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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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

2,833 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,833
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,985
Gots: 1,092 | FT: 80
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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/ 

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,833 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SDRedDevil
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%

Got to try 2013 and 2012 side by side at Toronado for a Surly Lunch. Both were amazing with the 2013 having a bit less sweetness and more balance imo. Both were jet black deliciousness though!

SDRedDevil, Nov 11, 2014
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My Darkness sits in a Duvel tulip glass, the roasty brown espresso-tinged head filling the top, and the actual beer as black as the darkest night, saturated with sin. Tannish lace stays long on the glass. This bleak cast may scare away the timid, those less ready to tango with the Stygian side, but the nose entices me in, and am undaunted as I step into the dark.

A blast of coffee hits first, married with copious cocoa, bitter and sweet stand side by side, neither in dominance. Hints of dark rum, molasses, black pepper and anise are mixed in this aroma of this heady brew, and it only gets richer the more you drink it in the nose. Sweeter elements eventually take charge, but it's still a deep, almost spicy blend.

To taste: Massive mouthfeel, thick, gooey, and absolutely delicious. Chocolate is in full force, but matched once more with earthier aspects, the coffee, the spice, the slick black strap. Incredibly pervasive on the palate, this stout commands every inch of the senses, sending tasty tendrils up in each crack in the cavern of the mouth. Plenty of hops at play (80 IBUs), bobbing just below the malt.

Sip, gulp, swallow, and the parade of flavors begins again, dancing along the tongue, like some malefic ballet. Dark fruit sensations rise up and leave the mind searching for the connection. Dark cherries, berries, raspberry? ....but completely covered in a shell of chocolate. The lip smacks, the tongue scrapes up remnants of this rich elixir, not to miss a drop of deliciousness.

To state "full-bodied" would be an act of redundancy. This is huge, long, and out of the ordinary. Ends smooth and dryly, a pleasing finish, still loaded with flavor, never dying away completely.

Puts many a RIS to shame, though I'd love to sit down and do a comparison among others. To the great credit of Darkness, the alcohol content does not really stick out until nearing glasses end, and the less attractive aspect is that the beautiful dark, rich flavor leaves you craving more, ...although you probably shouldn't. (It's 9.5%, give or take.)

I entered the heart of Darkness, and peered into the abyss...found it satisfactory to my soul, and I believe I will take this midnight ride again and again...in moderation...

and to think, there is a bourbon barrel version on it's way...oh, sweet mercy!

Hey, Todd, which metal album should have been thundering in the background while I drink this?
And thank you for brewing this beer, to my knowledge the only Russian Imperial Stout from a Minnesota brewery, outside of the brewpubs.

feloniousmonk, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of Yellolab2010
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%

Yellolab2010, Nov 02, 2014
Photo of Cholansky1
4.79/5  rDev +6.4%

Cholansky1, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of bsp77
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from magnificent 750ml bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark brown that might as well be black with a thick mocha head that mostly recedes, but only after several minutes.

Smell: Very fruity aroma for a RIS, with a strong citrus hop bitterness. Some floral notes (roses?) are apparent as well as something akin to raw meat. The roasted aroma is quite low, with just a slight touch of chocolate.

Taste: Same as the aroma, it is very fruity, both due to the malts (plum, figs) and the hops (citrus). The citrus is especially off-putting, but in a good "wow I didn't realize that could work" way. Also notice some rich molasses, licorice and chocolate, with a nice mild bitterness at the end.

Feel: Low carbonation, full chewy body that is exceptionally smooth.

Drinkability: I really can't tell this is over 10% at all. Despite how thick it is, it is very easy to drink. Overall, not a typical RIS at all considering the lower roasted character and the citrus hops, but quite exceptional.

bsp77, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of mbudner
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release, big thanks to rpohagan for this one. Poured into a delerium tulip/snifter.

A- Pours a deep black, dare I say Darkness. Deep tan to mocha 1-finger head leaving spotty lacing.

S-Very sweet smelling. Molasses and chocolate. Very different from the 2008 I sampled fresh last year, which was quite hoppy.

T-Mmmm mmm mmm. This is a fine one. Very sweet with subtle soy sauce notes (it's pretty young at this point, but I'm still getting some.) Some bitter roasted malts and definitely a fair amount of sweet molasses-like flavor. The sweetness gives way to a decent hop profile for a stout of this magnitude.

MF- Nice and creamy with subtle carbonation and very full-bodied. Really well done on the mouthfeel. The sweetness doesn't leave a cloying flavor/feeling.

