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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,072 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,072
Reviews: 797
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 3,148
Gots: 1,146 | FT: 84
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 (42) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,072 | Reviews: 797
Photo of paco1029384756
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 bottle.

Pours black with a large tan sticky head with good retention.

Scent of bitter juicy hops, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted malts, and Candi Sugar. Grassy, lightly floral, and a bit spicy with a hint of alcohol, the hop profile here is great, better than it is in most IPAs.

Taste of bitter dry hops, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit and Candi Sugar. Not quite as juicy as last year, but this is still one of the best Imperial Stouts available, and the strong hoppiness is a great change of pace.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth with a small bite of carbonation.

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of durlta
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of teamwiggum
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Yeti1979
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of coz
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of IndyDad
4/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Westyn
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of coldmeat23
4.43/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

GLASS: Tulip
TEMP: Chilled to approx 38 degrees, allowed to warm, as drinking
Huge thanks to thehand for sharing a 2008,'09, & '10 vertical, recently.
This will be a review of the 2010 bottle.

This one pours thick and black, as expected, from it's name. It has a very nice head of milk chocolate colored foam, about a finger thick, that just stays and stays. The lacing is almost non-existant, surprisingly (but it still looks damn-near perfect).

Tons of chocolate and roastiness dominate. Very mild hints of coffee. Light traces of hops. Mild touches of smoke and some dark fruit sweetness.

It begins with some dark fruit sweetness and a good deal of chocolate. An almost lacto-like sweetness appears and then sinks away again. Then comes a hint of smoke/char, which brings on the big, dry, roastiness, which mostly dominates the flavor profile. The finish has a good hint of hop bitterness to it.
Overall a fairly well balanced stout. I like it.

This is nicely full-bodied, but not thick, like I'd hoped for. It has a mild-to-medium level of carbonation, which works for it, as far as smoothness goes. It lacks a good deal of creaminess though, which I was certainly hoping for.
This is more silky than chewy.

Okay, for 10.30%abv, this is dangerously smooth and drinkable. This is where Darkness shines for me. I'd love to have 4 to 6 bottles that could be consumed over the course of an evening.

Photo of erialbill
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of jakea
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Nolen12
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Magery
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of RobertColianni
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of scotv
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of cp45
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of J-Bonestradamus
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

A: 1/2" light brown head with a nice lacing over black liquid.

S: Pine hops and toasted malt.

T: Pine and citrus hops up front with caramel, chocolate and roasted barley flavours.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: A beautiful beer: bitter yet semi-sweet, great mouthfeel and very tasty and enjoyable.

Photo of russwbeck
4.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 Run on-tap at a Surly event at Churchkey in DC.

A: The pour is fittingly black with at least a finger of thick brown head. The lacing really coats the glass nicely with a creamy head that seemingly lasts forever.

S: The aroma starts continues the wonderful experience that is Surly Darkness. Roast mixes with the chocolate and molasses in amounts that you'd expect from a good RIS. A slight booze character ties is all together.

T: Deep, dark, delicious chocolate just dominates the taste. Overall it is sweet, but not cloyingly so as sometimes experience with big Russian Imperial Stouts. The roast really helps out here. It is subtle but as the beer warms and the booze sticks out its head, the roast lends a nice balance.

MF: Darkness rests really thick on the palate, yet still boasts a nice amount of carbonation. The finish is not as dry as I had anticipated, but a warming alcohol sensation is noted. This is just so drinkable it's on a different level compared to other big stouts.

O: This rare Surly offering blows me away each time I have it. Really stands alone without the help of barrel aging. A must try for big beer lovers anywhere.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a 8 oz. stange at Hopleaf.

Appearance: Darkness is what it says on the bottle, and darkness is what is inside. It pours a midnight blackcolor with just a hint of slightly off-black molasses in the very tip of the glass. Darkness indeed. A creamy dark tan coffee head mellows in its creaminess, then recedes, reforming with every swirl and leaving some unexpected lace on the glass.

Smell: Dark roasted and chocolate malt are packed into the aroma, with espresso and vanilla providing support. Some unidentifiable spiciness is present, along with some pine hops.

Taste: Of course this starts out with a huge roasted and chocolate malt profile, which is very well put together. The bitterness up front seems to be due to the coffee and roasted malt, with the balance shifting between sweet and bitter. There are some dark fruit complexities in the middle - cherry, fig, and raisin. Of course Surly keeps it hopped up a little bit as well, adding even further complexity. But it still finishes a bit sweet, with a touch of alcohol to remind you it is a 10% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Very full body, obviously, with a nice creamy feel. Leaves my lips a bit sticky.

Drinkability: Definitely a well-crafted stout and one I could enjoy frequently, were it available more regularly. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of antoines15
4/5  rDev -10.9%

I would like to start bu saying that I liked this more than I liked this year's version of Dark Lord. Had it on tap at Tribes and have never hsad it before. I won't stick to the formt of beer reviews but still get my point acrdoss. It was very sweet at first but the finish semmed a bit more roasty, wich reallu balanced it out for me, Iam srill not sure of i like dthis beer or not after a fw 'buzzed" minutes to think abut it, I would give it B as a score. NOt bad but not anything to kill yorself tryin gto get. O'Malley!

Photo of avaldivia
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of brycevolk
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,072 ratings.