Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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

789 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 789
Hads: 3,221
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 3,207
Gots: 1,175 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Reviews: 789 | Hads: 3,221
Photo of Damian
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz./750ml bottle
2010 vintage (Vampire)
Served in a snifter
Acquired in a trade with Douglasjamjak

Review #666

The beer poured near pitch black and super oily. A two-finger, super tight, creamy and bubbly head of saddle brown froth topped the liquid. Impressive retention. Sheets of patchy lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was astounding. Super deep, dark and sweet. Tons of roasted malts and brown sugar notes. Loads of vanilla. Slightly boozy. It was difficult believing that this beer was not Bourbon barrel aged. Good amount of powdered cocoa. Some dark fruit sweetness was also noticeable. Touch of anise. Freshly brewed coffee notes came through as well.

The taste was just as amazing as the nose. A boatload of roasted malts appeared on the front end. As in the aroma, there was a distinct, boozy, Bourbon-like sweetness. Brown sugar and vanilla notes were nearly overwhelming. Tons of rich, smooth, dark chocolate. Good dose of molasses. Some dark fruit notes. A bit of anise. The finish was moderately boozy and slightly roasty, with a hint of char. A fair amount of citrusy hops came through as well (just enough to balance out the sweetness). Espresso notes were also noticeable.

The beer was silky smooth. Slick, creamy and plush with a fine, moderate effervescence. Nearly full bodied for style. After each sip, the liquid left a sticky film on my lips. The only thing preventing me from giving the mouthfeel a "5" was that the beer could have been a bit more viscous.

Simply put Darkness is an outstanding beer. It really won me over with its consistency across all categories. You would be hard pressed to find a more well rounded version of the style. (1,703 characters)

Photo of cbros
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage poured into a snifter.

Pours an absolutely beautiful jet black with a nice 2/3 finger tan lace. The head quickly dissipated to a nice lacing. In a perfect world the head would have stayed around a little bit longer, but oh well. The smell was a combination of toasted coffee, alcohol and bourbon. This combination jumped out of the bottle as soon as I opened. A wonderful smelling beer that certainly got my anticipation up for the actual tasting. A great tasting beer that was exactly what the smell said it would be.

I have held on to this beer for over 3 years and I finally decided 'what the hell' and opened it. This is probably one of the top 3 or 4 beers that I have had the pleasure of trying. (717 characters)

Photo of bobbypaulson
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer rocks!!! In my opinion this is the best stout out there, that I've had the pleasure of tasting. I had it on fresh from a keg, aged from a keg, fresh from a bottle and aged from a bottle. Every way it is great!!! The beer pours a a deep dark black with a very dark frothy head, nothing see through about this beer. The smell is of coffe, chocolate roast, and some hops. The taste is amazing, everything you smell fills your mouth and coats. The finish of the beer is increibly smooth and the left over taste leaves you craving more. I'm glad I live in Minnesota and have a chance at this beer because it is the best!!! (627 characters)

Photo of gratefulstu
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I waited in line for 5 hours for a few bottles of this years release. I had never tried it before but had heard lots of great things about it. I'm a big fan of the other Surly products so I had to try this one. I questioned if it could really live up to the hype, but had to find out for myself.

Appearance: The appearance is as black as black can be. The only bit of color it has it the dark tan head.

Smell: The first bit of aroma I smelled was all hops. I expected roasted malt but was hit with hops first. Wonderful, delicious hops. Upon my second whiff...the dry roasted dark malt characteristic I expected of a stout came through the hops. Next was hints of vanilla and maybe some cherry.

Taste: At first the taste was much more subtle than I expected. I was expecting it to be either really dry or really sweet. I found it to be a nice balance between the two. The sweet malt had hints of dark cherry and chocolate. If finished with a sharp dry hop finish. The alcohol taste was not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: I think the mouthfeel of this beer maybe the most unique I have ever experienced. It was truly thick and creamy. Had relatively low carbonation, which was perfect. It did seem to have a very slight chalkiness to it when swallowing ,but was not noticeable enough to be a negative.

