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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

810 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 810
Hads: 2,409
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 657
Gots: 347 | FT: 25
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: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 810 | Hads: 2,409
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A dark brown beer with a bubbly khaki color head. The head is about 2 fingers and slowly diminishes leaving behind a very sticky lace. Appearance is awesome.

S: Right off the bat, you smell chocolate malts, soft floral hops, and roasted coffee.

T: I should have drank this with breakfast. A strong roasted coffee flavor balanced with robust chocolate malts. A great finish and aftertaste that is identical to morning coffee. Delicious. (As it warms up, the coffee bitterness comes out)

M: A creamy texture (I said 'almost' chewy, but my husband disagreed) with a medium-full body and mild carbonation.

D: I could have this breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Very easy to drink. Love this beer. ISO MORE! It's never too early for Surly!

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Photo of Tizzod
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out of the growler beautifully, very dark with a nice brown head. The smell is one that I will dream of - fresh roasted coffee and malty beer goodness. I couldn't stop smelling the empty growler after the beer was all gone. Really spectacular.
The first sip was an intense coffee flavor mixed beautifully with the beer. Coffee flavor was very predominant but didn't get in the way of the malt taste of the Bender. Beautiful mouthfeel, smooth and creamy.
One of the best beers I've ever had the privilege of drinking. The friends who shared the growler with were also very impressed and the beer went faster than I thought. For such a flavorful beer it was extremely drinkable. In fact I wish I was drinking it right now.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured from the can with 2 fingers of light tan foam, which slowly receded to a proteinaceous haze layer, leaving some impressive lacing in its wake. The body was a semi-opaque dark brown. Any carbonation was not visible due to the opacity of the beer.

S- Smells of rich, freshly brewed coffee and stewed malts. A very simple, but extremely elegant nose.

T- Wow. A perfect balance of stewed and nutty malts with freshly ground coffee. Often, I find coffee beers to be overboard on the coffee notes; but this one strikes such an amazing balance with the malt. No hops detected, but we do have a wonderfully long coffee finish on this beer.

M- A big, almost chewy body, with a pervasive soft carbonation. Virtually no astringency.

Overall- This is one of the most elegant, flavorful, and impressive beers I have had in the 5% abv range. I can drink these all night long in any kind of weather.

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Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car

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Photo of stealth
4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

What a great coffee beer. As the name implies, you expect coffee, and that's what you get. Lots of it. The most 'coffee' coffee beer I've tasted. Has the coffee roast bitterness on the finish, but its balanced well by some mild sweetness. Could drink this with breakfast.

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful brown pour, almost porter looking, but we knew that about Bender already, great light tan head that stays until the glass is empty.
Aroma is of coffee, and more coffee, then a nice touch of caramel and biscuit malts. There is even a slight aroma of spicy hops to round things out.
Taste is as good as it gets, there isn't even a need to let this one warm too much. Great smooth coffee flavors round out a mix of biscuit and caramel malts, possible even a small touch of chocolate, with a nice small background of floral hops.
Mouthfeel is great for a brown ale, but this isn't a brown ale, it is a little thin for a porter, but this isn't a porter, oh, I am confused. This is way too easy to drink and I can see the caffeine and alchohol fighting out which should win.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As the 5.0 score I've given this in several categories, implies this is an exceptional beer. I've had this before out of the can, and several times on tap, being lucky enough to live in Minneapolis.

It pours the color of a dark mahogany java drip, but there isn't much head retention or lacing to speak of. Most brown ales I've seen are better in this department, so I won't give it a 5.

The smell and taste, which are frankly the things I care most about when buying a beer like this, absolutely crush it. A perfect harmony between the bitterness of the coffee, with the bitterness from the hoppy undercarriage mixes with roasted malt and espresso taste. An absolutely delight to drink, and an excellent decision for the morning football game.

Mouthfeel is solid and pronounced, and might deserve more than a 4, but IMO with the other offerings from surly, this feels on the lighter end of their spectrum, certainly no different from the bender.

Absolutely dynamite fusion of coffee flavor and beer. A must try, and re-buy.

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Photo of aaronhanson
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love it. I've had two cans and my mouth wants more. There are actually a few coffee grounds in the bottom of my glass.

