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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

DarknessDarkness

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

2,250 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2250
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%


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: 2,250 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Cafe Twenty Eight. Served in its very own Darkness goblet, which I hope is a sign it will be returning year after year. It arrived at my table as black as black can be. The head is thick, and brown. It never fully goes away, and leaves a half inch of foam in the bottom of the glass when all of the beer is gone. The aroma is of chocolate, vanilla, graham cracker, plums and other dark fruits. The taste is a perfect balance of roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, silky and nicely carbonated. I really like how it is so full bodied without being overly chewy and sticky. Overall, this is one of teh best beers I have ever had. I am sure I could not drink more than one or two of these at a time, but I could drink one a night for eternity and be very happy.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2006 01:00:51 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of objectivemonkey
objectivemonkey

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a few servings of this fantastic brew, I finally sit down to reviewing.

Into a tulip glass, pours the darkest of midnight black, a thick, creamy tan head settling atop a Guiness-esqe cascade in reverse, bubbles look like they're going upward (though its dark in here, could have been seeing things). The head settles down after some time and drinking, and the darkness creeps through, but a good swirl brings the head back to life, and lots of lace is left on the glass.

Aroma is amazing, perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter, rich and thick of chocolates and espresso, sweet molasses and licorice. I can't imagine it being any better. The taste is similarly flawless, an understated study in the perfection of balanced parts creating a seamless whole. Even though this seems like the hoppiest Impy Stout I've ever tried, in both nose and taste, it isn't skewed toward the the leaf, as an equally potent yet counterbalanced sweet malting with dark fruits and chocolates and such combine into a beautiful whole. And its thick, very thick, one of the thickest, viscous brews I've had, and its just a fantastic beer to drink. And now I ask myself, dear God, why don't they brew this year round, bottle it in pure gold, for only the truest of beer lovers to drink and cherish.

Overall, I don't think I'm ready to give a 5. I almost did, but held back partially because and in spite of the fact that Surly is just over two years old, ie, it gets props for such fine-crafted beer so early, and if this one returns, I'd imagine it'd get even better (ie, the supposed bourbon barreled version). Only time will tell. So, drinkablility gets the blow because its potent, and, well, I couldn't very well knock it anywhere else.

EDIT: So, I was at Cafe 28 today, very delicious brunch. Anyway, they still have Darkness on tap, and I had given this beer a 4.95, but after having it one last time (maybe), I've noticed that on tap, its even thicker, creamier, smellier, tastier, and wantier than ever. So, with out further adieu, 5.

Serving type: growler

01-02-2007 02:17:15 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of Monsone
Monsone

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Hopleaf in a snifter.

A - This baby is thick,dark and black, who would have thunk it? Slight brown head that quickly disapates. Pretty much what you would think this beer to look like.

S - Holy Shit!!! This is the best smelling RIS I have ever run across. A slight fruit hop scent with a very distinct dark fruit scent. Plum with raisins and a big dark cherry scent. There is also a bit of dark chocolate in there. Wow!

T - Sweet malty goodness, but not too sweet. Flavors of dark chocolate and vanilla. Nice dark cherry and plum flavors here too. Some coffee in there too. Not too bitter or drying. Slight alchohol warmth but amazingly well hidden. Perfectly balanced.

M - Thick and creamy. Heavy but not sticky. Just perfect.

D - Even with the big flavors and high alcohol it is amazingly drinkable.

Overall, this is the best beer I have every had. Better than Westy, Dark Lord, KBS, you name it. I can think of no way to improve it. Man I wish this was easier to obtain. Hopefully the taps at Hopleaf last a while.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2007 03:08:51 | More by Monsone
Photo of amallen
amallen

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i had the wonderful pleasure of attending a surly tasting last night and had one of the first tastes of the fresh tapped darkness. i have absolutely nothing bad to say about this beer. pitch black in color a dark caramel dense fluffy head. a practically perfect russian imperial stout. do be careful though it doesnt have the feel or taste of its over 10% abv. with only 25 barrels brewed if you get a chance to taste it is a must.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2007 20:26:02 | More by amallen
Photo of rudylaw
rudylaw

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Clark St. Ale House and Local Option

This is it. The grand master of all beers, let alone stouts. Never before have I been so thoroughly satisfied with a goblet of beer.

