Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

792 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 792
Hads: 2,320
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 645
Gots: 316 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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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Reviews: 792 | Hads: 2,320
Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I expected to not like this beer but the flavor is excellent! I normally do not like to stray too far from traditional beer styles but thumbs up to Surly here, this one is great. Here's a twist, try it with a shot of Kuala, it's got coffee in it after all, and you will be surprised at how well everything mixes.
I cannot really compare this beer to anything else. Open you mind and give it a go! (397 characters)

Photo of kevinv
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A long-want of mine, Surly Coffee Bender, canned on 06/08/2011 poured into my new awesome Surly Mug, perfect for coffee or Coffee Bender! Both the beer and the mug are courtesy of a great trader, KeefD.

A - The beer pours a deep, dark brown, with some lighter translucent edges. Very large foamy tan head sits on top. Sticky lacing throughout.

S - I absolutely love coffee and coffee beers and this one sits near the top in terms of smell. The coffee aroma is very fresh and fairly powerful. I could smell the coffee after I poured and even walked away from the glass. Very rich coffee with notes of chocolate and a nuttiness.

T - I've never had the regular Bender, so I can't compare, but this one is damn delicious. As with the nose, the coffee is front and center. The coffee is lightly bitter. Wonderful nuttiness and a nice brown ale sweetness. A little bit of an earthy, hoppy presence. It's a low ABV beer and the taste doesn't show any sign of alcohol. The finish is dry with a long lingering coffee taste.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Perfect for the ABV.

O - Overall, this one was a homerun for me. I think I said it in a past review, but I've been in love with everything from Surly that I've tried. This is a very flavorful and easy drinking beer. Like my new mug says, "It's never too early to get Surly." I could seriously see myself drinking this with breakfast. (1,415 characters)

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

Pours almost black with a hint of ruby showing as light peeks through, evincing a deep dark brown instead. Perfect two finger head is light tan and fluffy and doesn't want to go away. Coffee hits the nose first and strong - a full bodied dark roast. Some sweeter tones along the lines of milk chocolate creep up as well. Caramel malt hits up front followed by a tidal wave of iced coffee - unsullied by any frou frou frappawhathaveyou. Straight black and bitter. The substantial body of the brown ale underneath helps the flavors stick to the tongue, allowing nutty notes, toasted oat, tobacco, and a tinge of prune emerge from the added beans. The more i sip the more I notice the cherry and baker's chocolate I recall spotting in the regular Bender. Finishes acidic from the roast, masking a faint noble hop character. Slight lactic sweetness lingers as the bitter and acidic qualities play out. As a serious coffee fiend, I could drink this all day - though there's a bit of tongue fatigue to that lingering last note. Still, upgrade from an already good beer and a serious contender for top coffee brew.

Big ol' kudos to jjanega08 for the 4 pack. If only I could keep my s.o. from drinking the rest. (1,205 characters)

Photo of beerkittycat
3.19/5  rDev -23.3%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Stu for hooking me up with this beer. This is a pretty awesome coffee beer. Definitely the best coffee beer I have ever had. The aroma smells like iced coffee with small hints of chocolate. The beer starts with a nice coffee burst and bitterness at the front of the mouth followed by some sweet milk chocolate notes and more coffee at the middle of the mouth. The finish is very smooth with a big coffee like aftertaste. Very drinkable also. I'd rather have this beer than my morning coffee every day! (515 characters)

Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dzyneguru for hooking me up.

A - Definitely in between brown and red. The head, however, is definitely big, brown, and sticky. It's lacing as it starts to recede.

s - Lots of really nice coffee aromatics that mix with the more traditional caramel and toffee notes from crystal malt. It definitely has the smell of fresh grounds as opposed to old, stale coffee that I've found in some other beers.

