Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

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: 837 | Ratings: 2,546
Photo of porterwoobie
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a 16 oz can into a standard pint glass.

A: brown/black color with a dark tan head that dissipates slowly while lacing the glass

S: roasted grains and coffee aroma

T: tastes just like the can says, like you are drinking an iced coffee. the coffee and hop bitterness is balanced nicely with the sweetness from the malts.

MF: smooth and creamy

Drinkability: definitely would drink this beer again. coffee and beer, great combination.

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Photo of Lunch
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 16oz. can acquired in a trade into my Troegs Trogenator mug at the appropriate temperature (03/20/10).

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown capped with 1.5 fingers of a creamy light tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Great coffee aroma with a splash of malt. This beer smells like a nice glass of iced coffee.

T: Wow! The coffee flavor is unbelievable and it is like you are actually drinking iced coffee.

M: Medium-bodied with appropriate carbonation. Rather creamy with some nice bitterness.

D: Easy to drink and low in abv.

Overall this was a great coffee-infused American Brown Ale and another fine offering from Surly. Thanks again Meagan and Nate! Recommended.

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Photo of oakbluff
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, pours a deep brown with half a finger of mocha head. Nose- huge waft of coffee rinds, very fresh and medium roast, some chocolate just beautiful. Taste- fresh coffee in forefront, with nuts, caramel and light milk chocolate. freaking delicious! Mouthfell is medium bodied with carbonation on the low side to made it go down like melted butter. Hops show up in the finish to help clean away the strong coffee flavour and make you go back for more.

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Photo of evanlarkin
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown. Imagine a strong coffee with a tiny splash of chocolate milk and you're probably getting close. A good sized head, very tan, which fades away very very slowly. Beautiful in the glass.

Coffee dominates with malt taste falling in behind it. The coffee aroma prevents you from noticing anything specific about the hops.

Coffee again is the dominating factor. The bitterness is more like hops than coffee though, which is interesting. A lot of the flavors that come out in the normal Bender are drowned out by the coffee, except for some possible chocolate notes.

Thick, creamy, and smooth. It makes you feel almost like you're drinking an iced coffee with a bit of cream, though the flavor goes pretty quick. Not that I mind picking up the glass to take another sip.

As a beer geek and a coffee nut, I could drink this all day. I've definitely had it with my breakfast before. It's lighter than a coffee stout, and as a result significantly more drinkable.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received today from a very generous Stevef03! Thanks again!!!

Popped the cap and let this baby slide out into my brand new Surly pint. I left the remaining few ounces in the can to sample out of for the fun of it. For a brown ale, I am blown away from first glance. Beautiful rich full brown body, near black. I need to compare to the regular bender (which I will probably have tonight if not later this week) to see how much color was actually contributed from the beans. Head on this baby is amazing. Khaki colored and full, it slowly settles with each sip. Lacing is fantastic, remaining through the experience. A fluffy character to it, I am super impressed.

Smell is about the coffee. Though it is not as intense as other coffee beers, it is well done nonetheless. The brown ale comes out to play, though the coffee character has a very prominent role to play. Notes of chocolate, mocha and vanilla, with a nice bread/crust undertone. The total nose experience is more of a mild iced latte. Well done.

Just as I suspected. The nose led me to think that this would be a brown ale with coffee added, instead of the other way around. The brown ale base is present in the fore tongue with a splash of chocolate and roasted malt base, that leads rather quickly into the coffee infused body of the beer. The mid tongue picks up on the coffee notes, with an intense flush of fresh roasted beans. The finish brings back the brown ale, finishing again with notes of walnuts, chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side...oh wait. i'm reviewing a brown ale. Forgot that this wasn't a stout for a second. For a brown ale, expectional. Coffee stout brewers take note, this is how you do it. This is not only a great example of coffee in beer, but also how to make an already great beer greater. Still waiting on the Bender experience, but I can tell I'm in for a treat.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

COFFEE!!! Man, I love coffee. Coffee beers are fickle for me, but this one is supposed to be great. I landed a few Surly beers in a trade, including this one and the Furious, which is also on the list. He also sent a can of their Over Rated… which is quite over rated. It's a "West Coast style IPA" and doesn't taste like a West Coast IPA at all. Anyway, stoked to try this one. I like coffee, I love beer, and I hope that both of these combine here for an enjoyable beer drinking experience! Let's go.

