Blakkr | Surly Brewing Company

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1,144 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by stvanderwoude on 02-15-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,144 |  Reviews: 148
Reviews by yokken:
Photo of yokken
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Canned on 2/17/14.

TL;DR: Picked this up expecting another decent Surly brew/collab. Was blown away.

Appearance: Poured into an Ikea oversized wine glass, whatever you call 'em. Very dark chocolatey color coming out, but black in the glass except for around the edges where it looks more brown. Not thick like a RIS; around the same thickness of a nice juicy DIPA. About an inch of fluffy head that receded over 5 minutes or so. Leaves great lacing on the glass if you drink it at a consistent rate.

Smell: Wonderful. Huge on the hops, with very loud tropical notes and a touch of pine. Loving the roasted malt and subtle chocolate overtones. I knew it was going to be good the second I got a whiff. I didn't take too much time to pick out every ingredient, because I was eager to get a sip as soon as possible.

Taste: BOOM. They nailed this. A nice bitter bite right off the bat, quickly followed by a punchy tropical hoppy explosion. The alcohol is very well concealed; if this wasn't such a big tasting beer, you could easily get yourself in trouble with this bad boy. The bitterness lingers from drink to drink, but as the hops fade away, a wonderful roasted chocolate taste settles in. It doesn't stay around for too long, but it adds a whole 'nother layer to the complexity. This is definitely not just another black ale/IPA. I won't claim to taste everything in the beer, but what I do taste is extremely pleasing to my palate. I'm a huge IPA/DIPA lover, and words cannot express how much I like the flavor profile of this brew.

Mouthfeel: Too good. I'm a fan of juicy/oily and dry IPAs alike, but this seems to combine the strengths of milky porter/stout with those of a moderately dry IPA. It doesn't dry out my tongue, but it doesn't leave it feeling like I just drank olive oil. It's unbelievably creamy, reminding me a lot of a milk stout, but everything else about this beer screams IPA. Just the right amount of carbonation - I can feel the bubbles tickling my tongue. It's smooth but not slick like a thick stout that sometimes make you feel like you're drinking motor oil. I won't go so far as to say refreshing, but it's definitely got a crispness to it that doesn't leave me feeling as full as after drinking a thick RIS.

Overall: I love this beer. I'm glad I bought 2 4-packs, because if I hadn't, I'd be running RIGHT NOW to go buy more before it's gone. The bite at the beginning followed by the tropical punch in the face characteristic of big IPAs was already enough to have my attention. But the roasted aftertaste with the chocolate undertones was like mixing an amazing stout with an amazing IPA, leaving you with the best of both worlds. The creamy mouthfeel is possibly the best part, and really helps to smooth out this otherwise huge brew.

This brew seems to be pretty widely available (for now), but I highly recommend it to anyone who likes IPAs. It's got everything characteristic of a great IPA, but throws in a few roasted notes to leave you with a wonderful rich flavor that makes you long for another sip. It's spendy, but very worth the asking price. I hope they brew this again, because it's WAY too good. Surly/Three Floyd's have done it again. Honorable mention to Real Ale, which I've never heard of, but if this brew is any indication of their quality, I'll have to keep an eye out.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have another.

 3,386 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of cokes
3.79/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thoroughly shadowy, blackened Crimson with an impressive and lasting stack of beige-peach foam.
The nose brings pine bark, burnt grapefruit, toasted sugar, raisin bran flakes, brandy, and flares of pineapple and peaches.
A slap of tropical fruits across the tongue. Peaches, melons, pineapple, lime leaves. A dusting of coffee grounds. Some creme brûlée, burnt sugar and custard notes. More herbal on the swallow. Alcohol is not a factor, other than a twinge of post swallow bitterness.
Thinner bodied than i expected with a trickling carbonation.

I really don't know what to do with this. I like it as an Imperial IPA with touches of roastiness. But the style is one I can't really embrace, nor know what to expect. The IPA part of this works, but the black part seems completely underdeveloped. And I'm not sure if I like it more or less due to this (lack of) balance. Ultimately, it's a handicap, because I still have no idea what I want in black IPA, nor have I found an example to adore. Not here either.

