1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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

1,921 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,921
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 601
Gots: 216 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,921 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aasher
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a wine glass. I bought the four pack this past weekend in Minneapolis. It pours a hazelnut brown in color, pretty light in body, with a one finger beige head that turns to lacing around the glass. The aroma is of very fresh coffee grounds with light chocolate. The grounds are very pungent and bitter. It's not very complex and is on the verge of being completely one dimensional. It's just so much ground, yet not much actual coffee. The flavor too is in your face coffee grounds with some slight sweet roasted malt and a light bitter finish. It's ok, and easy to drink, but it's just ok. I just wish it had more complexity. It drinks light and you can tell it's built for a can the way it poured and due to how light it is. Overall it's just an ok brown ale without much complexity. I'd say this is the first beer from Surly I'm not overly impressed by.

aasher, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of flexabull
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can courtesy of maximum12, thanks again!

Pours a dark brown color with a huge off white head.

Aromas are very nice, coffee forward, smells like lightly roasted beans, cream, and brewed coffee.

Taste Is creamy, nutty, slightly sweet, with a nice lighter brewed coffee component. Finish is crisp, dry, with mineral hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a touch to thin for my liking though.

Overall, a good coffee beer. I think I prefer the regular bender to this one though.

flexabull, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of bcostner1
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to surlytwinsfan for this one! Poured into a crystal mug.

A: Dark, mahogany brown with deep garnet red undertones. 1 finger tan head. Nice looking brown ale.

S: Coffee...not overwhelmingly so, but just enough to let you know that it is there. I wish it had even a little bit more pungent coffee nose...but still, it smells really good. Also get mild hop aroma as well.

T: Absolutely delicious. Tastes just like an iced coffee with predominantly coffee up front followed by a nice sweetness to the ending balanced well with faint hop undertones and a nice mild creaminess. I love it.

M: For a beer with this strong of a coffee profile, the mouthfeel is outstanding. Not too thick, not too thin. Just right. Very easy to drink (made even more so by the relatively low ABV). I could definitely have a few of these in 1 sitting.

Overall, I do love this beer. It perfectly combines 2 of my favorite styles: brown ales and coffee stouts/coffee ales. Highly recommended...just wish they distributed outside of MN.

bcostner1, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of chicano4craft
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass mug. Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Creamy tan head has some staying power. No real lacing.

Lots of roasted coffee beans in the nose. It seems so good it's hard to notice anything else. Maybe I just don't want to...I love coffee!

Taste is iced coffee. Slightly sweet with a mellow bitter finish. Brown ale base gives way to showcase the coffee beans. Some may say it's one dimensional, but what a dimension.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is right on.

Overall...I love this beer. The fact it's a brown ale lets the coffee shine, unlike some heavy handed coffee stouts. Thanks to LostCook for bringing this back for me. I missed out on trying this when I was in MN. Never again.

chicano4craft, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of nitro0292
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into a glass coffee mug. I couldn't resist despite the fact that this is beer and not actually coffee. Pour produced a solid one finger head with GREAT retention. Looks like black coffee. Some brown and red shows through when held up to the light. Head stays around like crema on a good cafe con leche.

Smells like coffee grinds. This does not smell like the roasty-sweet or roasty-bitter of stouts that "sorta" replicate coffee. THIS SMELLS LIKE ACTUAL COFFEE. Put this in a to-go mug and nobody will know the difference.

This taste like coffee. Not hot (obviously) and not as strong or as bitter as actual coffee, but damn close. This is truly a "coffee" brew. Very dry finish, just the right amount of roasty coffee and bitterness.

Mouthfeel is almost confusing. Its carbonated, so I know its not coffee but it is has low carbonation and is light bodied. This is not quite as thick or as smooth as regular bender but it is absolutely delightful.

This is for folks who like some beer with their coffee. This is like nothing else I have had. A true "coffee" beer. Outstanding and well worth the price and shipping.

nitro0292, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another Surly can from Aaron, thanks man! Poured into a Samuel Smith nonic and paired with Maple Bacon biscuits for breakfast...epic...

A: Pours darkest brown, black and opaque where the beer is thickest and caramel and ruby at the edges. The head doesn't stick around too long or leave much lace.

S: The coffee isn't as prominent as I thought it might be but it's definitely present...nice espresso aromas mixed with caramel, wood, sweetness and nuttiness...some dark fruits as well maybe. Good coffee brown ale smell, subtle and well blended.

T: Coffee is a little more prominent here, especially on the finish. More caramel and roasted malts, nuttiness and woodiness. The beer has a touch of sweetness too, with a good bitter coffee finish.

