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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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

2,893 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,893
Reviews: 778
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,026
Gots: 1,104 | FT: 84
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)
View: Beers (40) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,893 | Reviews: 778 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikey711
4.08/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one over a long sunday. Received from fbm115 and reviewed from notes. this was the 09 bottle

A: Syrupy black, with no light able to get through that had an espresso like frothy head about half an inch thick that sat atop. The head retention was great and the walls were covered with spider webbing.

S: Heavy milk chocolate aroma up front followed by a far amount of roastiness, then a super burst of citrus hops which caught me by surprise.

T: Again it starts out with the sweet chocolate then leads into a bitter roastiness and a bitter hoppy finish. Some nices mocha notes were present as well and much of the coffee and espresso flavor came out as it warmed. My main criticism was the lemon hoppiness which felt odd

M: Big bold flavors, with plenty of body to spare. It did get slightly heavy at times, but there was no booziness and lots of creaminess to rectify that.

D: I remember asking myself while I was drinking this, is this an A beer? I was able to finish the bomber myself over the course of the day, but wish that I had someone to share it with at times. I also was not super keen on the amount of hoppiness in this stout. Something I would surely have

Photo of jdklks
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Steve (fbm115) for the opportunity to try this. I've been waiting to mark it off my list. It doesn't disappoint.

This is a good looking brew: dark with amber edges, and a light fluffy brown head that graces the surface as softly as silk. The smell is, well, different; different, that is, in terms of imperial stouts. The big standout here is HOPS! Hops in a major way. They mix interestingly (not badly, but not necessarily well either) with your typical RIS characteristics: dark, roasted malts, with a dark fruit sweetness (cherries), chocolate, and alcohol. The hops add a citrusy "flair" that is, as before, interesting.

The taste is as interesting as the smell, but better. It takes a little getting used to, but all the complexity of a good RIS is here. It's sweet and majorly chocolatey, with a just a little roastiness. There are hints of caramel, brown sugar, and molasses. overall, very sweet. To throw excessive amounts of hops in the beer almost seems stupid at this point, but it somehow pulls it off. there is a citrus hop flavor up front that is immediately subdued by the more traditional stout flavors mentioned above. The hops do remain present throughout, though, and are most notable in the oily mouthfeel and the bordering-on-hop-bitterness finish and aftertaste. I taste DIPA, and I taste RIS. This is a beer experiencing an identity crisis, something that perhaps a little maturation could help. overall, its very intriguing and very interesting; on top of that, its actually pretty damn good.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth and extraordinarily well-carbonated. nice and thick as well.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 Vintage... Could not wait any longer... This has been tempting me.

A: Pours black with a tan head that doesn't want to go away. The foam sticks to every part of the glass it touches. One cannot see through this beer. This is Darkness.

S: Roasty as the fires of hell. Coffee, molasses, chocolate, licorice, and slight boozines dominate the aroma, followed by some slight hop notes.

T: At first, the malt comes with a blast of chocolate, espresso, caramel, molasses, and anise. Dried dark fruit and caramel are in the center. It finishes dry with a slightly bitter hop profile. Simply the best release of this beer to date.

M: Full bodied and viscous, this beer has it all. Body, flavor, and a mind of it's own.

D: If it weren't so limited and so strong, I would drink this all night. The best Russian Imperial Stout I have ever tasted. I can't wait to see what they taste like in a few years.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Sparklepants for this awesome brew.

The appearance of this one is superb. Super high SRM, like pushing the limits on this one, dark as night. The head is caramel colored and sticks around for some fun. Great small bubbles, head foam is dense. The legs on this one are beautiful, alcohol residue as well as heavy lacing. Great look on an epic brew.

The smell is hoppy, interesting. Molasses and licorice, with HUGE roasted grains. Some ABV is present, also some burnt coffee smells as well. What is going on with the hop character in the smell? I am not liking it, gives off a citrus-grapefruit characteristic that kind of clashes with these darker fruit smells. Toffee and caramel, sweet dark candy is very present as well.

