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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,965 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,965
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 605
Gots: 220 | FT: 12
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: 1,965 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a deep brown color with hints of red on the edges, very hazy with particles floating around. light tan head that is quite thick and creamy in appearance, decent retention with very little lace.

S-lots of caramel right up front, notes of carmelized brown sugar and a hint of molasses. sweet with hints of coffee and a touch of dark fruits.

T-molasses and burth brown sugar up front with a good bit of caramel malt as a base. roasted, slightly burnt coffee with a strong hop presence in the finish with floral esters.

M-extremely smooth but medium to thin body that falls off in the back and feels a little watery. almost no carbonation at all.

D-smooth and thin, more like a strong ale, some balance and a light coffee notes.

cpetrone84, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's hard to beleive I've never reviewed this beer as many times as I've had it.

Poured into my imperial pint glass the beer is a work of art. Dark blood red with black edges. Full three finger beige head sets up shop and refuses to fade. After some serious waiting thick chunks of lace stick the glass.

The aroma is a hop forward brown ale. With a coffee back bone. Basically Bender with a scoop of coffee. A mix of hops, roast nuts and coffee.

The flavor is about as close to and iced coffee as you can possibly get in a beer. It starts of with a modest nutty hop kick reminding you that it's a beer. Then the flavor switches into full on coffee mode. The finish is so rich and coffee like it's almost comical.

Medium to light body with a hint of carboantion as it washes over your tongue.

Overall a wonderful beer that you can easily enjoy from morning until night.

beerwolf77, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of zoolzoo
2.65/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Surly Coffee Bender tastes strikingly similar to unsweetened iced coffee. Mission accomplished?

Firstly, I have to give Surly credit for infusing this beer with so much coffee flavor and aroma, pretty impressive. Unfortunately overall, I don't think the base beer can stand up to the beans. I cant really find many characteristics that are indicative to the brown ale buried under all of this coffee.

The aroma is pretty good actually. Ground coffee beans, slight bit of malt. I love the smell of coffee.

Taste is somewhat acidic, derivative of low quality, unsweetened coffee. Theres not enough malt to balance out the raw nuttiness - it needs to be a little sweeter and more well rounded. Goes down a little rough!

zoolzoo, May 26, 2010
Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dzyneguru for hooking me up.

A - Definitely in between brown and red. The head, however, is definitely big, brown, and sticky. It's lacing as it starts to recede.

s - Lots of really nice coffee aromatics that mix with the more traditional caramel and toffee notes from crystal malt. It definitely has the smell of fresh grounds as opposed to old, stale coffee that I've found in some other beers.

T - Off the bat, it's only fair to say that I don't like brown ales. They tend to be to sweet for my tastes, but considering the reputation of Coffee Bender and hopeful thinking that I might come around to the style, I had to give this a chance. Wow. Who knew coffee and a brown ale could play off of each other so nicely. First off, the thing that sticks out most is how the coffee contrasts with the sweetness of the malt. In a coffee stout, you're essentially getting double the amount of roasted flavor, where with this I think the roasted flavors are coming just from the coffee. The coffee has a really great, mild, slightly spicy flavor. This makes sense because, based on experience, Gautemalan coffees are very mild(unless it's a darker roast, but that isn't the case here).

Coffee flavors come in upfront here, then break away against the crystal malt flavors, then fall into some chocolate notes and finish again with coffee.

MF - It's thinner than I expected(but I think I associate the sweeter flavors of brown ales with a thicker feel), but it definitely works considering the ABV and the fact that I simply can't stop drinking it. It does finish slightly sticky.

D - Well, I have to say that this is the best brown ale I've ever had, and I wouldn't be surprised if I never have a better one. That is, until someone fuses another flavor with it that can't help me cope with the typical sweetness I don't care for.

My absolute favorite thing about Coffee Bender is how it showcases the coffee flavors so well by setting them against something contrasting. It's like having complementary versus contrasting flavors with a meal in that one isn't necessarily better than the other.

HitokiriNate85, May 24, 2010
Photo of Spica66
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark color, one-finger head, short retention, moderate carbonation.

S: Very espresso smelling!

T: Coffee, malty, roastiness! MMMM.

M: Sort of thin, but not to a fault.

D: Very easy to drink.

Very tasty to drink. Can't wait till I get my hands on more of this!

Spica66, May 20, 2010
Photo of CrossFitAlex
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can into a pint glass. Served a bit too cold; I had to hand-warm it for a bit.

