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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,529 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,529
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,872
Gots: 1,000 | FT: 67
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:

2007-Grim Reaper
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,529 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Marty30


4/5  rDev -11.1%

10-20-2012 01:00:17 | More by Marty30
Photo of WanderingFool


4/5  rDev -11.1%

10-19-2012 18:50:23 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of Scotchboy


4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Zombie bottling sent by my awesome Surly hookup (you know who you are!). Red waxed & capped 750ml split with my brother and poured into a Deschutes tulip.

A: Pours as dark as ANY beer I've seen...dense and black and opaque with a cap of brown.

S: Dark roast character with intense notes of dark fruits and chocolate, with hints of coffee as well...burnt caramel, dark raisins, cherry pit, fudge, hints of molasses.

T: Right in line with the nose, dark and sweet malty notes with plenty of roasted backbone, deep dark pitted fruits, brown sugar and molasses, dark cherries, semi-acrid coffee, brownie batter. Still a bit of alcohol on the finish.

MF: Fuller mouthfeel, sticky and viscous. A tiny complaint, but it could be 'bigger'.

O: This is a very good-to-great beer. I can see why this one gets the attention it does, and I'm so glad to have tried it. Excellent stout in a world that's full of options.

Thanks Aaron!

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2012 15:58:22 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Rza36


5/5  rDev +11.1%

10-18-2012 16:13:26 | More by Rza36
Photo of codysjb


4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer tasting 10/14/12
Motor oil black little head
Toffee, dark, caramel small coffe notes
Lots of carbonation, caramel, heavy very heavy.
Still just a massive amount of carbonation here almost over the top.
Good but not standing up to the cbs and dark lord were opening side by side.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 21:47:36 | More by codysjb
Photo of Gobzilla


4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 20:49:33 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of elcrawl


5/5  rDev +11.1%

10-14-2012 18:33:03 | More by elcrawl
Photo of mattizmyname

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

10-14-2012 15:14:30 | More by mattizmyname
Photo of itsthepleats


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

10-14-2012 05:23:43 | More by itsthepleats


5/5  rDev +11.1%

10-13-2012 16:29:04 | More by IMSPEAKNOENGLISH
Photo of AllenJasper


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

10-12-2012 04:04:09 | More by AllenJasper
Photo of Chrily


4.5/5  rDev 0%

10-11-2012 12:14:14 | More by Chrily
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT


4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2012 00:29:56 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of tarheels86


3.53/5  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

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2012 15:56:54 | More by tarheels86
Photo of dirtylou


4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

on-tap, brouwers

I believe this was the first time I've had this outside of a festival setting - 12oz pour in a snifter, ebony body, light tan lace. Definitely sticky-sweet and less hopped than I recall from past years, but still not without some nice pine resin traces. Rich, decadent and very smooth. A good RIS, but one whose legacy seems to have faded...

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2012 03:17:48 | More by dirtylou
Photo of MikeCactusGordon


4.5/5  rDev 0%

10-01-2012 18:12:54 | More by MikeCactusGordon
Photo of pvequalsnrt


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

09-30-2012 18:44:46 | More by pvequalsnrt
Photo of cofeeguru


5/5  rDev +11.1%

09-30-2012 06:16:13 | More by cofeeguru
Photo of MPLSbrewer


5/5  rDev +11.1%

09-29-2012 04:52:55 | More by MPLSbrewer
Photo of Cheers2Me

4.5/5  rDev 0%

09-26-2012 15:41:41 | More by Cheers2Me
Photo of yamar68


4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black coffee color body with minimal clarity and an edge of copper - dense khaki brown head that laces nicely. Quite a healthy looking beer.

Dark fruits - dates, raisins, figs, brown sugar, slight leather presence, black licorice, tons of roasted malts and a hop profile that is unmatched when it comes to unbarreled imperial stouts.

Bitter toffee, faint alcohol presence, harsh chocolate, burnt almonds, caramel cake, molasses, overripe cherry, such a classic flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is slick and viscous, oily, still highly drinkable given the style. Sugary.

Drink up, pussies. This one is best fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 04:23:41 | More by yamar68
Photo of bamadog


3.7/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have resisted the Darkness for too long. I've had a long, unproductive and otherwise kind of crappy day, so I figure I need to do a little sumpin' sumpin' for myself on a day like this. Review is from notes taken on 9/21/2012 and poured from the bottle (2009 mummy) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks a little thick and viscous on the pour, definitely warrants some "glugs," but I feel that I've seen thicker, most notably Hunahpu, but that's THE exceptional beer; body is of course black and opaque; starts with a 1/2 finger dark, creamy tan head that fades to a loose, incomplete head with a full swath of lacing dripping slowly down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Upon cracking this, there is a strong, smoky, soy sauce blast in the nose; it eventually settles a little bit and there is some pretty big and roasty maltiness there with a touch of burnt coffee, possibly espresso; I would swear there is a touch of vanilla lying about in there, as well as a touch of sweet, yet slightly tart, cherries; just a touch of alcohol lingers, but it seems really well blended in the nose.

Taste: You know, it's good, but I'm really not blown away like I was hoping to be. I'm actually reminded a little bit of 2010 DL -- big, smoky and almost salty/soy sauce (not in a bad way); bit of a buttery sweetness hanging out in the back and there is some slick, syrupy semi-sweet chocolate; touch of roastiness. I have to wonder if it's past its prime?

Mouthfeel: Body is indeed thick and heavy, but it's fairly slick and leaves just a little bit of grit on the teeth; thick, but loose and slightly sticky coating is left all over the roof of the mouth; belly does register some warmth.

Overall: I would be willing to try it again if it comes in to my possession, but it will be drank immediately instead of giving it the opportunity to age and develop. Sometimes cellaring works well and you get a whole new product, and sometimes, you get disappointed. Sipper, with big alcohol, may be tough to get through the whole bottle on my own, but I'll figure out how to make do.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2012 02:24:43 | More by bamadog
Photo of 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 hara94


5/5  rDev +11.1%

09-20-2012 14:24:40 | More by hara94
Photo of Holland


4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark, thick, with minimal head but some nice lacing and a bit of tan foam sitting on the top.

S: caramel sweetness, roasted notes that don't quite hit the coffee roasted smell, chocolate, some earthy hops that balance it nicely

T: for my tastes, this is balance. Maybe a bit sweet, but the hops and roasted notes pair so well with the caramel and chocolate and toffee without overtaking it and turning it into the earthy Storm King or the like.

M: thick as can be, but isn't lacking in carbonation too much at all.

O: my favorite non-barrel aged stout so far. Just amazing combination of flavors and smells made this stand out on a night when we had some amazing stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2012 16:11:54 | More by Holland
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,529 ratings.