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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,956 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,956
Reviews: 787
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,069
Gots: 1,127 | 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 (43) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,956 | Reviews: 787 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle split with onix1agr. Thanks to kbutler for the hook up.

A- pitch black and oily that's for sure with a finger of coffee colored creamy head. The cap vanishes into the deep after a bit. Deep ruby glow when brightly lite from behind.

S- dark brown sugar and bakers chocolate. Pumpernickel bread. Dark berries and some spice. Deep roasted malts and maybe some molasses.

T- there is a lot going on in the dark. Tons of dark roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Brown sugar and blackberries. There some grapefruit in there too and it really picks up the fruit aspect, balances out the peppery roast, and brightens up the dark malty sweetness. Maple pepper bacon? No, but there is a very mild savory quality and it really works for me. Touch of heat.
M- thick and chewy, oil and syrup. Coats the mouth so completely but has just the right amount of carb to cut the soup. The slightest linger, I almost want a bit more.

D- with such a complex flavor profile and abv I wouldn't say its a session beer but damn if this is not easy going.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.36/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to darklordlager for sending this my way after simply mentioning that I'd never tried it. Talk about a true beer advoacate.

2009 vintage

Split with Andy during our epic beer tasting. Poured into my pint glass the beer is a the true definition of a blackhole. A waterfall of cascading bubbles rain down over nearly half the glass. The thick dark mocha head rises to a full three fingers before receding to leave a emense lace ring.

The aroma is very sweet with loads of citrus fruit and pine. The usual RIS suspects are present as well. Dark chocolate, coffee, roast malt and hints of campfire. I actually get a touch of peanut butter too.

The flavor is a huge blast of choclate covered grapefruit. I like hoppy stouts but this is insane. Once past the hops you get a fair amount coffee, molasses, roasted malt and a hint of smoke.

Full thick body. Very used motor oil like. Light if any carbonation.

Overall a hop bomb RIS. The drinkability suffers for me with the two opposing flavors. I would love to try one with some age on it. Maybe mellow out those hops a bit.

EDIT:

After having this on cask at GTMW (one of hte first samples I grabbed) I'm bumping my scores up for this. It was truly sublime with some age on it.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ahalloin for sharing this at my most recent tasting.

2008 vintage. Eerie photo of the devil on the label. Eek!

A: Very dark, big beige head and great lacing.

S: Big roasted malts with a very present hop profile, much more so than I am accustomed to. This beer smells awesome.

T: Hops are surprisingly present and delicious. Rich roasted malt with bitter chocolates. Wow, this is amazing beer. This beer stands among the best imperial stouts I've had the pleasure of drinking.

M: Really smooth. ABV hidden extremely well.

D: I need to attend Darkness Day to really test this beer's drinkability :)

Photo of morimech
3.71/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Appearance- Not quite black but a dark brown during the pour, appears dark black in the glass. A large brown head with excellant retention. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Smell- A large hoppy nose. Resiny and citrus fruit mostly. A little dark malt in the background. Smells more like a DIPA than a RIS.

Taste- Again this is dominated by the hops. Sticky and fruity. Bitterness is high even with several months on this bottle. Malt is a secondary player giving some roasted and chocolate notes. Alcohol does not really play a major role in the taste.

Mouthfeel- Not as big and thick as other RIS's. Still has good carbonation and texture.

Drinkability- With each passing year it seems Darkness becomes less of a style dominator. More of a Black IPA at this point. Hope Surly goes back to the 2007 recipe for 2010. I would take an Old Rasputin or Storm King over this.

