Coffee Bender
Surly Brewing Company

Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #9
Ranked #1,869
4.18 | pDev: 10.53%
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
Notes: Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.
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Reviews: 882 | Ratings: 2,755 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DIM
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have been neglecting low-octane beer of late. Shame on me. This has the expected roast and nuttiness of a small brown ale and an unexpectedly robust coffee note. Top notch for sure.

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DIM from Pennsylvania, May 18, 2020
Photo of lwillitz
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16-oz can into Guinness tankard

A - pitch black body under a finger of medium tan

S - roasted coffee, earthy with a slight nuttiness, touch of pine

T - roasted coffee, light touch of sweetness, chocolate with an almost peanut-buttery taste, dry all the way through, a pleasant coffee taste lingers well after the last sip

M - chewy medium body, medium carbonation

O - great brew for any lover of coffee

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lwillitz from Wisconsin, May 18, 2020
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can to English pint glass.
The appearance was a nice looking brown color centering around subtle amber hues along the side. Small eggshell white foamy head softly dissolving to some two rings of lace.
The aroma had some earthy coffee sweetness with subtle tones of milk chocolate, roasted nuts, caramel/toffee malts and a little bit of earthy spice.
The flavor seemed to slightly blend between some earthy coffee and toastiness at first. Then slightly brought in some dry semi-sweet roasty cocoa bean while presenting a mild aftertaste of cocoa powder sweetness, biscuits, dark toast and sweet nuts.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a sly sessionability about it. Good carbonation. Some smoothness, subtle acidic features but nothing overbearing. Finishes with some acidic to roasty and dark toasty to nutty tones.
Overall, I don't know the date of the can but somehow I believe I may have caught this in the nick of time as the coffee bean seems to be turning a bit.

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Photo of 57md
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brown color with mahongany edges and a fluffy finger of off-white head. The nose has plenty of roasted coffee notes. The flavor has the roasted coffee as well but what's missing is that nice bready quality that I am looking for in a standard brown ale.

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57md from Pennsylvania, Apr 25, 2020
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(16 oz can, canned on 09/23/19; purchased as a single off shelf, a gift buy... decanted into 14 oz mug)

L: almost two-finger high reddish-tan foam stand atop clear, deep-dark, chestnut brown liquid... slow, sudsy receding head, crusty rings of lace in its wake

S: coffee, chocolate, maybe a background note of molasses... nutty brown bread soon emerges, maybe some earthy/piney hops as well... overall aromas suggest moderate malt sweetness; moderate-plus roasty character; overall potency relatively clipped and mellow

T: coffee in nice balance with the vaguely peanut butter cup malt profile; dry. moderately roasty-bitter finish, with a mellow molasses undertone to the prominent medium-roast coffee at its core... second sip in, and a soft sweetness begins to build, but it's only in a subdued supporting role, as the bitterness from the hops and the subtle roasty char repeatedly pepper the palate... lovely back-end dryness as well as the nutty-chocolaty malt humming at the sides of the tongue

F: slight, sludgy drag in its finish (love it); medium-bodied with a mild chewiness, maybe lacking some sought-after dextrinous pudge (roundness)... despite the sluggish viscosity in its finish, not a ton of residual smear; very back/bottom of palate spared grease

O: the 'iced coffee' reference on the can is not too far off, though owing to its latent sweetness, the roast character is way more prevalent than in any iced coffee I've ever had; at any rate, the taste did grow on me... as a long-time fan of (American) brown ale, happy and grateful to have finally tried a Bender - worth the wait, hits the right spots (1658)

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Bouleboubier from New Jersey, Mar 23, 2020
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can. Bottom of can is stamped 'CANNED ON 11/05/19'.
Amber brown colored body. One finger of beige colored head. Leaves behind extensive coverage of lacing.
Aroma of toasted malts, coffee, and chocolate.
Taste is heavy with coffee, but allows chocolate, toasted malts, and hops to mix in. Coffee bitterness at the end and into the after taste.
Thinner mouth feel. Very good carbonation.
Must like coffee in their beer to enjoy this, but if one does, the brew is well done.

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Photo of Livyatan1996
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

single 16oz. can with about 2 months on it, poured into a nonic. a deep reddish brown, ruby on the edges in the light. a sticky khaki head has settled to a cap all the way down to these last sips. looks excellent. nose has a nice mix of dark bread/toast, chocolates and coffee grounds. the flavor is where this really opened up with a huge helping of black coffee on top of dark chocolate, dark breads and a really nice hop bitterness. the toasty malts here really shine. medium bodied, good carbonation and just generally good drinkin. hope i spot some more around at some point.

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Livyatan1996 from Missouri, Dec 27, 2019
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown with a two finger foamy tan head. Heavy amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is black coffee and chocolate.

T - The taste huge black coffee, chocolate, caramel and some light vanilla.

M - Medium/light body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - Tasty beer. Defiently recommended for coffee lovers.

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TreyIsWilson from Michigan, Oct 23, 2019
Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a tulip.

Pours a clear but very dark brown, with a tan head that gives way to nice lacing.

