Surly Brewing Company

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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
4.22 | pDev: 8.29%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: This double black as night IPA is too massive for just one brewery's efforts. BLAKKR took the trinity of Real Ale Brewing Co, Surly Brewing Co, & Three Floyds Brewing Co, to actualize this crushing ale. Cheers.

This is the 16oz canned Surly version.
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Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 1,145 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of imnodoctorbut
imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

hail Blakkr. this brew was rad.

pitch black body with toasted cream head of foam and lacing for miles

coffee roasted malt with pine blast aroma

taste is roasted malt with doses of subtle sweet chocolate and dark stone fruit with coffee bean and earthy bitter pine hop

moderately high carbonation with medium body and a pleasant dry finish that lingers

an experience damnwell worth it.

Oct 02, 2020
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Received in trade. The appearance had a two finger off-white foamy head that wants to die within a minute but for the most part, it lasts for a good two and a half minutes (wow, I like it). Lacing is thick and foamy and clinging all around. The smell had a nice bitter allocation of coffee to roasted malts, bitter and somewhat piney hops come in pretty powerful to invade my nose. The taste was bitter and sweet at separate times, I do get some chocolate and I do get some roasted coffee-ness. The aftertaste is nice and smooth through a nice coffee/chocolate flavoring. The finish is fairly quick and dry. On the palate, it sits about a medium on the body with a carbonation that is pretty good for the style and for me, nothing overly done but nothing subpar either. Overall, I say this is a pretty good American Black Ale well worthy of having again.

Jun 09, 2017
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 vintage; drank 5/25/14 on draft @ Sheffield's.

Brown/black hue.

Tan head; thick lace.

Coffee beans & orange citrus notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Milk chocolate & orange citrus flavors; a good-not-great example of the black IPA style

Dec 19, 2016
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hendryxdp from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Super cool beer. Taste like a combination of Surley and Backmasking...which are 2 beers I would never imagine mixing. Being my first black IPA I would have to say that i like the style.

May 30, 2016
Photo of mpipe
mpipe from Minnesota

4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer outside of the price point.

Appearance: Black with a thin tan head. Not a lot of head retention but nice lacing.

Aroma: A mix of pine and citrus with a slight hint of roasted dark chocolate.

Taste: Citrus, orange, caramel malt, light roasted coffee notes with pine and juicy citrus light bitterness on the back end. This really finishes nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to low carbonation. It feels lighter than it looks.

Overall: The flavors really work well together making this a great beer. It's not world-class like some of the other Surly offerings, but it's not far off. I will pick it up again however it's certainly not an every weekend type beer at the price.

May 25, 2016
Photo of ONUMello
ONUMello from Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16oz can dated 1/26/16 poured into a teku glass
A: Pitch black with a one-finger head
S: Bitter. Citrus rinds. Cocoa/coffee. Pine. Tough to place the darkness and all the hops add but it's all there
T: Matches the nose. Quite bitter, mostly pine/citrus but with serious dark notes begind it. Dry coffee/cocoa notes along with some burnt chocolate malt. Again a bit tough to come up with desriptors but it's complex, hoppy and delicious
M: Medium-bodied, quite bitter
O: Whoda thunk Surly/FFF/Real Ale combined would create a hell of a good beer?! DUH! This is all that and a bag of chips

May 18, 2016
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Peepskp from Wisconsin

4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this at Surly beer hall. Carbonation is spot on, very good mouth feel. Not picking up much pineapple like surly said I would, but am enjoying the hop flavor and malty goodness coming together. Very good black ale. Would get again.

May 17, 2016
Photo of kitch
kitch from Hong Kong

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 1 pint can canned on 26th January 2016 and poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: It poured a dark dark brown colour with an orange hue and a slightly less than one finger tanned head that dissipated fairly quickly but left nice lacing.

Aroma: A mix of piney and citrus orange hops and roasty dark chocolate.

Taste: Starts sweet-ish citrusy orange followed by caramel malt, light roast coffee and chocolate plus a hint of char before ending with a lasting pine and juicy citrus light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation.

Overall: A nicely balanced Black IPA that hides it’s high ABV well.

May 13, 2016
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tillmac62 from South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

COD 1/26/16. Pours black, as advertised. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Outstanding, and surprisingly fruity, nose of pine, dank, citrus (lime) and tropical (passion fruit) hops. Underneath is a mild sweetness that I can't identify when cold, but seems to be caramel as it warms.

Light medium body that has a rather slick texture. Superb carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the middle and a prickly finish.

