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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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2,135 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,135
Reviews: 784
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 629
Gots: 269 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
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Ratings: 2,135 | Reviews: 784
Photo of Zorro
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored beer with a short yellowish brown colored head.

Smells of chocolate and coffee with coffee being the stronger scent. Pretty much the scent of Central or Southern American coffee medium roasted. Some lighter scents mostly vanilla.

Starts out semi dry and medium roast coffee. Pretty much doesn't develop much beyond the initial flavor. Stays mostly coffee soda in flavor.

Mouthfeel is average.

An OK beer but not a complicated one. An OK sample but not a mainstay beer.

Photo of Casey10
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aquired by trade with supercolter thanks again !!

A - really nice dark brown pour with a big two fingered head lots of lacing in the glass very nice.

S - light coffee notes, light malts, some chocolate.

T - A bit thin in my opinion, I was thinking it would be coffee +1 when it is more of a sublety in the background also some chocolate hints as well.

M - leaves a nice feel in the mouth after drinking light afterfeel after taking a sip.

D - Overall great easy smooth drink abv is low so no issues there can't wait to have the others that I got.

Photo of kjyost
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I began very excited about this beer and ended up nonplussed. Don't get me wrong it's a very nice beer, but after all the anticipation I built up to try this beer, it fell short of my lofty expectations.

I poured it into a flared pint glass, where it gave a small thick and rich looking head - a promising start. The head provided slight lacing as I moved the beer around in order to acquire its aroma. The beer smelt quite nice with a cleat, but subtle, aroma of coffee. There was also a slight sweet flower aroma that I caught at times.

When I first tried it I found it hard to believe this was a coffee infused beer. I have had dark ales that have more coffee flavour from the malt. It was there, but much less in the forefront than I had expected. The beer was also sweeter than I had expected for what it is. I really mulled over how to grade the flavour of this beer, and gave it the grade I did mainly because it wasn't what I have come to expect of a dark coffee ale. It is still a good beer, just not what I have come to expect from this, and especially because from my prior sampling of Bender it has just as much coffee aroma and flavour as this beer.

The beer felt quite nice, with low carbonation and could easily be drunk quite regularly...

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

Thanks to mully for the trade.

Straight pour into a pint glass yields a two finger light tan head over a brown body with ruby highlights. Little to no lacing or film, light passes through.

Smells of clean french press coffee, little to no bitterness or even roasted harshness edge to the coffee flavor which is interesting. Cereal grains, and some caramelized brown sugar.

Typical brown ale characteristics, slight sweetness. The coffee flavor is clean and not overly roasted or bitter. Light chocolate lends accent and balance.

Medium to light bodied, bordering on thin, but considering its style and ABV its good. VERY drinkable, I would session this if it were more accessible and I didn't have to savor every can that I got!

I really love that there is a coffee beer that is so drinkable and sessionable. So often coffee is added to beers that are already huge stouts and that makes them, by default, one-and-done or bottles to share with friends. Thats what makes this brown ale so nice. Now I just need to trade for more.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with deep ruby highlights when held up to the light. Light, downy head that rapidly disspates to a thin film on the surface. The appearance is more stout-like than you ordinarily see in this category.

Nice robust smell for this style: light cappuccino notes, with burnt sugar and whole-grain bread notes in there.

The taste is a bit less complex than the smell. Here, coffee takes an unambiguous lead. The sugar and bread flavors that were promised by the smell are there, but they play a background role. Tasting blind, I'd be hard-pressed to differentiate this from an above average coffee stout (except perhaps for the lighter mouthfeel). Don't get me wrong, I love coffee flavors in beer and its presence here is appreciated. The problem is that none of the other flavors that make a brown ale are allowed to shine. This is a tough one for me: I love the flavors, but they don't belong in this setting. I'm rating this one to style, but if you love coffee as I do, bump it up a notch or two.

