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Darkness (2006 - 2013) - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkness (2006 - 2013)Darkness (2006 - 2013)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,654 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,654
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,923
Gots: 1,032 | FT: 73
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Starting in 2014, Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels.


2007-Grim Reaper
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness (2006 - 2013) Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,654 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bullywee
4/5  rDev -11.1%

bullywee, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of LaCoursiere
5/5  rDev +11.1%

LaCoursiere, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of AutumnBeerLove
4.5/5  rDev 0%

AutumnBeerLove, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of bjohn84
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed a 2011 bottle.. cellered for 4 months.. poured into a darkness snifter

A - Jet black with a red hue towards the top. Thin tan head with excellent lacing

S - Cocoa nibs come first, berries and fruits

T - Chocolate covered fruits up front. Strawberries, cherries, Molasses, raisins. Bold burn from the alcohol numbs the tongue after the swallow, but doesn't overpower the robust flavor. Dry bitterness tends to come through on the back end

M - Fairly low carbonation and very full bodied. Quite a bit of stickiness in the mouth

O - Very complex RIS with new flavors coming through the longer I sip on it. Very filling, but drinks and goes down very smooth.

bjohn84, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of JJWIGHT
4/5  rDev -11.1%

JJWIGHT, Feb 14, 2012
Photo of neorunner
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blind Beer #5 - Thanks to Dougofthefuture in Round 6 of the Blind Beer BIF

Friend refurbished an old office and turned it into a man cave. Copper clad bar, recliners, two draft taps, and a flat screen TV. What better way to break it in than with a tasting. So I decided to grab a 22oz bottle from my stash of blind beers and cart it along with some other tasty for the event.

Eight participants total in this tasting and after a couple bottles we decided we should taste the blind beer before our palettes were too fatigued. Beer poured jet black with nice creamy dark tan head. Aroma is chocolate and malt with a slight fusel tinge. This is an imperial stout, no doubt about it. Pass the bottle around and everyone takes a pour. The aroma on this beer is great, I could sniff it all night long. Flavor is velvety chocolate deliciousness. I immediately start thinking its a bottle of Stone 12th Anni. I would have went with Darkness, but no wax on the bottle. Mouth feel is smooth and viscous in body and little to no hop acidity in the back of my mouth. Everyone unanimously enjoyed this beer.

The reveal: Darkness 2011! A want and a very tasty treat. I'm glad I was able to share it with a bunch of friends as I would have been under the table trying to drink that on my own. Not that I wouldn't have tried. Taking the wax off was a slick move and a great way to throw me off the trail.

neorunner, Feb 14, 2012
Photo of Jparkanzky
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Jparkanzky, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of baerb69
5/5  rDev +11.1%

baerb69, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of psychotia
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

psychotia, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of duels
5/5  rDev +11.1%

duels, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of Cyclone8
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Cyclone8, Feb 09, 2012
Photo of Amnesia87
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Amnesia87, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of DuffBrew85
5/5  rDev +11.1%

DuffBrew85, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of theCoder
4.5/5  rDev 0%

theCoder, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of wizo
4.5/5  rDev 0%

wizo, Feb 07, 2012
Photo of eclipse54
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2010 bottle sent from inlimbo77; thank you! Split at a tasting on 01/03/2012, and reviewed from notes taken then.

Body is pitch black with a viscous appearance and a deep brown head that is darker than many other beers' body; minimal retention and moderate lacing, though not surprising. Aroma is of vanilla, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, faint roasted malt, date, raisin, and a touch of plum. Very well balanced. Tastes of vanilla, dark cherries, milk chocolate, caramel, cane sugar, and slight roasted malts. Surprisingly smooth and complex. Mouthfeel is thick in texture, but it goes down smoothly with a creamy finish that thinly coats the mouth. Overall, a great RIS. It has a lot going on flavor-wise, but does well to balance them into a single, cohesive offering. This was the highlight of the tasting.

eclipse54, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of laintringulis
5/5  rDev +11.1%

laintringulis, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of MADhombrewer
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch. Thanks to Hopsbreath for this.

Appearance- Black with a small tan head. Good lacing. 4.5/5

Smell- Dominately chocolate and vanilla. Bits of coffee. 4.5/5

Taste- Coffee and chocolate are first in the taste. Little vanilla in the background. Bits of alcohol. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel- Thicker than the average RIS but not by much. Some dryness at the end. 4.5/5

Overall- This isn't the first time I have had it but the first time I reviewed it. Very good RIS. I would have this again for sure. 4.5/5

MADhombrewer, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of drowland
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12/23/10. Huge thanks to DalzAle for this one! Shared at the QC get-together, I believe. Sweet raisins and dark fruits with licorice, dark candy sugar, a touch of booze, and plenty of chocolate. Sweet chocolate up front with plenty of coffee and dark fruits in there as well. Very nice!

drowland, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of newk340
4.5/5  rDev 0%

newk340, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of johnhenryconway
4.5/5  rDev 0%

johnhenryconway, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of olmane
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

olmane, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of SageO
4.5/5  rDev 0%

SageO, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of cpinto6
4/5  rDev -11.1%

cpinto6, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of spdyfire83
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

150th Review
Bottles to Westvletren 12 (small) chalice

From notes. This lengthy review comes as a result of a tasting in Utrecht (December 2011) where we compared the 2008 (Devil), 2009 (Mummy), 2010 (Vampire), and 2011 (Zombie) all in a row. Only one missing is 2007, but let's be honest - no one has any of those left. A real treat to try all of these vintages at once - thanks to Jeffo and doopiedoopiedoo for their generosity!

We started with the youngest vintage and worked our way back. My favorite of the vintages was 2010, so that's what my review above is based on - I didn't want to get into complicated weighted averging and what not. My notes below were quite simple because we blazed through these four beers rather quickly.

Zombie - Vintage 2011
A: Dark burgundy. Faint (off white) fingernail head on vigorous pour.

S: Cocoa, espresso, and burnt dark malt.

T: Molasses, dark chocolate, fig, and oak.

M: Medium-full bodied with minimal carbonation.

O: Quite young and needs some age.

Vampire - Vintage 2010
A: Opaque black. Half (tan) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Sweet booze with a wonderful balance of currants, fig, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, and charred dark malt.

T: Brilliant, smooth, rich, and complex. Dark cherry, robust oakness, and sweet chocolate. Nice!

M: Full bodied with hidden (low) carbonation.

O: Just how a RIS should drink - dark, strong, bold, and smooth!

Mummy - Vintage 2009
A: Dark brown. 1.5+ (mocha) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Fresh garden of veggies - green pepper, squash, and . Very boozy as well. Not too inviting.

T: Tastes better than it smells. Deep, dark fruit, cinnamon, semi-sweet chocolate, and very roasted dark malt.

M: Full bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Seems a bit off to me, but I'm not sure how this is supposed to hold up with age. I would assume alright, but maybe it has fallen off already.

Devil - Vintage 2008
A: The coolest label of them all! Opaque brown. Barely a single (off-mocha) fingernail head on gentle pour.

S: Caramel, dark chocolate, and oak. Hint of green pepper, but it may just be lingering from the 2009 pour.

T: Wow! Sweet caramel, molasses, brandy, and dark chocolate. Nice and robust; very well-balanced.

M: Full bodied with soft (perfect) carbonation.

O: Nice and smooth - seems to have done fine with age, so I think the 2009 vintage is just off. Tasty brew for sure!

spdyfire83, Jan 31, 2012
Darkness (2006 - 2013) from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,654 ratings.