Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,276 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,276
Reviews: 809
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 638
Gots: 306 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,276 | Reviews: 809
Photo of Jwale73
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of DbHog. Served in my SA Sensory Pint. Poured a deep brown that appears maroon when backlit. Frothy one inch head slowly receded leaving behind thick bands of lacing. Robust, roasted coffee nose; incredible aroma with no charred characteristics. Taste follows nose but also detected a nutty quality in the mix with a touch of char at the finish. Mouthfeel was creamy, light to medium in body, with a mild carbonation. Incredibly easy drinking and flavorful. What an amazing session brew. I am quickly becoming a Surly fan.

Photo of larryi86
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can dated 10/14/11 poured into a snifter
Thank you hockeyd for this!

A- Dark brown with a two and a half finger tan head.

S- Coffee, coffee, and more roasted coffee, pretty much all coffee, hint of regular Bender.

T- Coffee is really toned down from the smell, but still big coffee flavor. Nice malt backbone, earthy hops, nice bitterness.

M- Smooth, medium body, a little creamy.

O- Probably the most coffee forward beer I have had. I really like this and found it better than regular Bender. Very happy that I have more cans, definitely will seek out again.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager, again.

A: 1/2" creamy light brown head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Coffee, caramel and clean yeast.

T: Chocolate, caramel, some roasted malt, some coffee, clean yeast and grassy hops.

M: Somewhat dry with medium viscosity and carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable, great beer for a wet coast fall day.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can into mug. Huge thanks to Dev (buckeyesox) for the hookup!

Reviewed at about 45 degrees F and up.

Pours very dark brown, a few ruby highlights around the very edges when held up to direct light but not many. Nice, thick finger-and-a-half light khaki head, creamy and dense, that takes a nice while to recede into a dense cap. Amazing stickage, it's like the head turns into silly putty whenever I tilt the glass to take a sip.

Nose is just gorgeous. Brown ale happens to be one of my favorite styles, and this is the best nose I've ever gotten from a brown ale. So rich - coffee, cocoa, nutty, breadcrust, a very smooth, rich roastiness - everything just blends in beautifully with each other.

Taste is rather like the nose. Smooth roasty and coffee notes, a rich nuttiness, hints of cocoa, a sharp, breadcrusty bitterness on the back of the tongue leading into a trail of nutty coffee, hints of pine, rich bready dark malt... yum. Not quite as epic as the nose, but still excellent. Tone the bitterness down a hair and you'll be spot on.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, smooth, light carbonation that's plenty adequate, drying towards the finish.

Drinkability is great. The hop bitterness is a bit more than I like in a brown ale, which is probably the only thing holding it back from 5s in taste and drinkability, but that's a minor quibble. Bender is very good, Coffee Bender is superb.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A can poured into my duvel tulip, thanks to a great trader.

A- three fingers of tan rocky head rises from an aggressive pour that holds for a good bit then settles very slowly leaving behind all types of crazy sticky chunky lace like sea foam after a big storm. Murky very dark brown in color with just a dim amber glow at the edges when held to the light.

S- loads of coffee and toasted malts bring a dark bread thing with it. A bit of brown sugar and caramel. The simply amazing coffee sents really take the drivers seat but don't over shadow the rest.

T- huge coffee flavor but with no acrid or over roasted flavor. Like they say its like beans. Nutty with a touch of chocolate. Lightly sweet, caramel and brown sugar again. Its all so well integrated and balance that you really get taken for a great ride. Nice long roasty coffee finish.

M- a few steps less then medium in body with a smooth mid level carb that works perfectly against the body.

D- yes I would like to go on a bender with this bad boy. I enjoyed its base beer very much but this one is amazing. So easy to drink but you could spend hours on it picking it to pieces. One of my new favs. Damm surly not a bad beer yet.

Photo of Skidz
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out bright red-brown and sits a vibrant mahogany in the glass with a large frothy beige head with good lacings all around.

Bright nutty aromas up front with bits of grassy hops and muddied coffee notes. Hints of cocoa, cinnamon and whipping cream.

Lightly sweet, biscuity malts and coffee up front. More dustings of baker's chocolate and finishes with mild bitterness. Hops flavors are present minimally.

