Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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

792 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 792
Hads: 2,315
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 644
Gots: 316 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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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Reviews: 792 | Hads: 2,315
Photo of atomicbeer
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got this coffee beer in 16 oz cans as a souvenir while travelling in Minnesota after having had Surly's Furious. Pours a chocolate brown with a beige head. Aroma is fairly intense fresh ground coffee with a little sweet grass background. Nice and smooth coffee, milk chocolate, and sweet grass taste. Goes down easily calling for quaff after quaff. No sipping here: down the hatch! Classed as a American Brown, I think of it more as a coffee porter, and even more so as Awesome. Nice job Surly. (501 characters)

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The friendly fellas from Surly were kind enough to bring out a case of tall cans for a meet the brewer event we hosted for them during this past SDBW. Poured from the can into a Modern Times coffee mug.

Pours a dark brown coffee color with a fat tan head that sticks around for a while leaving thick coats of lace in my mug. Smells like more of a coffee lager than a coffee ale - light hop and grain bill with massive amounts of coffee aroma that dominate the overall aroma. Big coffee flavor up front that gives way to lightly sweet toasted chocolate malt - the coffee plays real well with the malt selection in this one, slight bitter bite from the decent amount of hops in this one, but not enough to distract from the immense coffee flavor and perfect malt bill. Mouthfeel is light-bodied with mellow carbonation, finishes dry with fresh coffee lingering on the palate.

A real unique coffee beer in comparison to the others on the shelves these days. Very easy drinking and an outstanding breakfast beer - especially if you had a long night. Pairs amazing with pancakes and real maple syrup with a side of bacon! (1,119 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a thinner slight off white head atop.Full on coffee in the nose,not beerish at all really,if your into coffee this is it.The beer is good...very good but the coffee is dominant and it maybe leaves the fact that it's a beer behind,besides the coffee on the palate I get some chocolate and mild caramel.I have had alot of coffee infused beers this cuts the cake as far as coffee goes,is it caffeinated?That's the question. (450 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.04/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to Kurmaraja for this one. Upfront, know that I hate coffee. Don't drink the stuff, and tend to find that it overpowers any beer that it's in. Caveat complete, let's crack this can!

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a deep brown, with a slight reddish tint, and had about 1/8 inch of light brown head that had decent retention and OK lacing.

Whoa! The aroma is like walking into a diner just before the breakfast rush hits, all coffee all the time. Only the slightest bit of of malt shows through the bast of Joe. Same on the tongue, thoroughly coffee, and just the slightest bit of beer appears.

The body was pretty nice, just a bit thinner than I prefer in a Brown Ale, but smooth, except for some coffee bitterness at the back end. Drinkability will totally depend on your view of coffee. You can figure out where I'm at. Overall, a solid brew, and one that a lot of people would love. I'm not one of those people. I just didn't enjoy the beer, but I'm thankful for the gift, and for the experience for having tried it. YMMV. (1,045 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes on 5/3/14

Had it on tap at the Tipsy Cow. This beer tasted just like drinking black coffee. It was good, but I like coffee stouts and porters more. (159 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Excited to see this one at Four Firkins when I was in Minnesota -- $4.39 for a can though? Was that priced right? Pretty damn expensive! I enjoyed the regular Bender though, and I like coffee, so my hopes are kinda high for this one. Canned 7/11/14 and poured 9/4/14.

Appearance: Semi-aggressive pour gave off a modest head that went down to about a ring and stayed. The color is mostly clear and ruby black. Looks pretty nice in the glass. (3.75/5)

Smell: Just upon cracking open the can, I got a huge waft of coffee that almost buckled my knees. Phew, this stuff smells great! Really doesn't share any characteristics of the regular Bender, at least on the surface, because the coffee note is really strong. This smells like coffee with some cream or sugar added, because it has a definite sweetness in there. Awesome nose on this beer though, but stay away if you don't like coffee and/or coffee beers, because the coffee in this is FAR from subtle. (4.5/5)

