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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,662 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1662
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.

(Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,662 | Reviews: 748 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of notchucknorris


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with a nice looking one finger light brown head. Great retention that eventually settles to a 1/2 finger cap.

S: Freshly roasted coffee with some light mocha notes, faint roasted malt and some vanilla.

T: Lots of coffee and a touch of toasted hazelnut upfront. Some roasted malt in the middle followed by some faint raisin skin. A touch of acidity and just a hint of caramel on the finish. Mouthfeel is on the light side, but I like how the coffee works in this.

Serving type: can

11-07-2012 23:50:55 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of bengore


3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rather dark brown with a big foamy head that sticks around for quite a bit leaving minimal legs on the glass.

S: Nothing in particular stands out to me, sure you can smell the coffee but there is nothing quite exciting about it.

T: Initial taste is extremely reminiscent of a sip of iced coffee. Flows into a malty goodness with some chocolate notes

M: Very light, easy to drink.

O: A pretty decent brown ale, but overall I'm not sure it deserves the high rating it holds here on BA. Perhaps I need to spend a little more time with this one, but I am not in love with it.

Serving type: can

10-31-2012 02:13:20 | More by bengore
Photo of dfillius


3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.
A: I like the alteration of the tagline: "Beer for a mug from a can". Aggressive pour yields 3/4 finger of tan tight head with good retention. Clear reddish brown.
S: Some coffee, some roast. Not as much coffee as i expected. Very balanced and pleasant.
T: Nice coffee and chocolate up front. Like a mocha with milk. Gentle but assertive hop presence in the finish with more gentle alcohol presence. Drying roast is pronounced at the end.
M: Smooth and creamy open with full flavored but semi-thin and dry finish. Good for drinkability but seems a tad weak.
O: Well done. I want another and will buy again. i like it better than regular Bender. Not quite Breakfast Stout, so I'm glad I live in MI I guess, but that's comparing apples and oranges. Drinkable and full flavored, sort of a session.

Serving type: can

10-30-2012 17:45:27 | More by dfillius
Photo of Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another thank you to Steasy66! Working through this box will be an absolute pleasure.

Appearance. Pours a deep brown with a little red and a finger of tan head that doesn't last long, but leave some bands of lace.

Smell. Dark roast coffee, some sweet caramel malts and maybe just a little vanilla.

Taste. Some lightly sweet, darker malts, nice coffee flavour that's not too strong, but very much the predominant taste. Slightly acidic which goes well with the coffee.

Mouthfeel. Below medium in body with medium carbonation. Not a big feel, but makes for some easy dinking.

Overall. A really nice and easy drinking coffee beer. When I think coffee, I'm used to it being in a pretty big beer. Not the case here, and it works great!

Serving type: can

10-16-2012 00:31:10 | More by Rutager
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager, again.

A: 1/2" creamy light brown head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Coffee, caramel and clean yeast.

T: Chocolate, caramel, some roasted malt, some coffee, clean yeast and grassy hops.

M: Somewhat dry with medium viscosity and carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable, great beer for a wet coast fall day.

Serving type: can

10-14-2012 22:12:18 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of kawilliams81

Yukon (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a AleSmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a dark brown with a 1 finger tan head. Big clumps and blotches of lacing remain on the glass.

S- chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, and some roast.

T- sweet roasted malts, coffee, and some bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very drinkable with slightly creamy feel.

O- very good brown ale. Coffee works very well with base brown Bender. Not overpowering coffe just enough.

Serving type: can

10-05-2012 02:16:01 | More by kawilliams81
Photo of Justin_Neff


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can, canned on 09/7/12

A: Pours a dark dark brownish color that I would feel comfortable calling black. Big, fluffy beige color head that sticks around for a long time and leaves a beautiful lacing for most of the drink.

S: Aroma is dominated by coffee, with roasted cocoa hints at the end of the wafting.

M: Actually pretty light, which is very unexpected from the appearance. Medium level of carbonation.

T: Strong coffee taste with some chocolate roastiness.. Finishes with a hazelnut lingering flavor. I really like the sweet balance of chocolatey hazelnut and the bitterness of straight black coffee.

O: Bottom line, there is no way I won't load up on these whenever I'm in minny for work. I love how natural this tastes compared to many of the artificially tasting coffee brews I've had before.

Serving type: can

10-05-2012 02:05:14 | More by Justin_Neff
Photo of Redrover


3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one at Gluek's & it was poured into a mug; the beer is dark brown with a beige head. Impressive lacing.

