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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

810 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 810
Hads: 2,409
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 657
Gots: 347 | FT: 25
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 (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 810 | Hads: 2,409
Photo of NickSMpls
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice complement to Surly Bender, it's a shade darker and richer. Light carbonation and dry taste, light on the tongue. Iced coffee taste, with a nice malt body. It's a brown ale first and foremost and, personally, I'm pleased Surly takes such care to brew a fine example.

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Photo of LeRose
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Consumed mostly from the 16 oz can except for a bit poured into the hotel room plastic cup to take a look...

Looks - limited commentary, but basically a dark, translucent brown like weak coffee. Can't comment on head - did not pour enough.

Aroma - the aroma is fantastic. Smells like freshly made iced coffee and very good coffee at that. Some toasted malt was in the background.

Taste - the coffee if front and center, but well-supported by the malt and slight sweetness. Slightly bitter, no burnt notes whatsoever. I think the coffee overwhelms the base beer quite substantially, but in this case I don't mind - the coffee flavor is very pure, finishing with a touch of chocolate notes and a slight vanilla-like sweetness. The base beer is still present, just playing third fiddle, maybe.

Feel - medium carbonation, lightly drying astringency. Texture very like iced coffee, actually. Slight bitter feel at the end, but not excessive.

Overall - well, I guess it is technically a brown ale flavored with coffee. So does it fit the "American Brown Ale" style - I can't pick out the base beer well enough. It is there but hardly prominent. There is enough of the beer characteristic hiding to detect - but I wonder if given this and the actual coffee used (both blind) in carbonated water, would I be able to tell? I'm not entirely certain. I liked it and would drink it again, but have probably scored heavily on the fact that I really enjoyed the flavor and aroma of the coffee moreso than the beer.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taken from my craft beer expo notebook in 2014.

Look : 2 finger head, 80% opacity, dark brown chocolate color.

Smell : Strong bouquet with graham, coffee, mocha bean, chocolate, and faint mild hop.

Taste : Malty profile with coffee grounds out front, followed by coffee bean, earth, and a general darkness. Lots of coffee as the name implies.

Feel : Medium bodied with a creamy profile and roast character from the coffee.

Overall : I'd drink this again. Very coffee-like, roasted grounds and deep earth. Impressive beer.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste: smooth coffee cocoa, toffee, toasted dry malts.
Dark brown and mostly clear.
creamy coffee sweet aroma.
medium body, refined head, some lace.
45 IBUs

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Photo of MUTINY
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can into a smallish tasting tulip.

A: Pours a nearly-opaque mahogany with slightly reddish hues around the edges. 3/4" tan head recedes at a moderate pace. Retention & lacing are both quite good.

S: Coffee, milk chocolate & an indiscernible nutty quality. Traces of brown sugar. Faint plum.

T: Comes on with more milk chocolate that quickly becomes more of a coffee with cream character that ultimately defines the mid palate. The finish is just off-bitter with an almost overripe raspberry quality.

M: Moderate-to-high carb married to a surprisingly light, dry body.

O: I like this brew, it maintains a certain simplicity throughout. Overall quite good!

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - Looks more like a cola than a beer! Head and all. Head settles into decent lacing.
Smell - Nice sweet coffee smell. Some roasted grain and coffee beans.
Taste - Like an iced coffee. Sweetness, coffee bitterness. No cream tho. You can tell this is a brown ale.
Feel - Creamy with a clean finish.
Overall - Everything I love about the brown ale style plus coffee! What's not to love? Surly rocked this!

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Photo of B15C
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: pours clear brown with ruby tints and a light tan head, fine bubbles

Aroma: Initial fresh clean coffee, with hints of nut and coco transitioning to malt/bread

Taste: quick coffee flavor lifted off the palate into a nutty, sweet malt flavor fading to a slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: light to medium light body, slightly thin and slick

Overall: Very interesting, very good coffee beer. Was happy to find a good brown ale well complimented by a prominent coffee flavor.

