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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

DarknessDarkness

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

2,253 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2253
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.56%


Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,253 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml, 2012 vintage
The Bruery tulip

A: Pours pitch black. Finger light tan head. Big lacing. Some ABV feet.

S: Smells of sweet soy sauce. Dark dark chocolate. Cocoa puffs. Some alcohol.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness up front. Some of that cocoa puffs. Dark roast coffee. Some of that blueberry sweetness. Some alcohol burn. It's a really nice brew.

M: Full bodied. Not crazy vicous.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 14:51:15 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of THANAT0PSIS
THANAT0PSIS

Wisconsin

4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Surly Darkness 2012

Appearance: Surly’s most exclusive beer pours a midnight black. No light gets through this beer at all. The head is a massive three fingers, and is a great-looking khaki color. As it descends, the head leaves swaths of lacing intricate lacing. Alcohol legs are present, but that is to be expected at 10.3% ABV. Really, it just looks like an especially dark Russian imperial stout, but the crazy lacing and head really push it over the top.

Aroma: Huge, roasty coffee aromas flow out of the glass from across the room. They are followed quickly by dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and a fantastic creaminess. Amidst all the organized chaos, a molasses sweetness runs under the entire aroma. The alcohol just barely comes in at the tail end. This beer smells crazy good and enormous.

Taste: Follows the nose, except with huge chocolate notes taking the forefront completely. The roasty coffee comes in as an aftertaste, but cannot quite fight off the dominating milk, dark, and baker’s chocolates, and the burnt sugar sweetness that comes with it. Thankfully, hops come in at the very end and do their best to balance the taste. They cannot quite do it, but the effort is very much appreciated. The alcohol makes its presence known along with some dark fruits at the tail end of the taste. A little more balance would be great, but as it is, this beer is off-the-charts amazing.

Mouthfeel: This beer is silky smooth on the palate, and has a great, minimalist syrupy character that makes it a joy to drink. Unfortunately, the carbonation is extremely minimal. It would really benefit the beer to be a tad fizzier, which would help separate out all the complexity going on here. The alcohol also provides a very calculated warmth that remains exactly in the realm of pleasantness. The carbonation, though…

Overall: This beer was everything I could have hoped it would be. After the first two categories, I thought this might be my first perfect 20/20. Unfortunately, it was not to be due to the slightly imbalanced taste and the almost complete absence of carbonation. Still, this is worth the hype. I cannot wait to try the bottle I currently have aging in the cellar. Things can only go up from here, as I assume it will level out the sweetness. 19/20

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 05:26:04 | More by THANAT0PSIS
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

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

2012 bottle courtesy of maximum12, thanks again! This bottle has been on my wants since this beer was first released in 2007.

Pours a sludge black color with a giant brown head that turned a nice tan color. Looks great.

Aromas come off as slight smokey, with hints of charred malts, molasses, bakers chocolate, and black coffee.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Slightly smokey up front, with notes of charred malts, brown sugar, molasses, and other dark chocolate. It's a sweet base, but restrained well. Finish has a nice earthy hop bitterness, and a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with plenty of body, viscous, and thick.

Overall, a superb beer. Lived up to my expectations, and might have even surpassed them a bit. Another excellent offering from Surly.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 04:36:54 | More by flexabull
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

2009 release acquired from pochman courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large light brown head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, dark fruit, licorice, chocolate, coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character that is quickly followed by strong and sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee, licorice and dark fruit. There is no hint of the 10.30% ABV. The hops presence is very mild as you would expect but there’s enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp, very smooth and quite viscous, heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, slightly filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, not only is it an excellent stout to drink for as long as you can handle it, it seems to have held up quite well for over 3 years.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 05:02:05 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of DocJitsu
DocJitsu

