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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

804 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 804
Hads: 2,379
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 653
Gots: 337 | FT: 26
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.
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Reviews: 804 | Hads: 2,379
Photo of MartzMimic
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the can a dark brown with an off-white head that reduces quickly. The aroma tells you quickly that it's coffee, coffee and more coffee. So it tastes like, well, coffee. There's a bit of chocolate and roasted malts. Medium mouth, and it goes down pretty easy. I taste very little of the Bender base. This reminds me more of a porter or thin coffee stout. It's good, but not what I expected.

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Photo of Beerking721
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We made beer floats by combining this with sweet cream liqueur. Absolutely delicious!!!

A= Poured into a Surly Pint glass, the beer exhibits the color of an October midnight - black. The head is thick and off-white/brown in color upon pour and disipates rather quickly into fine lace.

S= Aroma showed deeply toasted malts combined with expresso and roasted hazelnuts.

T= A cooperative combination of brown ale flavor with a lighter than expected coffee enhancement. Malty, earthy, and nutty with some fruity essence.

M= A little thinner than expected for such a dark beer. A decent finish makes up for thinness.

D= As stated above, we did beer floats. This made the experience more fun and added a unique dimension as the coffee up front was followed by rich, sweet cream. On it's own, I would be hesitant to have more than one at a time.

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Photo of twbrewer
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-As I poured this into my glass I couldn't help but notice that it looked just like my morning coffee,but had better lacing.

S-The aroma is the same as a coffee that has been left on the counter for a half hour.The smell is wonderful.

T-It has a cold,dry coffee taste with a hint of chocolate malt and a ever so slight bitterness.Coffee taste was alot weaker than the smell.

M-Medium bodied almost full.Smooth feel and low carbonation make for a great mouthfeel.

D-Lower abv makes this a very easy drinking beer.It would be a tough call between my morning coffee or a Coffee Bender on the weekends.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since it was out of my distribution I paid the premium on this "grey market" beer. 6 bucks for the can.

A - Looks pretty sweet for a coffee infused brown ale. The head on this one is a solid inch with acceptable lacing on the glass. Beer itself is a deep amber brown, almost coffee black.

S - Smells has some sweet nuts and brown malts but not too much coffee or at least not as much as I expected.

T - Not that great it starts off nice with a blast of herbal like coffee but then takes the herbal part too far with too much hops in the mid-palate. Brown malts and other nutty flavors do give it a nice finish but the hops distract it from being a malt forward brown ale.

M - Medium and chewy spot on for a coffee beer.

Overall I am kind of glad I didn't love this since I shouldn't get it in the first place. Could have been the sculpin or 120 heightening my hops preception but it wasn't a bad beer overall.

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Photo of cbros
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type- 16 ounce can poured into a pint glass. I got this as an extra in a trade with mnjeff.

A- Pours a dark chocolate brown. No visible activity after the pour. A small one finger tan head present after the pour that stayed throughout the beer. A small amount of cling present troughout the beer.

S- Hints of coffee(obviously) that seem to be roasted.

T- The roasted coffee taste comes out in the taste as well. There is a medium flavor of hops and malt, nothing overpowering in this beer. If anything I am getting the coffee flavoring the most. There is a strong bitter feel to the beer that is constant throughout the taste.

This is the first 'craft' beer that I have had from a can and I was interested in how that might alter or affect the taste. As far as I can tell there is no difference from bottled beer. This is a decent offering but not something that I would get again. Jeff sent me various stuff from Surly and I can't wait to try out the other stuff. I am sure they will be solid beers just like this one was.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone RIS Snifter

A: Pours a dark brown, light does penetrate through the glass. The head on it actually resembles drip coffee that had been poured into a coffee mug.

S: Smells like day old coffee and hints of chocolate.

T: It has a very pronounced iced coffee flavor, does not have the best coffee flavor, it's not bad, just not what I expected from it. It is a refreshing coffee drink. It would be nice on a warm summer day.

M/D: very carbonated, had an interesting iced coffee thing going on. The coffee flavor did not seem to be of the highest quality, but it was still tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Samuel Smith Nonic
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to thehand for hooking me up with this one!

