Coffee Bender
Surly Brewing Company

Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Brown Ale - American
Ranked #10
Ranked #2,103
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.
View: Beers
Reviews: 898 | Ratings: 2,794 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of colts9016
colts9016 from Idaho

4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review 1527

I just found this beer last year, alas I have never reviewed it. This beer is tasty, I am looking forward to finally reviewing it. This beer is 44 degrees and served in a Nonic. The pour of the beer created a massive three-fingered light tan head with excellent retention. The head slowly dissipated leaving lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is SRM 20, a dark brown with mahogany hues. The beer does have some clarity to it, despite it being darker. This beer is lovely.

I get coffee, dark roasted malts, and smoke for my initial sniff. Nosing further, I detect chocolate, toffee, a hint of caramel, and some floral esters. Lastly, I sense molasses, raisins, and a touch of herbal.

The flavors in the beer are dark roasted coffee, roasted malts, Maillard, chocolate, a hint of caramel, smidge of toffee, molasses, floral, herbal, and some earthiness.

The mouthfeel is somewhat dry and a touch bitter.

The body of the beer is medium, medium-low carbonation, and a medium-plus finish.

This beer is awesome. The coffee profile is not overpowering. The coffee does not give the beer any negative effects, like burnt or over roasted flavors. The brown ale is well done with a delightful coffee addition. The beer is well made, I have enjoyed drinking these beers.

May 09, 2021
Photo of rudiecantfail
rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can poured into a tulip glass. Canned on 3/24/20.

L---Darkest brown color. Medium, khaki head has good retention and left nice lacing.

S---Strong coffee and lighter roasted malts.

T---Coffee, obviously. Some caramel and something sweet and vaguely fruity/berryish.

F---Medium bodied, but thinner than expected for the rich flavor.

O---Damn fine beer. I'd get this one again.

Mar 14, 2021
Photo of nick_perry
nick_perry from North Carolina

4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Foamy white head. Roasted malt and coffee aromas. Flavor is pretty much as advertised. Dry brown ale with a strong coffee note. Medium bodied. Strong carbonation. Not a whole lot to say about this one, but a solid example of a coffee beer.

Jan 31, 2021
Photo of Blogjackets
Blogjackets from Ohio

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

5.5% ABV makes this an easy drinker. Fresh roasted flavor and aroma are dominant. Pleasant mouthfeel and the malty backbone provides a smooth finish. As good a coffee beer, without additional flavor profiles, that I have had since Rogue’s Fresh Roast. Drank from can dated 10-13-20.

Jan 24, 2021
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu from New Jersey

4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful roasty coffee flair pour from the pour with Auburn highlights from backlighting. The capping is impressive, dark tan color, firm and spongy texture and build, with large cavernous pits, but holds amazingly well despite. A good collection of carbonation bubbles gather on the bottom of the chalice. Full band lacing tops off an outstanding visual, finished with a milky band coating.

S: Big wiff of freshly cracked coffee beans, earthy roast and oily fresh, with beautiful tones of of deep chocolate malts. Earthy damp forest leaves, with a touch of fresh charred firewood. The coffee grounds are as fresh as can be, late addition rather kettle boil? Milky roast of good strength that I can smell all day and will surly perk you up on any morning with some vanilla. Some warming brings out a gentle smokiness.

T: Roasty flair for flavor, fresh grounded beans, dried milky chocolate malt with a soft bitterness, earthy and well rounded and smooth. Some black cherry and plum fruitiness, sweetly dark highlights the fresh roast along with some smoky charred character on the tongue with a good hold.

M: Nice fullness, malty, thick of malt and coffee oils, softly carbonated with a milky depth. Warming smoky charred character on the tongue.

O: Smooth and beautiful drinker of fresh cracked coffee bean aroma, and some vanilla rich coffee that has support of deep rich chocolate malts. Nice smoky character and an underappreciated style that doesn't get enough recognition. The fresh roasty character only builds on to the flavor with an innovative twist that blends so well together. Let this warm up a bit to really bring out the coffee aspect. Even love the redesigned can which looks like starbucks cold coffee.

