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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,546 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,546
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,885
Gots: 1,008 | FT: 67
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
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Ratings: 2,546 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrDogbeer


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

Had this beast a few times now, but this review is from a bottle. (which was a bit different from when I had it on tap, not as good IMO, but still awesome.) 2008 vintage. Pours a syrupy black into a tulip. Thin tan head. This one is dark! Smells of some ripe dark fruits and then the chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Taste is similar- lots of deep bitter chocolate with some light coffee aromas too. The winner here is the mouthfeel, though! A super-creamy delight. As close to a beer milkshake as you can get. This is outstanding. The alcohol is well hidden behind all the chocolate goodness, so it makes it very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 21:36:37 | More by DrDogbeer
Photo of bonsreeb85


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

Thanks to jera1350 for hooking this one up in a trade!

1st beer of 2010, here we go...

Opaque, tar, jet fuel, take your pick. this beer earns it's name, both thick and black sporting a large mocha head that maintains despite the high abv.

THis is what I call COMPLEX!
THe nose presents a wonderful chocolate and roasted malt base. Ground coffee vanilla beans, some smoke, dark fruits and citrus hops also come to play. honestly if I were blindfolded I would guess that this was a DIPA of Barley wine. sweeter scent than expected.

The taste mirrors the nose making for the most interesting RIS I've ever had. the hoppiness really adds an interesting element to the chocolate/cofee/roasted malt vertabrae. the alcohol content is well masked and although this brew finishes dry, it is suprisingly sweeter than i could have guessed(all for the better IMHO)

The body is slightly thinner than expected but still enough body to satisfy. the CO2 runs on the lower side of things and makes for a slick and smooth overall feel.

One of the most interesting and unique (and pleasurable) beer experiences i've encountered. If you can get your hands on it, savor every drop! i want more! more I say!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 02:00:52 | More by bonsreeb85
Photo of womencantsail


4.08/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #300 comes courtesy of mikesgroove. Thanks again Mike for hooking it up with this one.

2009 Vintage

A: The pour is viscous, black, and wonderful. It fills the glass with a fluffy mocha colored head on top of the thick liquid below.

S: Generally with an RIS (or any stout, really) you don't expect citrus and pine hops to be the primary aroma, but that's just what we have here. The malt and other traditional RIS aromas don't come through quite as much as I would have liked. Still, the malt and chocolate and coffee do come through at times.

T: The hoppiness is still present on the tongue, but not quite as intensely. A good roasted malt background with some hints of coffee and chocolate. Perhaps a bit of dark fruits as well, which go interestingly with the hoppiness.

M: The body is nice and full and the beer feels quite creamy on the tongue. The carbonation is at a moderate level.

D: D: The booze is hidden very well by the myriad of flavors that are present. I wish, however, that this was more RIS like and not basically a black DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2010 02:49:16 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Lunch


4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #100

Served from a 750ml bottle (2009), obtained via trade with Bulkman (a very generous trader and BA, thanks man!), into my two Darkness snifters (graciously picked up at Surly by kbutler1, thanks man!)at cellar temperature (12/25/09). I have been waiting some time to try this and I must say that it did not disappoint in the slightest.

A: Pours a very thick motor oil black with a one finger mocha colored head with great retention and lacing. Exceptional looking Imperial Stout with a head that would just not go away at all.

S: WOW! What a unique and complex aroma we have here. First roasted chocolate malts jumped out along with some dark fruits, including blueberry, some molasses as well in addition to some smokiness and coffee. Perhaps a hint of piney hops in there too. Not exactly sure what I was expecting from the aroma, but this one truly blew me away with its complexity and depth.

T: And i thought the smell was unique and complex. The tastes brings about a whole new meaning to complex. Everything from roasted chocolate malt, dark fruits, blueberry, smoke, caramel, molasses, coffee, bitter dark chocolate, currant, toffee, licorice and vanilla. Truly amazed at the depth of flavor in this Imperial Stout. The finish has a slight bitterness brought on by some piney hops.

M: Velvety thick and creamy with an appropriately low and creamy carbonation. A slight hint of alcohol in the finish, but really only when it is fairly warm.

D: Very drinkable for such a rich and full-flavored beer, but heaviness of the flavors, even though they are exceptional, will weigh you down at some point. The 10.3% abv. seems to be about as hidden as it possibly could while providing just a hint of warming as the beer is allowed to breathe.

