Moe's Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Moe's Bender
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35 Reviews
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Reviews: 35
Hads: 147
Avg: 4.37
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 122
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  5.52% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2010

Coffee chocolate vanilla brown ale aged on cherry and birch woods.
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 147
Photo of zeledonia
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Surly 5th anniversary event at the Blue Nile. Reviewed from notes.

This was the beer I really wanted to try at this Surly event, and I wasn't disappointed. Pours a nice dark brown with a heavy head that gradually relaxes. Smell is heavy on the coffee, with a nice mix of cocoa and vanilla backing it up. Flavor is so complex it's hard to believe. Take normal Bender, which is already a fantastic beer, then add some coffee, then some chocolate, then a bit of vanilla. These flavors come in waves, making for an incredibly sophisticated beer. Just wow. I really wish this were more widely available - I'd drink it all the time.

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Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Very dark not quite black but a little amber around the edges. Poured with a two finger creamy head.

S- Very chocolaty. A lot of vanilla, smells pretty sweet. It reminds me of smelling hot chocolate or even tootsie rolls. Yum!

T- Smooth, Vanilla comes out first, then the chocolate, and a very slight woody dryness from the oak. Really Really good.

M- Very light bodied and lower in carbonation. Based on everything else I expected more.

D- Extremely Drinkable.

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Photo of camp0474
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cafe 28 on 1/31/11 for Surly 5th Anniversary Party

A: Dark brown to black with a nice tall tan head. Good lacing and retention.

S: Great notes of bitter chocolate and fresh vanilla bean. Toasted malts and faint coffee still shine through. Smells amazing.

T: Bitter baking chocolate and vanilla bean present. Great flavor of regular Coffee Bender as a backbone. The coffee is slightly hidden and mellowed by the oak aging. Well balanced flavors and a great modification to an already great beer.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Slight hop bitterness. A bit silkier than regular Bender.

D: Well balanced with great flavors. Welcome addition to an already great Coffee Brown Ale.

The chocolate and vanilla flavors make this beer exceptional. Really glad I was able to try this beer. I really enjoy Bender and Coffee Bender, so this was a great treat.

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Photo of deebo
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had multiple pints of this at Surly's Power of the Pint event a couple weeks back.

Rather than write up the normal review, I'll simply focus on this beer relative to the other Benders from Surly. As much as I think coffee bender is better than the already solid bender due to the great balance between the roasted malts and the coffee notes. Moe's Bender takes it to yet another level. The balance of roasted malts, with chocolate espresso notes, and a hint of vanilla give this a wonderful smooth taste. This has a nice rich taste yet goes down way too easy.

I would love to see Surly keep making this one, simply a terrific beer.

If you get an opportunity to drink this beer, do it. And if you are lucky enough to get it for $4/pint, don't feel bad about drinking the tap dry.

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Photo of younger35
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stopped by Mackenzie's on my way home to try a glass of this version of one of my favorite beers. I'm a big fan of vanilla in beer if done right. Drank from a Surly Coffee Bender coffee mug.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish amber with a nice ½ finger fluffy light tan head. Nice cap and collar remains the entire beer while leaving a bit of spotty lacing down the glass.
Smell- Loads of vanilla right from the start that literally seems to jump out of the glass. Lots of coffee still makes its way through along with some raw cocoa nib like chocolate. I'm not sure I'd ever guess this was Coffee Bender by just smelling the beer since the vanilla is so dominate.
Taste- Tootsie Roll through and through. Loads of vanilla and cocoa with none of that coffee goodness I live so much in perhaps my favorite all-time beer. The vanilla makes the beer seem a bit sweeter than it is (or maybe it's the chocolate but the vanilla is what's more noticeable) but at least the vanilla tastes real. The chocolate plays second fiddle in this combo and perhaps even accentuates the vanilla. A bit of toast sneaks through as does just a snippet of citrus on the end. A long lasting vanilla richness lingers.
Mouthfeel- Very crisp and clean body with a medium feel that somehow manages to also be silky smooth and creamy.
Drinkability- Doesn't have the drinkability of the regular version but is most definitely unique and enjoyable. This is a desert beer to the fullest and fully showcases the power of the vanilla bean. No way I could drink more than one of these but hopefully we'll see this around town on more of a regular basis.

