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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,963 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,963
Reviews: 788
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,069
Gots: 1,128 | FT: 83
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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,963 | Reviews: 788 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oso
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of browniewithnuts
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of teamwiggum
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of JimGlonke
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of alpinebryant
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Mummy edition - Thanks to Tumpster in a trade

A: Very dark brown pour that has light coming through on the pour. I hesitate saying black because it just isnt quite black but close...Healthy tan head with large and small bubbles and spotty lacing.

S: sweet malts, chocolate and cocoa mixing with a sweet brown sugar smell. Definitely some crystal malts in here to flavor and round out the malt profile. Aroma is right up my alley with the sweetness I enjoy in an imperial stout.

T: Taste is greatly rounded. I picked up a lot of chocolate and crystal malt flavors with cocoa and brown sugar flavors. There is a lot of sweetness in here and I am really enjoying it. Flavors start of strong and sweet, very closely following the flavors I find in a good barleywine. Caramelized sugars also bring out some berry and marshmallow flavors. Medium bodied for the style, some may say light but at 10.3 this really comes through without any heat at all.

Light carbonation and overall a very good Impy stout. I can see why this one gets the hype, just hope that they continue to produce it in numbers as large as they have been in order to quell all the profiteers.

5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of KeefD
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release.

Pours a VERY thick black color into a Darkness glass. Nice, thick and creamy chocolate milk head springs to life that fades rather quickly but leaves some lovely sheets of lacing. A quick swirl of the glass sees the return of dark tan foam. This brew is so dark, light cannot be seen through it, even at the edges. Darkness is right.

Aroma is unbelievable. Dark chocolate, booze, cherries, coffee, burnt caramel. Roasty, toasty, and inviting on this cold Minnesota night.

Taste is unlike any RIS I've ever had. Incredibly sweet, plenty of chocolate, and the biggest hop presence of any beer of this style I've yet to come across. The hop bitterness is surprising for this style, but a welcome treat for this hop-head. Cherry flavor shows up. It's almost like a liquid, boozy Cherry Mash candy bar mixed with bright citrus hop oils and bitter roasted coffee beans, although the coffee flavors are not as prevalent as I expected.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy like no other. It almost has a melted chocolate milkshake consistency, smooth, silky, heartwarming.

The high ABV makes itself known in the nose but is well hidden on the tongue. It can also be felt in the head as the bottle slowly fills the glass and then makes it's way into my happy belly. Despite the high ABV, it's highly drinkable and dangerously so.

I don't know if it's just the hype or if it's because I'm proud of the best (IMO) brewery in my state, but this is quite possibly the best RIS ever made, or at least better than any that's come across these lips. I'm just going to have to be patient with the aging of another bottle until next year, as it will be hard to keep myself from drinking more.

Surly, you've made us proud. And it was well worth the wait.

Photo of steve8robin
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Today is my 28th birthday! So in honor, I am going to do an epic Darkness tasting with some friends. 2008 / 2009 / 2010 vintages! I have been waiting so long to try these. Let's hope I'm not disappointed:

A: Super dark with a small tan head that fades quickly to a small bubbly lace atop the brew. Good.
S: Smells of some awesome cocoa and vanilla upfront blended with some great boozy chocolate quickly followed by licorice and some great earthy qualities. Very good.
T: Awesome flavors! Some nice chocolate raisin upfront blended with some great boozy vanilla and quickly followed by cocoa in the middle. Some nice espresso flavors on the backend. Amazing!
M: Super thick with a great carbonation. A nice creamy finish. Very good!
D: Once you get past the booziness, this goes down. Good.

A: Follows suit with the '08. Very dark with a small tan head that fades to more of a bubbly lace than the '08. Good.
S:Very mild scents on this one. The '08 smelled to great, but this is hard to find strong scents. Some earthy chocolate blended in. Ok.
T: Not as boozy as the '08. It's kind of like a watery hop on the backend. Some mild chocolate vanilla and cocoa upfront with some great creaminess in the middle. Good.
M: A watery thickness with a little more carbonation than the '08. A watery creamy finish. Good.
D: Goes down a little easier than the '08 with the better blend of booze, but the watery taste makes it slightly odd. Can't put my finger on it. Decent.

