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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: 14.99%
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.
View: Beers (55) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 141 | Hads: 268
Photo of FosterJM
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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.


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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 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 KickInTheChalice
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Dunt for bringing this bottle.

Appearance: Out of the bottle comes a mahogany brown, viscous liquid with ruby edges. A quick-fading brown head forms with the initial pour.

Smell: Balanced roast malt, nice full espresso and milk chocolate aroma, like chocolate covered espresso beans.

Taste: The flavor is very smooth, one of the key features I enjoy about milk stouts. It starts with some molasses sweetness and a sugary lactose flavor that lingers throughout. A milk chocolate presence turns from sweet to bitter as the sip progresses. The dark roasted malt starts to play a factor and a burst of espresso comes through, leading toward a bitter end. Just a touch of booze at the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is creamy although not over the top. The lactose adds an extra layer to the smoothness. There is a noticeable level of carbonation, maybe just a bit much, and there is a definite stickiness to the texture. All of this is wrapped in a fuller than medium body. To create a 10% milk stout that does not have an over the top body takes some great skill, and I definitely appreciate the effort.

Overall: This is a very enjoyable beer. The flavors blend very well together and the rich, creamy mouthfeel supports the flavor nicely.

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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 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 Tripphop
4/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of biglite351
3.28/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - just a touch of red around the edges with a creamy tan head.

S - mild coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and malt. A hot of smoke after a bit.

T - more smoke than anything else, but like the scent each piece is mild enough to not overwhelm. Coffee, chocolate and plum.

M - heavy coating with a mild tingle all over, including the throat.

D - probably just one.

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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 caskstrength
3.58/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this a year or so ago when released. Now trying again, a year after sitting in the basement. (the beer, not me)

Pours dark with ruby edges. Good off white carbonation.

First thing I notice on the nose is smoke, which surprised me. Then the expected coffee. Vanilla next. Looking for the lactose, maybe a little, but more roasted things here.

I remember this being so much about the coffee, rich coffee, with coffee notes and hints of coffee. A year later, it's still pretty coffee forward, but more smoke this time. Astringent, mainly because the coffee has lost much of it's richness. Some dark fruits way in the back. But it's a roasted/bitter coffee stout with lots of smoke. I'm forcing myself to find some milk stout sweetness mixing in with the vanilla on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than you'd think it would be, which worked fine. Carbonation appropriate.

Repeat after me: coffee beers are better fresh.

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Photo of drizzam
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 300th review!!!

Surly Four...brought to me by my MN Surly pipeline (Thanks Mike!)
Poured from the 750 ml brown bottle (waxed with purple wax) into my fine Spiegelau tulip.

A - An opaque dark brown body (closely bordering on black), darker than the darkest night, beckons. That beautiful dark body is topped by a tan one finger head of the finest Surly fluff. This is one delectable looking lady, and it reminds me a bit of the beautiful brunette wench on the label, pouring a nonic of this frothy goodness. The head leaves some thick yet naughty fishnet lacing down the inside of my glass.

S - Dark roasted malt and bitter bakers chocolate abound with a hint of that lactose that makes a milk stout what it is. Coffee takes over toward the end, making this a wonderful and complex smelling brew.

T & M - Dark, heavy roasted malt provides the backbone for this brew. Bitter chocolate makes an appearance, as well as that coffee I smelled in the aroma. There is a bit of that lactose sweetness as well. This is a very complex sweet stout, with many flavors jockeying to be the king. I think the one word that describes it best is "Robust". Heavy bodied creamy mouthfeel coats the mouth with heavy stout flavor. The finish on this one certainly isn't crisp...it lets you know that a big stout just kicked you in the teeth (and I'll grin all day long like a toothless Hockey player drinking this stuff).

D - As Barry Badrinath said in Beerfest..."I wish it were winter so we could freeze it into ice blocks and skate on it and melt it in the spring time and drink it!"

Surly has done it again! This is probably the best milk stout I've had in my life, and given the chance I will be picking up several bottles next year. If you can get your hands on it, buy it! You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of surlytwinsfan - many thanks to a great trader! Had the Smoke a few weeks back (also courtesy of surlytwinsfan) and absolutely loved it, so I have high hopes for this one. Poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours an abysmally dark brown, not quite black, opaque enough and consistently hued enough throughout that even holding this one up to direct light and tilting it such that a lesser volume of liquid stands between your watchful eye and the light still lets practically nothing through. Another thing to note - and perhaps the reason that this beer is consistently hued throughout - is that this beer is incredibly thick. The head on this one rose painfully slowly, so slowly in fact that I accelerated the speed of my pour when it seemed that no head was evolving. Too late I realized that it was evolving very slowly, and a good finger and a half of dark mocha lurched forth from the depths of this one to yield a fluffy, whipped head with admirable retention for a beer that's both a) 10% abv, and b) brewed with coffee, with all the oily additions that entails. That's not to say the retention was perfect - the promise of a great head faded inside a couple of minutes, leaving a nice but not spectacular collar and breath of surface dust. What is spectacular, on the other hand, is the lacing: crispy, rocky, and plentiful, it loops and streaks along the sides of the tulip, leaving solid patches and drips and just about every lacing pattern imaginable along the sides of this one. It's particularly amazing given that this is a coffee beer - I can only imagine there's an unbelievable bucketload of hops in this one.

