Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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

2,277 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,277
Reviews: 809
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 639
Gots: 306 | 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: 2,277 | Reviews: 809
Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

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

Photo of jdhowe
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

Photo of Rifugium
2.78/5  rDev -33.2%
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.

Photo of mpipe
4.66/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
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!

Photo of willbobaggins
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
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

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of BeerLover99
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy coffee drk brn/black body,
finger off white head, great lacing

S: big fresh roasted coffee nose, nutty,

T: same as nose, firm smooth nutty malt
mild pine bitter finish

M: med/light body, smooth
with hint of oily mouth

O: Such a delight to finally explore.
Thrilled that I have 3 more cans in the frig.
Balanced and fun, coffee fans may explore this.

DELICIOUS; GET SOME!

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Liquid is a dark mahogany that produces a pretty thick tan head. Head fades slowly and leaves a moderate amount of lacing at first, but very little as you drink it. There are a handful of straight lines of bubbles rising up through the liquid.

Aroma hit me as soon as I opened the can! Definitely smells like coffee. Really nice roasted notes, and just the perfect amount. Other than coffee, there's maybe a bit of cinnamon, but not much else, which is exactly what I wanted!

Taste has the nice roastiness of the aroma, mixed with a kind of lactic tartness. Little bit of dark fruit, and some cinammon. The coffee is really well-done, and really well-matched with the base beer. I feel like often coffee beers will use an overly roasty stout that ends up being unnecessarily bitter, but here it's well-made to focus on the smooth, creamy, fruity coffee flavors. I wish there was a little bit less of that lactic tartness, but otherwise perfect.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, with lots of carbonation. Body is moderately thick.

Overall, one of the best coffee beers I've had! Really does a good job getting actual coffee flavor from the beans, rather than just bitterness and roastiness.

Photo of Jonada
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz canned on 2/24/2014. Served in a DFH signature glass

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with 1+ finger of a light tan, creamy head that settles to a thin coating. Body is dark, but when held up to light is translucent and yields a deep dark amber color and a good amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: Coffee, coffee, coffee. This is like sticking your face in a bag of freshly ground coffee beans. Once you get past that, there are more subtle notes of bready malt and caramel, but this is still overwhelmingly coffee.

Taste: Bitter roasted coffee, complimented by a slight earthy hop character and hints of tea leaves. Starts out with a coffee bitterness which yields to a slight malt sweetness that breaks through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and medium levels of prickly carbonation. High drinkability and very refreshing.

Overall: In case you haven't figured it out, this is a beer for coffee lovers (or at least coffee beer lovers), so if that's not your thing, you should definitely stay away. That being said, while this is a pretty one dimensional beer (which did effect my scoring), it's done about as well as one could imagine. If you like coffee beers, you need to seek this out.

Photo of earljones199
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Short head that thins out quick. Dark Mahogany. Maybe a shade or two lighter than a black.

Smell- Is coffee grinds to the max! Very dry and bitter coffee grinds. Overwhelming coffee.

Taste- Follows the nose almost exactly. Almost like an espresso

Mouthfeel- A little on the thin side. Very smooth though. Has a dry ending similar to black coffee or an espresso shot.

Overall- Very enjoyable for a coffee lover but could be a huge disappointment for someone looking for a stout with coffee in the background.

Photo of joeseppy
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a burnt caramel that morphs into black with a generous mocha head. Lacing is decent.

Smell foremost is initially fresh ground coffee. Sweet cream/milk with toffee drizzle but not overbearing. Aroma is to be admired.

Taste follows aroma in that primo coffee is the center stage. Some malty sweetness holds it together. Generally good.

Mouthfeel is lacking comparatively. Nice sparkle on the carbonation. Quite quenching if you are in the mood for a coffee brown.

Really was expecting more because of the hype. What you get here is a palatable coffee brew. Not a fan of the base Bender mainly because of the lightness of it. This follows the same thread but in this case quality coffee has been added to make it a gem in its own right. If you love a coffee brew then this is one you will like.

Photo of magictacosinus
3.12/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to amerak for sending me this alongside other awesome Surly offerings. Poured into a tulip glass out of a 16oz can. At the time of consumption (late December), this was about 2 months old. Bender may be one of my favorite brown ales brewed in the country, so I was excited about this one.

Pours a far more blackened appearance than anticipated - nearly opaque, save for the brownish reddish tinges glowing at the sides of the glass when held against the light. Contains an off-khaki head that sticks around for a good long while, although does eventually dissipate into a small ring. The effect does make it look like a cold cup of freshly brewed coffee, which is quite appealing given what I'm about to venture into.

