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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

811 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 811
Hads: 3,342
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 19.27%
Wants: 3,280
Gots: 1,212 | FT: 91
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006

Starting in 2014, bottled Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels. This listing is ONLY for Darkness that is NOT barrel-aged. For 2014 Darkness go here:  http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/p ... 14/141724/ 

2007-Grim Reaper
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Reviews: 811 | Hads: 3,342
Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a half finger worth of dark brown head that dissipated quites fast but left a little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: interesting aroma which consisted of a little roastiness, chocolate malts, but with earthy hops coming through. I was able to sniff of caramel sweetness, molasses, and hints of brown sugar.

T: like the aroma chocolate malts were there upfront on the palate alongside some roastiness, pretty good earthy grassy hop profile which added a little bitterness to the flavor. Caramel molasses accents, and a touch of brown sugar.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, chocolatey, mild hoppy, silky, and slightly bitter finish.

O: I honestly was not really digging this beer and it has been on my gots list for some time now. This is one of those that just has too much hype IMO.

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Photo of PrinceDarren
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent RIS that is deserving of high praise, however, I'm not sure it is on the same level as the oft-compared Dark Lord. Just to make sure, I tried a little DL later in the evening (my friend was kind enough to open a bottle). Nope, no comparison, DL reigns supreme.

I tried the Surly giant on tap last night at the 3rd annual Bavarian Lodge Darkness night. Pours "almost" black, not nearly as viscous as expected. Has a pleasant, hoppy, chocolate aroma. Tastes of coffee, dark fruit such as cherry, maybe a little raspberry and a definite hop character.

This is very dry. Almost too dry. It left a chalky after-taste on the tongue. I heard that Omar felt this year's batch was more dry than last year's. While I cannot comment on the year-to-year comparison, I have to wonder if the recipe or process was a little off in this year's batch. I didn't feel like it should be so dry.

In all, this was a great pour that I was happy (hoppy?) to try, but alas, this is more akin to North Coast's Old Rasputin RIS than the might Three Floyds' DL.

Would I drink it again? Yes, I sure hope so.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

(Aged for 1 year)

This is a truly beautiful beer. The beer is black throughout with a 2-finger, dark brown head that actually has some significant staying power. The beer is somewhat thick in body, shiny, and leaves the glass messy with a sheen and spattering of lace.

A somewhat atypical aroma for a big stout, as there's some defined pine-like hop notes, along with dark chocolate, dark fruits, and strong roast. This is hoppier than most any other big stout, though it all works together nicely.

Dark roast and dark chocolate dominate the flavor, along with bit of pine-like hop character. Moderate level of bitterness and this most certainly hides its alcohol well.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Incredibly nice. A terrifically constructed beer.

A somewhat hoppy, though balanced big stout. It's probably not worth the sticker price, all things considered, but always a fun bottle to share no matter the time or place.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off a huge thanks to squirpy7 for hooking me up with a brew that was proving to be more illusive than it should be.

2010 vintage:

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours as dark as the vampire's soul with a dark tan, unrelenting, pillow like cloud of a head that leaves the best lacing I've seen in a stout. Without that lacing, this would be a 4.0.

S: The aroma is lacking complexity and strength right now. Chocolate and roasted malt is present. This stout has a nice hop twist to it. Not pinny, but dark fruit like. Alcohol is present in the nose as the beer warms.

T: The flavor is dominate chocolate and liquorish. The roastedness is masked by a malty sweetness, and just like I expected dark fruit tones from a mix of hops and malt. Alcohol pokes its way through as the beer warms, but is not offensive at all.

Mf: Mouthfeel is just above good. It can improve with more creaminess and carbonation. It still is smooth and uninhibits this brew's power. Viscous and syrupy.

D: At 10.3%, and in a 750ml, this brew is quite drinkable.

Overall, Darkness is a good stout. It's like a mini-Dark Lord. Almost like Surly brewed Dark Lord's younger cousin. This is definitely one to age. It stands out from the other big stouts on the top 100. It lacks notes of espresso with a heavy chocolate base that I've come to love. It can improve with a year in a bourbon barrel; this stout tastes like it was made for it. This thing has a hop bill that makes it unique. Next bottle I trade for will definitely spend 2 years in the cellar.

