1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,590 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,590
Reviews: 729
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.02%
Wants: 432
Gots: 167 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: tavernjef on 02-04-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bender Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,590 | Reviews: 729 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stevef03
5/5  rDev +22.2%

stevef03, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Lukafer
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Lukafer, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of shaebs99
5/5  rDev +22.2%

shaebs99, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of sleepysheep
5/5  rDev +22.2%

sleepysheep, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of JoRado
5/5  rDev +22.2%

JoRado, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +22.2%

xmorgan, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of icefisherman
5/5  rDev +22.2%

icefisherman, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Shango42
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Shango42, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of Surlytime
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Surlytime, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of nibbish
5/5  rDev +22.2%

nibbish, Feb 21, 2014
Photo of weeheavy4950
5/5  rDev +22.2%

weeheavy4950, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of mikennat
5/5  rDev +22.2%

mikennat, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of phishterrrrrrr88
5/5  rDev +22.2%

phishterrrrrrr88, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of Pr0TaP3R
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Pr0TaP3R, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of tat2dhllblly
5/5  rDev +22.2%

tat2dhllblly, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of wulftrobe
5/5  rDev +22.2%

wulftrobe, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of kdpark
5/5  rDev +22.2%

kdpark, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of vikinghorn
5/5  rDev +22.2%

vikinghorn, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of meich75
5/5  rDev +22.2%

meich75, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of bfirkin45
5/5  rDev +22.2%

bfirkin45, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can thanks to Bennetj17!

A muddy brown body embraced by more gentle, chestnut highlighted edges. A thin, sienna coloured line ropes around the beer.

For me, the smell of this beer, in part to whatever ingredient, summoned thoughts of autumn. It is a warm home. It is wet leaves, damp air, cooler evenings and rediscovered fireplaces. I'm not exactly sure where I get this idea from... but I do know for what reason: the beer offers such an over-abundance of smells that its aroma lets the imagination run wild.

To my nose, this offers teeming, plentiful notes of pumpkin pie, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate cream, vanilla and a ton of hops! I mean literally - a ton.

The mouthfeel is smooth and crowded with flavours and textures. A bursting amount of hops demand attention as they instantly leap onto the palate and grasp the taste buds, vinous notes throttle the throat. Sweetness and bitterness are in perfect harmony. The tastes seem to pinnacle with a coffee bean bitterness and lingering notes of roast, smoke, and dark chocolate.

The beer just keeps getting better: Chocolate covered hops, with lots of chocolate and even more hops. Deliciously toasted malts. Hazelnut. An epic struggle that fits caramel vs. vanilla, coffee vs. cocoa, and an over toning presence of oak. This is all the most wonderful flavours beer has known somehow rolled into one...

The beer is exactly what the brewers boast: 'substance meets smooth...with many layers of satisfaction'. In very few beers can you find such a superabundance of flavours so well blended and with such refined character. I was simply amazed with how the many scents, textures and tastes of this beer could not only co-exist, but come together as they do. Like no other, Surely Bender balances sweetness and bitterness and leaves no element overlooked or shortchanged.

A most sessionable beverage that manages to pack in more flavours and textures than reasonably imaginable for a beer its strength. I can't find any ways to improve this beer; it is simply wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

This does blur style guidelines and is a reflection of talent and craftsmanship. Befitting to its name, I could easily drink this endlessly, day and night.

biegaman, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of dave43
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To be honest I'm a sucker for all of surly beers (mostly) but Bender has to be my favorite. It pours with a great head and lace. Carbonation is minimal but well balanced. Nice deep garnet darkish color. It smells of toast, chocolate, malt, coffee all at the same time. Man it is complex. Tastes what it smells like with a hint of vanilla. The head brewer, Todd Haughty is genius for putting this together. My first Surly beer I had in their first year of business and it remains my go to. The only thing better is a moes bender or coffee bender.

dave43, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of ryantupy
4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice rich brown hue with a rocky tan head on it that lasts almost through out the whole pint. Smells of roasted malts with some subtle sweetness to it. It tastes of roasted malts, a subtle sweetness, caramel, chocolate and a small hop character in the finish. A medium bodied beer for the most part that has a nice slightly carbonated mouthfeel. Overall a beer with some great malt character with small subtle hints of other great flavors. This beer has a nice complexity to it with suprising character that is very pleasant.

ryantupy, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of sixbluntsdeep
4.89/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: I poured conservatively into my pint glass which left a half-finger, extremely thick head that left heavy lacing. If poured from the tap, I bet the head would be huge. Color was a dark amber/caramel when held up to a daylight CFL.

S: The malt and caramel hit the nose hard, with a chocolate/coffee undertone. Brown Ales aren't my choice of beer when I drink, but this one does it right. An almost creamy smell.

T: Almost stout-like. Top notch taste. Creamy, goes down smooth, taste and aftertaste are excellent. Drank with dinner of home-made burgers and potato salad. Excellent addition.

M: It's like I'm drinking a malt, and I love malts. Thick, creamy, full mouth experience which hits every part of the palate.

O: 4.75/5. I've never drank a perfect beer, but coming from an IPA guy, this comes damn close.

sixbluntsdeep, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of hopsbreath
4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of those beers that I've had multiple times but am just now getting around to reviewing. Thanks goes out to zimmerbloke, beerandraiderfan, and possibly another BA who slips my mind at the moment, for sending some of these out my way. I frequently share beer with my wife. Tonight though, she has wine in her balloon glass and I've got a Duvel glass with 16 ounces of Bender inside. It may as well be my birthday.

A: The beer in the glass appears to be dark pruney brown with a finger and a half of tight khaki head on top. Upon closer examination by holding the glass to direct light, I see that this is instead dark cherry red. Spotty lacing looks great on the glass. 4.5/5

S: A nutty roastiness dominates the nose here. Its like oven toasting a handful of pecans. Some citrusy hops help balance out the aroma and builds complexity. Some dark stone fruits are part of that complexity and keep things interesting. 4.5/5

T: More toasted pecans dance on the palate giving the beer its signature character. Bitter chocolate, toffee, pine, and a touch of vanilla are deep and thought provoking. Do 5% ABV brown ales get tastier than this? Nope. Nothing I know of even comes close. 5/5

M: So full, so smooth, and so crisp. I'm biased to most beers with oatmeal in the grist and this is no exception. Perfection again. 5/5

D: This is the kind of beer I want to see more of. Like its brother Coffee Bender, regular Bender packs a punch of complex aromas, flavors, and really has few flaws. In the world of brown ales Bender and its iterations is king in my book. Show me a better brown. I bet you can't. 5/5

hopsbreath, Feb 27, 2011
Bender from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.