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

750 ml of Darkness is coming my way! I knew one day I would be able to get a bottle of my own, but I didn't expect it so soon. I got this in a trade back in November. From a 2009 Vintage, on to the beer:

The cap has been taken off, so there is no turning back. It is black as black can be, no amount of lighting is gonna get through. The espresso colored head on top has a finger's worth of thickness and retention, and it has good retention. Thing rings of lacing cling to the glass. It's a very resiny smelling imperial stout. There's a lot of it. Some of the pure hoppiness still exists, and among other aromas are molasses, unsweetened chocolate

Unlike other imperial stouts, Darkness is plenty hoppy. Not resiny like the smell, just hop juice. Yeah, hop juice. Sweet tropical juice, orange, some citrus tang. Quite honestly, it resembles more of a yummy DIPA than a stout. But around its edges are yummy notes of chocolate fudge. More and more malty imperial stout hit the taste buds are more beer is consumed. The alcohol is buried extremely well, and it's not thick or viscous, rolls off the tongue with ease...creamy. Mmmm. It's leaving some tasty hoppy-sweet nectar as it dries around my lips.

I'm not as huge of a fan of hoppy imperial stouts as others geeks, but I do like Darkness and its hoppy profile. Needless to say, I'm very happy to have called a bottle of it my own.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.96/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2010 vintage

Incredibly sweet, cloying beer. I had trouble finishing my sample. It was like drinking molasses and hoppy wort. I did not think this beer was worthy of its praise to begin with. Now I have no doubt that this beer is pure hype.

2008 vintage.

Darkness poured out black with a nice head produced from its big hopping addition for an imperial stout. Reminds me of Stone's RIS.

It's still hoppy after a year plus in this bottle. Seems to have faded them into an earthy smell. Light sweetness and dark malts blend into the aroma.

This beer has a lot of balance going for it. Light hops, chocolate, roasted barley, and balanced sweetness make it very easy to drink at this age. There's moderate carbonation to it as well.

This beer still reminds me of a well aged Stone RIS though.

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

2008 bottle. Beer is black with a thick brown head of small bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet and some roastiness. Smells good.

The beer is sweet and has a definite chocolate bitter / semisweet flavor to it. There is a nice maltiness to the beer that is really nice. Beer overall has a medium body and as it warms there is more caramel in the palate. Drinkability high and mouthfeel is high. I'd be interested in the other vintages.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Darkness

A- The beer pours a jet black color with a perfect silky brown head good retention and nice lacing.

S- Extremely complex aroma. Chocolate, figs, black licorice, caramel, molasses, dark roasted malt, toffee, vanilla, almonds, coffee and citrus hops all work together to make this one of the best smelling beers ever.

T- Huge malty beer, dark chocolate, figs, plums, black licorice, some peppery alcohol, vanilla, almonds, some red wine like flavors, and spicy bitter hops. This is one of the most complex tasting beers I have ever had. Fantastic tasting beer.

M- Silky smooth full bodied mouth feel. Oily and mouth coating sweetness with a slightly dry finish.

This beer was great fresh but with over a year on it the potential for this beer is really coming out.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on Jan 30, 2010. 2009 Vintage

A - Ok, I can definitely see why it's called Darkness. That's all you see, if it's something to be seen at all. Maybe your eyes aren't worthy of seeing it. But damn, it's pitch black and nothing shows up around the edges, even in light. Tan head that refuses to go away. No lace. 4.5

S - Well now this is most surprising. It's not your typical sweet and fruity RIS, yet it's not an overly hopped and bitter one either. I pick up a touch of earthiness from the hops, followed by a blend of dark chocolate, spiced rum, prunes, coffee beans, and cream. Maybe a hint of vanilla too? Well, whatever this is, it's causing a nasal addiction and I very nearly snorted this up my nose. 5.0

T - This is a BIG beer. But you can hardly taste the alcohol. The chocolate is the most prominent aspect of the flavor. Bitterness is definitely there but is well blended with the malts, which obviously include chocolate malt and roasted barley. Lots of toastiness and roastiness. Caramel sweetness is in the background, letting everything else shine. I'm kind of at a loss to describe this baby. 5.0

M - Not as thick and viscous as it looks. It's rich and robust, yet drinks like a beer should. Nice and delicate carbonation. 5.0

D - Yes. Indeed. 4.5

Photo of Cedromar
3.95/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

C'est la vie.

