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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

795 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 795
Hads: 3,245
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 4.77%
Wants: 3,232
Gots: 1,179 | 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:
Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006

Starting in 2014, bottled Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels. This listing is ONLY for Darkness that is NOT barrel-aged. For 2014 Darkness go here:  http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/p ... 14/141724/ 

Labels:
2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 795 | Hads: 3,245
Photo of genog
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle shared with franksnbeans the night before dark lord day.

Poured a very dark black color with large bubbling tan head. Very pretty monster indeed.

Smell was rather subtle for surly. Smokey with some dark chocolate, coffee notes. Faint hint of the hoppy character so well played by Surly Brewing.

Taste was a little richer than the aroma with a faint sweet maltiness at the beginning followed by a roasty coffee flavor. Very nice balance on this beer.

Mouth feel was oily but at the same time there was a creamy lingering feel. Very nice carbonation for my preference on this style. Can't wait for next years. (619 characters)

Photo of SQNfan
3.9/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap: Dark in color with a roasted coffee and chocolate nose. This continues into a palate that I hoped carried a little more density. While a very nice beer I came out with the feeling that some barrel aging would smooth and fill out the midpalate. (251 characters)

Photo of kkipple
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cashew70 earns my undying respect for bringing a bottle of this to the now legendary Spring '08 Brick Store tasting. We did a side by side with a 2007 Dark Lord. Never thought I'd get to do that. Thanks, Cashew!

Pours a very dark black-brown, with a small head comprised of fat bubbles. Sinister to be sure, but nothing we haven't seen before. It absolutely does not stick to the glass like ye ole DL.

Smells surprisingly... hoppy. You have to wait till this warms up a little, but Darkness has a definite hop edge of pine that fights through the strong burnt, charred grain, chocolate and coffee denseness. Oh yes, there's alcohol and some sweet molasses / sugar lurking there too. Darkness certainly smells like a winner, but the only unusual thing here is the level of hops present.

Ahh, now we're talking! Super roasty, and the big (for a RIS) citrus hop bite equates to a bold, brash, wild beer with a lotta punch. The hops are dirty and rough, and it's altogether boozy and heavy. This is the kind of stuff Klingons would drink out of corroded metal canisters while stranded in deep space.

Mouthfeel is slick, heavy and lowly carbonated. Finishes hoppy, roast-bitter and oily sweet. It lacks the cake-batter thickness of it's nemesis from Munster, but it's good even so.

Drinkability? Well, pretty low. This is good, but quite honestly, does not live up to the (unfair) hype. Darkness is quite solid, but there are a lot of great Imperial Stouts coming out of the US and this one is certainly not worth the insane premium it commands. If you have a bottle, count yourself lucky and share with friends. They'll owe you!

Oh yeah, was it better than Dark Lord? No. Dark Lord still holds the tarnished, sickly crown for this sort of thing. (1,748 characters)

Photo of bgramer
5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

We opened bottles 287 and 568.

I admit I was a little worried about this beer. Is it over hyped, does it live up to expectations, will this be underwhelming, etc????

Thankfully, this beer meets and exceeds all the hype I've heard. Wow - Poured this into my goblet and it's black with faint dark brown highlights at the edges of your glass if you hold it up to the light. There's a light tan head that's a finger high but dissipates quickly. There's plenty of lacing.

The aroma is very sweet, malty, and hoppy - all sorts of complexity. I smell and taste chocolate, licorice, malty goodness (roasted) some caramel, coffee, creamy, and dark fruit-ey, - and definitely hops but not in a hop-bomb sort of way.

The mouthfeel - it's a little less syrupy than I'd expect from the aroma, but the body is still medium and full. It's very balanced on the finish - leaving a minor warmth letting you focus on the complexities of flavors.

I truly am impressed. This is one of the great ones, worthy of it's ranking here. Now, I have to go find more!!!! It will be very interesting to see how it cellars. (1,098 characters)

Photo of maximum12
5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Every time I have a Darkness, I wait for it to let me down. Just a little.

