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Four - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

141 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 141
Hads: 268
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 11.01%
Wants: 445
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.
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Reviews: 141 | Hads: 268
Photo of TastyTaste
4.92/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A Served in a darkness tulip, which seems apt since it is indeed as dark as that more famous Surly stout. Head is off-white, not too prominent at the time of serving.
S. Sweet espresso, caramel, molasses, dark roasted malts.
T Initially too cold for proper enjoyment from the tap, but the flavors sure come out as the beer warms. Chewy and rich, big coffee flavors abound. A very sweet beer, but it works in harmony with the bitter shot of hops on the back end. Not cloying, no off flavors, this is a well-constructed beer.
M Thinner than most in the imperial stout family, but it works very well with the big flavors that are present.
D Happy 4th Surly, I have been drinking your great beers from the start and this is an appropriate celebratory ale.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.92/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My brother picked up a few bottles for me when this first came out, and here I waited almost one full year to crack the first one (I'm an idiot with way too much beer). I can only imagine how good this might have been when fresh, this was just insanely delicous now though!

The text on the bottle describes this as "brewed with too many espresso beans, too much roasted barley and a healthy dose of milk sugar, this Double Espresso Milk Stout has layers of chocolate, espresso, and smoke flavors intertwined with a velvety lush body". Thick purple wax and a beautiful image in light blue ink on the front, this is a striking bottle. The beer itself pours dark, an opaque chocolaty brown color with a massive tan foam that settles to a reasonable finger or 2 in height, some clumpy lace too.

What an aroma, this is what I always want a milk stout to smell like. Rich and sweet smelling, very much like a chocolate malt. Lots of cocoa, lactic notes too, roasted malts, this has everything I want and it has massive amounts of everything. Big and bold.

Absolutely perfect flavor, somehow this never becomes cloyingly sweet, just strong and rich in every way. This is an easy beer to love, so much cocoa and coffee, lactic notes, and roasted malty goodness. Plus a thick and lush mouthfeel, coating my mouth with all those delicious qualities, this is a beer to savor. But I can't, as I shared it with a few other guys over a poker game. Oh well, I still got a huge pour, maybe 12oz, so I'm good. But I could easily see cruising through the entire 22oz, no problem.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- blacker than a moonless night with an awesome 3 finger mocha colored head. Lacing is all the way up the glass. Gorgeous

S- intensely strong dark coffee smell. Slight hints of chocolate and roasted malts...dear god.

T- awesome STRONG espresso goodness...no booziness at all. Finish is very sweet from the milk, but not nearly overwhelming. Perfect

M- thick and lovely. Might be a little too thick. But I don't care, its fantastic.

D- if you're not a huge coffee fan, it might be a little overwhelming...I am not a huge coffee guy. But this is FANTASTIC. My first Surly beer is a huge hit

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Photo of runfoodrun
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly an amazing brew! Milky with plenty of coffee and a very rch flavor. Nothing to complain about here. I believe this to be a superior brew to the excellent Darkness.

Appearence: dark, but not midnight dark, nice lacing, just enough head, but I'm not a fan of wasting 1/2 my beer on foam.

Smell: hmmmm...coffee, milk, toffee, I love coffe, I love this.

Taste: you have to try it. So much going on, yet simple enough to just enjoy.

Mouth feel: very little booze despite the abv.

Drink: had 2 on tap without noticing the effect, which was strong! Great brew. Wish it was seasonal and not a one off!

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Photo of copyguyadam
4.83/5  rDev +13.1%
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!

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Photo of Bombers4Benedict
4.82/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark with a light brown head that vanishes quickly. No lacing to really speak of which is the only reason this didn't get a 5.

S - Chocolatey covered in expresso and vanilla. There is definately a fullness to the body that is apparent at first inhale.

T - At first touch it starts with a semi sweet dark chocolate, and then continues to hit you with taste after taste: vanilla, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and a smokey grapefruit intermission taste to aftertaste.

M - Thick and encompassing yet not overwhelming. This immeditaly sticks to your inner cheeks and throat but fades to an wonderful aftertaste.

D - This is a truly a relative thing. This beer tastes so good I don't doubt I could drink this all night. However, I have a feeling after a couple I might be looking for a little relief. To be determined....

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Photo of Mississipping
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared in line at the BASC release

A: Pours a very, very dark brown with slightly glowing amber edges.  A fairly large dark mocha head billows out of the body and slowly settles to a thick foamy blanket.  Excellent lacing is left behind.  Although the street was dark, it was quite evident that this was a beautiful example of a milk stout.

