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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,996 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,996
Reviews: 789
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,113
Gots: 1,142 | FT: 79
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006

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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,996 | Reviews: 789 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PthPndr
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of jwelsh
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of azdback
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2011. Poured into a snifter. Well it's name is Darkness and its initial appearance is just that. Deep reaches of space black. Highlight are black with some black shadows. Head is a beautiful two fingers and cocoa colored and smooth and silky in appearance. Lace is sticky and spotted leopard pattern. Beautiful!!

Smell is at first a bit mellow but comes on with great dark roasted flavors of coffee and some silky milk chocolate. Maybe just a bit of char or wood and some tart cherries and maybe just a hint of alcohol.

Taste is much like the smell. The cherries come out more towards the front in the taste than in the nose. The dark roasted flavors of coffee, molasses, chocolate and charred wood are next. It finishes with some alcohol warmness.

Mouth is velvety with creamy carbonation. Body is full to heavy and the finish is long and wet.

Overall I enjoyed this. I have been looking forward to this day for quite some time. I received a bottle of 2010 earlier this year but waited until today to try the 2011 I received from TIMMYJ21 a month or two ago. I expected the world from this but it didn't quite match up. Still really excellent and solid Russian Imperial Stout. Very proud to have this as my 250th review.

Photo of axeman9182
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottle. This one was allowed to warm a bit before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Surly Darkness pours as pitch black as I'd expect. The cake-like caramel foam slowly builds itself up to nearly four fingers in height, threatening to spill out of the glass without ever actually doing so. Head retention is very good, but lacing is fairly spotty. The nose is pungent, and very enticing. The malt side of things is definitely tilted more towards dark chocolate, but is not without a bit of a coffee presence as well. There's also a fairly noticeable citrus aroma from the hops that fades in nicely behind the malts. As with the nose, rich dark chocolate forms the oundation for the flavor profile. A mild coffee flavor, as well as candied orange slices from the hops, also make their way here from the aroma. There's also a subtle minty note at the back end of each sip that really adds to the beer. The body is impressively rich and creamy, it drinks like it's 13-14% instead of just over 10%. At the same time, the carbonation is absolutely perfect. It's bubbly enough to allow the hops to be as prominent as I'm guessing they're intended to be, but it still lets the full bodied maltiness take center stage. I've been looking forward to trying Surly Darkness for a long while, and this is one beer that definitely lives up to the height. It's one of the best non barrel aged imperial stouts I've ever had.

Photo of BeerNutz324
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber into 2 oversized wine glasses (split with my lucky wife)

Ap- pretty much completely black with a cinnamon colored head, great lacing for a stout and the head has good retention

Ar- chocolate, cherries, oak, molasses, figs/dates some other dark fruits

T- chocolate, raisins, dates, molasses, and coffee on the end. really gets awesome as it warms, the alcohol comes through as it warms too but not in a bad way.

M- thick bodied, alcohol warms your mouth after holding it for a while. good carbonation for this style.

O- a truly awesome stout. I wish this stuff wasn't so rare (and expensive) seek it out if you want a good one!

Photo of Reaper16
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

*review #500 for me!*

750mL bottle served into a snifter

*2010 vintage*

This thing isn't as black as one might think given the name "Darkness." It's Dr. Pepper-brown in color. A half finger of camel foam forms, settling quickly to a wisp of a ring. Lacing happens in Morse code-like dots and dashes.

This beer, at this stage in its life, is a sweetness bomb on par with Dark Lord. Tons of sweet chocolate and truckloads of raisin provide the base for the beer. It's really, really raisiny. There's also this wild raspberry aroma here... not like the actual fruit but like the raspberry filling in a piece of Russel Stover's assorted chocolates. A little bit of smoke -- not roasty so much as ashy -- fills out some of the edges of the beer.

Holy dessert. Good God. Caramel sauce (not caramel malt but caramel sauce), browned pie crust, brown sugar, Starbucks Frappachino, more caramel, fudge, hazelnut, hot chocolate. This is such a sweet beer. Ghosts of the hop presence that this beer used to have results in some delicious Grand Marinier/orange reduction flavors. The finish has a slight & lingering hop bitterness.