It pours jet black with a scrumptious brown head. The aroma it exudes is chocolate, coffee and even some citrus notes.

The mouthfeel is smooth, coating goodness. I can taste a little bit of that citrus coming through the dark, chocolate overcoat. Some soy as well. You should probably sip this beer to get full enjoyment but I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you finish it ahead of schedule. Only Founders' Breakfast Stout can hold a candle, albeit a dimming one, to this R.I.S.

I was fortunate to have three helpings of this sex in a snifter before it went dry in Chicago. I'm counting down the days until October 2008, when this comes back.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2007 00:50:10 | More by rudylaw
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Every time I have a Darkness, I wait for it to let me down. Just a little.

Still waiting. This is the best beer I've ever had, period. Exclamation point. Semaphore. Whatever.

I had my first shortly after its Halloween release, & had the pleasure of consuming three of them that early November night. I've had several since, the latest at Firkin Fest & two short pours at the Acadia Cafe grand re-opening this past Friday.

Darkness pours black as the heart of Charon with, always, a beautiful but not overwhelming head. Smells like...Darkness. Nothing smells like it. Or tastes like it. Chocolate & beer & malt & all sorts of Russian goodness. After our last my wife commented that she might not brush her teeth for a few days to retain that lingering feel of pure heaven on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability is ridiculously off the scale for a beer this strong & dark. It is, however, definitely a sipper. I could put away one an hour for, oh, maybe half a day, but that'd be my limit.

Amazing. I can't wait for my next - I'm hoping there'll be a Darkness pour at the upcoming Happy Gnome dinner in mid-April. That, & my wife and I will be arm-wrestling to see who watches the kids for the anticipated Halloween 2008 release.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2008 03:46:46 | More by maximum12
Photo of bgramer
bgramer

Washington

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

We opened bottles 287 and 568.

I admit I was a little worried about this beer. Is it over hyped, does it live up to expectations, will this be underwhelming, etc????

Thankfully, this beer meets and exceeds all the hype I've heard. Wow - Poured this into my goblet and it's black with faint dark brown highlights at the edges of your glass if you hold it up to the light. There's a light tan head that's a finger high but dissipates quickly. There's plenty of lacing.

The aroma is very sweet, malty, and hoppy - all sorts of complexity. I smell and taste chocolate, licorice, malty goodness (roasted) some caramel, coffee, creamy, and dark fruit-ey, - and definitely hops but not in a hop-bomb sort of way.

The mouthfeel - it's a little less syrupy than I'd expect from the aroma, but the body is still medium and full. It's very balanced on the finish - leaving a minor warmth letting you focus on the complexities of flavors.

I truly am impressed. This is one of the great ones, worthy of it's ranking here. Now, I have to go find more!!!! It will be very interesting to see how it cellars.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2008 14:00:40 | More by bgramer
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

THIS IS FOR THE '07 VERSION. I WOULD NOT GIVE A PERFECT SCORE TO THE '08, AND I HAVEN'T TRIED THE '09 YET.

How do you review a beer like this? With so many positive reviews, anything you say is going to seem like "piling on", or "following the herd." That being said, this is one of the two or three finest beers I've ever had.

Pours quite black, even when held to the light. Large dark tan foam head (surpisingly large given the ABV). Aggressive chocolate, vanilla, and roasted aromes with a shocking amount of piney hoppiness.

Taste is more chocolate, crazy vanilla, dark fruit/plums?/raisins?/figs?/berries?. Maybe a slight bit of burnt coffee. Also, a balancing amount of earthy hops. This surprised me more than anything else. Sensationally flavorful, rich thick mouthfeel, absolutely sublime.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2008 08:26:32 | More by Overlord
Photo of gorby10826
gorby10826

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

By far the best stout I have ever had. Definitely a great one if you like them on the sweet side. Tried at Firkin in Libertyville, IL.

A: Very Dark. Black.

S:Complex, Chocolate, roasted malt, sweetness, fruit

T: Very sweet. Candi sugar. Molasses. Chocolate. Fruit. Hops.

