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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

716 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 716
Reviews: 266
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 333
Gots: 222 | FT: 7
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: 716 | Reviews: 266 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bwiechmann


4.53/5  rDev +10.8%

On tap at Stub and Herbs

A- Pours nearly pitch-black. No substantial head to speak of, minimal lacing.

S- Perfect. Wood smoke ballanced with roasted, sweet malts. A touch of hops provide some earth-notes.

T- Wood smoke is here too, but certainly not over-done. Most akin to smoked, pulled pork. A touch of espresso in the background.

M- Not oily, but smooth. Medium body and carbonation.

D- alcohol is unnoticeable- very drinkable.

This beer is absolutely a treat. Surly scores again. Get your hands on some if you can.

04-09-2010 16:20:57 | More by bwiechmann
Photo of blackearth


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

Enjoyed on tap at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis, MN. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass this beer shows an extremely dark brown body with a thin ring of off-white foam. Aroma is raisins, peat, burnt sugar and a hint of smokiness. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a low to medium carbonation level. Flavors are of caramelized sugar, dried grass and level smokiness. Hop bitterness shows for a moment in the finish and is quickly replaced by a dry malt sweetness. I was expecting much more smoke flavors, but this is still a solid baltic porter.

04-07-2010 13:13:19 | More by blackearth
Photo of happilysurly


4.13/5  rDev +1%

Had this on tap and now in a bottle.

Pours dark black, but thin. Nice head right away but disappears rapidly. The smoke aroma is clear as soon as the cap is removed. Also smells slightly metallic. Patrick from Heritage Liquor in Maplewood apparently made a pork shoulder marinade with this stuff and I think thats fantastic. I get a sense of BBQ from the smell of this brew, also smells like a deli.

The smoke flavor is certainly not over the top which impresses me. You could easily go overboard with smoke and they did not. Tastes of raisins, rubber, leather, molasses, mole. Very very interesting taste. I taste more non-food flavors than food flavors, but it works really well.

I bought 2 bottles from Heritage for like $14 and then one from Haskell's Stillwater for closer to $16, so this is certainly not a cheap beer, but its certainly worth trying. I have one to trade...

04-02-2010 21:10:36 | More by happilysurly
Photo of younger35


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

Picked up a bottle of this from The Four Firkins with their pre-release thing. I've had this beer many time and never got around to properly reviewing it. Drank from my Darkness snifter and served at room temperature.

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a half finger fizzly dark tan head that immediately sizzles and dissipates leaving nothing. Not a touch of a cap, collar or lacing.
Smell- Lightly smoky and almost dirty smelling with plenty of dark roasted malts hiding amongst the smoke. Light whiffs of alcohol and coffee but are fairly weak compared to the malt and smoke. Maybe touches dark fruit with some raisins and prunes.
Taste- Starts with a bit of acidic roasted malts that are lightly coffee like with even a lighter touch of chocolate. The smoke is more prevalent in the nose than in the taste but the slightest bit of ash is noticeable. The beer is really dry and roasted but I do get a touch of caramel amongst the earthiness of beer. The wood isn't really noticeable but a smidgen of vanilla is. The finish is dry and somewhat crisp with a lingering bit of earthy bitter hops.
Mouthfeel- Deceiving light body that makes you remember this is indeed a lager. The carbonation is also deceiving sharp considering there is absolutely no head on this brew what-so-ever. Dry.
Drinkability- Lots of big flavors going on here but all done in moderation and considering the 8%+, this thing is hella drinkable. My only real complaint is that I a Smoked Beer fan and I'd love a bit more smoke in this. Who knows though, maybe it would screw this up royally. Enjoyed yet again!

04-01-2010 00:52:08 | More by younger35
Photo of bsp77


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown without much head and very spotty lacing.

Smell: Smoked malts, oak, molasses, raisins, vanilla and licorice. Impressive for a lager, which tend to be mild in the scent department.

Taste: Oak and smoke is very predominant, with nice rounded semi-sweet malts of molasses, plum, licorice and figs. Ends with a touch of spicy and bitter hops, which co-mingle nicely with the smoke.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth and creamy lager body that is somewhat full bodied.