Medium bodied, silky smooth and ultimately refreshing. A solid coffee-infused beer and a stellar brown overall. Only downside is the price, and the way Furthermore Oscura hits the same spot, it's a bit easier on the wallet to throw down for the local Wisco brew... but I would still trade up for this any day.

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this in a trade with skinnyguy, thanks!

Poured into my Sam Adams pint glass. Medium to dark brown with a nice two finger thick fluffy head. Great lacing and good retention during the drinking period.

Aroma of cocoa powder and a hint of roasted coffee beans.

Flavor of dark chocolate, caramel, a bit of roasted malts and watered down coffee (not in a bad way).

Amazingly thick and chewy mouthfeel but the carbonation cut the body a bit. A coffee like aftertaste that really lingers on your palate.

Very good overall and very easy to drink. Excellent flavor and a healthy 5.1% abv means you can have more than one in a night. Looking forward to more of these!

Photo of msjacilynn
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark redish-brown with tan head

S: coffee cocoa and roasted malts

T: exceptional brown ale that yields a coffee and vanilla aftertaste. Biting and crisp roasted malts.

M: perfect carbonation. Medium body.

D: drinks well for a coffee ale. I tend to find my taste buds burnt after one, but I could easily have 2 of these guys!

Photo of theghost3
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a mug.

Appearance is dark brown, almost black with some ruby highlights. Head is thick, frothy & cafe au lait in color; much like iced capuccino. Minimal lacing.

The scent is strong of quality roasted coffee with some toasty/caramel malts. Taste is roasted black coffee & bitter, toasty malts with a hint of nuts. Mouthfeel is thick & smooth.

This is an incredibly drinkable beer. Although, I'm not sure if it should be considered a true American Brown. It really seems more like coffee with alcohol than beer but still delicious.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in an imperial pint glass...

Wow. This is the BEST brown ale I've ever had. The coffee makes this awesome.

This beer really drinks like iced coffee! The coffee is the biggest part of the nose and flavor-- some dry malts and burnt sugar/toffee underneath. The bitterness on the finish is well balanced and fantastic.

The full body holds good carbonation. It's a deep red, rosewood color with a tan head of 2 fingers. Some small lace rings are left behind. The looks aren't bad-- but the look isn't what's going to keep me coming back to this, the flavor and aroma will!

This is a fantastic beer for 10:30 am on a Sunday! I want more! If you like brown ales or coffee-- or both-- you must try this beer!

Photo of Deuane
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Todd and the folks at Surly for hooking Sierrags and I up with this beauty!

A-Deep, dark, clear brown with a thin light tan head that reduces to no lacing.

S-Absolutely a cup of fresh roasted cold coffee. Man, this is really nice.

T-Sweet joy at the onset and then a rush of coffee bitterness on the swallow. Man, this is fantastically balanced! Like a cup o' joe with sweet cream.

M-Medium body with full flavour. So nice and easy to drink.

D-This is a wonderful coffee beer. A "light" bodied brew wtih gobs of coffee...I love it!

Photo of rye726
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with a silky tan head. Excellent lacing. Nose has coffee, chocolate, roasted nuts, and bready malts. Taste has more rosted malts and sweet coffee beans up front followed by cocao, molasses, a hint of hops and earthy cocoa with bitter espresso through the finish. Nice creamy body is well carbonated. Good to see another quality beer in a can.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brown pour with some reddish tint. Nice tan head sits atop, and deposits streaks of lacing on the glass.

Huge coffee nose and flavor. I don't even like coffee, and I love this beer. Loads and loads of fresh coffee, but that doesn't overwhelm the brown ale underneath. Lots of sweet caramel and toffee, with some bittering hops in the finish.

Medium-full body. Plush carbonation. This beer, like everything else I've tried from Surly thus far, is an absolute joy to drink.

Photo of digitalketchup
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance - 3 toothpicks of head vanished into a thin brim inside the glass. Thick and brown throughout. Little lacing.

Smell - Similar to what the inside of a Starbucks smells like. Rich coffee smells

Taste - I can taste the darker ale underneath the coffee notes. Very refreshing and inviting brew. It's not as bitter as I expected. It's sugary sweet, rich, and down-to-earth!

