1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,139 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,139
Reviews: 785
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 629
Gots: 271 | 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.
View: Beers (42) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,139 | Reviews: 785
Photo of Eriktheipaman
1.99/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a pretty much solid black with one finger tan head.

The smell was pretty much only coffee. And when I say coffee I don't mean coffee notes or beans I mean straight coffee.

The taste was also JUST of coffee. It tasted like day old coffee served cold with a little carbonation and a light mouthfeel.

I tend to love beers with coffee added but this one was just gross. I guess I could have gotten an off can but I tend to think this beer is just not for me so take this review as you will.

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

canned 6-8-11, opened on 6-29-11. Poured into my dfh snifter, pours a barely cloud dark brown color. about 2 fingers of off-white head recedes down and leaves only a ring surrounding the glass. Smell- iced coffee, straight up. Hard to smell anything else here. Maybe some mocha notes as well, but this one is all about the coffee. Taste- roasty espresso, dark coffee flavors here. A little sweetness from the malt. Am I drinking coffee, or beer here? Very hard to tell, only thing that really sets them apart is the carbonation. Mouthfeel- nice, silky, smooth. Drinkability- if you love coffee, you will love this. If you don't love coffee, I can't see how this could possibly be enjoyable. But, I love coffee, so there you go. Nice job Surly.

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

Poured from a can into a pint glass. My first Surly can...hooray!!!

A- pours dark brown, nearly black, with a one finger tan head that quickly fades. Not a lot of lacing on this one. Well, it pours like a brown ale, that's for sure

S- it's called Coffee Bender for a reason. Lots of coffee goodness coming out of this one, flooding my nasal passage with that roasted goodness. It's got a little bit of the nuttiness you'd expect from a brown ale, too...

T- first and foremost, I'm getting the nutty characteristics you'd expect from a brown ale. This isn't a big stout, with huge coffee flavors. After the nuttiness, then the coffee comes in, and it's more a complimentary flavor. The finish is actually a little sweet, like chocolate. Wonderful

M- just about right. Maybe a tad bit watery....not too stout at all though

O- very solid brown ale. I haven't had the regular Bender to compare, but I'm a fan of this

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

Pours a dark brown color, letting some light in around the edges, cap of stiff creamy off-white head with decent retention. Scent is of fresh brewed black coffee on top of a carmely sweet and nutty brown ale base. Taste is a bit deeper then nose lead towards, coffee is fresher, more bean then brewed, and mingles perfectly with a rich nutty, light chocolaty, fresh grain and malty sweet brown ale base. The hallmark of Surly beers continues to be the smooth creamy body all of their beers acheive and the oats in this beer only continue to contribute to that. Overall, well balanced between coffee and brown ale.

Photo of kevinv
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A long-want of mine, Surly Coffee Bender, canned on 06/08/2011 poured into my new awesome Surly Mug, perfect for coffee or Coffee Bender! Both the beer and the mug are courtesy of a great trader, KeefD.

A - The beer pours a deep, dark brown, with some lighter translucent edges. Very large foamy tan head sits on top. Sticky lacing throughout.

S - I absolutely love coffee and coffee beers and this one sits near the top in terms of smell. The coffee aroma is very fresh and fairly powerful. I could smell the coffee after I poured and even walked away from the glass. Very rich coffee with notes of chocolate and a nuttiness.

T - I've never had the regular Bender, so I can't compare, but this one is damn delicious. As with the nose, the coffee is front and center. The coffee is lightly bitter. Wonderful nuttiness and a nice brown ale sweetness. A little bit of an earthy, hoppy presence. It's a low ABV beer and the taste doesn't show any sign of alcohol. The finish is dry with a long lingering coffee taste.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Perfect for the ABV.

O - Overall, this one was a homerun for me. I think I said it in a past review, but I've been in love with everything from Surly that I've tried. This is a very flavorful and easy drinking beer. Like my new mug says, "It's never too early to get Surly." I could seriously see myself drinking this with breakfast.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this at an awesome tasting last night. thanks tom!

pours out nearly black, dark brown color, decent looking biege head.

blown away by the aroma! tons of coffee, like smelling a handful of expresso coffee beans. the aromas of the regular bender (sampled minutes before) are lost behind all the coffee.

again lots of high quality coffee, the regular bender base is more noticable. some light roasted malt and bits of cocoa. creamy, smooth mouthfeel, medium bodied.

overall: as a lover of coffee beers, this is definatly at the top of my list. one of the more memorable beers of the night, which included almost the whole surly lineup, including darkness, four, and smoke.