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Photo of trappistlover
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(22oz bottle courtesy of Alpar!). ’09 edition with Mummy. Pours near black with tan head. Aroma has soy, dark chocolate and some dark pit fruit along with a bit of green hops. Taste is sweet malt with some faded hops (my preference is NOT hopped up RIS). Full bodied with an oily texture. Finish is dry. Very nice, smooth beer.

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Photo of poopypine
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I love this beer. Talking about the 2008 edition. This is a simple review from a simple man.
The appearance is jet black as night inky tar pit. Wow.
Smell is nice but and mellow.
Taste is just divine, I give it a 4 because I feel the sweetness comes a little strong.
The mouthfeel is smooth thick goodness. A heavy beer to say the least.
Drinkability is a 4 instead of 5 because in my mind it is not intended as an all-nighter. This is a finishing beer. Like a fine port. The strong willed can put down a bottle and will feel the part. But for me it is a wonderful strong ale that is complex in all aspects.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Darkness, bottle courtesy of a ratebeer trade, and split at my 1-year Anniversary Tasting with a few friends. My portion poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a thick, pitch-black, dark beer, oily, heavy, glug glug glug into the glass. The head is light cocoa, tan, with great retention - it's swiss cheese like, bubbly, sticky, foamy in places, meringue-like in others. The lacing is three-dimensional in places, sticky, strewn all over the sides of the tulip. Just a great looking beer.

Aroma: Huge, pungent cocoa and soy, with plenty of hops, too - citrusy, lightly grassy, which would be overpowering in any brew other than this one. Hints of coconut, too. There are lots of sweet, nondescript malty notes, though plenty of solid roasted, toasted notes as well. This beer's least enjoyable aspect - it's not doing a lot for me.

Taste: Oh wow. What a fantastic taste. Tons of residual sweetness with every roasted and toasted malty note imaginable - butterscotch, caramel, toffee on the light end, coffee, cocoa, toast, molasses, deep brown sugar on the darker end - and only a kiss of soy sauce. A few dark fruits notes, raisin being most prominent, round out the malty sweetness. Anise is prominent as well and melds well with a somehow prominent amount of hop bitterness and citrusy, leafy hop notes, orange-zest like in places, slightly minty in others. It's very complex and well-rounded, and only loses the half-point due to the overwhelming amount of residual sugars - it's just slightly too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and somewhat even, though there is a fair amount of unevenness here. What is here is creamy and milky, however, a good fit for the tasting notes here. It leaves a bit of a syrupy, sticky feel in the mouth too. However, this one improves drastically as it warms, evenening out as the carbonation dies. Creamy and mellow.

Drinkability: This is a good beer ... it's just not quite as good as I thought it would be, and though I try not to take off points for expectations, I may have in a few spots here. There's plenty of good here - it's big, it's bold, it's complex, it's pleasantly well-hopped, and the alcohol's well-hidden. On the other hand, the alcohol's pretty high, the aroma is a little lackluster, and it's pretty crazy sweet. The verdict: it's a winner. Is it worth $16? Probably. Would I try it again? Yes. If you get the chance to trade for it, should you? Definitely.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Darkness (Zombie label) poured from tap into a standard clear pint glass at The Bulldog Northeast in Minneapolis.

Appearance: As the name suggests, this beer pours a deep opaque brown color (looks black), darkness indeed. Pours with a one finger tan foam head that receded quickly and left some nice sticky lacing.

Smell: Sweet and malty with caramel and toffee notes mixed with coffee and cream. Some slight earthy wet grass hops aroma underneath.

Taste: Exceptionally smooth and sweet. Dark roasted malts provide a good sweet coffee and cream flavor, with some good caramel and slight toffee notes. A slight earthy hops flavor is detected. Also flavors of dark fruits, like black cherries and prunes, mixed with a little black licorice. Very flavorful and complex. Flavors opened up a bit as it warmed in the glass.

