Blakkr | Surly Brewing Company

147 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

Availability: Rotating

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

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 1,143
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can shared by a kind soul at the Jack's Abby tap takeover at The Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This tastes basically exactly like the Three Floyds version.

Opaque dark black pour, ominous and threatening. One inch of tan foam, and lots of lacing down the glass.

Smells like burnt pine needles, roasted malt, huge citrus fruits, and other dank herbal aromas (hint, hint, marijuana)

Very charred and smoky taste to this Black IPA. Huge hoppy front end on this one, lots of citrus and pine, but finishes with a creamy roasty flavor, punctuated by by a crazy astringent bitterness.

Medium bodied, creamy but dry mouthfeel. Drinkable for the ABV, despite the bitterness.

They scorched the crap out of me with this one, it tasted quite good nonetheless.

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Photo of cfrivera1
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Tracy's Saloon, Minneapolis - served in a snifter.

Never heard of it so I asked for a sample - indeed it was black and I expected it to be a stout-like beer or porter. But oh no - to my surprise it was perfectly sweet with just the right amount of bite. Not too heavy not too light; It was good - so, I ordered a snifter.

So after the third or fourth sip, I HAD to look it up online on my Phone and when I saw the ABV of 9.99% I could not believe it!! NO WAY this beer’s ABV is 9.99%!! I sure could not taste the alcohol, so it must be very well hidden. Anyway, very yummy stuff, and I did feel tipsy after one snifter - I'll be buying more of this...

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Photo of Ri0
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 16oz can into snifter.

A - Deep dark coffee black with a 1 finger espresso colored head. Fades quickly into a thin ring and leaves behind spotty lacing.

S - A bitter morning coffee blend with roasty malts, caramel and some grapefruit. I pick up notes of cocoa and cream as well as some earthiness.

T - Big bitter coffee, roasted malts, and caramel. Notes of bitter grapefruit and earthy hops. I even notice some cocoa and cream flavor.

M - Nice mediun body with complimentary carbonation. Roasty, sweet, and bitter finish.

O - This hoppy black ale is delicious with a coffee and creaminess that is hopped up in a big way. Different from other hoppy black ales and damn good!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the cask at Churchkey into a snifter glass.

Wonderful cask condition presence. Supper bubbled collar and half finger tan head, slightly soapy appearance. Body color has a great looking dark red ruby and brown mahogany hue to it as well. Just impressive.

Aromas are a mix first of dank earth and some fruit. I am strangely getting watermellon off of this and cantaloupe aromas. Earthy, dirt and soil, even a bit juicy with no sense of roast but very inviting.

Palate comes with a huge contrast. Expected warm and soft cask like feel, with just enough natural carbonation to make the flavors pop but come out very different from the expected nose. Huge leafy tobacco and emphasized roast and slight char on first sip. Nice soft sugars, an a big sense of sticky molasses. The hop bitterness kicks in the finish, but the emphasis brings out more of the roasted characters of bakers chocolate and black licorice.

Huge contrast between what's on the nose and the flavors presented on first sip. Really unexpected and quite a surprise. Really impressed by this one and a real unique beer in the black IPA realm.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had cask with simcoe and centennial 4oz pour at churchkey on 5/8/14

A-Pours a dark brownish black with light tan head. Good lacing.

S-Aromas of pine, caramel, citrus and smoke. This is awesome.

T-Tasting notes of roast, smoke, pine, citrus, caramel.

M-Medium body with a dry finish.

O-Overall oh my gosh this was an impressive black IPA so smooth love the cask

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black (surprise surprise) finger of deep tan head, nice lacing

Smell is, if you have had abrasive you know where the hop side of this is at, grapefruit, pine, orange, pineapple... Now the malt cocoa, coffee, black licorice, toffee, herbal note

Taste is heavy roasted malt, cocoa, pine, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, caramel, finishes with a bittering citrus

mouthfeel is nice and full, nice finish not to roasty or dry, great balance

Good beer, great cross between a Imperial Stout an a DIPA, one of the better ones I have had that is for sure.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is dark brown with a mild haze and a quarter inch of tan head. The aroma offers roast, smoke, charred malt, a hint of chocolate, resinous hops. Nice flavor, with everything flowing harmoniously. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Lingering hops with a light bitterness in the finish. While I'm not typically a big fan of this style, I found this beer unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


Poured from a 16 oz can into a shaker pint. This was served chilled.