Drinkability: This is definitely the most drinkable RIS I have ever had. The smooth, creamy mouthfeel was like velvet. The alcohol was not overpowering, maybe even understated (hard to believe with 10+ ABV).

This beer is Great. No doubt about it. It has some very complex characteristics. With each sip you get a different taste. Cherry, vanilla, chocolate, coffee...and hops. (1,692 characters)

Photo of Shango42
4.95/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving type-tap poured into a tulip snifter.

A-Bold dense blackness. Dark tan head. Lots of lacing.

S-Chocolate sweetness, dark scotch-like malts, caramel, toffee. Absolutely delicious on the senses.

T-1st sip...speechless. So smooth, so sweet, so perfect. Dark chocolate and toffee, scotch-like malt with very light coffee notes. Wonderfully full body. The balance for this high octane, big stout is unparalleled. The alcohal is definitely present because it warms going down, but it is not overpowering. Some late hops make an appearance but it just continues to balance and compliment the brew. I've simply never had a better beer.

M-Thick, chewy, low carbonation, full bodied.

D-Could drink one of these every day and I would be in beertopic bliss. It sets the bar. (775 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (2,169 characters)

Photo of travloh
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was able to make it a little over 24 hours without doing it. On this cold October night I just cannot resist. I must. Halloween approaches and the dark bottle with satan on the label beckons...I give in to sin...

I slice the wax top and pop the top. The first thing I get with a hearty whiff of the cap is chocolate. Rich, dark, sweet smelling. The pour into the Darkness snifter reveals the nectar of the devil. Temptation. Pure temptation. Black like night.

That chocolate is of course ever present in the nose, but an orchestra of smells accompanies it. Coffee, brown sugar, cherries, cocoa. Someone call an exorcist, I am nearly possessed.

The semi aggressive pour produces that delayed storm in the black liquid. The bubbles awaken and energize, and send a frothy head upward that seems to come out of nowhere. It keeps pushing upward to the lip of the glass and halts. Its dark, of course, but it has a yellowish twinge to it, too. As it ever so slowly recedes it leaves its tracks on the sides of the glass. Lacing on steroids, it would seem.

The first swallow and my conversion is complete. "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones plays in the background as my descent into madness hits full stride. Chocolate, cappuccino, sweet bread, cupcakes with frosting. What I imagine a cuban cigar would taste like, only better. The stuff the devil offers you in Hell's waiting room. The second sip reveals more. A tangyness on the tongue, almost makes it numb. Then the alcohol kicks in to remind you this is still beer. I am under the spell of Darkness...

Why did I stand in line and pay $100 for 6 of these? One sip tells me that I would have paid $200. I wish I had 6 more.

This stuff is so good it truly is sinful. All Hail Darkness... (1,752 characters)

Photo of Beerking721
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at the Surly Darkness Release at Blue Nile:

This is my favorite Surly product - hands down! OMG... this is a brew that will exceed expectations and have you wanting more.

A = A fairly dark and syrupy complexion with blonde hued foamy head that can be refreshed over and over again.

S = A complex blending of deep roasted malts and wonderful citrus and spice components. The citrus is more of blood orange and tangerine which works well with the dark chocolate texture.

T = Wow... pure velvet smoothness with chocolate, coffee, and a hint of toffee sweetness.

M = A viscous warmer with high ABV, smooth and rich without the "palate shock" tendancies present with some of the other big dark brews on the market.

D = Amazing simply for what it is. Psychologically, you'll want as much as you can get of this highly prized and limited production masterpiece.

An "A+" rating from the Beerking! (905 characters)

Photo of jt31914
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'08 Bomber aged for a year and a half or so.

A: Couple fingers of head, dark black color with coffee colored lacing/head. Not too carbonated except at the top of the beer; no bubbling in the body of the brew.

