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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,936 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,936
Reviews: 765
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 604
Gots: 217 | FT: 12
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: 1,936 | Reviews: 765 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Barley John's. The aroma is coffee-ih. Good looks, black with lots of white head. Better tasting than Town Hall's coffee stout, average mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Just too coffee, what is it about these local coffee beers?I just couldn't take more than a couple sips. Overated.

Sammy, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque dark reddish-brown color with a 1 inch khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Smells of dark malts and coffee grounds fresh from a machine. Taste is of carbonated black coffee and maybe some dark malt. Extremely coffee forward with a lingering bitterness on the palate. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the coffee overpowers any other smells or tastes that may be present in this beer.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.8%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with some reddish hue; tan head and good lacing.

S: Brown malts overshadowed by plenty of coffee notes.

T: Lots of coffee and a little bit of a hop presence. The coffee provides a little bit of earthiness.

M: Medium bodied and fairly dry.

D: The coffee is a bit overwhelming for too many, but the can my wife and I shared was gone rather quickly.

Thorpe429, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

zestar, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +20.2%

spycow, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz can (3/29/13 can date).

Pours with a tan, airy 1 inch thick head. It doesn't last very long, but laces the glass. It is dark brown, with dark red hues. Think dark cherry wood.

The smell is what you would expect, heavy coffee, but not much more is coming out. However, it doesn't have that pure coffee grinds smell that some coffee beers have.

The taste is smooth. You get coffee up front, a little bitter. A few hints of toffee or maybe some nuts.

Medium body, a bit thin, which is nice since its only around 5%.

Rarely would I reach for a coffee beer in the warm summer heat, but this is oddly refreshing.

nmann08, May 07, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -27.9%

acurtis, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear yet very dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin creamy dark beige head.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of roasted coffee beans in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, strong flavors of roasted coffee beans dominate the overall taste, which has some hints of sweetness in the initial taste and finishes with a slight amount of bitterness with flavors of coffee grinds.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is deceptive in that it has strong aromas and flavors of coffee beans for not that full of a body, but this also makes it very easy to drink and go down very easily. I would have no problem drinking several of these in one sitting, although it would probably to do so in the afternoon or you’ll be up all night with a coffee buzz.

metter98, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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

brentk56, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coffee bean brown that becomes dark cherry with bright orange highlights when held up to my sunlit front window. The golden brown sugar colored head is several finger's worth of wonderfulness. It's loaded with character and is beginning to deposits gobs of moth-eaten lace all over the sides of the glass. Easy call.

I've never been a coffee drinker, but there's something about the smell of the good stuff that appeals to me. Marry that with the best American brown ale on planet Earth and you have sheer olfactory perfection. I haven't even tasted it yet and can already imagine lovers of both coffee and beer going apeshit over this brew.

My biggest fear was that the coffee would completely obliterate what makes Surly Bender so outstanding. The java beans do blur the complexities of the base beer, but then they could hardly do otherwise. Coffee Bender is *almost* as good as the straight stuff... probably better if you're a coffee aficionado.

This just might be the perfect morning libation. All good beer is good at any time of the day or night, but you get the idea. As often happens with coffee-added beer, the initial palate shock fades after a while and the rest of the flavors begin to shine. Those include: brown bread, cocoa, sugared pecans and a handful of leafy hops that brings each mouthful to a snappy close. Wow, that's pretty close to my description of Bender.

The mouthfeel is exceptional for the style and the ABV. It wouldn't be fair to expect any more chewiness from a beer that barely tops 5.0%. As with everything that Todd and Omar release, there's no chink in the armor.

I honestly didn't know that Coffee Bender would be this good. Then again, with Bender as a base beer, it would pretty hard to go wrong no matter what was added (within reason). The original is still the best, but damn!... this is outstanding ale.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Texasfan549, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's kind a hit or miss on whether coffee infused beers help or hurt the base beer... at least for me. I'm hoping that the intesity of the coffee doesn't mess up the medium nature of the base Bender.

If the aroma is any indicaiton, they've hit a home run. Chocolate covered espresso beans hit the nose (not the stale ones from T.J. Max or Marshalls, but the good ones from Starbucks) and combine with a malted milk scent of Whoppers candies... this could be one delicidant beer. Light earthy hops, malty caramels, and mild nuttiness enter the mix but can't compete with those chocolates and espressos.

Getting back to the pour, the beer looks exactly like Bender. A medium viscocity with dark browns, crimson highlights, good clarity, lightly tanned head, very good head formation/retention, and great lacing.

Flavors start with a malty caramel taste, but quickly turn to bitter coffees, over-attenuated maltiness, and moderate grain tastes. Columbian coffees still pick up the nuttiness but promote a dry bitterness that isn't nearly as balanced as the nose suggested. No fruitiness or finess in the malts, the coffee aggression eventually proves to bully the beer too much.

Lacking a balanced sweetness, the beer shows acrid dryness, fully attenuated sweetness, complex bitterness from the hops-coffee oil combo, and a malty-crisp texture. That creamy-dry-woodsy-nutty-powdery thing makes the beer inviting, yet off-putting at the same time.