T - Off the bat, it's only fair to say that I don't like brown ales. They tend to be to sweet for my tastes, but considering the reputation of Coffee Bender and hopeful thinking that I might come around to the style, I had to give this a chance. Wow. Who knew coffee and a brown ale could play off of each other so nicely. First off, the thing that sticks out most is how the coffee contrasts with the sweetness of the malt. In a coffee stout, you're essentially getting double the amount of roasted flavor, where with this I think the roasted flavors are coming just from the coffee. The coffee has a really great, mild, slightly spicy flavor. This makes sense because, based on experience, Gautemalan coffees are very mild(unless it's a darker roast, but that isn't the case here).

Coffee flavors come in upfront here, then break away against the crystal malt flavors, then fall into some chocolate notes and finish again with coffee.

MF - It's thinner than I expected(but I think I associate the sweeter flavors of brown ales with a thicker feel), but it definitely works considering the ABV and the fact that I simply can't stop drinking it. It does finish slightly sticky.

D - Well, I have to say that this is the best brown ale I've ever had, and I wouldn't be surprised if I never have a better one. That is, until someone fuses another flavor with it that can't help me cope with the typical sweetness I don't care for.

My absolute favorite thing about Coffee Bender is how it showcases the coffee flavors so well by setting them against something contrasting. It's like having complementary versus contrasting flavors with a meal in that one isn't necessarily better than the other. (2,105 characters)

Photo of KBoudreau66
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
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. (750 characters)

Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car (624 characters)

Photo of gregc
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can...

Pour was a nice caramel like brown.

Aroma of lots of coffee, dark malts and the faintest hop aroma. A very nicely smelling coffee beer. Flavor was full of coffee beans, some chocolate and a got that nice malt brown ale flavor. I really like how smooth this beer is, its very creamy and very drinkable. This is an awesome coffee beer. Too bad i only have one can, and its impossible to get here in NY. (409 characters)

Photo of fastpass17
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz Can

A: espresso brown with a wonderful creamy head and nice carbonation

S: rum, a touch of coffee, dried fruit

T: Chewy caramel melts into espresso, with maple syrup in the mix.

M,D: Warms real well in the glass, creamy and rich on the palate. Very drinkable. (269 characters)

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. (1,196 characters)

Photo of MBrausen
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Canned 12/20/11

A. Poured a deep dark brown, nice foamy mocha head, about 4mm thick with a mild-aggressive pour, resides to a nice 1mm thick head after sitting for a few minutes.

S. Smells nicely of coffee, somewhat sweet smelling for a brown ale, oats and brown sugar, slight hops with a mild chocolate.

T. Tastes nicely of roasted coffee and brown sugar, mild chocolate, with a oatmeal finish and maybe even a little bit of honey taste.

M. Medium body, which is nice given the rich smell, dry and chewy with a tingling finish.

O. A very good beer. Well balanced thickness and chewiness, the flavors are very well balanced and compliment each other well, the coffee is not excessively dominate. A great anytime beer, I might have one with breakfast :) (794 characters)

Photo of tprokop7
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Buebie for this one. Got in trade last week.

Slightly more head than the standard bender, and somewhat darker. The coffee flavor is strong, but the malt base still comes through a bit. Expected carbonation. Not much for hops. I like this a lot, I'm glad they made it a standard offering. (298 characters)

Photo of pheggeseth
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Darkness Release Event

A: Dark, dark, brown, almost totally opaque. There wasn't much head seeing as how it was in a plastic party cup, and the keg was quite cold right after tapping.

S: Smells like a good, rich Sumatra coffee, fresh bready malt, faint hops

T: Tastes like regular Bender, but with a nice coffee glow to it. As it warms, the coffee flavor starts to balance the "Bender" flavor. Just as rich as it smells.

M: Very thick and smooth, the coffee mellows it out, great

D: Wow. This was terrific. Could drink it all day...not just at 10am...

Probably the only chance I'll get at this beauty. Glad to have been given the opportunity. (663 characters)

Photo of fo5s
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can served in a coast oversized tumbler. Can dated 2/19/11. Sampled 10/28 and reviewed from notes.

A- pours a very deep brown. Resilient, 2-finger thick head. Looks excellent

S- coffee (duh), with a hint of cream. Hidden hop bitterness. The coffee has definitely faded, but it's still fairly present, and not bitter/acrid/stale as one might expect. On the dry end compared to a fresh coffee. Very pleasant.

