Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

803 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 803
Hads: 2,377
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 652
Gots: 336 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
View: Beers (53) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 803 | Hads: 2,377
Photo of mnstorm99
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

 778 characters

Photo of Greggy
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 762 characters

Photo of HopHobo
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

 1,174 characters

Photo of hellbilly
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

 961 characters

Photo of Packforever1976
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

 876 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

 1,100 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

 1,106 characters

Photo of rtepiak
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 878 characters

Photo of caskstrength
3.61/5  rDev -13%
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.

 499 characters

Photo of DownDaHatch
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 544 characters

Photo of pwoods
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

 720 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

 296 characters

Photo of oakbluff
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

 454 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Pint
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.

 1,800 characters

Photo of younger35
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

 1,730 characters

Photo of roadhouse
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

 668 characters

Photo of spointon
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

 1,033 characters

Photo of beerad666
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 907 characters

Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car

 624 characters

Photo of accordselux
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Darkness day.

A: Dark ale with a nice tan head. Not very exciting in a plastic cup, but it looked appetizing.

S: Coffee. This stuff is cold pressed, so it smelled like cold coffee. My nose may have been runny after hanging around outside in the cold for two hours, so that was the only thing I smelled.

T: Cold coffee. Very high quality coffee taste, roasted well, with a bit of hop and roasted malt aftertaste. If I could categorize it, i'd say it's a good breakfast beer, but I'm pretty sure most places of employment wouldn't like the term 'breakfast beer' at all.

M/D: Very smooth to drink, but i'm not very sure how much of this I could drink, as I'm not much of a coffee drinker to start with. It's good to have on occasion, but I wouldn't want to session this.

 790 characters

Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this for free at 8 AM on Darkness Day. It takes a good goddamn bunch of Americans to leave a whole keg of fancy beer unattended around a bunch of drunken strangers. That--it just about brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. A more or less grown woman did a keg stand in front of me. At 8 AM. Yes, she was annoyingly drunk and everyone wanted to kick her before noon finally rolled around, but that was still something special to see.

Then I had this again, the day after, at a little hippy beer cafe downtown. They poured it in special translucent glass mugs that looked like big Coffee mugs and were emblazoned with the surly logo.

What I'm getting at is that the guys at Surly got class.

Pours dark black and thick with a decent head that quickly settles and gives the whole thing the look of a cappuccino.

Smells strongly of rough chocolate malt, roasted, raw like a porter but evened out and nutty sweet, like a crown ale. Also coffee. Bags and bags of coffee. (Just Bender plus coffee, pretty much...)

Tastes almost exactly like it smells. Very bitter, from the roasted malt flavors of the Bender. Then right after that there's a brief respite of brown ale sweetness but that quickly goes away and and coffee bitterness slams into you. This lingers for a while, pleasantly, and then nearly cloyingly--which is why it gets a 4.5 instead of a 5.0. But before it gets to be too much it zips away, you get a sweet brown ale finish, a light kiss of hops, and then a wonderful aftertaste of pure coffee.

Goes down like water, even at 8 AM. Thanks for turning my cute little drinking problem into full-blown alcoholism, Surly.

 1,640 characters

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

Poured generously by the Surly guys at their doors while people waited in line for Darkness; nice gesture, nicer beer.

Brown in color, fluffy, voluminous head, tan, good retention.
Rich coffee aroma, chocolate, some hops. Nice.
Medium bodied, creamy and pleasant on the tongue, with overpowering coffee, but a very nice coffee. Still ,some other bender nuances come through once in a while to offer some measure of balance.
For coffee lovers, a very nice treat indeed.

 473 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Arrives in a snifter glass with a nice dark brown color and a big creamy light tan head on top. As the head falls the aromas come out of the brew with a wonderful fresh pressed coffee that mingles with a malty, slightly roasty nuttiness as well. The cold pressed coffee comes out the most with a touch of hops in the background.

First sip brings the same big, fresh pressed coffee flavors upfront that meld in wonderfully with the nutty, rich malty flavors in the brew. Flows down with some good bitterness with hints of chocolate and a touch of hops as well. Really robust flavor that keeps me coming back sip after sip. Coffee beer loves rejoice!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp and smooth. This is really an easy drinking coffee brew and very damn enjoyable if you ask me. I would have like to have ordered another but I had to run. One of my favorite Surly offerings from fests and I'm glad to see it on tap in my area.

 927 characters

Photo of cdflem
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review, so bear with me.

Had this beauty on-tap (pint-glass) at Hopleaf in Chicago.

A: Dark brown with deep amber/auburn tints. Slight tan head with a little bit of foaminess (almost nitrogen smooth head).

S: Absolutely amazing. Like a cup of good coffee, but not overwhelming. Sometime got a strong roasted malt flavor, which balanced nicely with the coffee.

T/MF: First notice the coffee flavor, but it backs off fast to remind you that you are drinking a beer. Ends with a bit of hoppiness that works well. Very smooth.

D: I could have this all day long, which was unexpected from a coffee-style beer. Absolutely another great Beer from Surly.

 668 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Map Room.

Dark auburn tone with a ruby glint where the light gets through. Creamy foam, a few bigger bubbles on the surface. Rings of drippy lacing all around.

Nutty aroma, dry coffee hint, pretty clean, but not super pungent.

Big coffee flavor, high quality, freshly ground. Acidic fruitiness, long lingering bitter/dry finish. Nutty almond flavor, lightly malty. The coffee really dominates, but it's balanced enough to drink quite a bit. Easy going with light carbonation. This is a unique and flavorful coffee beer, not too under/overdone...just right!

 578 characters

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 803 ratings.