Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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

2,278 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 2,278
Reviews: 810
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 639
Gots: 305 | FT: 24
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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Ratings: 2,278 | Reviews: 810
Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to my man up in MN for sending these cans down to me right after the release. I have been hunting this one for a while as I truly appreciate a coffee beer above all others. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

The pour was damn wonderful I have to say. Deep dark brown with some light shining through on the edges and bottom, but mostly opaque. Huge tan head maybe three inches high coming up and over the top and falling down into a full, sticky ring of lace around the sides of the glass.

The aroma was steeped with coffee. Rich brewed, medium coffee with a nice bitterness to it. Some light sweet notes bouncing around in there as well and a very nice roasted quality to it. Smooth, rich flavor, Bitter coffee notes dominated with an amlost tea like flavor in there as well if that makes any sense. Huge vcoffee flavor from beginning to end and the smoothness of it was wonderful. Mellow finish and light abv made it very sessionable and this one went down in no time, offering little challange to me.

This was a great coffee beer. One of my favorites. Lighter then others in feel, but the freshness of the brewed coffee flavor was soo spot on. I am very happy to have a good supply of this one.

Photo of jjanega08
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= dark and delicious looking with a small head but decent lacing
S= really smells like a frappachino or something like that. Then once the coffee smell is subdued the beer comes through,
T=tastes much different than the bender actually. This is a whole new beast. Just plain good too. The coffee flavor is delicious.
M= smooth and creamy. Pretty light body
D= very high. Screams session!

Photo of ihaf2p
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was leery of trying this beer because I am a huge Surly fan and because of the hype did not want a let down....no worries, it was a great experience. The smell of coffee is much more prominent that I expected. The chocolate flavors really come thru as well. Very good drinkability...not sure it would be a good session beer, but I would maybe alternate between a Coffee Bender and Furious. Cheers!!

Photo of MPLS
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this on Tap, from a growler, and now recently in a can. Decided to choose the can, which was my most recent tasting of this beer.

A: Nice Medium-Dark brown body, with a subtle fizzy head. Psychologically it makes me want to think it's the exact color of a dark cup of coffee.

S: Prominent coffee smell, roasted, but not of old roasted coffee. This smells fresh and not like some of the coffee ground beers I have tasted.

T: Awesome coffee up front with the typical bender in back, smooth and mellow. Props to Surly for not having the coffee flavor be too acidic.

M: Medium bodied, enough to swish the palate with every sip.

D: Pretty damn drinkable considering how much coffee I drink. Low ABV and plenty of coffee smoothness to keep enjoying.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- One inch light brown head with tiny bubbles that clump together as the head diminishes. The beer is a deep red brown in color that lets little light through. Great lacing and good head retention.

S- Huge delicious dark roasted coffee aroma that almost covers up all other smells. Hints of caramel and dark chocolate, and some light hoppyness. If I close my eyes and smell this beer I can easily imagine myself in a coffee shop, I can almost here the espresso being ground.

T- The flavors in this beer are amazing, it starts out very sweet but layers of coffee and hops build up until all you can taste is a moderately hopped espresso. The initial sweetness is of caramel and milk chocolate that changes into dark chocolate and coffee. Then the hops come in with some piny bitterness but are overtaken by huge espresso flavors leaving your mouth tasting like coffee.

M- The mouth feel on this beer is phenomenal. Silky smooth yet complex, great carbonation with some bite from the hops. It is really an interesting beer to drink.

Overall: This is one of my favorite brown ales and a great release from Surly. I am very happy this is now in cans and I will do my part to make sure it pays off for Omar and every one else at Surly.

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

Yippie! Bender in cans!!

Had this once before on tap, its nice that I can have it from home. Just picked it up, as it was released yesterday.

Poured from my 16 oz can into an oversized snifter. 2 fingers of fluffy off white head sits there for a few minutes. Settling to a thin layer of retention and nice even drapes of lace.
Color is almost black with a redish glow while held up against light.

The aroma still has a bit of cereal grains and malts. Now with deliciously creamy coffee aroma and bits of peanut butter nuttiness. Just a bit of roasty burnt caramel with somthing like a sweet hazelnut, or candy coated walmuts.
Mmmmm, this thing smells so good.

