Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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1,982 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Here's what happens when substance meets smooth. This oatmeal brown ale defies traditional categories. Bender begins crisp and lightly hoppy, complemented by the velvety sleekness oats deliver. Belgian and British malts usher in cascades of cocoa, coffee, carmel and hints of vanilla and cream. An easy-drinking ale with many layers of satisfaction.

Added by tavernjef on 02-04-2006

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,982 |  Reviews: 764
Photo of MyTBeerDrinker
1/5  rDev -75.4%

Photo of Argofax
1/5  rDev -75.4%

Photo of DissentFatsquirrel
1.08/5  rDev -73.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.25

Photo of mjs814
1.56/5  rDev -61.7%

Photo of chippo33
1.75/5  rDev -57%

Photo of Chilmer
2.1/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of Phil_H
2.25/5  rDev -44.7%

Photo of chaz01
2.46/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this on draft at Jake Melnick's in Chicago.

A: Dark Brown with a black creamy head, nice lacing on the glass.

S: Some earthy tones in the aroma but not much.

T: Initially, earthy and orange notes. Also A little chocolate flavor reminded me of stale brownies.

M: Medium bodied and carbonation, hoppy bitter finish at the end.

D: I had this beer after drinking a glass of the Surly Furious. I couldn't really tell if the hoppiness I was tasting was leftover finish of the Furious, or if it was part of this beer as well, but that taste didn't work well with me in this beer. Hopefully, I can review it again if I come accross it.

 637 characters

Photo of IdrinkGas
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of BarrytheBear
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of Pomchuk
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of rfbenavi80
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of zebulon
2.56/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had it on tap at restaurant in Mpls.

A Very brown to brown-black. Opaque can't see through. Tan head 1/2-1/4 inch which gradual disappeared.

S Weak malty sweet aroma

T Malt in background, mild sweetness overwehlmed by bitterness. Bitter pine hops and bitter coffee tones. Not the interesting bitterness of a complex IPA. As it sat the bitterness mellowed but not much flavor in background came out. I am surprised at the high ratings and the descriptions of complexity. I wonder if I had a bad batch?

M Light on tongue in spite of bitterness.

D Not a sessions beer. You really have to be in the mood for this. I had it before dinner
which is were it might work.

 668 characters

Photo of beergorrilla
2.7/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Zaphog
2.74/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Basoos1
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

Photo of ejimhof
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%

Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were moderately high given the reputation of the brewery. This was my first Surly beer, though I uploaded this review after my other Surly ones.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair cream, good thickness, and poor retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Coffee, heavy nuts, vanilla, and light cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Light coffee on the open, pleasant vanilla and light cream in the body. Nutty hops and light caramel. The finish is a touch metallic, which I find unpleasant, but it might be a draught error. Overall, it's decently complex and balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, and just thick enough. Kind of suits the flavour, but it isn't tailored to it.

Dr: Quite drinkable for the style, but for my first Surly beer, it's a bit of a disappointment. Coffee is a strange choice for a would-be brown ale.

 918 characters

Photo of Jmoore50
2.92/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Got this fatty growler in the mail through a trade. The best part of this beer is the quote from the brewery. "Good beer is an acquired taste, you just acquired some." ha ha awesome.

This is my first Surly brew, not impressed at all.

The appearance was average for a brown ale, poured pretty thick, the growler held the carbonation and the head came to a two finger beige head.

The smell with the pour was like brown sugar. It actually was a text book brown ale smell. It smelled too sweet for me though, and for the record, I really don't care for brown ales.

The taste was okay at first, but I got some fruity taste off of it. Just something that I don't really care for. I am sure if you're a brown ale connoisseur then you probably would love this, but I am nothing like a brown ale connoisseur.

Overall I had to have a friend drink sixty percent of the growler for me, so I would never buy this ever again, but since it was a gift....Thanks.


 957 characters

Photo of xpdrinker
2.93/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

16oz can poured into a Surly pint glass, both courtesy of @ShawnBGP. No noticeable canning/expiration date.

1-finger light-tan head rests atop a clear reddish-brown body. Minimal lace, head dissipates quickly. Nutty, toffee, caramel aromas and flavors. Oats and reams of office paper also come across the nose. Reminds me a lot of Cigar City Maduro, but lighter in body and alcohol comes through more easily. Prickly carbonation. Hops are a little more pronounced as it warms and the beer leaves a dry, slightly metallic finish with a faint hint of pepper and raisin.

Overall I do enjoy this beer (second time having it) but I'm more eager to try Coffee Bender. Maduro is one of my go-to beers here in FL and like I said, this reminds me of it, but I don't know if I'd drink it as often were I living in MN.

 809 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.94/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

Thanks to VDubb, I finally got around to trying the coffee-less version of Bender. It pours a clear sunset topaz topped by a finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises mild graham cracker, grass, flowers, and a touch of Oreo. The taste focuses on the grass, flowers, and mild lemon peel, all to the detriment of the grain-y, biscuit-y base. Basically, they took the "American" label stereotype and ran with it, over-hopping what may have been a nice enough brown ale. A shame, really. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick-ish feel. Overall, this brown just didn't sit right with me. It's too hoppy for its own good, and those grains mentioned in the blurb above don't come through at all. I wanted to like this stuff, especially given my love of Coffee Bender, but I guess I'll just stick with the coffee-infused version for the duration.

 942 characters

Photo of Sinatra716
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of GrizXTKEX519
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of tbone64
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -26.3%

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Bender from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 1,982 ratings