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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,721 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,721
Reviews: 769
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,945
Gots: 1,047 | FT: 77
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)
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: 2,721 | Reviews: 769 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Alpar
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the luxury of getting this on tap twice now both times was the 2010 version. Fresh and 8 months old. This review was the most recent aged version I had on tap at McKenzies during craft beer week

A: Super dark with a really awesome khaki head retention probably 1.5 fingers worth and it stuck around.

S: HOPS! Chocolate, toffee? Yeah this is my favorite for sure!

T: First sip is malt and chocolate then the bitter hops set in, wonderful balance. This beer is just outstanding. As it warms the flavors develop and the taste becomes more in depth leaving the consumer with more malts, chocolate well rounded hoppy finish and maybe the toffee I smelled in the beginning.

O: This is an all time favorite of mine and one of the first beers I had that changed my view of beer.

Alpar, May 23, 2011
Photo of Rampage1
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one imperial that definitely stands out from the others in the hop profile.

Appearance-- The color was a jet black with a head that was always slightly there and had nice carbonation.

Smell- The smell is what sets this beer apart from other RIS's- i smell beatiful hops in a nice floral way. I have never had a RIS that smells like a mellow IPA up front- never smelled so much hoppiness in a RIS- Awesome!

Taste- All i can say is less sweetness than Darklord but tons of chocolate. I liked that it was very balanced and not too sweet- very smooth!

Mouthfeel- This is really creamy - chocolate milk like.

Drinkablility--- I could drink a bunch of this. You would never know this is almost 11 percent- really easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Rampage1, May 17, 2011
Photo of garymuchow
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 version.
This was sublime.
Aroma was complex and enjoyable. Rich dark malts with sweetness, roast and a nice layer of hops.
Poured like syrup. Pitch black. Very dark head of black and brown.
Flavor was remarkable. Deep dark fruits. A subdued hop presence but still noticeable.
Incredibly smooth and rich without excess. Like velvet on the tongue. Just enough carbonation to contribute without being noticeable.
This was one helluva' beer. Savored well.

garymuchow, May 16, 2011
Photo of alpinebryant
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Mummy edition - Thanks to Tumpster in a trade

A: Very dark brown pour that has light coming through on the pour. I hesitate saying black because it just isnt quite black but close...Healthy tan head with large and small bubbles and spotty lacing.

S: sweet malts, chocolate and cocoa mixing with a sweet brown sugar smell. Definitely some crystal malts in here to flavor and round out the malt profile. Aroma is right up my alley with the sweetness I enjoy in an imperial stout.

T: Taste is greatly rounded. I picked up a lot of chocolate and crystal malt flavors with cocoa and brown sugar flavors. There is a lot of sweetness in here and I am really enjoying it. Flavors start of strong and sweet, very closely following the flavors I find in a good barleywine. Caramelized sugars also bring out some berry and marshmallow flavors. Medium bodied for the style, some may say light but at 10.3 this really comes through without any heat at all.

Light carbonation and overall a very good Impy stout. I can see why this one gets the hype, just hope that they continue to produce it in numbers as large as they have been in order to quell all the profiteers.

alpinebryant, May 14, 2011
Photo of tobin999
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a: darkness sums it up black with a milk chocolate head

s: dark fruits, chocolate, roast/ burmt malt.

T: same as smell with some vannila and mild bitterness

M: nice creamy body not overly sticky

O: big fan of this local brew and I'm glad i have some more

tobin999, May 12, 2011
Photo of BZero007
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the 2010 release with the Vampire on the label.

Glad I jumped the gun on this brew as it is not what you would expect for a popular limited release RIS. This brew poured a extremly black color with the formation of a dark brown colored head. The head stuck around and graced the glass with lace, which I love. The aroma was not extremly powerfull but carried notes of a sweet malt and dark fruits. The taste was extremely interesting as I said above it is not what you would think. Most limited RIS have a extremely thick body with overly powerfull roast flavor, this brew did not. The brew carried a medium style body with a bit more carbonation then is usual with this style. Flavors jumped off the brew as balanced roast/sweet malt/Darkfruits. I was taken back as I was prepared to have my taste buds thrown back by the usual unbalanced nature of RIS. This brew was elegant and is incredibly deserving of its popularity. Will be looking for more bottles of next years release.

