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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

1,913 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,913
Reviews: 762
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 602
Gots: 213 | 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: 1,913 | Reviews: 762 | Display Reviews Only:
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 drabmuh
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from the can into a standard pint glass. Beer is dark, nearly black, brown at the corners. Forms a thin off white head that breaks in the center, carbonation mild, some lacing. Darker than I expected but it is coffee, definitely darker than Bender.

Aroma is dominated by caramel and coffee. Its a really nice smelling beer.

Coffee is the dominant flavor here. Overall smooth and medium bodied beer. A lot of sweetness in this beer, kind of tastes like a coffee beer. Interesting, second taste. There is a slight roasty aftertaste with this beer. Mouthfeel is good, the sweetness and coffee add a lot to the connectivity of this beer and normally i'm not a big coffee beer guy but this was great. Drinkability high.

drabmuh, Dec 11, 2009
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
Photo of jlindros
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this while watching Futurama, specifically the episode where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee, how relevant. Thanks to both grub and KeefB for this shiny metal ass-can. I've been told by quite a few people to try this, so here it goes.

A: Pours nice large 1 finger head that bubbles around for a bit but fades to a light head covering. A nice roasted brown color with brilliant clarity. An interesting red hue appears as light sneaks through.

N: Some coffee on the nose, but a butt load of roasted malts. THis is a lot more beer than coffee, and opposite of some other coffee beers I've had. I also get a slight aromatic hop aroma and spiciness.

T: Taste starts with a crisp beer like taste, and lots of roasted malts. A huge frothy carbonation builds up in the mouth too. A nice bitterness and American hop flavor add a nice touch to it. It has a very slight fruity malt quality like a raisin almost, but very slight. The bitter hop goodness and roasted malt taste really blend well, and the coffee is still surprisingly light taste. A slight sweet brown sugar like taste can also be hinted at.

M: Very frothy and carbonated, a nice spicey hop taste, and some thick mouth feel.

F: Finishes pretty bitter, and nice. It dries off, but not too much. A nice roasted charred quality taste really show through towards the end. The finish is not too long and pretty crisp and clean, and leaves your mouth ready for more, which is good cause I want to keep drinking it.

Final thoughts: Yes, this is much more beer than coffee, unlike most of the other coffee beers. And it's blended really well with the roasted malts, coffee, and good hop bitterness. The finish is pretty bitter and tastes great. Can't wait to have another sip.

jlindros, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of Rifugium
2.71/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had a can of this alongside the base beer.

Good appearance, much like the regular Bender, deep dark brown, but still clear when held to the light; a medium-sized off-white head held for a few minutes and sank to a ringlet, leaving a few dabs of lacing on the glass. Nose full of coffee, with lesser notes of caramel malts. Taste was pure, straight-up bitter black coffee and nothing else. Just blew me away and made me cringe. There's a good way of using coffee in a beer, but for me, this isn't it. I pretty much hate coffee, unless it's in beer, then I actually like it a lot. But when I do have a coffee beer, I want a coffee beer, not a cold can of pure coffee. This was bitter, acrid, one-dimensional, and lacking any sense of balance. I literally could not drink this. But if you love cold, bitter coffee, get as much of this as you can.

Rifugium, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of oline73
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat murky very dark brown color with little light coming through. There is a one finger tan head that dissipates but leaves some lacing.

Smell: The first thing you notice is definitely the coffee, but it doesn't completely overpower everything else. I'm also picking up some malt sweetness. There is a nutty quality in there as well. Quite nice.

Taste: Coffee brown ales are some of my favorites, and this ranks up there with any that I've ever had. As in the taste, the coffee is the main thing going on here, but it leaves room for the other flavors to come out. There is also a nutty caramel malt flavor that is really nice. The finish is mildly bitter and roasty. Awesome!

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a bit dry.

Overall: Again, I'm a sucker for this style. I love the balance of this beer and I really hope that I'm able to get some more in the future.

oline73, May 20, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to exiled for sharing this can.

Pours dark brown with a tan head. The aroma is straight coffee with nothing else coming through. The flavor is coffee with some roasted malts. There is a nice bitterness at the end, either from the coffee or from hops. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. One of the best, most interesting brown ales I have tried.

Mora2000, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

mendvicdog, Jul 20, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a pint glass.

a - A very dark brown color with about an inch of foam and and moderate carbonation. Looks similar to Bender, but not as much head.

s - Obviously a heavy coffee smell, with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. It really smells like smelling a bag of coffee beans.

t - Again, tastes strongly of coffee, as well as roasted malts. Also had a little bit of toffee/cream taste to it.

m - Light body but very carbonated. Smooth and creamy feel to it.

d - The can really doesn't like about this one; it really tastes just like an iced coffee. I liked the creamy coffee taste it gave off and the smell is one of straight coffee. Definitely look forward to getting more of this stuff.

mdfb79, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech for this one!

16 oz. can:

Pours dark brown with rubyish highlights. A thin light brown head leaves lacing.

The smell is of roasted coffee beans.

The taste is of iced coffee - roasty. After a little while, a caramel/toffee brown ale undertone comes through to back up the roasted iced coffee, improving it. It has a roasty finish.

Medium-to-full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth.

Roasted iced coffee and Bender mix. Balance leans towards the coffee. Becomes more balanced as it progresses. I'm thinking that this could have replaced one of my weekend morning coffees. Certainly one for coffee (and of course beer)lovers to try!

jwc215, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of KeefD who threw this in as an extra in a great trade. Thanks!

Dark brown with red highlights. Nice tan, two finger head with an aggressive pour. Slight Brussel's lace forms with each sip.

Smell is definitely rich, Sumatra coffee. Nutty, earthy with a slight acridness associated with moderately roasted fresh ground coffee.

Taste is full blown, French pressed iced coffee. Nicely done! Dark malts provide a slight sweetness - as if this coffee had one tablespoon of liquid sugar added to it. Bitterness comes from the roast as I have real trouble discerning the 45 IBUs. Okay, maybe I get a touch of green hops in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very nice at this ABV. Creamy - as a good iced coffee should be. A nice silkiness is also present.

Drinkability is great! I could see getting pulled in two different directions with this one after one too many.

Overall, a very nice beer from Surly!

Rochefort10nh, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -3.8%

XmnwildX12, Dec 13, 2013
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,913 ratings.