D- Like I said with the mouthfeel, nice and sweet, but doesn't become cloying at all. Alcohol is completely masked and I could have probably finished the bomber no problem (but I split it with a friend because you can't just crush Darkness alone.)

mbudner, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of twbrewer
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Surly Darkness goblet!

A-Poured the blackest beer I have ever seen,no light could shine thru this.1" of caramel colored head reduces to thick ring around edge of goblet.

S-First smell is soft hops,then a earthy plum and raisin smell with a chocolate and fruit background.

T-Similar to the smell,plum\raisin and a soft fruit\chocolate taste with no bitterness or hint of hops.

M-Velvety smooth over the palate with a nice touch of carbonation.

D-I've heard so much about this beer that I started to believe that it was to good to be true.I was wrong.This is a great beer that given the opportunity to try this you can not pass this up.This is a very drinkable beer but becareful at 9.5% it can sneak up on you.

twbrewer, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of lurpy1
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A long time coming on this one, fortunate to get 2 bottles from Four Firkins. One is being saved for a rainy day in 2013, the other to drink post-haste.

The pour is darker than a Spinal Tap album cover, with a substantial, sticky ocean-scum head that just goes and goes.

Smell...ooh la la, a lot going on here, but raisins, cherries, malt, and oats come to the fore. Goddamn.

If anything, the taste runs to the excessive, so much malt, fruit, boozy backdrop. Absolutely delicious. Why not a 5.0 for taste? Because it's almost too much, completely hit over the head with flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfect a thick, glossy sludge of a beer that doesn't coat the tongue too badly.

Awesome beer. Totally awesome. Glad I was able to get my hands on it.

lurpy1, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of cbutova
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes from an epic tasting with BCBCS. Thanks to Chico1985 and whoever traded it to him. Certainly one of the coolest (painted!) bottles ever.

A- If this beer was not pitch black I think another name would be appropriate. A light tan/beige head builds up and retains fairly well. It leaves thick lacing made up of fine bubbles. A nice ring and random cloud float on the beer.

Before smell and taste, it is worth mentioning that this was one of the most complex beers I have ever had.

S- Extremely roast malt up front. A cherry/dark fruit scent blends into the nose nicely. Molasses comes in pretty strong. I also get hints of pine, cocoa, dark fruits, earthy hops, caramel and even some citrus. A tiny bit of alcohol as well. The aroma itself has nice strength. There was also something I couldnt quite identify but it reminded me of my homebrew, maybe overly roasty?

T- A great balance of a ton of flavors. Very roasty malt with dark chocolate up front with molasses. Cherries and dark fruit make the main flavor of this one like a chocolate covered cherry. A tiny hint of alcohol hits the tongue but doesn't even come close to affecting the great flavor. A lot of earthy, grassy and pine hops round out the stout flavors. Sweets come into play but it doesn't bother me. The caramel malt shines its head later on and makes this one taste a lot like a Barelywine RIS. Very complex and balanced well. It never got old after an hour of sipping on it.

MF- Very creamy but not hugely thick, reminds me of KtG in a way. A very nice amount of warmth on the palate for a big RIS. Low carbonation but that is desired in this style. Roast caramel coats the palate. Needs more straight up thickness but the creaminess saves from being way off.

DB- Obviously rare and probably decently expensive. For how many flavors and the great time I had drinking this I would say it's worth it. Very complex Barleywine-like RIS with a great balance of a many different flavors.

cbutova, May 22, 2010
Photo of Luk13
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Iceland super tasting ’10 vampire bottle. Nice dark pour with a slight ruby tint, creamy tan head. Tons of licorice, molasses, port and dark fruits (plums) dominate the aroma. Very sweet taste, super fruity prune flavors, honey-molasses sweetness. Soft carbonation suits this one nicely, very silky and heavily bodied. One of my favourite IS.

Luk13, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of garymuchow
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 version.
This was sublime.
Aroma was complex and enjoyable. Rich dark malts with sweetness, roast and a nice layer of hops.
Poured like syrup. Pitch black. Very dark head of black and brown.
Flavor was remarkable. Deep dark fruits. A subdued hop presence but still noticeable.
Incredibly smooth and rich without excess. Like velvet on the tongue. Just enough carbonation to contribute without being noticeable.
This was one helluva' beer. Savored well.

garymuchow, May 16, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 2010 bottle with speedwayjim, capra12, billyshears. Thanks to speedwayjim for sharing!!!

