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: 848 | Ratings: 2,636
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance - A deep brown, maybe a little hazy or murky. Not a lot of light penetrates. Nice khaki head that laces all over the glass.

Smell - I'm surprised the nose isn't as dominated by coffee as the taste. Much more of a brown ale aroma with coffee in the background. Nutty with some vanilla, then coffee.

Taste - Here's where it's all coffee. Tons of coffee with a little bit of hazelnut brown ale and some vanilla. The beer comes through in the form of a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Easy drinking. Bitter, maybe too much, but at least it reminds me that I'm drinking beer and not coffee.

Overall - I'm not usually a fan of coffee-dominated beers, but the coffee in here is dominant without being too acidic. It makes for a very pleasant coffee experience.

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Photo of Docer
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this puppy in a trade from Brentk56,, great beer!

- Clear dark brown, light mocha, cola-colored.. fizzy thin layer of foam... large lace-making ring.

- Smells like a cream soda.. light coffee, sweetness.. grainy, malty, bitter zesty hop.

- Nice, smooth, and light.. sweetened coffee, grain, hop... very good light sweetened balanced brew.. light bitterness.

- Light bodied, mouth watering, bitter dry..

- Fantastic brew all around, very balanced and one I could surely even drink for breakfast!

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Hophead247 for this!

Dark brown, with blood red highlights. Light, sandy tan, close to a finger of head adorns the top. Lacing is pretty gnarly.

Holy dark roast coffee Batman! It's pretty intense! While the coffee aroma is amazing, my only complaint is that it's hard to pick much of anything else out past the coffee.

Taste is very coffee intense as well! There's some roasted notes from the malts too, and a little sweetness. I'm getting a hint of cocoa. There's some lingering bitterness, but I'm thinking thats the coffee as well.

Kinda hard to mess up the mouthfeel on something like this being that coffee and browns, IMO, have very similar feels. Meshes well and has a nice creamy feel to it as well.

Good drinkability, but 1 or 2 would probably do the trick for me in a sitting.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to maximum12 for the can, poured into a dogfish head signature glass. The pour yields a deep brown/mahogany body that lets light through, giving it a ruby tinge around the edges. The head is loose and bubbly white-to-tan that fades quickly and leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is all coffee, rich dark nutty coffee. There are some chocolate tones, but not much more than you would get from a good coffee. There is a definite crisp hoppy character that accents the roasted coffee notes nicely.

The taste follows the smell as expected. There is a slight sweet malt presence throughout, but mostly you get a dominant dark roasted coffee flavor from start to finish.

The beer is light-to-medium bodied, crisp and well carbonated. The low abv makes this something I could multiple cans of over a long day. The can claims the beer is as refreshing as an iced coffee, and they aren't far off. Another good beer from Surly.

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Photo of ARoman
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz can poured into a coffee mug. The aroma is a mild and smooth coffee with some woody spices. It pours a rich, dark caramel color with an off-white, dense filmy head that has a moderate retention. The taste is a medium, balanced bittersweet. The texture is oily and creamy with a fuzzy carbonation and a medium body. Flavors of coffee, chocolate, earth, and nuts blend nicely on the palate with a finish that's earthy, but smooth with a tinny quality and flavors of pecans. The aftertaste is light with a flavor profile of spice and tin, but mostly clean.

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Photo of vande
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A ~ A thin dirty tannish lace left behind after a finger thick head dissipated. A rich looking dark carmelly colored brown.

S ~ Coffee. That & a touch of sweet malty goodness?

T ~ See smell.

M ~ Kinda creamy. Thin [thinner than I expected] to medium body. But a good feel to it though. Very easy to drink.

O ~ It is Surly. Always worth trying, and continual replenishment!

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Photo of Pahn
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz can into Duvel tulip. Canned 10/14/11, drank 11/22/11. Received as an extra in a recent trade with generous BA cadaugherty.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch fluffy tan head that dissipates steadily and without lacing. Pours a very deep, semi-translucent red (it's probably completely clear but for the darkness of the color). No real lacing to speak of, but love the color.

Smell: Fresh ground coffee and Willamette hops (smells slightly hoppy and in the same realm as Willamette; I know it's Willamette just because I know that's the hop they used). Could be stronger and have more going on. Great coffee smell though.

Taste: Mildly hoppy up front, leading to some smooth coffee flavor and a notably creamy feel, finishing with a bold coffee and brown ale malt aftertaste. Other reviews had me expecting something like Wolaver's Alta Gracia Coffee Porter, AKA "coffee soda," but this is unmistakably beer. Lots of nice malty, bready flavors going on, enriched by the underlying (good) coffee.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied, but with a creamy feel imparted by the oats. Crisp finish. Decent bitterness overall. I'm guessing people panning the feel want this beer to be a stout.

Overall: Easy drinking beer, with good coffee flavor and sufficient maltiness. Being both a coffee and beer lover, I like all the flavors, but always feel a nagging "do they need to be together?" feeling about coffee beers. In this case, it works very well, because the (rich, distinctive) coffee really does play off the base beer.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

16 oz can. Pours clear light ruby brown with a medium frothy light tan head that retains fairly well and leaves little lacing.

The aroma is sweet chocolate malt and roast coffee.

The flavor is a lot of roast with some sweet nutty chocolate malt and a lot of roast coffee. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little thin.

Overall, a nice coffee beer.

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

Served in a Jar. . .yes a jar.

A: Color was lighter than I expected, but nice, like a cup of coffee.

S: nice gentle notes of coffee, perhaps some chocolate in there.

T&M: Taste is pleasant, with coffee, roasted malt, slight vanilla. It's much thinner than it looks, but not in a bad way. . . .

D: Quite drinkable. Would love to drink this with a slice of good cheesecake. . .excellent job.

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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!

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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 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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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,636 ratings.
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