Taste/feel: So much coffee. This has a rich black coffee flavor, but the malt in Coffee Bender keeps it from tasting identical to cold black coffee -- coffee, coffee, coffee, a malt roastiness character, a slight bit of char, and then lingering coffee. There's not a lot of depth of flavor. In fact, regular Bender probably has more depth of flavor, but I just like this beer more. The feel is about full bodied with a modest carbonation to let you know you're drinking beer, and not coffee. (4.5/5, 4.25/5)

This brew just smells like freshly brewed coffee, and tastes almost the exact same way. Probably the most coffee-forward beer I've had, and one of the best beers I've had as well. This is an absolutely phenomenal beer that needs to be purchased if you see it, even at the price I got it for. Lucious, fabulous amounts of coffee... damn, I just wish I could get this in Michigan. Wow, wow, and wow. (1,870 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

August 30, 2014

16 oz can, nonic pint

A – Medium to dark brown. Effervescent. Off-white head, low head retention. Basically looks like a carbonated version of my morning java brew.

S – Smells like a freshly opened bottle of cold-pressed coffee. Lots of roasty, burnt notes. Bitter.

T – Again, a lot of cold-pressed or iced coffee. Bitterness is strong but not overwhelming. Burnt flavors are actually minimal. Instead it’s very roasty, with touches of chicory.

M – Medium carbonation, slightly astringent. Mild bitter coffee in the finish and the aftertaste.

O – I want to like this a lot more than I do, but the cold pressed coffee is a little too upfront and pushes the beer out of balance. That characteristic could certainly be appealing for some drinkers. Would love to taste this base brown ale with no or more balanced coffee addition. (872 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
3.29/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Light black in color with some penetration to light. A fingernail of khaki colored head sits on top. Strong aroma of very bitter intense coffee is present. The flavor is extremely bitter coffee with no room for anything else. The mouth is thick and creamy.
Appearance: 3.5
Aroma:3.25
Taste:3.25
Mouthfeel:3.5
Overall:3.25 (325 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

Served into a snifter from a 16 ounce can.

A- Hugely frothy head with sticky lace that streaks around the glass as the head slowly recedes. The body is opaque, essentially pitch black. 4.25

S- Huge coffee aroma on the nose, it's dark roast and closer to a bean aroma than brewed coffee. There's some caramel creamy sweet flavor that makes me think of a coffee drink you'd get at Starbucks. Hops are nowhere to be found. 4.1

T- Coffee is right there in the name and with good reason; this beer practically is a cup of dark roast coffee. The malt flavor tastes like a dark roast as well, only compounding the toasted, burnt flavors a coffee offers. There are occasional sweet notes of sugar, cream and caramel, but they're very subtle. 4.1

M- There seems to be bitterness from both the coffee and the hops and it's felt around mid-palate to the finish. There's a creamy quality, mild sweetness, and only mild carbonation. The body is on the thinner side and is immediately noticeable, but not so thin as to bother. 3.9

I enjoy this beer quite a bit once I get past the initial reaction to the thin body. The flavor is coffee-heavy but offers enough malty flavors to be multi-layered. 4.05 (1,192 characters)

Photo of jdhowe
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer for a mug, from a can, poured into Avery Tour Glass. Canned 02/24/14.

I've not written one of these in a while, so I figured I'd sit down and do a review for this beer.

A: Pours a deep brown with clear mahogany light through the edges and 1/2 finger of cappuccino-colored head that dissipates after a couple minutes to a ring and mottled film, leaving plenty of sheet lacing.

S: Huge coffee right out of the can and even more abundantly from the glass. Roasty notes of iced coffee alongside a mild chocolate and what I can only describe as the slight malty sweet waxiness that is characteristic of brown ales. This beer smells like what it claims to be, full of coffee and cocoa powder.

T/M: Astringent up front with a burn of carbonation, the first real flavor that emerges is, unsurprisingly, unapologetic coffee. Underneath an abundant coffee character is a slight hint of malt sweetness, but the brown ale-ness of this is somewhat lost in the coffee. Which I think is really what they were going for. The finish is clean and roasty, and the lingering character is of very earthy coffee, with a hint of a flavor that is vaguely plant-like... almost like a tree or a leaf, but not from hops. Just something that brings back fresh-cut grass. Mouthfeel is medium to thin with a moderate to high level of carbonation. Finish is clean and watery with a reasonable coffee astringency.

