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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,070 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,070
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 617
Gots: 247 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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.
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Ratings: 2,070 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sixteen ounce can, courtesy of Br3wmeister. Dude, what an excellent send.

Moderate pour into a chalice yields a medium tan two-finger head over an opaque dark mahogany body. Head fades slowly to a ring, but leaves nice lacing. Pretty beer. Darker than some American Browns -- maybe all that coffee?

Smell is like a pot of coffee: I mean an OVERT coffee aroma. Underneath the java there is some nice roasted malt and a bit of floral hops. Smells pretty sweet with malt as it warms.

Taste is COFFEE!!! Coffee, coffee and more coffee, then some sweet cakey malt comes in followed by a nice dry, grassy floral hops finish. This taste so much like coffee, I want to put cream and sugar in it!

Mouthfeel, as with most American Browns, is a little thin for me, but is right on for style.

Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, a stretch for the style: most beers with this much coffee in them are sturdier brews. For Surly to add this much coffee to a style as easy-going as a Brown Ale really brings the coffee all the way to the front. Go get some! Oh, and, yeah, I love the 16-ounce can! I want more beer in this format.

Photo of Larrytown
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm actually not a huge fan of Brown Ales or Bender, so I didn't have high hopes for this one, but wow. It caught me off guard. Pours a very dark brown with a light brown head. The nose is coffee and some nice malts. And coffee. This one's not messing around.

I love that this beer doesn't play it safe. It's not going for a "hint" of coffee to bring out "highlights" in the beer, no sir. We've got a distinct coffee-ness here, but it works. It's really something different, but you've got to commend the brewery for giving something like this a shot. When you take risks like that, everyone once in a while it works out. This is an example of it working out.

Photo of Buebie
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yippie! Bender in cans!!

Had this once before on tap, its nice that I can have it from home. Just picked it up, as it was released yesterday.

Poured from my 16 oz can into an oversized snifter. 2 fingers of fluffy off white head sits there for a few minutes. Settling to a thin layer of retention and nice even drapes of lace.
Color is almost black with a redish glow while held up against light.

The aroma still has a bit of cereal grains and malts. Now with deliciously creamy coffee aroma and bits of peanut butter nuttiness. Just a bit of roasty burnt caramel with somthing like a sweet hazelnut, or candy coated walmuts.
Mmmmm, this thing smells so good.

Good amount of carbonation kick all through.
Starts out with a semi sweet dark roasty nutty coffee flavor. Its not watered down or thin, its big in your face coffee. Still balanced with the grainy malt flavors still coming through.
That nutty rich coffee really peaks at the swallow.
Finishing quite dry and carbonated with a hay like hoppyness.
Bitter delicious black coffee lingers.

Very nice pick me up after a very long day at work. Maybe I'll have on for breakfast?

Photo of number1bum
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

mymrnngjckt brought back a can of this for me from MN. Thanks man.

Pours a dark mahogany color with some dark garnet hues at the edges. Creamy two plus inches of tan head on top settle slowly to a full lace and leave some beautiful webbing on the sides of the glass.

The beer absolutely attacks my nose with an aroma of fresh coffee beans, and I love it. The coffee is amazing, and the aromas of caramel and chocolate malt go wonderfully with it. There is also some light roasted malt.

Taste brings out the bitter elements of the coffee beans, which I like but don't love as much as the nose. Don't get me wrong, this beer is super tasty, but on the palate the coffee flavor leans a bit more toward burned cup o Starbucks than bold cup o columbian. The caramel and chocolate malts also don't come out as much as in the nose; I'd like a bit more sweetness. The subtle nutty flavors from the original Bender are also lost from the attack of coffee. Finishes quite bitter and roasty. This is so nitpicky because this is still very good.

Mouthfeel is a creamy, slick medium body with a dry, bitter finish. Carbonation is pretty modest.

This is a very good beer, and the nose is just out of this world. On the whole I think I like the original Bender better, but this would be a wonderful change of pace to mix it up every now and then. If the sweet malts came out a bit more I think it would be truly superb. Still, a great beer.

Photo of Genghis22
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin, my Secret Santa!

A - Pours a ruddy brown. Ruby highlights when the glass is held up. Frothy coffee colored head. Good sticky lacing.

