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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,070 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,070
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 617
Gots: 247 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,070 | Reviews: 770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msjacilynn
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark redish-brown with tan head

S: coffee cocoa and roasted malts

T: exceptional brown ale that yields a coffee and vanilla aftertaste. Biting and crisp roasted malts.

M: perfect carbonation. Medium body.

D: drinks well for a coffee ale. I tend to find my taste buds burnt after one, but I could easily have 2 of these guys!

Photo of Lazerlobe
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid khaki head, brown like a brown ale should be.

S: Cold coffee, stale coffee grounds, caramel

T: The coffee rides high, lining the walls of the mouth and instantly giving me coffee breath. Medium toast grain and brown sugar combine with lower intensity bittering hops to give the brown ale a bite.

M: Standard carb level and finish for a brown

D: This goes down easy but I have to say I prefer regular Bender. Coffee stouts too often taste like cheap gas station coffee. I get it, you used coffee but work on the balance and the bean a bit.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, Boulevard tulip, no canning date.

Very dark body, but definitely ruby and transparent. Nice head that seems to have the best retention of any of the Surly brews I received from Shango42. Definitely a coffee worthy color; desert MARPAT khaki with sticky foam.

Oily, fresh roast coffee, hop oils, dark chocolate, and cherries. The freshest coffee aromas I've experienced in a coffee beer, full and creamy.

What a job on the coffee addition! The very fresh flavor has a little acidic pop leading to glorious bitter black coffee. Moderate cake sweetness, and the beer culminates with chocolate, hop, and, of course, coffee bitterness. This is coffee beer as it should be done.

Moderate to light body that plays to a cold coffee feeling. Carbonation is not weak, but not biting. Plenty of bitterness with no astringency.

Photo of woodychandler
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Surly portion of The CANQuest (TM) soldiers on, thanks to Einweizenbitte and Uncle Felonious Monk! I CAN't believe that this is approaching 400! Thanks to all!

From the CAN: "Beer for a mug, from a [CAN]."; "Fresh brewed, keep it cool!"; "It's never too early to get Surly! Coffee Bender refreshes like an iced-coffee, is as aromatic as a bag of whole beans and satisfies like your favorite beer. Utilizing the latest technology, the Surly brew team has developed a cold extraction process that results in intense coffee aromatics and flavor - bringing together two of our favorite beverages. Your only dilemma will be whether to finish your day or start it with a Coffee Bender."

Okay, first my take on coffee. I am a Navy retiree and on my first ship, the USS Fulton (AS-11), I was made the Deck Department supply and admin "queen", and my duties included ensuring that coffee was going 24-7. I initially despised the stuff, but would add copious amounts of creamer and sugar when I needed a boost. One day, my salty Senior Chief growled at me, "Queenie, when are you gonna drink coffee, instead of having a hot milkshake?" I had no answer until one day when we were at General Quarters/battle stations for hours and sandwiches and a CANnister of coffee were delivered to us, but no accoutrements! I choked down a cup, but quickly realized that I needed to wean off of anything but black if I was going to hang in for four years. Later, while an auxiliary cop on shore duty, I became a cop stereotype - never without coffee and usually with a donut. After joining the USS Normandy (CG-60) as a plankowner, there were many of us with 55-gallon drums with a handle welded on walking around. Go-go juice was a way of life. After I retired, I swore off of both coffee and donuts, but slowly, I have been sucked back in to the point that I drink at least two big cups every day before Noon.

Crack & Glug time: Two quick fingers' worth of thick, deep-tan head with great retention and a wafting odor of coffee greeted me on the pour. Color was a deep, rich brown with ruby highlights. Nose was a knockout - it was like walking into Starbucks and taking a deep breath. I am not a big fan of their coffee, but it does smell deelish! I had some coffee earlier this AM, cowboy-style (warmed up in the microwave from yesterday), and I wanted to see how this would measure up. Mouthfeel was creamy with a VERY roasty coffee flavor up front, followed by a dark chocolate bitterness behind. Wow! Iced coffee was NEVER this good. Finish was bitter, I mean good, coffee bitter, but not for the faint of heart. Holy heart palpitations, Batman! I was more jittery than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Zounds! More, please, sir! F**k Joose or Four Loko, this is all the caffeine and alcohol you'll need.

