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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,654 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,654
Reviews: 764
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%
Wants: 2,923
Gots: 1,031 | 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.

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 (2006 - 2013) Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,654 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of edbeered
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass, this pours an opaque jet black color, with a small brownish head and scattered lacing on the glass. The smell is fruity and chocolaty. The taste is intense, with a peaty earthiness, a fruity plum flavor, a hint of grapefruit hoppiness, and a toasty maltiness. The flavors burst forth, yet this exceptional brew is smooth and balanced. The alcohol content is 9.5%, yet it doesn't feature in the taste. For me, the style makes this a "one and done" beer, due to the intensity of the flavors and the high alcohol content. That said, if any Russian Imperial Stout could tempt me into a second glass, it would be this one. An exceptional effort from the brewers at Surly.

edbeered, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of Pitmonkey
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been luke warm on Imperials in the past, I was floored tonight.

Served from tap into belgian stem-ware, don't recall which. Inky black, while the lighting at the Blue Nile wasn't exactly bright, I am confident there was no light coming through that beer. A light tan head which eventually diminished.

I didn't get a lot from the aroma, there was some malt there, and if my vocabulary was better or I was a more experienced reviewer, I might have something, but I kept trying for it and it never did become pronounced, but it may well have been overwhelmed by the intense flavors because I dove in pretty quickly.

Sweet, malty thickness, like a good 90% dark chocolate and a finish like a really well prepared espresso, bitterness lingering forever, essentially until I couldn't resist another sip.

Mouthfeel that sticky syrupy sweetness that never cloys, it dissipates into a lovely alcohol warmth and the aforementioned espresso.

I usually have an Imperial and I am done with the style but I just couldn't resist a second and was not disappointed.

I seriously have never enjoyed an Imperial more than this.

Pitmonkey, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of BillyB
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Russian Imperial Stouts are my favorite style, so I'm a bit biased.

I think what Surly is doing is very ballsy. Brewing big beers and canning them. The only other example I can think of that comes close to this is Oskar Blues Ten Fity. I tried this at GABF so it was on draft and from what I heard their not canning this one.

But to get to the point; Darkness is off the charts! Pours a jet black, opaque hue, with a thick tan head.

The roasty, toasty, coffee, caramel and slight whiskey aromas jump out at you.

Strong coffee, roasty malt and toffee flavors. Slight whiskey character, but very subtle.

So drinkable! Just so damn, drinkable! This may be the best russian I've tried since Stone or North Coast.

If you can get your hands on this beer, try it! You won't be dissappointed.

BillyB, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of KAF
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at the Autumn Brew Review in Minneapolis, MN. Very dark in color with a caramel/tan head. Aroma of molasses, liqourice, and slight creamed coffee. More flavor revealed in every sip. Sweet cocoa chocolate flavor with some dark fruits also present. This was a real treat.

KAF, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been waiting for this one.
A deep, dark pour. Close to Abyss in total darkness. Small, but dense off brown head, nice chunking action. A bit creamy.
Aroma is full of cocao and coffee. Some anise and dark plum or prune. Not overpowering in the nose, makes mouth water.
Taste focuses more on the chocolate side rather than coffee. A rich cocao powder taste, yet is smooth. Dark chocolate, some coffee and anise, roasted malt and some caramel. Hints of toasted bread in the back.
Drinks very well, alcohol isn't detected. Nice feel. Great beer.

Mebuzzard, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of mnstorm99
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I finally was able to try this one last night, I am not the biggest fans of stout's in general, but I can certainly sit and enjoy one from time to time, and enjoy is what I did. Nice thick dark black color with a tan head that slowly fades but leaves a nice lacing. aroma of sweet fruits and cocoa. Taste is more of an initial fruity hop feel with a sweet taste of fruity hops and carmel. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and chewy that coats my throat all the way down. I will definatly be enjoying another one of these sippers when the next batch comes out.

mnstorm99, Jun 20, 2007
Photo of Jredner
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The body is black with a pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, magically self-forming head. It’s a small head, but it gets a nice dark mocha color before slowly fading out. The aroma holds some muted hints of acetone and perfumey alcohol along with dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, raisin and very faint burnt grain notes. Fore is chocolate, dark fruits (blueberry/cherry) and malt sweetness just before the finish. The finish holds dark chocolate, cooked dark fruits, cocoa powder, burnt malt and toasted/burnt grains. The mouthfeel is quite thick and very creamy and pleasing on the tongue. Very nice.

