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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

DarknessDarkness

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

2,254 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2254
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
Ratings: 2,254 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Proteus93
Proteus93

Virginia

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

Bottle courtesy of CrellMoset... shared along with dkachur.

A: Black as a stout will be, with a fairly light tan head. Very bubbly and sticky.

S: Quite an incredible scent. Big, doughy malts... I get something almost like fresh gingerbread batter. Some chocolate in there.

T: A nice, big, roasted malt... it's quite sweet and chocolatey. Again, I get some hints of gingerbread from it, which is quite nice. On the finish, a little hint of licorice comes out. It takes a little while and some warmth to come out, but it's nice.

M + D: Very rich and sticky... big molasses like consistency. To date, I don't believe I've come across something quite this thick. It can get quite sweet after a while, but it's certainly a very good flavour and aroma. Quite pleased with this one, and it moves away from a trend of a couple weaker offerings.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 02:53:55 | More by Proteus93
Photo of grandq
grandq

New York

4.22/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Giving this a try from the bottle thanks to the generosity of Mully.

Glugs a viscous black from the bottle. Giving this the usual vigorous pour I give to RIS's, a dark tan head mushroom clouds into a massive, pillowy and slowly dissipating dark tan head. Great scent - west coast fruity hops and berry, mixed with molasses, raisin, and leather. Flavor is a bit of a surprise, very mild and fruity. A dash of coffee opens up to the aforementioned berry and citrus, surrounded by milk chocolate, prickly spice, and a splash of grapefruit before bittering away from the tastebuds. Concludes like I took a swig of hot cocoa and chased it with an IPA. No bad thing, might have to try that.

Thick as anticipated but not as monstrous as others. I'm actually a little disappointed in this aspect, a little thin for my liking, i think it could cling to the tongue a bit more. Sorta skim chocolate milk-esque, which I don't have fond memories of. Still, the lighter mouthfeel results in a pretty quaffable concoction, though it gets a bit cloying at warmer temps.

I had this at the EBF last Feb and recall thinking it similar to Stone RIS (a solid compliment). Not at all the case from the bottle a couple months earlier. I'd like to try this straight from the source at release as I think the hops truly make this beer. Not quite as complex as I'd hoped but still top notch.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 00:28:37 | More by grandq
Photo of schellsbeer
schellsbeer

Minnesota

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

Review from notes taken from sampling party early December 2008.

2008 vintage.

Thanks Greggy for the chance to taste this wonderful beer.

Sorry Surly Darkness....but Three Floyd's Dark Lord has you beat...just barely though.

A - Wonderful. Dark black with bitter dark chocolate covered cherry look. Fantastic. Swirl the glass...where the beer meets the top of the glass, a wonderful red color can be noticed. Incredible.

S - Fresh. Raisins. Molasses. Black Cherries. Chocolate. There is so many things going on in this beer, who can describe them all.

T - I think this beer needs to sit for about 1 year....that is why I have my own bottle cellaring under the stairs waiting for next November to roll around. Fruit. Strong Alcohol taste. Cherries. Chocolate. Much better when served at room temperature. Fantastic brew.

M - Thick. Filling. Creamy. I want this beer to last all night but...Dang it doesn't.

D - High Alcohol. Available once a year only in Minnesota...low point but only slightly.

One of my top five beers to date. Fantastic. Almost perfection in a bottle. Close. Will re-review next November.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 02:17:45 | More by schellsbeer
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

2008 bottling

Appearance: Pours a viscous black with chocolate edges and a creamy mocha head; sheets of lace remain in the chalice once the foam has subsided

Smell: Coffee, dark chocolate, berry fruit and a hint of cigar smoke; the citrus hops are mysterious, sometimes making their presence felt and other times indiscernable

Taste: Milk chocolate and Cuban coffee up front, with a developing berry element arriving shortly thereafter; by mid-palate, however, there is a building citrus hop flavor that becomes relentless after a while; after the swallow, the Cuban coffee returns and mixes with dark chocolate; plenty of citrus on the finish as well; the cigar flavors re-appearing in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: By far, the thickest beer I have ever tasted, with moderate carbonation; a bit of warmth in the gullet after the swallow

Drinkability: New Year's eve, and it is time to break out this special occasion beer; for me, it lived up to the hype; unlike other hoppy stouts where the bitter flavors battle with the malt, in this beer, the blending of the contrasting flavors is unique

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 01:42:13 | More by brentk56
Photo of PatronWizard
PatronWizard

California

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

A big thanks to trader imperialking for allowing me to get this bottle without offering up an appendage I may some day need.

