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Smoke - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

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

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this brew!

A-Body is a dark brown opaque-nearly black hue.

S- Nose is somewhat complex but dominated by lots of smokey tones. There are also some stale earthy hops. plum, and unidentified sweetness, booze, and roasted chocolate malt.

T- Taste is very similar to the smell-only the smokes aspects are more pronounced yet blend with the other characters well. You can really detect the dark, chocoalte, roasted baltic porter in this brew.

M- Mouthfeel is well done. Medium carbonation and medium weight body as should be for the style. Slightly smooth yet slightly dry.

D- This was a good brew overall. Classic smoked porter. I have New Glarus smoke on the porter and I am interested to compare this experience to that brew.

PittBeerGirl, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of Bung
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz, received from MPLS. Muchas Gracias.
A rather dark nearly black pour with brown and burghundy around the edges. Almost no head, just some tan bubbles.

Aroma has a nice roast malt with dark chocolate tone to it. Some charcoal, oak, smokiness, peat and hint of dark red or blackberry like fruit.

Taste is what one would expect and very good. The "smoke" accent on the porter is just right, not over powering and not meaty like some traditional smoke lagers can be. A nice blend of roast malt, peat, oak and some dark vinuous fruit just peaks around.

The lack of head did not mean there was no carbonation. Very lively bubbles keep this just lively enough above creamy. Pretty solid medium body. It is a bit more warming that I would expect, with a lower high abv of 8.2. Still there was not problem putting this down, just warmed the throat and that worked its way down.

Certainly above average and worth seeking out. I'm sure this would be outstanding to age, unfortunately I have no more.

Bung, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Darkness Day 2009 (finally getting notes onto BA)

A: Dark brown, small layer of dark tan head that struggles to remain afloat.

S: Smoked, dark chocolate with some underlying caramel. Chocolate covered fruit.

T: Nice hearty sweetness hits the lips, before your mouth is ambushed by a tornado of smoke--worthy of a team of small town firefighters. Nice bready sweetness, chocolate cake.

M: Nailed the carbonation on this one. A thick liquid with just enough carbonation to make things slide smoothly. Think airport conveyor belt when you're too tried to walk.

D: Given the heartiness and flavour present in this brew, it is great. Not even sure of the ABV.

darklordlager, Jun 25, 2010
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
Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #100 on 6-13-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Poured black with 1 finger of foam, not much of a lacing ring but there was enough to show a little something on the glass. Can't see if there is any carbonation bubbles present

S - Smoke aroma, dark roasted malts. A bit of a hop presence lingering. Oatmeal and vanilla and coffee notes are the heavy hitters with smoke a little behind

T/M - Medium bodied, smoke flavors and coffee along with some dark baker's chocolate. Finished smooth and creamy. Not as smokey as some brews that I have add. Very easy drinker

D - Excellent choice for my 100th review. Another great brew from Surly. Medium bodied smooth sipper. An easy brew that I can easily have more than a couple of glasses of. I recommend this brew if you can find it yet on a shelf or trade for it

FreshmanPour77, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of woosterbill
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a mini nonic; shared at a tasting.

A: Looks black, with clear ruby tones around the edges. Fairly thin tan head that settles into a ring. No complaints.

S: Chocolate smoke. Perfect balance of rich sweet malts and smooth, meaty smoke. Awesome.

T: Follows the nose perfectly, with the malts taking the fore and the smoke following things up with a hint of oak on the finish. Delicious.

M: Surprisingly light and smooth body, with light carbonation. Could be better.

D: Tasty and very easy to put away. No noticeable alcohol.

Notes: Yet another great beer from Surly. This is both one of the best Baltic Porters I've ever had and one of the best smoked beers. There a lot going on here, and everything works beautifully. Thanks, Chris, for bringing this gem!


woosterbill, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of corby112
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review # 1000! Thanks a lot to traviserickson for sending this one to me in a recent trade.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even a trace of lighter color when held to a light source. Two finger frothy mocha colored head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing.

