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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,069 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,069
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 617
Gots: 249 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
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Ratings: 2,069 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Arbitrator
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Chilled can into a glass, courtesy of busch03. Thanks Waylon.

I'm normally not a fan of coffee beers, so I didn't expect to enjoy this one. But wow.... here we go:

A: Pours a murky light brown with reddish tint when held to the light. Head is a limpid finger's worth of tan bubbles that quickly recede into a collar, and leave no lacing behind.

S: Coffee is very strong on the nose on this one. Caramel and nuts waft out as the beer warms.

T: This is where the beer shines. Coffee lays down the groundwork, but there is a pleasant caramel and biscuit malt backbone that compensates nicely for the bitterness. The end taste sees mostly grain and nut flavors, and I felt like I tasted vanilla, but none of my friends picked that up.

M: Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation. Very fitting for the style, and for a drinking session this was a good starter.

D: Pretty high. I'd like to try the regular Bender, if not get more of this. The most enjoyable coffee beer I've had.

Photo of shroompod
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a can.Pours dark brown with a decent head , some lacing.

Aroma of of coffee , light hops present.

Nice infusion of light coffee , caramel sweetness with a slight hop bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel is light and creamy with good carbonation.

I could drink these for breakfast.

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

Draft. Pours brown with a small head. Aroma of sweet malt and light coffee grounds. Flavor is sweet initially with a coffee ground finish. I would have liked to see a stronger malt backbone to balance out the bitter coffee but perhaps that is expected when using a brown ale as the base instead of a porter or stout, which I am more used to. Anyway, it was very good for a brown ale.

Photo of katan
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint

A - On the dark side of brown - almost amber. Very opaque - almost porterish. Head formation is strong, well retained at a few mm. Mocha color. Not possible to determine hazing or yeast suspension.

S - A chocolate and roasted scent leads the way, with only the lightest in american hops. Upon closer inspection I do detect a few light coffee note - almost from a very weak batch sitting at my office all day long (a good thing). I also think some yeast breadiness exists as well.

T - The first flavor off the CB is where I certainly notice the coffee - bitter, roasted, and biting. It immediately is sweetened, rather than bittered by the mid-taste. No hops are detectable. Moves to a very sweet, malty crystal malt flavor in the finish. Aftertaste is somewhat bitter, but not well retained.

M - Moderate body - not extremely clinging or cloying. Carbonation is light to hardly detectable (no sting). Some sweetness does start to cling after a long drink.

D - Very easy drinking - the coffee flavor is a bit direct after a full can, reducing the drinkability for me. Not filling nor overly abusive in terms of ABV.

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

Poured from a 16 oz. Can at Cafe Twenty-eight in Minneapolis, an establishment owned by the Surly brewmaster.

Pours a dark brown clear fluid with amber hues. A light tan frothy head tops the beer which slowly disipates to a thin ring atop the beer.

The aroma captures all the greatness of fine coffee. Bouquets of earthy toasty coffee strongly carry from the glass coupled with a slight malt caramel sweetness with hints of cocoa.

The flavor brings together the desired maltiness of a fine brown ale and the bitter roasty, dare I say surly, nature of a fine cup of coffee. This is definitely a beer for coffee drinkers, but isn't so strong to turn away non coffee drinkers. The balance of the infused flavor with the beer works very well in my opinion creating a rather refreshing brown ale.

The mouthfeel is moderately full with good complimenting carbonation. Their is a slight alcohol sting in the dryish finish.

The drinkability is very good considering coffee is such a strong flavor. This beer would be appropriate in many circumstances whether sessioned, on a cold Minnesota winter night, or even at a cook out.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown-black with about two inches of tan head. Looks like a big stout or porter. Laces great.

S- Like an iced coffee. Little or no beer character to it... I guess that's what they were going for, though.

T- This is good. A nice roasted espresso flavor dominates. Some dark chocolate notes are in there, followed by some vanilla and maybe a hint of citrusy hops. Coffee doesn't overpower the flavor like it does the nose. Definitely a different beer than Bender, not just a variation... good stuff just like Bender itself.

