Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

3,197 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,197
Reviews: 813
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 3,195
Gots: 1,173 | FT: 87
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/ 

Labels:
2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,197 | Reviews: 813
Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.96/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2010 vintage

Incredibly sweet, cloying beer. I had trouble finishing my sample. It was like drinking molasses and hoppy wort. I did not think this beer was worthy of its praise to begin with. Now I have no doubt that this beer is pure hype.

2008 vintage.

Darkness poured out black with a nice head produced from its big hopping addition for an imperial stout. Reminds me of Stone's RIS.

It's still hoppy after a year plus in this bottle. Seems to have faded them into an earthy smell. Light sweetness and dark malts blend into the aroma.

This beer has a lot of balance going for it. Light hops, chocolate, roasted barley, and balanced sweetness make it very easy to drink at this age. There's moderate carbonation to it as well.

This beer still reminds me of a well aged Stone RIS though.

Photo of rayjay
2.99/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 bottling. This was the beer I wanted very badly to love, but it just didn't work out between us :-(

Assets:
-creamy and dark brown, with a dark brown head and great retention; very inviting
-excellent creamy carbonation
-mouthfeel is heavy but still quite drinkable

Negative factors:
-bizarre sweetness that just doesn't work, like a double foreign export stout
-weird hop use, citrus rind-y like Simcoe; just doesn't work
-I was expecting way more bitterness
-muted nose
-drinkability suffers from the "off" flavors (no actual defects)

My numbers seem critical even to me, but since 2.0 is "not impressed" and I'm definetely not impressed, i gave it a 2.5. I'm not down on Surly at all; I love their other offerings.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep black with decent carbonation and a small brown head. Nose is rather funky here. Dried fruits, alcohol, roastiness, cocoa. taste is dried fruits like prunes, raisines, figs and some cocoa with a subtle roasted malt. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected and I have no idea where th high ABV is? Not feeling this brew at all.

Photo of ncvbc
3.01/5  rDev -33%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dark and beautiful with a creamy tan head and very solid retention. Sticky chunks of lacing down the glass. Smell is interesting. Creamy dark chocolate with a touch of roast, along with an evident hop presence underneath. It brings forth a spicy scent. Pretty rich of molasses. Taste is just over-the-top sweet for my liking. Again, big time molasses and in an overwhelming fashion. Some dark fruits as well. A slight hint of roast and definite hops again attempt to find balance but just help to forget about the sweet for a second. In the mouth it's creamy and smooth, not too bad by any means. Sadly, this is not one that I enjoyed so much. I'm just glad it wasn't wasted, as I shared it with a couple people. Maybe after a year or more, this one would lose some of its sweetness and find a bit more balance. Cheers to Bill for sending yet another Surly brew my way!

Photo of younger35
3.03/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had a pint of this on the Friday night (10/24/08) before the actual bottle release at Stub & Herbs. After gorging on Surly Coffee Bender all night, I didn't really enjoy my glass of Darkness. Hoping this was just due to the fact that Coffee Bender is gods gift to man and any beer following it, probably isn't going to be that great. So I tried it the night of the release with my buddy after sleeping off the buzz from the morning and afternoon festivities. Drank from my brand spanking new Darkness snifter.

2008 Edition.

Appearance- Glugs a jet black hue that allows zero light to permeate any part of the beer. Fairly decent one finger dark brownish tan head forms leaving a small creamy cap and collar with loads of sticky lacing. Thickest beer I've seen since Dark Lord.
Smell- Tons of well roasted malt give a burnt perception that lends to the copious amounts of coffee and bakers chocolate that jump out of the glass. Tinges of light alder smoke and dark fruits (prunes, raisins and even dark cherries) are detectable as the hoppyness of this Imperial Stout is taken to a whole new level. A definite sweetness in the form of dark toffee and caramel and even some murky black molasses. So much going on in here I think you can pretty much smell whatever you want.
Taste- Ohhh... The aforementioned sweetness in the nose really starts out strong. The burnt coffee and baker's chocolate are muted a bit but still present. Corn Syrup, caramel and dark brown sugar give way to a more earthy molasses before my tongue is destroyed by the hops. Full of raw pine and lemon grass that produces a very herbal hop bitterness that tries to cut the sweetness. Fail. Dark cherries and perhaps even a touch of vanilla finishes the beer along with a very cloying sweetness. The alcohol is covered super well though.
Mouthfeel- Very thick and viscous with nice smooth creamy feel. The carbonation is light and prickly and very nice.
Drinkability- Overall I can definitely see the reason why people love this brew. It's very unique and I haven't tasted anything like this before but it's just not for me. I don't mind a little sweetness in a nice big brew but I think Darkness is just plain cloying and hard to drink. This is all very disappointing too because the nose is pretty inviting and I've been waiting quite some time to sample this. Not Surly's best beer but glad to have to opportunity to try anyways!