Sorry Blakkr, it's not you, it's me.
But at $16/4-pack, I'm not going to try any harder to salvage this relationship. But I know you'll make someone else very happy.

 1,199 characters

Photo of nhindian
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TGanyone for tossing a 4-pack of this into a recent trade as an extra!

Too massive for just one brewery, Blakkr sees three heavy-hitting breweries team up to release this imperial black ale. Generally not my favorite style - I don't exactly like the combination of fresh hops and roast flavors - but if anyone can do it, I whole heartedly place my faith in Surly and 3 Floyds.

Appearance - Rather than being black, Blakkr more closely resembles a dark cola as shades of brown poke out from around the edges. Atop the surface, a light tan head slowly builds until peaks at around a figure in height before fading away, leaving nary a trace behind. Instead a thick lattice of foam speckles the glass.

Aroma - The nose is a cacophony of hop and malt that I find myself constantly wavering about. On one hand, the hops are just as juicy and tropical as a DIPA and the malt is roasty and filled with coffee, but on the other hand, when those two extremes are coupled there isn't a smooth mingling. It is hard to reconcile the spectrum but I truly do love each individual component.

Taste - Much like in the aroma, the flavor has all the punch of the hops and malt behind it. Unlike the nose, however, the ingredients play much more nicely together here. The coffee subsides and is replaced with a licorice note that bridges the gap. A slightly bitter chocolate flavor also meshes well with the pineapple and citrus hop taste.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is imposing without being syrupy. Perfect carbonation helps move the flavors along, and in a beer with so much going on, it's much appreciated.

Closing Arguments - At the end of the day, I still feel like my impressions of this style are unchanged. Unlike other black ales I've had, Blakkr kicks it the hop and roast to a previously unseen level, but still suffers from the fate of not co-mingling the two in a seamless manner. To be fair, taken separately, both the hop and malt components are near top-notch, but there is a clear separation between them. This is much more apparent in the nose than the flavor.

 2,081 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

 874 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of beaversfan12
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one was canned exactly 3 weeks ago.

An aggressive center pour from the 16oz. can into a tulip glass produces a strong, dense foamy head. It slowly subsides to a light coating on top and a lovely lace along the sides of the glass. This beer is blacker than most. No light shines through this brew.

The aroma is not extremely strong and is mostly pine and citrus with a little bit of roast coffee or dark chocolate hiding in the shadows. As it warms, the smell seems to grow a bit with some pineapple showing up as well.

The taste is rather amazing. A hoppy, bitter bite right up front quickly followed by dark chocolate, maybe some strong coffee and then finishing with a lingering piney dryness. I want to keep going back for another drink. The alcohol is hidden, buried deep in the inky depths.

The mouthfeel is about right with a hint of creaminess and even a touch of sweet stickiness. The carbonation is just right.

Overall, an excellent beer. This one runs deep.

A little pricey? Perhaps. I paid $18.99 for the 4-pack.

 1,035 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of tomgetz
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 ounce bomber bottle into tulip glass.

A: dark as night with one finger of tan head.

S: great citra hop smell.

T: malty backbone with a hoppy finish. Alcohol level is difficult to notice.

M: full bodied, smooth, very drinkable.

O: solid black IPA. Great collaboration effort.

 294 characters

Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Ravenz98
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Hoppity1
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Guinnsslvr
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of mmcurran
4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MrUse
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Torey
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +1%

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

Photo of bsp77
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into dimpled mug.

Appearance: Near black with moderately sized tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Strong hop aroma with grapefruit, tropical notes and pine. Some light roasted malts, but this smells much more IPA than Black.

Taste: Same as the aroma, this is very hoppy, with lots of grapefruit, tropical fruit, orange, pine and even some darker, sweeter fruits. Very juicy. However, there is also a nice malt base, with chocolate, molasses and light char. Finish is hoppy and roasted with some bitterness.

Feel: Creamy and fairly full bodied. Moderate carbonation with a dry finish. Somewhat oily but also slightly chalky. Not boozy at all.

Overall: Fantastic collaboration here. I can't believe this is 10%. Even though the taste is decadent enough for the abv, it is also fairly easy to drink. I hope this somehow is not just a one and done release.

 887 characters

Photo of sgn4779
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of deebo
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%

Photo of MNMike
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 1,144 ratings