Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

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276 Reviews
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Reviews: 276
Hads: 846
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 7.42%
Wants: 330
Gots: 276 | FT: 15
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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Reviews: 276 | Hads: 846
Photo of Dope
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. Thanks Scotchboy!

A: Not-quite-pitch-black pour with a good sized and dense chocolate milk-colored head. Head fades nice and slow, leaving almost completely solid walls of lacing behind. Great retention.

S: Certainly lives up to its name. Smells like a forest a good way. Decent milk chocolate backs it up, especially when swirled.

T: Lots of sweet milk chocolate up front with some mild smokiness to round it out. Hints of dark fruit floating around. Sweetness runs out in the finish, leaving a more acrid smoke this with a bunch of savory umami. BBQ'd meat basically. Dry, bittersweet chocolate finish.

M: Nice medium and smooth body.

O: Tasty baltic porter for sure. Given the age, the smokiness is not bad at all. Instead of being at the forefront it's more of a complementary flavor, adding a layer of complexity. One of the best "smoked" beers I've ever had and a delicious baltic porter to begin with. Well integrated and balanced flavors leads to a very tasty and drinkable beer. (1,017 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a deep brown almost black pour with a perfect 2 fingers of tan head which diminished to 1/2" for the majority of the session. nice amounts of lacing left behind by head. a chocolate aroma takes most of the credit in this one, notes of licorice, dark roast, smokey. sweet chocolate flavor up front and BOOM you get hit by the smoked flavors which seem to battle with the sweet malt for a bit, and then the smoke lingers until the next sip. a medium body creamy beer with medium carbonation.

i wasn't sure what to expect from SMOKE.. after having a few smoked beers from jester king lately, i thought it would be something like that (a light colored beer).. i'd compare it to stone's smoked porter in style, but it's nothing like that either.. think of it as a smoked stout almost, just my two cents. (800 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage. Thanks to Jeff for this one. 750ml waxed bottle into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger coarse cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is an opaque pitch black. Lacing is patchy, layered and thick. Thin legs. A real nice looking beer.

The nose lives up to the name. Molasses, brown sugar, roasted malt, cocoa powder, and loads and loads and loads of smoke. Some bitter chocolate too. Weird but decent for the style... which I'm defining as a smoked beer.

Opens sweet molasses, roasted malt, chocolate, booze, and smoke. Like smoky maple bacon. More smoke and roast in the middle with fudge and chocolate sweetness to balance things out. Some dark fruit emerges right at the end. Finishes accented chocolate and cocoa. Aftertaste of maple, molasses and more smokiness. Like the nose, weird but I kinda like it.

Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Smooth and robust in the mouth with a sprinkling of bubbles. Goes down smooth and oily. Finishes pretty clean with a long, lingering, sticky aftertaste. Solid.

I'm not sure why this is categorized as a baltic porter instead of a rauchbier but either way, its a strange but ultimately, pretty pleasant and very interesting offering from Surly. Smokiness is balanced nicely by the chocolate and maple/molasses sweetness. I'm glad I got around to this one. Worth trying. (1,381 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This 2010 bottle came from Steasy66. He's might not be a great guy, or a handsome guy, or a guy that I could look up to, but I can honestly say that he is definitely a guy ...I think.

Appearance. Pours black, but not especially thick looking with a half finger of light tan head.

Smell. Freshly doused campfire, some dark chocolate and black coffee, and a bit of ocean saltiness. Smells pretty good actually and not completely dominated by the smoke, though it is pretty strong.

Taste. Lots of smokey dark malts, a little dark chocolate, slightly salty, again in an ocean-like way. There's also a little molasses and black licorice in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with low+ carbonation.

Overall. A good smoked porter that didn't go crazy on the smoke like so many smoked beers do. I appreciate that and am enjoying this beer. Thanks Ryan (Okay, he's actually a great guy). (883 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Purchased from France44.

A pitch black pour with about a 2 finger head of foam.

It smells very roasty with some smoke, malty.

It taste of roasted malt, lots more smoke here than in the smell, solid semi sweet malt presence. Very dry finish. Delicious.

Medium bodied, same for the carbonation, very good mouthfeel.

A pretty strong brew though right for the style....the alcohol, imho, is hidden pretty well. A very good beer. (429 characters)

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a Victory tulip

A- pours black with a one finger tan head that quickly fades to nothingness. Eh.

S- very smoky aroma. Very...bacon-esque. About what I expected, considering the damn name of the beer

T- decent bit of smoke, lots of chocolate....tasty

M- medium bodied, actually on the lighter side...strange considering how strong the flavors are

O- not bad, not bad at all...just not a very mainstream style (439 characters)

Photo of cvm4
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a sort of thin looking dark brown. Tiny one finger head & no lacing.