A) Deep brown... Nearly black... This had a small tan head. Really good retention, and plenty of lacing.

S) This beer has a fantastic piney aroma with a light amount of roast. Light citrus and tropical fruit stay in the background.

T) Very near the nose with the exception being just a hint of black licorice. Now I typically don't like black licorice, but this really works. Pleasantly bitter aftertaste. And my goodness, the ABV is so well hidden. I can't believe this is almost 10%.

M) Medium body with moderate carbonation. Even with the bitterness this is really smooth. Semi-dry finish. Nice mouthfeel...

O) This is a really good brew... Right up there with Black Top from New Glarus as far as I'm concerned. Glad to recommend.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a dark brown color. Light really struggles to worm it's way through this brew. Thinner, brown head.

S-Its plenty hoppy. I get a bunch of grass and citrus. The darker aspect of this beer matches the more heralded hoppy aromas. Dark malt, roast, a bit of char.

T-Starts off hoppy. I get a dried-out orange flavor with a good shake of pine and grass. Here, Surly's Blakkr is even more balanced by the rich, dark maltiness. Sweet chocolate and sugared coffee.

M-Bitter from both the dark roastiness and the hops. Body has plenty of texture to it. Softer carbonation.

O-I wasn't very impressed with this but I rarely am by Black IPAs. The flavors often conflict with one another on my palate.

Edit: tried another can and it was a much hoppier brew the second time. Not sure what happened to the first can butt his one is much, much better. Grade upped from a 3.66.

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Photo of BeerDazed
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Fellow GTOTM fan shared from his bomber and poured in a red solo cup, while waiting in line to purchase tix. I know...not the proper glass, but the only one available.
The deep black color looked exquisite against the white interior lining of said cup. All kidding aside, it looked fantastic. Nice brownish head too.
Taste was smooth, dark, delicious. Great hop flavor and roasty goodness.
Smell was dark roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice.
Mouthful not as heavy as a stout but definitely more on the fuller side.
Looking forward to drinking this out of a real glass, and maybe even on tap.
Superb offering of this particular style. Blakkr is Bawesome!

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Photo of TheBeerDrinker
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out black as night with a very light brow, one-finger head with good retention and a little lacing.

Smell is fruity pineapple, orange, mango, with no bitterness and hard to get any grains out of the nose. Really smells like a citrus hop forward IIPA.

Taste follows the nose quite close with the citrus charactoristics but there is some dark malt, molasses, and maybe a tad but of chocolate. The taste is really close to Abrasive with a little darker edge to it.

Mouthfeel is spot on for what I would call a IIPA although this beer is not really billed as that.

Overall I REALLY like this beer as I love Abrasive and it has many of the same charactoristics. This is not usually a style I like but I really love it as it reminds me of Abrasive.

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Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tricerahops for this one.

Poured from a 16oz can, canned on 02/17/14.

The pour is densely black with a strong 3 finger head. Aroma is ripe grapefruit mixed with a rich, roasted aroma, bit of chocolate also. Flavor and feel is smoother than expected, juicy hops that segues into creamy coffee. Goes from bitter to a creamy sweetness.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Some edge transparency. Off-white head. Wispy surface with a medium collar.

Smell - Hoppy. Black IPAs always seem grassy to me. Roasted malt. Dark caramel.

Taste - Grassy hop flavor. Grapefruit. Immediately bitter. Roasted malt and caramel. Lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Very roasty. Very bitter. Medium body, though.

Overall - Black IPAs need to be very good. This is good, but doesn't stand out.

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Photo of paladinjoe
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First of all, I'm not understanding the low ratings I'm seeing on this one, this beer is AWESOME! I've only had two of what we call Black IPAs, and I love both of them! For some reason, this style isn't getting a whole lot of love.

