Bender | Surly Brewing Company

1,967 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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Ratings: 1,967 |  Reviews: 761
Photo of VincentFrey
3.21/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pour / Appearance: Mostly tan head, with heavy lacing as it recedes. Head thins and grips the edges mostly. Pours nicely; about 15oz fit very nicely with that head level in my Deschutes tulip. Muddy brown coloring, which fits the style but I've never found the most pleasing to look at. Then again, I could just drink from the can.

Aroma: Not much going on here sadly. No real scent pouring from the can, and from the tulip it's mostly mild caramel and biscuit, maybe some vienna malt. Hops are present, possibly of the noble variety though I doubt it, and don't do a ton to make a concentrated whole. Disappointed after the fully integrated, awesome Coffee Bender, but this wouldn't impress me on any brown ale.

Taste: ...Hrm. Hops become much more pronounced and bittering, mostly hints of grass and earth. That seems to be a theme with this blog lately, but with darker beers it's a much more reasonable choice than some wild citrus or fruit. For an American Brown I wouldn't say it's overhopped, but it's not a blend with the malt. That said the malt profile is basically biscuit, bread, and hints of roast. It feels like an American Brown ale on its way to being a Robust Porter.

Overall: Not that great of a brown ale, but at 8.99/4pk it's pretty drinkable. I'd just pick up Coffee Bender or a fuller bodied porter if available. Disappointing to me.

Bottom Line: Always worth a try since it hits about 10 different beer styles. That said I'd get a draft or a single can over a 4pk unless you're really into browns or Surly and can't get it easily in your area.

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Photo of LilLebowskiUrbanAchievers
3.21/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tconboy
3.23/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep dark brown with puffy tan head. Smells of coffee and malts and chocolate. Tastes a little bitter, nice coffee and sweet flavors blended together in this. Less than moderate carbonation, very thick. This is ok, I think I will try something else next time around.

 274 characters

Photo of ElfKicker
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of midfel11
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of The_Beer_Shark
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of masterofsparks
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of cofeeguru
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of ajevne
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of Zbeetleman
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of Scooter131313
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of beernads
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of mfl620ks
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of Tafyob41
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of dheldman
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of NickyPogs
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of ShanePB
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from the 16 ounce can, poured into a tulip.

A: Deep dark brown body with mahogany tints towards the surface of the beer. A thick, fluffy tan head forms on top and leaves really nice looking lacing and retention; a small patch with a thick bubbly ring. Really nice looking beer.

S: Dark roasted malts, faint bitter baker's chocolate, slightly bitter coffee beans with some bitter hops and oils towards the back end. Rounding out the nose are rich caramel malt elements.

T: Chocolate and roasted malts, some caramel, toffee, nuts, vanilla beans and a bitter floral hop note towards the back palate. Into the finish, the beer sits on the palate with a cream type of flavor, very interesting.

M: Bubbly, medium carbonation which is expected. A bit dry on the tongue and palate after swallow, though not sticky or off.

Even though Brown Ales are never my first choice in a beer, this one was pretty decent. There was a good deal of flavors coming through, making this a bit less boring than the majority of ones I've come across. I'm pretty excited to try the Coffee Bender now, considering I absolutely love coffee flavored beers.

 1,138 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for dropping this one off Dan. Pours a deep, rich mahogany color, with a creamy beige head. Aromas of wood, dark brown sugar, nuts and molasses. On the palate, full bodied, creamy mouthfeel, well carbonated, with flavors of chocolate, nuts and roasted malt.

 264 characters

Photo of Sam_The_Elder
3.26/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Qbdoo
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Looks good like a brown ale should, but after that is pretty unremarkable. The taste is fine but the texture of the beer is somewhat thin for a brown ale. I expect a bit more chewiness. The scent, like the taste, is fine - a bit of coffee and a slight toastiness - but not overpowering. Seems like an easy-drinking, summer version of the style. A decent beer but not something I'll look for again.

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Photo of Jammies
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- deep brown with orange notes trying to leak through. Quarter inch of foam with great retention and terrific lacing

S- sweet and nutty. Very appealing fragrance

T- well balanced, sweet, and a slightly nutty flavor

M- light with a slightly hot finish

O- love the smell, but just didn't live up to its appearance and smell. good flavor, but not great

 354 characters

Photo of TboneRN
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jojox
3.33/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - Dark amber. 1 finger head, solid.

s - Rich maltiness. Almost some belgian characteristics? I had Furious before this and Bender is so different, so... blah.

t - It's a balanced, but malty ale. A bit of roasted going on here. A bit too bitter to be smooth. It's kinda boring next to Furious.

m - Not smooth. A bit bitter

d - Okay, but really I'm done after one.

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Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.35/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to tprokop for throwing this in as an extra in a trade. Poured from a 16 oz can into my Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: Pours an opaque, coca-cola brown, with a finger-and-a-half of off-white head. The head subsided pretty quickly, but left good lacing.

Smell: Toffee and caramel filled the room as soon as the can was opened - this beer packs a punch. Bready malts are also present.

Taste: More toffee and caramel, just like in the scent. The finish is smooth and bready, and sweet, and it lingers for quite some time. Minimal hops. The faintest hints of roasted malts can be detected in the background. There is something unpleasant about something in the taste, which I just can't put my finger on. It's almost like something of an astringent sweetness. Faint hints of vanilla are also there - this beer is definitely complex, but it seems like it tries to do too much.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness, but pretty highly carbonated - almost to the point of soda.

Drinkability: I've never been a huge fan of brown ales, so my opinion might be somewhat biased. Despite being relatively low in alcohol, something about this beer made it more of a sipper. I can't say I'd want to have more than one, nor can I say I'd seek it out again. Still, glad I tried it.

 1,264 characters

Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 1,967 ratings.
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