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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 modernartblues
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from Notes, Poured into DFH Tulip

A: dark brown, 1 inch tan head, minimal lacing

S: coffee, pretty much straight, I can strain to get notes of malt, but nah this is a cup of straight columbian black

T: coffee is the main note, but there is a more brown ale like finish with a malt sweetness and touches of nuttiness

M: mouthfeel was a let down, inadequate carbonation. hopefully it was just this can, but the lack of carbonation affected this one. (Note: Second can was measurably better in this department and increased the scores for both M and T)

D: Pretty high, my second can was much better than the first. I would definetely purchase again, if not trade for it.

Thanks to woosterbill for the cans!

 718 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with a light light mocha head. Good head retention and solid lacing.

S- Coffee, pretty decent coffee too. Wooo!

T- Coffee is more subtle than the nose would lead you to believe. Slight sweetness on the tail end.

M- Very well carbonated.

D/O- Very drinkable brown ale, even with the coffee flavors.

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Photo of dcotom
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16-ounce can into (what else?) a coffee mug. Appearance is a light cola color, like Pepsi after the ice has melted. Nice white foam head that leaves some lacing as it dissipates. Aroma and taste are both intensely coffee-forward, "aromatic as a bag of whole beans" as it advertises on the can. Was expecting a little more to the flavor profile, which was overwhelmed by the strong and bitter flavor of coffee beans. Mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall, a solid 4 out of 5.

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Photo of champ103
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to pwsoldier for the extra. Served in a Freetail Anniversary Pint (another extra).

A: Pours an opaque brown color. A tightly packed beige head rises to over two finger. Great retention, and rings of sticky lace.
S: Ground coffee, and some sweet malt. A little one dimensional, but not bad.
T: Lots of dark coffee. Roasted, sweet, caramel malt. Again, one dimensional, but still pretty good.
M/D: A medium body with a crisp snap of carbonation. It becomes more creamy as this breaths. Easy to drink. I can session this with no problem.

A really good coffee infused brown ale. Something I would recommend, and wish I could get more of.

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Photo of GregBlatz
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very very dark. Held to the light you see it is a very dark red. Tan head and pretty clear. Head is small and doesn't settle.

S - Diacetyl and chocolate. Sweetness similar to an oatmeal stout. English smelling.

T - Thin and roasty finished with a bitter coffee flavor. A butterscotch flavor slowly pushes foward as you drink the beer. I'm guessing it is fermented with a British yeast strain. Bitterness comes from the malts and the coffee rather than the hops.

M - Thin and lightly carbonated. Slick mouth feel.

D - Very drinkable, good for breakfast!

Overall it is a nice beer. Enjoyable and not overly aggressive.

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Photo of julian
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very similar to the regular Bender; dark brown with crimson highlights on the edges. Thick fluffy tan head that that stays for awhile but then reduces to a minimal think film on the surface.

S: Smell is of subtle coffee, mild roasted malt. Nothing intense in the aroma here, but definitely more than regular Bender.

T: Lots of watered down coffee, but tastes fresh. Roasted malt, some very subtle chocolate.

M: Carbonation is good, body is a bit thin, similar to regular Bender, but overall goes down easy and drinks very well.

O: Another solid beer by Surly. This is average to above average. Nothing here really wows me but then again, there is nothing to complain about either.

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Photo of stoutfiend27
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can received as extra from mnjeff..thanks

a-dark brown..ruddy brown head that didnt linger too long..but left impeccable lacing....

s-little disappointed..slight coffee and some toffee and thats about it...was really anticipating more coffee in the nose..but oh well..

t-coffee bomb...i dont understand how it got lost in the smell...has some nice roast from the malts..no hops present just a ton of coffee

m-creamy and very smooth feeling...even carbonation..

d-wouldnt want to have more than one...due to the overwhelming coffee...

dont get me wrong i love coffee beers...peche mortel and valdez are two of favorites...just didnt think this one quite lived up to it..its halla good just not one of my favorites..

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Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a thinner slight off white head atop.Full on coffee in the nose,not beerish at all really,if your into coffee this is it.The beer is good...very good but the coffee is dominant and it maybe leaves the fact that it's a beer behind,besides the coffee on the palate I get some chocolate and mild caramel.I have had alot of coffee infused beers this cuts the cake as far as coffee goes,is it caffeinated?That's the question.

