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Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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1,692 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,692
Reviews: 733
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 439
Gots: 191 | FT: 10
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:
Beer added by: tavernjef on 02-04-2006

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.
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Ratings: 1,692 | Reviews: 733 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of franksnbeans
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown color with a creamy tan head that dies pretty quick and leaves lacing. Smells very mild of toast, malt, and cocoa. Tastes a tiny bit of chocolate notes, roasted nuts, a citrusy rind, and some nice hops at the finish. This is very tasty and different for a brown ale as it finishes with some bitter hops. Feels crisp, very smooth and lively in the mouth from carbonation. Very drinkable. This is a light, delicious and different brew. Well done Surly.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my official Surly glass given to me in a trade – this beer is definitely brown. It has a high foamy head that seems like stick around. The aroma is faint but just slightly sour. The taste is malty and hoppy. The mouthfeel is medium to full. This beer really comes to life in your mouth – I’m impressed.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into my Duvel Tulip, a dark deep rich chocolate brownie color with about one finger of tannish head leaving some nice lacing.

Aroma of caramel,toffe and chocolate.

Hoppy, malty, a nice balance

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, very smooth and creamy with slight bitterness on the finish.

Best brown ale I've ever had.

When are you coming to Jersey.

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- After pouring into a pint glass it grew quickly to three fingers of frothy, beige head. There is a storm of carbonation in the dark auburn body. I noticed some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Hey good lookin'.

Smell- Obviously heavy on the caramel malt that has some underlying hop bitterness that is distinctive in Surly's offerings. Definitely some bread malt, and even a hint of vanilla.

Taste- It leads with the sweet bread malt and starts to reveal the roasted malt character mid drink to finish. It isn't quite strong enough to call coffee-like, but definitely some roasted malt in there. There is even some bittering hops in the finish that adds to the complexity and manages to compliment the beer rather than detract from the overall experience.

Mouth feel- It is honestly a little too light for a brown, but holy smokes does the smooth quality of the beer totally make up for that. Even with that hop and roasted malt edge, it finishes so incredibly nice. Easy drinker is not strong enough to describe, it drinks you. Wait, what?

Overall- Just a silly-smooth beer. It is certainly a little more radical than your average brown with the hop character and roasted quality, but it works incredibly well. And I'm sure I will finish this four pack entirely too quickly.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A brilliant deep brown/mahogany with a thick creamy khaki head. Plenty of lacing left behind.

S - Toasted nuts, baked bread, slight hint of chocolate and a touch of smokiness.

T - Bready with chocolate and caramel followed by roasted nuts and a touch of smokiness.

M - Medium body and creamy (almost nitro like).

D - A solid brown. All 3 Surly beers I have tried now have bold dominant flavors that are enjoyable (truly fitting the name Surly).

Photo of slyke
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bender pours dark red-brown - so dark that it looks black until held to the light. It has a two-finger tan head that sticks well and laces very nicely.

The smell is roasty. More like a stout or porter than a brown ale. There is a bit of citrus and mustiness there as well.

The taste has roastiness and a bit of oatmeal. Oh my God - Roasted Oatmeal! There is a coffee-like note in there too.

Mouthfeel is great. Nice and full at the center of the tongue with hoppy crispness around the edges.

Drinkability is stellar. Low enough alcohol to session, but intensely interesting in flavor and mouthfeel that one is completely satisfying as well. Strongly recommended.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown with a two finger dirty brown head. Excellent lacing throughout the entire glass.

S - Some chocoalte and caramel. Almost smelled like a porter.

T - Roasted malts and chocolate. Some faint sweetness as well. Piney hops at the end as well to provide some good balance.

M/D - Very smooth and creamy. A very sessionable beer.

I would say this beer is almost porter like in smell and taste. I'm not a huge brown ale fan but this one was darn good.

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz can into Cheers drinking mug. Served chilled...

A) Deep dark brown. Nice 2 finger rocky head that was khaki in color. Ample lacing...

S) Nice darker malt, light roast, earthy and a bit nutty, some bready sweetness.

T) Near the nose, some coffee too, and a little caramel, but really what stood out for me, and the thing I enjoyed most was the hops presence in this brown ale. A real pleasant earthy/grassy hops to this. Excellent aftertaste...

M) Good medium body on this brew. This goes down super smooth, with moderate carbonation. Really good mouthfeel, high drinkability.

O) This is another really good offering from Surly. Really tasty + easy drinking. This brewery has really impressed me. I wish I had easier access to their beers. Glad to have tried it, and glad to recommend.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A can poured into a tumbler on the late after a closing shift. Thanks to brewnic for this one in what could only be called a landslide of extras.

A- almost two fingers of creamy light tan head from a steady pour that settles in a few minutes leaving a bit of lace that fights to hold on and a fuzz on top. Murky dark brown with a nice reddish glow when held to light.