California

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

I nearly cut my finger off trying to get that red plastic off of the top of the bottle. That wouldn't been a good way to start. Once I finally got the top popped, the beer klugged out of the opening like motor oil. It's nearly black as coal and just as opaque. Except for the bottom edge of the glass, which when enough light does pass through, glints of cola brown are noted. The Irish coffee (not the cocktail--actual coffee in Ireland) foam-colored head is a stubborn, sticky, foamy one that certainly contributes to the sexiness of the beer. The nose is nice, but, surprisingly, not strong. Chocolate liqueur, lactose, mild smoky notes, and ripe banana are all present. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect. Creamy, smooth, viscous, and delightful. It never really dries up either, not even on the finish. I love the flavor of this one! Milk chocolate out of the gate. Alcohol shows up about midway and keeps things warm even after the finish. But the alcohol doesn't take away from the beer. If anything it helps temper the sweetness. This is reminiscent of the chocolate bourbon balls my Grandma used to make around Christmas time, only quite a bit less boozy. My Grandma could get a little carried away on the bourbon in her recipe. Dark ripe fruit, somewhere between a sweet cheery and a date, emerges late. It amazes me that more aroma doesn't blast out of this thing given the big flavor. This is a really nice Imperial Stout. One of the best that I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 23:20:01 | More by DocJitsu
Photo of standardcherry
standardcherry

Massachusetts

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

2011 bottle served into a snifter.

A: Thick black beer with a large head.
S: Smells like dark fruits, chocolate and caramel.
T: Just like the nose, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate, molasses.
M: Thick but easy to drink. Lots of carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.
O: Very interesting. Lots of big flavors, although fruit is not my favorite in a stout. Great beer though!

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 10:18:29 | More by standardcherry
Photo of DaveAnderson
DaveAnderson

Minnesota

4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was looking for something to drink tonight, and it suddenly occurred to me that I have never reviewed a Surly beer. Which is odd enough, since I am sure I spend more money on Surly than I do on any other brewery. And on top of that, I haven't cracked a bottle of 2012 Darkness yet -- and didn't even sample it on Darkness Day. So...

...2012 Darkness it is! I chilled one down, then cut through the thick red wax, and popped the cap. I have Darkness tulips, but prefer the wider, deeper (and laser-etched) Duvel glass, so I poured vigorously into the Duvel.

It's black. Light does not penetrate this beer. The room seems dimmer, now that I have poured it. And I don't know why I'm always surprised by this, but Darkness produces rather large bubbles. The head is on the thin side, with the afore-mentioned big bubbles, but lasts a long time, and leaves little to no lacing.

Good Lord, this smells fantastic. If there's a hoppier RIS, I have never encountered it. There are tropical fruits, stone fruits, crazy levels of dark chocolate, orange, grapefruit...I just keep burying my nose in this glass.

But enough of that. This needs to be tasted. And wow. I expect this to be sweet, but it really isn't. It has all of the flavors promised by the nose, and more. It finishes with such a satisfying resin and bitterness. It's so soft, yet not sticky.

I'd like to end by offering a wholly subjective ranking of 2007-2012 Darkness, each of which I have had multiple times, and each of which I have had this past year. My order of preference is: 2007, 2009, 2012, 2010, 2011, 2008. Capsule reviews: 2007 was sublime. 2011 did not age well -- think soy sauce. 2008 was too sweet. 2009 was great fresh, as well as every year since. 2010 was super-drinkable fresh, and is still good, and 2012 is too young to know where it's headed.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 08:51:00 | More by DaveAnderson
Photo of Nugganooch
Nugganooch

California

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

Review# 300

Darkness 2011 – Zombie print
750ml with a Goblet style glass
*Aged for one year

Thanks Allen!

A: Pours a nice lush viscosity albeit thinner than I was anticipating. Sits dark black and obsidian like in the glass with just the slightest dark almond edge. Lighter than expected as well. First pour was relatively calm in terms of head. Others yielded a good half finger of sand paper froth that settles out to just a crown within a few minutes. Nice receding legs and dots of cling upon the glass.

S: Smells of sweetened chocolate syrup, think Hershey’s, mixed with a deep perfume of dark fruits and berries. Roasted cocoa nibs, dampened wood, and some black strap molasses. An amazingly complex blend of roasts.

T: Darkness is a sweet RIS with an expressive array of deep rich roasted malt flavors. Bitter dark chocolates, dark fruits - plum, dark berries, and toffee. I get some secondary notes of dark molasses, earthy wood, and a distinct meaty soy component. This beer has a nice peppering bitterness throughout and some warming alcohol heat. Really sweet yet remarkably balanced and drinkable for that fact. Alcohol seems quite restrained here. Hops really cut through that heavy sweetness allowing for the next sip. Delicious stuff!