O: I am impressed, but not chomping at the bit to get my hands on more. This is definitely a cool beer and I'm glad I tried it, because I've not had anything quite like this. (1,566 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

A - Dark brown, near black, almost opaque except at the edges. A light tan head forms up fat, but fades pretty quickly to a partial sheen on the top. Extensive, persistent lacing.

S - Big coffee, with some roastiness and subtle chocolate notes.

T - Follows the nose, with a solid hit of coffee. Strong chocolate, toasted grains, and malty dark bread flavors, closing with a coffee-like acidic bite, but after the fade, the residual sweetness remains on the tongue for a good long while.

M - Moderate carbonation and strong acidity, light body, perhaps a bit lighter than I'd like given the flavor profile, but the base is a brown, not a porter.

O - The bitterness is a nice counterpoint to the dark, sweet molasses bread taste. I will seek this out whenever I'm in an area Surly is distributed. (802 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
2.78/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had a can of this alongside the base beer.

Good appearance, much like the regular Bender, deep dark brown, but still clear when held to the light; a medium-sized off-white head held for a few minutes and sank to a ringlet, leaving a few dabs of lacing on the glass. Nose full of coffee, with lesser notes of caramel malts. Taste was pure, straight-up bitter black coffee and nothing else. Just blew me away and made me cringe. There's a good way of using coffee in a beer, but for me, this isn't it. I pretty much hate coffee, unless it's in beer, then I actually like it a lot. But when I do have a coffee beer, I want a coffee beer, not a cold can of pure coffee. This was bitter, acrid, one-dimensional, and lacking any sense of balance. I literally could not drink this. But if you love cold, bitter coffee, get as much of this as you can. (844 characters)

Photo of mpipe
4.66/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. dark with an nice head.

Smell: Coffee and beer.

Taste: This beer is good if you show some self control. Burn through a four pack and it starts to lose it's appeal. Coffee and beer, with chocolate notes. Very good coffee beer.

Drinkability: This beer delivers if you only have one or two. Not something you want to hang out with all night. Clean finish and great on a hot day. Slightly heavy, but enjoyable. (449 characters)

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz can into pint glass

A- Dark brown, thin head w/ lacing
S- Coffee ground. LIke the ones in a giant filter at the church social
T- Coffee, malts, sweetness then bitterness
M- Smooth and full, not watery

O- Good beer. There is something about coffee taste in this beer that I'm not 100% sold on. I love coffee and beer, but this combo results in good, not great for me. (374 characters)

Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I expected to not like this beer but the flavor is excellent! I normally do not like to stray too far from traditional beer styles but thumbs up to Surly here, this one is great. Here's a twist, try it with a shot of Kuala, it's got coffee in it after all, and you will be surprised at how well everything mixes.
I cannot really compare this beer to anything else. Open you mind and give it a go! (397 characters)

Photo of willbobaggins
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1000lb grizzly gave the most spot on review i've read about coffee bender. not complex, but fun to try.

i drank from the can and from a tulip side by side. can lends a more creamy mouthfeel. big dissipation on the pour--too watery. i find no difference on IPAs from can vs. glass but i preferred the can here. give it a try, be interested to hear what other ppl think (368 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Slightly hazy deep brown, no carbonation visible, has a nice tan head that has faded to a paper thin layer.

S: Like fresh coffee beans. Incredibly natural. Undertones of chocolate. Simple, but wow, is this concept well-realized.

T: Like drinking a coffee bean, acidity and bitterness and all. I'm curious what hops and how much were used here, I could see them backing up the coffee quite a bit, secretly. Roasted malt/coffee finish lasts and lasts. Bitterness is restrained, but there is very little sweetness. Again, this is well created, but this much acidity is off-putting in a beer.

