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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,887 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,887
Reviews: 758
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 597
Gots: 213 | FT: 13
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: 1,887 | Reviews: 758 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

01-21-2010 02:22:32 | More by zeff80
Photo of sleazo

New York

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

A_Pours a dark brown, a shade or two darker than a normal brown ale. The head is nice and fluffy to start but settles a tad too quickly into a large bubbled cap.

S_The aroma is slightly malty with a bit of coffee in the background. A bit too muted though to be truly great

T_Wow, much fuller bodied than the smell would indicate. The first sip is malty richness, sweet caramel notes jump out at you. After this a nice well roasted coffee hits the palate and is finished by a fairly big dose of somewhat piney hops. Pretty bold flavours here.

M_Medium bodied with a mild carbonation.

D_Very smooth and easy to drink but with a big bold flavour. Slightly over sessionable I still could make one out of it. If this was in my area I would always have it on hand

01-20-2010 23:25:14 | More by sleazo
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.6/5  rDev +10.3%

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.

01-17-2010 04:16:01 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of mdwalsh


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

A: Dark, looks just like regular Bender. Dark dark brown with a tan head on it. Great lacing.

S: While regular bender is hops with beer, this to me is coffee with beer. I really dislike coffee, so I find this an incredibly intense (but bearable) smell.

T: I'm going to pretend to be ok with coffee for a moment. Wow, what a great blend. So much in common with coffee outmeal stouts but in a much lighter, more drinkable fashion.

M: Again, like regular bender, full bodied but bitter and biting enough to feel lighter.

D: If you like coffee, amazing.

01-14-2010 23:35:36 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of triptens


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

Appearance - Pours a thick quickly dissipating off white head. Color is an amber/brown, cola like.

Smell - Roasted grain, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa nibs. There is a floral hop presence as well.

Taste - Roasted coffee beans, cocoa, herbal and floral hop character.

Mouthfeel - Feels like I'm drinking a big roasty blend of coffee or an espresso. It's thin but dries your mouth out and coats your tongue like the crema from an espresso would. This with the hoppy bitterness blend well together.

Drinkability - I could drink a lot of this. Unfortunately I didn't really get to experience it warm up a lot because it went down so fast. A really good beer, I wish we had Surly in Michigan, I would always keep some in my disc golf bag.

01-13-2010 21:33:51 | More by triptens
Photo of ballewblake

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Filled up my Duvel tulip from can.

Solid black body with a one finger khaki head. Solid lacing initially. Nose is a chocolate milk shake from two feet away, or hot coco. I want to warm this up dramatically. Taste isn't as bitter coffee as I was thinking from advertisement, more of a bitter sweet chocolate. Almost a metallic sting in the taste too, bitters come out more in the finish too. This is one brew that could probably easily work with more alcohol in it. The flavors are interesting and strong enough to conceal more than is in it. I don't think I've ever said that about a beer. :) Body is a bit thin, and mouth is probably a bit too bubbly, or fizzy, for me. But over all a sold coffee brown ale. Almost completely solid lacing to the end on the side of the glass the brew didn't 'wash' over.

01-11-2010 00:26:59 | More by ballewblake
Photo of homebrew311


4.38/5  rDev +5%

A: pours a deep brown that is clear, foamy tan head, nice retention, some lacing

S: bold coffee on the front, which has notes of chocolate, followed by roasted grains, this smells more like a cup of coffee than a cup of beer...which I like!Some earthy hops in there as well.

T: Starts just like the nose with an assertive coffee profile, but as the coffee subsides, you can find the bender in there! Lots of roasted barley, some caramel, chocolate, and earthy hops on the end. Very nice a refreshing beer. Nice to have a coffee infused beer that isn't a stout for a change.

MF: some what thin body with medium carbonation

D: high drinkability. I would be happy to sub out my morning coffee for this

01-09-2010 23:53:43 | More by homebrew311
Photo of DanOLeary


4.13/5  rDev -1%

Aroma: Grainy dark chocolate and coffee aroma are certainly in the forefront with caramel notes in the background. There is a defined "grit" in the nose that I would guess is coming from the coffee.

Appearance: Though the name suggests coffee, this beer exhibits an appearance closer to dark brown, rather than coffee black. There is a small amount of deep ruby light getting through the edges. As you pour, the head forms about 1 finger of almond brown foam. The head falls fairly quickly however, to just a ring around the outside of the glass.

Flavor: A bite of cold press coffee hits you at the first sip. It is pronounced but not bitter. There is surprisingly a fair amount of sweet chocolate following this up. The flavor moves to light roasted barley in the middle with hop bitterness coming into play with an earthy presence. Toward the finish the coffee tones come back at you with a bitter flavor. The finish is dry with lingering coffee and hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with light carbonation. Not cloying or astringent but the bitterness in the finish will have a slight puckering effect. Though this is light.