The taste is good, but not blended very well. There are very strong characteristics of roasted and black malts. There are also roasted coffee flavors as well, but not coming from actual coffee, most likely coming off of the malt. This coffee malt gives it an earthy flavor as well. Black licorice and a lot of the ABV are noticed. The ABV is nice because it brings out the roasted malts more and also some chocolate. Why are hops coming through so strong?!? Citrus bitterness is such a strong characteristic in this one that it stands out from everything else. I went to the Surly website and they say that they 'add a touch of hops to make it tastier'. NO! It makes it a totally confused RIS. Chocolate is strong in the brew as well as caramel and toffee. I cannot believe the hops in this, really misunderstanding the direction the brewers wanted to go with this one. Starts on such a good direction and the hops throw a wrench in the clogs. Weird.

The mouthfeel is great and creamy. Lots of hot ABV flavors help you out as well as the roasted malts. Perfect carbonation, really great.

The drinkability is really good for a few bumps in the road. This is still a really good beer but. . . overrated. Maybe it is just me and how I like my RIS', but this much hops in a RIS? Sure you add them for bitter aspects, but if they dry hopped this with a bunch of hops then they are very brave in doing so. I think that the hops bring the beer down and distract from the other great flavors in this beer.

Thanks again to Sparklepants for sending me this. Knocked out another 'big RIS' that I have always wanted to try.

J

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

2009 bottle signed by Omar and Todd. (thanks for the hook up supercolter!) Poured into a tulip glass

A: Pitch black body. Massive dark brown-khaki head. Lasted for a few minutes before crashing into a thin, frothy skim. Rather dense lacing up and down the glass.

S: So many things are going on here. Molasses, chocolate, coffee, citrus hop bitterness, caramel. With each inhale the molasses seems to grow more dominating. If that was toned down just a bit everything else would come together flawlessly.

T: Sweet milk chocolate, brown sugar and molasses are prevalent up front. Slight undertones of coffee and dark chocolate. Lively bitterness throughout. Some fig and raisin like fruityness.

M: Surprisingly thin at first. Not exactly "watery" though. But it didn't have the weight and consistency I was expecting though. No booze burn. As the beer warmed more heft was apparent.

D: I originally poured this into two glasses to share with the lady, but I stole what was left of her half after I finished mine. The sweetness, in the end, killed me as it wasn't as easy to get through the last few ounces as it was with the first dozen or so

All in all a top notch stout that shows you can do big bold flavors without making it a flammable bourbon barrel aged brew. Reminds me of an amped up Victory Storm King Stout.

Photo of mdwalsh
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle Darkness Nigh (Darkness day was full of Smoke and Oak Bender). Paired Amazing with a triple chocolate pie.

A: Black. More opaque than me. Nice brown two finger head with beautiful lace. Needs more texture and longevity though.

S: Very strong of Molasses, some cooked sugar, but no roast. Also no hops, just carmelized malt. Phenominal.

T: Tastes. Black. No roast though. Smooth, dark, sweet. Cooked sugar again, more molasses. Dark Chocolate, no Alcohol.

M: Creamy. Perfect carbonation. Super smooth.

D: Excellent, but not something to have too many of.

Photo of PrinceDarren
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent RIS that is deserving of high praise, however, I'm not sure it is on the same level as the oft-compared Dark Lord. Just to make sure, I tried a little DL later in the evening (my friend was kind enough to open a bottle). Nope, no comparison, DL reigns supreme.

I tried the Surly giant on tap last night at the 3rd annual Bavarian Lodge Darkness night. Pours "almost" black, not nearly as viscous as expected. Has a pleasant, hoppy, chocolate aroma. Tastes of coffee, dark fruit such as cherry, maybe a little raspberry and a definite hop character.

This is very dry. Almost too dry. It left a chalky after-taste on the tongue. I heard that Omar felt this year's batch was more dry than last year's. While I cannot comment on the year-to-year comparison, I have to wonder if the recipe or process was a little off in this year's batch. I didn't feel like it should be so dry.

