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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

1,917 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,917
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 601
Gots: 214 | 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: 1,917 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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 Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Texasfan549, Dec 15, 2011
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 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 GRG1313
4/5  rDev -3.8%

GRG1313, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +20.2%

spycow, Dec 12, 2011
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 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 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 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
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -3.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

SocalKicks, Sep 27, 2013
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is all roasted coffee beans and dark malts and exactly what you look for in a coffee-flavored beer.

T: The taste likewise is loaded with a strong flavor of black coffee. There's a hearty malt character and just a mild enough sweetness to keep the beer from being too bitter. The hops presence is very mild but is exactly where it should be for this kind of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of the coffee-flavored beer segment, this is an excellent darker but milder beer that is worth drinking for an entire evening.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

RblWthACoz, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be my favorite out of the Surly beers maybe even my favorite coffee beer. Pours with a billowing tan khaki head and forms fine even lacing down the sides of the glass. Their infusion process really makes the beer, body is a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. Aroma has dark nutty notes of coffee, with hints of cream and sugar, really it's like the best iced coffee you've ever had with a strong earthy coffee nose. Flavor is excellent the most intense and flavorful coffee beer I've ever tasted, this beer tastes great. Creamed coffee, chocolate, dense creamy vanilla highlights within a dark brown ale just tastes great. Mouthfeel is creamy textured and I'm burping up coffee beans this is an intense beer experience. Mouthfeel is slightly acidic with coffee bean notes, and goes down easy loving every second of it. Drinkability is creamy texture is awesome and the beer that I've dreamt of when it comes to coffee beers thanks again Ryan aka Schlais, if you need anymore White Rajah let me know!

WVbeergeek, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear amber with several foamy fingers of light mocha colored foam. Sturdy 1/2 finger of creamy retention leaves some massive sticky lacing back. Good look here. The aroma is roasted coffee and sugary sweet smelling malts, with a touch of astringency and floral hops in the back. Solid balance between the java and sweeter notes here in the nose.

The taste is a nice silky blend of coffee character and some sweet malt notes of toasted caramel. Nice evenness between the bitterness of the coffee and the more sweeter character of the Brown Ale. This definitely finishes more on the sweetened side, with the malts lingering on the lips for a bit. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied with a nice mellow creaminess to the proceedings which makes for some very easy drinking.

The mocha notes in this seemed a limited more muted than when I had previously had this from a growler, allowing more of the Brown Ale qualaties to come out. Never the less, this is still a great coffee fix, complete with an awesome feel and super easy drinkibility. Glad this one is in cans now.

Kegatron, May 21, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me start out by apologizing to Justin??? he traded me this & some mama masala & failed to record his user name. No on this review based on notes

Pours chestnut/mahogany with 2 fingers of tan head. Super lacing & average head retention

S: Big time java

T: Folgers with a touch a milk up front, Dryness & roasty coffee comes through as this warms, along with a touch of cream. Finishes dry, roasty & with much java power!

MF: Medium bodied with nice creamyness

Drinks pretty easy for all the flavor this is throwing out. Not a huge coffee beer fan, but I love this & believe this is the bench mark for Coffee brews. Another winner from Surly!

russpowell, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sheffield's. Served in a pint glass.

A - One and a half fingers of tannish foam with great retention and solid lacing. Color is kind of unattractive - a murky, uneven, dirt brown. Not as handsome as regular Bender, that's for sure.

S - Roast coffee, but not bitter at all. Think coffee with too much cream & sugar in it. Chocolate, vanilla, biscuity malt sweetness - all the regular Bender smells are in there too, but further in the background. It's Bender, but with nice coffee - what more do ya want?

T - Roasty coffee, some floral hops, chocolate, malt, biscuit. The taste has a fair bit more roasty bitterness than the smell.

M - Some similar complaints to regular Bender - kind of thin and watery. Nice carbonation - just a little tingle on the upper lip. Otherwise creamy & velvety.

D - Less drinkable than Bender, as the coffee is a bit fatiguing, but the lower ABV and carbonation are definitely positives.

I don't like this quite as much as regular Bender, as the coffee masks the hoppiness that I really like and gets a bit tiring after a pint or two. It's still a nice, lighter, coffee brew.

MasterSki, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surly Bender infused with coffee, ...what bean, what blend, what process? Golly, I don't know, but it's great.(an edit to cover my ignorance, info from the brewer: Beans are from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation located in Agua Dulce area in Huehuetenango,Guatemala.
Grown by the Martinez family.
Full City roast by Coffee &Tea Ltd.,Linden Hills,Minneapolis. Cold-steeped.)

Solid ebon color, browish at bottom, with a beautifully hued head, a deep cocoa tan looking for all the world like a shot of espresso, with a generous dollop of froth.

Aroma's where it's at, wide open and long-lastin, rich with coffee, with a hint of cream.
Herbal, nutty, chocolatey, brimming with coffee essence. A treat to drink in with the nose.

But now let's let the lips and tongue go to work. More delights. The coffee has overpowered the subtler parts of Bender's character, but there's no sorrow in this, as the coffee flavor that controls it now is an exceptional playmate for the palate. Really sticks to the tongue and lays long in the finish.

Medium to full body, long, coffee-tinged finish, unflinchingly flavorful, and still an easy treat to drink down. This has met with near unanimous praise among those I've witness enjoy it, and I can only hope it's attempted again and again, so that more may discover this jolt of joy for java freaks, and beer geeks alike.

feloniousmonk, May 28, 2006
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

what i love about coffee bender is its drinkablity, and intense coffee smells and flavors. its more coffee heavy than any other beer ive ever had, yet it drinks real easy, and could work as an all day beverage. the color is dark brown, but lighter than porter, its got some transparency to it, and has a fading inch of off white head. the nose is all coffee, earthy and bitter, even a little fruity like blueberries, but there is very little acidity. there is also some brown ale style chocolate malt, but the coffee dominates. same in the flavor, its all coffee start to finish. just enough beer here to give some backbone, but this is almost indistinguishable from a cup of coffee, at least in beer terms. the cold pressing really helps the feel stay light and refreshing, and the caffeine is detectable. clean though, not long bitter in the finish, just sharp enough. carbonated well, medium body seems lighter. a four pack of these would be a nice dose i think, a good beer to start a big night with as well. i have loved everything from surly, and i love this too!

StonedTrippin, Jan 07, 2014
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,917 ratings.