Four - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

268 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 268
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 446
Gots: 48 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pdoran10 on 02-24-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 268 | Reviews: 142
Reviews by motorhed:
Photo of motorhed
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been aged in my cellar since purchase. Wanted to see how it would change with age. It's probably past it's prime.

A - Pours jet black with a medium tan color head. Light lacing on glass and the head dissipated quickly.

S - Very sweet blackberry, currant, with espresso lightly in the background. The coffee has really mellowed out since last time i had this and the sweet berry smells are overpowering everything else.

T - The taste of this beer now reminds me of a chocolate covered blackberry mixed with espresso. Definately get the a smooth coffee finish but has mellowed out significantly since it was bottled. Alcohol present on the finish.

M - Smooth and perfect level of carbonation for the style, in my opinion. Can get the alcohol a bit on the backend.

O - Overall, at the time of release, this was one of my favorite Surly beers however it has changed significantly from what i had remembered. It's still a fabulous milk stout but in my opinion, this beer is past it's prime, so if anyone has any, you should consider consuming it now. I'm very surprised at how sweet/tart this beer has converted to, i dont remember it being so sweet orginally - most likely because the espresso was stronger and balanced it better.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tigg924
3.2/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Binny's Tap Room--Chicago

Appearance: black in color with minimal head, opaque

Smell: coffee and roasted malt

Taste: toasted malt and deep roasted dark coffee..the sweetness is more caramel like and appears at the end.

Mouthfeel: light body, low carbonation, sweet start--then the coffee tastes bitter followed by a really sweet end

Drinkability: Not as sweet for a milk stout as I am used to. The sweetness at the end is nice to ease the taste back from the really strong and bitter coffee taste--almost comparable to Bells Java. Not a bad beer, but I have had much better in the style. Worth a try if you are more looking for a regular stout.

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chewy08rx for sending me this beer as part of a big box full of Surly beers.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma has a ton of strong coffee and chocolate notes, with some light smoke and heavily roasted malt.

The flavor is more complex. I get a lot of coffee and lactose, as well as some roasted malt and some light chili pepper notes. Overall, the beer tastes quite a bit like malted milk balls. The alcohol is very well hidden and the beer is extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

Thick, heavy, full mouthfeel and low carbonation. A great beer. Glad I got to try it.

Photo of bsp77
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pitch black with thick tan head, leaving lots of lacing behind.

Smell: Espresso beans, molasses, chocolate, cream and a nice whiff of alcohol.

Taste: Dried out molasses, roasted barley, coffee, cream, chocolate and a light touch of citrus hops. There is also a nice level of smokiness and it almost seems as if it was barrel-aged, but I do not believe that it was.

Feel: Extremely smooth, lush body with low carbonation. Highly warming. Quite silky overall.

Drinkability: Just incredible. This gives KBS a run for its money. It may not have the Bourbon flavors, but it is just as rich, complex and delicious (if not more so).

Shouldn't this be classified as an American Imperial Stout, regardless of the Milk Stout base?

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a 750ml waxed bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Pours borderline black with a huge mocha colored head and phenomenal lacing, coating the glass.

S: Chocolate, burnt malts and heavy espresso

T: The first thing that seems to hit you is a bitterness from the dark roasted malts and the espresso. This is followed by a nice coffee flavor with hints of chocolate and vanilla. On the back end there is a touch of sweetness from the lactose.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and well carbonated for the style. I'm finding a lot of coffee stouts to be more carbonated than your normal stouts.

D: Pretty good I suppose, since I finished off the bottle myself with no problem. I don't think I would want any more in one sitting though. It's not really a heavy beer but it is a little bit on the rich side.

Photo of rudylaw
3.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ Binny's SL

Served in a 10z goblet with a tiny head. Very dark but not 100% opaque.

Tons of toasted malts and coffee in the nose. Quite obviously a coffee bomb.

More of the same in the taste although it the roastiness is almost too much. Burned coffee bean/brownie. Lessens as you work your way through, but it's a palate destroyer.

Thin body with low-medium carbonation. In no chance can I attempt another pour of this. It's just not balanced enough to make me come back. Way too much of a charred character for my liking.