Overall: An excellent example of coffee flavors and aroma adding to the complexity of the beer. The bitterness coming off the coffee marries well with the hop and roasted barley qualities in this beer. I feel like I'm saying it all the time lately but the mouthfeel is a little thin, it moves toward watery in the end but I suppose this leads to a crisp and clean finish.

01-09-2010 02:36:23 | More by DanOLeary
Photo of hooliganlife


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

pour is deep dark thick brown with a fluffy creamy head

coffee, huge coffee. its basically iced black coffee.

again, coffee. a bit more subtle than scent but still dominates. light floral hops barely linger but can be found, a nice sweet malt backbone that does do some balancing out. sweetness in the finish, a touch of sugar on my teeth. however, this is mainly coffee.

nice body for a 5.1% ale. pretty full with a nice moderate carbonation

this is damn good, much better than i remember it last time i had it. a nice touch of sweetness really rounds this out. if you like coffee, you will love this.

01-09-2010 02:17:18 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of blackearth


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Purchased from Blue Max Liquors in Burnsville, MN. Pours a black body with ruby red corners and a big, pillowy tan head. Aroma is mostly coffee beans and also some chocolate and floral hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Flavor is tinny, grainy, dark roasted malts, with a good coffee flavor and bitterness from the coffee, which also intermingles with the hop bitterness. The relatively low alcohol content is a nice touch since this is so tastey that I had to grab a second one!

01-07-2010 19:21:14 | More by blackearth
Photo of trbergman


4.55/5  rDev +9.1%

16oz can poured into a shaker pint.

A - Pours a rich, dark brown with ruby highlights and a one-inch tan head.

S - Loads of coffee goodness waft out of the glass, along with brown malts, toffee, and licorice.

T - Bready malt, chocolate, plenty of coffee, and assertive hop bitterness. I really like this beer, but if you're not a coffee lover, you probably won't.

M - Medium body, pretty much what I'm looking for in a brown ale.

D - Superb. A sort of cousin to Peak Organic Espresso Amber. Sometimes it's nice to have a coffee beer without roasted malt and a huge body. Definitely worth a try.

01-06-2010 03:24:59 | More by trbergman
Photo of BearsOnAcid


3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

I had tried this at the ACBF last summer and had wanted to try it again, thanks to mnjeff! I poured this beer into the first beer glass I saw, which happened to be a Michelob horn glass.

The beer's creamy brown head rose up after I was able to pour out the whole can. I must say that I love the idea of these pint cans. The color is a really dark amber, dare I say brown? There wasn't much to smell until I could stick my whole nose in so I started to drink first.

First sip was like the best balanced coffee you've ever had, but cold and carbonated. Not too bitter, not too roasty but just right. The second sip helps you find the base of the beer. The brown ale is a little nutty but compliments the beer to an extent.

I took a few more sips and then dunked my nose into the glass. At first it reminded me of the chocolate milk my grandfather would make me with Hershey's syrup. It was a nice creamy smell married with coffee and slightly roasted nuts. Chocolate bitterness lingers in the back.

As I got down to half the glass the bitterness of the coffee started to kick in and I lost some of that lovely initial flavor. I guess that will come with the territory.

As it warmed up I got a better taste of the brown ale and the malt really started to balance out the coffee and enhance the smell. This is nearly sessionable at around 5%.

01-05-2010 22:42:47 | More by BearsOnAcid
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured from a 16oz. can into a what else? Surly pint glass.

A: Moderate pour yields a gradually building 1.5 finger creamy light caramel head with relatively good retention. Brew itself is a clear brownish-amber. Lacing is stringy and subtle.

S: Nose is roasted coffee beans with a hint of booziness. Also, hints of caramel and phantom nuttiness (phantom because I might be imagining this...)

T: Starts off with a slightly sour roasted coffee character which mellows out quickly. Middle is a bit more coffee and caramel. Finish is a touch of brown sugar and nuttiness. Yet, coffee still rather prominent throughout.

M: Light bodied, coarse, and carbonated. However, this gets smoother as it warms in the mouth. Finish is a bit messy but not overly so, leaving a slight trail of roasted coffee sourness that dissipates rather quickly.

D: Very highly drinkable. This is one of those stand-by go-to beers that I feel like I want to be able to have at all times. Great light body, good character, and super tasty!!!

01-04-2010 19:40:30 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

16 oz can shared with and by a friend.