Good amount of carbonation kick all through.
Starts out with a semi sweet dark roasty nutty coffee flavor. Its not watered down or thin, its big in your face coffee. Still balanced with the grainy malt flavors still coming through.
That nutty rich coffee really peaks at the swallow.
Finishing quite dry and carbonated with a hay like hoppyness.
Bitter delicious black coffee lingers.

Very nice pick me up after a very long day at work. Maybe I'll have on for breakfast?

Photo of optiontwo
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Even though I've had this brew many times on-tap before I can't tell you how excited I am to be holding this beautiful can in my hands. Easily one of my most anticipated beers in a while.

First one to review coffee bender in a can! Woo-hoo! Ok, I'm done. Time for the review.

16oz. can poured into nonic

Appearance: Dark brown, not completely opaque but close, with half inch frothy tan head and very nice lacing.

Smell: So obviously, this being a coffee beer, you'd expect some major coffee aroma which there is, but there's a lot more going on. Coffee, roasted biscuit malts, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and even some hop aroma are all in there.

Taste: Bitter coffee and chocolate followed by sweet caramel, toffee, and hazelnut and finished off with a perfect amount of hop flavor and bite. Simply delicious. This is the most balanced coffee beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Not too heavy, not too light. Carbonation is just right.

Drinkability: Also perfect. This is one of the tastiest 5.1%ABV brews there is. It goes down easy and if you were so inclined you could enjoy all four from your four-pack and not turn into frank the tank.

Overall: This, in my humble opinion, is a world-class coffee beer. And that's what you can expect from Surly, world-class beers. When I first had this beer it seemed a bit more coffee forward but now, out of the can, it seems a lot more balanced. I used to tell my pals that enjoy good beer to try this brew even if they didn't like coffee; well now that rings more true than ever. This is the perfect balance between beer and coffee and I am practically giddy that I have three more cans in my fridge. Obtain this, however you can.

Photo of mnstorm99
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful brown pour, almost porter looking, but we knew that about Bender already, great light tan head that stays until the glass is empty.
Aroma is of coffee, and more coffee, then a nice touch of caramel and biscuit malts. There is even a slight aroma of spicy hops to round things out.
Taste is as good as it gets, there isn't even a need to let this one warm too much. Great smooth coffee flavors round out a mix of biscuit and caramel malts, possible even a small touch of chocolate, with a nice small background of floral hops.
Mouthfeel is great for a brown ale, but this isn't a brown ale, it is a little thin for a porter, but this isn't a porter, oh, I am confused. This is way too easy to drink and I can see the caffeine and alchohol fighting out which should win.

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

Had copious amounts on tap many times in the cities.

A- Pours a 1 finger white head, creamy in consistency. The body is brown with ruby red highlights. As the glass empties, thin lacing covers the glass.

S- Very nice pressed coffee aromatics coupled with vanilla, cream, bits chocolate, and some nuttiness. The hops are subdued on this vs. the regular bender, but still has some great balance.

T- Starts off with some nice roasted coffee, although lighter than what i was expecting. The coffee melds perfectly with vanilla, cream, light chocolate, some nuttiness, and a creamy finish with great residual notes of fresh coffee.

M- Very smooth with light carbonation. The coffee finish is great.

D- Extremely drinkable. Will definitely have this gem again.

Photo of HopHobo
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoy several pints of this brew on tap at the Hopleaf in Chitown over the weekend.

A-It was dark so the beer appeared to pour very dark for a brown ale. Decent one finger head that diminishes very quickly to leave lacing on the sides of the glass and a thin layer of froth on top of the beer.

S-The immediate smell that dominates this brew is roasted coffee. Some underlying sweet smells along with smells of nuttiness that can be detected in the base bender beer as well. Overall, one of the best smelling coffee beers that has ever graced my nose.

T-Oh mama, thank god someone bought me a different beer because I could have drank this one all night long. Great coffee flavor without being too abrasive. The sweetness of the brown ale really blends together well with the roasted coffee flavor to make this a very tastey brew.

M-Mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation, very distinguishable as a brown ale and not a stout or porter.