BZero007, May 11, 2011
Photo of gregshead
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version (vampire) shared with a couple of beer loving friends. A big thanks to Biglobo8971 for trading me this one.

A: Pours a jet black and a half finger of a dark brown head. Darker than any head I've seen come out of a RIS before. The beer has a pretty strong viscosity as you move it around in the glass.

S: Deep roasted grain smell along with dark fruits and molasses.

T: Sweet molasses is prevalent throughout. Hops at the end keep the sweetness in check. Some dark fruit flavors but less so than the nose indicated it might. Lots of rich dark malt flavors without the burnt taste so many RISs have.

M: Thick and creamy with very little carbonation on the tongue. I'd argue one of the best feels of any RIS I've had.

O: To me, this is currently one of the top 3 non-barrel aged RIS/Double Stouts I've had the opportunity to try. Can't wait to trade for next year's version and try it all over again.

gregshead, May 09, 2011
Photo of n2185
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vampire bottle

A: pours black with two fingers of dark tan head which maintains well and leaves good lacing.

S: roasted malts with lots of dark fruit, molasses, and bitter coffee aromas. A very nice mix of sweet and roasted/bitter.

T: very similar to the aromas. Dark fruits, molasses, sweet chocolate, and dark, roasted slightly bitter coffee. On the sweeter side, but with enough roasted malts for balance. Very slight alcohol burn for the gravity.

M: thick body with low carb, this beer isn't quite creamy but is a tad oily instead.

O: Overall, a good beer. Not worth the hype or trading your cellar for, but still good. It's a bit sweeter than I prefer, but not cloyingly so.

n2185, May 08, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a bruery tulip, this thing is blacker than black, darkness is the right name alright. Bouts a 3 finger head that sticks around for a while. Lacing is excellent, very sticky. Aromas of dark chocolate, hops, coffee an alcohol is in the background. Tastes unbelievable! This follows the nose with more intensity. This is a thick and chewy impy stout. Darkness is what I would dream about in a Russian imperial stout. It's like raspy on crack, amazing beer!!!

jcartamdg, May 06, 2011
Photo of ne0m00re
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

04/20/11- Review of the 2010 from a bottle. Big thanks to some generous traders for this one.
A: nearly opaque black with a good caramel constant head with lacing.
S: Sweet caramel, strong milk chocolate almonds and figs, bourbon alcohol, some vanilla, and earthy and leafy hops.
T: More coffee notes than the aroma, caramel backbone, dry fruit (figs), present alcohol that is crips, with some lingering apple core earthy bitterness.
M: Thinner than you'd like, then it turns creamy, and then crisp again. The mouthfeel definitely makes this an interesting beer.
O: Solid RIS.

ne0m00re, May 06, 2011
Photo of iadler
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

2010 on-tap at Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Served in a tulip.

A- Black as night. There is a 1 finger dark brown head with some thick lacing.

S- Chocolate, coffee beans, brown sugar and some carmel malt upfront with some dark fruit such as cherries, fig and plums in the background.

T- Chocolate fudge hits the palate first with espresso beans, vanilla, brown sugar, wood and some dark fruit sweetness. So many layers but no heat of alcohol detected. Absolutely delicious.

M- Low carbonation and full bodied, but is incredibly smooth, creamy and has a silk-like mouthfeel that makes it incredibly drinkable for such a big beer.

O- I was trying my hardest to drink this as slow as possible and savor every sip since it would be a while for me to enjoy this again. I've had the chance to have the '10 on-tap and an '09 bottle and gave the '10 a slight advantage. Amazing brew and wouldn't expect anything else from Surly.

iadler, May 03, 2011
Photo of madvermin
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last of the big Surly box I got from KeefD in our trade, thanks again man.