Photo of glid02
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lance - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of strong roasted coffee backed by mildly sweet roasted malts. As it warms hints of dark chocolate aromas work their way into things.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt flavors with a good deal of lactose sweetness (could also be residual sugars) kick things off. Robust coffee flavors join in shortly thereafter and are followed by dark chocolate flavors lurking in the background. The coffee and roasted malt flavors carry through to a sollidy bitter finish leaving coffee flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall I thought this was the second-best coffee-themed milk stout I've had behind only Depth Charge (although to be honest there aren't many in the style). It may be a bit of homerism, but regardless this beer is certainly worth a shot.

Photo of dbossman
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pretty black with a subtle red tint; fast forming brown head that dissipates rather quickly

S: Roasted malts that smell slightly burnt; coffee/espresso and subtle chocolate aromas are present underneath; a subtle hop presence

T: Milky and creamy espresso; rich maltiness is also prevalent; coffee, vanilla; this is rich and delicious

F: So creamy; a perfect mouth coat

D: So delicious and drinkable; this goes down like chocolate milk; high alcohol is not noticeable at all

Photo of hooliganlife
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours jet black with a creamy mocha head

quite bitter with lots of chocolate and dark roasted malts

again, quite bitter. i was expecting this to be sweet however i found this quite bitter. lots of dark chocolate, espresso coffee, and roasted malts just dominating.

nice full body, bitterness through out, and moderate to mild carbonation

this was not what i had expected but worked out to be even better. this was a chocolate and coffee stout through out.

Photo of nickd717
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber thanks to largadeer on BA.

Pours black with a small tan head and some lacing.

Aroma is great - espresso, roast, and dark chocolate.

Flavor is really solid. Sweet dark chocolate, espresso, caramel malt, and a little alcohol. Sweet yet dry on the palate.

Medium-full body with average carbonation and some warmth.

This is a really solid impy stout overall, and I know one when I see one. On the sweeter side, but that's what the style is going for.

Photo of Kegatron
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml purple was topped bottle into a couple of snifters. Big thanks go to Stakem for sharing this guy.

Pours black, with 2 fingers of rich dark mocha head. This maintains a sudsy ½ finger or so of froth, leaving back a robust cascade of rich spotty lacing. Espresso jumps right out in the aroma, with some definite backing lactic character and more malty notes of cocoa and some sweeter molasses. There is just a touch of light ripe citrus here as well which helps round out the nose.

The taste is flavorful mix of coffee, green citrus (with maybe even a smidge of darker fruit as well), and then both cocoa and lactic flavors that really give this a smooth milk chocolate feel. This malt, lactose, citrus, and coffee flavors are all in balance and combine to give this a rich twang on the finish that lingers with a dry roasted feel and some lingering stickiness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a touch fuller; with a soft creaminess that puts just some light sharpness on the tongue during each sip. For 10% ABV this is just ridiculously smooth and I never would have guessed just how high this was while we were drinking it. Fantastic!

This was nice, being a big and chewy Imperial Milk Stout with a lot of delicious character to it and a super smooth drinkability that really kept this accessible for the size. I’m glad I got a chance at this one. Thanks again Adam!

Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What is up with the wax on the bottle. Hard as a rock and difficult to remove. Black in color with a large tan head that had excellant retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Plenty of lactose in the aroma. A lot of mocha coffee as well. Roasted malt rounds out the impressive aroma.

A little led down by the flavor. Has a burnt milk aftertaste that is a little off-putting. Elements of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and subtle smoke. Quite a bit of burnt bitterness that balances the sweet lactose. No sign of alcohol.

As good as a stout body could be. Thick, chewy, and a luxurious smooth texture. Exceptinal quality.

Other than a small flavor quibble, an exceptional, double milk stout. The high ABV will slow consumption and limit drinkability.

Photo of Tripphop
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th Review!!

Pours a reddish brown color, looks dark but light shines through as the glass is emptied. A tan head quickly appears and fades leaving no trace behind. Aromas are of stale coffee, burnt malt, and carmalized malt. Flavor is nice, lots of roast, coffee flavor is strong but not acidic or overpowering. Malt profile is very dry and burnt, the lactose lingers on the finish with coffee and a mild bitterness. Solid brew, glad I drank it now, this one won't age for much longer.

Photo of claaark13
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled for about 20 minutes and then poured into a Darkness snifter. Charlie, you're a badass.

A - Pours black with a nice light-tan head. Retention appears to be very good, as the frothy head seems to stick around for a bit until it fades into thick lacing. Sticks nicely to the side of the glass.

