Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,899 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,899
Reviews: 778
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,030
Gots: 1,104 | FT: 84
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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/ 

Labels:
2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
View: Beers (40) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,899 | Reviews: 778 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zachattack555
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of xdtfx
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of HopsMatt
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of laxer8811
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of incubuscience
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of Beerandboards
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle

A - motor oil black. Black the whole way through, even at the edges.. The thickness of the beer is obvious from its appearance. Small to medium amount of dense tan head.

S - aggressive chocolate, milk and dark. Coffee. Maybe molasses, some anise/black licorice. Dense and roasty.

T - wow. powerful. It tastes like someone made a great stout and then distilled it down to an extract. Really really rich. Up front there is a bunch of sweet dark chocolate, black coffee, sweet molasses. Roasted malts. The ABV is completely imperceptible.

M - this really is the perfect mouthfeel for a stout. Pretty thick, but not overly so. Light carbonation, smooth. One of the best I've encountered in this category.

O - quite simply an outstanding stout. Just an unbelievable amount of flavor. If there is a demerit, its that its so intense it is almost fatiguing. I split the beer with a friend, and we agreed it would almost be difficult to finish a bomber on your own, just due to the fact that it almost overwhelms you with the flavor profile. This is a must try for any stout lover. Easily the best non-barrel aged stout I've ever had, and one of the best stouts I've ever had period.

Excellent beer.

Photo of wyckydsceptre
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of taospowder
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Rempo
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Bluecane
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of dflatau
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of jreindl
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of tobelerone
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of AlphaKingKegger
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of vfgccp
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Amazing looking stout. Full, thick, creamy khaki head with sheets of lace. Pitch black body with no highlights to speak of, even when backlit.

S - Raisin, booze, spiced rum, oatmeal, whoppers, vanilla malt milkshake, almond, touch of licorice.

T - Milk chocolate, oatmeal, nutmeg, brown sugar, caramel, cream, vanilla, bourbon, charred oak, molasses, rum soaked raisins, licorice, black cherry.

M - Outrageously smooth. Creamy full body.

O - A killer RIS that lives up to its reputation.

Photo of wardenclyffe
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of mtpHokie
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of markasparov
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of theGlasstronaut
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of FeelinSurley
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Jeffo
4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed a bottle of the 2010 only a few months after it had beer released. I found the beer excellent and scored it a 4.43. We compared that bottle to a 2009 vinatage and found that the hops had faded quickly and it had become much sweeter and less appealing. Thanks for those bottles rpstevens and oakbluff. I thought I'd re-review a newer vintage now that I've been around a little longer.

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2012
Red Wax

Note: We drank a 2012 and a 2008 back to back. The scores are for the 2012 with comparisons to the 2008.

APPEARANCE: A dark pour yields a 1+ finger, thicker looking tan head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a good cap and coats the sides of the glass. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains until the end and leaves some good lacing down the glass. A good looking beer for sure. The '08 looked exactly the same.

SMELL: Roasted aromas and lots of pure, dark chocolate too. Quite hoppy for sure, with lots of citrus and floral notes as well. This is definitely a bold and hoppy stout on the nose. The '08 smelt a bit stale in comparison, so perhaps some oxidization is starting to play a roll. Caramel, leather and soy sauce show up as well.

TASTE: Very nice stuff. Roasted and chocolate flavors with caramel and toffee sweetness at the swallow. Lots of bitterness at the fninsh, with plenty of hops as well. Citrus, floral notes and some bitter, dark chocolate linger on the palate, balancing the toffee and caramel sweetness. Bold and flavorful for sure. Good stuff. The '08 didn't have the oxidized staleness that I'd expected from the nose, but the hops had pretty much disappeared. Sweet caramel and toffee with leather and soy sauce. A touch of dark chocolate, but it's mostly sweet and soy flavors.

PALATE: Full body and medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy and full with enough weight for sure, goes down smooth and finishes rather sticky. Full, heavy, and creamy. Great feel. Like chocolate milk. The '08 is much the same, though perhaps a touch lighter. Still, this is a full, heavy, dominating mouthfeel.

OVERALL: Perhaps not as impressive as when I was just getting into craft beer, but this brew is definitely a top class example of the style. Fresh, Surly Darkness shows great balance between the sweet, syrupy malt base and the big hop profile. The 2012 was great. As it ages, however, the hops fade and the sweet toffee and soy sauce become too dominating for my palate. As such, the 2008 just wasn't all that enjoyable any more. In fact, we did a 2011-2008 vertical a couple years ago and only the relatively fresh 2011 was enjoyable while the others were simply too sweet. I would call this a top class stout, but wouldn't bother with it after the 6 month mark. Anyways, thanks to SliverX for the 2012, and to whomever sent that 2008 a couple years back.

EDIT: Had a chance to drink some of the 2007 and it to be less sweet and cloying than all the other vintages of this beer. The hops had faded, yes, but the sweet flavor was balanced by some alcohol qualities that made it much more palatable than the other vintages. Probably the best of vintage of this beer, but Darkness is still better as fresh as possible.

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2011: This poured out as a deep black color with a brown head on top. There is a nice retention with a good lacing as well. The smell of the beer is of dark berries with deep roasted malts chocolate and subtle vanilla and soy. The taste is the beer is really nice, bold roasted malts, some smoke and bit of dark chocolate, there is a touch of saltiness in there too. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a creamy body and subtle carbonation. Overall it's excellent. I had been curious how it would compare to Dark Lord and this is much better in my opinion.

Photo of Saviorself
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,899 ratings.