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

i had this beer at darkness days 2010

a: dark color with a small head and lacing

S: vanilla, oak, coffee, and chocolate

T: very creamy with chocolate, vinilla and a
hint of coffee with a lingering awsome after taste

m: smooth goodness

O: If it was sold I would buy it buy the case. this beer is a must try. I loved it

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Photo of ucis
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice dark caramel color. The head is a very slender, light puff. There is some nice lacing on the glass.

S: Chocolate, toffee, vanilla, malt bomb. I can't get my nose out of this glass.

T: Bitter bite of chocolate, vanilla and a wooden barrel pièce de résistance. There is s subtle hop characteristic hiding behind this vanilla, bitter choco-coffee, toffee and malt. This one is a savory beast.

M: Medium to lighter mouth feel. I wish this one was a bit thicker, but I do like the motor oil. Great all around drinker for the average advocate of champion beers.

O: This was a fantastic find at the White Horse in Saint Cloud. I had this on tap for the Surly Five party at Acadia Cafe and it's every bit of amazing I remember it being. Maybe even better. If this shows up near you it is a must try and worth the $8/ pour admission any day. (I will be sad when this keg is gone.)

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Photo of bwiechmann
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the keg at Darkness Day- poured into my Surly Coffee Mug.

A- Deep brown with an enormous head from the hurried keg pour, died down to a trace leaving some decent lacing.

S- Just what one would expect, Coffee Bender with strong notes of vanilla and a background of chocolate- I really did not think the nose of CoffeeBender could get better but it can- and it does in Moe's

T- Overall a very delicious brew, although, after the nose anything would be a touch of a let-down. I didn't find the sweetness others did, the base Coffee Bender is clearly present with a huge dose upfront. The vanilla is more prominent than the chocolate but both are apparent. Delicious

M- A titch thin with mild carbonation. Not bad at all though.

D- Personally, this is a very easy drinker. The levels of sweetness and bitterness that individuals are reporting are all over the board. For me, I think it was well balanced with the sweetness from the vanilla and the bitterness of the coffee. It really is a great beer that I thoroughly hope they start canning.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at Mckenzie's for MN Craft Beer Week, was excited to try this and wasnt let down.
ST - on tap, even though the guy behind the bar had no idea how to pour a good beer (see my review on Tea Bagged Furious) I was excited for this beer
A - very dark and murky, light brown head that laced somewhat down the glass.
S - best part of this beer. Every time I went to take a drink, I had to shove my nose in the snifter
T - first thing that hit me was the roast, then the complexity. This beer has a lot going on that all works well together. From the roast, to the chocolate, to the cherries, and finnally to the smoke. Each and every one of these flavors complement each other, instead of fight against each other to be the star.
M - a little bit boozy, but very easy to drink.
O - was excited to try this beer and was not left dissapointed. Only bad thing is that it is not around all the time. Will mos def pay the premium price for this premium beer.

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Photo of SurlyMe
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Surly 5th year anniversary parties at The Muddy Pig, Stub and Herbs, and Mac's Industrial.

A - Pours a deep amber/brown color with the slightest hue of murkyness. A thin light khaki colored head leaves some nice rings of lacing.

S - Golden grahams, slight hints of vanilla, chocolate/cocoa, and coffee, light smell but very pleasing.

T - Follows the nose nicely. Starts with a malty vanilla taste and a hint of chocolate/cocoa, finishes up with slight roasty coffee notes.

M - Light in body but very smooth the way all those flavors mash together, low carbonation.

D - Phenomenal, I had more than one of these at each event because they were so tasty and easy drinking. I wish they would can this already.

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Photo of hardy008
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Darkness Day. Reviewed from notes.

Dark brown with a small tan head with nice retention. The aroma has coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Quite nice.

This beer tastes just like the aroma. Coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. Maybe a little cocoa powder. Medium bodied, smooth, somewhat creamy, with nice carbonation. I like the original Bender a lot, and this version is also very good.

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Photo of mynie
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coffee Bender with cocoa and vanilla added to it? What kind of a monster would refuse to try that?

Pours like fizzy coffee. Smells like... like nothing I was expecting.

What was I expecting? Something simpler, I guess. Like, Coffee Bender with some CoffeMate added to it. That wouldn't have been very nice at all.