S: The aroma is comprised of heavily roasted malt, freshly ground espresso, dark chocolate, and just a hint of vanilla, tobacco and dark fruit (plum and raisin).  This is a little smokier than I was expecting, but I'm glad that there is more going on than just a coffee-bomb, which the description would lead you to believe.  Really aromatic and an excellent balance between a nice roastiness, coffee house characteristics, and sweetness.  

T: Huge coffee presence, but it's not overpowering.  Rather, it's the aroma of fine espresso beans ground and roasted to perfection.  The heavily roasted malt combine extremely well with the coffee to create a warm, inviting cup of well-crafted beer to carry you throughout the rest of each sip. Toward the middle, the lactose, vanilla, and dark fruit mingle with the dominant flavors to add a little sweetness and really round things out.  The finish is slightly bitter, with the dominant coffee and smokiness lingering, yet met with a mild bitterness from the hop addition.  The hoppiness might be just a tad high for my taste, but it's nothing unexpected really, considering who made this beer.  Very nice mix of flavors to comprise the aftertaste, and a nice complement to the sweet mid-section.

M: Full-bodied; thick, creamy, slightly chewy.  Pretty well carbonated, which gives it a bit of a velvety feel on the tongue, and amplifies some of the flavors.  Moderately drying at the finish, due to the slightly bitter triad ... espresso, roasted malt, hops.  The mouthfeel was just about perfect, in my opinion. 

D: This beer is very, very good!  Absolutely the best milk stout I've ever had (though I haven't had many) and one of the better coffee stouts.  The flavors were delicious, the complexity was something I wasn't expecting but was hoping for, and the balance was almost perfect.  The alcohol was completely hidden, making this even easier to drink than it already was.  This is a pretty big stout, though, and the thickness will slow you down just a bit.  Really nothing to gripe about here.  I'm very glad I have another bottle that I might just have to enjoy myself this time!

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Photo of pdoran10
4.8/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Going to go ahead and review this one right away as I just got home from the release party tonight. There was quite a crowd at The Blue Nile tonight. Way more packed than the Darkness release day at Hell's Kitchen last fall.

I had a spot at the bar, and got many looks at the pour of this beer. It pours out a surprisingly dark thick blackish dark brown with a luxurious 2/3 inch of head that some of the bartenders had to scoop away with spoons to ensure they could get this beer served quick enough for all the people waiting for it. Good lacing was left on my glass when I finally got a pour of this and sipped on it. The smell wasn't anything amazing for a stout I get a bit of espresso up front with a bit of strong roasted malt. Still very inviting. The taste is amazing! Right away I get roasted malt, which is quickly blended with artisan quality espresso. This coffee flavoring works even better than Founder's Breakfast Stout for me. Really great flavor. It finishes very clean and crisp as you get a hint of milk and even perhaps a slight hop presence. The mouthfeel is very impressive for a big stout. Substantial, but not watery. Very high quality. Not overly syrupy. This is one of the more drinkable big stouts I have tried. It almost feels like a sessionable beer at 10%, even more smooth and crisp than many other stouts that aren't imperials. Overall a really impressive beer. Looking forward to picking up a bottle or two when the bottles get released.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.77/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark viscous motor oil appearance with a mocha colored head.

Smell is of massive coffee/espresso and huge roasted malts. Very pleasant in aroma.

Big espresso flavors and lots of hops. The hops create a nice grassy bitterness in the back of this beer behind the coffee. Huge malt backbone with a sweet milky finish.

Mouthfeel is super smooth and silky. Medium carbonation with a creamy finish.

Very drinkable beer, I could probably session a trillion of these.

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Photo of Penguin3200
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First taste of the Four, which I have been eagerly anticipating, and also making this my first beer review. Served in a tulip at 58 degrees from the cellar.

A - 4.5 Pours dark pitch black with an inch foam and great lacing that remains throughout. Sets the stage for what's to come.

S - 4.5 Smells of the expresso, smoke, and hops come through, with a hint of the milky goodness.

T - Mouth fills initially with sweet caramel and smoke, which is then hit with espresso and finished with the milky sweetness. WoW!!!

M - For the appearance, it is very light in the mouthfeel, but the finish on this beer just goes and goes!

D - Off the charts if you are a coffee and sweet stout lover. Glad I bought a good bunch of these to enjoy, and maybe trade.

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Photo of hardy008
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black, allowing no light to pass through. Has an impressive 3 finger tan head with good retention, which reminds me of the color of a chocolate milk shake. The smell is espresso and chocolate.

The taste is espresso, chocolate, and sugar. Has a nice mixture of coffee bitterness and sweetness from the chocolate and sugar, with the coffee bitterness being the strongest flavor.

