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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SmokeSmoke

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

827 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 827
Reviews: 282
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 330
Gots: 262 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-05-2007

Ebony-hued, Smoke wafts out of the bottle and into your senses, borne on the wings of European traditions, wrapped in American innovation. Lager-brewed, like any true Baltic Porter, with smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany, the home of Rauchbiers, then mellowed by oak-aging. Black malt flavors mesh with notes of raisins, plums, figs and licorice with the subtle smoke on the side, for a complex and luxurious, yet silky smooth drinking experience. It's a sipper at Alc. 8.2% by VOL., but everyone knows you can't have Smoke without fire!
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 827 | Reviews: 282
Photo of kbuzz
3.21/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Absolutely no smoke detectable in this beer. Can't believe it's the name of the beer.

Photo of stortore
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml 2015 bottle, half into a snifter, half into a pilsner glass.

Dark, thick looking pour with a medium head, not much residual lacing. Smells mostly of malt, then smoke, some chocolate. Hint of black pepper at pour. Taste follows the nose on the strong malt and the smoke. A little more chocolate in the taste, some oak and vanilla. Smooth, but thin for the style and ABV. Leaves a bit of a salty aftertaste that I've not noticed in other smoked- type beers.

This is ok, but it's not as good as I was expecting. Didn't make a strong case as a Baltic Porter or as a smoked beer. Price point is a little high for what you get, in my opinion.

Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks for inviting me to a campfire with sweaty men and fresh caught fish. I felt sort of at home sipping this brew while cleaning the gillis. Probably the smoky-est beer I've ever had in my life, so that's cool. It's kind of like the number 5 at burger twins.

Photo of rossracing
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

just not my style of beer

Photo of OStrungT
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a very dark brown with a ruby mahogany tint when held up to the light. It is nearly black. The brown head fades quickly, leaving minimal lace.

This beer has a smoky aroma. Go figure with the name "Smoke" I also detect some coffee aroma. Sweet caramel as well.

The beer tastes great. Smokey flavor mixes in with some tobacco, molasses, and coffee.

This beer is carbonated nicely, and goes down surprisingly smooth, leaving a smokey aftertaste.

This beer wouldn't be the best session beer since it is a little high on alcohol, and the smokey flavor may become cloying after a time.

Overall, this beer is really good. Hands down one of the best smoked beers I have ever had. Thanks to Sarah for hooking me up!

Photo of ARoman
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap, poured into an english tulip pint glass. The beer is dark and oily dark woth a rich cola hue and a light tan colored soap head that has a moderate retention and very light lace. The aroma is a smokey, charred note with roasted coffee beans, and a cookie dough hint with late developing aromas of vanilla and raisin. The taste is a medium high roasted sweet with a complimentary medium slick bitter. The beer is syrupy smooth with a soft fuzz carbonation and a medium full body with flavors of coffee and smokey grilled meats with some undertones of chocolate. It finishes sticky with mostly a spicy clove and coffee that carries to the aftertaste that's mostly clean with a smokey charred quality.

Photo of spacecake9
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like everything about this beer. Nice and smoky. Just wish I had a big chunk of gouda to nibble on as I drink it.

Photo of jrsaffert
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not my cup of tea, but if you are a fan of strong smoke flavors and aromas in your beer, you are in for a treat.

Photo of SF_Posse
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slight smoke smell but does not linger on the tongue. A mice changeup from Surly.

Photo of Hookstrat
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surprisingly subtle beer. Aroma opens up into clean smoke as it warms, alcohol present throughout. The flavor is the winner here. Dry, clean, well-balanced with a moderately bitter, smokey finish. I wish they could pull this off at 6-7 %ABV, but I'll take it!

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black, but a little transparent. Small khaki head.

Smell - Nice smokey aroma. Sweet chocolate. Kinda nutty.

Taste - Mirrors the nose. A little less smoke and more sweet chocolate. Sweet caramel in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - I really like this. Very nice smoke and chocolate combination.

Photo of CraigP83
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

BLACK brew, solid tan head. Smells of smoky malts not unlike a campfire. More liquid smoke flavor. Good lager base is not overly objectionable. Mellower than other smoky beers

Photo of IowaBiertrinker
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I like a good rauschbier, and this is one of the better ones I have had.
On tap.

Photo of Lare453
3/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thin, overly smokey, dark, tastes like liquid smoke.

Photo of Phocion
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage bottle poured into a tulip. Black with just the slightest mahogany hues when held up to a light. Finger of short-lived foamy khaki head and minimal lacing.

Aroma is a good balance. Traditional beechwood-smoked malts are assertive but mellowed by a soft oaky flavor. Wood and smoke join big, robust, black malts. Anise, coffee, molasses, dark fruits, and dark chocolate are all trying to make themselves known.