Photo of Schmittymack
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into a shaker glass. Color is a deep mahogany brown with a small head that lingered for a few sips. Aromas of roasted malt, a little chocolate, and lots of fresh coffee. Full bodied and nicely carbonated. Taste was like drinking sweetened iced coffee in a can. And with the alcohol content not being all that high, I could do two or three of these over the course of an evening. Great job, Surly.

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

Thanks Dan (and Megan) for bringing this one over last night. Pours a rich dark brown color, with a smallish light tan head. Huge freshly ground espresso on the nose, along with roasted malt and dark chocolate. Full bodied, creamy and rich, like cold canned coffee, with rich milk chocolate and roasted malt and a lingering coffee finish. Very good.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown and red color, great carbonation. Massive coffee aroma, the biggest ever, totally cannot imagine it being possible to be any stronger in a beer. Did I mention this is prolly my favorite coffee beer? Did I mention this is prolly my favorite brown ale?

Taste, more coffee, like so much, as if the ratio is just straight 50% premium high end coffee, and 50% Surly (which is always high end). Its pretty simple. Coffee and beer. I don't drink coffee, but I'll have this stuff any morning. This stuff is even better than Breakfast Stout in the am. Yeah, there's a degree of chocolate malt and decent bitterness, but this is all about the coffee.

This is the best brown ale by a longshot in my book.

Photo of thecarster1
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to hophead247, received as an extra in a trade!!

a- can poured into a tulip, slight chill haze, two fingers dense tan head slow to fade.

s- wow, holy fresh brewed coffee, smooth, almost milky, cream scent, pretty much coffee dominates.

t- coffee - truly like a glass of iced coffee, delicious. nice bitterness from the black coffee that lingers, not overly complex here, but there is some bittersweet chocolate cocoa, maybe a kiss of citric hops.

m- medium, coating.

d- really nice, i opened this to drink during a sunday afternoon eagles game, and it went down very easily. this was my first surly, and definately won't be my last!!

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

Poured into a tulip.

A - nice dark brown color with an off-white head on top.

S - coffee, a hint of vanilla, maple, bread.

T - the coffee was a little weaker than I suspected, but it's there. This is basically a nice brown ale with a pleasant, nondominating coffee injection.

M - good carbonation, nice flavors, etc.

D - a delicious brew with a sessionable ABV that I could sip all night.

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

Apperance -- Pours a dark burgundy/brown with two fingers of stiff khaki head. Good lacing.

Smell -- Strong and distinct aroma of freshly ground coffee and well roasted malt. Sweetness is subdued; some molasses and cocoa powder. Overall, smells roasty, rich, and a bit dry.

Taste -- Coffee with cream, roast malt, mild sweetness of molasses and dark chocolate. Finish is mild resin hops and coffee grounds.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied, abundant prickly carbonation. Crisp.

Drinkability -- A good dry brown ale. The integration of the coffee is exceptional. Not especially complex, but a robust and easy-drinker. An improvement upon Bender for me, though your mileage may vary. On the shortlist of best coffee-centric beers.

Darkness Day Notes: If you had to pick a beer to be served to you at 8AM in a cold, dark industrial park in MN, this is definitely in the top 5.

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

Brown color. Some nice tan head with spotty lacing left behind around the glass

Aroma is dominated by dark coffee. Flavor follows along very closely - it really tastes almost exactly like a nice dark iced coffee - possibly even more coffee-like than beer-like. Moderate bitterness in the finish.

Nice light & thin mouthfeel with the right level of carbonation. Very drinkable. This stuff is delicious. This is not the first time I've had it and it certainly will not be the last.


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

Big thanks to Hophead247 for this!

Dark brown, with blood red highlights. Light, sandy tan, close to a finger of head adorns the top. Lacing is pretty gnarly.

Holy dark roast coffee Batman! It's pretty intense! While the coffee aroma is amazing, my only complaint is that it's hard to pick much of anything else out past the coffee.

Taste is very coffee intense as well! There's some roasted notes from the malts too, and a little sweetness. I'm getting a hint of cocoa. There's some lingering bitterness, but I'm thinking thats the coffee as well.

