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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,069 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,069
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 617
Gots: 250 | 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:
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: 2,069 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rrheisler
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mistofminn for this one.

Another can, poured into a pint glass. A really thick, tan head forms, billowing up the glass. About an inch worth a minute after pouring. Really gorgeous to look at.

The smell is deep, roasted Arabica coffee beans; some roasted malt, a touch of dark chocolate, and a hint of oak.

Taste comes around as well, leading with the coffee flavor dancing across the tongue to provide a little bit of bitterness, opening the rest of the palate up to the upcoming roasted chocolate, malt, and biscuit flavor coming next. As it warms, you lose a little bit of the coffee as more of the sweetness comes through.

Mouthfeel was decent, a little watery perhaps? Drinkability is way up there. I prefer it a little on the colder side to keep the coffee flavor.

Might wake up with one of these tomorrow.

Photo of Strix
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear mahogany, decent head.

A rich coffee smell, I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love it. A bit of campfire smoke as well.

Coffee, dark roasted malts, and charcoal in the taste. A nice blend. Lighter than most coffee beers. The background brew is solid as well, though this has a heavy coffee taste, it doesn't feel artificial.

Mouthfeel light and crisp.

An interesting and craveable brew. If you enjoyed this, give Furthermore's coffee beer a try, which this reminded me of.

Photo of kenito799
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into plastic cups (camping in Minnesota).

This dark brown brew foams up big with a tan head, looks nice. The aroma is wondeeful...rich malt with sharp espresso scent. The coffee flavor is integrated perfectly in this highly drinkable brew. I love that the coffee flavor comes in a session beer, since you can watto keep drinking this stuff. Very well done.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very, very dark brown body with a purplish-red hue when held to light. The head is a medium brown standing about an inch tall. This is a very inviting brew.

S - Oh, coffee. Smooth and inviting. This is an aroma that begs to be consumed. I can't wait!

T - Coffee with a woody middle and a subtle hop finish. This is an intriguing brew.

M - Smooth but a little watery. I must say the feel is good but it could be a hair better with a little more texture. I think a bit of coarseness might help to bring out more of the hops that I can sense is lurking in a back alley.

~ I want to call this brew complex but it really is straight forward and to the point. This is definitely something every beer drinker must try. You will not regret it! Thanks again "drizzam"!

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

Drinking this while watching Futurama, specifically the episode where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee, how relevant. Thanks to both grub and KeefB for this shiny metal ass-can. I've been told by quite a few people to try this, so here it goes.

A: Pours nice large 1 finger head that bubbles around for a bit but fades to a light head covering. A nice roasted brown color with brilliant clarity. An interesting red hue appears as light sneaks through.

N: Some coffee on the nose, but a butt load of roasted malts. THis is a lot more beer than coffee, and opposite of some other coffee beers I've had. I also get a slight aromatic hop aroma and spiciness.

T: Taste starts with a crisp beer like taste, and lots of roasted malts. A huge frothy carbonation builds up in the mouth too. A nice bitterness and American hop flavor add a nice touch to it. It has a very slight fruity malt quality like a raisin almost, but very slight. The bitter hop goodness and roasted malt taste really blend well, and the coffee is still surprisingly light taste. A slight sweet brown sugar like taste can also be hinted at.

M: Very frothy and carbonated, a nice spicey hop taste, and some thick mouth feel.

F: Finishes pretty bitter, and nice. It dries off, but not too much. A nice roasted charred quality taste really show through towards the end. The finish is not too long and pretty crisp and clean, and leaves your mouth ready for more, which is good cause I want to keep drinking it.

Final thoughts: Yes, this is much more beer than coffee, unlike most of the other coffee beers. And it's blended really well with the roasted malts, coffee, and good hop bitterness. The finish is pretty bitter and tastes great. Can't wait to have another sip.

Photo of pmccallum86
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very deep dark brown/black color with a good sized tan bubbly head. The smell on this beer is coffee, there are some other things going on as well, but mainly coffee. Taste is like the smell, coffee. Hops are present as well as a cocoa flavor. Goes down smooth and viscous, very nice mouthfeel and drinkability. I could probably drink a billion of these, although I am also a coffee lover. If you like coffee you will love this beer, if not you won't, simple as that.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with great caronation and big tannish head. Nose is big coffee beans and very yummy. taste is a good. It has one of the best tasting coffee flavors I have experienced. It tastes like fresh, natural coffee beans, more so than any beer I have had. Very smooth, not over the top. Also has some oats and vanilla. Mouthfeel is thinner but the fresh coffee roams in the background.