Mouth Feel: Medium to full bodied and a creamy carbonation that works well with the style (would love to try this one with a creamy nitro tap).

Overall: An outstanding Porter! I can see what all the hype is about and why this is such a sought after brew. It is perfection for a stout. At 10.3% ABV it's definitely a sipping beer, and a great choice for a good fall or winter warmer. Will look for this again in the future, in bottle or on tap...any way I can get it!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap pour into a snifter at the Barley House in Algonquin.

(A)- Pours thick and pitch black. Produced a minimal tan head, but pretty decent retention. Subtle lacing.

(S)- Malty and rich. Has a heavy brown sugar/toffee sweetness wit hints of coffee and dark chocolate aspects. Some woody dry notes.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Good malts and richness. The same sweet aspects in the smell, yet has an underlying spicy herbal woody notes. As it warms, some nice licorice flavors start showing themselves.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Surprisingly, a bit thinner than I expected it to be; and not quite as rich or heavily roasted. Because of this, it is actually smoother; more balanced, and easier on the palate in my opinion.

(D)- A solid RIS for sure. It was really nice to see that it was not overly rich, sweet, or viscous as I was expecting; rather, it is far more sessionable because of that. If I could, I would do a whole bottle of this on my own if I felt like it. The drinkability and mouthfeel are where this beer truly shines. In terms of flavor, however, it might need some more time to age.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle split between myself, cbutova and atremains. This has been one of my most anticipated beers. Also my first offering from Surly. Received in a trade from cdflem, much thanks!

Before getting onto the real appearance I will say this is my favorite bottle design ever. So awesome. The beer itself, is, yes, dark. You could say the glass is filled with...darkness. Charlie Murphy territory is indeed tread upon. The head is very thick, coffee brown, retains decently, leaves some nice lacing.

Strange scent at first, hard to pin down exactly what I'm smelling but I realize, cherries. Definitely dark chocolate and cherries. Lots of roasted malt and caramel. Smells very sweet and rich.

Taste I get much of the above, chocolate-covered cherries are the first thing that come to mind. Though this has some age on it now (7-8 months?) there is still a boatload of hops, getting more fruit notes there. A bit of booze. This is a very strange beer, almost brandy-esque. The hops and sweetness seem to take over the stoutness too much for my taste, especially towards the end. Almost feels like a chocolate barleywine.

Mouthfeel is more creamy than thick, almost in a KtG way but not near that level. A little too hoppy, dangerously close to IPA-ness. Booze is noticeable but not a problem.

I'm glad I split this because the sweetness may have killed it over time. Definitely not what I expected, I liked it but if it were a little more stout and a little less barleywine-tasting this I would've liked it more, still I love the chocolate/cherry here. A stout like no other.

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been saving this one for a while now and tonight is the big night! Big thanks to Doodler for trading this one to me. 2010 vintage into a Portsmouth Brewery tulip.

A: Poured pitch black with about 3 fingers of dark-tan head (likely from the shaking the bottle went through as I attempted to remove the wax) and dissipated to about a finger after a few minutes. Lots o foamy lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Intense smells of coffee and dark chocolate immediately hit the nose, followed by molasses, vanilla, licorice and dark fruit. Of course a little alcohol burn in the nostrils as well. Very complex.

T: Lots of powerfully sweet chocolate flavor up front, mixed with sweet candied dark fruit and thick, gooey molasses. Some bitterness comes through in the mid-palate, coffee and really dark chocolate. Hops comes through in the finish in the form of bitterness and subtle fruity sweetness. Very complex, but its sweetness boarders on cloying at times.

M: Thick, full bodied and sticky. Very subtle carbonation.

O: A great imperial stout, but probably towards the bottom of my "hard to get imperial stouts" list. At treat nonetheless.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lined up against a few other world class stouts at Great Taste of the Midwest 2013, this was good but it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be nor was it on par with a few other heavy hitting stouts that I tried that day.

The taste was a typical imperial stout type of taste (fruit, malts, chocolate, roastiness) but the hops and roasted malts overpowered things for me a little bit. I could see this being very good with some age on it but the 2012 vintage with almost a year on it was a little too harsh for me.

