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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,089 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,089
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 626
Gots: 258 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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.
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Ratings: 2,089 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Preismj
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: nice golden brown with a lovely quarter inch head. moderate lacing, looks slightly watery

s: coffee notes and roast hit up front, some smoke and a nutty vibe. smells like a wonderful brown with nice roasted coffee...

t: Lovely coffee up front. As the sip progresses I get a nut malt in the back that is just sweet enough to not overpower the coffee. the result is a wonderful mix of the two that is like having a nice cup of joe with brown sugar and hazelnut. Well done on the flavor

m: smooth and silky, perfect amount of carbonation to help this pop just right in the mouth. I do wish it was a bit thicker in body to match the bold feel of coffee.

o: I've only had 2 brews from surly though both have been utterly fantastic. Glad I got to try this and hope I can acquire some more sometime soon.

Photo of Alpar
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can to a tulip.

A: Dark brown with a red hue appearing from the bottom of the glass. Massive carbonation that sticks around for a loooong while.

S: Huge coffee notes. Can detect some brown sugar and a bit of malt but mostly coffee.

T: Since I drank this at fridge temp it was like an iced coffee. I can't believe that only 24 hrs gave this beer so much coffee flavor. Its delicious, honestly tastes like an iced coffee from Caribou. Sublime.

O: Love it and the name serves it well. If I were coming off a bender this beer would be ideal. Definitely worth seeking out from the MN BAs although it is a bit pricey.

Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass. Can is dated April 12th 2011.

A very large off brown head, that is very light tan. Head doesn't stay as long as it's Bender sibling, but also has some large bubbles. Body is considerably darker than regular bender but almost comparable with a walnut brown body and some nice red hues. Great lacing while drinking and finishing with lots of ring stick! Regardless it still looks great.

What a great nose on this thing! Coffee! Big time but more so, it's as if the fresh beans have just been ground! I get that sense brewing and grinding my own beans in the morning and this is it right here! Not much else to speak of, but I'll take this in spades!

Taste, fantastic. Great coffee flavor with just a hint of heat, gives that sensation of fresh brew. Finish is identical and feel to regular bender with a prickly carbonation. This is even creamy feeling and tasting as well, just flat out fantastic.

This is morning breakfast beer right here, lots of great fresh brewed morning coffee without a giant big stout like body. Superior win right out of the gate.

Photo of callmescraps
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last of my Surly stash. While I don't like coffee, I try to be objective with coffee beers. Here goes.

App- Same rich brown of the bender, hit of ruby highlights. Great lacing. Very clear beer, nice.

Smell- Huge coffee roast. A hint of chocolate, maybe a little fruit, or some hop. It's hard to detect since the coffee is so dominant. Blind, I'd never know it was a beer and not some Joe.

Taste- Creamy coffee, no surprise there. Definitely some hops coming through. Fruit undertones, the coffee gets a little muddled with the hoppiness. Sort of lingers bitterly on the tongue. Not as smooth as I'd like. Someone else mentioned sour cherry, and there is a slight note of that. Just something amiss that I can't quite place.

Mouthfeel- Lacking something, not as luxurious as regular bender it seems.

Overall- Really just muddled. If it's going to be s coffee beer it might as we'll go for it. The hops don't play nice in my book. Just missing a little something.

Photo of oline73
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Surly imperial pint glass

A- Two finger mocha head, very dark brown, coffee appearance, very carbonated
S- Straight up coffee, roasted malts, slight bitterness, slight chocolate aroma
T- Excellent coffee taste, roasted malts, chocolate, slight bitterness, some sweet notes and malts as well, nice bite after every sip.
M- Medium mouth feel, nice carbonation, nice and crisp.
O- Very nice beer, easy drinkability, if you love coffee this will hit the spot. Love the coffee taste mixed with the sweet maltiness, very well balanced. Highly recommend trying this at least once.

Photo of mizzouguy
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautiful dark brown with a small light tan head. The smell of this is pure coffee as you might expect. A little bit of sweet notes but pretty much all coffee. The taste is really great on this. Lots of coffee but not as much as the smell would suggest. Just a great brown ale with a compliment of coffee. Good carbonation and and a good medium body. Overall a very tasty coffee brown that I would drink all the time if I was in Minnesota.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-red color with a big finger of off-white head. The head fades slowly down to a thin layer leaving some nice lacing on the glass in the process.