Mouthfeel - Thin carbonation and a little less "meaty" than I was hoping for.

Drinkability - Keep em coming! This is a delicious, delicious brew and I am pleased to have picked up a 4-pack!

Photo of HopHobo
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoy several pints of this brew on tap at the Hopleaf in Chitown over the weekend.

A-It was dark so the beer appeared to pour very dark for a brown ale. Decent one finger head that diminishes very quickly to leave lacing on the sides of the glass and a thin layer of froth on top of the beer.

S-The immediate smell that dominates this brew is roasted coffee. Some underlying sweet smells along with smells of nuttiness that can be detected in the base bender beer as well. Overall, one of the best smelling coffee beers that has ever graced my nose.

T-Oh mama, thank god someone bought me a different beer because I could have drank this one all night long. Great coffee flavor without being too abrasive. The sweetness of the brown ale really blends together well with the roasted coffee flavor to make this a very tastey brew.

M-Mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation, very distinguishable as a brown ale and not a stout or porter.

D-My only regret with this beer is that I had it after having several other beers, I would love to try this beer as my first of the night...oh and get a growler(hint, hint). Very good beer and as always...I'm impressed with Surly.

Photo of hero27
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled for free on-tap @ the Darkness release.

I love the "original" Bender, but the flavor of this brew is truly unique...the coffee flavors are just so fresh & rich that it's hard to imagine our beloved brown ale in there somewhere. Now that being said, this conceptual "java brown" is just fine on it's own.
Heavy roasted coffee aroma.. Rich malts...and flavors of bitter chocolate, nuts, and the spectacular fresh coffee taste. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel helps all the flavors blend together perfectly. Alcohol goes undetected.
A superb coffee beer in all aspects. Really glad I got the chance to try this one. I find myself anxiously awaiting them to can/bottle this...

Photo of alphagnome
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, borderline black body allows little light to penetrate. Pours with a half inch thick head that fades to a thin ring within minutes of pouring. Carbonation is noticable, if only just, and fine sediment can be seen navigating the dark liquid.

As good as a coffee bee can get! The aroma is jam packed with freshly brewed coffee. There are light notes of chocolate and the faintest hint of pecan - but none of that matters, because coffee.

Much like the aroma, this one is loaded with coffee. It's not as in your face as the aroma would lead one to believe, but it's still surprising. Right away, roasted, bold coffee hits you with just the right amount of bitterness. Nutty notes on the tail-end and trace vanilla. A tinge of sweetness attempts to breakthrough, providing a bit of balance.

Medium body. Vague carbonation. Refreshing and easy to drink with a clean finish. Notthe smoothest beer in this catagory, but it's a small complaint (Note to Surly.... PLEASE offer this on nitrous!).

An incredibly satisfying coffee infused beer. This is without a doubt one of my favorite beers, the fact that I am willing to drive 3 hours to get it should tell you something. If you're able to get your hands on this, there is no reason you shouldn't!

Photo of VincentFrey
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour / Appearance: Fantastic, tan and mocha head. Head is pretty retentive, with a good bit of lacing. Black as pitch everywhere but the edges of the glass, where a faint hint of ruby brown appears. Super opaque and reflective. Very beautiful brown ale, although it doesn't necessarily fit the BJCP category for any brown ale. That said, screw it. It looks damn good.

Aroma: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Like smelling a cold pot of coffee, with all the bitterness and aroma therein. While coffee's in the name, it doesn't smell at all like a beer. I mean maybe some of the bitterness is earthy hops, but it really smells more like coffee grounds. So points off for not smelling like beer; points on for smelling what it wants to smell like.

Taste: Oh god this is refreshing. The can actually says it's a bit like an iced coffee, and that fits it to a tee even at room temp. A bit more hops come through as it warms up, which is refreshing in a way. A dark malt background adds hints of chocolate and a little bit of toffee.

Overall: This is a beer for people who like coffee. It is a FANTASTIC beer for people who like coffee. It's a brown ale at the end and a specialty beer from the start. Very good.

