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Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

132 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 1,053
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 24.29%
Wants: 94
Gots: 174 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

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: 132 | Hads: 1,053
Photo of joiceed
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Phenomenal Beer. Despite its bold 10 % ABV, it is extremely drinkable. Dangerously so. It's appearance is nearly as black as a Guinness with a slight hue of red cedar on the edges. It develops a nice head with a tan coloration. It smells of citrus: orange, apricots, and even suggests the slight sour of pomegranate. The taste is a bouquet of deep plum, caramelized apricots, oranges and even hints of a very smooth red wine soaked tobacco. Wonderfully flavorful in the realms of sweetness without tasting sweet. This is due to its excellent hop character. As a Double IPA should, it finishes with the tingling bitterness of fresh hops. Tangy and tongue twisting the hop profile is very noticeable. The only drawback to this beer that I can conjure is that I think it could have a little more zing with regards to the hop. Nonetheless, absolutely smooth. Its dangerous because it's extremely delicious and easy to drink, but also this beer will be quick to knock you on your ass!

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Photo of nhindian
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of B1gears
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful dark brown almost opaque color. 2-3 fingers of tan head, which lasts long and leaves a nice lace.

S - Hop aroma is present and on the piney side.

T - Initial taste is of charred wood and chocolate, replaced quickly by licorice on the back of the tongue, and then a vague pineapple taste. It's really surprising that it's so high in alcohol content.

M - Good mouth feel. Carbonation is a bit more than I'm used in a dark ale. Not a bad thing!

This a beautifully balanced and delicious beer. Surly does it again (with help).

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Photo of dmgeng
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I made a trade for this annual Surly release and I was really not let down!

A - Pours a beautiful dark brown color. Off white colored head with fine bubbles and great lacing.

S - The smell is of citrusy hops along with pine and herbal tones. Mixed together with some bakers cocoa, medium roasted coffee, sweet malt, and roast. Smells just as you would expect this beer to and it's great.

T - It hits the tongue with a sweet malt character that is ushered by the citrus, pine, and herbal hop character from the nose. In the middle there is some caramel to compliment the hop flavors that I really enjoy. On the backside there is more of the coffee, dark chocolate, and roast similar to an export stout. Also on the end is a resin fueled hop bitterness that sits perfectly with sweeter porter flavors from the middle.
M - Moderate mouth-feel. Moderate carbonation. The mouth-feel is the best I've had for a BIPA and basically sits like a really good DIPA but has that bitterness from the roast to add balance.

Overall, this is an amazing black IPA. I would definitely seek it out next year. This is my new favorite BIPA and if it had a more amp'd up hop flavor it would be one of my favorite beers of all time. The hops are good but could definitely be stronger. I also couldn't drink more than a few due to the palate wrecking nature of an Imperial Black IPA. I would strongly recommend this beer if you like DIPAs and robust stouts.

Glass- Imperial Nonic

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of SweetwaterTuonker
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Surly is the only part of the collaboration I know on a tastebud level. With their name on the label one correct assumption is it's boomshakalacka good.

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Photo of ajchocholousek
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of Awolter
4.81/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can dated 3/30 picked up in Mankato, Minnesota. Delicious and surprisingly quite citrusy for such a dark beer. I've heard they used different hops this year, I wish I had the opportunity to try the old one!

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at House of Pizza.

L: Pours a deep black with a thick tan head. Good retention moderate lacing.

S: Pineapple, grapefruit, mango, orange, citrus, pine, roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, plum, coffee, earthy hops. One of the best smelling brews I've ever had.

T: Pineapple, orange, roasted malts, dark fruits, molasses, slightly sweet chocolate with a great earthy hop bitterness on the finish.

F: Full bodied, creamy, slightly oily, good dry finish.

O: This is my favorite Black IPA so far. The smell if absolutely phenomenal and taste truly follows suit. This brew is an absolute must try.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
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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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.69/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

For this purposes of this review, I'm including my side-by-side notes for both the Three Floyds and Surly Blakkr iterations: half a twenty-two-ounce bomber in a Junkyard sixteen-ounce tulip, and half a sixteen-ounce can in a twelve-ounce Florida Beer IPA tulip.

Immediately, the Three Floyds smells a lot maltier, more chocolatey and burnt-toffee, and pours with a much more robust, bubbling, khaki-colored head. The Surly, meanwhile, boasts some authentically-detectable hop elements on the nose—a pleasant olfactory pulse for a beer as black as this (or, these two, more appropriately). Indeed, the more you snuff, the more the Surly measures: pine notes, some pretty intense citrus, surrounded with merely a hint of dark sugars and earthy petrichor.

