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Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
BlakkrBlakkr

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

124 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 124
Hads: 1,003
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 81
Gots: 164 | 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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Reviews: 124 | Hads: 1,003
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. (1,090 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color capped by two inches of ecru foam that leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Balanced between the ashy, burnt caramel and the piney hops

Taste: Burnt caramel sweetness, on the front end, with a developing blend of chocolate and pine; increasingly bitter and ashy, after the swallow, though the sweetness of the burnt caramel lingers into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Surprised by the high ABV here and the flavors create a quite challenging blend; still, as ABAs go, this is a good one (569 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Sixteen ounce can shared by Andrew - thanks. Canned 2/21/14.

A: Pours black with a half-inch thick tan head which fades slowly to a cap and leaves splotches of lace.

N: Roasty, citrusy, piney, floral, and earthy.

T: Very fruity citrus with roasted malts and dark chocolate overtones, earthy.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Finishes creamy and dry.

O: This version has more hop forward and earthy and thicker feel than the Three Floyds bottle. (478 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfect blackness, with slight traces of red creeping out at the sides and foot. Roasted tan head stays large on top, until retreating, while leaving lace. Ominous.

Aroma: Hops hit first, pungent and powerful, piney and citric, even while being enveloped by the darkness below. Malt keeps pace and threatens to swallow all else. Hop aromas are screaming out of this nose, hoping to escape the dread darkness.

Taste: Once in the mouth, things get more intense. Hops hold their own and then some, becoming stronger on the palate that you'd suspect, and the flavor of the malt strives to catch up. Dark chocolate flavors, aniseed, char, smoke, tobacco…deep, dense, rich stuff. But the hop bitterness is never quite conquered and the two parts reign supreme in the flavors, hand in hand.

Not quite balanced, but not quite not. The alcohol is felt fairly early on, and brings on a mood of doom. (Not really, I'm just exaggerating for effect. I thought you'd figured that out by now?) Not one for the mild or fearful. Don't have more than one if you've got anything else to do later in the night. (Says the guy who's going to close the evening with a 10% barley-wine bomber.)

So, now we read the label" "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 another mighty, massive Surly (co-)creation. I would smash the can on my forehead as a sort of salute, but, you know, I'm just not that metal. (1,569 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pin-sized can:

Pours very dark brown with a listing head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of pine/resin and citrus with chocolate.

Taste is of pine/resin some citrus and chocolate. There is some coffee but the roast is restrained enough to add dimension without clashing with the bitterness of the hops.

It is velvety smooth despite the noticeable alcohol.

Tasty, rich and strong. This is heavy on hops and malt. And it all comes together wonderfully! (457 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is dark brown with a mild haze and a quarter inch of tan head. The aroma offers roast, smoke, charred malt, a hint of chocolate, resinous hops. Nice flavor, with everything flowing harmoniously. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Lingering hops with a light bitterness in the finish. While I'm not typically a big fan of this style, I found this beer unique and enjoyable. (421 characters)

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. (1,120 characters)

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. (352 characters)

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. (469 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Another from garymuchow. 16oz can poured into 10oz goblet. Pours a solid black color, with just a thin cap of tan head that dissipated quickly, and had very low lacing.

WHOA! Holy licorice bomb! As the glass neared my olfactory opening, a huge blast of licorice assaulted me. Underneath, there was a light grain scent, soft hops, and a lot of licorice. On the tongue, there was licorice. Lots and lots of licorice. Some low malts showed through, and a medium level of hoppiness was apparent. Did I mention that this brew tastes like licorice? Because it does.

The body was light-medium, and had a crisp, dry finish. Drinkability is going to depend on how much one likes licorice. It's not my favorite, so my enjoyment level wasn't premium. YMMV. Overall, a pretty nice beer that a lot of folks will love. I wasn't one of them, but I appreciate the chance to have tried it. (874 characters)

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. (723 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a dark brown color. Light really struggles to worm it's way through this brew. Thinner, brown head.

S-Its plenty hoppy. I get a bunch of grass and citrus. The darker aspect of this beer matches the more heralded hoppy aromas. Dark malt, roast, a bit of char.