Vintage: 2010 (vampire)

Pours jet black with a large three-finger foamy mahogany head...impressive. Big curdled yogurt-like bubbles on top retain for a long time too. Lace is decent and spotty.

When I opened the bottle I thought I smelt spoiled milk and got nervous, but that scent is now completely gone. Deep milk chocolate is the dominant aroma with toasted malts behind it. The toasting is very mellow and not nearly to the point of charred or anything like that. Light fruit lingers behind everything, with only a bit of dark fruit present at all. I like it, but expected more.

Boy is this beer sweet, almost cloyingly so. It tastes like sugar water on first sip, with some lemon or citrus notes at the start. The taste is light and summery almost at the start, and I enjoyed it after a couple sips considerably more than I did at the start. The lightness eventually moves to a once again mellow toastiness; light coffee notes that weren't present in the nose come out here. Abv is hidden completely, and isn't noticeable even as a warmer.

Mouthfeel is fluid and sticky, but thinner than you would think. Definitely not a thick, syrupy beer. Carbonation isn't really present in spite of the large head. Drinkability is tough to gauge - the start and finish don't really go together well, and it feels like a jolt to the system with each sip, but the beer is definitely tasty and well crafted. I thought the hiding of the abv was well done, as booze added to the sweetness present would have been unpleasant. Overall I wasn't blown away, and I much prefer Surly's IPAs, but this was a more than solid offering from a very impressive brewery.

madvermin, May 01, 2011
Photo of CPeterson
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In Honor of my 100th review, I've decided to raid my cellar for a bottle of (Vampire) 2010 Darkness.

A -- An immensely dark brew, black as sin with no light showing pours into a full four finger deep brown head and recedes slowly into a hefty froth with heavy tight bubbled lacing.

S -- Smoke and earth, countered by sweet, roasty malt and dark fruits. Hints of tobacco, brown sugar, and molasses.

T -- Hugely smoky, espresso and tobacco are heady in the front, backed by molasses and spiced rum soaked prunes with tones of black cherry and charred babies. Yes, babies. Notes of anise and clove. Finishes on the bitter end with a linger that really sticks around and a very mild alcohol burn.

M -- Definitely a big beer, heavy in body and on the palate. It has retained an excellent low - to - moderate carbonation in the cellar. Slightly creamy. A little sticky which I would expect from the style and slightly resinous.

D -- Excellent brew. I've had other vintages in the past and they stack up equivalently but this is the first time I've thought about reviewing it, and I'm glad I did. Happy 100 to me!

CPeterson, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I know you'll be glancing at this, AleWatcher. Sorry the Westy 12 didn't make it for my 800th. It'll be split with my girlfriend at a more special time, to be determined.

2010 (vampire)
This long time want graciously provided to me by bauermj. Poured into my new Darkness glass that was sent by Beeruser in perfect timing.

Appearance
The beer flows forth languidly, boasting its full body and robust color. The collection in the glass is dense and blackened. An undertone of burnt red, much like the color of the wax that crowns this bottle, gives the beer warmth and character. The head is a yellowed khaki with a frothy and soft pretense. Creeping rings of lace adorn the glass in short order, fueled by the ever-present ring of foam.

Smell
Darkness carries with it aromas of soy sauce and tobacco that are uniquely its own. Rich molasses and brown sugar lay a sweetened backdrop to licorice, steak sauce and freshly laid mulch. The bouquet is indeed full of darkness but encompasses the realm of caramelized and aged sugars and sweets. A consideration of the final glass of the bottle yields strong aromas of prunes and hints of chocolate covered raisins.

Taste
The soy sauce and molasses flavors are the dominant ones. They grip the sides of the tongue with a sharp, rum soaked fruitcake flavor that is bracketed by sweet pipe tobacco. There is a milky creaminess that tries to push through but the denser molasses and anise flavors suppress it for the most part. As the glass warms, caramel and a faint citrusy hopping come out. A fleeting hint of smoke pops out just at the end, and only after this beer warms to room temperature.