2009 Vintage acquired in trade, but I can't remember with whom. If you see this and we did the trade, shoot me a BM and I'll edit accordingly.

I've been fortunate to try the '07 and '08 Darkness and am now sampling the '09.

Well, this is one is a disappointment. '07 is plain and simply, the tits and '08 is like a bowel movement after having the spiciest indian food you've ever eaten.

Appearance is good, pitch black with a two finger head that wuickly fades to small bubbles.

Smell is dark fruits with a nice hoppy backbone.

Taste is again good, not great. The hop bite is there first, followed closely by the not-as-overpowing sweetness that plagued the '08 edition.

Mouthfeel is the best part of the '09 edition. Silky smooth all they way down into my belly.

The overpowering sweetness really hurts the drinkability of this brew.

In short, Darkness and I have a love hate relationship, much like the re-launch of Doctor Who. '07 is Tennant, the 10th Doctor, arguably the best. '08 is Eccleston, the 9th Doctor, far too cheeky for its own good, and the '09 is Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, there's promise, but right now it has some pretty big shoes to fill to be the best.

Photo of portia99
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (2009 version), shared among several friends, courtesy of nonstick. Thanks Chris! Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a totally opaque pitch black -no light gets thru at all. Two fingers of dense cappuccino head with good staying power. Head has great styaing power which is amazing considering the high level of alcohol in this one.

S - Cocoa, baker's chocolate, a bit of pruny fruitiness, a tiny amount of molasses, a bit hoppy - smells a bit green.

T - Incredibly smooth. Tons of chocolate - (dark, milk,bittersweet), dark fruits, some sugary sweetness, dark roasted malts, molasses, some hop presence.

M - Silky smooth...a close second to the BA Blackout. Carbonation is low and fits nicely...very full bodied. A bit oily and coats the mouth completely.

D - Excellent imperial stout. Alcohol really isn't noticeable which is scary. Loving this stout...definitely lives up to its reputation. Excellent - highly recommended.

Photo of mbudner
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release, big thanks to rpohagan for this one. Poured into a delerium tulip/snifter.

A- Pours a deep black, dare I say Darkness. Deep tan to mocha 1-finger head leaving spotty lacing.

S-Very sweet smelling. Molasses and chocolate. Very different from the 2008 I sampled fresh last year, which was quite hoppy.

T-Mmmm mmm mmm. This is a fine one. Very sweet with subtle soy sauce notes (it's pretty young at this point, but I'm still getting some.) Some bitter roasted malts and definitely a fair amount of sweet molasses-like flavor. The sweetness gives way to a decent hop profile for a stout of this magnitude.

MF- Nice and creamy with subtle carbonation and very full-bodied. Really well done on the mouthfeel. The sweetness doesn't leave a cloying flavor/feeling.

D- Like I said with the mouthfeel, nice and sweet, but doesn't become cloying at all. Alcohol is completely masked and I could have probably finished the bomber no problem (but I split it with a friend because you can't just crush Darkness alone.)

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken at Greg's epic Wall St. tasting - thats how we do baby!

A - Pitch black, with a medium tan that recedes rather quickly - especially for the style.

S - SUPER hoppy, to the point of being one dimensional. If I'm going to drink a RIS I want to know thats what I'm drinking. If my RIS is going to be hoppy, I desire a balance.

T - Very hoppy despite the age. Indeed, overly hop forward. A bit smoky underneath with lots of roasted malts and some cherries. An interesting approach no doubt, but not what I personally desire. If I'm going to have 600 calories in my glass, I want to taste every one of them! Nonetheless, very glad I tried it and one I will seek out again.

M - Somewhere between medium and full bodied.

D - Again, an interesting and innovative approach to the style. As of now the jury is still out, so I must seek this out again.

Photo of camp0474
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Darkness poured into a tulip whiskey snifter

A: Dark tan head, frothy at first. Deep reddish purple color, very close to black.

S: Dried dark fruit and molasses. Maybe prune or black cherry. Smells sweet. Many complex smells that are hard to pin down.

