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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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

795 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 795
Hads: 3,249
rAvg: 4.4
pDev: 4.77%
Wants: 3,237
Gots: 1,182 | 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 (50) | 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: 795 | Hads: 3,249
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My Darkness sits in a Duvel tulip glass, the roasty brown espresso-tinged head filling the top, and the actual beer as black as the darkest night, saturated with sin. Tannish lace stays long on the glass. This bleak cast may scare away the timid, those less ready to tango with the Stygian side, but the nose entices me in, and am undaunted as I step into the dark.

A blast of coffee hits first, married with copious cocoa, bitter and sweet stand side by side, neither in dominance. Hints of dark rum, molasses, black pepper and anise are mixed in this aroma of this heady brew, and it only gets richer the more you drink it in the nose. Sweeter elements eventually take charge, but it's still a deep, almost spicy blend.

To taste: Massive mouthfeel, thick, gooey, and absolutely delicious. Chocolate is in full force, but matched once more with earthier aspects, the coffee, the spice, the slick black strap. Incredibly pervasive on the palate, this stout commands every inch of the senses, sending tasty tendrils up in each crack in the cavern of the mouth. Plenty of hops at play (80 IBUs), bobbing just below the malt.

Sip, gulp, swallow, and the parade of flavors begins again, dancing along the tongue, like some malefic ballet. Dark fruit sensations rise up and leave the mind searching for the connection. Dark cherries, berries, raspberry? ....but completely covered in a shell of chocolate. The lip smacks, the tongue scrapes up remnants of this rich elixir, not to miss a drop of deliciousness.

To state "full-bodied" would be an act of redundancy. This is huge, long, and out of the ordinary. Ends smooth and dryly, a pleasing finish, still loaded with flavor, never dying away completely.

Puts many a RIS to shame, though I'd love to sit down and do a comparison among others. To the great credit of Darkness, the alcohol content does not really stick out until nearing glasses end, and the less attractive aspect is that the beautiful dark, rich flavor leaves you craving more, ...although you probably shouldn't. (It's 9.5%, give or take.)

I entered the heart of Darkness, and peered into the abyss...found it satisfactory to my soul, and I believe I will take this midnight ride again and again...in moderation...

and to think, there is a bourbon barrel version on it's way...oh, sweet mercy!

Hey, Todd, which metal album should have been thundering in the background while I drink this?
And thank you for brewing this beer, to my knowledge the only Russian Imperial Stout from a Minnesota brewery, outside of the brewpubs. (2,549 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 09/25/10 notes. Got to try an 08 and an 09 side by side; big thanks to Lunch and Huhzubendah!

a - Both pour a dark brown with one inch of brown head and light carbonation. 09 seemed a little bit more carbonated.

s - 2008 vintage smells of hops, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee, and dark fruit. I thought the 09 vintage had more vanilla to it, and a tiny bit of alcohol. Both smelled great.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. Very enjoyable. I thought the 2008 vintage was slightly better and did not have as much coffee.

m - Medium to full body, more towards full, and low carbonation. Very creamy and smooth; mouthfeel is great.

d - I've been looking forward to this beer for quite a while and it did not disappoint. It had a complex, balanced smell I enjoyed a lot and a great mouthfeel. It was also hoppier than I expected. I think I enjoyed the 08 a little bit more than the 09, but both were great. Can't wait to have this one again. (997 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am going to update my scores on this one. I just recently had an '08 courtesy of Deuane and I liked it a lot more than the '09 below. I have included my old scores at the bottom of the old review. Cheers!

---
Thanks to whoever brought this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. 2009 bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours deep black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to nothing at all, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S - Some sweet chocolate, a light does of hops, dark roasted malt, earthy wood, lactose sweetness, and some light smoke. It has good overall balance. Not the best I have smelled but far from the worst.