EDIT-Just split a bottle of the 2013 with a friend. There was a nice sweetness to this beer and it was more flavorful than I remembered. I have noticed that my palette can chance from time to time and I am sure when I first had this beer at GTMW, I had sampled way too many beers that day to give it a fair score.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dansting for this one! 22oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a finger of tan head. Big piney hop aroma with some chocolate malt. Hits you right off with a blast of resiny hops. On the lighter side of full bodied. Not a lot of roasted barley, more on the black patent side. Fairly dry with a drying finish of hops and dark malt.Pretty drinkable for the ABV. It would be interesting to see how this ages.

More like a black DIPA (did I just make a new style?) than a RIS, but who really cares about conforming to style. This is a very interesting beer and fun to drink on a purely hedonistic level.

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Photo of BrownNut
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 release. Served near to room temp in a tulip.

A - 4.25 - Pours dark brown, opaque black in glass. Substantial tan head that endures.

S - 4.5 - Wonderful malty, chocolatey, fruity nose. Like chocolate covered cherries. Also smells like some kind of candy bar element that is complementary to chocolate, whether sweet biscuit or caramel or something related, I can't place. There's a lot more going on here. It's not barrel aged but still there's a barrel liquor aroma going on. Reminds me of the nose of a scotch or a cognac just in terms of the complexity.

T - 4.0 - Powdery chocolate, mocha, cocoa, chocolate syrup. Sweet, mild, and particularly round in that respect. But alongside that round chocolate is something more pointy and bitter, which also leaves a dry finish and slightly raw tongue alongside the sweet and sticky chocolate aftertaste. Presumably it's hops given the tongue abrasion. Unexpected and interesting, that. Overall the taste is substantially less complex than the nose. The alcohol is more prevalent than in many of its ABV peers, but I'm a fan of more booze.

M - 4.0 - Creamy, yet not as thick as I've come to expect from RISs. I'd call it medium, maybe a bit north of there, though there is some stickiness in the end.

O - 4.25 - Good. The nose is fantastic and so I suppose there's just some disappointment when the body does not exactly follow suit. There's a round sweetness and a woody dry bitterness, which make an interesting pair, but it wants something more to elevate it, and a stiffer backbone to offset some of the sweetness. Still, it is somewhat unique. Probably not enough that I'd trade for it again, however. The hunt continues.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black black black with a medium brown head that is small and only stays as a little fuzz. Laces medium well. Smells like mangos, chocolate syrup, and molasses. Bright, complex, and fun. Silky smooth body, sweet, stale coffee, and cocoa. A little heavy and sweet on the tongue, and the flavors fail to challenge me or stand out from others of this style. Overall this is an enjoyable beer, but it lacks that special something that makes it stand out from the rest. It's smoothness is pleasant, but is not what I look for in an imperial stout.

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Photo of B_Faust
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I have yet to open my 2013 but I did have a few bottles of the prior years. Very distinct in it's quality. Nose was great, mouthfeel was fantastic, and the flavor was over the top. Chocolate, raisin, coffee, hops, fruity, toasty and rich goodness. Warming alcohol, but little smell or flavor, not solvent-like other big RIS's. Just a great experience. I had my first few fresh, can't wait to open my 2013....don't know how long I can wait! Surly never fails to amuse me.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Daniloknezic for sending me this bottle of beer! Thanks for my first taste of "darkness" Don!

Vintage 2011 (Zombie)

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 1 finger of medium brown head. Decent lacing sticking on the side of the snifter.

Smell: Big malt profile with a decent amount of hops to balance. Big roast, caramel, molasses, and a hint of tobacco from the malts. Hops are pine.

Taste: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, chocolate, creamy nougat, and molasses. Mild roast and dark fruits. Cherries, tobacco, leather, and black licorice. Hops start to take over about midpalate. Then bakers cocoa, bitter cherries, and piney hops really linger for a while into the the aftertaste. Eventually the pine takes over the entire aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: medium almost full bodied beer. Moderate carbonation. Creamy and slightly chewy beer; almost syrupy, but its got a perfect carbonation level that keep the beer from getting very syrupy! This beer has no hint of alcohol and it drinks like it only 8%; soooo smooth. Rediculious mouthfeel on this beer. Its mouthfeel is perfect! Best attribute of this beer!

