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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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2,139 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,139
Reviews: 784
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 629
Gots: 270 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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: 2,139 | Reviews: 784
Photo of airbn51st
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice brew served in a can, most fortunate to sample this beer in the great state of Texas, so here goes tr. An exceptional coffee beer!
-Awesome drinkability.
-great up front coffee flavor
-lots of espresso on the back end
-nice carbonation

An absolute revelation! Walk, no run to acquire such a masterpiece!

Photo of MiScusi
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JessetheHutt for this brew. Review no. 600.

Pours a brown with ruby highlights. Clear enough to see through. Off white bubbly head. The smell I recognize initially is that fresh brewed cold coffee smell, but at the same time there is a similar yet slightly different roasted note coming from the malts. As the beer wears on the chocolate becomes more apparent in the nose. The taste starts off with a nice chocolatey sweetness but finishes roasty bitter. The taste of actual coffee is noticeable, but not overpowering. The brew is on the thinner side, maybe evening having a watery aspect despite its robust flavor.

Photo of kungpao
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first offering from Surly tasted.

A- Dark brown, when held to the light slight visability at best. Pours a nice two finger mocha off white head.

S- Slighty subdued but absolutely intoxicating. Rich medium bodied coffee, hints of cream, malts, slightly sweet brown sugar, with very faint hop profile dominated by previously mentioned smells.

T- I suppose I'm a bit biased, being a coffee lover but this blew me away. The aromas I caught on the nose exploded into an intensified and more complex flavor. Medium bodied (but rich) coffee upfront. Malts bring almost a mocha feel to the table. Solid brown ale style backround flavors make for one of my favorite beers tasted to date.

M- Appropriate level of carbonation for style. A bit thin on the mouthfeel to my taste. This is the only area this brew took a slight hit on points.

D- absolutely drinkable, with a low ABV for such a rich and robust flavorful beer. Taste buds may need a break from all the coffee for it to be considered 'sessionable'.

Overall this takes the cake for coffee influenced beer styles. Besides DFH india brown ale, its up there as one of the best brown ales I've tasted. Kudos to surly for an awesome brew.

Photo of Jmoore50
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this can in an EXTRA! Big thanks. Was not very impressed with Bender, but this is much better.

The appearance on this one is a dark brown heart with lighter edges. It has a mocha colored frothy head that pours two fingers and stays at one for the entire tasting. No lacing.

The smell is of cold roasted coffee with burnt grain.

The taste is of coffee, and lots of it. I feel like the coffee is strong, but not backed up very well. It has a tastes of roasted grains and not much else to back up the coffee flavor.

The mouthfeel is light, but makes it really easy to drink. It is a lighter ale, so taking that to mind it is one of the better brown ales I have had. I have not had a lot from Surly, but Furious is one of my favorites from them so far.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As per Surly's suggestion, poured into a mug. Big thanks to OHLRangers for this one.

4.5 A: Dark brown color with one and a half fingers of thick creamy light brown head. Great retention (especially for having coffee involved) and tons of lacing.

4.0 S: Smells quite a bit like the original, with a coffee vibe added. Roastiness with a pleasant nuttiness to it. Coffee works well with the other aromas and doesn't detract. However, all the smells could be stronger.

4.5 T: Just like the regular, this is one hell of a brew. Nuttiness and roastiness found in the original mesh eloquently. Pretty simple, but it works marvelously. The addition of coffee only improves the beer. Flavorful, but not so much that the other flavors are less discernable.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body, closer to light. Good carbonation, creamy (but could be more so), and smooth as silk.

4.5 D: If the mouthfeel was a bit thicker, this would be pretty close to a perfect brown. The way it stands, it's still very good and I could go through a number of these with no problem. Man do I love Surly brews.

Photo of tturaiders
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint can into a pint glass. Thanks, gibby!

Appearance: Dark amber with a decent sized head on it. The lacing is slightly spotty and recedes well down the side of the glass.

Smell: Roasted coffee with a hint of sweetness. Maybe some caramel and toffee.

Taste: Strong coffee but has a subtle sweetness to it. Tastes like a good coffee that is built into the beer. The sweetness of the malt balances it so that the coffee isn't overpowering. You get a bit of that hop bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Well carbonated and it's got a nice body to it. It's very smooth and very soothing. I could sip on this all night. I was really anticipating this one and it lived up to my expectations.