Been patiently aging it for 2 months and my fucking patience is dead. A special visit from far-away friends and fellow BAs OlieIPA and Aimstatus is the final straw. Darkness dies tonight!

It pours black. Really, it does. Poured hard to create a big, frothy, chunky ass light brown head. Chunks of lace. Not wisps; chunks. The head is an alien landscape of spider webs.

Sniff has ... HOPS! Are you kidding me? Oh blessed day to find a big strong kick ass stout with HOPS! And I haven't had a hop all damn day. Awesome. I hope the mouth picks up what the nose is putting down. OK, the hops aren't smelling super strong, I'm just excited that they are there at all. A slight piney scent that makes me happy.

The taste is quite simply the most unique flavor I have ever encountered in a beer. I taste peanut butter and jelly. Slight chocolate flavor and the pine is there also. Mint chocolate chip ice cream flavors. Tons of flavors. Way damn complex. Sorry - this is friggin good! Reminds me of a Stone XI, only betterer and betterer.

I love to shit on the overhyped beers, but I have nothing bad to say here. This is truly awesome and I hope someday down the road I can have it again. I would drink it fresh to preserve as much of the hop flavor as possible, which collides superbly with the traditional stout flavors.

Smooth texture, but the bitterness keeps it from being silky.

Overall: absolutely awesome

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 21:06:20 | More by PatronWizard
Photo of calise1122
calise1122

New York

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I tried, I really did.

After waiting so long, I wanted this night to be perfect and I gave it my doggone best. Waited months to share this with someone who would appreciate it. Bought some nice cheeses that I thought would work well, even spent time and energy to carefully align them on a cheese board so that Darkness would realize that I like to keep things clean and presentable.

I wanted to set up a nice play list, I wanted this to be memorable, I wanted this to be special....

But this demon beer wouldn't have any of it. It spent hours upon hours over the past few months coaxing at me... and when I finally open it the anarchist was let loose:

Computer shuts down, there goes my play list. So I scramble to open up the lap top and try to get hypemachine or Pandora going, figuring that at least that would offer a nice musical background... but this goddamn beer somehow ruined my internet connection. The cheese wasn't right and the room was uncomfortably hot... as if Lucifer here brought the brimstone from the depths of hell with him. What in holy heaven was going on, why after so much time did Darkness feel the need to treat me with so little respect.

Then I took a deep breath, focused, closed my eyes and it all came together. You don't control the Darkness... you don't "create" an environment that works. He dictates his own situation. This beer decides the temperature, it will let you know what music your listening too. It will tell you if and when you should have some damn cheese. Darkness doesn't want Martha Stewart... It won't be manipulated onto a christmas platter with bells and whistles... IT demands YOU to respect IT.

So I gave in. Screw the computer... we went with Comcast Music Channel 814. And you know what... almost as if great change in direction.. channel 814 had Vampire Weekend: Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa playing, too fitting. I prepared myself to completely let go of the situation, finally popped the cap off, jumped in the back seat and let Darkness do some driving:

From the back seat I just can't see thru Darkness. I tilted my head in every conceivable direction to try and see thru this black hole of a monster, but no shot. It is not worth the effort. He has such a big frothy and thick dark tan head. I suppose that is what happens when you spend your days in fire, brimstone and constant heat.

I can smell him easily from back here and you can tell he has lived a bit of life this one. Once a raging alcoholic, he seems to have simmered down a bit (or at least drink a better bourbon). The aromas of chocolate and vanilla come first, but as he jets down this dark highway towards hell I more and more get dark fruits; cherries, raisins, prunes.

He stops the car, turns around and demands me to bow down and kiss his feet. At this point, as Loser by Beck is now blasting from channel 814... I don't think twice. He tastes like chocolate and a homemade dark cherry/blackberry jam. You would think that he would be big, strong, over-the-top... but under all the upside down skulls and long swaying black robes there is a true sweet side to him. Maybe the year or so that he spent on earth softened him up a bit, but as I find myself on my hands and knees kissing the feet of this "monster", I can't help but to relax a bit. Maybe it's all a farce. Maybe, just maybe, when push comes to shove... he is a nice man. As the ride goes on the chocolate and coffee kind of succeed to the sweetness and dark fruit.

