Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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

790 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 790
Hads: 2,314
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 643
Gots: 316 | 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.
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Reviews: 790 | Hads: 2,314
Photo of dogger6253
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown in color, only bits of translucency are on the edges. This is otherwise a very muddy looking beer. The head is a frothy, mocha pillow that falls shortly after being poured.

The fragrance of this beer is wonderful. There is a very powerful, potent brewed coffee sensation. Dancing within that are the scents of vanilla, caramel and cocoa powder.

Right away, a bitter coffee flavor hits. As it slides across your tongue, you experience a thick, gooey glob of molasses-like sweetness. The vanilla I smelled comes out in the flavor too, though slightly more buried.

As the beer warms up, it starts taking on a less bitter, more sweet flavor. The feel is still thick and almost chewy, but very refreshing. This beer couples well with a lot of desserts I make and also stands alone as a fine testament of alcoholic beverages. To sum it up in one word: yum. (864 characters)

Photo of mwilbur
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from pint can into snifter.
A: Pours a very dark brown with 1.5 inches of lighter tan head. Good retention.
S: Nice coffee aroma...not overpowering. A very true aroma (coming from a coffee fiend!).
T: Nice smooth coffee notes. Soft roasted malts in the background. Hint of chocolate comes through toward the end.
M: Very smooth and creamy feel. Too often coffee beers have an off-putting bitter note. This brew completely avoids that...well done!
D: A very good and very drinkable brew. If there is any knock against it, this one is not as complex as most Surly offerings. Still, a very fine beer from an excellent brewery. Seek it out! (643 characters)

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

Thanks to zealot for this potent potable. Both Fat Joe and I love your avatar, michael jack style.

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. Some sticky icky on the side of the pint, like ice on the windshield after the snow has been wiped away.

I'll have the maple frostin donut thank you. My lord this smells like coffee. Touch me in the morning and just walk away time to make the donuts man...

The coffee taste invades your mouth before you drink it. Roasted coffee, I think you can taste individually burnt coffee grounds in this. Smooth, creamy.

Coats your tongue like a frappe. Good ass beer. I think I can taste the cigarette's and early winter morning chill when drinking this beer. Excellent brew. (711 characters)

Photo of mwagner1018
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the can nicely, thick 3 fingers of head, but very airy, settles down to a nice 1 finger of cream, up to the light has a deep cherry coke color. Very nice lacing down the glass, caramel cream color.

S- Definite roasted dark coffee, hints of chocolate...overly distinct in it's aromatic coffee smell.

T- Deep malt, very light and smooth, nice acidic bite of the coffee balanced with caramel, malt, very much like a smoked or chocolate stout...but also not specifically like anything else I have had...very clean.

M- Very balanced, smooth across the tongue, very low carbonation, creamy...very nice.

D- Drinkable, yes, if you enjoy a nice hint of coffee...and a very smooth texture, mellow, and light, very well balanced. I could put down these...and probably be up all night!

Another great beer by Surly...

Wow...I had to come back in and amend my review...this beer really hits me in two distinct ways....I feel like I just pounded a triple shot espresso of dark Italian roast...and like I mainlined some 180 proof...feel great...all to the head...very clean...feels very nice!! (1,098 characters)

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of KeefD who threw this in as an extra in a great trade. Thanks!

Dark brown with red highlights. Nice tan, two finger head with an aggressive pour. Slight Brussel's lace forms with each sip.

Smell is definitely rich, Sumatra coffee. Nutty, earthy with a slight acridness associated with moderately roasted fresh ground coffee.

Taste is full blown, French pressed iced coffee. Nicely done! Dark malts provide a slight sweetness - as if this coffee had one tablespoon of liquid sugar added to it. Bitterness comes from the roast as I have real trouble discerning the 45 IBUs. Okay, maybe I get a touch of green hops in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very nice at this ABV. Creamy - as a good iced coffee should be. A nice silkiness is also present.