Cold ground coffee immediately hits the nostrils upon the first whiff, followed by some solid malty notes and slight sweetness soon after. The coffee is so intense on this beer that I cannot make out hardly anything else other than, interestingly enough, actual phenolic components that make up the *coffee* rather than the beer. Roasted espresso, light black pepper, caramel, fudge, vanilla, as well as a brief touch of dark dried fruit (I'm thinking berries?). The finish is a little bit more of the biscuity traits of the malts, as well as more caramel and toasted grainy notes, but it's really pushed to the back from where you can smell the coffee. Really unique, but quite one-dimensional in some ways.

What's up with the flavor, though? One sip, and things seem horribly wrong - rather than a pleasant roasted, spicy flavor from coffee, everything feels abnormally tannic and astringent. Even stranger, the coffee feels progressively charred, or burnt, or worse. This tastes like coffee that's been brewed from grounds that were seeped one time too many, and then watered down with ice and served a few days later. The malty profile from the Bender base is luckily there to add some textured balance, as well as a bit of sweetness (mainly caramel and vanilla) but the coffee is way too overpowering and far too charred in flavor for me to continue to go on. Carbonation is fine, but perhaps more body would saved this from feeling thinned, putrid, and watered down. I could not finish - I had to pass this on to someone else.

I absolutely am ashamed for not having enjoyed this beer as others apparently do, so I may blame this review on an off can or something. I'm actually a casual fan of iced coffee, but there was something really wrong and burnt tasting about the coffee profile at hand. It's ability to overpower the (good) base beer didn't help the cause any further, however. I'll gladly revisit this if someone pushes for it, but this really wasn't for me at all.

Photo of alphagnome
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Dark brown, borderline black body allows little light to penetrate. Pours with a half inch thick head that fades to a thin ring within minutes of pouring. Carbonation is noticable, if only just, and fine sediment can be seen navigating the dark liquid.

Aroma:
As good as a coffee bee can get! The aroma is jam packed with freshly brewed coffee. There are light notes of chocolate and the faintest hint of pecan - but none of that matters, because coffee.

Taste:
Much like the aroma, this one is loaded with coffee. It's not as in your face as the aroma would lead one to believe, but it's still surprising. Right away, roasted, bold coffee hits you with just the right amount of bitterness. Nutty notes on the tail-end and trace vanilla. A tinge of sweetness attempts to breakthrough, providing a bit of balance.

Mouthfeel:
Medium body. Vague carbonation. Refreshing and easy to drink with a clean finish. Notthe smoothest beer in this catagory, but it's a small complaint (Note to Surly.... PLEASE offer this on nitrous!).

Overall:
An incredibly satisfying coffee infused beer. This is without a doubt one of my favorite beers, the fact that I am willing to drive 3 hours to get it should tell you something. If you're able to get your hands on this, there is no reason you shouldn't!

Photo of 77black_ships
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

568 ml. can sampled. Pours a dark brown with little head. Smells straight-up like coffee, the real grounds, the actual stuff, roasted, just pure intense actual coffee, no beer ingredients, interesting. Taste is straight up iced coffee, like a glass of iced coffee with some ice cubes & carbonation, roasted, grounds, coffee beans, light chocolate, caramel. Easy to drink. This is more coffee than beer. I am not a coffee drinker but one doesn’t need to be that to enjoy iced coffee & I quite liked this. Cheap & in 4packs, I would buy this regularly, it is quite easy to drink.

Photo of arthuro11
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Pours out really nice, looks great with not too much head but very dark. Nose smells the coffee first and foremost, but there are also hints of chocolate.

Tastes really nice, one of the best if not the best coffee beer I've had. I don't drink coffee, so this is the only way I get coffee, and I'll have some of this anytime. Hard to say much bad about this beer. Enjoy it if you can!

Photo of PeterParker
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My brother traded for a four and generously gave me one. Happy birthday me!

Pours to a nice dark dark brown with a decent sized head. Some scant amounts of lacing.

Smells of rich coffee, fresh coffee grounds, coffee beans, coffee coffee coffee.

Tastes just like it smells. Just like sipping on coffee, only better. Bittersweet coffee would best describe it. Tastes just like a Manhattan Special. Really great.

As smooth as anything.

Overall, this is the most coffee I've ever tasted in a beer. That's a good thing. If you even remotely enjoy coffee, you would love this. I know I did.

Photo of Cubatobaco
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a DFH tulip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

poured into Duvel Tulip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to PHboiler for throwing this extra in a trade.

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

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

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

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

M. Highly effervescent. Smooth. Medium body.

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

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

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

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,277 ratings.