M- Moderate carbonation with medium body. Slightly syrupy.

D- Good stuff here. Mouthfeel and taste keeps this one going. Surly is the real deal.

Photo of CoolJosh
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to treyrab for sharing this can of beer with me. Where would be in life without beer...err...Friends?

Split pour into a perfect pint glass. Pours a foggy light brown, with some red hues, and is pretty clear around the edges. No head from pour, just a light tan ring. No lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is neither good nor bad. An off-putting airiness is present, but as the beer warms a lot of creamy caramel scents come out. Still, not what I was expecting for a nut brown ale with coffee. Some slight coffee latches onto the caramel and provides a segway for a subdued sweet chocolate scent. There is a rather nice nutty scent, but there is nothing about the smell of this beer that makes me jump and say, "Wow!!"

Again, the taste is not what I expected for the style. Nutty, and very old aged mature coffee that tastes like its been sitting out for a few days. Match that with primarily biscuit malts and roasted chocolate malts and a very watery taste and mouthfeel and you have a very underwhelming taste. I'm really shocked buy this one, I'm not the biggest fan of regular Bender, but I had higher expectations for this one. There is an almost sweet cola taste that appears on the end. Still, I attest to the fact that Surly is one of my favorite breweries, given that they brew one of my favorite IPA's.

Cheers!

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

A--Pours deep brown with a half finger of head in my 16 oz. snifter. Thin lacing left behind

S--Smells like a freshly pile of coffee beans, coming from a very mild variety of bean.

T--Taste follows the nose well, the beer is coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Its not the greatest coffee taste I've had (more Folgers than gourmet), but it is still pretty damn good. Almost a lighter version of Founders Breakfast Stout

M--I would prefer a little more thickness in a beer with this type of flavor, but it is what it is and for the style it is where it is supposed to be

D--Another rock solid brew from Surly, and one that I would surely drink a lot of if it was available.

Photo of Floydster
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can recently acquired in a trade with mikesgroove, thanks again for this Surly brew, poured into my Hangar 24 pint glass tonight, color was a dark brown, 3/4 inch off white creamy head that lasts a few minutes, minimal lacing, aroma consists of coffee beans, mild vanilla, roasted nuts, sweet malts, caramel, and grains, flavor starts off with a dry coffee taste, nutty in the middle with some sweetness lingering right afterwards, stays the same as it warms but gets easier to drink, like how the coffee dries out this great brown ale, dry, slightly chewy, and malty mouthfeel, medium bodied, taste lingers, moderate carbonation, could drink a few cans of this no problem, smooth and light for what it is, coffee is not overpowering, hit the spot tonight, would like to drink again, recommended

Photo of Bitterbill
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can(s) courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Another lower abv brew from Surly...hehe...they do some fine ones.

It pours from the 16oz can a dark brown with hues of red and a good 2 finger billowy head of offwhite foam.(served near room temp) Some good lacing ensues.

The smell is of freshly brewed coffee and it seems to overpower anything else that may be there. Not too bad a thing in my book.

The taste is the same as the nose. Big coffee, as expected but also a good smackering of roasted malt and even a touch of caramel malt sweetness that I taste just before the finish where it returns to the tasty fresh coffee goodness that I enjoy so much. Damn, when these "coffee" brews do it right, they almost make me want to convert and become a coffee drinker. Weird isn't it as I enjoy tea more than coffee!

Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel here.

Drinkaility? Give me a cup of coffee...one cup, and I'm done. Well made coffee inspired beers seem to defy any sensible reasoning, given my "stand" on coffee, as I find them very damn drinkable. This is one of the easiest coffee brews to quaff. 'nuff said.