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Photo of Alequine
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

To the person that rated this beer a 1.22 you should be ashamed of yourself. If you had this beer and found it that distasteful you may have wanted to withhold your rating and go back and try it again. This beer is just very well made. Surly Brewing has perfected this style. Initially the indication of coffee in the can leads you to think Imperial Stout. I had to be reminded by a friend that it is an Imperial Brown Ale and my first that I can remember having. The coffee begins emanating from the can when you open it. This is amazing. It pours a medium colored brown and looks lighter in the glass than a Porter. Low tan head after the pour with the coffee emanating from the can, the glass, your mouth whatever - just damn tasty and light drinking. Medium malty sweet which is balanced by the bitterness from the coffee. Light mouth feel, very light but you have to keep in mind the style and category of this beer. Dry on the finish leaving you wanting more. Surly has just perfected this style. I would love to have more of this.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark amber brown color with no vision of anything. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank too.

Smell: Roasted coffee, earthy, caramel, toffee, toasted, and bready malts

Taste: Same ad above. Nice mellow flavor and balance of flavors. Easy to drink and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, nice coffee flavor, a little watery, medium carbonation, and light bitterness.


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Photo of svenness
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Canned 08/03/15

L: Reddish-dark brown, clear, thick/creamy head
S: Stale coffee, roasted barley, nutty, soap, faint hops aroma
T: Burnt coffee, roast, mild alcohol, low sweetness
F: Dry, medium-light body, moderate palate carbonation, bitterness and coffee aftertaste lingers
O: It's a coffee forward beer for sure; the coffee is the predominant flavor.

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Photo of drpimento
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hm, nice coffee ale with some brown characteristics. Fresh coffee, some caramel, toffee, cocoa in the aroma. Flavor's similar to nose, fairly dry, good balance between tang, bitter, and the other qualities. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice chocolate color. Deep aroma of coffee. Has a very nice coffee flavor but is well balanced. Drinks almost like an iced coffee. Very enjoyable

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Photo of CoryJones
1.22/5  rDev -70.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Coffee bender such as this one is supposed to have a lot of body and great flavor to it. in addition, I was expected something that resembled coffee. This can had no flavor, bland, and for being touted as a great microbrewery, I was left very disappointed.

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Photo of AllDayIPA23
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a trade recently. Can was a few months old. Poured into a mug.

Strong black-coffee color, with strong carbonation appearance.
A very potent coffee scent with the nutty brown ale behind. Smells great!
Taste like carbonated coffee that was well made
Medium-high carbonation with a light-medium mouthfeel

Even with this being a few months old, I really enjoyed it. If you are a coffee fan, I can't imagine anyone not liking this beer. Would buy more!!

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Photo of kbwalters
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a Libbey stout glass. Bottled on 5/5/15, so about 3 months ago.
Look = 4.5 Pours a brown with redish tint into a deep brown with red highlights in the glass and 2 fingers of medium brown head that fades quickly to a cap; pretty good lace composed of bigger bubbles.
Aroma = 4.25 Coffee hits you as soon as you pop the top; coffee and roasted coffee beans dominate the aroma. It’s pretty strong and pleasant but overall one dimensional. I can’t find any brown ale behind it after trying several times.
Taste = 3.75 More big coffee in the flavor too but again it’s about all I get. Roasted coffee beans, maybe a little sweetness from the malts but you can’t pick out other flavors. Lingering coffee bitterness (mild) in the finish too.
Feel = 3.5 Light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation; comes off a little thin to me.
Drinkability = 4.0 Pretty easy drinking coffee bomb.
Overall = 3.975 Coffee bomb for sure, maybe as much as any beer I’ve had. Not much brown ale comes through though, so it’s a little one dimensional for me.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Out of a can into my tulip. Trade from my man Kevinpitts.

A – Root beer colored pour with about a half inch of light tan head that settled quickly.
S – Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, vanilla. Very nice aroma.
T – Strong coffee punch to start with a touch of bitterness to follow. Malts mix in with a bit of sweet and roastiness. Flavorful chocolate and vanilla finishes it off. Nice brown all around.
M – Medium carbonation but it feels lively. Bit creamy. Touch thin.
O – I waited awhile to try this one and I am thankful I got a chance. I love coffee and brown ales so this is right up my alley. I would love this flavor combo in a stout. One can hope. Thanks again to Kevin!

