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Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,500 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,500
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 2,858
Gots: 989 | FT: 68
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:

2007-Grim Reaper
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Darkness Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,500 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

06-16-2014 23:09:24 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of marine1975

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev 0%

05-10-2013 02:17:41 | More by marine1975
Photo of BillHilly


4/5  rDev -11.1%

01-26-2013 17:41:44 | More by BillHilly
Photo of JackieTH


4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Darkness 2010; on tap at MN Brew Review. .

Appearance: Rich dark brown, opaque, with a nice cap of carmelly-mocha head.

Smell: Rich dark chocolate, vanilla and molasses punctuated heartily by bitter citrus hops.

Taste: Dark roasted malt, rich dark chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, subtle bitter espresso, smoke, and a helping of bittering hops. Goodness. Darkness.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, syrupy.

Drinkability: It's big on flavor, very dark & rich...and high ABV...give me more. Right now.

Note: Although 60-some breweries were on hand...my friends found it was very hard to dislodge me from the Surly booth once I got a taste of Darkness 2010.

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2010 17:30:27 | More by JackieTH
Photo of NooseJustice


4/5  rDev -11.1%

01-05-2014 06:32:40 | More by NooseJustice
Photo of gpawned


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

11-02-2012 02:03:12 | More by gpawned
Photo of BuckTuckian


4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

11-04-2013 11:27:21 | More by BuckTuckian
Photo of TKEbeerman


4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off a huge thanks to squirpy7 for hooking me up with a brew that was proving to be more illusive than it should be.

2010 vintage:

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours as dark as the vampire's soul with a dark tan, unrelenting, pillow like cloud of a head that leaves the best lacing I've seen in a stout. Without that lacing, this would be a 4.0.

S: The aroma is lacking complexity and strength right now. Chocolate and roasted malt is present. This stout has a nice hop twist to it. Not pinny, but dark fruit like. Alcohol is present in the nose as the beer warms.

T: The flavor is dominate chocolate and liquorish. The roastedness is masked by a malty sweetness, and just like I expected dark fruit tones from a mix of hops and malt. Alcohol pokes its way through as the beer warms, but is not offensive at all.

Mf: Mouthfeel is just above good. It can improve with more creaminess and carbonation. It still is smooth and uninhibits this brew's power. Viscous and syrupy.

D: At 10.3%, and in a 750ml, this brew is quite drinkable.

Overall, Darkness is a good stout. It's like a mini-Dark Lord. Almost like Surly brewed Dark Lord's younger cousin. This is definitely one to age. It stands out from the other big stouts on the top 100. It lacks notes of espresso with a heavy chocolate base that I've come to love. It can improve with a year in a bourbon barrel; this stout tastes like it was made for it. This thing has a hop bill that makes it unique. Next bottle I trade for will definitely spend 2 years in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 23:31:26 | More by TKEbeerman
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4.5/5  rDev 0%

11-17-2011 01:22:16 | More by rbrefbeerman
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4.5/5  rDev 0%

02-09-2014 08:32:39 | More by Sweffin
Photo of Jredner


4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: growler

03-29-2007 17:59:08 | More by Jredner
Photo of ironchefmiyagi13

New York

4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the 2012 and 2013 next to each other.

2013 stole the show, hands down. The grade is reflective of that one.

Great color and head on both beers.

Aroma on the 2013 was much more powerful in terms of coffee, chocolate and hops. 2012 was sweeter smelling with a lot of dark fruit.

Flavor was much of the same differentiating factors. 2013 was balanced, hoppy, smooth and delicious. 2012 had a weird metallic 'twang' to it with every sip, and was just way too fruity and sweet with no hops or coffee/chocolate to add a little bitterness.