In all, this was a great pour that I was happy (hoppy?) to try, but alas, this is more akin to North Coast's Old Rasputin RIS than the might Three Floyds' DL.

Would I drink it again? Yes, I sure hope so.

Photo of mjl21
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade...thanks Bill. 2009 version with the mummy artwork. 750 ml bottle poured into a snifter. No abv info is given.

A-Pours black with a massive two finger bubbly sandy colored head. The head has great staying power and rests at about half its initial layer. Tons of lace is left in between each sip. This beer is truly great looking.

S-Completely different than what I was expecting. From its appearance I thought it would be a roasted malt monster. Instead it has a huge citrus hop profile that is more akin to a good IPA. There is some roast malt and some earthiness to be found, but it stays in the background. Coffee aromas did come out after it had been sitting in the glass for a decent period of time.

T-Citrus hops and chocolate are both very strong at the start. It has some sweetness and acidic citrus zing midway through each sip. The citrus flavors return on the finish. The aftertaste is all dark malts with chocolate and roasted malt flavors.

M-A lot lighter in the body than I expected. It is very smooth from the massive head and has a nice carbonation level.

D-This is an extremely drinkable beer that completely veers from the traditional roasted malt/vanilla RIS. Well worth seeking out.

I really enjoyed this beer. I would love to try one with some age to see what happens as the hops fade.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown to black. It was served in a snifter with an impressive head and cascading lacing through the finish.

The smell was dark fruit, sweet malt, and a light chocolate.

Delicious. Very sweet malt with a hint of dark berries, a little currant. There are touches of chocolate and dark roast coffee, but both are minimal.

Mouthfeel is creamy, but not too thick. Finish is dry and slightly bitter in a chocolate or coffee kind of way.

The alcohol was detectable, but not 10% detectable. This is a sipper, but damn tastey.

This is one of the better RISs out there, no doubt.

Photo of Florida9
4.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Served in a snifter with about a finger and a half of foamy, dark tan head with excellent retention. Decent lacing. Dark black in color, though as the beer dropped I noticed some light shining through the edges revealing a maroon reddish hue to the beer.

S: Plums, prunes, raisins, figs, and shit like that. Sweet and slightly alcoholic.

T: Very sweet malt on the front receding to a wonderful array of dark fruit and dry cocoa. Maybe a little coffee and some dark roasted malts, but these are not center stage.

M: Thickish, but not cloying or oppressive. Low carbonation.

D: Very good. Not the best RIS I've ever had, but I can see what the fuss is about. A very good, high quality beer that tastes great and drinks easily.

Photo of Maction
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: In a snifter, this has impenetrable blackness. It looks like a candle in the glass, with a gelatinous chocolate mousse head.

S: Smells sweet, some perfume-y hops, unsweetened chocolate, espresso, butterscotch

T: A huge, rich, complex flavor, sweet then dry, very long and complex. Bitter herbs, then bitter cocoa, then creamy coffee, then sweet tea.

M: Chewy but not thick, hefty but not cloying

D: Very satisfying, a tiny bit boozy as it warms. I would have to be in a special mood to get through 22oz of this... perhaps in my library, in front of a roaring fire, my pipe and slippers at hand, my faithful hound dozing by the hearth.

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

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage. Thanks to bmanning for sharing this bottle with me. I had a hard time with this review. This beer was much, much different than I expected (or indeed expect from any RIS). Although I can see why some BA's love it so much, I would be very put off if other breweries try to replicate the style of this beer. It really seemed like a DIPA that used roasted malts and a longer than usual boil to simply be darker than usual, but still remain essentially an IPA like drinking experience. It wasn't different enough from expectations to give it bad scores exactly, but I did not find it a great example of an RIS.

A = Dark mahogany, coppery tan medium sized head with a mix of foam, small bubbles and a few large bubbles. Decent retention.