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one last night before Beer Thursdays. Poured form the can into a medium sized dimpled mug. I'm calling this one my light stout from now on. Pours a brown/reddish color with a thick fluffy head. Lacing is good and head retention is apparent. Smells just like coffee, but there is a hint of malt in there too.
Taste is just out of this world. Like nothing I've ever had. Has a heavy coffee/chocolate taste that is balanced by a bitter hoppy finish. The coffee flavor lingers a bit, leaving you ready for more.
Feels good in the mouth too. A good amount of carbonation, but that could just be the head you have to get through to get to the beer. Very complex in the mouth. Lots of flavors you don't expect to taste good together going on.
I could drink this one for days. If it was more readily available in my area, this would turn into my session beer. Like I said, it's like a stout light. All the taste, half the alcohol. Don't know the algorithm for ratings, but this should be getting an A+ from me.

Photo of Stigs
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a 16oz can, served in a Samuel Smith pint glass

A - solid inch and a half, maybe two inches of super frothy tan colored foam...had to let it settle a bit before I could fit the entire can in the glass. the beer is a very dark burnt amber/ruby color. minimal spotty lacing.

S - coffee, coffee, coffee...more like coffee flavoring or instant powdered espresso than anything freshly roasted. underneath all the coffee are some crackery malts and a small whiff of earthy hops.

T - immediately goes from sweet, to coffee, to bittering. coffee again is more of the lightly sweetened and creamed instant powder. graham cracker and brown sugar malts add a kiss of sweetness fighting to be noticed.

M - very present and tight carbonation works well with the flavor...medium bodied and quite slick, then the bitterness turns slightly chalky.

D - quite the unique one here...drinks more like an alcoholic coffee energy drink than anything else. i am a huge coffee-head so i find this rather enjoyable, just missing the well-roundedness of classic coffee + beer flavors.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer has a dense dark body with a deep amber highlights showing at the base. There is a thick light tan head that last and last and a few tiny bubbles stuck to the glass.
S- The fresh espresso roasted beans have a nice black malt aroma to support them and a nice graham note that grows as the beer warms.
T- This beer has a rich cold coffee bean flavor with chocolate and cream finish with a nice light tangy note. There is a pine hop flavor that lingers just a bit and blends well with the coffee.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat or astringency.
D- This beer is like eating chocolate covered espresso beans and the hops let you know that there is a great beer base underneath. Delicious.

Photo of camp0474
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Pint Glass

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown color. Head has creamy light yellow, frothy appearance. Good amount of lacing from the start. Head sticks to the side of the glass. This beer is very inviting.

S: First pickup the coffee notes, then becomes balanced with toasted malt. Actually smells pretty sweet even with the fresh coffee smell.

T: Initial taste of well brewed coffee, not as overpowering as I would have expected. Then the sweet malt kicks in and joins the coffee for a very well balanced flavor. It's not a battle between the coffee and the beer, the coffee just adds a slight twist of complexity to an already great beer. I also still am able to pickup a trace of hops in the finish, even with the coffee present. Overall very strong coffee

M: Medium body. Good amount of carbonation.

D: Goes down smooth. The coffee adds something great to this beer, balancing out very well. A little bitter in the finish from the coffee. Overall very drinkable.

I have to be honest I was not sure how I would feel about this beer. I have been a Surly fan for a while now and still was somewhat reluctant. Well, I shouldn't be surprised that they know exactly what they are doing.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brown pour with some reddish tint. Nice tan head sits atop, and deposits streaks of lacing on the glass.

Huge coffee nose and flavor. I don't even like coffee, and I love this beer. Loads and loads of fresh coffee, but that doesn't overwhelm the brown ale underneath. Lots of sweet caramel and toffee, with some bittering hops in the finish.

Medium-full body. Plush carbonation. This beer, like everything else I've tried from Surly thus far, is an absolute joy to drink.

Photo of DCDevilDancer
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. Hell of a first impression of Surly. This stuff is magic. By far, the most highly sessionable coffee beer I have yet had the pleasure to enjoy. So smooth and easy to drink.
Looks great.. dark amber, resilliant tan head.
Smells great.. just like an American iced coffee ale should.
Tastes.. yummy and addictive. The rich black coffee notes, and suddle hop presence persist for minutes after sips, with just a bit of a refreshing tanginess.. like an espresso tang, but racier. Doesn't have the depth of flavor of, say, a Founders BS, but it's not supposed to. It excells at being what it is.
Mouthfeel.. soothing.
Excessively drinkable! Aptly named!
Can't wait to try Furious next.

Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into the mug, from the can, this beer pours a dark brown color with a big lacy head. Not a bad appearance.

The aroma is an amalgamation roasted malt, bitterness and a big slap of coffee grounds. The coffee is definitely the defining feature in the nose. A welcoming aroma.

