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Four - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

261 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 261
Reviews: 141
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 453
Gots: 47 | FT: 3
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pdoran10 on 02-24-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 261 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MysticX


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-15-2011 03:03:24 | More by MysticX
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North Dakota

5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-15-2011 01:50:54 | More by dizztracted
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4/5  rDev -7.8%

11-15-2011 01:00:59 | More by jh1982
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3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

11-14-2011 22:22:22 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of SrMonkey


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 21:10:35 | More by SrMonkey
Photo of kkrez


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 18:56:35 | More by kkrez
Photo of locke459


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 18:23:08 | More by locke459
Photo of hoeg0015


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 18:20:12 | More by hoeg0015
Photo of Yulles


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 17:13:54 | More by Yulles
Photo of SourNotes


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 16:10:06 | More by SourNotes
Photo of millelacsmark


4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

11-14-2011 15:34:25 | More by millelacsmark
Photo of hu5om


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 14:44:25 | More by hu5om
Photo of shuajw


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 14:34:05 | More by shuajw
Photo of djschnabel


5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-14-2011 12:42:34 | More by djschnabel
Photo of tbeq00


4/5  rDev -7.8%

11-14-2011 06:40:03 | More by tbeq00
Photo of ottovon


3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to ejyoung for sharing.

A: pours out dark with a brown head.

S: coffee, chocolate, sweetness. dark fruits and some alcohol and burnt sugar.

T: lots of coffee. lactose and some dark fruit. candi sugar, roasted malt, and chocolate. starts out with some sweetness from the lactose and then ends with coffee and bitterness.

M: medium and a good amount of carb.

O: this is a good beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 03:56:07 | More by ottovon
Photo of SykDoc


4.47/5  rDev +3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2011 02:43:57 | More by SykDoc
Photo of Arenbeer


4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle Into my Surly Darkness Snifter

Now that Five is out I figured it's about time to crack open this bad boy for the first time.

A- Pours out jet black no light coming through whatsoever, not even at the bottom of the glass. On top is a small 1 finger light brown head that slowly fades into a rim around the glass. Lines of lacing left on the glass as it slides down and has some really nice legs clinging to it.

S- Tons and tons of burnt roasted coffee beans of a higher quality and shots of espresso. The dark malts come through as well with a slight roasted note, grains, chocolate, smoke, and sweetness. Definitely has that lactose milk-like smell to it, really dominates the nose as it warms. Some alcohol present in this one but blends fairly nicely with the overall aroma.

T- Creamy dark roasted malts up front mix well with the milky sweetness but as soon as that passes to the middle of the tongue and on down the strong coffee character comes out and brings out a totally new beer and blends amazingly. The finish is where I think this beer shines and separates itself from any other milk or coffee stout I've had. It's hard to describe but it's got a very resiny finish, my guess it's from a combination of the smoke and burnt notes from the coffee. Almost gives it an ashtray taste but in a surprisingly good way. Tons of bittersweet dark chocolate comes through in this one as well. All I can say is what a beast of a stout! So simple yet so complex.

M- Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter yet creamy finish.

Overall I'm glad I put this one in the cellar for a year and brought it out now. Gave the coffee a chance to fade some and bring out all the other complex flavors this beer has. What a great stout that is definitely worth a try if you have the chance. Surly hasn't let me down yet and I have to say this is another one for the top shelf. Get it if you can and as much as you can. Drink one now, and one in a year. This beer will easily age with the best of them.


Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 01:19:20 | More by Arenbeer
Photo of Phelps


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by ejyoung and pitted against several other milk stouts at a recent meeting of the AZ Cooters. This one was brewed with espresso beans along with the regular milk stout ingredients and poured into my Lost Abbey stemware.

Not black, but super dark brown and completely opaque. A half-finger head of cocoa powder-colored foam remains for a while as a thin yet sticky top layer, leaving behind lots of spotty lace.

No secrets in the nose; just goodness. Smoky pork, sweet lactose, espresso beans, burnt toast.

Same deal in the flavor. There’s more sweet milk lactose, somewhat tangy before the swallow. The finish is all espresso, smoothly blended with dark chocolate and toast. Bitter roast lingers on the tongue between sips. Awesome.

Very light, prickly carbonation inside a creamy medium body with lots of heft. Some fumes come through the nose and mouth, but the booze is well-hidden by the flavor, for the most part.

Coffee-laden, creamy, tasty stuff. Against the other milk stouts, this was the clear winner.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 23:20:11 | More by Phelps
Photo of cwguy5

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 04:05:54 | More by cwguy5
Photo of FosterJM


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

735th Review on BA
Bottle to snifter

Thanks Tieman for some of this.

App- A very dark stout even for a milk stout. My beer was almost black with some lighter edges and a nice one finger head. A little bit of sticky cling and good lace.

Smell- I get a little bit of dark chocolate powder and slightly grainy. Some roast malts and some heavy cream with a bit of walnut.

Taste- One of the few milk stouts I have really enjoyed. This one was well balanced between a chocolate note and roasty espresso.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated. Slightly slick and thick with a good cream residual flavor.

Drink- Well I didnt post in the forum but so far surly hasnt let me down. Nice beer with good flavors and not overly roasty.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2011 18:53:13 | More by FosterJM
Photo of HopHead84


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


Enjoyed at Clusterfork #7 in a snifter. Bottle shared by tieman.

A: Black with a brown tinge near the edges. The head is big and creamy and light brown.

S: Strong espresso profile with a pleasant nuttiness. Dark chocolate blends with milk. Smells really good.

T: Earthy coffee with a low bitterness. Dark chocolate is pronounced and the beer is lightly sweet. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Full body with creamy medium carbonation.

Overall: Really nice stuff. Coffee is the most notable component, but it's well integrated rather than overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 09:16:14 | More by HopHead84
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.


Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 20:13:50 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of Mississipping


4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 16:00:45 | More by Mississipping
Photo of Chriscrundwell12


4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 04:34:41 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Four from Surly Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 261 ratings.