M: Watery, much too watery. Heavy flavors require at least a medium body.

O: Definitely worth trying, you will not find more realistic coffee flavors in a beer. Unfortunately, I think they spent too much time on extracting this flavor and not enough time working on the other components to back it up. (897 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy coffee drk brn/black body,
finger off white head, great lacing

S: big fresh roasted coffee nose, nutty,

T: same as nose, firm smooth nutty malt
mild pine bitter finish

M: med/light body, smooth
with hint of oily mouth

O: Such a delight to finally explore.
Thrilled that I have 3 more cans in the frig.
Balanced and fun, coffee fans may explore this.

DELICIOUS; GET SOME! (387 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Liquid is a dark mahogany that produces a pretty thick tan head. Head fades slowly and leaves a moderate amount of lacing at first, but very little as you drink it. There are a handful of straight lines of bubbles rising up through the liquid.

Aroma hit me as soon as I opened the can! Definitely smells like coffee. Really nice roasted notes, and just the perfect amount. Other than coffee, there's maybe a bit of cinnamon, but not much else, which is exactly what I wanted!

Taste has the nice roastiness of the aroma, mixed with a kind of lactic tartness. Little bit of dark fruit, and some cinammon. The coffee is really well-done, and really well-matched with the base beer. I feel like often coffee beers will use an overly roasty stout that ends up being unnecessarily bitter, but here it's well-made to focus on the smooth, creamy, fruity coffee flavors. I wish there was a little bit less of that lactic tartness, but otherwise perfect.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, with lots of carbonation. Body is moderately thick.

Overall, one of the best coffee beers I've had! Really does a good job getting actual coffee flavor from the beans, rather than just bitterness and roastiness. (1,214 characters)

Photo of Jonada
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz canned on 2/24/2014. Served in a DFH signature glass

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with 1+ finger of a light tan, creamy head that settles to a thin coating. Body is dark, but when held up to light is translucent and yields a deep dark amber color and a good amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: Coffee, coffee, coffee. This is like sticking your face in a bag of freshly ground coffee beans. Once you get past that, there are more subtle notes of bready malt and caramel, but this is still overwhelmingly coffee.

Taste: Bitter roasted coffee, complimented by a slight earthy hop character and hints of tea leaves. Starts out with a coffee bitterness which yields to a slight malt sweetness that breaks through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and medium levels of prickly carbonation. High drinkability and very refreshing.

Overall: In case you haven't figured it out, this is a beer for coffee lovers (or at least coffee beer lovers), so if that's not your thing, you should definitely stay away. That being said, while this is a pretty one dimensional beer (which did effect my scoring), it's done about as well as one could imagine. If you like coffee beers, you need to seek this out. (1,244 characters)

Photo of earljones199
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Short head that thins out quick. Dark Mahogany. Maybe a shade or two lighter than a black.

Smell- Is coffee grinds to the max! Very dry and bitter coffee grinds. Overwhelming coffee.

Taste- Follows the nose almost exactly. Almost like an espresso

Mouthfeel- A little on the thin side. Very smooth though. Has a dry ending similar to black coffee or an espresso shot.

Overall- Very enjoyable for a coffee lover but could be a huge disappointment for someone looking for a stout with coffee in the background. (523 characters)

Photo of joeseppy
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a burnt caramel that morphs into black with a generous mocha head. Lacing is decent.

Smell foremost is initially fresh ground coffee. Sweet cream/milk with toffee drizzle but not overbearing. Aroma is to be admired.

Taste follows aroma in that primo coffee is the center stage. Some malty sweetness holds it together. Generally good.

Mouthfeel is lacking comparatively. Nice sparkle on the carbonation. Quite quenching if you are in the mood for a coffee brown.

Really was expecting more because of the hype. What you get here is a palatable coffee brew. Not a fan of the base Bender mainly because of the lightness of it. This follows the same thread but in this case quality coffee has been added to make it a gem in its own right. If you love a coffee brew then this is one you will like. (801 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
3.12/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to amerak for sending me this alongside other awesome Surly offerings. Poured into a tulip glass out of a 16oz can. At the time of consumption (late December), this was about 2 months old. Bender may be one of my favorite brown ales brewed in the country, so I was excited about this one.