Drinkability is great! I could see getting pulled in two different directions with this one after one too many.

Overall, a very nice beer from Surly! (913 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to tytoanderso for this one!

Pours out a cola-like murky brown with a very minimal loose head and very spotty lacing...

Aromas of coffee, chocolate malts, and perhaps a little earthiness... Nice...

Starts with a chocolate bitterness that melds into a coffee bitterness and lingers around like with that familiar coffee aftertaste... The mouthfeel is definitely a little thinner than I was hoping...

Glad I got to try this one.. I'm not sure I would buy this one regularly but its a nice novelty... (512 characters)

Photo of twbrewer
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-As I poured this into my glass I couldn't help but notice that it looked just like my morning coffee,but had better lacing.

S-The aroma is the same as a coffee that has been left on the counter for a half hour.The smell is wonderful.

T-It has a cold,dry coffee taste with a hint of chocolate malt and a ever so slight bitterness.Coffee taste was alot weaker than the smell.

M-Medium bodied almost full.Smooth feel and low carbonation make for a great mouthfeel.

D-Lower abv makes this a very easy drinking beer.It would be a tough call between my morning coffee or a Coffee Bender on the weekends. (603 characters)

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

Coffee Bender pours a beautiful dark brown with red on the edges. The head is tan, pillowy and laces nicely.

Smell has some maltiness, some floral hop qualities, and a wonderful coffee aroma.

Taste includes maltiness and coffee with a crisp hoppy tinge around the edges.

Mouthfeel is medium-full-bodied that has some weight on the tongue and lingers pleasantly.

Drinkability is awesome. I'll be picking this up again. Highly recommended. (441 characters)

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

16oz can thanks to vwcraig. Dark brown, red tints, smells like a handful of roasted beans. The flavor nails the coffee aspect and reminds me of a truly enjoyable morning cup as opposed to a lot of the other coffee beers that taste more like old grounds than fresh coffee. I don't usually like coffee beers but this one is an exception. (335 characters)

Photo of dcgrp
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up two 4 packs of cans while in the twin cities. I absolutely love the idea of coffee in a brown ale (well kind of a hybrid brown ale in this case). I love the bender as a go to beer for all around drinking.

I like the interplay between coffee and maltiness, but I think it could be better. I'm guessing that mixing coffee and beer is just difficult to get perfect, but given Surly's dedication to making great beer, I'm sure they will keep improving. (459 characters)

Photo of grandq
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with a hint of ruby showing as light peeks through, evincing a deep dark brown instead. Perfect two finger head is light tan and fluffy and doesn't want to go away. Coffee hits the nose first and strong - a full bodied dark roast. Some sweeter tones along the lines of milk chocolate creep up as well. Caramel malt hits up front followed by a tidal wave of iced coffee - unsullied by any frou frou frappawhathaveyou. Straight black and bitter. The substantial body of the brown ale underneath helps the flavors stick to the tongue, allowing nutty notes, toasted oat, tobacco, and a tinge of prune emerge from the added beans. The more i sip the more I notice the cherry and baker's chocolate I recall spotting in the regular Bender. Finishes acidic from the roast, masking a faint noble hop character. Slight lactic sweetness lingers as the bitter and acidic qualities play out. As a serious coffee fiend, I could drink this all day - though there's a bit of tongue fatigue to that lingering last note. Still, upgrade from an already good beer and a serious contender for top coffee brew.

Big ol' kudos to jjanega08 for the 4 pack. If only I could keep my s.o. from drinking the rest. (1,205 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of sonicdescent - thanks! Great extra. Poured into a 22 oz. cervoise.

Appearance: Turns out I needed that extra 6 oz. over and above the can's 16 oz. capacity. This one burps up a huge two-finger foamy tan head of above average retention that leaves some nice chunky blobs of lacing, some of which sticks around for the entirety of the drinking experience. The body itself is filtered, a deep, brown mahogany, with lots of medium-sized, average-speed effervescence. There are also a few black particulates at the bottom of the glass that become visible near the end - they look almost like coffee grounds, but, that can't be right ... can it!?