Overall: Really interesting RIS. It really throws out alot of big flavors and has alot of complexity in the malt profile of this beer. I appreciate that this beer is fairely different and unique from many other RIS in its respective beer style "family". I prefer less hops in my big stouts and this one is over run by piney hops on the back end of this beer. The hops distract too much from the malt profile in my opinion. The mouthfeel is simply amazing especially for a non-barrel aged beer.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed a bottle of the 2010 only a few months after it had beer released. I found the beer excellent and scored it a 4.43. We compared that bottle to a 2009 vinatage and found that the hops had faded quickly and it had become much sweeter and less appealing. Thanks for those bottles rpstevens and oakbluff. I thought I'd re-review a newer vintage now that I've been around a little longer.

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2012
Red Wax

Note: We drank a 2012 and a 2008 back to back. The scores are for the 2012 with comparisons to the 2008.

APPEARANCE: A dark pour yields a 1+ finger, thicker looking tan head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a good cap and coats the sides of the glass. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves some good lacing down the glass. A good looking beer for sure. The '08 looked exactly the same.

SMELL: Roasted aromas and lots of pure, dark chocolate too. Quite hoppy for sure, with lots of citrus and floral notes as well. This is definitely a bold and hoppy stout on the nose. The '08 smelt a bit stale in comparison, so perhaps some oxidization is starting to play a roll. Caramel, leather and soy sauce show up as well.

TASTE: Very nice stuff. Roasted and chocolate flavors with caramel and toffee sweetness at the swallow. Lots of bitterness at the fninsh, with plenty of hops as well. Citrus, floral notes and some bitter, dark chocolate linger on the palate, balancing the toffee and caramel sweetness. Bold and flavorful for sure. Good stuff. The '08 didn't have the oxidized staleness that I'd expected from the nose, but the hops had pretty much disappeared. Sweet caramel and toffee with leather and soy sauce. A touch of dark chocolate, but it's mostly sweet and soy flavors.

PALATE: Full body and medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy and full with enough weight for sure, goes down smooth and finishes rather sticky. Full, heavy, and creamy. Great feel. Like chocolate milk. The '08 is much the same, though perhaps a touch lighter. Still, this is a full, heavy, dominating mouthfeel.

OVERALL: Perhaps not as impressive as when I was just getting into craft beer, but this brew is definitely a top class example of the style. Fresh, Surly Darkness shows great balance between the sweet, syrupy malt base and the big hop profile. The 2012 was great. As it ages, however, the hops fade and the sweet toffee and soy sauce become too dominating for my palate. As such, the 2008 just wasn't all that enjoyable any more. In fact, we did a 2011-2008 vertical a couple years ago and only the relatively fresh 2011 was enjoyable while the others were simply too sweet. I would call this a top class stout, but wouldn't bother with it after the 6 month mark. Anyways, thanks to SliverX for the 2012, and to whomever sent that 2008 a couple years back.

EDIT: Had a chance to drink some of the 2007 and it to be less sweet and cloying than all the other vintages of this beer. The hops had faded, yes, but the sweet flavor was balanced by some alcohol qualities that made it much more palatable than the other vintages. Probably the best of vintage of this beer, but Darkness is still better as fresh as possible.

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Photo of Florida9
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Served in a snifter with about a finger and a half of foamy, dark tan head with excellent retention. Decent lacing. Dark black in color, though as the beer dropped I noticed some light shining through the edges revealing a maroon reddish hue to the beer.

S: Plums, prunes, raisins, figs, and shit like that. Sweet and slightly alcoholic.

T: Very sweet malt on the front receding to a wonderful array of dark fruit and dry cocoa. Maybe a little coffee and some dark roasted malts, but these are not center stage.

M: Thickish, but not cloying or oppressive. Low carbonation.