Photo of argock
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into a Duvel tulip. Canned on 06/08/11 stamped on the bottom of the can. Received through the philanthropy of my brother Greg.

A: Soft brown with generous 1 1/2-finger soft beige head with good retention and spots of lace all around the glass.

S: A wonderful blend of dark malty aromas and strong, lightly acidic, medium roasted coffee. The coffee smell is soft but dominates the aroma. If you are a coffee beer lover, this is where it's at for coffee beer aroma.

T: The flavor is very good but is clearly less complex than original Bender as the coffee flavor, which is fruity in a berrylike way with a medium-dark roasted character. The brown ale Bender original flavors are dark malty with mostly bready, crusty flavors.

M: Very smooth and silky with low carbonation and medium body.

O: I really like the beer and would probably select it over the original Bender, but just barely. They present different features, both good, but the coffee flavor is very well done and very enticing.

Photo of TheGordianKnot
3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned 3.11.11... Poured into goblet

A- Pours very dark brownish amber color with mahogany corners. Very large tan crema head, light, fluffy, stable... Incredible lacing

S- Very sweet burnt sugar and the obvious coffee aroma is present, but a bit dull and approaching stale. A bit tart as well that clashes with some chalkiness; almost like a tart cherry Tums...

T/M- A bit light in flavor. Tastes like weak diluted coffee without a strong base beer. Again that tartness shows up and I really feel like it shouldn't be there. I'm really not feeling this beer for first bit, but as it warmes a sweetness takes over and a little chocolate shows to bring me around. My final impression is a nice nutty chocolate brown ale with a touch of coffee. Fairly light on the tongue with moderate carbonation, would appreciate a bit heavier feel I think.

O- Decent. Not great as I had hopes for, but it did save face in the end. I look forward to trying regular Bender to get a better grasp on the base beer before trying this again

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

Spent the last week in MN. Picked up a couple Surly cans.

Pours a deep brown with a full inch head. As it settles there is some lacing left.
Smells of rich black coffee, unsweetened dark chocolate, and a little vanilla bean.
Tastes really freaking good! Chocolate covered coffee beans and toffee. Kind of like drinking a Heath bar. Seriously.
Mouthfeel is a little thin, average for a brown ale. Carbonation is perfect.
I'm really digging this beer right now. It's not too thick to drink in the summer. Should make for a great early morning camping beer.

Photo of DearthVader
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to larsenju for this.

Got home from a long night at work and decided I needed this in my glass. Poured into my Spaten glass.

Pours an somewhat intimidating dark brown with a small 1/2" tan head. The head recedes to a crown and light film atop the deep brown body. No signs of lacing in this one. Slight legs, but they don't hang around for long.

Smell is of sweet toffee, slight dark chocolate, and roasted coffee. Pick up some cake batter notes.

Taste is upfront with the sweet candy toffee and cake batter, leading into the beautiful roasted coffee finish. Love the linger of the coffee in this one. Very nice.

Was not expecting this to be as drinkable as it is. Super crisp and light bodied. Its hard to expect that from the appearance of this brew. Insanely refreshing for a coffee dominant brown ale.

Liked this one quite a bit. I was expecting the coffee to be a little bit stronger in this one, but that would've taken away its insane drinkability so I can't complain. Surly needs to find a way to make their selves available in SoCal. They continue to impress me, and I expect the impressing won't end any time soon.

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

Much thanks to Dearthvader for the gift!

Poured a very dark chocolate brown with a nice 1 finger tan foamy head. Pretty good retention with a touch of lacing. Pretty viscous.

Notes of rich cocoa and obviously coffee with a slight sour maltiness. As the beer warms it Is completely coffee dominant on the nose.

Flavor starts out with a touch of bitter chocolate but quickly transitions to the pronounced coffee. Then across the palate I got a nice, interesting chili flavor like a smoky tobacco or smoked paprika. Full bodied flavor with a deep, dark maltiness. Rich yet balanced coffee flavor with some other subtle notes makes it an overall great flavor.

Mouth is creamy and smooth with pretty low carbonation.

Overall this is a great beer. Much better than anticipated. Normally I wouldn't buy a canned beer. This beer by no means screams out " drink me, I'm delicious" like alot of bottle beers do. In fact my wife thought I was drinking a root beer. But thanks to Dearthvader for the gift I got to experience and enjoy this lovely canned beer.

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

Poured from the can dated mid-March into a chalice glass.

Pours a lovely dark brown with a nice one and a half finger tan head that leaves minimal lacing.

Smells like toffee, some dark fruits, and a bunch of coffee beans.