This pours up a very dark amber color. Very nice deep red highlights. About one-finger of lightly creamy, light tan colored foam makes the head. It recedes to a thin, filmy covering which stays around. Lacing is pretty good and lightly sticky.

Smells hugely of fresh ground coffee beans. Very nice undertone of dark chocolates. I believe there is a touch of lacto sweetness here, also.

Good, yet mild, flavor of dark roasted malts combine with a big presence of fresh ground coffee to give this a great taste. There is a mild brown sugar sweetness in the middle, which brings some balance to the roastiness. It finishes with a touch of acrid bitterness, which doesn't kill it, but it could finish a little bit smoother, IMO.

This is the weakest part of it, for me. The body is on the thinner side of medium. Carbonation level is fairly low. A bit of tweaking could get this one in the thicker range and bring in some very welcome creaminess.

The weak body certainly wouldn't keep me from drinking this one, alot. Damn, I wish Surly had better distribution. Nicely drinkable.

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Photo of urwithdave
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Drank this from my cigar city snifter.

A- Pours about as dark as u can get without being called black. Two fingers of a tan head that has pretty good retention. Tons of lacing left. A very looking beer.

A- I get roasted malts in a big way up front. There is some biscuit or bread in the mix. The coffee isn't shining through and is pretty faint.

T- follows the nose. A ton of roasted malts rolling up on me right away. The coffee is present, but I was expecting it to play a biiger part. There is a faint chocolate in play along with some very distant vanilla. As the beer warms, I get more coffee.

M- perfect level of carbonation, but way to thin. I really enjoyed this beer, I just wish it was a little creamier.

D- very good. I could drink it all night long and be happy.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from Chixdighops into an imperial pint glass.

Pours dark brown with ruby coloring at the edges. Dirty white head, some lacing, minimal of each.

Smells like the added coffee. I've waited patiently for another aroma, but it's largely just the coffee over the top of malt.

Despite the strong coffee aroma, the taste is a bit more mild than anticipated. There is only a small layering of flavor however the depth of the malt is well executed.

Mouthfeel is smooth, a bit lighter than I expected until I realized it was a brown ale and not a porter (note: previous notes are also reflective of being aware of the correct style).

It is certainly fine brew, and an ale that is well crafted. However, the coffee is present throughout the glass and I find this both unnecessary as a rule and unfortunate for the brown ale which I typically prefer to drink as a lighter style brew and which is negated nearly entirely by the coffee here.


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Photo of ne0m00re
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live review of a pint can canned 12/30/10 courtesy of arvjunk.
A: Clear mahogany with reddish hues, nice dark cream head, and good lacing.
S: Nutty (walnut) caramel, mild fresh-brewed drip or French press coffee, cream. Mild aroma.
T: Similar to the aroma, with a slight diacetyl or toffee, nice orange citrus hops. Good. You'd just think that the flavor would be more intense.
M: Moderately or lightly syrupy, frothy, and crisper in the finish.
D: Pretty good. A little more watered-down than you'd expect, but decent flavors for the lower alcohol.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz Can

A: espresso brown with a wonderful creamy head and nice carbonation

S: rum, a touch of coffee, dried fruit

T: Chewy caramel melts into espresso, with maple syrup in the mix.

M,D: Warms real well in the glass, creamy and rich on the palate. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours incredibly dark. A bit of head but fairly settled. Not too carbonated. Smells strongly of coffee and malt. Very pleasant on the nose. Definitely tastes like coffee coffee coffee... not much else to it. The malt profile peaks through a hair but the coffee overpowers. Great smooth mouthfeel but overall not much of a brown ale taste through the overly coffee flavoured beer

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

August 30, 2014

16 oz can, nonic pint

A – Medium to dark brown. Effervescent. Off-white head, low head retention. Basically looks like a carbonated version of my morning java brew.

S – Smells like a freshly opened bottle of cold-pressed coffee. Lots of roasty, burnt notes. Bitter.

T – Again, a lot of cold-pressed or iced coffee. Bitterness is strong but not overwhelming. Burnt flavors are actually minimal. Instead it’s very roasty, with touches of chicory.

M – Medium carbonation, slightly astringent. Mild bitter coffee in the finish and the aftertaste.

