Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
BlakkrBlakkr

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

121 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 121
Hads: 987
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.29%
Wants: 80
Gots: 163 | 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: 121 | Hads: 987
Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.69/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (2,714 characters)

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. (299 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 kkleu357
4.41/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (279 characters)

Photo of communionofthesaints
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

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. (701 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.05/5  rDev -4%

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. (344 characters)

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. (181 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 alphagnome
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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

Aroma:
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.

Taste:
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.

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

Overall:
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! (888 characters)

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 MarcWP
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (953 characters)

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. (460 characters)

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

5/4/15
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. (263 characters)

Photo of Tanktizzo
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (381 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a Goose Island tulip. Big citrusy hop notes hit me the moment I opened the can. The pour is very dark and nearly black, but shows a hazy mahogany color when held to a light source. It sports 2 fingers of fine tan head and retains very well for the ABV. As mentioned, the nose has a massive hop character that's dripping with notes of oranges, pineapples, lemon, pine trees, and a hint of coffee.

The beer has a medium body and a hop-forward character with just enough roastiness to remind you this is not an Imperial IPA. Big grapefruit and lemon flavors hit you up front, supported by a nice bready malty foundation. Underneath it all is that roast, which would seem much more prominent if the beer weren't so hoppy. At mid-palate the grapefruit recedes, but the lemon remains and greets the espresso-like roastiness, creating a nice marriage of flavors. The roastiness intensifies towards the back of the palate and threatens to become porter-like, but the lemon stays with it and both flavors linger nicely on the finish. Very appetizing and enjoyable. No trace of booziness at all. At first observation, the feel seems a bit thin, but as one drinks the beer I find that the feel seems to complement the flavor just right.

Just when I think I'm justified in staying away from Black IPAs, this one comes along and sparks my interest. Excellent beer. I hope the brewers make it again. Anyone fond of espresso and lemon should try this. (1,461 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fabulous beer and an interesting take on the so-called black IPA. This is as dark as a porter or stout. The nose is a bit of roasted coffee and chocolate, with a hint of pine. The taste is the same. This is a much maltier black IPA than others, but there's still a piney quality that marks as an IPA. Mouthfeel is medium with some creaminess. Very smooth. Quite different from others of its kind like Sublimely Self-Righteous but a great beer. (445 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 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. (440 characters)

Photo of mwilbur
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 16 oz can into snifter.
A: Pours a black hue with 1+ inch dark tan head with good retention. Very faint sticky lacing lasts throughout.
S: Citrus and pine hops (a la Furious) predominates. Underlying this (and becoming more apparent with warming) is a good dose of smoked and darkly roasted malt. Interesting and enticing.
T: The malt takes the lead here--smoked and darkly roasted--and provides a firm backbone for this brew. Pineapple and soft pine hops also present...just not quite as strong as in the aroma. Hint of peat and anise.
M: Medium body. Smooth, mildly sweet, moderately bitter, and with slight char. Dry and bitter finish.
D: A very solid offering...not quite top tier but close. I typically don't like to comment on price, but will here...not quite sure the end result can justify the $20 for a 4-pack. (831 characters)

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Definitely black ha. the head is dark tan. There's some particles in the beer, which for some reason excites me.

S: Burnt oats and hops. Pine and graham cracker.

T: This is amazing! I'm getting a wonderful balance of IPA bitterness with dark chocolate and roasty stout. Just awesome. Oats, toast, beef jerky, tobacco, hop bitterness, pine, orange peel, graham cracker. Very nice.

M: Thick and awesome! Not super duper thick but it has a nice velvety smooth feel to it. It's a mouthful.

O: Very well-made beer. Alcohol is well hidden. The flavor is complex and holds two different beers into one! Amazing. (615 characters)

Photo of SeanBond
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm not going to do a full review, but wanted to say, as others have, that this is a very balanced version of a black IPA. It's a good beer, and the strong hoppy taste (you get a LOT on the nose) blends well with the smoky malt, but at $18.99 a 4-pack, it's just too expensive. I purchased once because I was curious (it's gotten good reviews and I love both FFF and Surly), but I can't see myself dropping another $20 on a 4-pack of this. For fans of black IPAs, I'd assume this'll be a real hit, though. (505 characters)

Photo of TheSSG
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a huge, densy, tan head that has insane persistence and laces readily. Grapefruit hops in the nose. It smells quite hoppy and nice, though not much of that toasted malt. Black. Starts with a rich, toasted malt flavor and citrus hops. Acidic and bright right at the very beginning. The malt settles down and the citric hops become more dominant. The hops move into a more citrus rind bitterness, which lingers into the finish. Velvety smooth, and surprisingly carbonated.

This is pretty good. The front of this is a phenomenal balance of hoppiness and toasted malt. If this could be the balance and complexity of the front, I'd love it to death. This is easily one of the better black IPA's I've had, but it would be perfect if the toasted malt were more prevalent throughout. (782 characters)

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. (1,832 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Blakkr pours black with a nice lacing tan head. There is a very bold and prominent hoppy aroma, with hints of burntness. The taste is very strong, rich burnt malty flavors, with a nice bold hoppy flavors, and good hints of a sweet pineapples. Good bold flavors, nice feel, good aftertaste. Overall very good, the only knock is it may be just a tad too sweet. (358 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)

Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.