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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,601 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,601
Reviews: 762
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,906
Gots: 1,018 | FT: 71
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Labels:

2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,601 | Reviews: 762 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jampics2:
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

4.78/5  rDev +6.2%

Review #400. Never thought I'd get here so quickly. I needed a good beer to celebrate this milestone, and I also needed a good buddy to drink it with. So, I brought this to Paul's in hopes that we could toast his new bachelor pad with a great beer. Batch from 2009, opened at about 9 months of age.

Poured into a snifter, this is a dark beer. The kind of beer that would make an appearance in a new Tim Burton film complete with a Danny Elfman soundtrack and really good claymation. Maybe it should have its own music video? The beer is thick, opaque, and has a tan head that leaves great lacing.

Smell is roasted malt driven, giving great chocolate and coffee notes. Some hops do surface, adding a earthy twist. There's even some vanilla, brown sugar, raisin, and dare I say blackstrap molasses in the mix. Just shy of perfect, it's a nice take and doesn't smell that evil after all.

Taste is absolutely one-of-a-kind. This is a great beer, perhaps deserving more respect than some others that get talked about more. It tastes like velvet feels - just so smooth, luxurious, and sexy that you just want to drape yourself in it from head to toe. Tons of well roasted malt give the impressions of really smooth cocoa powder and dark roast coffee. A sweetness exudes that never becomes cloying or makes drinking a 12oz snifter feel like a chore. Raisins and brown sugar become prevalent as it warms, perhaps the raisins were even soaked in a combination of Kahlua, Baily's and Canadian Maple Cream liquor. There's so many levels, each pleasant and just nothing like the sugar and soy sauce bomb I expected based on other massive American RIS's with evil sounding names. Some alcohol is there, but it's blanketed in flavor and just helps to remind me that, no, this isn't a dream. Yes, it's real. Even a touch of hoppiness at the end feels natural. This is a world class beer!

Mouthfeel is also perfect. It's thick and viscous, but not slick, syrupy, or oily. It's sugar doesn't add to the stickiness either. The carbonation is perfect, and the aftertaste isn't totally clean, but it's not stinging, alcohol-laden, or unpleasant in any way. Like George Costanza's track suit in a glass.

This was a great choice for #400. It was a perfect beer to share with a friend. As I write more and more of these reviews, one thing is becoming apparent to me. Beer is a wonderful thing, but the most important thing in keeping a diary like this is being able to remember the good times you had sharing the beers you're documenting. That's when the power of this fascinating beverage is at it's peak.

07-28-2010 18:15:51 | More by jampics2
More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev -1.6%

Thanks to Mike for sharing this one with me! 2011 version. Pours a midnight black color, only the very edges show some dark brown hints; thick, dark, and opaque. The head is a deep tan color, comprised of very fine bubbles and appears to be creamy as hell. It hangs around for a while before it complete vanishes, and it's pretty hard to bring any of it back by just swirling the glass. No real lacing left behind.

Right out of the gate, the aroma is super sweet. Dark currants and fruits, black licorice, toasted brown sugar, and bits of bittersweet chocolate. Some small, extra hints of vanilla reside in the back as well. Not much coffee on the nose (though there is a little bit) - the sweet fruits, sugar, and chocolate kind of steal the show. Booze is apparent, but masked well enough from the barricade of other flavors.

Many other people are calling out a big hop profile in the aroma, but I'm just not getting it. Some very faint char/ashiness that may be from the hop, but I'm grasping at straws, here. I'm just not picking up a big hop character on the nose (barely any at all, actually). This aroma reminds me quite a bit of Dark Lard, but lighter on the brown sugar and not quite as sweet.

A similar thing could be said about the taste. Darkness hits you with a sweetness first and foremost, just like Dark Lord did, but it's a little more tamed in this one. Sugary, burnt caramels, bittersweet cocoa, syrupy molasses, licorice - quite a lot going on here. There were actually a few sips that would remind me of the syrup used in fountain machines to make cola. Less dark fruit on the palate than in the aroma, but some currants and dates are there, sugar coated and sweet as hell.

I'm finally picking up a touch of hops, but still nowhere near enough to combat the sheer malty sweet intensity of this beer. The coffee comes out a little over halfway through and ride well into the aftertaste, leaving a nice roasted coffee bean flavor in my mouth. The sweet brown sugar also hangs in the aftertaste, probably for a little too long. Thick, heavy mouth, though not incredibly creamy or chewy, with lower end carbonation. Lacquers the mouth with a sticky, syrupy coating.

This is a damn fine brew, and I enjoyed it a little bit more than Dark Lord. But unfortunately it suffers from the same flaw of still being a bit too sweet. Darkness does a little bit better of a job taming the sweetness than Dark Lord, however. Lots of different flavors and aromas going on here, and this is a nicely crafted RIS - but the relentless sweetness (in my opinion) is holding it back from being "top of the list" for me.

EDIT: 7/19/2013

2012 Vintage shared thanks to Kevin R... Thanks! I liked this one even a bit more than the 2011 that Mike cracked with me earlier this year. Sweetness was evident, yet more controlled. Hoppier, with a better balance of ashy bitterness. More roasty, more drinkable, and even more enjoyable, even though I already like it in the first place. Great brew.

02-20-2013 13:05:43 | More by tectactoe
Photo of ricke
ricke

Sweden

4.65/5  rDev +3.3%

2007 vintage.

A: Pitch black with decent pale beige head that leaves a lot of creamy lacings.

