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Darkness (2006 - 2013) - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkness (2006 - 2013)Darkness (2006 - 2013)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,649 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,649
Reviews: 765
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,926
Gots: 1,028 | FT: 71
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Starting in 2014, Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels.


2007-Grim Reaper
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 (2006 - 2013) Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,649 | Reviews: 765 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DNICE555
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%

Halloween Bash 2010. The VIP at the party was the Surly Darkness. Shared with the LArse, Zapps, and Cpie. I cannot think of a better way to starting out an enchanted evening. This review should probably be #666 but I will probably be 666 but the time I get to that number. Shout to SpeedwayJim for this bottle.


I made my way through the chophouse, the spider web, the grim reaper, and the bloody black roses to my beer fridge. I took the bottle in hand, scurried to the bar and quickly placed it down. There was a strange energy surrounding the bottle. As I got closer to it I felt more and more empty inside. The mummy on the front had me begging Zapps to stay close and protect me. I grabbed Jlynn's heavy duty bottle opener of the orange dish. Stabbing at the bottle cutting through the wax left me out of breath. Finally I reached the cap and quickly pried it open before I was thrown backwards by an unkown force. Looking up at the bottle I could see spirits escaping which reminded me of the micronized Ghostbusters ghost trap. I broke out my proton pack and quickly secured them in the containment unit. Cautiously making my way back to the bottle I secured some tulips. I poured the thick sludge into my tulip and noticed a low carbonation level and the consistency of a Transylvanian Moat. A tan almost brown head jumped out of the moat like vampires of the night hunting for their prey. Finding myself in a trance like state I quickly looked away. I finally gathered the courage to take a sniff with my eyes closed. Roasted bat malts, plum witches dances around my noise hairs. After two years of lifting weights in my beer fridge the hops are still going strong. I picked up this evil liquid and took a sip. Feeling slightly possesed I could sense tons of different malts. The most impressive fruit profile of any stout I've ever had. So many flavors coming through. Despite the robust chocolaty coffee notes, the fruit dominated. What an interesting demon. Very low carbonation despite the exorcism. The demons sucked the bubbles out. As with any massive 10.3 ABV stout this one is a sipper. It's not meant to be chugged like a coors light. The drinkability is amazing. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is smooth as a witches broom handle. Unless I go to MN on darkness Day or trade another precious KTG this will probably be my only Darkness. What an impressive brewery. Very glad I got to try this one. Happy Halloween.

DNICE555, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of Rempo
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Rempo, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of kirok1999
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours a mildly dark black, just a hint of ruby around the edges of the snifter. Thin off white head.
Smells very sweet and malty. Mildly spicy with a bit of alcohol.
Very nice sweet taste, milk chocolate and caramel. Slighty bitter and dry with some noticable hops. Lingering alcohol in the aftertaste in the form of mild bourbon.
Feels dense and creamy and very sticky.
Very smooth to sip. A really well made beer worthy of the hype.

kirok1999, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of taospowder
5/5  rDev +11.1%

taospowder, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of Hophead717
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Hophead717, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of sparx1100
4.5/5  rDev 0%

sparx1100, Oct 29, 2012
Photo of GeorgeCarroll
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

GeorgeCarroll, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of DangerDawg
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

DangerDawg, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of projectflam86
4.5/5  rDev 0%

projectflam86, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of FreshZ
4.5/5  rDev 0%

FreshZ, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of marine1975
4.5/5  rDev 0%

marine1975, May 10, 2013
Photo of Schlafly33
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Schlafly33, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of BrownAleMale
4/5  rDev -11.1%

BrownAleMale, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%

Had the 2012 and 2013 next to each other.

2013 stole the show, hands down. The grade is reflective of that one.

Great color and head on both beers.

Aroma on the 2013 was much more powerful in terms of coffee, chocolate and hops. 2012 was sweeter smelling with a lot of dark fruit.

Flavor was much of the same differentiating factors. 2013 was balanced, hoppy, smooth and delicious. 2012 had a weird metallic 'twang' to it with every sip, and was just way too fruity and sweet with no hops or coffee/chocolate to add a little bitterness.

Overall, I was very disappointed with the results. While I am now glad I traded away my older bottles, I was expecting something a little more 'badass' in terms of a vintage showdown. Oh well, maybe my bottle just didn't age properly. Either way, the fresh bottle was outstanding and on par with my favorite RIS...Stone RIS.

ironchefmiyagi13, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of gpawned
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

gpawned, Nov 02, 2012
Photo of kodt
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

kodt, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of HoppySeb
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

HoppySeb, May 31, 2014
Photo of scottwurst
4.5/5  rDev 0%

scottwurst, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of Jredner
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%

The body is black with a pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, magically self-forming head. It’s a small head, but it gets a nice dark mocha color before slowly fading out. The aroma holds some muted hints of acetone and perfumey alcohol along with dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, raisin and very faint burnt grain notes. Fore is chocolate, dark fruits (blueberry/cherry) and malt sweetness just before the finish. The finish holds dark chocolate, cooked dark fruits, cocoa powder, burnt malt and toasted/burnt grains. The mouthfeel is quite thick and very creamy and pleasing on the tongue. Very nice.

Jredner, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of Docrock
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Docrock, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of jakea
4.5/5  rDev 0%

jakea, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of weonfire
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

weonfire, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of HopDerek
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%

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 mulder1010
4/5  rDev -11.1%

mulder1010, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of Hendrick24
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%

Hendrick24, Aug 06, 2014
Darkness (2006 - 2013) from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,649 ratings.