S - Sweet coffee/espresso. Hints of chocolate come through. The aroma screams for the beer to be consumed.

T - Sweet chocolate and coffee flavor with the lacto-milk backbone pretty evident. Meets and complements the espresso well. Espresso finish is very evident. It isn't a weak Maxwell House flavor. Slight sweetness comes through again. I think the sweetness in the finish helps keep the coffee flavor from falling off.

M - Creamy and slightly silky. Although I would say that it complements the beer well, I would prefer for it to be a little thicker for the particular flavors coming through.

O - This is a great Milk Stout. I've heard that the coffee is actually fading at this point, which makes me have some questions about how it was upon release.

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip. Inky black with burnt mahogany edges. Tobacco stained striated foam, the top layer was slightly darker than the first somehow. Extensive webs of sticky lace formed and covered the entire glass. Retention was good, a thin layer of skim rested on top for the duration.

Deep espresso notes in the aroma, rich and roasty, hints of sweet chocolate around the edges. Soft yet pungent, definitely a premium roast, nothing acrid or acidic at all.

Silky and smooth, very easy to drink despite the 10% abv. Huge espresso presence, firmly bitter and roasty, with a rich complexity. Tobacco, plum, raisin, oats, melted fudge brownies. Extremely smooth, yet full bodied. Zero trace of alcohol. Not especially sweet, as the coffee dominated, but there were elements of sweet chocolate and milk sugar present. Slightly dry aftertaste of roasty espresso and milk chocolate that linger nicely.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BeerTwinke for this bottle!
Poured in to tulip glass.

A - Poured black. Half a finger of espresso coloured head formed and reduced to a ring around the edges of the glass with a few scattered bubbles throughout. Good lacing.

S - Big espresso aroma up front despite the two years of age on this bottle. Roast and a fairly prominent sweetness from the milk sugar. Some milk chocolate and dark caramel aromas are also present.

T - A huge roast presence is met with a big sweetness up front. The espresso hits mid-palate and is not as robust as the nose indicated, which is a good thing as it allows the other flavours to play a bigger role. Sweet milk chocolate, dark caramel and molasses notes add layers of complexity. The finish has a mix of bitter espresso and sweet milk sugar, reminiscent of cappuccino.

M - Medium to full body with a really big chew. Light carbonation.

Photo of copyguyadam
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've only had a few other milk stouts and this one kicked their asses... Surly usually does.
Bomber into Darkness tulip.

A = Dark and a beautiful tan head. I dream of how this looks.
S = Sweet and coffee come to mind. It's a dark smell that's hard to describe.
T = Again, sweet and of perfect balance. Just a hint of booze.
M = It is light, but not thin. Just right.
D = This is too damn drinkable. I'm glad I was able to score a handful of these.

Happy fourth anniversary Surly! Many more!

Photo of EgadBananas
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Infinite thanks to my boy Bennettrox for this!

Pours black as nice, with a nice viscosity. Head's very creamy and rich; dark tan, and wonderful cream lacing. I'm not sure why anyone is saying the coffee is fading, because it's bold, rich and sultry. Granted, I've never had it truly fresh, but the coffee is there and bold. Lots of roast and some milk chocolate sweetness, and no alcohol. Coffee is big on the taste too: a slight bitter edge, very roasted, and with a great complimentary chocolate taste. You can't really taste any alcohol, but it makes itself known. Body is full, but it's not too rich, so drinkability is high.


Photo of jsanford
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Surly Darkness Tulip.

A - Pours a dark, inky black with a creamy khaki-colored head that settles to a thick haze and sudsy ring, leaving sheets of sticky lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Dark, "roasty" aromas of espresso, chocolate malt, sweet cream, sugar, and some bitter, ashy malt. Decent amount of coffee character is still left, I can only imagine how intense this was when fresh.
T - Taste is quite similar to the nose, lots of sweet flavors of chocolate syrup, espresso coffee, cream-and-sugar, and dark malt with a bit of raisin and charred wood. Finish is pleasantly bitter, like a dark chocolate, and lingers for some time.
M - Creamy and velvet-smooth, with a medium-full body and lower carbonation. The 10% ABV is hidden nicely, this could pass for a session Sweet Stout easily.
O - Glad I finally cracked this open, as much longer and the espresso character would've been muted beyond recognition. As is, it's an amazing Sweet Stout, and ranks right up with Terrapin's Depth Charge as best in class!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thrilled to start off my bday night with a bottle of this bad boy. After cutting my way through the wax I decanted into a pint glass and enjoyed for the next couple hours. Consumed on 06/11/2010.