S - A strong smell of nice coffee. Not overly strong and burnt smelling like a stout, but also not weak and watery like the stuff they serve at Denny's. Bready, malty, touch of chocolate, with a bitter finish.

T - Nutty, malty delcious. The first taste is all brown ale, but the coffee creeps in and builds over time. The end result is less brown ale, much more coffee, with the hops coming in at the last moment. The aftertaste is bitter, mostly hoppy bitter, but also the coffee plays into it as well. Very nicely down.

M - Viscosity is nice, medium body. Not thick or chewy, but very fitting for a brown ale. Moderate carbonation, which really accents all the differnt flavors. Very well done.

O - If I could get my hands on this, I would be all over it. This beer is super tasty. It combines two of my three favorite beverages in one can, and does a fine job of it. The abv is also low enough to make this a beer you could have a few of in a session. I would love to take this camping, would be a great way to start the post dinner camp fire huddle.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Same rich mahogany color of the Bender, along with the impressively sticky and full brownish head and lacing.

The aroma is fucking badass. Not some insipid, bourgeois, fine-ground and drip-brewed coffee; more like French pressed boutique beans. Very strong and very impressive; the beer hides underneath with the same quality dark malt character as usual.

The flavor is dominated by the coffee, and makes short work of any of the subtler aspects of the original Bender. The strong, dark fruit body still remains, along with the long, slightly sweet, slightly roasted finish. Now accompanied by the java, it's even longer!

The mouthfeel is still broad and rich, with tons of little caressing bubbles that still stays far away from over-carbonated.

Surly knows how to do it, and they've done it again. This is fantastic beer, and I would get myself a ton of this if I lived nearby. I had two pints on tap and felt like moving on, but my sister gave me a 4 pack of regular Bender and I've been leaving a cup or so of coffee in my press each morning to stir in with my beers that night. One to go!

Photo of rkistner
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark dark brown with a light tan head. Some stickiness along the sides of the glass, like a cup of coffee (who woulda thunk it?).

S - Coffee, really good coffee with some sweetness on the end.

T - Coffee, really good coffee. A nice sweetness as well, very creamy. Some bitterness on the end, which I expect from a coffee-type beer.

M - Medium, very nice and rich for a ABA. Not overly carbonated and very smooth, perfect.

D - I wish I could drink one of these in the morning to get my coffee fix. Screw Starbucks, I want Coffee Bender!

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with akokandy, Thanks Adam!

16oz can served in a beer mug.

L - very dark brown color with a beige head that left some good lacing behind.

S - coffee, coffee and more coffee.

T - rich roasted coffee flavor is the most dominant taste in this brew, malts and hop flavors are mixed in but the coffee is the star of this show.

F - medium bodied with a smooth, creamy feel.

D - goes down smooth and easy, it's just a matter of how much coffee taste the drinker can stand, personally 2 in a sitting is enough for me.

Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I acquired this through a trade with wery0001. I poured from a 16 ounce can into a standard pint glass. It pours a deep reddish brown with a fuzzy white head. It has great aroma. It is sweet, dark roasted coffee. The flavor follows. It has great balance, a great combination of beer and coffee. The beer has medium body and just the right amount of carbonation. This is better than my normal cup of morning joe.

Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a AleSmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a dark brown with a 1 finger tan head. Big clumps and blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, and some roast.

T- sweet roasted malts, coffee, and some bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very drinkable with slightly creamy feel.

O- very good brown ale. Coffee works very well with base brown Bender. Not overpowering coffe just enough.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-red color with a big finger of off-white head. The head fades slowly down to a thin layer leaving some nice lacing on the glass in the process.

S - Aroma is full of a mix of sweet caramel malts and roasted coffee. There is also a bit of chocolate and nuttiness mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a hit of sweet caramel malt sand some nutty flavor. The coffee flavor starts off super mild, but builds up as the beer goes on. Through the middle, the coffee flavor explodes with a lot of roasted flavor and a touch of coffee bitterness. The finish is a mix of roasted coffee flavor and some sweet caramel malts that lingers really nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and fairly crisp. The roasted coffee flavor really and coasts the mouth and lingers long after the beer finishes.

D - Very drinkable. The added coffee flavors are really strong and excellent on top of the brown ale. Everything feels right in place and mixes very well together.