M: Very smooth. Thick. Good level of carbonation.

D: Would drink it all day long if I could! Very easy if you like it sweet.

Overall: Seriously the best I have had in the last 3 years where I have tried hundreds of different beers. Wish I could get it easier!

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2008 00:00:16 | More by gorby10826
Photo of dukedevil0
dukedevil0

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap 3 times in Chicago, IL this winter so far at Hopleaf, Sheffield's and Local Option. Each time was served in a snifter or stemmed tulip.

A: DARK black with head ranging from khaki colored to copper brown to almost chocolate milkshake looking. Lots of lacing left on the glass on this one.

S: Smells of chocolate, coffee, toffee, dark fruits or raisins, maybe some slight blackberry or raspberry in there too. Lots of different smells in there.

T: Tastes even better than it smells! but still has the chocolate, coffee, toffee, dark fruits/raisins, molasses, maybe some slight blackberry or raspberry. So many flavors, it's like you could focus on one and love it, then focus on another and it's like you are drinking different beers, but all the flavors are great.

M: Super creamy, sticky (seriously some spilled over and my fingers were sticking to the glass like I had eaten cotton candy), syrupy. Low carbonation.

D: Unbelievably drinkable. You can barely tell that the alcohol is in there and what is there goes so well with the rest of the beer it makes you want even more. I was crushed when I ordered another and they came back with just a couple ounces because the keg was dry.

This is EASILY my favorite beer that I have ever drank up to this point. I get giddy when I go somewhere and see it on the beer list. I hope they bottle more of this and ship it to Chicago next year. I have to give this all 5's until I can find something that proves me wrong.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2008 21:28:23 | More by dukedevil0
Photo of StoutsnIPAs
StoutsnIPAs

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An amazing beer.

Many enjoyable hours sharing beers on Darkness Day with many wonderful people waiting the opportunity to buy this beer.

I've broken into my very limited supply twice, once to do a combined tasting, put on with BRDC, for a sampling group done in a bookstore with a fireplace, (thanks Jeff and Kim). We had a collection to be envied, Darkness, Dark Lord, Abyss, Expedition, Stone Imperial, Alesmith Speedway, Peche Mortel, Founders Breakfast, Ten Fidy and others. Darkness and Dark Lord were the consensus favorites. I was somewhat surprised, as Expedition and Stone are my favorites, but I liked the Darkness and Dark Lord even better.

Today I am sitting alone, savoring an entire bottle of Darkness as I type, (decadent and selfish, I know; I beg your forgiveness).

This beer is something special, even in the company of special beers. When we had the sampling, I was standing next to another home brewer, and the two of us were intrigued by the malt profile. It is unique and different from any other Imperial I've tried. My guess is higher Lovibond crystal malts and other rich malts were used, (?Special B), rather than depending on only the traditional roasted malts.

This beer was brewed by an artist and a master, no surprise as its from Surly. Just so you know my judgements, I think Furious is the best IPA, and I've had and love Masala and Sculpin.

On to reviewing:

Sampled in my favorite tulip. I have Darkness 2008. The label depicts a pagan diety or demon, (depending on your perceptions), presumably enjoying Darkness drunk from the skull of an enemy.

Appearance - rich, dark, opaque brown. The head is a rich deep creamy tan with small bubbles, large and persistent with a vigorous pour. Lacing is lovely.

Aroma and nose - enticing, rich, dark chocolate, roasted caramel malts. The hops are both obvious and subtle, enticing you to decide what they are, or just to shut up and enjoy.

Taste - follows the nose - rich, cholatey, (is that a word?), caramel. Enchanting, enjoyable, enticing, exquisite, exceptional.

Mouthfeel - rich, (a word that recurs in this review and when you enjoy this ale), creamy, marvelous carbonation - small bubbles like a bottle or cask conditioned ale, (although I saw no yeast in the bottom of the bottle).

Drinkability - a concept I've always found odd. It is wonderfully drinkable for its style. Warming, inviting on this cold, dreary, snowing day, (yeah I know, its April - I live in Wisconsin).

Its big drawback, like Dark Lord's is that you can buy it once a year in one place only, in limited quantities. Expedition and Stone Imperial should get additional points because they too are works of art, much more readily available and reasonably priced.