Jredner, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for sharing this amazing beer. Sampled side by side with 2006 Dark Lord. Pours an opaque black with a thick, dark tan head about a finger thick. Smells of rich roasted coffee, bitter cocoa, and fruity hops. Initial taste is a huge hop blast followed by bittersweet chocolate, cappuccino, vanilla, molasses and yet more hops. Full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the tongue. If this was the only RIS left on Earth, I would be completely content. Looking forward to drinking this again and soon. Cheers!

ClockworkOrange, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Cafe 28. First off, I have to say my intents were to go in and slam this beer. I’d had enough with Imperial Stouts in the Top 50 (this may seem hypocritical considering my past endeavors to further a certain example of the style). My injurious intents would soon be quickly assuaged by a single glass of beer...A friend and I headed to Cafe 28, where I had called ahead to ensure the presence of Darkness and to get reservations. They anticipated my arrival with a table and a couple pours.

The beer came to the table in a narrow chalice and it carried a luxurious finger of the most elegantly soapy, soft creamy dark-oak head. It was almost mahogany itself, gently sliding around on the top with large laces following the beer down the glass. The black gold itself absorb all light and possibly other objects with gravity, with just the slighest blood red corners. Beautiful. I put the chalice to my nose and was blown away by a bold, unique aroma. It’s a tough one to finger, because it was so original and something I’d not experienced. There were lots of reduced plums, raisins, dark cherry syrup, Ecuadorian estate chocolates and toasted wheat kernels. It was rather piquant and electrifying, with a real warming phenolic nose, but it wasn’t boozy or chemical-like, instead a real refined almost sherry or perfume signature. Whatever it was, it was like no aroma I’d wafted. Unfortunately, the pour was a little on the cold side, so the aromatics were slightly restrained and my the time the beer reached warmer climes, my olfactories had been saturated.

On the tongue, the texture was immediately astounding. It was so thick and creamy, yet not sticky. Sweet, but not cloying. Smooth and drinkable, yet not watery. Warm and glowing, but not too hot. Hoppy, but was not dry and parching. Some amazing alchemical processes had occurred hear. Brewing magic under the hand of a wizard had formulated a brew so prefect and desirable I couldn’t believe I was drinking it. I kept muttering, "best beer ever" and "damn near perfect." The flavor cascaded with everything and Imperial Stout drinker looks for. Mounds of freshly brewed Blue Mountains dark roast, Dagoba fair-trade dark chocolate, charred oak barrel edges, Italian cherry skins, Tahitian vanilla beans, drops of fresh organic farm cream and Italian espresso and then the dark fruits really came in. Moist rainier cherries, dried succulent wild bog cranberries, fresh raspberries from the stem, a hint of musky Thimbleberries, a cacophony of Bilberry syrup and Blueberry reduction, with a hint of sour cherries and final bit of pomegranate arils. On top of this, an electric wave of bright hops.

Again, the character of the hops so unique as to be something I have a tough time likening it to. It had a real shining lime zest and gin quality. High, thin and mercurial. These bold citrus oils danced over the brewing cauldron of darker flavors, complementing and intertwining magically. Then, the longest draw of a smack I could imagine. It kept going and morphing, with roads of Marcona almonds, toasted earth, light goat cheese rind and ground oak dust. From the sauna floor rose juniper branches and hints of sea oats. The real phenomenal effect of this beer was the ethereal combination of every desirable effect. Each aspect played off of every other one in near perfect harmonic balance. The aroma was different from the flavor and the hops had great interplay and the texture was just plain perfect. It reminded me much of the great singular and touchable quality of Westy 12, with all the individualisms and character of the world’s most perfect Imperial Stout. This is the solar center paradigm shift of Imperial Stouts for me.

CharlesDarwin, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

JeffKrenner :worship:

A: Into the extra large Riedel snifter it goes. A full inch of the darkest, thickest foam blooms out of no where creating a firm and solid lid to the brew. The body seems thin compared to the thick head, but boy is it dark. Its like a black hole, no light gets thru.

S: Interestingly enough, the first thing I smell is cascade hops. The rest of the aromas are almost oily in nature...plums, chocolate brownies, espresso drip, chestnuts and robust brown sugar.