S: Strong! I could smell it from five feet away; it is a wonderfully sweet aroma of chocolate, coffee, licorice, and barley that is balanced by oats. The oat and barley are dominant and there is a mellow alcohol melded in.

T: Super sweet and malty with licorice, chocolate, and barley on the palate. This is balanced by the oats and bitter coffee on the finish. The alcohol is super smooth and pleasant, and this beer reminds me of a better, sweeter, and more drinkable version of GI's BCS.

M/D: It just sits in your mouth and you never want to swallow. Super smooth, creamy and drinkable.

This is the new best beer I've ever had... by a decent margin. (866 characters)

Photo of zealot
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
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 MNishCT77
4.99/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso DuPont Circle, unknown brew date, poured into a snifter glass, drank 3/28/13 over ~one hour.

A: 4.75 - black, no clarity (wouldn't it be ironic if there was any? ), soft vertical bubbles and substantial legs, one finger frothy tan head that resolves into subtle glass lacing;

S: 5 - chocolate, coffee, vanilla beans, some dark raisin/fruits in the background to boot

T: 5- minimal hop bitterness on the front of the tongue that quickly dissipates into rich and substantial dark chocolate and coffee flavors, vanilla bean and minor molasses sweetness on the back of the tongue

M: 5 - incredible smooth, silky mouthfeel, thickly coats the mouth and lingers for days; this is the epitome of mouthfeel for RIS

O: 5 - I never though that I would try this beer considering that it is only released one day/year in Brooklyn Center, MN with very limited local distribution but thank goodness for the CBC 2013 in Washington D.C.; like all of Surly beers, this one lives up to the extreme hype and is overall the most complex RIS that I have ever tried; I have never tried Dark Lord or Marshal Zhukov but I cannot imagine it being better than this (1,171 characters)

Photo of Dawgboned37
4.99/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer! Poured 2013 (Brewcifer) vintage into a surly tulip glass. Moderate caramel head dissipated to thin layer of bubbles. The beer is very thick and viscous. The nose has complex scents of molasses, chocolate, roasted malts, licorice, and lingering vanilla. The taste follows the nose very well with pronounced dark chocolate, malt, and vanilla flavors accented by oak. Slight coffee bitterness, and even some hop flavors come through toward the end. Fantastic. (474 characters)

Photo of rudylaw
5/5  rDev +13.9%
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 kittywamp
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: black coffe colored head

S: chocolate, roasted malts, brown sugar and toffee dark fruit

T: dark chocolate, vanilla, molasses and very creamy

M: thick, creamy smooth that lingers

O: this is my favorite beer. If i could i would drink this beer year round. i really enjoyed this beer. if you get a chance to buy do it. its so worth it. (339 characters)

Photo of Bmuncy
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 version

Appearance: It's weakest, which doesn't say much as I've still given it a 5. Near Jet-Black and one of the darkest brews I've ever seen. It's rich and frothy mocha head teases you to take a drink, no begs you. Slight lace retention, though unimpressive. If there is a weak point in this beer, lace retention would be it. However, I feel it's not a very important aspect.

Smell: Devastatingly powerful. One whiff knocks you onto your hills. Deep, milk chocolate and espresso welcomes the nostrils with undertones of vanilla, cherry and hops.

Taste: Strong hints of chocolate, coffee and slight vanilla notes. A very warming beer invites you to a wonderland of flavor. Sweet and roasty chocolate. If Willy Wonka Brewed beer, this would be it.

Mouthfeel. Thick, strong, syrupy, full. These are are appropriate adjectives.

Drinkability: The scariest thing about this beer isn't the vampire on the label, it's the drinkability of this beer. At 10.x% ABV, this titan of flavor and smoothness' scariest attribute is how quickly you can down it. Without realizing it, I drank half the bottle in only a few gulps.