The nose is filled with strong coffee notes that are both bitter and sweet. Malted milk and semi-sweet chocolate arrive with hints of hops.

The brew is thin and somewhat watery compared to the promise of the aroma. It has moderate coffee and chocolate flavor, but much more subdued.

The brew has a nice medium and well-carbonated feel. It finishes well.

This brew would be top of the pile if its flavor was as substantial as its aroma. As is, it's still one tasty brew. Surly delivers another good beer, and one that is outside its normal hoppy strike zone.

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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota, Oct 19, 2019
Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 9/23/2019. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red/brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of vanilla, toffee, dark fruit, smoke, char, wood, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, light-moderate earthy hops, and light fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of vanilla, toffee, dark fruit, smoke, char, wood, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal, floral, woody, grassy, peppery, char, roasted coffee bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, dark roasted coffee, caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, brown bread/crust, vanilla, toffee, dark fruit, light smoke/char, wood, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, light-moderate earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; with an awesome awesome hop/roast/coffee bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering hop/char/coffee bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and fairly crisp/sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.5%. Overall this is an amazing American brown ale. All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts, coffee, light-moderate earthy hops, and light fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and fairly crisp to drink with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Nicely soft, and not aggressive on hop/roast bitterness. Amazingly rich and balanced dark/roasted malts and vibrant fruity/nutty coffee complexity; with solid earthy hops, and restrained fruity yeast. Mild residual sweetness with crisp dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazingly spot on style example. One of the best American Browns I've had. Significantly better than the base beer, but not as soft/silky according to my notes from 4 years ago.

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superspak from Michigan, Oct 12, 2019
Photo of MNAle
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Roasty aroma with plenty of roasted coffee. Deep brown, slightly reddish, color that is a crystal clear ruby with backlight. No carbonation visible. 1/2 inch tan bubbly, but somewhat thin, head that dies fairly quickly to a thin cap with bubble islands and a bubble ring. Disconnected light lacing. Taste is strongly coffee, roasted, but the feel is flat on the tongue. Slightly bitter in the middle and finish. Aftertaste is very slightly astringent (so slightly that the term "astringent" may imply more than what is there). There may be a nicely done brown ale underneath, but all the coffee hides it pretty well. The coffee is overdone and renders the beer one dimensional.

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MNAle from Minnesota, Feb 06, 2019
Photo of beergoot
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown body with a thick, frothy head. Balanced aroma of roasted grain and coffee; mocha. Excellent flavor with elements of sweet cocoa, coffee bitterness, baker's chocolate; vanilla bean. Medium body; underlying moderate sweetness with some fine coffee dryness.

This beer delivers excellently balanced and complex flavors with a nice, moderate body, light sweetness, and all-around coffee presence.

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beergoot from Colorado, Jan 30, 2019
Photo of Parmesan
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a brown purple color with a medium tan head and no lacing on the glass.

S: Rich fresh roasted coffee, some berries and fruit, some roasted malt. The coffee smells really good in this beer.

T: Rich fresh roasted coffee, some berries and fruit in the coffee, a light to medium bitterness from the coffee.

F: Fuller body that coats the mouth in coffee taste and medium slightly cola like carbonation.

O: The coffee in this beer is really nice and it is a really tasty beer.

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Parmesan from Colorado, Nov 28, 2018
Photo of VABA
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a very dark opaque color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has abundant coffee hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a nice coffee flavors.
M-A medium bodied moderately carbonated beer
O-A nice coffee flavored beer

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VABA from Virginia, Oct 21, 2018
Photo of teromous
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The bottom of the can says: "CANNED ON 07/20/18 F4370 10:46"

Appearance: The body is a dark brown with hints of dark reddish-brown in the light. It has a large khaki head that is fluffy and has both good retention and lacing.

Aroma: The smell of coffee is present even when the glass is on the table. Closer inspection reveals a slightly peppery and earthy espresso aroma that smells very fresh.

Taste: It has a nice mix of flavors, including toffee, burnt caramel, coffee, and toasted bread. There is a faint hint of mint and a touch of burnt carbon towards the finish of the beer. It has a coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: It is a smooth and easy drinking beer with a pleasant medium body and great carbonation. There's no room for improvement on this beer.

Overall: It's a very impressive beer. It has a good coffee flavor but it doesn't use that flavor to mask the flavor of the beer. What you have here is an outstanding Brown Ale that has been supercharged with even more flavor in the form of coffee. I would highly recommend it to both individuals who like coffee and those who simply like a good Brown Ale. It is a very enjoyable and easy drinking beer that I would like to buy again.

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teromous from Virginia, Oct 16, 2018
Photo of ordybill
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16 OZ can into a pint glass. The appearance is a brown color with a medium sized tan head. The aroma is all coffee. The taste is an excellent blend of coffee and malt.

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ordybill from Georgia, Aug 13, 2018
Photo of leantom
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I'm hoping that 1) this is not one of those hoppy brown ales and 2) that it's not a stout masquerading as a brown ale. Here goes:

A: Looks very nice. Clear but very dark brown with a wonderful red tint. The head is also nice and brown. Great.