T: Again the first thing that hits me are the cascade hops, full and juicy. The tip of the tongue experiences milk chocolate, some sappy pine and an interesting dynamic between grapefruit and molasses. Actually I think most of the sweetness is in the realm of butterscotch. Espresso moves in allowing roasted characteristics to blossum. Then these hops pop back up! Is this the hoppiest (read: not bitterest) imperial stout on the market? Boy this beer warms well…the hops really become pronounced while the chocolate comes forth full and creamy. Finishes with buttery burnt cashews, spicy pine and bitter bakers cocoa. A heavy dose of roasted barley coast this one to fruition.

M: Full, thick and chewy.

D: Delicious and quite original. Definitely stands out from the crowd. Its up there for the best imperial stouts but I’m not quite sure its thee best. Not as luxurious as some of the others but jam packed with flavor. Delicious beer. Thanks again to JeffKrenner and his “mystery” source. I owe you guys big time.

Westsidethreat, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of Phatz
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for sharing this beer. A chance to sample this next to the coveted Dark Lord from Three Floyds proves that Surly Darkness is an Imperial Stout worthy in the company of the best available. Roasty chocolate cocoa and hops leave this beer a bit more drinkable than the boozy monster previously mentioned. It is a different animal but quite tasty as well. A berry tart attribute orange hops parallel the espresso and dark malts. Full bodied rich and beautiful, this beer is everything I hope for from a RIS.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for sharing this...
Appears a black with a dark maple brown hue. A dark tan, soapy head fades out into a gentle cap and leaves spotty lacing around the glass.
Smell is of hoppy pine, and oakiness up front followed by molasses, caramel, and cocoa. Sort of reminds me of Storm King with the hoppiness up front.
Taste is of cocoa, sugar, molasses, and plentiful of citrusy hops.
Mouthfeel is syrupy, lingering of chocolate, bitter, and mildly astringent.

weeare138, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After a few servings of this fantastic brew, I finally sit down to reviewing.

Into a tulip glass, pours the darkest of midnight black, a thick, creamy tan head settling atop a Guiness-esqe cascade in reverse, bubbles look like they're going upward (though its dark in here, could have been seeing things). The head settles down after some time and drinking, and the darkness creeps through, but a good swirl brings the head back to life, and lots of lace is left on the glass.

Aroma is amazing, perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter, rich and thick of chocolates and espresso, sweet molasses and licorice. I can't imagine it being any better. The taste is similarly flawless, an understated study in the perfection of balanced parts creating a seamless whole. Even though this seems like the hoppiest Impy Stout I've ever tried, in both nose and taste, it isn't skewed toward the the leaf, as an equally potent yet counterbalanced sweet malting with dark fruits and chocolates and such combine into a beautiful whole. And its thick, very thick, one of the thickest, viscous brews I've had, and its just a fantastic beer to drink. And now I ask myself, dear God, why don't they brew this year round, bottle it in pure gold, for only the truest of beer lovers to drink and cherish.

Overall, I don't think I'm ready to give a 5. I almost did, but held back partially because and in spite of the fact that Surly is just over two years old, ie, it gets props for such fine-crafted beer so early, and if this one returns, I'd imagine it'd get even better (ie, the supposed bourbon barreled version). Only time will tell. So, drinkablility gets the blow because its potent, and, well, I couldn't very well knock it anywhere else.

EDIT: So, I was at Cafe 28 today, very delicious brunch. Anyway, they still have Darkness on tap, and I had given this beer a 4.95, but after having it one last time (maybe), I've noticed that on tap, its even thicker, creamier, smellier, tastier, and wantier than ever. So, with out further adieu, 5.

objectivemonkey, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of alexgash
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up this dark, inviting growler at the brewery on the 23rd. Glad I got there early enough to get one of these, because this is a terrific RIS!

Decants a dark inky black with dark brown highlights. Topped by a very dense, glass-crawling, light cocoa brown head. Complex aroma of resinous hops, rich stewed fruits, sweet smoked meats, roasted barley, licorice, tobacco, and sugary espresso. Roasted bitterness up front. Followed by sweetish raisins, figs, coffee/chocolate liqueur, sweet smoked meatiness, molasses, and dark coffee. I really like the way the smoky/meaty flavors work with the sweeter, richer fruits and chocolate. Bittersweet finish of numbing hop resin bitterness and mocha chocolate syrup.

