Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

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DarknessDarkness

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

789 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 789
Hads: 3,219
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 9.79%
Wants: 3,207
Gots: 1,176 | FT: 84
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006

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

Labels:
2007-Grim Reaper
2008-Devil
2009-Mummy
2010-Vampire
2011-Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 789 | Hads: 3,219
Photo of oakbluff
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
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. (1,033 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (827 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
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! (1,179 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 twbrewer
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Surly Darkness goblet!

A-Poured the blackest beer I have ever seen,no light could shine thru this.1" of caramel colored head reduces to thick ring around edge of goblet.

S-First smell is soft hops,then a earthy plum and raisin smell with a chocolate and fruit background.

T-Similar to the smell,plum\raisin and a soft fruit\chocolate taste with no bitterness or hint of hops.

M-Velvety smooth over the palate with a nice touch of carbonation.

D-I've heard so much about this beer that I started to believe that it was to good to be true.I was wrong.This is a great beer that given the opportunity to try this you can not pass this up.This is a very drinkable beer but becareful at 9.5% it can sneak up on you. (726 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Local Option, Maproom, and Hopleaf...first pour at Maproom was brimming with foam, at Hopleaf it was gushing from the glass like a muddy volcano. Jet black with a huge cap of lacy tan foam. Over time it forms sheets of webby lacing.

Fruity hop in the nose, Amarillo maybe, tangerine or mango, even juicyfruit gum a little. Hops are aggressive, at 80 IBU's, but the aroma is definitely clean and measured.

Initial burst of fruity/spicy hops are steamrolled by a dense charred chocolate, that lingers for a long time, underscored by earthy, bitter hops. Cocoa blends with a lightly astringent roast in the finish that suggests a quality blend of exotic coffee. Not overbearing, it hides the abv well.

A viscous and velvety mouthfeel, with somewhat low-level carbonation, that still manages to be effervescent. After three, i've reached my limit, but that's a testament to an easily drinkable RIS. Really fantastic, i'm glad Surly has landed in Chicago... (968 characters)

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

Served on tap at Hopleaf in a snifter.

A - This baby is thick,dark and black, who would have thunk it? Slight brown head that quickly disapates. Pretty much what you would think this beer to look like.

S - Holy Shit!!! This is the best smelling RIS I have ever run across. A slight fruit hop scent with a very distinct dark fruit scent. Plum with raisins and a big dark cherry scent. There is also a bit of dark chocolate in there. Wow!

T - Sweet malty goodness, but not too sweet. Flavors of dark chocolate and vanilla. Nice dark cherry and plum flavors here too. Some coffee in there too. Not too bitter or drying. Slight alchohol warmth but amazingly well hidden. Perfectly balanced.

M - Thick and creamy. Heavy but not sticky. Just perfect.

D - Even with the big flavors and high alcohol it is amazingly drinkable.

Overall, this is the best beer I have every had. Better than Westy, Dark Lord, KBS, you name it. I can think of no way to improve it. Man I wish this was easier to obtain. Hopefully the taps at Hopleaf last a while. (1,040 characters)

Photo of brewdoc75
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Stub and Herb's into a Goblet....unfortunately the waitress was spilling it all over the floor as she brought it to me.

Appearance: Black, very black. Beautiful brown, persistent head. Quite seductive. I really didn't want to drink it because it looked so lovely, but at the same time it beckons me.

Smell: Not a whole lot at first. I feel that this was due to the fact that the beer was inappropriately, overchilled. Once it warms up, it smells of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. It actually has a distinctive hoppy smell for a stout.

Taste: Smooth, clean and rich are the first things that come to mind. Hints of chocolate, but has rich coffee flavors as well. A little sweet w/ a hint of molassess, but not too much. I am actually suprised by the hoppiness of this brew. It has a beautiful bitterness that is not too overpowering and balances out the flavors nicely.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy and smooth. Like liquid velvet. The everlasting head is smooth on my lips with every drink. Perfect mouthfeel for this style of beer.

Drinkability: This is perhaps the most suprising thing about this beer. It is one of the most drinkable imperial stouts I have ever had. It is so smooth and balanced, you would never know that it has such a high alcohol content. Just like the description says, I could drink this all night long. In fact I really want more of this one. I hope that some day they will release this in cans, so I can enjoy this one at home nightly. (1,478 characters)

Photo of Mdog
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark black, initially a good head but fades out, good lacing as I drank out of the official Darkness snifter.

Smell: All I could really smell was the hops in this beer. Might be my cold acting up or because this was on tap so I couldn't stick my nose in it while I poured it.