T - Lots of dark roast up front giving way slowly to a mix of light hop bitterness, sweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, light smoke, and some astringent wood helping to dry the pallet after consumption. Finish is dry with some lingering roast. Not exactly what I was expecting. I may have to get a bottle of this for myself and revisit this one.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. A bit too thin in the feel for my liking with some lingering dark roast in the finish.

D - Drinkability was not too bad. Well this was a bit of a letdown. I am not sure if it was just this bottle or what but I expected a lot more. I will have to get a bottle for myself to make sure.

Scores:
3.5 , 4.5 , 4 , 4 , 4
Grade: A- 4.08 (1,414 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.18/5  rDev -5%
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. (470 characters)

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

2009 Bottle for Halloween.

Poured into Darkness Snifter

Pours a deep motor oil black. Nice 1+ finger of dark tan head.
Decent retention with some splattered lace and a few rings.

Aroma: Big fresh earthy hop profile. Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, very big and robust. I love how the hop profile is so defined with this beer.

Taste: Again, the fresh earthy hops stick right out here. Backed by a big chocolate roasted malt backbone. Nice coffee notes. Very great beer.

Mouthfeel: It is slight bitter from the hops, but very smooth. Very big, full body with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends fairly clean, but very slight sticky from the hops.

Overall, a damn great beer. I love this RIS and glad I have more. If you like hoppy RISs this is the beer for you. I am very impressed with this years batch. (812 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Shane for bringing this down to share with me. 2010 Vintage, review from notes.

A: Pours black in color with a nice two finger tan head on top. The head lasts for a little while leaving a foam cap on top. Thin lacing forms all around the glass.

S: Tons of dark fruit on the aroma, cherry and plum dominate. There is some chocolate and cocoa mixed in as well. Exactly what I am looking for.

T: This beer tastes great, more dark fruit (cherry, plum, raisin) mixed with chocolate and minimal roast coming forward. There is a touch of honey and caramel.

M: Medium to full bodied, extremely smooth with moderate carbonation.

O: Very impressed, probably my favorite non BA stout. It drinks so easy that it would get me in trouble if I had a lot of it. Definitely a beer I will try to get more of. (814 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.05/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2009, black wax. Poured into a tasting glass, courtesy of an anonymous BA at Imminent Liquidation. Thanks for the opportunity!

A: Darkness is no understatement - pitch jet black with a very minimal mocha colored head. Quick dissipation, not bad.

S: Nice aromatics, some lactose, sweet notes of milk chocolate, roasted caramel malt elements. Well balanced, nothing dominating or show stealing. All in all, it's still a nice display of flavors.

T: Holy hell, this is not as inviting as the aroma. Really sweet milkiness up-front that is palate coating and sticky. It won't go away. I can't get any other flavors to compete with this taste left in my mouth. Some overly sweet chocolate notes try to break through but it's not enough. Where's the roast? The malt base? SOMETHING! Nothing. Disappointing.

M: Pretty thin for the style, definitely does not have the creaminess or full-bodied mouth feel I am looking for. The carbonation is on the lower end, which helps this from becoming a complete mess.

I'm not quite sure if it was just this vintage or if something went wrong in this bottle but it tasted soured, but I don't think there were any reports of infection, so I'm just assuming this was how it was meant to be. I'd gladly taste another vintage to see what the heck was going on here. Thanks again though to whoever brought the bottle, not your fault, but just a let down for a beer I've almost traded a lot for -- or even dropped some $$ for on the 'bay. (1,475 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to CaptinRedBeard for opening this at his tasting on 11/13/10.

2010 bottle poured into a snifter appears black in color with some lighter brown coloration around the edges. A dark creamy brown head appears and retains fairly well. As it slowly recedes, it leaves a spotty amount of lace along the glass.

The aroma of this brew includes a pleasant blend of citrus hops that are a little herbal with chocolate and a sweet grainy scent. A minor indication of some yeast character is present but is faint in comparison to the chocolate maltiness and hops.

The taste of this brew includes citrus hops that have a bit of herbal quality as well. Quite a solid base of chocolate that is more of a bitter dark chocolate than milky sweet. The hops provide a bit of mineral touch that is earthy with a light indication of yeast.