T- opens as a normal brown ale with simple malt sweetness / nuttiness. Full for the style, but still small. Maybe a hint of chocolate. Finish is all coffee. Very smooth...

M- good body, but not chewy. Smooth carbonation. Has a bit of a stout feel to it, but maybe it's the coffee reminding me of a coffee stout.

O- tasty, but not overbearing. Easy drinking and refreshing, which isn't typical of a coffee beer. (827 characters)

Photo of Larrytown
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm actually not a huge fan of Brown Ales or Bender, so I didn't have high hopes for this one, but wow. It caught me off guard. Pours a very dark brown with a light brown head. The nose is coffee and some nice malts. And coffee. This one's not messing around.

I love that this beer doesn't play it safe. It's not going for a "hint" of coffee to bring out "highlights" in the beer, no sir. We've got a distinct coffee-ness here, but it works. It's really something different, but you've got to commend the brewery for giving something like this a shot. When you take risks like that, everyone once in a while it works out. This is an example of it working out. (660 characters)

Photo of twbrewer
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-As I poured this into my glass I couldn't help but notice that it looked just like my morning coffee,but had better lacing.

S-The aroma is the same as a coffee that has been left on the counter for a half hour.The smell is wonderful.

T-It has a cold,dry coffee taste with a hint of chocolate malt and a ever so slight bitterness.Coffee taste was alot weaker than the smell.

M-Medium bodied almost full.Smooth feel and low carbonation make for a great mouthfeel.

D-Lower abv makes this a very easy drinking beer.It would be a tough call between my morning coffee or a Coffee Bender on the weekends. (603 characters)

Photo of sim0n17
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice - a bit of an acrid, kind of sharp, hoppiness,... but I liked it. It didn't have as much of a coffee smell that I was expecting. A rich, dark color and a cleaner, yet rich taste. A friend brought some down from MN and was a nice part of the celebration. The mouthfeel was good and proper. (298 characters)

Photo of clarkm04
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours deep dark brown color. The head is tan with a creamy texture and lacing.

S- Very outstanding coffee notes. It smells very fresh like sticking your nose into a bag of coffee beans. I also get a little nuttiness and chocolate notes.

T-Massive coffee flavor of roasted beans that is full flavored but not bitter or overly acid. It's such a great coffee note and it's balanced by the sweet robust flavor of the base beer.

M- Nice carbonation then a slight bitterness. Really the only slight flaw I have with this beer. The beer finishes clean with a robust and crisp bite.

O-This is a great coffee beer and I feel it's better than the original Bender. It's a great beer with an outstanding flavor profile along with great balance. Easily one of my favorite beers right now. I could easily drink this daily and wish I lived in MN so I could get it more often. (867 characters)

Photo of MeLikeBeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you've had (and enjoyed) Surly's original Bender...(and why wouldn't you???) then you'll freakin' love this...
Comes to me in the glass...dark, rich, almost like a porter or a deep brown ale (like Bender)...but with a frothy tan head that beckons you in.
Make sure you smell this beer! Aromas of roasted coffee, nuts and chocolate. Mmm...
The coffee tastes (as others have reviewed) definitely overpowers the flavors of original Bender...but original Bender this is not.
Rich, delicious flavor...caramels and roasted coffee, sticky malt and a little hop finish.
It would be nice to pour this from the Coffee pot every morning. Great beer. (647 characters)

Photo of macktbone
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved as an extra...(a really good extra).

Pours like an Iced coffee, but with a nice head of light brown and white. Visible carbonation pulls you in to decide if it is a benefit or a hinderence to the drink.

Smells like a coffee mocha. Toffee and cocoa.

Tastes like a Cold cappucino, chocolate syrup, tons of coffee and sweet malted coffee shop foam.

mouthfeel is thin...similar to an iced latte.
Carbonation is very level. Not too much, not too little.

Drinkable as a coffee bender, not much as daily drinker.

This is my Birthday Review!!! Yeah Me...Yeah Beer... (573 characters)

Photo of Thingus
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, can into Duvel Tulip... Huge thanks to OtisCampbell for this!!