Aroma: And hops there are. The aroma here is, roughly speaking, 1/3 tobacco, 1/3 fudge, and 1/3 coffee. I hesitate from saying 2/3 mocha because the chocolate here is really heavy, really thick, and really dark, unlike the light, sugary, creamy chocolate notes one usually associates with mocha. First, the hops. Surly loves to hop the hell out of everything (Darkness being the prototypical example of a dark beer that they abuse similarly), and this one's no different - fat, dank tobacco notes waft out of this one without agitation, laying thick on top of the surface of this one. They're not astringent, and the juicyness mingles well with the intensity of the other notes. The chocolate is heavy, fudgier than I expected - with a milk stout, I usually get a lot of milk chocolate notes, but this one is dark, heavy, thick, and very brownie like. The coffee notes - certainly the star of this beer, or at the very least intended to be the star - mingle well, sweet in all things, creamy, well sugared though not overly sugared. The remainder largely consists of dark fruits like raisins (yogurt covered) and cherries as well as a few other notes typical of dark stouts such as anise and charcoal.

Taste: I was in love with this beer when I first took a sip, but I'm stepping back from my infatuation a little, both for the sake of a reasoned review and also because I'm noticing a few flaws now that I did not before. First, everything I said above in the aroma category still holds true - this beer is highly hopped (taste specific note: the bitterness that one can only perceive by means of the tongue does a lot to cancel out the sweetness of this beer, so it tastes like sweet than it smells), leafy, green, and tobacco-y, but the aforementioned is definitely balanced by a slew of dark chocolate, toast, molasses, and full roast coffee. It's a great package of notes, all of it wrapped up in a blanket of dark fruits, milk sugar, anise, and ... well, astringency. Lots of it. Now, I know that coffee can sometimes come across as astringent, as can other toasted black malts, as can too much leafy, tobacco-y hops. I think the problem here is a combination of all of them, though perhaps the word problem is a little inappropriate, because it doesn't really detract from the fantastic combination of flavors described previously (except in the finish, where it leaves a bit of a harsh presence).

Mouthfeel: Bright and well-carbonated, but also, in a fat, thick, creamy stout body. The end result is nearly perfect for the flavor profile - creamy, smooth, velvety, with a feel that perfectly augments the milk sugar, the darkness of the cocoa, and the smoothness of the roast on the beans.

Drinkability: This beer is good. It's very good, in fact, though it's only borderline "great." That being said, if Surly could tone back the hops from 11 to, say, 7 or 8, amp up the milk sugar a tad, and tone back the general astringencies just a little ... I'd drink this shit every morning in lieu of my morning cup (or, to be more accurate, my morning two pots). The 10% is also a little daunting, though, as always, to its credit, it's hidden masterfully. All that gnashing aside, this is still a beer definitely worth seeking out - not quite as good as that Smoke, but great (and different) in its own way.

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Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of brdc
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes, thanks to stoutsnipas.

Poured into anifter, it produces a pitch black body, with a healthy brown head, long lasting.
The espresso aroma comes out before you even smell the glass, and that is followed by chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, and more coffee.
Creamy on the palate, the flavors are better balanced than the aroma, as the espresso and mocha here are just a part of this very tasty beer. Caramel, a mild burnt bitterness, oats, milk.
This is not ONE, but it is a very good beer.

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Photo of mcgwire756
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

This pours a dark black with a small tannish/brown head. It smells of sweet cream and a slight coffee. The taste is of sweet cream at the beginning with the espresso bitterness at the finish. There is a slight taste of coffee. I can tell that some of the intended coffee taste has been lost. However, since this is meant to be a milk stout first and foremost, I think a lot it better the now than if I had it super fresh. There is still a lot of complexity here, much more than any milk stout I have ever had. Even at 10%, I could drink this all night long. As good as it gets for milk stouts in my opinion. Drink this now if you have it.

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Photo of circlenine
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into 3 8 oz. tulip glasses.

A: Pours and opaque black with a tan/light brown head and heavy lacing.

S: Very strong coffee aroma hits the nose.

T: There is a very heavy malt flavor present, an extremely strong espresso/coffee taste as well. The bitterness of the coffee is beautifully balanced with a little sweetness... Alcohol does not come across in the taste at all.