Mouthfeel
The best part of this beer is the way it slides over the palate, offering little resistance. It feels frictionless. Its very low and fluffy soft carbonation furthers the effects of the full body. There is a little bit of stickiness left on the lips, but this is a sweet beer, that should be expected. Some alcohol warmth and an oily, licorice flavored coating is left behind for a long finish and aftertaste.

Overall
This is a great stout. It’s large in stature and silky smooth and thick. It is, however, quite sweet and wrought with tobacco and soy sauce notes that get in the way of its roastiness. So, all things considered, this did not live up to what I expected from it.

MbpBugeye, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of trappistlover
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(22oz bottle courtesy of Alpar!). ’09 edition with Mummy. Pours near black with tan head. Aroma has soy, dark chocolate and some dark pit fruit along with a bit of green hops. Taste is sweet malt with some faded hops (my preference is NOT hopped up RIS). Full bodied with an oily texture. Finish is dry. Very nice, smooth beer.

trappistlover, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of DaveHS
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage (vampire)

A-Impenetrably black with a 1/2 inch of foamy cola colored head. Leaves plenty of lacing.

S-Milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. About what I'd expect from your average imperial stout.

T/M-Very soft and rich, with well balanced flavors of milk chocolate, condensed milk sweetness, caramel, lightly roasted malts. The back end is slightly hoppy, but it serves to cut the sweetness, not providing too much to the flavor profile. There's a sharp, soy saucey flavor mid-palate that is gone no more than a moment after it presents itself. The finish is full and sustained, with a drying quality on the back of the throat.

O-Much simpler than I expected, but a very successful beer. It reveals itself slowly, and has a residual effect, building flavors upon flavors the longer you drink. Highly reccomended.

DaveHS, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of prototypic
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many, many thanks to jamal32 for the bottle!

2008 Vintage (I'll get to the 2009 eventually, Jamie. I swear!)

Darkness lives up to its name. It's pitch black. Onyx. No light cutting through at all. A mocha colored crown tops it off and rises to nearly two fingers in depth. It's surprisingly slow to dissipate. Lacing is sticky, and thicker than expected. Very impressive.

The nose is nothing short of exceptional. Roasted and chocolate malts are easily the centerpiece. Bittersweet, dark chocolate notes are strong throughout, and smell delicious. Coffee is definitely in the mix, but is a secondary component. It's complementary, but works perfectly in that role. A hint of dark fruit is noted. Definitely subtle. Alcohol is pretty well buried. I'm not getting much at all.

The flavor is explosive! The malt base is rock solid and features a delicious mix of roasted and chocolate malts. Bittersweet, dark chocolate fudge resonates throughout, and is delicious! The malts are easily the focal point. Secondary flavors of espresso/roasted coffee, molasses, anise, and very light dark fruit all creep in and add a ton of depth, complexity, and character. After roughly two and a half years, it should come as no surprise that the hops have faded. But, there are some remnants. I suspect this is a rather hoppy Stout fresh. Alcohol is noted, but has integrated well over time. It's not warm or hot at all. Finishes bittersweet and malty with a light dark fruit flavor.

Darkness has a body that's full...but only barely. Carbonation is light, and it is definitely svelte and smooth. It's not the most impressive I've ever had, but it is excellent. For a big stout, it goes down far too easy. A 750 is simply not enough.

I've patiently held on to this bottle of Darkness for quite some time. It's tough to tell exactly how it's evolved since I didn't try it fresh, but it is incredibly impressive beer after two and a half years in the bottle. The only slight knock I have is that dark fruit is just a little too strong in flavor. That holds it back a little, but that's nitpicking to the extreme. Darkness is incredible! Thanks a ton, Jamie! Looking forward to the 2009 bottle.

prototypic, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of nhindian
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Darkness tulip. Bottle courtesy of brian23456, thanks Brian! Split with russwbeck.

2010 Vintage (Vampire)

A - A beer has never been so aptly named until this beer. It flows out, viscous and sucking in all light, and only yields a bit of color when it builds its giant, 2-finger head, dark mocha in color. Retention is great, lasting about halfway through the glass, and even when it fades, it leaves behind a magnitude of bubbles. The lacing is fantastic as well, draping a curtain of lace over the glass. Easily one of the better looking Russian Imperial Stouts.