Amazingly thick and viscous mouthfeel and as full-bodied of a beer as I have ever had! Velvety smooth on the palate and dangerously drinkable. Complex and outstanding. Not just the best RIS made in MN (ha!) but one of the best I've had period.

alexgash, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of badbeer
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out completely black into its very own Darkness glass. Dark brown head that lasts throughout and leaves about an inch of lacing at the top; pretty amazing for such a big stout. Smell is predominantly hoppy. Filled with aromas of citrus with hints of coffee and cocoa hidden almost entirely behind the hops. Taste has citrus hops dominating, and there isn't much of a roasty flavor until the finish. Carbonation was medium and mouthfeel is incredibly thick, but very nice. A joy to drink, but this is more of a sipper.

On a side note, I've had IPA's that aren't nearly as hoppy as this, and wouldn't mind getting to see the malty side of this beer that is hidden behind the hops. A very awesome beer, that would probably be better if the malt was allowed to shine a bit more. Great job Surly, this one is worth seeking out.

badbeer, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of tempest
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I was drinking and thinking about this beer, two things occured to me:
1) Man there's a lot of hop flavor, is this really a RIS?
2) RIS? Who the bleep cares, this beer rocks!

Got a 8 oz. goblet at Cafe 28 with dessert. While the chocolate cake was pretty good, this beer stole the show. It's a hoppy SOB, there's no doubt and that only builds as it warms. At first there's more malt, big delicious chocolate and coffee. Reminds me of chocolate covered coffee beans.

Then the hops get you. Big citrus fruit flavor ranging from the acidic rind to more mellow, flowery tastes. I've never experienced this much hop flavor in a stout, this rocks. I just wish somehow I could get some more delicious malt flavor out of it. Whatever, this beer was great. I want more.

tempest, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Cafe Twenty Eight. Served in its very own Darkness goblet, which I hope is a sign it will be returning year after year. It arrived at my table as black as black can be. The head is thick, and brown. It never fully goes away, and leaves a half inch of foam in the bottom of the glass when all of the beer is gone. The aroma is of chocolate, vanilla, graham cracker, plums and other dark fruits. The taste is a perfect balance of roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, silky and nicely carbonated. I really like how it is so full bodied without being overly chewy and sticky. Overall, this is one of teh best beers I have ever had. I am sure I could not drink more than one or two of these at a time, but I could drink one a night for eternity and be very happy.

KarlHungus, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of WonderWoman
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured so dark there was no penetrable light. There was a ring of golden head reminding me much of motor oil.
Smelt of chocolate and coffee.
Tasted alot like hoppy dark chocolate. Oddly it was salty when I licked the brew off my lips. There was a noticeable alcohol after taste.
It was thick and smooth with mild carbonation.
This was a bit much for me, but I thought it was nice for the style.

WonderWoman, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of marcobrau
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Simply the most viscous and flavorful RIS I've ever had.
A wonderful piney hop blast in the aroma and great looks; deep black with a tan head that leaves a thick ring of lace with each sip. A whiff of fudge complicates the aroma and is a precursor of the decadent fudge-like instensity of chocolate flavors to come. Hops and instense chocolate flavors mix exceptionally well as they mingle with subtle bits of anise and a streak of blackstrap molasses.
I love how thick this stout is up front and then how it finishes somewhat dry. The viscosity, bold flavors and alcoholic kick affects the drinkability of this stout, but it is a drink to be savored and served as my dessert at Cafe Twenty-Eight.

marcobrau, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of doubleshovels
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep darkness in a tulip glass lulls one into a haze from one whiff of its very distinct dope aroma. I cracked a smile and started laughing as soon as it got close to my nose, surely love at first scent. Darkness also has a deep rainbow of flavors to back up its out of the ordering aroma and a mouthfeel that’s open to one more before we go.

doubleshovels, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to the SurlyMan for arranging to set aside a growler for a displaced Minnesotan. Then, my hat's off to feloniousmonk for getting said growler out to the east coast. Much obliged, gents!

First off, this one is about as dark as they come. It poured relatively flat, but then a copper and tan head crept out of the darkness to create a short creamy head. this fell after five minutes or so and left a slight collar. The bubbles that struggle up from the bottom along the sides of my tulip look like they're running in slow motion. Beautiful!

Smells of caramel and maple syrup that's effortlessly faded into grapefruit rind, pine hops. Seriously, I can barely detect the seam. In between the two comes little hints of classy dark chocolate. Nice.