Photo of gatornation
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pored very dark brown with thin beige ring with little head it did have some nice sticky lacing smell was all coffee and some vanilla some burnt malts..the taste was coffee first strong coffee it overwhelmed the bender with roasted somewhat bitter taste.. the malts and the hops could not be detected..overall i did not enjoy this one like say Peruvian morning it was not balanced between malt hops and coffee..ill stick to plain bender for my brown ale fix

Photo of mikey711
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the second time I have had this beer, the first time was during an early tailgate party, so it was not the venue to attempt a review

A: Deep brown, and almost ruby colored in the light. Nice tightly packed tan head sits on top perfectly. The head retention is average but the lacing is excellent

S: Very pleasant coffee aroma. What i like most about this is how the molasses and brown sugar sweetness of the brown ale blends very well with the bitterness and slight roastiness of the coffee. It reminds of of coffee ice cream!

T: Coffee is definitely the focus (duh) and the beer is not overly complex, but I think it is perfectly balanced in terms of sweetness and roasty bitterness.

M: It is light in body and could stand to be a bit creamier.

D: I could drink plenty of this in one day, but I think I would get tired of the coffe after some point and want something a bit different.

Again Surly comes through with another great beer, and quickly becoming one of if not my favorite brewery

Photo of AgentZero
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Deep dark brown with a tan head. Quickly receeded leaving some nice lacing to look at.

S - Smells like burnt cocoa and wood. Almost reminds me of gin.

T - And the taste reminds me of gin, has that really woody taste to it. Definately get the roasted malts but I don't really taste any coffee in this at all. Too woody, don't care for it, and just not a whole lot going on.

M - Solid, medium bodied with some solid carbonation.

D - It's not hard to drink, but it's just not particularly pleasant either, not going to do much of this.

Photo of jrallen34
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this form the can into a chalice.

The beer is a very dark fown with about a finger and half of light tan head that fades way to quickly. The lacing is good. As the head fades it sticks to the sides like a shadow from the past.

The aroma is combination of wood and coffee, but despite these two normally dominating aromas the aroma overall is pretty light.

The taste is very light and somewhat disappointing because it is pretty flavorless. If it wasn't called coffee bender I wouldn't even think of coffee and be able to pick any out of it. To me its tastes like a light fun of the mill brown ale.

The mouthfeel is heavy and lasting but because of its blandness its not very drinkable, not because its filing but because its just bland.

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

Big thanks to mothman for hookin me up with yet another tasty Surly brew. 16 oz can poured into a tulip.

A: Deep, dark brown color. The pour produced a quarter of kahki head that receeded rather quickly and leaves some nice lace.

A: I get the coffee right off the bat. Really great roasty malts, some caramel, and more coffee. I get a really nice earthiness from the hops as well.

T: Again, great coffee flavor that is accentuated by the roasty malts. Caramel and nuttiness stand out as well. The beer finishes dry from the earthy hops.

M: Light to medium body, good amount of carbonation. Right on par for the style.

D and overall impression: I am a coffee lover, so drinkability is high. Overall, this is one tasty brew. I think I like CCB's Espresso Maduro a little better, but if I had access to this, it would be a staple in my fridge. Skal.

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

16oz. can into half pint on 11/2/09. Thanks to KRAMER17801 for hooking me up with one of these!

A - Poured a murky reddish brown/mahogany body with a billowy finger of beige/light tan head that yielded thick, foamy lace.

S - Extremely coffee-forward aroma with a hint of chocolate and vanilla. Roasted malt and freshly ground coffee beans dominate the aroma.

T - Flavor is authentic coffee with plenty of roasted malt and hints of chocolate, vanilla and tobacco. Finishes with an earthy hop bite and a slight herbal tinge.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation and a smooth, albeit watery, texture. Lingering hop bite with mild astringency on the palate.

D - Great coffee-infused beer with a lot of earthy hop character. I'm glad to have finally reviewed this one. Thanks Kramer!

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Omar and the crew never dissappoint.

A: Dark mahogany in color, with a creamy head that settles to a thin film on the surface. Lacing is very good, and carbonation is very fine.