S = Strong, strong citrus smells of grapefruit rind and lemons, hiding under that is some burnt coffee, very light smels of roasted coffee beans and cocoa powder, after a good swish I pick up uncooked bread dough. Even with those other scents though, the entire experience is one of floral "C" hops with everything else playing second fiddle. It seems like it must have been heavily dry hopped or something. Rather than simply using hops for their bittering properties and letting bitterness from hops meld with forceful malt flavors such as coffee, chocolate, tobacco, etc., this beer seems to simply be all about hops smells and flavors.

T = The tastes of this just continue the jarring mental disconnect I get between what this beer looks like, what I look for in an RIS and what I am in fact getting. There is just a crazy mix of flavors, though, it's like drinking a mocha coffee drink that has been randallized using Pacific NW piney/citrusy hops varietals, bringing flowers, grapefruit, lemons zest, light resiny pine. Hidden behind all this are more of the flavors I would expect to stand out more. There is definitely the coffee and chocolate notes one often finds and also some dark fruits. All in all it is kind of like a black IPA on steroids rather than a strong bitter stout.

M = Medium-heavy full body, decent carbonation to keep the beer interesting and flowing in the mouth, good mouthcoating.

D = This just wasn't all that drinkable for me. I enjoy both sweet imperial stouts and bitter imperial stouts. I really do not particularly care for extremely strong C hops flavors clouding up the issue though. I drank my glass, but really did not particularly want another one. I may see about trying this again if it has been aged some, but I do not think I will seek out a fresh bottle.

Photo of homebrew311
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in a snifter at the Small Bar

A: The name of the beer pretty much says it all

S: hoppy earthiness sits atop a syrupy sweet malt backbone with roasted notes along with dark cherries. There is a lot going on here, and I must say it all seems to be working

T: The sweetness was the first thing I noticed in the taste as the dark fruitiness comes out along with rich dark chocolate. All of this is balanced by piney and bitter hops which provide for a deep earthy flavor. Everything is in balance. Simply delicious.

M: chewy viscous texture that is velvety in the mouth while leaving a stickiness

D: I wish I could drink a lot more of this, this beer is ridiculously drinkable for its high abv. The sweetness is nicely balanced with the hoppy profile and it makes for an incredibly complex RIS. Can't wait to get my hands on a few bottles of this!

Photo of Martin2D
3.1/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to fbm115 for sharing this one.

A - Pitch black with a smallish tan head with lacing

S - Roasty, fruity, possibly some coffee

T - I couldn't be caught more off guard by the flavor. It is super sweet, almost like unfermented wort. There are wort like malt flavors, roasty, coffee. These are followed by a huge hop bouquet. Almost IPA like in its hop quality

M - Medium-high carbonation and medium-high in body.

D - I wouldn't be able to drink much of this. Decent beer, not my cup of tea.

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

Had this wonderful lovely on tap at the Gnome. I even left the glass at the bar after I drank it! :)

Poured into the appropriate Surly Darkness snifter creating a dark brown 2'' frothy head. Slow to recede, leaving a solid cap and lights thin lace streaks. The brew is black, no light penetration.

Aroma is big with dark fruits, chocolate, molasses, malted milk balls, slight booziness. Some mild spicie aroma coming forward and a touch of grassy hops and floral orange peel cascade aroma in the background.

Mouthfeel as usual is slick and creamy with just a touch of carbonation to balance.

Taste is decadent as always. Seems as though there is a bit less hop flavor this year, which is totally fine, but hops still do exist in flavor, just not as strongly as 2008.
Molasses, a touch of vanilla beans, dark roasted grains and bittersweet b akers chocolate. Some syrupy flavors in there too, with just a touch of burnt oak.

As always an exception brew, not only local but nationally a great beer that must be tried...if you can get your hands on it.

Photo of dpnelson1978
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Previously reviewed this beer from the bottle.

Found it on tap at 3 Squares in Maple Grove, MN (and ended up getting the last glass from the last keg).

S: The scent had strong coffee and sweet malt. Out of the bottle it had a very strong hop scent, but on tap this was extremely muted. I actually prefer the lower key hops.

A: Dark brown to black body with a big rocky loose head. This head was much less obvious because they poured it into a pint glass at the bar while I had poured it into a tulip at home. It still had a head that stuck around for a very long time and covered extremely well.

