Darkness - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DarknessDarkness

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,898 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,898
Reviews: 778
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 3,029
Gots: 1,105 | FT: 85
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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

(Beer added by: ryantupy on 10-08-2006)
View: Beers (40) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,898 | Reviews: 778 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of Hophead717
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of Ristaccia
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of samie85
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap earlier tonight at Sheffield's(Chicago). Reviewed from notes.

A- Poured into a tulip. Pours a really deep brown color with a dark khaki head.

S- Smells really caramel-ly at first. Also, dark fruit(raisin, cherries?), toffee, a piney, earthy hop smell and a bit of ethanol.

T- The dark fruit is the first thing I taste followed by the chocolate, roasted malt and finishes with a sweet and bitter hop taste as well as a bit of sweet alcohol.

M- Really smooth and creamy, yet pretty well carbonated. Thick body.

D- It's pretty easy drinking considering the ABV, although very much a sipper. The alcohol got to me after awhile. The taste really lingers on your palate for awhile after drinking it. Overall a great, unique beer and I'm glad I got the chance to try it.

Photo of CWhite
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of csustar001
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Williaar
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of LeeEvolved
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Imbibed at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL 11/18/2010.

Appearance -- Pours jet black without one iota of highlight and one finger of mocha head that soon falls to a dirty halo. Wide bands of tan lace.

Smell -- Well-roasted malts in the forefront, nearly to the point of smelling burnt, along with dark chocolate, cherry bonbon, and faint woodsmoke. Lovely.

Taste -- Deep roasted malt, molasses, prune, cherry bonbon, coffee with cream, char, and a hint of woodsmoke. Hops are quite assertive, lending a cool herbal flavor to the finish. Lingering flavors of chocolate cherry, herbal hops and char.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied, though not terribly viscous, with gentler carbonation. Quite smooth. The mouthfeel on this is exceptional.

Drinkablity -- Wow, this RIS is pretty damn good. Quite possibly the best of the Midwest (sorry, Dark Lord). Rich and with great depth of flavor, but not sticky, cloying or out of balance. Hops are great, the mouthfeel is even better. Seek this out on tap.

Photo of PG2G
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of Hallertau
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of korguy123
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 into tulip. Special thanks to biglobo8971 for this bad boy.

A- Thick, syrupy totally opaque pour. Three finger dense foamy milk chocolate colored head. Very slowly recedes to finger width cap. Lacing is remarkable.

S- Roasted coffee, figs, bakers chocolate, molasses, brown sugar and subtle vanilla.

T- Milk chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, vanilla and molasses. Slight woody notes. Very smooth, very balanced.

M- This is a meal... And the light carbonation make it feel even heavier. It's silky, smooth and creamy. Probably the best feeling stout I've had yet.

O- This is supposed to be up there in stouts and does not disappoint. The tastes meld together in perfect harmony, it feels remarkable and the alcohol is invisible. The people that can attend darkness day are lucky sob's!

Thanks for this experience!

Photo of Westyn
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of Cloaked_Phantom
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of schmidtmattsays
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of kkipple
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cashew70 earns my undying respect for bringing a bottle of this to the now legendary Spring '08 Brick Store tasting. We did a side by side with a 2007 Dark Lord. Never thought I'd get to do that. Thanks, Cashew!

Pours a very dark black-brown, with a small head comprised of fat bubbles. Sinister to be sure, but nothing we haven't seen before. It absolutely does not stick to the glass like ye ole DL.

Smells surprisingly... hoppy. You have to wait till this warms up a little, but Darkness has a definite hop edge of pine that fights through the strong burnt, charred grain, chocolate and coffee denseness. Oh yes, there's alcohol and some sweet molasses / sugar lurking there too. Darkness certainly smells like a winner, but the only unusual thing here is the level of hops present.

Ahh, now we're talking! Super roasty, and the big (for a RIS) citrus hop bite equates to a bold, brash, wild beer with a lotta punch. The hops are dirty and rough, and it's altogether boozy and heavy. This is the kind of stuff Klingons would drink out of corroded metal canisters while stranded in deep space.

Mouthfeel is slick, heavy and lowly carbonated. Finishes hoppy, roast-bitter and oily sweet. It lacks the cake-batter thickness of it's nemesis from Munster, but it's good even so.

Drinkability? Well, pretty low. This is good, but quite honestly, does not live up to the (unfair) hype. Darkness is quite solid, but there are a lot of great Imperial Stouts coming out of the US and this one is certainly not worth the insane premium it commands. If you have a bottle, count yourself lucky and share with friends. They'll owe you!

Oh yeah, was it better than Dark Lord? No. Dark Lord still holds the tarnished, sickly crown for this sort of thing.

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

Had this wonderful lovely on tap at the Gnome. I even left the glass at the bar after I drank it! :)

Poured into the appropriate Surly Darkness snifter creating a dark brown 2'' frothy head. Slow to recede, leaving a solid cap and lights thin lace streaks. The brew is black, no light penetration.

Aroma is big with dark fruits, chocolate, molasses, malted milk balls, slight booziness. Some mild spicie aroma coming forward and a touch of grassy hops and floral orange peel cascade aroma in the background.

Mouthfeel as usual is slick and creamy with just a touch of carbonation to balance.

Taste is decadent as always. Seems as though there is a bit less hop flavor this year, which is totally fine, but hops still do exist in flavor, just not as strongly as 2008.
Molasses, a touch of vanilla beans, dark roasted grains and bittersweet b akers chocolate. Some syrupy flavors in there too, with just a touch of burnt oak.

As always an exception brew, not only local but nationally a great beer that must be tried...if you can get your hands on it.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

My original review was deleted due to the system crashing. I don't remember exactly what I said, but here are my general thoughts. I had the '08 a few months ago and wasn't necessarily liking it a whole lot. Thought it had a lot going for it but in the end was just too sweet. The '09 is a completely different beast though. Big and very hoppy, with the sweetness merely adding complexity rather than dominating. My original rating was a 3.9 B+, but I have updated it to reflect the '09

Photo of theminutemen
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of funkyaudio
4/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of polopaul20
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of objectivemonkey
5/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of craftbeerasian
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,898 ratings.