S: All coffee at first, but also has subtle hints of toast, chocolate, and oatmeal. Hops are almost non existent in the aroma, as the coffee dominates the aroma.

T: This beer is almost like drinking black coffee. Roasty, with espresso and chocolate notes. Also a bit of toffe and oats. Hops are more present ont the palate than the nose, giving the beer a very pleasant dry finish.

M: Not much different from the ordinary Bender. Medium-bodied, and very smooth.

D: A great coffee beer. Very easy to drink and expresses what coffee beers should taste like. The best part of waking up is Surly in my cup!

Photo of paco1029384756
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby color with one finger of white head.

Scent of coffee, tobacco, brown sugar and grain. A simple and effective scent, nothing to complain about here.

Taste of coffee, brown sugar, oats, and some chocolate. A bit different from the typical Brown Ale, but tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Photo of Ratman197
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear dark brown with a small lingering brown head. Smelled of coffee, roastiness, mocha and light vanilla. Tasted of coffee, roastiness and light cocoa with a lingering coffee finish. Mouthfeel was medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a smooth finish.

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

Can sample at Noogfest High 5.

Poured a clear brown color with an average frothy off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate roasted malt and coffee aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation. Solid roasted sweet flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate duration.

Good complex brew.

Photo of aaronh
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown body topped by a thick tan head. Head throws a lot of nice lace. Aroma has a strong fresh ground coffee note with a hint of malt and vanilla. Flavor is also very strong on the coffee, like a nice mild roast, supported by caramel malts and a slight bitter finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but tends to support the whole coffee vibe. Drinkability is good. I would want another someday, but not immediately following. A very enjoyable coffee beer.

Photo of rrheisler
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mistofminn for this one.

Another can, poured into a pint glass. A really thick, tan head forms, billowing up the glass. About an inch worth a minute after pouring. Really gorgeous to look at.

The smell is deep, roasted Arabica coffee beans; some roasted malt, a touch of dark chocolate, and a hint of oak.

Taste comes around as well, leading with the coffee flavor dancing across the tongue to provide a little bit of bitterness, opening the rest of the palate up to the upcoming roasted chocolate, malt, and biscuit flavor coming next. As it warms, you lose a little bit of the coffee as more of the sweetness comes through.

Mouthfeel was decent, a little watery perhaps? Drinkability is way up there. I prefer it a little on the colder side to keep the coffee flavor.

Might wake up with one of these tomorrow.

Photo of Strix
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear mahogany, decent head.

A rich coffee smell, I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love it. A bit of campfire smoke as well.

Coffee, dark roasted malts, and charcoal in the taste. A nice blend. Lighter than most coffee beers. The background brew is solid as well, though this has a heavy coffee taste, it doesn't feel artificial.

Mouthfeel light and crisp.

An interesting and craveable brew. If you enjoyed this, give Furthermore's coffee beer a try, which this reminded me of.

Photo of kenito799
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into plastic cups (camping in Minnesota).

This dark brown brew foams up big with a tan head, looks nice. The aroma is wondeeful...rich malt with sharp espresso scent. The coffee flavor is integrated perfectly in this highly drinkable brew. I love that the coffee flavor comes in a session beer, since you can watto keep drinking this stuff. Very well done.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very, very dark brown body with a purplish-red hue when held to light. The head is a medium brown standing about an inch tall. This is a very inviting brew.

S - Oh, coffee. Smooth and inviting. This is an aroma that begs to be consumed. I can't wait!

T - Coffee with a woody middle and a subtle hop finish. This is an intriguing brew.

M - Smooth but a little watery. I must say the feel is good but it could be a hair better with a little more texture. I think a bit of coarseness might help to bring out more of the hops that I can sense is lurking in a back alley.

~ I want to call this brew complex but it really is straight forward and to the point. This is definitely something every beer drinker must try. You will not regret it! Thanks again "drizzam"!

Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this while watching Futurama, specifically the episode where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee, how relevant. Thanks to both grub and KeefB for this shiny metal ass-can. I've been told by quite a few people to try this, so here it goes.