Photo of everetends
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can sent to me by the wonderful BA Packforever1976. This has been one of my top wants for a while due to all the talk my BA friends have centered around. Finally I get my chance to give it a go. Served up in a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a somewhat dark brown in color. When held to the light, you get more of a red and lighter brown hues forcing their way through. Slight haze in the body but pretty damned clear. Carbonation doesn't seem to high or crazy. Pour got me a perfect two fingers of mocha colored head. That head has some pretty good retention, falling very, very slowly throughout the drinking experience. It throws up some lace, but nothing too crazy or impressive. Just enough lace to keep me interested. Very nice.

S: Smell is first and foremost that coffee. Straight up coffee and light cream coming across. This isn't a sweet coffee aroma, just a nice coffee and milk. The you get a touch of caramel/toffee coming out. There is a touch of earthiness going on here, maybe some grassy hops. Overall, you just get that nice rich soil and coffee beans aroma. Nice indeed.

T: Coffee goodness this is. You get a nice iced coffee flavor. Not the overly sweet iced coffee you get out of a can at a gas station, but an iced coffee you get from a nice coffee house with good beans and cream. Incredible coffee flavor that I didn't really expect from a smaller ABV brew and let alone just a plain old brown ale (a style that is usually labeled as boring). Beyond the coffee, you get some nice toffee flavors (absolutely toffee over caramel). Nice nutty flavor as well, maybe some almonds adds a touch more earthy and hearty goodness to this beer. Slight bitterness coming across but I don't know if that is the coffee or the limited grassy hops presence. Sure its not the most dymanic flavor, but for what the beer is called, it damn near hits the mark perfectly in the taste category.

M: Medium in body that has a nice creaminess to it. It actually almost feels like a bit of ice coffee, I shit you not. It even has the drying/bitter qualities that a lighter iced coffee may have. ABV is not even considered in the feel, except for maybe a slight warming in the back of the throat. Aftertaste is straight up coffee and cream.

D: This is a damned easy drinking beer. I could easily kill 3 of these if I was in a coffee mood, but I would have to want coffee. This is straight up a good iced coffee type flavor and it mirrors an iced coffee almost perfectly. Like I said on the flavor, not exactly the most dynamic of beers but it all works greatly together and creates an amazing beer. Flavor is spot on and very enjoyable. I could easily drink this at any time of day. Morning, noon, or night. Fantastic. Thanks, Andy.

Photo of portia99
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz can into a Portsmouth goblet. Courtesy of nonstick. Thanks Chris! I know you had to pry this can out of Carol's hands.

A - Poured a nice deep brown with a creamy tan head, 1/2" thick that lasted for a good couple of minutes. Dissipates to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Extremely minimal lacing.

S - Hmm...coffee, coffee and more coffee. Nice deep roasty aromas overpower anything else that might be in there. Smells really good, although not very "beery".

T - Not surprising that deep roastiness and distinct coffee flavors dominate. The slightest hint of sweetness comes through, and I think I detect some hop bitterness somewhere in that coffee flavor. The coffee really makes this more stout or porter like to me than a brown ale, but regardless, this is really good.

M - Flavor makes me think stout/porter, but the body is definitely that of a brown ale. Somewhat thin and water like in feel, but not really complaining about this.

D - Extremely easy drinking...I might be able to have this one for breakfast instead of the morning coffee. Alcohol is not detectible. If you like coffee, you could have this one all day long.

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

Big thanks to deliriumfest for this one. Poured from a 16 oz can into a pint class.

Appearance: Pours a cola brown, with a little bit of light shining through around the edges of the glass. One finger of slightly off-white head that subsided quickly to a thin layer, but then just sat there for the remainder of the glass. Tons of lacing.

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy on the nose right away. That faded to a nice bready, malty, milk-chocolatey smell. The coffee is there, but its subdued - accents all of the other flavors very nicely.

Taste: This is a good beer. There's definitely some milk chocolate in the background, and almost some cola taste, but the coffee is there too. The coffee notes, as in the smell, provide a nice background and accent, rather than dominate, the beer. A nice bitter aftertaste, probably both from the hops and the coffee. Not as full-flavored as some, but still, a really good beer.