The coffee is very pronounced, in a good way. I didn't expect to like it this much. It's very dark, and has a healthy amount of foam when you pour it, but it goes away quickly.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surly Bender infused with coffee, ...what bean, what blend, what process? Golly, I don't know, but it's great.(an edit to cover my ignorance, info from the brewer: Beans are from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation located in Agua Dulce area in Huehuetenango,Guatemala.
Grown by the Martinez family.
Full City roast by Coffee &Tea Ltd.,Linden Hills,Minneapolis. Cold-steeped.)

Solid ebon color, browish at bottom, with a beautifully hued head, a deep cocoa tan looking for all the world like a shot of espresso, with a generous dollop of froth.

Aroma's where it's at, wide open and long-lastin, rich with coffee, with a hint of cream.
Herbal, nutty, chocolatey, brimming with coffee essence. A treat to drink in with the nose.

But now let's let the lips and tongue go to work. More delights. The coffee has overpowered the subtler parts of Bender's character, but there's no sorrow in this, as the coffee flavor that controls it now is an exceptional playmate for the palate. Really sticks to the tongue and lays long in the finish.

Medium to full body, long, coffee-tinged finish, unflinchingly flavorful, and still an easy treat to drink down. This has met with near unanimous praise among those I've witness enjoy it, and I can only hope it's attempted again and again, so that more may discover this jolt of joy for java freaks, and beer geeks alike.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to my man up in MN for sending these cans down to me right after the release. I have been hunting this one for a while as I truly appreciate a coffee beer above all others. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

The pour was damn wonderful I have to say. Deep dark brown with some light shining through on the edges and bottom, but mostly opaque. Huge tan head maybe three inches high coming up and over the top and falling down into a full, sticky ring of lace around the sides of the glass.

The aroma was steeped with coffee. Rich brewed, medium coffee with a nice bitterness to it. Some light sweet notes bouncing around in there as well and a very nice roasted quality to it. Smooth, rich flavor, Bitter coffee notes dominated with an amlost tea like flavor in there as well if that makes any sense. Huge vcoffee flavor from beginning to end and the smoothness of it was wonderful. Mellow finish and light abv made it very sessionable and this one went down in no time, offering little challange to me.

This was a great coffee beer. One of my favorites. Lighter then others in feel, but the freshness of the brewed coffee flavor was soo spot on. I am very happy to have a good supply of this one.

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Photo of happygnome
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a: pours a deep dark brown almost black color with about a quarter inch of head that disappears quickly leaving a thick coating of stick tan lacing
s: like coffee with a hint of sweetness a touch of bitterness towards the finish that balances out the sweetness nicely
t: at first it is sweet but that is quickly replaced b a coffee taste with notes of sweetness. the coffee flavor adds a hint of bitterness hints of a sweetness possibly caramel come out towards the end
m: medium bodied beer that has little carbonation

overall, this was an excellent beer that i thoroughly enjoyed

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Photo of ryantupy
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on Tap at the Darkness release day.

A - Very dark, much darker than the regular Bender obviously due to the infusion of coffee.

S - Coffee Bender smelled of nice fresh roasted coffee mixed in with mild toffee, sweetness, and a mild hop undertone.

T - Fresh roasted coffee (dark coffee), the beer has undertones of toffee, mild hops that help balance the flavor out. The coffee seems to become stronger as this beer warms.

M- Good and thick oily mouthfeel.

D - Defiantly a nice drinkable coffee beer. This beer is very nicely balanced making it more enjoyable than standard coffee beers in my opinion.

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Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Stu for hooking me up with this beer. This is a pretty awesome coffee beer. Definitely the best coffee beer I have ever had. The aroma smells like iced coffee with small hints of chocolate. The beer starts with a nice coffee burst and bitterness at the front of the mouth followed by some sweet milk chocolate notes and more coffee at the middle of the mouth. The finish is very smooth with a big coffee like aftertaste. Very drinkable also. I'd rather have this beer than my morning coffee every day!

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz Can poured into a Duvel glass split with Oglmcdgl.

Coffee Bender pours out a very dark shade of brown appearing mudy black with a inch or so of bright tan semi mocha colored foam that left some stickies. This smells like some dank ass coffee and tastes like it as well. A nice roast in the middle finished by more coffee. Beans upon beans. A hint of vanilla and a bit of nuts so the base brown is not completely lost butnthis one is all about the coffee. Feel is very slick and feels thicker than it is with all that roast. About lightish in body with a ample carb. This is a lighter version of breakfast stout with a lower ABV making it much more drinkable. This one is a winner.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JeffKrenner for another great growler.