Still waiting. This is the best beer I've ever had, period. Exclamation point. Semaphore. Whatever.

I had my first shortly after its Halloween release, & had the pleasure of consuming three of them that early November night. I've had several since, the latest at Firkin Fest & two short pours at the Acadia Cafe grand re-opening this past Friday.

Darkness pours black as the heart of Charon with, always, a beautiful but not overwhelming head. Smells like...Darkness. Nothing smells like it. Or tastes like it. Chocolate & beer & malt & all sorts of Russian goodness. After our last my wife commented that she might not brush her teeth for a few days to retain that lingering feel of pure heaven on the back of the tongue.

Drinkability is ridiculously off the scale for a beer this strong & dark. It is, however, definitely a sipper. I could put away one an hour for, oh, maybe half a day, but that'd be my limit.

Amazing. I can't wait for my next - I'm hoping there'll be a Darkness pour at the upcoming Happy Gnome dinner in mid-April. That, & my wife and I will be arm-wrestling to see who watches the kids for the anticipated Halloween 2008 release. (1,238 characters)

Photo of umustdrink
4.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at Happy Gnome's Firkin Fest

A - Completely opaque pitch black color. Smooth dark brown head retains at a half inch, its darker around the edge of the glass. Thin sheets of lacing.

S - Dark roasted coffee with sharp piny hops. Dark fruits, cream and light vanilla playin in the background.

T - An oily slick bitterness with a sweet dark roasted maltiness starts out the taste. Dark malts get even darker while a sweet cream contrasts simultaneously. Lots going on here and I probably only skimmed the surface... I need more.

M - Thick consistency with a good amount of carbonation.

D - Excellent balance of sharp hoppiness and deep roasted maltiness make for a very unique and flavorful experience. More please. (725 characters)

Photo of walshclimb
3.81/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a 3 oz pour at Firkin Fest, Minneapolis. Very interesting overall, but I think it needs to age more. Appearance is black with a thick tan head and continuous bubbly lace. Smells big and hoppy - pine and citrus. Big sweet malt flavor with a little less hop overtone than expected from the smell. Aftertaste is malty with hint of bitterness. Mouthfeel is very syruppy coating your tongue and keeping the sweet maltiness around. Overall, I am not sure. I enjoyed it, but I don't know how much more than a 3 oz pour I would want. Interesting, but needs to age maybe to mellow out. I would love to try it again in 6 months. (622 characters)

Photo of Avryle
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found my notes from an RIS/Barleywine tasting session in January 2008 (Kudos to DrSeamus for bringing this one)

A: Solid black with no light penetrating. Dark tan head with some small lacing.

S: Hoppy nose? RIS? Citrus hops right up front on the nose then roast.

T: Bitter, roasted malt in the beginning. Mystery flavor in the middle that no one's able to put their finger on. Its there for only a brief moment but oh, so good. Its kind of a caramel-y burnt sugar, but that's not it exactly. There's a definite boozy appearance but appropriate for the style

M: Heavy bodied, slightly syrupy with a decent amount of carbonation.

D: This ran the RIS gauntlet against aged Stone, aged Avery Czar, and Siberian Night. While an excellent & distinctive RIS, I think much of the hype comes from the limited availability. Don't get me wrong, its REALLY good, but it wasn't the favorite of the night. (904 characters)

Photo of pheggeseth
4.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #069. Obtained by my own two hands at the release event in December. Poured into my goblet of the same name.

