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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of atomicbeer
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got this coffee beer in 16 oz cans as a souvenir while travelling in Minnesota after having had Surly's Furious. Pours a chocolate brown with a beige head. Aroma is fairly intense fresh ground coffee with a little sweet grass background. Nice and smooth coffee, milk chocolate, and sweet grass taste. Goes down easily calling for quaff after quaff. No sipping here: down the hatch! Classed as a American Brown, I think of it more as a coffee porter, and even more so as Awesome. Nice job Surly.

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

The friendly fellas from Surly were kind enough to bring out a case of tall cans for a meet the brewer event we hosted for them during this past SDBW. Poured from the can into a Modern Times coffee mug.

Pours a dark brown coffee color with a fat tan head that sticks around for a while leaving thick coats of lace in my mug. Smells like more of a coffee lager than a coffee ale - light hop and grain bill with massive amounts of coffee aroma that dominate the overall aroma. Big coffee flavor up front that gives way to lightly sweet toasted chocolate malt - the coffee plays real well with the malt selection in this one, slight bitter bite from the decent amount of hops in this one, but not enough to distract from the immense coffee flavor and perfect malt bill. Mouthfeel is light-bodied with mellow carbonation, finishes dry with fresh coffee lingering on the palate.

A real unique coffee beer in comparison to the others on the shelves these days. Very easy drinking and an outstanding breakfast beer - especially if you had a long night. Pairs amazing with pancakes and real maple syrup with a side of bacon!

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

Pours a deep amber brown with a thinner slight off white head atop.Full on coffee in the nose,not beerish at all really,if your into coffee this is it.The beer is good...very good but the coffee is dominant and it maybe leaves the fact that it's a beer behind,besides the coffee on the palate I get some chocolate and mild caramel.I have had alot of coffee infused beers this cuts the cake as far as coffee goes,is it caffeinated?That's the question.

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Photo of beertunes
3.04/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to Kurmaraja for this one. Upfront, know that I hate coffee. Don't drink the stuff, and tend to find that it overpowers any beer that it's in. Caveat complete, let's crack this can!

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a deep brown, with a slight reddish tint, and had about 1/8 inch of light brown head that had decent retention and OK lacing.

Whoa! The aroma is like walking into a diner just before the breakfast rush hits, all coffee all the time. Only the slightest bit of of malt shows through the bast of Joe. Same on the tongue, thoroughly coffee, and just the slightest bit of beer appears.

The body was pretty nice, just a bit thinner than I prefer in a Brown Ale, but smooth, except for some coffee bitterness at the back end. Drinkability will totally depend on your view of coffee. You can figure out where I'm at. Overall, a solid brew, and one that a lot of people would love. I'm not one of those people. I just didn't enjoy the beer, but I'm thankful for the gift, and for the experience for having tried it. YMMV.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes on 5/3/14

Had it on tap at the Tipsy Cow. This beer tasted just like drinking black coffee. It was good, but I like coffee stouts and porters more.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Excited to see this one at Four Firkins when I was in Minnesota -- $4.39 for a can though? Was that priced right? Pretty damn expensive! I enjoyed the regular Bender though, and I like coffee, so my hopes are kinda high for this one. Canned 7/11/14 and poured 9/4/14.

Appearance: Semi-aggressive pour gave off a modest head that went down to about a ring and stayed. The color is mostly clear and ruby black. Looks pretty nice in the glass. (3.75/5)

Smell: Just upon cracking open the can, I got a huge waft of coffee that almost buckled my knees. Phew, this stuff smells great! Really doesn't share any characteristics of the regular Bender, at least on the surface, because the coffee note is really strong. This smells like coffee with some cream or sugar added, because it has a definite sweetness in there. Awesome nose on this beer though, but stay away if you don't like coffee and/or coffee beers, because the coffee in this is FAR from subtle. (4.5/5)