A: Into the 22oz mug it goes. HUGE frothy head comes forth with medium sized bubbles popping through it, giving it a roasted marshmallow colored swiss cheese look. Body is a clean, dark ruby brown hue. Very much remeniscent of iced coffee.

S: I could smell the coffee when I popped the cap on the growler. Very spry, like fresh grounds were added straight to the brew. Nutty roasted hazelnuts, pumpernickle and Hershey's syrup can be found as well.

T: My god this is like coffee chocolate milk. A faint whisper of coffee cross my palate quickly but my attention goes to the lactose like sweetness that flickers around the tip of my tongue. Very subtle milk chocolate mingles perfectly choreographed with iced coffee and fresh cream. God this is good. Chocolate lingers for a while as fresh coffee gets ready to really shine during the aftertaste. Long after the swallow coffee can be found all over the mouth, beckoning the drinker for just another sip...just another pour from the growler :banned:

M: Medium body with a full, creamy mouthfeel. Kickass.

D: This is the second best coffee beer I've had next to the legendary Speedway stout. But the Speedway didn't "focus" on the coffee like this one does. T-R-E-M-E-N-D-O-U-S. This is so much better than the standard Bender its ridiculous.

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4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer has pre set high expectations as I had sampled it from a growler a couple of years ago and loved it. Pours to the darkest blackish brown body. Head is a biscuit like tan tone and considerably rocky standing at nearly three fingers. Tons of wavy lace is left as it very slowly fades. Coffee is immediately evidant on the nose, like cold but fresh coffee. I love the nose on this one. Coffee comes first and quick with the initial sip but quickly yields a bitter dryness as it slides back. Malt profile is mineral based and adds a slight sweet feel for just the right amount of balance. Refreshing, yet bold and truely enjoyable all around. Mouthfeel is so attractive and really beckons the next sip. True drinkability that is hard to beat.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours deep dark brown color. The head is tan with a creamy texture and lacing.

S- Very outstanding coffee notes. It smells very fresh like sticking your nose into a bag of coffee beans. I also get a little nuttiness and chocolate notes.

T-Massive coffee flavor of roasted beans that is full flavored but not bitter or overly acid. It's such a great coffee note and it's balanced by the sweet robust flavor of the base beer.

M- Nice carbonation then a slight bitterness. Really the only slight flaw I have with this beer. The beer finishes clean with a robust and crisp bite.

O-This is a great coffee beer and I feel it's better than the original Bender. It's a great beer with an outstanding flavor profile along with great balance. Easily one of my favorite beers right now. I could easily drink this daily and wish I lived in MN so I could get it more often.

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Photo of kevinv
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A long-want of mine, Surly Coffee Bender, canned on 06/08/2011 poured into my new awesome Surly Mug, perfect for coffee or Coffee Bender! Both the beer and the mug are courtesy of a great trader, KeefD.

A - The beer pours a deep, dark brown, with some lighter translucent edges. Very large foamy tan head sits on top. Sticky lacing throughout.

S - I absolutely love coffee and coffee beers and this one sits near the top in terms of smell. The coffee aroma is very fresh and fairly powerful. I could smell the coffee after I poured and even walked away from the glass. Very rich coffee with notes of chocolate and a nuttiness.

T - I've never had the regular Bender, so I can't compare, but this one is damn delicious. As with the nose, the coffee is front and center. The coffee is lightly bitter. Wonderful nuttiness and a nice brown ale sweetness. A little bit of an earthy, hoppy presence. It's a low ABV beer and the taste doesn't show any sign of alcohol. The finish is dry with a long lingering coffee taste.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Perfect for the ABV.

O - Overall, this one was a homerun for me. I think I said it in a past review, but I've been in love with everything from Surly that I've tried. This is a very flavorful and easy drinking beer. Like my new mug says, "It's never too early to get Surly." I could seriously see myself drinking this with breakfast.

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Photo of bangelos80
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a can into a pint glass.

A- Poured a nice dark brown color with about an inch word of head. Nice retention as well as lacing.

S- From the initial crack of the can all the way through the consumption of this beer, you pick up the aroma of coffee beans. It's awesome

T- Taste of coffee dominates this beer. A mild sweetness at the end but predominately coffee beans.

M- Light bodied mouthfeel with mild carbonation. Goes down smooth like a taking a sip of coffee.