S - Aroma is full of a mix of sweet caramel malts and roasted coffee. There is also a bit of chocolate and nuttiness mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a hit of sweet caramel malt sand some nutty flavor. The coffee flavor starts off super mild, but builds up as the beer goes on. Through the middle, the coffee flavor explodes with a lot of roasted flavor and a touch of coffee bitterness. The finish is a mix of roasted coffee flavor and some sweet caramel malts that lingers really nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and fairly crisp. The roasted coffee flavor really and coasts the mouth and lingers long after the beer finishes.

D - Very drinkable. The added coffee flavors are really strong and excellent on top of the brown ale. Everything feels right in place and mixes very well together.

Photo of vande
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A ~ A thin dirty tannish lace left behind after a finger thick head dissipated. A rich looking dark carmelly colored brown.

S ~ Coffee. That & a touch of sweet malty goodness?

T ~ See smell.

M ~ Kinda creamy. Thin [thinner than I expected] to medium body. But a good feel to it though. Very easy to drink.

O ~ It is Surly. Always worth trying, and continual replenishment!

Photo of OddNotion
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another generous gift from bs870621345, thanks Bobby!

Poured into my DFH Signature Glass.

Appearance: Deep brown with a only a little bit of light sneaking through around the edges. One finger light tan head. Head is in no rush to completely dissipate.

Smell: Fresh brewed good qulaity coffee (none of that instant crap), I like this. Honestly, that coffee dominates the smell, a tiny bit of sweetness is detected in the background.

Taste: I really hoped the coffee in Coffee Bender would improve upon and round out Bender, and it certainly does! I love how the coffee complemnts the brown ale. It is not overpowering in the taste at all, the sweetness of the malt comes through nicely and the coffee is a great complement (rather than a dominant flavor). Possibly my favorite brown ale at this point.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, not overly carbonated.

Overall: This beer improved on Bender and I really enjoyed it. Good coffee flavors and very drinkable. Worth seeking out if you enjoy coffee infused beers.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into my ccb pint glass. Dark brown in appearance with a paper thin head. Aroma is all coffee, wow, so much coffee. Taste follows the nose, coffee takes over and knocks out the complexity of bender. Light carbonation and somewhat thick. Coffee bender isn't as good as it's big brother. The coffee takes away from what makes bender so complex. I like coffee beers, this one just might be a little too much

Photo of heyta
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A -- This beer pours with a great big white head, but as it subsides it leaves pockets of white floating on the surface that look remarkably like mold -- not very inviting.

S - Smells like folgers instant coffee with a slight sour cherry note in the background.

T - Tastes as it smells. I like the coffee taste even if it tastes like a below average coffee, it's refreshing to find it in something other than a stout.

M - Nothing really special here, but the carbonation is good for this style.

O - I would drink it again. For the price and the alcohol content, it's a tasty beer to not get blasted off of.

Photo of jwinship83
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16oz can picked up from some guy trading surly out of the back of his car at DLD. drank from my samuel adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a rich and deep dark brown colored body with some reddish highlights around the edges. the head is a khaki color with decent retention. small spots of lacing get left behind.

S- as the name would indicate, this is a very coffee forward beer. strong coffee notes seem to overpower alll but a little bit of roasted malts and a slight nutty smell.

T- the taste is also dominated by coffee. it starts out with some roasted malts with a light nuttiness. it briefly moves into light chocolate notes before a very strong coffee finish. i have to say it again....coffee.

M- the body is a little on the thin side for such an intense beer. the carbonation is about perfect though. there is little to no warming from the alcohol.

D- the coffee comes through with such strength that it almost seems like a novelty beer. i dont think i could have more than a partial can without getting sick of it. its exactly what the brewer had in mind, its just not really my thing. check it out if you cant seem to get enough coffee.

Photo of Spider889
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live review.
Big thanks to badnewsbeers for including this want in our trade.

Poured into my Duvel tulip. Looked nearly black, but in actuality is a deep cherry-hued mahogany. Short tapioca colored head that was retained throughout the entire glass. Lace is a little spotty, but otherwise an impressive appearance.

The smell was a little weaker than I had anticipated. That said, this beer certainly doesn't try to hide the precious coffee within. Fresh whole beans mingle with a little of the acidity of brewed coffee. There's also a little roastiness in there, but otherwise I was wishing for more malt character.

The first sip will blow you away with coffee. It's a veritable shot gun blast of coffee beans, wet grounds, and creamily smooth iced coffee. The malt is heavy as well - full of bitter roast and char. A light chocolate sweetness finishes off the flavor. This is easily one of the best tasting coffee beers I have ever had. At first thought, I think only FBS and maybe Peche Mortel can rival Coffee Bender.

The mouthfeel is also quite gripping. The Bender goes down smoothly and quickly, while the Coffee lends a bitter dryness as well as a bit of a grainy texture as well. It all adds up to create a very appropriate and appealing experience.