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Photo of bsp77
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from can into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Very dark brown with a reddish tint. Nice cream colored head and decent lacing.

Smell: Espresso beans, dark chocolate and caramel.

Taste: Mix of semi-sweet coffee and chocolate, with some caramel and nuts just barely making an appearance. Lingering bitter coffee and American hops at the finish that seem almost too harsh in comparison to the initial balance and smoothness.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, almost too thin for a Coffee Ale but very smooth.

Drinkability: Nice, fairly easy to drink Coffee Ale, but I prefer the complexity of the standard Bender. Also, not quite in the same league as Founders Breakfast Stout and Bell's Java Stout, but very good nonetheless.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid khaki head, brown like a brown ale should be.

S: Cold coffee, stale coffee grounds, caramel

T: The coffee rides high, lining the walls of the mouth and instantly giving me coffee breath. Medium toast grain and brown sugar combine with lower intensity bittering hops to give the brown ale a bite.

M: Standard carb level and finish for a brown

D: This goes down easy but I have to say I prefer regular Bender. Coffee stouts too often taste like cheap gas station coffee. I get it, you used coffee but work on the balance and the bean a bit.

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Photo of cwguy5
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - deep clear brown with some dark amber highlights; one finger tan head settled down to a nice frothy cap; light lacing that seemed to slide down glass
S - rich, dark coffee starts to come through then milk chocolate and caramel
T - coffee is present throughout but it is understated and just part of the profile; some malt and bread toward the end with a mildly sweet chocolate and caramel finish
M - very lightly carbonated; thin bodied; no bite or drying finish
D - while this one left a bit to be desired in the mouthfeel and taste department it is very drinkable overall - thin body and light carbonation make it go down easy with a nice light, coffee/candy bar flavor; what's not to like right?

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Photo of Chico1985
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours brown, translucent red when held to the light. Beige head retains as a cap and ring, not much lacing left.

Sweetened coffee up front in the smell, with some milky and vanilla notes. Fades fast.

Coffee is much stronger in the taste, beats out the smell. A pretty nice balance between roasty and sweet, but overall leans more towards sweet I'd say. Slight molasses, vanilla and cream. A very small grassy/earthy hop presence. Comes off as a bit acidic in the finish.

Has a very smooth malty feel to it, great body for 5.1%, low carbonation.

The highlight was the overall smoothness of the beer, it's good, but as far as coffee beers go not one of the best. Not much complexity.

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Photo of Moose90
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can dated "01/26/15 F2764"

A — Pours a deep coffee colored brown, rich and deep, with a moderately tall mocha colored head, nice clinging lace.

S — Smells of sweet coffee, dark roasted espresso, creamy, sweet dark cocoa.

T — Tastes of bitter coffee, unsweetened chocolate, espresso, dry, deeply roasted malts.

M — Medium bodied, quick finish overall, dry and crisp, no lingering residual sweetness.

O — Very nice and good balance of coffee and roast, not overly sweet which is appreciated.

Thanks to @Ridder for this can!

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Photo of timc100
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Lighter than expected - clear dark brown, burgundy/mahogany edges. Has a really pillowy beige head.

S: HUGE coffee - smells exactly like an iced coffee but fuller. I love coffee but am not a big iced coffee fan, so this isn't the greatest coffee smelling beer to me personally, but very impressive. Very raw, heavily roasted and kind of burnt coffee beans. Wow, quite something.

T: Much of the same - like drinking a fuller bodied and carbonated iced coffee. There are some nutty/caramel notes coming through, but not much. Very raw, heavily roasted coffee beans - a bit too burnt.

P: Light/medium bodied, soft and comfortable carbonation. Appropriate to the aroma and taste. Oddly very refreshing

O: This is quite a beer. I love coffee beers, though I have only had coffee infused imperial stouts up to this point, which I prefer because there are other elements balancing and enriching the coffee flavor. This is just straight coffee. Would be great in the morning

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Photo of Treyliff
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours a translucent ruby-brown color with a two-finger light cream colored head that reduces to a solid layer floating on top, no lace

S- big coffee punch right off, notes of espresso, hazelnut, reminiscent of day old coffee mixed with the cardboard drink holders like the ones found at Starbucks, bizarre. Also picking up a distinct sugary-creamer sweetness as well. Overall very aromatic