Overall, I was very disappointed with the results. While I am now glad I traded away my older bottles, I was expecting something a little more 'badass' in terms of a vintage showdown. Oh well, maybe my bottle just didn't age properly. Either way, the fresh bottle was outstanding and on par with my favorite RIS...Stone RIS.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 05:52:40 | More by ironchefmiyagi13
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5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-14-2011 15:08:11 | More by millelacsmark
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4.5/5  rDev 0%

02-09-2014 08:17:49 | More by Kramerbarthomer
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5/5  rDev +11.1%

05-07-2013 14:12:19 | More by cnbrown313
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4/5  rDev -11.1%

04-28-2014 11:30:20 | More by BrownAleMale


4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle #194. Thanks to hero27 for the trade.

A monsterous three inch head jumps to the top of the glass with its soft carmel colored thick bubbles. Fades very slowly leaving considerable lace behind. Body is the standard jet black beauty. Nose is shockingly hoppy up front for a big stout with hints of spicey soft malt in the backround. Enters the mouth thick and almost syrupy with a powdery coco feel. A nice balance of grassy mineral based hops quickly kicks in to even out and almost take over the flavor profile. This creates a thick milk chocolate like feel that sits on the back of the tongue followed by a long even bitter hop feel. Although this is more hoppy than what I would usually like in a stout, it is unique and very welcome. Very nicely drinkable. Alchol is well hidden. A great and worthy stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2008 20:37:18 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of M1A2


4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

06-03-2012 16:39:27 | More by M1A2
Photo of HopDerek


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

Thanks to BrooHa for this bottle.

Pours a thick syrupy dark brown/black with 2 fingers of thick mocha tan head into a large snifter. Great retention and lacing. Smells of citrus hops, dark fruits, chocolate, anise, roasted malt, and leather. Tastes of pineapple, chocolate, and dark fruits like plums, figs, and raisins, cocoa powder, caramel, vanilla, roasted malt, leather, and anise with a hint of coffee and herbal in the finish. Full body with low carbonation. Thick and syrupy, sweet with lots of dark fruit and chocolate flavors. Smooth and creamy with a nice bitterness but not too potent. Pretty unique even amongst the other big Russian Imperial Stouts. Very drinkable and a great sipping treat.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2009 00:41:58 | More by HopDerek
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4/5  rDev -11.1%

12-09-2011 14:38:32 | More by mulder1010
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4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

05-19-2014 18:16:14 | More by Beerbuddy21
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4.5/5  rDev 0%

05-03-2014 00:08:21 | More by Norseman
Photo of ThickNStout


4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. 2011/ zombie. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours oil black with two fingers of deep khaki head. Small pods lacing.

Nose is pretty good but seems fairly subdued. Cocoa, roast malts and burnt sugar.

Taste is a sweet blend of chocolate, soy sauce, coffee, cherry pits, rum soaked fig/dates and a dollop of alcohol heat. A fantastic blend.

Excellent heavy tongue-coating feel with light carbonation. Lingering sweet finish.

This is a great imperial stout. I think it might be too sweet to really be a Russian imperial but it's freakin good. Highly recommended and I'd definately like to get more sometime.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 16:39:08 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of FreshZ


4.5/5  rDev 0%

11-15-2013 15:51:19 | More by FreshZ
Photo of Tschnab

New York

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

Sampled several times at ACBF, the folks pouring from the table got to know me pretty well. Reviewed from notes...

A- pours an ink-black with a chocolate, mocha like head that starts at about half the cup and shrinks down to a solid two inches. This is one of the best looking beers I have ever seen.

S- dark chocolate and coffee, and some oakiness and earthiness as well.

T/M- whoa, the dark chocolate definitely comes through, but is nuanced with licorice, winter fruits, raisins. A slight suggestion of smoke as well, perhaps in the form of some tobacco like qualities. The taste is incredibly complex. It's a little hot, but nothing too boozy. The mouthfeel is medium to thick, not as thick as I would prefer but still nice.

O- this really is one of the best RIS beers I have ever had, and maybe the best I've had period. I have seen the darkness, and it was indeed enlightening.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2011 21:50:50 | More by Tschnab
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,500 ratings.