Taste/feel: So much coffee. This has a rich black coffee flavor, but the malt in Coffee Bender keeps it from tasting identical to cold black coffee -- coffee, coffee, coffee, a malt roastiness character, a slight bit of char, and then lingering coffee. There's not a lot of depth of flavor. In fact, regular Bender probably has more depth of flavor, but I just like this beer more. The feel is about full bodied with a modest carbonation to let you know you're drinking beer, and not coffee. (4.5/5, 4.25/5)

This brew just smells like freshly brewed coffee, and tastes almost the exact same way. Probably the most coffee-forward beer I've had, and one of the best beers I've had as well. This is an absolutely phenomenal beer that needs to be purchased if you see it, even at the price I got it for. Lucious, fabulous amounts of coffee... damn, I just wish I could get this in Michigan. Wow, wow, and wow.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

August 30, 2014

16 oz can, nonic pint

A – Medium to dark brown. Effervescent. Off-white head, low head retention. Basically looks like a carbonated version of my morning java brew.

S – Smells like a freshly opened bottle of cold-pressed coffee. Lots of roasty, burnt notes. Bitter.

T – Again, a lot of cold-pressed or iced coffee. Bitterness is strong but not overwhelming. Burnt flavors are actually minimal. Instead it’s very roasty, with touches of chicory.

M – Medium carbonation, slightly astringent. Mild bitter coffee in the finish and the aftertaste.

O – I want to like this a lot more than I do, but the cold pressed coffee is a little too upfront and pushes the beer out of balance. That characteristic could certainly be appealing for some drinkers. Would love to taste this base brown ale with no or more balanced coffee addition.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Light black in color with some penetration to light. A fingernail of khaki colored head sits on top. Strong aroma of very bitter intense coffee is present. The flavor is extremely bitter coffee with no room for anything else. The mouth is thick and creamy.
Appearance: 3.5

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

Served into a snifter from a 16 ounce can.

A- Hugely frothy head with sticky lace that streaks around the glass as the head slowly recedes. The body is opaque, essentially pitch black. 4.25

S- Huge coffee aroma on the nose, it's dark roast and closer to a bean aroma than brewed coffee. There's some caramel creamy sweet flavor that makes me think of a coffee drink you'd get at Starbucks. Hops are nowhere to be found. 4.1

T- Coffee is right there in the name and with good reason; this beer practically is a cup of dark roast coffee. The malt flavor tastes like a dark roast as well, only compounding the toasted, burnt flavors a coffee offers. There are occasional sweet notes of sugar, cream and caramel, but they're very subtle. 4.1

M- There seems to be bitterness from both the coffee and the hops and it's felt around mid-palate to the finish. There's a creamy quality, mild sweetness, and only mild carbonation. The body is on the thinner side and is immediately noticeable, but not so thin as to bother. 3.9

I enjoy this beer quite a bit once I get past the initial reaction to the thin body. The flavor is coffee-heavy but offers enough malty flavors to be multi-layered. 4.05

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Photo of jdhowe
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer for a mug, from a can, poured into Avery Tour Glass. Canned 02/24/14.

I've not written one of these in a while, so I figured I'd sit down and do a review for this beer.

A: Pours a deep brown with clear mahogany light through the edges and 1/2 finger of cappuccino-colored head that dissipates after a couple minutes to a ring and mottled film, leaving plenty of sheet lacing.

S: Huge coffee right out of the can and even more abundantly from the glass. Roasty notes of iced coffee alongside a mild chocolate and what I can only describe as the slight malty sweet waxiness that is characteristic of brown ales. This beer smells like what it claims to be, full of coffee and cocoa powder.

T/M: Astringent up front with a burn of carbonation, the first real flavor that emerges is, unsurprisingly, unapologetic coffee. Underneath an abundant coffee character is a slight hint of malt sweetness, but the brown ale-ness of this is somewhat lost in the coffee. Which I think is really what they were going for. The finish is clean and roasty, and the lingering character is of very earthy coffee, with a hint of a flavor that is vaguely plant-like... almost like a tree or a leaf, but not from hops. Just something that brings back fresh-cut grass. Mouthfeel is medium to thin with a moderate to high level of carbonation. Finish is clean and watery with a reasonable coffee astringency.