T: The booze seemed to be more concealed on tap which I appreciated, and the hops was much less noticeable. Their was still a distinctive fruit sweetness about the beer, along with coffee notes. Again, there was little to no chocolate character. I prefer the taste of the tap over the bottle.

M: The mouthfeel took a bit of a step back on the tap. It may have been because I was getting the final glass from the keg and they needed to wait for it to settle. The body went from a medium in the bottle, up to a med-heavy on the tap. The carbonation went from low, to borderline flat. It still had considerable head, so it wasn't actually flat.

D: The drinkability of this RIS remains extremely high. It is a great beer, but it will catch up with you in a hurry.

O: I prefer the taste because of the lower hop character (compared to the bottle), but I would still like to see more chocolate character. This remains a treat, and I felt very lucky that I managed to get this on tap to compare. Great beer, can't wait for 2010.

Photo of AgentZero
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Darkness release part at Sheffields in Chicago.

A - In a heavy glass chalice, looked thick like oil in the dark bar. A small tan head which was barely present by the time I got to mine. Nice lacing throughout the course of the drink, very attractive beer.

S - I think this is the strangest smelling stout I've ever smelled. I half thought I had the wrong beer for a while. Get some deep coffee and chocolate, with some undertones of vanilla and a touch of raisins. The strange part of all of it was the distince hops smell on the end of the nose. Very odd.

T - Is this really an RIS? It's either a really interesting take on one or it's just not. Don't get any of the classic stoutish taste on this. Very creamy and chocolatey with a nice splash of vanilla in the middle. Faint IPA-ish taste at the end due to the hops, how very different. I like it, but not at all what I was expecting.

M - Smooth and creamy, leaves the mouth cleanly with a mild hoppy bite at the end. Full bodied, but not heavy like I would expect a heavy stout to be.

D - Can't believe it's 10%+. Way too easy to drink, sessionable stout. Even those who have a hard time drinking stouts could get this one down with no problem.

Photo of samie85
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap earlier tonight at Sheffield's(Chicago). Reviewed from notes.

A- Poured into a tulip. Pours a really deep brown color with a dark khaki head.

S- Smells really caramel-ly at first. Also, dark fruit(raisin, cherries?), toffee, a piney, earthy hop smell and a bit of ethanol.

T- The dark fruit is the first thing I taste followed by the chocolate, roasted malt and finishes with a sweet and bitter hop taste as well as a bit of sweet alcohol.

M- Really smooth and creamy, yet pretty well carbonated. Thick body.

D- It's pretty easy drinking considering the ABV, although very much a sipper. The alcohol got to me after awhile. The taste really lingers on your palate for awhile after drinking it. Overall a great, unique beer and I'm glad I got the chance to try it.

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

The DARKNESS

Acquired at "D-Day,"coming in at about number 780-790 in line arriving at 10:00AM (just barely made the 800 person cutoff point).

Appearance: Poured into the go-to DFH snifter. Pours like syrupy molasses, forming a nice 1" dark tan head that has some stickage. No light escapes from this beer, much as the name suggests.

Smell: Smells of a rich chocolate dessert. Chocolate malt, dark Belgian chocolate, a little coffee, and a nice hoppy bitterness underlying it all. Vanilla, molasses, and some alcohol lingering in the "darkness."

Taste: A chocolate fountain's worth of sweet chocolate with loads of molasses intermingling. Devil's food cake with real fudge melted down and drizzled on top. Some floral hops evident up from, with some bitterness coming in a bit in the middle to prevent the sweetness from becoming overwhelming. The bitterness transitions nicely to finish with the sweet bitterness of the roasted malts. A marked smokiness emerges a little as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Viscous. It feels almost uncarbonated as it goes down. Silky smooth velvet, achieving all the taste of a rich dessert meant to be eaten with a fork, though somehow sliding down without a clench of the jaw.

Drinkability: The combination of tasty flavours and citrusy hop resins make the alcohol almost unbeknownst to the consumer.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 bottle.