This smells spicier, sweeter, and smoother than regular Coffee Bender. The vanilla is quite rich, which greatly subdues the coffee nodes. Chocolate nodes become more present as the beer warms, it's a pleasantly dull and soft chocolate, sort of like a tootsie roll.

Tastes more coffee-ish. My friend said it was like espresso but I didn't think it was nearly astringent or bitter enough. More like Folger's (and if you think that's necessarily a bad thing, you are a weird, gross snob). The aroma's spiciness gives way to something more like what I had imagined the beer would be. You got the coffee of Coffee Bender, but then in the back end, where sticky sweet n' sour brownness of Bender usually comes in, you get nodes of spice, vanilla, and rounded milk chocolate. Very nicely done.

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Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Also called Moe's Bender. Had this at Great Taste.

Pours a light tan head. Color is pretty much brown like bender.

Aroma: This is basically a creamier version of bender with more roasted malts and vanilla. Plus, a bigger amount of chocolate malts here.

Taste: It seems to have more coffee than bender, somewhere between the level of bender and coffee bender. It has a big amount of chocolate. A big amount of vanilla makes this beer very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and sweet. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this beer is very good, but ever so sweet. It is fairly drinkable, but the sweetness from the vanilla makes you want to enjoy it on certain occasions only. I definitely enjoyed this one. Awesome brown ale!

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a surly pint glass at Mackenzies during MN Craft Beer Week.

A- Very dark brown, nice lacing, slight carbonation, ½ finger head
S- Chocolate, roasty espresso aroma, malts, hints of vanilla, very delicious, desert smelling beer, I cannot wait to try this one.
T- Very good, everything you smell you taste and more, chocolate and vanilla right away, malts, nice hops added, slight bitterness, very tasty, hints of roasted coffee as well. Very smooth.
M- Medium bodied, slight carbonation, smooth and well balanced.
O- Delicious chocolate flavor, very good, a lot better than regular bender, very surprised by this beer, only wish they brewed it more often. I look forward to my next poor of this delicious offering from Surly.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Darkness Day 2011.

Poured black with a half inch cap of tan foam that receded slowly leaving lacing.

Smell was roasty..malts, espresso, chocolates.

Tasted excellent. Roasted malty, espresso, hints of chocolate, porter notes, very smooth.

Medium body is creamy and, again, smooth. Very easy to drink. Can't wait to have it again, someday.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Free keg served while in line at Darkness Day. Thanks Omar and crew for this awesome gesture!!

A: the appearance is pretty much identical to Coffee Bender... deep brown color with some clarity, white head, decent retention

S: the nose is big with fresh coffee, a fairly big malt profile with notes of roasted barley and caramel, some vanilla and sweetness in the middle, a touch of chocolate. The aroma is very similar to regular coffee bender, the one difference being that the vanilla really smooths out the aroma and balances things out.

T: compared to regular coffee bender, the coffee is a little less pronounced on the palate and melds seamlessly with vanilla. This brew is much more balanced and smooth than its counterparts. Very nice.

MF: smooth and silky, perfect for the style

D: another delicious brew from one of the best breweries in the world! Wonder if we will ever see this outside of special events...

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Photo of Sean9689
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at FFF XV and poured into tasting glass.

A - Pours a chocolate brown color, tan-colored head, thin ring, quick dissipating head.

S - Chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, burnt sugars. The malts and chocolate work wonderfully together. Sweet, but not too sweet. Nice balance.

T - Like a Cafe Mocha with some toasted malts, light roast, and some oak. The chocolate is more pronounced and I was expecting more coffee, but hey, it's still really darn good. Nice vanilla and chocolate finish with light roast.

M - Light to medium, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Really an excellent brown ale to begin with (Bender, Coffee Bender, and Moe's Bender). I think that Moe's is even more impressive, if that's even possible. One of my favorite beers at FFF XV and glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of herman77
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Surly's 5th Anniversary party at Cafe 28.

A: Dark brown with a modest light tan head. Decent retention and good lacing.

S: Smells amazing. Lots of chocolate, vanilla extract and some roasted malt. A bit of coffee. The chocolate smell is incredible!

T: A lot like normal bender with a lot of bitter chocolate. Bitter like a bakers unsweetened chocolate. Coffee. You can barely pick up some vanilla sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth.