Roasty aroma that isn't is smokey as I expected with lots of dark malt notes. Hints of vlbitter dark chocolate, oatmeal, toffee, coffee bean, burnt toast and subtle spice. There is still a good bit of smokey aromas traditionally associated with smoked/rauchbiers. Hints of charcoal, campfire, ash etc. But again, there is a lot going on making it less one dimensional. Different and comex but not as intensely smokey as I prefer in the nose.

Chewy, viscous medium body that again, is only slightly smokey. Very well balanced with lots of luscious chocolate malt goodness. Slightly spivey possibly with anise as well as some hops to comiment the roasty/smokey notes. Hints of deep roasted coffee bean, bittersweet dark chocolate, burnt toast and toffee. As in the aroma, the smokiness isn't as intense as expected. Only subtle hints of vampire, butane, bacon, charcoal, BBQ, etc. integrated into the flavor. Very complex, excellently balanced and the high ABV is pretty well masked, making this beer ery quaffable. I really enjoyed this beer but didn't find it as smokey as I expected or hoped for. Highly recommend but I would warn the smokeheads out there that this beer isn't that intense in that regard.

corby112, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a dark black liquid with a little tan colored head that is tight and creamy.

S-the nose brings a ton of smokiness up front, lots of roasted and smokey malty goodness. notes of chocolate and anise. sweetness and hops in the back, plums, grassy hops.

T-the taste is even smokier. lots of smoke dark malts, chocolate, anise behind. plums and raisins in the back with a light grassy hop presence.

M-the feel is so smooth and creamy on the palate. the carb is light but enough to hold the body throughout. hint of crispness at the finish with just a touch of dry in the back.

D-definitely a good bit of smoke with a good malty sweetness and nice hop presence in the finish. solid drink here with some nice maltiness going on.

cpetrone84, Jun 01, 2010
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 homebrew311
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received as a kick ass extra from millah!! Hell yeah... what better beer to crack for the Lost finale!

A: Pours black with very little head and a slight bit of light passing through, a little bit of lacing

S: roasted barley, smoke, coffee, roasted notes, very malty and little hops

T: lots of roasted barley on the front, lots of classic porter/stout roastiness in there with the added dimension of hickory and smoke. The smoke is most prevalent on the finish with a touch of chocolatey sweetness

MF: medium body, seems on par for a baltic porter brewed with lager yeast, medium carbonation

D: a nice showcase of roasted and smoked malts, everything is in nice balance, the ABV is undetectable. I am convinced that Surly is incapable of brewing a beer that is anything less than spectacular.

homebrew311, May 24, 2010
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 samie85
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at The Twisted Spoke on 5/21; reviewed from notes.

A-Pours a cola color with a .5 finger, brown head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S-Smoky notes upfront with roasted malt and loads of chocolate in the aroma.

T-Big hit of chocolate upfront with some bitter dark chocolate, a hint of soy (not in a bad way) and some smokiness one the finish.

M-This is almost heavily carbonated but remains medium bodied, it seems perfect for this beer. Silky smooth in the mouth with a slight drying quality.

D-This is probably the most subtle smoky beer I've had. The smoke is definitely there, but it doesn't override everything else going on in this beer.

samie85, May 23, 2010
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought 2 of these from Four Firkins in the Minneapolis area. I love smoked beers, also Baltic Porters, so I expected a lot from this beer. Luckily it delivered.

First off, this is a really cool looking bottle, with a picture of a barrel, some wings, a human skull, and some raptor talons. Also, silver wax with some metallic flakes in it. Nobody waxes a bottle as well as Surly.

The beer is dark brown-black, completely opaque, with a thin tan foam. The aroma is exceptionally rich, woodsy smoked malt is strong but so is roasted malt and a surprising amount of chocolate malt. I wouldn't be able to tell this was a Baltic Porter, the smoke is pretty aggressive.