A: pours viscous, heavy, with a coffee colored head that appears out of nowhere, frothy and attractive, lacing everywhere

S: buttery/nutty creaminess, next alcohol (as it warms) but starts out as banana and strawberry, malt in the middle and back with hops

T: creaminess upfront, hop bitterness in the back, intense roasted malt in the middle, intense dark chocolate, the creaminess rides subtly above everything

M: THICK, lively but subtle carbonation, smooth, terrific

D: intense, but oh so drinkable, definitely worth it (644 characters)

Photo of Scoobydank
4.94/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L:Thick milk chocolate colored head. The color itself is a dark black oil with not an ounce of light shining through.
S:I pick up a burnt bacon type smell, which i love. A nice hop nose, but not over powering. Very light coffee bean. Just a tiny hint of a fruity raspberry comes peeking in.
T:A big time smokey coffee pops out right away. Which apparently is where I got the burnt bacon from. A sweet chocolate covered raspberry with just a touch of toffee. The hops pops out and stick around throuhg out the whole sip.
M:Thick round and fat for a nice warming feeling. Very little carbonation makes it very easy.
D:Great rIS. Very smooth and complex. It seems like the taste comes in layers adding to the complexity. I could easily drink multiple(unfrotunately and fortunately franksandbeans has my other bottle) (814 characters)

Photo of Flyer
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Lisalucy for the Chirstmas gift, for which she waited in line for five hours. Ah, I've raised her well. A delicious and decadent imperial stout, and yet surprisingly un-complex for the style. Malty, with molasses and chocolate notes. It was utterly lacking in that soy sauce-like quality that can detract from even the best imperial stouts, which made it smooth and drinkable and yet would have to be regarded as a by-product of that lack of complexity. Not the cascade of intensity I associate with the style, but a great beer nonetheless. (555 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.51/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle #194. Thanks to hero27 for the trade.

A monsterous three inch head jumps to the top of the glass with its soft carmel colored thick bubbles. Fades very slowly leaving considerable lace behind. Body is the standard jet black beauty. Nose is shockingly hoppy up front for a big stout with hints of spicey soft malt in the backround. Enters the mouth thick and almost syrupy with a powdery coco feel. A nice balance of grassy mineral based hops quickly kicks in to even out and almost take over the flavor profile. This creates a thick milk chocolate like feel that sits on the back of the tongue followed by a long even bitter hop feel. Although this is more hoppy than what I would usually like in a stout, it is unique and very welcome. Very nicely drinkable. Alchol is well hidden. A great and worthy stout. (816 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.1/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Lisalucy and Flyer for obtaining and sharing this bottle with me. This is an impressive beer.

It pours a black color with reddish and purple elements and a thinner-than-expected beige head.

Aroma is malty and surprisingly hoppy with a dominant smoky-molasses aroma. There is also a minimal chocolate smell; like hot chocolate powder. Flavor is a full roasty smokiness on the tip of the tongue and somewhat chocolatey across the top of my tongue. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth; and it feels like it would coat the back of a spoon.

This beer was much more drinkable than I expected and other comparable beers like Dark Lord. In all honesty, it tasted to me a lot like a less roasty and more approachable Leinenkugel Big Eddy RIS. Quite good, but I can't say I would stand in line 5 hours for it. (811 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 2007 GABF. Poured by Omar himself.

The beer poured a deep coal black with a nice dark brown head.

The aroma of the beer was full of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and ash. Some tobacco in the aroma as well.

The flavor of the beer was focussed on roasty malts to the point of being slightly ashen. Mid-palate could've used a little more molasses/dark fruit sweetness. The hops seemed slightly citrusy and pretty up front. The finish had a faint tobacco note as well.

The mouthfeel was full, but was not too heavy. It finished pretty dry for a RIS. The carbonation seemed dialed in well.

This beer is good, but overhyped IMO. There are much better imperial stouts out there that eclipse Darkness in both complexity and drinkability. KtG, DL, and BCS are few that come out ahead IMO. (801 characters)

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1/26/08

Thanks for sharing this one, drseamus.

I'm not sure this one "poured". It more like gulped from the bottle. Tan head.

