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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,820 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,820
Reviews: 755
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 592
Gots: 212 | 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:
Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,820 | Reviews: 755 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ehammond1

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Can (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

This really is a gorgeous beer. It's a dark as can be brown, without any light passting through. The head is light brown, thick, persistent, and leaves spots, lines, and spiderwebs of lace down the glass. Gorgeous.

The course ground coffee beans really shine, especially as the beer warms. The coffee is at the center here, along with some mild roast character, charred chili peppers, and a bit of sweetness.

The flavor follows similarly, with a ton of coffee flavor present forwards and backwards, along with a bit of roasted pepper skin (strangely enough), roasted malt, a touch of sweetness, and low bitterness.

Thin to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

A delicious way to start my beer drinking (morning).

Serving type: can

01-07-2012 20:51:53 | More by ehammond1
Photo of kbeals

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Traded for this one at DLD day with a very generous younger35...

A- Pours a deep brown, nearly black in color with an inch of tan creamy head. Good lacing and head retention. I still can't get over how good all of Surly's beers look.

S- Pleasant aromas of coffee and roasted malts. Surly really knows how to put coffee in their beer, lots of rich coffee aroma makes it feel as though I'm smelling a fresh cup of coffee. One of the better coffee-infused beers I've had in a while.

T- Once again, a good amount of roasted coffee and malts. No real detectable bitterness in here from the coffee, very nice.

M- Heavy body with detectable amounts of carbonation. About right for the style.

D- Good, I could drink a couple of these and with the mix of the coffee complementing the original Bender so well it made this one hard to put down.

Serving type: can

07-15-2010 00:38:45 | More by kbeals
Photo of TenHornsProud


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*Thanks of brkstoutfiend for the trade!

Pours a nice deep amber with ruby hints and a big, off-white head that lingers and laces. Really nice head for a coffee beer.

Smells of sweet coffee up front that goes into a more bready/sweet beer character. Lingering nutty sweetness.

Taste is up front malt/bready with hints of coffee that goes into a nutty, sweet middle and ends on a malty/coffee note. Lingering flavor of bready malt and coffee. Quite nice.

Light to medium body with lower carbonation. Thinner body makes it really easy to drink and works for the beer overall.

This is a nice malty/coffee beer that is still heavy on the beer character, which I like a lot. It is easy to drink and satisfying.

Serving type: can

01-30-2012 01:30:40 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks a ton to speedwayjim for tossing this my way at the end of a tasting!!!

a-Poured into a glass mug a crystal brown with a frothy milkshake-esque head that stained the glass as it dissipated.

s-Oh joy...chocolate, coffee a touch milky, little metallic too...smell is pretty mellow (although I usually drink a brew from a glass that gives a better nose, but I had to go the glass mug route for my first taste).

t-Bitter coffee and espresso brown ale. the brown ale is there, but only in the background. Tastes like coffee shop coffee. the coffee is a nice compliment to the brown ale.

m/d-A bit watery but counter balanced with the bitterness. Slides down the gullet quite easily, but leaves a bit of an unpleasant overly bitter drying vibe in my mouth which fades to a much more pleasant chocolate bar feel.

Serving type: can

01-08-2011 02:56:11 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of beachbum1975


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Backdrop: Just got done cleaning my garage from about 10AM - 4PM (It was WAY overdue), chillaxin' now - it's my time. Gorgeous 80 degree day out today and the ipod shuffled some great songs for me today. Oh, and I just washed both cars, too. It's definitely time for daddy to enjoy a nice beer...

A: 1 pint, great colors and style on the can -I love all Surly artwork though. Before I forget, thanks go out to newtonty for gifting me this one. Pours a dark root beer brown into my over-sized Duvel tulip. The head on this is amazing! Large 2 inch head with streaky lacing down the sides.

S: Light coffee, malts and slight earthiness on the nose.

T:/M Coffee is much more dominant in the mouth. This is a medium flavored beer and after the coffee, I get lightly sweet malts, biscuit yeasts and a light floral hops presence. Light bodied with average carbonation. Coffee grinds are detected in the aftertaste. Coffee isn't dauntingly heavy on this one, but rather lighter and refreshing.

D: Like all Surly beers, HIGHLY sessionable. With the 5.1% ABV, I could put these back all night. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: can

04-27-2009 20:35:26 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Unlike the draft version I had last year, the can pours out with a firm tan head that has a whipped egg consistency and leaves plenty of lacing to boot

Smell: Brown bread and roasted grains are dominated by the coffee

Taste: Roasty, up front, with a bready character underneath, but by mid-palate, the coffee flavor dominates both before and after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While the beer is certainly enjoyable, I can't help but believe that the coffee overwhelms some of the more interesting aspects of Bender

Serving type: can

08-27-2009 00:49:29 | More by brentk56
Photo of goatgoat


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks mikereaser for the opportunity.