Aroma of coffee and more coffee all layered over some roasted malts.

The beer leads with coffee and well roasted malts. It is bitter but coffee bitter not hops bitter. There is some dark chocolate and dark fruit, but the coffee rules the roost.

The mouth is medium but for some reason I wish it was thicker.

This is just as advertised and I enjoyed it.

Serving type: can

09-25-2012 18:31:11 | More by Redrover
Photo of Rizalini


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a pint can, canned on 08/21/12, and poured into my Stone tulip...

A - Pours a dark brown color, almost black. 2 fingers of thick light brown head cling to the sides as it slowly fades. Nice lacing left behind.

S - Smells like a cold cup of joe. Straight and to the point.

T/M - Yeah, a nice cold slightly bitter cup of black coffee, but I mean that in the best way possible. After the bold coffee flavor fades from the forefront, it makes way for a nuttiness. Great combination of a brown/coffee ale. Medium slightly thin mouthfeel.

O - Different from any other coffee ale I've had. Maybe it's from Surlys' cold extraction process of the coffee. It just has a natural/organic coffee flavor, not artificial or synthetic. I would definately purchase more of these...if they were sold in Vegas. Either way, Cheers!

Serving type: can

09-20-2012 05:08:44 | More by Rizalini
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance - A deep brown, maybe a little hazy or murky. Not a lot of light penetrates. Nice khaki head that laces all over the glass.

Smell - I'm surprised the nose isn't as dominated by coffee as the taste. Much more of a brown ale aroma with coffee in the background. Nutty with some vanilla, then coffee.

Taste - Here's where it's all coffee. Tons of coffee with a little bit of hazelnut brown ale and some vanilla. The beer comes through in the form of a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Easy drinking. Bitter, maybe too much, but at least it reminds me that I'm drinking beer and not coffee.

Overall - I'm not usually a fan of coffee-dominated beers, but the coffee in here is dominant without being too acidic. It makes for a very pleasant coffee experience.

Serving type: can

09-05-2012 00:41:33 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of jaasen64


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz tall-boy thanks to will1256. Poured into HF tulip.

A- Pours a very dark pretty much opaque brown with about a half finger of mocha brown head that has nice layered lacing. Decent carbonation.

S- Roasted coffee beans, lactose sugars, light roasted malts. Very nice lightly sweet coffee flavor that is well above average aroma strength.

T- Coffee, light cream/lactose sugars, a bit of toffee, light bitter chocolate on the finish followed by a light espresso aftertaste that lingers for awhile.

M- Medium bodied, lightly creamy, decent carbonation, easy to drink.

O- This was a very flavorful beer that had a very nice coffee taste to it. If you like coffee beers I would definitely recommend this beer. The aroma was very nice and the taste was very good but the finish was slightly too bitter. Very easy to drink, tasty, would love to drink this on a regular basis.

Serving type: can

08-31-2012 03:43:14 | More by jaasen64
Photo of Powderhornphil


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks dark brown. Light brown head and lacing from an aggresive poor.

Smell on this beer is a huge selling point. Some malty sweetness mixed with iced coffee.

Similar to the taste. A must for coffee lovers one of my go-to beers.

Mouthfeel is creamy but light.

great beer. Glad Surly made this a brown instead of a coffee stout.

Serving type: can

08-30-2012 00:22:26 | More by Powderhornphil
Photo of rudzud


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice clearish chestnut pour with a good two finger khaki head that fades to leave a nice thick, creamy blanket.

S - Oh wow. This one really pops with the iced coffee aromas. Really big and bold coffee, nice and still light and creamy though.

T - More of those tasty iced coffee notes. There is some light malty sweetness along with good delicious iced coffee type flavours. Quite good.

M - Mouthfeel is quite nice. Enough carbonation to keep this up and. Stuff is super, super drinkable.

O - Overall this was a very tasty brown ale. The coffee really jumps with this one in the nose and taste. Only complaint would be the coffee overpowers the brown ale aspects of the beer.

Serving type: can

08-26-2012 23:59:34 | More by rudzud
Photo of WillCarrera


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 oz tallboy can, canned on 06/06/12, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark brown color, nearly opaque, dark ruby highlights, produces about a finger of creamy beige head, leaves nice lacing.

S- Big aroma with lots of roasted coffee beans, smells like an iced coffee, also some notes of roasted grain and chocolate.

T- Lots of bitter, roasted coffee flavor, cream, some chocolate and roasted grain.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth, creamy feel.

