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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

706 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 706
Reviews: 266
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 338
Gots: 220 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-05-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 706 | Reviews: 266 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Florida9


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Publican

A: Dark brown, almost black. No translucency as far as I could tell. Served with a short tan head that reduces to a surface coating. There is some minimal lacing.

S: Not surprisingly, smoke, though the smoke is on the light side. Roasted malts and toast.

T & M: Roasted malts. Some smoke, but it is certainly not the predominant flavor. There is a smooth creaminess to the beer. Lighter in body than I was expecting with low carbonation levels.

D: This beer was described to me as a stout, along the lines of BCS, but smokier. That description is quite inaccurate. For a beer named "Smoke" I was expecting a heavier beer with a more pronounced smoke aroma and flavor, but, in the end, I'm glad the smokiness wasn't overdone as it created a beer with a better drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2010 20:45:12 | More by Florida9
Photo of jrallen34


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this on tap into a pint glass at the Map Room.

The beer is a light black with a light tan that doesn't have much retention or lacing.

The aroma is nice because its not to strong bringing a nice combination of smoke and roasted coffee.

The taste is also pretty light which makes this more drinkable than most smokey beers your come across. You get a nice smokey pork start then it finishes with some light coffee.

The feel is worst part of the beer, pretty watery, I'm looking for a lot more umph.

For this sytle of beer its drinkable, compared to a lager not at all, so where does that leave you.

Overall, this is a fine beer. I wouldn't call it a baltic porter its not nearly heavy or sweet enough. I'd call it a pseudo rauch and for that, its pretty damn tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 22:42:04 | More by jrallen34
Photo of mnbrewery


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: (10/12)
Slight roasted hints, nothing over the top at all.
No hops evident. As beer warms, the presence
of smoked malt comes alive (only became apparent
after warming up).

Appearance: (2.5/3)
Deep black hue with no ruby color on the edges.
Decent head, but it waves a quick
goodbye; very little to no lacing at all.

Flavor: (17/20)
Roasted grain up front with very little to no smoked
malt noticeable. No bitterness and very smooth.
Tastes very similar to a Schwartzbier.
After waiting a bit for this beer to warm, there IS a slight
smoked flavor that arises.

Mouthfeel: (4/5)
Very nice and smooth and medium-bodied. There
seems to be a touch of oatmeal in this recipe, because
of the creaminess, but it actually wasn't added into the
grain bill.

Overall Impression: (8/10)
This Surly offering was very good, but definitely not
exceptional. I didn't pick up the smoked Bamburg
malts until the beer really warmed up and didn't pick
up any oak notes at all.

TOTAL: 41.5/50

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 22:18:25 | More by mnbrewery
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Buster's on 28th. Stopped in just hoping to catch some Furious (which we did) and/or Bender, but found this gem on tap.

a - pours a deep brown a shade lighter than black, one-finger medium brown head, good retention and lacing

s - burnt malt and smokey aromas dominate, some bitter chocolate and earthiness/woodiness, bacon/ham notes as well, light booziness

t - big hardwood smoke and dark chocolate flavors up front, mild sweetness mixed with a slightly bitter coffee flavor on the mid-palate, more smokiness and slight smoked bacon flavors on the finish, alcohol is there but I wouldn't guess it's 9.5% abv

m - medium-bodied, perhaps slightly thin for the style, moderate carbonation, well-balanced finish, some alcohol warming

d - fairly drinkable for the style, the alcohol is pretty well masked and it's not too harsh on the palate, flavors are pretty complex and interesting

Very good beer overall and a distinct example of the style in that I didn't get the typical black patent malt flavors that are typically found in Baltic Porters. Yet more evidence that Surly is among the elite breweries in the world.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 16:03:09 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of nkersten


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very dark brown, near black with little to no head. A small tan ring sits around the edge of the glass.
S- Dark roasty oak aroma with some oak. A bit of alcohol is present in the smell as well.
T- Charred oak, smokey malt and some slight alcohol in the aftertaste. A slight hint of hop bitterness to balance things out a little.
M- A very light body for such a dark beer. Little carbonation and a clean finish, dry, not a lot of sweetness.
D- For such a strong beer this is quite drinkable. I have become a fan of baltic porters recently, and while there are others that I like more, I would definitley get this one again if I saw it around.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2009 05:29:03 | More by nkersten
Photo of mdawson


4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ brewery pour room.

A - Black; difficult to judge clarity in low light. Thin beige head w/ subpar staying power.