A- Frothy, nice dark foam on top. Looks delicious. Dark brown / coffee color.
N - Strong coffee smell. Not a lot else-a few roasted malts.
T-strong coffee flavor to start--I really didn't get much else until it warmed up a bit. Roasted nutty flavor underneath.
M- strong carbonation, nice nutty brown ale


CrossFitAlex, May 14, 2010
Photo of GregSVT
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16oz can into a snifter

A: Pours a dark cola color with a brown head that fades to a ring and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The first whiffs have a ton of coffee along with a vanilla and malty aroma. Smells like an espresso with vanilla.

T: The taste initially is all coffee with a roasty bitterness that fades to a sweet malty taste on the finish.

M: The feel is slightly creamy but on the lighter side of medium bodied. Could be a bit thicker here...

D: If you like coffee beers I could see someone drinking good amount of these. It's roasty and relatively refreshing.

Glad I got to try it and recommended.

GregSVT, May 14, 2010
Photo of copyguyadam
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you like Bender and you like Coffee, I don't know why you should drink regular coffee anymore. Seriously, the coffee taste in this comes out perfect. I wish I could find these beans!

A = Frothy foam on this one. Looks great!
S = I love coffee, and this doesn't smell like beer in coffee... just coffee.
T = Intense coffee flavor in a really good beer.
M = Light and just right for this style.
D = First thing I want to grab when I wake up in the morning.

copyguyadam, May 10, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown ale color with a healthy tan coffee head. Ah what a nice surprise, a brown ale and not a porter or stout with coffee in it! Brilliant

Smell of strong coffee, slight acid aroma from beans, English brown malts, some light chocolate hints, and nutty grains.

Taste of coffee up front, no joke iced Dunkin Donuts with no cream or sugar. Roasted Nut flavors are next followed by some lightly astringent coffee flavors and caramel.

Light mouthfeel and a strong carbonation. This is an easy drinking brown ale and as an added bonus in a can.

alpinebryant, May 08, 2010
Photo of urwithdave
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Drank this from my cigar city snifter.

A- Pours about as dark as u can get without being called black. Two fingers of a tan head that has pretty good retention. Tons of lacing left. A very looking beer.

A- I get roasted malts in a big way up front. There is some biscuit or bread in the mix. The coffee isn't shining through and is pretty faint.

T- follows the nose. A ton of roasted malts rolling up on me right away. The coffee is present, but I was expecting it to play a biiger part. There is a faint chocolate in play along with some very distant vanilla. As the beer warms, I get more coffee.

M- perfect level of carbonation, but way to thin. I really enjoyed this beer, I just wish it was a little creamier.

D- very good. I could drink it all night long and be happy.

urwithdave, May 05, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

G - Samuel Smith's pint

A - Black hue and tan foam, sticky lace everywhere. Basically perfect.

S - The mild understated nose is of chocolate and some light roasty tones, but mostly mocha-milk chocolate. Faint.

T - Same as the nose, although the roasted tones are much more present and impactful. Vanilla nuances and a smoothness imparted from the oats make this quite a mild and understated coffee-centric beer. And that is likely a good thing; there is certainly a glut of crass coffee beers out there, and it is nice to see something more reserved.

M - Softly carbonated, enhances the flavor.

D - Surly needs to get distribution here in Florida. This stuff is great.

ktrillionaire, May 03, 2010
Photo of billab914
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Pours brown in color with a big bubbly tan colored head. It had very nice head retention as well as left some excellent lacing on the glass.

The aroma has caramel, cocoa, bready & nutty malts and of course coffee. The coffee really integrates well into the other flavors and doesn't overpower the other great Bender flavors.

The taste has cocoa and caramel coming through more up front and the bitter coffee comes through more in the finish. Like the nose it has a nice bready and nutty malt flavor to it. The coffee really integrates well into the flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it was a pleasure to drink. Overall it had some great flavors and the coffee really enhanced the overall flavor instead of taking it over which was great. Very enjoyable beer.

billab914, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed 4-29-10
Reviewed cold from a can to a glass

A - 2 fingers of foam, black with a tan head

S - Heavy malt flavor mixed with coffee beans

T - Tastes like a cup of coffee but with malt, medium to full bodied, malty sweetness but not much, maybe some chocolate but faint

M/D - Another excellent brew from Surly, great blend of malts and coffee. Well balanced for a twist on the American brown ale style. A for sure must try and comes highly recommended!!!! Love to start my mornings with a cup of Coffee bender but I don't think I can have just one

FreshmanPour77, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've sampled this one several times during local tastings over the past year, but this the first can I've had all to myself. Big thanks to kbutler1 for the four-pack, this is one of many great Surly beers I'll be enjoying thanks to him.

Coffee Bender pours a translucent mahogany color, dark nearly to the point of being opaque but not quite there. A thin tan cap tops the beer, never quite rising to a large height but exhibiting good retention.