T: Dark fruit with a bit of malt. Very sweet. Dark cherry or plum. No trace if hops until they punch through in the finish. The hop oils linger on the tongue after you swallow. Wouldn't be Surly without the hops, makes this beer even better. Hints of alcohol, not a surprise at this ABV. Multiple layers of complex flavors from start to finish.

M: Thick and chewy. Very fine carbonation bubbles.

D: Good drinkability for a beer this strong. Not an everyday beer but a very enjoyable experience, especially in cold weather.

Definitely worth the time and trouble to seek out this limited beer. Glad I picked up mutiple bottles when I did.
Another great unique beer from Surly.

Photo of herman77
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle. Poured into a Glencairn whisky glass.

A: Dark, dark purple, pretty much black. Reddish tan head. Some sticky lacing.

S: Lots of dark, dried fruits. Molasses. Too much going on for me to comprehend.

T: Tons of dark, rich fruit. Very sweet up front. Malty sweetness. Dates, dark cherries? No sign of hops, then it comes out of nowhere and attacks the tongue in the finish. I can pretty much feel the residual hop oils after I swallow. There is a lot going on in this RIS.

M: Full bodied for sure. Thick, chewy and smooth. Carbonation is odd, but in a good way. Little "micro bubbles."

D: Great for a cold night. For how rich it is, it has great drinkability. It defiantly sneaks up on you though.

*2010 Vintage*
A: Black as can be. Moderate dark brown, bubbly head. Decent lacing. 4.5

S: Rich dark chocolate. Dark fruits, cherries, molasses, vanilla. Some roasted malt and a hint of citrus hops. A little bit of alcohol in the background too. 4.5

T: Sweet roasted malts. Dark bittersweet chocolate and dark fruits. More vanilla and thick molasses. Its sweet for sure, but not overly sweet. The roasted malt and hops balance it out very well. Some citrus, pine hops and bitter roasted coffee come on near the finish. Doesn't seem as hoppy as last year's and not as sweet. Still just as good. 4.5

M: Fuller body, not quite as thick as I thought it would be. Low carbonation. 4

D: Very good drinkability. There is a touch of booziness, but it still goes down fairly easy. Good balance, tasty. 4.5

Photo of chefmikeanderson
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Rich dark viscous motor oil. one finger size head thats a tannish brown.

S: huge chocolate raisins has some bright bitterness coming though. lots of roastiness with deep dark fruit tones. has some citrus faint lemon oragne

T: Really like the citrus of the hops contrasting with the large roasted malt. chocolate orange light raspberry truffle type flavor. after each sip i take i want another and another. once it starts to warm a little coffee comes out with some darker more bitter chocolate. i keep thinking of a chocolate covered strawberry with a dab of bitterness. really really tasty.

M: Get a nice slick mouth feel that completely covers. really nice carbonation that blows up if you leave it in your mouth to long. It makes you drink it. after swallowing a couple times the bitterness comes through and dries my mouth out making me want to have another sip even more.

D: 10.3% isnt exactly the biggest beer but this beer just disappears after every sip. super super smooth and lucious. bitterness compliments the big malts really well. i could down this whole bottle in 30 minutes

Photo of seniorcleaver
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an '09 bottle, thanks to chefmikeanderson for the taste.
A- nice dark pour with thin 1 finger layer of tan head.
S- lots of dark fruit, sweet caramel and roast malts
T- Nice balance of sweet and roasty, hints of chocolate in the finish, some fig and raisin up front. Pretty smooth beer not too much roughness for such a young bottle.
M- Good mouthfeel, not to thick but still plenty of body to this beer.
D- LIke most RIS its more of a sipper. but i could easily finish a whole bottle of this tasty beer.

Overall a very good beer, I have been looking forward to trying this one for a while. I would drink this one again in a heart beat.

