Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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790 Reviews
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Reviews: 790
Hads: 2,312
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 642
Gots: 315 | 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.
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Reviews: 790 | Hads: 2,312
Photo of Cubatobaco
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a DFH tulip

A: Murky brown with a reddish tone when tilted in the light. Medium carbonation streaming to the top. Khaki ring around glass and some lacing.

S: COFFEE!!! It smells like a freshly ground coffee submerged into a brown ale. There is almost no trace of beer smell. Just what I was anticipating.

T: Overpowering coffee flavors, mainly of espresso, with subtle hints of hop bitterness and malt. Not a thought provoking beer, but that's not why you buy a coffee beer. Wonderful flavor!

M: Perfectly carbonated, medium-bodied, and very easy to drink.

O: I love this beer! It is a perfect change of pace beer that is well-balanced, with just the right amount of ingredients. This will not be my last. (735 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz tallboy can. Canned on 01/06/2014.

poured into Duvel Tulip.

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer with two fingers of light tan head. Thick lacing on the side of the glass. Eventually the head on this beer dies down to a thin ring around the glass.

Smell: A fresh coffee bomb. Nutty malts. Brown sugar. Smells heavenly! This beer smells like the inside of a Starbucks or a Caribou coffee shop when they are brewing up some coffee for thier customers.

Taste: Fresh coffee mixes with nutty malt profile; a hint of brown sugar and coffee creamer thrown into the mix for good measure! This beer tastes just as good as it smells. WOW. Seriously wow!

Mouthfeel: Light bodied beer that is almost medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation levels. Such an easy drinking beer!

Overall: This is possibly the best brown ale that is brewed with coffee. Surly hit a homerun this this beer. Nuff said! Dont hesitate to buy this beer, even at $15 for a 4pack of tallboys. You wont regret your purchase, I promise. (1,010 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with red hues, persistent creamy tan head slowly fades
S - aroma is iced coffee, but not much else - it does smell good though!
T - iced coffee again here, more beer like qualities than the aroma indicates; brown malt, chocolate, grain, some vanilla
M - medium bodied, smooth, slight piny herbal bitterness on the finish
O - really nice to go back to this one. The one and only other time I had this was a few years ago when Surly was in the Chicago area on tap only. I wonder what this would be like as a nitro tap. Just a thought. (547 characters)

Photo of Kevin-Wieken
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Coffee Bender
Surly Brewing Company, Minnesota
---from can to stemmed tulip glass---

Dark brown and leather red where light is allowed through, huge head that shrinks down to a thin cap with little lacing.

Like the can says, this smells like iced coffee! I’m having a hard time smelling anything else.

Coffee. Little nuttiness from the brown ale, very faint sweetness. Some earthy hops help offset the coffee bitter.

Medium body, medium carbonation, literally tastes like cold-carbonated coffee. Incredibly smooth – probably from the oats.

I really dig this beer. Obviously coffee forward… doesn’t leave much for the standard beer drinker. I’m not a brown ale kind o’ guy… but this Brown Oatmeal Coffee Ale is tops… also best coffee forward beer I’ve had. I absolutely MUST have another. (853 characters)

Photo of macher0
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to PHboiler for throwing this extra in a trade.

Took a few sips from the can then poured to tulip.

A. Starting off it poured somewhat thin. A medium brown color. A fine bubble amber head that quickly builds back up when swirled. Minor laces.

S. Low fragrances of coffee, yeast, biscuits. Straight forward.

T. Follows the nose but amplified. A pleasant bitterness from the hops and coffee beans. A bitter cocoa flavor comes from the dark malts.

M. Highly effervescent. Smooth. Medium body.

O. A very nice experience. A well crafted blend of coffee beans and ale. It strongly resembles an iced black coffee with beer. A great combination. This is not an everyday beer but when the time is right, this ale hits the spot. I find this does wonders for hangovers. (771 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Can from trade and forget who. But thanks! Pours to my tulip brown with some ruby red showing through in the pour. As it accumulates in the glass it ends up very dark brown with a one finger khaki head that's looks very creamy. Aroma is a giant smack of coffee beans, maybe a hint of nutty brown ale in there. Flavor comes in with, SURPRISE, big coffee, earthy and spicy as can be and nearly like liquid espresso beans. There is a light nutty and malt character mixed in there but it is certainly subdued. There is a small hint of bittering cocoa powder as well. The mouthfeel on this is on the thin side and it would have been nice to have either a bit more thickness to this, or more carbonation. As is, the carbonation is a low medium to low. It makes it sort of sit deadened on the tongue. Nevertheless the coffee flavor here is massive and this is rather enjoyable. (870 characters)

