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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SmokeSmoke

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

744 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 744
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 327
Gots: 231 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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!

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-05-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 744 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel, with a signficant and controlled smokey taste, with the porter complexty behind it.Great smoked, although not as bold tasting a baltic porter as I would expect. The beer is really a cross between the two. Smoke aroma.

Sammy, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

spycow, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to shrek086 for sending me this one!

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a 1/2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt and maybe some caramel and cocoa notes. Taste is of smoked malt up front with some dark fruits and cocoa powder on the finish. A smoky, roasted bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good smoked baltic porter from Surly. The smoke aroma is somewhat dominant but the smoke flavors compliment the other tastes in the beer very well.

UCLABrewN84, Oct 22, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

djrn2, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.2%

zestar, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

acurtis, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to chewy08rx for this bottle.

Pours a dark amber-brown with a nice off white head. The nose is really quite smoky, although it doesn't go so far that it's overpowering. A bit meat. Roasted malt and some dark fruits and chocolate underneath. Quite complex. Taste is a bit less so, as there is some general chocolate and roast below the heavy smoke character, but the smoke is definitely stealing the show. All the smoke and meaty flavors bring a nice mouthfeel, and this drinks quite well, especially comparing it against similar beers.

Thorpe429, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

nmann08, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Texasfan549, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

GRG1313, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +10%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown with faint ruby highlights; the head fritters away like a soda leaving no trace

Smell: Smoked chocolate, licorice and dark fruit

Taste: Dark fruit, licorice and chocolate provide the initial elements, with the smoke and molasses aspects developing by mid-palate; rather fruity, after the swallow, though the smoke builds in intensity through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; low carbonation

Drinkability: For whatever reason, my bottle lacked carbonation; still a fine example of a creatively brewed beer by the folks at Surly

brentk56, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you are like me, you're always a bit weary about the quality of the smoke content and its intensity. Well, my friends, this is one well put together Smoked Lager.

Painted deep and dark brown, the beer shows nearly complete opaqueness. A dainty lightly tanned head forms on the beer, settles to a sheet and holds firm. Slim on both lacing and legging.

Aromas, surprisingly are of toasted malts and chocolate. Aided just a bit by light coffee, nutty, and woodsy notes, the smoke settles right into the mix in a quite nonchalant kinda way.

Flavors are decidedly sweet and complexly malted. Toasty, bready notes remind me a bit of Dopplebocks. Caramels and kettle caramelization make the beer very rich and variant. The smoke flavor comes across more like a mild campfire flavor rather than the harsher Rauchbiers. Interestingly a fruity grape, plumb, and date flavor comes through but this might be because of the dark grains used as much as an ester character.

Malty and rich up front, the beer fades nicely into a smooth and velvety finish. Despite the 8.2%, the beer never gets dry, alcoholic, bitter, or fusal- a testement to the well lagered practice.

This is a much better beer for which I gave credit before tasting. It shows that a beer can display great smoke character without dominating the glass. Delicious!

Thanks tdg!

BEERchitect, May 01, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"We cross our bridges when we come to them, and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."

--Tom Stoppard

Awesome label. Ridiculously tenacious wax. Charred coffee bean brown with superslim edges of ruby and burnt orange. The khaki colored crown is fizzilicious and featureless, but still manages to hang around for minutes after the pour. The glass is spotless.

The amount of smoke in the nose is just right. It doesn't dominate to the extent that it covers up the base beer, nor is it shoved so far into the background that it's merely an afterthought. So far, slightly more rauchbier than Baltic porter.

Even though Surly Smoke has seen better (read: fresher) days, it's still a humdinger of a lager that explodes on the palate with each upending of the glass. If the body/mouthfeel didn't drag it down so much, the next highest taste score would have been a slam dunk. It's pretty easy to imagine what this beast would have been like right after the release.

The flavor profile is surprisingly black malty, like a smoke-saturated Imperial schwarzbier. Black licorice is prominent, along with high cacao dark chocolate, bitter black tea leaves and a few campfire's worth of sweet wood smoke. The boys at Surly don't do anything halfway.

Age has taken a massive bite out of the body, which is too damn bad. It has also played havoc with the carbonation, which is harsh and stinging early, then close to absent late, without passing through the proverbial sweet spot.

I'm glad to have had this opportunity to taste Smoke (thanks feloniousmonk), even if it's clearly not the beer that it once was. I would be even more glad to have the chance to taste it fresh and on-tap. Here's hoping that wish comes true sometime in the next several years.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

ygtbsm94, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an exceptionally good beer that was on my elusive list of things to track down, I had all but given up hope when growler sales were stopped, but go figure the day they are someone offers me a trade! Hell yeah. 64oz growler at cellar temp, this one was poured into multiple pint glasses and consumed on 01.11.2009.