Overall, a wonderful beer. For my first real Surly review, I believe I may have set the bar a little high. And until I get my full bottle to review (soon), I can say that I'd even rather be drinking this over the Darkness I sampled a couple weeks ago.

Now I really want to try the regular Bender. I also find myself wishing that Surly would commission this recipe for a clone kit through Northern Brewer. While I don't like using kits anymore, I'd likely buy a Coffee Bender clone kit in a heartbeat.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coke brown with a fizzy white head

Smell - roasted coffee for sure , malts, with no hop presence.

Taste - amazing! It tastes like a no sugar added cup of coffee. I get some roasted malt character as well. It finishes with a strong roasted sugarless coffee aftertaste.

Overall - its unlike any brew I've had in San Diego. I'm very impressed.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

YYEESSS can party. Thank you evanlarkin for an amazing trade.

Dark hazy brown that leaves a fluffy tan head of approximately 1 finger after pouring. Lacing is evident. When held to the light the truth comes out, this beer is actually a magnificently dark ruby/maroon. I am unable to observe any sediment, but would not be surprised.
This is an exceptionally dark brown ale, I would have suspected it as being a porter/stout.

A fair amount of coffee comes out initially with a light caramel maltiness. This beer could provide more boldness in its aromatics. Unfortunately the focus is mainly on the coffee elements and not the beer's other qualities.

This is a good beer, I like the lower abv given this is a late-night review. There are mostly qualities from the brown ale driving this beer's flavor profile, but there are still subtle notes of coffee that bitter and linger in the aftertaste. This is my first coffee infused brown ale that I can remember and this beer is a nice adjustment from the heavy malt expectations I have with porters and stouts. The brown ale's lighter body makes this beer an acceptable spring/summer time sipper.

Light-medium bodied beer with minimal contribution from the alcohol. Strength resides in the beer's bitterness and delicate sweetness. I would have liked a bit more body and sweetness, but maybe that's just my inherent nostalgia for coffee infused porters and stouts. Definitely a different experience.

This beer wasn't super captivating, but is also cheap as hell! I love the beer's price and the fact that it's canned.
However, overall the beer is an average sampling in my book. I would definitely try it again, recommend it to a friend, and could easily sip this beer all day.

Photo of Mississipping
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. A very small khaki colored head forms on top and dissipates quite quickly, simply leaving a thin ring behind. Sparse lacing on the glass.

S: Coffee is certainly dominant. It smells of a perfectly brewed coffee house coffee ... not roasted, not burnt. Chocolate is just below the coffee, along with much subtler hints of vanilla and nuttiness.

T: Following the smell, the coffee flavor is the most noticeable, but it isn't overwhelming. Hints of chocolate and vanilla are noticeable, but subtle. This really tastes a lot like a not-so-sweet iced coffee. It finishes with just a touch of hops and a delicious nuttiness.

M: Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation. A nice weight on the tongue and the carbonation level seems very appropriate. Slightly creamy and very smooth.

D: This is extremely drinkable. Very flavorful, very well balanced, no hint of alcohol, and an appropriate mouthfeel make this really easy to put down. I'd have another one or two if I had any more of this. Delicious!

Photo of shand
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a nonic. Thanks to BA redbird!

This brew pours a deep brown with a mocha colored head. The head is average-sized, but stays around well. The aroma is that of sweetened coffee, with some nice nutty tones as well. The taste on this is great, it's just smooth coffee front to center. There's a touch of nuttiness and sweet malts. Simplistic, but goes down very well.

The mouthfeel is a touch watery, but the carbonation is spot-on. And the drinkability is absolutely exceptional, this is very easy to drink. This is just a super solid coffee beer. It's not a stunner, but absolutely a delicious, solid brew. Highly recommended.

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.85/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a great low ABV beer for coffee lovers. Unfortunately, I am not a coffee lover hence the low ranking here. Poured from fresh can into a tulip glass. Pours a dark brown body with a few reddish hues. Inch thick, dense and creamy, brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice lacing. Aroma has lots of fresh coffee up front. When this warms up a bit, some nice roasts, caramels, and toffee brown malts come out. A light chocolate, nuts, and vanilla. Flavor is similar. Lots of fresh, espresso coffee with a nice, rich brown maltiness. Caramel, chocolate, roast, vanilla, some biscuit, and a light earth. Finishes dry and lightly bitter with lots of coffee and a nice earthy roast. Lengthy aftertaste following a medium, somewhat watery body at times and a moderate, creamy carbonation.