Surly Four is so smooth and easy to drink, and the alcohol is well hidden for 10% abv. Medium bodied, and properly carbonated. I am glad I was able to purchase several bottles of this.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.67/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this on-tap at Hopleaf Bar; it capped a wonderful afternoon of exploring and imbibing in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. 12 oz. pour to a tall and rather slender cylinder (pints were $6, but we asked for a smaller pour - a regrettable choice...but read on).

A: Dark, dark chocolate, deep as a starless sky - might as well call it 'black'. Thin head of sudsy cinnamon, a gurgling wide-bubbled froth ring and a twirl of film.

S: Not-too-sweet aroma of cocoa nibs, dark chocolate with a twinge of tartness. Loads of husky grain, burnt yet sugary. Caramel reduction mixed with ample mocha/coffee roast. Aroma rolls, wave after wave.

T: Oh, good lord, this is tasty. Starts with a huge 'coffee' roast, dark and dry. That bitterness yields to sugared-cream sweetness before oscillating back to the bitter side. Tick-tock, tick-tock, back and forth these flavors go. Interspersed are caramel and lighter fudge, even tropical bits like coconut and melon. Just when the coffee seems to growing acrid, the pendulum shifts and sweeter malts recover. It all works exceedingly well and develops into something as magical as either the wife or I have tasted in a long time.

M: Thick without seeming 'sticky', full-bodied without seeming 'heavy'. Velvety feel, ultra-smooth carbonation. Lasting bitter-sweetness that lasts, thankfully, many minutes after finishing. Alcohol warming embraces, rather than attacks.

D: '10%' means that Surly Four deserves respect, but it is tough to stop at one. A couple of previous session pints and an impending dinner made ceasing a necessity on this night, but we (guldengirl and I) could have kept going. Highly recommended if you can find some on-tap. I'd LOVE to have this again.

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Photo of bsp77
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
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?

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

FOUR! Inky blackness. Floppy and loosely bubbled cap of iced frappacchino hued foam slurps up heavily at first, then thickens, and slips down to a skimming and lots of thick cob webbed lacing being strecthed all across the goblet.

Aroma is mostly of dried husks with a moderate dousing of milk chocolate and cold pressed coffee. Semi charred notes of graham cracker crust and smokey ABV murk its way thru as it sits.
The tapped version at release night had much more funky smokeyness to it, but this is quite nice and very bold and heavy.

Wonderfully fun to taste as Four expresses a big chocolatey dryness with oatmeal flaked crustyness, espresso/iced coffee/latte burntness, tender pull to chocolate cake sweetness, sherry and vanilla pod spiced warmth and cindering darkened bitterness that really sinks into one heck of a fantastic finish. By far the overall winningest best part of this celebration. The finish is so fulfullingly fun and full of warming chocolatey baked goods. Yum Absolutely!

Mild, yet rich, tender, yet bold; definately dark! Roasty, yet sweet, soft, smooth, and milkenesque, balanced with a superb dryness, and a nearly perfect pitch of alcoholic warmth that pulls unique chocolate and coffee characteristics onto the back of the palate. You'll wonder...how the hell they do that?
After talking to Todd about what process he actually did to produce 'Four', I'm still unsure exactly what he did to pull this off, lots of techincally fun jargon about freezing coffee and freezing the beer in the fermenter kinda stuff, but man it sounded crazy.

'Four' is one yummy fun treat from Surly! Hell yes I say! So Congrats to them! And here's to more! Cuz I'm feeling pretty 'Surly' now thanks to this and them!

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Photo of boothbeer
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Durty Nellies in Palatine.

A: Pours a dark black color with thin tan head that quickly becomes a thin ring of tiny bubbles around the edge of the snifter.

S: Coffee. All I can think of is sweet sugary coffee.

T: Tastes like it smells. A blend of milky sweetness and roasted coffee with a touch of chocolate and even a little smoke. I really enjoyed the flavor of this beer. Its very sweet, but I think the espresso flavor helps balance that.

M: Nice smooth, creamy body. Light carbonation.

D: Very drinkable and very good beer. Love the coffee added to this milk stout.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this from a great trader- millah- thanks a ton!!

A: pours a thick opaque black, not a hint of light passes through, thick velvety head upon pour, nice head retention, appears creamy

S: wow-- Surly knows how to infuse their beer with coffee. This stuff smells like putting your nose in a fresh bag of bold espresso beans. The coffee is huge and aromatic with tons of roast along with lots of dark chocolate. There are notes of smoke in there as well but this is predominately coffee...and it smells amazing.