Beer for a mug, from a can! I <3 cans. (yes... that's less than three cans)

Pours an opaque brown with clear ruby highlights. A finger's worth of tan head falls quickly. No lace.

Aroma is clear roasted coffee. Perfect roasted coffee, nothing less and nothing more.

Flavor starts with a nice fruity malt character. which morphs through lightly hop notes into a strong coffee finish that lingers for quite a while. Subsequent sips are 'front loaded' with the coffee flavor, which puts the other notes in the background.

Body is decent, carbonation good.

This is _coffee_ beer. This is my first coffee brown ale and color me impressed. Tasty, tasty.

Serving type: can

04-16-2009 19:14:39 | More by goatgoat
Photo of StLThrash


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 16 ounce can into a pint glass. Received from client of mine who lives in Minneapolis and brought down a Surly variety pack for me to STL!

A - Dark brown, with minimal, one-finger, thin, tan head. Left slight lacing - but barely any.

S - Lots of roasted coffee flavor, with some toasted malt and chocolate. I don't get much hop character at all in the nose. The coffee aroma is awesome though.

T & M - Again, lots of coffee. Tastes almost like you are drinking one of those iced coffees, but it's a beer. For a coffee and beer lover, it was fabulous. Very thin body and mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation. Lacking a little bit of something - no bite.

Overall - Very tasty coffee flavored brown ale. Glad I got a chance to try it. Surly makes awesome beers.

Serving type: can

08-31-2011 17:50:14 | More by StLThrash
Photo of jeremy13586


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned 3/9/2012. Poured in to an imperial pint glass.

Translucent and dark brown color. The beer poured a khaki, dense, two-finger head that protruded above the glass. Left some nice lacing behind.

Nutty roasted malt and some coffee. A little bit of toffee.

Nutty and roasty. The coffee taste is actually quite mellow, but does pop out at times. There is a little bit of toffee and an earthiness at the end. Pretty simple tasting, but all the flavors are well balanced. A bit of a lingering bitterness for the finish, but it doesn't linger for too long.

Very well carbonated and very smooth. Medium bodied.

This brew was incredibly drinkable and didn't sit too heavy. I'm not a huge fan of coffee in general, but I do dig on some coffee beers. Coffee Bender had enough coffee to keep things interesting, but it wasn't overbearing.

Serving type: can

07-02-2012 05:49:41 | More by jeremy13586
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown pour with a frothy white head, great retention and lace. Fresh coffee aroma with bread and brown sugar. The taste is exactly as I thought it would be - bender with some coffee thrown in. Lots of brown bread, toasted nuts, chocolate and the underlying coffee that was already there. A satisfying combo, but I feel that steeping in the coffee actually takes away from bender's greatness, and that this beer is inferior to the original. Medium body and mouthfeel.

Cheers Bryan.

Serving type: can

06-14-2009 14:49:09 | More by bobsy
Photo of mrandypandy


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can purchased from Blue Max Liquors, just outside Minneapolis.

A- Pours a murky mahogany brown with amber hues. On par for what a brown ale should look like. Minimal tan head on pour quickly dies, yet leaves great lacing.
S- I don't pick up much of anything in the nose. Muted coffe notes, maybe some nutty/malty armoas mixed in. Still, hard to detect much initially, but I do get more as the beer warms.
T- Coffee. Robust, coffee flavors dominate, yet aren't overpowering. Surprisingly balanced.
M - Medium body, light on the carbonation.
D- High, if you're a coffee fan. After a while the lack of complexity and dominating coffee flavor start to grow tiresome on the palate, but this is still a drinkable beer.

Overall - A very good coffee beer that isn't big/overpowering like a stout. I somehow feel this was actually made better by drinking it out of my Surly coffee mug. Maybe it is never to early to get Surly...

Serving type: can

09-12-2010 19:32:17 | More by mrandypandy
Photo of imagineiii


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into an imperial pint glass. filled to the top, topped with an inch of crunchy tan head. recedes quickly.

nose is reminiscent of coffee grinds after brewing. hazelnut is the scent that comes to mind. slightly more impressive on the nose than bender.

taste is a bit muddled between a solid brown ale and coffee. I should say that Im not a huge fan of coffee flavors added to most beers. the impressive thing about this beer is the addition of such firm coffee characters without the astringency. in fact, the beer does drink like iced coffee. slightly sweet, almost creamy as well. full mouthfeel contributes to creaminess.

quite drinkable. nice to see a beer that infuses coffee without being over the top with alcohol and flavor. nicely done, very well balanced. probably my favorite coffee beer ive had to date.

Serving type: can

02-26-2011 00:48:34 | More by imagineiii
Photo of NStLincoln


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love coffee and I really love beer, let's see how they go together.