Overall this is has got to be one the best and most unique Imperial Stouts out there. Not one particular flavor or tone dominates another allowing for exceptional complexity and uniqueness. Thanks again to Chuck for being so generous and helpful in allowing this experience to take place. And let's not forget Kevin for providing the Darkness snifters to fully round out this experience. A Must Try.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 17:56:34 | More by Lunch
Photo of dedrinker


4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As far as appearances and aromas go, it was like a lot of other Imperial Stouts that are held in high esteem.

But the flavor - after the requisite toasty/roasty/chocolate and coffee notes - surprised me with hints of cherry and old pipes (tobacco). I was impressed. This is a fabulous addition to the family of American Imperial Stouts of the first order.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 03:54:22 | More by dedrinker
Photo of dbossman


4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque and black; thick one finger head that really holds its form; lacing is great

S: Roasted chocolate malts; a piny hops is also strong; subtle smokiness, molasses, and coffee

T: The piny hops is prevalent but the dark cocoa is dominant; this beer is so smooth and the alcohol isn't noticable at all

F: So smooth and creamy; such a wonderful mouith coating and amazing mouth feel

D: This is a nearly perfect RIS; the alcohol is so well-masked; it is smooth, dark, creamy, and so damn delicious. Mmmm.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 03:17:12 | More by dbossman
Photo of far333


4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
First review of 2010
Compliments of BuckeyeNation
Served in a crystal snifter glass

Pours a deep chestnut color with a two finger head of frothy and firm light brown foam. Bubbles cascade briefly as it rises up to a peak and settles slowly down, leaving a sheet around the inside of the glass.

Complex nose of dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, currant and subtle hops.

I'm struck first by the velvety and luscious mouthfeel, creamy and smooth and rich. This leads into the rich and complex flavors of cocoa and vanilla, a little milky upfront, morphing quickly to bitter espresso and molasses, charred bark and tart cherry. Finishes slightly dry, a bitter and puckery tartness lingers, punctuated by piney hops that underscore all the other flavors moving around. The alcohol strength is well hidden, but a slight warmth does move up the cheeks.

Tremendous beer, very flavorful and very drinkable despite its strength and depth of flavor. Many many thanks to BuckeyeNation for sending this my way purely as a gift, happy new year my friend.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 22:40:14 | More by far333
Photo of homebrewhawk


4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dansting for this one! 22oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a finger of tan head. Big piney hop aroma with some chocolate malt. Hits you right off with a blast of resiny hops. On the lighter side of full bodied. Not a lot of roasted barley, more on the black patent side. Fairly dry with a drying finish of hops and dark malt.Pretty drinkable for the ABV. It would be interesting to see how this ages.

More like a black DIPA (did I just make a new style?) than a RIS, but who really cares about conforming to style. This is a very interesting beer and fun to drink on a purely hedonistic level.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 16:45:20 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of muttyd


4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black pour with thick tan head that slowly fades to about one finger thick.

S: Massive hop aroma similar to a strong American DIPA. Slight chocolate/coffee aroma in the background.

T: Molasses, chocolate, coffee, caramel, and roasted malts. Very complex flavor that is well balanced by the hop bitterness. I seem to be getting new flavors in every sip as the beer warms up. Alcohol is well hidden, but still warming. Absolutely amazing.

M: Thick, rich, and very sticky.

D: One of the best beers I have ever tried. Alcohol does sneak up on you though.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 02:37:30 | More by muttyd
Photo of icefisherman


4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off this is some dark stuff so the name fits. Black thick liquid with a small tanish head. Smells most delicios kinda chocolaty almost like the black death coffee we get at work. Taste has so much going on it is hard to nail it down every sip is something new from caramel to dark fruits to slight piney hops. Mouthfeel was nice smooth with a little bite I liked it, it was rough around the edges. As for drinkability man oh man all night if I could and didn't have to work in the morning. Well hidden 10 percent deffinatly a beer worth tracking down on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2009 04:39:02 | More by icefisherman
Photo of sprucetip


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First of all, a big thank you to BuckeyeNation for the stellar trade and hand delivery of this beauty.

With a fairly aggressive pour the precious contents produced more thick, dark mocha foam than impenetrably black liquid. The head lingered for quite some time, as I admired it and inspected other aspects. Though there was nothing that so much as resembled a highlight, I did detect prodigious quantities of tiny bubbles cascading upwards along the inside edge of the glass and joining the loitering frothy top. Thick lacing was left behind by the initial froth, but there was little later on.