Having said that, I treasure the opportunity to try Darkness. If you should get the chance, judge it on its own merits, and savor the moment. Skol.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 19:57:39 | More by StoutsnIPAs
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark blood red burgundy brown that almost black and completely opaque with a thick frothy 2.5 finger dark chocolate coffee colored head that has excellent retention, lasting throughout and leaving large chunks of soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with sweet bitter dark chocolate and hints of molasses, honey, burnt toast, caramel, oatmeal, coffee bean, toffee, licorice and sweet alcohol. Possibly the best aroma I've experienced yet.

Thick chewy viscous mouthfeel with some slight carbonation and a huge roasty malt flavor. Soooo smooth with a full viscous mouthfeel. The ABV is so well masked that it's almost undetectable. Slightly dry finish with some slight alcohol warmth. Extremely quaffable with awesome raosted malt profile. Lots of sweet bitter dark chocolate, coffee bean, toffee, molasses, honey and caramel sweetness that balances out the deep roasty and burnt toast characteristics. Very subtle hops in the finish as well as some slight alcohol warmth.

This is one of the most complex, flavorful and drinkable Imperial Stouts I've ever had and possibly one of the best beers I've ever had the pleasure of sampling. All I can say is WOW. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2009 09:01:18 | More by corby112
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I had this on tap, it had a small tan head. When I poured the beer from the bottle into a tulip glass, it had a huge tan 2 finger head with excellent retention. Very impressive. Pitch black color, allows no light to pass through.

The nose on this is amazing. A nice combination of smeet malt, molasses, chocolate, raisins, coffee, and hops makes for a great aroma.

The flavor is just as amazing. The malt takes center stage and the beer is wonderfully sweet and somewhat hoppy at the same time.

As high as the alcohol is, it is amazing at how well it is hidden. Full bodied, rich, creamy, and nicely carbonated. Nicely drinkable for such a big beer. I wouldn't change a thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 03:26:45 | More by hardy008
Photo of deadbody
deadbody

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

HOLY COW. Had this on tap at Groveland Tap, and it was amazing. Pours a dark rich black with a nice creamy tan head, excellent lacing. Strong malt smell, amazing taste, thick and rich with a great bold body. Spectacular mouthfeel, thick and rich. Super drinkable. Really happy I picked up 2 bottles.

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2010 00:18:43 | More by deadbody
Photo of bigfurrynutz
bigfurrynutz

Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lucky to find on tap at Firkin. Been waiting a long time to try this one. Not disappointed at all. Nose of chocolate, coffee,floral hops, mile esters. Taste of chocolate and roasty malts. Nuce, creamy mouthfeel. Firkin got a half barrel and it s half gone today. With the Surly shortage in I'll, better get this while you can.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 23:09:28 | More by bigfurrynutz
Photo of Bmuncy
Bmuncy

West Virginia

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 version

Appearance: It's weakest, which doesn't say much as I've still given it a 5. Near Jet-Black and one of the darkest brews I've ever seen. It's rich and frothy mocha head teases you to take a drink, no begs you. Slight lace retention, though unimpressive. If there is a weak point in this beer, lace retention would be it. However, I feel it's not a very important aspect.

Smell: Devastatingly powerful. One whiff knocks you onto your hills. Deep, milk chocolate and espresso welcomes the nostrils with undertones of vanilla, cherry and hops.

Taste: Strong hints of chocolate, coffee and slight vanilla notes. A very warming beer invites you to a wonderland of flavor. Sweet and roasty chocolate. If Willy Wonka Brewed beer, this would be it.

Mouthfeel. Thick, strong, syrupy, full. These are are appropriate adjectives.

Drinkability: The scariest thing about this beer isn't the vampire on the label, it's the drinkability of this beer. At 10.x% ABV, this titan of flavor and smoothness' scariest attribute is how quickly you can down it. Without realizing it, I drank half the bottle in only a few gulps.

