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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,534 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,534
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,876
Gots: 1,001 | FT: 66
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: 2,534 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of billshmeinke


3.38/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2010 23:13:20 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of Retail1LO


4/5  rDev -11.1%

03-31-2013 13:30:45 | More by Retail1LO
Photo of lunarbrew


4.5/5  rDev 0%

08-09-2013 20:50:54 | More by lunarbrew
Photo of fuzzcherry


5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-28-2011 08:06:47 | More by fuzzcherry
Photo of Beeradelphia


4/5  rDev -11.1%

01-02-2013 04:30:42 | More by Beeradelphia
Photo of 1424IpA


4.5/5  rDev 0%

01-25-2013 01:42:45 | More by 1424IpA
Photo of Smurf2055


4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Got from trade, got the 2011 with the cool zombie shit on it.

Pours black with a two finger billowy head.

Smell is dominated by chocolate malts. Ashy and chocolate.

Taste is sweet milk chocolate up front, roasty coffee and vanilla on the tail.

A much lighter body than I was expecting, very smooth and not just a sipper. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 19:51:28 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of taospowder

New Mexico

5/5  rDev +11.1%

04-22-2013 05:14:08 | More by taospowder
Photo of cp45

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

01-01-2014 04:22:15 | More by cp45
Photo of richbrew

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -11.1%

11-15-2011 20:32:45 | More by richbrew
Photo of sukwonee


4.08/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage red wax

A: Black body with one finger head

S: chocolate, hops, some sweetness

T: Its a bit disapppointing for me. Its a great stout but it does not stand out from other good stouts. Chocolate, malt, brown sugar and hops. very straightforward and nice.

M: Thick and syrupy. no alcohol burn.

O: Its up there with Stone IRS but nothing too special. Its a great stout regardless.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 00:22:48 | More by sukwonee
Photo of rallison


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

Thank you Carlos for opening this one (after so many previous attempts at making this tasting happen!).

Great pour with a great, lasting head on this beauty.

Delicious grapefruit/citrus bitterness is still a large component of this beer, despite the bottle having some age on it. I've had hoppy imperial stouts before (Rogue, Victory, etc), but none that came off so citrusy....an interesting choice and one that I find to work extremely well. Great roast character with complementing dark chocolate and a lingering bitterness. Light alcohol presence on the end. Some dark fruits seem to be present as well - specifically raisins.

Huge body with medium to low carbonation - very suitable. Rich and nicely coating.

Excellent beer. Very unique (and this is not an easy thing to be in the RIS category) with the delicious citric hop presence. I'd take a keg of this ;)

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 07:02:06 | More by rallison
Photo of bluemoonswoon


4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at the Grumpy Bulldog in Naperville. Was pretty surprised to see this on the beer menu here but very very happy that is was.

Served in a pint glass.

A: Black. One and a half inch, thick, coffee and chocolate colored head. While Darkness has Dark Lord beat in terms of head retention and lacing, both of which are very nice and rather surprising to see in a beer this size, Dark Lord wins out for sheer viscosity. I could swirl beer in the glass and could still see though it afterwards, still remains as one of the better looking imperial stouts out there today.

S: Again fantastic. Hops are a very big part of this beer but not so much so that they overpower everything else. This beer is still able to muscle across some incredibly creamy aromas that mixes wonderfully together with the sweet, chocolaty, dark fruitiness of the beer.

T/MF: This is where things get interesting. Super sweet and creamy, at once bitter, at once sweet, perfectly balanced. There are times when I want to imagine that there is bourbon and coffee in this beer but on taking another sip it just doesn't taste that way. It's like some combination of boozy chocolate and coffee and cream mixed with candied, almost over-ripe fruits covered in brown sugar and caramel. Put this way the beer sounds revolting, overly sweet and perhaps undrinkable, but an underlying bitterness keeps things from becoming a cloyingly sweet, sugary mess. Mouthfeel helps out here as well, not really all that thick, at least compared to some of the jacked up imperial stouts out there. Incredibly smooth, velvety almost, though could stand to be a little fuller, chewier, to be more specific.

