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Damien - Surly Brewing Company

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Damien
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BA SCORE
88
very good

34 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 34
Hads: 258
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 8.82%
Wants: 17
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ungertaker on 10-22-2011

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (51) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 34 | Hads: 258
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this is a let down for me. the first one they poured was full of yeast chunks. i returned it and they apologized, so no worries there, but even the second pour looked really yeasty for the style, chunky too, just not all that good, even on that second pour. the head is short but persistent though. it smells like dark malts but very thin, like pale two row and a dash of roasted unmalted barley without much else. there are some hops too, but i expected a lot more on this. more body, more flavor, more layers, more hops, more bitterness, everything. maybe a double black ipa, or a hoppy big porter, but its thin and under flavored for what it is, very let down bu the overall vibe on this. thin in feel, unexciting. this was the least enjoyable beer i had at surly, not that its bad, but i hold these guys to a much higher standard. this is slightly substandard. (864 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I liked this somewhat. Had on tap at brewery. It was too sweet in the malt character and there was not much hops to speak of. The carbonation was also overpowering. It was a lot like drinking soda, both in the feel and sweetness. It was also served ice cold, which is normal but I feel this beer could do better a little warmer. That was the case as I let it warm up. There were some nice malt characteristics in there, nice and grainy in the finish, but overall just too sweet for me. (485 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served from tap in a tumbler at Beer Market - Vernon Hills.

Insert Omen/South Park reference here. This stuff pours a straight black-brown topped by a finger or so of khaki foam. The nose comprises treacle, light cocoa powder, and dank greens. The taste brings in more of the same, along with some dark roast (nigh burnt) and a twang of dried maple syrup. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a generally fluid feel. Overall, this is exactly how I thought a second-runnings-from-Darkness black IPA would be. Not bad at all. (567 characters)

Photo of Redrover
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I had a couple of these while dinning at Haute Dish.

Served in a standard pint, the beer is black with a dark tan head. It has nice lacing.

Nose of roasted malts and lots of hops, just what the doctor ordered.

There is a hint of dark coco and chocolate from the malts. It was less hoppy than I expected (given the nose), but was still nicely balanced.

A nice medium mouth (lighter than I expected give the smell and appearance) added to the drinkability.

My waitress said it was a good choice when I ordered it, know what, she was right! (546 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10oz pour into a Darkness goblet at the Surly Tap Room today, 11/29/2013.

Looks like a fairly standard black ale; very pitch black and opaque. But it looks quite thin when swirled around, in comparison to Darkness right next to it. Nice 1cm white head, nothing much going in terms of lacing.

Smells phenomenal. Really smells like a Black IPA; they must hop this stuff up with the same stuff they hop Abrasive with. Lots of citrus, grapefruit, a bit of pineapple and some pine. It's a citrus bomb.

Flavour kind of falls flat. The citrus flavours come through fairly well, but I'm not so sure what to make of its interplay with the roasted malt backbone. Its there in some capacity but it doesn't mesh very well with the citrus. It's not a typical flavour profile for a black IPA either.

On the thin side, a bit watery but OK carbonation. Some bitter aftertaste from the hops.

Interesting, especially once you hear about the premise behind it, but definitely not something I'd recommend trying more than once. Its simply not that great. (1,039 characters)

Photo of Philly82785
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had it on tap last night at the Blue Nile. It poured black with minimal head. The nose was quite floral. It had a mouthfeel similar to a lager. The hop presence was pronuced in the taste but it wasn't bitter. You could also taste the roasted malts from the remenats of Darkness. It was similar to what I would expect a black IPA to taste like. I did however expect more bitterness. All in all still another good brew from Surly. (430 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.37/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served on-draught into a 12 oz stem-goblet at the Republic Bar in Minneapolis. Cost was $6.00. Reviewed from notes taken earlier this month.

A: Pours a half finger khaki-tan colour head of nice cream and thickness, but poor retention. Body colour is a solid black.

Sm: Chocolate, dark malts, roast, and hints of coffee. The pronounced roast is particularly inviting. A mild strength aroma.

T: Chocolate, a bit of coffee, dark malts, and hints of cream. Licorice. Balanced and decently built, but not complex or subtle. I do like it, but I expect better from Surly. Well layered. Pleasant.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit sharp. Good thickness and pretty good carbonation. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: Drinkable and flavorful, but Surly has far better beers. I doubt I'd get it again, but it was nice to try once. Hides its ABV well. Fairly priced.

B- (856 characters)

Photo of NilocRellim
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

We were told that this one was the "Son of Darkness." The ale was very dark in colour and had a cream coloured head which died quickly. Smokey, roasted grains in taste with a light body and finish; leaving a slight lingering palate. No forward malts or hops really detected.

Would I buy it again? Probably (306 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes from Darkness Day 2010.

Pours dark brown with a small tan head with decent retention and some lacing. Smells like grapefruit, pine, chocolate, and dark roasted malt. The grapefruit and pine aromas were stronger than the malt aromas.

The taste is just like the aroma with grapefruit, pine, chocolate and dark roasted malt. The hops are the star here, with the malt playing a supporting role.