I've never given a perfect score to any beer, not even an A+. I've always waited for that one beer that would destroy every sense of reality that I had to give out such an honor... but here it is... Surly Darkness.... and it does not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 18:00:05 | More by Bmuncy
Photo of sacrelicio
sacrelicio

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best stout I have ever had. A stellar concoction. Roasty, chocolatey, nutty, oaty, brown sugary, just flat out delicious. Love it every year. Each year is a littel different, but ut never disappoints. I am glad that I have two bottles sitting around. Can't do any better than this.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 00:51:46 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of ucis
ucis

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my desert island bottles. Poured from a 2008 vintage into a snifter.

A: Dark black with a black one inch head. Sticky lacing and boiling bubbles. This is one amazing looking brew.

S: Toffee, raisins, chocolate, mild coffee aroma. Has really mellowed out since 2008. Has almost a musty after smell.

T: Smooth-- the sweetness has really settled. Still nice fruity, chocolate -- very smooth malt backbone. The hops are way in the back but still nice. Sad to see this bottle get empty.

M: Still a nice thick drink. This was a perfect for the style and abv. It drinks almost way too easy.

O: Every vintage is slightly varied, but the 08's are drinking like sweet god candy. Good thing I have few more of these.

~shiver~

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2011 03:43:57 | More by ucis
Photo of warbird07
warbird07

Michigan

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

thanks to chase2334 for hooking me up with this bottle...2010 vintage poured into my snifter and shared with drpdaddy....Wow...A beautiful black beer capped with an thin tan head..very inviting..my nose did not want to leave the glass, much like a warm shower on a cold morning..chocolate,chocolate,chocolate..smells like desert, with a nice hint of roasted malt, a wee bit of smoke..taste was fantastic..very smooth, no alchohol burn whatsoever,chocolate, with a substantle but creamy mouthfeel...surprisingly drinkable..I had to restrain myself...absolutely the smoothest,well-balanced and delicious impy stouts I have had so far...

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 21:09:51 | More by warbird07
Photo of kittywamp
kittywamp

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: black coffe colored head

S: chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar and toffee dark fruit

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and very creamy

M: thick, creamy smooth that lingers

O: this is my favorite beer. If i could i would drink this beer year round. i really enjoyed this beer. if you get a chance to buy do it. its so worth it.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 17:02:26 | More by kittywamp
Photo of DK_CPA
DK_CPA


5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The taste look, smell, and taste of this beer opens up your imagination. You can recollect the taste in your smelling and tastebud memories. There is a rush of Dopamine hormones when you drink it.

Absolutely the sing most perfect beer. It is highly coveted and very tradeable. The artwork and collectability increases its value.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2012 15:38:28 | More by DK_CPA
Photo of AndyAvalanche
AndyAvalanche

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 version of the Werewolf looking monster poured into a Duvel tulip style glass. Liquid comes out midnight black, can't see through it anywhere on the glass and it doesn't even seem to get lighter. During the pour there's some lighter brown edges on the stream. Coffee with cream colored head that erupts up to the top of the glass. Mostly small bubbles but a few larger ones at the top that blub up. Head stays around a long time and there's TREMENDOUS lacing here, stuff clings to the glass for life. Great looking beer, sets the standard, looks like what many wish they did.

Oh wow, does this smell great. Take the absolute best individual parts of an imperial chocolate stout, coffee stout, hoppy stout, a fruity stout and mesh them all into one absolutely perfectly and this would be your result. Could be the slightest bit stronger, but still would rate it a 4.9999 out of 5 based on how well balanced everything is. Everything works here, huge malt backbone with both dark and sweet fudgy chocolate, black roasted coffee, some earthy dark fruits, and some floral hops. Great balance, perfect smell.

Taste is even better than the aromas if that's at all possible. Starts off sweet with more milky than bitter chocolate, but both present, coffee also isn't as strong. Then there are some nice dark dehydrated fruit flavors like fig and plum, but not overbearing. Plenty of bitter hoppy flavors there of pine and sweet clementine citrus (kind of like a chocolate orange, but actually tastes good). Hops provide a nice fresh flavor too, I'm impressed with how well the hops lasted in this one. There's also an almost minty vanilla flavor at the end. Not the burning vanilla you get from barrel aged stouts though.