Taste: Made a good impression on me. A nice hop blast followed by bitter chocolate and a little bit of smoky flavor. Not harshly bitter to my tastes. No alcohol to be detected by my senses.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth.

Drinkability: For an imperial this goes down extremely easy. If I wasn't trying multiple beers at the Gnome, I would have had another.

Finally I have tasted the Darkness from Surly. It is an excellent beer even though I don't typically seek out imperial stouts. The only thing to make this better was if it was canned for home consumption. I'm not sleeping in the parking lot for a growler! (897 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Inky black. Big thick crop of dark brown foam on top. Great staying power too. Spotty patches of brown lace coat the glass as I drink. The aroma is thick with raw, resinous hops. (Very similar to the way Alpha Klaus smelled the very first time I had it years ago.) Also chocolate notes and roasted malts and heavily roasted coffee bean. The flavor exhibits great complexity and depth. Baker's chocolate. Black licorice and hop oils mingle nicely. Intense coffee flavors and mocha/java notes. Fruit nuances are dark in nature....black berry and boysenberry come to mind. And there's a huge bitterness. A big double punch of roasted bitterness and hop bitterness....love this raw ass bitterness. And throughout, there's a nice charred edge to round everything off. The body is medium-full to full. Somewhere in that range. This doesn't have that "motor oil" viscosity, but it really doesn't need it. This is damn impressive the way it is. It's lightly carbonated and the alcohol really isn't that noticeable. It seems to blend in with the bitterness and is hidden to an extent in that capacity. There's a nice oily/greasy feel after drinking which I find appealing. The taste lingers long after I'm done. This is very drinkable. Growler would be no problem. (1,255 characters)

Photo of edbeered
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass, this pours an opaque jet black color, with a small brownish head and scattered lacing on the glass. The smell is fruity and chocolaty. The taste is intense, with a peaty earthiness, a fruity plum flavor, a hint of grapefruit hoppiness, and a toasty maltiness. The flavors burst forth, yet this exceptional brew is smooth and balanced. The alcohol content is 9.5%, yet it doesn't feature in the taste. For me, the style makes this a "one and done" beer, due to the intensity of the flavors and the high alcohol content. That said, if any Russian Imperial Stout could tempt me into a second glass, it would be this one. An exceptional effort from the brewers at Surly. (691 characters)

Photo of Pitmonkey
4.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been luke warm on Imperials in the past, I was floored tonight.

Served from tap into belgian stem-ware, don't recall which. Inky black, while the lighting at the Blue Nile wasn't exactly bright, I am confident there was no light coming through that beer. A light tan head which eventually diminished.

I didn't get a lot from the aroma, there was some malt there, and if my vocabulary was better or I was a more experienced reviewer, I might have something, but I kept trying for it and it never did become pronounced, but it may well have been overwhelmed by the intense flavors because I dove in pretty quickly.

Sweet, malty thickness, like a good 90% dark chocolate and a finish like a really well prepared espresso, bitterness lingering forever, essentially until I couldn't resist another sip.

Mouthfeel that sticky syrupy sweetness that never cloys, it dissipates into a lovely alcohol warmth and the aforementioned espresso.

I usually have an Imperial and I am done with the style but I just couldn't resist a second and was not disappointed.

I seriously have never enjoyed an Imperial more than this. (1,121 characters)

Photo of BillyB
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Russian Imperial Stouts are my favorite style, so I'm a bit biased.

I think what Surly is doing is very ballsy. Brewing big beers and canning them. The only other example I can think of that comes close to this is Oskar Blues Ten Fity. I tried this at GABF so it was on draft and from what I heard their not canning this one.

But to get to the point; Darkness is off the charts! Pours a jet black, opaque hue, with a thick tan head.

The roasty, toasty, coffee, caramel and slight whiskey aromas jump out at you.

Strong coffee, roasty malt and toffee flavors. Slight whiskey character, but very subtle.

So drinkable! Just so damn, drinkable! This may be the best russian I've tried since Stone or North Coast.