The flavor is primarily mellow roasted malts. The smoked malts actually take a backseat to a bittersweet chocolate flavor. Soft barrel flavors and raisin, plum, and fig (malty, not estery) are all more powerful than the smoke, which works as a wonderful accent rather than overpowering. Clean yeast flavors and a dry finish. Alcohol very well-hidden.

Full body and low-moderate carbonation. Thick, chewy mouthfeel and very dry but little bitterness. The alcohol flavor is fairly well-hidden, but it still definitely feels very hot (even after a hair over four years).

I haven't had Smoke in several years, but this is far better than I remember. Maybe age has toned it down or maybe my memory is hazy. Either way, this is an excellently balanced beer. Still hot, but not overly smoky like a number of similar beers out there. Excellent base Baltic Porter. Worth a try.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%

750ml wax capped bottle – split into a couple tumblers
Notes taken on 07/26/2014 – Big thanks to Allen once again!

A: Dark brown coffee bean color that settles closer to black in the glass. Thick creamy taupe colored suds forms over top and holds for a few good moments. Some light sticky cling remains to the glass after each sip.

S: The nose is very chocolaty with dark roast malts in abundance. I get some dark caramel sweetness with a mild dark fruit presence and a touch of earthiness too. Finishes out with a faint but easily distinguishable smoked malt character. Gives off a light campfire aroma. Nice but strangely this is not nearly as smoky as I was anticipating.

T: Dark roasted malt with dark caramel, coffee, and chocolate notes meld into an earthy green hop bitterness midway. The finish delivers a few whispers of beach wood smoke however it is fairly tame with no harsh charcoal or ashy presence. This is a really nice Black Lager but I am kind of missing the Smoke here. Not really complaining since the balance and flavor is great. Alcohol is well incorporated into the other flavors as well. Just not the aggressive smoke bomb I was expecting this to be at all.

M: Moderate heft in body with great frothy cream like texture and a nice drying lift at the finish. Touch of hop bitterness however void of any harsh astringency which is nice.

D: I found this to be a very tasty Dark Lager and would definitely have again. Extremely subtle use of the smoked malts here however. Actually had me wanting for more intensity. I mean why else would you wax the bottle. For those who may have shied away from this one should not fear the Smoke.

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smoke pours a black color with a nice lacing tan head. There is a strong smokey aroma; much like a smoked meat. The taste has a nice mellow, but pronounced smokey flavor, very meaty flavors. The body feels a little watery, but a nice warmth. Overall its a nice easy drinking smoking beer.

Photo of reebtaerG
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on draft 4oz pour into snifter at churchkey on 5/8/14

A-Pours a dark brownish black with tan head.

S-Aromas of smoke, tobacco,and chocolate. Feels like you are at a campfire.

T-Tasting notes of smoke, roast, malts, tobacco, light chocolate.

M-Mouthfeel gives a medium-full body with a dry finish. Decent carbonation

O-Overall quite surprised loved the smoke aroma and flavor.

Photo of Carb-Overlord
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a very well made smoked porter. The smell is simply wonderful; soaked hickory on your hot coals smell! Sort of makes me hungry when I get a whiff. The smell is appetizing, but the smoke flavor is subtle and in no way overpowers the porter, what I feel is a big danger in smoked beers.

A: A rich dark black with an initial tan head that foams down to a crisp thin line.

S: Like my grill when I throw a handful of soaked hickory chips on those hot coals with a splash of yeasty chocolate in the back of the sinus.

T: Very interesting progression of flavors; initial bitterness (interesting for a porter) but it quickly mellows into a more chocolate smoothness and finishes with a smoky after taste. Again, when you breath deeply from your glass there is such a rich smoky scent, but the flavor itself doesn't overshadow the rich flavors comprising the base of a very good porter. Well done Surly.

M: I personally like my porters a little more smooth, the carbonation was a little too in my face to make this aspect outstanding.

O: Great smoked porter. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the pleasure of smoke flavor in their food or drink. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of Chasmill70
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

a- Thick, tan head persists well. Black color.

s - Smoke and dark fruit. Malty sweetness. Really nice aroma that starts by overpowering smoke but moves to the Baltic porter character.

t - Taste is similar to smell...on first sip I thought it was WAY too smoke forward. But each sip after seemed more and more balanced. The smoke perfectly compliments the dark fruit, roast, and malt.

m - The highlight of the beer. It's rich and velvety.

o - This is a darn good Raucbier! It really hides the 8% alcohol, which could be dangerous in a bomber. I'm glad I gave it a chance beyond the first sip...each sip has been better than the last!