Coffee Bender is chestnut brown or very dark amber when held up to light. The head is creamy and a shade darker than tan.

Surprisingly light on the coffee aroma. I get a lot of sweet roasted malt. Reminds me of chocolate malto-meal.

And there's the coffee! The initial taste is still chocolate malt, but the coffee bitterness jumps in and finishes strong. The transition from dark malt to coffee bitter is smooth and well done.

Serving type: can

01-26-2011 21:06:37 | More by NStLincoln
Photo of CowsandBeer


4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to for Ubermensch26 the four pack of Coffee Bender he brought me back from Darkness Day! Single 16 oz can poured into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise style glass. Canned on 09/11/2013.

Appearance: Poured a finger of khaki head which quickly fizzed away to a thin cap. Brown/walnut colored body. Decent, sudsy lacing on the sides.

Smell: Spicy, earthy, roasted coffee. As expected, a huge coffee presence in the nose. Behind the coffee front, some of the original Bender is found: cream, nuttiness, vanilla, some bitter chocolate and hazelnut. Once the beer had warmed more of the cream scent came through. An odd vegetal note seems to come and go.

Taste: That same coffee upfront as in the nose, this time ending on a bitter, ashy note. I wish I could get more of the Bender in the taste. Some cream, vanilla, nuttiness, and cocoa powder are present. When the beer was still pretty cold there was an odd vegetal presence, when the warmed up more it seemed to fade.

Mouthfeel: Chalky, thin mouthfeel. The creamy, low carbonation works pretty well with the coffee taste.

Overall: Like drinking a fresh, cold growler of coffee. The nose reminded me a lot of spicy, used coffee grounds. Bender was a great fit for this beer in that it’s the perfect creamy, nutty base beer. I just wish more of it would come through. My only real complaint is that odd veggie smell/taste that threw off all the nice coffee complexities. Nice creamy body thought it could have used a bit more heft. Overall, a recommend ale for all who enjoy coffee in their beer. If this was local to me, I can see myself picking up a four pack off and on.

Serving type: can

12-10-2013 03:12:12 | More by CowsandBeer
Photo of Heatwave33


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can to a Cigar City Snifter.

Color: Deep amber with a light brown head.

Smell: Coffee, toasted malts, chocolate, hops and vanilla.

Taste: Coffee, toasted malts, chocolate, hops and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, smooth with a dry finish.

Overall: Great coffee brew. Nice medium bodied. Drinkability is really good as much coffee beers are. Highly reccomended to coffee drinkers. Cheers.

Serving type: can

02-04-2012 04:43:32 | More by Heatwave33
Photo of aepb1


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown body with a nice creamy tan head

S- coffee, sweet chocolate and some bready malts

T- coffee and chocolate again off the bat. Some more sweet bready malts and this finishes with some roastiness

M- medium-bodied, a lot lighter than I'd thought it would be. Moderate carbonation.

O- so after reading this is billed as a brown ale, I'm quite impressed as I thought it was a porter...!

Serving type: can

06-10-2011 15:59:27 | More by aepb1
Photo of buschbeer


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It pours a ruddy brown color. An aggressive pour yields three fingers of beige head.

S - The aroma is fresh ground coffee.

T - The taste is predominantly coffee. The is a bitter, black coffee finish.

M - Moderate to thin

O - This is an interesting beer. It has tons of coffee flavor, but it is thinner than most coffee flavored beers. I like the taste except for the finish. It is bitter, and that bitterness lingers on the palate. I'm glad I tried it but not overly impressed. I prefer the coffee stouts and porters.

Serving type: can

04-22-2012 20:04:29 | More by buschbeer
Photo of accordselux


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Darkness day.

A: Dark ale with a nice tan head. Not very exciting in a plastic cup, but it looked appetizing.

S: Coffee. This stuff is cold pressed, so it smelled like cold coffee. My nose may have been runny after hanging around outside in the cold for two hours, so that was the only thing I smelled.

T: Cold coffee. Very high quality coffee taste, roasted well, with a bit of hop and roasted malt aftertaste. If I could categorize it, i'd say it's a good breakfast beer, but I'm pretty sure most places of employment wouldn't like the term 'breakfast beer' at all.

M/D: Very smooth to drink, but i'm not very sure how much of this I could drink, as I'm not much of a coffee drinker to start with. It's good to have on occasion, but I wouldn't want to session this.

Serving type: on-tap

10-28-2008 16:33:23 | More by accordselux
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to kjyost for this.

Poured from a 16oz. can, canned on 06/06/13.

Appearance: Black-brown body, opaque as heck, nice lacing but retention is a bit average.

Smell: Intense mix of chocolate, coffee, hazelnut, cream. Strength of coffee really shines.

Taste: Rich coffee, lots of nuttiness, sweet hazelnut and grainy coffee.

Mouthfeel: Malty as all get out, very low bitterness.

