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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,089 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,089
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 626
Gots: 258 | FT: 17
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: 2,089 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The brother and I shared this one... Awesome.. Received this one in a surprise box from Kbeals... Just amazing.

Pours with a 1" nice tan head.. pretty good drapes of lacing with the entire glass.. the brew is actually NOT black.. instead just a deep brown with beautiful dark garnet highlites when held to a light.

Aromas can go a long way to jogging forgotten memories.. Coffee Bender immediately takes me back two decades to my first hunting trips in PA. My Pappy DeShong with all of his hunting buddies sitting at Johnnies Diner in McConnellsburg. Firm, bright, yet dark coffee before the smells of breakfast ever made it into the air... The coffee is the only thing that is present and I am okay with it... just near perfect... Smells amazing.

Flavor has all the abundant coffee notes with (if I try) hints of dark toast and dry roasted nuts.. minor bits of cocoa.. but forget about everything but the coffee beans..

I am an occasional coffee drinker... maybe 2 times a week.. but this brew is better than any cup of joe that I've had in months... maybe ever.

Very nice medium/lite mouthfeel with lite carbonation.. wonderful.

Thanks a bunch Kevin.... I've had this a couple of times before, but I suspect never as fresh and never when I had time to really contemplate. Thanks for my walk down memory lane.


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

Wow... This dang sucker goes down easier than... (I'll let you fill in the blank, my children). But really though, it's smooth, roasty, there is a nice, subtle layer of richness... Raul feels like Scrooge McDuck diving into a pool of coffee beans only to come up with a coffee bender in one hand and Kate Middleton in the other.


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

I had no idea what to expect with this beer. I've had some monster stouts with coffee before, but nothing like this. I was very impressed.

Points of note:

- The mouthfeel: wonderfully thick.
- Smell: nice iced coffee
- Taste: a really nice combination of beer and coffee

Glad I had this beer. I would not drink it all night long, but it was a great way to start the night.

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

Poured from the can an opaque dark brown with a thin wispy tan head.

The aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans dominates the nose.

The taste, to no surprise, is freshly-ground coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and light hops.

Lighter bodied and crisp with more carbonation than expected.

This is one tasty and sessionable Coffee Brown from Surly.

Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into a DFH signature glass. No date stamp on the bottom of the can...

A - Super dark brown body that appears black until its held up to the light. An aggressive pour created a fluffy three finger high light khaki head. Eventually settles down to a thin cap. Decent amount of lacing.

S - Fresh steeped coffee with a bit of chocolate sweetness and roast on the finish. Simple and effective, smells delicious.

T - Watered down coffee. Very tame and approachable. The finish is of lightly bitter roasted malts. Smooth with low carbonation. Super drinkable.

O - Its like a lighter version of Founders breakfast stout. Its pretty one dimensional, but works really well as a coffee infused brown ale. I wish I had another so that I could have drank it out of a mug alongside some bacon and eggs...

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

Poured from a 16 oz can into a mug (quote the can: "beer for a mug, from a can". Acquired as an extra in a trade with Surge1311, thanks man!

A- Pours a muddy brown body with amber highlights. There is a decent amount of noticeable carbonation. A thin white head rises and reduces pretty quickly. Leaves a little lacing.

S- This honestly smells like a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Slight French vanilla and toffee notes in the background, but black coffee is the primary aroma here. Pretty inviting.

T- Upfront I get some delicious french vanilla, coffee, and cream notes. These notes stick around for most of the sip and leave a roasty burnt toast taste on the tongue. There is a surprising hoppy pine note on the late aftertaste.

M- Super creamy but not too thick, medium low carbonation. As drinkable as any coffee milkshake.

Surly really hit the coffee character on the head with this brew. The huge coffee aroma/notes really make you wonder how much coffee they added to this brew, but as long as it tastes good and maintains its beer characteristic/abv I have no problem with that. I really likes the fact that the hops really shine on the finish. This is a unique and drinkable brew that really works. Could this be pulled off by another brewery? Probably not. Try it!

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.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,089 ratings.