Starts of very sweet, with that touch of dark fruit and maybe a little chocolate, immediately rushes into the coffee which is nice and mild, finishes with the coffee combining with some bitterness and a touch of roasted malt.

Pretty light mouthfeel, light bodied.

Extremely drinkable, call this one "Founders Breakfast Stout Light" ... or FBS Lite... whatever, you get the picture. Great beer, here.

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

Appearance: Brown color with hints of red hues, an inch of tanish head floating on the top of the pint
Smell: It is coffee and a little roastiness in the nose
Taste: Coffee is the main aspect but it does not overwhelm the malt and maybe even a little hops in the backround.
Mouthfeel: Maybe a little more watery than would like but this is not a stout even though the coffee smell and taste would like to trick you into thinking that it is.
Coffee Bender is a great beer on a warm summer afternoon or on a colder fall evening great for all occasions.

Photo of aepb1
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown body with a nice creamy tan head

S- coffee, sweet chocolate and some bready malts

T- coffee and chocolate again off the bat. Some more sweet bready malts and this finishes with some roastiness

M- medium-bodied, a lot lighter than I'd thought it would be. Moderate carbonation.

O- so after reading this is billed as a brown ale, I'm quite impressed as I thought it was a porter...!

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

Canned 4/12/11

Pour is very similar to regular Bender - darker brown color with some dark red highlights, almost like a cola. Nice 1/2 inch of tan head that settles to a creamy cap on top.

I get a nice dose of coffee and roasted malt in the nose. Taste produces the coffee upfront, some nice roasted malts and chocolate balance this out in the middle before a bitter coffee finish.

Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, and fairly dry. Its kinda odd (in a good way) to get such a bold coffee flavor in a beer of this style - I am used to such a flavor being a bit more thick / viscous.

Really nice beer! After drinking both Bender and Coffee Bender in consecutive nights, both are great examples of a flavorful and aromatic brown ale, something that can be hard to find at times. I look forward to trying some more Surly offerings if / when I get the chance.

Photo of Wadsey
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in DFH signature glass.

A: Pours brown with amber highlights. No appreciable effervescence or lacing. The head initially stands a couple inches high, but quickly falls to a skim.

S: A surprising blast of overly steeped sun tea, pungent instant-tea grinds and lime/lemon hops. As the beer opens up, roasted coffee grinds do become evident, but I keep smelling tea, too. I'm guessing at toasty and caramel malts, but the tea and coffee notes are clearly in charge.

T: I'm stunned by how soft the flavor profile is initially, but I think mouthfeel is quickly insinuating itself into my consideration. It's not like a chain of tastes working here, more of a resonation. The coffee profile starts from cold, dull coffee to freshly brewed cup of coffee to coffee grinds and ends at coffee beans. If the palate ends with coffee beans, you know the finish is dominated by roasted bitterness and lasts for a long time. A slight acidic quality plays at subthreshhold, most likely released from coffee beans/grinds.

M: A little watery but soft and somewhat creamy. Body is light, as is carbonation.

O: Coffee Bender strikes one note, but what an intriguing note it turns out to be. Good drinkability, too.

Thanks to bstyle for leaving this pounder behind!

Photo of t420o
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Schmoopsbeer for this one

Can to nonic pint glass

A- Pours brown with hints of chestnut. Light mocha colored head that is 1-1/2 fingers recedes very quick leaving nice lacing. Very good looking beer.

S- Coffee, milk chocolate, toasted malt, an iced coffee type smell

T- Taste upfront is of excellent coffee and milk chocolate. Kind of like an iced caramel latte. Finishes with very little bitterness and slightly dry. Very good

M- Smooth and creamy although a bit light.

O- Very drinkable. This was my second beer from Surly and it was another success in my book. I just wish I could go down the street to my local liquor store and pick up a 4 pack of any of their stuff (especially abrasive). Another great job Surly!!!!

Photo of Nugganooch
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review made possible by trade with Mid -
Cheers bro!

A: Pours that deep dark mahogany brown just like the original with those garnet hues around the edges. Frothy 1 finger burnt khaki tan head with some nice lacing.

S: Toasted nutty grains expected of the brown style are handed over to a nice subtle roasted coffee bean aroma.

T: Like a straight iced black coffee! Nice nutty caramel toffeeness. Chocolatey toasted grains with a dry roast java finish. Bitters and black coffee give a bit of acridity to it with a sort of tart sourness.

M: Medium light bodied brew that is ver creamy in texture. But has an acrid bitter quality that sort of tarts the palate on the finish.

D: Quite refreshing out of a nice cold can - you totally get that iced coffe feel out of drinking this brew if that is something you would enjoy.

