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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged
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BA SCORE
99
world-class

62 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 62
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 12.45%
Wants: 255
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Huge Imperial/Double Stout aged in a fresh bourbon barrel.

(Beer added by: AdmiralDiaz on 12-23-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 62 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -23.6%

01-10-2013 00:56:07 | More by spycow
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.7%

12-08-2011 23:43:06 | More by MasterSki
Photo of XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

12-13-2013 03:44:48 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

07-12-2014 08:44:14 | More by zestar
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.85/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Cask served straight from the bourbon barrel at ABR.

Pours a big foamy tan head. Color is pitch black.

Aroma: Creamy, light roast, vanilla. The oak shows more than the bourbon. Chocolate and cocoa. Very rich.

Taste: I get a whiskey flavor here that is very dominate. It is also very oaky. Creamy and roasty with a nice amount of coffee. A little heat shows. Caramel and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Warming and smooth. Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry.

Overall, I like it, but I don't like it. This beer is a lot thinner than regular darkness and obviously not as hoppy. I really enjoyed the whiskey flavors, but it just wasn't like regular darkenss. If the body was fuller and it was still pretty hoppy then I would be all about this.

Serving type: cask

09-29-2011 00:53:16 | More by mothman
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -18.1%

01-09-2013 03:27:32 | More by jrallen34
Photo of KAF
KAF

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

01-18-2012 22:43:37 | More by KAF
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Darkness Day 2011.

Very syrupy and thick looking. Just a mere handful of bubbles spot the top of the beer. Lacing? No.

A rich smelling brew. Extremely sweet and bourbony smelling. Strong notes of caramel and toffee.

The taste is very nice. Extremely sweet, almost like liquid toffee. A very nice bourbon presence that is not hot and overpowering. A bit of roasted malt coming through as well.

The feel is very sticky and syrupy. There is absolutely zero carbonation in this beer which it so desperately needs to help it open up.

Really enjoyed the flavor of this beer, but I would still take a BCS over it. Would probably be much more solid if there were some carbonation to help it breathe. Still, an good beer that is worth trying if you find it.

Serving type: cask

10-23-2011 15:26:20 | More by jera1350
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thewimperoo

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.7%

11-17-2011 14:58:47 | More by thewimperoo
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Sparky44

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -7.2%

03-23-2013 22:17:48 | More by Sparky44
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AleWatcher

Illinois

4/5  rDev -12.7%

11-24-2011 21:49:56 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1

Minnesota

4.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask. Served at ABR. Pours a very, very heady dark brown color with a reddish brown mahagony color head. The aroma is rich but isn’t as barrel and bourbon forward as I thought it may be, which is nice for me as I don’t like when BA beers get too much of the barrel. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. The bourbon is a little more noticeable in the taste along with chocolate, vanilla, and some roast. Overall, a balanced BA beer. Probably not as extreme as others would want.

Serving type: cask

10-23-2011 16:08:30 | More by kbutler1
Photo of DCon
DCon

Missouri

4.9/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on-cask w/ xsists & his gf @ the Surly Brewing Company's Darkness Day 2011 in Brooklyn Center, MN for $5. Tapped from the Black Handle under a WOODEN Barrel into my new 12oz Surly Darkness Tulip Glass!

Aroma- Very extreme boozy and has the strongest amount of malt and grain possible! The bourbon was lighter on the nose here but great, more complexity! Has a vinous and rich brandy type of aroma too. Just great!

Appearance- Received with almost no head at all (due to cask). Has a deep and viscous black colored body. Very opaque. Does not leave any lacing either on the glass.

Flavor- A very deep malt and boozy brew once again. Awesome! Has TONS of cherries in the background and definitely has the oaky taste. Not as bittersweet as usual oaked or bourbon stouts have and I like this! Strong, rich, and almost like a barleywine at times. Has a medium bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Lightest Carbonation, Chewy, and leaves awesome amount of cherries on the palate. Almost like drinking a cherry stout but then has a bit of booze on the end.

Overall Impression- This is definitely one of my favorite 2X Stouts! This cherry character that I found in here made an extreme impact in how I enjoyed this one as well! Very rich, boozy, and while its not the easiest brew to drink, you get a ton of time to get down more characteristics and descriptions of this guy. I hope the original Darkness is as good as this one! Will be tough to beat.

Serving type: cask

10-24-2011 21:31:39 | More by DCon
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FreshmanPour77

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +9.2%

12-03-2011 20:17:10 | More by FreshmanPour77
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herman77

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

11-30-2011 02:57:12 | More by herman77
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sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.25/5  rDev -7.2%

07-12-2012 11:30:06 | More by sliverX
Photo of younger35
younger35

Minnesota

4.65/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a couple full pours of this at Mackenzies in downtown Minneapolis. I will say to start, I do not like Darkness all that much. 2009 was much better than 2008. Actually, 2008 was hot garbage. Did not care for it. Drank from a generic pint glass, yes, a nice full pour!