The quite outstanding flavor profile is unique. It begins with a blend that quickly devolves into lime, dank and pine. The middle provides a succulent caramel based sweetness that arrives in wave fashion. Underneath is a layer from the dark malts that hints at bakers chocolate and a touch of char, but not roast per se. Fairly mild bitterness arrives mid-palate and is a combination of pine, dank and zest. As the bitterness fades, the sweetness arrives coupled with a note of passion fruit. The finish is a slow sweet fade that takes on a zest quality as it lingers with dank and pine playing around the edges.

May 12, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Black in color with no light penetration. There's an inch think densely packed brown head resting on top. Heavy lacing. I smell plenty of dark malt and piney hops. I taste plenty of dark black malt with notes of caramel, honey wheat bread, chocolate, and bitter piney hops. The mouth is chewy and resinous.

May 08, 2016
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with tan colored head. Pine and roasted malt dominate the nose; follows onto the palate. Almost like an IPA that was brewed with lots of roasted and dark malts. Finishes much the same. Full bodied too.

Apr 29, 2016
Photo of Evilyak
Evilyak from Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

cause i'm blakkr than black and i'm black y'all. except someone down below made that joke already. fuckin' a.

a surly beer that can keep its head. shit's almost mythical. people will be all like "oh citra xtra, why can't you and todd not be such flat turds?" and the answer is likely that blakkr doesn't have citra in it.

good, rich getting hammered beer. no one cares about the nose here. no one cares that it's more strong ale than weird black ale/ipa. this is good, old-fashioned take four and forget me in the morning territory.

i bet if i posted that i liked this beer to the midwest forum, there would be screeches of "but todd touched my arm once" and i'd probably be banned but this beer is still better.

that having been said, it's way too expensive to ever want to buy this thing again. just sayin' . . .

Apr 02, 2016
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft

Black in color, fomay white head. Aroma mix of earthy hops and roasted malt. Good balanced taste, the flavors work well. Medium to thicker bodied

Mar 07, 2016
Photo of mschrei
mschrei from Illinois

4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 1/26/16. Pours dark, but very brown with deep cola colored edges, not very black to me. A veritable hop bomb on smell and taste. The first time I had it, it totally knocked me back, as I was not expecting something so juicy. Slight bitterness, very full mouth feel. The ABV is disguised really well on it. Pouring it takes a slight edge off the taste that the can keeps. I'd swear that my favorite FFF beers (other than Darklord, naturally) are their collaborations. An outstanding beer.

Feb 24, 2016
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Wer34truh from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer definitely looks the part, and is deserving of its name. A relatively large foamy head, with a characteristic amber brown color. Leaves quite a bit of lacing.

The nose is full of piney hops. I've been drinking so many stouts recently that a black IPA was a surprise to my nose, which I found amusing. There's also a fair amount of exotic fruit-flavor in the smell.

For being a 10% black IPA by Surly, this is actually quite subdued - although, delightfully so. The hops dominate the flavor, yet this is hardly a hopbomb. The sweetness from the fruits adds nuance. As far as the body goes, this is quite light with medium carbonation. This was surprisingly drinkable, even though it's hardly a beer one would want to chug either.

Feb 19, 2016
Photo of zonker17
zonker17 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark, might be black, tan head. Roasty nose. Taste bombards you with smoky malt and bitter hops. Bigger body than most IPAs with lingering hops on the finish.

Jan 21, 2016
Photo of mr-jj
mr-jj from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Found a book from earlier this year that I hadn't entered. This is from January. Poured into a snifter from a 16 oz can.

Color is black, almost opaque, with a fluffy white head with decent lacing. Smell is a nice balance of roasted malts and citrus and tropical hops. Flavor is similar - a nice balance of the roasted malts and the hops. Mouthfeel is medium with a some resinous hops. Overall, a very nice example of this beer - right up with Wookey Jack, which I love.

Oct 31, 2015
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NolaHopHead from Louisiana

4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can. Pours near jet black, fluffy off white head lasts leaving spotty lace. Aroma is mild but nice combo of roastiness and citrus. Taste is a nice balance of roasty sweetness and tropical fruit and citrus. Neither flavor wins out until the end as citrus bitterness prevails. Thin to medium mouthfeel but very slippery. Dry finish. Very good American black ale.

Oct 28, 2015
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aleigator from Germany

4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Yields a motor oil black color, with a big, light brown, fluffy head.

Produces an intense, aromaful nose, consisting of big exotic fruit chunks, blending into roasty, warm earth. While the malts stay pleasantly focused on their mellow grain toast quality, the hops produce a great aroma diversity, featuring sappy lime, as well as juicy blood orange, creating an inviting complexity, while also adding a subtle sweetness to the malts. Never experienced a black ipa with such a profound resin quality, lending a rich ripeness to the fruity hops.

