Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,051 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 2,051
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 609
Gots: 240 | 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: 2,051 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kojevergas
2.65/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on-draught at a bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Serving vessel was a Surly Mug. Cost was $5.00 USD.

A: No real head at all. Solid black colour. Mildly appealing.

Sm: Coffee, mocha, and alcohol. A mild strength aroma.

T: Coffee, light chocolate and vanilla, and buried caramel. Not horribly complex, but balanced and decently built.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit too thick. Doesn't really suit the flavours; it should be coarse and dry.

Dr: Not really drinkable. More of a tame sipper, which is inexcusable at this low an ABV. I wouldn't have it again, but it's okay for the style. Coffee beer fanatics might be the only ones that will truly like this. Give me a Black Damnation II Mocha Bomb any day of the week, but leave this one be.

Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can shared with and by a friend.

I enjoy trying non-stout coffee beers and I like the base beer Bender so I have high hopes for this. Appearance wise everything is as expected, looking similar to bender, dark browns, relatively clear, frothy mocha head with nice retention and lacing. Aroma is also very nice, a strong malty, nutty base with what smells like fresh coffee beans, not overly sweet, but not bitter either. The flavor and mouthfeel is where I miss the original bender or some of the bigger coffee stout beers. Not to say this isn't well made or enjoyable, but I feel like it's splitting the difference between the two without hitting the peaks of flavor or mouthfeel from Bender or something like Breakfast Stout. Unlike the stouts, the body is less chewy and full, but still a robust medium-full. The most disappointing part of the beer is the finish which has a nutty, dry Bender like flavor, but is overall rather thin and has a watery character. The body has a nice fresh brewed coffee characteristic with mild malt and nutty background, but not much sweetness or roasted flavors. Overall, a very drinkable, enjoyable coffee beer, but I don't feel like the coffee adds that much to the original base beer, nor does it satisfy me if I'm looking for an intense coffee infused beer fix.

Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

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

Thanks to mothman for the opportunity to try this one.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a dark brown but when held to the light it displays a clear amber red color. More than 2 fingers of fluffy tanned head sit atop this brew and receed leaving patches of lace about the glassware.

The aroma of this beer slaps you with the scent of coffee beans straight out the gate. Mingled in with the coffee is the smell of sweet chocolate, citrus and floral hops. There is a super faint twang or sour note about it that makes the smell of the coffee seem more "bright."

The taste of this brew has the coffee character right upfront. It has a decent citrusy sweet hop bitterness to back the coffee character. Just like the nose led on, there is an extra bit of twang in there that doesn't directly seem like a contribution of hops but it is provides both a citrus note that also comes across a bit tart. Either there is a flavor of hop coming out in this brew that I am not familiar with or a bit of sourmashing was done to this brew that adds a layer of complexity to this brew that really accents the coffee character. Regardless, it works and I like it. Other flavors of dark malt and roasted grain are throughout the profile of this brew.

The feel of this beer is medium with a moderate level of carbonation. Long lingering aftertate of coffee and dark grain bitterness is left on the tongue that at times comes across like chocolate but mostly coffee. It also finishes with some citrus hop character and a bit drying that makes you want to sip this brew more and more. Overall a wonderful brew. Being a coffee lover, I thought this beer was fantastic.

Photo of woodychandler
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Surly portion of The CANQuest (TM) soldiers on, thanks to Einweizenbitte and Uncle Felonious Monk! I CAN't believe that this is approaching 400! Thanks to all!

From the CAN: "Beer for a mug, from a [CAN]."; "Fresh brewed, keep it cool!"; "It's never too early to get Surly! Coffee Bender refreshes like an iced-coffee, is as aromatic as a bag of whole beans and satisfies like your favorite beer. Utilizing the latest technology, the Surly brew team has developed a cold extraction process that results in intense coffee aromatics and flavor - bringing together two of our favorite beverages. Your only dilemma will be whether to finish your day or start it with a Coffee Bender."