O- A pretty nice coffee beer, very tasty and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2012 05:21:26 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium sized off white to tan head ever so slowly settles into a nice lacing above a clear burnt amber colored beer.

Rich black Folgers coffee aroma, no cream, no sugar, just straight ahead rich morning coffee aroma like your parents had brewing back in the day when you tried to smell the bacon, eggs, and toast but that strong black coffee smell overwhelmed the senses.

Rich coffee taste, not quite as bold as the aroma, but roasted coffee malt tastes above all else.

Almost a full bodied beer, it seems to be lacking some of the body other such beer seem to have, if my memory serves me correctly.

An almost dry aftertaste that brings the roasted coffee notes to a close.

If I was a coffee drinker this would be my beer of choice or at least one of the finalists. Surly seems to be doing some pretty good things up there in Minnesota, can't wait to get back and watch the Twins or Vikings choke while I drink some good beers from Surly, Summit and a host of other pretty good breweries in the area.

Serving type: can

08-05-2012 22:33:45 | More by LXIXME
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear very dark brown bordering on black in color with some dark amber highlights when held up to the light and moderate amounts of visible carbonation near the surface at the edges of the glass. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans with some lighter hints of roasted malts.

T: Similar to the smell, the flavor of this beer is dominated by freshly brewed coffee. There is a light amount of sweetness in the taste initially with the bitterness of coffee grounds in the finish (light lingering bitterness).

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: As an avid coffee drinker (and lover of coffee + coffee flavored things - also, Guatemalan coffee is one of my favorites), I find this beer to be extremely enjoyable. The combination of great flavors along with the lighter body make this beer easy to drink. This beer is definitely sessionable and one that I would thoroughly enjoy drinking many of in a session. Not sure if there is any caffeine in this beer but it almost seems to give a little buzz.

Serving type: can

08-04-2012 18:38:30 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of tewaris


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned 2 weeks ago. Poured into a Surly pint.

A clear dark brown with a light brown head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is Bender's dark maltiness + coffee, and hard to tell where the beer ends and the coffee starts.

Tastes like carbonated iced coffee, pretty much, minus the acidity; well there is some acidity but not overpowering. Finishes with slight roast and a lingering coffee taste. Mouthfeel is light and carbonation not too high (thankfully!).

Overall? An excellent coffee beer. Don't drink it if you don't like coffee.

Serving type: can

07-27-2012 05:33:53 | More by tewaris
Photo of Trystero


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back-logged circa 12/29/2011

16 ounce can poured into an Imperial Pint

Appearance: Large cream latte head, dark chocolate brown with burnt coffee. Looks strikingly similiar to a freshly brewed french press of medium roasted coffee, frothy.

Smell: Light roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate, rich chocolate milk, reminiscent of a latte.

Taste: Smooth and rich textured coffee, cold-brewed, with mild dark chocolate notes, sweet roasted barley and darker malts. The coffee dominates the spotlight as it should.

Mouthfeel: Textured, frothy, rich, and balanced carbonation.

Overall: A well designed and executed homage to coffee with a pleasant kick of 5% alcohol.

Serving type: can

07-20-2012 15:44:55 | More by Trystero
Photo of pk18


4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a dark brown with about a finger or two of off white head. Great lacing down the glass.

S- A good amount of coffee grounds come through right away. There are some malt notes as well.

T- Coffee up front and fairly dominant to start. Malt characteristics take over in the middle, with some sweetness (toffee). Nice bitter coffee finish.

M- Well carbonated. The finish is dry and sticks around for a while.

O- This is definitely one of my new favorite coffee beers. I think the brown ale pairs well with the coffee. It's a welcome change from the more traditional stout-coffee pairing.

Serving type: can

07-17-2012 01:49:45 | More by pk18
Photo of Jsenay


4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the can into a Russian River goblet

A - Pours a deep and dark brown with a nice head formation that holds in the glass for awhile. Heavy lacing.

S - Smells of deep roasted and caramelized malt and coffee.

T - Nice roasted coffee up front with an almost milk sugar presence that helps cut the harshness of the roasted flavor. I get some subtle bakers chocolate flavor. Tastes excellent. Great balance of flavor going on.

M - Very creamy and effervescent body with the carbonation scrubbing all the way through the taste. Finishes medium dry and with a hint of coffee and cream left on the tongue, just like a cup of coffee would.

O - This is the second beer I have had from Surly and I have definitely been impressed. They did an excellent job balancing the flavors and it tastes damn well close to an iced coffee. I need to try their brown ale now to see what the base beer tastes like before they added the coffee. A great buy.