This is a super smooth brew with a creamy full feel that is lightly carbonated. A pleasant alcohol warmth hits the back of the throat but not with the intensity you would expect from something with more than 10% abv. Once this brew warms it has some coffee bean quality that is also citrusy. This is a must try stout, awesome to try right now. (1,176 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
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 :) (612 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.12/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Number 172, 2nd RB Tucson Tasting, Sampled September 2008
This beer pours with a frothy, thick textured, light brown colored head and is quite pitch black in color. The aroma has notes of chocolate and cocoa up front, but quickly gets to notes of dark roast and lightly acidic coffee. It has a lightly smoky aroma to it that is almost peat like at times and there is a roast plum fruitiness to it. This does not have as sweet / rich a malt base character to the aroma as I expected. This has a nice grain character that takes on umami laden notes that are a touch like teriyaki, but there is also some subtle licorice and mint notes. The roast character is definitely dominant in the nose, but there is other stuff going on that makes this quite the intriguing beer to be smelling.

As this beer first hits my tongue it feels very thick, chewy and is more sweet than the aroma suggested, but it is still roast malt dominated. There are flavors of coffee, bitter cocoa and burnt grain bitterness that lingers on in the finish with the amply bitter hop notes. Concentrated umami notes in the flavor of rich malt character and some notes that are picked up of a rich, savory, almost salty-smoke character as well as some flavors of burnt, dried plum.

This is subtle complex and it really grew on me as I worked my way through the beer; there is definitely lots of things going on in this beer and it is one of the better Imperial Stouts I have had in a while. (1,464 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.67/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review#666. Thanks goes out to Kbutler for the bottle, one that has been on my radar for a bit. I enjoyed this with friends at The Compound poured into appropriate glasses.

Brown/black liquid shoe polish coming out of the bottle, deep space black when condensed in the glass. The name does not lie. Darkness builds a fort of dark tan, bordering on mocha brown, head on top that's kinda bubbly and not terribly together, there are nice streaks of lace on the way down. Muddled spray paint lace notches.

This has a good amount of everything that's associated with the style. First off a big bag of chocolate(bittersweet) pieces nessled in with espresso scents. A dark fruit component with some berries mixed in with a roasted malt base that does not quit. Some molasses and some bittering hops close this out.

I was worried about Darkness being to hoppy, I heard the 08' was bordering on Storm King territory which is not my bag. I get a nice amount of hops with some grapefruit and slight pine, but it's not at a killer level. The hops are actually under a sea of roasted malts(and many others) giving off chocolate, black coffee and oats from the farm. A nice amount of sweetness with brown suga & some licorice in the middle. Some molasses and blackberry finished off with a mix of everything above.

This is a thick stout, but not as thick as other heavy hitters. I would say it's full bodied but not very syrupy and gooey. It goes down smooth with a mix of sweet and bitter from the hopping. It does not coat the mouth for long but makes a lasting impression aftertaste wise. Hey wait, this is approaching 11%, I would not have guessed it if it was not printed on the bottle, expertly cloaked, but not 100% out of the picture.

Well Darkness exceeded my expectations and I had a smile on my face the whole time. I usually take my sweet time with big rizzes, but this was drank with the quickness, probably because it's not a overly gooey RIS. I wish I had more and can see why alot of people on this site hoard this beer, one that is not all that incredibly rare at this point, it's just damn fine stuff that demands some respect. (2,137 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opening up something special for my 30th birthday tonight. Mummy vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured black in color with a huge, active, mocha colored head taking up nearly half of the glass. The head faded after a bit but it left some decent lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, fruitier flavor to it then the typical imperial stout. It almost has a chocolate covered cherry and molasses flavor to it. The roasted, bitter, coffee flavors are more in the background, but they are there. Alcohol is present as well but it doesn't feel out of place.