T- bitter roasted day old coffee, this beer tastes more like straight up black coffee than any other beer I've reviewed. I don't pick up the sweet creamy notes that was in the aroma, nor the nutty aspect as well. There are some roasted malty notes underlying, but for the most part it is straight up coffee, bone dry finish

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel with a light and silky bone-dry finish

O- The aroma on this beer is great, unfortunately the flavors weren't as complex. I like my coffee beers to be chocked full of complexities like FBS. However, if you are a coffee drinker it's worth a try, because that's exactly what it tastes like. I actually prefer regular Bender a bit more, with it focusing more on traditional brown ale flavors

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Photo of KATCanada
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served at fridge temp from can. Dark brown with tan foam. Ban huge ground coffee nose. If you have ever had iced coffee in southeast Asia, this is what it smells like. Big coffee taste, bit of mocha. Mouthfeel is pretty thin when compared to the big coffee stouts, not in a bad way. Bitter coffee. Pretty one dimensional for me but fine since that's the ways it's advertised. Very good quaffer.

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Photo of drewba
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - murky brown with a thin khaki head and very light lacing.

S - Carmely brown malt, chocolate, root beer, lots of fresh roasted coffee, brown sugar.

T - Highly acidic coffee which is actually kind of distracting, even though the coffee is the point of this beer. The usual brown characters are here to backup the coffee - molasses, brown sugar, roasty malt. The hop profile is more prominent than your average brown. There is a slight lemon citrus and bitterness coming out in the end, but the coffee and bold malt flavors are still taking over in the finish.

M - Super easy finish, satisfying carbonation though it's thin.

D - The acidic coffee bitterness hangs around for awhile, but I could definitely pound a few of these back to back.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a burnt caramel that morphs into black with a generous mocha head. Lacing is decent.

Smell foremost is initially fresh ground coffee. Sweet cream/milk with toffee drizzle but not overbearing. Aroma is to be admired.

Taste follows aroma in that primo coffee is the center stage. Some malty sweetness holds it together. Generally good.

Mouthfeel is lacking comparatively. Nice sparkle on the carbonation. Quite quenching if you are in the mood for a coffee brown.

Really was expecting more because of the hype. What you get here is a palatable coffee brew. Not a fan of the base Bender mainly because of the lightness of it. This follows the same thread but in this case quality coffee has been added to make it a gem in its own right. If you love a coffee brew then this is one you will like.

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Photo of MUTINY
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can into a smallish tasting tulip.

A: Pours a nearly-opaque mahogany with slightly reddish hues around the edges. 3/4" tan head recedes at a moderate pace. Retention & lacing are both quite good.

S: Coffee, milk chocolate & an indiscernible nutty quality. Traces of brown sugar. Faint plum.

T: Comes on with more milk chocolate that quickly becomes more of a coffee with cream character that ultimately defines the mid palate. The finish is just off-bitter with an almost overripe raspberry quality.

M: Moderate-to-high carb married to a surprisingly light, dry body.

O: I like this brew, it maintains a certain simplicity throughout. Overall quite good!

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech for this one!

16 oz. can:

Pours dark brown with rubyish highlights. A thin light brown head leaves lacing.

The smell is of roasted coffee beans.

The taste is of iced coffee - roasty. After a little while, a caramel/toffee brown ale undertone comes through to back up the roasted iced coffee, improving it. It has a roasty finish.

Medium-to-full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth.

Roasted iced coffee and Bender mix. Balance leans towards the coffee. Becomes more balanced as it progresses. I'm thinking that this could have replaced one of my weekend morning coffees. Certainly one for coffee (and of course beer)lovers to try!

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving type: 16-ounce can. The “CANNED ON” date printed on the bottom of the can is “01/14/13.” Kudos to Surly for printing freshness dates!

Appearance: Poured into a nonick pint glass. The color is deep, ruby brown. I was expecting it to be darker and opaque, but I will take it. (Honestly, I always assumed Coffee Bender was Surly’s stout.) A finger of tan, uneven head left a thin but spotted skim of foam and a buttery ring around the edge.

Smell: It offers a powerful dose of straight black coffee roast, which dominates the aroma. Frankly, it is hard to smell a hint of anything else.

Taste: Straight black coffee, complete with that coffee-like, bitter, roasted astringency that grates the taste buds and fouls the breath. It is coating my entire mouth. Unlike the aroma, though, there are hints of other flavors, especially on the tail of each sip — presumably remnants of the Bender base: toasted caramel, toffee, cocoa, and maybe molasses.