Okay, first my take on coffee. I am a Navy retiree and on my first ship, the USS Fulton (AS-11), I was made the Deck Department supply and admin "queen", and my duties included ensuring that coffee was going 24-7. I initially despised the stuff, but would add copious amounts of creamer and sugar when I needed a boost. One day, my salty Senior Chief growled at me, "Queenie, when are you gonna drink coffee, instead of having a hot milkshake?" I had no answer until one day when we were at General Quarters/battle stations for hours and sandwiches and a CANnister of coffee were delivered to us, but no accoutrements! I choked down a cup, but quickly realized that I needed to wean off of anything but black if I was going to hang in for four years. Later, while an auxiliary cop on shore duty, I became a cop stereotype - never without coffee and usually with a donut. After joining the USS Normandy (CG-60) as a plankowner, there were many of us with 55-gallon drums with a handle welded on walking around. Go-go juice was a way of life. After I retired, I swore off of both coffee and donuts, but slowly, I have been sucked back in to the point that I drink at least two big cups every day before Noon.

Crack & Glug time: Two quick fingers' worth of thick, deep-tan head with great retention and a wafting odor of coffee greeted me on the pour. Color was a deep, rich brown with ruby highlights. Nose was a knockout - it was like walking into Starbucks and taking a deep breath. I am not a big fan of their coffee, but it does smell deelish! I had some coffee earlier this AM, cowboy-style (warmed up in the microwave from yesterday), and I wanted to see how this would measure up. Mouthfeel was creamy with a VERY roasty coffee flavor up front, followed by a dark chocolate bitterness behind. Wow! Iced coffee was NEVER this good. Finish was bitter, I mean good, coffee bitter, but not for the faint of heart. Holy heart palpitations, Batman! I was more jittery than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Zounds! More, please, sir! F**k Joose or Four Loko, this is all the caffeine and alcohol you'll need.

Photo of corby112
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with a two and a half finger frothy beige head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves large chunks of soapy mocha lacing behind.

Roasted malt aroma with tons of fresh ground coffee bean along with hints of chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and toffee in the nose.

Medium bodied with some tight carbonation up front that smooths out mid-palate. Very roasty wiu a huge coffee bean presence but this beer is never to acrid or dry. There is planety of rich chocolate maltiness as well as some caramel, toffee and nut to balance things out. Well balanced, complex, delicious and very quaffable. Recommended, especially for breakfast!

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Josh for this one...
Appears a light brown with a small, tan head that quickly fades out into a mild cap.
Smell is of coffee beans, and sweet, ripe fruity, yeastiness.
Taste is of the obvious coffee goodness with a touch of mocha pulling through.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sugary, with a bitter coffee ground sting being felt along the palate during the finish.

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of LXIXME
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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

Shared a can of this courtesy of Grant. Thanks for the opportunity. Pours a brownish/black with little head, but nice color. Nice big coffee aroma, quite fresh smelling, and earthy and a little vinous. More lively coffee makes an early appearance in the taste, slightly sweetened. Very balanced, and this is coffee black, done well. Very smooth and only slightly sweet. Very nice, and very full flavored for the very reasonable abv.

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

Review #200 for me.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Color is a dark carmel brown, slightly dark ruby. There is a tan head with fades of light yellow in it. Not a very large head, but good lace rings.

Aroma is like a coffee shop. Lots of rich coffee aromas. A roasted smell with a lot of malts. Very good.

Taste is pretty light for a dark colored beer as this. It tastes like dark coffee meets beer. Definitely mainly malts. Amazing, if you enjoy coffee.

Mouthfeel is simply refreshing. Smooth and creamy. Ends with a super-clean aftertaste. Good carbonation.

Overall, amazing and easy to drink. I definitely want more surly. I highly recommend this beer, as it is all-around amazing.