I've never given a perfect score to any beer, not even an A+. I've always waited for that one beer that would destroy every sense of reality that I had to give out such an honor... but here it is... Surly Darkness.... and it does not disappoint. (1,369 characters)

Photo of deadbody
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

HOLY COW. Had this on tap at Groveland Tap, and it was amazing. Pours a dark rich black with a nice creamy tan head, excellent lacing. Strong malt smell, amazing taste, thick and rich with a great bold body. Spectacular mouthfeel, thick and rich. Super drinkable. Really happy I picked up 2 bottles. (299 characters)

Photo of rjp217
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 bottle poured into a couple taster snifters....

Pitch black pour with a beautiful one finger head and perfect brown head with a sticky lace retention. So much chocolate and cherry in the aroma and taste. There's a beautiful coffee and caramel finish in the taste. Full body and low carbonation with a silky smooth finish. This beer is absolutely sublime. It's a chocolate coffee marshmallow dream. The 2 years created a perfect symmetry. Epic! (449 characters)

Photo of amallen
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i had the wonderful pleasure of attending a surly tasting last night and had one of the first tastes of the fresh tapped darkness. i have absolutely nothing bad to say about this beer. pitch black in color a dark caramel dense fluffy head. a practically perfect russian imperial stout. do be careful though it doesnt have the feel or taste of its over 10% abv. with only 25 barrels brewed if you get a chance to taste it is a must. (431 characters)

Photo of RushLimbmalt
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 vintage I have had every vintage of this brew. Every single one has been stellar. Do yourself a favor and find some. This is an awesome Russian Imperial Stout (163 characters)

Photo of objectivemonkey
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

EDIT: So, I was at Cafe 28 today, very delicious brunch. Anyway, they still have Darkness on tap, and I had given this beer a 4.95, but after having it one last time (maybe), I've noticed that on tap, its even thicker, creamier, smellier, tastier, and wantier than ever. So, with out further adieu, 5. (2,034 characters)

Photo of themind
5/5  rDev +13.9%

A dark motor oil beast of a beer! wow! I really liked this beer. Poured a deep, dark, molasses black. Has a roasted, traditional stout aroma. The taste is just awesome. Dark fruit, molasses and coffee make this masterpiece a must seek, must find, must have beer. 2013 version acquired at Darkness Day, this beer lived up to the hype. I have had many good stouts and this one as of now is the best.

Bottom Line: 2013 Darkness is one heck of a beer! (448 characters)

Photo of bgramer
5/5  rDev +13.9%
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 StoutsnIPAs
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An amazing beer.

Many enjoyable hours sharing beers on Darkness Day with many wonderful people waiting the opportunity to buy this beer.

I've broken into my very limited supply twice, once to do a combined tasting, put on with BRDC, for a sampling group done in a bookstore with a fireplace, (thanks Jeff and Kim). We had a collection to be envied, Darkness, Dark Lord, Abyss, Expedition, Stone Imperial, Alesmith Speedway, Peche Mortel, Founders Breakfast, Ten Fidy and others. Darkness and Dark Lord were the consensus favorites. I was somewhat surprised, as Expedition and Stone are my favorites, but I liked the Darkness and Dark Lord even better.

Today I am sitting alone, savoring an entire bottle of Darkness as I type, (decadent and selfish, I know; I beg your forgiveness).

This beer is something special, even in the company of special beers. When we had the sampling, I was standing next to another home brewer, and the two of us were intrigued by the malt profile. It is unique and different from any other Imperial I've tried. My guess is higher Lovibond crystal malts and other rich malts were used, (?Special B), rather than depending on only the traditional roasted malts.

This beer was brewed by an artist and a master, no surprise as its from Surly. Just so you know my judgements, I think Furious is the best IPA, and I've had and love Masala and Sculpin.

On to reviewing:

Sampled in my favorite tulip. I have Darkness 2008. The label depicts a pagan diety or demon, (depending on your perceptions), presumably enjoying Darkness drunk from the skull of an enemy.

