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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

722 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 722
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 330
Gots: 227 | FT: 9
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: 722 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

first surly i pour out of the bottle. huge thanks to Jefe for sending me this surprise, ive been after it for quite some time. thanks Jeff, your next box will knock your feet off.

great bottle design, vintage not listed. 750ml, after 5 min of cutting the silver wax, poured into a tulip.

A- Sweet, looks great! pours a dark brown. in the glass its not exactly pitch black but you definitely cant see through this sucker. one inch tan brown head.

s- wow,the smokiness fills the room, definitely livin up to its name. roasted malts come through with spades. some dark fruit

t- yes! this guy shines with the taste. the smokiness on the nose is surprisingly not as strong in the taste and better balanced. sweeter than expected. fruity sweetness is present, like dried fruit. gets tastier as it warms, leaves a nice smokey bacon flavor in the mouth

m- this is spot on with the way i like my blatic porters, slight carbonation which suits its flavors, not too thick but still thick enough to coat the mouth.

o- overall this beer is phenomenal and met my expectations. this is my new gold standard for Baltic porters. would love to have it again

KevSal, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of soze47
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this guy for a few months since my last trip back to the midwest. I love Surly and wish I had a pipeline of the stuff to my house.

Appearance: Very dark, brown with faint ruby highlights. Nice creamy head goes away quickly but collects on the top. Very nice.

Aroma: Smokiness is there for sure, but the smoke malts other flavors stand up well. I nice sweet nuttiness with a bitter cocoa scent is also very present. As it warms, more notes of figs and licorice come through too.

Taste: Great smoke up front and it casts its presence on all other flavors in a good way. Very sweet, dark fruits that quickly get dried out on the linger, leaving an almost red wine dryness with a smokey, woody finish. Very nice things here.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Pretty dry and somewhat bitter linger is not altogether unpleasant, but plenty strong. One glass of this will do the job, although it will trick you into wanting more due to a surprisingly light, drinkable body.

Overall: I liked this beer a lot. Many beers that try to make a smoked beer are afraid of blasting the other flavors out. Surly blasts the smoke, yet also puts out enough other flavors to help compete and get accentuated in good ways by the smoke.

soze47, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. 2010 bottle.

Appearance: Very dark and black with only a slight amount of color shining through the bottom. Decent one finger tan head quickly fades into a patchy layer. Small amount of lacing.

Smell: Big aroma of smoke with lots of dark roasted malts. Has a strong hint of dark chocolate along with some hints of dark fruits. Has a woody character.

Taste: Lots of dark roasted malts up front with a smokyness that lingers well throughout but is not as overbearing as the aroma suggests. Has some hints of plum, raisin, and other dark fruits along with hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. Bitterness is low but felt somewhat in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very good porter that is complex and very tasty. The smoke is tame enough to notice the many flavors going on here. Another great Surly brew.

MattyG85, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of Sebowski
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Looks good
Smells like a good balance of smoke and chocolate
Tastes great. My palate is playing tricks on me. Skipping from chocolate to smoke and back and forth and back and forth.
Great mouthfeel.Very easy going down but rich on the tongue. Good stuff.
Overall I really like this. Been craving some smoke and this is doing the job. Surly hits another one out of the park for me.

Sebowski, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black-brown color with a big finger of brown-tan head. The head fades slowly down to a thick ring around the glass leaving behind some nice lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is bursting with smoke and oak aromas. There is a touch of chocolate and even some smoked meats in there as well.

T - Starts off with a nice smooth hit of smoke and oak flavors with some nice vanilla flavor. Touch of chocolate flavor mixed in as well. Through the middle, some more roasted flavor and a bit of coffee comes though. The finish is a mix of oak and smoke with a bit of chocolate that lingers really nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate-low carbonation. The beer is smooth and just a bit creamy. The smoke flavor really coats the mouth and provides some warming at the finish.

D - Fairly drinkable, especially considering how bold the flavors are, but that is just how smooth it is. The smoke flavor is really strong and fits right in with the beer.

ngeunit1, May 16, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surly Smoke

Shared at DLD 2011

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights. About a fingers worth of cream head. Spotty lacing.

The nose is mainly smoke with hints of cocoa, roasty malt, and smoke.

The taste is following the nose closely but the smoke is very boldly portrayed here. The lager yeast comes next, followed by some subtle chocolate and roasted malt.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and has a nice clean feel once the carbonation has done its work.

Overall, this is my first offering from Surly and I cant wait to explore more of them through trades and beer fests.

ChugginOil, May 10, 2011
Photo of ManVersusBeer
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of one trxxpaxxs. Much obliged.