Poured a stunning thick black with a thin tan head into a Darkness glass. This brew smells of vanilla, hops, and even licorice or good and plenty. The hops really add a nice element to this RIS. The beer is thick and wonderful, pretty sweet but the hops add such a nice element. Has a nice tingle to it, this one was my fav of the tasting.

--- edit --- 2012-01-01
vintage 2011: 4.5 - 4.5 - 5.0 - 4.5 - 5.0
decided to pop open my first 2011 bottle for the giant game. pried open the waxed cap and filled my 2010 surly snifter. poured a silky shiny black with a generous frothy mocha frappacino like head that hung out for a while after it built like a guiness. the head was milky and chunky and bubbled away slowly, but was there for the duration. looks awesome. much like last year, i get a bit of a hoppy vanilla. some roastiness, but milked over. the hops give it an almost charred smell. BAM - there's that flavor. what a fricken beer. i forgot how much i love this beer. a bit on the sweeter side than i had remembered, but the hopping gives the roastiness some balls. really enjoyable.

--- edit --- 2012-11-18 (fresh!!!)
vintage 2012: 4.5 - 4.5 - 5.0 - 4.5 - 5.0
removed the wax, decapped and filled my new darkness snifter. brew poured a deep dark ominous, yet slightly watery black. as the beer settled in my glass it embodied the name of the beer. a finger and a half of off white-acino looking head appeared on the surface. as the head dissipated it left thick foamy lacing on the glass. inviting and menacing! wonderful black malt with a solid amount of roast and a great hop to balance things out. some bitter coffee and chocolate notes on the nose as well. nice hoppy stout (actually kind of reminds me of hoppy stout from greenport harbor). a bit of char. really just a phenomenal beer. big bold and roasty with a slight amount of char on the feel. overall, one of my favorite stouts. great year after year.

cosmicevan, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of korguy123
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 into tulip. Special thanks to biglobo8971 for this bad boy.

A- Thick, syrupy totally opaque pour. Three finger dense foamy milk chocolate colored head. Very slowly recedes to finger width cap. Lacing is remarkable.

S- Roasted coffee, figs, bakers chocolate, molasses, brown sugar and subtle vanilla.

T- Milk chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, vanilla and molasses. Slight woody notes. Very smooth, very balanced.

M- This is a meal... And the light carbonation make it feel even heavier. It's silky, smooth and creamy. Probably the best feeling stout I've had yet.

O- This is supposed to be up there in stouts and does not disappoint. The tastes meld together in perfect harmony, it feels remarkable and the alcohol is invisible. The people that can attend darkness day are lucky sob's!

Thanks for this experience!

korguy123, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of rye726
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled multiple times at the 2007 GABF. I don't like to review at beer fests, but this is one of the few that really stood out.

Pitch black color with a thick espresso brown head. Nice lacing and retention.

Wow, this stuff has more nose than most bourbon aged stouts. Sweet profile of caramel, black and chocolate malts. Lots of dark fruit with molasses, coffee, and fudge.

Rich burnt and roasted malts with lots of chocolate and coffee. Keeping the sweetness in balance are big earthy floral hops and bitter molasses.

Thick and chewy yet silky smooth over the palate. Perfect body and carbonation for the flavor profile.

Doesn't get much better than this. Near perfect. Could drink this one all night.

rye726, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of francisweizen
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just recieved this one in a trade today, and was pretty excited to try/and review this very hyped brew from Surly Brewing Company.

This is a 2007 vintage that has been cellared/aged for one year since its original release on halloween of last year. Served at about 60 degree fahrenheit ambiant temperature. Slightly chilled in my trusty fridge and given time to settle so that the yeast has redistributed itself to the brown glass bottle floor.

P=5: The Blood red and black ink double wax dipped 750ml (Nice, those extra ounces come in handy, and I often wish more breweries would bottle in 750ml bombers as opposed to 22oz [660ml] bombers) bomber bottle is very cool looking indeed. Sturdy brown glass with a bitchin' label with the surly logo and a grim reaper on it. The bottle states that this is bottle # 264 although there is no further information about the beer stated except for the bottle size (750ml)

A=5: With a hard pour into a 20oz Imperial Pint Glass this beer is a real beauty to behold. Ink black with no light penetration and a massive espresso coloured head of foam that lasts and lasts with excellent retention, sheeting, and lacing

S=5: When I cracked the top off of this the smell instantly penetrated my nasal cavity. Deep rosated malts, dark russian rye bread, chocolate, dark black unsweetened coffee, condensed milk, earthy green hops, and a melange of other 'dark' flavors