Mouthfeel: The best way to describe it would be slightly flat soda - it's decently high carbonated, but not overly so. Almost perfect for this kind of beer. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but the lack of a full-flavor makes it feel a little thin.

Drinkability: While brown ale's really generally aren't my favorite, this one was very, very good. The coffee worked with the other flavors in the beer spectacularly. I could easily put down a few of these, and would definitely pick it up against if it was more accessible to me (or accessible at all).

Photo of Ragingbull
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown to black in color. Some light passes through to create brown spots. Thick frothy head that clings to the glass as the head settles down. The head has a tannish color to it. Nice coffee nose that is like sniffing coffee beans. I call it "good" but can't be "exceptional" because its more coffee than beer (it seems like nit-picking). Gentle malt attack and coffee notes throughout. A little smoky at the finish due to the presence of the coffee. Very much reminiscent of a dunkin donuts iced coffee flavor to this beer. I haven't had dunkin donuts in a while since they aren't prevalent in the Twin Cities, but its how I remember it. Some mild bitters on the surface of the flavor. The coffee tones are gently interwoven into the beer but they are definitely the dominant flavor. Coffee in the title is right. It seems this should do well locally when you consider all of the coffee shops. Maybe they should ship some to Seattle for sale too. Different and worth a drink. I can see some purists turning their noses up at it however.

Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head. Head leaves some slight lacing along the sides of the glass.

S- Coffee with something sweet I can't put my finger on it though.

T- Roasted coffee, sweet malts and a touch of hops.

M- Medium in body and nice carbonation.

D- A very good solid brew that is really easy to drink.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go out to mikereaser for sending me this great beer.

A: Pours a dark, dark brown color with a thick, creamy mocha-colored head. Lacing is very thick all around the top of the glass. The liquid and head are both darker than Bender. Great looking beer.

S: Obviously, there's a strong coffee aroma. Notes of toffee/caramel, nuts, and cream, as well. Nose is quite strong and still retains some of Bender's original complexity.

T&M: Fortunately, the coffee doesn't overpower the rest of Bender's great flavor. Coffee blends interestingly with citric hop flavors. The cream flavors detected in the nose reappear now to mellow things out nicely. Body is medium with a smooth feel, though the coffee seems to have coarsened the feel somewhat.

D: Still quite drinkable and tasty. I just drank my first Bender about 30 minutes ago, and adding Coffee to it certainly works well. The impressive thing is that they pack so much flavor into a lower ABV, lighter bodied brown ale.

Photo of PerzentRizen
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received two cans of Coffee Bender from mnjeff - thanks man this stuff is killer! Poured into a Duvel glass at 50 degrees this beer is a very dark brown and appears to be unfilitered. The head is off-white and billowy. The head recedes to a thin lace as the beer warms closer to room temperature.

The aroma is of freshly brewed columbian dark roast with whole milk cream, raw sugar, and vanila bean flavoring. I'm blown away by the intense coffee smell in this one! Smells great!!!

The taste is just like the smell - bitter coffee flavor, sweet malt, creamy head and a hint of hops. It's hard to say where the coffee ends and hops begin. The brewer used a hop variety that works great with coffee; it's very similar to the same bitterness. Finish is dry and of coffee - obviously!

Mouthfeel is light and well carbonated - just about perfect for style. Perhaps a touch thin in the finish.

This beer isn't as drinkable as some because the high level of bitterness I would not want more than two of these large cans in a sitting. I did enjoy the beer and would love more in the future. Great brew!

Photo of Derek
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Brown-black with a light tan head, some retention, good lacing.

S: Big coffee aroma with hints of nuts.

T: Coffee, nuts & roasted grain. Good bitterness.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body.

D: It's alright, but not a knock-out like some of the Surly brews.