M: Not heavily carbonated, seems light bodied compared to other stouts.

D: Very easy to drink this one. No one flavor is overpowering.

Comments: All three of us thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Too bad I only have, I mean had, one.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks Tick.

A: Pours a black body with moderate translucence in smaller quantities. The head is a short-lived affair of light tan foam; it leaves some tendrils of lace after a sip. Broken swirls of bubbles on top of the beer.

S: Milk sugar shines through. It takes the edge off the espresso and gives it an overall coffee + cream vibe. Chocolate, vanilla, and a smell of roasted grain. It's pleasant.

T: I like milk sugar presence in stouts, and it's very well done here, so I'm more inclined to be favorable. The lactose is noticeable without being dominant. Coffee is much stronger, and it contributes a bitterness and touch of astringency that lingers into the aftertaste. Chocolate and smoke in the finish. It's not the most complex flavor, but it is a nice marriage of different elements into a pleasing experience.

M: Medium viscosity, but the flavor coats the tongue well and lingers into the aftertaste. I'm not a fan of the lingering bitterness, but it's not a deal-breaker.

D: A really tasty beer. I wound up returning to this one several times even after others passed it by for the later bottles opened.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter glass. Bottled in February 2010.

Appearance: Pours a ruby black with a chocolate milkshake foamy head. Head fades fairly quickly, but does leave some lacing.

Smell: Very roasty aroma up front. A decent blend of coffee beans and roasted barley. Some residual sweetness along with some chocolate and vanilla notes rounds it up.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very sweet. The milk sugar hits hard first then blends into a delicious creamy iced mocha type drink. Mouthfeel is perfect. A rich, creamy treat.

Drinkability: At 10% abv, this drinks very well. It is pretty sweet, but that's what it's supposed to be. Wish I could've tried this one fresh for a little more coffee aroma/flavor.

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Photo of GradyS1
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a thick dark black, nice cream colored head forms.
S- the style is correct, lost of chocolate and more espresso! There is some sweet undertones from the milk sugar I'm assuming.
T- starts off like an iced coffee with cream, sweet cream and dark chocolate, then the espresso finish moves in. A lot of espresso and roast in the aftertaste but the milk sugar helps to balance it out a bit.
M- Very smooth and creamy, not much carbonation but the style follows suit. It ended up being a little thinner than I expected but overall very good.

I would revisit this one any time. I am a big fan of Big stouts ad this one fits the bill. There is a lot of coffee in this one. I like the twist of the milk sugar but it is not for everyone as it really does sweeten this up a bit

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Photo of seeswo
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened this a few weeks ago at a tasting after having had it at the Great Taste. Pours jet black with a reasonable tan head. Looks fantastic. Smells of boozy coffee, a bit of chocolate roast. Nearly mouthwatering. Tastes of coffee, chocolate, with an enjoyable lactic creaminess in the mouth. Really tasty and drinkable with quite a bit of coffee despite drinking it many months after it was made. This is quite an impressive beer.

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Photo of GregBlatz
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Can't get this in Ohio. Friend visited Minneapolis and sent me a bottle. This was around 6 months ago. Waiting for a special occasion.

A - Black as black gets. I held mine up to the light and could not see anything through it. Head is very big for a high ABV beer. Tan in color with a rocky appearance and tan color.

S - Dark coffee. Strong alcohol heat. Makes me think of an oatmeal stout but no mention of oats.

T - Sweet chocolate. Strong alcohol warmth. Chocolate powder texture? Maybe that was the coffee but I taste chocolate. Maybe because the lactose makes it taste sweet. Very sweet in fact, but the finish is bitter enough that I don't notice any sweet cloyness. Basically I know that it is flavored with espresso, but with the lactose, I think more of chocolate.

M - Carbonation is mild despite the head. Alcohol warmth builds after a few sips but seems appropriate. Thick mouthfeel due to the lactose.

D - Deceptive. It should not be this drinkable.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chaney (Brandon) for bringing this rare bottle over to my house for a tasting!

A: Black with brown highlights and awesome lacing, tan ring of head.

S: Awesome. Huge gourmet roast with lots of gourmet creamer added maybe with some mocha chocolate flavor. Baconish salty smoke flavors come through also.

T: Really nice coffee and milk stout mix, was amazed at the balance of two distinct stout styles. Coffee is there but not too bitter, the milk lactose is there but not too sweet. Nice roastiness also. Dark succulent fruit and chocolate hit the palate as well.

M: Awesome level of carbonation and VERY smooth and smoky without showing alcohol at all. Milky silk feel.

D: Lucky to try this great stout achievement of Surly. Look forward to trying Darkness soon!

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