Photo of guityler83
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: A two.five finger head poured from the can into the english style pint glass. The foam a kahki color with good retension. As it fell into the glass it left a coat of lacing with only a few dry spots. The beer color is a very dark brown with reddish hues peaking through the edges. Moderate amount of haze.

S: Very strong upfront freshly brewed cold coffee nose on this ale. Some chocolate notes are detected as it warms up. No hop aroma or alcohol detected.

T: The flavor is consistent with the aroma. Strong coffee flavor and good quality, not to acidic and a nice dark roast. Nutty and toasted breadcrust malt flavors consistint with british malts. A moderate bitterness that balances the whole thing out.

M: Moderate body and lower alcohol make it very drinkable. No acrid or astringant textures coming through. Carbonation is also on the moderate side.

O: A full flavored, fresh smelling coffee, brown ale kept at a nice ABV to keep it very drinkable. I would gladly take this over many of the double/imperial/RIS Coffee stouts i've had.

Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sheffield's. Served in a pint glass.

A - One and a half fingers of tannish foam with great retention and solid lacing. Color is kind of unattractive - a murky, uneven, dirt brown. Not as handsome as regular Bender, that's for sure.

S - Roast coffee, but not bitter at all. Think coffee with too much cream & sugar in it. Chocolate, vanilla, biscuity malt sweetness - all the regular Bender smells are in there too, but further in the background. It's Bender, but with nice coffee - what more do ya want?

T - Roasty coffee, some floral hops, chocolate, malt, biscuit. The taste has a fair bit more roasty bitterness than the smell.

M - Some similar complaints to regular Bender - kind of thin and watery. Nice carbonation - just a little tingle on the upper lip. Otherwise creamy & velvety.

D - Less drinkable than Bender, as the coffee is a bit fatiguing, but the lower ABV and carbonation are definitely positives.

I don't like this quite as much as regular Bender, as the coffee masks the hoppiness that I really like and gets a bit tiring after a pint or two. It's still a nice, lighter, coffee brew.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from tprokop7 as an extra in a recent trade. Thanks man!

16 oz. can poured into a nonic.

Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights here and there. A khaki colored two finger head rests atop the brew with very little webbing clinging on the sides of the glass. Aroma is coffee with a good dose of cream and sugar. Roasted malts, toffee, caramel and a touch of earthy hops...just a great beer to stick your nose into. More bold coffee flavors on the tongue with a sweet malty backbone. Midway some hops and vanilla emerge with espresso as well. Aftertaste is pretty nutty with a touch of cocoa powder. Light body with a soft but bitter feel. I wish it was a bit smoother, but the light body definitely is a plus. The drinkability suffers only slightly from the sweetness, but this is still a killer coffee brew. You rock Todd, thanks again for throwing this one in as an extra!

Photo of davey
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spent the last week in MN. Picked up a couple Surly cans.

Pours a deep brown with a full inch head. As it settles there is some lacing left.
Smells of rich black coffee, unsweetened dark chocolate, and a little vanilla bean.
Tastes really freaking good! Chocolate covered coffee beans and toffee. Kind of like drinking a Heath bar. Seriously.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, average for a brown ale. Carbonation is perfect.
I'm really digging this beer right now. It's not too thick to drink in the summer. Should make for a great early morning camping beer.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Loving the pint size can. Pours a dark dark brown with shades of auburn around the edges in the light. Lots of fluffy tan head that leaves a lacing on the top.

Smell is all coffee grounds, though perhaps not as premium or as rich as I might have hoped. There's a hint of spiciness and perhaps even a touch of earthy/peat.

Taste is akin to having your cup of coffee in the morning. Bitter roasting coffee, a slight sweet smoothness in the body, just the hint of roasting malts. Again, more Folgers coffee than premium but still amazingly tasty. A faint herbaceous hop quality in the finish that leaves a slightly dry finish. Smooth mouthfeel, amazing drinkability. At such a low ABV, this is a coffee lover's session beer and I wish it was available a little easier. Really nice.

Photo of macher0
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to PHboiler for throwing this extra in a trade.

Took a few sips from the can then poured to tulip.

A. Starting off it poured somewhat thin. A medium brown color. A fine bubble amber head that quickly builds back up when swirled. Minor laces.

