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

Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)
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Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
4.47 | pDev: 7.61%
Feb 05, 2022
Oct 17, 2014
Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014)
Notes: Bottled 2014 Darkness was aged in barrels that previously held High West Rye Whiskey and then Surly Eight.
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Photo of zonker17
Reviewed by zonker17 from Texas

4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Coming in late but not too late on this one. Pours near black with active brown head that fully dissipates. Nose of cherry, vanilla, light coffee. Taste adds chocolate but the fruit flavors of raisin and dried cherry is so present. Booziness from whiskey, slight burn with coffee finish. Body is perfect, a bit creamy, thick with mild carbonation. At over 7 years old simply amazing!
Feb 05, 2022
Rated: 4.6 by schinebd from Massachusetts

Jul 07, 2019
Rated: 4.38 by Gaddabble from Ohio

Nov 11, 2018
Rated: 4.75 by Soneast from Wisconsin

Jun 04, 2018
Rated: 4.45 by Kevinpitts from Illinois

Jan 14, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by t2grogan from Arizona

Nov 28, 2017
Rated: 3.76 by Rifugium from North Dakota

Nov 15, 2017
Rated: 4.66 by tmryan21 from Illinois

Sep 22, 2017
Rated: 4 by acurtis from New Jersey

Aug 06, 2017
Rated: 5 by terententen from Pennsylvania

Jun 08, 2017
Rated: 4.38 by rodmanfor3 from Vermont

Feb 26, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by xt0n1cx from Virginia

Jan 19, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by hockeypuck from Maine

Jan 07, 2017
Photo of mjpolzin
Reviewed by mjpolzin from Wisconsin

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.
Dec 24, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by Rimbimhoot from Illinois

Dec 19, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by dannycohen62 from Illinois

Dec 19, 2016
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

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
Dec 17, 2016
Photo of aleigator
Reviewed by aleigator from Germany

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.
Nov 13, 2016
Rated: 4.62 by sposter4 from Pennsylvania

Nov 08, 2016
Photo of dcotom
Reviewed by dcotom from Iowa

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.
Oct 17, 2016
Photo of mwilbur
Reviewed by mwilbur from Minnesota

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!
Oct 10, 2016
Rated: 4.08 by GDawgs34 from Georgia

Sep 20, 2016
Rated: 4.48 by eppie82 from Illinois

Sep 04, 2016
Rated: 4.37 by Svyturys30 from Illinois

Aug 25, 2016
Rated: 4.33 by Beerbom from California

Aug 14, 2016
Photo of cvm4
Reviewed by cvm4 from Mississippi

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.
Jul 06, 2016
Rated: 5 by MIAJOSE from Florida

Jun 25, 2016
Rated: 4.74 by YvesB from Belgium

Jun 23, 2016
Rated: 4.6 by buzzed from Texas

Jun 22, 2016
Rated: 4.49 by Duffman79 from Connecticut

Jun 11, 2016
Rated: 4.29 by herman77 from Minnesota

May 30, 2016
Rated: 4.54 by mig100 from Texas

May 30, 2016
Rated: 4.31 by PSU_Mike from Pennsylvania

May 29, 2016
Rated: 5 by badmotorgrunge from Illinois

May 14, 2016
Photo of nawpnawp
Reviewed by nawpnawp from California

4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Drinking this in 2016.

Pours nice and thick with surprising carbonation. The nose is sweet and bourbon with very little booze. The taste however, is quite different. It is pretty boozy and not as sweet as the nose would have you believe. There is a pretty nice bittering aftertaste.

I find this a nice balance compared to other extremely sweet, high ABV stouts. It's definitely seeking out if you can get it for a reasonable price/trade.
May 09, 2016
Rated: 4.48 by bitterandtwisted from England

May 08, 2016
Rated: 4.47 by von_kaiser from Connecticut

May 08, 2016
Photo of Pauken
Reviewed by Pauken from Ohio

4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Great beer and on my "want" list for awhile. Especially growing up in MN (now living in Ohio). I can't beilieve my first taste of this happened in Ohio due to a trade. Had this on a bottle share night and crazy rare beers were being thrown out like it was Bud Light... Up against all the heavyweights this was somewhat lacking. The base beer tasted great but it was hard to pick out through all the barrel and booze. The "hottest" beer we had all night and this was up against the like of Tweak, Ground State, and probably 10 other beers with higher abv's. Definitely liked it but my question is, if this is 2014 consumed in 2016 and is still really hot, will it ever mellow out? I don't mind hot but for 9.8% this was rediculously hot. All 8 of us agreed...
Apr 30, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by FLBeerGuy from Florida

Apr 17, 2016
Rated: 3.96 by CJNAPS from California

Apr 10, 2016
Darkness - High West Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged (2014) from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 725 ratings