S- Very well-integrated nose of roast malt and campfire woodsmoke. Sweet malt, Underlying spice and earth from hops.

T - Tar, espresso ristretto, more woodsmoke giving way to a mouth-filling malt middle, hops and roast malt in the finish. Lingering smoke, never overstated. The alcohol is well hidden.

M - Full, thick; malt covers the astringency of the smoked and roasted grains. Moderate CO2.

D - The Rauchmalz, if that's what they used, is well balanced with the other ingredients. This isn't a subtle beer, but it is quite harmonious ... and drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2009 02:34:28 | More by mdawson
Photo of millah


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this twice in the past couple of weeks on tap, once at the release party and this evening at Grumpy's in NE Mpls. Poured black, very little head which dissipated fairly quickly. Slight smell of smoke and maltiness -- I had expected more but with little head and carbonation, to be expected I suppose. The smoke balanced nicely with a subtle bittersweetness. Somewhere between medium and full-bodied. The balance and creamy texture made this very easy to drink although I don't know that I'd session it. Love to see this in bottles or cans next year!

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2009 05:29:58 | More by millah
Photo of kbutler1


4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the release party at Brasa's on 11/30/09. Was poured from tap into a 10oz glass. Little to no head was a little bit of a dissappointment, not sure if that was caused by the pour or if it is just that way. Needless to say, the lack of head hindered the aroma of the beer a little. Smelled of slight smoke and a subtle sweetness. What a taste though! Very smooth with a slight smoke taste that ends with a subtle sweetness, just like the smell I guess. Very drinkable! With a name like Smoke, I was expecting a Smoked Porter taste but was pleasantly surprised. This is an extremely good beer. Love to see it in bottle or can...

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2009 23:37:32 | More by kbutler1
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap, obviously.

Color is a dark, dark brown. Very close to black. Very dark, but if you look down the top of the beer it appears to be somewhat clear. Pours a slight tanned head.

Aroma: not that smokey but it's there. Caramel, chocolate, very malty. A little bit of booze as well. Not to bad for a smoked beer.

Taste: Ok, here is the smoke, but it works in this beer. It is blended very well and I like it. This is very malty. Some fresh hops, caramel, chocolate, and some booze as well.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated. Full bodied. Very creamy. A lot of booze shines through. Leaves the slightest smokey and malty aftertaste.

Overall, I was a little worried that the smoke was going to be to much for me. But Surly really blended this well. Very drinkable to me, considering smokes aren't my favorite. If you get a chance, give this beer a try.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2009 02:27:37 | More by mothman
Photo of supercolter


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very interesting brew- one of the few smoke beers that I have liked. Appearance is very good. Lots of head, dark in color and nice cascading. Smell is pretty good but almost all smoke. Some roasted nut and bitter chocolate. Taste is a bit more complex, a lot of smoke but more of the malt comes through here. Some sweetness like caramel as well. Nice and thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good as well.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2009 00:26:30 | More by supercolter
Photo of MasterSki


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet at Sheffield's on St. Patty's Day.

A - Half finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Pitch black, with a hint of brown at the edges. Pretty typical of a high-gravity porter.

S - Hickory, smoke, peat, oakiness, roasted malts, caramel, campfire, and a bit of nuttiness. Great example of the style - although I'm wondering why this is listed as a Baltic Porter and not a Smoked Beer, as it has a lot in common with the Smokestack Heritage Porter.

T - Much more wood and oakiness, and still plenty of smoke. Not nearly as sweet, with the caramel showing up right at the tip of the tongue. Tons of lingering wood flavor at the top of the palate. Not as nice tasting as it smells unfortunately.

M - Superb. Mild carbonation, with a nice little tingle that complements the smokiness. Medium body with great residual stickiness. Creamy and smooth to drink.

D - As far as smoked beers go this is pretty easy drinking. Well hidden ABV. The taste gets palate fatiguing after a while, and I can't imagine wanting more than a glass or two.

Another fine Surly brew.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2009 02:08:11 | More by MasterSki
Photo of rye726


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a silky tan head. The nose has sweet roasty malts and a nice smokey presence, oak, vanilla, ripe fruits and chocolate. The taste was also quite smokey but well balanced by the roasty malts, sweet fruits, cocoa, vanilla and wood. Creamy body is very well carbonated. Let see some bottles!

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2009 19:46:58 | More by rye726
Photo of natasharai


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured with a thin layer of head on top that is tan and a made of small bubbles. The beer is black in color and does not let any light through. The small amount of head that was in the glass dissipated after a few minutes.