I found the nose roasty and smoky, mainly, with some fruity hops evident, upon early inspection. Later there were hints of licorice, relatively low levels of alcy heat, and a burst of black patent before some caramel malty sweetness that added some depth I was hoping for. It continued to grow richer and more complex. I was planning to up the score a notch, but, later yet, that blast of black patent seemed to hand on and overpower some of the other influences, and the score landed where it did. But it was a tough call.

The taste did not immediately lend itself, descriptively, to a plethora of elements. But, wow! Rich caramel malty sweetness, and strong roasty and coffee influences lead. A touch of hoppy and possibly roasty bitterness works its way in, as does vague licorice notes and vanilla. Barely noticeable alcohol. Extraordinarily rich and smooth. I struggled with the decision, and have decided to score it a 5, something I rarely do.

Well but not over carbonated, with alcy warming that stops a bit short of burn. Thick, chewy, and viscous. Luxurious texture, and finishes clean. The just barely too strong warming keeps this from being a 5.

As good as any, joins a few other in setting the bar. Wicked smooth, rich, and complex. Just plain decadent. Wow. Yum. ...Thanks again to BuckeyeNation for making this experience possible.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 06:56:31 | More by sprucetip
Photo of hooliganlife


4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to mnjeff

pour is not quite jet black but very dark cola, almost black, with a cocoa head. little to zero retention and lacing

so much going on, bourbon, cherry, molasses, light floral hops, sweet roasted malts, vanilla, and a bit of booze

even more in the flavor. this was quite complex with a mixture of so many flavors. again, herry, molasses, light floral hops, bitter citrus hops, sweet and bitter charcoal roasted malts, vanilla, a bit of booze, dark fruit, and a touch of brown sugar. mind blowing.

thick! the glass has a slick glaze in it. its almost enough to chew on.

this may be the best imp stout i have ever had. i want to drink the shit out of it but its 10.30 ABV (which is hidden well) and a 750ml bottle. it would be trouble, but "trouble loves me".

play on playa... this is it.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 03:02:22 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of hrking


4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow popped a bottle last night for GBS#169 and wow all I can say is try this beer. The flavors just keep coming. Creamy smooth desert stout with fudge chocolate goodness.Dark Lord bow down to the Darkness. This is hands down one of the best stouts I have ever tasted! Alcohol well hidden and dangerously drinkable. This is a must try for any beer connoisseur! 98 vintage..

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 19:00:14 | More by hrking
Photo of PhxHorn


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

This one pours almost black and totally opaque, with a one-inch tan head. Smells moderately of chocolate and coffee. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and oreo cookie, the cookie part. A first-rate combination of flavor. Mouthfeel is outstanding, a creamy smooth feel, almost as if it was from a nitro tap. Very drinkable for a beer this big. This one walks with the big boyz.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 04:30:36 | More by PhxHorn
Photo of HopHead84


3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 batch shared by Alex on 12/19/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer pours black with a two finger light brown head.

The nose is aggressive green, piney, and grassy hops with light citrus notes. Beneath the hop onslaught I find a fairly standard RIS, with a moderate roasted quality and notes of dark chocolate.

The flavor is pine resin hops with an upper moderate level of bitterness. I detect chocolate and a light roast, as well as some astringency. The hops are very aggressive, and they seem to clash with the traditional RIS flavors at every turn. This is a return to the hoppiness of the 2007 vintage, but the hops seem to clash here, where they melded nicely in the older vintage. What I have before me is a rather strange beer that isn't particularly drinkable or enjoyable, apart from the hoppy novelty factor.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 08:56:47 | More by HopHead84
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage that I got in a trade with feloniousmonk, Thanks Al!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Black brew with a big fluffy brown head of foam that left a heavy coat of lacing.
Roasted malt, chocolate and earthy hops.
Chocolatey taste upfront with lots of roasted coffee bean character and a good dose of hoppy bitterness mixed in.
Full bodied with a smooth, creamy feel.
Drinkable, oh yes it is!

I also had a 2008 vintage on 11/25/09 that I got in a trade with josephhaugen when he still lived in Minnesota, Thanks Joe!

22oz gold wax dipped cap served in a snifter.

Black liquid with a huge cocoa colored head that took a while to settle and left cool looking lace.
Chocolate and sweet roasted malt fill my nostrils, faint and I mean faint bit of hops.
Taste is sweet roasted malt and sweet chocolate, a light touch of bitterness on the finish but any real hoppy flavors have long since faded.
Creamy, thick and rich brew that went down fairly easy considering the high abv.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2009 00:37:20 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of pmccallum86


4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage

Pours a deep dark midnight black with a cocoa coffee colored head. The head dissipates slowly into the night leaving lacing along the snifter.