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

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

Its a shame this beer is just about out as it should rock the world of any coffee and beer lover. I had 12 oz. pour in a trappist goblet, pitch black with short than head. I'm thinking the coffee oil took a bit out of the head, but it still looks delicious. Aroma is heavy, dark roasted coffee. I think the bartender told me it was Guatemalian, locally roasted and a few other special things. Either way, this is the best coffee beer I've had. Where others hint at coffee, or the coffee taste feels watered down, this one goes all out. Its true that most of the flavors of Bender are no where to be found, but you'll still get some chocolate peeking around the coffee. Smooth but dry mouthfeel. I could definately start out every day with a glass of this.

UPDATE 7/31/09:
Just tried the canned version and this is beer is more balanced, but hardly less tasty. You can still taste the malts and hops here. Delicious.

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -3.8%

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

Thanks to ahalloin for hooking me up with this. I've been wanting to try this brew for some time.

Served into a pint glass.

A: bubbly like a coca-cola with a nice head and good lacing

S: coffee, obviously, but not as much as I hoped for and expected. I'm gonna try another can as soon as I can and see if I get the same result. It makes me feel like I'm in Starbucks.

T: Creamy iced coffee. Again, I feel like I'm in Starbucks. This is seriously tasty. You have to be a coffee drinker to really appreciate this one. Super smooth and creamy, I just wish it had more coffee.

M: nice mix of smooth with crisp carbonation. I wonder if the can contributed to that.

D: Honestly, I could drink this with breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. This is refreshing iced coffee beer. If you like coffee and beer, this is your session beer.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz Can poured into a Duvel glass split with Oglmcdgl.

Coffee Bender pours out a very dark shade of brown appearing mudy black with a inch or so of bright tan semi mocha colored foam that left some stickies. This smells like some dank ass coffee and tastes like it as well. A nice roast in the middle finished by more coffee. Beans upon beans. A hint of vanilla and a bit of nuts so the base brown is not completely lost butnthis one is all about the coffee. Feel is very slick and feels thicker than it is with all that roast. About lightish in body with a ample carb. This is a lighter version of breakfast stout with a lower ABV making it much more drinkable. This one is a winner.

Photo of Zorro
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown colored beer with a short yellowish brown colored head.

Smells of chocolate and coffee with coffee being the stronger scent. Pretty much the scent of Central or Southern American coffee medium roasted. Some lighter scents mostly vanilla.

Starts out semi dry and medium roast coffee. Pretty much doesn't develop much beyond the initial flavor. Stays mostly coffee soda in flavor.

Mouthfeel is average.

An OK beer but not a complicated one. An OK sample but not a mainstay beer.

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

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass. Can is dated April 12th 2011.

A very large off brown head, that is very light tan. Head doesn't stay as long as it's Bender sibling, but also has some large bubbles. Body is considerably darker than regular bender but almost comparable with a walnut brown body and some nice red hues. Great lacing while drinking and finishing with lots of ring stick! Regardless it still looks great.

What a great nose on this thing! Coffee! Big time but more so, it's as if the fresh beans have just been ground! I get that sense brewing and grinding my own beans in the morning and this is it right here! Not much else to speak of, but I'll take this in spades!

Taste, fantastic. Great coffee flavor with just a hint of heat, gives that sensation of fresh brew. Finish is identical and feel to regular bender with a prickly carbonation. This is even creamy feeling and tasting as well, just flat out fantastic.

This is morning breakfast beer right here, lots of great fresh brewed morning coffee without a giant big stout like body. Superior win right out of the gate.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

After having the Bender, this one was next up.

About the same color in the pour, a tad darker than brown. Clean and clear. Head is a bit sparse as is the lacing.

Coffee aroma. Sanka it seems. Unlike some coffee beers, this one doesn't seem as rich. Coffee dominates aroma

It pretty much dominates the flavor. Some sweet caramel at first, but the nuttiness of the Bender thwarted by the coffee. And this coffee seems thin. Too bad, some nuttiness would provide some more smoothness. Seems a bit hollow, and not like a Brown ale much at all. Still, it's not a bad beer...just not a two-canner for me

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 2,051 ratings.