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Bender | Surly Brewing Company

751 Reviews
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Here's what happens when substance meets smooth. This oatmeal brown ale defies traditional categories. Bender begins crisp and lightly hoppy, complemented by the velvety sleekness oats deliver. Belgian and British malts usher in cascades of cocoa, coffee, carmel and hints of vanilla and cream. An easy-drinking ale with many layers of satisfaction.

Added by tavernjef on 02-04-2006

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Reviews: 751 | Ratings: 1,904
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh and tasty pint can, thanks to Tempest. Large brown head on dark brown, much like a coffee. Moderate pleasant mocha chocolate coffee aroma, and the taste does deliver. Modest roast, malty without sweet. Secondary a bit dry and bitter. Very drinkable. A few minutes later, it is all gone.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

Pours a clear dark brown color with a 2 inch beige head that fades to a thin film. Nice rings and patches of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted oats, brown bread, and citrus zest notes. Taste is of oats, bread, nuts, and a citrus zest taste on the finish. Mild bitterness on the palate fades after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation that makes for a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good brown ale and I am glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a really nice brown ale, moving in that more hoppy direction, a real marker for the style in my opinion. the pour is chocolate syrup in color but not nearly as thick. only a little light comes through, and there is a foamy head the color of oatmeal that rises up maybe three inches and leaves good lacing as it drinks. the nose is bitter cocoa and bitter hops, maybe with a touch of pine to them. there is also a slight smoky aroma from the roasted barley malt that gives this more of a fall than spring beer aura to me. the flavor is big, lots happening for a brown. piney pitchy sappy hops first, which fade into a bitterness that is more malt driven. the cocoa element carries over from the nose but sweetens up just enough to counteract the bitter, and the finish is long and luxurious, exacerbated by the wonderfully full body, creamy texture, and soft carbonation of this beer. to be able to have this and sixpoints diesel in such close succession was a real treat. even though they call that one a stout, these are probably the best two American brown ales going at the moment. this is sensationally good.

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Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark red in color (brown when viewed from afar) and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a two finger high tan head that died down ever so slowly and left a thin but dense head covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of cocoa and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste has some similarities with the smell but is much more complex and has additional notes of chocolate and coffee.
M: It feels medium-bodied, smooth and a little creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has great complexity and interesting flavors. The oats lend lots of smoothness to the mouthfeel.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a deep reddish brown color with a very nice cream colored head on top. The retention and lacing are top notch on this very good looking beer. The smell of the beer has a very nice roasted aroma with a touch of sweetness on the nose too. The taste is sweet upfront, a little creamy, there is a roasted nut flavor, hints of chocolate and coffee too. The aftertaste is moderately bitter. The mouthfeel of the beer is smooth, lightly carbonated and highly drinkable. Overall this beer is really good. Very nice brew.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first taste of a Surly Brewing Company brew. Turns out, it was worth the patience and the hype. The sound of the beer hitting the bottom of the glass promises malty richness. The appearance is a meduim viscous, dark brown with ruby highlights. A 1" head never fell. Aromas of solid barley malts, semi-sweet cocoa, and bold coffee notes blended well with complementary caramel, toffee, and a touch of fermented roasted malts. The flavors closely resemble the terrificly balanced aromas but show impressive intensity, strenth, roundness, and without compromising the balance. The cocoa flavors portray mild bitterness and solid richness. The coffee is very Columbian, and the hop bitterness balances the bitterness found in the cocoa and coffee. A mild lacto-sweetness rounds out the coffee acidity well. As the beer falls into the finish a firm nutty (pecan) flavor intensifies and carrys the beer into the finish. Very clean and bitter-balanced in the finish, allowing a soft, coffee / chocolate lingering. Not sure if this is the best Brown that I have ever has, but I am certain that I have had none better. Thanks Nathan15.

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Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a hazy mahogany color with garnet highlights and a creamy tan head that persists reasonably well and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Toasted brown bread, cocoa and hints of sweet orange

Taste: Starts out with a brown bread with chocolate and mild coffee flavors; hints of oat peek through by mid-palate; after the swallow, the beer shows that it is not just another brown ale by bumping up the bitterness with a nice citrus flavor

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full bodied with a prickly carbonation

Drinkability: Off the charts, this is one great brown that pushes the style in a direction any hophead would appreciate

Thanks, tempest, for the opportunity

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pretty dark for a brown ale, not quite black, but a shade darker than most. Clarity is good as it thins.

