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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.

800 Reviews
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Reviews: 800
Hads: 2,352
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 647
Gots: 326 | 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: 800 | Hads: 2,352
Photo of tprokop7
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
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 +17.8%
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 -0.5%
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 +4.1%
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 -8.4%
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 -1.7%
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 +13.7%
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 BayouMafia
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a pint can into a tulip glass at The Carriage House in Chicago. Poured a nice creamy head. Smells beautiful, like dark coffee. Strong coffee flavor (duh) on the tongue as well as aftertaste. Really liked this one (221 characters)

Photo of MeLikeBeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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 -7.2%
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 Stevem68
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice chocolate color. Deep aroma of coffee. Has a very nice coffee flavor but is well balanced. Drinks almost like an iced coffee. Very enjoyable (151 characters)

Photo of Thingus
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
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 ELS
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I was expecting more from this beer. I thought the beer had nice color with a half inch of foam that slowly dissipates. The smell was pretty good with the obvious coffee aroma. However, the taste was bitter, dare I say second rate coffee that isn't well integrated into the beer. The base malt backbone does little to save the taste with a weak, underwhelming flavor. The beer did get slightly better as it warmed. I'm glad I tried it but I've had many much better coffee brown ales and porters brewed here in Florida. No reason to seek it out in the future. (565 characters)

Photo of bwd110
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
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 -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Medium bodied with a very clean, dry feel.

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.

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 +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

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.

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)

Photo of BeardedAllen
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of Surly's best beers, in my opinion. This is the coffee drinker's choice in beer. Its wonderful mix of coffee and Ale give it a very distinguished taste. I've affectionately named this beer the Minnesota paper maker, because I'd often find myself sipping on one while writing long winded political science essays. The caffeine gets your mind going, while the smooth 5.1% get's you loosened up just enough to ramble, but not enough to get you Surly. (453 characters)

Photo of kbanks13
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

Poured into a shaped pint with a chestnut brown body and a big foamy tan head that leaves good lacing and a nice ring of foam in the glass. Smells nutty and like ground roasted coffee, slightly bitter. Tastes like cocoa and hazelnut with roasted coffee. Slightly acidic/bitter and creamy sweet. Feels viscous due to moderate carbonation and it has a thicker body. Very nice drinking and very tasty, glad to have a few more of these to enjoy! (483 characters)

Photo of CoryJones
1.22/5  rDev -70.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Coffee bender such as this one is supposed to have a lot of body and great flavor to it. in addition, I was expected something that resembled coffee. This can had no flavor, bland, and for being touted as a great microbrewery, I was left very disappointed. (256 characters)

Photo of Penguin3200
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally reviewing CB, this Sunday of memorial day weekend. Can dated 4-21-11 poured into pint mug. Nice appearance and good carbonation that just makes coffee bender what it is. Medium brown hue but darker than bender. Coffee malt and faint hops on the nose. Taste is what makes this one a go to summer coffee beer. This can was made for the early Saturday and Sunday tee time crowd and is a frequent stowaboard in my bag.

Delicate mouthfeel but loads of coffee and toasty malts. Tight hops cue the finish with a bit bitter pucker from the coffee and hops.

Love the CB and always have a few in the fridge. (608 characters)

Photo of Trystero
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back-logged circa 12/29/2011

16 ounce can poured into an Imperial Pint

Appearance: Large cream latte head, dark chocolate brown with burnt coffee. Looks strikingly similiar to a freshly brewed french press of medium roasted coffee, frothy.

Smell: Light roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate, rich chocolate milk, reminiscent of a latte.

Taste: Smooth and rich textured coffee, cold-brewed, with mild dark chocolate notes, sweet roasted barley and darker malts. The coffee dominates the spotlight as it should.

Mouthfeel: Textured, frothy, rich, and balanced carbonation.

Overall: A well designed and executed homage to coffee with a pleasant kick of 5% alcohol. (671 characters)

Photo of Bennettrox
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to GoldenJet for the Surly!

A - Pours like a coffee with a bit of cream added, nice lacing for a brown ale.

S - Feint coffee smell, not overpowering like most coffee beers. This is a brown ale though, not a stout, so that's taken into consideration. I swear the more this warms that I"m getting a green tea smell as well. Weird, but it works.

T - Iced coffee, maple, brown sugar, more green tea. Interesting.

M - This is thin and goes down easy. If I was wanting a coffee beer in the summer, this would be it.

O - I enjoyed this one, but not as much as I thought I would. The coffee is not the star in this beer but rather a player of many in this brown ale. Great brown ale, but I feel like they missed the mark with the coffee a little bit. (760 characters)

Photo of DanOLeary
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma: Grainy dark chocolate and coffee aroma are certainly in the forefront with caramel notes in the background. There is a defined "grit" in the nose that I would guess is coming from the coffee.

Appearance: Though the name suggests coffee, this beer exhibits an appearance closer to dark brown, rather than coffee black. There is a small amount of deep ruby light getting through the edges. As you pour, the head forms about 1 finger of almond brown foam. The head falls fairly quickly however, to just a ring around the outside of the glass.

Flavor: A bite of cold press coffee hits you at the first sip. It is pronounced but not bitter. There is surprisingly a fair amount of sweet chocolate following this up. The flavor moves to light roasted barley in the middle with hop bitterness coming into play with an earthy presence. Toward the finish the coffee tones come back at you with a bitter flavor. The finish is dry with lingering coffee and hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with light carbonation. Not cloying or astringent but the bitterness in the finish will have a slight puckering effect. Though this is light.

Overall: An excellent example of coffee flavors and aroma adding to the complexity of the beer. The bitterness coming off the coffee marries well with the hop and roasted barley qualities in this beer. I feel like I'm saying it all the time lately but the mouthfeel is a little thin, it moves toward watery in the end but I suppose this leads to a crisp and clean finish. (1,517 characters)

Photo of ThickestHead
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tall-boy can into a chilled glass.
Comes out a muddy opaque dark coffee brown, almost black, with a small tan head that resembles the consistancy of whipped cream out of the can.
It smells of ... guess. Yes, coffee, and also of mocha.
It tastes of course of coffee but it isn't too strong to hide the brown ale which comes through in the middle but then gives away again to the coffee in the aftertaste.
It is medium bodied, crisp then smooth.
Very easy to drink. The coffee makes this brew seem so dark to look at but it's certainly nice to realize that it isn't too heavy or overly filling upon drinking. Maybe that's why they went with a brown ale rather than a stout for this coffee beer; but, whatever their reasons were, kudos to them for making this delicious concoction. (794 characters)

Photo of IrishHockey
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recieved in a trade from the man known as Crabbicus, a most awesome trader.

Poured from a can into my all purpose Founders brewing snifter.

The pour on this is pretty much what I expected. Black with a tan head. Then I took the advice of a previous review and held it to the light. Wow... It's deep burgundy. This is a awesome looking beverage

Smell on this is fantastic! I am a huge fan of coffee brews, but this one has a great smell! So much coffee!!! It's a coffee bomb and I love it!

Taste is very much like the smell. Coffee forward and wonderful. It tastes very much like the description, an iced coffee. This is a top notch beverage. If I could give this more than a five I would

Mouthfeel is also very much like a premium iced coffee. So wonderful. I can't even bring words to describe this other than....perfect

Overall, if I could drink this every day I would! This would be one of the beers I'd like to keep on hand at all times if I could. I'd rate this very close to Founders Breakfast Stout, maybe slightly higher. I love it! So much depth to this! I can't get enough! Damn it I need a Surly local now...FML (1,128 characters)

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 800 ratings.