Drinkability: Overall, very nice balance between a Baltic Porter, Rauchbier and Oak-Aged beer. Delicious and very easy to drink, belaying its 8.2% abv.

03-28-2010 02:30:12 | More by bsp77
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured into a snifter from it's beautiful 750 ml. bottle.

A: Very dark brown in color,almost black. Very little light gets through this one. Head retention is is non-existent, and lacing is nil.

S: There is alot going on in the nose of this beer. almost like campfire at first, but soon the malt comes forward. Coffee, roasted meat, and spice, along with a nice hint of charred wood. Hops are almost non-existent on the nose.

T: If i didn't know what this beer was, it just screams Surly. Roasty, with hints of coffee and bitter chocolate, accompanied by campfire, cedar, and just a hint of flint. There are some fruity notes lingering in the backround, and the hops dry the finish.

M&D: A bit lighter than I was anticipating, but still very full bodied and smooth. It's a great sipper, and would accompany BBQ quite nicely. This, however, is a smoked brew that is amazing on it's own. Like I said before, this beer has Surly wriiten all over it. They can do no wrong.

03-27-2010 06:17:35 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of hardy008


4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Dark black color with a one foamy tan head which fades somewhat quick. Smells of smoke, sweet malt, raisins, plums, figs, and licorice. The flavor mirrors the aroma perfectly. There is a nice combination of smoke an sweet malt which are great together. Neither is overly strong, but both are very good.

Medium bodied, smooth, easy to drink, and the alcohol is well hidden. I could drink this all the time with no problem.

03-25-2010 01:35:29 | More by hardy008
Photo of THORN


4.08/5  rDev -0.2%

750 mL poured into Duvel tulip. Served 50-55 F.
A: Black and purple around the edges. Pours thick thick head that quickly reduces to nothing.
S: Smoke. Sweet malts and brown sugar.
T: Dark smoke malts. Toffee and mollasses round out out with strong bitter hops.
M: Medium on tongue.
D: Good portion of smoke. Mouthfeel is just right. Big in flavor, but refreshing.

03-24-2010 03:30:39 | More by THORN
Photo of Parrotbeak


4.05/5  rDev -1%

Black with a thin, brown head that quickly dissipates. No light passing through this one.
Smell is smokey malts, sausage, jerky, licorice, chocolate. A little heat on the nose from the alcohol. Very nice aroma that gets more complex as the beer warms up.
Taste is again smokey and malty up front, with some bitterness coming in. Faint cocoa, with some raisins, licorice, and a touch of alcohol. Curious, candle wax "flavor" that hits the back of the mouth near the finish. Ah, I am curious candle?
Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with a little bit of carbonation. Medium body.
Good on drinkability. I have to admit, this one didn't quite live up to the hype, but it was still quite good. I'm looking forward to trying the other bottle sometime down the road to see how it fares with some age.

03-23-2010 23:36:57 | More by Parrotbeak
Photo of Sean9689


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

I originally had this at Darkness Day but wanted to wait a bit until I could sit down and review it properly. This time, it was on at Sheffield's. Poured into snifter.

A - Black, thin head, no lacing and no retention. Just a glass full of black liquid...not saying that it's a bad thing.

S - Smoke, dark fruity sweetness, black liquorice.

T - Similar to the nose. A good amount of smoke notes (I recall a lot more smoke notes at Darkness Day), subtle sweetness, a dark chocolate bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth, rich, dry finish.

D - Easy to drink, no real hint of alcohol. Another winner by Surly.

02-19-2010 21:01:28 | More by Sean9689
Photo of Florida9


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

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


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%

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.

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


3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

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

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

New York

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

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


4.22/5  rDev +3.2%

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.

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


4.43/5  rDev +8.3%

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.

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


4.35/5  rDev +6.4%

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!

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


4.6/5  rDev +12.5%

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...

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

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.93/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

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


4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

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


4.15/5  rDev +1.5%

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!

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


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%

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.

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


4.68/5  rDev +14.4%

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.

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


4.65/5  rDev +13.7%

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.

02-12-2009 05:33:16 | More by AdmiralDiaz
Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 716 ratings.