Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

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128 Reviews
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Reviews: 128
Hads: 1,022
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 24.29%
Wants: 83
Gots: 166 | FT: 8
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: 128 | Hads: 1,022
Photo of mwilbur
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of SeanBond
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of TheSSG
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
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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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
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

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Photo of c2linguist
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer looks scary on the can. Looks scary in the glass. Looks scary from the 9.99% ABV... But tastes far less intimidating. Lightly sweet, touch of smoke, solid hops. All up a really good beer. Actually, the scary part of the taste is that you'd never believe the ABV was nearly that high.

The reason for the overall "meh" rating = cost. No one has mentioned that in the review. It's like "collaboration" means "we can charge a lot more." Grabbed it off a shelf at a my regular shop because I'd heard people talking about it, hit the register and was a little shocked when it got rung up. Figured, maybe there's a secret decoder ring inside...?

I'm sure they would say that the ingredients used cost more and that sticker price is what it takes to produce the beer and make a small profit. That's all fine and good and I'm happy I tried it, but I won't have it again... unless someone else is buying...

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of cfrivera1
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Tracy's Saloon, Minneapolis - served in a snifter.

Never heard of it so I asked for a sample - indeed it was black and I expected it to be a stout-like beer or porter. But oh no - to my surprise it was perfectly sweet with just the right amount of bite. Not too heavy not too light; It was good - so, I ordered a snifter.

So after the third or fourth sip, I HAD to look it up online on my Phone and when I saw the ABV of 9.99% I could not believe it!! NO WAY this beer’s ABV is 9.99%!! I sure could not taste the alcohol, so it must be very well hidden. Anyway, very yummy stuff, and I did feel tipsy after one snifter - I'll be buying more of this...

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Photo of Ri0
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 16oz can into snifter.

A - Deep dark coffee black with a 1 finger espresso colored head. Fades quickly into a thin ring and leaves behind spotty lacing.

S - A bitter morning coffee blend with roasty malts, caramel and some grapefruit. I pick up notes of cocoa and cream as well as some earthiness.

T - Big bitter coffee, roasted malts, and caramel. Notes of bitter grapefruit and earthy hops. I even notice some cocoa and cream flavor.

M - Nice mediun body with complimentary carbonation. Roasty, sweet, and bitter finish.

O - This hoppy black ale is delicious with a coffee and creaminess that is hopped up in a big way. Different from other hoppy black ales and damn good!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had cask with simcoe and centennial 4oz pour at churchkey on 5/8/14

A-Pours a dark brownish black with light tan head. Good lacing.

S-Aromas of pine, caramel, citrus and smoke. This is awesome.

T-Tasting notes of roast, smoke, pine, citrus, caramel.

M-Medium body with a dry finish.

O-Overall oh my gosh this was an impressive black IPA so smooth love the cask

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black (surprise surprise) finger of deep tan head, nice lacing

Smell is, if you have had abrasive you know where the hop side of this is at, grapefruit, pine, orange, pineapple... Now the malt cocoa, coffee, black licorice, toffee, herbal note

Taste is heavy roasted malt, cocoa, pine, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, caramel, finishes with a bittering citrus

mouthfeel is nice and full, nice finish not to roasty or dry, great balance

Good beer, great cross between a Imperial Stout an a DIPA, one of the better ones I have had that is for sure.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Poured from a 16 oz can into a shaker pint. This was served chilled.

A) Deep brown... Nearly black... This had a small tan head. Really good retention, and plenty of lacing.

S) This beer has a fantastic piney aroma with a light amount of roast. Light citrus and tropical fruit stay in the background.

T) Very near the nose with the exception being just a hint of black licorice. Now I typically don't like black licorice, but this really works. Pleasantly bitter aftertaste. And my goodness, the ABV is so well hidden. I can't believe this is almost 10%.

M) Medium body with moderate carbonation. Even with the bitterness this is really smooth. Semi-dry finish. Nice mouthfeel...

O) This is a really good brew... Right up there with Black Top from New Glarus as far as I'm concerned. Glad to recommend.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of BeerDazed
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Fellow GTOTM fan shared from his bomber and poured in a red solo cup, while waiting in line to purchase tix. I know...not the proper glass, but the only one available.
The deep black color looked exquisite against the white interior lining of said cup. All kidding aside, it looked fantastic. Nice brownish head too.
Taste was smooth, dark, delicious. Great hop flavor and roasty goodness.
Smell was dark roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice.
Mouthful not as heavy as a stout but definitely more on the fuller side.
Looking forward to drinking this out of a real glass, and maybe even on tap.
Superb offering of this particular style. Blakkr is Bawesome!

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Photo of TheBeerDrinker
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out black as night with a very light brow, one-finger head with good retention and a little lacing.

Smell is fruity pineapple, orange, mango, with no bitterness and hard to get any grains out of the nose. Really smells like a citrus hop forward IIPA.

Taste follows the nose quite close with the citrus charactoristics but there is some dark malt, molasses, and maybe a tad but of chocolate. The taste is really close to Abrasive with a little darker edge to it.

Mouthfeel is spot on for what I would call a IIPA although this beer is not really billed as that.

Overall I REALLY like this beer as I love Abrasive and it has many of the same charactoristics. This is not usually a style I like but I really love it as it reminds me of Abrasive.

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Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Photo of paladinjoe
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First of all, I'm not understanding the low ratings I'm seeing on this one, this beer is AWESOME! I've only had two of what we call Black IPAs, and I love both of them! For some reason, this style isn't getting a whole lot of love.

In a lot of ways, this beer is very similar to Surly's Abrasive Ale, which is a 100 beer rated beer, hence, my lack of understanding for the low ratings. With all said, it's basically Abrasive Ale, with some roastiness to it, and a slight hint of stout qualities... just very very good. I know there's a Surly Overrated IPA, I'd call this Surly's UNDERrated IPA!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
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.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
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!

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.