S - Very woodsy & smokey. Reminds me of the scent of a real smokey scotch.

T - Somewhat sweet & very smokey that leads to a good malt profile, kinda chocolatey and a touch of dark fruits.

M - Lighter body, medium carbonation. An easy drinker.

O - Purely awesome if you love smoked beer &/or scotch. (385 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber, 2012 vintage with silver wax, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours black with an inch of creamy, thick dark tan head, has very nice retention and leaves thick sheets of lacing.

S- Smoky wood, burnt grain and coffee, light notes of chocolate and fruit.

T- Very nice mix of smoked grain and roasted coffee flavors as well as sweeter notes of chocolate, figs, dates, and licorice. The smokiness leans more toward dry, woody smoke rather than some of the meat/bacon flavors you can sometimes get.

M- Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation with a smooth, creamy feel.

O- A really nice beer, balances the smoky and sweet flavors, which are tasty and complex, the smoke can become a bit strong though so this is probably a beer to be split with friends. (769 characters)

Photo of Weli
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Dark chocolate colored pint with thin off white lacing, ok head retention

S-Campfire! Nice smokey aroma reminiscent of cooking over a wood fire in the fall, hints of toasted malt and cacao

T-Wow doesn't disappoint! Sweet and smokey like cherry wood smoked bacon, big malty flavor of chocolate and dark Munich malt

M-Full bodied, mild carbonation, lingering smokiness

O-Excellent smoked beer, very complex and a delight to taste, yet altogether very drinkable and balanced,would gladly have another. Don't know how true this beer is to the Baltic porter style, I think its really in its own category or should be in some specialty hybrid category of smoked beers. (669 characters)

Photo of King_KongDCO93
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.

A: dark motor oil with an off white head.

S: lots of smoked aroma

T: has a nice dark roasted malt and smoke flavor. also has a good balance of coffee/cocoa. This beer taste more like a imperial stout but actually a lager. wow. The smoke flavor really comes on as you continue drinking....growing more potent.

M: wet and moist with some bitterness

O: good take on a Baltic Porter wow (401 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown...almost black (amber when held up to light)... almost clear. Large tan head that goes down quickly. Scent is VERY smokey. Nice chocolate aroma with some mellow charcoal and burnt malt. Nice smoked meat aroma. Taste is coffee at first, then the smoke comes in. This beer tastes like a more rich, chocolatey Schlenkerla. VERY tasty. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a great finish. Drinkability is VERY high, especially for 8.20%! Overall, one of the best smoked beers I've ever had. (505 characters)

Photo of jimmah120
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, no date, served in a mason jar

look is s dark brown/amber, finger of head fades to a frothy tan film. smell is charred beef jerky(not strong), dark fruit, robust dark malts. taste is all char and meat up front, finishes sweet and fruity. the medium feel is sublime: milky, smooth, lingers on the tongue.

very interesting and deep flavor. boozy, and feels it. I hold surly to a high standard and this didn't disappoint (433 characters)

Photo of Gushue3
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Dark brown/black in color that is somewhat transparent. Medium sized head with moderate retention and not much lacing.

S As advertised. Tons of smoke with a roast and subtle chocolate as well but the smoke dominates.

T Follows the nose. Smoke is there from front to back along with with some roasty coffee and bakers chocolate. Slightly acrid roast/smoke which was too much for me.

M Medium feel with medium to lighter carbonation.

O Not a bad porter. I'm assuming drinking it fresh would be much more enjoyable for me. Smoke was over the top for my taste. (564 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a 8 oz snifter.

A- pours black with a 1 finger tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- big smoke aroma (big surprise!), roast, slight coffee

T- big burnt coffee and smoke, chocolate, has some tannic notes as well and bitter pine.

M- medium body and carbonation. Fairly light and easy drinking.

O- good smoke beer. Fairly one dimension but you do get some roast, chocolate, etc from the porter as well. (429 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from brewerburgundy courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2011. Poured from a 750ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains smoked malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out bitter-sweet flavors of dark chocolate and black coffee that are quickly followed by a hearty roasted malt character and a good amount of smokiness. There’s also some background flavor of dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but complementary and provides a good balance. The after-taste is smoky and bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very good smoked beer to drink for a long time. (919 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter; Thanks, Cliff!

A: Blackish brown with a light head that dissipates quickly. Modest lacing.

S: Chocolate, smoky, anise, coffee.

T: A nice lager/smoke blend. Robust. Chocolate and coffee come through in equal proportion. Slight bitter finish.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Semi-chewy.

O: An interesting combo of lager and stout. An all-day sipper. (379 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thin short lasting head on a dark brown body. Minimal lacing.

Strong smoke/peaty aromas.

