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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

810 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 810
Hads: 2,409
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 657
Gots: 347 | FT: 25
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.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 810 | Hads: 2,409
Photo of Hayley_86
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer has a pleasant look and smell to it that promisses a lot for a good coffee beer. The taste is okay but not strong enough and the feel doesn't hold up to the better coffee beers. High hopes but I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped.

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Photo of Rootscipio
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly opiac brown with a thin head and a moderate amount of carbonation.
Smells of coffee and roasty malts. Up front the taste is of coffee with some chocolate backing there is a tad touch of vanilla and what i would say is almost a cream taste. THe Mouthfeel is creamy and slick. It is fuller than one would expect from a 5.1 abv which is something I am noticing Surly archives often with their beer.
Overall I like it it is a nice take on a coffee brown. The added cream qualities are something i have not experienced before in the style but was a welcome surprise.

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Photo of Moose90
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can dated "01/26/15 F2764"

A — Pours a deep coffee colored brown, rich and deep, with a moderately tall mocha colored head, nice clinging lace.

S — Smells of sweet coffee, dark roasted espresso, creamy, sweet dark cocoa.

T — Tastes of bitter coffee, unsweetened chocolate, espresso, dry, deeply roasted malts.

M — Medium bodied, quick finish overall, dry and crisp, no lingering residual sweetness.

O — Very nice and good balance of coffee and roast, not overly sweet which is appreciated.

Thanks to @Ridder for this can!

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a one finger, tan head that hangs around with lacing. Awesome coffee and bready smell. Mega dRk roasted coffee taste. The hops blend well with the coffee bean. The finish is quite smooth and with a slight hop bite in the end. Malty goodness brings it all together. Very good.

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Photo of Scarpachie
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Strong coffee aroma. However, I thought it could have a stronger taste than what the aroma would have suggested. The malts are also prevalent in the taste. The after taste really sticks with you

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tasters glass. Thanks, Biggs.

A: Shoe polish brown with a tan one finger head that hung around. Nice lacing.

S: Wake up and smell the coffee! I think I could get a buzz just from smelling this one. Coffee strong with light malts in the background.

T: Coffee dominates, followed by some bready malts that didn't get pushed to the side. A real solid brown ale. Thick, robust, semi-sweet.

M: Medium with medium, creamy mouthfeel.

O: Glad I got to try this well-touted coffee treat. I hope to take on a regular Surly soon.

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Photo of mr-jj
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Color is a translucent dark coffee brown with a medium khaki head that dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma is coffee, coffee, and coffee. Oh yeah, there are some malty notes and maybe some hazelnut. It's definitely got some beer in the coffee. Flavor is similar - dominated by the coffee, but with a malty brown ale hiding in the roasted beans. Body is light/medium, like most brown ales. Overall, it's a good way to drink a brown ale, which I usually find less than inspiring.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L (4.25) - The beer pours a deep brown/burgundy/black. A little bit of light tan foamy head. The brown/burgundy gives way to a darker color as the glass fills.

S (4) - I don't get a whole lot of coffee smell. A little bit, and a little bit of just that nice roasty malty beer smell.

T (4.25) - Good solid taste. A nice malty brown ale taste, with a titch of coffee. More on the aftertaste than anything else.

F (4) - Look drinking beer. Not too thick, maybe wish a little thicker. Good carb and general drinkability.

O (4.25) - So I'm scared of coffee beers, after some bad ones in the past. But this is how a coffee beer should be. Not just carbonated coffee. A true mixture of the two complementary flavors.

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Photo of ARoman
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz can poured into a coffee mug. The aroma is a mild and smooth coffee with some woody spices. It pours a rich, dark caramel color with an off-white, dense filmy head that has a moderate retention. The taste is a medium, balanced bittersweet. The texture is oily and creamy with a fuzzy carbonation and a medium body. Flavors of coffee, chocolate, earth, and nuts blend nicely on the palate with a finish that's earthy, but smooth with a tinny quality and flavors of pecans. The aftertaste is light with a flavor profile of spice and tin, but mostly clean.

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Photo of dleigh
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smells exactly like iced coffee. Tasted pretty roasty and bitter at first, but once it warmed up I got some sweeter notes. Minimal carbonation, pretty smooth.

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Photo of dmgeng
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

When I got up to Chicago to do an in-person trade I stopped at a liquor store on my way out and they had this rotating brew cold so I had to try it.

