so the character of the dark grains can play a role in the flavor profile as well. That didn't happen here. Might as well just make a regular hop bomb DPA and call it Ornggr. A good beer that we enjoyed, but not representative of the style.

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 dfhhead25
3.25/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Probably a bit past its prime

Photo of Ob1wan
3.32/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Just not a fan of the taste for this one.

Photo of MNishCT77
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

16 oz. bottle tried as part of a blind beer tasting with the Better Beer Authority (BBA), canned on 2/21/14, poured into a large snifter glass and tasted over an hour.

A - 2/3 - dark brown coloration, low clarity letting very little light through (cannot see through), initial tannish white head that settles into a 1/2 finger lacing that persisted throughout the drinking; large alcohol legs; moderate-to-high carbonation that reagitates on the swirl

S: 8/12 - low-to-moderate pine/resiny aroma with some background citrus fruit; some roasted malts peek through; no alcohol presence on the nose (especially impressive for 9.99% ABV)

T: 14/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a mild bitterness that pops the taste buds for some classic PW hop flavors - again, pine and sticky resins with some background citrus characters; in the middle of the mouth, the roasted malts with more muted biscuity character starts to arise; little-to-no alcohol detectable; finishes dry

M: 3/5 - some hop oils coating the tongue, alcohols provide fullness and balance; moderate carbonation pushes the envelope

O: 6/10 - I was really looking forward to this one after reading/hearing that this is a hybrid of Abrasive and Darkness; however, in both the blind format and after the reveal, I called this "disappointing"; the citrus aroma/flavors are huge in Abrasive and the chocolate/coffee character is exceptionally complex in Darkness - unfortunately; this doesn't live up to either beer; regardless, thanks to Andrew Lewandowski for a sought-after beer from one of my favorite breweries!

TOTAL - 33/50

Photo of Mattress00
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Holding a flashlight behind it doesn't break through this very dark beer. The foamy tan head leaves a nice lacing effect behind on the glass.

S: Strong dank, earthy, piney aroma with a smidgen of citrus. Some roastiness comes through.

T: Dankness dominates initial taste followed by a combination of green, earthy, hoppy taste quickly surrounded by some bitterness. There is a balance of bitterness there but it's overwhelmed by the earthy dankness and roastiness.

F: Because it's a very dark beer much like a stout, a full mouthfeel is anticipated but it immediately reminds me that this is an IPA with it's crispy carbonation and bitterness on the tongue.

O: While I really admire Black IPAs for blending the roastiness and color with the bitterness/hoppiness of an IPA, this balance is often contradictory. This beer makes it more complicated as it adds a huge earthy hoppy aroma/flavor aspect to what I expect to be a more West Coast IPA style (I don't know why because these are all Midwest breweries). While a very tasty 16 ounces of goodness is found in this can, if you like earthy dank IPAs and strong, roasty stouts then this IPA will cause you an added joy. For those looking for a traditional Cascadian Dark Ale, you will be disappointed. Still a good beer but nothing I would spend more than $10 a 4-pack for.

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 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 yourefragile
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can, thanks whoever.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a light tan head, light lace. Nose of pine and grapefruit, char and roast malt, bitter chocolate. Flavor is more straight forward IPA like with piles of pine and citrus bitterness, very light dark chocolate and a bitter pine and mild ash finish. Medium thick, high carbonation, chewy finish.

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 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 Wolberjs
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Black with a nice finger of head that hangs around. Honestly don't have a point of comparison for the look

S - Mellow roasted malts / char. With a little of the di-actyl smell I'm accustomed to with the style. Unless you love this style (which I don't), not outstanding. For reference I'd take a delicious citrousy IPA of a black IPA any day.

T - Huge roasty malt flavor with bitter hops on the taste. The taste of the roasted malts comes through much more in the taste than the smell. Prefer the taste to smell.

M- Smooth feel on the tongue with a dry tinglely finish. Good.

O - As stated above, I'm not the biggest fan of this style, but it's up there as far as the ones I've had. Not on par with wookie jack or Stone's 15th anni, but solid.

Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

I believe this is the first black IPA I have had. It was interesting. It had a nice hoppy flavor and aroma but with a maltier backbone than I am used to in a traditional pale ale.

Photo of Moose90
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can reads - "Canned On 04/20/15 F2870"

A — Pours a deep and dark black color, with little to no light around the edges, just pure black. There is a puffy, cappuccino like head that forms, but it fades into a thin layer atop the dark body of the beer. Lacing left behind is sticky, moderately consistent.

S — Smells quite hoppy and bright initially. Though underneath it all is a very rich and darkly roasted malt profile. Lightly roasted bitter coffee, earthy and herbal notes, light lemon and citrus tartness.

T — Taste is quite intense and complex, lots of big hop and citrus notes initially. The background is very malt focused and layered, lots of roasty charred malts. Though it does seem to be slightly dialed back in each regard, not super dark and rich, and it is also not overly hoppy or bright.

M — Medium bodied, there is a long and lingering finish.

O — Nice overall, would love a little bit more char and roasted complexities, but great nonetheless.

Photo of cervezango
3.78/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I convinced my buddy to buy this as we were browsing the discounted craft beer. It was not discounted , it was 15.99 for a four pack of all boys. I try to jump on surley whenever it shows up here in wisconsin. I love most of there beer, Blakkr looked and sounded delicious.
the beer is good, but not exceptional. I Darkness from surley is so much better.
I didnt get any devil powers from this beer as far as I can tell. kinda a let down.