Appearance; pours a dark, maduro cigar colored brown, with a two finger khaki colored head... Retention is moderate, and the head dissipates over a couple minutes to a thin ring around the glass... Lacing is pretty good, with patches of lace on the glass.

Smell; Smell is pretty mild, some slight coffee aromas, and a slightly bready, yeasty presence... Nothing extraordinary, but certainly not bad...

Taste; a great coffee flavor without any of the associated acidity or bitterness. The coffee kind of "sits on" the beer, and by that I mean it is the first flavor that pops right out, and as it gently fades out, a great , slightly nutty, bready brown shines through... The way the flavors meld together is wonderfully complex and it is perfectly balanced.

Mouthfeel; medium bodied with medium carbonation... Drinkability is superb at a touch over 5% ABV, it goes down extremely smooth... I could drink this all day.

Overall; probably the best brown I've ever had... Drinkability is superb, flavors are outstanding... Definitely a winner from Surly and I would drink this daily if I could... I also think it would make one hell of a beer bread... (1,230 characters)

Photo of bwd110
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16oz can courtesy of mnjeff
poured into SA Perfect Pint Glass

A: Pours a deep brown, just a tinge of blackness, with orange and ruby red highlights in the light. Big creamy, whipped tan head that subsides to a thin sheet of lace. Just awesome.

S: Extreme coffee bean notes hit the olfactory senses immediately, followed up with some nutty and dark malt notes. A twinge of bitterness and some sweet toffee detected also.

T: This beer is certainly big on coffee, almost like you are sucking on a whole bean. Great roasty flavors, but the sugary sweet cream flavor really puts this coffee beer into an upper echelon. Some standard nutty notes I've now grown accustom with Surly and a nice hop bitterness to clean everything up.

M: On the thinner side, but this is a good thing as the beer is still silky, creamy and perfectly smooth.

D: Gone in a flash leaving me wanting for more, but not sure I'd session this like standard Bender. The coffee could be overwhelming after a few.

Flat out great beer... Not quite on par with FBS, but damn close. (1,048 characters)

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

Appearance:
Clear dark brown that FILLS A GLASS!!! Finally a brewer that makes the right sized beer. Tops off with an off-white smooth creamy head (much like a nitro) that leaves a nice bit of spotty lace on the way down.

Smell:
The smell is full of a nice dark roasted espresso and that is about it. This is very nice though one dimensional.

Taste:
Again, somewhat one dimensional in that it is almost entirely espresso flavored which only slight hints of roasted malt at the finish. I say espresso and not coffee because coffee, to me, is too thin and weak; this is not. Finishes mostly clean with a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel:
Medium bodied with a very clean, dry feel.

Drinkability:
All the power of a heavier stout or porter with a lighter palate makes this a very satisfying beer without getting sluggish. The price is a little higher than some other microbrews, but worth the pennies per ounce.

Comment:
I've gained much respect for Surly after trying Furious, CynicAle, Bender, Darkness and Coffee Bender. They are not mindless hop-packers but can brew a well rounded beer that is worth the hype. (1,113 characters)

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

Appearance:
Dark brown. Imagine a strong coffee with a tiny splash of chocolate milk and you're probably getting close. A good sized head, very tan, which fades away very very slowly. Beautiful in the glass.

Smell:
Coffee dominates with malt taste falling in behind it. The coffee aroma prevents you from noticing anything specific about the hops.

Taste:
Coffee again is the dominating factor. The bitterness is more like hops than coffee though, which is interesting. A lot of the flavors that come out in the normal Bender are drowned out by the coffee, except for some possible chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel:
Thick, creamy, and smooth. It makes you feel almost like you're drinking an iced coffee with a bit of cream, though the flavor goes pretty quick. Not that I mind picking up the glass to take another sip.

Drinkability:
As a beer geek and a coffee nut, I could drink this all day. I've definitely had it with my breakfast before. It's lighter than a coffee stout, and as a result significantly more drinkable. (1,022 characters)

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 792 ratings.