The tank starts to empty and I realize I am going to miss this ride. It was a ride that served a purpose, it showed me that with age, bumps and bruises... people, beer, even demon gods can change. They can open up and become even more complex then they originally were, showing more character and personality. I step out almost wanting to get back in, but now is no longer my time.

Farewell Darkness, it's been swell.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 15:57:03 | More by calise1122
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

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

2008 750 mL bottle split with a friend

A: Pours a very thick, viscous black liquid with a fluffy, dense tan coffee colored head. Amazing retention, the head hangs around for the entire glass with sticky rings of lacing.
S: Dense, complex aroma, but not as strong as expected. Very sweet, dark fruit like raspberries, boysenberries and raisins, etc. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, faint citrus, light hops and alcohol all also come through.
T: First thing that hits me is the strong sweetness, that is slightly bitter. Dark, ripe fruits that persist through the finish, raspberry, blackberry, etc but they fade a little as the beer warms up. Then thisa much richer malty, chocolaty and creamy flavor. A light hop bitterness but most of the bitterness is more coffee and dark fruit flavored. Alcohol is very present, but not abrasive, just a friendly warming.
M: A very thick, creamy beer with very light carbonation keeps this from being too full bodied or chewy. After it warms up the finish is slightly fruity and chocolaty sweet
D: Every sip seems to tilt the flavors back and forth between slightly bitter fruitiness and sweeter malt/chocolate. Finish has a slight medicinal taste but overall the alcohol blends very nicely into the beer. An amazing RIS no doubt, but (while not the same beer) I still prefer something like The Abyss for example over this.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 21:18:07 | More by yourefragile
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.28/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml wax-top bottle. Pitch black liquid. Thich tan head that lasts for quite some time, and surrenders some great looking patchwork of lace.

Loads of citrusy hops up front, big and juicy. Ripe fruit, chocolate, and alcohol come out in the nose. Interesting combo.

What sticks out to me up front is the amount of sweetness, a bit cloying for me. SOme chocolate comes in, but gets overtaken by a huge blast of citrusy hops. SOme warming from the alcohol.

Maybe a bit thin. Lower carbonation. Intesesting, but not my taste. Too much sweetness, with too much hop flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 14:14:44 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of peabody
peabody

Kentucky

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

Pours out a really dark black with no light coming through. One finger of small dark brown suds.
Raisin bread smell. Very doughy with hints of fruits, mango and pepper.
Taste is like sweet mango with sugar malts and raisin bread with just a hint of chocolate and a tinge of coffe aftertaste.
This is a well balanced and very refined drink.
Mouthfeel is wonderful and leaves just a tad of sugar behind. Love how it goes from sweet to salty then coffee bitter to dry sugar. This is a great RIS.
Drinkability is so high here because you cannot taste any alcohol or feel any in the back of the throat.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 18:37:08 | More by peabody
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

2.95/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 bottling. This was the beer I wanted very badly to love, but it just didn't work out between us :-(

Assets:
-creamy and dark brown, with a dark brown head and great retention; very inviting
-excellent creamy carbonation
-mouthfeel is heavy but still quite drinkable

Negative factors:
-bizarre sweetness that just doesn't work, like a double foreign export stout
-weird hop use, citrus rind-y like Simcoe; just doesn't work
-I was expecting way more bitterness
-muted nose
-drinkability suffers from the "off" flavors (no actual defects)

My numbers seem critical even to me, but since 2.0 is "not impressed" and I'm definetely not impressed, i gave it a 2.5. I'm not down on Surly at all; I love their other offerings.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2008 00:42:06 | More by rayjay
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

3.55/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Finally tryiing some of this. Dark nearly black with a slight bricking quality. A pillowing rocky head of mocha has very good length, sponge like in appearance.

Full of citrusy hops leading in the orange rind category. Too citrusy for my liking in an RIS. Big chocolate with caramel and toffee and loads of dark fruits, black licorice and mollasses.

Good very tasty beer yet very out of whack and almost cloyingly sweet with an odd hop flavor to citrusy for the style in my opinion. Chocolate covered hops, fudge and cocoa. Hops are juicy and resiny with that orange peel sense. Blackberry, juicy plum, mollasses, black currant, bitter finish but overpowered by the cloying amounts of residual sugar.

Don't really like the huge hops and the out of whackiness. I will save my other bottles a few years and try again once the hops surrender some.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 02:43:39 | More by mcallister
Photo of TK5150
TK5150

Maine

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

2008 bottle.

A-Pours nice and thick. Black in color, with a small brown head.