Appearance - rich, dark, opaque brown. The head is a rich deep creamy tan with small bubbles, large and persistent with a vigorous pour. Lacing is lovely.

Aroma and nose - enticing, rich, dark chocolate, roasted caramel malts. The hops are both obvious and subtle, enticing you to decide what they are, or just to shut up and enjoy.

Taste - follows the nose - rich, cholatey, (is that a word?), caramel. Enchanting, enjoyable, enticing, exquisite, exceptional.

Mouthfeel - rich, (a word that recurs in this review and when you enjoy this ale), creamy, marvelous carbonation - small bubbles like a bottle or cask conditioned ale, (although I saw no yeast in the bottom of the bottle).

Drinkability - a concept I've always found odd. It is wonderfully drinkable for its style. Warming, inviting on this cold, dreary, snowing day, (yeah I know, its April - I live in Wisconsin).

Its big drawback, like Dark Lord's is that you can buy it once a year in one place only, in limited quantities. Expedition and Stone Imperial should get additional points because they too are works of art, much more readily available and reasonably priced.

Having said that, I treasure the opportunity to try Darkness. If you should get the chance, judge it on its own merits, and savor the moment. Skol. (2,877 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 version of the Werewolf looking monster poured into a Duvel tulip style glass. Liquid comes out midnight black, can't see through it anywhere on the glass and it doesn't even seem to get lighter. During the pour there's some lighter brown edges on the stream. Coffee with cream colored head that erupts up to the top of the glass. Mostly small bubbles but a few larger ones at the top that blub up. Head stays around a long time and there's TREMENDOUS lacing here, stuff clings to the glass for life. Great looking beer, sets the standard, looks like what many wish they did.

Oh wow, does this smell great. Take the absolute best individual parts of an imperial chocolate stout, coffee stout, hoppy stout, a fruity stout and mesh them all into one absolutely perfectly and this would be your result. Could be the slightest bit stronger, but still would rate it a 4.9999 out of 5 based on how well balanced everything is. Everything works here, huge malt backbone with both dark and sweet fudgy chocolate, black roasted coffee, some earthy dark fruits, and some floral hops. Great balance, perfect smell.

Taste is even better than the aromas if that's at all possible. Starts off sweet with more milky than bitter chocolate, but both present, coffee also isn't as strong. Then there are some nice dark dehydrated fruit flavors like fig and plum, but not overbearing. Plenty of bitter hoppy flavors there of pine and sweet clementine citrus (kind of like a chocolate orange, but actually tastes good). Hops provide a nice fresh flavor too, I'm impressed with how well the hops lasted in this one. There's also an almost minty vanilla flavor at the end. Not the burning vanilla you get from barrel aged stouts though.

Mouthfeel is, you guessed it, perfect. Full bodied because the flavor lingers for awhile, but it tastes so good you wished it would last even longer. This beer is perfectly smooth, with a nice carbonation level and no bite from the alcohol or carbonation, slightly tickles the tongue though. Starts sweet with a nice clean, fresh bitter finish. Crazy drinkable, any stout lover or beer lover could finish off a bottle no problem. A sipper, but dangerous enough to drink faster than you might intend. Thanks N-Dawg for bringing this one to me! This beer really has all the perfect qualities one would want in a beer and blends them together. (2,364 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Cafe Twenty Eight. Served in its very own Darkness goblet, which I hope is a sign it will be returning year after year. It arrived at my table as black as black can be. The head is thick, and brown. It never fully goes away, and leaves a half inch of foam in the bottom of the glass when all of the beer is gone. The aroma is of chocolate, vanilla, graham cracker, plums and other dark fruits. The taste is a perfect balance of roasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, silky and nicely carbonated. I really like how it is so full bodied without being overly chewy and sticky. Overall, this is one of teh best beers I have ever had. I am sure I could not drink more than one or two of these at a time, but I could drink one a night for eternity and be very happy. (807 characters)

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 789 ratings.