S: Nope, this most certainly isn't a stout or hoppy brown ale. Very rich smell. Lots of brown sugar, caramel, molasses, hazelnuts, and peanuts. Lots and lots of nuts. Can also smell fairly robust coffee. Great - very complex and rich.

T: Follows the nose. Lots of rich nuts and vibrant coffee. Peanuts and hazelnut coat the aftertaste, along with an aftertaste of coffee bean.

F: Nice and thick.

O: Very rich and complex beer. Loved it.

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leantom from Indiana, Jun 29, 2018
Photo of Tone
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. 1/2 inch head of an off-tan color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong fresh coffee, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and a hint of citrus hops. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is an elevated roasted bitterness and dryness. Tastes of strong coffee, sweet malt, hint of citrus hops, and slight alcohol. Overall, almost completely coffee, lacking complexity, good flavors though.

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Tone from Missouri, Jun 10, 2018
Photo of TheSixthRing
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Canned 02/26/18

Appearance - Pours deep chestnut brown with a tan. finger width head. Fair retention results in a thin, broken layer of suds, thickening up at the edges. Solid lacing with broken lines and spotting decorating much of the glass.

Smell - The nose is immediately greeted with a wonderful roast and slight caramel undertone.

Taste - Follows the nose. Fresh roasted coffee with a touch of creamy caramel malt sweetness riding beneath. Finishes strong and the aftertaste lingers with roasted bean.

Mouthfeel - Light-bodied with low, tingly carbonation. Slick drinker with a mostly dry finish.

Overall - Solid coffee brown. A bit thin, but not terribly so for a brown. A little more depth in flavor and this could be killer.

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TheSixthRing from California, May 18, 2018
Photo of dukeandduke
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

5/4/18: 16 oz. canned 11/17/17 @ 8:32 AM gifted by brother Andy poured into Chimay chalice. Pitch black pour, light tan head. Very strong pleasant coffee roast aroma. Roasted coffee taste, balanced by sweet caramel. Thin mouth feel, slight carbonation, creamy and smooth drinking. Overall excellent offering by Surly!

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dukeandduke from Illinois, May 05, 2018
Photo of RyanK252
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Can poured into a Sierra Nevada pub glass

A: Pours rich mahogany brown with a frothy khaki head that settles to a firm layer and laces nicely.

S: Roasty, rich coffee, toasty, nutty, slightly earthy, caramel, and sweet cream.

T: Roasty, toasty, nutty, smooth coffee slowly takes over, slightly earthy, rounded out with some caramel and sweet cream.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly creamy.

O: I would happily drink this every morning. Super flavorful coffee brown, but it won't knock you on your ass like some of the other tasty coffee beers that are out there.

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RyanK252 from California, Mar 22, 2018
Photo of spoony
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a 16 oz can (canned October 31, 2017) to a nonic glass.

A-The beer is dark walnut brown. It is nearly opaque, but a little light gets through at the edges. The head is mocha colored and dense, but it fades rather quickly. A wave of lacing remains on the glass.

S-Wow! Intense and delicious notes of brewed coffee and hints of espresso bean. Despite a huge coffee aroma, the beer doesn't smell overly bitter and acidity is almost non-existent. It is almost like a iced latte with hints of creaminess. Not much in the way of "beer" aroma gets through the coffee.

T-The taste is also coffee-heavy. That almost-creaminess is still there and there is just a hint of bitterness on the finish that lingers on the palate. I cannot detect anything in the way of hops and just a little hit of barley grain. If I had to knock the beer I would say it almost a little one-dimensional, but if you like coffee, it is a good dimension.

M-The body is medium in heft with a smooth carbonation. It drinks really well for such an intensely flavored beer.

O-One of my favorite brown ales ever. I may be up all night because of the caffeine but I don't care. I will drink more of this.

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spoony from Colorado, Dec 06, 2017
Photo of WoodBrew
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm trying this at Monks Pub in Chicago. It poured a nearly opaque deep rich amber with no head and no lace. The scent and taste are so coffee grounds that there is no comparison. I gave this a beer a 5 on taste becaus rid brewer's intention....that that I liked it that much. If you love coffee/chewing in coffee grounds....thwn this is your beer. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's way to strong on the coffee side for me.

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Photo of brenn79
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can, thanks bro- Pours very dark cola brown with a tan head that reduces. Aroma is all coffee, serious gourmet shit right here... dark roasted malts. The taste is coffee, roasted malts, bitterness that can be attributed to the coffee, or possibly hops, it does have 45 ibu's, getting a bit of chocolate and caramel too, delicious.

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brenn79 from Idaho, Sep 30, 2017
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can dated 6/5/17. Poured into Belgian ale glass.

L: Slightly off-white head, 2F. OK retention, leaves some lacing and a cap and ring. Dark brown.

S: Very coffee. Some roasted malts in the background.

T: Again, very coffee up front. Roasted malts, some citrus and earthy hoppiness. Neutral finish. Fair amount of complexity.

F: Light bodied, fairly moderate carbonation. Good construction although a tad watery. Balance good.

O: Very much like a cold-brewed coffee, but with complexity and alcohol.

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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia, Sep 07, 2017
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 2755 ratings