MF: Moderate body, wet feel, decent carbonation.

O: A good coffee beer that really grew on me. I really like how the good Brown Ale characteristics come through and blend with the coffee. Nothing seems overpowering with this brew.

Scotchboy, Oct 15, 2011
Photo of Tucquan
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-10-14 in Columbia, PA

A - Very dark brown. Only a little light gets through around the edge of the glass. There's a 1-finger tan head that fades quickly.

S - The smell reminds me of a Starbucks Americano (expresso) with a light shot of caramel. It's not an overpowering smell, but quite nice.

T - Tastes like really good coffee and a pale ale poured into the same glass. There's some mild sweetness and some tasty hop oils. It dries nicely and leaves a real light and pleasant aftertaste.

M - Light body and light-medium carbonation. Refreshing and crisp.

O - I like this and my wife likes it even better. She'd probably give it one higher grade. I've not had a bad Surly beer yet. Good stuff.

Tucquan, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of andrenaline
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the scores from my visit to Minneapolis. Having just read the article in the last issue of BA, I thought this a suitable beer for my 600th review.

A - Pours a dark root beer colour, finger of mocha head with solid retention and no real lacing.

S - Bitter and earthy with dark cocoa, bitter leafy hops, caramel and dark toffee.

T - Much like the scent with the leafy hops coming through amongst the dark cocoa and nutty caramel. I'm detecting a touch of black licorice as well, and the espresso notes shine through on the finish.

M - Perfect carbonation level making this one easily drinkable and incredibly smooth.

O - This is an incredibly drinkable, bold ale that shows great characteristics of the style alongside some nice coffee and espresso notes. Next time I'll be grabbing a 6-er of this stuff.

andrenaline, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of joemcgrath27
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very deep dark brown, thumb of tan head retained solidly at half a finger
S - nutty malt, coffee beans, cocoa, brown sugar
T - strong nutty with some toffee sweetness, cold coffee and bakers chocolate, subtle burnt finish
M - medium to heavy with mild carbonation, a coffee bitter with a full mouth coating finish
O - big coffee flavour lives up to the suggestion on the can, that does take away from the brown ale aspect but that is not an inconvenience here ... unless you're not a coffee fan

joemcgrath27, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of TwinButte
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Todd for the hookup on this one!

A: A beautiful brown brown color with very little head. Darker than I was expecting for a brown ale. Thought I was looking at a chocolate stout!

S: Smells like coffee is being brewed in the room. Reminds me of some kind of a cold coffee drink I might get from a coffee shop.

T: I initially taste the coffee infusion but the more I drink it, it hides itself in the dark back seat of the room. Very nice taste!

M: Feels right for a brown ale. Light carbonation makes it easy to throw back a couple of these at one sitting. Fairly dry.

O: This is the first time trying this beer offering from Surly and I would have to say that it did not disappoint. I was expecting the coffee to overpower any brown ale beer taste but it merely enhanced a style that I already really love. I would definitely drink this one again.

TwinButte, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of BeerNutz324
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint can into a oversized wine glass

Ap- dark cloudy brownish/black with minimal head.

Ar- All I can really smell is coffee and maybe a little oats.

T- very smooth coffee flavor, refreshing. A little sweet too.

M- lighter on the tongue than I expected. Good carbonation.

O- An enjoyable beer. My brother and I split a 4 pack on the night I reviewed this. I little spendy in my eyes for a 4 pack (equivalent in oz. to a 5 pack) but good nonetheless.

BeerNutz324, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of Retail1LO
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Who's your fuckin' daddy? This shit is SO good. Seriously though.... Poured from a can into a pint glass. Pours a rich, dark brown with a nice cappuccino like head. The nose is straight black coffee. It's such a lovely scent. The taste is just...outstanding. Very coffee forward flavor with a slight hint of cherry. This is so slick. I love this. The mouthfeel is a bit thing and acidic. The coffee and slight bit of cherry lingers throughout the finish. Overall, this is a marvelous beer. I wish I had regular access to this. Good shit.

Retail1LO, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of cwguy5
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - deep clear brown with some dark amber highlights; one finger tan head settled down to a nice frothy cap; light lacing that seemed to slide down glass
S - rich, dark coffee starts to come through then milk chocolate and caramel
T - coffee is present throughout but it is understated and just part of the profile; some malt and bread toward the end with a mildly sweet chocolate and caramel finish
M - very lightly carbonated; thin bodied; no bite or drying finish
D - while this one left a bit to be desired in the mouthfeel and taste department it is very drinkable overall - thin body and light carbonation make it go down easy with a nice light, coffee/candy bar flavor; what's not to like right?

cwguy5, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of inlimbo77
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a Stone Pint glass. DOB: 8/11? At any rate, it's fairly fresh.