Smell: Quite smokey up front, followed by a lot of roasty malts

Taste: Very nice smokey flavor balanced well with the roasted malt flavor, all finished off with a hop bitterness, verry small amount of alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, not too thick and not too thin, with a small hop tingle on the tongue.

Overall: Pretty drinkable, the smoke flavor is not too overpowering, generous amount of roasted malt, there is a very nice hoppyness towards the end that gives this beer an extra bit of character.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2009 01:07:37 | More by natasharai
Photo of br3wmeister


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark black liquid topped with a small head that dissipates quickly leaving no lacing.

S- Lots of smokey aromas, more peat then wood smokiness. Good malty character gives is some roasted notes.

T- Some alcohol and light hop bitterness up front that is overwhelmed by smokey malts and roasted flavors. Some dark chocolate and hints of molasses come through in the middle but drops right back into the roasted smokey malt. Some alcohol warmth in the end leaving your palate with a nice smokey flavor.

M- This is a medium full bodied beer that is smooth, silky, and slightly oily. Great balance helps to keep this beer very drinkable. Almost perfect carbonation, this beer feels great in your mouth.

Overall- This is one of the best porters I have ever had and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice smokey porter.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2009 15:27:57 | More by br3wmeister
Photo of AdmiralDiaz


4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Blue Nile for the Surly Three release party.

A: Very dark brown with lighter edges, no head at all but I'm going to call that the bartenders fault.

S: Burnt coffee and smokeiness with strong roasted malts and strong molasses.

T: Highly roasted malts upfront that subside into pure smoked flavor rolling into a bitter roasted coffee finish. Excellent, this brew knows what it wants to be and pulls it off perfectly. With so much smokey and roasted tones it stays very well balanced between precise flavors. Best Baltic Porter I've had!

Overall: Very good porter, nice arbonation and very enjoyable as far as mouthfeel goes. Highly drinkable beer as well, the alcohol doesn't come out as much as it should for such a high abv beer. One of Surly's most impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2009 05:33:16 | More by AdmiralDiaz
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 01:09:24 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brewdoc75


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Cafe 28.

A: Served to me in a Surly Darkness snifter. Dark black color with brown hues as the light shines through. There is a slight brown tinged head that dwindles fairly quickly.

S: Definitely smoky, but not too much. Actually less smoke than I expected and more roasted grains. It smells more like a foreign export stout than a smoke beer. There is definitely some smoke there to let it live up to the name.

T: Smoky flavors predominate, but not overwhelming. There is a nice chocolate and roasted grain flavor as well. Not as "burnt" tasting as some smoke beers. There are some caramel-toffee flavors as well. Not a lot of hops, but this fits this beer well.

M: Medium to full bodied mouthfeel. More crisp than creamy.

D: Overall, a pretty solid beer. I'm not a big fan of smoked things and I actually liked this beer. I think it is well balanced in regards to the smoky flavors. It really fit well with my adobo pork dish. I'd try this again with certain foods, but probably not on its own. I'll search for it when I have another adobo dish or if I have something in the way of a bacon cheddar burger. I'd recommend giving this one a whirl.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2009 05:03:08 | More by brewdoc75
Photo of MPLS


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first "smokey" porter that I have ever drank. Have had this on several occasions: at the brewery, from a growler, and on tap around town.

A: Nice black body with 2 cm head that resolved itself within 50 seconds.

S: This guy smells roasted, toasted, and left in a smokey room.

T: Introduced with lots of roast, the name really implies the majority of the flavor. With a salesmen mentality you could pass this off as roasted bacon beer. Strange but was enjoyable. The ABV was well hidden in its smokey soul.

M: Smooth, drying, felt just right

D: I can't see being excessive with this beer, have had 5-6 pints of this to date, but never back to back. Also, maybe it's psychological, but this thing tasted better at the brewery...I swear.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2009 19:43:57 | More by MPLS
Photo of Buebie


4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got a 2nd chance to review this, the first being on tap, this one from a growler filled 12/30/08.

Poured from my growler into an oversized snifter. Color is all blackout out, with a 1 finger fizzy brown head. Thin greasy brown streaks of lcae are left behind. A small thin layer of retention sits atop the beer.

Aroma is quit toasty with charred oak. It smeels like burnt buttered wheat toast.
Ceral grains, wiffs of dark chocolate and smokey burnt wood. It smells like a summer sausage.