The taste is similar to the nose with the sweeter chocolate, cherry, molasses, alcohol flavors being the most present. The roasty and bitter flavors are pretty mild in it. It finishes on the dry side with a moderate dark chocolate bitterness coming through. It's definitely different then any other imperial stout I've had, but it's also very good.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side but not as thick as say Dark Lord. Carbonation is moderate for the style. Drinkability is good, I really liked the flavors it had. It really has a chocolate covered , booze soaked, cherry flavor to it that I really enjoyed. Very drinkable and delicious beer overall. (1,262 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.56/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

4 oz. pour into a small snifter at Churchkey DC. Vintage 2011.

A real nice dark cocoa brown head is presented, falls slowly. Manages to leave a real nice whispy puck and collar while finishing. Body color gives a slightly good oily sheen, but nothing filimy, and the body color is nearly jet black (I'll go walnut black)

Nose hits with mild char, faint milk chocolate, incredibly soft bodied and silky smelling, like whipped up mocha. Unfortunately there's something also medicinal on this as well.

Taste goes to sweetened coffee, and warming hot cocoa. A very noticeable taste of confectioners sugar, maybe even some maple. It's nicely balanced though between all these palate flavors, maybe even some faint hop bitter on the finish. Palate matches the sense of smelling velvet and rich silk. But incredibly sweet tasting though and mostly just "noticeably sweet" which makes it a bit one dimensional.

Overall though, it reminds me too much of CBS on tap but nowhere as impressive, and has that noticeable sugar sweetness which gets to me a bit. It's an impressive beer, but I just don't enjoy drinking this at all compared to others I've had. (1,148 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (1,360 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (1,389 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Alieniloquium
3.92/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Black with nice lacing. Small khaki head.

Smell - Roasted chocolate. Sweet caramel in there too. Fruity with some licorice.

Taste - Sweet, for sure. More than I expected. It blends well with the roasted malts, though. Licorice and dark fruits. Ashy bitter malt finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy and sweet. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Lots of sugar in this guy. Not to Dark Lord levels, but sweet. It's what Dark Lord should be. (510 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.53/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I was drinking and thinking about this beer, two things occured to me:
1) Man there's a lot of hop flavor, is this really a RIS?
2) RIS? Who the bleep cares, this beer rocks!

Got a 8 oz. goblet at Cafe 28 with dessert. While the chocolate cake was pretty good, this beer stole the show. It's a hoppy SOB, there's no doubt and that only builds as it warms. At first there's more malt, big delicious chocolate and coffee. Reminds me of chocolate covered coffee beans.

Then the hops get you. Big citrus fruit flavor ranging from the acidic rind to more mellow, flowery tastes. I've never experienced this much hop flavor in a stout, this rocks. I just wish somehow I could get some more delicious malt flavor out of it. Whatever, this beer was great. I want more. (774 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

***Update***
2nd bottle of Darkness, compliments of RustyDiamond. Bottle 445. Poured black with a thin head that sticks around. Smells of chocolate pudding, roasted cocoa nibs, and with winey notes at the end. The taste was still a bit hot, but with nice long cocoa liquor tastes. Long chocolatey taste with some bitter hop presence. Mouthfeel was super smooth and creamy. A pleasure and I enjoyed it more the second time around.