A: Pours a deep amber brown color. Red hues for sure. Half finger tan head. Goes away quickly.

S: Smells like dark roast coffee beans. There are some toasted malts in there for sure. Coffee lovers dream.

T: It's a delicious brown ale with coffee. Your tongue gets assaulted with coffee bitterness right up front, which is very nice. Then in the mid-tongue you get the malts to mellow out the bitterness. Roasted character, no chocolate if a little. And coffee on the close.

M: Medium bodied beer. Lighter side. Some mouth coat. Very drinkable.

O: another win for the Surly boys. I really really like it. A- to A beer.

inlimbo77, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of Humulus85
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beautiful, fall Sunday will be started with this Coffee Bender; life is good.

Poured from the 16oz Surly can into my trusty nonic. It produced a dense, dark-cream, two-finger head. Moderate retention, but left behind some super-sticky lacing. Looks like coffee with a big, frothy head; deep, dark brown with some reddish tones when held to light. Very nice looking beer.

The first thing you notice is the coffee. You can smell some supporting malt, but the nose is mainly coffee. It is intriguing for sure.

Like the smell, roasted coffee upfront, with some nice, nutty malt and an appropriate hop back to keep everything else in check. While the coffee flavor is present throughout, it is still a very well balanced brew.

This slides down like a good, iced coffee...with abundant carbonation. It's relatively light in the mouth for being so packed with flavor. There is some lingering coffee/bitterness, but that just seems to make me want to drink more.

Overall this is a truly well done and interesting brew. Whether you like the coffee flavor or not is obviously individual. I really liked it and will being drinking this on many a fall/winter Sunday morning. Skol Surly, cheers!

Humulus85, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of quirkzoo
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz can received in trade from ncmussell

Pours a nice dark brown with this tan head which persists. Smell is unmistakeably coffee. It actually smells more like coffee than beer. It was difficult to detect any hoppiness, malt or any other beer characteristic. The taste is a bit more balanced than the nose. Behind the coffee is a well balanced brown ale (though I wish I had sampled the regular Bender so that I would have had a base from which to understand how much of the original shines through). The mouthfeel was a touch thin. Overall it is an interesting beer, though a bit one-dimensional, I would have preferred a bit more balance rather than the coffee taking such an overwhelming role.

quirkzoo, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of zaphodchak
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thinnish, offwhite head, cola reddish color. Some decent lace.

Coffee grounds on the nose with some dark cocoa.

Nutty (walnut?) in the taste, pretty dry. Not too rich, some hop citrus.

Kinda course mouthfeel.

This ended up reminding me of some kind of coffee-flavored soda. Not bad, but not particularly good.

zaphodchak, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of beagle75
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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

A: Slightly hazy, dark brown color with a stable residue of light beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass and a small amount of fine black sediment remains at the bottom.

S: Very freshly ground coffee. The smell would be extremely authentic if this was coffee, but for a beer it is more than a little unbalancing.

T: Begins dry, with scorched malt and strong aromatic coffee flavors. Acidity is restrained into the middle, with some black pepper complexity marking the transition. The middle tastes mostly of coffee, slightly astringent with just a touch of unctuousness. The finish is moderately bitter with a coffee quality that remains assertive to the end.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slightly astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: While this beverage represents a remarkable showcase for honest coffee qualities, it is fairly mediocre as a brown ale. Its beer qualities remind of Sierra Nevada Tumbler, a little too dry to be compelling. Expect it to lose some of its coffee focus as it warms, becoming more like a beer but still fairly lacking in distinct qualities.

beagle75, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of zimm421
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz can into a shaped pint glass. Appears a dark brown, almost black, color with two fingers of thick, tan head. The head has great staying power and leaves good lacing.

Nose is full of coffee, as expected, along with some dark chocolate and some earthiness. The aroma is more muted than I had hoped for, but it has a nice balance. Taste is more complex. Nice sweet malts, chocolate, and coffee. Also has a nice balance. The coffee definitely dominates, but it isn't completely overboard.

The mouthfeel is slightly less than medium bodied with average carbonation. Pretty drinkable for the given level of coffee flavor. Overall, a good brew, but the standard Bender is better in my opinion. The complexity is ok, but not great. Still worth having one or two.

zimm421, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of bashiba
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep clear shade of brown with bright clear cherry wood colored highlights and a thick tan head, some nice lacing.