Photo of simcoeluv
3.04/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not barrel-aged.

Had heard a lot about it, so was disappointed.

I could go through the list, but bottom line it was sugar sweet.

Poured it out without finishing.

Photo of ShanePB
3.05/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2009, black wax. Poured into a tasting glass, courtesy of an anonymous BA at Imminent Liquidation. Thanks for the opportunity!

A: Darkness is no understatement - pitch jet black with a very minimal mocha colored head. Quick dissipation, not bad.

S: Nice aromatics, some lactose, sweet notes of milk chocolate, roasted caramel malt elements. Well balanced, nothing dominating or show stealing. All in all, it's still a nice display of flavors.

T: Holy hell, this is not as inviting as the aroma. Really sweet milkiness up-front that is palate coating and sticky. It won't go away. I can't get any other flavors to compete with this taste left in my mouth. Some overly sweet chocolate notes try to break through but it's not enough. Where's the roast? The malt base? SOMETHING! Nothing. Disappointing.

M: Pretty thin for the style, definitely does not have the creaminess or full-bodied mouth feel I am looking for. The carbonation is on the lower end, which helps this from becoming a complete mess.

I'm not quite sure if it was just this vintage or if something went wrong in this bottle but it tasted soured, but I don't think there were any reports of infection, so I'm just assuming this was how it was meant to be. I'd gladly taste another vintage to see what the heck was going on here. Thanks again though to whoever brought the bottle, not your fault, but just a let down for a beer I've almost traded a lot for -- or even dropped some $$ for on the 'bay.

Photo of beachbum1975
3.12/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage: hand dipped gold wax with a layer of unseen black wax underneath - thanks go out to Faro for this particular trade!

This marks my first review of the 2008 Darkness, but in time there will be more reviews added, once there has been a year or so of cellaring done. Great, ominous label. Drank this on 11/10/2008 with soundbarrier, newtonty and a couple other non-BA friends. Served at the recommended 55 degrees.

Pours jet black with a surprisingly high viscosity when poured into my large tulip glass. Medium tan ¼ inch head after a semi-aggressive pour and leaves a nice, dark brown halo throughout the drink.

Floral and earthy hops all VERY evident in the nose. Smells of red and black cherries, alcohol, light chocolate, possibly light vanilla and a huge sweetness mixed with other dark fruits like figs. My initial thought is VERY sweet, too sweet and unbalanced. BIG hops presence, (much like Victory's Storm King), but even stronger! I am a hop head and I had a hard time getting through the overall sweetness so I didn't really taste any of the expected RIS attributes like: coffee, smoke, bitterness, dryness, char, chocolate, etc.

Please don't fill up my inbox with nasty beermails! Maybe I got a bottle from the bottom of a barrel, you never know... For what it's worth, I LOVE Surly's other offerings, but if you were lucky enough to acquire or trade a couple of the 08's, drink one now if you want to make a comparison after aging it for some time, but I can't say it enough - this one definitely needs some time to mature and balance out. More reviews to come...

Photo of Martin2D
3.13/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to fbm115 for sharing this one.

A - Pitch black with a smallish tan head with lacing

S - Roasty, fruity, possibly some coffee

T - I couldn't be caught more off guard by the flavor. It is super sweet, almost like unfermented wort. There are wort like malt flavors, roasty, coffee. These are followed by a huge hop bouquet. Almost IPA like in its hop quality

M - Medium-high carbonation and medium-high in body.

D - I wouldn't be able to drink much of this. Decent beer, not my cup of tea.

Photo of StoutSlayer
3.2/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Going to the 2008 Darkness release last weekend I went on a mission to taste one of the best beers I would have had to date. That definitely happened, but unfortunately it wasn't Darkness. After finally being let in the brewery at 12pm, we were able to get our Darkness quickly- a kudos to all at Surly for making this process very easy, enjoyable, and fun. You can tell they actually care about their customers. After getting my bottles, there was plenty of more fun to be had, and Surly was offering a wide variety of other styles to be tasted, including a Coffee Bender and T-Bag Furious. The latter was without a doubt, one of the most interesting, great tasting beers I have had to date. My only complaint is that I couldn't take 6 bottles of this wonderful brew home so I could properly review it! Anyway, after I got back home I could not wait to taste one of my Darkness bottles, and admittedly my expectations were high especially after tasting many great inventive flavors of theirs. So I pulled out 2 Darkness Snifter Glasses and poured them generously with Darkness for my Dad and myself. And here's what I thought...