O- Never had a brew that can rival an actual cup of coffee. I can probably put this in a coffee mug and drink it all day at work!! Great brew, would defintely have it again and again and again!

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Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this for free at 8 AM on Darkness Day. It takes a good goddamn bunch of Americans to leave a whole keg of fancy beer unattended around a bunch of drunken strangers. That--it just about brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. A more or less grown woman did a keg stand in front of me. At 8 AM. Yes, she was annoyingly drunk and everyone wanted to kick her before noon finally rolled around, but that was still something special to see.

Then I had this again, the day after, at a little hippy beer cafe downtown. They poured it in special translucent glass mugs that looked like big Coffee mugs and were emblazoned with the surly logo.

What I'm getting at is that the guys at Surly got class.

Pours dark black and thick with a decent head that quickly settles and gives the whole thing the look of a cappuccino.

Smells strongly of rough chocolate malt, roasted, raw like a porter but evened out and nutty sweet, like a crown ale. Also coffee. Bags and bags of coffee. (Just Bender plus coffee, pretty much...)

Tastes almost exactly like it smells. Very bitter, from the roasted malt flavors of the Bender. Then right after that there's a brief respite of brown ale sweetness but that quickly goes away and and coffee bitterness slams into you. This lingers for a while, pleasantly, and then nearly cloyingly--which is why it gets a 4.5 instead of a 5.0. But before it gets to be too much it zips away, you get a sweet brown ale finish, a light kiss of hops, and then a wonderful aftertaste of pure coffee.

Goes down like water, even at 8 AM. Thanks for turning my cute little drinking problem into full-blown alcoholism, Surly.

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Photo of kingsizedave
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am not a fan of coffee but this beer introduced me to the wonderful world of coffee beers. I have continued to enjoy this beer for it's full coffee aroma and smooth taste. I enjoy the chocolate taste and the way the flavor sticks to the back of your tongue.
I would encourage anyone who has a fascination with flavored coffees to try this beer.
Beer may come from a can but you must absolutely drink it in a glass...

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Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I expected to not like this beer but the flavor is excellent! I normally do not like to stray too far from traditional beer styles but thumbs up to Surly here, this one is great. Here's a twist, try it with a shot of Kuala, it's got coffee in it after all, and you will be surprised at how well everything mixes.
I cannot really compare this beer to anything else. Open you mind and give it a go!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Written from notes I took when I got home from the Blue Nile tasting.

Same dark brown as regular bender, identical until the nose. Massive rich, fresh brewed coffee, it’s rare that a coffee beer smell this fresh and deep, I could smell this beer all day, perfect. Taste is much more like the standard bender at first, but with a little more warmth the coffee really stands out and is great with the roasted and hoppy flavors of the Bender. Great, rare, yet worth seeking out. Keep 'em coming Surly

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Photo of NuBrewm
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this one on tap at darkness day and now recently in a can. Figured I would rate this beer now that I had it canned since on darkness day I had a ton of different beers.

A: Nice Medium-Dark brown body, with a subtle tan head. Could have just poured it into a coffee mug and thought nothing of it.

S: Prominent coffee smell, roasted, but not of old roasted coffee. This smells fresh and not like some of the coffee ground beers I have tasted. The aroma is amazing!

T: The coffee flavor is at the tip of your tongue and then the bender smooth flavor takes over. Very balanced.

M: Medium bodied, enough to swish the palate with every sip.

D: Pretty damn drinkable considering how much coffee I drink. Low ABV and plenty of coffee smoothness to keep enjoying. yeah this beer is very refreshing and I wish it came in 6 paks.

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Photo of ucis
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from that can like 10/30 motor oil. Large frothy head that slowly dissipates. If you don't like coffee why are you drinking this? Smell is biscuits malt and COFFEE. Please don't add any creamer. This ship is meant to go down black. Mouth is just north of light and crisp. Coffee is overwhelming. Is there really Surly Bender under there? I am blown away by malts, chocolate, coffee. Skipped my morning coffee in exchange for this. Doesn't appear to have any caffeinated effects. Only the faintest of light penetrating this dark bean.
One of the best coffee infused drinks I have had the privilege of wrapping my taste buds around.
The very local watering hole "THE WHITE HORSE" has this on tap every so often. From memory I can clearly announce that it's even more amazing from a spigot.

Overall if you like coffee- you need to try this. If you like flavored, fake coffee--stay away.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 810 ratings.