S. Low fragrances of coffee, yeast, biscuits. Straight forward.

T. Follows the nose but amplified. A pleasant bitterness from the hops and coffee beans. A bitter cocoa flavor comes from the dark malts.

M. Highly effervescent. Smooth. Medium body.

O. A very nice experience. A well crafted blend of coffee beans and ale. It strongly resembles an iced black coffee with beer. A great combination. This is not an everyday beer but when the time is right, this ale hits the spot. I find this does wonders for hangovers.

Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz. can into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown. Small tan head that slowly fades with decent lacing.

Smell: Very strong coffee aroma up front followed by sweet malts. A slight sniff of hops in the background.

Taste: Coffee and sweet roasted malts up front followed by a slightly nutty and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall: A very solid ale that almost seems more iced coffee than a beer. A very interesting and tasty brew.

Photo of OddNotion
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another generous gift from bs870621345, thanks Bobby!

Poured into my DFH Signature Glass.

Appearance: Deep brown with a only a little bit of light sneaking through around the edges. One finger light tan head. Head is in no rush to completely dissipate.

Smell: Fresh brewed good qulaity coffee (none of that instant crap), I like this. Honestly, that coffee dominates the smell, a tiny bit of sweetness is detected in the background.

Taste: I really hoped the coffee in Coffee Bender would improve upon and round out Bender, and it certainly does! I love how the coffee complemnts the brown ale. It is not overpowering in the taste at all, the sweetness of the malt comes through nicely and the coffee is a great complement (rather than a dominant flavor). Possibly my favorite brown ale at this point.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, not overly carbonated.

Overall: This beer improved on Bender and I really enjoyed it. Good coffee flavors and very drinkable. Worth seeking out if you enjoy coffee infused beers.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Doing this one live tonight. Big thanks go out to Zimmerbloke for hooking me up with some Surly. In all he sent six cans of assorted styles in a trade. Alas, this is the last can I have and the first I've reviewed (hint, hint Minnesota traders). Thanks Matt.

Poured into a large snifter, I get about a finger of frothy cappuccino type head on top of a beautiful garnet-brown body. The head dissipates to a thin wispy circle but leaves decent lacing. Nice.

Smell is a little faint but I'm picking up more of a tea aroma instead of coffee and some light sweet cherry. A little milk chocolate round this thing out.

Taste is pretty hard to describe. This is my second Coffee Bender and I remember having similar difficulty with regular Bender. Its a unique taste for sure. The stale cold steeped bitter coffee is there for sure but then the nuances of Bender are the more difficult to define. There's a certain herbal quality to this beer (basil?) as well as perhaps a hint of licorice and smoked meat. None of that is a bad thing however. This is the primary reason I did not rate Bender. I like it a lot but have an extremely hard time saying why and describing the taste.

Mouthfeel is thin and well carbonated. The herbal quality lingers and keeps the brew from finishing clean. The aromatics hang on just a little longer in the nasal passages than the taste does on the palate but its actually pretty pleasing.

All Surly beers I have had the pleasure of drinking to date drink fast and smooth. This is no exception. By definition this is not quite a session beer but I could definitely enjoy a couple pints (or three) of Coffee Bender without getting tired of it. This isn't a mind blowing beer by far but its so intricate, complex and interesting that its going to be on my wants list permanently along with regular Bender. Highly recommended.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coke brown with a fizzy white head

Smell - roasted coffee for sure , malts, with no hop presence.

Taste - amazing! It tastes like a no sugar added cup of coffee. I get some roasted malt character as well. It finishes with a strong roasted sugarless coffee aftertaste.

Overall - its unlike any brew I've had in San Diego. I'm very impressed.

Photo of BobJude
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerSnobRobinson
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kbanks13
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

Poured into a shaped pint with a chestnut brown body and a big foamy tan head that leaves good lacing and a nice ring of foam in the glass. Smells nutty and like ground roasted coffee, slightly bitter. Tastes like cocoa and hazelnut with roasted coffee. Slightly acidic/bitter and creamy sweet. Feels viscous due to moderate carbonation and it has a thicker body. Very nice drinking and very tasty, glad to have a few more of these to enjoy!

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,070 ratings.