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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,968 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,968
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
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: 1,968 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of weatherdog
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a nonic pint glass.

It pours a semi transparent brown cola color with minimal tan head. The smell is just smooth black coffee, not r=a lot of roastiness and no detectable bitterness, like an ice coffee made from a french press. Really pleasing and inviting. The taste is just the same. I think I've had french press ice coffee that tastes just like this. There is very little beer character in here which I think is what the brewer has intended. I haven't had the base beer but now I'm wishing I picked up some so I could compare. The absence of bitterness and high roastiness is what makes this beer unique and one of my favorite coffee flavored beers. I could put this in the office coffee pot and I doubt no one would be the wiser; although the day would be more interesting. Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery but that is my only complaint. I'm sad I only picked up a 4-pack of this from my MN trip.

weatherdog, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

a - A very dark brown color with about an inch of foam and and moderate carbonation. Looks similar to Bender, but not as much head.

s - Obviously a heavy coffee smell, with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. It really smells like smelling a bag of coffee beans.

t - Again, tastes strongly of coffee, as well as roasted malts. Also had a little bit of toffee/cream taste to it.

m - Light body but very carbonated. Smooth and creamy feel to it.

d - The can really doesn't like about this one; it really tastes just like an iced coffee. I liked the creamy coffee taste it gave off and the smell is one of straight coffee. Definitely look forward to getting more of this stuff.

mdfb79, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech for this one!

16 oz. can:

Pours dark brown with rubyish highlights. A thin light brown head leaves lacing.

The smell is of roasted coffee beans.

The taste is of iced coffee - roasty. After a little while, a caramel/toffee brown ale undertone comes through to back up the roasted iced coffee, improving it. It has a roasty finish.

Medium-to-full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth.

Roasted iced coffee and Bender mix. Balance leans towards the coffee. Becomes more balanced as it progresses. I'm thinking that this could have replaced one of my weekend morning coffees. Certainly one for coffee (and of course beer)lovers to try!

jwc215, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of Jayli
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired this from Beerbeagle courtesy of No One Wants to See a Beer Geek Naked #2 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a thin but deep rich brown. Lighter chestnut hues around the edge when held to the light. A one finger of light brown head sits on top and recedes moderately. Nice sheets of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is of rich coffee bean. Minor hints of caramel and dark malts, but MAN - I swear I could stick my nose in a coffee bag and get the same scent!

T: Taste is sublime. The can says it's like Ice Coffee, and that is NO damn joke! Rich coffee notes - fresh as fresh coffee can be. Charred and roasted malts. Some mild hints of hops in the finish that make this one of the best beers that has crossed my palate.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp body with a very dry yet sticky finish to it.

D: This is a phenomenal beer. Damn the beer gods for teasing me with this! Truly though, this is a great beer, not filling, beyond tasty. If it were distributed to me, it would most definitely be my go to beer!

Jayli, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ahalloin for hooking me up with this. I've been wanting to try this brew for some time.

Served into a pint glass.

A: bubbly like a coca-cola with a nice head and good lacing

S: coffee, obviously, but not as much as I hoped for and expected. I'm gonna try another can as soon as I can and see if I get the same result. It makes me feel like I'm in Starbucks.

T: Creamy iced coffee. Again, I feel like I'm in Starbucks. This is seriously tasty. You have to be a coffee drinker to really appreciate this one. Super smooth and creamy, I just wish it had more coffee.

M: nice mix of smooth with crisp carbonation. I wonder if the can contributed to that.

D: Honestly, I could drink this with breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. This is refreshing iced coffee beer. If you like coffee and beer, this is your session beer.

Huhzubendah, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of Wisconsinality
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 16 oz can into a mug

A- Pours a deep brown that is barely transparent when held up to the light. There is about a finger's worth of head that recedes pretty quickly and not much lacing left on the glass.

S- Coffee. Fresh coffee and a nice little hint of malt. It's really like I have a cup of coffee in front of me.

T- Again the dominant taste is coffee. Nice and fresh. There is also some malt in there on the tail end. I can see why they would say you could drink this in the morning. If you gave this to someone they would think it was cold coffee if you didn't tell them.

M- A nice medium bodied brew with a good amount of carbonation. Again they basically made a beer that is spot on with regular coffee. Good job Surly.

D- This beer tastes good and goes down smoothly. If I were tailgating I would start the morning off with this one. The ABV is high so it makes for a good session beer. Too bad you can only get this in Minnesota. Another good beer from Surly.

Wisconsinality, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, tan, thick, foamy head that head big bubbles. It left sticky sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of fresh coffee beans with notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - It had a bitter coffee bite with dark chocolate flavors. A mild caramel flavor emerges as it warms. There were also subtle fruity flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a fantastic beer with a great coffee taste. I'm glad I got my hands on one.

zeff80, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of sleazo
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

M_Medium bodied with a mild carbonation.

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

sleazo, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is all roasted coffee beans and dark malts and exactly what you look for in a coffee-flavored beer.

T: The taste likewise is loaded with a strong flavor of black coffee. There's a hearty malt character and just a mild enough sweetness to keep the beer from being too bitter. The hops presence is very mild but is exactly where it should be for this kind of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of the coffee-flavored beer segment, this is an excellent darker but milder beer that is worth drinking for an entire evening.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

D: If you like coffee, amazing.

mdwalsh, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of triptens
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

triptens, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of ballewblake
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Filled up my Duvel tulip from can.

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

ballewblake, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

MF: some what thin body with medium carbonation

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

homebrew311, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of DanOLeary
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

DanOLeary, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of hooliganlife
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour is deep dark thick brown with a fluffy creamy head

coffee, huge coffee. its basically iced black coffee.

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

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

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

hooliganlife, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of blackearth
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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

blackearth, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of trbergman
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz can poured into a shaker pint.

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

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

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

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

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

trbergman, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

BearsOnAcid, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

SpeedwayJim, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can shared with and by a friend.

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

yourefragile, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of WeisGuy
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at Cafe Twenty-Eight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WeisGuy, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of digitalketchup
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz can into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

digitalketchup, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

Lighter bodied and crisp with more carbonation than expected.

This is one tasty and sessionable Coffee Brown from Surly.

Monkeyknife, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of abecall98
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thank You Chewy08x.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: can

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

abecall98, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of rpstevens
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

rpstevens, Dec 14, 2009
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,968 ratings.