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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,833 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,833
Reviews: 774
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,985
Gots: 1,093 | FT: 80
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/ 

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 Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,833 | Reviews: 774 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of phingdong
4.5/5  rDev 0%

phingdong, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of ratty918
5/5  rDev +11.1%

ratty918, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of shcufj
4.5/5  rDev 0%

shcufj, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
4.5/5  rDev 0%

LadyOfMuchBeer, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of kbanks13
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Opened this bottle that I got from a trade with plumcrazyfx (Thanks!) to celebrate qualifying for National Collegiate Powerlifting Championships.

2010 vintage poured into a snifter

Looked black as night with a short layer of light brown head. About what I'd expect, though I have to admit that, for some reason, it looked more sinister than most stouts as it sat in my glass. The smell was fruity and fudgey, think brandy soaked cherries and rich dark chocolate. Almost thought of a Black Forest cake. Slightly astringent though and not as sugary sweet as that analogy would lead on. No hops to speak of. The taste was incredible. Lots of the aforementioned chocolate and dark cherries, but also a noticeable brown sugar/caramel component and a smooth coffee flavor. Not a very sweet beer, but not bitter or tart either, just right. Barely noticeable hops, but that was perfect. Just enough to add some balance. Feel was velvety smooth and thick like motor oil, just like a stout this big should be.

I was, overall, very impressed and can definitely say that the hype around this beer is well founded. I don't think I'll be getting my hands on another bottle any time soon, but if I ever do, I hope it will be as enjoyable as this one was.

kbanks13, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of MarkFy
4.5/5  rDev 0%

MarkFy, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Adamdc
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Adamdc, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of AshleyMiller
4.5/5  rDev 0%

AshleyMiller, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of zenwatts
5/5  rDev +11.1%

zenwatts, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of Hopstout
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Hopstout, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of pschul4
2.2/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2008 vintage shared with my tasting group

A- Just what you'd expect from a RIS. Very dark and little head/retention

S- Meh. This smells licorice-y with some dark fruits in the background. Also picking up some roasty notes

T- First thing that comes to mind is "Licorice Juice." I'm not digging this at all. I was glad to have guys in my group who enjoyed this as I didn't have to pour mine down the drain.

M- Decent carbonination with some chewiness which I like but the flavor makes this impossible to enjoy.

O- Was this beer too aged? Maybe, I'm sure there are plenty of people that will enjoy this beer, I'm just not one of them. I want to try a fresh bottle to see differences

pschul4, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of raverjames
4/5  rDev -11.1%

raverjames, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of beast464
4.5/5  rDev 0%

beast464, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of sammo
5/5  rDev +11.1%

sammo, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of SuperVillain13X
5/5  rDev +11.1%

SuperVillain13X, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of angelmonster
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2010 vintage

Pours a nice 1 finger milk chocolate head, body is pitch black. Head retention was good and lacing was very good.

Smell is of rich chocolate cake batter, roasted coffee, charred oak, and slight alcohol. As soon as I opened bottle, aromas went directly in my nose. There is also some oxidation, prunes, but no hops.

Taste is charred oak, burnt chocolate malt, slightly bitter coffee, and chalky bakers chocolate. There is slight soy sauce/oxidation and prunes but chocolaty sweetness helps hide it. Hops really arent detected here. Alcohol is slightly present but for 10 percent, its very smooth

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, almost chewy. Carbonation is on the higher side but it helps to keep the body from becoming too syrupy. Small head of foam adds some nice texture to the beer.

Overall this beer was pretty good. Been waiting acouple years to try this beer and glad I finally got my hands on it. As a big vampire fan was really stoked to get this vintage but at around 18 bucks a bottle, dont know if I'd trade for it again. Tasty stout though, glad I received it in a BIF

angelmonster, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of WillCarrera
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Bangers and Lace in Chicago. Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours pretty damn dark, black with a finger of creamy coffee colored head, eventually settles down to a thin collar, good lacing.

S- Sweet aroma, lots of fruit, chocolate, not as much smoke or burnt malt as I expected, rounded out by sweet booze.

T- Very sweet overall. Has a decadent center of raisins, cherries and slightly spicy, warm alcohol. Finishes with a more pronounced charred malt with coffee and melted dark chocolate, lingering sweetness. Hop bitterness provides a nice base but is totally outclassed by the big, sweet malts on this beer.

M- Full-bodied, creamy, chewy, rich, coats the palate with a slightly syrupy, thick feel.

O- An impressive, forbidding beer with huge flavors. Definitely among the best of the Russian Imperial Stouts.

WillCarrera, Jan 24, 2012
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,833 ratings.