Smell - Semi-sweet. The aroma hints at caramel, toast and vanilla, but it's very rounded with no single character dominating.

Taste - Layers of caramel, vanilla and cocoa play off of a toasty, bittersweet foundation. Smooth and full on the palate with a dry coffee-like finish. Impressive complexity without compromising drinkability.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can courtesy of Stine: Poured a cloudy dark brown color ale with a nice foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of caramel malt with light bitter hops. Taste is also dominated by caramel with some light bitter hops. Body is quite full with some great carbonation. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this one considering the brilliance of the two other offerings I had from this fine brewer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A shaker pint at the Minni-St. Paul airport during layover hell on the way to, erm, Detroit...

This beer appears a clear, dark brown hue, with one finger of foamy tan head, which renders a barely broken wall of sudsy pale beige lace as it slinks away. It smells of nutty, biscuity caramel malt, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is bready caramel malt, some oily nuttiness, and fairly bitter earthy hops. The carbonation is moderate, if a bit edgy, the body medium weight, yet not quite smooth. It finishes on a drying note, divided still between biscuit malt and leafy green hops.

A decent brown ale, however, the hops are not really doing a lot for me, in their creeping bitterness.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan had and plenty of lacing.

S: Lots of hops for a brown ale, and they really fit in well. Sweet caramel, toffee, and other roasted malts fill this one out.

T: Caramel, toffee, citrus/pine hops. Also some mild notes of coffee and chocolate.

M: Very rich and tasty. Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: Highly drinkable. A very nice offering--I wouldn't expect anything less from Surly.

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Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two pints today at Four Moon Tavern.

Black body with foam that is the true definition of creamy. It leaves rings of in the glass that are connected by sheets of lacing. Head retention is good, and stays for the majority of the glass. Toasty malt nose. This beer showcases the malt, very smooth with some mellow wood and tobacco up against brown sugar and dry malt, with a hint of apple from the yeast. An earthy hop presence is noticeable in the first few sips, and even more later into the session. This seems to be the point of intrigue for me, that lasting earthy bitterness that lingers into the aftertaste, but disappears shortly thereafter. Very smooth and medium bodied, not filling, easy to session without sacrificing flavor. Nice stuff.

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Photo of zeff80
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Poured out a dark, almost cola-brown with ruby tints and a tan, creamy, two-finger head that left lace.

S - It smelled of oats and roasted malt. There was also a floral hoppy nose, too.

T - It was such a complex blend of flavors. There was cocoa, caramel, vanilla, oatmeal and hints of hops.

M - It was smooth, like a Russian Imperial Stout. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is my second Surly product and it didn't disappoint.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were moderately high given the reputation of the brewery. This was my first Surly beer, though I uploaded this review after my other Surly ones.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, good thickness, and poor retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Coffee, heavy nuts, vanilla, and light cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Light coffee on the open, pleasant vanilla and light cream in the body. Nutty hops and light caramel. The finish is a touch metallic, which I find unpleasant, but it might be a draught error. Overall, it's decently complex and balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, and just thick enough. Kind of suits the flavour, but it isn't tailored to it.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the style, but for my first Surly beer, it's a bit of a disappointment. Coffee is a strange choice for a would-be brown ale.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big tan to light brown head slowly settles down a top clear burnt amber colored beer.

Dark roasted malts, hardy vanilla bean, roasted chestnuts, and specialty coffee aroma.

Dark roasted sweet malts with a coffeeish and roasted nut tastes make this a pretty tasty affair.

A full bodied beer that has a dryish aftertaste that still brings the roasted malt tastes with it.

A very worthy beer, I enjoyed this on a warm summers day, I can only imagine how good this would be on a cool winters night.

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Photo of oline73
3.15/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with some reddish light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of light tan head that goes away completely.

Smell: Malty sweet, with notes of overly ripe dark fruit, caramel/molasses, and some roasty notes as well. Sweeter than I expected.

Taste: Initially very sweet with an extremely bitter finish for a brown ale. Sweet dark fruit up front with some molasses and roast, and then the sweetness fades dramatically and leaves a very bitter finish. I like my browns with more balance and nuttier.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with too little carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Not a huge fan of this one, which surprised me because I love the coffee bender. Not sure how old this can was, I'll have to revisit this one in the future.

