Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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2,053 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,053
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 609
Gots: 241 | FT: 14
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)
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Ratings: 2,053 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of THECPJ
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes:
thanks goes out to tmcelvain for sending this one my way.

appearance: dark brown with a 2 finger head

smell: roasted coffee, malts

taste: coffee is very prominent

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, thin to medium body, smooth

drinkability: enjoyed this do to the coffee flavor. very smooth


Photo of IdrinkGas
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a snifter.

A: Reminds me of water from a rusty pipe. Watery brown color.

S: Coffee in the nose but much less than I expected.

T:Burnt watered down coffee flavor. This is what I imagine artificially flavored coffee seltzer water to taste like.

M: A little high in carbonation. I would like this more if the carbonation was toned down slightly.

If I want a coffee beer I would chose a coffee stout instead of this. The brown ale and coffee just seems like an odd pairing to me. Not my cup of tea at all. The only beer from Surly that I have disliked thus far.

Photo of gregshead
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an extra from mnbearsfan (thank you). Tasted on 2/18/11, reviewed from notes:

A: Pours a brown w/ a small amount of red hue in it. Half finger of head that dissipates slowly.

S: Lots and lots of coffee smell. A little confused by the smell.

T: Good coffee taste up front with the sugary malt taste of a brown in the middle finished with a dry coffee taste/finish.

M: Lots of carbonation with a smooth dry feel.

D: Enjoyable for its style. The coffee is slightly overpowering but I was still glad to try a tallboy of it.

Photo of fastpass17
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz Can

A: espresso brown with a wonderful creamy head and nice carbonation

S: rum, a touch of coffee, dried fruit

T: Chewy caramel melts into espresso, with maple syrup in the mix.

M,D: Warms real well in the glass, creamy and rich on the palate. Very drinkable.

Photo of ne0m00re
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live review of a pint can canned 12/30/10 courtesy of arvjunk.
A: Clear mahogany with reddish hues, nice dark cream head, and good lacing.
S: Nutty (walnut) caramel, mild fresh-brewed drip or French press coffee, cream. Mild aroma.
T: Similar to the aroma, with a slight diacetyl or toffee, nice orange citrus hops. Good. You'd just think that the flavor would be more intense.
M: Moderately or lightly syrupy, frothy, and crisper in the finish.
D: Pretty good. A little more watered-down than you'd expect, but decent flavors for the lower alcohol.

Photo of smm
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 02/23/11

A- Pours a deep brown/ black, with a tan finger head.

S- Rich roasted coffee aroma, and a hint of dark chocolate.

T- Sweet, dark chocolate, and coffee. Slightly bitter, really amazing balance between the coffee and malts. Definitely gives you coffee breath.

M- Medium body and carbonation, I guess I would have liked it a little thicker. Nice clean dry finish from the bitterness of the coffee and hops.

D- Damn fine beer, if I didn't have an aversion to caffeine I think I could down a few of these. Compared to a couple years ago I really get the balance in this beer.

Photo of Florida9
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a shaker's pint. Forms a very small, but stable, tan head that leaves some nice sheets of lacing on the side of the glass. Beer itself is a deep chestnut color, but is still fairly translucent.

S: Unmistakable scent of coffee with some roasty, toasty malts and a complimentary nuttiness.

T: Loads of nuts, like peanuts and walnuts, some roasted malt and a slight creaminess. Some light coffee notes, but not nearly as prevalent as in the scent.

M: On the lighter side of medium - no matter how many times I have drank this beer, I am always surprised at how light the body is. Appropriate carbonation.

D: A very nice blend of flavors with a light body that makes this beer quite easy to drink and enjoy.

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

On tap at Twin City Grille in the MoA.

Nice pour from the bartender, thick tan head atop a nice deep brown almost black ale. Held to some light there are plenty of red/brown hues showing through the edges.

Aroma is a nice roasty malt and coffee blend, sweet and alluring. Tastes of some bitter roasted coffee, roasty sweet malts, and only a touch of hp spice in the end. It's a good tasty ABA, with the coffee adding some complexity.

Smooth and substantial in the mouth, not some some of the thinner ABAs I have had. All around a solid brew, and my first from Surly.