T: the taste starts with some lactose sweetness with notes of caramel which immediately takes a back seat to the huge coffee/espresso character. The sweetness completely transforms in to intense roasted notes, and the finish leaves lingering notes of gourmet espresso on the palate.

MF: thick and creamy, velvety on the tongue

D: this beer is delicious. I like the way the coffee works with the milk stout base. The alcohol is insanely well hidden. I could replace this with my morning coffee, but due to the limited nature of this beer, that is just not possible. Another homerun from Surly.

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Photo of afksports
4.57/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle opened with my girlfriend in honor of my 30th birthday. Holy Lord, I picked the right bottle. We may just be sitting at home, but wow... This beer is fantastic.

Chocolate- POW!
Then Espresso- and it's roasted! Zap!
Then malt, then sugar, then lactose, then bitterness. Espresso bitterness. Zowee!

(That's the taste portion of this review)

Surly's fourth anniversary beer is brewed with espresso, toasty malts, and way too much of a ton of ingredients. At 10%, it packs a powerful punch.

And did I mention the label is off the charts sexy? I mean, robots making espresso with skulls and biergarten lady with cartoon proportions? Hide the girlfriend, "Im single, Miss Four!" wait no... Miss Four, do you want to meet my girlfriend? ;-)

The mouthfeel is bold and big, the appearance is dark and broody, the nose is King Chocolate Milk, and overall this bad boy is exceptional.

My one critique? You taste the alcohol in the lingering aftertaste. But seriously, that's like telling me I'm about to have a very good time.

Speaking of which...

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Danilo for this bottle of beer!

Poured from 750 bottle into oversized snifter. Might I add that this is the thickest wax I have ever seen. Man, it was tough getting into this bottle...the anticipation was killing me!

Appearance: black bodied beer. 2 fingers of khaki colored head that is made of small dense bubbles. Thick lacing is all over the side of the snifter.

Smell: Pretty straight forward nose with nothing mind blowing here and everything you would expect from the style. Big roasty coffee and sweet milk chocolates dominate the nose.

Taste: This has still got a lot of coffee notes in this beer! The coffee is upfront and in your face; the coffee still tastes fresh and its a nice roasty coffee. Midpalate you get gourmet milk chocolate that is sweet, but not cloying. The finish from this beer is fantastic... everything seems to come together. Hints of bitterness from the coffee, sweetness from the milk chocolates, and just a hint of smoke and earthiness. It just an awesome stout that has great balance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Creamy, thick, and coating. Yet still really drinkable. This beer drinks like its 7%, but it 10%! Not even a hint of booze in the taste of the beer. Wow.

Overall: This beer is holding up wonderfully! I never got to try this beer fresh, but its still a delicious beer! Stout lovers must try this beer. Surly... you rocked this beer and represented the style very well! Best milk stout I have EVER drank!

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice beautiful looking pour at Grumpy's NE, black with a great thick tan head, the only complauin might be that the head didn't stay long enough (but for a while). Lacing down the glass was very nice for the first half.
The aroma is coffee first and formost, and the billing of it being an espresso comes through well. There is a nice dark sugary malt touch to the aroma as well.
Taste is much more malty, with a touch of earthy hops. Sweetness is first and formost from the caramel malts and probably lactose. The coffee is very subtle, which is a preferance for me as I like it better in the aroma.
Mouthfeel might be my favorite part of this brew, not too thick as many big stouts are, but not thin at all. Carbed perfectly, and just an all around good experience. This beer is almost too drinkable for a 10% brew, scary.

Easily the best anniversary brew yet IMO, and this one could compete with some of the best big coffee stouts out there easily for me.

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Photo of mothman
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Darkness snifter and enjoyed on the patio at Cafe Twenty Eight on a gorgeous spring day (sounds amazing, right?).

Served with 1 finger of thick, creamy mocha tan colored head. Decent retention with some very nice lace walls. Color is a dark black.

Aroma: Tons of coffee flavors, with a large amount of hops. Big roasted malt profile with some rich chocolate. Vanilla notes in the background.

Taste: Tons of espresso and coffee flavors with roasted malts up front again. Huge earthy hop profile really balances this beer out, but still it is big. Very typical of Surly to hop the hell out of their beer. I like it. Big chocolate flavors with a light amount of vanilla. Well done.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, smooth, and bitter Medium (very nice amount) of carbonation with a medium to full body. Ends roasted and very clean.

Overall, extremely drinkable. It was hard to set my glass down. I really enjoyed this beer and I think it was well done for the style. I am glad I got to drink it. I hope I can find more of it around. This one is a must have!