Pours black with a large tan sticky head with good retention.

Scent of bitter juicy hops, chocolate, oatmeal, roasted malts, and Candi Sugar. Grassy, lightly floral, and a bit spicy with a hint of alcohol, the hop profile here is great, better than it is in most IPAs.

Taste of bitter dry hops, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit and Candi Sugar. Not quite as juicy as last year, but this is still one of the best Imperial Stouts available, and the strong hoppiness is a great change of pace.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth with a small bite of carbonation.

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

2009 Bottle for Halloween.

Poured into Darkness Snifter

Pours a deep motor oil black. Nice 1+ finger of dark tan head.
Decent retention with some splattered lace and a few rings.

Aroma: Big fresh earthy hop profile. Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, very big and robust. I love how the hop profile is so defined with this beer.

Taste: Again, the fresh earthy hops stick right out here. Backed by a big chocolate roasted malt backbone. Nice coffee notes. Very great beer.

Mouthfeel: It is slight bitter from the hops, but very smooth. Very big, full body with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends fairly clean, but very slight sticky from the hops.

Overall, a damn great beer. I love this RIS and glad I have more. If you like hoppy RISs this is the beer for you. I am very impressed with this years batch.

Photo of xpimptastikx
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I think subconsciously I've been saving my lone Darkness for Halloween. 2008 bottle acquired in a trade.

A - Pours an almost pitch black stream that settles like tar in the glass. Not much of a head, just a thin sheet of mocha head that lasts forever.

S - smells pretty sweet, but not as bad as fresh Dark Lord. A small bit of roasted malts, chocolate, and a touch of dark fruit rounds it out.

T - Roasted chocolaty malts with a hint of prunes. Definitely less sweet than the smell, but any bit of hops is pretty much gone. Aftertaste of cigars and coffee.

M/D - This is thick and frothy beer. A great mouthfeel, but it is way to thick to be extremely drinkable. One bottle is going to take me a while to finish, but I'm enjoying every sip.

Photo of shishidojo
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Darkness Day 2009. The new vintage is less sweet and has a balanced finish. Not cloying like some of this ilk can be for me. It poured ink-black and had a substantial, dark-tan head. Carbonation is dead on. Rich, peaty flavor and characteristic sweetness nicely balanced by a hoppy finish. Exceptional brew. Best Darkness yet.

Photo of beertooth
3.65/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage 22oz red and black waxed bottle with a red and white two color screen print of a mummy on it. I split this with Ben(madorb) while we carved pumpkins. I poured my portion into a Cantillon Belgian tumbler.

A pitch black oil slick in a glass. The head and retention are both amazing. It looks like melted coffee ice cream and is leaving the stickiest lacing I've ever seen.

The nose is full of burnt sugar, dark fruits soaked in simple syrup, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, piney hops, a little alcohol. Think sticky and sweet.

The first sip is tooth destroyingly sweet. Liquid bitter chocolate, coffee beans, burnt malts, syrupy dried figs and prunes. I'm not picking up on the alcohol, but I know it's there because I'm starting to feel it. I can taste the hops more as it warms, but it's also getting stickier and cloying.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a low level of carbonation.

I'm really hoping the syrupy sweetness really mellows out in the cellar because otherwise this will turn into a sugary mess. I'm still happy to have tried this year's vintage.

Photo of erz316
3.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into guinness pint glass. 2009 vintage

the bottle pours a kind of stealth head: at first it seems to be making no head, so then I pour a bit harder, and we get a bit of progress; then the whole thing explodes with this slow moving, creeping foam. I think at the most it was three fingers, it retains well enough. the colour of the foam is a solid tan colour, and the texture is very creamy. the body is indeed dark, but some light does get through the bottom. the nose is simply malts with bitter hops, quite hoppy actually. the taste is quite like the nose: a very hoppy RIS with a huge malty keel. aside from the hops, it is pretty standard tasting for my palate. a bit of something sweet, like cherries, on the aftertaste. the feel is good, pretty thick, but not as much as dark lord.

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,893 ratings.