Bottom Line: Buy if you like coffee, Surly, or experimental beers. Taste or buy a single if you're unsure of any of those things or are just getting into brown ales. Don't buy if you have any problem with coffee.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy coffee drk brn/black body,
finger off white head, great lacing

S: big fresh roasted coffee nose, nutty,

T: same as nose, firm smooth nutty malt
mild pine bitter finish

M: med/light body, smooth
with hint of oily mouth

O: Such a delight to finally explore.
Thrilled that I have 3 more cans in the frig.
Balanced and fun, coffee fans may explore this.


Photo of doughanson78
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into a snifter. Big thanks to storminspank for this one.

A: Dark brown, ruby red when light comes through. One finger big bubble, light mocha head with alright retention and great lacing.

S: Aroma is light but good. Coffee mainly with hints of chocolate and toasted malts. Light oatmeal notes.

T: Roasted coffee and chocolate. Toasted toffee and some light caramel. Aftertaste of coffee lingers forever.

M: Medium body. High carbonation. Crisp yet slightly creamy. Best mouthfeel in a brown yet.

O: Although lacking in aroma this might be the best brown ale I've had. Very flavorful.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this at an awesome tasting last night. thanks tom!

pours out nearly black, dark brown color, decent looking biege head.

blown away by the aroma! tons of coffee, like smelling a handful of expresso coffee beans. the aromas of the regular bender (sampled minutes before) are lost behind all the coffee.

again lots of high quality coffee, the regular bender base is more noticable. some light roasted malt and bits of cocoa. creamy, smooth mouthfeel, medium bodied.

overall: as a lover of coffee beers, this is definatly at the top of my list. one of the more memorable beers of the night, which included almost the whole surly lineup, including darkness, four, and smoke.

Photo of PeterParker
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My brother traded for a four and generously gave me one. Happy birthday me!

Pours to a nice dark dark brown with a decent sized head. Some scant amounts of lacing.

Smells of rich coffee, fresh coffee grounds, coffee beans, coffee coffee coffee.

Tastes just like it smells. Just like sipping on coffee, only better. Bittersweet coffee would best describe it. Tastes just like a Manhattan Special. Really great.

As smooth as anything.

Overall, this is the most coffee I've ever tasted in a beer. That's a good thing. If you even remotely enjoy coffee, you would love this. I know I did.

Photo of pwoods
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this multiple times over the weekend in Minneapolis. This review is from notes taken at Cafe 28 when Linda gave me a free mug when she found out I came all the way from Cincinnati :D Thanks a lot!

Served in a Surly mug.

Pours a muddy, murky brown, looks almost creamy. A good frothy head forms and holds pretty good for so much froth. Good lacing. Tons of coffee. Maybe a bit of toffee or cocoa in the back but mostly just big time coffee. Taste reminds me of a great iced coffee with an adult twist. Very nice raw flavors deeply roasted coffee with a nice harsh touch. Sweetness balances things out a bit. Body is actually only medium and has a great creaminess. Drinks every good and went great with my brunch.

Photo of cokes
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the "It's never too early to be Surly" "coffee" cup.
Dark mahogany brown with a thick crop of tan lace.
Toasted hazelnut aroma with a backing (or, fore-ing) of medium roast beans. The coffee shows a great deal of nutty, roasty, easrthy complexity. I'm a coffee nut, and I'd love to have it as my daily grind.
Across the tongue, it gives that mildly toasty, roasty, grainines of Bender, with hazelnut nuance. Coffee usurps the usual foward hoppiness, and brings medium roast, oily beans. These linger teasingly into the close. I really like these fucking beans. Mild, complex, earthy, nutty, and a perfect compliment to the beer itself.
The oiliness of the coffee thins the beer a bit vis a vis the original. But for a bean head, this is drinkable from sun up to sun down.
This is one of the best coffee beers I've had, and equal kudos go to Surly and the roaster. The result is a coffee-focused beer that is harmonized with the beans it is juiced with.

Photo of Amalak
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Extremely dark brown with only a hint of light showing through. Nice deep tan foamy head that leaves a good deal of lacing. Bubbles on the bottom.

S. Beautiful toffee scent.

T. Not an overpowering coffee ale. Very nice. Mild coffee taste. Some chocolate kick. A vegetable taste.

M. A burnt aftertaste.

O. Well blended and balanced. Very nicely done.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,276 ratings.