Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,053 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,053
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 609
Gots: 241 | FT: 14
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)
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Ratings: 2,053 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
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3/5  rDev -27.9%

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Photo of beertunes
3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Photo of magictacosinus
3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
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 jegross2
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewing the Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company.
Score: 79

Canned 11/01/11, served in a pilsner glass (the only beer glass available), and and enjoyed 1/4/12.

Appearance: Pours three and a half fingers of foamy khaki-colored head (obviously exaggerated by the glass it was poured into) on top of a dark soda/caramel red/brown colored body that falls between transparent and translucent. Head settles into a half finger, leaving lots of sticky residue on the side of the glass. Good lacing. 4/5

Smell: Coffee and vanilla cream soda. Plenty of caramel aroma too. The aroma is a little fizzy, with the sugarier smells from the head of the beer "crackling" and "popping" such that they shot up my nose (akin to taking that first sip from a freshly poured Coke) when I got in too close for a smell. 3.5/5

Taste: My first impression was coffee up front that quickly turns into a caramel finish. Very malty middle (in fact, very malty overall), but not overly sweet. Hints of vanilla soda in the linger. As the beer layers, it becomes a more consistent coffee and caramel flavor throughout, including the finish. For a beer with a fizzy smell at pour, this beer tasted surprisingly flat. Did not detect any nuttiness. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied with light-plus carbonation. Felt a little flat and much waterier than expected. Finish is slightly sweet and the mouthfeel kind of reminds me of a totally melted malt ball. 2.5/5

Overall: Perhaps I cannot adjudge this beer too harshly because it was slightly over 60 days old, but I was not overly impressed with the base beer (Surly Bender) either (though that one too was old -- I tried a "fresher" can recently, but that can had no carbonation). I guess this one could be a step up from Bender if fresh, but I honestly felt like Bender had more "freshness upside" to it. Alas, some have informed me that Bender and Coffee Bender are not particularly the type of beer to "rapidly age," unlike Surly Furious (which was much better fresh). I really do not know how to feel about this beer, other than I did not particularly enjoy my first experience with it. Both Bender and Coffee Bender looked and smelled much better than they tasted. If you are buying Surly beers right now, do yourself a favor and skip this one and buy some (more) Abrasive Ale for a few extra dollars

Recommendation: Worth trying, but not particularly worth seeking out -- at least not if its 60+ days old. Flavors are not too intense or too harsh to put off casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Peanuts?

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.

Photo of IdrinkGas
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a snifter.

A: Reminds me of water from a rusty pipe. Watery brown color.

S: Coffee in the nose but much less than I expected.

T:Burnt watered down coffee flavor. This is what I imagine artificially flavored coffee seltzer water to taste like.

M: A little high in carbonation. I would like this more if the carbonation was toned down slightly.

If I want a coffee beer I would chose a coffee stout instead of this. The brown ale and coffee just seems like an odd pairing to me. Not my cup of tea at all. The only beer from Surly that I have disliked thus far.

Photo of TheGordianKnot
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned 3.11.11... Poured into goblet

A- Pours very dark brownish amber color with mahogany corners. Very large tan crema head, light, fluffy, stable... Incredible lacing

S- Very sweet burnt sugar and the obvious coffee aroma is present, but a bit dull and approaching stale. A bit tart as well that clashes with some chalkiness; almost like a tart cherry Tums...

T/M- A bit light in flavor. Tastes like weak diluted coffee without a strong base beer. Again that tartness shows up and I really feel like it shouldn't be there. I'm really not feeling this beer for first bit, but as it warmes a sweetness takes over and a little chocolate shows to bring me around. My final impression is a nice nutty chocolate brown ale with a touch of coffee. Fairly light on the tongue with moderate carbonation, would appreciate a bit heavier feel I think.

O- Decent. Not great as I had hopes for, but it did save face in the end. I look forward to trying regular Bender to get a better grasp on the base beer before trying this again

Photo of twelvsies
3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

16oz can, courtesy of sonicdescent. Interesting beer. I should preface this by saying I usually like about 1/5 beers I try with coffee added. Call me a purist... Anyway - pours a robust brown color, edges of ruby. Not unlike the regular Bender, but I think it's a little lighter if that makes any sense at all and not as nice of a head. Nose is all coffee - really great clear coffee bean aroma. Unfortunately that's pretty much all I'm getting, besides a muted cry from the roasted malt trying to be heard. This is a tasty beer, I just find it a bit one-dimensional. If you like coffee beers, this will surely do the trick. I really like the coffee flavor I'm getting here but I just wish there was more to go along with it in this case. I had the regular Bender the other night and thought it was actually more full and more complex than this spiffed up version. Mouthfeel came across as a bit thin and watery, I don't know why. All in all this is a fine beer, it just might not be my thing. I've loved everything else I've tried from these guys so this beer was definitely worth the try, especially if coffee is your bag.

Photo of beerkittycat
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
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.

Photo of n2185
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark brown with only hints of red coming through at the edges and a finger of light tan head. The head quickly recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Coffee dominates the nose. There are a sweet creaminess and some chocolate notes to it as well, but mostly coffee. As it warms, a slight nutty aroma comes out.

T: Robust coffee up front followed by some slight roasted malt characters. The finish has a nutty and lightly bitter character to it.

M: Medium body and carbonation, though the body has a slightly watery characteristic.

O: Overall, not a bad beer, but almost indistinguishable from a typical coffee stout. I pick up on a slight nuttiness in the finish, but that's about the only brown ale characteristic this beer has. You could put it in a lineup of coffee stouts and likely not be able to pick it out. As a brown ale, it's almost unrecognizable and as a coffee stout it doesn't really stand out from the pack.

Photo of gatornation
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pored very dark brown with thin beige ring with little head it did have some nice sticky lacing smell was all coffee and some vanilla some burnt malts..the taste was coffee first strong coffee it overwhelmed the bender with roasted somewhat bitter taste.. the malts and the hops could not be detected..overall i did not enjoy this one like say Peruvian morning it was not balanced between malt hops and coffee..ill stick to plain bender for my brown ale fix

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,053 ratings.