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Coffee Bender - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

820 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 820
Hads: 2,454
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 18.8%
Wants: 667
Gots: 374 | FT: 29
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

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.
View: Beers (60) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 820 | Hads: 2,454
Photo of AllDayIPA23
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a trade recently. Can was a few months old. Poured into a mug.

Strong black-coffee color, with strong carbonation appearance.
A very potent coffee scent with the nutty brown ale behind. Smells great!
Taste like carbonated coffee that was well made
Medium-high carbonation with a light-medium mouthfeel

Even with this being a few months old, I really enjoyed it. If you are a coffee fan, I can't imagine anyone not liking this beer. Would buy more!!

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Photo of GregBlatz
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very very dark. Held to the light you see it is a very dark red. Tan head and pretty clear. Head is small and doesn't settle.

S - Diacetyl and chocolate. Sweetness similar to an oatmeal stout. English smelling.

T - Thin and roasty finished with a bitter coffee flavor. A butterscotch flavor slowly pushes foward as you drink the beer. I'm guessing it is fermented with a British yeast strain. Bitterness comes from the malts and the coffee rather than the hops.

M - Thin and lightly carbonated. Slick mouth feel.

D - Very drinkable, good for breakfast!

Overall it is a nice beer. Enjoyable and not overly aggressive.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Coffee, coffee, coffee, as expected. Poured it from a can (pint) into a beer mug. Dark coffee like hue with a light brown head. It smells coffee and it taste coffee, and a little bit of chocolate and sweetness too. It is not too much coffee bitterness, just right for a pleasant but strong coffe taste and aroma. The mouthfeel was creamy. I liked it very much.

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Photo of xpdrinker
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into my Surly pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with reddish hue, more murky than Bender. Mocha pencil-thin head, not much lacing.

Aromas include empty metal coffee can, dry malt, mixed nuts, a bit leathery.

Light body, medium carbonation. Standard brown with extra roastiness, most of the coffee comes on the dry finish. Bitterness hangs out on the perimeter of the tongue. Slightly peppery.

Enjoyed it a bit more than regular Bender but still don't find anything about it that stands out. Balanced but not very complex. I'd like to try it again but wasn't extremely impressed this time around.

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Photo of Pabs311
3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- beer pours a very rich, deep dark bown color with a nice mocha colored head. the head settles slowly, but not completely for a long while, and leaves some good lacing

S- The nose on this is mainly of dark roasted malt, some coffe can be picked up as well but not very overwhelming at all.

T- more coffee her than in the nose but still a little weak for my taste. chocolate and dark roasted malts make up the majority of the flavor for this beer.

M/D- Light-medium bodied with lower carbonation. easy drinking. would have liked a little more in just about every department from this beer.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone RIS Snifter

A: Pours a dark brown, light does penetrate through the glass. The head on it actually resembles drip coffee that had been poured into a coffee mug.

S: Smells like day old coffee and hints of chocolate.

T: It has a very pronounced iced coffee flavor, does not have the best coffee flavor, it's not bad, just not what I expected from it. It is a refreshing coffee drink. It would be nice on a warm summer day.

M/D: very carbonated, had an interesting iced coffee thing going on. The coffee flavor did not seem to be of the highest quality, but it was still tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of imagineiii
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into an imperial pint glass. filled to the top, topped with an inch of crunchy tan head. recedes quickly.

nose is reminiscent of coffee grinds after brewing. hazelnut is the scent that comes to mind. slightly more impressive on the nose than bender.

taste is a bit muddled between a solid brown ale and coffee. I should say that Im not a huge fan of coffee flavors added to most beers. the impressive thing about this beer is the addition of such firm coffee characters without the astringency. in fact, the beer does drink like iced coffee. slightly sweet, almost creamy as well. full mouthfeel contributes to creaminess.

quite drinkable. nice to see a beer that infuses coffee without being over the top with alcohol and flavor. nicely done, very well balanced. probably my favorite coffee beer ive had to date.

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Photo of leif86
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in my Duvel.

A: Near black with a tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

S: Freshly brewed coffee and loads of cereal grain. Very earthy.

T: Just like it smells: sweetened coffee and cereal. A little toasty too.

M: Good level of carbonation - I let mine sit a bit and it became nice and creamy.

D: Usually I don't find coffee beers that drinkable, but this one is very easy drinking. This is surprising giving how much coffee is actually present.

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Photo of SiepJones
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this in an excellent trade with translucent.
Poured into a Guinness tulip pint

A: Pours a very deep brown, like a porter or a cup of black coffee. Two inches of head sit atop this beer.
S: I can smell coffee beans the second I pour the beer. As I put my nose to it I smell rich, deep coffee flavors, it's almost like sticking your nose into a bag of fresh coffee beans. There is a slight hint of dark chocolate on the back end.
T: WOW, bigger coffee taste in the flavor than in the scent. Coffee bender tastes like a nice cup of iced joe with a little cream and sugar in it. Roast and slightly sweet up front, a touch of bitter at the end. This beer makes me think of a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
M: Very slick mouth, like a porter. Low carbonation.
D: If you like coffee this is very drinkable due to its excellent flavor and low ABV. If you are not a coffee drinker you probably wont drink more than one. If I ever drank a beer in the morning Coffee Bender would be my choice.

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Photo of Flatlands
4.69/5  rDev +13%
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!

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Photo of kevinv
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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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

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Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
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

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Photo of grandq
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of beerkittycat
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

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Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
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!

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Photo of HitokiriNate85
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of KBoudreau66
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of gregc
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of camp0474
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of MBrausen
4.65/5  rDev +12%
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 :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 820 ratings.