Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014) | Surly Brewing Company

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Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)
BA SCORE
4.47/5
Outstanding
723 Ratings
Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottled 2014 Darkness was aged in barrels that previously held High West Rye Whiskey and then Surly Eight.

Added by mothman on 10-17-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
69
Ratings:
723
pDev:
7.61%
 
 
Wants:
234
Gots:
209
Trade:
22
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 723 |  Reviews: 69
Photo of Gaddabble
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Soneast
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Rifugium
3.76/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tmryan21
4.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of terententen
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of xt0n1cx
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hockeypuck
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mjpolzin
4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I know the general consensus is that this vintage of Barrel Aged Darkness is inferior to the version that came out in 2015. I disagree and actually prefer this beer to the higher rated 2015 barrel aged Darkness. A few reasons I think this is the case....
1. I had 2015 Darkness right after having Central Waters Rye Black Gold which happens to be my #1 favorite beer. So I probably rated it lower than I should have
2. Regular Darkness gets much better with age. I suspect that is the case with this one also. Although the barrel character is just okay, the malts have really started to shine through. This beer is probably better now than it was when it was fresh.

In a very competitive barrel aged stout category, this one is far from the best. But I still really enjoyed the complexity this beer had to offer.

 813 characters

Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dannycohen62
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Treyliff
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a deep black color with a small foamy khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- smells of dark cherry, rum raisin, caramel, spicy rye, vanilla & oak

T- opens with dark chocolate and sharp black cherry, followed by vanilla and caramel. Chocolate and spicy rye. Barrel notes are very light, but they're is definitely present. The finish gives more cherry and light coffee, lingers of chocolate and cherry

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a warming finish

O- classic dark cherry Darkness flavors, would like more barrel notes though

 646 characters

Photo of aleigator
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous pitch black color with a solid, stable mohagony head.

Smells of an interesting interplay between toasted malts, leafy hops and spicy coconut with a decadent chocolate coating. Awesome, just like the original, enhanced by a nice oaken note, which adds even more complexity on the nose.

Incredibly smooth and thick on the tongue with a nice spiciness as an antagonist to loads of whipped cream and melting milk chocolate. Has a bigger body, revealed by the Rye barrel, producing a pleasant warmth.

Tastes of untamed hops with ripe oranges and leaf wrapped lime, coated by rich, smooth milk chocolate. The chocolate then turns dryer, more bitter, as toasty malts turn more present, spiced up by a hot, dry Bourbon bite. The beer never loses its balance though, mainly due to its well functioning malt foundation and gentle smoothness with an awesome interplay between chocolate, hops and the barrel. Finishes with alcohol soaked pralines, firewood, bakers chocolate, fudge and and a hint of glazed caramel, again, pleasantly soothed up by cream.

A real treat! Definitely lets the base beer shine through, but it allows the barrel to develop beautifully atop. Decadent and rich, while remaining easy drinkable, featuring an amazing amount of milk chocolate, amped up by the tasty hops, which cut through.

 1,321 characters

Photo of sposter4
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dcotom
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on review date. Poured cold from bomber into a Craft Beer Club sampling glass. Deep, lightproof blackish-brown color with a decent tan head that left some pretty lacing. The aroma was heavy on the whiskey barrel character, with notes of chocolate and dark fruit. There is a lot of complexity to the flavor, which seems to come alive as the beer reaches cellar temperature. In addition to the whiskey, roasted malt, cocoa, and raisin, notes of licorice begin to come through. It is quite sweet and a little boozy, but finishes crisply without any lingering sweetness or oakiness. Mouthfeel is just right, silky but not too heavy. Overall, a world-class BA stout that is incredibly smooth after two years in the cellar.

 725 characters

Photo of mwilbur
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage: Poured from 750 mL bottle into small snifter.
A: Pours a thick black with a nice 1 inch super dark mocha head with pretty good retention. Eventually settles to a thin skim around the edges of the glass.
S: Smooth dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla, rye whiskey, raisin, charred wood, and a hint of sweet tobacco.
T: Smooth dark chocolate, rye whiskey, charred wood, tart cherries, raisin, vanilla, and hints of citrus and pine resin hops.
M: Amazingly smooth. Moderately heavy body, but still drinks lighter than the ABV would suggest. Silkily sweet. Fairly mild alcohol burn. Lingers and matures very nicely on the palate (the cherry and hop notes become even stronger here).
D: Eminently drinkable especially for style and ABV. Wonderful dark complexity. I really enjoyed the tart cherry note which played off the darker and sweeter notes very well. I look forward to this one every year!

 911 characters

Photo of GDawgs34
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of eppie82
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Svyturys30
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beerbom
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cvm4
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - Pours the typical motor oil body with one finger espresso colored head. Not much retention or lacing to the head.

S - Cocoa nibs and rye spice. Roasted malts, vanilla and oak.

T - Cocoa nibs, rye spice and marshmallows. Faint raisins and vanilla, along with roasted malts throughout. The taste is so unique. So many flavors coming at me that I can't pin down.

F - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol heat, but it's not bad.

O - Very well done beer. From the smell to the taste, this beer brings it in the aroma/flavor department.

 574 characters

Photo of MIAJOSE
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014) from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.47 out of 5 with 723 ratings