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Four - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

267 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 267
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 449
Gots: 49 | 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:
Beer added by: pdoran10 on 02-24-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 267 | Reviews: 142
Photo of schneid
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of hara94
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of DovaliHops
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black, with a small-medium, light-tan head. Scent is sweet chocolate and lactose. A good amount of cocoa powder, with very little espresso. Not sure what this smelled like fresh, but it smells amazing now. I'm guessing the espresso was more dominant in the past. Now the cocoa and lactose are very evident. Taste is sweet, milk chocolate with cocoa powder, Nestle Quick, milky lactose, and just a hint of espresso. The coffee profile is very subdued, but it is definitely "milky", which suits the style quite well. Mouthfeel is soft and very creamy. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this is the first Surly Anniversary beer I've had. Got Five and Syx after this. This one is going to be tough to beat. This beer sure held up well over the last few years.

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of korguy123
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surly Four courtesy of BeerTwinkie.
Poured into tulip.

A- Inky, oily, syrupy black pour. Finger and a half of light tan head. Lacing is pretty good.

S- Huge coffee notes, still after two years this thing is full of coffee wonder. Dark bitter chocolate, definitely getting the lactose sugar in the back giving it that real sweetness. Slight char and a touch of tobacco.

T- Up front is the lactose sugar, followed by semi sweet chocolate, than you get a huge wallop of burnt, bitter coffee. It's super coffee like I've never had in a beer before. I love coffee and this is excellent.

M- Medium to full body, creamy with just the right amount of carbonation to clean the palate.

O- The biggest thing I've heard/read about aging a beer is coffee flavours won't hold up. GI BCBCS being the biggest example. Either Goose Island can't make a beer of Surly added SO MUCH COFFEE to this that it is faded and the results after 2 years are mind blowing.

Photo of Ultraman9000
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Schmittymack
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of theminutemen
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of egrace84
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of josephwa
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 5.21.12 Thanks popinbottles

A - Pours a dark brown with a huge dark brown foamy head that lingers forever.

S - Milk chocolate, some wood, and roasted malts.

T - Strong coffee and chocolate. Some toffee and vanilla come out a little later.

D - Good carbonation here with a heavier body.

O - Coffee and smooth, very silky and nice. I was a bit worried how the coffee flavors would hold up on this one due to the age, but it tasted fantastic.

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 stakem
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split with some friends. The brew appears dark brown to black in color with a brown cap that is quick to recede. A swirl revives about a finger's worth of from that paints some spots of lacing effect on the glass. Around the edges, you can seem some lighter brown clarity and through the body some ruby clarity when held to the light.

The smell of this brew is sweet with hints of chocolate blended with a bit of musty coffee. There is a pleasant roasty element present that is a combination of coffee and roasted grain. A bit of earthiness rounds out the edges of this brew. Throughout the entire experience, there is this sweet smell of lactose that really draws in the scent of milk chocolate.

The taste is roasty from a combination of roasted grain and coffee. The coffee is much more prevalent here than the aroma suggested. The taste of the coffee inclusion is also more fresh tasting the slight mustiness picked up in the nose. Contrasting the bitterness of the roast is also a lactose sweetness that gives this a bit of a milky feel and really draws out the chocolate grain flavors just like it does in the aroma. The aftertaste has a bit of must and citrus inclusion partially from hops and partially from the citrus from the coffee. A light raisin touch of alcohol is also present as the brew warms up.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that is slick and coating to the feel. It is smooth and easy drinking with a pleasantly warming feel from the alcohol that really doesn't even become a factor until the glass is half empty. Overall, I thought this was a pretty fantastic sweet coffee stout. It ranks up there as probably the strongest and top 5 I have had. I wish I could of tried this sooner to get a bigger coffee punch but as-is more than a year after it's release, it is still drinking quite good.

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 piclee
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of portia99
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a CBS snifter.

A - Pours a thick, deep black color...totally opaque. A bit of muddiness is present, but doesn't really detract from teh appearance. A finger of cappuccino colored foam, thick and frothy sits on top for a minute or so, falls to the surface leaving behind islands of bubbles and a creamy foam lace is left down the sides of the glass. Good looking beer.

S - Opening the bottle resulted in a big waft of coffee and creamy milk chocolate that could be smelled several feet away. Once in the glass, the coffee totally takes over. Smells almost like a cup of black coffee...rich and intense. Notes of dark chocolate, cocoa powder can be found as well as some milk chocolate. Thinking this is going to be like a liquid chocolate covered espresso bean.

T - Black coffee front and center. Roasty and smooth with a bit of astringency on the finish. Nice touch of sweetness comes thru and smoothes the flavor. Hints of licorice, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate round things out.

M - I've yet to experience a beer this velvety smooth (perhaps BA Blackout, but its been a while). This almost has the consistency of whole milk. Super thick and goes down smooth. Almost feels like it is coating the entire mouth on each sip. Carbonation is on the lower side, a bit bubbly, not at all distracting. It feels alive, but just enough. Mouthfeel maybe the most impressive aspect of this beer.

O - I am really enjoying this beer. I find it hard to believe that this is a 10% beer - there is no discernable alcohol presence. This reminds me a bit of Founders Breakfast Stout (a favorite of mine) with the strong coffee presence and smooth mouthfeel. Sadly, I'm rather certain another bottle of this won't find its way into my cellar, but glad to at least get to try this once.

Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of TATURBO
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, Thanks to 4DALoveOfSTOUT for bringing this to share!

A: Super Dark Brown, Nice Head 1/2", Perfect Carbonation 4.5

S: Not really impressed with Smell on this one, Not really an inviting mix. A Bit of Chocolate, Espresso. 3.5

T: In One Word: Delicious! to elaborate, Chocolate, Coffee, Smoke. A Perfect combination of flavors that I love. 5.

M: Medium thickness, a bit lighter than I expected for the style, but still very good. 4.

O: I would love more of this! ISO!! I'll say again it's a prefect mix of flavors that I personally love. Drinks super easy for 10%. Always enjoy when a beer can hide it's higher alcohol content. Smell was my only weakness, but taste made up for it big time. Highly recommend!

Photo of Duff27
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice brown head retention on a dark brown beer. Great splotchy lacing!

Intoxicating scent blend of milk stout and coffee.

Chocolatey...Coffee is there but not overwhelming. Definite lacto aftertaste. Drinks closer to 6% than 10%abv.

Creamy although thinner than you'd think. Still well carbonated after two years.

Wow, with out a doubt the best milk stout I've ever had. Crazy drinkable. Surly did a great job with Four and with any luck they'll brew it again someday.

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of jsurfs82
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of eawolff99
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of vobr0002
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of hansgruber
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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Four from Surly Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.