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Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bender steeped cold for 24 hours in coarsely ground coffee beans from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala.

Added by feloniousmonk on 05-28-2006

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Reviews: 839 | Ratings: 2,579
Photo of KarlHungus
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours nearly opaque deep brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes into nice rings of lacing. The aroma is of coffee beans, with nutty caramel malt beneath. The taste is a little maltier than the aroma, but there is still a ton of coffee. There is all the malty depth of regular Bender, but it seems more accentuated by the coffee. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a great beer. I have a feeling that I will be drinking this beer a lot.

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Photo of pheggeseth
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Darkness Release Event

A: Dark, dark, brown, almost totally opaque. There wasn't much head seeing as how it was in a plastic party cup, and the keg was quite cold right after tapping.

S: Smells like a good, rich Sumatra coffee, fresh bready malt, faint hops

T: Tastes like regular Bender, but with a nice coffee glow to it. As it warms, the coffee flavor starts to balance the "Bender" flavor. Just as rich as it smells.

M: Very thick and smooth, the coffee mellows it out, great

D: Wow. This was terrific. Could drink it all day...not just at 10am...

Probably the only chance I'll get at this beauty. Glad to have been given the opportunity.

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Photo of ihaf2p
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was leery of trying this beer because I am a huge Surly fan and because of the hype did not want a let down....no worries, it was a great experience. The smell of coffee is much more prominent that I expected. The chocolate flavors really come thru as well. Very good drinkability...not sure it would be a good session beer, but I would maybe alternate between a Coffee Bender and Furious. Cheers!!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be my favorite out of the Surly beers maybe even my favorite coffee beer. Pours with a billowing tan khaki head and forms fine even lacing down the sides of the glass. Their infusion process really makes the beer, body is a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. Aroma has dark nutty notes of coffee, with hints of cream and sugar, really it's like the best iced coffee you've ever had with a strong earthy coffee nose. Flavor is excellent the most intense and flavorful coffee beer I've ever tasted, this beer tastes great. Creamed coffee, chocolate, dense creamy vanilla highlights within a dark brown ale just tastes great. Mouthfeel is creamy textured and I'm burping up coffee beans this is an intense beer experience. Mouthfeel is slightly acidic with coffee bean notes, and goes down easy loving every second of it. Drinkability is creamy texture is awesome and the beer that I've dreamt of when it comes to coffee beers thanks again Ryan aka Schlais, if you need anymore White Rajah let me know!

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Photo of erosier
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A BIG thanks to Scoobydank for hooking me up with this.

L: Pours a deep black/brown color that you can almost see through with a medium sized and medium bodied head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, sweet chocolate, and a nice mild coffee aroma.
T: Tastes of sweet malts, nice chocolate flavors, and a very sweet/mild and smooth coffee flavor to round it out.
M: Very smooth, very nicely carbonated, the feel was absolutely perfect.
D: Extremely drinkable, I am sad I shared this with my friends since I can't get it up here.

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Photo of BeardedAllen
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of Surly's best beers, in my opinion. This is the coffee drinker's choice in beer. Its wonderful mix of coffee and Ale give it a very distinguished taste. I've affectionately named this beer the Minnesota paper maker, because I'd often find myself sipping on one while writing long winded political science essays. The caffeine gets your mind going, while the smooth 5.1% get's you loosened up just enough to ramble, but not enough to get you Surly.

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Photo of optiontwo
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Even though I've had this brew many times on-tap before I can't tell you how excited I am to be holding this beautiful can in my hands. Easily one of my most anticipated beers in a while.

First one to review coffee bender in a can! Woo-hoo! Ok, I'm done. Time for the review.

16oz. can poured into nonic

Appearance: Dark brown, not completely opaque but close, with half inch frothy tan head and very nice lacing.

Smell: So obviously, this being a coffee beer, you'd expect some major coffee aroma which there is, but there's a lot more going on. Coffee, roasted biscuit malts, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and even some hop aroma are all in there.

Taste: Bitter coffee and chocolate followed by sweet caramel, toffee, and hazelnut and finished off with a perfect amount of hop flavor and bite. Simply delicious. This is the most balanced coffee beer I've ever had.

Mouthfeel: Perfect. Not too heavy, not too light. Carbonation is just right.