In a lot of ways, this beer is very similar to Surly's Abrasive Ale, which is a 100 beer rated beer, hence, my lack of understanding for the low ratings. With all said, it's basically Abrasive Ale, with some roastiness to it, and a slight hint of stout qualities... just very very good. I know there's a Surly Overrated IPA, I'd call this Surly's UNDERrated IPA!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can, thanks whoever.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a light tan head, light lace. Nose of pine and grapefruit, char and roast malt, bitter chocolate. Flavor is more straight forward IPA like with piles of pine and citrus bitterness, very light dark chocolate and a bitter pine and mild ash finish. Medium thick, high carbonation, chewy finish.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can of this from Digita a while back. Thanks dude!

From a 16oz can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a one finger, looser, foamy, off-white head with good retention. Head fades to a foam cap and clings to the sides of the glass with a huge stream of carbonation up the middle. Clear dark brown body. Nothing special here. Too much carbonation and the looser head isn't all that impressive either.

SMELL: Hops and more hops. Pine, melon and lots of grapefruit on the nose. Nice hop profile, but nothing black about the nose.

TASTE: Lots of hops again. Pine and melon notes, with lots of bitter grapefruit at the swallow. Big and lingering aftertaste of more grapefruit and piney bitterness, grassy hops, and just a faint hint of roasted malt. Very light. Mostly a hop bomb with very little black to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Slightly creamy on the nose, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A bit of bitterness lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: A good hop bomb for sure, but it's all IPA. There was really no need to make this beer dark brown, as any kind of roasted or chocolate flavors that would be produced by these dark grains were not allowed to come out and play anyways. The trick with a hoppy black ale is to hop it up, but show just the right amount of restraint so the character of the dark grains can play a role in the flavor profile as well. That didn't happen here. Might as well just make a regular hop bomb DPA and call it Ornggr. A good beer that we enjoyed, but not representative of the style.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an IPA glass. Liquid is very nearly totally black, with some dark brown hues around the edges. Small-ish brown head kicks up on the pour and fades quickly, but leaves some rings of lace, and a nice film on top of the beer. The few lines of bubbles rising slowly to the top actually look kind of ominous... but maybe I'm just letting the can art get to me.

Aroma is not particularly strong. I get some citrus hops, and a bit of milk chocolate, but that's about it.

Flavor definitely packs the punch where the aroma didn't. Bigtime hops up front - citrusy, grassy, etc. A big malt bill quickly comes in to mix around - milk chocolate & breadiness. The hops begin to add some spiciness as it warms. Finish is pretty bitter, with hops being the predominant aftertaste. Your mouth is really left kind of pummeled after the swallow... in a nice way, of course. It's maybe a bit too much of a bruiser for my tastes, but there are nice flavor notes in there that work well.

Mouthfeel is semi-thick with lots of carbonation - good for the style and for the flavor.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try it, but I doubt I'd be able to drink it all the time. Of course, making a big bruiser of a beer seems like what they were going for (the can calls it "crushing"), so I'll give it a little extra in the score. Thanks to roostor07 for the can!

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am judging on the style not on preference for this one.

A- Pitch black, pours pinky light tan head with medium retention. Bubbles stick to the side of the glass.

S- Kinda light here, especially compared with the T. This is muted a lot. Getting a rye hop smell out of this. Muted wheat barley smell. Voided

T- Holy crap; out of the gates blast of hops on the palate. Big black rye pale hop profile. Really bitter; I am with Speedway Jim here on preference

M- For the style, this is the smoothest by far. Medium body, creamy and the carb is just about right here.

O- I didn't love this, I graded to the style; only having maybe 5 or so Black IPA in the past. This was by far the best one that I have had though. Big thanks to Mike for this one! Great experience!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Jeff for this one. I love Surly but hate Black Ales... first world problems. 16oz can into a Surly snifter.

Tall pour yields a big2.5 finger coffee colored head with excellent retention. Beer is dense and pitch black. Lacing is stringy, sticky, and layered. Doesn't really get much better.

Nose is ash, roast, pine, citrus hop bitterness and a touch of caramel and smoke. Weird but aromatic and fits the style.

Opens smoke, roast, pine and citrus hop bitterness. Ashy in the middle with hints of liquorice, roasted malt and a biting, bitter hop presence. The issue here is that I associate the bitterness with ash instead of fruit/pine. Ends caramel, more liquorice, and a slight boozy bitterness in the finish. Resiny and smoky in the aftertaste. A good beer with nice complexity but I'm not a fan of what's happening here.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lively, rich and slightly hot in the mouth and goes down warm and smooth. Messy finish with a long, filmy, lingering aftertaste. Solid.