A: The best looking one of the 3 years. A 1 inch dark mocha colored head that fades at decent pace but never really goes away completely. Very good.
S:Some creamy sweet chocolate upfront with some earthiness in the middle. Not much on the backend. Good.
T: Kind of a soapy chocolate with some faint vanilla in the middle. The worst of the bunch IMO. Decent.
M: A medium body with a decent carbonation. Kind of a dry finish. Decent
D: Goes down good.

All in all, so glad I got to try these. '08 was definitely my favorite. It was so BIG and intense and boozy blended with the strongest flavors. If you hunt one of these IMO, try to go for the '08. The '09 would be my second, and the '10 would be my last. Continue brewing great beer Surly.

Photo of LeeEvolved
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle #194. Thanks to hero27 for the trade.

A monsterous three inch head jumps to the top of the glass with its soft carmel colored thick bubbles. Fades very slowly leaving considerable lace behind. Body is the standard jet black beauty. Nose is shockingly hoppy up front for a big stout with hints of spicey soft malt in the backround. Enters the mouth thick and almost syrupy with a powdery coco feel. A nice balance of grassy mineral based hops quickly kicks in to even out and almost take over the flavor profile. This creates a thick milk chocolate like feel that sits on the back of the tongue followed by a long even bitter hop feel. Although this is more hoppy than what I would usually like in a stout, it is unique and very welcome. Very nicely drinkable. Alchol is well hidden. A great and worthy stout.

Photo of BrownAleMale
4/5  rDev -11.1%

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

650ml 2010 vintage, silver wax - big thanks to viggo for generously bringing this and sharing.

Pours a not quite jet black, viscous brew, a creamy finger and a half of mocha head which sticks around for the duration. Nice.

Nose initially reveals a nice roast, chocolate, coffee character blended with a fresh leafy hop kick, beautifully integrated. Then rich mocha, hints of smooth espresso (not the acrid stuff from Starbucks!), dark chocolate and milk chocolate, cocoa powder, clean earthy roasted malts, hint of molasses, vanilla. The mouthfeel on this is standout, so smooth and creamy without ever being syrupy, aided by just the right hop bite and dryness. Not too sweet, just so fine. Alcohol so well hidden. Perhaps not the most complex of the big beers but this is perhaps the most balanced, drinkable of the big RIS's I've had - which is a real talent. Thanks a ton Eric!

Photo of jarrgal
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of mgr78704
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of M1A2
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Stum-pub
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of birdsellam
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of PG2G
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of Westyn
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sepia inky dark appeance with only slight carbonation with an unremarkable nose but followed by a velvety smooth, lushous abundance of pleasantly dark slightly bitter flavors pursued by a vague sweetness, not overbearing or fruity, just a pleasant finish to a highly sip-able beer perfected for a cold winter's night: boozy without burn, sweet and slightly dry.

Photo of axeman9182
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottle. This one was allowed to warm a bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Surly Darkness pours as pitch black as I'd expect. The cake-like caramel foam slowly builds itself up to nearly four fingers in height, threatening to spill out of the glass without ever actually doing so. Head retention is very good, but lacing is fairly spotty. The nose is pungent, and very enticing. The malt side of things is definitely tilted more towards dark chocolate, but is not without a bit of a coffee presence as well. There's also a fairly noticeable citrus aroma from the hops that fades in nicely behind the malts. As with the nose, rich dark chocolate forms the oundation for the flavor profile. A mild coffee flavor, as well as candied orange slices from the hops, also make their way here from the aroma. There's also a subtle minty note at the back end of each sip that really adds to the beer. The body is impressively rich and creamy, it drinks like it's 13-14% instead of just over 10%. At the same time, the carbonation is absolutely perfect. It's bubbly enough to allow the hops to be as prominent as I'm guessing they're intended to be, but it still lets the full bodied maltiness take center stage. I've been looking forward to trying Surly Darkness for a long while, and this is one beer that definitely lives up to the height. It's one of the best non barrel aged imperial stouts I've ever had.

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

Photo of cosmonick
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,963 ratings.