T-Starts off hoppy. I get a dried-out orange flavor with a good shake of pine and grass. Here, Surly's Blakkr is even more balanced by the rich, dark maltiness. Sweet chocolate and sugared coffee.

M-Bitter from both the dark roastiness and the hops. Body has plenty of texture to it. Softer carbonation.

O-I wasn't very impressed with this but I rarely am by Black IPAs. The flavors often conflict with one another on my palate.

-
Edit: tried another can and it was a much hoppier brew the second time. Not sure what happened to the first can butt his one is much, much better. Grade upped from a 3.66. (876 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, apparent date stamp is smudged but I know it's super fresh, so it doesn't matter
L - opaque black body, thick creamy tan head hangs around awhile leaving chunky lacing as it fades
S - wicked awesome aroma! Fresh, dank piny and citric hops, rich and roasty, baker's chocolate, anise, fruit, almost faintly ashy; intriguing
T - bitter, pungent pine punishes the palate from the get-go with fresh citrus rind and some fruity esters. Anise, roasted barley, chocolate, caramel, and that faint ash add complexity and a bit of sweetness, but the pungency prevails drying the palate completely.
F - fuller body, ample carbonation, very dry finish
O - this is a beast! But I do have a love-hate for it. Great complexity, great flavors but I think it's too over the top pungent. It takes away from what it could have been. Still really like it and glad I had the chance to get a bottle. (891 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna color. Minimal froth.
(S)- Mild roast meets plenty of pine and citrus.
(T)- A bit more roast than the smell. Meets plenty of pine ridden citrus.
(M)- Good carbonation level and balance. A bit more roast than hoping but still plenty of hop bitterness.
(O)- A solid Black IPA. One of the better ones out there (370 characters)

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....my 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. (1,099 characters)

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. (762 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big, over-da-top metal 16 oz. can of Blakkr. Never been fond of Real Ale, am hit or miss with 3F, but hey, here in MN, in Surly We Trust. Four pack up. One down. Strapping in. Or on.

Pour is certainly blakk with moderate carbonation. The nose, oh good sheep ass, the nose is right off the charts bizarre. How many hop fields went into this one can? Pine, citrus, & a blast of earthiness riff on an IPA, with only a light roast underneath. Unique.

Blakkr doesn't rip the taste like it did the aroma. It enters the mouth like a standard, if amped up, version of a black ale. The hops are definitely up front, especially as it warms. The nose translates into a taste of fresh-tapped pine sap with a healthy slash of bitterness up front. Malts in the middle lend roast, distant chocolate, & a lending hand of alcohol to help you sleep. Bitterness reasserts on the finish, which ends a bit muddled, as many black ales tend to do. Not tough to drink.

When I popped the top I was wondering if Blakkr would be revelatory or disappointing, & at the Final Countdown, it was neither. I do really like the hoppy twist on the style; a very good beer. (1,143 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Tallboy can poured to a tumbler with a pitch black body but remains somewhat less than stout thickness. Light tan cap forms to two fingers with pretty good retention. Frothy ring deposits thick sheets of lace towards the top of the glass with webs and spots following.

S- Hops jump off the top with the deep roasted base supporting them. Hops come in as fruity with citrus and slight stone fruit as well as pine. Grapefruit rind, tangerine, cocoa and burnt roast grains.

T- Started off with a hefty dose of chocolate, deeply roasted grains, toasted nuts and slight sweetness from the grains but before long the hops burst in. Fresh grapefruit, orange zest, tangerine, apricot, stone fruits and pine.

MF- Medium to thick bodied with a slightly oily, creamy texture. Carbonation hits the palate at a medium-high level and makes the hops and roast burst out. Finishes with a medium bitterness.

It took me a fair amount of time to get into hoppy Black ales but I think I am finally a huge fan of this style. Beelzebub is back from Alchemist and this actually reminds me of that somewhat. Roast and cocoa from the malts compliment the citrus, fruity hops. (1,157 characters)

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. (1,199 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a touch of transparency. Thick light brown head of foam that reduces pretty fast and leaves a little lace.