Oh, this mouthfeel is so appropriate given the sweetness of the flavor profile. This is thick stuff that feels weighty when swishing it around your moth, but not overwhelmingly, syrupy thick. You can actually feel some carbonation (which would make this a good option for pairing with rich desserts) too. It's nice and silky on the swallow.

Overall, I am not blown away by Darkness. Perhaps I would enjoy this beer more when fresh (considering how much I love fresh Goose Island Night Stalker)? What's here though, one year after this 2010 vintage was released, is a pretty delicious beer. It's not that complex; it's pretty much just sweetness. But it's a full-flavored, rich beer that is working pretty well for me right now as a celebratory beer.

Photo of IllHaveAnother1
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of fdkayti
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-Tap at The Firkin

A- A solid black wall o' stout. A brown head sits on top and isn't showing signs of leaving. Thick, spiderweb-like lacing all the way down the snifter.

S- Semi-sweet chocolate and rich spices. Good roasty malts come through as well as a slight whiff of alcohol.

T- Chocolate milk on steroids. Deliciously malty with a subtle hop spiciness. Dark fruits (black cherry?) bring up the rear. A sweetness comparable to molasses.

MF- Wow. About the same consistency as chocolate milk, too. Super creamy, low carbonation. Feels great. Did I say how creamy this is?

O/D- Really, really enjoying this. Alcohol is hidden much better in the taste than in the smell, making this drinkable with a subtle reminder. A real treat, I want this everyday.

Photo of redblacks75
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of UNCCTDawg
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of wtfuggles
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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

I also had this 2011 vintage on-tap at Bavarian Lodge on November 26th, 2011.

Very deep black in glass, maybe a hint of red around the edges. The head sat on the glass and stayed there, with lots of lacing as you drink. What a great aroma! Spice and citrus from the hops are detectable with chocolate and toasted, roasted malt. Luckily, it tastes as good as it smells, like a mixture and milk and dark chocolate and some roast graininess. Bitter on the back of the throat the way a good cup of coffee is. Roll this one around in the mouth and you get a smooth almost creamy texture without a lot of carbonation.

Overall, a very good RIS. I'd like to sample it in a year and see how well it's aged.

Photo of superspak
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of joemcg22
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of morecoldbeer
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of heyta
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of melikesbeer
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of fuzzcherry
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vampire lable

A- pours pitch bock with a finger and a half of dark espresso crema head. Decent head retention. Some lacing.

S- big Lucious dark/semi-sweet chocolate aromas burst from the glass. Some dark fruit tones of fig intermingle with a burnt brown sugar and black strap molasses. Finishes with a roasty char like aroma.

T- Bittersweet chocolate up front blends with a blackstrap molasses componet. Dark fruit plum/prune port like qualities in the middle. Licorice flavors abound with some char that brings things together nicely. Finishes with a lingering anise and rich roasty malt that lingers.

MF- thick velvety chewy mouthfeel with a heavy body. Low soft caressing carbonation.

D- very drinkable

overall an outstanding RIS. More please!

Photo of emaciated
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of trapper2408
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Auracom
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage on-tap at Bavarian Lodge on November 26th, 2011. Was very fortunate to sample this. Unfortunately, my sample was the final 1.5-2 oz. of the keg before it kicked. Beggars can't be choosers.

A - Standard RIS affair here. Deepest brown/black coloring. The head stands out a bit here, especially for the small sampling size. Good retention of a light khaki head. Tons of bubbles cling to the edges for the duration of this drink.

S - Definitely hoppy, but more so this exhibits a great blend of spices, milk chocolate bar, and lesser roasted notes.

T - More of the same. Nice balance. Dark and milk chocolate sweetness at the front lead into subtle bitter hops with just a touch of espresso.

M - Great dryness for the style with nice lingering finish and aftertaste. Oddly, it seems much less carbonated than it looked like it would be. Velvety-smooth with a medium-heavy body. Need a 4.75 rating here.

D - The hops aren't a bomb here, which I like. It's far more balanced than I expected and already well-developed. My sample wasn't nearly enough.

Photo of leschkie
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,996 ratings.