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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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2,141 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,141
Reviews: 785
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 629
Gots: 273 | FT: 19
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,141 | Reviews: 785
Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was shared by StayWhatYouAre2 with beeruser, funkydelic, 67couple, others, and myself at a recent tasting graciously hosted by beeruser! Served from can into a Duvel Parra tulip. Poured a deep dark brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, cream, coffee, and subtle caramel. The flavor was of roasted malt, coffee, subtle caramel, and cream. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. I had been wanting to try this one for quite some time and finally got the chance. I was not disappointed at all in this one. I don't even drink coffee and loved this thing. Can't imagine how much more I would have enjoyed it had I been a coffee drinker. Really worth trying and the effort to get your hands on it. Nice job Surly!

Photo of YourMomDrinksBud
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can to pint glass.

A- Visible streams of carbonation, one finger light khaki head that sticks around. Brew is a very dark brown, dark red under intense light. Leaves great web like lacing all the way down.

S- Coffee!! Fresh roasted whole beans, espresso, mocha, light hint of cacao nibs.

T- Opens bitter with strong notes of espresso and unground beans. In the middle I get some toffee and light nuttiness. Finishes silky smooth with notes of cocoa nibs and milk chocolate.

M- Full bodied for the style, good carbonation, creamy and smooth, no alcohol present at all. Perfect score here.

O- I personally really enjoyed this offering. I could see how the coffee could be overpowering if you're not into it though. I'll definitely buy again, and I'd recomend this to any heavy java drinker. Perfect fall beer.

Photo of david131
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- The liquid is a very dark brown with some ruby highlights when held to a light. The mocha head is thin and creamy with solid retention.

S- Very sweet, creamy coffee. A little one dimensional, but it is very appealing.

T- Sweet coffee. The flavor is simple but tasty.

M- A decent amount of carbonation keeps it light on the palate. There is some lasting bitterness.

O- An above average brown ale. The coffee addition is nice for a change of pace.

Photo of jgasparine
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured from the can with 2 fingers of light tan foam, which slowly receded to a proteinaceous haze layer, leaving some impressive lacing in its wake. The body was a semi-opaque dark brown. Any carbonation was not visible due to the opacity of the beer.

S- Smells of rich, freshly brewed coffee and stewed malts. A very simple, but extremely elegant nose.

T- Wow. A perfect balance of stewed and nutty malts with freshly ground coffee. Often, I find coffee beers to be overboard on the coffee notes; but this one strikes such an amazing balance with the malt. No hops detected, but we do have a wonderfully long coffee finish on this beer.

M- A big, almost chewy body, with a pervasive soft carbonation. Virtually no astringency.

Overall- This is one of the most elegant, flavorful, and impressive beers I have had in the 5% abv range. I can drink these all night long in any kind of weather.

Photo of vfgccp
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Beautiful, deep mahogany with ruby highlights and a tall, off-white head. Identical to Bender, but with better retention and lace.

S – Unadulterated, dark roasted coffee beans.

T – A fantastic medium roast coffee body with dark chocolate overtones. More fresh roasted coffee beans than actual brewed coffee. The roast builds in depth through the middle then backs off into a light hazelnut backend. Leaves a lingering coffee-bitter finish.

M – Medium light body is smooth, and ends dry. Nice carbonation.

O – A tasty brew that’s almost more akin to a carbonated iced-coffee than a beer; but that’s still delicious in my book.

Photo of johnnnniee
2.74/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received in trade from GPHarris, thanks for the opportunity! Pours a deep brown with garnet highlights when held to light. Tightly bubbled beige head shows moderate retention and lace. Smells like freshly ground coffee beans mostly. I try to find something else in the aroma but the coffee is overpowering my olfactory system. Taste really follows the aroma. Upfront I get bitter roasted coffee, midway through I get a hint of sugary sweetness (cream maybe?) finish is a long lingering acridic roasted coffee. Did I mention this tastes like coffee. Medium body and carbonation level, acridic bitter mouthfeel. I will preface this by saying I don't drink coffee. I enjoy some beer with coffee flavors or with coffee added, but this one is to far over the top for me. I can't find the beer underneath the coffee. One and done on this one.

Photo of Klym
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a surly nonic. Big thanks to expedition for both the can and the glass!

Basically, this beer was bender hiding behind a bunch of fine coffee. I was hoping for something more like bender with the coffee subtlety just a little more accentuated, but instead it was overwhelming (perhaps the most straight up coffee taste) coffee with the subtleties of bender hiding deep behind the flavor. Not bad, and if you love coffee much preferable, but basically just bender with a twist that isn't necessarily praiseworthy. If I could only choose one, still stick with classic bender.