O: I am impressed, but not chomping at the bit to get my hands on more. This is definitely a cool beer and I'm glad I tried it, because I've not had anything quite like this.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

A - Dark brown, near black, almost opaque except at the edges. A light tan head forms up fat, but fades pretty quickly to a partial sheen on the top. Extensive, persistent lacing.

S - Big coffee, with some roastiness and subtle chocolate notes.

T - Follows the nose, with a solid hit of coffee. Strong chocolate, toasted grains, and malty dark bread flavors, closing with a coffee-like acidic bite, but after the fade, the residual sweetness remains on the tongue for a good long while.

M - Moderate carbonation and strong acidity, light body, perhaps a bit lighter than I'd like given the flavor profile, but the base is a brown, not a porter.

O - The bitterness is a nice counterpoint to the dark, sweet molasses bread taste. I will seek this out whenever I'm in an area Surly is distributed.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.78/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had a can of this alongside the base beer.

Good appearance, much like the regular Bender, deep dark brown, but still clear when held to the light; a medium-sized off-white head held for a few minutes and sank to a ringlet, leaving a few dabs of lacing on the glass. Nose full of coffee, with lesser notes of caramel malts. Taste was pure, straight-up bitter black coffee and nothing else. Just blew me away and made me cringe. There's a good way of using coffee in a beer, but for me, this isn't it. I pretty much hate coffee, unless it's in beer, then I actually like it a lot. But when I do have a coffee beer, I want a coffee beer, not a cold can of pure coffee. This was bitter, acrid, one-dimensional, and lacking any sense of balance. I literally could not drink this. But if you love cold, bitter coffee, get as much of this as you can.

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Photo of mpipe
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. dark with an nice head.

Smell: Coffee and beer.

Taste: This beer is good if you show some self control. Burn through a four pack and it starts to lose it's appeal. Coffee and beer, with chocolate notes. Very good coffee beer.

Drinkability: This beer delivers if you only have one or two. Not something you want to hang out with all night. Clean finish and great on a hot day. Slightly heavy, but enjoyable.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz can into pint glass

A- Dark brown, thin head w/ lacing
S- Coffee ground. LIke the ones in a giant filter at the church social
T- Coffee, malts, sweetness then bitterness
M- Smooth and full, not watery

O- Good beer. There is something about coffee taste in this beer that I'm not 100% sold on. I love coffee and beer, but this combo results in good, not great for me.

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Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I expected to not like this beer but the flavor is excellent! I normally do not like to stray too far from traditional beer styles but thumbs up to Surly here, this one is great. Here's a twist, try it with a shot of Kuala, it's got coffee in it after all, and you will be surprised at how well everything mixes.
I cannot really compare this beer to anything else. Open you mind and give it a go!

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Photo of willbobaggins
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1000lb grizzly gave the most spot on review i've read about coffee bender. not complex, but fun to try.

i drank from the can and from a tulip side by side. can lends a more creamy mouthfeel. big dissipation on the pour--too watery. i find no difference on IPAs from can vs. glass but i preferred the can here. give it a try, be interested to hear what other ppl think

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Slightly hazy deep brown, no carbonation visible, has a nice tan head that has faded to a paper thin layer.

S: Like fresh coffee beans. Incredibly natural. Undertones of chocolate. Simple, but wow, is this concept well-realized.

T: Like drinking a coffee bean, acidity and bitterness and all. I'm curious what hops and how much were used here, I could see them backing up the coffee quite a bit, secretly. Roasted malt/coffee finish lasts and lasts. Bitterness is restrained, but there is very little sweetness. Again, this is well created, but this much acidity is off-putting in a beer.

M: Watery, much too watery. Heavy flavors require at least a medium body.

O: Definitely worth trying, you will not find more realistic coffee flavors in a beer. Unfortunately, I think they spent too much time on extracting this flavor and not enough time working on the other components to back it up.

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