Aroma: Nutty, earthy coffee abounds, medium roast, toasty, with flourishes of dark fruit, toast, bittersweet chocolate. Just a really nice, authentic, balanced nose.

Taste: Though I'm definitely no expert, methinks this one might be brewed with coffee. It's a nice healthy even roast, too, slightly grassy, earthy, with no hints of char or smoke. I'd be willing to call it a half city, though I can see someone justifying calling it a full city. It definitely augments the traditional Bender flavor profile, which definitely had no shortage of coffee overtones to begin with. There's also those other great flavor notes the original Bender had - hints of cocoa, toast, a few grassy, lightly bitter hop overtones, and a fair dash of nuttiness, as well, melding well with the earthiness of the coffee. All in all very nice.

Mouthfeel: A near-perfect amount of effervescence in a medium body yields a slightly crisp but largely smooth, subtle, gentle, even, and delicate mouth. Near perfection.

Drinkability: At 5.1%, this is one very sessionable brew, flavorful, rich, aromatic, and smooth while still being assertive. A definite recommendation, especially if you like coffee, which just so happens to be true for me. (1,877 characters)

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

Dark ruby body. Fluffy brown head has great retention. Lacing is quite full. Nice mix of roasted malts and coffee on the nose. Coffee is the domineering aroma as it should be. The flavor is very nicely integrated. I love the Bender, and even though this has a heavy coffee influence on the buds, the Bender traits are still perceptible. Almost like a coffee milkshake. Nice creamy body and light carbonation. Quite drinkable. A good beer breakfast or desert. I can only think of 2 coffee beers that I've liked better, Bell's Java Stout and Central Waters Coffee Stout. (568 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of Buebie poured into a tulip.

Pours dark mahogany and settles almost completely black in the glass underneath a huge beige head that lingers as a cap and leaves tons and tons of lacing.

Fresh roasted coffee aromas jump out of the glass with hints of the caramel malts in the background.

A quick roasted coffee hit gives way to the caramel malts in the taste. The roasted coffee comes back strong and leaves a slightly acidic bitterness in the finish. There are hints of chocolate in the background that enhance the sweetness and keep the coffee from thoroughly dominating.

The mouthfeel is extremely smooth with good carbonation and has an overall velvety feel to it.

Another winner in a can from Surly. A very drinkable brown ale with some good coffee character. (782 characters)

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

A big thanks to wisconsinbeer1 for throwing this my way in a trade. A fine trader you are no doubt.

A - A nice dark brown ale poured with love into my anxiously awaiting glass. Nice puffy head that quickly backs off leaving some legs and lacing behind.

S - It's all about the coffee and this one certainly delivers. Not the charred blackened coffee that meets one's nose, this one is very inviting.

T - Lots of great coffee flavor dances on the tongue along with a little chocolate and smoke. The taste goes along with the smell. My wife who is a coffee hound gave this one an enthusiastic thumbs up.

M - A little on the thin side compared to the plethora of coffee stouts that dominate the beer shelves. Since it is a brown ale, that is to be expected.

D - You could probably drink these back for quite a nice session. Given its ABV, it allows you to enjoy more than one, that is for certain.

I really enjoyed this beer a lot. Seems like you can pick probably from 50 coffee beers today if you so choose. If you do, make sure that this in one that you do pick. It is worth it. Another cool Surly can has met its match.

Thanks Jason for passing along my way. I appreciate your generous trades. (1,201 characters)

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

A great looking brown ale. The pour resulted in a nice two finger pale tan head with great retention sitting overtop an opaque dark coloured brew that displays garnet highlights when backlit. Nice sticky lacings, sheets gradually disperse to reveal a sticky, full intricate webbing.