The hops come through in the flavor much stronger than anticipated. They really steal the show up front with a dry sour hop snap that reminded me a bit of orange or grapefruit, but it's really in a class of its own. This is also accompanied by a glassy corn syrup sweetness. As the pine goes, it is replaced with a creamy, ever-so-slightly charred barley that reminds me of marshmallows roasted over a campfire and chocolate chip bran muffins. Finishes with a slight sting that feels more like citrus, with only a trace of a sharp lime sting. As the sting fades, I'm left with a nice espresso and a touch of smoke. Holy dynamics, Batman!

The body is medium to heavy bodied, but the viscosity traps in tons of little bubbles making this one feel like pudding. It also coats my mouth a little.

This is a very well done beer. Great for the style, and fantastically intricate. A sipper for sure, but I don't think I'd want too many of these on any given night. I'm glad I have help with this growler. Thanks again Omar and Al!

DarkerTheBetter, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of RobertDwight
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Blue Nile...I had it after a furious and some food so my palate was really saturated with flavors already. This brew is almost pitch black and has a really thick brownish head. This beer has so many complex smells and tastes that it is almost like an enigma. Espresso, coco-chocolate, dark fruits, balanced by a nice hoppiness. This has to be one of the best tasting beers I've ever had! This beer has the THICKEST and creamiest mouthfeel I have ever encountered in a beer, I'm serious. Its so thick that its almost like chocolate pudding. This is definitely not a session beer, but is best savored after a good meal. I really wish this wasn't a seasonal beer and was brewed all year round. Surly PLEASE give us more.

RobertDwight, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of brendankeenan
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Muddy Pig and the Happy Gnome on successive weekends. The name was indeed fitting. It was a dark black coffee color. The aroma was all chocolate and plums. The taste was well balanced between the fruity hops and toasted malts.

This beer is a great example of the type. It has a great flavor and nice mouthfeel. I highly recommend this beer. Be careful though, it kicks like a mule with its high abv.

brendankeenan, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of MeLikeBeer
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darkness on tap at the Blue Nile...

Darkness is a fitting name for this incredible RIS. Deep black in color, as if it were a black hole, light goes in but does escape.
The cocoa brown foam settles quietly and thickly at the top of the glass. The head does not recede through the duration of my tasting...instead it sticks along the top of the beer and sides of the glass....amazing.

Smells sticky-sweet...stinging aromas of cocoa and coffee. Cherry and molasses round out the mix. Throw in some hops and you're in scent heaven...I could also smell this stuff all day.

The first sip is still the best...tremendous malt flavor. Giant hop blast. Roasted chocolate. Very thick mouthfeel, but not overpowering. The fruity cherry flavor and sweet rum/molasses is complimented by the warming alcohol.

I could probably drink a few of these- but I'd need to be careful- that 9.5% could sneak up quickly.

Delicious! An Imperial Stout at it's finest and yet another fantastic offering from Surly.

MeLikeBeer, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Chaz
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, very dark and opaque to the eye as it is poured from the tap. Develops a dark tan head, tight, uniform, and very pleasing to the eye. The head along with the lace ("the stickiest of the icky") rings the glass and never seems to let go. The hops are definitely here in the nose, but are blanketed by notes of fruit (ripening plums, Concorde grapes) and a mildly-pungent yeast. Just a touch of lactic sourness on first sip, alongside hop bitterness, notes of green apple and iodine. A rich, smooth, oatmeal stout-like quality pervades the mouthfeel, and carbonation is appropriate for the style. The yeast character remains consistent as this warms, and there are both vegetal and medicinal qualities here as well. Very well realized: the alcohol is boozy and warming yet unobtrusive, and the hops are biting yet not overly assertive, and are woven intricately into the aromatics. Malty and full-bodied yet by no means sweet in the cloying sense. Near the end of the glass (and as near to actual room temperature as I can get without busting out my handy thermometer) I'm getting cocoa, vanilla, and a touch of sour cherry. Final thoughts: while the alcohol is stated to be 9.5% ABV, it is extremely well hidden here and Darkness drinks a little bit "lighter" than a beer going nose to nose with 10%. A very complex brew and definitely a sipper: if I get the chance to do so, I'd like to try this neck and neck with the Le Coq from Belgium some day, as it brings to mind some fond memories and notes of comparison to that brew. Reviewed at Blue Nile.

Chaz, Nov 08, 2006
Darkness (2006 - 2013) from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,654 ratings.