S: Wonderful aromas of roasted malts, dry coffee notes, rich fruity notes (plums, cherries, figs) and hints of spicy hops. Very balanced and very impressive.

T: The taste is nothing but fantastic - really balanced and spot on. Everything is where it's supposed to be. The flavors are very complex - sweetness from the malts, salt licorice and a bitter finish. Powerful roasted malty aromas and notes of luscious dark fruits, a hint of molasses, tannins, coffee, wood and leafy hops. The finish is somewhat dry and bitter with notes of licorice, leafy hops and malts.

M: Full-bodied with a fat and creamy malty mouthfeel. Gentle carbonation.

D: Almost unbelievably good. Very balanced. The composition is like a symphony - carefully orchestrated with everything at its proper place.

10-29-2009 22:47:24 | More by ricke
Photo of jono0101
jono0101

Missouri

5/5  rDev +11.1%

12-06-2013 18:04:21 | More by jono0101
Photo of brownbeer
brownbeer

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev 0%

02-14-2014 02:05:20 | More by brownbeer
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev 0%

12-06-2011 05:06:00 | More by Schlais
Photo of Spaten454
Spaten454

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

06-14-2014 20:46:42 | More by Spaten454
Photo of Dabeel
Dabeel

California

4/5  rDev -11.1%

06-05-2013 19:49:03 | More by Dabeel
Photo of delaced21
delaced21

Illinois

4/5  rDev -11.1%

03-03-2014 20:39:56 | More by delaced21
Photo of SkiBum22
SkiBum22

New York

4.3/5  rDev -4.4%

2011 Vintage

A - The pour is fittingly black with at least a finger of thick brown head. The lacing really coats the glass nicely with a creamy head that seemingly lasts forever.

S - Very sweet aromas of dark fruits, berries, figs all covered in chocolate with a little bit of caramel and coffee to round it out.

T - Deep, dark, delicious chocolate just dominates the taste. Overall it is sweet, but not overly sweet as sometimes experienced with big Russian Imperial Stouts.

M -Mouthfeel is pretty full bodied, smooth with creamy medium carbonation.

O - A great non-barrel aged stout. There were times that I noticed barrel like qualities. Overall another great brew from Surly.

07-15-2012 21:14:23 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of farundrpar
farundrpar

Colorado

5/5  rDev +11.1%

12-13-2011 19:45:43 | More by farundrpar
Photo of BeerAdvocate
BeerAdvocate

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev 0%

Review is from the February 2007 issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Only 12 barrels were made, and we've been blessed with a 1/2 gallon, sent directly from the brewery on ice packs. Kickass!

Aptly named, this is one hell of a black brew. Its dark crown is rich, creamy, tightly formed, and coffee colored. Looks like a freshly frothed coffee. Blackberries, strong sherry, velvety dark chocolate, perfume of soft dried fruits. Thick, viscous, chewy, round, smooth and creamy. Semi-spicy alcohol is caught in the center, surrounded by char and smoke, and grasped by a fi st of sweetness. Malty sweet, but not cloying; molasses, dark brown sugar, charred raisins, juicy, ripe black cherries in a sharp, dark berry middle, and an exotically acrid dark-roasted coffee bite. Hop bitterness rises from the depths, along the sides of the tongue, stabbing at the palate here and there with some leafy and oily notes. Smoky-char linger in the fi nish, with a residual, deep, dark sweetness. Alcohol creeps, lurks and eventually strikes a warming blow to the skull.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout, kneel before Darkness! All hail Darkness! The best American-made Russian Imperial Stout we've ever had!

08-12-2008 17:47:30 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of newk340
newk340

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev 0%

02-04-2012 20:59:12 | More by newk340
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -6.2%

Release night at the Bavarian Lodge. 11oz pour arrives a deep jet black with an inch of creamy head and some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas start with deeply roasted dark malts colliding with chocolate cream. Mellow coffee moves into some dark fruits and hops.

First sip brings a big roasty dark maltiness upfront with notes of sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee and some dark fruit edges. There's a smooth creaminess here as it flows down. The hops kick in on the finish and become quite noticeable with a good bitterness. The malts win in the end though, leaving a sweet aftertaste and a slight stickiness on the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a mellow carbonation. Not nearly as thick as many imperial stout's at this ABV, but that makes it somewhat more drinkable as well. While this isn't my favorite RIS, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and the fact that it's quite hoppy as well. Glad I got a chance to sample this on tap.

11-06-2008 04:27:03 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of beaversfan12
beaversfan12

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-03-2013 17:31:01 | More by beaversfan12
Photo of NWer
NWer

Washington

5/5  rDev +11.1%

12-06-2013 00:00:48 | More by NWer
Photo of DaftPatrick
DaftPatrick

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-29-2011 03:38:39 | More by DaftPatrick
Photo of Sam_Gladieux
Sam_Gladieux

Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

04-27-2014 22:37:14 | More by Sam_Gladieux
Photo of csmartin6
csmartin6

New York

4.5/5  rDev 0%

01-22-2014 03:52:58 | More by csmartin6
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

10-27-2013 14:58:51 | More by warnerry
Photo of DWolf
DWolf

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +11.1%

12-31-2011 02:36:27 | More by DWolf
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

04-08-2014 13:53:34 | More by Todd
Photo of Callmecoon
Callmecoon

California

4.5/5  rDev 0%

11-21-2011 05:05:49 | More by Callmecoon
Photo of bishopdc0
bishopdc0

Maine

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

11-17-2013 20:23:33 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of mtribble
mtribble

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%

02-28-2014 01:50:26 | More by mtribble
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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,601 ratings.