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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

811 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 811
Hads: 3,343
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 19.27%
Wants: 3,281
Gots: 1,217 | FT: 92
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/ 

2007-Grim Reaper
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Reviews: 811 | Hads: 3,343
Photo of Scoobydank
4.94/5  rDev +12%
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)

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Photo of Flyer
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.1/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


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.

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Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of drseamus
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of gonzogambler
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
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)

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Photo of Floydster
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
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

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Photo of LeonTrotsky
3.96/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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Photo of zealot
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of rudylaw
5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of kajerm
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of hero27
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of westweasel
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a goblet at Chef Paul's Barvarian Lodge in Lisle, IL.

The beer is very dark but clear, with about 1/3" tan head. Lacing was left all along the glass as the beer went down. The smell is filled with piney and citrusy hops, but it also contains some caramel and toasty smells. Very light roastiness - less than I expected. If you close your eyes and imagine the smell of their IPA "Furious" - you'll smell it. It smells like a similar mixture of hops.

The taste is filled with great hop flavor. Again nice pine and citrus hops provide a bitter bite. Also some raisin and date flavors.

The mouthfeel is nice and full. This beer is extremely drinkable for a Russian Imperial Stout. It is not too sweet - in fact it is loaded with bitterness (this keg is probably young) and quite a treat for a hop lover. The alcohol is very well hidden. I had barrel-aged darkness at the Great Taste of the Midwest - and was not that impressed. This is much better.

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Photo of Lordsloth
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a small (5 or 6 oz.) Guinness glass at McKenzie's in Minneapolis.

A- "Blacker than the Blackest Black- times infinity", as one of my favorite sayings goes. A thick foam head with tenacious lacing as the beer goes down.

S- A roasted chocolatey, hop filled nose.

T- It has an amazing, deep flavor. Chocolate, Toast, and a big hop taste that comes quickly and fades back. There was something of a bite like a warm coke(I like warm coke), I thought. Amazingly smooth, as well.

M- Thick! A medium to heavy viscosity in the mouth, and no bad aftertaste to speak of.

D- Highly drinkable. It's a sipper, but you keep on sipping. I can see myself having a few glasses.

My first review- be kind. ;)

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 237

Poured into Darkness glasses bought at Darkness Day. Pours a great brown/tan head with a great lacing and great retention. Black in color letting no light in whatsoever. Smell is hoppy with a good coffee background. The first smell when putting glass to nose was chocolate, then the hoppy/roasty flavor balanced out. The mouthfeel was unbelievably smooth and full bodied. Overall, I loved it. Was a great experience from sitting in the cold to drinking it.

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

Served in a 12oz goblet at Chef Paul's Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL 12/13/07. Very special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Served a pure pitch black. Espresso coffee black with a coffee crema colored head that leaves a TON of lace. Looks like something you'd find in a junkyard engine oil pan.

S: Huge nose of coffee and fresh, green, and piney hops. Bitter dark chocolate and burnt black malt.

T: Coffee, cherry, chocolate, toasted bread, dark fruit, roasted malt, and brown sugar/molassas. Sweet and tart fruit and incredible fresh green hops. Wow!

M: Looks and feels like thick oily syrup, but the mouthfeel is much more nuanced than that. Starts spicy and peppery and finishes full and creamy.

D: The alcohol is practically non-existant and the aromas and flavors compliment each other expertly. This is a wonderful beer!

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Photo of DavidEddie
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap @ Chef Paul’s Bavarian Lodge.

Deep midnight black in appearance. Extremely thick dense brown head. Mega sticky lacing that hung around the entire time. Laid back mild aromas of chocolate, malt, and a hint of piney hops. Taste of rich chocolate, sweet roasted malt, coffee, some burnt toast, and a touch of smoke. Every sip starts off very chocolaty and semi sweet, then finishes piney and ever so slightly bitter. NICE! Mouth feel is thick, extremely creamy, and sticky. This is the thickest brew I have ever experienced. Overall drinkability was incredible. Did not detect the high ABV whatsoever. A fantastic flavorful blend of chocolate and piney hops. A real gem to make out to the Chicagoland Burbs. Well done Surly Brewing Company! This RIS lives up to the hype. Highly recommended!

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Photo of SargeC
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Like the cover of a Spinal Tap record, it cannot be any blacker. Dense brown head that suspends liquid within it and lingers for the long haul.

Smell: Very rich character. Coffee and chocolate, rich malt and a decent hint of hops.

Taste: Chocolaty roast malt. Blasts of sweetness settle to a ripple with a great hop balance. There is so much under the surface that begins to reveal itself, and then disappears back into the Darkness. A Complex and challenging brew.

Mouthfeel: Rich, full body with a smooth oily finish. Very satisfying.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable for such a big brew. Tasty from start to finish.

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Photo of oakbluff
4.87/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Nile, and followed up at Stub & Herb’s following day. Presented in both cases in a goblet (Blue Nile being a really nice Surly goblet). Great looking beer- black as night as expected with a chocolate milk head. Nose is heaven- spicy roasty chocolate. Taste- waves of flavours- all the usual suspects in a great imperial stout- dark roasted coffee, dark and milk chocolate, hazlenuts; plus a wallop of hop bitterness. The hops were really well done, and I think I’m lucky to have tried this fresh while the hops are still battling out with the malts. Adds a really nice dimension to the beer. The pineyness of the hops plays well with the decadent desert of the malts. Very smooth mouthfeel and absolutely no booze heat. Damn fine. If I didn’t have these at the start of my drinking day, I could have had many but stopped at two. I can’t think of any other imperial stouts that I’ve enjoyed more. I’m very happy I could time my trip to Minni and get my lips on this sucker. well done Surly- you never let me down.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a jet black body with a milkshake head of thick coco colored foam that last and last. Is slips down the side of the glass after each sip.

S- This beer has a nice pine hop bitterness with a dark black roasted smooth quality.

T- This beer has a creamy black bitter malt flavor with a dark raisin sweetness to it. There is a note of cream flavor that has a bit of a chocolate malt note to it. The finish is a nice green herbal pine finish that has a bitterness of hops under black malt that lingers after each sip.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a smooth finish that doesn't really have any alcohol heat.

D-This beer is big and smooth. The hops really hold there own against the dark black malt making this a great beer for the cold months.

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Photo of Viggo
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Local Option, they had run out at Map Room but Local still had quite a bit, so Chicago BA's get it while it lasts! Local Option is a pretty nice spot too. Served in a pint glass.

Pours opaque black, thin red is visible on the edges, very thick dark tan head, lots of thick lacing on the glass, great retention, really sticks. Smell is awesome, pine and molasses, very rich, brown sugar, chocolate, toffee, roast, sweet fruits, some dates, very complex. Taste is similar, burnt dates/raisins, brown sugar/molasses, milk chocolate, some pine and floral hops, coffee and cream, very rich sugary goodness, nice bitterness in the finish, alcohol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, nice body, low carbonation, super smooth and drinkable. At first I wasn't sure what to think, but I can imagine this is exactly what RIS's tasted like when they were developed at the turn of the century. Fantastic stout, worth seeking out, and insanely drinkable, considering I had 3 pints!

2008 bottle: Day 2 of epic DrJay visit tasting, courtesy of grub.

Found this years to be a bit sweeter, not as much roast as the 07. Maybe a little less smooth. But still enjoyable!

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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 811 ratings.