Mouthfeel is, you guessed it, perfect. Full bodied because the flavor lingers for awhile, but it tastes so good you wished it would last even longer. This beer is perfectly smooth, with a nice carbonation level and no bite from the alcohol or carbonation, slightly tickles the tongue though. Starts sweet with a nice clean, fresh bitter finish. Crazy drinkable, any stout lover or beer lover could finish off a bottle no problem. A sipper, but dangerous enough to drink faster than you might intend. Thanks N-Dawg for bringing this one to me! This beer really has all the perfect qualities one would want in a beer and blends them together.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2013 23:59:25 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of rjp217
rjp217

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 bottle poured into a couple taster snifters....

Pitch black pour with a beautiful one finger head and perfect brown head with a sticky lace retention. So much chocolate and cherry in the aroma and taste. There's a beautiful coffee and caramel finish in the taste. Full body and low carbonation with a silky smooth finish. This beer is absolutely sublime. It's a chocolate coffee marshmallow dream. The 2 years created a perfect symmetry. Epic!

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 00:29:40 | More by rjp217
Photo of MNishCT77
MNishCT77

District of Columbia

4.99/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso DuPont Circle, unknown brew date, poured into a snifter glass, drank 3/28/13 over ~one hour.

A: 4.75 - black, no clarity (wouldn't it be ironic if there was any? ), soft vertical bubbles and substantial legs, one finger frothy tan head that resolves into subtle glass lacing;

S: 5 - chocolate, coffee, vanilla beans, some dark raisin/fruits in the background to boot

T: 5- minimal hop bitterness on the front of the tongue that quickly dissipates into rich and substantial dark chocolate and coffee flavors, vanilla bean and minor molasses sweetness on the back of the tongue

M: 5 - incredible smooth, silky mouthfeel, thickly coats the mouth and lingers for days; this is the epitome of mouthfeel for RIS

O: 5 - I never though that I would try this beer considering that it is only released one day/year in Brooklyn Center, MN with very limited local distribution but thank goodness for the CBC 2013 in Washington D.C.; like all of Surly beers, this one lives up to the extreme hype and is overall the most complex RIS that I have ever tried; I have never tried Dark Lord or Marshal Zhukov but I cannot imagine it being better than this

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2013 14:13:21 | More by MNishCT77
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.98/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml wax-dipped bottle poured into a snifter.
10.3% ABV, 2010 Vampire design.

A - The thick pile of bubbles which rests on the beer displays an oily rainbow color swirling on it's surface. Coincidentally, it coincides with the thick, syrupy used oil-looking beer fills the snifter for a pitch-black darkness light cannot penetrate. Even with the high alcohol level, the head maintains its stature for quite some time, slowly lowering to leave a smattering of light bubbles on the snifter.

S - Sticky burnt molasses, lightly charred oak, and bitter dark chocolate are conjured up from a thick malt bill which incorporates more subdued notes of cold coffee, roasted malt, and cocoa. Hops provide just a miniscule drop of citrus and earthiness into the mix with an old, dusty basement sense pulling through. Even with two years on it, this beer still has some warming alcohol perception on the nose.

T - Darkness' rich malt level isn't surprising in flavor but what is, is the lack of bold roasted, almost burnt notes that the aroma exhibits. The taste compounds are much sweeter and subtler with smooth Hershey milk chocolate, a touch of black licorice, and soft molasses finishing out the back end. Dry cocoa and seemingly absent hops balance the malt sweetness' flavor as does just a hint of alcohol.

M - To describe this beer as full bodied would be quite the understatement. Smooth as black velvet (don't sue me Alanna Myles!) Darkness is almost creamy feeling with a rich, throat-coating finish that carefully teeters on the verge of sweetness and balance. All this while maintaining warming, soothing alcohol and an insatiable draw.

O - I recall Darkness having one of the hoppiest aromas of any Russian Imperial Stout I've encountered while being sweeter than all get-out. Suffice it to say, age has done this beer an incredible favor; rounding out some of the rougher edges for an insanely crave-able, lustful, sinfully delicious stout. For every bottle you hoped would age well and failed, Darkness makes up for, rewarding your patience with big dividends. This chocolaty, roasted malt-rich brew exceeds expectations of greatness and completely satisfies.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 23:04:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,250 ratings.