S-Upon first smell I get a little bit of American citrus and piney hops. I then get a lot of chocolate, and dark fruits. Kind of like chocolate covered cherries/blackberries/figs/plums. A very nice nose.

T-Big chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as dark chocolate lead the way. Then the fruits rush in and i get the chocolate covered fruits taste which was great. I got little to no hoppiness on the palate which was a little disappointing, and not what i was expecting. In the finish i tasted robitussin...that medicinal cherry taste. It became more prevalent the more i drank, but doesnt hurt the beer too much. This was one VERY SWEET beer, which I am not usually a fan of, but the flavors mostly made up for that downfall.

M-Full bodied, nice and thick. coated the mouth very well. Silky smooth with low carbonation.

D-Good. The medicinal taste at the end without the hop balance took away from the drinkability some. No trace of alcohol helped.

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers. A little too sweet to drink a full bottle by yourself, but great to split with a friend. A great dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 00:07:52 | More by TK5150
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

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

2008 Biergotter Tasting - Day 2. Big thanks to grub for bringing out this bad boy.
Black, nearly opaque, with dark brown edges. A fluffy brown cap appeared after the pour, producing sticky, clumpy lace all the way down the glass. Great aroma, a combination of floral and citrus hops (mostly grapefruit and orange) with roast and burnt malts. Notes of cocoa and dark chocolate, biscuit, and anise wafted in and out. Solid bitterness, more grapefruit hop character, with lots of chocolate, caramel, and toffee. Quite sweet overall. Plenty of dark malts gave it a moderate roast flavour. Full bodied, kind of on the heavy side, with lowish carbonation, very fine bubbles, creamy texture, alcohol warmth, and just a bit sticky. Super delicious and much more balanced than I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 20:16:41 | More by DrJay
Photo of OlieIPA
OlieIPA

California

4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Darkness and enjoyed in the company of Amy, Victor, and Lisa. Thanks for sharing this beer Victor!!!!

A: While pouring this beer quite aggressively into my glass, it appeared to boast all the qualities of a good looking stout: Viscous, black, and a huge frothy tan colored head. This beer left a large quantity of lacing around my snifter glass as well, even after I had guzzled down it's delicious contents.

S: The initial whiff is quite shocking, a very hoppy-like aroma mixed in a powdery chocolate/cocoa characteristic. This mix of piney and bitter hops, along with the dark sweetness, reminded more of an American Double rather than a RIS.

T: Unique....unique...unique! An extremely sweet tasting stout, but settled down by the ample amount of hops used in this beer. I pick up chocolate, pines, vanilla bean, maple, gingersnaps (yes, I said gingersnaps), caramel, peanut butter, and so much more.

M: Full-body with almost no indication of carbonation. The flavors cling somewhat to the palate, but not to the point where the hop bitterness becomes a bit overwhelming.

D: I actually don't pick up any of the alcohol content, and the flavor is quite interesting (in a good way), therefore making for a good time....anytime.

Overall: I was actually expecting this beer to be overhyped, but it definitely lived up to the world class standards presented here on BA. Not your typical RIS, to say the least, and displays a multi-faceted array of flavors that my palate got excited over. If I had to sum up this beer in a few words, it would be: Unique, smooth, and yummy! A smile beer and a must try. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 02:18:39 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of deltatauhobbit
deltatauhobbit

Maine

2.35/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to mynie for the opportunity to try the infamous Darkness, 2008 750ml bottle, decided to have this one fresh as opposed to letting it age for a bit since I heard it's rather hoppy for a RIS.

Pours a dark brown/black color, some light being able to show ruby colors near the edge, very large tan head that fades slowly to leave some good lacing.

Smell is as anticipated, surprisingly (for a RIS once again) hoppy at first, some malt and smoke in the background, not quite to style but not unpleasant.

Taste takes the normal route and ditches the hoppiness that might have been expected after the aroma, instead it is cloyingly sweet, lots of chocolate and vanilla, also seems like there's other sugars that are added to make it much sweeter than it should be, very syrupy and sticky but not overly viscous.

An interesting take on the RIS, but I think I'd stick with Kate and Dark Lord for the top picks, I'd even reach for an Old Rasputin first. Glad I got to try it, but it doesn't even come close to the hype it has, maybe if it didn't taste like someone added a few cups of sugar to it it wouldn't have been as much of a chore to drink even a glass of it. Maybe a different vintage will change my mind down the road.