Photo of chugalug06
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -Awesome Pour! Great lacing! Nice tan colored foamy head with wonderful brown body with lots of purples and blacks...

S - Strong scent of chilies... Some nice chocolate. deep blocks of wood still remain in the form of coffee...

T - Hum. Wonderfully brewed. Some nice pepper tastes great you followed by very subtle coffee flavor. Not quite as much flavor as i wished for...

M - Very light and wonderfully carbonated!

O - Taste is disappointing, compared to the rest of the brew... Worth finding and giving it a shot. Thanks for the trade David!

Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a four-fingers thick dense, tan head into a pub glass that left really nice lacing throughout. body was a brown-mahogany color.
s - bitter coffee with some sweetness underneath.
t - same as the aroma.
m - medium thickness on the tongue.
o - this beer isn't trying to fool you, it's coffee all the way. good stuff.

Photo of camil1mj
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled and then poured into an imperial pilsner glass.

A: This looks like coffee freshly brewed in a French press. Deep toffee brown with an off-white 2 finger, foamy head. Some lacing is present.

S: As expected this smells like cold coffee.

T: Simple. Coffee.

M: Light bodied. Medium carbonation.

O: Great coffee infused beer. If you want a beer with just the coffee flavors and non of the stout qualities many coffee infused beers have, this is the one!

Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 16 oz can.

A - Pours a nice rich dark brown with some ruby red hues on the edges. There is a nice light tan head that forms that is about 1 inch tall. It is quite dense and frothy.

S - Nice coffee notes are present with some slight nuttiness typical of AB Ales. Very good coffee notes that are not too strong. There is also some nice chocolate notes on the back end.

T & M - Starts off with some delicious grainy biscuity malt then supplemented by some nice strong coffee espresso notes that are mellowed out by some sweet chocolate. Mochaccino notes as well as some nice grainy and earthy malt tones. There is some caramel note present as well. Mouthfeel is quite nice and medium with some good frothiness but still it is not too overwhelming.

O - Very good brew with delicious coffee notes that are not too overwhelming. Great overall and all around. Great version of Bender that IMO is more enjoyable.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with a 1 finger tan head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass.

S - Coffee is super strong, and some wheat pokes through.

T - Coffee and finishes with some chocolate.

D - Good carbonation, medium body.

O - A nice lighter coffee beer. Stout like flavors without the heft.

Photo of dgilks
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brian (msubulldog25) for providing this in a recent trade.

Very dark brown colour with a fluffy light tan head. Great head retention. Very nice lacing.

Robust, fresh coffee aroma with a dense caramel and chocolate note.

Crisp, bitter coffee with some great nuttiness. Nice roast and chocolate character. The fresh coffee beans are really taking this to a nice place.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A really great beer. I like the coffee flavour here which is the star of the show without being a diva. Really nice.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a beer coffee people would write home to mom about. Myself not being a coffee drinker, I certainly appreciate this beer, but overall it doesn't do a lot for me since it's really just coffee, coffee coffee.

Pours a medium brown with some lacing and a ring of head. TONS of coffee hits in the nose even after it's semi aged. Most coffee I've ever smelled in a beer before. kind of mono dimensional in the nose, but I have to say it's pretty wild how much flavor is packed in. The taste has some lactose and brown sugary notes but after that its all coffee all the way. Medium mouth with lots of roast.

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

Surly Coffee Bender, 5.1% abv

A: This beer has a menacingly deep dark countenance with a huge banana republic khaki head, a bit refined for its Midwest heritage which would be acceptable if it didn’t smell like alpha acids an- on to the next section.

S: I couldn’t hold this over, the coffee is overwhelming. The Midwest loves to make beers that just infiltrate the nose, take over your house, wake your girlfriend up: OLFACTORY. That is their game and it is played well. I supposed there is some mild Hershey’s cocoa and bittering elements but overridingly, it is coffee, like elephants, all the way down. All of this is predicated on coffee as its existence.

T: Wait for the spoiler alert: coffee. Seriously. Just coffee for days. Were it not socially reprehensible to just straight up drink brown ale for breakfast, this could replace mocha frappa adjective misusacinnos. Maybe in the Midwest that’s just how they roll, wake up, drink some surly, work, more surly, check redfin.com, attempt to solve property value disparity, call it a day. But just wow, not just coffee, amazing coffee. I don’t want to say barefoot intelligensia level, its not that acidic but it has a definite Coffee Bean feel to it. For my east coast readers, Coffee Bean is the exceptional coffee that we drink while you keep Dunkin Corp. stocks abreast. It tastes like coffee.