Photo of imagineiii
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into an imperial pint glass. filled to the top, topped with an inch of crunchy tan head. recedes quickly.

nose is reminiscent of coffee grinds after brewing. hazelnut is the scent that comes to mind. slightly more impressive on the nose than bender.

taste is a bit muddled between a solid brown ale and coffee. I should say that Im not a huge fan of coffee flavors added to most beers. the impressive thing about this beer is the addition of such firm coffee characters without the astringency. in fact, the beer does drink like iced coffee. slightly sweet, almost creamy as well. full mouthfeel contributes to creaminess.

quite drinkable. nice to see a beer that infuses coffee without being over the top with alcohol and flavor. nicely done, very well balanced. probably my favorite coffee beer ive had to date.

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16 ounce can into an Efes tulip. Moderate beige head sticks around for a moment atop a murky dark brown body. Sticky, soapy and mainly clear lacing lines the glass. Aroma includes malty sweetness, coffee, caramel and a touch of chocolate and vanilla. Taste is loaded with good things happening. Coffee dominates but again, notes of chocolate, vanilla and maybe praline. Really impressive.

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

Thanks to BeeZee on the hook-up here.
Canned on 1/25/11

A - Medium, dark brown. Kinda like old coffee.

S - Coffee, Coffee, Coffee. Little bit o' chocolate

T - Pleastantly bitter espresso flavor.

M - Smooooth, carbonation pops on back of tounge.

D - I could do 2 in a row at max. But I will be picking it up next time I see it.

Photo of BruChef
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Acquired this via trade From JimLetson. Thanks for the hook-up!

I assumed, since there wasn't a precise description of the beer itself on the can other than that it had coffee in it and also since this was the first beer i ever had from surly, that this was a coffee stout. So, as one might think, i was a little perplexed when i poured this brew into a snifter, only to observe that this brew seemed a little thin and pale for a stout. It was more like a nice looking brown ale (ding, ding, ding! Which i now know it is); somewhat transparent, especially around the edges. (The rest of this review is being so based on the realization that this beer is in fact an American brown ale)
A lacy head developed as i poured and dissipated just as quickly except for a thin layer resting on top. I could smell the pleasing coffee aroma before i even placed the glass to my nose but i knew that it wasn't going to be overwhelming.

The taste did not disappoint: Burnt/brown sugar, hops not too forward unlike most typical American brown ales, and plenty of delicious coffee. Super well balanced in the coffee dept. not like some of the other highly touted, over coffee'd beers rated on this site (ahem Kentucky garble something or other), and also a much more unique and defined coffee flavor unlike the traditional roasty, bitter acridness that coffee added to beer usually lends.
The mouth feel is my only slight complaint. It's just slightly more carbonated than i would like and slightly on the thin side but again, very small complaints. This beer is very drinkable and over all pretty tasty.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Appearance: This looks pretty much exactly the same as Bender, although a bit darker. A walnut brown color with a ruby tint around the borders of the glass. A frothy tan head forms initially, retains pretty well, and leaves sticky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: I have not had coffee from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala, but the aroma is overwhelmingly Dunkin Donuts coffee at first. The coffee is bold and aromatic. The original aroma of burnt sugar, hazelnut, and earthy hops is largely cast aside.

Taste: The flavor maintains a brown sugar front, with some toasted malt and hazelnut as well, but the coffee is already there. The flavor turns coffee bitter, with some earthy hops barely squeezing their way through. The finish is more coffee.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of Coffee Bender gets a step up over Bender. A little creamier, although there is still that lingering graininess that I don't care for. The carbonation is tighter, but still at a medium level. The body is a bit fuller, maybe slightly above medium.

Drinkability: One of the few times I don't think coffee makes a beer better. I find it a little bit overwhelming, especially in the aroma. Maybe it was the type of coffee that I just did not connect with.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz Can poured into a Duvel glass split with Oglmcdgl.

Coffee Bender pours out a very dark shade of brown appearing mudy black with a inch or so of bright tan semi mocha colored foam that left some stickies. This smells like some dank ass coffee and tastes like it as well. A nice roast in the middle finished by more coffee. Beans upon beans. A hint of vanilla and a bit of nuts so the base brown is not completely lost butnthis one is all about the coffee. Feel is very slick and feels thicker than it is with all that roast. About lightish in body with a ample carb. This is a lighter version of breakfast stout with a lower ABV making it much more drinkable. This one is a winner.