D: Very good. Not the best RIS I've ever had, but I can see what the fuss is about. A very good, high quality beer that tastes great and drinks easily.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Happy Gnome, St. Paul, MN. Poured into a tulip goblet.

A-Deep brown head with low retention. Deep black and opaque beer. Moderate lacing.

S-Complex. A deep maltiness, roasted. Some dark-fruitiness esters. Also some alcoholic tones.

T-Instantly dark fruits greeted by a lingering alcoholic warmth and flavor. The fruitiness, though dark, tastes light on the palate. Deep chocolatiness comes throughn, with some roasty and coffee-like malts. Bitterness is dwarfed by the monstrous malt, but present.

M-An automatic warmth with this high ABV brew. Thick and full bodied, but velvety in my mouth. Low carbonation. A persistent lingering warmth makes this brew ideal for a cool fall evening.

D-Drinkability on a beer like this is difficult. It's easy to drink, and I'll have another in the future, but I'd be hard-pressed to drink a couple pours of this in a sitting. It's an enjoyable beer all-around, and I'll certainly keep my eyes open for this on-tap while it lasts.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

opaque. wonderful head. chocolate color... thick with little bubbles lots of lace. very high sugar content sticky on the outside of the glass when dries. quite thick. molasses, raisins and toasted apple pie. palate is toasted malt apple caramel sweet. head keeps coming back on agitation. goes down like mead. light hop chive like finish. a wonderful blend of all of this styles capacity but i could see the sweetness being a turn off for some. this may also be an extremely fresh keg. i would really like to see this cellared to bring out the more subtle notes. and i would kill to have it from a cask.

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Photo of aleigator
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Darkness '12

Pours a motor oil black color, with a dark brown, stable head, with lots of bubbles in it. Leaves back a viscous film after swirling, revealing the beers thickness. It is actually that viscous, that it leaves spots of lacing on the glass after taking a sip.

Offers sweet aromas of molasses, toffee and caramel on top. This gets balanced by coffeeish earth, charred coal, dried fruits and warming chocolate dipped alcohol. This gets hold together by even more charred malts and toasty bakers chocolate.

Offers the most silk mouthfeel. Incredibly smooth, soft on the palate, with a diverse, fuller body. Low carbonated, with rich roasty flavors to it.

Tastes of dark, roasty malts, accompanied by sweet toffee and smooth chocolate. Turns then sweeter, due to caramel and molasses, with a good amount of roast shining through. Provides boozy, earthy coffee, wrapped up by sweet liquor pralines, resulting in a very sweet finish, driven by milk chocolate and smooth cream.

Has a very sweet but gently balanced appearance, preventing the beer from becoming cloyingly sweet. As for its depth, roasted coffee adds a lot of character to the beer, competing with smooth chocolate and sweet fudge.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from the end of year Ottawa Tasting

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a small size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oats

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and vanilla. There is also some coffee, roasted/toasted nuts, and some oats.

Overall - Really smooth and enjoyable to drink. A great balance of flavours and something that I would drink a lot if it was regularly available to me.

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Photo of Smurf2055
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got from trade, got the 2011 with the cool zombie shit on it.

Pours black with a two finger billowy head.

Smell is dominated by chocolate malts. Ashy and chocolate.

Taste is sweet milk chocolate up front, roasty coffee and vanilla on the tail.

A much lighter body than I was expecting, very smooth and not just a sipper. Very good.

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Photo of robwestcott
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage -- big thanks to wisonsinality for this one.

poured cold and black from the bottle to a 10oz surly darkness snifter with a full finger, small bubbled, frothy, mocha head leaving spotty, receding lace after each sip.

aroma of espresso, candied figs and dark fruits.

semi-sweet baking chocolate, creamy cappuccino, ripe dark fruits and a hint of smoke in the wayback. at the FFF XV party, i had this one on tap and i recall a fairly evident hops profile that i'm not getting from the bottle (?)

big bodied, medium carbonation, creamy smooth, hot.

overall: great RIS, its one i'll come back to every year.

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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 811 ratings.