Photo of D-No
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown with a good creamy brown head. Leaves a little lacing around the edge of the glass.
S - dark chocolate, coffee, cherries
T - coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, moderate bitter finish.
M - Heavy, lingers in the mouth, with low carbonation.
O - I enjoyed it and will have it again. (297 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

what i love about coffee bender is its drinkablity, and intense coffee smells and flavors. its more coffee heavy than any other beer ive ever had, yet it drinks real easy, and could work as an all day beverage. the color is dark brown, but lighter than porter, its got some transparency to it, and has a fading inch of off white head. the nose is all coffee, earthy and bitter, even a little fruity like blueberries, but there is very little acidity. there is also some brown ale style chocolate malt, but the coffee dominates. same in the flavor, its all coffee start to finish. just enough beer here to give some backbone, but this is almost indistinguishable from a cup of coffee, at least in beer terms. the cold pressing really helps the feel stay light and refreshing, and the caffeine is detectable. clean though, not long bitter in the finish, just sharp enough. carbonated well, medium body seems lighter. a four pack of these would be a nice dose i think, a good beer to start a big night with as well. i have loved everything from surly, and i love this too! (1,069 characters)

Photo of NODAK
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Of all coffee beers I've ever had, this one unquestionably smells the most like fresh coffee. It really smells amazingly like iced coffee. And that's about all I get out of the aroma here, which is just fine because it's pretty awesome.

Pours black in my pint glass with a fair head....which dissipates fairly rapidly.

The taste is of perhaps the most coffee tasting beer I've ever had. Unlike many other coffee beers, which are often stouts, this is a lot thinner and really just seems a lot like an iced coffee. I read about how it's made, and it is apparently steeped in coffee beans for 24 hours. It certainly shows. If you're looking for deep complexity in a coffee beer, I'd say to keep looking. If you want a beer that's really a dead ringer for a cold coffee beverage that you'd get at a coffee you are! (825 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz. can into a Goose Island glass.

A- Just barely able to see through the glass into the light. Rich coffee brown ale. Medium head with great retention.

S- By far the highlight of this beer. Coffee explodes out of this beer. Nutty

T- I have been drinking a lot of stouts lately, and coffee stouts too. I can really tell that this is a brown ale with loads of coffee. Smell of coffee is much stronger than the taste.

M- Pretty decent for a canned brown ale. Carbonation follows down the throat. Nothing offsetting here.

O- My first Surly offering, and I think for a coffee brown ale, they did a great job! (615 characters)

Photo of McDude
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium dark brown, almost opaque. Head is pretty thick actually.

Smell: Smells like a cup of decent coffee (not Folgers) smell the alcohol a little bit too. Excellent smell

Taste: Very refreshing and crisp. Not as heavy as I was thinking it might be. Get some hops in there and of course, lots of coffee. Smells like coffee, taste like coffee. Doesn't have that old coffee or burnt coffee taste either like some coffee beers do. ABV is on the low side for me personally, but I suppose it could be considered a perfect blend.

Mouthfeel: Refreshing and crisp as aforementioned. It feels like a dark cup of ice coffee. Exactly what you would want from a coffee beer. Not heavy at all

Overall: Really outstanding beer. As I stated it is a bit light on the ABV. But this is an excellent year round beer. I could imagine drinking this in the summer considering how light, refreshing, and crisp it is. (912 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours brown, quite like Bender but the head is much thicker and denser. Doughy, bubbly head with tons of webby lace.

A-Whoa that smells exactly like coffee. Fresh brewed pot of coffee. Really a far cry from the normal Bender. The beer's base is almost masked by the coffee and I am totally digging it.

T-Like a cold cup of iced coffee. Iced coffee with a bit of milk and sugar. I could go into specifics of the other nuances of this beer but I won't; this beer is all about the coffee. It's delicious.

M-Medium to light in body. Softer carbonation and no booze...Could almost pass for iced coffee.

O/D-Wasn't super impressed with Bender but Coffee Bender is a beautiful brew. The genuine coffee flavor is impeccable. I loved this beer. (741 characters)

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

Pour / Appearance: Fantastic, tan and mocha head. Head is pretty retentive, with a good bit of lacing. Black as pitch everywhere but the edges of the glass, where a faint hint of ruby brown appears. Super opaque and reflective. Very beautiful brown ale, although it doesn't necessarily fit the BJCP category for any brown ale. That said, screw it. It looks damn good.

