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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,004 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,004
Reviews: 791
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,122
Gots: 1,142 | FT: 79
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: 3,004 | Reviews: 791 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bunuelian
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Can_has_beer
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tclipse
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Hallertau
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 T_Hass
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DangerDawg
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

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 Stum-pub
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of birdsellam
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of KCBeerNerd
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of 1424IpA
4.5/5  rDev 0%

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 Mike
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of cosmonick
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of IBUnit63
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From hero27 via LNBA BIF - sweet haul, man - thanks!...750 bottle #174 (2007), black over maroon wax into Reidel Vinum Cab glass...

Pours a black coffee brown with a maple/peanut butter-colored head (1 finger) that comes and goes, leaving sparse bubbles in the middle of the glass. Very viscous...sparse to decent lacing but solid trails up and down the glass.

One word...bountiful. Hearty malt candy sweetness with salty roasted peanuts and extremely deep caramel and chocolate malt. Alcohol wraps up in the thickness of it all. Is there enough room for hops? A cool bitterness of grass and slight pine detected. Aroma mellows slightly after pouring and with time.

This, for all its depth and complexity, is much drier on the palate than on the nose. Grass hop profile comes about with slight pine in the back. Salty peanut brittle forward malt taste. I know the sweetness...I know there's alcohol, but it's quite contained. Bittersweet chocolate emerges and strengthens with warmth. Absolutely love the dryness of this.

After a while the alcohol gets a little warm but it works in Beautiful Chemistry with the dry, chocolate coffee texture along with solid hop wilderness. Slowly slides down the palate in its extreme viscosity. Finish is slow and sultry. In spots there's slight emptiness but the holes get filled in right quick.

Oh, it's a sipper alright, but a damn fine one at that. One of the ultimate examples of balance in overabundance and utter depth. One of the best!

Photo of Eighty
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of joepais
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage bottle split three ways in tulip glasses. It was nice and viscous coming out of the bottle. A small tan head rose form each pour then settled to a thin lace but a simple swirl of the glass would bring it back. The body of the brew was a midnight black with light maroon highlights.

The first aroma I got was a slight oxidation which was to be expected with the age. Then I got some wonderful aromas of molasses, brown sugar and some slight dark fruits.
The brew was towards the sweet side again I would expect it was from the age but it really made for an enjoyable sipping experience. Again I got the molasses, a hint of vanilla and dark fruits. I must say the roasted malts were showing up more as sweet chocolate than a roasted coffee note, Which added a bit uniqueness to the flavor. The brew was thick and viscous in your mouth with a slight carbonation for the tongue. Just the way I like a stout.

A great stout I would stand in line for it. The glass went down dam easy. I didn't get any hint of the alcohol seeing it was a 10%brew. I would gladly drink it again. big thanks to Packforever1976 for hooking me up

Photo of Wolberjs
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of gueuzegossage
3.25/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of Jordy777
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 3,004 ratings.