Drinkability: Good stuff, but can I get some beer with my coffee? I love coffee infused beer, but this is more coffee than beer. I would have liked more complexity.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good looking, dark brown with perfect clarity, good head with staying power, and good lacing.

Smell is pretty good, nice coffee aroma but plenty of nice chocolate, sugar cane, and lightly bready malts.

Taste is easy going and moderated, with a good coffee and chocolate base, accented by a good biscuit malt, slightly smoky.

It's pretty light bodied and medium carbonated, with a good bitter aftertaste that lingers.

Pretty good beer. Easy to drink for sure, and I like that it's in cans.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't wait any longer. Retail hell has hit Chicago and I needed this one after a shift that ran longer than it was supposed to... Beer labeled #12 poured into my HopLeaf pint glass and reviewed instantaneous for everyone's pleasure.

I'm so used to seeing pale ales in cans that I was shocked to see this brown ale come billowing out. Very creamy head with tons of pancake batter style bubbles destroying the clean appearance. Edges are filled with a gentle mixture of miniature bubbles and a couple average sized ones.

Liquid body of ruby that does not completely block out the light... deep brown hues, caramel soda. Lacing is similar to lacy, white lady gaga gloves stained with cigarette use. Not many streams of bubbles seen when held up to the light.

Sharp astringent character of hops come forth and faintly after numerous intakes a floral pattern. Sweet hazelnut and caramel middle with biscuit tendencies. Hints of wood? Something earthy... as it warms. Guess this is the coffee coming forth that is overwhelming the palate in flavor.

Flavor Profile
Big malt bomb in terms of flavor. Big coffee bomb in terms of flavor. Big sweet bomb in terms of flavor. Explosions, much? Opens sugary sweetness, caramel-like flavors. Middle is coffee, that bitter freeze dried variety that is quite common from my experience as of late. Bitterness of the coffee blends well and obscures the hops for a portion of its existence. Pine flavors right before the finish, resinous and lasting into the final onslaught. Biscuits and pine jelly. Yummy! It is surprisingly tasty.

Oral Sensations
Medium bodied with a smooth flow. It has the lingering flavor molecules that cling to everything but the teeth. Never noticed them there at all throughout the entire can. Crisp carbonation at the beginning that supports the overall presentation.

Hoppy, coffee infused, brown ale? Who the hell makes something like that. It is quite interesting and super easy to drink. Five and a half percent is my guess for the alcohol. I'd like to try this on draft if at all possible in the future.

Reveal is.... Surly Coffee Bender!... wait.. really? Huh... I was expecting something... I don't know... better?

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Slightly hazy deep brown, no carbonation visible, has a nice tan head that has faded to a paper thin layer.

S: Like fresh coffee beans. Incredibly natural. Undertones of chocolate. Simple, but wow, is this concept well-realized.

T: Like drinking a coffee bean, acidity and bitterness and all. I'm curious what hops and how much were used here, I could see them backing up the coffee quite a bit, secretly. Roasted malt/coffee finish lasts and lasts. Bitterness is restrained, but there is very little sweetness. Again, this is well created, but this much acidity is off-putting in a beer.

M: Watery, much too watery. Heavy flavors require at least a medium body.

O: Definitely worth trying, you will not find more realistic coffee flavors in a beer. Unfortunately, I think they spent too much time on extracting this flavor and not enough time working on the other components to back it up.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz bottle into SN tulip pint glass. Thanks again to Chriscrundwell12 for this one.

A: Pours a very dark ruby-brown (darker and more brown than regular Bender) with a similar large, dense, light brown head that took forever to recede into a fuzzy thick film. A solid sheet of sticky lacing was beautifully left down the glass.
S: Rich notes of coffee grounds and oil. Smells similar to (just as the can says) an iced coffee.
T: Tastes like an iced coffee as well. Light watered down coffee taste is refreshing with a sweet malty finish. I get just a suggestion of leafy hops in the finish as well. Aftertaste doesn't leave much coffee flavor in my mouth which is nice.
M: Medium body with an oily mouthfeel that coats my mouth. Carbonation is soft and even.
O: Really good light flavor of coffee that isn't overpowering or too potent. Tastes just like an iced coffee. Thanks again Chris!

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