M: It is incredibly thin. . .not unlike. . .coffee. If you think I am trying to drive home some form of Nabokovian motif, let’s just put it out there, it is coffee, not sex with minors. Seriously it tastes like an iced coffee. I got this as an extra and I demand to know the price of this temptress. If it is under $3 per can, I have pity on the poor Midwest that unleashed this wraith upon their productivity. Even the siren of Farmville nods at this Amarosa knowingly.

D: If you haven’t gathered from the foregoing: very. I have essentially provided a voucher for drinking this unabashedly for breakfast. I don’t care if you are a crane operator on the new children’s hospital which happens to be occupied early, go ahead, have some coffee bender in the morning, you earned it big guy (or woman, whatever, find me a woman who operates a crane [sic.])

Narrative: “I just don’t understand why the early Seinfeld episodes look\ so dated, look at what they are wearing-” Uncle Adam droned on. “Keep it together Jonah, keep it together” he told himself as he clicked the rhythms from Vengaboys songs along his jaw line. He didn’t exactly mean to supplement all of his caffeine habits with coffee alcohol but, such is the way of things. “Jonah are you cold? You’re positively shaking!” Aunt Beatrice exclaimed grabbing an afghan rug. “Yeahbut you know who really- I mean always touching the thermostat? Who says that? Seinfeld, you know what I meanyeahyeah, notevencoldthough seriously.” He attempted to break his repartee into at least dactylic hexameter for his relatives to try and understand. Jonah was a man converted to the alcoholic coffee beast, and now he was dropped as though he should have invented the rain coat.

Photo of Cheesemoose
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received today from a very generous Stevef03! Thanks again!!!

Popped the cap and let this baby slide out into my brand new Surly pint. I left the remaining few ounces in the can to sample out of for the fun of it. For a brown ale, I am blown away from first glance. Beautiful rich full brown body, near black. I need to compare to the regular bender (which I will probably have tonight if not later this week) to see how much color was actually contributed from the beans. Head on this baby is amazing. Khaki colored and full, it slowly settles with each sip. Lacing is fantastic, remaining through the experience. A fluffy character to it, I am super impressed.

Smell is about the coffee. Though it is not as intense as other coffee beers, it is well done nonetheless. The brown ale comes out to play, though the coffee character has a very prominent role to play. Notes of chocolate, mocha and vanilla, with a nice bread/crust undertone. The total nose experience is more of a mild iced latte. Well done.

Just as I suspected. The nose led me to think that this would be a brown ale with coffee added, instead of the other way around. The brown ale base is present in the fore tongue with a splash of chocolate and roasted malt base, that leads rather quickly into the coffee infused body of the beer. The mid tongue picks up on the coffee notes, with an intense flush of fresh roasted beans. The finish brings back the brown ale, finishing again with notes of walnuts, chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side...oh wait. i'm reviewing a brown ale. Forgot that this wasn't a stout for a second. For a brown ale, expectional. Coffee stout brewers take note, this is how you do it. This is not only a great example of coffee in beer, but also how to make an already great beer greater. Still waiting on the Bender experience, but I can tell I'm in for a treat.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to pvequalsnrt for this one. Somewhat translucent a kind of murkier brown in color. Nice light brown heading that does dissapate quickly. It does some ringlets throughout the tasting.

The nose wasn't overwhelming of coffee but it did let you know there was more than enough to make you satisfied. The dark malts are more of the star of the show here.

Taste was about the same as the nose. Good java bean taste starts off very strong but does fade fast and is replaced by a nice bitter hop middle and finish.

Slightly watery mouthfeel and kind of weak all around( carbonation,balance ).

This was enjoyable but in my opinion did miss in some areas to make this a tremendous beer. (Needs more of a kick)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz canned on June 8, 2011. Served at around 45F.

Pours dark brown with a two finger light brown head that retains very well and leaves some spots of lacing behind.

Aroma is toast, bread, coffee with cream, toffee, brown sugar, nuts, caramel, a little chocolate, a touch of grassy hops. Very good strength.

Flavor is coffee, dark bread & toast, nuts, caramel, toffee, some grassy hops on the finish. Mild sweetness and some light bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with good carbonation.

An excellent Brown Ale. The coffee is part of the supporting cast and is not the star of the show like some other coffee beers. Exceptionally tasty and drinkable.

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

Thanks to Dearthvader for this one

Look: Very nice dark brown color with a nice 1/2 tan head decent retention and lace

Smell: First and foremost is of course the coffee it pretty much smells like cold coffee.