The hops surprised me. I don't recall ever smelling a RIS that hoppy. Other tasters commented that it was a Surly smell. But it smells like a Double IPA

A nice malt bitterness sets up the caramel and chocolate. Nice bitter bite.

Dandy mouthfeel. A little dance on the tongue but not too much carbonation.

This is a very nice RIS. It didn't "win the night" when lined up against a few other beers in this category. I'll admit to expecting...more. (577 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled multiple times at the 2007 GABF. I don't like to review at beer fests, but this is one of the few that really stood out.

Pitch black color with a thick espresso brown head. Nice lacing and retention.

Wow, this stuff has more nose than most bourbon aged stouts. Sweet profile of caramel, black and chocolate malts. Lots of dark fruit with molasses, coffee, and fudge.

Rich burnt and roasted malts with lots of chocolate and coffee. Keeping the sweetness in balance are big earthy floral hops and bitter molasses.

Thick and chewy yet silky smooth over the palate. Perfect body and carbonation for the flavor profile.

Doesn't get much better than this. Near perfect. Could drink this one all night. (711 characters)

Photo of drseamus
4.33/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black body with a dark mocha head. Standard RIS appearance.

S: Very citrusy hop aroma is the most prominent aroma. Some roasted malt in the background but not really any chocolate or coffee.

T: Strong roasted bitterness is right up front followed by a quick burst of sweetness, possibly caramel. It fades into a decent chocolate and then bitter aftertaste. Hop presence isn't as strong as it was in the aroma.

M: Thick and heavy. Perfect for a RIS.

D: The hop aroma is out of style for this beer, but is interesting none the less. A bit more chocolate would have been nice but I'll see what happens with age. (619 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to drseamus for letting me sample this beer.

A: Pours black with no light getting through. Dark tan head with some lacing.

S: The first thing that strikes you is how hoppy this smells for an IRS. Citrus is very present. After than you get some of the roasted elements.

T:Bitter from the roasted malt at first. There is something at the middle we could not figure out. It lasts about half a second and it is wonderful. We classified it as burnt sugar (Caramel) but I do not know if that accurately depicts what is going on there. There is also a slight alcohol taste but within tolerances for the ABV.

M: Thick body that is slightly syrupy with a good amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for the ABV. This beer was sampled VS some other RIS including Stone, Avery Czar, and Siberian Night and while it is a great beer I do not know if it is worth all of the hype. People at the tasting favored the Stone RIS with a year on it and I favored another with a few more years on it. The super limited availability I am sure has something to do with this. Great beer no doubt just don't mortgage your house to get it. That being said if you can get it reasonably definitely do so. (1,193 characters)

Photo of gonzogambler
4.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 2nd bottle from Darkness Day at the Surly brewery, #207.

This pours black as the ace of spades with a nice tan head. It couldn't be any more tempting. Nice lacing on the glass when drinking too.

Smells like dark chocolate and coffee with a slight whiff of hops.

The darkness is all I could want in an imperial stout. The taste is thick with chocolate, rising with a slight bite of hops, and then finishing with a subtle hint of bitter coffee. Mouth feel very well mixed between the smoothness of a stout and the bite of a hoppy beer.

The last bottle was consumed in an imperial stout tasting with some friends; that included: Darkness, Abyss, Speedway Stout, Poseidon, Sam Smith, Rogue, Yeti, Bourbon County, and Old Rasputin. The darkness was my favorite with the Abyss a close second. What really sets the Darkness apart is its unique hop flavors (like other surly beers) and how smoothly integrated all the flavors are making an outstanding beer.