Jan 11, 2021
Photo of Korbynlehr
Korbynlehr from Kentucky

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark in color with a light brown to tan head. Nose is similar to colas but the coffee smell comes through. The taste is straight up coffee with cocoa and vanilla. Not too bitter I assume because of the vanilla I again assume has been added. Great follow through taste!!

Dec 24, 2020
Photo of hopsputin
hopsputin from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

*2 month old can

a: super dark brown, almost black in color. quite silky. pours a 1.5 finger tan head

s: really nice punch of roasted malts, caramel, and coffee upfront. freshly roasted coffee beans, a touch of grassy hops behind that. milk chocolate powder and a little bit of a woody note. a touch more sweet malt and coffee at the end. not too complex in the nose, but very nice if you like coffee

t: rich roasted malts and caramel upfront. a nice sweet nutty flavor followed by ground coffee. a faint kiss of sweet chocolate and just the faintest hint of sweet berries. there is a touch of earthy bitterness in here as well, which tastes like faint tea. more coffee and malt sweetness to close out along with a nice bready note

m: mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium, a touch chewy. low carbonation - i think it could use just a touch more carb

o: a really nice Coffee Brown Ale. I thought from the aroma that the coffee would dominate the rest of the flavors, but it doesn't. the sweetness and nutty flavors that you want still shine through and have a really nice harmonization with the coffee. my biggest knock is I think it could use a touch more carbonation

Dec 18, 2020
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep brown color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Toasted malt, coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, and a touch of earthy hops

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a mix of toasted malt, coffee, and caramel. Picks up some dark chocolate and earthy hop notes. Finishes with lingering coffee and light caramel

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A very good brown ale that takes the coffee treatment to a high level. Super easy to drink. Definitely coffee-forward. Worth checking out

Dec 08, 2020
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark brown color with a massive creamy khaki colored head. The head has moderate retention, leaving some sticky lacing as it settles into a thin sheet.

The aroma brings waves of freshly ground dark roast coffee beans, with some far subtler notes of dark chocolate, caramel and roasted malts.

The flavor, like the nose, is dominated by dark roast coffee. The chocolate and caramel notes are a bit more prevalent, however, providing a sweet balance to the roasted bitterness of the coffee. Hop presence is moderate on the finish.

The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nicely smooth and creamy. Lightly dry.

Overall, this is a very good american brown ale. The coffee overpowers the chocolate, caramel, and malt characters a bit, but everything is there and it's called "Coffee Bender" so what do you expect? If you like coffee, you will definitely like this beer. If you're looking for a more traditional brown ale, you may want to pass.

Nov 09, 2020
Photo of BB1313
BB1313 from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned on 10/13/20. 16oz can poured into a tulip. Pours a dark brown with auburn hues; creamy khaki head that falls leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are all coffee along with some hints of chocolate. Malts are there. The flavors follow the nose. More coffee leading the way. Hints of cocoa and chocolate. Some roasted characteristics are there due to the coffee. Low sweetness. Moderate bitterness. Malts do their thing. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's sharp, fluffy, smooth and easy to drink.

This is a nice coffee beer. The coffee shines. This beer has been on my radar for over 10 years, so I'm glad I finally got to see it on shelves locally. It might be straightforward and lack the depth that some coffee beers have these days, but it's still a really good showcase of coffee in a beer. I definitely believe this brew was ahead of its time. like it.

Nov 08, 2020
Photo of bobv
bobv from Vermont

4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

16 oz. can.
Canned 10/07/20.

First time distro in Vermont for Surly and rec'd last Friday.