M: Moderately heavy feel with a smooth consistency that leaves this one slick and creamy across the tongue. A bit syrupy at first bit with a nice drying lift from the carbonation. Finishes on the wetter side.

D: A big bold RIS full of complex roast character that is just simply delicious. Drinks much on the sweeter side and should be approached almost as a dessert beer. Remarkably crafted though with enough hop bitterness and drying lift to keep this one rather quaffable. A really badass brew all around. I will be looking to try this one fresh but think this is drinking quite well right now and should stand up well for another 6-12 months with no issues.

I am very happy to have such a solid trader. Do want!

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 19:34:00 | More by Nugganooch
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This year, I was lucky enough to get the hook-up: my very own bottle of Darkness. Huge thanks to the one, the only, the bearded, the recently deceased backfat for this rare opportunity.

2012 batch, brewed pretty recently; the werewolf bottle art might be the most badass bottle art I’ve ever seen.

A: Deep, thick body in a midnight black hue, propelling a head of pure brown cream up to two fingers. The head compresses to a thick, bubbly retention, like the foam you get when pour chocolate milk too fast (only darker, shining wet in the light). Layers of sandy lacing everywhere, encircling the glass in a ring of tan color.

S: There’s a very aromatic nose on this, and with spectacular complexity. Tons and tons of fruit scents waft up a profile of bright cherry and raisin, which turn out to be the main aromas of this nose. Never had a Russian imperial stout smell like this before, but I love it! Toffee cascades over aromas of icing, sugar cookie, Hershey’s chocolate syrup (dead-on), and coffee with cream for the secondary layer, filling out every available portion of the nose with complexity. The nose rounds out in a cloud of vanilla, spicy bourbon, and whipped cream. Just astounding.

T: Bittersweet palate, emphasis on the bitter, though rich, dark flavors reach out at every turn. First tastes consist of toasty chocolate malt, cocoa powder, and toffee, but soon after, it’s an absolute bitter-fest – lemon rind, char, tart raspberry, acidic coffee, astringent alcohol, and pine, absolutely tongue-smacking in the hop taste. The astringency is almost overwhelming at times. The cherry and white raisin from the nose come in next, enveloping the palate in a genuine sweetness that overcomes the overly-present bitters; add the accompanying chocolate sauce taste that comes after and you have yourself a chocolate-covered strawberry. Finishes very bright – cherry puree is strong here – and with only a momentary, roasty notion that you just drank a 10% ABV stout. What a ride.

M: I’ve heard this year’s batch is hot, but I only got a touch of fire on the way down. Apart from that, it’s all smoothness, enough to even seem like a porter in strength – insanely drinkable.

O: Beer like this don’t come around to often; this is a stout the likes of which I don’t think I’ll find anywhere else. To be honest, it was hard to get acclimated to the Darkness at first (probably because of the hop presence), but I truly enjoyed every sip. This is worthy of a full day of celebration, for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 04:24:25 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. 2011/ zombie. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours oil black with two fingers of deep khaki head. Small pods lacing.

Nose is pretty good but seems fairly subdued. Cocoa, roast malts and burnt sugar.

Taste is a sweet blend of chocolate, soy sauce, coffee, cherry pits, rum soaked fig/dates and a dollop of alcohol heat. A fantastic blend.

Excellent heavy tongue-coating feel with light carbonation. Lingering sweet finish.

This is a great imperial stout. I think it might be too sweet to really be a Russian imperial but it's freakin good. Highly recommended and I'd definately like to get more sometime.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 16:39:08 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.98/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml wax-dipped bottle poured into a snifter.
10.3% ABV, 2010 Vampire design.

A - The thick pile of bubbles which rests on the beer displays an oily rainbow color swirling on it's surface. Coincidentally, it coincides with the thick, syrupy used oil-looking beer fills the snifter for a pitch-black darkness light cannot penetrate. Even with the high alcohol level, the head maintains its stature for quite some time, slowly lowering to leave a smattering of light bubbles on the snifter.