Drinkability: Also perfect. This is one of the tastiest 5.1%ABV brews there is. It goes down easy and if you were so inclined you could enjoy all four from your four-pack and not turn into frank the tank.

Overall: This, in my humble opinion, is a world-class coffee beer. And that's what you can expect from Surly, world-class beers. When I first had this beer it seemed a bit more coffee forward but now, out of the can, it seems a lot more balanced. I used to tell my pals that enjoy good beer to try this brew even if they didn't like coffee; well now that rings more true than ever. This is the perfect balance between beer and coffee and I am practically giddy that I have three more cans in my fridge. Obtain this, however you can.

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Photo of nitro0292
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into a glass coffee mug. I couldn't resist despite the fact that this is beer and not actually coffee. Pour produced a solid one finger head with GREAT retention. Looks like black coffee. Some brown and red shows through when held up to the light. Head stays around like crema on a good cafe con leche.

Smells like coffee grinds. This does not smell like the roasty-sweet or roasty-bitter of stouts that "sorta" replicate coffee. THIS SMELLS LIKE ACTUAL COFFEE. Put this in a to-go mug and nobody will know the difference.

This taste like coffee. Not hot (obviously) and not as strong or as bitter as actual coffee, but damn close. This is truly a "coffee" brew. Very dry finish, just the right amount of roasty coffee and bitterness.

Mouthfeel is almost confusing. Its carbonated, so I know its not coffee but it is has low carbonation and is light bodied. This is not quite as thick or as smooth as regular bender but it is absolutely delightful.

This is for folks who like some beer with their coffee. This is like nothing else I have had. A true "coffee" beer. Outstanding and well worth the price and shipping.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep chestnut brown coloring. A frothy head that dissipates slowly.

S: Umph! There is no false advertising going on here. This is the more coffee-centered nose I've ever smelled in a beer. Wonderful, potent coffee nose, with some caramel malts notes hidden deep under the coffee beast.

T: Same as the nose! Like drinking a cup of coffee with a fantastic brown ale mixed in, and it works very well. The sweetness of the coffee and malts are balanced by their own yin and yang bitterness. Simple and complex simultaneously--Didn't think that was possible but here it seems to be.

M: Wonderfully coating and carbonated. Easily drinkable, yet it leaves no wanting.

You could probably get away with justifying drinking this with breakfast, it's so coffee-forward. I love this beer.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everyone has a favorite brewery that they don't have immediate access to. For me, it's Surly. I love every brew I have ever had and I would honestly buy pallets of the stuff if I could. Coffee bender is unlike anything I have ever had.... Yet I have never reviewed it. Great timing as this is my first review since the site changed.

A- a black as night body with the rockiest head of fluffy mocha foam I have ever seen with a brown ale. The foam barely recedes leaving elevated layers of foam on the sides of the glass. I would go on record as saying the layers are almost 3D. I'm going to go on record as one of the best appearances ever

S- great malt flavors that are enrobed in stalks of coffee beans. The scent is pure java that isn't a old coffee scent like some coffee brews. This is fresh and lively as it meshes with the malt and slight dry hop scent

T- Unstoppable black coffee bean flavor tastefully combined with a crisp and flavorful brown ale. Sweet malt flavor with a dry taste that mingles with the coffee. This is equivalent to a black iced coffee that is so flavorful with a commitment to the beans. Best coffee flavor that is not positioned with some cream and sugar if you will. Perfect

M- the coffee flavor is not only delicious but it settles fantastic in the mouth and palate. Flavor is coating and smooth

O- Surly has created one of the best brews I have ever experienced. The iced coffee attributes that are cloaked as a brown ale is unyielding. Coffee bender is a brew that I will always want and enjoy. What a brewery, what a beer. How I wish, how I wish they were here. I'd be one lost soul swimming in a bowl of coffee bender year after year

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A dark brown beer with a bubbly khaki color head. The head is about 2 fingers and slowly diminishes leaving behind a very sticky lace. Appearance is awesome.

S: Right off the bat, you smell chocolate malts, soft floral hops, and roasted coffee.

T: I should have drank this with breakfast. A strong roasted coffee flavor balanced with robust chocolate malts. A great finish and aftertaste that is identical to morning coffee. Delicious. (As it warms up, the coffee bitterness comes out)

M: A creamy texture (I said 'almost' chewy, but my husband disagreed) with a medium-full body and mild carbonation.