O – I want to like this a lot more than I do, but the cold pressed coffee is a little too upfront and pushes the beer out of balance. That characteristic could certainly be appealing for some drinkers. Would love to taste this base brown ale with no or more balanced coffee addition.

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Photo of illidurit
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can courtesy photomike. Pours a clear ruby brownish copper with a nice light tan head. Not exactly a 'brown' brown ale. Aroma is straight up coffee grounds. I wish I could say more but that's pretty much it. Flavor is iced coffee with half and half. Slightly green coffee beans with light acidity and moderate astringency. Body and mouthfeel are otherwise fine, and if you like coffee beer, this is pretty much the definition of it.

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Photo of ZAP
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not a big fan of coffee (although I do drink it from time to time) or coffee beers but this is well done. It has a good dose of coffee bean flavor on the aroma and on the nose. In fact my only complaint is the bender qualities are overwhelmed by the coffee. I guess that is why it is a coffee beer but I would have liked to have seen a little more of the bender brown qualities emerge.

Body is a little thin and slightly acidic feeling.

If you like coffee beers you will most likely find this appealing. If you are looking for bender with subtle coffee notes you will be disappointed as this is a coffee bomb.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown to black in color. Some light passes through to create brown spots. Thick frothy head that clings to the glass as the head settles down. The head has a tannish color to it. Nice coffee nose that is like sniffing coffee beans. I call it "good" but can't be "exceptional" because its more coffee than beer (it seems like nit-picking). Gentle malt attack and coffee notes throughout. A little smoky at the finish due to the presence of the coffee. Very much reminiscent of a dunkin donuts iced coffee flavor to this beer. I haven't had dunkin donuts in a while since they aren't prevalent in the Twin Cities, but its how I remember it. Some mild bitters on the surface of the flavor. The coffee tones are gently interwoven into the beer but they are definitely the dominant flavor. Coffee in the title is right. It seems this should do well locally when you consider all of the coffee shops. Maybe they should ship some to Seattle for sale too. Different and worth a drink. I can see some purists turning their noses up at it however.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Quinn and Emily for tracking this one down for me.

16oz can poured into a Guinness Imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a clear brown with tinges of red. The one-inch cream colored head is short lived. Thin rings of lacing settle into light patches.

S: An intense coffee smell. Freshly brewed coffee and coffee beans. Maybe some subtle nuttiness. A vague spiciness, probably from the hops.

T: Fresh coffee, coffee beans, nice bitterness coming from both the coffee and some earthy herbal hops. There is a soda-like sweetness that lingers underneath all of this. Finishes with some nuttiness and more coffee.

M: Light in body with seltzer-like carbonation. somewhat creamy. Not as full and robust as I would like it to be.

D: Light enough in body and in abv to session.

Notes: Pretty good. Very intense coffee tastes. A bit too carbonated and light in body though. The intense coffee flavors feel a bit out of place without a nice full mouthfeel to back them up. This is a beer that I'm very glad I tried, but I wouldn't jump through hoops to get more of it.

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Photo of supercolter
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok so another good offering from Surly, but definately not my favorite. Appearance is good, nice deep brown color, lots of life to it. Smell and taste are quite similar, unfortunately, I'm not a huge coffee fan and that kind of overpowers the rest of what is going on. Some malt and rather sweet for the style. Mouthfeel is nice and medium in body. Drinkability is good, but again coffee is not really my thing so a bit much for me.

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Photo of david131
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- The liquid is a very dark brown with some ruby highlights when held to a light. The mocha head is thin and creamy with solid retention.

S- Very sweet, creamy coffee. A little one dimensional, but it is very appealing.

T- Sweet coffee. The flavor is simple but tasty.

M- A decent amount of carbonation keeps it light on the palate. There is some lasting bitterness.

O- An above average brown ale. The coffee addition is nice for a change of pace.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to BeerFMAndy for procuring this can for me! Knocked it off my 'wants' list...

Poured into a pint glass for a mid-morning drink. It's got coffee in it, this early is acceptable, no?

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a massive tan head billowing out. Excellent retention on this one. Left lots of sticky globs and webbing all over the glass. The nose is not as coffee-forward as the can would lead you to believe. I'm getting notes of honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and bread. Just the faintest of coffee scents on the backend. A little disappointing to say the least. Still, it smells great.