Photo of jbaker67
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark cola brown pour with khaki head. Nose is a nice mix of salty smoke and sweet cherry-type smoke along with refined roast malt, cocoa powder, and faint fruit esters. Flavor is a gentle salty/sweet smoke mix, bittersweet chocolate, soft roasted malt, and some mild dark fruit. Lingering bittersweet chocolate, and to a lesser extent, charcoal.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.1/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A-Pours a very dark brown. Head bubbles up and fades. The head was also quite dark. Lighter lacing.

S-Obvious smokiness. Campfire. Rauchbier. Salty, cured meat. Struggling to acquire much else behind the smoke...I know there's a Porter there somewhere.

T-Flavor is exceedingly smoky, of course. More of the Porter elements come out here. A bit peaty as well. Pretty one dimensional.

M-Surprisingly light in body. Alcohol hidden well. The smoke coats the tongue a bit.

O/D-I wasn't enamored with this beer. Over the top smokiness. I was expecting a bit more diversity in the flavor profile.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

From: France44 dot com
Date: 2012 edition (available in 2013)
Glass: Founders snifter

Surly's Smoke was a good baltic porter, definitely taking the smoke-caramel-raisin flavors as the main inspiration and dropping most of the roasted malt and cocoa elements in some other versions of the style. While I enjoyed the beer and certainly would not hesitate to have another, I don't think I'd go out of my way to purchase this fairly expensive ($14) 750ml bottle again, as I can find nearly the same flavors in the darker Aecht Schlenkerla offerings.

Pours a 1cm tall head of grey-beige-colored foam, made up of small and large-sized bubbles. Retention is average, the foam lasting about one minute in decline to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of filmm drifting atop the beer. Lacing is minor, with a few small dots and lines clinging to the glass' walls. Body is a dark brown to black color, with light bringing out slight burnt orange hues around the perimeter of the beer. Carbonation visible along the sides of the glass as the body is opaque, fairly low in number and activity.

Aroma of smoke that is substantially mellowed by oak aging, with attendant scents of raisins, dark caramel-like sweetness, and faint charred toast and cocoa.

Front of palate experiences dark caramel sweetness with notable smoke and a bit of charred toast. Mid-palate of smoke atop a heavy and dark caramel sweetness, raisins, prunes, and modest cocoa. Back of palate tastes diminished smoke, increased charred toast and cocoa, raisins, prunes, and a bit of anise and ethanol. Aftertaste of dark caramel-like sweetness, charred toast, lingering light smokiness, raisins, and ethanol.

Beer is medium to medium-heavy in body with carbonation of medium-low to low intensity, resulting in a smooth (4/5), somewhat foamy (1/5) mouthfeel that makes it easy to sip this fairly substantial beer, as it should be. Ethanol can be felt as a light burn on the back of the throat and a little heat in the nostrils, a bit disappointing for an 8% lager beer. Closes dry, with medium to medium-light stickiness clinging to the palate.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark cola, almost black color. Minimal head with a persistent surface coating.

Light smoked malt, black licorice, cocoa, sugar plum aromas.

The sweet and smoke meld well. Cocoa and black licorice play with earthy tobacco and dark fruit.

Phenomenal mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy, mild carbonation. Soft.

A great smoked beer. The smoke doesn't dominate and gives all the other layers a chance to shine.

Photo of mfnmbvp
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, with 2013 vintage date. Bottle #8834 it appears. Snagged this guy from the local beer store about a month or so ago and have been holding it down for a little while. My first big bottle from Surly, and I'm excited to have it.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola color; opaque black in the glass with three big fluffy fingers of tan head. Hardly any lacing aside from a few streaks. Looks pretty nice.

S - Smell is of chocolate malt, some dark roast, cream, subtle smoke / char / bacon fat aroma, hint of woodiness, some lager yeast / mustiness, and some underlying dark fruitiness on the finish reminiscent of dates or black currants. Pretty pleasant aroma.

T - Tastes very nice, also. I have to admit I was expecting a ridiculous smoke bomb based on the name, but the smoked malt / char notes take the backseat. Smooth creamy chocolate malt, some dark bitter roast, hints of vanilla, subtle smoke / char, and some mild alcohol warmth on the finish.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Not too thick, heavy, or bloating. Finishes with light stickiness and dryness. Very good drinkability.

Overall, I thought it was very nicely done. I haven't been a big fan of the smoked beers I've had in the past, but this one was nicely done. The smoke was well integrated with the rest of the flavors and wasn't overpowering or distracting. Good drinkability, and even on the lighter side of things, especially for a dark beer for an 8.20% abv. Recommended.

Surly Smoke Lager ---4/5.

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Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 827 ratings.