The beer has a medium body. A fairly nice feel as it roles across the palate, not too carbonated. The flavor has a touch of sweetness but is quickly taken over by the flavor of coffee. Bitter as the beer exits. This has some nice flavor. The amazing thing about it is that it has a strong, truly coffee-like, flavor, but it does not become overwhelming--making this a drinkable brew.

Photo of ChadQuest
1.86/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a dark brown/black with minimal lacing.
smokey and roasty on the nose, also on the palatte,with tons of coffee. literally tastes like the time i cold french pressed sumatra beans with storm king out of curiousity, but a little less offensively stale coffee flavor then that was, but non the less this coffee does have that stale personality to it. some nutty characteristics is the only other note that sneaks past the aweful stale coffee onslaught.

I had to drink this one very cold,around 35-40f. I had one at 55f or so,how i drink all my beers, and the coffee flavor was so offensive i couldn't even finish. Chilling it down to 35-40 hid alot of the off flavors and made it somewhat more enjoyable.

Before you say i must not be a coffee drinker, you are wrong. i have been in the coffee industry and geek'd out on coffee for years.
While the Casual coffee drinker may like this, i would be surprised if a real coffee geek tried this and found it enjoyable.
Cardboard box lovers may love this.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Coffee Bender pours a dark brown color with a reddish hue letting in a little bit of light. On top sits a nice frothy white head that leaves layers of lacing down the glass. Looks great.

Right after you crack the can you can smell the bitter aroma of ground espresso beans and possibly a hint of vanilla bean. Fairly one-dimensional, but this beer delivers on the coffee aspect.

The first taste is bitter espresso bean followed by roasted malts and a touch of caramel and vanilla. The flavor is great. Reminds me of a chilled espresso with the oomph of a sessionable beer.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth. A little on the bitter side with small, tingly carbonation. Body is medium.

Drinkability is very good. This is probably the most quaffable coffee beer I have ever had. I'll easily enjoy the pint in front of me and may have to go get another.

Overall, this is one of the best coffee beers I have had and is a nice change from the typical coffee stout. Coffee Bender is a bit lighter than most coffee beers you typically come across, but still packs a lot of coffee flavor. I wish this was easy to get a hold of on the East coast. Definitely worth grabbing a four pack of, or more.

Photo of steve8robin
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one in trade, thanks Eric...

A: Perfect look. Thick 1 and 1/2 inch off-white head that slowly fades leaving nice lacing around the glass.

S: Can't get a big scent off of this brew. Just a hint of coffee. Nothing special.

T: Wow! It tastes like you're drinking a coffee. Thick and heavy coffee bean flavor. Hops and smokiness on the backend. Very good.

M: Very smooth with a nice coffee flavor left on the palate.

D: Goes down perfectly easy. Just like drinking a morning coffee.

All in all, this one is good. If you're a coffee drinker, as I am, then you will love this brew. It's one of the only beers I can picture having during breakfast, haha. Very much like drinking a coffee. Tasty!

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

Poured from 16oz can. Many thanks go out to DrMount for this one. I'll repay the favor sometime soon Mike.

A- Pours a very dark brown color. When held to the light there is some lighter red hues to the beer. Two finger cream colored head that falls into a cap and stays there for a little one the beer. Nice streaky lacing on the sides of the glass. I enjoy I do!

S- Well this smells like coffee...big time. Almost like I just ground the beans and threw them in there. Light bready and nutty undertones. Also, a nice bitter chocolate aroma that comes and goes between the coffee notes. This smells like a chocolate covered coffee bean.

T- This is devine. Coffee flavors bursts in your face of course. There is a light sweetness that goes along with the coffee taste. Light chocolate notes and some light bready flavor from the brown ale base I think. This tastes like a cold coffee drink to me. Very nice tasting...almost hit the flavor perfect of a iced coffee.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Coffee flavors left everywhere in the mouth and just not on the palate. Aftertaste is nothing but coffee...I enjoy it a lot. Very clean tasting and flavors are crisp and smooth.

D- This beer I would get into trouble drinking all the time. I had no problem drinking all of it in a quick fashion. I will be looking to get more of this as soon as I can. Coffee drinkers and coffee beer fans should do all they can to try this out.

Photo of semibaked
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the can to a pint glass

A - Dark brown/black with some light shining through, about 3 fingers of light brown head that hangs around for awhile.

S - Big coffee smell like just opening up a bag of coffee beans, just awesome.