Photo of claspada
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Aromas of nutty and caramels and a boat ton of fresh-brewed coffee with cream. Really nothing else to say her either.
The taste begin with some roasted malts and a lot of nuttiness. Lots of java going on here as well. Slightly bitter, coffee not hops, really nice balance between the coffee and malts.
Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, same as the original Bender but the flavors are exponentially better in this beer. Overall this is one of the three best coffee beers I have ever had. Maybe a bit too tilted to the coffee side but the drinkability is off the charts especially for the ABV. Sessionable, definitely. Recommended, definitely. If I was given the choice of this compared to the original Bender, I would take this 10 times out of 10.

Photo of beerhan
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz Can.

Poured into a tulip. Dark brown with foamy white head. Medium Carbonation.

Smells much like coffee. Almost the perfect amount of coffee for this beer. There are also hints of cocoa and molasses.

Tastes a lot like coffee and maple. Very light milk chocolate and some sugar. Not too sweet, really good though.

Carbonation is dead on. This beer is really really drinkable and the coffee flavors come out great through the perfect carbonation. It leaves a nice dry black coffee after taste with a sweet initial blast.

Overall this is one of the finest and most unique coffee beers I have ever had. I can safely say that this is also the only sessionable coffee beer I have ever seen and would love to seek this one out again.

Photo of brystmar
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer my first time visiting Hopleaf in Chicago when I lived there a few years ago, but it's been elusive ever since. Surly doesn't ship to NY, so thanks to claspada for the heads-up on where to find it online (france44.com).

A: a hearty dark brown brew settles below one finger of tan head. Beady lace adorns the glass.

S: huge aroma of roasted coffee beans right off the bat. I don't particularly like coffee (except the sugary Starbucks versions), but I've always LOVED the smell of raw coffee beans. And this aroma rivals that of the best coffee stouts..

T: mostly just coffee and sweet malts. Nutty aftertaste mixes with the coffee and lingers pleasantly. Not complex or "FPS"-y, to use a poker term. Just damn good beer.

M: thin and light with average carbonation. I guess this works for a brown ale, but I can't help but think 'coffee stout' when drinking this brew. Give me thick and creamy nitro Coffee Bender!

O: A very pleasant, supremely refreshing, sessionable coffee beer if there ever was one. Glad I bought two 4-packs instead of one; I'll be ordering this again very soon.

Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz. can into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown. Small tan head that slowly fades with decent lacing.

Smell: Very strong coffee aroma up front followed by sweet malts. A slight sniff of hops in the background.

Taste: Coffee and sweet roasted malts up front followed by a slightly nutty and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall: A very solid ale that almost seems more iced coffee than a beer. A very interesting and tasty brew.

Photo of duffcalifornia
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of UMNbeerhunter (thanks again!). Poured into a nonic pint.

A: Pours the darkest of cherry red, but absolutely clear when held up to the light. A huge 2" super-light-tan head comes with the initial pour, but fades quickly to half an inch, but provides subtle lacing as the beer is consumed.

S: Smells just like the roasted malt of Bender, with a very present, but subtle, coffee aroma. Not overpowering like some coffee beers, but then if you put much more coffee into this beer, it would completely hide the base beer.

T: This is wonderfully complex. The coffee is there at the front, followed by bits of chewy dark bread and roasted grains. The coffee reappears on the finish. A faint taste of hops (what else would you expect from Surly?) but nothing overpowering.

M: This is about as thick as one would want from the style. It sticks around on the tongue, but nowhere near as viscous as a big stout. An excellently appropriate moderate-low level of carbonation is present.

O: I wish I lived closer than six hours to MN so I could get this beer more often. It's absolutely delicious, and may be one of the best year-round beers anywhere. Easily up there with Two Hearted. Really nothing to complain about with this great offering from Surly.

Photo of ucis
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from that can like 10/30 motor oil. Large frothy head that slowly dissipates. If you don't like coffee why are you drinking this? Smell is biscuits malt and COFFEE. Please don't add any creamer. This ship is meant to go down black. Mouth is just north of light and crisp. Coffee is overwhelming. Is there really Surly Bender under there? I am blown away by malts, chocolate, coffee. Skipped my morning coffee in exchange for this. Doesn't appear to have any caffeinated effects. Only the faintest of light penetrating this dark bean.
One of the best coffee infused drinks I have had the privilege of wrapping my taste buds around.
The very local watering hole "THE WHITE HORSE" has this on tap every so often. From memory I can clearly announce that it's even more amazing from a spigot.

Overall if you like coffee- you need to try this. If you like flavored, fake coffee--stay away.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,089 ratings.