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Photo of ELS
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I was expecting more from this beer. I thought the beer had nice color with a half inch of foam that slowly dissipates. The smell was pretty good with the obvious coffee aroma. However, the taste was bitter, dare I say second rate coffee that isn't well integrated into the beer. The base malt backbone does little to save the taste with a weak, underwhelming flavor. The beer did get slightly better as it warmed. I'm glad I tried it but I've had many much better coffee brown ales and porters brewed here in Florida. No reason to seek it out in the future.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 16 oz. can into a large mug. L: Brilliant black under a 3” cream colored foam cap. S: Roast malt, coffee and chocolate. T: Has a big initial iced coffee taste with some eventual balancing by malt, caramel, and chocolate flavors. F: Creamy, medium body and carbonation. O: My wife, a black coffee drinker who hates stouts, likes this a lot.

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Photo of dcotom
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16-ounce can into (what else?) a coffee mug. Appearance is a light cola color, like Pepsi after the ice has melted. Nice white foam head that leaves some lacing as it dissipates. Aroma and taste are both intensely coffee-forward, "aromatic as a bag of whole beans" as it advertises on the can. Was expecting a little more to the flavor profile, which was overwhelmed by the strong and bitter flavor of coffee beans. Mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall, a solid 4 out of 5.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a amber brown with dark red highlights. 1 finger khaki colored head. Head lingers before dissipating down to a thin layer of foam. Decent amount of fine lacing left behind.

Aroma is intense coffee to start. Toffee, toasted malt, and sweetened cream. More coffee on the back end.

Taste is more coffee, big and intense. Mix of dark roasted coffee beans with lighter sweetened coffee. Roasted malt, hints of chocolate, and caramel.

Moderate to medium body with fairly heavy carbonation. Some acridness which lingers.

Very nice coffee forward beer. Not particularly complex due to the intensity of the coffee. Could use a bit more heft in the body.

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Photo of BayouMafia
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a pint can into a tulip glass at The Carriage House in Chicago. Poured a nice creamy head. Smells beautiful, like dark coffee. Strong coffee flavor (duh) on the tongue as well as aftertaste. Really liked this one

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Photo of TheSSG
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a frothy, tan head. Insanely intense, rich coffee aroma. Deep, deep burnt umber. Starts acidic, bright, and toasted. Coffee! Coffee, coffee, and more coffee!

This is good, but it's just boozed up coffee with a nice mouthfeel. If you like coffee, this is great. But, it's a bit expensive for just drinking boozey coffee. I feel weird rating this so highly, because it's really just coffee....

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Photo of Bone53
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to the Brew Review Crew for the trade!

Appearance: Brown pour with a ruby hue when put up to the light, and a one finger light beige head

Smell: Black medium roasted coffee, hazelnut, cream

Taste: Medium roasted coffee, brown malt flavors, hazelnut

Mouthfeel: i know this is only 5% abv but my God is the body light; too light. Goes down like bitter water.

Overall: The smell is by far the best aspect of this beer. Unfortunately the taste doesnt match it, and the mouthfeel is as watery as a lager. I look foward to trying more Surly beers, but i find this highly overrated and wouldnt seek it out again.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Surly Coffee Bender

Poured from 16oz can into a mug. I served this well chilled. A nice dark brown brew, with a thin khaki head. Decent retention and some lacing. The aroma is coffee. I would like to expand on that a bit, but it's mostly coffee. Quite pleasant really... The flavor provides quite a bit of fresh ground coffee bitterness as well. This is medium bodied and easy drinking. Has a nice finish and aftertaste. If you're looking for a brown ale infused with coffee goodness, look no further.

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Photo of thanksforcoming
2.51/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

The nose is coffee. The taste is coffee and a stout. I think they accomplished infusing the coffee with beer. Folgers is what I smell and taste. I really liked Blakkr. Look forward to tasting more from Surly but this brew was a bust.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 810 ratings.