Medium bodied with slightly below average carbonation. A nice flavorful beer, which I am glad I had a chance to try. (530 characters)

Photo of stealth
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at darkness day 2011. The black ale style was new to me at the time, so the citrusy/hoppy backbone really surprised me on the first taste. The clincher for me, though, was the chocolate and roast overtones that made this one a real unique treat. I hope Surly has this on-tap next year. (294 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a half finger of creamy tan head. Thick head. Color is a dark brown with a caramel hue on the edges.

Aroma: Very hoppy. Chocolate and caramel. Floral, piney, and grapefruit notes. A lot of flavor for a small beer.

Taste: Very floral. Pine with grapefruit. A lot of hops here. A light roast with caramel and chocolate. A little bit of orange. Very citrusy.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but creamy and smooth. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends a little sticky, but good.

Overall, this is a fantastic small beer. Super hoppy. Reminds me of an ipa. Still, it has a nice malt profile to it. Perfect blend. I could drink a lot of this.

Edit: the 2014 Damien isn't very good. Not very flavorful. Tastes watered down. Hard to drink a pint. (752 characters)

Photo of deebo
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at Darkness day 11.

A-Dark as night with frothy tan head.

S-Very fresh citrus hops with plenty of malty sweet aroma.

T-The fresh hops really shine in this beer. This beer has a significant malt backbone but the hops are up to the challenge and gives a very satisfying taste.

M-Medium bodied and carbonated.

D-Very good, could drink the hell out of this beer.

O-Excellent beer, would love to get some more of this. Great balance of an overload of hops and malts. My favorite beer on DD. (512 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Going through my backlog of notes.

Poured from the tap into a sample glass at FFF XV party.

Pours a deep black with a wispy tan head that fades almost into nothing.

Smells of roasted malts and some piney hops.

You can tell this is Darkness's little bro from the taste. Good roasty malts with a hint of chocolate although the hop bite still powers through to make its presence known.

Mouthfeel is a touch on the lighter side, but only for those who like black beers thick like me. Fairly oily finish.

Very solid beer by Surly, but not earth shattering. Still if they canned it, I'd probably seek it out. (608 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at FFF XV into a tasting glass.

A - Pours black, cream-colored head, thin ring, wisps on top.

S - Roasted hops, nice level of bitterness, some nuttiness. The level of hops and roast are nicely balanced...neither overpower the other.

T - Similar to the nose. Hops, roast, some dark chocolate, slight pine. I think I enjoyed the nose a bit more with this one, but still, a solid beer.

M - Perhaps a bit too thin, good carbonation, oily roast finish.

O - I think I was expecting a bit more from this one, being Surly really can do a number of different styles well. That said, it's still a nice beer and it was good, just not great. I would drink again, but not seek out. (680 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a couple pints at the Blue Nile because it was damn tasty. The body did feel a touch thin, I'm guessing do to the nature of second runnings, but the infusion of biting grapefruit hops kicks things up a notch. The malt is on par with a great, but light porter full of chocolate roast with a dry, bitter finish. The hops are expertly balanced against the malt, and the sessionable body makes this beer stand out in a style crowded with great options. (452 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - An almost black beer with a khaki head that left behind some decent lace.

S - Very hoppy. Some citrus, pine, and grapefuit over a roasted malt backbone.

T - Some roasted malts, bit of dark chocolate, and enough hop flavor to make it a hop beer without obliterating the rest of the flavors. Has an appropriate bitterness to it.

M - Medium bodied with lower carbonation.

O - Really packs a flavor kick for something that's only 5% ABV. Pretty easy drinking beer that I rather enjoyed and would like to have again. (519 characters)

Photo of iadler
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at town hall tap.

A- pours a deep black with a thin mocha head that dissipates in a thin cap. Some thin lines of lacing are left behind.

S- very grassy and piney with some grapefruit zest, coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and roasted malt.

T- coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and roasted malt with orange and grapefruit zest, grass and pine.

M- medium carbonation and a light to medium body. Finishes slightly bitter.

O- very flavorful and much more hoppy than darkness this year. Quite a light body as well as a low abv which makes it easy to have a few. (566 characters)

Photo of Greggy
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a black color with a 1.5 finger tan head. Once the cap recedes and I empty the pint, a bit of sparse lacing is present.

S- Bits of chocolate, piney hops, some toffee/nuttiness.

T- Starts with a bit of bitter chocolate, nut brittle backed with ample pine and grassy hops. The finish is slightly dry and a bit nutty.

M- Spot on carbonation and body.

D- Pretty darn drinkable. I'd definitely have this again. (420 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sometimes a black ale is a black ale. And not a Black Ale, or American Black Ale.
And grassy hops in abundance smell so fine!
There's this thing called a small beer that no one's ever heard of, and gee whiz, it's been done to Darkness.

A re-fermenting of the run-off malt and mash of Surly's Imperial Stout, Darkness, this one rings in at half the alcohol percentage, 5 %, but I don't know whether more hops and malt are added, or if more yeast is pitched and fermentation begins again with this old, spent mash. I suspect the latter.