D: Good drinkability. A good twist on the classic Bender.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Whistle Binkies South last night for Surly's 5th Anniversary party. Served into a tulip:

A - Dark brown to black with light egg shell white head that dies pretty quick. Web lacing and OK retention.

S - Nice chocolate and roast malts. Vanilla and cream. Kind of like a roast chocolate milk.

T - Chocolate, coffee with a smooth vanilla and coco. Pretty nice but I wish it had just a bit more chocolate.

M - A bit watery but smooth. Just a tad creamy but again I wish it had a bit more body.

D - Easy to drink. Nice flavor and smell. It was just a bit thin in the body. But I'd drink this stuff all the time if I could. It would be nice if they canned it soon...

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Photo of jrallen34
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Darkness Day, drank from plastic Surly cup...A bright brown pour with a decent tan head...The aroma is tons of coffee with lots of vanilla mixed in, very creamy, roasty and probably a touch to sweet...The taste is all coffee again with lots of cream, this is basically an espresso. I like it though, maybe because it is sweet and cuts a lot of the coffee.

I drank my glass pretty easy, I'd recommend trying this.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Darkness Day. Served in a Surly-embossed plastic cup.

A - Served with a big billowing light tan foam that had great retention and eventually settled to a chunk cap with plenty of lace. The body is a nearly transparent cherry/mahogany brown.

S - Huge coffee, light chocolate, and a hint of nut brown ale.

T - Loads of coffee here as well, some some vanilla sweetness and a bitter espresso finish. Not sure I could easily distinguish this from Coffee Bender, but I did find the added sweetness blunts some of the harsher coffee notes.

M - Somewhat grainy gritty body, but pleasant carbonation is a plus. Medium-light body with a sticky finish.

D - Good brew, although it felt a little too big and intense after so many beers in such a short period of time. I'd totally have it again, and I find it less astringent than regular Coffee Bender.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Darkness Day, reviewed from notes.

A - A dark brown beer that had a tan head that foamed up a bit. Nice lacing left on the sides, good retention on the head.

S - Lot of coffee and roasted notes. A little bit of earth and some chocolate. Smells good.

T - Vanilla, chocolate, and big coffee. The end of the taste bitters to an espresso like finish. Little bit sour and ale like at the end. Interesting taste, something different, not bad at all.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D - A very nice beer, glad I got the chance to try it as it is something pretty different. Would not mind drinking again.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucky to try this one on-tap at the Hanger Room. Pour left a bit to be desired, though it was served in a sweet glass mug with the Surly logo. Nice dark brown color, little head to speak of though. Nose is good with a bit of coffee, some dark malt, and a hint of vanilla. Flavor, however, really packs a punch. This one hits hard for a 5-ish% ABV beer. A nice coffee brown ale falls into some leafy hops, following by a smooth hit of sweet vanilla. This is a pretty sick beer, though I guess my love for the regular Coffee Bender gives me a bit of bias. MF was a bit thin, not quite as smooth and silky as I recall Coffee Bender to be. Overall a good experience, missing some technical points to me, but a tasty beer nonetheless.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this from a keg while getting doughnuts at Darkness Day 2011. It was served in a plastic Surly cup. This beer is reviewed from notes.

Appearance- It's a dark brown opaque body. The head was only about half an inch and receded to a slight, tan film.

Smell- There is some coffee roast in the beer with earthy malts. Also some caramel malt sweetness and milk chocolate.

Taste- This beer has loads of roasted malt and coffee notes. There is also a little bit of chocolate and caramel malt sweetness.

Mouth feel- It is really smooth. The medium body is appropriate and really helps the beer. There is just enough carbonation to stop this beer from being too sticky.

Overall- Yes, it is a very good beer. Is it that much of an improvement over regular Bender? I think that is certainly debatable. Regardless, I'm very happy I got a shot at this, and would have it again if offered in a heartbeat.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at the Great Taste. Pours a nice brown ale color with a nice tan head, very similiar looking to the regular Surly Coffee Bender. Strong coffee and vanilla in the nose with some subtle chocolate aromas. I don't get too much oak in the aroma. Very smooth and velvety medium mouthfeel. Sweet up front chocolate taste followed by some coffee flavors. The vanilla is pretty pronounced and you ccan taste it the whole time you are drinking. Very well done and tasty. So far a favorite at GT.

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Moe's Bender from Surly Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.