The rich aroma of dark roasted coffee greets the nose. It has the unmistakable aroma of coffee, with earthy notes of chocolate. Milder notes of roasted barley are also present along with some creamy nutty notes and toffee. Hops are also present, although somewhat muted with herbal accents and hints of hay.

A coffee lovers beer, and thankfully i love my coffee. The main flavour is the coffee, rich, earthy, and chocolaty with a hints of smoke. Toffee and nuts present from the malt but take a backseat to the rich coffee flavour. Herbal hopping with a clean bitterness appear to round out the finish.

Smooth and creamy with a substantial medium body. Roasted coffee and malts contrasts nicely with rich malts with their notes of hazenut and toffee. Some bitterness from the coffee and roasted malts, as well as herbal hop bitterness. Coffee is showcased quite nicely with malt and hops relegated to a supporting role.

Quite drinkable, although not recommended for those who arent into coffee. Perhaps too bold and complex to be a true session beer, but i could easily see knocking a few pints of this back at a sitting. Im thinking this would be a perfect brew in front of a fire after a long day. Im happy they are canning this one, and will be drinking this again very soon. Highly recommended for fans of coffee. (1,604 characters)

Photo of schellsbeer
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oh Surly....you are the best in Minnesota.

I have been waiting some time to try this Beer since I don't get to the Twin Cities much.

Here goes the review.

For the most part, I really like this beer. I love coffee and I love beer so when a brewery mixes the two, it usually tastes great. I have had a few that were horrible...my very first review was a horrid coffee beer....but for the most part, I love the coffee beer mixture.

So, when I heard that my one of my favorite breweries was putting their coffee beer into cans for a larger distribution area, I got really excited. I think that I personally ticked off a few local beer stores with my constant calling....sorry Keith.

Anyway....Coffee Bender doesn't disappoint when it comes to a beer tasting like coffee. However, I personally like most of the other Surly beers better than this one. Now, before anyone takes my head off for the above comment, listen to my reasons why. Like I stated earlier, I love beer and I love coffee. It is just that this Bender tastes soooo much like coffee that I wanted a little more beer flavor like you get in the real Bender. Don't get me wrong, I love this beer but for a truly exceptional beer from Surly, I would have to go with the Furious, as well as their regular Bender and CynicAle.

Everything is great about the Coffee Bender. Color, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel and low alcohol which makes this an exceptional beer to drink.

This beer, in my opinion, is an exceptional cold coffee. Serve it with eggs in the morning, a good corned beef sandwich for lunch, and a thick T-Bone on the grill for supper. Excellent.

I will purchase this again, but I will purchase much more Furious to just keep on hand. (1,703 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours nearly opaque deep brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes into nice rings of lacing. The aroma is of coffee beans, with nutty caramel malt beneath. The taste is a little maltier than the aroma, but there is still a ton of coffee. There is all the malty depth of regular Bender, but it seems more accentuated by the coffee. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a great beer. I have a feeling that I will be drinking this beer a lot. (526 characters)

Photo of umustdrink
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Very deep chocolate brown color. Light brown head settles at a thick ring, nothing in the middle. Lots of little lacing dots.

S - Medium roast coffee is the dominant aroma here, the original bender's caramely malty sweetness lurks the background.

T - An oily and bitter toasty coffee flavor start us out, then vanilla cream highlights and a more intense coffee flavor. Not much else in there, the coffee flavor dominates. Finish is a very long lasting rich and bitter coffee flavor.

M - Medium to light consistency, oily at times. Medium carbonation. Perfect for the brown ale style.

D - I really enjoy the flavor of coffee so I really enjoy this beer. Being that its a coffee flavored brown ale with an average alcohol content, this is more drinkable than some coffee stouts that taste very similar.