S - Sticky burnt molasses, lightly charred oak, and bitter dark chocolate are conjured up from a thick malt bill which incorporates more subdued notes of cold coffee, roasted malt, and cocoa. Hops provide just a miniscule drop of citrus and earthiness into the mix with an old, dusty basement sense pulling through. Even with two years on it, this beer still has some warming alcohol perception on the nose.

T - Darkness' rich malt level isn't surprising in flavor but what is, is the lack of bold roasted, almost burnt notes that the aroma exhibits. The taste compounds are much sweeter and subtler with smooth Hershey milk chocolate, a touch of black licorice, and soft molasses finishing out the back end. Dry cocoa and seemingly absent hops balance the malt sweetness' flavor as does just a hint of alcohol.

M - To describe this beer as full bodied would be quite the understatement. Smooth as black velvet (don't sue me Alanna Myles!) Darkness is almost creamy feeling with a rich, throat-coating finish that carefully teeters on the verge of sweetness and balance. All this while maintaining warming, soothing alcohol and an insatiable draw.

O - I recall Darkness having one of the hoppiest aromas of any Russian Imperial Stout I've encountered while being sweeter than all get-out. Suffice it to say, age has done this beer an incredible favor; rounding out some of the rougher edges for an insanely crave-able, lustful, sinfully delicious stout. For every bottle you hoped would age well and failed, Darkness makes up for, rewarding your patience with big dividends. This chocolaty, roasted malt-rich brew exceeds expectations of greatness and completely satisfies.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 23:04:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy

Idaho

4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Zombie bottling sent by my awesome Surly hookup (you know who you are!). Red waxed & capped 750ml split with my brother and poured into a Deschutes tulip.

A: Pours as dark as ANY beer I've seen...dense and black and opaque with a cap of brown.

S: Dark roast character with intense notes of dark fruits and chocolate, with hints of coffee as well...burnt caramel, dark raisins, cherry pit, fudge, hints of molasses.

T: Right in line with the nose, dark and sweet malty notes with plenty of roasted backbone, deep dark pitted fruits, brown sugar and molasses, dark cherries, semi-acrid coffee, brownie batter. Still a bit of alcohol on the finish.

MF: Fuller mouthfeel, sticky and viscous. A tiny complaint, but it could be 'bigger'.

O: This is a very good-to-great beer. I can see why this one gets the attention it does, and I'm so glad to have tried it. Excellent stout in a world that's full of options.

Thanks Aaron!

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2012 15:58:22 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of codysjb
codysjb

Florida

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

Beer tasting 10/14/12
Motor oil black little head
Toffee, dark, caramel small coffe notes
Lots of carbonation, caramel, heavy very heavy.
Still just a massive amount of carbonation here almost over the top.
Good but not standing up to the cbs and dark lord were opening side by side.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 21:47:36 | More by codysjb
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a half finger worth of dark brown head that dissipated quites fast but left a little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: interesting aroma which consisted of a little roastiness, chocolate malts, but with earthy hops coming through. I was able to sniff of caramel sweetness, molasses, and hints of brown sugar.

T: like the aroma chocolate malts were there upfront on the palate alongside some roastiness, pretty good earthy grassy hop profile which added a little bitterness to the flavor. Caramel molasses accents, and a touch of brown sugar.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, roasty, chocolatey, mild hoppy, silky, and slightly bitter finish.

O: I honestly was not really digging this beer and it has been on my gots list for some time now. This is one of those that just has too much hype IMO.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 20:49:33 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

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

Huge thanks to Daniloknezic for sending me this bottle of beer! Thanks for my first taste of "darkness" Don!

Vintage 2011 (Zombie)

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 1 finger of medium brown head. Decent lacing sticking on the side of the snifter.

Smell: Big malt profile with a decent amount of hops to balance. Big roast, caramel, molasses, and a hint of tobacco from the malts. Hops are pine.