Appearance- As you would expect from its namesake, out of the bottle came a viscous, jet black stream, almost as if they were to make chocolate milk using exclusively 90% pure cocoa dark chocolate. However it was not as thick as the "motor oil" a reporter on T.V. had described it. This then supported a beautiful, coffee colored head that had a creaminess I really enjoy. All in all it was extremely inviting.

Smell- The smell definitely served to build on the impressions from the pour, and to me this was the best part of the beer. I got an awesome aroma with a heavy mix of chocolate, coffee, Dark molasses, and cherries. There was an interesting level of hops aroma too that I wasn't expecting. Everything came together great and let you know that, "Hey, I'm a BIG beer."

Taste- As I brought the glass to my lips I took a generous sip and whoooa... I was getting a great coffee, dark chocolate, toasted malt, and even substantial hops flavor, when it came on slow but started to get louder and stronger until... SWWEEET!!! In rushed a tidal-wave of molasses, maraschino cherry, and syrupy flavors that seemed to overtake everything. The more bitter flavors previously described were still present, trying to fight back, but to me were simply no match for the sweetness army that was launching wave after wave of attack on my taste buds. This became stronger as i continued to drink, until by the end of my glass I could only describe this beer as sweet. It seemed as though the Devil was actually a very sweet man indeed. However do not be fooled! The ABV is hidden remarkably well and sneaks up on you. My dad and I split the bottle and both of us could definitely feel its strength.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability- Although the mouthfeel lends itself to the beer as a whole (smooth and silky) I can't say this is an extremely "drinkable" beer. This is considering if you define drinkable as a beer you could have one after another of while still really enjoying it, which I do. The multitude of ingredients, flavors, and really -sweetness-, would keep most from consuming more than one 750ml bottle by themselves. And to be totally fair I don't think it's really supposed to. I think I would actually enjoy this beer more if it had been released in a 12oz bottle, enough to experience it's great complexity, but not be overpowered by it.

In the end this is a beer that everyone should have the chance to try. It definitely pushes the envelope of beer, at least for me, but can be very overpowering. Surly makes some wonderfully inventive and downright delicious beer, but this is not one of my faves.

Photo of MrFootstones
3.24/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage

Appearance: Pours oily, dark, and menacing with a fat cocoa colored head which fades into a thin cap. Looks awesome.

Aroma: Boozy, hoppy, sweet, mildly roasty. Alcoholic esters. Dark fruit and baker's chocolate. Not tremendously appealing to be honest.

Taste: Dark dried fruit, alcohol, faint roast. Sweet and hoppy, significant but not overpowering bitterness. Smoothness mid palate. Dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and rich without being heavy. Good amount of medium but not prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: My 1/3 of a bottle is a good amount. Not
loving it, but not difficult to drink by any means.

Photo of JasonHaviland
3.28/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

EBF Sample -- not for me. Way too boozy for me, too hot on the finish with strong astringency. I was really looking forward to this one, but it fell flat. Look and smell were fine, but I didn't feel like it was well integrated with the bold flavors and interesting nuances I was hoping for. Will try again, but won't seek this one out.

Photo of TexIndy
3.29/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

400th review! 2008 Edition. Poured from a 750ml wax dipped bottle into a pint glass. Cool label. and wax job. Was pitch black in color even against a light. Amazing lacing. It had a large brown head that ever so slowly settled into a constant thick foam.

The aroma was surprisingly sweet. It wasn't the dark fruit sweet that you find (and I don't like) in most RIS's. Rather it was more like an amped up milk stout. Also heavy on liquid dark chocolate aroma. Some hops hidden way in the back but overwhelmed by the sweetness. So glad it wasn't dark fruit aroma but the aroma could have used some more hops to offset the sweetness. The taste was very similar to the taste. Completely unexpected to be so sweet. Almost cloying at first and then completely cloying by middle. Slight bitter at the end but not nearly enough to offset it. Alcohol is felt by warm stomach but completely hidden in the taste. That is an area where most (I'm looking at you Dark Lord) RIS's fail. They are too dominated by alcohol where this one hides it perfectly. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Good carbonation. Too sweet of an aftertaste.