The smell is that of very fresh ground coffee with hints of roasted malts creeping through.

The coffee flavors are very aggressive with a mix of slightly bitter coffee and dark roasted barley. There seems to be a strong level of bittering hops as well as it continues to get more bitter as I drink it in a very even and earthy sort of way, some light smoke and toffee flavors sort of come out as it warms has a touch of astringency as well.

The mouthfeel has a medium body and a bit of oily and resiny quality to it.

Very much a coffee beer, its not bad, but a big to heavy handed with the coffee for my taste.

bashiba, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of koopa
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can received as an extra in a trade thanks!

Appearance: Pours a super dark brown black with a 1 finger khaki crown that displays medium retention and lace.

Smell: Dark roast malt, a touch of caramel and coffee (duh)

Taste: Same as the nose with a bit more potency. Nice brew. I'm not getting a big hop profile like others have reported but this might not be the freshest of cans. Some chocolate notes become apparent as it warms. I'd give this one a 4.2 if I could so I'm rounding down.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of thick bodied with medium carbonation....works well!

Drinkability: Solid. 4.3 if i could so I'm rounding up a bit.

koopa, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of cjacobsen
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

(A) Pours a nice dark brown that is deep ruby and maroon when held up to the light. Small, thin topping of a head.

(S) Roasted malts, biscuit, some slight hops, hint of pepper, and coffee.

(T) There is an incredible amount of roasted maltiness. It's got the bready taste of the fresh grains and then is emphasized by the coffee. The coffee gives it a bit of a boost to the already toasted quality. The hops give it enough of a bittering character but it's more of a malt based brew and its delicious. A bit of cereal and some slight residual sugar sweetness play in after a few tastes.

(M) Grainy, medium bodied, evenly balanced as far as carbonation and bitterness goes.

(O) Very quality brew. This is one of those that is a treat to enjoy as it needs to be shipped in from out of state.

cjacobsen, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 7/12/11.

Served cold into a chalice, Coffee Bender is a deep chestnut color with thick creamy off-white head. Good clarity and nice lacing.

As soon as I start to pour, I can smell the coffee goodness. Upon closer inspection, I notice a roasted malt backdrop but it's the coldpress coffee that really stands out, as it should.

Flavor is really nicely executed. It's got a nice sweet brown ale base (classic Bender is an excellent place to start) but a healthy dose of medium-light roast coffee really takes it to another level. A good bit of bitterness from the dark malts and coffee balances it out.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. Really nicely balanced from begining to end.

This is THE coffee beer. If you love both, you'll enjoy this.

GilGarp, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of Satchboogie
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can (dated 8/?/11) poured into a pint glass. Thanks brydeen!

A: Pours dark brown with about a finger and half of mocha brown head, decent retention, leaves a lot of lacing.

S: The coffee jumps out of the can/glass! Huge dark roasted coffee with plenty of sweetness (kind of smells like cream and sugar coffee), roasted malt, nutty aromas, and almost like a nutmeg molasses bread.

T: Melange of medium roasted coffee, nuts, lightly roasted malts, nutmeg molasses brown bread, and a touch of hops. Moderate hop presence up front (earthy, slightly herbal, some pine) with a little lingering bitterness through through the finish.

M: Medium body, moderate to light carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, quite rich. Finish leaves a lingering roasted/hop bitterness that fits perfectly with the coffee flavors.

O: A top-notch brown ale with a great coffee-infused flavor. Drinks way too easily.

Satchboogie, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of Treebs
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a Great Divide cervoise goblet. Canned on 6/24/11.

A: Pours a dark brown with some light deep cherry wood hues around the edges. The light squeaks through at random points. A light tan head forms on the pour, about 2 finger in height with some nice retention. Some splotchy lace down the edges of the glass.

S: Smells of wood, nuts and malts. The coffee comes through just slightly in the end in a bitter ground fashion. Slightly disappointing as I expected more of the coffee upfront.

T: There's the coffee I was looking for. I taste some mocha and vanilla with a slight hint of chocolate. Nice bitter coffee grounds with a toasted malt at the backend. This tastes like a nice iced coffee.

M: Light prickly carbonation with a very smooth, but somewhat thin. Goes down very easy with a high drinkability.

O: What a great beer. While the nose slightly disappointed me the taste and drinkability more than made up for it. Nicely integrated flavors and no taste overpowered the other.

Treebs, Sep 01, 2011
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,921 ratings.