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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,501 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,501
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,861
Gots: 989 | FT: 68
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: 2,501 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of graphicsguy


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

05-12-2012 13:38:29 | More by graphicsguy
Photo of majaqua


5/5  rDev +11.1%

05-12-2012 06:16:53 | More by majaqua
Photo of Dope


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

A: Midnight black with a large thick medium brown head. Fades very slowly, leaving an almost solid layer of lacing.

S: Loaded with molasses, toffee and dark fruits. Lots of fig and raisin. Plenty of anise too. Roasted malt peeks through with a bit of chocolate and coffee but it's not the dominant aroma here.

T: Super fruity. Raisin, fig, lots of cherries. Maybe even currants. Toffee and caramel up front with it. Molasses in the middle with the roasted malt that starts to kick in with char and heavy chocolate mainly. Bitter roast in the finish with a bit of anise.

M: Thick and heavy. Low carbonation.

O: Interesting RIS. Very fruity, almost over-the-top compared to most. You don't even get any roasted malt until the second half of the taste. It is very tasty and I enjoyed it, but I tend to feel that the root of a great RIS is a major roasted malt aspect, and this one is more of a minority. Otherwise it is a complex, balanced and flavorful beer so I have to give it credit where credit is due. If you're a fan of sweet, fruity RISes, this one is for you.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2012 03:57:19 | More by Dope
Photo of MrVonzipper


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

2011 Vintage
Black. Pretty viscous. A little oily. Nice fluffy khaki head with pretty good retention and spotty lacing.

Pretty nice nose with sweet toasted brown sugar and mild dark fruit.

Flavor follows the nose. Pretty sweet. Notes of brown sugar, molasses, dark malt and brownie-like chocolate.

Mouthfeel is pretty full bodied, smooth with creamy medium carbonation.

Overall it's a good beer but a little bit of a disappointment. I for some reason was hoping for a bit more, and more depth. Good flavor and characteristic but leaves a little more to be desired.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2012 22:17:55 | More by MrVonzipper
Photo of piclee


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

05-03-2012 04:07:02 | More by piclee
Photo of brycevolk


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

04-30-2012 13:07:48 | More by brycevolk
Photo of jrcmlc


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

04-29-2012 18:12:03 | More by jrcmlc
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer


3.63/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Zombie 2011, as part of an Imperial Stout tasting on DL day 2012.

Appearance: Nice pour with persistent fluffy dark tan head. Colored the glass nicely with a faint yellow sheen, but didn't leave any notable lacing.

Nose: Very vinous, loaded with dark fruitiness, black currants, cherry, raisin. Bump because it's a clean fermentation, big alcohol is not evident.

Flavor: Fruity, not nearly enough roastiness, reminiscent of very high cacao content chocolate bar.

Mouthfeel: Way too watery for an imperial anything.

Overall: Tonight's tasting pitted Darkness and Dark Lord against half a dozen competitors and found these two wax topped whale beers sadly lacking. Instead of standing in line at Darkness day, skip the line and grab a Furious or Bender to enjoy great Surly brews, and an Oskar Blues Ten FIDY for an awesome RIS in a can.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 06:16:41 | More by BattleRoadBrewer
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 DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage.

A: 1/2" light brown head with a nice lacing over black liquid.

S: Pine hops and toasted malt.

T: Pine and citrus hops up front with caramel, chocolate and roasted barley flavours.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: A beautiful beer: bitter yet semi-sweet, great mouthfeel and very tasty and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 16:15:31 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black with 1.5 fingers of creamy tan head with some awesome lacing.

Smell. Roasty dark malts, a little booze and licorice.

Taste. Wow, big roasty malts with some nice licorice and caramel. A little vanilla and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel. Pretty full body, low carbonation.

Overall. Fantastic RIS. Really liked this one.

Thanks DaftCaskBC for sharing this beauty!

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 04:32:13 | More by Rutager
Photo of hopfacebrew


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

Another hookup from Kiddwhiz! Poured from 2011 to Duvel tulip the beer arrives a deep dark black color with a finger's worth of tannish head, good retention and lacing. Looks thick. The nose is a very enjoyable roast mixed with dark fruits and sweet caramel tones. Smells great! The flavor follows suit with an impressive smooth creaminess. The roast and sweetness found in the nose are more pronounced and coupled with hints of bakers chocolate and dark fruits. Sweet but not overly so. Mildly bitter and hides the alcohol very well. Finishes smooth and creamy with a lingering roast and hint of the dark fruit, perhaps a touch dry. Overall, this is a fantastic brew! What a treat!