D-My only regret with this beer is that I had it after having several other beers, I would love to try this beer as my first of the night...oh and get a growler(hint, hint). Very good beer and as always...I'm impressed with Surly.

Photo of hellbilly
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

growler from psprings... wtf! who just pulls out a growler and hands it to you?

this poured a chestnut-y brown... i'm gonna go with a shade darker than the regular bender and a creamy tannish head.

if i smelled this blind i would've told you it was stale coffee. crazy... aromas of whole medium dark roasted beans beans, brown sugar, toasted nuts and vanilla. i'm amazed by the sheer volume of real coffee stink coming off of this thing!

awww, the flavor is a bit of a let down. not bad, just not very... esoteric... a cold cup of mildly sour coffee with notes of brown sugar, faint chocolate and some nuttiness with a very bitter dry finish. there's just not a whole lot happening. it's damn good just a bit too simple and straight forward. it is medium bodied with a nice creamy mouth feel.

i have this fairy tale dream in my head of surly finding a way to get some bacon in this stuff... my personal heaven of my three loves in one glass!
9/4/7/4/17/4.1

Photo of Packforever1976
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my british pint.

A: Pours a medium redish brown, with a smallish light tan head. Head recedes quickly leaving a small layer on top. Decent lacing.

S: I haven't had this in quite awhile, and I forgot how good it smells. Good quality dark roasted coffee dominates the nose. Some hints of hazelnut and vanilla as well. Amazing.

T: A nice bitter dark roasted coffee flavor up front. That bitterness is quite nice, as alot of coffee beers are way too sweet. Some nice hazelnut and vanilla flavors follow, and in the finish I get some good quality dark chocolate. Man, this beer is tasty.

M: Mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is spot on. Nice level of thickness for the style.

D: Coffee Bender is crazy drinkable. I probably wouldn't be able to put down more than a couple pints at a time, but those pints would go down very smooth. Another winner from Todd and Surly.

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

Same rich mahogany color of the Bender, along with the impressively sticky and full brownish head and lacing.

The aroma is fucking badass. Not some insipid, bourgeois, fine-ground and drip-brewed coffee; more like French pressed boutique beans. Very strong and very impressive; the beer hides underneath with the same quality dark malt character as usual.

The flavor is dominated by the coffee, and makes short work of any of the subtler aspects of the original Bender. The strong, dark fruit body still remains, along with the long, slightly sweet, slightly roasted finish. Now accompanied by the java, it's even longer!

The mouthfeel is still broad and rich, with tons of little caressing bubbles that still stays far away from over-carbonated.

Surly knows how to do it, and they've done it again. This is fantastic beer, and I would get myself a ton of this if I lived nearby. I had two pints on tap and felt like moving on, but my sister gave me a 4 pack of regular Bender and I've been leaving a cup or so of coffee in my press each morning to stir in with my beers that night. One to go!

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass coffee-mug style Surly mug.

A-Pours a dark brown beer, looks to be opaque, even murky (I'm guessing an attribute of the coffee addition). Minimal dark tannish head on arrival.

S-Fresh-pressed coffee DOMINATES the aroma. I could find some malts underneath somewhere, but minimally. It's a good thing the coffee aroma is enjoyable.

T-Like the aroma, very strong roasty, fresh-pressed coffee. Oddly, it reminds me of the percolated coffee I drink while camping (but a whole lot tastier). As my taste buds grew accustomed to the coffee flavor, some toasty/roasty malts were able to emerge. The flavor seemed maybe a bit too one-dimensional, but was quite enjoyable, as well.

M-Hearty mouthfeel, nearly grainy with coffee-ness. Lumbered around my mouth roughly with its grainy medium-full body. Carbonation bleded in well with the direction of the beer.

D-As the mug stated, "It's never to early to get surly." I could easily see myself enjoying this brew with breakfast (don't know if that's good or bad...). I thought it was tasty, maybe not overly complicated, but enjoyably different.