Edit (3/6/10): Remove Kate from top pick, 2010 was just as much of a cloyingly syrupy sweet mess.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2008 21:29:45 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

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

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 2: Stouts and Belgians. i contributed this one, purchased at the brewery.

750ml bottle topped with bronze wax. 2008 vintage. sampled nov 28/08.

pours deep black, completely opaque. a huge fluffy dark brown head forms, lasting forever and leaving huge chunks of lace behind.

aroma is great. big hops up front - orange, grapefruit, pine. big bready malt base. biscuit. cracker. light alcohol. anise. dark and bittersweet chocolate. light coffee. big floral character too.

taste is great. just under medium bitterness level. milk and dark chocolate. anise. big caramel and toffee sweetness. bread and biscuit. the citrusy hops are still there, but a bit more subdued than in the aroma. light alcohol. bit of smoke. some dark fruit too.

mouthfeel is great. silky smooth medium-low carbonation level. large body.

drinkability is good. nice balance and great depth, with a bit of lingering sweetness. excited to see how this one will change with time.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2008 01:10:43 | More by grub
Photo of 0110x011
0110x011

California

3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black into a Darkness snifter. One finger, dark tan head lasts a good while, with spotty lacing. Nose is an interesting mix of chocolate, earth, plum, raisin and piney hops. Surprisingly sweet and fruity on the palate. A bit of chocolate and vanilla, and pine from the hops, but the overall flavor is dominated by an almost cloying, sugary sweetness. Mouthfeel is very nice, creamy and soft. ABV is nearly invisible. The sweetness makes one glass enough for me.

If this were available for $6.99 at BevMo, I'd say it were a tasty, unique beer. But considering the acclaim and rarity, I think it strays too far from the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 04:08:21 | More by 0110x011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

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

2008 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a large, frothy, light tan head.

Smell: Roasty, burnt malt nose with strong notes of dark chocolate liqueur, coffee, smoky creosote, and pine needles.

Taste: Roasty, dark, chocolaty maltiness displays both depth and richness. A few spoonfuls of frothed cream pairs with a flavor of strong coffee. Bracing amount of sweetness present. Vinous fruity character. Touch of creosote. Strong pine and citrus hoppiness though not unreasonably so. The bitterness makes a decent attempt, but, for me, it doesn't ever even begin to overtake the malt sweetness. Darkness finishes with a strapping roastiness and more unyielding sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Decidedly full-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent melding of full flavors wrapped up in a dense, creamy body. I wasn't disappointed. Nice work, Surly.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 00:42:58 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of optiontwo
optiontwo

Minnesota

4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle acquired at this years darkness day, poured into tulip glass

Appearance: Darkness. Opaque. Beautiful two finger tan head. This is exactly how a RIS should look.

Smell: Wooo. Almost makes me fall back in my seat. Such an array of aromas I don't know where to start. Roasted malt, chocolate, slight coffee, then strong sweetness of fruits ranging everywhere from orange/lemon to strawberry jam and cherries. Amazing.

Taste: This may be the drink of the devil but it tastes like it's straight out of heaven. Dark chocolate, orange, and dark cherries are the first three things that hit me but there is soo much more going on here. Earthy tones and what I have to imagine are hop flavors hit after the initial sweet and roasted flavor. This has got to be the hoppiest imperial stout I've ever had and that's a good thing, a very good thing. The combination of malt sweetness and hop bitterness in this beer make the flavors so complex that each sip is an experience. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Coats my mouth with the beer but not to the point where it's hard to swallow. The mouthfeel increases the enjoyment of this beer tenfold because it helps the flavors stay in your mouth that much longer. This is also exactly how a RIS should feel.

Drinkability: Surprising. I've had a good amount of imperial stouts and it's one of my favorite styles, but even my favorites test me when it comes to drinkability. I usually want to have more than one or two but can't bring myself to do it. With Darkness though, I could literally drink this all night until I stumble to bed. Very impressive.

Overall: The very best RIS I have ever had. Do whatever you can to get your hands on this miraculous beer. I love Surly.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2008 00:10:38 | More by optiontwo
Photo of EGledhill
EGledhill

Pennsylvania

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

Thought I'd crack this bitch open for a Thanksgiving desert. Split the bottle with the girlfriend. Big thanks for the BA who made this possible. Poured into Darkness snifter.

A. what the fuck would you expect? Dark. 2 finger tan head that faded to a thin ring and laced the glass. Looks say "try and chug me bitch. I'll destroy you."