Has an Abrasive like hop nose with a roasts chocolate and smoke follow up.

Tastes like the hoppy goodness of Abrasive up front. Grassy, fruity, citrusy hop profile. The middle is toasty with a bit of dark chocolate and the back end brings out a light charred wood/smoke profile. A little booze in the finish also. Very tasty.

Medium feel, smooth and resiny. Lightly dry finish on the palate.

This reminds me of about 80 percent Abrasive blended with 10 percent Darkness and 10 percent Smoke. Probably inspired by those, but damn, the hop profile is so Abrasive like. Drinks very easy for the abv. A great take on the style, but does carry a hefty price tag at nearly $5 a can. (815 characters)

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. (1,384 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy can, canned 3/18/2014. Poured into an unlabeled shaker glass yesterday, 4/18/2014.

A- black body with a thick, long-lasting off white head. Bits of lacing.

S- grapefruit, orange, tangerines and a bit of pine. Lots of roast and a bit of smoke. Seems like a double IPA without the biscuits and caramel that usually accompany them.

F- roast dominates the malt contribution, a lot of citrus hops. Very aromatic in the hops used. Good bitterness on the backend evoking grapefruit.

M- medium bodied, not thin or thick but just about right. Good carbonation. Perfect balance of bitterness and roast.

O- much better execution of what I imagine a double black IPA to taste like. Far better than Three Floyds' take on this beer. (740 characters)

Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tricerahops for this one.

Poured from a 16oz can, canned on 02/17/14.

The pour is densely black with a strong 3 finger head. Aroma is ripe grapefruit mixed with a rich, roasted aroma, bit of chocolate also. Flavor and feel is smoother than expected, juicy hops that segues into creamy coffee. Goes from bitter to a creamy sweetness. (344 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black color with red highlights and a thick dark beige head with great retention and leaving laces.
Nice hoppy aroma with notes of grapefruit, fresh grass, mild cocoa, pineapple, oranges, resins, licorice and some home-made coffee.
Complex and bold flavor with notes of grapefruit, oranges, coffee, piney resin, perfume, lots of nectarines and black fruits, caramels, lemon peel, dark chocolate, tobacco and licorice. It made me sneeze right away, attesting its powerful 90 IBUs. Very dry aftertaste with a long lasting intense bitterness and roasted note.
Medium towards full body with appropriate carbonation. Relatively creamy sensation. Alcohol of 9% abv is completely absent.
Great Imperial Black Ale, a burst of flavors and hop bitterness. It has an interesting diverse complexity: earthy, perfumy, citrusy, roasty, floral, chocolaty, and fruity. Simply incredible. And I love the style. (894 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Boy this one hurt at the checkout. $18.99/4-pack 16 oz. I can count on one hand the breweries that I will submit to this way.
Poured into riedel beer glass that can hold the whole can and looks nice too. Canned 3/4/14, so only a few weeks old.
What a fantastic aroma. Fresh fruit, esp. pineapple. This is mixed with other hoppy citrus a streak of fresh green hops and shored up with a soft roast and dark malt. Really, really nice.
Definitely a black ale with dark red highlights. Nicely sized full and thick light brown head.
Flavor is more balanced than aroma with malts playing a key role. Very smooth roast with shots of caramel and no apparent malt bitterness. Bitterness, however on the finish with a tasty hop flavor. The start of the drink is such a nice mix of malty sweetness and fresh fruit-filled hop flavor - super good blending. As the malt flavors grow and change so do the hops with a huge cornucopia of flavors in the middle that are distinct and blended fantastically well simultaneously. This all flows into a very smooth bittering finish of great length with a soft blending of roast flavors. Alcohol flavor is present too and shows in a straight alcohol manner, like smelling everclear, yet somehow it flows with the rest of the drink.
So nice.
Nice full feel with a bit of grittiness at times. Perfectly carbonated with just enough to fill the mouth with action, but no too much.
Hard to say any beer is worth this cost, but man is this a nice beer. (1,472 characters)

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.