T - A ton of coffee hits me right away, slight sweetness and bitterness that you would expect, good carbonation, pretty much tastes like carbonated iced coffee.

M - Pretty watery prolly my least favorite thing about it.

D - I definitely would like access to this more often too bad it is only available in Minnesota, would like to try more of Surly's beer.

Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Greg for including this in a recent trade box.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with an initially fluffy tan head.

S: Pretty much what I expected from this one: big time coffee aroma with only some slight undertones of nutty, toasted malts.

T: The flavor profile is pretty much what you would expect from the nose. This is obviously very coffee forward on the flavor with a nice nutty sweetness that you expect from the base brown ale.

M: The mouthfeel is nice, but nothing spectacular. On the light end of medium in terms of body with moderate carbonation.

D: Fantastic coffee beer! This one really just tastes like a cup of coffee, and is just so easy to drink, especially with the lower ABV.

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to exiled for sharing this can.

Pours dark brown with a tan head. The aroma is straight coffee with nothing else coming through. The flavor is coffee with some roasted malts. There is a nice bitterness at the end, either from the coffee or from hops. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. One of the best, most interesting brown ales I have tried.

Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Very dark brown with a reddish tint. Nice cream colored head and decent lacing.

Smell: Espresso beans, dark chocolate and caramel.

Taste: Mix of semi-sweet coffee and chocolate, with some caramel and nuts just barely making an appearance. Lingering bitter coffee and American hops at the finish that seem almost too harsh in comparison to the initial balance and smoothness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, almost too thin for a Coffee Ale but very smooth.

Drinkability: Nice, fairly easy to drink Coffee Ale, but I prefer the complexity of the standard Bender. Also, not quite in the same league as Founders Breakfast Stout and Bell's Java Stout, but very good nonetheless.

Photo of weatherdog
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16oz can poured into a nonic pint glass.

It pours a semi transparent brown cola color with minimal tan head. The smell is just smooth black coffee, not r=a lot of roastiness and no detectable bitterness, like an ice coffee made from a french press. Really pleasing and inviting. The taste is just the same. I think I've had french press ice coffee that tastes just like this. There is very little beer character in here which I think is what the brewer has intended. I haven't had the base beer but now I'm wishing I picked up some so I could compare. The absence of bitterness and high roastiness is what makes this beer unique and one of my favorite coffee flavored beers. I could put this in the office coffee pot and I doubt no one would be the wiser; although the day would be more interesting. Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery but that is my only complaint. I'm sad I only picked up a 4-pack of this from my MN trip.

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a pint glass.

a - A very dark brown color with about an inch of foam and and moderate carbonation. Looks similar to Bender, but not as much head.

s - Obviously a heavy coffee smell, with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. It really smells like smelling a bag of coffee beans.

t - Again, tastes strongly of coffee, as well as roasted malts. Also had a little bit of toffee/cream taste to it.

m - Light body but very carbonated. Smooth and creamy feel to it.

d - The can really doesn't like about this one; it really tastes just like an iced coffee. I liked the creamy coffee taste it gave off and the smell is one of straight coffee. Definitely look forward to getting more of this stuff.

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech for this one!

16 oz. can:

Pours dark brown with rubyish highlights. A thin light brown head leaves lacing.

The smell is of roasted coffee beans.

The taste is of iced coffee - roasty. After a little while, a caramel/toffee brown ale undertone comes through to back up the roasted iced coffee, improving it. It has a roasty finish.

Medium-to-full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth.

Roasted iced coffee and Bender mix. Balance leans towards the coffee. Becomes more balanced as it progresses. I'm thinking that this could have replaced one of my weekend morning coffees. Certainly one for coffee (and of course beer)lovers to try!

Photo of Jayli
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired this from Beerbeagle courtesy of No One Wants to See a Beer Geek Naked #2 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a thin but deep rich brown. Lighter chestnut hues around the edge when held to the light. A one finger of light brown head sits on top and recedes moderately. Nice sheets of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Nose is of rich coffee bean. Minor hints of caramel and dark malts, but MAN - I swear I could stick my nose in a coffee bag and get the same scent!

T: Taste is sublime. The can says it's like Ice Coffee, and that is NO damn joke! Rich coffee notes - fresh as fresh coffee can be. Charred and roasted malts. Some mild hints of hops in the finish that make this one of the best beers that has crossed my palate.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp body with a very dry yet sticky finish to it.

D: This is a phenomenal beer. Damn the beer gods for teasing me with this! Truly though, this is a great beer, not filling, beyond tasty. If it were distributed to me, it would most definitely be my go to beer!

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,139 ratings.