Solid black, slim brown head, settles to a small ring.

Amazing aromatics, floor of a pine forest, mixed with citrus rinds. Beautiful, lively, and arousing. You want that in your IPA, you want that in your Double IPA, you'd like it in your potpourri by the bathroom sink, you want toothpaste made from it, you want to gargle with it, and sprinkle it on your oatmeal.

Taste: some gritty dark malt, some chocolate, black malt, giving the coffee flavors, the cocoa, with plenty of bitterness and hardly any sweet. Great texture, excellent play on the palate, plenty of room for calling it a hoppy porter, or black IPA, but yet it is not one. It is a reduced version of Surly Darkness, that still has plenty of potency and charm. Plenty of grassy hops still working on the tongue, pleasing the palate, and the aroma never quits, the grassy/piney hop combo mixing well with the cocoa and coffee malt character.

It's not as rich and full bodied as you might expect if you don't fully understand what they're doing. So stop expecting what doesn't exist and enjoy what does. It's not full-on ale, it's a baby imperial stout, but it still has that glimmer of madness, that gleam of it's father's eyes.

This is my kind of session ale, and one that I'd prefer above Surly Mild, or anything else with a leaner body, but wouldn't really reach for one instead of a porter, or a Bender. Good work, gentlemen, and a great idea, I'd love to see more of this tried now and then. Beer recycling, it's the way to go! (2,041 characters)

Photo of gatornation
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap in a surly pint glass

A- pours a solid black color with a tan head and a fresh collar a little thin lacing on the glass

S- is grapefruit hops with charcoal,roasted malts,some smoke and wood,lots of hops

T- nice citrus hops upfront, with roasted malts and seared meat on the grill tastes,malt finish

M- light carbonation a little thin

O- a nice offering on tap very tasty very easy to drink hops and malts with a smoke/charcoal taste (444 characters)

Photo of Mdog
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown with red highlights, good head.

Smell: Wow, this smells great, big citrus aroma. Without the visual I'd think it was an IPA.

Taste: Gives a touch of hops before going towards roasted flavor and finishing with hops. The middle kind of drops out of the beer, seems really light in body.

Drinkability: The light body makes it go down very easy. Session beer--a light stout/bitter mix is how I'd describe it.

A very interesting beer to try at the Hanger Room. It reminds me of the very light stouts like Guinness or Donnybrook from Victory, but with citrusy hops instead of a bitter roast finish. Very light body makes it easy to drink. Glad I got to try it! (681 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the FFF 15th Anniversary Party. Served in a plastic cup.

A - Tan foam with good retention settles to a thick collar, leaving behind spotty lace. Dark brown body with some transparency when held to the light.

S - It's hoppy! Plenty of grapefruit, pine, and a bit of cat pee as well. There's a vague cheesy aroma that suggests the beta acids are starting to break down. Plenty of roasted malt character in the background. I know Todd at Surly says this isn't a Black IPA, but it sure as heck smells like one.

T - Taste has more chocolate and roast character, and less of the citrus hop flavors. There's some sugar cookie, and a bit of smoke and char as well. Medium hop bitterness, with a bit of black malt astringency.

M - Medium bodied, smooth texture, lower carbonation, and some residual hop oils and resins that linger through the finish and beyond.

D - A pretty enjoyable hoppy black ale. I suspect this was even better a few weeks ago. Hopefully this becomes a regular offering released alongside Darkness, as it satisfies some of my hop fix that isn't met by the most recent iterations of Darkness. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Florida9
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown. Forms a thin but very stable ligh tan head. Some light lacing.

S: roasty malts and citrus hops

T: thinner than expected. Roasted malta, coffee, grapefruit. Coffee acidity.

M: on thinner side of medium. Mild bitterness. Appropriate carbonation.

O: a very nice, very drinkable small beer. (307 characters)

Photo of robwestcott
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cold and black from the tap to a first class plastic cup at FFF XV party with no head.

big hop aroma and perhaps a bit of smoke in the wayback.

grassy hops forward, smoke a bit of roasty malts.

light bodied, medium carbonation, medium bitter.

nice black IPA. (262 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Dark and black with a little bit of brownish ruby red on the edges. Decent three finger light tan head that slowly fades into a patchy layer. Moderate amount of lacing.

Smell: Strong citrus hop aroma up front. Grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Also some hints of herbal pine resin. Solid presence of dark roasted caramel malts. The toasted malts are noticeable but the citrus stands out the most.

Taste: A lot like the smell, big taste of citrus hops with notes of grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Hints of pine resin. Bitterness from the hops is fairly mild. Dark roasted caramel malts give some balance in the background with hints of coffee, chocolate, and bready biscuit that lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the lighter side of medium and carbonation is moderate. Feels somewhat prickly and kind of light for such a heavily hopped beer. Finishes dry.

Overall: A pretty solid black ale. Lots of tasty hops with a solid dark background. Lighter body makes for a very easy drinking beer. Great option if you want a lighter dark beer with a strong hop presence. (1,190 characters)

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Damien from Surly Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.