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

"It's never too early to get Surly!" This is my first beer from this brewery, and I can already tell I will like them. Canned on 9/01/09.

The pour on this beer is impressive. It has that low carbonation, fluffy head, which is how I like my ales to look. The head is cream white and the beer itself is dark brown. After some time, the head dies down to only a lace and then to nothing

The aroma delivers on the label's promise with fresh coffee bean aromatics. The coffee isn't overpowering, which is a good thing because it lets the rest of this fine beer shine. I'm getting some fruity, nuttiness that is typical of a good brown ale. It's simple and it's simply awesome.

The flavor of this beer caught me off guard at first, but towards the end I'm loving it. It is a delicate beer, especially compared to other coffee beers. The bitterness rides with the coffee to imitate a real cup of coffee. The light fruitiness and nuttiness come together to remind me of one of those fruit-chocolate-nut bars. Yum.

The mouthfeel is light bodied for an American brown, and really light for an American coffee beer. Light carbonation fits just right in this beer. I'd love to try this one again, shouts to Ineedabeerhere for the can.

Photo of brow1901
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can poured into my surly "coffee" mug.

A- Pretty much black, with decent cream head on top. Not a pitch black brew, it lets lots of light in around the sides. Not much retention, some lacing.

S- Strong coffee, more like a bag of coffee than a brewed cup. Not too overwhelming, it also lets the nice toasty malts shine through. No hop scents.

T- Also like an iced coffee, no chocolate flavors that accompany so many of these styles. Once the coffee fades the neat and clean malt backbone comes through, giving a toasted almost burnt flavor. The slight hop bite mixes kinda strangly, giving a slight tart or acidic taste for a split second. I guess that could be from the coffee used too.

M- A bit light, but don't forget that this is a brown ale. Seems well carbonated, really gets smooth as it warms up a bit.

D- Good drinkability, but I wouldn't call it a session beer. The caffiene gets to me after one can, kinda fun actually. Great beer!

Photo of krisandajt
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A tasty brew courtesy of mymrnngjckt. Many thanks, Kevin!

Appearance: Pours a nice, deep brown with a great bit of fluffy head that just hangs around forever leaving behind some great lacing. Probably the finest looking brown ale I have ever seen.

Smell: Coffee right up front, with a slight bit of bitter chocolate in the back. Very nice.

Taste: The coffee isn't as pronounced as it is in the smell as the taste is much more balanced. Coffee is right up front, but it is kept in check with an overall malty sweetness. Very refreshing.

Mouthfeel: I felt the mouthfeel department was a bit lacking when compared to the other categories at which this brew excels at. It's a bit thin in texture, but not so much as to be described as watery. Still, it's a very smooth and easy drinking beer.

Drinkability: This beer has some outstanding drinkability. It's refreshing, smooth, not overly heavy, and (most importantly) very tasty. I'm glad I finally got to try this bad boy, it's a shame this is my only can.

Photo of rhinos00
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

A- Pours a dark brown with a hints of maroon when held into light. Produced a fingers width of cream colored head, dissipated pretty quickly.

S- Simple, but good. Smells like iced coffee. Plenty of coffee bean aroma with a hint of malty mustiness.

T- Very much like the aroma. Upfront a coffee bean character comes forward with semi-roasted quality. This lasts into the finish, which has a long, semi-sweet, roasted flavor. A bit if bitterness in there as well.

M- Light to medium bodied. The carbonation was perfect, gave the beer a little more frothy, fuller mouthfeel...something that many brown ales don't have.

D- Goes down like water. Very sessionable.

Overall, probably one of the better brown ales I have had. Very glad to have finally tried this, highly recommended for a session beer.

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

16 oz. can.

Dark chocolate molasses brown body. Thick finger of dense, creamy, dark sandy brown head. Great lacing and retention. Sweet brown sugar, molasses, milk chocolate, and graham cracker malt aromas mix nicely with funky (Sumatran-esque), roasted coffee. Bright, roasted, coffee bitterness up front. Scorched caramel and chocolate malts follow. Strong roasted bitterness stays throughout. Nutty, with vanilla and molasses notes. Finish is coffee bitter with lingering caramel. Medium-bodied, with a slightly oily feel. Delicious!

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

A: Dark brown body with reddish hues. Light brown head that receded to a solid cap. Spotty lacing.

S: This is a unique beer. Unlike most coffee infused beers, this doesn't come across as roasted or burnt coffee. Instead, it is straight freshly ground coffee beans. Take some fresh ground coffee and rub it between your fingers right under your nose, and thats the smell of the Coffee Bender. Light caramel, toffee and nutty malts are in the background.