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 inlimbo77
3.79/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz, 2/17/14
Deschutes TEKU

A: Pours a deep ruby more than brown/black. In the glass, looks pretty dark. Head is a full finger of light tan head. Leaves some lacing sheeting. Sticks around.

S: Not as aggressively hoppy as other bipa that I like, Wookey etc. Black patent malt. Some earthly hop, pine. Soft milk chocolate. Roast is minimal.

T: Bitterness up front. Muted. Not aggressive. I was assuming much more from Surly and FFF. Nice chocolate and some roast. Creamy. Bitterness in the mid palate. Close is dry. Hop bitterness lingers.

M: Big medium, leading to full. Creamy.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.81/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into a Surly Pint glass

A- Pours a huge 3 finger mocha colored head, dissipates really slowly to a frothy layer on top. Really sticky/splotchy lacing. Color is really dark dark brown, with red brown hues coming off of the bottom.
S- Really big hop profile as soon as the can is popped. Comes out even stronger as you pour the beer into the glass. Pine, grapefruit, slight malt. Big pine presence.
T- Really bitter. Big bitter hop flavor pine/grapefruit. Slight honey flavor in the backend. Kind of reminds me of Hopslam, but just the hoppy honey flavor. Slight onion, but not in a bad way. Allot going on.
M- Big mouth feel, can definitely taste the alcohol in this beer. Warms you up as it goes down. Really coats the palate, leaves a bitter after taste. Sticky as well.
O- Not bad. Im typically not a fan of black ales, but really enjoyed the big hop profile in this one. Gets better as it warms up a bit.

Photo of Buebie
3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the Three Floyd's Surly and Real ale colabo. Released 2/25/14 in Minneapolis.

Couldn't find my imperial pint glass, pretty sure the lady friend broke it. We shall see, there will be a full interrogation tonight with open wires plugged into sockets.

Poured somewhat softly into an oversized snifter, tan head building momentum (rooky pourers be warned!) it wants to overflow but I wont let it.
Head is dense and sits around a while mesmerizing my stare.
Finally settling to leave thin spotty lace. Color is Blakk, not much light penetration, some around the edges of the glass.
The real fun happens in aroma. Mild alcohol, roast grains and burnt sugar, faint dark fruit and lots of burnt toast. A bountiful amount of floral fruity hops and grassy hop notes. Not gonna lie, aroma is pretty fukn great.
Mouthfeel is creamy mixed with carbonation.
Flavors are semi sweet but quite a bit of raosty grains, burnt toast, alcohol heat and burnt sugar. Hops are kicking in and there's plenty of bitterness and a little fruity hope lingering in there somewhere.
Shits good. I like it a lot. Black ipa had a kid with imperial porter and they smoked while pregnant. Here is the result.

Photo of N_Schleret
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a brown color with a 2 finger chocolate head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice lacing.
S: Very nice hoppy smell. Light on the malts.
T: Again, a lot of hops. Slight sweetness on the back end. Very bitter.
M: Sticky and bitter. Really fills up the palate.
O: I'm not a big fan of the sweet profile in a hop forward beer, but a good offering.

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an IPA glass. Liquid is very nearly totally black, with some dark brown hues around the edges. Small-ish brown head kicks up on the pour and fades quickly, but leaves some rings of lace, and a nice film on top of the beer. The few lines of bubbles rising slowly to the top actually look kind of ominous... but maybe I'm just letting the can art get to me.

Aroma is not particularly strong. I get some citrus hops, and a bit of milk chocolate, but that's about it.

Flavor definitely packs the punch where the aroma didn't. Bigtime hops up front - citrusy, grassy, etc. A big malt bill quickly comes in to mix around - milk chocolate & breadiness. The hops begin to add some spiciness as it warms. Finish is pretty bitter, with hops being the predominant aftertaste. Your mouth is really left kind of pummeled after the swallow... in a nice way, of course. It's maybe a bit too much of a bruiser for my tastes, but there are nice flavor notes in there that work well.

Mouthfeel is semi-thick with lots of carbonation - good for the style and for the flavor.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try it, but I doubt I'd be able to drink it all the time. Of course, making a big bruiser of a beer seems like what they were going for (the can calls it "crushing"), so I'll give it a little extra in the score. Thanks to roostor07 for the can!

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

its almost too much, this insanely dark and hoppy collaboration. jet black on the pour with an obsidian luster and a mocha colored half inch of steady head. the nose is hops, bitter and vegetal, even through the tremendously robust roasty grain bill, i get the hops first. in terms of taste, this is pretty two dimensional. extremely dark roasty barley and chocolate malt make up the front end. its bakers chocolate and tobacco, pavement, and licorice, while the back end is all hops. not particularly flavorful either, just bitter and intense. its almost bitter double jeopardy from the hops and the roast, but the enormous rich body cuts some of that, or at least spreads it out over a longer taste experience. carbonation is about average, but no amount of bubbles could lighten this one to drinkable, and i was certainly thankful to be sharing a pint can. very intense beer, taking black ipa to a whole new level. in the way that i dont need to drink more than one 120 minute ipa, this has similar properties. its a palate bomb too, so finish rather than start your session with blakkr.

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.

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 957 ratings.