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

one part porter, one part APA, one part american brown, with about 20 gallons of coffee in every batch. as stated at hopleaf

pour the color of bad coffee. a dark mahogany. decent head... some lace. nose is malt, stale porter style grape, coffee, rotten pineapple hop. taste is lightly acidic working with the sour porter apple. malt is sufficient like a brown with an APA fruit hoppy. wonderful blend of all the additions. nice work surly.

had it again 2 weeks later and it had a nice blend coffee headlined the nice delicate fruit and bitterness. not as hoppy as i remember. more so bitter. great with very slight spicy food... meat particularly.

had it out of the can about six months later. proves to be a bit more of an american porter style to the porter part of the beer. chocolatey... with a nice coffee. coming to realize that this is a fantastic midwest opportunity.

Photo of caskstrength
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap, some cans too.

Big Surly fan here, found this one interesting. One of my first coffee beers.

Yeah, there's a coffee smell. But it's in my beer. Thought that might be fun and unique. it was, but it took a while, didn't like it initially. Flavors hard to get used to. but once you do, it's good, if you like coffee.

not my favorite coffee beer, but still pretty good.

the more I have it, the more I like it, so maybe it's better than I think. Read some other reviews, I'm flailing here.

Photo of DownDaHatch
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have always enjoyed Surly products and was excited to enjoy this one while at Flossmoor Station. This beer pours like and looks like missippi muddy water. While a dark beer, it doesn't have the presence of an oil-colored stout. The smell is about average and brings a nice aeroma of coffe and malt to the nose. As for drinking it is quite tasty without an overbearing taste of coffee. Because of some of these charactoristics, I find this beer to be very drinkable and several can be enjoyed in the same sitting without doing too much damage.

Photo of pwoods
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this multiple times over the weekend in Minneapolis. This review is from notes taken at Cafe 28 when Linda gave me a free mug when she found out I came all the way from Cincinnati :D Thanks a lot!

Served in a Surly mug.

Pours a muddy, murky brown, looks almost creamy. A good frothy head forms and holds pretty good for so much froth. Good lacing. Tons of coffee. Maybe a bit of toffee or cocoa in the back but mostly just big time coffee. Taste reminds me of a great iced coffee with an adult twist. Very nice raw flavors deeply roasted coffee with a nice harsh touch. Sweetness balances things out a bit. Body is actually only medium and has a great creaminess. Drinks every good and went great with my brunch.

Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Barley John's. The aroma is coffee-ih. Good looks, black with lots of white head. Better tasting than Town Hall's coffee stout, average mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Just too coffee, what is it about these local coffee beers?I just couldn't take more than a couple sips. Overated.

Photo of oakbluff
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, pours a deep brown with half a finger of mocha head. Nose- huge waft of coffee rinds, very fresh and medium roast, some chocolate just beautiful. Taste- fresh coffee in forefront, with nuts, caramel and light milk chocolate. freaking delicious! Mouthfell is medium bodied with carbonation on the low side to made it go down like melted butter. Hops show up in the finish to help clean away the strong coffee flavour and make you go back for more.

Photo of joe1510
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Pint
$5.00
Flossmoor Station

Coffee Bender was brought to my table in an imperial pint glass. The body was the darkest of browns bordering on black even in the fairly bright restaurant. A two finger beige head sat atop this beer and took its sweet time to settle down to one finger which lasted throughout. Drink lines were left behind after each sip. This is an attractive looking beer.

The nose showed a good amount of freshly roasted coffee but it integrated very well with the other aspects of this beer. The coffee sits on top of a mild chocolate and caramel base with a tendril of smoke and hazelnut-iness. The mildly citric hops are noticeable without much work which makes for something I don't see everyday in a coffee infused beer.

The coffee comes through as freshly pressed with a mild roasting but that doesn't stop the coffee from being large and in charge. As big as the coffee is in this beer the caramel and chocolaty notes of Bender are still very much alive. The nuttiness is smooth and runs from start to finish while there's bitterness on the finish from both the mildly citric hops and coffee grounds.

The body of this beer is surprisingly light as it leans toward the lighter side of medium. The bitterness steps forward on the finish but never rises above mild. With the body as light as it is on the tongue it does manage to keep a light creaminess.

My first glass of this went down fast. As a matter of fact it was gone before I even realized it. The second glass went just as quickly. This beer is super drinkable and goes down like a champ.'