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A- Big 3 finger bubbly dark beige head, really nice carbonation, really nice lacing sticks to the side of the glass for a while, dark pitch black color.
S- Big coffee aroma, sweet vanilla beans, slight alcohol is present, some cocoa, chocolate, nice roasty aroma.
T- Wow big flavors, vanilla beans, milk chocolate, big coffee flavors, roasted malts, cocoa, sweet bitterness, huge flavors, complex beer.
M- Big mouth feel, roasted, chewy, thick, sticky, well carbonated.
O- Very impressed, I’ve heard great things about this beer as well as bad things. I’ve had this one for a while and thought aging it would have hindered the beer instead of enhancing it. I was not able to try it fresh but I can only imagine how amazing it would have been fresh. This beer is complex and tasty. Now I feel a little sad I no longer have one in my cellar.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Sex is a three-letter word that needs some old-fashioned four-letter words to convey its full meaning."


Valrhona dark chocolate brown with a tiny glimmer of maraschino cherry red when backlit with the blindingly bright sunlight blasting through my front window. The fudge milkshake colored crown was a cascader immediately after the pour and looks incredible now that it has settled. Thick blankets of finely stippled lace put the finishing touches on the best looking milk stout in the history of milk stouts.

The nose is a wonderfully aromatic combination of roasted malt, espresso beans and milk sugar... just as was intended. If this beast tastes like it smells, then I'm in for a tasty treat of epic proportions.

Surly beer (most of it anyway) is dialed directly into my flavor preferences for each particular style. I can't be considered a homer if I live in a neighboring state, right? Four isn't the grand slam that is Darkness, but it's clearly a home run with men on base. Since freeze-concentration was used, maybe it's really an eis-stout.

The flavor profile is right on the money thanks to what tastes like a generous amount of tangy milk sugar. That quality is beautifully balanced by malt sugar and an ideal amount of hop bitterness. Oh yeah, 10 months in the bottle don't seem to have hurt it one bit. Alcohol... what alcohol? This might be the best milk stout... ever.

Specific flavors include Oreo cookies soaked in espresso and a large splash of buttermilk. Warming emboldens everything across the board. You have to love milk stouts to love Four, because it takes the style to the absolute full-blown extreme. These guys simply aren't capable of doing anything halfway.

The mouthfeel is big and silky-creamy without being ponderous, heavy or sticky. Pretty much what a double-digit stout ought to be. No worries about the understated escape of CO2 on crown cracking because plenty of bubbles have hung around and are doing what they need to do.

It is a testament to Todd's brewing skill that a beer as delicious as Four has a hard time cracking my top-5 Surly beers of all-time. The biggest reason is that milk stouts are way below IPAs/DIPAs and RISs when it comes to my favorites styles. Thanks a few hundred million to the felonious one for the bottle.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this a few times, but now its time to give it a review. Drank with brian23456. Poured it into a Dogfish Head snifter:

A - black with tan foam head that dissipates but keeps a ring of light foam around the edges. Some lacing retention, but not much.

S - milk chocolate, sweet milk. "Darkness with a bit of milk added to it" as Brian put it. Maybe its just me, but it kind of has a hint of chilies. Not hot or spicy, just a peppery flavor that mixes with the chocolate and milk. Perhaps its just the sweetness and the milk flavor.

T - milk chocolate up front, burnt malts and espresso middle and end. Very sweet in the beginning but toward the middle and end its kind of burnt, as in coffee and a bit bitter, as in coffee. I don't drink coffee, but for some reason I love coffee brews.

M - carbonation is perfect. Creamy and smooth.

D - IMO, this is an end of the night beer or after dinner beer. It leaves a lingering espresso flavor and sort of injures the palate, but only temporarly paralysis' it. For 10% it goes down pretty easy, but you can feel it after a few drinks.


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Photo of SykDoc
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this courtesy of stoutsnipas, much thanks. Poured from the bomber into a snifter. It pours a hearty almost black color. A 3/4 inch tan head forms and slowly reduces to a very nice lacing.

The aroma is up front espresso with that great roasted hit. A mild milky sweetness is in the background and some dark chocolate as well.

The taste is again that espresso/roasted coffee punch with perhaps a slight metallic component. This is followed by milky sweetness and dark chocolate at the finish.

The mouthfeel is full bodied. Carbonation is where it should be. It is uniquely creamy, smooth, and yet a somewhat sticky finish. A nice dryness and coffee bitterness lingers at the finish.

This is a very good beer and I will savor every last drop, as I'm not sure how much more of it I will be able to get my hands on. It is a solid milk stout with those imperial and coffee stout components nicely balanced out.

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Four from Surly Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.