The pour was very big. Deep, Dark brown in color with no light coming through this one at all. A rich tan head of three inches came up over the top of the glass and took a few moments to settle down, meanwhile some very nice lacing was developing on the sides and the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was beautiful. Rich, dark fruit notes. Lots of prunes and plum smells coming off of this, with roasted malts, and a nice smoke smell. Not your huge campfire peat, this was massively complex with hints of bourbon like alcohol bouncing around in here as well. The flavor, well was outstanding. I really cannot explain how good this came off for the style. Rich roasted malts, hints of chocolate, dark fruits, hints of alcohol and a wonderful smoke flavor that came through perfectly in the finish. Smooth, mellow feel, with a nice full bodied and well carbonated texture. This was a big beer, there was no hiding that, however it was a superb sipper, just perfectly well balanced and enormously smooth, I sipped on this one all day long and loved every second of it.

Overall I cannot say enough good things about this one, it was one of the best Baltic Porters I have ever had and tasted more complex then just about anything else in the category. This is a must get that it looks like you will have to go to MN to go get now.

mikesgroove, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Chris. But boo to Surly for making some of the most impenetrable wax I've ever come across.

A: The pour is pretty much black with a very small mocha colored head.

S: The roasted malts are really the first thing to hit me, but the smoke is not too far behind. There seems to be a bit of a lactose or vanilla thing going on, too. Some nice chocolate aroma is also present.

T: Lots and lots of roasted malts here. A good chocolate and coffee flavor along with just a bit of bitterness. The smoke is quite pronounced as you might expect.

M: The body is medium with quite a low level of carbonation.

D: Despite being pretty smokey, I actually thought this was good and had enough other flavors going on.

womencantsail, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Knapp85, Sep 08, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a near black body with a bubbly, ecru head on top, though this dies out fairly quickly.

Smell: The aroma is smelling of moderately roasted grains, shaved chocolate, a teaspoon of ground coffee, and ripe dark fruits, though it's superseded by a scent of quality smoked meats.

Taste: Upfront roastiness with a marked sweetness, moreso than I'd expected. Additional toastiness. Handful of chocolate sprinkles tossed with a handful of Bacon Bits. Small splash of mild-mannered coffee. Fruit compote comprised of plums and Medjool dates. It's brimming with clean smokiness, though it's never overpowering or overbearing. Slight charred bitterness. Soft, smoke-accented finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-light carbonation. Fairly creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This one was very easy to down. What else can you say? It's a good Baltic Porter brimming with smooth smokiness.

ChainGangGuy, May 30, 2010
Photo of SocalKicks
3/5  rDev -26.7%

SocalKicks, Apr 20, 2014
Photo of largadeer
3.1/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was an extra from kbutler1. Thanks! Black with a light tan head that recedes to a full collar.

Smoke, dark malt and rubber aroma backed by a bit of chocolate and oak. Sweetness and smoke are pretty restrained. The rubbery character becomes more pronounced as the beer warms, which detracts from an otherwise nice smell.

Toasty dark malt, smoke, light roast and astringent rubber. Smoke is well integrated, present at a subtle level. Medium-light body with a good level of carbonation. Finishes with smoke, rubber, roasted malt. The body is spot on but the rubbery flavor is very detracting.

largadeer, May 24, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 12 oz. tulip.

Color was the darkest shade of brown, nearly black. A ring of crimson highlight was visible at the very edge, once the foam had settled. Tight, compact head of khaki foam that left spotty lacing.

Slight sweetness in the nose, some yeast esters producing a vague cloviness, without much smokiness.

Flavors of smoked malt, some chocolate, fairly subdued. It has a slight lactic feel to it, but not especially creamy, just enough to make it medium-bodied. Clean feeling with a residual taste of hop bitterness and char.

Overall good, easy to drink, could use more smoke aroma and flavor.

emerge077, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of TMoney2591
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Very big ups to tdg for this mucho-anticipatado bottle!

The prospect of a smoked baltic porter --> I need new pants. Let's do this shit! It pours an opaque scorched brown with a small amount of tan foam on top. The nose comprises charcoal-smoked ham, roasted malts, molasses, and brown sugar. The salivation has begun in earnest. The taste holds notes of sweet syrup, molasses, brown sugar, spruce, and caramel up front, leading a healthy puff of light smoke. The flavors may not necessarily stand on an equal footing with the smell, but they do come very close. And, besides, it's still pretty damn tasty regardless. The body is a hefty medium, with a lightly moderate carbonation and a rich, oily feel (and I mean that in a good way). I am very pleased, indeed, to have been able to try this beast. Now I've gotta find a way to get more...

TMoney2591, Jun 22, 2010
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Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 744 ratings.