Serving type: can

07-13-2012 17:39:52 | More by Jsenay
Photo of VncentLIFE

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany body with a thick light tan colored white head. Super lacing as well.

Lots of dry nutty English Nut Brown type smells. Loads of whole coffee beans (slightly hazelnut I do believe). Slightly creamy with strong diacetyl notes as well.

Very bitter coffee up front. All bitter espresso. Not coffee beans, but straight espresso bitterness. Sharp metallic twang cuts off the coffee notes. Following up that, is the base beer. Dry nutty roasty malts dominate, but not too much. Still get a bit of the coffee flavors here as well. Finishes dry and chewy. Very nutty late.

Feels like a malty cup of coffee, honestly. I like it. The only thing you can compare it to is maybe Cubano Espresso Brown from Cigar City. Matter of fact, theyre pretty close (and both tasty as hell).

Serving type: can

07-12-2012 14:06:19 | More by VncentLIFE
Photo of Momar42


4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into standard pint glass

A - medium to dark brown. Not opaque but dark. Fair head of light brown head forms. Faint lacing present.

S - coffee flavor is there but not as strong as many have mentioned. This surely isn't the shot of espresso to get you going but more along the "cup o' joe" variety. Maybe a faint roasted malt, but not certain.

T - coffee flavor dominates upfront. Maybe a 50/50 split with the roasted malt flavor in the middle then back to the favor of coffee as it finishes with a nice coffee aftertaste. Drinks like a light bodied, but tasty coffee porter. Tasty.

M - mouthfeel is light to medium I would say. Carbonation is spot on. Slight creaminess that yields to a smooth easy finish. Well done.

O - I actually prefer coffee beers over actual coffee. If its possible for coffee to be understated it is here. There is just enough to really enjoy but not too much to overpower the exceptional quality brown ale. If you like this style, porters and/or coffee seek this out. Maybe not earth-shattering but a damn drinkable beer. Wish it was easier/cheaper to find. Good beer.

Serving type: can

07-08-2012 23:14:51 | More by Momar42
Photo of Jimmys


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

canned on 05/10/12.

A: very light brown, almost a deep dark red/amber hue. head is a dark shade of off-white. sticky lacing resides. good retention.

S: besides the coffee and chocolate, there is a decent amount of hops. not espresso/italian/french roast aroma, but more of a breakfast/medium blend. good complexity.

T: the chocolate is light, but battles with the coffee. both combine to provide bitterness to the body that is underlined with sweet, unfermented sugars. vanilla and caramel. a medium roast/coffee flavor works with the medium body and in my opinion could even be stronger. finish is roasty and dry. similar to the nose, good complexity.

M: medium bodied, low/average carbonation.

D: cool to have a "brown" coffee flavored brew. certainly drinkable, more of an early day beer imo. like i said above, could be hit with even more coffee to be the biggest flavor/aroma factor. right now that and chocolate are pretty much even.

Serving type: can

07-02-2012 23:41:42 | More by Jimmys
Photo of jeremy13586


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned 3/9/2012. Poured in to an imperial pint glass.

Translucent and dark brown color. The beer poured a khaki, dense, two-finger head that protruded above the glass. Left some nice lacing behind.

Nutty roasted malt and some coffee. A little bit of toffee.

Nutty and roasty. The coffee taste is actually quite mellow, but does pop out at times. There is a little bit of toffee and an earthiness at the end. Pretty simple tasting, but all the flavors are well balanced. A bit of a lingering bitterness for the finish, but it doesn't linger for too long.

Very well carbonated and very smooth. Medium bodied.

This brew was incredibly drinkable and didn't sit too heavy. I'm not a huge fan of coffee in general, but I do dig on some coffee beers. Coffee Bender had enough coffee to keep things interesting, but it wasn't overbearing.

Serving type: can

07-02-2012 05:49:41 | More by jeremy13586
Photo of jmarsh123


2.78/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep brown with a small tan head.

Smells of coffee obviously and some chocolate. Not bitter roasted coffee like I'm used to, but a smooth general aroma.

Lots of coffee flavors, but again not exactly like fresh roasted. It's kind of weird. A little earthy bitterness on the back end.

A little bit light on the mouthfeel with good carbonation.

Kind of weird and kind of a disappointment. I love Surly and I love coffee beers, but this one isn't for me. A little one note and kind of tastes like cheap coffee as opposed to something gourmet. I'll stick to the regular Bender.

Serving type: can

06-29-2012 19:55:04 | More by jmarsh123
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,662 ratings.