I can't wait for next year! (not to mention all the other great beers from Surly in between) (1,050 characters)

Photo of Floydster
4.83/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle with both red and black wax covering the cap, acquired in a trade with LeonTrotsky, one of the lucky people in Minnesota to get some of these, thanks a lot for giving me the chance to try this brew, review #475, 2007 vintage

Bottle #35, ironically drank while watching a pretty bad movie called "Darkness," took me about two hours to get through this bottle by myself, but I gave my roommate and girlfriend each about two ounces, took me a while as this is the first beer I have drank in a few weeks and I did not want it to hit me too hard, rather enjoy its distinct taste, less than six hundred were made in this first batch of bottling

Poured into my Dofish Head snifter with a pure black color and a very impressive 3/4 inch foamy mocha head that stuck around for four to five minutes, was not as thick as I would have liked but still not a thin or weak stout by any means, good retention and left sticky light brown lacing along my entire glass, appearance was nice because of the super dark color and creamy texture

Smell was pretty much perfect, dark chocolate, milk, floral hoppiness, several different varieties of fruit including citrus and berries, coffee, sweet cream, oak, wide variety of malty aromas, and a small amount of oatmeal and grains

Taste was great, the first instant of the first sip seemed like it was an india pale ale, it was such a hop bomb right off the bat that I could not believe it was a Russian imperial stout, it reminded more of Stone's 11th Anniversary with its color and taste, this was probably because I was drinking it too cold at first, the dryness of this beer was astonishing though nevertheless, once the hoppy character wore off after a few seconds, I got a lot of burned chocolate and espresso tastes, as it warmed more sweetness came to the surface that consisted of caramel, creaminess, milk chocolate, and some dark fruit, the hoppiness stayed there the whole time though, nice spiciness throughout and crazily smooth, strong oak tastes throughout to go along with the burnt tastes caused by the hoppiness and dark chocolate malt, this beer was very complex and had a lot of different things going on as it continued to get warmer and warmer, by the end it was so easy to drink, and the hops and malt were balanced out so well, very enjoyable overall

Body was thick but I expected it to be even more so, not comparable to Dark Lord in this sense, but that is not a bad thing, great mouthfeel with a perfect amount of carbonation, leaves a nice sensation on the tongue, taste lasted several minutes

Could have drank three bottles of this if I had all day to sit, and drink expensive and rare beer, very very drinkable, alcohol is hidden well and could definitely sneak up on you if you are not careful, over ten percent alcohol is strong stuff regardless, not too filling on the stomach because it is not overly sweet or strong tasting, goes down very easily because of its unparalleled smoothness

Very different from other highly rated imperial stouts I have tasted from this site, where Dark Lord is super thick and syrupy, and Kate the Great is sweet and warming, Darkness is soothing and surprisingly dry, making all of these beers very different overall, one thing they all have in common is that they are sippers or dessert beers that take a good amount of time to get through, and that they pack a serious punch as far as ABV goes, I cannot say any of these three are better than one another because they differ so much

This deserves all the hype that it has gotten and I feel honored to try a beer like this, especially after seeing how much it has sold in online auctions recently, I never would have been able to afford if it was not for this generous trader, awesome RIS that is very unique because of its in your face hoppiness, glad Surly bottled this masterpiece, I have not tasted a bad beer from them yet, Darkness was amazing and I hope to get some of next year's batch if it is available in bottles again, highly recommended if anybody wants to give up a bottle, fantastic drinking experience (4,082 characters)

Photo of LeonTrotsky
3.96/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Bottle #27 consumed from my Darkness tulip.

A: Delicious. It pours jet black with a creamy brown head, exactly the way a stout should look
S: Sweet dark chocolate and fruity hops with a hint of coffee. It actually smells kind of like dark chocolate covered raspberries.
T: The taste is like the smell, but the hops are much more intense. It has a sort of harsh bitterness to it.
M: Scrumtrulecent. Thick but not cloying. Like the appearance, it is how a stout should feel in ones own mouth.
D: It took me quite a while to finish the glass and I didn't want another one. Good thing I was sharing the bottle; I wouldn't have enjoyed finishing it myself

I had Darkness on tap several times this year and enjoyed it much more. Maybe it was just my imagination but the hop bitterness from the bottle was much harsher (not in an enjoyable way) than on tap. The friend I shared it with has a bottle she is aging for at least a year and I think that bottle will be much tastier. It could use a good year in the bottle. (1,012 characters)

Photo of zealot
4.97/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap several times while it was available, but I opened bottle #107 to ring in the New Year.