Pours a far more blackened appearance than anticipated - nearly opaque, save for the brownish reddish tinges glowing at the sides of the glass when held against the light. Contains an off-khaki head that sticks around for a good long while, although does eventually dissipate into a small ring. The effect does make it look like a cold cup of freshly brewed coffee, which is quite appealing given what I'm about to venture into.

Cold ground coffee immediately hits the nostrils upon the first whiff, followed by some solid malty notes and slight sweetness soon after. The coffee is so intense on this beer that I cannot make out hardly anything else other than, interestingly enough, actual phenolic components that make up the *coffee* rather than the beer. Roasted espresso, light black pepper, caramel, fudge, vanilla, as well as a brief touch of dark dried fruit (I'm thinking berries?). The finish is a little bit more of the biscuity traits of the malts, as well as more caramel and toasted grainy notes, but it's really pushed to the back from where you can smell the coffee. Really unique, but quite one-dimensional in some ways.

What's up with the flavor, though? One sip, and things seem horribly wrong - rather than a pleasant roasted, spicy flavor from coffee, everything feels abnormally tannic and astringent. Even stranger, the coffee feels progressively charred, or burnt, or worse. This tastes like coffee that's been brewed from grounds that were seeped one time too many, and then watered down with ice and served a few days later. The malty profile from the Bender base is luckily there to add some textured balance, as well as a bit of sweetness (mainly caramel and vanilla) but the coffee is way too overpowering and far too charred in flavor for me to continue to go on. Carbonation is fine, but perhaps more body would saved this from feeling thinned, putrid, and watered down. I could not finish - I had to pass this on to someone else.

I absolutely am ashamed for not having enjoyed this beer as others apparently do, so I may blame this review on an off can or something. I'm actually a casual fan of iced coffee, but there was something really wrong and burnt tasting about the coffee profile at hand. It's ability to overpower the (good) base beer didn't help the cause any further, however. I'll gladly revisit this if someone pushes for it, but this really wasn't for me at all. (2,709 characters)

Photo of alphagnome
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Dark brown, borderline black body allows little light to penetrate. Pours with a half inch thick head that fades to a thin ring within minutes of pouring. Carbonation is noticable, if only just, and fine sediment can be seen navigating the dark liquid.

Aroma:
As good as a coffee bee can get! The aroma is jam packed with freshly brewed coffee. There are light notes of chocolate and the faintest hint of pecan - but none of that matters, because coffee.

Taste:
Much like the aroma, this one is loaded with coffee. It's not as in your face as the aroma would lead one to believe, but it's still surprising. Right away, roasted, bold coffee hits you with just the right amount of bitterness. Nutty notes on the tail-end and trace vanilla. A tinge of sweetness attempts to breakthrough, providing a bit of balance.

Mouthfeel:
Medium body. Vague carbonation. Refreshing and easy to drink with a clean finish. Notthe smoothest beer in this catagory, but it's a small complaint (Note to Surly.... PLEASE offer this on nitrous!).

Overall:
An incredibly satisfying coffee infused beer. This is without a doubt one of my favorite beers, the fact that I am willing to drive 3 hours to get it should tell you something. If you're able to get your hands on this, there is no reason you shouldn't! (1,301 characters)

Photo of 77black_ships
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

568 ml. can sampled. Pours a dark brown with little head. Smells straight-up like coffee, the real grounds, the actual stuff, roasted, just pure intense actual coffee, no beer ingredients, interesting. Taste is straight up iced coffee, like a glass of iced coffee with some ice cubes & carbonation, roasted, grounds, coffee beans, light chocolate, caramel. Easy to drink. This is more coffee than beer. I am not a coffee drinker but one doesn’t need to be that to enjoy iced coffee & I quite liked this. Cheap & in 4packs, I would buy this regularly, it is quite easy to drink. (579 characters)

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 792 ratings.