T: The fresh ground aroma doesn't translate as well to the flavor profile. By no means is it bad. It just loses that "freshness" of the coffee. The coffee is more of a roasted flavor here, and the malts shine through nicely.

M: Smooth, medium bodied. Lingering aftertaste. Solid carbonation from the can.

D: A very nice, if not unique, brew that anyone who enjoys a little coffee in their beer should take a chance on. There is a reason why Coffee Bender (and its kid brother Bender) rock the top of the American Brown Ale charts. They are that good.

Photo of cokes
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the "It's never too early to be Surly" "coffee" cup.
Dark mahogany brown with a thick crop of tan lace.
Toasted hazelnut aroma with a backing (or, fore-ing) of medium roast beans. The coffee shows a great deal of nutty, roasty, easrthy complexity. I'm a coffee nut, and I'd love to have it as my daily grind.
Across the tongue, it gives that mildly toasty, roasty, grainines of Bender, with hazelnut nuance. Coffee usurps the usual foward hoppiness, and brings medium roast, oily beans. These linger teasingly into the close. I really like these fucking beans. Mild, complex, earthy, nutty, and a perfect compliment to the beer itself.
The oiliness of the coffee thins the beer a bit vis a vis the original. But for a bean head, this is drinkable from sun up to sun down.
This is one of the best coffee beers I've had, and equal kudos go to Surly and the roaster. The result is a coffee-focused beer that is harmonized with the beans it is juiced with.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with some reddish hue; tan head and good lacing.

S: Brown malts overshadowed by plenty of coffee notes.

T: Lots of coffee and a little bit of a hop presence. The coffee provides a little bit of earthiness.

M: Medium bodied and fairly dry.

D: The coffee is a bit overwhelming for too many, but the can my wife and I shared was gone rather quickly.

Photo of number1bum
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

mymrnngjckt brought back a can of this for me from MN. Thanks man.

Pours a dark mahogany color with some dark garnet hues at the edges. Creamy two plus inches of tan head on top settle slowly to a full lace and leave some beautiful webbing on the sides of the glass.

The beer absolutely attacks my nose with an aroma of fresh coffee beans, and I love it. The coffee is amazing, and the aromas of caramel and chocolate malt go wonderfully with it. There is also some light roasted malt.

Taste brings out the bitter elements of the coffee beans, which I like but don't love as much as the nose. Don't get me wrong, this beer is super tasty, but on the palate the coffee flavor leans a bit more toward burned cup o Starbucks than bold cup o columbian. The caramel and chocolate malts also don't come out as much as in the nose; I'd like a bit more sweetness. The subtle nutty flavors from the original Bender are also lost from the attack of coffee. Finishes quite bitter and roasty. This is so nitpicky because this is still very good.

Mouthfeel is a creamy, slick medium body with a dry, bitter finish. Carbonation is pretty modest.

This is a very good beer, and the nose is just out of this world. On the whole I think I like the original Bender better, but this would be a wonderful change of pace to mix it up every now and then. If the sweet malts came out a bit more I think it would be truly superb. Still, a great beer.

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

Thanks again to Dansting for this one. 16oz can served in a shaker pint. Poured a clear dark reddish brown with a finger of light tan head. Nice aroma of coffee and cocoa. Coffee flavor was restrained and not over the top like a lot of coffee beers. The coffee didn't add to the bitterness, which I find distracting. Decent amount of hop bitterness. Chocolate malt. Dry finish from hops as well as lingering malt. One of the better coffee beers IMO.

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

On tap at the Maproom. $5 for a brimming shaker pint.

A very dark ruby reddish brown liquid, much brighter than regular Bender. It has a thin layer of khaki colored head.

The nose is iced coffee, some malt, and some slight hops.

The first gulp hits me with some bitter burnt malt, a little bit of hops, and then the coffee hits. Lot's of fresh roast, yum! I also get some sun tea flavors in the finish as well. It's a beautiful blend of an American Brown Ale and fresh ground coffee, although the coffee stays in check and does not overpower anything else. The finish is sort of long and bitter.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated with a bit of bubble bite.

Coffee Bender is an awesome beer which makes sense because Surly puts out some awesome beers. A must try for all of you coffee lovers out there in beer land.

Who would win, a Bender or a certain coach Ditka? What if the Bender's name was Coffee Bender?