A: Pours nice large 1 finger head that bubbles around for a bit but fades to a light head covering. A nice roasted brown color with brilliant clarity. An interesting red hue appears as light sneaks through.

N: Some coffee on the nose, but a butt load of roasted malts. THis is a lot more beer than coffee, and opposite of some other coffee beers I've had. I also get a slight aromatic hop aroma and spiciness.

T: Taste starts with a crisp beer like taste, and lots of roasted malts. A huge frothy carbonation builds up in the mouth too. A nice bitterness and American hop flavor add a nice touch to it. It has a very slight fruity malt quality like a raisin almost, but very slight. The bitter hop goodness and roasted malt taste really blend well, and the coffee is still surprisingly light taste. A slight sweet brown sugar like taste can also be hinted at.

M: Very frothy and carbonated, a nice spicey hop taste, and some thick mouth feel.

F: Finishes pretty bitter, and nice. It dries off, but not too much. A nice roasted charred quality taste really show through towards the end. The finish is not too long and pretty crisp and clean, and leaves your mouth ready for more, which is good cause I want to keep drinking it.

Final thoughts: Yes, this is much more beer than coffee, unlike most of the other coffee beers. And it's blended really well with the roasted malts, coffee, and good hop bitterness. The finish is pretty bitter and tastes great. Can't wait to have another sip.

Photo of pmccallum86
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very deep dark brown/black color with a good sized tan bubbly head. The smell on this beer is coffee, there are some other things going on as well, but mainly coffee. Taste is like the smell, coffee. Hops are present as well as a cocoa flavor. Goes down smooth and viscous, very nice mouthfeel and drinkability. I could probably drink a billion of these, although I am also a coffee lover. If you like coffee you will love this beer, if not you won't, simple as that.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with great caronation and big tannish head. Nose is big coffee beans and very yummy. taste is a good. It has one of the best tasting coffee flavors I have experienced. It tastes like fresh, natural coffee beans, more so than any beer I have had. Very smooth, not over the top. Also has some oats and vanilla. Mouthfeel is thinner but the fresh coffee roams in the background.

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"It's never too early to get Surly!" This is my first beer from this brewery, and I can already tell I will like them. Canned on 9/01/09.

The pour on this beer is impressive. It has that low carbonation, fluffy head, which is how I like my ales to look. The head is cream white and the beer itself is dark brown. After some time, the head dies down to only a lace and then to nothing

The aroma delivers on the label's promise with fresh coffee bean aromatics. The coffee isn't overpowering, which is a good thing because it lets the rest of this fine beer shine. I'm getting some fruity, nuttiness that is typical of a good brown ale. It's simple and it's simply awesome.

The flavor of this beer caught me off guard at first, but towards the end I'm loving it. It is a delicate beer, especially compared to other coffee beers. The bitterness rides with the coffee to imitate a real cup of coffee. The light fruitiness and nuttiness come together to remind me of one of those fruit-chocolate-nut bars. Yum.

The mouthfeel is light bodied for an American brown, and really light for an American coffee beer. Light carbonation fits just right in this beer. I'd love to try this one again, shouts to Ineedabeerhere for the can.

Photo of brow1901
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can poured into my surly "coffee" mug.

A- Pretty much black, with decent cream head on top. Not a pitch black brew, it lets lots of light in around the sides. Not much retention, some lacing.

S- Strong coffee, more like a bag of coffee than a brewed cup. Not too overwhelming, it also lets the nice toasty malts shine through. No hop scents.

T- Also like an iced coffee, no chocolate flavors that accompany so many of these styles. Once the coffee fades the neat and clean malt backbone comes through, giving a toasted almost burnt flavor. The slight hop bite mixes kinda strangly, giving a slight tart or acidic taste for a split second. I guess that could be from the coffee used too.

M- A bit light, but don't forget that this is a brown ale. Seems well carbonated, really gets smooth as it warms up a bit.

D- Good drinkability, but I wouldn't call it a session beer. The caffiene gets to me after one can, kinda fun actually. Great beer!

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,135 ratings.