The pour was huge, honestly one of the best i have seen in a long time. Dark as night with a towering head of tan that came up and over the top of the glass and coated everything with a thick, sticky layer of brown lacing that was not going anywhere.

Aroma is filling up the room with huge notes of coffee, chocolate, touches of vanilla and a warming, boozy note. Bringing it up to room temperature really starts to bring these out even more. Huge notes of roasted and lightly smoked notes coming up towards the surface. Rich, creamy and full bodied feel dump into the wonderfully large stout. Huge notes of coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, some light boozy notes, hints of vanilla and touches of oak and almost bourbon like booziness. Warming brings hints of light molasses and cookie dough to the equation now. Really just a great beer.

Overall damn drinkable and solid as hell. Maybe my favorite of the Aniiversary beers to date.

Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from mully. Thanks! The beer is an opaque dark brown with a solid leather-hued head. Looks appetizing.

Intense espresso aroma, almost to the point of being one-dimensional. There's a little dark chocolate, cream and earthiness.

Bitter chocolate and coffee with cream. Pretty rich, the lactose provides a lot of body and sweetness. Moderate alcohol presence around the mid-palate, along with slight tartness and ashy bitterness. Finishes sharp and roasty, fruity, mildly tart. The strong roasty bitterness does a good job of balancing the sweetness, though it wears down the palate after a while. Very enjoyable beer, though I couldn't drink much of it in one sitting.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber in blue/fuschia wax, thanks to oakbluff for joining us and bringing this fine brew!

Pours a dark brown almost black with two fingers of light tan head which leaves some light lacing down the glass.

This is an exceptionally smooth brew and dangerously drinkable. Not a ton of coffee in the nose but it's there, in the taste it's more like a cappuccino, smooth coffee flavor, sweet and creamy. Light lactose funk which might get more prominent with age (I don't think I would recommend aging it...), dark fruits, hints of cream. Impossible to find ABV, ridiculously smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

Really very nice though perhaps short of spectacular, especially in light of some of the other offerings of the night but Surly never really disappoints - this is a clear winner. Thanks Scott!

Photo of oline73
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Colossus snifter. I had this the other night during a tasting at finewinemike's place.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a finger of creamy tan head that fades to a small layer on top of the pour.

Smell: Very roasty and a bit ashy. Sweet and mildly creamy with a strong coffee presence.

Taste: Sweet up front with a bitterness in the finish. Lots of roast and coffee with a hint of dark fruits. There is a mild nutty taste in this one as well.

Mouthfeel: The body seems a bit thin given the abv and style. There is tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This was a very good milk stout. I may have liked it better fresh, if the coffee was a little bit stronger. I would have another given the chance.

Photo of cwguy5
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JackTheBear for this one! Tasted on NYE 2010. Reviewed from notes.

A - black with thin tan head; faded to a thin cap with some lacing
S - light coffee aroma less than expected; dark malt and a little bread
T - iced espresso with a little booze at the end but not hot; yummy
M - thin body overall but substantial presence still; somewhat strong overall taste but smooth overall
D - delicious tasting beer; well put together; would love more

Photo of iadler
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TIMMYJ21 for the bottle. I've been wanting to try this for a long long time.

A- Pours a deep black with a two finger mocha head, which slowly dissapates into a nice cap leaving some sheets of lacing behind.

S- Aroma was a bit subtle initially, but as it warmed up, fresh high quality roasted espresso beans were upfront, followed by dark berries, cream, dark chocolate, vanilla beans and a hint of smoke.

T- Espresso beans, cream, blackberries, black cherries, vanilla beans, roasted malt and some smokiness. The espresso is noticeable, but not dominant which allows the other flavors to shine as well.

M- Medium carbonation and a creamy body that finishes with some roasted malt and coffee oil that lingers.

O- I can't imagine how strong the coffee presence must have been fresh since the espresso is still pretty noticeable. At 2 years old, this is a really good milk stout, if not my favorite for the style. It did get a little sweet as I finished my glass, but the abv was hidden very well.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Four from Surly Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.