Photo of gabemasiulis
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, it is fairly translucent for it being a coffee beer. Having a khaki head with fine bubbles and medium retention.
Smells very strongly of coffee, but stronger yet of very rich malts, sweet almost carmelly. The smell suggests great body. Just a hint of oats.
Dark roasted malts with a bitter taste, balanced evenly with a sweet sugary-carmelly taste, and finishing just a little stronger with an oaty tang. The hops are definitely a supporting feature in this beer, the main role being cast by the complexities in the malts.
Thin for it being loaded with flavor, a great testament to Surlys ability to make a great coffee beer without it having the consistency of sludge.
Very high on the drinkability for me. I have been trying to decide whether its a beer best in summer or winter months, early in the morning or at night, and came to the conclusion that it can do the job almost anytime I desire a good beer.

Photo of stoutfiend27
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can received as extra from mnjeff..thanks

a-dark brown..ruddy brown head that didnt linger too long..but left impeccable lacing....

s-little disappointed..slight coffee and some toffee and thats about it...was really anticipating more coffee in the nose..but oh well..

t-coffee bomb...i dont understand how it got lost in the smell...has some nice roast from the malts..no hops present just a ton of coffee

m-creamy and very smooth feeling...even carbonation..

d-wouldnt want to have more than one...due to the overwhelming coffee...

dont get me wrong i love coffee beers...peche mortel and valdez are two of favorites...just didnt think this one quite lived up to it..its halla good just not one of my favorites..

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

Poured out of the tall can into a standard pint glass.

Heavy smell of coffee here, reminds me of a few of the local Midnight Sun coffee brews. MSBC Brewtality has sort of ruined me for other coffee beers, but this one pours up nicely. Tastes of strong dark black coffee. I don't get much of a heavy beer taste - the alcohol is very underlying for me, and it smacks more of an iced coffee drink without any kind of cream or milk. Goes down very smooth, and as one who really likes coffee beers, and big brews, this one is a good addition to my regular quaff list. I'll be trying this one again for sure!

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

Poured from a big can into a tall .5l weizen glass.

Appearance: Deep dark brown/ruby color with a fluffy tan head that doesn't last long, but laces nicely.

Smell: Sweet dark coffee and chocolate notes. Smells like an iced mocha coffee. If I smelled it blindfoled, that's what I would think it was. Doesn't smell like beer, but it smells very good.

Taste: Dark roasted malts and coffee co-mingle with a minimal amount of noticeable hops (or maybe the coffee just overpowers them). An interesting flavor and I like it. However, this is a little too hearty and powerful tasting to do more than one in a sitting, and it's definitely a sipping beer, not easy to chug this one down quickly.

Mouth Feel: Dry, medium to full bodied, lightly carbonated. Not bad.

Drinkability: It's good, and I will definitely have another, but not for session drinking due to it's strong flavors. It's a delicious "one-and-done" brew. Another creative and interesting brew from the excellent brewmasters at Surly.

Photo of Skidz
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out bright red-brown and sits a vibrant mahogany in the glass with a large frothy beige head with good lacings all around.

Bright nutty aromas up front with bits of grassy hops and muddied coffee notes. Hints of cocoa, cinnamon and whipping cream.

Lightly sweet, biscuity malts and coffee up front. More dustings of baker's chocolate and finishes with mild bitterness. Hops flavors are present minimally.

Medium bodied, silky smooth and ultimately refreshing. A solid coffee-infused beer and a stellar brown overall. Only downside is the price, and the way Furthermore Oscura hits the same spot, it's a bit easier on the wallet to throw down for the local Wisco brew... but I would still trade up for this any day.

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coffee black with a thick tan colored head. Leaves some lacing.

All roasted coffee on the nose.

Tastes like an iced coffee. A bit of Bender taste, but mainly coffee.

Smooth, almost medium bodied. Lends a slight creaminess. Soft carbonation.

Really easy to drink. Refreshing, but coffee dominates. I am not a coffee drinker, but this is actually pretty good. I could even do a couple of these at a time.

Photo of PatronWizard
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Shared by Mauerhan (getting really tired of typing that).

Pours a dark cola and super deep burgandy. Froths up a creamy half finger head. Nice looking.

Smells of straight coffee grounds. Reminds me of my grandparents roasting coffee in an old percolator over a fire at the river. I like coffee flavor but this may have pushed the boundary too far.

Tastes like old coffee. Trying to enjoy it. Fresh coffee now. Fresh coffee grounds.

Very dry and not very thick. Did I mention that it's dry as dirt?

Overall: they went too far with the coffee

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,069 ratings.