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Moe's Bender - Surly Brewing Company

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Moe's Bender
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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

35 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 35
Hads: 147
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 3.67%
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.
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 35 | Hads: 147
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (729 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (746 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At last in my grasp, Moe's Bender…

dark brown with transparent, crimson footing, slim cocoa-tinged head.

If I remember correctly, the cocoa is coming from Guatemala, and the vanilla from Zimbabwe…? Or, maybe another African nation? The coffee is the same

Aroma: soft and spicy, warm and inviting, a complex and beguiling mix of chocolate and coffee with vanilla underneath, but slowly rising.

Taste: espresso tones come first, just the smallest bit bitter, but not an iota harsh or astringent. Very mellowed by the cocoa, charmed by the vanilla. Medium-bodied, with a strong flavor, and a long finish. Becomes languid and creamy.
Settles sweetly on the palate. You'd think it would be a tug of war, a cacophony of flavors, but it's nothing but harmony, melody, and deliciousness.

Every sip begs another, the flavor finds a lovely place in the mouth and it beckons out, "don't let me leave."

Halfway into the pint, it only makes my mouth happier. This joy spreads out through the senses, and touches the soul. Deep down contentedness.

In other words: "ahhhh…"
Furthermore: "Mmmm…" (1,098 characters)

Photo of biglobo8971
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (962 characters)

Photo of SurlyMe
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (732 characters)

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
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... (683 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (641 characters)

Photo of camp0474
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (871 characters)

Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (468 characters)

Photo of TheDudeRules
3.97/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a snifter.

Dirty brown appearance.

Coffee smell was right up front for me. Chocolate followed, rounded out by vanilla.

As far as taste went, I was hit by chocolate first. The coffee played a small role. Vanilla on the back end and still on the tongue after I swallowed.

Carbonation was descent. Had a nice light body to me.

It was a descent beer. Nothing blew me away but was very enjoyable. Certainly a session beer to the right person. (460 characters)

Photo of evanlarkin
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance:
Brown with a reasonable head. Dark and hazy, but not much light gets through.

Smell:
Chocolate and vanilla, with coffee in the background. Malty sweetness is apparent throughout.

Taste: Vanilla and coffee, with chocolate gaining headway in the middle. A slightly toasty malt finish coming back to chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel:
Creamy and smooth with lowish carbonation.

Drinkability:
The highest. This is the one. It tastes so smooth and rich, without being overpowering. This is one that you could drink all night, regardless of the strong flavors. (564 characters)

Photo of grub
3.83/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

sampled on tap at surly on darkness day, oct 23/2010.

pours deep red-brown with a hint of haze. when held to light flares of orange and ruby come through. a small dense dark tan head forms, dropping slowly with tons of thick lace.

aroma is good. coffee. vanilla. dark and milk chocolate. caramel and a bit of toffee. multi-grain bread and biscuit. light alcohol. hint of smoke.

taste is pretty similar to the aroma, but the coffee is more forward, with teh chocolate and vanilla more background players. medium-high bitterness level that builds even more along the way. vanilla and tobacco.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is so-so. the bitterness builds and by about the 6oz mark it was definitely overwhelmingly high. strangely, the alcohol feels a touch warm too. i think perhaps this is just a matter of trying to jam too many ideas into one beer. interesting though. (915 characters)

Photo of herman77
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (626 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
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... (924 characters)

Photo of bwiechmann
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (1,051 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (423 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
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. (854 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (399 characters)

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a plastic Surly glass!
40°F

$4.00 / ea.

A: Bright dark brown body topped with small loose tan head that quickly dissipates leaving just a trace of lacing and a thin creamy head.

S: My experience seems to vary from other reviews, but I immediately thought this was a wild version of Bender. The aroma was just slightly tart lactic with hints of coffee and a roasted nut character.

T: Again, I tasted what seemed like a wild beer. There was a bitter coffee flavor followed by what I thought was just a slight lactic sour. There were hints of vanilla and the same roasted quality I've come to expect from Bender. Hop flavors were subdued, but the overall flavor was excellent.

M: Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Left a light sour bite on the tongue, but no prolonged bitterness.

D: I enjoyed this offering quite a bit, and would have tried more if it didn't run out within 30 minutes of tapping. Not for everyone, but I could have tipped back several.

O: Great offering, I'd love to get more information from Surly on exactly what was changed from the original Bender. (1,113 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.65/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at DD 2010.

Dark brown color with a foamy tan head.

Strong roasted coffee bean smell with some dark cocoa and vanilla bean.

Huge roasted coffee taste with bitter dark chocolate and vanilla extract mixed in. Not a trace of sweetness to be found. Like iced coffee with vanilla extract and cocoa powder.

Thinner feeling like an iced coffee would be. Smooth feeling however.

Personally, this one is not for me. It lacks in sweetness which I think would make it more enjoyable. I do see coffee lovers really enjoying this one however. Glad to have tried it, but wouldn't need to have it again. (600 characters)

Photo of nkersten
3.86/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into plastic surly cup, opaque brown with thick mocha head. Smell is mostly coffee and chocolate, some hops. Taste is bitter coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted malt and hops. Mouthfeel is light body with medium carbonation. Drinkability is good, but the flavors are a bit strong to drink a lot of these. (309 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (491 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
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! (755 characters)

Photo of younger35
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (1,619 characters)

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