Coffee Bender is a well controlled and well attenuated beer but I really enjoyed the insenuation of sweetness that I found in the nose and really wished that it could have found its way into the flavor and body.

Thanks jctribe25!

BEERchitect, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to my man up in MN for sending these cans down to me right after the release. I have been hunting this one for a while as I truly appreciate a coffee beer above all others. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

The pour was damn wonderful I have to say. Deep dark brown with some light shining through on the edges and bottom, but mostly opaque. Huge tan head maybe three inches high coming up and over the top and falling down into a full, sticky ring of lace around the sides of the glass.

The aroma was steeped with coffee. Rich brewed, medium coffee with a nice bitterness to it. Some light sweet notes bouncing around in there as well and a very nice roasted quality to it. Smooth, rich flavor, Bitter coffee notes dominated with an amlost tea like flavor in there as well if that makes any sense. Huge vcoffee flavor from beginning to end and the smoothness of it was wonderful. Mellow finish and light abv made it very sessionable and this one went down in no time, offering little challange to me.

This was a great coffee beer. One of my favorites. Lighter then others in feel, but the freshness of the brewed coffee flavor was soo spot on. I am very happy to have a good supply of this one.

mikesgroove, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

kjkinsey, May 15, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -3.8%

GRG1313, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Greg for including this in a recent trade box.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with an initially fluffy tan head.

S: Pretty much what I expected from this one: big time coffee aroma with only some slight undertones of nutty, toasted malts.

T: The flavor profile is pretty much what you would expect from the nose. This is obviously very coffee forward on the flavor with a nice nutty sweetness that you expect from the base brown ale.

M: The mouthfeel is nice, but nothing spectacular. On the light end of medium in terms of body with moderate carbonation.

D: Fantastic coffee beer! This one really just tastes like a cup of coffee, and is just so easy to drink, especially with the lower ABV.

womencantsail, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep brown color, might as well be black. The head was tan and creamy looking. There is a thin scattered lacing on the glass with a pretty good retention. The smell of the beer has a great coffee aroma with a subtle malt sweetness in there too. The taste follows the nose, a very nice coffee flavor from start to finish on this beer with a touch of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth as hell, and has a soft carbonation to it. Overall it's a great beer, no surprise there because it's from Surly. This is a killer brew, well worth trying.

Knapp85, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to GoGriz for this can!

Finally, I get to try one of Surly's regular brews. This one pours a lovely ruby brown topped by a finger or so of light ecru foam. The nose is dominated by a light coffee breeze, while some chocolate, toffee, and maple syrup form a sturdy foundation beneath. The taste is very similar, though the coffee doesn't assert itself as much until the finish. Instead, it shares the spotlight with cocoa and maple syrup, the latter two spiraling into the wings to allow for the coffee's final aria. The body is a staunch medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat fizzily smooth feel. Overall, a very nice beer. I can now understand how this thing has such a strong reputation 'round these parts.

TMoney2591, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've sampled this one several times during local tastings over the past year, but this the first can I've had all to myself. Big thanks to kbutler1 for the four-pack, this is one of many great Surly beers I'll be enjoying thanks to him.

Coffee Bender pours a translucent mahogany color, dark nearly to the point of being opaque but not quite there. A thin tan cap tops the beer, never quite rising to a large height but exhibiting good retention.

The nose displays equal amounts of coffee and toast. The coffee has a freshly-ground quality to it, nearly espresso-like. Malt is reserved but it has a distinct toast character, which only serves to enhance the air of breakfast; it's like a cup of black coffee and a plate of freshly toasted bread.

Toasted malt hits the palate first, with coffee not far behind. The coffee character obliterates a lot of the depth and subtlety that regular Bender has, but the coffee character in itself displays a lot of complexity; it's earthy, roasty, lightly acidic - one of the most rounded and complex coffee profiles I've detected in a beer. The finish has equal amounts of toast, roast, toffee and coffee. It finishes coffee-forward, slightly bitter and decidedly dry with a coffee grounds finish. This is stellar, up to Surly's usual high standards and pretty unique to boot.

largadeer, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Map Room.

Dark auburn tone with a ruby glint where the light gets through. Creamy foam, a few bigger bubbles on the surface. Rings of drippy lacing all around.

Nutty aroma, dry coffee hint, pretty clean, but not super pungent.

Big coffee flavor, high quality, freshly ground. Acidic fruitiness, long lingering bitter/dry finish. Nutty almond flavor, lightly malty. The coffee really dominates, but it's balanced enough to drink quite a bit. Easy going with light carbonation. This is a unique and flavorful coffee beer, not too under/overdone...just right!

emerge077, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, tan, thick, foamy head that head big bubbles. It left sticky sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of fresh coffee beans with notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - It had a bitter coffee bite with dark chocolate flavors. A mild caramel flavor emerges as it warms. There were also subtle fruity flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a fantastic beer with a great coffee taste. I'm glad I got my hands on one.

zeff80, Jan 21, 2010
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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,936 ratings.