Overall, a disappointment especially when factoring what I traded to get it. For me, it was WAY too sweet. Even after it really warmed up, it was still off the chart. It's only 4 months old so can't be over-aged and can't imagine further aging would cut the sweetness any more. No real hop presence as-is and that would fade over time. Really disappointed in this one. Love all the Surly's that I've had but this one is a miss for me. Still can't get over that it's because of being too sweet - like sugar water. If you'd said too raisiny or too much alcohol I'd have believed that but not this. May try another batch in the future but probably one and done for me unless a unique circumstance applies.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.33/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml wax-top bottle. Pitch black liquid. Thich tan head that lasts for quite some time, and surrenders some great looking patchwork of lace.

Loads of citrusy hops up front, big and juicy. Ripe fruit, chocolate, and alcohol come out in the nose. Interesting combo.

What sticks out to me up front is the amount of sweetness, a bit cloying for me. SOme chocolate comes in, but gets overtaken by a huge blast of citrusy hops. SOme warming from the alcohol.

Maybe a bit thin. Lower carbonation. Intesesting, but not my taste. Too much sweetness, with too much hop flavor.

Photo of dtmets84
3.34/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Shared the bottle with DTMets84.

I have been waiting to dabble in darkness for sometime now and what is a better excuse then no work monday? Yahoo for labor day.

Appearance: Pours a dark dark black with an inch head.
Head is the color of khaki jeans?

Smell: Sweet? Black tuesday again?! Roasty as well.

Taste: Lots of something I can not put my finger on yet but it is not something that appeals to me. Its Dark Lord again.

Mouthfeel: My first surly brew ever and I am too letdown to discuss the mouthfeel.

Photo of akorsak
3.38/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A bottle of the 2008 release, shared with Deuane and Ffejherb.

A: The stout is admirably dark, a pitch black monster that has an off-white head that doesn't linger for long.

S: The stout is bold, thick and syrupy with an ancho chile smokiness. The thick malts reveal chocolate and caramel over time.

T: Chocolate nuttiness leads off the ale, dark and thick with a graham cracker-like finish. The ancho chile flavor is present, giving the stout a buffalo wing-like taste. Syrupy flavors are intense, sweet with a near-cloying presence. Coffee and cocoa see the stout away and they may be the best features of the bottle.

M: Syrupy, the stout borders on cloying at times. The cocoa powder is nice but it doesn't last long enough to make a difference.

D: To paraphrase, did I really shave me legs for this? I am underwhelmed and ranked this one behind the Coronado bourbon RIS, Dark Hollow and Full Sail Black Gold. Don't believe the hype!

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.4/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage thanks for sharing MrVonzipper

Look: Very dark pretty much black body with a 1/4 tan head and ok retention and some spotty lacing

Smell: The nose for me really doesn't work. It is a combination of chocolate dark fruits a touch of vanilla sweetness and piney hops

Taste: Again just not a fan of the taste. It starts of slightly sweet with some chocolate caramel and vanilla and finishes with a piney bitterness that just does not work for me

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium to mild carbonation and bitter

Overall: This beer reminds me more of a cda than a RIS. The flavors are all over the place and just do not mix well for me. Definitely not worth seeking out

Photo of andreasmwatt
3.4/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Very dark nice looking beer. Way excited when I poured it.

Smell - Pretty bland actually. Not a whole lot of sense.

Taste- I know everyone loves this beer but I don't love it actually I can live without it. I like dark beer and this one just was not my thing.

Mouthfeel - Felt very nice on the palate.

D - Wuite Quaffable, like I said b4 just not my kind of beer.

Photo of Brez07
3.43/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage, courtesy of oach. 200th review

A: Pours fairly dark and leaves a 2 finger coffee head. As this slowly fades to a thin layer, it leaves thick lacing on the glass. This remains present through the glass

S: Initially I am hit with chocolate, but this is short lived. A quick hit of roasted malt is overtaken with smoke and tobacco. Hops follow behind, which surprised me given it's now about 4 months old. There is also some dark fruit and small hint of alcohol

T: First reaction was sweet and smokey. Definite soy sauce presence (first beer I've really picked up on that flavor). Minor notes of chocolate and tobacco. Also some dark fruit. Finishes dry with sweet soy sauce

M: Full bodied. Light, but sharp carbonation. Dark fruit and roasted malt aftertaste

D: Considering the hype, this one falls short for me. The sweetness is slightly overbearing and there's no balance. The alcohol is hidden which is a plus. Won't seek out again

Photo of billshmeinke
3.46/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Thanks to biniek13 for trading it to me. 2009 vintage.

Two finger beige head. Pitch black body. Great retention that leaves nice lacing behind.

Smells of tootsie rolls. Dark fruits (plumbs and raisins). Nose reminds me quite a bit of Chokolat by Southern Tier.

Taste is similar. Tootsie rolls, sugar, plumbs, prunes, brown sugar, a touch of dark chocolate, subtle black berries and raspberries, candied dark fruits, and a hint of roastiness/smokiness on the back end. Too much fake sugary like flavor for me.