Overall: Aroma nails it, flavor doesn`t quite live up. Tasty but not in my top coffee-flavored beers.

Serving type: can

07-27-2013 02:37:20 | More by papat444
Photo of portia99


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a Portsmouth goblet. Courtesy of nonstick. Thanks Chris! I know you had to pry this can out of Carol's hands.

A - Poured a nice deep brown with a creamy tan head, 1/2" thick that lasted for a good couple of minutes. Dissipates to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Extremely minimal lacing.

S - Hmm...coffee, coffee and more coffee. Nice deep roasty aromas overpower anything else that might be in there. Smells really good, although not very "beery".

T - Not surprising that deep roastiness and distinct coffee flavors dominate. The slightest hint of sweetness comes through, and I think I detect some hop bitterness somewhere in that coffee flavor. The coffee really makes this more stout or porter like to me than a brown ale, but regardless, this is really good.

M - Flavor makes me think stout/porter, but the body is definitely that of a brown ale. Somewhat thin and water like in feel, but not really complaining about this.

D - Extremely easy drinking...I might be able to have this one for breakfast instead of the morning coffee. Alcohol is not detectible. If you like coffee, you could have this one all day long.

Serving type: can

06-19-2009 01:35:47 | More by portia99
Photo of bamadog


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pwoods for sharing this on 5/10/09. Poured from the can into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brown but has some light coming through when held to the light; small 1 finger head that disappears almost immediately; no lacing; solid carbonation bubbling throughout.

Smell: Wow - really just like coffee with some raw brown sugar. Pretty potent smell and it makes me pretty excited to taste this beer.

Taste: A nice malty backing with a strong presence of coffee, but not nearly as strong as I would have expected based upon the smell; there is a slight hint of mocha/chocolate; slight burnt sugar prsence; a bit of a bitter unpleasant aftertaste; gets a little bready and biscuity as it warms up a little bit.

Moutfeel: A bit of a let down, actually. Very watery and thin; strong carbonation but it doesn't reamin lively or tingly on the palate. A pretty quick and clean finish.

Drinkability; It's not bad, but the mouthfeel really let me down a bit and I was hoping for a stronger coffee presence in the mouth and not just the nose. I'd definitely drink it again, but I'm not sure I'd really go too far out of my way to get ahold of a can.

Serving type: can

05-14-2009 23:24:30 | More by bamadog
Photo of emmasdad


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Dan (and Megan) for bringing this one over last night. Pours a rich dark brown color, with a smallish light tan head. Huge freshly ground espresso on the nose, along with roasted malt and dark chocolate. Full bodied, creamy and rich, like cold canned coffee, with rich milk chocolate and roasted malt and a lingering coffee finish. Very good.

Serving type: can

11-07-2010 05:47:41 | More by emmasdad
Photo of Penguin3200


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally reviewing CB, this Sunday of memorial day weekend. Can dated 4-21-11 poured into pint mug. Nice appearance and good carbonation that just makes coffee bender what it is. Medium brown hue but darker than bender. Coffee malt and faint hops on the nose. Taste is what makes this one a go to summer coffee beer. This can was made for the early Saturday and Sunday tee time crowd and is a frequent stowaboard in my bag.

Delicate mouthfeel but loads of coffee and toasty malts. Tight hops cue the finish with a bit bitter pucker from the coffee and hops.

Love the CB and always have a few in the fridge.

Serving type: can

05-29-2011 22:34:41 | More by Penguin3200
Photo of spointon


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Bavarian Lodge, in Lisle, IL on 11/5/2008.

A= This ale poured a medium dark brown color with cola colored highlights around the edges. The dark tan head started at 1/2", then dropped fairly quickly without leaving much lacing down my glass.

S= The smell was completely dominated by the roasted coffee aromas. I also detected signs of a brown ale within the coffee, finding notes of malt, chocolate, and some earthy hops.

T= Much like it smelled, this ale was full of (delicious) roasted coffee bean flavors as well as the underlying characteristics of the brown ale within. Sweetness was provided by the malts and a mild chocolate flavor. A small hop bite, and a bit of astringency came forth near the end.

MF= This was definitely on the lighter side of medium bodied. At times it felt a bit thin to me. Carbonation was crisp without being overly sharp.

D= Decently good drinkability, though the big coffee flavors make this one I wouldn't want to drink all night. Definitely worth a try though!

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2008 15:26:25 | More by spointon
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with great caronation and big tannish head. Nose is big coffee beans and very yummy. taste is a good. It has one of the best tasting coffee flavors I have experienced. It tastes like fresh, natural coffee beans, more so than any beer I have had. Very smooth, not over the top. Also has some oats and vanilla. Mouthfeel is thinner but the fresh coffee roams in the background.

Serving type: can

10-16-2009 03:08:28 | More by barleywinefiend
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,820 ratings.