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this canned goodness thanks to either grub or KeefB (one from each). All the Surlys I've had so far from a can are full of awesomeness, and I expect nothing less from this guy. After all, Tasty crack cans, tasty crack cans...

A: Psssst ccchhhhkkkttt goes the sound of the can as I pop the top. Humungous fluffy dark colored head grows from the beer upwards and leaves a big bubbly side on the side I poured towards. Super dark raisiny brown color dominates and blocks almost all light from sneaking through. Even at the bottom of the glass where it thins quite a bit, light can't penetrate its awesomeness. As the head slowly bides itself, it leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

N: Total brown sugar and raisin burst accompanied with some dark malts dominate the nose. A slight dark fruit of fig and some other like dark fruits come out and say hello. I get some raw malt like aromas that remind me of the mash when homebrewing, and really hits a smile zone in my brain. The caramelized brown sugar dominates this nose and really tells you it will be a sweet surprise waiting below. I would really have expected a nose like this to be followed with 9-10%abv, but being 5% it should be pretty interesting.

T: Ooooh, it IS a beer. It has a nice beer like malt taste to start, not sure how else to describe that. The sweet malts and brown sugar touch the tongue, but not as dominate as the nose and as I expected in the mouth. It has a slight creamy goodness and slight fruit. A roasted malt ported like taste breaks through and almost dominates. A slight fruit like fig lets you know it's there as the beer starts to bitter a bit. The caramelized brown sugar really starts to slap your tongue around towards the end. A nice oat taste hides in the background, holding hands with some slight coffee from the roasted malt that seem to trick you into thinking they're not really there, but then suddenly let you know. I don't get much for vanilla or cocoa as the can suggests, those jerks!

M: Pretty creamy and semi thick, almost velvety, with decent carbonation.

F: Sonofa bitterness! It bitters up quite well for the finish. It also dries off quite a bit, and perhaps too much. The sweet sugar taste seems to stay a bit but the actual sweetness disappears as it really dries off and makes you think of winter dry kill. Almost a smoked malt like taste seem to tickle the finish, which compliments the burnt brown sugar well as well as the bitter European like hops. It doesn't linger too long either, which helps you drink it quickly, perhaps a little too quickly!

Final thoughts: A nice easy drinking brown ale crossed with porter. It has a nice beer like taste and malt goodness, a nice roasted malt quality with some dark fruits, a dark flavor and color, and a nice bitter thick finish. It finishes bitter and dry, but nicely and drinks a little too easy for a brown ale/porter. The slight sweetness and brown sugar flavors trick you into thinking it will be a 8% abv beverage, but it seems to pride itself on 5% and that makes it pretty cool in my book as I would be able to drink a shitton of it, if only Surly shipped out this way. Surly, dammit, ship out this way so I don't have to keep trading for your awesome goodness!!! Thanks again for the trades guys!

Comment: Also, I had to watch an episode of Futurama after drinking this. Specifically the episode where they brew beer inside of Bender, calling it Benderbrau.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Darkest hazelnut with generous ruby highlights that become cherry bomb explosions with backlighting. The two finger crown is a wonderful shade of golden beige that is a perfect color contrast to the beer beneath. It's firmly creamy and is leaving thick sheets of lace that look like they'll stick around until long after the final credits roll.

The nose is solid. It's nicely brown malty and features oven-toasted nuts above all else. I can also appreciate whiffs of cocoa, coffee and fruity hops. A little more power and a little more depth and it'd be fantastic. As it happens, warming brings about exactly that, along with a wonderful musky earthiness. I don't often assess the aroma when the beer is almost gone, but I'm glad I did so here.

Bender is as good as I remember. Whoever thinks that cans are a lesser container for beer has a screw loose. This stuff couldn't taste more fresh or more pure. Purely delicious that is. The thing that impresses me most about Bender (one of many) is that it doesn't taste like any other brown ale in existence; something that hit me like a ton of bricks with my first mouthful back in September.

It's beautifully malted and beautifully hopped, with both providing megatons of flavor. The contrast between the various members of the flavor profile and the amazing yin and yang of sweetness and bitterness is, I believe, the secret to its deliciousness (that and a fantastically talented brewer).