The pour is a deep, dark brown with latte-like mocha colored foam which sits for awhile leaving a net of lacing.
Mmm...this is meaty. Slim Jims, oak chips, Applewood-smoked bacon, and roasted chocolate. Makes me hungry.
Tastes a bit lighter than the aroma, which is a good thing. As much as I love meat, I don't want it to overpower as I drink. Lots of smoke in here with the hints of tobacco and a malty sweetness of crispy caramel coated beef.
A smooth, luscious, creamy, easy to drink porter. Good smoky bacon contrasted with the sweet maple then followed with the hop bitterness of orange peel makes it almost like a hearty breakfast.
Smoke gets sweeter as it goes and I would prefer a lasting smokiness. As it warms, though, this beer does a fine job.

ManVersusBeer, May 04, 2011
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.4oz bottle, Boulevard tulip, 2010 vintage. Thank you very much for that awesome trade, Craig.

The pour is a sticky dark brown with vague red highlights. Quite a nice latte froth like head bubbled up and an attractive flotilla of foam covers the majority of the top.

What I smell coming from the glass is all that is good in a dark smoke beer; brown sugar, roast, and BBQ or campfire smoke with a bite that is very deep but not overwhelming. There's a cured Kalamata olive scent that is slightly salty, like a sea breeze, intriguing.

Smoke contains a good bit of smoke, but the flavors extend further that just this. Brown sugar again, complemented by what must be oak vanilla. A bit of dark fruit, raisins, flows through the middle and the finish is a lovely contrastingly sweet nougat, caramel.

While the carbonation level is not low, this is a remarkably smooth beer. In the mouth it feels like smoke looks; languid, slippery, smooth.

This beer was well worth the wait and I am so glad that I have another bottle. Smoked Porters are quickly becoming one of my favorite styles. Please, Surly, keep doing what you do. This beer is smokey but not overboard, with some wonderful complexities beneath the plume of smoke.

brewerburgundy, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Thickfreakness for the beer. Cracked it open to celebrate our new fire pit.

A: Dark brown body with a small tan head. No lacing.

S: Nice roasted malts, dark chocolate, & a hint of coffee. As it warms, the smoke aroma really comes out.

T: Coffee & roasted malts upfront, followed by a slight sweetness from chocolate malts. Middle is slightly smokey, but not as much as I would have liked. Finishes slightly bitter.

M: Creamy, medium body, light carbonation.

O: Great beer. Reminded me of coffee bender if it was smoked though. Very easy to drink and perfect by the bon fire. Would drink this again if I could get my hands on it.

BrewCrew2010, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown. Vry thick but still clear on the edges. Smells potently of smoke. Incredibly smoky... Wow. Tastes sweet and malty off the get go. Tons and tons of smoke on the back. Vry nicely potent. Not so much that it's unbearable. Solid mouthfeel and pretty interesting overall

Urbancaver, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pitch black with zero head
S-very nice smokiness to me. Reminds me of bacon. Mmmmm bacon.
T-alot like it smells. Smoked bacon. Very smooth and mouth watering
M-medium bodied and oh so very smooth
o-good beer and I'm glad I got to try it. Good breakfast beer

brew3crew, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/25/11 notes. Shared this with a few friends. Bottle from the original release, served in a tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of smoke, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, toasted malts.

t - Tastes of smoke, roasted malts, toasted malts, sweet chocolate, cream and vanilla.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Very easy to drink.

d - Overall this is a very good smoked Baltic Porter. I don't think smoked beers or Baltic Porters in general blow my mind, but this is a very good one. Great mouthfeel, and glad I have anough bottle of it.

mdfb79, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of Kadonny
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle from NuBrewm as an extra from one of our many trades. Thanks Ted, you rock! I believe this to be the 2010 version. Poured into my Sly Fox lager glass.

A: A dark dark brown color that is just shy of black. Small light brown head that covers the top of the beer, barely. Lacing is decent but does not last.

S: Dark roasted malts with some heavy smoke smells. Charred wood, chocolate and some slight earth hops.

T: The smoke really pops on the flavor. Huge roasted malt flavor couples with the smokey wood charred flavors. Some nice chocolate mixes in to allow some sweetness with some sweet dark fruits. Finish turns back to the smoke with some earthy hop notes. Very very smooth and integrated. The six month cellar time made this a real nice beer.

M: smooth, coating but no alcohol. Amazing. Not sweet but not bitter. Fust perfect.

O: what a tremendous smokey beer that has just the right amount of smokey flavor. Awesome.

I did not go into this expecting Smoke to be a real enjoyable beer since I'm not a huge smoke guy. I left wanting more bottles. In my opinion just about the perfect smoked beer. Surly amazes me again. I want to move to MN just for Surly. You guys rock.