Thick and full bodied. Low carbonation. Quite smooth, and luscious. Perfect RIS mouthfeel.

A bit cloying, but the alcohol is well hidden. One bottle wasn't exactly easy to put down. Really similar to Chokolat which is much easier to trade for. It also gets a bit better after it warms.

Photo of tarheels86
3.52/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL 2010 vampire ed courtesy of beeranddogs. Pour pour is clear ruby to deep brown looking opaque black in the glass. A massive mocha head erupts with infinite retention and bit webby, sticky lace. Aroma isn’t all the massive or even pleasant: salty olives, brine, lots of wood. As it warms the only thing that comes through is oxidized red apple slices. The taste is dry oak, spicy oak, slightly hot alcohol, sweet molasses and prunes. Palate is very soft, not too syrupy, ending somewhat chalky and powdery. Comes across as very basic and mediocre. How this is in the Top 100 and Midnight Sun Berserker is not baffles me. There are just so many better imperial stouts out there. 12/12/2010 6/5/7/4/13=3.5

Photo of jeffthecheff
3.52/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared at the "Black Friday" tassting 2009. Thanks fbm115 for the bottle.

The beer is black. It's Darkness. The head is a dark brown but it dies to just a lace around the glass.

The aroma is very hoppy with only a hint of dark flavor in the back. Doesn't really live up to the Darkness title, as it it more bright and hoppy. Pine and citrusy orange peel come through with DIPA strength.

The flavor is mostly hoppy, with a syrupy, dark chocolate flavor hiding in there. There is a burnt, bitter finish from both the hops and the roast. Fruity hop flavors come through as orange and cranberry, reminding me of a chocolate covered fruits. There is a bit of a garlicy flavor as well from the overboard of hops.

The mouthfeel is thick, resiny, and oily. Slightly chalky finish. Slight warming feeling from the alcohol. This beer is hurt by the overboard of hops for the drinkability. Overall it seemed like there was too much going on, but I'd like to see how this tastes with some age on it when those hops calm down.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage: Pours out black, you know the story. A dark fruit aroma, plum, prune, fig, raisin.

Taste, reminiscient of dark lord, but a little thinner. Sweet, dark sugar. This really is right up the alley of a traditional RIS, sweet, not super thick, no coffee, chocolate seemed to be on the lacking side for any kind of stout. Boozy, didn't pick up any vanilla, lots of wood, probably oak, oak was all over this.

Was comparable to tenfidy also. Not my favorite RIS, but definitely solid. But I'd rather have coffee bender, abrasive, furious or wet. This would be no big deal if it was in a can.

Photo of EwaldEichstaett
3.55/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got a bottle of this beast and was extremely excited to try it out. Split it with a lucky buddy.

Pours pitch black with no light penetration what so ever. Average sized dark brown head.

Damn this beer smells good! and strong! As others have noted it is very sweet, roasted, fruity, chocolaty, smokey and generally dark and damn strong.

The taste is the same thing. It is almost overwhelming. The flavour is good, sweet chocolate, strong coffee, toffee, caramel and fig flavours abound. Overall, the beer is much too sweet. I think that is the major problem.

Feels nice and smooth on the tongue, coats your mouth nicely, the alcohol is also extremely well masked.

The aroma and taste go right into your head and assault your temples. I had a headache halfway through. I really wanted to like this beer more than I did... It is also way to expensive; I would not buy it again.

Photo of smakawhat
3.56/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

4 oz. pour into a small snifter at Churchkey DC. Vintage 2011.

A real nice dark cocoa brown head is presented, falls slowly. Manages to leave a real nice whispy puck and collar while finishing. Body color gives a slightly good oily sheen, but nothing filimy, and the body color is nearly jet black (I'll go walnut black)

Nose hits with mild char, faint milk chocolate, incredibly soft bodied and silky smelling, like whipped up mocha. Unfortunately there's something also medicinal on this as well.

Taste goes to sweetened coffee, and warming hot cocoa. A very noticeable taste of confectioners sugar, maybe even some maple. It's nicely balanced though between all these palate flavors, maybe even some faint hop bitter on the finish. Palate matches the sense of smelling velvet and rich silk. But incredibly sweet tasting though and mostly just "noticeably sweet" which makes it a bit one dimensional.

Overall though, it reminds me too much of CBS on tap but nowhere as impressive, and has that noticeable sugar sweetness which gets to me a bit. It's an impressive beer, but I just don't enjoy drinking this at all compared to others I've had.

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,197 ratings.