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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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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

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4/5  rDev -12.3%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of carlton012
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best beer of the Surly entourage, by far. It's like cough syrup. I loved looking at my empty glass, seeing the residue look like syrup. The flavor and pour were my favorite. It was a perfect compliment to a spicy breakfast, specifically chorizo. It was a very smooth beer, with a great bourbon feel from the initial taste to that feeling as it's going down. Love this beer.

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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4/5  rDev -12.3%

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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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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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4/5  rDev -12.3%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was poured from a wooden cask at Darkness Day into a plastic Surly cup. The review is from notes.

Appearance- It pours a syrupy dark brown with no highlights and is completely opaque. There is very little head, just a slight film of mocha-brown. There is no lace that I can see.

Smell- The profile is a bit surprising. I expected a lot more bourbon on the head. It is there, but it is subtle and mixes with the strong chocolate and toffee notes. The sweetness from dark fruit and cherries is way more subdued than in the regular Darkness. It is so complex and great.

Taste- Wow is this good! It is still really sweet, but again, it isn't as much fruity anymore as a malty, toffee sweetness, even a little bready.

As expected, the bourbon note is there, and is really oaky. I am also impressed how it isn't overwhelming and doesn't really pack that much heat.

Finally, there is some dark cherry hanging around in the finish with some chocolate and roasted malt. The barrel aging did wonders to the profiles.

Mouth feel- Being in the cask has really taken care of any carbonation that may have been there before. It is really chewy and full bodied. It is almost like drinking a syrup.

Overall- In all ways this is an improvement over regular Darkness. The barrel aging has improved the flavor profile and made the mouth feel all the more impressive.

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.

Photo of ucis
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall I wanted to love this beer like a red-headed step-child. I can't believe it has taken me this long to sip this monster. It's oily and resinous and smells so amazing, but the mouth isn't as pleasing as regular darkness. I think it's a hard formula to f- with. It kisses your lips like oily garlic bread, but the smell is what your in it for. So amazing-- So clean. It's absolutely worth a taste if your ever given the chance.

The sweetness is numb and the hops are subdued by the bourbon. Even though the pine resin is there. Don't get me wrong this is one sweet mamma jamma. It is wonderful that it doesn't taste like Darkness with a splash of bourbon. It is something entirely different.

Note to self: I love this beer and would drink it if they ever bottled it. Maybe it will be a regular staple at the new brewery--hint, hint.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of tewaris
3.24/5  rDev -28.9%
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 :/

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