S - On first smell, this reminds me a lot of Oak Aged Yeti in the fact that it has a good amount of wood and oak and hops, as well as some chocolate, dark fruits, alcohol, and perhaps a slight vanilla?

T - The taste is much more subtle than initially expected, bringing smooth tastes of wood, bitter chocolate, and almost rum-soaked fruits. Slightly roasty but overall everything comes together nicely. There's a noticeable hop taste as well. Finish is long and full of chocolate and a bit of alcohol.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with low carbonation. Given the big head, I was expecting more carbonation, but as it is now it has an appropriate amount. It's very smooth and the head adds some creaminess.

D - Drinkability is moderately high. The feel and taste are good, but was looking for something a little more given how talked up this beer is. I'd like to see a bit more complexity, but its a solid beer overall.

nhindian, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of mrseano
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage, received 11/10 from friend and opened 3/11.

A: Dark, dark black pour. No light shining through this beast. Deep color quickly surprised friends with whom I shared the beer.

S: Roasted, caramelized, hint of the strong alcohol within the beer. Smells of strong coffee.

T: Awesome chocolate-infused coffee. Strong, developed taste that lingered on the tongue.

M: Smooth and filling. Very full-bodied and felt like a meal in a bottle. Alcohol hidden within roast coffee taste and smooth mouthfeel.

O: I have just begun reviewing after many years of sampling and consuming beer, but this is currently my favorite beer I have the chance to experience. Received in beer trade from Great example of Imperial Stout and wowed me from first drink.

mrseano, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of 7ways
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage.

This is a seriously black beer. Like buried underground black. Probably the best head retention I've ever seen on a stout, and pretty good lace as well.

Aroma of sweet heady hops in the background and chocolate cookies dominating. The smell of this beer makes me hungry. A little char, vanilla and caramel sweetness.

Perfect interplay of hop bitterness, black/roasted malt bitterness, and cookie dough sweetness. Notes of tobacco, tart purple fruit, molasses, and milk chocolate come and go in no particular progression. This does not exactly have the typical profile of an RIS. It goes beyond, and I wish it had more contemporaries/imitators. Siberian Night and Marshal Zhukov's come to mind.

Very creamy, chewy and smooth, this is what all RISs should feel like.

I was always told this was a hoppy RIS. Maybe when it's fresh, but not the case here. Good thing, because more bitterness would have ruined it for me.

7ways, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 trade from MPLS, thank you sir.
Darkness; that is the mood with MSU out of the tournament in the 1st round after 2 final fours.

Opaque viscous black pour. A thinner layer of tan head that did retain fairly well.

Very vinuous aroma. Quite a bit of fruit and some light herbal and citrus hops. Roast malt, some molasses and cocoa.

There's the initial smack of some dark red fruits, but that fades quickly into roasted malt, chocolates, molasses. Finishes with some anise and coffee and cocoa. Still some piney hop action and bitters through that finish. Actually finishes quite clean for all the unfermented I'm sure is in this.
This is really near a 4.5. As it warmed more flavors popped even more, so I bumped it up.

Thick and coating. A velvety carbonation almost creamy. Warming but the alcohol is well within check. Goes down better than some others of this status.

Certainly worth trying and the age probably did good by me as I'm not big into the overly hoppy Imperial Stouts.

Bung, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of jhimstedt
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured at cellar temp into a glencairn, received in trade from AdamU726.

A - almost opaque, very black with brown hints. very nice fluffy head formed thin and hung around a bit leaving tiny amount of lacing and a ring.

S - plenty of roast, dark chocolate, some hints of molasses, vanilla, slight sour cherry, coffee. odd tartness that isn't funk, but a bit acidic?

T - quite complex IS. stuff keeps developing as it warms, but mostly dark chocolate up from, little overbrewed coffee and vanilla following, with that slightest hint of sour dark fruit that cuts through the dark roasty notes nicely. became more sweet as it warmed but was still in balance with the chocolate and roast.