Kinda hard to mess up the mouthfeel on something like this being that coffee and browns, IMO, have very similar feels. Meshes well and has a nice creamy feel to it as well.

Good drinkability, but 1 or 2 would probably do the trick for me in a sitting.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

received in trade. no date found on can. from notes, tasted in june 2009.

dark ruby amber brown. seems gem clear under the light. 1.5-finger beige head, fades to constant thin layer. great, almost curtain lacing.

aroma: coffee upfront, caramel maltiness underneath, hints of roast and earthy hop trace of yeasty fruit esters.

taste: coffee and malty caramel, as roast, coffee and hops give moderate bitterness, lingering with coffee. light apple esters, and mild fusel or phenol note in back.

medium body, moments of lightness, light astringency and a gentle coffeeish acidity near finish. mild to moderate carbonation, keeps some body.

just not as smooth and drinkable as original, which i like much better.

Photo of rpete777
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

OMG! This stuff is amazing. Poured in a pint glass. Nice dark brown with a lovely tan head. Take of whiff of this stuff. Amazing. Says coffee through and through. First sip is nice and creamy with a great finish. Didn't take too long to finish it and open another but before I did I smelled the last of the first one. In a blind test I bet a lot of people would say it is just coffee. Just coffee? I think not! An amazing beer

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice dark brown clean look.

S- Smell of coffee and vanilla notes and even a hint of chocolate comes out.

T- Love the coffee reminds me of Fair trades coffee getting the vanilla and Chocolate coming out.

M- Gritty fell like coffee but creamy. Coffee and and flavors through out sip.

D- Love this beer. I review Bender and love it and figure I would love coffee bender as well.


Photo of JohnGalt1
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The brother and I shared this one... Awesome.. Received this one in a surprise box from Kbeals... Just amazing.

Pours with a 1" nice tan head.. pretty good drapes of lacing with the entire glass.. the brew is actually NOT black.. instead just a deep brown with beautiful dark garnet highlites when held to a light.

Aromas can go a long way to jogging forgotten memories.. Coffee Bender immediately takes me back two decades to my first hunting trips in PA. My Pappy DeShong with all of his hunting buddies sitting at Johnnies Diner in McConnellsburg. Firm, bright, yet dark coffee before the smells of breakfast ever made it into the air... The coffee is the only thing that is present and I am okay with it... just near perfect... Smells amazing.

Flavor has all the abundant coffee notes with (if I try) hints of dark toast and dry roasted nuts.. minor bits of cocoa.. but forget about everything but the coffee beans..

I am an occasional coffee drinker... maybe 2 times a week.. but this brew is better than any cup of joe that I've had in months... maybe ever.

Very nice medium/lite mouthfeel with lite carbonation.. wonderful.

Thanks a bunch Kevin.... I've had this a couple of times before, but I suspect never as fresh and never when I had time to really contemplate. Thanks for my walk down memory lane.


Photo of biglite351
2.96/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - odd combination of brown and red. Tall creamy tan head that leaves spiderweb lacing.

S - very mild. Some coffee, malts and something mildly sweet. Actually it seems to have some "freezer burn" smell for some odd reason.

T - mild iced coffee flavor that increases in the after taste. A bit of q bitter hit, but not from the coffee.

M - light coating good tingle on top and sides of tongue.

D - maybe one, depending on the other choices.

Photo of AmberMan22
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As the 5.0 score I've given this in several categories, implies this is an exceptional beer. I've had this before out of the can, and several times on tap, being lucky enough to live in Minneapolis.

It pours the color of a dark mahogany java drip, but there isn't much head retention or lacing to speak of. Most brown ales I've seen are better in this department, so I won't give it a 5.

The smell and taste, which are frankly the things I care most about when buying a beer like this, absolutely crush it. A perfect harmony between the bitterness of the coffee, with the bitterness from the hoppy undercarriage mixes with roasted malt and espresso taste. An absolutely delight to drink, and an excellent decision for the morning football game.

Mouthfeel is solid and pronounced, and might deserve more than a 4, but IMO with the other offerings from surly, this feels on the lighter end of their spectrum, certainly no different from the bender.

Absolutely dynamite fusion of coffee flavor and beer. A must try, and re-buy.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A dark brown beer with a bubbly khaki color head. The head is about 2 fingers and slowly diminishes leaving behind a very sticky lace. Appearance is awesome.