Taste: Very nice coffee flavor but you can tell that it is added coffee not coffee notes from roasted malt. A nutty character im sure the regular version of this beer has is noticeable but for the most part the coffee hides all the other flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body maybe a little light with medium carbonation and buttery feel to it that I love about brown ales

Overall: For me this is a breakfast beer. I think this would go perfect with my eggs and bacon or some biscuits and gravy. I really like the flavor and hope to get my hands on some more soon

Photo of Marty30
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Thanks to kort27 for this suprise!! 16 oz canned in 2-9-11.Poured into A Duvel Tulip at fridge temp.

A. Very dark brown with a ruby tint. Very little light shines through when I hold this up.Big dense 2 finger light tan head.that fades to about a quarter inch cap.Lacing stuck all over the glass.

S. Big coffee notes along with roastyness and chocolate.Coffee dominates this,which is awesome!

T.Roasted Coffee up front A slight bitterness follows.I get some chocolate also. I get a bit of spicy pepper in there.

M. Feel is medium and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.Leaves a nice coffee aftertaste.

Overall I loved this beer. Big coffee in this which I love! Just to damn bad I cant get this all the time. If youenjoy coffee in your beers Get ahold of some of this for sure.

Photo of Blanco
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Roguegregm for my first Surly Brew.

Beer pours a dark brown color with nice sized tan head. Tremendous lacing throughout. smell is big coffee, complete with cream. Taste is just like Surly describes it: great iced coffee flavor. Slight chocolate notes, but mostly just that nice taste of fresh roasted iced coffee. A tad bit dry like black coffee. Nice light mouthfeel that goes perfect with the taste. I'm a huge fan of coffee beers and only recently have had low ABV brown ales brewed with coffee, and I have to say it's a refreshing (literally) change from big, huge coffee stouts at this time of year. The big difference between this one and a lot of coffee beers is it tastes more like "brewed" coffee, whereas others seem to taste more like the beans themselves. Summer is when I switch from hot coffee to iced coffee and this is the perfect "dark" summer brew. I've heard great things about Surly and this first offering lived up to expectations.

Photo of calcio360jrd
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First Surly beer for me here in south fla

Now i love big coffee stouts, that roasty smell when i open up a bottle or can gets me going. Coffee bender pours out a nice black color, not opaque, a little lite getting in. Has a nice coffee smell to it, maybe a bit strong, but i like strong coffee. The taste for me wasn't what i hoped for. It really did just taste like a cup of coffee i brewed the day before and left out all nite, i can see why the can says the taste of an iced coffee. Felt very thin on the pallette as well, guess i was hoping it would be like a big 10% RIS instead of a 5% ABA.

Good but not great, got some other surly beers to try in the coming week

Photo of seeswo
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown with a touch of red and a medium tannish head. Looks good. Smells straight up like strong cold coffee. Pretty substantial, with only a hint of malts or anything else. The taste is basically just a carbonated cup of cold coffee with a slight bit of malt sweetness. Tastes shockingly like coffee. Not really anything else going on, Medium thin on the body with good carbonation, seems a bit light for the coffee flavor. This beer is really interesting, but the beer element is lost. It's like drinking a cup of cold coffee that has had enough sweetener added to make it not too bitter. Kind of tough to grade. Would have again, though not a favorite.

Photo of woosterbill
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can into a La Chouffe tulip; shared with a couple friends at NEBCO. Big thanks to HopStoopid120 for tossing me this can in an in-person trade.

A: Looks just like the regular bender we split right before this one: i.e., a clear deep brown body with reddish glints under an inch of fine tan foam. Pretty good retention, light lace. Attractive.

S: Coffee. Nothing but clean, bitter, dry, nutty, roasty coffee. A little thin (some malt would be nice), but still excellent.

T: Coffee jumps out, of course, followed by some nutty malt and light hoppy bitterness. Long, super-bitter finish. Lightly fruity. Delicious.

M: Lively, highly carbonated, medium body. A bit over the top, but fun.

O: I love coffee beers in general, and this one did a pretty great job delivering a pure coffee onslaught. For that I give it tremendous credit. As with some lighter-bodied coffee stouts, though, this beer just didn't have the body to stand up to the dominant coffee flavors, and the result was just a one-note show; while I'm a big fan of this note, I can't get too excited about a beer that gives away its beer-ness so completely.

On a more positive note, the Coffee Bender made a terrific blend with some fresh Gandhi-Bot on tap at the brewery - I was trying to convince Matt to brew a coffee IPA (after being absolutely blown away by one of those from The Kernel Brewery in London), and the CB/GB blend was pretty impressive. Fingers crossed!


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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,141 ratings.