Kadonny, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of smm
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark rich brown color with a dark tan head which quickly recedes.

S- Sweet and smokey, a bit chocolatey, hints of alcohol.

T- This is one peculiar brew. Great smokey flavor, a bit sweet, and chocolatey finish. Big flavor of dark fruits. Doesn't disappoint after a couple months of cellaring either, I think the flavors have melded together much nicer than the bottle I had around Thanksgiving.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Something about the smokiness hits you in the back of the throat.

O- Pretty delicious, smooth, and totally unique. I wish I had picked up another bottle to put away for longer. If one ever gets a chance to try the Mole Smoke it is a supreme beer, which I also highly recommend.

smm, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip from a big, wax-tipped bottle. My thanks to Tolann for providing it.

Smoke is Surly's November seasonal, an oak-aged Baltic porter made with smoked malts straight out of Bamberg, Germany.

Super dark brown in color, completely opaque, with cranberry highlights. A frothy one-finger head dissipates quickly, leaving a large tan ring and spotty, jagged lacing.

The nose: sweet dark fruits balanced with smoky meat. Raisins, figs, bacon, campfire smoke.

Given the aroma, the flavor seems rather subdued. It's lightly smoky, and pork, raisins and figs are all there, but all in decreased amounts. All tastes, however, are very smoothly integrated.

Smooth, medium-light body with very light carbonation and a moderate fizziness. The 8.2 percent ABV is tongue-numbing, but not noticeable in the flavor.

Given its name, Smoke isn't really as smoky as I expected. Still, it's got some very nice flavors that are incredibly well-integrated. It's a smooth drink, for sure.

Phelps, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of nrbw23
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a black with a nice little tan foamy an head. Head turns into a very thin layer of a few bubbles. A bit of spotty lacing but not much.

S- Smoke aroma but nothing over powering. Dark roasted malts, bit of a hop presence, some faint oats, vanilla and coffee.

T- Smoke flavors, coffee and a bit of dark chocolate. Very solid a bit of hop bitterness.

M- Fuller side of medium in body and carboantion was fairly light.

D- Very easy to drink. A bit of a sipper too. I'll look for this one again.

nrbw23, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

THanks to ShogoKawada for cracking this one at the Central NE BA Meetup, '09 vintage.

Pours a light creamy but darker head that fades almost instantly, with a super dark almost pitch black complexion.

Nose is smoked malts, smoked meats and cheeses, tons of smoke, campfire like, but with all the smoke it's nice, not overboard, a bit of minerality and dark malts, some light crisp lager aromas under that.

Taste is creamy porter like to start, light and crisp though, some smoke, much less than the nose thankfully, smoked meats again, light campfire, woody esthers as well, chalky, some chewy malts, dark creamy malts, a bit of roast and minerality. Under that is a nice crisp lager like flavor too.

Mouth is medium to a bit heavier bodied, creamy, and lower but decent carbonation.

Drink is decent, no real booze effect, just a very slight hint of warming booze, smooth and creamy, a bit dry.

jlindros, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of orangesol
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to largadeer for opening this at the post-post-RS party tasting. Reviewed from notes. Poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours black with a very tiny mocha colored head leaving no lacing at all down the glass.

S - Good amount of roasted malts up front but the smoke is not far behind. Some nice chocolate and vanilla sweetness comes thru as the smokey darkness begins to let up. Just o.k. really.

T - Plenty of dark roasted malts in this one. A nice mix of chocolate and coffee flavors starts to break thru once the smokey malt dies down a bit. The smoke is quite pronounced as you might expect and never really leaves the party. Not too bad but nothing mind blowing here.

M - Medium-Heavy body and flavors with moderately low carbonation. A bit light in the feel with tons of lingering smokey dark roast in the finish.

D - Decent stuff. I enjoy porters quite a bit but this one was just too smokey to really enjoy. I could drink one of these but that is about it.

orangesol, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of mgbickel
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to this one...big fan of smoked beers...

Shared a 22oz bottle with dtx and our wives.

Poured into a Piraat tulip. A solid finger of dark cocoa head formed on top of the deep mahogany body. The edges approach ruby in color. The bubbles faded slowly...some nice lace being left behind.

Hmm...interesting nose...not the smoke bomb I was expecting. Think more along the lines of a BBQ sauce mixed with a porter.

The taste is where the nose indicated...saucy, coffee and wet cardboard chalky. Not living up to the hype.

The mouth feel is on the medium side with a stringent finish.

Sure it is drinkable, but I have had many better smoked offerings. Worth a try but not worth the hype.

mgbickel, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tasting glass.

Appearance: This is pitch black with only slightly less ominous dark brown edges. Not much head, nor does it retain well or leave any lace.