The smell is of dried fruits, hops, roasted malts, cocoa, butterscotch and many other things I cannot identify. Very complex and pleasant.

Taste is like no other RIS I have ever tried. Chocolate, coffee, butterscotch, raisins, roasted malts, etc. As it warms a tobacco flavor becomes present. Very interesting taste that changes with the temperature.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, maybe a little chewy. Definitely a thick full body. Very nice on a cool winter's night.

Drinkability is good, very smooth and pleasant to slowly sip on.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 23:32:07 | More by pmccallum86
Photo of auroracrisis


3.85/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Got this one from Mistofminn in a trade, thanks again!

Poured black and thick with a big head. The head was probably three inches on my first pour and as the brew was drank down it had little lacing. I think the lacing was due to the glass it was in which had been in the dishwasher.

Smell was a bit underwhelming. Earthy hops and roasted coffee with sweet chocolate. I was hoping for something that just jumped out of the glass at me but it wasn't happening for some reason.

Taste was unlike any RIS I have ever had. Opened up with lots of earthy hops which moved into sweet chocolate and roasted coffee. As the beer warmed I could taste a bit of alcohol but not much.

Mouthfeel was alright. I'd say light to medium body for an RIS. Wasn't bad but wasn't great.

Drinkability was good. Not something I could drink pitcher after pitcher of but it was solid. I had no problem finishing the 22oz on my own.

Overall, I would say this one was a great beer but didn't live up to the hype. Maybe it's better on tap? Not saying it's a bad beer but it's not mind blowingly good or anything. I enjoyed it though. Thanks Brad!

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 06:48:03 | More by auroracrisis
Photo of brewanddrink


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

i was number 326th in line for this years darkness and i was there the year before also. Just the fact that i waited three and a half hours to get it makes it taste even better. It pours thick in the glass with little head at first then forms a thin layer that emits a lovely aroma of dark fruit, sweet malt and a little hops. The taste is bold and full of strong malt with raisins and a linger of chocolate. It is a very nice beer for a cold winter night just after a long day of snow boarding.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 03:16:38 | More by brewanddrink
Photo of hardy008


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

When I had this on tap, it had a small tan head. When I poured the beer from the bottle into a tulip glass, it had a huge tan 2 finger head with excellent retention. Very impressive. Pitch black color, allows no light to pass through.

The nose on this is amazing. A nice combination of smeet malt, molasses, chocolate, raisins, coffee, and hops makes for a great aroma.

The flavor is just as amazing. The malt takes center stage and the beer is wonderfully sweet and somewhat hoppy at the same time.

As high as the alcohol is, it is amazing at how well it is hidden. Full bodied, rich, creamy, and nicely carbonated. Nicely drinkable for such a big beer. I wouldn't change a thing.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 03:26:45 | More by hardy008
Photo of Arbitrator


3.7/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle, 2009 vintage, into a glass. Shared at a tasting. Received in a generous trade from KeefD. Thanks, Keith!

I was a little concerned about this beer being awful, since largadeer compared it to Dark Lord, which I can't stand. I expected a drainpour.

A: Pours a perfectly pitch black in the glass, letting no light through, even at the edges. The bottle is well-chilled, and a vigorous pour yields no head, but as it warms, swirling and agitation produce a nice, frothy mocha-colored head that rises to a finger in thickness. Sadly, it falls quickly into a light collar and a swirl of bubbles on the brew. No lacing.

S: Barry (bring) made a comment that this smells like stir-fry and sesame oil, and as the beer warmed, I saw great hints of that. It also had a strong burnt (not roasted, but burnt) malt flavor that imparted elements of smoke and a light ashiness. Chocolate was also quite strong. There were no hops in the nose.

T: The beer goes through oscillations as it warms. When cold, it is mostly charred and smoky. At a little higher temperature, it is burnt and acrid, with a little citrus in the finish. Slightly higher, and it develops a soy sauce / stir fry profile. As it approaches room temperature, the flavors meld into a nicer combination. Yes, there's a soy sauce / sesame oil flavor to it. Yes, there's still an acrid / burnt ash flavor in there. It's also strongly sweet, with chocolate, molasses, and a dark fruit variety (currants? Maybe figs). There is an underlying hop bitterness throughout, and it's more apparent in the finish where it manifests as a citrus burst and some earth. At room temperature, these seemingly clashing flavors merge into a pretty enjoyable profile. It's not the best imperial stout I've had, but it's quite well crafted. I have to say, though: no one in the room understood why people kept saying this beer is very hoppy; this bottle was not.