S. Smell was definitely on point. Vanilla, Chocolate dominate this with a faint hops and booze smell.

T. Taste like some tasty boozed up pudding. Just like the smell, Vanilla and chocolate lead the way. Dark fruit, caramel sweetness, hops and booze hit on the finish. Sweet and tasty.

M. pretty thick. not overly coating like a ten fidy but a damn solid mouthfeel.

D. If I had access to this regularly, you'd have to peel my ass of the bar floor in a darkness induced coma. drinks smooth hit with a bang.

Overall. Believe the hype. It's that fucking good. I try to share my beers with the girlfriend but I wound up taking down half her glass when she walked away from it. I should've never shared with her.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 21:32:40 | More by EGledhill
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

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

A- Pours black with very impressive large thick brown colored head. Head has great retention and leaves a nice amount of lacing.

S- First thing I could really pick up on was a citrus like hop smell. Pretty surprised by that and then I could smell chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits and a touch of alcohol.

T- Overall quite a few things going on here. Pretty sweet but yet also has some bitterness going on. Starts off with a lot of chocolate and dark fruits and then the hops kick it. Very interesting and could not find any alcohol in here at all.

M- Full in body and pretty chewy. Fairly low in carbonation.

D- It was very easy to drink and highly recommended. This has to be the most hoppy RIS ever made which made this one pretty interesting and different.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 17:47:03 | More by nrbw23
Photo of tedpeer
tedpeer

Iowa

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

2008 Bomber poured into a Darkness tulip.

A - Pours a viscous dark black, with a huge mocha head that subsided to a thin layer. No lacing.

S - Strong dark fruits, sweet.

T - Intense flavor. Fruit. Coffee. Chocolate. slight alcohol warmth in the finish.

M - Thick, mouth coating. Smooth. Lightly carbonated.

D - Very balanced for such a large beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 01:41:25 | More by tedpeer
Photo of shroompod
shroompod

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark! This has the best head retention of any RIS I've ever seen.

Aroma of citrus hops , dark chocolate and sweet caramel.

This beer is sweet. A lot of dark candy sugar tastes. Molasses, raisins, caramel, and figs. The sweetness comes at the expense of darker flavors I enjoy (coffee, chocolate & bitterness). Hops are their, but somewhat subdued.

Mouthfeel is thick , carbonation is good.

Overall an exceptional RIS that's too sweet for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 23:07:44 | More by shroompod
Photo of phattysbox
phattysbox

New York

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

kplynch was kind enough to buy me two bottles at darkness day. We opened one of those bottles and shared among friends. Thanks Kevin!!

Poured into Corsendonk tulip glass. Jet black and very viscous, almost oily in appearance. Thick frothy coffee colored head that slowly retreats into a nice thin lace. Stickage all up and dpown the glass - awesome looking brew and dark indeed.

This is the strangest, but great, brew I have ever had. Part DIPA, porter and mostly RIMP...

Since it is a RIMP, you would expect roasted malts and chocolate in the nose. While its there, initially the brew smells like a west coast DIPA. Sweet floral hops pervade the nose - ripe tropical citrus friut and berries. This is followed by chocolate and vanilla notes. The nose is quite complex.

Tastes a smoothing sweet malt base. Vanilla and oak are very present with coffee and chocolate undertow. Of course the hops - in the back and really balance out the brew quite nicely. It changes however as it warms - reminding me of a porter in some sense. Very complex brew with lots going on. Mouthfeel is wet and velvety with meduim to low carbonation. The only thing I could say about this brew that might be considered negative - is its very sweet. This might be off-putting to some but not to me.

I still can't wrap my head around this brew - quite unique but simply fantastic!!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 15:45:11 | More by phattysbox
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to waltonc for sharing a glass of this one. Cool looking bottle

A: Totally black with a smallish dark brown head.

S: This is some complex stuff. All the classic RIP aromas--roasted malt, chocolate, some coffee. But the real distinguishing factor here was a real dark fruit, almost like a fruitcake.

T/M: Deliciously creamy and full bodied. Great imperial stout flavors. Really like how the dark fruit flavors worked in here; it was very unique for the style. Everything was exceptionally well balanced, with nothing dominating or overpowering.

D: I could drink a lot of ton of this. Yet, I can barely get my hands on it, so it's gets a knock.

This was delicious, complex, and unique. Up there with the best of them.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 02:39:37 | More by abfraser
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,254 ratings.