Aroma: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Like smelling a cold pot of coffee, with all the bitterness and aroma therein. While coffee's in the name, it doesn't smell at all like a beer. I mean maybe some of the bitterness is earthy hops, but it really smells more like coffee grounds. So points off for not smelling like beer; points on for smelling what it wants to smell like.

Taste: Oh god this is refreshing. The can actually says it's a bit like an iced coffee, and that fits it to a tee even at room temp. A bit more hops come through as it warms up, which is refreshing in a way. A dark malt background adds hints of chocolate and a little bit of toffee.

Overall: This is a beer for people who like coffee. It is a FANTASTIC beer for people who like coffee. It's a brown ale at the end and a specialty beer from the start. Very good.

Bottom Line: Buy if you like coffee, Surly, or experimental beers. Taste or buy a single if you're unsure of any of those things or are just getting into brown ales. Don't buy if you have any problem with coffee. (1,423 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-hazy brown color with a light tan head and decent lacing

S-rich coffee aroma, toasted malt, chocolate, earthy

T-coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, earthy,nutty, mild to moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-loved the coffee in this beer more than any other I can recall, would definitely drink this againa (344 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to for Ubermensch26 the four pack of Coffee Bender he brought me back from Darkness Day! Single 16 oz can poured into a Tallgrass Brewing cervoise style glass. Canned on 09/11/2013.

Appearance: Poured a finger of khaki head which quickly fizzed away to a thin cap. Brown/walnut colored body. Decent, sudsy lacing on the sides.

Smell: Spicy, earthy, roasted coffee. As expected, a huge coffee presence in the nose. Behind the coffee front, some of the original Bender is found: cream, nuttiness, vanilla, some bitter chocolate and hazelnut. Once the beer had warmed more of the cream scent came through. An odd vegetal note seems to come and go.

Taste: That same coffee upfront as in the nose, this time ending on a bitter, ashy note. I wish I could get more of the Bender in the taste. Some cream, vanilla, nuttiness, and cocoa powder are present. When the beer was still pretty cold there was an odd vegetal presence, when the warmed up more it seemed to fade.

Mouthfeel: Chalky, thin mouthfeel. The creamy, low carbonation works pretty well with the coffee taste.

Overall: Like drinking a fresh, cold growler of coffee. The nose reminded me a lot of spicy, used coffee grounds. Bender was a great fit for this beer in that it’s the perfect creamy, nutty base beer. I just wish more of it would come through. My only real complaint is that odd veggie smell/taste that threw off all the nice coffee complexities. Nice creamy body thought it could have used a bit more heft. Overall, a recommend ale for all who enjoy coffee in their beer. If this was local to me, I can see myself picking up a four pack off and on. (1,632 characters)

Photo of GoCobbers95
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Coffee Bender Surly

A - Dark Brown almost black, 2 finger head which fades to just a small cap of foam. Beige in color. Lacing was not existent with my pour

S - Coffee (duh)

T - Smoke, coffee, toffee

F - Carbonation was very upfront, creamy

O - I love coffee. From the first smell to the last drink, it lived up to its name. A very fun play on an American Brown Ale. It was really one note for me though. The smoke was a fun surprise, but it lacked a rounded out flavor. I searched and searched for a nuttieness or balancing sweet note but came up short. The slight toffee taste was less than redeeming. (612 characters)

Photo of tsauce2
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 16 fl oz can in to Duvel tulip.

A: SRM is brown. Head is frothy/bubbly tan, 1 in, dissipates to rim of glass. Light lacing, medium carbonation.

S: Luscious coffee notes explode off the nose. Hard to pick up much else; may be selective smelling...

T: Medium/dark roast malt, coffee, medium chocolate sweetness. Aftertaste is roast coffee and caramel.

M: Medium body. Semi viscous. Coffee adds nice depth of flavor. Dry and crisp finish.

O: One of the best all time coffee beers. Very critical of coffee beers, and this delivers big time. Only down side is that I did not buy more. (587 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice coffee laden ale.

Presentation: 16 oz can. Metallic design with Surly retro-60s branding, over an image of a coffee maker. Back notes offers a note about intent and ingredients. Notes canned on 04/25/13 Shows 5.1% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Deep brown pour with a good frothy head, medium to short retention, fair memory ring and good touches of lacing.

S - Deep coffee aroma over roasted notes. Pleasant, and complex quite enticing...