The taste is much sweeter than most porters, lots of malty sweetness and toastiness. The smoky flavor carries in the aftertaste for a long time. If anything could be improved flavor-wise, I'd like to ramp up the smoked malts and dial down the sweetness.

TurdFurgison, May 23, 2010
Photo of nickd717
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber via in-person DLD trade thanks to translucent.

Pours just about black with a small fading off-white head.

Aroma is somewhat smoky along with roast, chocolate, and anise.

Flavor is nice, full, and balanced. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, caramel, and smoke.

Smooth mouthfeel with fairly full body for a lager.

Very solid beer overall. Even better than I expected this would be as a highly rated beer from a brewery I really like.

nickd717, May 21, 2010
Photo of jera1350
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Viscous and black with a nice brown head that dissipates quickly.

Molasses sweetness with some vanilla bean and moderate smoke scent.

Lots of sweet sweet malt that lends notes of molasses, licorice, burnt sugar and vanilla. The smoke is not as powerful as I remembered it at Darkness Day. It's still there, but seems more moderate than huge smoke than when I had it before. This way is more drinkable though.

Full bodied and smooth. The carbonation is light. A slick, lightly syrupy feel.

Great drinkability for a smoked porter of this abv. An awesome example of the beer, but again, not as good as on tap at the brewery in the past. I'll have to have another bottle I guess!

jera1350, May 20, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew in a trade with tytoanderso, Thanks Tyler!

22oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - black brew with a tan head that thinned out completely after a few minutes.
S - rich, smokey aroma with a hint of vanilla bean.
T - delicious smokey tasting brew, there is a slight vanilla extract taste upfront.
F - full bodied with mild carbonation.
D - a pleasure to drink.

JoeyBeerBelly, May 19, 2010
Photo of brdc
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Recent bottling, from notes, thanks to a kind BA.

Poured into a pint glass, it shows a very dark color, near pitch black, but small caramel colored head, little retention.
Faint smoky aroma, some lightly roasted malts, caramel, very faint grassy hops.
The mouthfeel was disappointing, medium at best, and at times feels a bit watery. Taste is pleasant, but lacks depth. All surprising for the high ABV, and the brewery.
Notes include caramel maltiness, some dark fruits, minor smokiness.
xomparing my notes, I am left with the distinct impression something was lost between one of those first batches I had on tap and this bottle. Good, but very far from the greatness I noticed the first time. Quite disappointing.

brdc, May 18, 2010
Photo of copyguyadam
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review even though I've been a BA for over a year... just wanted to get a good selection of styles in my belly before sharing my opinion. Found this rare bottle by way of "friending" my favorite liquor store on Facebook.
Let my wife have a sip (she's not a BA) and she said "mmm" and smiled.

Served via bomber into a Duvel Tulip.

A = Nice and dark, not too much head. Just right.
S = Hint of smoke. Kind of sweet... in a good way for me.
T = Warmed up nice and smoke was perfectly placed.
M = When the smoke kicks in, you don't want to swallow. I could brush my teeth with this.
D = Would prefer a smaller bottle. Seems like a lot. Took 1.5 hours to finish this big boy. I will buy this again if Surly releases it.

Another example of Surly showing us why we love them.

copyguyadam, May 09, 2010
Photo of CosmoHopHead
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours black with a small light brown head and minimal lacing

S: good combo of roasted malts and chocolate with hints of coffee, fruits, nuts. all mixed with a very nice touch of smokiness

T: a bit sweet to start but then comes the mixture of dark chocolate covered fruits, coffee, oak, toasted nuts and roasted malts. faint hint of hops on the back end all mixed very well with a nice smokey touch.

M: smooth and creamy with a tame body and medium to high carbonation.

D: at 8.2% abv is very drinkable. very hard to notice and alcohol as you drink it. warms the throat a bit no burn. the sweetness is there but balanced very nice with the smoke

Overall, yet another very good beer from Surly. Very glad I got to try this one. Would recommend to all.