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2012 17:58:51 | More by hopfacebrew
Photo of oline73


4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 2011 bottle poured into a Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: Pours black as night with a finger of creamy tan head that fades to a ring around the edge of the pour.

Smell: Very sweet and quite roasty. You get a nice addition to the smell from the grain, maybe even a little caramel. Roast and dark fruit with some warming alcohol. Very nice.

Taste: Sweet and roasty. This beer is extremely smooth considering how new it is. Some dark chocolate and dark fruit notes. The finish is sweet and roasty with a slight bitterness. Just a hint of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with extremely smooth carbonation and just a touch of dryness in the finish.

Overall: This beer lives up to it's hype. Better than I remember when I had the 2010 version. I'll definitely have another some time.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2012 01:57:07 | More by oline73
Photo of jonnyca80


5/5  rDev +11.1%

04-20-2012 21:05:50 | More by jonnyca80
Photo of mrsdrabmuh


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

04-19-2012 05:09:42 | More by mrsdrabmuh
Photo of deapokid


3.5/5  rDev -22.2%

04-16-2012 17:38:29 | More by deapokid
Photo of motorhed


5/5  rDev +11.1%

04-15-2012 20:29:14 | More by motorhed
Photo of BeerMeFitz


4/5  rDev -11.1%

04-13-2012 19:46:00 | More by BeerMeFitz
Photo of zac16125

South Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into my favorite snifter
2011 Zombie Vintage

Big thanks to haveanother1 for sending this one over in a trade

A: Pours a somewhat viscous jet black, with only the slightest browning around the edges, and 1 fingers width of dark mocha colored head which dissipates down at a fairly slow rate to a thin film.  Leaves a small amount of patchy lacing.  

S: The aroma is so sweet, with tons of dark fruit including raisin, plum, and red grape.  Other aromas noted are a significant bourbon character, a touch of black licorice, some anise,  and booze.  I get almost none of the  roasted/chocolate/coffee aromas that are present in  most RIS, but still, just an awesome aroma.

T: Unlike the nose, the flavors noted on the first sip are roasted malt, coffee and bitter bakers chocolate.  The dark fruits are there as well, with fig and raisin.  I also detect notes of vanilla, anise, milk chocolate that's reminiscent of a chocolate milkshake, a balancing booze character, and a touch of hop bitterness.  There is a lot going on in the palate profile, and really well balanced which prevents any one characteristic (ie the sweetness) from becoming cloying.  

M/D: Smooth, full bodied but not as thick as some of the other big RIS's.  Carbonation is not terribly high, but heavier than some.  A somewhat chewy and sticky mouthfeel which coats the palate nicely.  Very nice mouthfeel but could be thicker.  Still way above average, plus it gets even smoother as it warms and the carbonation subsides.  Drinkability is actually very good for such a big beer, and the ABV is very well contained.

O: Overall, really a great beer.  Well worth the wait, and worth the hype.  Not sure when I will get ahold of another one of these, but when I do I'll be sure to enjoy the hell out of it.  

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 03:43:54 | More by zac16125
Photo of hilgart1


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

04-08-2012 14:37:42 | More by hilgart1
Photo of Brian2256

4.5/5  rDev 0%

04-06-2012 23:13:59 | More by Brian2256
Photo of Mumra1979


5/5  rDev +11.1%

04-03-2012 03:16:21 | More by Mumra1979
Photo of Deshon2688


4.5/5  rDev 0%

03-30-2012 17:29:33 | More by Deshon2688
Photo of closisinthehouse


4.5/5  rDev 0%

03-29-2012 16:23:12 | More by closisinthehouse
Photo of rlee1390


4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cracked open the other night to celebrate getting into a PhD program.

A-Deep black, two finger creamy brown head, some lacing.

S-Chocolate coffee, roasted malt, mollassas, somehow smells like it came out of a bourbon barrel.

T-Chocolatey goodness, coffee, some roasted malt, once again the bourbon-like flavors sneak in, great overall balance.

M-Medium bodied, some carbonation, not as creamy and a little thin.

O-A wonderful RIS. Was a great way to celebrate. Makes me wish the grad school was in MN so I could go to Darkness Day every year.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 16:00:47 | More by rlee1390
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,501 ratings.