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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,817 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,817
Reviews: 755
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 591
Gots: 211 | FT: 15
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: 1,817 | Reviews: 755 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MylesMac
MylesMac

Manitoba (Canada)

3/5  rDev -28.1%

12-18-2013 02:03:39 | More by MylesMac
Photo of funkel81
funkel81

California

3/5  rDev -28.1%

04-03-2012 19:21:51 | More by funkel81
Photo of ThunderChicken7
ThunderChicken7

Illinois

3/5  rDev -28.1%

02-02-2014 20:22:54 | More by ThunderChicken7
Photo of djre4orm
djre4orm

Virginia

3/5  rDev -28.1%

06-13-2013 19:49:06 | More by djre4orm
Photo of darkmoon66
darkmoon66

California

3/5  rDev -28.1%

01-05-2012 05:23:03 | More by darkmoon66
Photo of devilfluff
devilfluff

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -28.1%

06-24-2014 02:35:08 | More by devilfluff
Photo of lonewolfcry
lonewolfcry

Minnesota

3/5  rDev -28.1%

11-02-2013 05:32:27 | More by lonewolfcry
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.05/5  rDev -26.9%
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.

Serving type: can

03-07-2014 06:39:29 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

Serving type: can

01-05-2012 04:55:51 | More by jegross2
Photo of IdrinkGas
IdrinkGas

Pennsylvania

3.1/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

Serving type: can

03-08-2011 21:28:21 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of TheGordianKnot
TheGordianKnot

Tennessee

3.1/5  rDev -25.7%
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

Serving type: can

06-23-2011 18:31:54 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

3.13/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

Serving type: can

05-05-2009 19:19:47 | More by twelvsies
Photo of beerkittycat
beerkittycat

Minnesota

3.15/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

Serving type: can

01-29-2009 20:17:13 | More by beerkittycat
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.15/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

Serving type: can

03-27-2011 02:49:00 | More by n2185
Photo of gatornation
gatornation

Minnesota

3.15/5  rDev -24.5%
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

Serving type: can

11-22-2009 01:12:21 | More by gatornation
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.15/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this form the can into a chalice.

The beer is a very dark fown with about a finger and half of light tan head that fades way to quickly. The lacing is good. As the head fades it sticks to the sides like a shadow from the past.

The aroma is combination of wood and coffee, but despite these two normally dominating aromas the aroma overall is pretty light.

The taste is very light and somewhat disappointing because it is pretty flavorless. If it wasn't called coffee bender I wouldn't even think of coffee and be able to pick any out of it. To me its tastes like a light fun of the mill brown ale.

The mouthfeel is heavy and lasting but because of its blandness its not very drinkable, not because its filing but because its just bland.

Serving type: can

11-08-2009 03:17:43 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Roland45s
Roland45s

Virginia

3.15/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Surly compares to a starbucks iced coffee in a can, almost like one of the starbucks energy drinks. A very strong potent smell of coffee and beans, but a very weak beer. It's almost like a light beer with color additive. Overall I would drink it again b/c I am a coffee fan, but I truly believe the "coffee" added makes it like left over coffee from the pot in the afternoon.

Serving type: can

11-30-2012 00:22:40 | More by Roland45s
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

3.18/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the OBF today. Was looking forward to this beer, so came armed with pencil and paper, and bought the full glass.

The beer pours a dark brown color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is really impressive, with a huge aroma of (surprise, surprise) coffee. It really drowns out pretty much anything else.

On the palate this beer is a surprise. I appreciate the fact that the abv. is low, but the flavors on this beer are anything but impressive. The one dimensional flavors come across as light and disappointing, smacking of cheap coffee dumped into some boring brown ale. There's almost a grainiess/grittiness, from what tastes a bit like coffee grounds. I'm not the least bit impressed. A friend I was with made a very good comment I thought; noting that it tasted as if Surly used a very low grade of coffee making this beer. Texture is light and almost watery, and drinkability is unimpressive. You can tell the abv. is low, thankfully, but the flavors are so disjointed, it's really no fun drinking this beer. It really tastes like an uninspired brown ale with some cheap coffee grounds thrown in.

After drinking a can of furious last week, this beer more then any other was something I was looking forward to at the OBF. All the more reason it was the disappointment of the festival. Maybe it just didn't travel well from Minn. to Portland. Oh well...

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2008 04:24:38 | More by John_M
Photo of xpdrinker
xpdrinker

Florida

3.18/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into my Surly pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with reddish hue, more murky than Bender. Mocha pencil-thin head, not much lacing.

Aromas include empty metal coffee can, dry malt, mixed nuts, a bit leathery.

Light body, medium carbonation. Standard brown with extra roastiness, most of the coffee comes on the dry finish. Bitterness hangs out on the perimeter of the tongue. Slightly peppery.

Enjoyed it a bit more than regular Bender but still don't find anything about it that stands out. Balanced but not very complex. I'd like to try it again but wasn't extremely impressed this time around.

Serving type: can

12-15-2011 07:30:52 | More by xpdrinker
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep clear shade of brown with bright clear cherry wood colored highlights and a thick tan head, some nice lacing.

The smell is that of very fresh ground coffee with hints of roasted malts creeping through.

The coffee flavors are very aggressive with a mix of slightly bitter coffee and dark roasted barley. There seems to be a strong level of bittering hops as well as it continues to get more bitter as I drink it in a very even and earthy sort of way, some light smoke and toffee flavors sort of come out as it warms has a touch of astringency as well.

The mouthfeel has a medium body and a bit of oily and resiny quality to it.

Very much a coffee beer, its not bad, but a big to heavy handed with the coffee for my taste.

Serving type: can

09-19-2011 21:24:29 | More by bashiba
Photo of ystazi
ystazi

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

08-11-2012 21:09:07 | More by ystazi
Photo of KBoudreau66
KBoudreau66

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this brew as an extra with a trade from Skinnyguy. It pours a nice dark brown color with two fingers of foamy off white head. It smells exactly like a pot of coffee, but with sweet undertones in the aroma. I don't really know what to make of this beer. I can't tell if I'm impressed with it or not. Very strong coffee flavors with a bit of sweetness that I detected in the nose. I really can't explain the taste of this too well, if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it's like a Newcastle with a cup of coffee poured in it, buty obviously with more flavor than a Newcastle. Overall, not a bad brew, and I'm glad that I got to try it. I always look forward to trying new beers, especially ones that I'm unable to obtain in Massachusetts.

Serving type: can

05-15-2009 19:01:10 | More by KBoudreau66
Photo of richaa01
richaa01

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

03-16-2014 19:49:45 | More by richaa01
Photo of Captain_Chenko
Captain_Chenko

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

05-03-2014 11:53:04 | More by Captain_Chenko
Photo of kraticus41
kraticus41

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

04-18-2014 00:26:10 | More by kraticus41
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,817 ratings.