If you can get your hands on this beer, try it! You won't be dissappointed. (792 characters)

Photo of KAF
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at the Autumn Brew Review in Minneapolis, MN. Very dark in color with a caramel/tan head. Aroma of molasses, liqourice, and slight creamed coffee. More flavor revealed in every sip. Sweet cocoa chocolate flavor with some dark fruits also present. This was a real treat. (291 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been waiting for this one.
A deep, dark pour. Close to Abyss in total darkness. Small, but dense off brown head, nice chunking action. A bit creamy.
Aroma is full of cocao and coffee. Some anise and dark plum or prune. Not overpowering in the nose, makes mouth water.
Taste focuses more on the chocolate side rather than coffee. A rich cocao powder taste, yet is smooth. Dark chocolate, some coffee and anise, roasted malt and some caramel. Hints of toasted bread in the back.
Drinks very well, alcohol isn't detected. Nice feel. Great beer. (547 characters)

Photo of mnstorm99
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I finally was able to try this one last night, I am not the biggest fans of stout's in general, but I can certainly sit and enjoy one from time to time, and enjoy is what I did. Nice thick dark black color with a tan head that slowly fades but leaves a nice lacing. aroma of sweet fruits and cocoa. Taste is more of an initial fruity hop feel with a sweet taste of fruity hops and carmel. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and chewy that coats my throat all the way down. I will definatly be enjoying another one of these sippers when the next batch comes out. (555 characters)

Photo of Jredner
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The body is black with a pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, magically self-forming head. It’s a small head, but it gets a nice dark mocha color before slowly fading out. The aroma holds some muted hints of acetone and perfumey alcohol along with dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, raisin and very faint burnt grain notes. Fore is chocolate, dark fruits (blueberry/cherry) and malt sweetness just before the finish. The finish holds dark chocolate, cooked dark fruits, cocoa powder, burnt malt and toasted/burnt grains. The mouthfeel is quite thick and very creamy and pleasing on the tongue. Very nice. (602 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for sharing this amazing beer. Sampled side by side with 2006 Dark Lord. Pours an opaque black with a thick, dark tan head about a finger thick. Smells of rich roasted coffee, bitter cocoa, and fruity hops. Initial taste is a huge hop blast followed by bittersweet chocolate, cappuccino, vanilla, molasses and yet more hops. Full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the tongue. If this was the only RIS left on Earth, I would be completely content. Looking forward to drinking this again and soon. Cheers! (533 characters)

Photo of CharlesDarwin
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Cafe 28. First off, I have to say my intents were to go in and slam this beer. I’d had enough with Imperial Stouts in the Top 50 (this may seem hypocritical considering my past endeavors to further a certain example of the style). My injurious intents would soon be quickly assuaged by a single glass of beer...A friend and I headed to Cafe 28, where I had called ahead to ensure the presence of Darkness and to get reservations. They anticipated my arrival with a table and a couple pours.

The beer came to the table in a narrow chalice and it carried a luxurious finger of the most elegantly soapy, soft creamy dark-oak head. It was almost mahogany itself, gently sliding around on the top with large laces following the beer down the glass. The black gold itself absorb all light and possibly other objects with gravity, with just the slighest blood red corners. Beautiful. I put the chalice to my nose and was blown away by a bold, unique aroma. It’s a tough one to finger, because it was so original and something I’d not experienced. There were lots of reduced plums, raisins, dark cherry syrup, Ecuadorian estate chocolates and toasted wheat kernels. It was rather piquant and electrifying, with a real warming phenolic nose, but it wasn’t boozy or chemical-like, instead a real refined almost sherry or perfume signature. Whatever it was, it was like no aroma I’d wafted. Unfortunately, the pour was a little on the cold side, so the aromatics were slightly restrained and my the time the beer reached warmer climes, my olfactories had been saturated.

On the tongue, the texture was immediately astounding. It was so thick and creamy, yet not sticky. Sweet, but not cloying. Smooth and drinkable, yet not watery. Warm and glowing, but not too hot. Hoppy, but was not dry and parching. Some amazing alchemical processes had occurred hear. Brewing magic under the hand of a wizard had formulated a brew so prefect and desirable I couldn’t believe I was drinking it. I kept muttering, "best beer ever" and "damn near perfect." The flavor cascaded with everything and Imperial Stout drinker looks for. Mounds of freshly brewed Blue Mountains dark roast, Dagoba fair-trade dark chocolate, charred oak barrel edges, Italian cherry skins, Tahitian vanilla beans, drops of fresh organic farm cream and Italian espresso and then the dark fruits really came in. Moist rainier cherries, dried succulent wild bog cranberries, fresh raspberries from the stem, a hint of musky Thimbleberries, a cacophony of Bilberry syrup and Blueberry reduction, with a hint of sour cherries and final bit of pomegranate arils. On top of this, an electric wave of bright hops.