I enjoy trying non-stout coffee beers and I like the base beer Bender so I have high hopes for this. Appearance wise everything is as expected, looking similar to bender, dark browns, relatively clear, frothy mocha head with nice retention and lacing. Aroma is also very nice, a strong malty, nutty base with what smells like fresh coffee beans, not overly sweet, but not bitter either. The flavor and mouthfeel is where I miss the original bender or some of the bigger coffee stout beers. Not to say this isn't well made or enjoyable, but I feel like it's splitting the difference between the two without hitting the peaks of flavor or mouthfeel from Bender or something like Breakfast Stout. Unlike the stouts, the body is less chewy and full, but still a robust medium-full. The most disappointing part of the beer is the finish which has a nutty, dry Bender like flavor, but is overall rather thin and has a watery character. The body has a nice fresh brewed coffee characteristic with mild malt and nutty background, but not much sweetness or roasted flavors. Overall, a very drinkable, enjoyable coffee beer, but I don't feel like the coffee adds that much to the original base beer, nor does it satisfy me if I'm looking for an intense coffee infused beer fix.

01-04-2010 03:39:36 | More by yourefragile
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4.55/5  rDev +9.1%

On-tap at Cafe Twenty-Eight.

a - pours a hazy deep brown with a one-inch tan head, great retention and lacing, props to Surly for one of the coolest mugs/glasses I've ever seen - a 12oz. mug with the words "It's never too early to get Surly" on one side

s - deep roasted malt and some roasted nuts complement the big dark roast coffee aroma, hints of dark chocolate as well, not much alcohol evident

t - moderately sweet up front with roasted malt, nut and dark chocolate flavors, mid-palate and finish has a prominent coffee flavor that's mildly bitter, hints of hoppy citrus peak through, alcohol is virtually invisible

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, slightly bitter finish, not much alcohol warming

d - extremely drinkable, a true sessionable coffee beer if I've ever had one, very easy drinking but complex and interesting at the same time

Great beer overall and yet another star in Surly's lineup.

01-03-2010 16:55:04 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of digitalketchup


4.53/5  rDev +8.6%

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance - 3 toothpicks of head vanished into a thin brim inside the glass. Thick and brown throughout. Little lacing.

Smell - Similar to what the inside of a Starbucks smells like. Rich coffee smells

Taste - I can taste the darker ale underneath the coffee notes. Very refreshing and inviting brew. It's not as bitter as I expected. It's sugary sweet, rich, and down-to-earth!

Mouthfeel - Thin carbonation and a little less "meaty" than I was hoping for.

Drinkability - Keep em coming! This is a delicious, delicious brew and I am pleased to have picked up a 4-pack!

12-31-2009 19:16:09 | More by digitalketchup
Photo of Monkeyknife


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Poured from the can an opaque dark brown with a thin wispy tan head.

The aroma of freshly-ground coffee beans dominates the nose.

The taste, to no surprise, is freshly-ground coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and light hops.

Lighter bodied and crisp with more carbonation than expected.

This is one tasty and sessionable Coffee Brown from Surly.

12-22-2009 02:25:37 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of abecall98


4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

Thank You Chewy08x.

*Accidentaly reviewed this under "Bender", it was coffee bender that I had, even better!

A - Looks like an average brown, slightly darker. Head is rather low and quick on the dissipation, not the prettiest beer, but not un appealing in the slightest.

S - Has a sweet, roasty, coffee, slight bitter smell. Smells like a hot brewed coffee with some sugar in it. Nice.

T - This beer tastes great. Heavy on the coffee flavor in a great way. Some slight sweet brown sugar sweetness follows, and then a coffee/hoppy bitterness in the finish. Lovely.

M - Weak. I could tell by the weak head that the mouthfeel would be rather bland. It feels wet, undercarbonated, and sticky. I wish there was more pop in it.

D - This beer has enough flavor to keep me asking for another sip, and doesn't get too overpowering in any aspect. Damn Drinkable!

O - I know why you guys love Surly. Because it is good.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 12-16-2009 02:35:50

12-18-2009 00:28:35 | More by abecall98
Photo of rpstevens

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

Big thanks to maximum12 for the can, poured into a dogfish head signature glass. The pour yields a deep brown/mahogany body that lets light through, giving it a ruby tinge around the edges. The head is loose and bubbly white-to-tan that fades quickly and leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is all coffee, rich dark nutty coffee. There are some chocolate tones, but not much more than you would get from a good coffee. There is a definite crisp hoppy character that accents the roasted coffee notes nicely.

The taste follows the smell as expected. There is a slight sweet malt presence throughout, but mostly you get a dominant dark roasted coffee flavor from start to finish.

The beer is light-to-medium bodied, crisp and well carbonated. The low abv makes this something I could multiple cans of over a long day. The can claims the beer is as refreshing as an iced coffee, and they aren't far off. Another good beer from Surly.

12-14-2009 00:34:23 | More by rpstevens
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.13/5  rDev -1%

16 oz can poured into an Imperial pint. 5.1% ABV, 45 IBUs, no date.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this can of coffee!

A - Clear and brown amber with a large and loose light tan head with great retention and some sticky lacing left over.