Photo of amcmaho1
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to UMNbeerhunter for this one!
Poured into an appropriate "surly" snifter
canned on 1/11/11

Appearance: Out of the can, it pours a very nice dark brown with some reddish hues. The color is very opaque and is contrasted by a big coffee colored head. The head has some great retention, and slowly starts to die down, leaving some thick lacking along all sides of the glass.

Smell: Some great coffee notes on the nose, but certainly not overpowering (though this is coming from a coffee fan). I think the coffee works more as an asset to an already great beer, giving some more dynamics. There is some definite malt character there, giving me a lot of roasty and charred scent. There's small stringency likely associated with the coffee, but as the beer warms it goes away.

Taste: The coffee definitely comes through in the taste, and seems so smoothly integrated into the beer. Since the "base" beer is the regular bender, there is some great oaty notes, and lots of sweetness too, though the mild hop profile and coffee keep it really well balanced. Certainly the balance of taste is what i'm enjoying here!

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, with nice carbonation. I've been drinking a lot of coffee-infused beers, and this certainly stands out as one of the easier drinkers due to it's overall aesthetics, approachability, and drinkability. I really wish we got Surly in New Mexico now!

Drinkability: This is a great beer, and definitely one which will appeal to the coffee fans among us. This beer seems to have a lot going for it, and i would certainly seek out future trades for more!!

Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with a light light mocha head. Good head retention and solid lacing.

S- Coffee, pretty decent coffee too. Wooo!

T- Coffee is more subtle than the nose would lead you to believe. Slight sweetness on the tail end.

M- Very well carbonated.

D/O- Very drinkable brown ale, even with the coffee flavors.

Photo of wrightro07
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: a nice dark brown with a great fluffy tan head retention.
S: Beautiful caramel/chocolate malts with a huge coffee backbone.
T: The taste is extraordinary for a American Brown ale with a coffee backbone. It has the same characteristics as Surly Bender as in solid caramel/chocolate malts with a silkiness only found from oatmeal but with a huge coffee addition from cold press.
M: Silky goodness
D: I love this beer. Another great brew from Surly not much else to say. If you are a fan of coffee beers this beer should be on the top of your list.

Photo of iLovehops23
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love coffee, even more so i love beer. was kinda nervous that i was going to be upset with such a mix but knowing the Surly's rep i figured id give this coffee bender a crack.I was W.O.R.N.G. this was a supurb balace of beer and coffee flavor. not sure how this works but it was acully very refresing wich isnt the first thing that come to mind when i think about coffee. this could very easily replace lineys berry as my new moring beer. this beer opened up a new ave for me to try diffrent beers Great work and cheers to the lads at Surly.

Photo of titosupertramp
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thecaptain073 for the opportunity to try this.

A: Dark brown, a nice ruby color when light is added. About a finger of tan, mocha head. Pretty smooth with a scattered small bubbles. Light lacing.

S: I get a lot of coffee, chocolate and caramel. I'm able to get a little nutty scent as well. Not able to make it past the bold coffee smell to find the hops.

T: Notice the coffee and chocolate right away. Caramel, nutty flavors play a supporting role. As the beer warms, I'm able to notice really nice citrus hops.

M: A little on the thin side for me. Dry finish. Not bad.

D: Nice, easy drinking beer with bold flavors.

Another winner from Surly.

Photo of manzilla86
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted 2-12-11 from a can into a pint glass.
Brew on date 12-10-10

A: Super foamy thick head 3 fingers thick with great retention. Really brown that illuminates a dark ruby red when held up to a light.

S: Citrusy hop aroma with hints of chocolate. I really don't notice the coffee aroma, which is pretty surprising considering the name of the beer.

T: Great tasting beer that's hoppy almost like a mild IPA. For some reason I am getting the chocolate hints again but no coffee taste. After 3-4 drinks I am beginning to pick up on the coffee taste. Weird. Don't know how I didn't notice it before.

M: Solid full mouthfeel. Feels full in your mouth and has a lingering coffee-like bitterness.

D: I was expecting a taste like, "Hey, would you like some beer with your coffee?" But instead got, "Hey, is there a little bit of coffee in my beer?" Despite not being what I had expected, it is extremely drinkable and very, very delicious.

Other brews might fulfill your coffee-mocha-chocolate longings better, but this is one great beer. It is a Surly, so I guess you expect that.

Photo of boomer31
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep brown, near black with brown edges. No stick, brown head.