The nose displays equal amounts of coffee and toast. The coffee has a freshly-ground quality to it, nearly espresso-like. Malt is reserved but it has a distinct toast character, which only serves to enhance the air of breakfast; it's like a cup of black coffee and a plate of freshly toasted bread.

Toasted malt hits the palate first, with coffee not far behind. The coffee character obliterates a lot of the depth and subtlety that regular Bender has, but the coffee character in itself displays a lot of complexity; it's earthy, roasty, lightly acidic - one of the most rounded and complex coffee profiles I've detected in a beer. The finish has equal amounts of toast, roast, toffee and coffee. It finishes coffee-forward, slightly bitter and decidedly dry with a coffee grounds finish. This is stellar, up to Surly's usual high standards and pretty unique to boot.

largadeer, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of boatshoes
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a very nice package from my man Roburg, thanks!

Appearance- Pours a medium shade of brown that lets some light in around the edges and adds a nice tinge to the beer. A controlled pour into a twelve ounce shaker (all I had on hand despite the pint can) yielded a pretty minimal half finger or so of tan head. Died back relatively quickly.

Smell- Wow, what can I really say other than lots and lots of bitter coffee. Smells like my father's favorite Tanzanian Peaberry when you thrown in a little extra to make a pot. Some roasted malt evident in there as well to be sure, but coffee coffee coffee.

Taste- More coffee. My buddy Roburg once described this beer as the closest a beer could come to being an iced coffee and I really have to say he was spot on. Roasted malt, bitter coffee, and coffee grinds all the way. A great coffee flavor if that is what you are looking for. If not, there is absolutely no reason to be drinking this one.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is just a touch thin, though I expected that with the added coffee. Drinkability was pretty amazing though as this really really reminded me of iced coffee and at its average strength went down fast.

Overall, a very good coffee beer if coffee in your beer is what you want. Coffee coffee coffee!

boatshoes, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of herman77
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a ruby red hue. A little bit of khaki colored soft-head. Nice sticky, small bubble lacing is left everywhere.

S: Fresh roasted coffee with a hint of carmel malt.

T: Wow. This is very very coffee flavored. Holly shit! Its too coffeeish for me. Intense dark roast up front that goes bitter with a touch of toasted malt. Its like an iced coffee with malt flavoring. If I was a coffee drinker, I'm sure I would love this.

M/D: Medium to lighter body. Carbonation seems on the higher side. Drinkability is pretty low for me due to the intense coffee flavor. A pint is too much for me.

Too coffee forward, its not my thing.

herman77, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of Onenote81
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to BeerFMAndy for procuring this can for me! Knocked it off my 'wants' list...

Poured into a pint glass for a mid-morning drink. It's got coffee in it, this early is acceptable, no?

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a massive tan head billowing out. Excellent retention on this one. Left lots of sticky globs and webbing all over the glass. The nose is not as coffee-forward as the can would lead you to believe. I'm getting notes of honey, brown sugar, maple syrup and bread. Just the faintest of coffee scents on the backend. A little disappointing to say the least. Still, it smells great.

The body is thinner than I'd like as well. Compared to the 'regular' Bender, this one is lacking in bite and depth. Maybe the coffee plays a part(?). The flavor as well is lacking the big bold coffee presence I was expecting. This beer carries the common characteristics to most browns: a nice bready flavor, some toasted brown sugar, light bitterness. There is a lightly sour note present. Coffee? Not sure. Some mild roasted aftertaste which I can assume is from the coffee added.

I kept the score a little higher on the flavor, because though it lacked the coffee I was expecting, this still was a damn good brown. Better than many. I'd have another, and even another. But they could "bold" it up a bit more IMO. Thanks again for the opportunity, Andy.

Onenote81, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 16oz. can acquired in a trade into my Troegs Trogenator mug at the appropriate temperature (03/20/10).

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown capped with 1.5 fingers of a creamy light tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Great coffee aroma with a splash of malt. This beer smells like a nice glass of iced coffee.

T: Wow! The coffee flavor is unbelievable and it is like you are actually drinking iced coffee.

M: Medium-bodied with appropriate carbonation. Rather creamy with some nice bitterness.

D: Easy to drink and low in abv.

Overall this was a great coffee-infused American Brown Ale and another fine offering from Surly. Thanks again Meagan and Nate! Recommended.