Photo of dfillius
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed in a snifter. Thanks go out to Loyal for hooking a brother up, and to Boozemart for stocking it! Enjoyed a golden waxed bottle on 12/12/09

A: I love the label art. Moderate pour yields one finger of dark brown head with great retention and a pretty, Guinness-esque cascade. Tight foam with superb retention. Opaque black liquid. This beer looks ideal and sets the bar high for others.
S: Coffee, cherry, citrus hop, earthy oakiness and some ethyl alcohol at the end.
T: Lots of flavor in here. Coffee, chocolate, strong vanilla, some estery alcohol, raisin, peach, plum. The alcohol is thankfully restrained. This beer tastes very sweet, like candy but is definitely not cloying. Very near perfect.
M: Very smooth, silky even. Some warmth never turns to heat. Perfect.
D: Way high. One of the best RISs I've had. I liked better than Abyss and Oak Aged Yeti. Where's the alcohol? I'd track this down again and I'm glad I bought another bottle to share with friends and family in CA.

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

Reviewed from notes that I found laying around. Thanks to Maximum12 for this from Secret Santa 09. Poured from a bottle into my Darkness tulip. The beer pours pitch black with a thick mocha head. The head faded pretty quickly and left some oily lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is very complex inviting. Licorice, dark roasted espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla sweetness leads to some dark fruits (cherries and raisins mostly). The dark fruits are fleeting and they lead to a blast of citrus hops, very strange for a beer like this.

The taste mirrors the smell, lots of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and that incredible citrus hop finish. Between the acrid roasted coffee and dark chocolate and the hoppy profile there is are fleeting notes of vanilla and cherry sweetness. An interesting flavor combination for sure.

The beer is thick, more carbonated than expected and has a nice dry finish from the hop profile. The alcohol is definitely present, but adds to the flavors more than it takes away. After one glass the alcohol becomes more apparent for sure, reminding me that this is a heavy-hitter. The flavors make this a beer I wish was more readily available, I would like to drink this more often.

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

'09 pour at the Feb Portland BA tasting at Beer Mongers. This might be the most balanced RIS I've ever had. Hops are present in the nose and in the first part of the taste, with an amazing roaste, chocolate, and coffee synthesis immediately following. Incredibly unique and pleasurable. This absolutely delivers on the hype. Awesome beer.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got from TATTORSA, thanks again! Poured from a 22oz cool looking bottle into my Corsedonk snifter. Vintage, I believe...2009. Red wax sealed. Started drinking at about 44 degrees. Figured I'd crack this one today for my B-day.

Pours a very dark, thick black with about a late building head...dark brown...and about a fingers worth. Head slowly dissapates and leaves great thick frothy lacing.

Aroma is wonderful. Lots of chocolate, maltiness, smokey coffee, and inviting bitters. Wow, the aroma is making my mouth water.

MMM. Excelent RIS. Like a DIPA meets RIS. Again, heavy chocolate flavors...followed by DIPA type sweet hops. Some sweet dark fruits are noticable, dark sugars, coffee, possibly even licorice?...finishing with a great tangy yet sweet flavor that sits on your tongue for quite some time.

What a wonderful RIS...I'll say it again. Thick, yet creamy and smooth. Very little carbonation which is ideal for this beer. Alcohol is well hidden at times, and very warming at other times which I found intriguing.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Bottle from trade from Hayesez (thanks Erik, awesome trader!)

A-an aggressive pour produces huge espresso colored head that is extremely thick and creamy. the retention is very good and it completely coats the glass as it slowly works down the glass. the beer is just one shade from pitch black and lets a hint of a red hue through with a maglite shined on it. very attractive beer!

S-the nose is average in strength. there is a light aroma of chocolate, molasses and tobacco that is taken over by the smell of sweet dark fruits. there is some dark cherries and raisins. the end brings a fair amount of hops, it actually has quite a hop profile. mostly citrusy hops

T/M-this is extremely thick, creamy, and chewy, very good feel. the body is quite full as it rolls down the throat. the taste is quite nice and bold. it brings dark chocolate up front, the dark cherry and raisins come in to complement the chocolate, some citrus hops and light bitterness fade in at the finish.

D-this is extremely drinkable and very tasty. great feel and so creamy. it has bold flavors in the taste and really shows no presence of alcohol.