Taste: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, chocolate, creamy nougat, and molasses. Mild roast and dark fruits. Cherries, tobacco, leather, and black licorice. Hops start to take over about midpalate. Then bakers cocoa, bitter cherries, and piney hops really linger for a while into the the aftertaste. Eventually the pine takes over the entire aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: medium almost full bodied beer. Moderate carbonation. Creamy and slightly chewy beer; almost syrupy, but its got a perfect carbonation level that keep the beer from getting very syrupy! This beer has no hint of alcohol and it drinks like it only 8%; soooo smooth. Rediculious mouthfeel on this beer. Its mouthfeel is perfect! Best attribute of this beer!

Overall: Really interesting RIS. It really throws out alot of big flavors and has alot of complexity in the malt profile of this beer. I appreciate that this beer is fairely different and unique from many other RIS in its respective beer style "family". I prefer less hops in my big stouts and this one is over run by piney hops on the back end of this beer. The hops distract too much from the malt profile in my opinion. The mouthfeel is simply amazing especially for a non-barrel aged beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2012 00:29:56 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of tarheels86
tarheels86

California

3.53/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL 2010 vampire ed courtesy of beeranddogs. Pour pour is clear ruby to deep brown looking opaque black in the glass. A massive mocha head erupts with infinite retention and bit webby, sticky lace. Aroma isn’t all the massive or even pleasant: salty olives, brine, lots of wood. As it warms the only thing that comes through is oxidized red apple slices. The taste is dry oak, spicy oak, slightly hot alcohol, sweet molasses and prunes. Palate is very soft, not too syrupy, ending somewhat chalky and powdery. Comes across as very basic and mediocre. How this is in the Top 100 and Midnight Sun Berserker is not baffles me. There are just so many better imperial stouts out there. 12/12/2010 6/5/7/4/13=3.5

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2012 15:56:54 | More by tarheels86
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

on-tap, brouwers

I believe this was the first time I've had this outside of a festival setting - 12oz pour in a snifter, ebony body, light tan lace. Definitely sticky-sweet and less hopped than I recall from past years, but still not without some nice pine resin traces. Rich, decadent and very smooth. A good RIS, but one whose legacy seems to have faded...

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2012 03:17:48 | More by dirtylou
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black coffee color body with minimal clarity and an edge of copper - dense khaki brown head that laces nicely. Quite a healthy looking beer.

Dark fruits - dates, raisins, figs, brown sugar, slight leather presence, black licorice, tons of roasted malts and a hop profile that is unmatched when it comes to unbarreled imperial stouts.

Bitter toffee, faint alcohol presence, harsh chocolate, burnt almonds, caramel cake, molasses, overripe cherry, such a classic flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is slick and viscous, oily, still highly drinkable given the style. Sugary.

Drink up, pussies. This one is best fresh.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 04:23:41 | More by yamar68
Photo of bamadog
bamadog

Kentucky

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

I have resisted the Darkness for too long. I've had a long, unproductive and otherwise kind of crappy day, so I figure I need to do a little sumpin' sumpin' for myself on a day like this. Review is from notes taken on 9/21/2012 and poured from the bottle (2009 mummy) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks a little thick and viscous on the pour, definitely warrants some "glugs," but I feel that I've seen thicker, most notably Hunahpu, but that's THE exceptional beer; body is of course black and opaque; starts with a 1/2 finger dark, creamy tan head that fades to a loose, incomplete head with a full swath of lacing dripping slowly down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Upon cracking this, there is a strong, smoky, soy sauce blast in the nose; it eventually settles a little bit and there is some pretty big and roasty maltiness there with a touch of burnt coffee, possibly espresso; I would swear there is a touch of vanilla lying about in there, as well as a touch of sweet, yet slightly tart, cherries; just a touch of alcohol lingers, but it seems really well blended in the nose.

Taste: You know, it's good, but I'm really not blown away like I was hoping to be. I'm actually reminded a little bit of 2010 DL -- big, smoky and almost salty/soy sauce (not in a bad way); bit of a buttery sweetness hanging out in the back and there is some slick, syrupy semi-sweet chocolate; touch of roastiness. I have to wonder if it's past its prime?

Mouthfeel: Body is indeed thick and heavy, but it's fairly slick and leaves just a little bit of grit on the teeth; thick, but loose and slightly sticky coating is left all over the roof of the mouth; belly does register some warmth.