The body is thinner than I'd like as well. Compared to the 'regular' Bender, this one is lacking in bite and depth. Maybe the coffee plays a part(?). The flavor as well is lacking the big bold coffee presence I was expecting. This beer carries the common characteristics to most browns: a nice bready flavor, some toasted brown sugar, light bitterness. There is a lightly sour note present. Coffee? Not sure. Some mild roasted aftertaste which I can assume is from the coffee added.

I kept the score a little higher on the flavor, because though it lacked the coffee I was expecting, this still was a damn good brown. Better than many. I'd have another, and even another. But they could "bold" it up a bit more IMO. Thanks again for the opportunity, Andy.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mohagany with a purple hue. Thick, creamy off-white head that remains.
Smell is dominated by roasted coffee. The malts come out from underneith, with some caramel and chocolate.
Taste is again heavily dominated by brewed coffee. Creamy malted notes come in after, with some more malty caramel and toffee.
Mouthfeel is somewhat flat and watery, but with a fair amount of carbonation, strongly resembling a lager. Medium light body.
The almost overwhelming coffee aspect of this one cuts the drinkability down some. Compared to many other coffee infused beers, this one seems a bit off balance. There's a bit too strong of a division between the beer and coffee in this beer.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last of my Surly stash. While I don't like coffee, I try to be objective with coffee beers. Here goes.

App- Same rich brown of the bender, hit of ruby highlights. Great lacing. Very clear beer, nice.

Smell- Huge coffee roast. A hint of chocolate, maybe a little fruit, or some hop. It's hard to detect since the coffee is so dominant. Blind, I'd never know it was a beer and not some Joe.

Taste- Creamy coffee, no surprise there. Definitely some hops coming through. Fruit undertones, the coffee gets a little muddled with the hoppiness. Sort of lingers bitterly on the tongue. Not as smooth as I'd like. Someone else mentioned sour cherry, and there is a slight note of that. Just something amiss that I can't quite place.

Mouthfeel- Lacking something, not as luxurious as regular bender it seems.

Overall- Really just muddled. If it's going to be s coffee beer it might as we'll go for it. The hops don't play nice in my book. Just missing a little something.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

received in trade. no date found on can. from notes, tasted in june 2009.

dark ruby amber brown. seems gem clear under the light. 1.5-finger beige head, fades to constant thin layer. great, almost curtain lacing.

aroma: coffee upfront, caramel maltiness underneath, hints of roast and earthy hop trace of yeasty fruit esters.

taste: coffee and malty caramel, as roast, coffee and hops give moderate bitterness, lingering with coffee. light apple esters, and mild fusel or phenol note in back.

medium body, moments of lightness, light astringency and a gentle coffeeish acidity near finish. mild to moderate carbonation, keeps some body.

just not as smooth and drinkable as original, which i like much better.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Pours brown with a small head. Aroma of sweet malt and light coffee grounds. Flavor is sweet initially with a coffee ground finish. I would have liked to see a stronger malt backbone to balance out the bitter coffee but perhaps that is expected when using a brown ale as the base instead of a porter or stout, which I am more used to. Anyway, it was very good for a brown ale.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had tried this at the ACBF last summer and had wanted to try it again, thanks to mnjeff! I poured this beer into the first beer glass I saw, which happened to be a Michelob horn glass.

The beer's creamy brown head rose up after I was able to pour out the whole can. I must say that I love the idea of these pint cans. The color is a really dark amber, dare I say brown? There wasn't much to smell until I could stick my whole nose in so I started to drink first.

First sip was like the best balanced coffee you've ever had, but cold and carbonated. Not too bitter, not too roasty but just right. The second sip helps you find the base of the beer. The brown ale is a little nutty but compliments the beer to an extent.

I took a few more sips and then dunked my nose into the glass. At first it reminded me of the chocolate milk my grandfather would make me with Hershey's syrup. It was a nice creamy smell married with coffee and slightly roasted nuts. Chocolate bitterness lingers in the back.

As I got down to half the glass the bitterness of the coffee started to kick in and I lost some of that lovely initial flavor. I guess that will come with the territory.

As it warmed up I got a better taste of the brown ale and the malt really started to balance out the coffee and enhance the smell. This is nearly sessionable at around 5%.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 804 ratings.