S- roasty and sweet with a touch of a oatmeal cookie thing going on when the slightly spicy hop kicks in.

T- lots hoppier out front then the nose lead me to believe with a herbal spiced twist. Sweet caramel maltiness with a good roast as well that brings some chocolate and coffee to mind. As the beer fully warms there's a mellow fruit componant that works well in the midst of the other flavors.

M- on the lighter side of medium body but not thin. Great carb that keeps a very bold flavor feel very on the palate.

D- hell yea ill go on a bender. This is one of the better beers I've had in a while and pushes the boundaries of the style without losing its soul. I'm glad a have another to toss back sometime soon.

Photo of newk340
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared w/ hu5om in NB goblets

A: a deep mahogany, initial head dies quickly leaving a foam ring.

S: gorgeous smell of coffee, vanilla, and caramel.

T: very little initial taste off the tongue but a warm coffee, cream, vanilla aftertaste that builds to a pleasant linger.

MF/D: drinks like a silky stout, VERY smooth and sessionable IMHO. very little evident carbonation with building heat.

Photo of cjacobsen
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(A) Pours a really dark brown. A bit a burgundy and dark ruby color when light passes through. There's a bit of a medium bubbled head that doesn't last very long.

(S) Roasted malts and biscuit. This one is pretty straight forward. Some caramel and sweetness. Some cocoa. Nutty.

(T) Has the roasted character of the malts with a bit of a brown sugar. A little bit of cocoa and a small hint of coffee. Kind of a nutty characteristic.

(M) A bit grainy. Medium body. Balanced carbonation.

(O) Well made brown ale. Has a lot of great flavors and is an easy drinker. One of Surly's best.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dan for the sample. Can into Shorts Imperial Pint glass...

A - Dark, Dark Brown body with two fingers of head that calmed down to a thin ring with no lacing.

S - Smells like a brown ale, with lots of almond like nuttyness at first, with roasted malt chocolate, growing vanilla and some metalic notes mixed in.

T - Again, starts out almond like, but the chocolate and coffee flavors really do pick up by midpalate, mixed in with apricoty hops, that become continually more present at the swallow. The finish really impressed me, with chili, vanilla, pecan, smoke, and cocoa all blending into a really nice, long finish.

M - I did not really notice the oat here in the mouthfeel. But full bodied still.

D - Big, roasty and nutty, with a good hop kick. Lots of flavors going on here, and they really come together in the finish. Solid beer from Surly.

Photo of tourdot
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of schellsbeer
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As far as Surly goes, not their best.

As far as most other beers go, exceptional!!

Minnesota could definitely have a contending world class brewery located in the heart of it. FANTASTIC!!!

Don't get me wrong, I do love August Shells, Summit, and many of the other smaller breweries, but Surly stands higher than any of them.

Bender is a great beer. Not rated as high as Furious but it is still great.

Appearance is very good. Clean brown with a great look.

Smell - If you have ever had a Surly, you know that smell. Exceptional. So many different things going on in that can of theirs. Wonderful.

Taste - Good for a Brown Ale. Many wonderful complex overtones going on. It grabs you and says "Hey, drink me. I am that good!" Just like other Surly beers, this is one that shouldn't be rushed. Take your time, enjoy her. You will be glad that you did. It's ok. You aren't drinking a Macro brew from Colorado or Wisconsin...(sorry Colorado and Wisconsin BAs, I wasn't talking about the wonderful micro brews that you have....Just the big boys.)

Mouthfeel - EXCELLENT. Very clean and crisp. Once again that surly comes shining through.

Drinkability - Heck yes. What do you expect? Its a Surly!!!

Photo of Trigcove
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap pour into a 23oz chilled, tapered glass - so cold that there was a bit of frost in the head.

The appearance is deep auburn, almost bordering on black, with a short, tight head that sticks around and leaves rings of lace. You can count 'em and see how many it takes to drain the glass.

The aroma is of rich, dark malt and a stong tang of hops. If the beer hadn't been so cold, it probably would have smelled even more robust.

Normally, I would say that this beer is a little over hopped for the style, but the malt is just so dog-gone rich that it actually pulls off a pretty decent balance. This is a very rich tasting brown, and extremely complexed.

The body is a pretty hefty medium, which makes for a nice mouth feel, but there is sufficient carbonation to keep the head floating and keep the beer fairly crisp.

As for drinkability, well... it's a little dark and rich, but we had a little over a half gallon apiece, with no problems. I would say that qualifies as a good fall/winter session beer.