Highly drinkable for such strong smoke flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Pairs well with ghost pepper cheese, I think. If they sold this in 4 pack cans...that would be awesome!!! Thanks Elliott. (297 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

Dark brown with a small dark brown head which leaves irregular cling down the glass.

Aroma of smoke, slight meat character, mild roast, and some vanilla sweetness combine nicely.

The flavor is well-balanced, especially for a smoked beer. Often, I feel the smoke is far to dominant in beers like this, but this has enough roast, malt, and sweetness present to balance everything out. Smoke-forward, without dominating.

Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation.

A very nice beer that made Elaine's home-made pulled pork sandwiches even better! (598 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bottled in the fall of 2011. Tasted 9 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours very dark brown, almost black. As it's pouring, it looks thinner than I'd expect. About one finger of deep mocha-tan head.

Smell is like a campfire after it's burned out. Charred wood, light wispy wood-smoke. Yes, it's nice smoke, but I really can't smell anything else in it.

Taste is a lot fuller than the smell, with more coming through than just the smoke. More porter richness, and that porter is complemented well by the smoke. Feels more like partially-burned wood, rather than just the char leftovers. Here, the smoke is integrated well, rather than being the only element.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy. Moderate carbonation.

It's called Smoke, so I expected that, but I was hoping for more, especially from the smell. A woody smoke, not meaty or salty. Want more porter, though. More richness, or more sweetness, or more of something other than smoke. An interesting beer, but not one I'll feel compelled to drink all that often. (1,036 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown. Almost black. Tiny light tan collar. Almost no head to speak of even after a rather vigorous pour.

Smell: Huge smoked malts. Almost borders on bacon levels of smoke. Some char and burnt malts as well. Deeply roasted. Some coffee and chocolate notes. Sweet and roasty. Smoked like whoa.

Taste: Smoked. Bacon bits. Mild earthy hops. Some coffee and chocolate. Cocoa powder. Dry maltiness. Incredible smokiness. Burnt, charred. Roasty sweet. As it warms the flavors begin to meld. Smokiness plays well with the sweeter malt base. Minimal hopping. So meaty. It's confusing my brain.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a slightly below average carbonation.

Overall: I don't remember this being so smoky. Regardless, it's tasty. Surly crafts some aggressive, yet drinkable stuff. (803 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 to Surly coffee mug, 2011 vintage:

Pours a near pitch black with two fingers of light brown head that lasts a few minutes before receding to a collar that produces some average lacing.

Still a shit load of smoke on the nose. Not nearly is faded as I'd imagined. A bit of dark fruit and woody character as well.

While the nose is still pretty beefy, the smoke has faded considerably on the tongue which is what I was hoping for. various brown ale qualities have surfaced to balance out the aggressive barbecue profile.

Overall, an extremely unique beer. Not my favorite beer from Surly but it definitely showcases their creative potential. (658 characters)

Photo of vandemonian
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Surly Smoke is a smoky dark beer. It's malty and smoky. There isn't much else happening here.

A: Black colour and a 5 mm head that fades. 4

S: Nice smoky smell. Duh. 4

T: Malty with some earthiness. There is also a lot of smoke in the aroma. 3.5.

M: Foamy 4

O: 3.5 (270 characters)

Photo of Humulus85
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750mL into my Darkness snifter. 2011 vintage

Pours a motor oil black, with a nice two finger dark khaki head. Decent retention with very little lacing.

Smells of deep dark malts, peat, smoke, mesquite and alcohol in that order. The smoke smell is much stronger when the beer is cold.

Taste follows the nose. Wonderful Baltic Porter flavors upfront with a hefty, but not overpowering, smokey peat notes. Layers of sweet robust malts, dark fruits, toffee, hints of cocoa and coffee. The peat malts really round things out and add a dimension that is very intriguing. Moderate amount of alcohol in the finish.

Medium to heavy in body, and honestly lighter than I had expected it to be. Smooth and creamy in texture, with balanced but slightly sweet finish. Medium to low carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable.

Overall this was a beer that grew on me as I sipped. I think I started this one out too warm and the smoke flavors were a bit much. As it warmed up it really mellowed out and everything blended together. Todd from Surly really knows what he is doing and keeps putting out style defying and expertly crafted beers. Recommended to any fan of dark, malty beers, or any BA looking to try something one-of-a-kind. Cheers! (1,235 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (256 characters)

Photo of brystmar
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Arguably my least favorite styles brewed by one of my favorite breweries. Smell tells me I won't like this beer: tons of smoke, a little roasty, more smoke. And I don't like smoked beers...

Fortunately the taste isn't smoke-forward. Mildly smokey, but tons of roast and malt are at the forefront. Thin-ish body still works given the lower carbonation. I really like this. (372 characters)

Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 276 ratings.