Has a creamy, rich mouthfeel to it, packing a pungent hop punch during the finish, amazingly well coated up by hops and malts, while resulting in a pleasant warmth. Very versatile on the palate, no notes of alcohol whatsoever, while the balance is able to handle all extremes going on in this.

This has such a clean, calm beginning, consisting of grain defined bread, bakers chocolate and a very soft aqueous quality, slowly turning into a creamy direction. After establishing this very smooth taste foundation, sour lime announces an uncompromising hop armada, while adding a bitter juice note as its harbinger, perfectly adding to the beers already established flavors. The following hop maelstrom overpowers them almost, if it weren't for the throughout detectable creaminess in this, adding a subtle but effective balancing quality to the malts. Luscious orange, together with wet grass and prickly kiwi and a whiff of papaya exhibit the diversified hop profile, which displays an intense dryness, together with a malt compatible fruitiness, finally joined by a distinct roasty malt aspect. Flavors turn more and more intense, while reaching their peak after the swallow, soothed by the noteable roasted malts and creamy nouthfeel, still allowing the hops to produce a long lasting, lime aftertaste.

What an extreme beer, which is true for its taste and for its well working balance. Flavors don't ever seem to stop evolving on the palate, while never revealing any signs of its higher alcohol content at all, instead the beer is defined by an utmost smooth mouthfeel.

Oct 25, 2015
Photo of NickTheGreat
NickTheGreat from Iowa

4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L (4.5) - Beautiful cola-black color. Thick and fluffy tan head on top. Just like a nice stout, really.
S (4.25) - Jam packed full of roasty coffee aromas and floral/pine hops. Very intriguing
T (4.5) - Tastes great. It really combines your IPA hop flavors with the heavily roasted malt caramel/coffee tastes. Very complex, in a good way.
F (4.75) - Great thick mouthfeel. Low carb and smooth drinking beer. I don't get any alcohol feelings from it.
O (4.5) - I really liked this one. I like the big bold flavors of double IPA's and the like. I brewed an Imperial IPA that is actually fairly similar to this one. I definitely will buy this one again.

Sep 15, 2015
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FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very dark black with a little light showing through on the edges. The head is tan and thick but in my glass left almost no lacing. The aroma is citrus, burnt sugar or molasses, char and pine. The taste follows the nose but with the citrus and char playing a large part of the flavor. There is a pleasant sweet maltiness and a nice mild bitterness that consists of the char and hops. The alcohol doesn't come through in the taste but it does leave a warm sensation.

Sep 09, 2015
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Blakkr has a very thick, beige, creamy head, a very dark brown (NOT blakkr than blakk, though) appearance, and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of bright, citrus, indistinguishable fruit, with maybe a background bread. Taste is of black bread, some not-so-strong bitterness, and sweet, fruity, hops (yes, I said "sweet"). Mouthfeel is medium, and Blakkr finishes semi-dry and easy drinking (for a 10% beer, which presents no alcohol).


Sep 05, 2015
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Kegatron for the hookup on this one. Pounder can poured into a three floyds teku. The brew appears black in color with a tan cap 2 fingers strong. Full patchy lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is sweet with chocolate covered raisons, herbal and piney hops before some solvent char and bitter earthen elements.

The taste is sweet inititally then resinous and oily with bitter char, earth, tobacco and finishes resinous with herbal and piney hops.

This is a medium bodied brew with modest carbonation. Im not the biggest fan of this style but im digging this take on it.

Sep 04, 2015
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sweemzander from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna color. Minimal froth.
(S)- Mild roast meets plenty of pine and citrus.
(T)- A bit more roast than the smell. Meets plenty of pine ridden citrus.
(M)- Good carbonation level and balance. A bit more roast than hoping but still plenty of hop bitterness.
(O)- A solid Black IPA. One of the better ones out there

Aug 24, 2015
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.33/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Another from garymuchow. 16oz can poured into 10oz goblet. Pours a solid black color, with just a thin cap of tan head that dissipated quickly, and had very low lacing.

WHOA! Holy licorice bomb! As the glass neared my olfactory opening, a huge blast of licorice assaulted me. Underneath, there was a light grain scent, soft hops, and a lot of licorice. On the tongue, there was licorice. Lots and lots of licorice. Some low malts showed through, and a medium level of hoppiness was apparent. Did I mention that this brew tastes like licorice? Because it does.

The body was light-medium, and had a crisp, dry finish. Drinkability is going to depend on how much one likes licorice. It's not my favorite, so my enjoyment level wasn't premium. YMMV. Overall, a pretty nice beer that a lot of folks will love. I wasn't one of them, but I appreciate the chance to have tried it.

Aug 09, 2015
Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1145 ratings