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a nice frothy one finger dark tan head with fairly decent staying power. A decent cap and great collar remains the entire beer along with a fair amount of thick web like lacing.
Smell- Rich and bold as the nose is full of bourbon and wood. It still has an essence of that '08 Darkness as there is a somewhat herbally hoppiness still detectable. It's plenty roasted with a dark chocolaty char that has aspects of dark bitter baker's chocolate. I remember the original having more of a sweetened and dark fruit smell. Maybe a bit of molasses as well but it doesn't have an overly sweet smell thanks to the wood. Some vanilla pod and caramelized sugars to finish.
Taste- A nice big rush of intense milk chocolate and molasses right from the get go. Maybe a bit of licorice but once the bourbon and wood moves in look out. Doesn't quite have the intensity of BCS but it's in the same zip code. Deep caramel tones mix into that chocolate and vanilla aspect leading to a definite intense richness. The hops have definitely faded as the bourbon and chocolate do a fairly good job of taking the beer over. The alcohol is basically undetectable as well.
Mouthfeel- Very thick and rich with a big full body and light creamy carbonation.
Drinkability- So I hated '08 Darkness. Had I known if throwing it into a used bourbon barrel and let it sit for a year or two (have no idea how long it's been aging) would make it absolutely delicious, I wouldn't have been so hard on it all this time. It's not overly sweet now and the bourbon is absolutely spot on. Great beer that I went down to Mackenzies to just try one and ended up HAVING to get another. Badass.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2010 21:57:54 | More by younger35
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doucmehu

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +9.2%

12-09-2011 04:15:52 | More by doucmehu
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sprucetip

Alaska

5/5  rDev +9.2%

11-20-2011 15:40:47 | More by sprucetip
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
CaptainNomihodai

Illinois

2/5  rDev -56.3%

02-25-2013 05:37:27 | More by CaptainNomihodai
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. From first in line at the entry we made a beeline to the Surly tent first session at the ABR to get this. We were first in line and within minutes the line to this one single cask stretched half-way back to the gate, prompting Omar to stand up on a ladder advising anyone that didn't want the Bourbon aged Darkness to move to the other taps for bender, Four, etc.., none did of course.

Appearance was imposing, dark, with a heavy caramel-dark brown head that lasted. Smell was vanilla-bourbon, roasted malt and roasters chocolate. Taste follows the nose..vanilla, milk chocolate, molasses, toasted toffee. The distinct vanilla bourbon wood presence is lingering throughout. Its not sweet, and slightly warming. Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, rich and creamy. Overall this is an intensely rich sipper, so thick you could use a spoon.

Serving type: cask

09-18-2011 19:39:00 | More by JackieTH
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GeorgiaBeerGuy

Georgia

5/5  rDev +9.2%

07-18-2014 06:28:05 | More by GeorgiaBeerGuy
Photo of millelacsmark
millelacsmark

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +9.2%

11-14-2011 15:30:59 | More by millelacsmark
Photo of Mistofminn
Mistofminn

Minnesota

4.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes. Went to Mackenzie's (first time going there actually) to give this a try after finals were over (yea I had a final 2 days before Christmas...gross huh?)

I consider 2009 to be better than 2008, but it's hard to compare a fresh bottle to a year old keg, as the only time I've had 2008 Darkness was a couple weeks before Darkness Day 2009 on cask. I found 2008 to be almost overly sweet and the hops had dropped off quite a bit, while 2009 was intensely hoppy and just plain better all around.

Pours deep, motor-oil black with a brown sugar colored head. Excellent retention and awesome lacing.

No idea of the length this spent in the bourbon barrels, or even what kind of bourbon they were, but the bourbon is strong in this. Other notes include sweet and roasted malt, brown sugar and molasses and a dry hop character. It's pretty much exactly what I thought it would be, Darkness 2008 (sweet) with bourbon barrel aging characters.

Taste is just like the nose, but sweeter. Bourbon and wood characters shine, along with roasted malts and light hops. The wood character comes out strong, and I didn't pick it up in the nose.

Thick and rich, chewy and creamy. Full bodied with a low carbonation. Drinkability is dangerous, especially considering the ABV.

This puts an entirely new spin on Darkness. It adds enough to dimish the sweetness and focus my mind on other things. Excellent, and so glad I got a chance to try it! Wouldn't have missed this for the world (or another final!) so follow Surly on twitter to find out things like this!

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2010 06:42:49 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of tewaris
tewaris

Minnesota

3.23/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into ABR 2011 glass by the brewer himself!

Dark, rich black with a nice dark brown head. Good retention too... definitely inherits its looks from the base beer.

Aside from the looks and the raisin character of Darkness, this beer seems different on so many levels! The smoothness of regular Darkness is entirely missing, and so are the hops, obviously. The latter is not a bad thing in my opinion. However, this beer is still very sweet without being well integrated, and somewhat boozy, and yet the bourbon character is mute. Odd :/

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2011 08:24:48 | More by tewaris
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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.