Darkness - Surly Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 2,542 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
4.35/5 rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
This year, I was lucky enough to get the hook-up: my very own bottle of Darkness. Huge thanks to the one, the only, the bearded, the recently deceased backfat for this rare opportunity.
2012 batch, brewed pretty recently; the werewolf bottle art might be the most badass bottle art I’ve ever seen.
A: Deep, thick body in a midnight black hue, propelling a head of pure brown cream up to two fingers. The head compresses to a thick, bubbly retention, like the foam you get when pour chocolate milk too fast (only darker, shining wet in the light). Layers of sandy lacing everywhere, encircling the glass in a ring of tan color.
S: There’s a very aromatic nose on this, and with spectacular complexity. Tons and tons of fruit scents waft up a profile of bright cherry and raisin, which turn out to be the main aromas of this nose. Never had a Russian imperial stout smell like this before, but I love it! Toffee cascades over aromas of icing, sugar cookie, Hershey’s chocolate syrup (dead-on), and coffee with cream for the secondary layer, filling out every available portion of the nose with complexity. The nose rounds out in a cloud of vanilla, spicy bourbon, and whipped cream. Just astounding.
T: Bittersweet palate, emphasis on the bitter, though rich, dark flavors reach out at every turn. First tastes consist of toasty chocolate malt, cocoa powder, and toffee, but soon after, it’s an absolute bitter-fest – lemon rind, char, tart raspberry, acidic coffee, astringent alcohol, and pine, absolutely tongue-smacking in the hop taste. The astringency is almost overwhelming at times. The cherry and white raisin from the nose come in next, enveloping the palate in a genuine sweetness that overcomes the overly-present bitters; add the accompanying chocolate sauce taste that comes after and you have yourself a chocolate-covered strawberry. Finishes very bright – cherry puree is strong here – and with only a momentary, roasty notion that you just drank a 10% ABV stout. What a ride.
M: I’ve heard this year’s batch is hot, but I only got a touch of fire on the way down. Apart from that, it’s all smoothness, enough to even seem like a porter in strength – insanely drinkable.
O: Beer like this don’t come around to often; this is a stout the likes of which I don’t think I’ll find anywhere else. To be honest, it was hard to get acclimated to the Darkness at first (probably because of the hop presence), but I truly enjoyed every sip. This is worthy of a full day of celebration, for sure.
Serving type: bottle
11-05-2012 04:24:25 | More by BarryMFBurton
4.35/5 rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
750mL bottle. 2011/ zombie. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
Pours oil black with two fingers of deep khaki head. Small pods lacing.
Nose is pretty good but seems fairly subdued. Cocoa, roast malts and burnt sugar.
Taste is a sweet blend of chocolate, soy sauce, coffee, cherry pits, rum soaked fig/dates and a dollop of alcohol heat. A fantastic blend.
Excellent heavy tongue-coating feel with light carbonation. Lingering sweet finish.
This is a great imperial stout. I think it might be too sweet to really be a Russian imperial but it's freakin good. Highly recommended and I'd definately like to get more sometime.
Serving type: bottle
11-03-2012 16:39:08 | More by ThickNStout
4.98/5 rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
750 ml wax-dipped bottle poured into a snifter.
10.3% ABV, 2010 Vampire design.
A - The thick pile of bubbles which rests on the beer displays an oily rainbow color swirling on it's surface. Coincidentally, it coincides with the thick, syrupy used oil-looking beer fills the snifter for a pitch-black darkness light cannot penetrate. Even with the high alcohol level, the head maintains its stature for quite some time, slowly lowering to leave a smattering of light bubbles on the snifter.
S - Sticky burnt molasses, lightly charred oak, and bitter dark chocolate are conjured up from a thick malt bill which incorporates more subdued notes of cold coffee, roasted malt, and cocoa. Hops provide just a miniscule drop of citrus and earthiness into the mix with an old, dusty basement sense pulling through. Even with two years on it, this beer still has some warming alcohol perception on the nose.
T - Darkness' rich malt level isn't surprising in flavor but what is, is the lack of bold roasted, almost burnt notes that the aroma exhibits. The taste compounds are much sweeter and subtler with smooth Hershey milk chocolate, a touch of black licorice, and soft molasses finishing out the back end. Dry cocoa and seemingly absent hops balance the malt sweetness' flavor as does just a hint of alcohol.
M - To describe this beer as full bodied would be quite the understatement. Smooth as black velvet (don't sue me Alanna Myles!) Darkness is almost creamy feeling with a rich, throat-coating finish that carefully teeters on the verge of sweetness and balance. All this while maintaining warming, soothing alcohol and an insatiable draw.
O - I recall Darkness having one of the hoppiest aromas of any Russian Imperial Stout I've encountered while being sweeter than all get-out. Suffice it to say, age has done this beer an incredible favor; rounding out some of the rougher edges for an insanely crave-able, lustful, sinfully delicious stout. For every bottle you hoped would age well and failed, Darkness makes up for, rewarding your patience with big dividends. This chocolaty, roasted malt-rich brew exceeds expectations of greatness and completely satisfies.
Serving type: bottle
10-30-2012 23:04:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,542 ratings.