Today was my first dance with Coffee Bender and hopefully I see this one around more often. Bender is very unique and enjoyable brown ale all by itself, the addition of coffee just adds to the depth of the original.

Photo of younger35
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After double fisting this glorious liquid at every possible opportunity during 'Darkness Weekend' '08, I finally got to sit down at the Bavarian Lodge and enjoy a couple pints and review this. It's even better than I remembered it. Drank from a small non-logo'd nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish amber with a nice ½ finger fluffy light tan head. Nice cap and collar remains the entire beer while leaving a bit of spotty lacing down the glass.
Smell- My first whiff of this always is lightly smoky which is fairly surprising considering how overly abundant the coffee is. Feint aromas of chocolate and toffee mingle with the coffee adding a Starbuck like aspect. A light herbal and citric kick appears as well every so often. There are indeed hops in here. This is by far the most intense coffee nose I've smelled in a beer. Easy.
Taste- Coffee lovers rejoice! Big, huge, massive, mammoth lightly roasted breakfast blend integrates perfectly with the lightly sweet nuttiness of Bender. Hints of caramel and chocolate tend to sneak in every now and again when the coffee allows. A tinge of citrus and roasted bitterness towards the finish adds a little something to break up the coffee. Amazing stuff.
Mouthfeel- Very crisp and clean body with a medium feel that somehow manages to also be silky smooth and creamy.
Drinkability- This is by far my new favorite brew and probably favorite of all time. I think it edged out the ABYSS and Alaskan Smoked Porter. I drove all the way to Minneapolis to drink as much Darkness as possible and ended up have two glasses of it and probably ten glasses of this. Obviously I love my coffee. I also loves me a good Brown Ale. Well, Bender + Coffee = Amazing! Seek, this, out.

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

Had on tap at the Bavarian Lodge 11/05/08.

Appeared a very dark brown with a thin head that sunk to a skim and left little to no lacing.

Aroma was of mild chocolate, slight caramel, but mostly bold roasted coffee. Kind of like sticking your face in a bucket of ground coffee.

The taste had a bit of mild caramel sweetness up front with some chocolate but that was quickly taken over by the profound fresh coffee taste that dries up on the finish.

Mouthfeel was medium, and came across quite creamy and drinkable.

For a coffee beer this stuff is very drinkable. You kind of have to like coffee to really enjoy this one to it's full extent as it's bursting with it.

Photo of spointon
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I had this one on tap at the Bavarian Lodge, in Lisle, IL on 11/5/2008.

A= This ale poured a medium dark brown color with cola colored highlights around the edges. The dark tan head started at 1/2", then dropped fairly quickly without leaving much lacing down my glass.

S= The smell was completely dominated by the roasted coffee aromas. I also detected signs of a brown ale within the coffee, finding notes of malt, chocolate, and some earthy hops.

T= Much like it smelled, this ale was full of (delicious) roasted coffee bean flavors as well as the underlying characteristics of the brown ale within. Sweetness was provided by the malts and a mild chocolate flavor. A small hop bite, and a bit of astringency came forth near the end.

MF= This was definitely on the lighter side of medium bodied. At times it felt a bit thin to me. Carbonation was crisp without being overly sharp.

D= Decently good drinkability, though the big coffee flavors make this one I wouldn't want to drink all night. Definitely worth a try though!

Photo of beerad666
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of the keg around 8:00 am at Darkness Day '08.

Poured into a plastic cup... A dark dark brown color with a huge light brown head. I believe there was a lot more head in this more then there should of been. Someone else mentioned that it almost looked like a cappuccino with the head and I can totally see that as well. There was a very delicious coffee aroma with some hints of sweet chocolate. Coffee is my true favorite drink so when I can have it with my second love of beer that is pure ecstasy in my book. The roasted smell is great especially for the morning. With the first sip you get that bitter roasted taste you would expect from coffee and then hints of the sweet chocolate comes in. But surprisingly the coffee isn't too much, you can definitely taste that this guy has its roots in a porter.

Drinkability is great! Coffee and beer - I love it! Surly hits another home run here.

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,278 ratings.