D: I could have this breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Very easy to drink. Love this beer. ISO MORE! It's never too early for Surly!

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Photo of Tizzod
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out of the growler beautifully, very dark with a nice brown head. The smell is one that I will dream of - fresh roasted coffee and malty beer goodness. I couldn't stop smelling the empty growler after the beer was all gone. Really spectacular.
The first sip was an intense coffee flavor mixed beautifully with the beer. Coffee flavor was very predominant but didn't get in the way of the malt taste of the Bender. Beautiful mouthfeel, smooth and creamy.
One of the best beers I've ever had the privilege of drinking. The friends who shared the growler with were also very impressed and the beer went faster than I thought. For such a flavorful beer it was extremely drinkable. In fact I wish I was drinking it right now.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Poured from the can with 2 fingers of light tan foam, which slowly receded to a proteinaceous haze layer, leaving some impressive lacing in its wake. The body was a semi-opaque dark brown. Any carbonation was not visible due to the opacity of the beer.

S- Smells of rich, freshly brewed coffee and stewed malts. A very simple, but extremely elegant nose.

T- Wow. A perfect balance of stewed and nutty malts with freshly ground coffee. Often, I find coffee beers to be overboard on the coffee notes; but this one strikes such an amazing balance with the malt. No hops detected, but we do have a wonderfully long coffee finish on this beer.

M- A big, almost chewy body, with a pervasive soft carbonation. Virtually no astringency.

Overall- This is one of the most elegant, flavorful, and impressive beers I have had in the 5% abv range. I can drink these all night long in any kind of weather.

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Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car

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Photo of stealth
4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

What a great coffee beer. As the name implies, you expect coffee, and that's what you get. Lots of it. The most 'coffee' coffee beer I've tasted. Has the coffee roast bitterness on the finish, but its balanced well by some mild sweetness. Could drink this with breakfast.

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful brown pour, almost porter looking, but we knew that about Bender already, great light tan head that stays until the glass is empty.
Aroma is of coffee, and more coffee, then a nice touch of caramel and biscuit malts. There is even a slight aroma of spicy hops to round things out.
Taste is as good as it gets, there isn't even a need to let this one warm too much. Great smooth coffee flavors round out a mix of biscuit and caramel malts, possible even a small touch of chocolate, with a nice small background of floral hops.
Mouthfeel is great for a brown ale, but this isn't a brown ale, it is a little thin for a porter, but this isn't a porter, oh, I am confused. This is way too easy to drink and I can see the caffeine and alchohol fighting out which should win.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As the 5.0 score I've given this in several categories, implies this is an exceptional beer. I've had this before out of the can, and several times on tap, being lucky enough to live in Minneapolis.

It pours the color of a dark mahogany java drip, but there isn't much head retention or lacing to speak of. Most brown ales I've seen are better in this department, so I won't give it a 5.

The smell and taste, which are frankly the things I care most about when buying a beer like this, absolutely crush it. A perfect harmony between the bitterness of the coffee, with the bitterness from the hoppy undercarriage mixes with roasted malt and espresso taste. An absolutely delight to drink, and an excellent decision for the morning football game.

Mouthfeel is solid and pronounced, and might deserve more than a 4, but IMO with the other offerings from surly, this feels on the lighter end of their spectrum, certainly no different from the bender.

Absolutely dynamite fusion of coffee flavor and beer. A must try, and re-buy.

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Photo of aaronhanson
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love it. I've had two cans and my mouth wants more. There are actually a few coffee grounds in the bottom of my glass.

The coffee is very pronounced, in a good way. I didn't expect to like it this much. It's very dark, and has a healthy amount of foam when you pour it, but it goes away quickly.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surly Bender infused with coffee, ...what bean, what blend, what process? Golly, I don't know, but it's great.(an edit to cover my ignorance, info from the brewer: Beans are from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation located in Agua Dulce area in Huehuetenango,Guatemala.
Grown by the Martinez family.
Full City roast by Coffee &Tea Ltd.,Linden Hills,Minneapolis. Cold-steeped.)