This falls under the novelty COFFEE (uppercase) beer (lowercase) category. Not that I don't like this a lot, but I'd like to have a coffee beer that is more beer and less coffee. (991 characters)

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

Pours a dark red/brown color with ruby highlights, a nice fluffy tan head, and good lacing down the Surly coffee mug. Nice, bitter coffee aroma, some good hop smells coming in at the end all mixed with some light chocolate. Very nice coffee flavor here, silky smooth roasty malts, and a light bitterness on the finish. This is a very tasty brown ale as it is, but the coffee brings it to another level. I've had it on tap before (Darkness Day) and I think I prefered the tap version. It's seemed a little creamier and more silky than from the can, but it's still delicious nonetheless. Very nice Surly. You've done it again. (624 characters)

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

Deepest, darkest of brown can get without going completely black and a low ember of light at the bottom like a dieing fire. Densely packed frothy foam of a solid sandy brown tan hue grows up to about a finger high and keeps a bubbly muffin top of skim always present. Lots of lacing in spotted sheeting grazes the glass.

Aroma of dry cocoa, dry oats, and a feathery roast of creamed cold-pressed coffee. A bit different from when I've pleasurely drank this on the tap as it has a stronger coffee presense on the tap. Here, from the can, its dryness is fairly enjoyable and complex.

Taste is a solid quick tang of roast and backed there after with a semi dry and oaty sweetness in the middle. Coffee bitterness and burnt grains ascent it well as it finishes dry and even. Again, its slightly different then what I can recall from the tap. This has a uniquely bittered drying finish with a fairly complex end of roasty things a happening and lasting late until just a titch of chocolate sweetness appears way in the back.

The body is about medium with an overall dryish smoothness of roasted and blackened malts balanced in with a softer yield of oaty sweetness and light chocolate. The coffee becomes much more evident in taste and character as it warms. Gaining a favorable dry roastyness throughout.

A well balanced porter with an interesting display between the dry and darker sweetness.
Out of the numberous times on-tap I've had this stuff, the canned Coffee Bender creates a slightly more dry and complexing experience within said dryness.
The tap has a bit more creamyness and smoothness to it, from what I remember. Time to experiment and find out where I might find any real differences... (1,701 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from maximum12. Thanks, Corey!

A-Deep, murky chestnut brown, with a thin, creamy tan head. Nicely sticky with little lacing.

S-Strong aroma of freshly ground coffee. I have tried a lot of coffee beers but this is the first time I have gotten this rich roastiness.

T-Roasted coffee follows a slightly sweet malt start, then ending with a mild hop to complement the roastiness.

M-Medium bodied, maybe a little heavy for a brown ale but that's not a complaint.

D-I would not usually jump up and down at the prospect of drinking a brown ale but this is a damn good one.

Love those Surly beers.

HV (613 characters)

Photo of masterchiefMD
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been trying alot of beers but have yet to rate one...so here it goes
Got in trade with tytoanderso big thanks!

poured very dark brown with minimal head. Strong smell of coffee!!! Taste is wonderful, strong coffee taste with roasted malts. Perfect carbonation is very light from look expected a little more thickness to it. I could sit down and drink a couple of these, very smooth! (382 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wonderful coffee flavor but it seems unbalanced in this relatively light body. Other coffee beers have more substance to them. Does not look as nice as regular Bender as a head never really forms and there is minimal lacing left on the glass. Coffee dominants the aroma and flavor. I do not get anything to even come close to balance or compliment the coffee. I just feel coffee compliments bigger beers than a brown ale. (421 characters)

Photo of beerkittycat
3.19/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a can poured into a smaller tasting glass and shared with others. Appearance is a murky amber brown with a tan head. Decent lacing. Aroma smells awesome of freshly ground high-quality coffee and some citrus hops in the background. Taste was....a little disappointing compared to the aroma. First off was the thin mouthfeel which surprised me considering the line-up of big beers that Surly makes. The flavors were rather thin, too, and was dominated by the coffee with little malt or hop flavor to balance things out. Too much carbonation in this beer probably allowed the mouthfeel to seem a little thin. I'll try it again, but I've had much better coffee beers than this. (678 characters)

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 790 ratings.