CosmoHopHead, May 07, 2010
Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a quickly dying finger of head.

Aroma is lightly toasted malts, cocoa powder, lots of floral hoppiness, and a hint of smokiness.

The flavor is better than the aroma would have led me to believe. A sweet dark fruit base is complemented by a subdued but still very noticeable smoke flavor. The aftertaste is spent charcoal. Everything about this beer is done with subtlety, yet the flavor profile is still very rich and robust. A hallmark of a well crafted beer.

The body is medium and carbonation is fairly low...could probably use a bit more. Still good though.

Overall this is definitely a fine beer, but one that is designed for a specific palate. Definitely worth giving a shot.

alcstradamus, May 04, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A very dark blackish brown color with red on the edges. Head rises up real quick and disappears just as quickly with no lacing.

S - The smoke name fits it, as it's smokey with dark fruits and some wood. Roasted malts.

T - You can taste the smoke, but they're not killing the beer with it. A touch of wood, with some dark fruits on the sweeter side. Little bit of vanilla.

M - Medium bodied with big bubble carbonation.

D - Fairly drinkable, definately drinkable for the style. Very solid.

AgentZero, May 04, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Big thanks to kbutler1 for this one.

3.0 A: Pitch black color. One finger of frothy tan head dies down as if it were a Coca-Cola and leaves no lacing. I've never seen anything quite like this.

4.5 S: Really nice. Smoke is probably the most notable aroma, but it isn't dominating. Rather, I'm picking up toasted malt and a slight burntness.

4.0 T: Toasty and roasty, the base porter is tasty. A touch of dark crystal sweetness comes through. The smoke, unfortunately, is very soft. I wish it were five times stronger.

3.5 M: Lighter body and perhaps too thin. Carbonation is also a little low, or perhaps it stays in solution too well. Other than that, smooth with a smoky finish.

3.5 D: Good beer, but a lot of room to improve. The base recipe is solid, but a higher mash temp and some flaked barley or wheat could do wonders.

DavoleBomb, May 03, 2010
Photo of camp0474
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown to black, almost dark red near edges. Dark tan head dies off quickly. Not much lacing if any.

S: Heavy toasted malts and coffee with faint smokey malt smell in the background. Also picking up some sweet smells from the oak aging.

T: Toasted malt and coffee. Also sweet malt flavors reminiscent of sweet and tart dark fruits - fig, prune. Definite oak and vanilla flavors from the aging. Finishes on the dry side with the smoked malts. Many layers of flavors, surprisingly balanced for everything this that is going on. Each part adds to the whole.

M/D: Medium body, slightly chewy but very smooth. Tingle from the fine carbonation. Body is a bit light but easy to forget this is lager brewed.

Once again another feather in Surly's hat, solid and unique beer.

camp0474, May 02, 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 herman77
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with just the slightest dark ruby hue to the edges. Just a little bit of brown head that dies off quickly into a collar, then that dies off to nothing. Lacing is non existent.

S: Smoked malt and tons of oak. A hint of coffee and dark fruits. Smells damn good, but slightly subdued even near room temp.

T: Roasted malt up front with a hint of dried fruits, cherries and raisins. A hint of bittersweet chocolate. Nice and oaky all the way through, very reminiscent of oak aged bender. There is some hop bitterness near the end as well to let you know whats up and this is Surly. A little smokiness is there the whole time, but comes out the most in the finish and lingers around for a little while.

M/D: A little bit thinner then I remembered it to be when I had it at the Surly Beer Dinner @ The Happy Gnome in Feb. Medium body. Carbonation is a little on the higher side at first, but dies down to hardly anything after a short while. ABV is hidden pretty well. A cold fall/winter night sipper. Drinkability is pretty good considering the style.

herman77, Apr 24, 2010
Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 744 ratings.