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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,068 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,068
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 617
Gots: 250 | FT: 15
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: 2,068 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in an imperial pint glass...

Wow. This is the BEST brown ale I've ever had. The coffee makes this awesome.

This beer really drinks like iced coffee! The coffee is the biggest part of the nose and flavor-- some dry malts and burnt sugar/toffee underneath. The bitterness on the finish is well balanced and fantastic.

The full body holds good carbonation. It's a deep red, rosewood color with a tan head of 2 fingers. Some small lace rings are left behind. The looks aren't bad-- but the look isn't what's going to keep me coming back to this, the flavor and aroma will!

This is a fantastic beer for 10:30 am on a Sunday! I want more! If you like brown ales or coffee-- or both-- you must try this beer!

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Date: 2 February 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 16fl oz can, sent by 'Lenny1203'

Much thanks to Justin for this extra! Poured gently for a 1-finger head, reduces quickly to thin film, and has that familiar smooth Surly lacing! Color is deep brown. Aroma of very fresh roasted ground coffee beans....and that's it. Taste is exactly the same, with maybe a touch of chocolate. This is certainly different from any other coffee beer I've ever drank. It's like an iced coffee! I'm not sure anything else can be said. This is a smooth session beer for those that are obsessed with coffee like myself.

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

A - Very very dark. Held to the light you see it is a very dark red. Tan head and pretty clear. Head is small and doesn't settle.

S - Diacetyl and chocolate. Sweetness similar to an oatmeal stout. English smelling.

T - Thin and roasty finished with a bitter coffee flavor. A butterscotch flavor slowly pushes foward as you drink the beer. I'm guessing it is fermented with a British yeast strain. Bitterness comes from the malts and the coffee rather than the hops.

M - Thin and lightly carbonated. Slick mouth feel.

D - Very drinkable, good for breakfast!

Overall it is a nice beer. Enjoyable and not overly aggressive.

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

Thanks goes out to Pintglassjon for this one. 16oz can into an Odell 90 Shilling imperial pint. Canned on 12/30/10.

A: Pours a deep brown red, about the color of coffee, with a khaki colored head, almost an inch worth of frothy, rocky head that sticks around nicely. Nice red accents when held to the light, and a surprising clarity. Some nice chunks of lacing stick around as it recedes.

S: Coffee grounds blast the nose initially, fairly nutty and roasted with some caramel notes that follow fairly quickly. Exactly what one would expect, a nice coffee note in the nose followed by a decent brown ale profile.

T: Once again, huge coffee not initially, same nuttiness and roasted profile from the nose. Fair amount of oily coffee resins as well, not overwhelming but still a nice accent. Behind that are some sweet toffee and caramel notes from the lightly toasted malts. Just a faint hint of bitterness on the finish. Everything works really well on this beer for me.

M: Fairly light in body, carbonation is just a touch on the high side for me. Finishes quite dry.

D: Hell, its coffee and beer, and decent coffee and damn good beer at that. Two things that I thoroughly enjoy make for a damn tasty beer. Carbonation is just a touch high, but I could drink these all night...or morning for that matter. Wish I could get this locally.

Thanks Jon!

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

I love coffee and I really love beer, let's see how they go together.

Coffee Bender is chestnut brown or very dark amber when held up to light. The head is creamy and a shade darker than tan.

Surprisingly light on the coffee aroma. I get a lot of sweet roasted malt. Reminds me of chocolate malto-meal.

And there's the coffee! The initial taste is still chocolate malt, but the coffee bitterness jumps in and finishes strong. The transition from dark malt to coffee bitter is smooth and well done.

Photo of evanlarkin
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown. Imagine a strong coffee with a tiny splash of chocolate milk and you're probably getting close. A good sized head, very tan, which fades away very very slowly. Beautiful in the glass.

Coffee dominates with malt taste falling in behind it. The coffee aroma prevents you from noticing anything specific about the hops.

Coffee again is the dominating factor. The bitterness is more like hops than coffee though, which is interesting. A lot of the flavors that come out in the normal Bender are drowned out by the coffee, except for some possible chocolate notes.

Thick, creamy, and smooth. It makes you feel almost like you're drinking an iced coffee with a bit of cream, though the flavor goes pretty quick. Not that I mind picking up the glass to take another sip.

As a beer geek and a coffee nut, I could drink this all day. I've definitely had it with my breakfast before. It's lighter than a coffee stout, and as a result significantly more drinkable.

Photo of fragilehearted
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, tried the Bender, now for the Coffee Bender. Let's see how I like this. Can into a pint glass.

A - looks like the Bender, as I remember it. Dark brown, but clear when held up to the light. Same thick creamy head. Same clingy lacing, though not as much as I remember from the Bender. Very nice indeed.

S - roasted malts, coffee (obviously), chocolate. Nothing else really stands out - the coffee kind of dominates.

T - like an iced coffee. Not exactly surprising, I guess. Has a bit more hop bitterness than I'd care for, but doesn't really have a bitter aftertaste. Which is awesome! But it's kind of simple in general. The coffee is definitely the focus, though you get other flavors (molasses, chocolate) Not bad, though. I don't think it's quite as complex as the Bender.

M - A little on the thin side, but smooth finish, which is great. Low carbonation.

D - It's solid, but not that interesting. If I were local, I can see it being better than my average local, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again. But it's very easy to drink in general, didn't have any problem putting this one away.

Photo of SuperNova777
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanx to the godfather of SBI for this one

A:Poured a dark brown with a nice tan head that leaves good lacing

S:Smell was absolutly radical, just like a handful of coffe beans. I had a hard time keeping myself from smelling it, picked up a slight hint of chocolate as well but mostly COFFEE!!

T:Just as you would expect from the nose almost all you get is big coffee flavor, up front middle and back. Really I can't get enough of this

M:Good mouthfeel all around, palate is dominated by what you guess? Yeah all coffee everywhere

D:This was so tasty and easy to drink I couldn't get enough of it, had take it away from my woman because she wasn't gonna volunter to give it back after a taste. If you dig coffee search this one out

Photo of corby112
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with a two and a half finger frothy beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves large chunks of soapy mocha lacing behind.

Roasted malt aroma with tons of fresh ground coffee bean along with hints of chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and toffee in the nose.

Medium bodied with some tight carbonation up front that smooths out mid-palate. Very roasty wiu a huge coffee bean presence but this beer is never to acrid or dry. There is planety of rich chocolate maltiness as well as some caramel, toffee and nut to balance things out. Well balanced, complex, delicious and very quaffable. Recommended, especially for breakfast!

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into Guinness pint glass:

A - rich, dark brown - on the verge of black. Pour produces huge creamy white head, frothy and fizzy lacing.

S - light roasty malts and coffee beans. Bits of nut and oatmeal. Reminds me of a iced cappuccino.

T - Tastes just like a iced coffee. Its weird because I don't like coffee at all but I really enjoy coffee brews. Bits of milk chocolate and vanilla, nuts and oatmeal. Its really good.

M - Refreshing. A bit drying from the roast and coffee bitterness. Pretty clean and crisp.

D - Really easy to drink. I wouldn't mind drinking this in the morning with my breakfast. Its not quite coffee and its not quite beer, but a nice mixture of the two. If you're a coffee drinker, this is right up your ally.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,068 ratings.