A - Dark brown just like a medium-roast coffee with a fine, light khaki colored head and light lacing.

S - Huge medium-roasted coffee aroma with some lighter smells of malt, hazelnut, and chocolate. Smells like very good cold pressed coffee but not a whole lot of anything else.

T - Again that big coffee flavor comes through but isn't as bitter or acrid as some of the coffee stouts that I've had. The lighter and more flavorful brown adds some sweetness of malt, some nuts, and light cocoa tones that round out the coffee and make this a very good coffee beer. Even with all of those flavors the beer is still very coffee forward and still bitter on the finish.

M - Light mouth-feel but there is some light residual sweetness. Light carbonation. Really it is just a regular brown ale at 5.1% so I wouldn't expect a big mouth feel but is softer on the palate and quick to go down so nothing to be ashamed of.

Overall, pretty good. This is definitely a cold coffee infused beer and seems more like coffee infused with beer but still good flavor. I wasn't the most impressed by the coffee take over but is still a tasty beverage. I would say that this is one of the best true "breakfast" beers with it's coffee punch, light ABV, and easy drinkability. I would recommend this if you like coffee but I feel you would be disappointed if you wanted more of the base beer to come through.

Glass- Imperial Nonic

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Photo of snaotheus
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pint can poured into a tulip. Canned on 2/20/15.

Pours dark brown, a little translucent, with a medium head, and medium carbonation. Head dissipates at a moderate pace. Smell is coffee and nuts. Slight whiff of yeast.

Taste is nutty, sweet, coffee, with a slight hint of vanilla. This is a really tasty brown ale.

Mouthfeel is silky and smooth. Overall, this is quite good.

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Photo of RedBaron73
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice brown color very clear. Nice head to this beer with good head retention. Very nice coffee aroma followed by malt. WIsh it was easier to get this in Va.

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Photo of KevChiTown
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Honestly, it doesn't taste like beer in the slightest. I feel like I'm drinking black coffee whipped up and served cold. I rarely say this but I would love to try a BA version of this. I love coffee beers and this is up at the top.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light shade of brown with a white head. Aroma of fresh coffee grounds and malts. The taste has big ground coffee flavor and light malts. Coffee all day. Creamy, with a delicate nutty flavor underneath the coffee Medium bodies, fair carbonation. I love surly beers and coffee so this was a win. Very delicious.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampling right now on 3/9/15. Comes in a 16 ounce (1 pint) can in a 4-pack in the $10 range. New brews brought down to Council Bluffs, Iowa market in the past couple of weeks actually. Last Thursday there was a distributor from the brewery there at the Hy-Vee in Council Bluffs, Iowa with all of their brews available for sample. Of course I tried all except for the 2-IPA's there as the guy said that both of those were pretty bitter. Can chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

This 'American brown ale' style brew pours a very deep mahogany in color with some reddish highlights. A good 3-finger foamy beige head is seen after the pour. A good amount of sticky lacing is seen when sipped that sticks to the inside of the mug. The aroma is of freshly roasted coffee beans for the most part. You can smell this across the room even. Pretty much is said for the taste also. If you like black coffee, then this is for you. Lots of flavor. Does finish slighter bitter as would be excepted but doesn't last long. Medium-bodied and perfect carbonation.

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the can a dark brown with an off-white head that reduces quickly. The aroma tells you quickly that it's coffee, coffee and more coffee. So it tastes like, well, coffee. There's a bit of chocolate and roasted malts. Medium mouth, and it goes down pretty easy. I taste very little of the Bender base. This reminds me more of a porter or thin coffee stout. It's good, but not what I expected.

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Photo of mnredsoxfan69
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't care for this as much as the regular Bender. More bitter than a plain brown, but not from the coffee. Too much roasted flavor for my palate. Bent Paddle's Cold Press black is the coffee brew to beat these days in Minnesota.

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Photo of KATCanada
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served at fridge temp from can. Dark brown with tan foam. Ban huge ground coffee nose. If you have ever had iced coffee in southeast Asia, this is what it smells like. Big coffee taste, bit of mocha. Mouthfeel is pretty thin when compared to the big coffee stouts, not in a bad way. Bitter coffee. Pretty one dimensional for me but fine since that's the ways it's advertised. Very good quaffer.

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Photo of atomicbeer
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
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!

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Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.04/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 810 ratings.