Photo of IronLover
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to KO for bringing this one back from MN. Dark brown in color with amber hues and perfect clarity. Poured with a thick, dense foam that slowly reduced to a wispy cap that left wet lacings on the glass. Dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and floral hop aromas with a hint of coffee on the back end. Oily feel up front with assertive carbonation through the middle and a bit of a the thin, watery finish. Dark roasted and burnt malt flavors up front with chocolate flavors beneath. Floral hop bitterness through the middle that transition to toasted malt just before the finish. Finishes crisply with a lingering charred malt and hop bitterness.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an almost black dark brown with syrupy-red highlights. About a half inch of tan head that sticks around for a while. Good lacing.

S- Smells delicious, actually more like a stout than a brown ale. Dark chocolate and some coffee notes, a little bit of vanilla, some phenolic character too.

T- Roasty coffee with maybe some nuttiness in there--roasted almond almost. A bit of chocolate, then a nice dose of hops--slightly citrusy with some bitter kick. Very good, although I find myself wanting a bit more.

M- Slightly over-carbonated IMO. Medium to light bodied with a slightly dry finish.

D- A very good dark ale. I'm a big fan of this one.

Photo of kjyost
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass which gave ~1cm of head which did not last terribly long, although trails of foam would cling to the glass after each sip. A deep brown ale, which when held up to a light looked slightly reddish. The nose had a floral aroma - something I am not used to in a brown ale, and I was surprised not to note any stronger aromas nor any maltiness on the nose.

A nice brown ale with low carbonation. The maltiness is evident and it is crisp with an even bitterness. I have yet to try the Coffee Bender in my fridge and I am quite interested to try it as this beer has a definite undertone of coffee. It is incredibly drinkable and I can think of a number of foods I would pair this with.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to umustdrink for this treat!

16 oz. can poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark-dark brown with a semi-opaque hue and a small one finger khakit colored head that dies down quickly to a thin layer which stays throughout. Stickiness is pretty good, not the best for a brown ale though. Very nice on the nose with a sweet malty mix of chocolate, oatmeal, and caramel. Simple but good, me likey. Taste starts off with a quick subtle hop bite but is then taken over by a smooth flakey oatmeal goodness. Flavor ends with a sweet coffee/cream like taste that lasts forever on the tongue. Mouthfeel is fairly full bodied with a good amount of carbonation, very smooth going down. Drinkability is great, could easily be a session beer. More breweries need to make quality brown ales like this. Good work Surly.

Photo of edhizdeid
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of blitz134
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown ales aren't my favorite style by any means, usually a bit too light for me. But I've heard good things about this one. Lets see...

Clear, crimson body. Quite dark, but light showed through when held up. Poured with about 2" of tan head that receeded slowly in a lumpy mass and stuck all over the glass. Seriously impressive for a brown ale, the best looking brown I've seen to date.

Aroma is quite upfront compared to its competitors. Lots of toasted malts with its share of chocolate and a hint of nuttiness. Has some creamy nuances as well. Nice.

Taste is loaded with flavor. Toasted malts as expected, more cocoa and that typical brown ale twang with its slight acrid bite which I also find typical of oatmeal brews. A bit of earthy, herbal hops in the finish. Quite good.

Nice medium full body. Quite the change from the watery browns I'm used to. Lower carbonation levels allow the flavors to come through but add just a bit of crispness.

The oatmeal does wonders for this beer. It really brings out the mouthfeel and head retention and works well with the typical brown ale flavor profiles. This one goes down easy, but I couldn't put back as many as I could of a normal brown due to how heavy this one sits on the stomach. This is a must try though, no doubt...the best brown I've had, period.

Photo of andesite83
4.16/5  rDev +2%

Photo of MacDomer
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from MasterSki - thanks for the extra, Alex. My first Surly!

A - Pours a deep brown with burgundy and ruby highlights around the edges. An easy pour gives this one a nice one finger head, but this dissipates within about five minutes, leaving a smooth light brown froth dancing on the surface. Great colors to look at! Some pretty respectable lacing to boot.

S - Nice, accessible pleasant smell of light coffee, caramel, pale malts. Really nice for the style. Hints of graham cracker and sweet honey.

T - This is very tasty. Really good flavor here, including coffee, a bit of milky sweetness, caramel and toasted malts. This one has some porter characteristics in the flavor profile. As it warms, I'm beginning to get the faintest hint of milk chocolate and smoke, as well as grainy brown bread. Anyone else know Brownberry?

M - Smoooth! Perfect light carbonation to help this one flow...boy, this is velvety. On the medium side of medium-light body. Some hops at the end help with balance and provide some decent bitterness. Pretty long finish, actually.

D - I'll seek this one out again, and if it were local, I'd have this on hand all the time. Great mouthfeel, really good everything else. I bet this one would be great with all kinds of food, too.

Photo of KBlodorn
4.16/5  rDev +2%

Bender from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,692 ratings.