T=4.5: The taste is awesome and smooth as hell. A great blend of green earthy hops, fresh russian rye bread, chocolate syrup/chocolate milk, toffee, with a bit of coffee, vanilla, sweet condensed milk and caramel thrown in for good measure. The yeast is a nice one here with some very English buttery undertones and the front palate and back palate combine nicely to make this a real cigar sipper of a brew. The burnt coffee, and dark fruit/currant flavors really build up when this one warms up to room temperature. I am now beginning to see that the hype is justified. However, the taste profile is not quite Courage 83' or 2004 Dark Lord. Perhaps it's a bit better, fresh, on tap, or on cask, or maybe even from a can [one can wish]. However, this is near perfect for a russian imperial stout. Alcohol is muted and melded, but it makes itself known in the intense, acrid dry finish. Kind of like day old cold pressed espresso discards

M=5: The mouthfeel is extremely satisfying. Thick, chewy, and coating with an exponential warmth about it as well. However it is not quite the beast in the mouth that dark lord is. It could be a bit thicker with more mid body depth, if I am to be completely honest. Still, thick and rich, this is the epitome of a great imperial stout

D=5: This is where this one really shines. This is a big RIS for sure, but the flavors are melded together very well and in the end the drinkability is really excellent for a 10%+ abv brew. Th e fantastic aroma, interesting flavor profile, and satisfying mouthfeel really all pull together to make this a greatly drinkable RIS.

O=4.9: Overall this is pretty much a 4.9 brew. It is one inch away from a 5 in either taste or mouthfeel and it really fires on all cylinders. I can't wait to try this fresh, as even though I did not sample the 2007 batch fresh in the bottle, on tap, or on cask, I can tell that the hop flavors have been somewhat muted and mellowed, and the mouthfeel may have thinned a bit as well. I can see this being a 5 under the right circumstances, and I may have to take the flight over to MN this halloween to find out for myself.

PC: Surly is probably my favorite new brewery (I only discovered them earlier this year). They make interesting limited seasonals like this (as well as One, Two, etc), Great regular seasonals (such as Cynic, Fest, Bitter Brewer, etc), and killer year round brews (such as furious and bender). I look forward to trying more of their beer be it in cans, bottles, on tap, or on cask. I also look forward to trying the Smoke and some of their more obscure tap/cask only products. Whilst hardly life changing, or the best beer that I have ever had, this is an incredibly solid product, and considering that this brewery has only been open for a few years they really have quite the winner here. I look forward to toasting them on many occasions in the future. In the meantime a BIG thanks to Akorsak for hooking me up with this beauty. The check (or the cable car) will be in the mail this week.

This brew really reminded me why I love Russian Imperial Stouts so much...Probably my all time #3 Imperial Stout after 2004 Dark Lord and 1983 Courage Russian Imperial

francisweizen, Sep 24, 2008
Photo of sisuspeed
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Bottle

Thanks go out to my Grandparents for this one. They managed to secure me two bottles of this release. Awesome.

Chipped off the wax and poured this into a tulip glass. Served at cellar temperature. Extremely dark body. No light getting through this one. Complete darkness. Above the body a thin tan head clings mostly to the sides of the glass, leaving spider-webbed lacing. Looks beautiful and sinister at the same time.

Aroma contains lots of earthy, grassy hops mixed with chocolate malts and anise. Hints of sticky sweet molasses. Probably one of the hoppier RIS aromas I've had the pleasure to nose.

The flavor on this heavy stout is a mix of sweet malts and grassy, sometimes peppery, hops. The hops are more aggressive than many RISs, but complement the sweetness quite well, making this a very drinkable RIS. Diving into the flavor more one can pick out a good helping of chocolate malt and molasses. Anise is present as well, giving a sweet and spiced level of complexity to the beer. What is really surprising, however, is how well the alcohol is hidden. Besides some warming and a little bit of a kick once in awhile, it is almost unnoticeable. Overall, the flavor is a good mix of hops and a ton of dark/chocolate malt.

Mouthfeel is super smooth. Thick and velvety. Almost milkshake like. Low carbonation and warming alcohol. This beer's body is dead on for a RIS.

Drinkability is quite high. Especially for a beer of 10.3% ABV. Currently splitting this bottle with another BA and it is disappearing pretty quickly. So smooth and the well hidden alcohol. This beer is a sipper, but a quick sipper.

Overall, a truly exceptional RIS. One of the best beers I've ever had and a great example of the style. I'm really glad I have another one in the cellar and I'm excited to see how it ages. Great job Surly!

sisuspeed, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of mnphish
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2012 edition. 750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: black as night with a big head that lasts a while

Smell: dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits, cherries, and raisins.