M: Full body with a velvety feel from its low carbonation. It's slightly warming, but there is no real booze to it.

D: As I said above, it's not the best imperial stout I've had, but I think it's solid. I expected it to be awful, and it turned out to exceed my expectations. I seemed to be the only one at the tasting who enjoyed it even this much, which surprised me. Normally I'm the Negative Nancy at these tastings.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 08:20:46 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of jeffthecheff


3.5/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared at the "Black Friday" tassting 2009. Thanks fbm115 for the bottle.

The beer is black. It's Darkness. The head is a dark brown but it dies to just a lace around the glass.

The aroma is very hoppy with only a hint of dark flavor in the back. Doesn't really live up to the Darkness title, as it it more bright and hoppy. Pine and citrusy orange peel come through with DIPA strength.

The flavor is mostly hoppy, with a syrupy, dark chocolate flavor hiding in there. There is a burnt, bitter finish from both the hops and the roast. Fruity hop flavors come through as orange and cranberry, reminding me of a chocolate covered fruits. There is a bit of a garlicy flavor as well from the overboard of hops.

The mouthfeel is thick, resiny, and oily. Slightly chalky finish. Slight warming feeling from the alcohol. This beer is hurt by the overboard of hops for the drinkability. Overall it seemed like there was too much going on, but I'd like to see how this tastes with some age on it when those hops calm down.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2009 21:41:43 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of surlyseth


4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Saved this one for my 35th B-day.
Took it out of the fridge a half-hour prior to opening.
Poured in a Duvel tulip.

A: Thick jet black body with a khaki-carmel-frap-looking head. The pour yields a "slow-burn" head which takes time to accumulate. Minimal lacing.

S: Hoppy, but not necessarily like an IPA. Not floral or citrusy. It's more oily and piney...Like I opened up an old chest in the attic.

T: Amazing. Drying coffee up front, sticky-sweet caramel, and finishing with a hoppy, bold tobacco. The taste of this cannot be overstated. So many RI Stouts come up dry and short. Soft and simple. Or they overdo the sweetness. Darkness has a sourness that powers through the chocolate cloying effect. This is a chocolate stout that is fleeting. It plays hide-and-seek all over the tongue.

M: Phenomenally robust. Fully festive. Hoppy as hell to balance the sticky sweetness. My lips are adhered to themselves and my mouth coated, yet the hops scream for another sip.

D: Sip it and you will be rewarded by it's hidden, sweet, dark fruits that become more brilliant as the darkness comes to pass into the dawn of inebriation!

This beer lives up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 05:18:04 | More by surlyseth
Photo of bmanning

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerdavis for this 09 bottle - shared with Traquairlover.
Pours black with a 2 finger tan/light brown head.
I'm caught off guard with huge citrus and floral aromas - is this a stout or an IPA? There are also background aromas of coffee, chocolate, licorice, toffee, and caramel.
Taste is very odd, but in a good way. This beer has qualities of both an Imperial IPA and a Russian Imperial Stout. There is grapefruit mixed with chocolate, lemon with coffee, orange with caramel. These are very odd combinations together, but they surprisingly work well together.
Mouthfeel is thick and coats very well.
Overall this is a very different stout than I'm used to because the floral and citrus notes are in the forefront right now with the stout flavors in the back. I'm going to give my 2nd bottle a year in the cellar and see how it develops.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 16:57:12 | More by bmanning
Photo of bsp77


4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from magnificent 750ml bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Exceedingly dark brown that might as well be black with a thick mocha head that mostly recedes, but only after several minutes.

Smell: Very fruity aroma for a RIS, with a strong citrus hop bitterness. Some floral notes (roses?) are apparent as well as something akin to raw meat. The roasted aroma is quite low, with just a slight touch of chocolate.

Taste: Same as the aroma, it is very fruity, both due to the malts (plum, figs) and the hops (citrus). The citrus is especially off-putting, but in a good "wow I didn't realize that could work" way. Also notice some rich molasses, licorice and chocolate, with a nice mild bitterness at the end.

Feel: Low carbonation, full chewy body that is exceptionally smooth.

Drinkability: I really can't tell this is over 10% at all. Despite how thick it is, it is very easy to drink. Overall, not a typical RIS at all considering the lower roasted character and the citrus hops, but quite exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 04:53:37 | More by bsp77
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,546 ratings.