S - Oh wow. Fresh dark coffee like I just inhaled a breath from a bag of freshly ground Starbucks french roast. A hint of malts in the background but this has to be the best one-dimensional aroma from a beer I've experienced.

T - I didn't expect the flavor to match up to the perfect aroma but it did a pretty good job. Cold, dark coffee flavor with a bit of chocolaty malts amongst the overwhelming coffee flavor. Also on-dimensional.

M - Smooth but also crisp with a somewhat soft feel and a dry, bitter finish of coffee.

D - A great coffee beer despite it's lack of depth. One I wouldn't hesitate to have again!

12-13-2009 21:28:32 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of drabmuh


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

12-11-2009 03:46:42 | More by drabmuh
Photo of kzoobrew


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

From the can pours an iced coffee colored brew. In the glass the body settles in with a rich auburn color. A creamy café au lait colored head measuring three fingers sits atop. Retention is very decent and leaves behind massive clumps of sticky lacing.

The java spearheads the aroma. Rich coffee overwhelms the underlying brown ale. Subtle hints of nuttiness gleam through but that is about it. This one is all about the beans.

The coffee asserts its prominence once again in the flavor. Without first knowing this is a beer it could be easily mistaken as an iced coffee with the initial taste. As you begin to search your palate the subtlety of the base flavors begin to shine through. Buttery brown bread peaks through first. A slight earthy bitterness soon follows.

Medium bodied and drinks much like my favorite iced coffees. Moderate carbonation is certainly appropriate. The coffee flavors latches on the sticks up with for a while.

Drinkability is off the charts. Though we are entering a season in Michigan where I prefer my coffee piping hot, it is wonderful to enjoy a coffee beverage from the warm comforts of my home. Goes down remarkably easy, it will take some will power to hold on to the rest of my stash for very long. Thank you to Mothman for providing this wonderful opportunity.

12-09-2009 17:39:38 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of drizzam


4.13/5  rDev -1%

A - Dark opaque brown with a fluffy tan one finger head that refuses to dissipate, leaving a beautiful lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Heavy roasted coffee aroma.

T & M - The taste mimics the nose, a very nice roasted coffee taste. Finishes with a slight bitter hop bite. Light to medium bodied, pretty low on carbonation. Finishes fairly clean.

D - I'm a huge fan of the Coffee Bender and from everything I've had from the Surly Brewing Company thus far! This brew (along with the Furious) puts Surly in my top 5 favorite breweries. I would recommend this to a friend any day!

12-08-2009 23:40:47 | More by drizzam
Photo of CRichardsMN


4/5  rDev -4.1%

Clear dark brown that FILLS A GLASS!!! Finally a brewer that makes the right sized beer. Tops off with an off-white smooth creamy head (much like a nitro) that leaves a nice bit of spotty lace on the way down.

The smell is full of a nice dark roasted espresso and that is about it. This is very nice though one dimensional.

Again, somewhat one dimensional in that it is almost entirely espresso flavored which only slight hints of roasted malt at the finish. I say espresso and not coffee because coffee, to me, is too thin and weak; this is not. Finishes mostly clean with a moderate bitterness.

Medium bodied with a very clean, dry feel.

All the power of a heavier stout or porter with a lighter palate makes this a very satisfying beer without getting sluggish. The price is a little higher than some other microbrews, but worth the pennies per ounce.

I've gained much respect for Surly after trying Furious, CynicAle, Bender, Darkness and Coffee Bender. They are not mindless hop-packers but can brew a well rounded beer that is worth the hype.

12-07-2009 23:25:16 | More by CRichardsMN
Photo of dpnelson1978


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

16 oz. can into glass pint.

$13.99 / 4 pk.


S: Wow! Huge coffee aroma. Best part of waking up? I don't pick-up malt or hop aroma, but that is obviously not the intent. This beer succeeds perfectly at its goal, and there is something to be said for that.

A: Clear dark brown body that still manages to blot out the sun. Topped by a big tight head that has good retention, but leaves only the slightest lacing and a weak cover. Not great, but looks aren't everything.

T: Not the most complex taste, but again, it doesn't try to be. Overwhelming coffee flavors take center stage with only the faintest hint of dark malt. The IBUs are listed as 45, but are hard to discern from coffee until the bitter end.

M: Very light body with medium carbonation.. Exceedingly crisp, with no residual sensation on the tongue.

D: Wonderful beer that has the drinkability of a lager, but the amazing flavor profile of a stout. In the end all that matters is that it goes down easy and tastes great. Well done.

O: This is my new favorite everyday beer. Light enough to drink solo on a hot day (like an iced coffee), but a flavor profile that goes great with a dog or a burger, and still manages to satisfy on a cold December night in Minnesota.

12-07-2009 05:33:04 | More by dpnelson1978
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,887 ratings.