Bender | Surly Brewing Company

1,965 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: 1,965 |  Reviews: 760
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4/5  rDev -2.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

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4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of MrHirschybar
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ATPete
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of HopsHopenstein
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of riverrunt421
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of bluejacket74
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 ounce can, canned on date of 11/22/11. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown (that you can see through some when held up to a light) with about an inch tan head that stays around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like caramel malt, vanilla, coffee, nuts, chocolate, and some light hops. It tastes like caramel malt, nuts, coffee, chocolate, and some hops. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick and has moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, I liked it. It's definitely worth trying.

 548 characters

Photo of Riggsenater
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of vikinghorn
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Beer pours out darker than I expected; this is a dark brown that is quality porter or stout brown. When you hold it up to the light it looks more like a brown ale. Has some deep amber red to lighter brown. Frothy tan head with some better than average lacing to it, comes up big after a reasonably hard pour. Bottom line is that it's a good looking beer.

Smells pretty good. Brown malty aromas. It's got some sweeter beady notes along with some nuttiness. Doesn't end there though, there are also some light coco aromas and even some hints of coffee. Some slight fruity hops.

Taste is good, it's very malty, but a good amount of hops too, I guess you can say big all around flavors. Some nutty, earthy and fruity flavors. Again there are hints of coco and more coffee than in the smell. Really good tasting and all around strong beer.

Mouthfeel is good. Full bodied with a perfect carbonation level. Flavors are well balanced and it's pretty smooth. Very drinkable all around solid beer. Glad to finally try it. Thanks stratt721

 1,087 characters

Photo of LornaLee
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of MyTBeerDrinker
1/5  rDev -75.7%

Photo of Beerdius
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Antnyd82
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of MarcatGSB
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ShwarzAl3r
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of reyolb
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Agold
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours with a nice tight light head that leaves very nice lacing and recedes to a short bit of tight head after a while. Good retention. Aroma is light, roasty, a bit nutty, and a mild bitter chocolate note. Taste is similar, but there is a bit of a lightness, and mild minerally flavor. Bitter chocoate is also absent. There is also a nice biscuit malt flavor. Overall, very nice beer. Mouthfeel could use a bit more body, but for a 5% beer the lightness is not really too much of an issue. Overall, this beer is very enjoyable. Probably wouldn't go too much out of my way to get it, but would always be happy to see this beer.

 637 characters

Photo of jegross2
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Bender from Surly Brewing Company. Thank you BeerAdvocate user FunHog for hooking me up with this one!
Score: 82

04/19/11 canned beer poured into a Goose Island Irish-style imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark chestnut/caramel brown color with a finger of super creamy khaki-tan colored head that sticks around a while. Opaque with yellow-brown highlights at the top and ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. Excellent lacing. 4/5

Smell: Caramel and vanilla cream soda. Notes of coffee/espresso, earthy hops and a light nuttiness. Chocolate malts too. 4/5

Taste: Caramel and nuts. Some chocolate malt ball flavor, bready malts and butterscotch on the mid-palate. Light vanilla and hint of coffee. Hints of hoppiness at points. Crisp caramel and hazelnut finish. Gets sweeter as it layers and warms. Pleasant flavors, but no linger. I get hints of stainless steel sweetness at points. Maybe this one is better fresh. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium-high carbonation. Finishes bittersweet. 3/5

Overall: A solid brown ale that is worth hunting down. This one is probably better fresh. Surly has much better offerings than Bender, however. It is probably worth noting that I am not a big fan of brown ales.

Recommendation: I can safely recommend this one to casual beer drinkers and beer geeks alike, but if you are trying Surly beer for the first time, nab a Furious instead.

Pairings: I was drinking this one with an Oatmeal Raisin cookie, but a chocolate chip cookie with nuts in it could work well too.

Cost: $12 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.

 1,586 characters

Photo of HoistinBrews
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of bpgpitt10
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome. I got this and had no idea what type of beer it was. It took me a while to place a brown ale because frankly, I've never had a brown ale with so much flavor.

A: Deeper brown than a standard brown ale with a more caramel colored head that was there then GONE. Lacing was basically non-existent and its very lightly carbonated.

S: Nose was amazing. Great mix of a light prune smell with caramel/chocolate. A hint of coffee in the nose, but very light. It has a bit of a hop freshness to it that keeps it from smelling like a porter.

T: Awesome. Starts out with a bit of sweetness that dissipates into a fairly clean finish. The burst of flavor at the front is the caramel that fades to a bit of a coffee/chocolate taste. The prune type smell is evident most in the finish as it leaves a nice dry, slightly fruity aftertaste. That's the bit of hops in there I'm not used to with brown ales.

M: Pure brown ale. This is the only thing about this beer that drops it a notch in my book. The mouthfeel isn't all that interesting.

D: ABV 5.1% so its not overwhelming at all. Not thick at all and lightly carbonated. I could easily have 3 of these without thinking about it.

Overall, this was by far the best brown ale I've ever had. Probably cracking my top 20 which is ridiculous considering it's a brown ale.

 1,321 characters

Photo of bertram
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of KevinBrewer
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 11/22/11

A- Dark chestnut color with a reddish glow to it. Moderate tan head that dissipates to a solid covering, leaving patchy lacing behind.

N- Biscuity chocolate malt and wisps of vanilla combine to create an aroma reminiscent of cocoa dusted vanilla wafers. Slight hints of caramel, and some vague fruity esters I can't quite place (melon?). Also some subtle herbal hops that add to the "beery" quality.

T- Chocolaty, biscuity grain with a smooth roastiness makes for full-flavored malty foundation. Also a pleasant nuttiness in the mix. I can taste several different malts individually, which is pretty amazing, considering they all work wonderfully together. I love how dry the beer is as well. Very full, complex maltiness, while remaining only mildly sweet. The hops are very mild, with a smooth grassy/herbal quality to them. The finish is fairly short and semi-dry with grassy hops and lightly roasted malt lingering into the aftertaste.

M- Medium-light body, slightly creamy, with moderate carbonation and a semi-dry finish.

D- Overall, this one is a stand-out as far as brown ales go. Really a treat, I love the complexity and dryness of the malt with the subtle, smooth hop bitterness adding yet another layer. If you haven't had this beer, you need to try it.

 1,287 characters

Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.11 out of 5 based on 1,965 ratings.
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