On the malt side of the ledger we have toasted brown bread, dark caramel/toffee, gentle chocolate and coffee notes, and sugar-crusted pecans. And on the hop side of the ledger we have surprisingly tart, citrus fruit peel with a hint of floral spiciness. Each mouthful is an absolute riot of flavors that manages to be perfectly balanced in the end. A brown ale that is as hoppy as it is malty. What a concept!

How can 16 ounces be almost gone already? Drinkability, needless to say, is completely off the charts. The mouthfeel, like everything else about this beer, is the very definition of quality. It's supremely smooth, lightly creamy and lightly silky. I can excuse a lack of heavily creamy lushness because the point wasn't to brew a big beer, but rather (I'm guessing) to brew an insanely drinkable, even sessionable one. Mission accomplished.

Surly Bender is fandamntastic beer. It instantly rockets to the top of my 'most favored brown ales' list along with the versions from Bell's and Dogfish Head. The fact that it's hoppier than both is further cause for celebration. I wonder if it's possible for SurlyMan to swing down to Des Moines in the midst of delivering his wonderful beer to the good folks of Minneapolis-St. Paul? Thanks feloniousmonk, but two cans isn't going to hold me for very long. I foresee a lot of road trips in a northerly direction.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16 oz can into a 20 oz Nonic Pint glass.

Pours a very dark brown 2+ fingers of creamy mocha colored tan head. Retains beautifully with a solid creamy layer that sticks around and leaves a great looking latticework of sticking lacing down the sides. The aroma is an enticing bouquet of floral hops up front that gives way to a mix of cocoa powder, caramel, a touch of coffee and some vanilla. Unfortunately, I really had to dig deep for those latter notes (as nice as they are) past the initial hop profile.

The taste is much more in your face with a silky sweet mix of caramel, coffee, smooth vanilla, and hints of cocoa powder encapsulated in a shroud of roast and then intermingled with a tingling hop profile. The mouthfeel is medium (but on the lighter side) bodied with a smooth, creamy carbonation and unbelievably easygoing feel.

Like some of Surly's other beers, this seems like a unique take on a couple of different styles but it all works out quite nicely in the end. I had a bit of an issue with the nose but for the most part this was one extremely flavorful and incredible drinking Brown Ale. I nearly ran out of beer before I could finish reviewing, it was that quaffable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was thrilled to death when I opened up a package from a certain trader that shall remain nameless but he knows who he is, that contained some wonderful goodies from Surly, with a nice can of Bender being among the prizes. Now I HAD NEVER HAD Bender before mind you, but I was thrilled to get the chance to try it. Immediately took this bad boy out and threw him in the fridge to get nice and cold. I knew I was going to want to enjoy this as soon as possible. So last night I decided that this might go well with Mexican and popped it out and poured it into a UFO Hefeweizen, well Hefeweizen glass and served it at 45 degrees with dinner. Lovely sixteen ounce can that I could not wait to tear into.

Appearance - Poured into my glass an absolutely love deep dark russet brown with loads of hints of reddish tones around the sides and bottom of the glass. Very dark and opaque, essentially no light was shining through on this baby, except for the slightest little bit on the bottom of the glass. A very nice large tannish head of foam rose up over the top and crowned it beautifully, reaching a height of nearly three inches before finally starting to receded and come back down to earth. There was a very nice small pillow of foam left over at the top which stayed with it throughout the entire session. Some light carbonation could be seen streaking skyward, and the side glass lace was rather impressive as well.

Smell - The aroma was intoxicating right of the bat. A very deep and rich sweet smell graced my nose the second I poured it. Huge aromas of caramel and sugar were easily the most evident thins found in here. It really was much sweeter than I thought it would be, and this was a good thing. I was picking up some light notes of chocolate and a touch of nuttiness as well. There were definitely some hops way down deep in the profile as well, providing a touch of promising bitterness in the end.

Taste - The flavor followed off right where the aroma left off. This was insanely well put together for something with only 5% abv. Such a rich full profile, I did not know where to begin, but let's give this a try. The first flavor to come washing through was a rich caramel sweetness. Very nice and big and very evident from the very first sip. Really a malt bomb here for sure. Some notes of the roasted nuts then following it along and really pulling it together quite well. I was shocked at how nice this was coming together. Very light hints of chocolate now coming through, very light though and just enough to add some sweetness, a touch of sweet coffee now on the horizon as well and really giving it even more depth than it had before. The finish was very strong, a nice little hop bite to dry it out and get the flavor to linger, and the sweet caramel notes were really becoming prevalent here. Some nice grain flavors way in the back, light cereal grains. Very nice overall.

