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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Surly Brewing Company

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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged
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81 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 265
Gots: 11 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: AdmiralDiaz on 12-23-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 19
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4/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of mothman
3.85/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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3.75/5  rDev -17.8%

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4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jera1350
4.16/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

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4/5  rDev -12.3%

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3.8/5  rDev -16.7%

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4/5  rDev -12.3%

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4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of kbutler1
4.13/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of DCon
4.89/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of younger35
4.61/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Surly Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.