Another solid Surly brew. I think while the original Bender does lend itself to some coffee flavors with the coffee additions here you lose a lot of that great mouthfeel from the oats and a sort of tart bitterness takes over. Would definitely have another but would prefer to stick to the original really.

Photo of bs870621345
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 3/23

Pours a hazy brown with a half inch of head. Leaves a little lacing down the glass.

Smell is coffee, nuts, roast, and earthy hops.

Taste follows smell, opens with coffee and finishes with it. Throughout the middle there are nuts, caramel, and hops. The end is a bit off in a sort of burnt coffee sort of way.

Mouthfeel is moderate with good carbonation.

Overall, I prefer bender. They are both great brown ales, however the coffee takes over a lot of the nuances in bender.

Photo of colt45n
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black just like coffee, small brown head even when poured aggressively, disperses quickly.

S: light, coffee sent on the nose, by no means overwhelming, getting a little bit of cocca.

T: Very good! Just as the can says tastes just like a ice coffee, to bad you can't find this on every corner..

Overall I really enjoyed this one, def one of my favorite "coffee" to date, at $11.50/4pack it might carry a little heavfty of a price tag though..

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

Thanks to Chico1985 for this can, I will have to get him his Founders RIS 4 pack very soon.

A- Poured into my new Hill Farmstead Tulip/wine glass with a nice black body, some brown around the edges. Light mocha head forms at about a finger and has decent retention. A creamy ring leaves a few webs of lace.

S- Dominated by dark roast coffee beans, a very nice java aroma. Also has some buttery caramel malt in the background.

T- Once again, a nice dark roast coffee flavor that competes with any good coffee I can think of. Certainly a good amount of caramel malt and dark fruit in the background.

MF- Lighter end body for a stout with moderate carbonation and some bitterness from the roast coffee. Some acidity as well.

A lighter, more drinkable beer with a great coffee profile. I like that it is 5% ABV and you could easily pick up a pack and drink a few. I am used to very big stouts infused with coffee but this breaks that trend for me.

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

This was an odd beer for me that reminded me of a homebrew brown ale I added coffee to just to see which process for adding the coffee worked best. This beer was very drinkable, but the coffee and beer did not seem to meld together. You tasted the coffee and then the brown ale, as opposed to some of the better coffee stouts where the flavors blend in together and you get a more cohesive flavor profile. Carbonation and mouthfeel were good, nice and dry and drinkable as well with good body for the style. The nose was coffee, slight roastiness/toasty grains, and no hop aroma. Overall I would like to try this one again, maybe then I'll 'get it'.

Photo of GoldenVIKE
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kudos to Surly for creativity on this one...

A - pours a very dark brown with a mahogany tinge. very good 2-finger head which quickly dissipates into a ring and leaves a nice, sticky lace.

S - about all that's going on here is the smell of cold coffee. as it warms it smells like coffee that's had milk & sugar added.

T - cold coffee, with a little sweetness and nuttiness.

M - very light body... it's hard to get used to drinking a coffee-flavored beer that isn't a stout or a porter.

O - Overall Surly gets an A for effort. I'd drink this again and I'd recommend it to others, but I'm thinking there's a reason that you don't see too many coffee-flavored brown ales. It's good, but won't win any awards.

Photo of Penguin3200
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally reviewing CB, this Sunday of memorial day weekend. Can dated 4-21-11 poured into pint mug. Nice appearance and good carbonation that just makes coffee bender what it is. Medium brown hue but darker than bender. Coffee malt and faint hops on the nose. Taste is what makes this one a go to summer coffee beer. This can was made for the early Saturday and Sunday tee time crowd and is a frequent stowaboard in my bag.

Delicate mouthfeel but loads of coffee and toasty malts. Tight hops cue the finish with a bit bitter pucker from the coffee and hops.

Love the CB and always have a few in the fridge.

Photo of Bennettrox
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to GoldenJet for the Surly!

A - Pours like a coffee with a bit of cream added, nice lacing for a brown ale.

S - Feint coffee smell, not overpowering like most coffee beers. This is a brown ale though, not a stout, so that's taken into consideration. I swear the more this warms that I"m getting a green tea smell as well. Weird, but it works.

T - Iced coffee, maple, brown sugar, more green tea. Interesting.

M - This is thin and goes down easy. If I was wanting a coffee beer in the summer, this would be it.

O - I enjoyed this one, but not as much as I thought I would. The coffee is not the star in this beer but rather a player of many in this brown ale. Great brown ale, but I feel like they missed the mark with the coffee a little bit.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,139 ratings.