Taste: rich full flavor of chocolate, coffee, molasses, cherries, licorice. Very complex.

Mouthfeel: smooth, creamy, heavy body. Amazing.

Overall: This beer is amazing fresh and I certainly have some in my cellar for aging, can't wait to see how these develop. If this got the barrel aged treatment it might just be the best in beer in the world.

mnphish, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of jampics2
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

jampics2, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of HopDerek
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BrooHa for this bottle.

Pours a thick syrupy dark brown/black with 2 fingers of thick mocha tan head into a large snifter. Great retention and lacing. Smells of citrus hops, dark fruits, chocolate, anise, roasted malt, and leather. Tastes of pineapple, chocolate, and dark fruits like plums, figs, and raisins, cocoa powder, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, leather, and anise with a hint of coffee and herbal in the finish. Full body with low carbonation. Thick and syrupy, sweet with lots of dark fruit and chocolate flavors. Smooth and creamy with a nice bitterness but not too potent. Pretty unique even amongst the other big Russian Imperial Stouts. Very drinkable and a great sipping treat.

HopDerek, May 28, 2009
Photo of optiontwo
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle acquired at this years darkness day, poured into tulip glass

Appearance: Darkness. Opaque. Beautiful two finger tan head. This is exactly how a RIS should look.

Smell: Wooo. Almost makes me fall back in my seat. Such an array of aromas I don't know where to start. Roasted malt, chocolate, slight coffee, then strong sweetness of fruits ranging everywhere from orange/lemon to strawberry jam and cherries. Amazing.

Taste: This may be the drink of the devil but it tastes like it's straight out of heaven. Dark chocolate, orange, and dark cherries are the first three things that hit me but there is soo much more going on here. Earthy tones and what I have to imagine are hop flavors hit after the initial sweet and roasted flavor. This has got to be the hoppiest imperial stout I've ever had and that's a good thing, a very good thing. The combination of malt sweetness and hop bitterness in this beer make the flavors so complex that each sip is an experience. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Coats my mouth with the beer but not to the point where it's hard to swallow. The mouthfeel increases the enjoyment of this beer tenfold because it helps the flavors stay in your mouth that much longer. This is also exactly how a RIS should feel.

Drinkability: Surprising. I've had a good amount of imperial stouts and it's one of my favorite styles, but even my favorites test me when it comes to drinkability. I usually want to have more than one or two but can't bring myself to do it. With Darkness though, I could literally drink this all night until I stumble to bed. Very impressive.

Overall: The very best RIS I have ever had. Do whatever you can to get your hands on this miraculous beer. I love Surly.

optiontwo, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle split with onix1agr. Thanks to kbutler for the hook up.

A- pitch black and oily that's for sure with a finger of coffee colored creamy head. The cap vanishes into the deep after a bit. Deep ruby glow when brightly lite from behind.

S- dark brown sugar and bakers chocolate. Pumpernickel bread. Dark berries and some spice. Deep roasted malts and maybe some molasses.

T- there is a lot going on in the dark. Tons of dark roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Brown sugar and blackberries. There some grapefruit in there too and it really picks up the fruit aspect, balances out the peppery roast, and brightens up the dark malty sweetness. Maple pepper bacon? No, but there is a very mild savory quality and it really works for me. Touch of heat.
M- thick and chewy, oil and syrup. Coats the mouth so completely but has just the right amount of carb to cut the soup. The slightest linger, I almost want a bit more.

D- with such a complex flavor profile and abv I wouldn't say its a session beer but damn if this is not easy going.

oglmcdgl, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of hero27
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Blood red & black wax drapes the neck of the 750ml.
Bottle # 185.

Consumed out of the "official" 12oz Darkness glass...

Pours a dark, burnt chestnut...nearly black. Tannish brown head sits atop the dark liquid.
Aroma of dark chocolate, fig, and heavily roasted malts..molasses, caramel, and brown sugar flavors take control with the first sip...it's worth noting that there's a suprisingly strong resiny hop profile, since it's not something most people pay attention to in an imperial stout.
Expectantly huge body...coating, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Each sip I take seems to be more satisfying than the last..it's really hard to find any faults in this beer.
Somehow..(for a Russian Imperial Stout from a brewery only a couple years old) Darkness seems refined..almost like it has been perfected over decades. An absolute delicacy in the world of craft beer.

hero27, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of braden7
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%

braden7, Oct 23, 2014
Photo of exl_90
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%

exl_90, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of Todd
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Todd, Apr 08, 2014
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,833 ratings.