***Original Review***
This beer was a treat compliments of Cashew70 at the Brick Store Pub. I had already had Kate the Great, Dark Lord, Speedway, the Abyss, and Ten Fidy among others and I was interested in how this stacked up. I'd previously enjoyed some of Surly's other beers on tap and had high expectations. Definitely a solid beer, but given how unbelievably difficult it is to obtain, I probably won't go to quite those lengths to procure some more, but I'm extremely glad I had a chance to taste it. Like the other great Russian Imperial Stouts, this one pours black as night with a tan head that sticks around. Maybe not quite as thick and rich looking a fresh Ten Fidy on tap, but very nice. The first aromas are of burntt roasted grains, followed by chocolate, coffee, and a nice dark but fresh fruitiness reminiscent of plums. The alcohol is well hidden and the beer is well integrated. The taste is also surprisingly fruity with more of that nice plumminess, big flavors of roasted grains and chocolatey malt, and a tad of soy sauce flavor, as well as a bit of fresh cream. The mouthfeel is not as massive as Dark Lord, or as thick, nor is it as creamy as Ten Fidy, in fact, there is a bit of slickness to to the mouth here. A very good, complex RIS. Not as massive as DL nor as creamy and luscious as Ten Fidy on tap, or as assertive as Speedway, nor as complex as Kate the Great. Stylistically, I would put his somewhere between the winey chameleon-like complexity of Kate the Great, and the massive onslaught of Dark Lord. Forr me it probably takes 4th place behind KTG, DL, and Ten Fidy on tap., but at this level I really think it's probably all about the direction one likes to see a beer go and one's personal taste. (2,169 characters)

Photo of KAF
4.12/5  rDev -6.4%
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 johnnnniee
4.45/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black with a good size tanish head that sticks with us for a while. Smell is the usual suspects, coffee, chocolate, a bit smokey, but with some grassy hop aroma in the distance. Taste is a bit hoppy with roast coffee, chocolate, some dried fruits. Full body, oily/creamy mouthfeel, ample carbonation. Left a slight ash aftertaste in my mouth. Great RIS I wish it were more widely available. (404 characters)

Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark blood red burgundy brown that almost black and completely opaque with a thick frothy 2.5 finger dark chocolate coffee colored head that has excellent retention, lasting throughout and leaving large chunks of soapy lacing.

Roasted malt aroma with sweet bitter dark chocolate and hints of molasses, honey, burnt toast, caramel, oatmeal, coffee bean, toffee, licorice and sweet alcohol. Possibly the best aroma I've experienced yet.

Thick chewy viscous mouthfeel with some slight carbonation and a huge roasty malt flavor. Soooo smooth with a full viscous mouthfeel. The ABV is so well masked that it's almost undetectable. Slightly dry finish with some slight alcohol warmth. Extremely quaffable with awesome raosted malt profile. Lots of sweet bitter dark chocolate, coffee bean, toffee, molasses, honey and caramel sweetness that balances out the deep roasty and burnt toast characteristics. Very subtle hops in the finish as well as some slight alcohol warmth.

This is one of the most complex, flavorful and drinkable Imperial Stouts I've ever had and possibly one of the best beers I've ever had the pleasure of sampling. All I can say is WOW. Highly recommended. (1,187 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
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 HopHead84
3.63/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 batch shared by Alex on 12/19/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer pours black with a two finger light brown head.

The nose is aggressive green, piney, and grassy hops with light citrus notes. Beneath the hop onslaught I find a fairly standard RIS, with a moderate roasted quality and notes of dark chocolate.

The flavor is pine resin hops with an upper moderate level of bitterness. I detect chocolate and a light roast, as well as some astringency. The hops are very aggressive, and they seem to clash with the traditional RIS flavors at every turn. This is a return to the hoppiness of the 2007 vintage, but the hops seem to clash here, where they melded nicely in the older vintage. What I have before me is a rather strange beer that isn't particularly drinkable or enjoyable, apart from the hoppy novelty factor. (829 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage (Brewcifer). Poured from a wax-topped bomber into a snifter, the beer is jet black, almost oily, with a thin, filmy, frothy half-inch head that settles into a filmy surface coating. Nose of black strap molasses, licorice, coffee, baker's chocolate, woody notes, and hints of vanilla. Flavors of rich, heavy molasses and smooth dark chocolate forward. Perfectly balanced. Oaky highlights, with vanilla notes, too. Roasted characteristics throughout, with coffee bitterness in and out of the palate, also. Very layered palate and deep throughout. Velvety smooth body, with a chocolate bitter and roasted aftertaste. Wow! The finish is slick, smooth, and fairly heavy on the linger of rich and heavy. Great beer! Wow! (727 characters)

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 795 ratings.