S: Right off the bat, you smell chocolate malts, soft floral hops, and roasted coffee.

T: I should have drank this with breakfast. A strong roasted coffee flavor balanced with robust chocolate malts. A great finish and aftertaste that is identical to morning coffee. Delicious. (As it warms up, the coffee bitterness comes out)

M: A creamy texture (I said 'almost' chewy, but my husband disagreed) with a medium-full body and mild carbonation.

D: I could have this breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Very easy to drink. Love this beer. ISO MORE! It's never too early for Surly!

Photo of a74gent
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of expectations opening this one and they are lived up to well by the boys from Minnesota.

I think letting this one warm up a little enhances the smell, but causes the flavor to get a little acidic.

The appearance is a nice dark coffee brown...exactly what you'd expect.

Smell is super nice coffee ...just great. I may have rated 5 except that I had another coffee beer yesterday that was a little better on the nose.

Taste is exactly as you'd expect..It is more coffee in the nose and beer on the palate for me though. I think the taste starts out as 4.5 and trends downward a little.

The mouthfeel is nice but a little thin.

Drinkability is a really good although seems a little boozy (if that can be at 5 ABV) when cold. As it warms it changes in a real way...just different not worse or better overall. A very interesting drink...

Photo of SpdKilz
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all a huge thanks to crossovert for this great extra that I've been waiting to bust out. I'm a bit tired and it's not even seven, so hell, let's open up a coffee beer!

Appearance - Pours a dark hazelnut color with over two fingers of tan head that dissipate relatively fast, leaving decent lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Damn, a smack of coffee beans hits my nose immediately...and not stale coffee but fresh smelling coffee. Slight hops, sweet chocolate, and a bit of floral characteristics (oddly).

Taste - Similar to the nose. Heavy coffee characteristics up front, hop bitterness, interesting citrus twang to it, bittersweet cocoa/chocolate. Tastes pretty damn good.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, decent carbonation, finishes a hint dry.

Drinkability - Quite so for this type of brew. A damn impressive brown ale for sure.

Photo of Brez07
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a Maine Beer Co logo glass

A: Pours a mostly translucent brown with amber highlights. Leaves a 1 finger tan head. No lacing

S: Small nose. Fairly weak coffee, roasted malt and coffee beans. Accompanied by some nuttiness

T: Bigger coffee presence then the nose would cause you to think. Some bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt and nut. Similar to coffee without sugar

M: A little thin despite there not being too much carbonation. Just a bit of roastiness that lingers after each sip

D: Easy drinking, but seemed to be lacking something. Enjoyed the beer, but wish the coffee had a bigger presence

Photo of TMoney2591
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to GoGriz for this can!

Finally, I get to try one of Surly's regular brews. This one pours a lovely ruby brown topped by a finger or so of light ecru foam. The nose is dominated by a light coffee breeze, while some chocolate, toffee, and maple syrup form a sturdy foundation beneath. The taste is very similar, though the coffee doesn't assert itself as much until the finish. Instead, it shares the spotlight with cocoa and maple syrup, the latter two spiraling into the wings to allow for the coffee's final aria. The body is a staunch medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat fizzily smooth feel. Overall, a very nice beer. I can now understand how this thing has such a strong reputation 'round these parts.

Photo of Bendurgin
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into my pint glass. It's a deep brown with a thin off white head with decent lacing. I love the smell of this one. It has a nice nutty wooden aroma with a big coffee smell. The coffee is really well done. It comes through predominantly but doesn't overpower anything. The taste is a bi coffee flavor with hints of brown sugar and nuts. It finishes slightly bitter. It really reminds me of an ice coffee with just a bit of cream and sugar. Really good stuff. Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated with a smooth medium body. I really wish I had this stuff local, probably my favorite brown ale.

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

Here goes my first review. And what a great beer to start....

Can poured into a Saint Arnold pint glass

A- A deep, rich red color. A little bit of head
S- Definitely has a coffee smell. It smells delicious
T- Tastes like a good cup of coffee that has alcohol. I liked the taste
M- Not too much carbonation, really easy going down
D- I can't wait to get a few more of these when I go towards MN

I really enjoyed this beer. Cheers!

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,070 ratings.