The Surly is surprisingly dry, too, with light hop-candy notes and a pleasant hop-fused tartness that floats along the mellow, rich, smoldering-malt smoothness. In a lot of ways, the Surly is what I might have expected from the Three Floyds.

The Three Floyds, on the other hand, is much stouter: where the Surly is sort of a Black IPA suprême, the iteration from Munster, IN, leans much more heavily towards the “hoppy stout” spectrum. It's thicker; it expresses its abv much more strongly in the nose, especially, as well the flavor-profile; it billows with much more head, and lingers with much more substantial lacing; and its more deeply rich in its malt assertion. Cacao-forward, toffee'd, slightly smokey (almost ashy, in fact), and more bitter-hoppy than anything else, this is still a very good beer—clean for its heft, well-bodied and -balanced, and hoppy, if more narrowly so than the Surly—it nevertheless just feels less successful than the version of this collaboration brewed up in Minnesota.

Even though I do like Surly a lot, the results of this comparison were a definite shock to me—and it really forces one to consider more than just local elements (equipment; water), but the very substantial effect the bottling-vessel has on a beer, particularly as it ages. Indeed, I had Surley's effort on draught in Rochester, MN, but I think it's honestly better from its sixteen-ounce can. Moreover, the particular importance of pairings also further crystallize for me through this direct comparison, since I remember feeling more more positively about the Three Floyds version when I was drinking it off the tap at Owen & Engine, expertly poured alongside elk loin seared in brioche-ash and grains-of-paradise to bring out the strengths of 3F's offering.

So, it's certainly a good reminder: when a brew is delicate, and full of very deliberate effort, the smallest perturbations can truly create very different end-products.

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Photo of BeerTick
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cola brown with an inch and a half of a creamy wood colored head. It smells of delicious hoppy raisins. The taste is of a hoppy chocolate mixed with slight fruitiness and finishes with a not over powering bitterness. It feels like your sucking on a delightfully moist cloud. An awesome beer.

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Photo of FLima
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From notes on 5/3/14

Had it on tap yesterday and now I’m drinking a can. This beer is very good. Dark black pour. Good amount of carbonation. Fruity roasted aroma. Taste is very hoppy citrus, with some roasted flavors. Very interesting, but very good. Best black IPA I've had.

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Photo of communionofthesaints
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Canned: March '14
Opened: September '14
Found this sitting on the shelf in Minnesota, had to give it a shot despite its age.

Poured into IPA glass.
A: very black but thinner than a typical stout with a healthy khaki head.
S: Black malts, charred wood, a little chocolate and coffee
T: Interesting hop profile with black malts; somewhat citrusy. Citrus with coffee/black/roasty malt makes for an interesting experience. It's like the tongue doesn't know how to feel about it.
M: This beer captures what I love about black ipas, the richness and roastiness of black malt with the aggressive hop bitterness that quenches the hop appetite.
O: Fantastic beer and a great example of the style.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

pours black as night, with a thick, surprisingly light colored, thick head. Despite the dark color the beer is not exactly opaque. The beer has malty flavors of coffee and burned sugar, as well as crisp hoppy flavors of pine and mild citrus peel. A complex and satisfying beer, if i had access to it i would buy it every now and then fore sure.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

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.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of alphagnome
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
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!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of MarcWP
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with compact dark tan head that leaves nice lacing behind.

Aroma is grapefruit, bittersweet chocolate, fruity coffee, and orange liqueur faint to the back. A piney hop character also joins citrusy hop presence. I'd say the balance is good between the hops and dark malt base.

Flavor is more roast heavy with hops coming in secondary in the form of lemon and lime peel, grapefruit pith, and pungent pine needle. Sweetened black coffee and dark chocolate are heavy from the malts. Again, the hops are pretty complimentary to and balanced out nicely by the roasty malt base. Reminds me of sublimely somewhat.

Mouthfeel is definitely in between an IPA and Stout which also follows suit to the taste and aroma of the beer. Lighter medium body with carbonation that's close to porter bubbly territory.

A nice black IPA and among the better ones I've had. It's no Wookey Jack (the best black IPA ever) but it's not far behind. Tasty brew.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of Tanktizzo
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rich and flavorful! This is my second out of the four pack from the Surly release. It gets better with every can! The smell, taste, and overall appearance in the glass is great! For an Imperial high in alcohol this beer is well balanced and full bodied at the same time. Never had anything from Real Ale and I am guessing the love of metal music is why the collaboration happened.

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.