S - Big roast coffee, bitter, hints of chocolatte. Very nice

T - more coffee, almost no bitterness from the coffee. Dry, similar to Bender. Nice bit of caramel malt in the back with more coffee in the finish

M - Very similar to Bender; dry, hint of bitterness and chocolatte.

D - A very nice change of pace for a brown ale. Very nice coffee flavor with almost no bitterness. Nice low carb and rich mouthfeel

Overall a very nice brown ale if you love coffee. Not your typical brown ale by any means. Very nice.

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

Surly's Coffee Bender pours up with a moderate effervescence that creates a medium tannish-brown head that perfectly collars the burnt umber-light mahogany body. Bright clarity, but the head retention possibly suffers from the coffee's essential oils as it collapses into itself rather quickly. The aroma is a mixture of caramel (molasses, black treacle, burnt toffee), toasted malt (Berner Zopf, Danish Rye or Knoppelchen bread), coffee & chocolate (cocoa nibs, espresso) along with a nice dark fruitiness (bilberry, elderberry) and a profound nuttiness (honey pecans, sugared almonds, toasted cashews). There's just a touch of earthy hops that come through the finish. Very low-negligible alcohol. The flavor starts off with a dark caramel maltiness that carries with it some of the aforementioned biscuity/nuttiness that combines with the coffee, light chocolate roastiness and the bitterness to create a well-balanced, dryish, bittersweet finish that shows some finesse. This medium-light bodied American Brown has just a touch of astringency that detracts, but overall it drinks more like an English Mild or evan a Brown Porter with its lower carbonation, creaminess and approachability. Coffee Bender is just an excellent session beer all the way around. It's time for another eye-opener with a Coffee Bender!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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

Thanks to wrightro07 for the trade! Poured from a can into my pint glass.

Appearance - pours a mahogany brown, pretty opaque, with a large-ish-bubbled tan head. The head recedes shortly after the pour and leaves a little lace sticking to the glass on the way down.

Smell - it's all sweet coffee at first, and then a little bit of hops poke through on the second whiff. Nothing else really comes through.

Taste - full, rich, and tasty! The coffee comes through pretty heavily, of course, but the hops do come through at the end. Another sip tastes a bit like an oatmeal stout, that kind of richness in the flavour. There are also flavours more like a dry stout as it warms a little. It's more complex than I thought it was the first time I drank it, but then again, I drank it kind of quickly the first time round.

Mouthfeel - it's definitely something rich. It feels substantial; I feel the same satisfaction that I do when I have a big breakfast out. Big body without knocking you out. I wish I knew a better way to describe it. It's just GOOD.

Drinkability - I like it, I would definitely have another, but I don't know about more than one more. I feel like I'd fill up on this pretty quickly, given the flavours and the heavier mouthfeel.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of korguy123. No canned on date on the bottom as was the case with other Surly beer I have had recently.

Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Medium to dark brown with a small amount of light brown head.

S - Bitter coffee, cocoa, a good amount of overall sweetness (some brown sugar and caramel) and a slight bitterness.

T - Bitter dark roasted coffee, brown sugar, cocoa. A nice lingering bitterness in the finish.

D - A unique beer. Definitely had its brown ale characteristics which is a nice change from typical coffee-infused porters and stouts.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A can poured into my duvel tulip, thanks to a great trader.

A- three fingers of tan rocky head rises from an aggressive pour that holds for a good bit then settles very slowly leaving behind all types of crazy sticky chunky lace like sea foam after a big storm. Murky very dark brown in color with just a dim amber glow at the edges when held to the light.

S- loads of coffee and toasted malts bring a dark bread thing with it. A bit of brown sugar and caramel. The simply amazing coffee sents really take the drivers seat but don't over shadow the rest.

T- huge coffee flavor but with no acrid or over roasted flavor. Like they say its like beans. Nutty with a touch of chocolate. Lightly sweet, caramel and brown sugar again. Its all so well integrated and balance that you really get taken for a great ride. Nice long roasty coffee finish.

M- a few steps less then medium in body with a smooth mid level carb that works perfectly against the body.

D- yes I would like to go on a bender with this bad boy. I enjoyed its base beer very much but this one is amazing. So easy to drink but you could spend hours on it picking it to pieces. One of my new favs. Damm surly not a bad beer yet.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,053 ratings.