Moderate pour yields a nearly one inch tan head over a brown body with some lacing. Nose of coffee, coffee, and coffee with a bit of roasted malt underneath. Taste mirrors nose nicely with a finish of slight hop bitterness and a tad sweetness. Good feel and overall, a coffee lover's delight!
Cheers to Surly finally finding its way to VT!

Nov 02, 2020
Photo of Dr_Bahmbay13
Dr_Bahmbay13 from Michigan

4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Can dated 10/29/19 purchased today?
I Love me a good brown!
The Four pack purchased today has a tad bit of's not a big deal for me when the beer is in a can. when its a non hoppy beer style and more malt.
Lots of hiss with a bit of over spray that looked very coffee foam like.
Offwhite tan head that vanished proper.
Dark and murky brown thats clear
Bottom glass edge color is light kawfee color.
The smell is out of this world. Huge dark roasted coffee bean aroma stings the nose with black coffee acidity. Dark breads. Cocoa, chocolate.
The taste is excellent. Massive coffee right way up front . Then the roasted malt pushes along with the carbonation and then the iced coffee flavor and the creaminess settles along with the roast and the coffee chocolate slight acidity tingle.
5.5 abv. After taste is pleasant and slightly sticky .
In conclusion I like it alot. Even at 1 years bornt.

Oct 30, 2020
Photo of Celtics76
Celtics76 from Rhode Island

4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I remember trying this brew at a beerfest a few years ago. Thought it was great and there was a little buzz about it if I remember correctly. Pumped when I saw it in cans at Yankee Spirits.

Anyway, pours dark brown with good head - with a lingering, heavenly ring of foam. Very intense cold brew aroma. I'm a big fan of bold dark roast coffees so this was a welcome development. There's also a little bit of a cream/sugar feel which makes it even more inviting. Flavor is as expected - super roasty, nice bitter aftertaste but not overpowering. Too much bitterness can really ruin a coffee so it's nice to see some restraint here.

This beer really helped ease the pain of the LA Lakers winning their 12th title. Boston will be back stronger next season!

Oct 13, 2020
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25


Dark brown, small beige head.

Nice coffee aroma, barley/oatmeal malt flavors also detectable.

Coffee and rye bread. Hint of brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body. Ok carbonation. A touch watery.

Very tasty coffee brown ale.


Oct 02, 2020
Photo of philbe311
philbe311 from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Don't see much Surly in PA, so I jumped at the chance to try this "bucket list" beer for me... Two fingers worth of rich lush khaki colored froth... Decent retention... The color is a deep dark brown that allows some light to leak in around the edges of the glass... The nose is a glorious mix of rich french press coffee and roasted malts in near perfect proportion... The flavor profile is identical to the aroma... Good flavor without being overpowering... Medium bodied with some prickly carbonation and a touch of sleekness... An excellent beer... Tons of flavor and character for a beer that only weighs in at 5.4% ABV... I wish this was around with more regularity...

Aug 22, 2020
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can into a pint glass. Canned 3/24/20, so 2 1/2 months old.

Looks very good. Body appears black with brown notes, but shows to be clear burgundy when held up to the light. Small off white head shrinks to a thick ring, leaving nice lacing at first.

Nice coffee aromas.

On tasting, the clean tasting brown ale base comes through without any aftertaste. Coffee addition is well balanced. Good drink.

Mouth above medium, and feels a little foamy. Finish coffee.

Overall, an enjoyable brown ale variant. Happy to be finding Surly on the shelves in PA.

Jun 06, 2020
Photo of DIM
DIM from Pennsylvania

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.

May 18, 2020
Photo of lwillitz
lwillitz from Wisconsin

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

May 18, 2020
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

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.

May 13, 2020
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

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.

Apr 25, 2020
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier from New Jersey

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)

Mar 23, 2020
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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.

Jan 04, 2020
Photo of Livyatan1996
Livyatan1996 from Missouri

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.

Dec 27, 2019
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

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.

Oct 23, 2019
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

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.

Oct 19, 2019
Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 2794 ratings