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

Brown pour with a frothy white head, great retention and lace. Fresh coffee aroma with bread and brown sugar. The taste is exactly as I thought it would be - bender with some coffee thrown in. Lots of brown bread, toasted nuts, chocolate and the underlying coffee that was already there. A satisfying combo, but I feel that steeping in the coffee actually takes away from bender's greatness, and that this beer is inferior to the original. Medium body and mouthfeel.

Cheers Bryan.

Photo of rye726
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with a silky tan head. Excellent lacing. Nose has coffee, chocolate, roasted nuts, and bready malts. Taste has more rosted malts and sweet coffee beans up front followed by cocao, molasses, a hint of hops and earthy cocoa with bitter espresso through the finish. Nice creamy body is well carbonated. Good to see another quality beer in a can.

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

Looks just like regular Bender, except just a bit lighter. Thin head that has decent retention, some nice lacing. Smells a whole lot better though. Instead of just some sweet malt, lots of awesome coffee smell. Tastes just like an iced coffee, strong coffee flavor without being overbearing. Also helps to balance out the hops. Perfectly carbonated, lingering on the palate, great mouthfeel, and an amazingly drinkable beer as it warms. Like Bender, but better. A great beer!

Photo of ritzkiss
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Loving the pint size can. Pours a dark dark brown with shades of auburn around the edges in the light. Lots of fluffy tan head that leaves a lacing on the top.

Smell is all coffee grounds, though perhaps not as premium or as rich as I might have hoped. There's a hint of spiciness and perhaps even a touch of earthy/peat.

Taste is akin to having your cup of coffee in the morning. Bitter roasting coffee, a slight sweet smoothness in the body, just the hint of roasting malts. Again, more Folgers coffee than premium but still amazingly tasty. A faint herbaceous hop quality in the finish that leaves a slightly dry finish. Smooth mouthfeel, amazing drinkability. At such a low ABV, this is a coffee lover's session beer and I wish it was available a little easier. Really nice.

Photo of StonyB
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A big shout out to BA Beerloco for this generous gift. Many thanks...

1 pint can. 5.1% ABV. 45 IBU's.

Appearance - A cautious pour into an imperial pint glass yields a big, fluffy, mocha-colored head of foam. The body is a dark, almost opaque brown. Patches of lacing. Somewhat attractive, quite inviting.

Smell - Wow. Beautiful aroma, an incredible combo of chocolate, coffee, cream, just a hint of alcohol. It smells so good that I don't just want to drink this beer, I want to brush my teeth with it. (Apologies to the makers of "Beerfest")

Taste - Mocha latte. Slightly roasty but mostly creamy coffee. Not overly sweet, just enough hops to rein this in.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, thick and somewhat dextrous. Slightly astringent at the end.

Drinkability - Well if you like coffee, or well-crafted brown ales, or good beer in general, this is extremely drinkable. If you don't, pour yourself a Zima and go to another website...

If Coffee Bender was available in New Jersey, I would buy it frequently. (Do you hear me Surly?) This is an eye-opening brew, in more ways than one. A winner. Highly recommended.

Photo of CMitchell
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Jar. . .yes a jar.

A: Color was lighter than I expected, but nice, like a cup of coffee.

S: nice gentle notes of coffee, perhaps some chocolate in there.

T&M: Taste is pleasant, with coffee, roasted malt, slight vanilla. It's much thinner than it looks, but not in a bad way. . . .

D: Quite drinkable. Would love to drink this with a slice of good cheesecake. . .excellent job.

Photo of russpowell
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me start out by apologizing to Justin??? he traded me this & some mama masala & failed to record his user name. No on this review based on notes

Pours chestnut/mahogany with 2 fingers of tan head. Super lacing & average head retention

S: Big time java

T: Folgers with a touch a milk up front, Dryness & roasty coffee comes through as this warms, along with a touch of cream. Finishes dry, roasty & with much java power!

MF: Medium bodied with nice creamyness

Drinks pretty easy for all the flavor this is throwing out. Not a huge coffee beer fan, but I love this & believe this is the bench mark for Coffee brews. Another winner from Surly!

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,069 ratings.