Again, the character of the hops so unique as to be something I have a tough time likening it to. It had a real shining lime zest and gin quality. High, thin and mercurial. These bold citrus oils danced over the brewing cauldron of darker flavors, complementing and intertwining magically. Then, the longest draw of a smack I could imagine. It kept going and morphing, with roads of Marcona almonds, toasted earth, light goat cheese rind and ground oak dust. From the sauna floor rose juniper branches and hints of sea oats. The real phenomenal effect of this beer was the ethereal combination of every desirable effect. Each aspect played off of every other one in near perfect harmonic balance. The aroma was different from the flavor and the hops had great interplay and the texture was just plain perfect. It reminded me much of the great singular and touchable quality of Westy 12, with all the individualisms and character of the world’s most perfect Imperial Stout. This is the solar center paradigm shift of Imperial Stouts for me. (3,724 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

JeffKrenner :worship:

A: Into the extra large Riedel snifter it goes. A full inch of the darkest, thickest foam blooms out of no where creating a firm and solid lid to the brew. The body seems thin compared to the thick head, but boy is it dark. Its like a black hole, no light gets thru.

S: Interestingly enough, the first thing I smell is cascade hops. The rest of the aromas are almost oily in nature...plums, chocolate brownies, espresso drip, chestnuts and robust brown sugar.

T: Again the first thing that hits me are the cascade hops, full and juicy. The tip of the tongue experiences milk chocolate, some sappy pine and an interesting dynamic between grapefruit and molasses. Actually I think most of the sweetness is in the realm of butterscotch. Espresso moves in allowing roasted characteristics to blossum. Then these hops pop back up! Is this the hoppiest (read: not bitterest) imperial stout on the market? Boy this beer warms well…the hops really become pronounced while the chocolate comes forth full and creamy. Finishes with buttery burnt cashews, spicy pine and bitter bakers cocoa. A heavy dose of roasted barley coast this one to fruition.

M: Full, thick and chewy.

D: Delicious and quite original. Definitely stands out from the crowd. Its up there for the best imperial stouts but I’m not quite sure its thee best. Not as luxurious as some of the others but jam packed with flavor. Delicious beer. Thanks again to JeffKrenner and his “mystery” source. I owe you guys big time. (1,519 characters)

Photo of Phatz
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for sharing this beer. A chance to sample this next to the coveted Dark Lord from Three Floyds proves that Surly Darkness is an Imperial Stout worthy in the company of the best available. Roasty chocolate cocoa and hops leave this beer a bit more drinkable than the boozy monster previously mentioned. It is a different animal but quite tasty as well. A berry tart attribute orange hops parallel the espresso and dark malts. Full bodied rich and beautiful, this beer is everything I hope for from a RIS.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (563 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for sharing this...
Appears a black with a dark maple brown hue. A dark tan, soapy head fades out into a gentle cap and leaves spotty lacing around the glass.
Smell is of hoppy pine, and oakiness up front followed by molasses, caramel, and cocoa. Sort of reminds me of Storm King with the hoppiness up front.
Taste is of cocoa, sugar, molasses, and plentiful of citrusy hops.
Mouthfeel is syrupy, lingering of chocolate, bitter, and mildly astringent. (472 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 alexgash
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up this dark, inviting growler at the brewery on the 23rd. Glad I got there early enough to get one of these, because this is a terrific RIS!

Decants a dark inky black with dark brown highlights. Topped by a very dense, glass-crawling, light cocoa brown head. Complex aroma of resinous hops, rich stewed fruits, sweet smoked meats, roasted barley, licorice, tobacco, and sugary espresso. Roasted bitterness up front. Followed by sweetish raisins, figs, coffee/chocolate liqueur, sweet smoked meatiness, molasses, and dark coffee. I really like the way the smoky/meaty flavors work with the sweeter, richer fruits and chocolate. Bittersweet finish of numbing hop resin bitterness and mocha chocolate syrup.

Amazingly thick and viscous mouthfeel and as full-bodied of a beer as I have ever had! Velvety smooth on the palate and dangerously drinkable. Complex and outstanding. Not just the best RIS made in MN (ha!) but one of the best I've had period. (963 characters)

Photo of badbeer
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out completely black into its very own Darkness glass. Dark brown head that lasts throughout and leaves about an inch of lacing at the top; pretty amazing for such a big stout. Smell is predominantly hoppy. Filled with aromas of citrus with hints of coffee and cocoa hidden almost entirely behind the hops. Taste has citrus hops dominating, and there isn't much of a roasty flavor until the finish. Carbonation was medium and mouthfeel is incredibly thick, but very nice. A joy to drink, but this is more of a sipper.

On a side note, I've had IPA's that aren't nearly as hoppy as this, and wouldn't mind getting to see the malty side of this beer that is hidden behind the hops. A very awesome beer, that would probably be better if the malt was allowed to shine a bit more. Great job Surly, this one is worth seeking out. (832 characters)

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