***

Review of the 2008 and 2009 side by side

2008

A-pours jet black liquid with dark tan colored head
S-the nose is nice, molasses up front, notes of dark chocolate, caramel and toffee undertones. the back has some fruity sweetness, raisins and cherries with notes of booze. still a faint citrus hop note, can't be but seems to be.
T-the taste is quite sweet, not a ton of roasted malts happening here. a good bit of molasses, notes of anise and dark chocolate. lots of sweetness in the back, cherries, plums, touch of raisin. hops aren't really present here.
M-full body, just a little thin, but so smooth and creamy, low carbonation but tight to hold the body. silky on the throat.
D-quite sweet but ever so smooth. one of the best feels on beer you can imagine. booze is gone, just present in nose, none in the taste.

2009 is pretty much the same with more hop profile in the taste. hasn't really evolved in a year.

Photo of kenito799
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Rich oily deep black brew slithers into the glasswitha small cap of tan foam, taunting you.

Aroma is rich and chocolately, sniffing inky coffee and malty depths.

Superb drinking experience...mouthcoating, masaaging the palate with a strikingbalance of full rich dark cocoa, chocolate, smooth malt and yet a lightness on the palate that makes you take sip after sip and want more, perhaps due to the euphoria of a near perfect beer. Many tahnks to tizzod for the beer trade.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.91/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09' Mummy vintage into my go-to stout approved snifter

Dark pour with a beautiful cinnamon colored fluffy head: nice

Smells perplexing with an initial whiff of powdery cocoa, currant, and a hefty dose of vegetative hops. There is a prevalent scent that I cannot wrap my senses around. It's alternately pleasantly sweet and sickening so. My beak hovers over the glass in a vain attempt to understand.

The initial taste matches the nose quite well. Sweetness is kept in check by a medley of light chocolate, currant, and a dark fruit/berry medley - plums? Leafy plantlike hops add a nice finishing shot. Served right out of the cellar at 55, this was quite appealing. As the beer warms, it becomes more muddled. Sweetness begins to overpower this beer and it's more difficult to separate the enjoyable initial layers. Borders on cloying.

Initially, on the tongue, this beer is a bit oily, but once it hits the back of the throat it's a stouty milkshake, almost chewy.

The drinkability on this beer decreases as it warms. While not overpowering, the alcohol creeps in as the bottle dwindles.

Photo of Pecorasc
4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008, split two ways with Boothbeer into wine glasses. 750mL red waxed bottle with a great looking demonic character holding a skull. Not the typical Surly artwork, but impressive.

A- Pitch black at center with ruby to brown highlights when held to light. Latte colored head with large bubbles that reverse gravitate into a thick and creamy collar. Intricate lacing is formed as the heavy foam dissipates. No signs of carbonation are visible through this murky sludge.

S- Restrained licorice, dark fruits, a medley of boxed chocolates, and heat from the alcohol. Underneath these different aromas is a persistent sugary sweetness. While complex, this is lacking in intensity; I expected more.

T- Up front- intense sweetness accompanied by various dark fruits: prunes, dates, plums, and figs. There is a gradual progression that leads to a combination of roasted barley and dark fruits. At the end there is a only the roasted aftertaste balanced by a sugary sweetness- a combination reminiscent of molasses. Leaves a good amount of sugary residue on the mouth and lips. Moderate alcohol burn. Intense... more than made up for my disappointment with the aroma.

M- Very viscous and milky with little carbonation. The consistency reminds me of a warm glass of Ovaltine. If there was one aspect of this beer that I would equate with the name "Darkness", it would be the mouthfeel.

D- This is a sipper, but not because of the alcohol. The sweetness and viscosity make this one to be consumed in limited quantities.

Notes: Drank this side-by-side with the '09, but did not review that vintage. The intensity of the dark fruits and sugary sweetness in the '08 separated that year from the '09. Additionally, the '09 had a hop bitterness than was not present in the '08.

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,956 ratings.