D: I could drink this until my body forced me to stop. The beer was gone before I really even felt like I got to know it. The balance that this beer displays makes drinking it so easy that you almost forget about how complex it is, a beer to pay attention to, seek out, and always try again. Fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2008 15:09:17 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of ithinkimasofa


4/5  rDev -11.1%

12-16-2011 07:48:22 | More by ithinkimasofa
Photo of HoppySeb


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

05-31-2014 01:15:39 | More by HoppySeb
Photo of jeonseh


4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a CBS snifter. 4th beer in my the baller blend tasting

A - Deep brown, almost black in color. Had a nice off white head that sat on top throughout.

S - Smells of cocoa, vanilla, and slight caramel. Has a strong hop, pine presence that comes through in the nose. Get a hint of the alcohol coming through as well

T - Taste at first is sweet caramel with a hint of chocolate. It is almost like a milky way at first. As the beer continues there is a stronger vanilla flavor that comes through. Near the finish we get a hint of bitter hops that reminds us that this is a surly beer

MF - No carbonation at all. There is a slight stickiness to it and it had a medium body that is not too thick or thin.

O - Solid RIS from Surly. Has a good balance between the sweeter flavors, cocoa, and hops on the backend. Nice to get if I ever get a chance to make it out to Darkness Day

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 05:35:21 | More by jeonseh
Photo of juliusseizure

New York

4.5/5  rDev 0%

05-07-2013 20:51:20 | More by juliusseizure
Photo of jakea


4.5/5  rDev 0%

11-08-2013 21:41:08 | More by jakea
Photo of Quackus

New York

4/5  rDev -11.1%

01-08-2013 19:11:54 | More by Quackus
Photo of seaoflament


4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Floydster for helping me out with a bottle of this rare beer. Split this bottle last night with a few good friends (Joey, Ryan, Tony +1). The bottle number had mostly rubbed off during shipping, I think there is a 1 and a 6. 2007 release.

Not the darkest stout I've seen but the beauty was in the inch+ of head, the excellent retention and lacing. Soapy spider legs on the sides of the glass (Surly pint glass of course!)

The beer has an impressive roasted aroma, not overdone which I like, and also has a pronounced bitterness. The bitterness is both in a roasted/smokey type and also the citrus hops which are fading into the background. As the beer warmed up there was more caramel, cocoa, and chocolate.

The taste was a little more complex than the aroma (probably because this one has been sitting for a few months already). First I get the roasted malts, dark fruits (dates, raisins), some brown sugar; then I start getting more heavily roasted flavors in the form of burnt malts. There is some coffee and chocolate near the finish and anise in the aftertaste. The hops come in near the end with some earthiness and a bit of citrus bitterness.

The mouthfeel of this beast was probably what impressed me the most, really smooth and silky. The beer just felt graceful on the palate. For such a high abv. stout monster, this beer really drinks well.

I hope to get a fresh bottle of this at the next release because I think that I might have missed some of the hop essence that makes this beer grand.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2008 16:06:14 | More by seaoflament
Photo of Boston_Steve


4.5/5  rDev 0%

01-18-2014 15:46:37 | More by Boston_Steve
Photo of RMoeNay


4.5/5  rDev 0%

07-15-2012 14:09:54 | More by RMoeNay
Photo of ajs4bd


4/5  rDev -11.1%

12-22-2011 18:39:17 | More by ajs4bd
Photo of VaTechHopHead

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

01-08-2013 23:13:59 | More by VaTechHopHead
Photo of DaveHS


4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage (vampire)

A-Impenetrably black with a 1/2 inch of foamy cola colored head. Leaves plenty of lacing.

S-Milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. About what I'd expect from your average imperial stout.

T/M-Very soft and rich, with well balanced flavors of milk chocolate, condensed milk sweetness, caramel, lightly roasted malts. The back end is slightly hoppy, but it serves to cut the sweetness, not providing too much to the flavor profile. There's a sharp, soy saucey flavor mid-palate that is gone no more than a moment after it presents itself. The finish is full and sustained, with a drying quality on the back of the throat.

O-Much simpler than I expected, but a very successful beer. It reveals itself slowly, and has a residual effect, building flavors upon flavors the longer you drink. Highly reccomended.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2011 00:21:27 | More by DaveHS
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,534 ratings.