T - Plenty of coffee dominating the palate. Not extraordinary coffee but a great sense of flawless balance. Hint of caramel over the roast, slight bitterness leading back to a soft sweet finish.

M - Mediumb body with medium to medium/high carbonation, Nice balance with a good texture in the finish and the lingering sense.

O - Pretty nice coffee brown ale. It has a great sense of balance with a nice flow of the coffee element.

Notes: Not a brew for the ages but this is quite nice. One needs to be in the mood, and liking the coffee edge, and it sure works for me. With so many coffee ales not getting it right this is quite notable. (1,099 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow... This dang sucker goes down easier than... (I'll let you fill in the blank, my children). But really though, it's smooth, roasty, there is a nice, subtle layer of richness... Raul feels like Scrooge McDuck diving into a pool of coffee beans only to come up with a coffee bender in one hand and Kate Middleton in the other.

Yep! (334 characters)

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

16 fl oz. can, with canned on date stamped on the bottom 11/13/2013. Ten days old, probably one of the freshest beers I've ever had. My first beer from Surly Brewing Co., as they have just reentered Illinois. Exponentially stoked to have this beer.

Poured into a Guinness Extra Stout St. James's Gate Dublin glass mug.

A - Aggressive pour conjures four to five fingers of big fluffy tan cappuccino looking head. Body pours a dark chestnut brown / ruby color when held to the light. Looks very nice.

S - Mouthwatering aromatics. Smells like a cup of delicious cold, freshly ground dark Guatemalan coffee, more than it does a beer. Dark bitter coffee bean roast and some earthiness. Smells amazing.

T - Taste follows in wake of the nose: beautiful, delicious, and authentic bitter dark coffee bean roast, and some dirty semi-herbal earthiness. Ridiculously delicious.

M - Feel is fairly light-bodied, smooth, and creamy, but high on the coffee bean bitterness, especially for 45 IBU.

Overall, this is probably hands down the best coffee beer I've tried as of yet. Packed with flavor, especially for being so light-bodied and with a fairly moderate 5.10% abv. Supremely authentic, a true breakfast beer if there ever was one, I am sooo glad these are now available to me, and I look forward to many more.

Surly Coffee Bender ---4.5/5 (1,337 characters)

Photo of IPAdams
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with red hues, 1 finger creamy tan head that lingers for a little while and then recedes to a slight covering on top

Smell- Awesome. Smells just like a freshly opened bag of coffee beans. I get a bit of vanilla and licorice in the background.

Taste- First sip is like eating a coffee bean. I get some vanilla, dark chocolate and lactose as well. A slight bitterness, matches well with the flavor. I don't get much caramel or nutty flavors I would expect from a brown.

Mouthfeel- Somewhat thin. Carbonation was good but body lacked a little.

Overall- Nice beer. I'd like the flavor to have a bit more complexity to it and the body would be better if it was a bit thicker. Worth trying if you're a coffee lover. (745 characters)

Photo of Jas45678
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can into tulip, thanks to lurpy1

Pours nice dark brown with a small white head. Smell is coffee and coffee, hints of hazelnuts and vanilla. Taste is like the nose coffee, very nice coffee flavor that doesn't taste artificial. Medium body with lower carbonation that works well with this beer. Overall a very good beer, flavors work great together.A must try for coffee lovers. (377 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from can into tulip glass.

A: Pours a beautiful golden brown with one finger white head. Some nice lacing.

S: Iced coffee, caramel, malts.

T: Straight forward brown ale with nice coffee flavors. Taste is all coffee all the time.

M: Full bodied and nicely carbonated.

O: A classic example of a well executed brown ale, and the coffee only makes it that much better. Nice job Surly! (393 characters)

Photo of BeardedAllen
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of Surly's best beers, in my opinion. This is the coffee drinker's choice in beer. Its wonderful mix of coffee and Ale give it a very distinguished taste. I've affectionately named this beer the Minnesota paper maker, because I'd often find myself sipping on one while writing long winded political science essays. The caffeine gets your mind going, while the smooth 5.1% get's you loosened up just enough to ramble, but not enough to get you Surly. (453 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear brown pour with a ruby hue and a one finger off white head. Aroma is 100% dark iced coffee. Taste is exactly as billed: brown ale and coffee. In the background are aromatic hops and a touch of smoke. Bitter cold coffee flavor lingers in the back of the mouth. It’s bitter but not astringent. I would have liked a touch more sweetness and mouthfeel, but that may just be personal preference. (398 characters)

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 790 ratings.