Mouthfeel this time around is much more smooth and creamy. Its somwhat thick with a mellow amount of carbonation up front. Kind of a summer sausage like flavor, not so much the meat, but the smokey skin on weiner flavors. Slight resemblance here folks, dont let this tidbit ruin it for you.
Molasses flavors, some dark fruit and a hint of cherries. Smokey charred oak comes out through the swallow. Lingering after the swallow with a bittering dark roastiness.

Very good, much better then my plastic cup at the brewery. No signs of alcahol at the knose, but some mild warming comes around after the swallow with the lingering bitterness.

Serving type: growler

01-02-2009 19:41:08 | More by Buebie
Photo of ahalloin


4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this little gem on tap at Cafe Twenty-eight in Minneapolis. If you are looking for Surly beer on tap, this is the place to go, as one of the Surly brewmasters is part owner. When I was there they had Furious, Smoke and Darkness on tap!

Absolutely pitch black pour with no light getting through at all. A healthy light tan head of about half a finger width came with the pour.

The aroma was not real intense but did have a smoky and salty quality about it.

The flavor was big and unforgiving! A big molasses nose gave way to a smoky, dry, and slightly hopped finish. There is a slight hint of smoked meat in there, sort of like smoked ham. Wide mouthfeel seems to pulverize every tastebud in the mouth.

A Beautiful beer!

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2008 02:24:55 | More by ahalloin
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Extreme Beer Fest on 2/15/08: As the name suggests, a lot of smoke in the aroma and taste. Also bitterness and slight roastiness. A good, typical example of a smoked beer.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 15/20

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2008 21:29:47 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of jjanega08


3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I love surlys so I decided to give this one a try even. Though I don't care for smoked beer. Surlys is always making good things so here we go.
A= a deep blackout color with a tiny head that lasts through the entire drink. Not much lacing however which was a little dissapointing
S= it smells smokey for sure. Deep in it I notice some plum and fig notes.
T= smokey up front for sure. Unique like a smoked bacon or something. Not my favorite but they accomplished what they wanted. It wasn't as overpowering as some other smoked beers. The middle some of the regular porter comes through with the figs and plums followed quickly again by the deep smoked flavor.
M= light and smooth not expected. I thought I would find it to be very heavy. There is no carbonation though.
D= for me not to high. It was fun to try but it was just not my style. I graded it higher because it accomplished what they whated to accomplish... just not for me though

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2008 19:03:44 | More by jjanega08
Photo of CHSLBrew


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served in a snifter at the Muddy Pig, St. Paul, MN.

A-Arrived a sphere of blackness in a snifter, topped with 1 cm brown head which promptly reduced a ring around the edge. The beer was beautiful, black and opaque, allowing nothing through. As the snifter was emptied, I could detect the slightest ruby-brown highlights on the edges.

S-Hearty, heavy roasted malts, matched with a strong smokiness. Some esters trying to poke their character through.

T-A definite smokey character emerges on the first sip and lingers into the aftertaste. Heavy on the roasted and toasted malts, but avoids a rough astringency. Hearty and warming flavors, no alcoholic harshness. The bitterness is just enough to keep some of the malts in check. An enjoyable smokiness lingers on my palate for quite a bit.

M-Medium carbonation, moderate body. This beer has some weight behind it, but also has an almost refreshing light character. Silky with just a hint of roughness.

D-I like this beer. It's tasty, with it's namesake smokey flavor prominent, but not near overpowering the balance of the flavor. It's an enjoyable brew, hearty and great to enjoy while watching the wind blow outside. Complex in flavor, enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2008 17:11:38 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of beckje01


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black color with a thin tan head.

S- Slight smoky nose interesting. A almost beefy quality.

T- Smoky flavor upfront then a nice dry malt. The taste then ends with the smoke again nice with a faint hint of jerky but nothing like some other smoked beers.

M- Nice thin which pairs well with the flavors and good activity.

D- A slow drinker but nice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2008 15:20:11 | More by beckje01
Photo of caskstrength


4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at several Mpls locations.

Tough job for the Smoke here. Had a bunch of Darkness a few days before trying it. Was hard not to compare the two. And Darkness is a tough competitor for any beer.

Pours dark. Nice head. Smells more bitter than Darkness, more of a typical stout feel. (even though it's technically a Baltic Porter) Taste is good, some smoke/bacon, bitter roasted character, good mouthfeel, a little dark sweetness keeping it interesting. Even better as it warms up.

A good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2008 01:02:05 | More by caskstrength
Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 706 ratings.