There are very few offerings in this style that do it for me and even though I love Surly, Blakkr is not one of them. Just too aggressive and bold with too much happening. Certainly representative of the style but I'm just not a big fan.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy can, canned 3/18/2014. Poured into an unlabeled shaker glass yesterday, 4/18/2014.

A- black body with a thick, long-lasting off white head. Bits of lacing.

S- grapefruit, orange, tangerines and a bit of pine. Lots of roast and a bit of smoke. Seems like a double IPA without the biscuits and caramel that usually accompany them.

F- roast dominates the malt contribution, a lot of citrus hops. Very aromatic in the hops used. Good bitterness on the backend evoking grapefruit.

M- medium bodied, not thin or thick but just about right. Good carbonation. Perfect balance of bitterness and roast.

O- much better execution of what I imagine a double black IPA to taste like. Far better than Three Floyds' take on this beer.

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Photo of ktenneydenver
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Denver Bicycle Cafe. Was very excited to try this beer. I don't usually go for black IPA's, but having heard such good things about this one I decided that I had to get some. Very well balanced. The hops are out front but not offensive. Roasted coffee flavors from malt worked well with the hop profile. Very dry. Glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint-can-awesomeness from laymansbeerfan poured into my Hill Farmstead tulip...

A: Black body, brown edges, nice off-white head retains well, decent lacing.

S: Citrus hop-forward with notes of pine and tropical fruit as well...herbal hops too. Malt backbone has hints of cocoa and roasted malt.

T: More citrus hops, with flavors of orange, tangerine and grapefruit, followed by herbally/dank pine. Dark malt creeps in with solid background notes of dark cocoa and faint cold coffee.

MF: Fairly bitter, this is a hop-prominent beer, but the malts also seem to lend to the dryness of this brew. Medium-fuller body.

O: Pretty good Black IPA. Hop notes are what I prefer, more citrus-forward with pine backing that up. Maltiness is nice as well, not overbearing but still present with flavors of cocoa and coffee and roast. Overall well-executed and fairly unique.

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Photo of jwerner23
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is very good beer from three very good breweries. I tried a can cold and tried one warm. Cold it is a good beer but at room temp this beer shines. You get more flavor at room temp and I think that is the way to drink it, let it warm up a little bit and the flavors meld a lot better. Either way its a good beer but so good letting it breathe and warm up a bit.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours viscous thick black in color with a good 2 finger head that has good retention.

Smell is a nice mix of hop and malt forward. Hops come slightly first and more potent. Big herbal hop aroma covers a milder fruity hop aroma. Malt has notes of char and some lighter chocolate and coffee.

Taste follows the nose. Big herbal hops hit the palate first with a mild bitterness that is followed by a big charred slightly smokey malt flavor and bitterness. Finish is intensely bitter, maybe a little to much for my liking.

Mouthfeel is good. Super thick body is cut with mild carbonation. Lots of sticky hop oils and resin along with an aggressive bitterness.

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Photo of Jparker37
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a nonic pint. Canned on 3/4/14

A - Just a shade shy of opaque. Two fingers worth of tan head from a strong pour. Lacing-o-plenty.

S - Bright citrus and tropical hops. Hints at some pine.

T - Malts blend with hops through the entire taste. Easy to detect those sweet rich caramel flavors right away mixing with the citrus hop flavors. There is plenty of bitterness which is spread out along the whole taste and has enough oomph at the backend to be a Double Imperial Black Ale. Hop flavors lasting long after.

M - Medium to medium-full body, medium-light carbonation, semi-dry.

O - The tropical hops are always a welcome aroma for all American styles but wondering how the malt is so hidden. Terrific looking beer with a stiff head. Taste showed some great malt but ultimately was a hoppy brew. I believe a 16oz can is perfect as it usually takes me 12oz to give a full review; 16oz leaves me with four extra ounces to savor sans typing.

Recommendation - How could you go wrong with these three great breweries. Pick it up while it's available. Not sure on whether this will be replicated.

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
4.2 out of 5 based on 1,143 ratings.
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