Lunch, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of SiepJones
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this in an excellent trade with translucent.
Poured into a Guinness tulip pint

A: Pours a very deep brown, like a porter or a cup of black coffee. Two inches of head sit atop this beer.
S: I can smell coffee beans the second I pour the beer. As I put my nose to it I smell rich, deep coffee flavors, it's almost like sticking your nose into a bag of fresh coffee beans. There is a slight hint of dark chocolate on the back end.
T: WOW, bigger coffee taste in the flavor than in the scent. Coffee bender tastes like a nice cup of iced joe with a little cream and sugar in it. Roast and slightly sweet up front, a touch of bitter at the end. This beer makes me think of a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
M: Very slick mouth, like a porter. Low carbonation.
D: If you like coffee this is very drinkable due to its excellent flavor and low ABV. If you are not a coffee drinker you probably wont drink more than one. If I ever drank a beer in the morning Coffee Bender would be my choice.

SiepJones, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of ZorPrime
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BigBry for this beer.

Color is black, however not very dark. More like a black color found in porter. I drank this like it was a stout, however I see here that it is more like a brown ale. Quite dark for a brown ale.

Some reddish notes on the edge. The head is creamy, beige and quite dense. The aroma presents notes of coffee with some chocolate. The coffee aroma is typical of coffee grains. The chocolate aroma is the one of a dark chocolate. The taste is like crunching on coffee beans that are coated in dark chocolate. The bitterness is what you usually found in an espresso coffee. It lingers in the mouth. Medium body with carbonation. The head sticks well to the glass. A very good beer for everyday. Not too heavy for a beer, and quite sessionable.

ZorPrime, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of Cresant
2.88/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 16 oz. can into a Sierra Nevada Hops glass. The modest head sat atop a murky brown body. It reminded me of really strong brewed tea that has sat too long. Not too pretty.

Smell was porter-like. Some raisin notes. No coffee aroma? Odd.

Taste was coffee. Sweet fruitiness, raisins. Tangy. Light brown sugar. Much more Brown Ale than Coffee.

Mouthfeel was thinner than expected. Mild carbonation. Not a favorite.

Cresant, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of ColForbinBC
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into an imperial pint
Big thanks to Mikey711 for the extra

Pours a dark brown with a lingering mahogany hue. A huge, billowy, foamy head that leaves huge chunks and rings of lace.

Roasted coffee beans and a mild nuttiness. Caramel and toffee with a touch of molasses round out the flavor profile. Subtle, not overpowering but pleasing and inviting.

Toffee and caramel lay a nice foundation while the coffee grounds dominate. There is a nice sweetness that lingers and the bitter coffee meld nicely. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy coffee flavor and this guy has a load of it.

A medium light body that is creamy and supple. A little thin, but overall enjoyable. The finish is cold roasted coffee, slightly bitter.

The body and somewhat simple flavor profile coupled with a low abv make this easy to drink.

ColForbinBC, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cpetrone84 for sharing this one!

A- Body is a somewhat hazy medium brown hue. Pours with an approximately 1 finger fizzy off-white head that pretty much fades to a thin collar immediately-but has good retention from there.

S-Big nose of rich caramel malt, toffee, molasses, and a bit of roasted malt to balance and give it that coffee character.

T-Flavor is not as exciting as the nose. Upfront the main character is toffee and a hint of molasses is in there as well. It has a bit of a coffee impression but nothing huge. The finish is sweeter than the initial flavor.

M- Light to medium drinkable body with a feel that is smooth and creamy.

D- This is a nice, light, drinkable coffee brew. Not my favorite by Surly but still a very solid, well put together brew.

PittBeerGirl, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of bwiechmann
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am a coffee fanatic so this review may be slightly biased

A- Deep brown with light edges. Beautiful head holds up extremely well with minimal lacing.

S- Perfect. Best aroma I have experienced from a beer. The coffee is present and primary but not overpowering. It plays nicely with the roasted malts. Some nutty notes are noticed in the background. Excellent.

T/M- What makes this beer superb is that the coffee flavors don't drown out the flavors of the original Bender. The coffee is noticeable most on the back-end. Up front you get the delicious roasted malts and nuttiness. Really balances out well.
A titch on the light-medium side but still, good mouthfeel.

D- A great, great beer. Surly hits a gold again with this brew. Drinking this beer sincerely improves the quality of my life. I can certainly get through a few of these in one session.

bwiechmann, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mohagany with a purple hue. Thick, creamy off-white head that remains.
Smell is dominated by roasted coffee. The malts come out from underneith, with some caramel and chocolate.
Taste is again heavily dominated by brewed coffee. Creamy malted notes come in after, with some more malty caramel and toffee.
Mouthfeel is somewhat flat and watery, but with a fair amount of carbonation, strongly resembling a lager. Medium light body.
The almost overwhelming coffee aspect of this one cuts the drinkability down some. Compared to many other coffee infused beers, this one seems a bit off balance. There's a bit too strong of a division between the beer and coffee in this beer.

Parrotbeak, Mar 27, 2010
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,965 ratings.