Mouthfeel - Super rich and smooth, this was by no means a light bodied ale. Easily a medium bodied brown ale this was intensely smooth and delicious. Each sip was like a velvety smooth liquid drenching over the tongue. Super rich. Lots of carbonation, all the way down to the final drop. Never a dull moment or any kind of thinness to this one at all, really well done.

Drinkability - I literally could have sessioned this one all night. At first I thought to myself there is no way that this was just a 5% brown ale, it was so rich and flavorful. I was damn impressed here and if I could have gotten more I would have drank a six pack of these is a heartbeat. Really an awesome beer.

Overall this was one the best brown ales I have ever had. It was richly complex and sweet and very full bodied. Very cream and almost porter like in its presentation this was just outstanding. Not only would I not turn this away if it came my way, but I will actively seek it out for sure. Go get this it really is a winner.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surly's Bender pours a very dark, almost black body beneath a frothy head of tan foam. At the base of the glass some chocolate brown highlights are visible. It's clear, although it appears as if some yeast or protein precipitate is present. The head retention is good, and it leaves some slightly better than average lace about the glass.

The nose is fruity with a chocolatey and caramelish maltiness. Some leafy and grassy hops are also present, but the yeasty fruitiness and dark malts dominate.

In the mouth it's quite smooth with a medium (almost medium-light) body and a restrained, fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.

The flavor exhibits exactly what the nose suggests but it's fuller, and the hop flavors show themselves to be much more citrusy, and even pine-like, especially in the finish. They're even a bit floral at times; and the maltiness tends towards coffee and dark chocolate as well. It's well-balanced by a solid bitterness that leads to a dry and slightly roasty finish.

Quite nice. Well-balanced and very well done with a lot of dark malt flavor, but not so much dark malt acidity, astringency, or bitterness. The hop flavors come and go nicely; and it's got enough going on to keep it interesting.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Alicia for sending this one to me. Shared with some kind folks at the Bruery.

A: The pour is a light brown color with a finger's worth of slightly off-white foam.

S: The nose is sweet and malty with some nice nut, bread, and roasted malt notes.

T: The flavor is quite similar to the nose offering up some toasty, bready malts. There is a nice sweet caramel malt flavor as well, which is nicely balanced by a touch of bitterness on the finish.

M: A medium bodied beer with a pleasant creaminess on the tongue.

D: Another solid beer from Surly. One of the better brown ales I've had the chance to try as it balances the sweetness and nuttiness quite well.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from Scoobydank, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark caramelized malts, maple, nuts and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste is malty and starts with flavors of maple, caramel and some smokiness. Despite the very hearty malt character, it doesn’t over-power you with sweetness. There’s a decent hops character that provides a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and drier than beers in this style usually are.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not very filling, decent kick, nice representation of style, this is a good beer to drink for an evening if you’re in the mood for the style. I could certainly enjoy throwing back a few of them.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.52/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Refrigerated can, poured alongside Coffee Bender.

Deep, dark brown in color, but pretty much translucent when held to the light; a medium-sized tan head receded to a collar, leaving some lacing on the glass. Malt-driven aroma, toasted bread, cocoa, herbal hops. In the taste, caramel malts, pumpernickel, herbal/floral hop notes, nutty, with hints of cocoa, mineral, earth. I'm not a big fan of brown ales, but this one is much more complex than most. Medium body, average carbonation, and overall pretty drinkable for the style. I enjoyed this much more than its over-coffee-fied alter-ego.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.94/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Thanks to VDubb, I finally got around to trying the coffee-less version of Bender. It pours a clear sunset topaz topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises mild graham cracker, grass, flowers, and a touch of Oreo. The taste focuses on the grass, flowers, and mild lemon peel, all to the detriment of the grain-y, biscuit-y base. Basically, they took the "American" label stereotype and ran with it, over-hopping what may have been a nice enough brown ale. A shame, really. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick-ish feel. Overall, this brown just didn't sit right with me. It's too hoppy for its own good, and those grains mentioned in the blurb above don't come through at all. I wanted to like this stuff, especially given my love of Coffee Bender, but I guess I'll just stick with the coffee-infused version for the duration.

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Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 751 ratings.