Smell: The aroma is darkly roasted and burnt malts, smoke, and a little coffee and dark chocolate act as support.

Taste: Up front the flavor is sweet and roasted for a second, with dark chocolate and heavily roasted malt leading the way. Molasses, some cocoa and fruity esters, and then some smoke. A light earthy or spicy hop aroma create a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: This actually has a body on the light side of medium, although there is a creamy side to the carbonation.

Drinkability: The smoke does not dominate, which I appreciated. Overall this is another solid beer from a great brewery. I do not tend to go after the smoked beers, but I enjoyed this one.

KickInTheChalice, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of iLovehops23
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great sipper with deep roasted flavors. with the name "Smoke" i was thimking this was gonna have a smokey flavor like smoked salmon ect.. but the roasted malt flavors came across with hints of sweet chocolate and coffees, very drinkable, very well blanced. im starting to become very fond of surly brewing.

smoke is a beer i whould love to grab three or four bottels and let them age a bit and see what happens, also this make a great beer to add to my special occ stach.

iLovehops23, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25oz bottle into a Duvel glass, split with oglmcdgl.

Smoke comes out looking mad dark for a lager, baltic porter, Rauchbier?? Who knows? Very black with a nice thick coat of dark tan coffeehead colored foam that left some stickage.

Smoke seeps up into the nostrils with each sniff bringing some peat and roast as well. A big roasted malt musk with some chocolate/cocco and slight vanilla. Don't really smell any alcohol in this, but that's common for Surly beers with me.

And this one delivers. Very Baltic Porter like for me at least. A big roast with smoke that is not the biggest smoke bomb I've had (from Germany). this remains balanced. Roasted malt on top of smoke with dark fruit, coconut, traces of vanilla but no alcohol once again.

With no alcohol in taste, there is a slight warming effect that comes from smoke. Slightly chewy with a big edium feel and ample carb. Thanks for the bottle ogl, this one was a treat.

BARFLYB, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of ShogoKawada
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous trader for this one, 09 popped at jlindros' Central MA BA tasting. From notes, poured into mini-snifter.

A- Nice brown with ruby highlights in the pour. Tan/sandy head that is 1cm and settles quickly. Rather lively carbonation.

S- Nose is straight campfire. Very woody, smoky. Great nose on this one.

T- Not nearly as intense as the nose led me to expect. Still, nice robust smoked malt. The base baltic porter is pretty mellow and provides a nice platform for all the smoky flavors. There's some dark fruit undertones that dance on the tongue.

M- Lively carbonation, perhaps a bit too much, but then again maybe not, as it's very easy going down.

D- Moderately high. I am impressed. Tasty stuff... Didn't have it fresh but time seemed to be kind to it. My first special release Surly and it was a joy to drink.

ShogoKawada, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of evanlarkin
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this from bottles and on tap a few times, but I just happened to open a bottle now, so I'm basing this review on it.

Pretty much black. If I hold it up to my light nothing gets through it. Creamy/fizzy off-white head, about 2 fingers. It settles after a minute or two, leaving some lacy spikes.

I can tell why it's called smoke. It smells a lot like that smoked tea, lapsang souchong (sp?). Behind that are hints of raisin and dark chocolate.

More raisiny than the smell had me expecting, topped by a dried plum taste. The smoke flavor is loud and clear, but it feels more like a smell than a taste. It floats off of your tongue. Licorice is predominant in the aftertaste.

Thick, not quite chewy, with some alcohol vapors coming off of your tongue. Not highly carbonated, and very smooth. Goes down like smoky silk.

Pretty good. I can polish off one of the 750ml bottles in a sitting and be pretty happy. I don't know if I'd be likely to get it at a bar, but I really like it as kind of a "staying in for the night" kind of drink.

evanlarkin, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of oglmcdgl
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle thanks to a generous trader.

A- two fingers of khaki colored head from a steady pour that settles rather quickly a leaves a thin ring and a few wisps on top. Black in color with just the faintest brown glow at the edges when held to light.

S- a nice and easy smokey open that bring a bit of camp fire to mind with a dark roasty sweetness. There's an interesting meat thing I get but it might be my mind playing trick on me with the smoke.

T- while the nose is decidedly smokey the taste brings in the sweet balance. The smoke still comes with a good punch and rolls nicely into the deep roasty malts that bring some molasses sweetness and some dark berries. Theres a touch of vanilla before it closes out roasty and long.

M- a few steps above medium in body with a light carb. Rather dry finish.

D- this is a really cool twist on this style. The smoke blends wonderfully with the sweetness and the slow warming in the belly make ya feel just right. Another great beer from what look more and more to be one of my favorite breweries.

oglmcdgl, Feb 19, 2011
Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 722 ratings.