M - very nice. medium-full bodied for style, but great residual coating in mouth and appropriate carbonation.

D - quite drinkable. not too sweet or cloying, not too roasty, alcohol well blended. definitely recommended. with the body being so full but overall a little sweet this should age very nicely.

jhimstedt, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
3.95/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage, poured into snifter. Thanks to readbaron for trading me this.

A: Pours an opaque pitch black, no hints of even a dark brown around the edges, with three fingers of foamy, oatmeal-thick brown head capping off the glass. Outstanding retention and lacing; this is a great looking beer.

S: Thick and rich, this one is a malt overload. Tons of roasted malts, with lots of chocolate, hints of sweet espresso, and the tangy musty smell of dark dried fruits- raisins, prunes, and currants. Hints of ethanol as the beer warms (though these don't show up in taste).

T: Lots of flavors at play here, with the chocolate from the nose emerging immediately. Tangy, fruity flavors are in control for the rest of the way, with a long, lingering, slightly acidic, sweet finish. With warmth, a chocolate flavor comes into play on the finish as well.

M: Extremely smooth- possibly the smoothest beer I've ever tasted. Medium-bodied with light carbonation, Darkness has a slightly creamy finish which makes the flavor even more enjoyable.

D: A good beer and an enjoyable glass, even if the balance lies a bit too much in favor of the beer's intense, sweet fruit flavors. Alcohol is well hidden and the smoothness made the first half of my glass disappear quickly, though things were bordering on cloying for the second glass.

AwYeh, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Jesse13713
3.55/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge thanks to Aw Yeh for splitting this beer with me. Our first beer of the night as we set out to relive childhood memories and complete A Link to the Past in one night.

Appearance - Well the first challenge was actually sawing through the quarter inch thick black wax. Poured into a Great Lakes Christmas Ale snifter. A delicious chocolaty foam head foams up immediately as it rises to the brim of the glass. The beer itself is pitch black; no way any light is shining through this one.

Smell - Rich in its chocolate malt profile. Slight hints of coffee as well. Light barley and hops are present in the background. Smells slightly sour due to fruit scents.

Taste - A very complex taste. I didn't know where to begin when trying to identify it. A slightly bitter swallow filled with chocolate and slight ethanol. The aftertaste is a very sweet chocolate and dark fruit that could even have some honey in it as well. A slight sweet bourbon note as well. I don't get many hints of coffee in this, but when I do; it is very faint. Slight spices linger on my tongue at the finish. The taste is almost unplesant at times though, due to how complex it is. I don't feel as if the flavors blend together very well at times.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - A little hard to swallow at times because of the ABV, but it is definitely a tasty beer. There is no mistaking that this is a Russian Imperial Stout. Filled with hints of dark fruit, honey, spices and chocolate.

Jesse13713, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am going to update my scores on this one. I just recently had an '08 courtesy of Deuane and I liked it a lot more than the '09 below. I have included my old scores at the bottom of the old review. Cheers!

---
Thanks to whoever brought this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. 2009 bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours deep black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to nothing at all, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Some sweet chocolate, a light does of hops, dark roasted malt, earthy wood, lactose sweetness, and some light smoke. It has good overall balance. Not the best I have smelled but far from the worst.

T - Lots of dark roast up front giving way slowly to a mix of light hop bitterness, sweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, light smoke, and some astringent wood helping to dry the pallet after consumption. Finish is dry with some lingering roast. Not exactly what I was expecting. I may have to get a bottle of this for myself and revisit this one.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. A bit too thin in the feel for my liking with some lingering dark roast in the finish.

D - Drinkability was not too bad. Well this was a bit of a letdown. I am not sure if it was just this bottle or what but I expected a lot more. I will have to get a bottle for myself to make sure.

Scores:
3.5 , 4.5 , 4 , 4 , 4
Grade: A- 4.08

orangesol, Mar 08, 2011
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,721 ratings.