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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

809 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 809
Hads: 2,406
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 10.84%
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: 809 | Hads: 2,406
Photo of everetends
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of portia99
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
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).

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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!

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Photo of Derek
3.65/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

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Photo of rye726
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of damienblack
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
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!

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of StonyB
4.44/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of CMitchell
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

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Photo of hardy008
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark brown color with a tan two finger head.

Smell - Coffee, malt, and some caramel.

Taste - Same as the smell, nicely balanced and smooth.

Mouthfeel - light bodied, smooth, very easy drinking.

Drinkability - Would make a nice session beer. Another solid offering from Surly.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Great scarlet color with a light brown head that sticks around and has nice lacing.
Coffee and brown sugar dominate. Vanilla caramel and dark fruit (mostly prune).
Stale coffee and dark fruit, not much else.A slightly bitter coffee finish
Full body with good carbonation for the style.
A nice concept, but its not for me. The stale coffee was not a desirable characteristic in my opinion.

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Photo of macktbone
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved as an extra...(a really good extra).

Pours like an Iced coffee, but with a nice head of light brown and white. Visible carbonation pulls you in to decide if it is a benefit or a hinderence to the drink.

Smells like a coffee mocha. Toffee and cocoa.

Tastes like a Cold cappucino, chocolate syrup, tons of coffee and sweet malted coffee shop foam.

mouthfeel is thin...similar to an iced latte.
Carbonation is very level. Not too much, not too little.

Drinkable as a coffee bender, not much as daily drinker.

This is my Birthday Review!!! Yeah Me...Yeah Beer...

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, ckeegan04 hooked me up with many fine regional treasures in a trade, and this was one of them. Entirely unexpected since the package came from Tennessee. And an extremely pleasant surprise it was...thanks Chris! I have enjoyed every Surly offering I've sampled so far. This seems ripe for my Portsmouth snifter.

Pours an iced-coffee brown that gets a little heavier as the snifter fills up. A nice root-beer styled ginger-colored head is a little less than a finger and goes relatively quickly. A little decent lacing though. Body is a little opaque.

Oooh, coffee, sweet coffee. Almost reminds me of a thin Peche Mortel in a way. Malt profile is midly dark with no tannins. Nice. Hops have a little grass and pine. Smooth, very smooth.

Now the hops come out a bit more with the first sip or 2. Mostly grass and pine, but by no means earthy - they have a nice zip. The backdrop of dark malts and coffee make this quite a velvety concoction. Very well-played.

Palate feel on this one is mighty fine. A little hop tang - even a little citrus..up against rich coffee texture. Finish is even-keeled and well-balanced. There's some Beautiful Chemistry going on here.

To me your average brown isn't the easiest drinking thing in the world...but this is not average by any means. Very solid - a little brighter than usual for style from the nice tangy hop bite. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to try this one.

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Photo of theghost3
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a mug.

Appearance is dark brown, almost black with some ruby highlights. Head is thick, frothy & cafe au lait in color; much like iced capuccino. Minimal lacing.

The scent is strong of quality roasted coffee with some toasty/caramel malts. Taste is roasted black coffee & bitter, toasty malts with a hint of nuts. Mouthfeel is thick & smooth.

This is an incredibly drinkable beer. Although, I'm not sure if it should be considered a true American Brown. It really seems more like coffee with alcohol than beer but still delicious.

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Photo of porterwoobie
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a 16 oz can into a standard pint glass.

A: brown/black color with a dark tan head that dissipates slowly while lacing the glass

S: roasted grains and coffee aroma

T: tastes just like the can says, like you are drinking an iced coffee. the coffee and hop bitterness is balanced nicely with the sweetness from the malts.

MF: smooth and creamy

Drinkability: definitely would drink this beer again. coffee and beer, great combination.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotten in a trade from Nebrewm, thanks. Poured from the can into a snifter glass.

A: A dark brown with no light filtering through. Minimal ring of head and medium glass lacing.

S: Coffee with hints of creamy sweetness and some chocolate.

T: Coffee flavors first, but they are lighter coffee flavors, almost like a latte. Coffee and cream maybe is how I describe it. Sweetness stays in the mouth with some milk chocolate, cream, and some caramel. Finish is bitter with a slight metallic taste as the floral hops come through. Different take on a brown ale.

M: A bit thin actually, not what I expected. Low ABV so the alcohol is not detected.

D: Pretty good, they are drinkable but I couldn't have more than one or two.

Overall a different take on the style that does work. I'm not a huge brown ale guy, but I enjoyed this can.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear amber with several foamy fingers of light mocha colored foam. Sturdy 1/2 finger of creamy retention leaves some massive sticky lacing back. Good look here. The aroma is roasted coffee and sugary sweet smelling malts, with a touch of astringency and floral hops in the back. Solid balance between the java and sweeter notes here in the nose.

The taste is a nice silky blend of coffee character and some sweet malt notes of toasted caramel. Nice evenness between the bitterness of the coffee and the more sweeter character of the Brown Ale. This definitely finishes more on the sweetened side, with the malts lingering on the lips for a bit. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied with a nice mellow creaminess to the proceedings which makes for some very easy drinking.

The mocha notes in this seemed a limited more muted than when I had previously had this from a growler, allowing more of the Brown Ale qualaties to come out. Never the less, this is still a great coffee fix, complete with an awesome feel and super easy drinkibility. Glad this one is in cans now.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on special at Downtime. $3 a can. Not a bad deal at a bar considering that some liquor stores sell them at $13.49 or $12.49 a 4-pack.

I asked for a pint glass to enjoy this properly. Dark brown coffee bean color with a creamy tan head. Can't tell if there is carbonation or not. Lacing is great.

The nose is where it's at on this one for sure. I could drink this in with my nose all night. Incredible coffee scent, with subtle hints of coffee, nuttyness and an almost vanilla smell, maybe cream. This is coffee beer perfection, from the aroma stand point.

Taste is pretty dang good, but not quite as good as the nose is. Great coffee taste. I was worried that, like many other coffee beers, the taste wouldn't show as much coffee as I'd hoped. Often times the nose is great but the taste is more watered down coffee or non-existent. I'm pleased to say that the coffee presence in this one is strong and assertive. Chocolate and nuttyness are there as well. Honestly, this is very different from normal Bender, I think it's better.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. This is truly a treat. If this wasn't as expensive as it is normally (when it's not on special) I would order it more often. Top notch brew. Kudos Surly, again.

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Photo of KBoudreau66
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this brew as an extra with a trade from Skinnyguy. It pours a nice dark brown color with two fingers of foamy off white head. It smells exactly like a pot of coffee, but with sweet undertones in the aroma. I don't really know what to make of this beer. I can't tell if I'm impressed with it or not. Very strong coffee flavors with a bit of sweetness that I detected in the nose. I really can't explain the taste of this too well, if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it's like a Newcastle with a cup of coffee poured in it, buty obviously with more flavor than a Newcastle. Overall, not a bad brew, and I'm glad that I got to try it. I always look forward to trying new beers, especially ones that I'm unable to obtain in Massachusetts.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 809 ratings.