Pour was very black, and it may have been the wax or some other influence, but I think there was just a hint of a reddish hue on the edges of the brew. Rich, tiny, mocha bubbles covered the surface and stuck around for a while. Beautiful.

The smell is incredible. Sweet, hoppy, chocolate. Maybe a hint of citrus - not centennials or cascades I'm sure, but some pine and another exceptional aroma that I can't quite place, but DAMN!.

The taste is really where I am really blown away every time. Hops, chocolate, marshmallowy creaminess. It's like this beer has some sort of beer MSG in it making it tastier than anything ever made. The bottle version, I noticed, had a little more of an alcohol accent to it, but that might also be because I served it at the appropriate temperature, whereas the bar served it freezing cold. On-tap I was totally unable to detect any alcohol presence whatsoever. I had this next to a Flying Dog Imperial Porter one night, and the hop difference was astounding.

I'm serious about the marshmallowy creaminess. It coats your mouth, and the hops add just enough chewiness to it that it lingers both in the lining of your mouth and the glass. My glass was brown for twenty minutes after I had finished my glass.

In an effort to expose my family to good beer, I opened this for them, and was hoping that they would hate it. Totally selfish, I wanted the whole bottle. I could drink the entire thing easily. Get it. Drink it. (1,563 characters)

Photo of rudylaw
5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Clark St. Ale House and Local Option

This is it. The grand master of all beers, let alone stouts. Never before have I been so thoroughly satisfied with a goblet of beer.

It pours jet black with a scrumptious brown head. The aroma it exudes is chocolate, coffee and even some citrus notes.

The mouthfeel is smooth, coating goodness. I can taste a little bit of that citrus coming through the dark, chocolate overcoat. Some soy as well. You should probably sip this beer to get full enjoyment but I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you finish it ahead of schedule. Only Founders' Breakfast Stout can hold a candle, albeit a dimming one, to this R.I.S.

I was fortunate to have three helpings of this sex in a snifter before it went dry in Chicago. I'm counting down the days until October 2008, when this comes back. (827 characters)

Photo of kajerm
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Clark St. Ale House. Pours black with a little bit of clarity and two fingers of fluffy white head and massive lacing.

The aroma is strongly coffeeish with a background of coffee and some suggestion of citric hops.

The flavor profile opens with coffeeish malts with sweetness quickly fading to a stronger coffee flavor, but without the chalky astringency that tends to plague drier imps like Nogne Ø and Old Rasputin. The finish is strong citric hops; alcohol is detectable only as warmth.

The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than some other stouts, but still relatively chewy and strongly carbonated.

This is only the second hoppy imperial stout I've ever had, and the other one (Storm King) isn't even in the same league. Drinkability is out of control, assuming you like hoppy stouts in the first place. (817 characters)

Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Blood red & black wax drapes the neck of the 750ml.
Bottle # 185.

Consumed out of the "official" 12oz Darkness glass...

Pours a dark, burnt chestnut...nearly black. Tannish brown head sits atop the dark liquid.
Aroma of dark chocolate, fig, and heavily roasted malts..molasses, caramel, and brown sugar flavors take control with the first sip...it's worth noting that there's a suprisingly strong resiny hop profile, since it's not something most people pay attention to in an imperial stout.
Expectantly huge body...coating, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Each sip I take seems to be more satisfying than the last..it's really hard to find any faults in this beer.
Somehow..(for a Russian Imperial Stout from a brewery only a couple years old) Darkness seems refined..almost like it has been perfected over decades. An absolute delicacy in the world of craft beer. (862 characters)

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 795 ratings.