Solid ebon color, browish at bottom, with a beautifully hued head, a deep cocoa tan looking for all the world like a shot of espresso, with a generous dollop of froth.

Aroma's where it's at, wide open and long-lastin, rich with coffee, with a hint of cream.
Herbal, nutty, chocolatey, brimming with coffee essence. A treat to drink in with the nose.

But now let's let the lips and tongue go to work. More delights. The coffee has overpowered the subtler parts of Bender's character, but there's no sorrow in this, as the coffee flavor that controls it now is an exceptional playmate for the palate. Really sticks to the tongue and lays long in the finish.

Medium to full body, long, coffee-tinged finish, unflinchingly flavorful, and still an easy treat to drink down. This has met with near unanimous praise among those I've witness enjoy it, and I can only hope it's attempted again and again, so that more may discover this jolt of joy for java freaks, and beer geeks alike.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to my man up in MN for sending these cans down to me right after the release. I have been hunting this one for a while as I truly appreciate a coffee beer above all others. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2009.

The pour was damn wonderful I have to say. Deep dark brown with some light shining through on the edges and bottom, but mostly opaque. Huge tan head maybe three inches high coming up and over the top and falling down into a full, sticky ring of lace around the sides of the glass.

The aroma was steeped with coffee. Rich brewed, medium coffee with a nice bitterness to it. Some light sweet notes bouncing around in there as well and a very nice roasted quality to it. Smooth, rich flavor, Bitter coffee notes dominated with an amlost tea like flavor in there as well if that makes any sense. Huge vcoffee flavor from beginning to end and the smoothness of it was wonderful. Mellow finish and light abv made it very sessionable and this one went down in no time, offering little challange to me.

This was a great coffee beer. One of my favorites. Lighter then others in feel, but the freshness of the brewed coffee flavor was soo spot on. I am very happy to have a good supply of this one.

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Photo of happygnome
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a: pours a deep dark brown almost black color with about a quarter inch of head that disappears quickly leaving a thick coating of stick tan lacing
s: like coffee with a hint of sweetness a touch of bitterness towards the finish that balances out the sweetness nicely
t: at first it is sweet but that is quickly replaced b a coffee taste with notes of sweetness. the coffee flavor adds a hint of bitterness hints of a sweetness possibly caramel come out towards the end
m: medium bodied beer that has little carbonation

overall, this was an excellent beer that i thoroughly enjoyed

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Photo of ryantupy
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on Tap at the Darkness release day.

A - Very dark, much darker than the regular Bender obviously due to the infusion of coffee.

S - Coffee Bender smelled of nice fresh roasted coffee mixed in with mild toffee, sweetness, and a mild hop undertone.

T - Fresh roasted coffee (dark coffee), the beer has undertones of toffee, mild hops that help balance the flavor out. The coffee seems to become stronger as this beer warms.

M- Good and thick oily mouthfeel.

D - Defiantly a nice drinkable coffee beer. This beer is very nicely balanced making it more enjoyable than standard coffee beers in my opinion.

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Photo of runner440
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Stu for hooking me up with this beer. This is a pretty awesome coffee beer. Definitely the best coffee beer I have ever had. The aroma smells like iced coffee with small hints of chocolate. The beer starts with a nice coffee burst and bitterness at the front of the mouth followed by some sweet milk chocolate notes and more coffee at the middle of the mouth. The finish is very smooth with a big coffee like aftertaste. Very drinkable also. I'd rather have this beer than my morning coffee every day!

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz Can poured into a Duvel glass split with Oglmcdgl.

Coffee Bender pours out a very dark shade of brown appearing mudy black with a inch or so of bright tan semi mocha colored foam that left some stickies. This smells like some dank ass coffee and tastes like it as well. A nice roast in the middle finished by more coffee. Beans upon beans. A hint of vanilla and a bit of nuts so the base brown is not completely lost butnthis one is all about the coffee. Feel is very slick and feels thicker than it is with all that roast. About lightish in body with a ample carb. This is a lighter version of breakfast stout with a lower ABV making it much more drinkable. This one is a winner.

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Photo of cuttlery
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Awesome coffee brew. Awesome winter beer. Its a perfect beer for drinking by a fireplace on a 20 degree minnesota winter day. Full of coffee aromas and flavor.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,579 ratings.
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