Overall: I would be willing to try it again if it comes in to my possession, but it will be drank immediately instead of giving it the opportunity to age and develop. Sometimes cellaring works well and you get a whole new product, and sometimes, you get disappointed. Sipper, with big alcohol, may be tough to get through the whole bottle on my own, but I'll figure out how to make do.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2012 02:24:43 | More by bamadog
Photo of DK_CPA
DK_CPA


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

The taste look, smell, and taste of this beer opens up your imagination. You can recollect the taste in your smelling and tastebud memories. There is a rush of Dopamine hormones when you drink it.

Absolutely the sing most perfect beer. It is highly coveted and very tradeable. The artwork and collectability increases its value.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2012 15:38:28 | More by DK_CPA
Photo of Holland
Holland

Illinois

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

A: dark, thick, with minimal head but some nice lacing and a bit of tan foam sitting on the top.

S: caramel sweetness, roasted notes that don't quite hit the coffee roasted smell, chocolate, some earthy hops that balance it nicely

T: for my tastes, this is balance. Maybe a bit sweet, but the hops and roasted notes pair so well with the caramel and chocolate and toffee without overtaking it and turning it into the earthy Storm King or the like.

M: thick as can be, but isn't lacking in carbonation too much at all.

O: my favorite non-barrel aged stout so far. Just amazing combination of flavors and smells made this stand out on a night when we had some amazing stouts.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2012 16:11:54 | More by Holland
Photo of sukwonee
sukwonee

Washington

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

2011 vintage red wax

A: Black body with one finger head

S: chocolate, hops, some sweetness

T: Its a bit disapppointing for me. Its a great stout but it does not stand out from other good stouts. Chocolate, malt, brown sugar and hops. very straightforward and nice.

M: Thick and syrupy. no alcohol burn.

O: Its up there with Stone IRS but nothing too special. Its a great stout regardless.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 00:22:48 | More by sukwonee
Photo of Powderhornphil
Powderhornphil

Minnesota

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

2011 vintage. About 11 months old.

This pours dark. And by dark I mean black. No light penetrates with a dark mocha head. Really a great looking stout. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Swirling the glass viscous motor oil appearance.

Smell is of dark fruits some roasted grain. Light Licorice. A little caramel sweetness as it warms.

Waves of flavors on this one. Tastes of Sweet malts. Burnt sweet cherries. Light licorice and I am thankful it's not too strong, just enough. Dark chocolate fruit notes on the finish. Slight chocolate cake batter. A nice residual sweetness on the finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Nice creamy mouth feel. Is full without being too heavy.

Overall an impressive imperial stout. I can't think of a non-barrel aged imperial stout with more going on that this.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 21:31:51 | More by Powderhornphil
Photo of papat444
papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

***2009 Vintage (Mummy)***

Big thanks to Masterski for getting me this rarity.

Poured from a bomber and split with my wife.

Appearance: Pours a thick body, kind of almost plops in with a thin ting that grows thicker as the pour intensifies.

Smell: Alcohol soaked nuts, raisins and figs. Whiffs of cocoa and chunks of chocolate but much more on the sugary, dark fruits side.

Taste: Raisins, figs, nougat, discreet chocolate and a tinge of black licorice. A bit of coffee as it warms but this resembles a barleywine almost. Not exactly what i'm looking for flavor-wise.

Mouthfeel: Boozy a bit, slight;y bitter and you eventually get in a groove but this doesn't feel like the strong RIS i'm looking for.

Overall: Have to say i'm a bit disappointed by this one. Compared to DL, this one is not as good. Flavors were good but for me, not worth the hype IMO. I'll take a DL instead.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 11:20:59 | More by papat444
Photo of dtmets84
dtmets84

New York

3.3/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Shared the bottle with DTMets84.

I have been waiting to dabble in darkness for sometime now and what is a better excuse then no work monday? Yahoo for labor day.

Appearance: Pours a dark dark black with an inch head.
Head is the color of khaki jeans?

Smell: Sweet? Black tuesday again?! Roasty as well.

Taste: Lots of something I can not put my finger on yet but it is not something that appeals to me. Its Dark Lord again.

Mouthfeel: My first surly brew ever and I am too letdown to discuss the mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2012 01:16:33 | More by dtmets84
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,253 ratings.