In the Glass: It is deep dark brown/black in the glass, and appears almost flat. No lace here, and hardly any head at all. Coffee doesn't have head, so maybe this has more coffee than I am used to. I will say most coffee beers are weak and rarely taste like coffee. Speaking of coffee, I used our Randall Jr. the other night and made a coffee pilsner. It was fun. I used espresso beans. Anyway, I am getting impatient. Let's drink the Coffee Bender!!!

Nose: Um, coffee? This isn't beer. This is coffee. Did they can the wrong stuff? Holy crap, this smells incredible. I mean, seriously… not getting any booze here, and it smells like a nice roasted cup of Joe. Man, I hope this tastes like this smells. What a great aroma.

Flavor: If this doesn't taste like coffee, I am going to be sad. It's too cold, but holy crap that's a big flavor. It doesn't have a lot of coffee flavor, but the finish is straight burnt coffee… almost espresso. I would almost like to try this warm if not hot. I don't drink coffee hot, but I have been drinking it warm.

There are too many bubbles, but there is a ton of dark roasted coffee flavors here, again in the finish. Also, swish this around in your mouth a little. Then the coffee flavors REALLY explode. When I swish, the flavor just overtakes my palate and leaves me completely satisfied. Well done, Surly. Also, I love how they got their name. Fun!

Mouthfeel: At first, there are way too many bubbles. I am also drinking this too cold. However, as it sits the coffee flavor really opens up. Hang on… I need to text Jazz about this beer. Be right back.

OK, back. I get a ton of bubbles up front, but as it slides down the flavors really start to open up, and the beer becomes quite drinkable. I would love to see this on cask somewhere. I mean, it doesn't come to Arizona at all… but a flat somewhat chilled version of this would really please my palate.

Aftertaste: More coffee! Not as intense as a cup of coffee, but still a nice lingering coffee flavor. The beer is so good, I don't want to let the beer sit on my palate.

Sorry, I was on the phone. We are having AC issues. Back to the beer. As I was on the phone, the beer is really starting to heat up nicely. The flavors are becoming more balanced and the coffee is becoming more defined. Jazz also replied to my text. He called the beer, "Stupid dumb good." We have his approval.

This beer has my approval, too. I am sure Sheryl likes this. She better. Man, this is good. If you like beer, grab a can. If you like coffee, grab a can. If you like beer AND coffee, grab a case. It's worth it to the last drop. Cheers, coffee craft beer drinkers. Yummy!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can(s) courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Another lower abv brew from Surly...hehe...they do some fine ones.

It pours from the 16oz can a dark brown with hues of red and a good 2 finger billowy head of offwhite foam.(served near room temp) Some good lacing ensues.

The smell is of freshly brewed coffee and it seems to overpower anything else that may be there. Not too bad a thing in my book.

The taste is the same as the nose. Big coffee, as expected but also a good smackering of roasted malt and even a touch of caramel malt sweetness that I taste just before the finish where it returns to the tasty fresh coffee goodness that I enjoy so much. Damn, when these "coffee" brews do it right, they almost make me want to convert and become a coffee drinker. Weird isn't it as I enjoy tea more than coffee!

Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel here.

Drinkaility? Give me a cup of cup, and I'm done. Well made coffee inspired beers seem to defy any sensible reasoning, given my "stand" on coffee, as I find them very damn drinkable. This is one of the easiest coffee brews to quaff. 'nuff said.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was part of a birthday box sent to me from zimmerbloke.

A- "Beer for a mug, from a can." So I poured the 16oz can into a big mug. There is a strong mocha head with good retention. The beer has a semi clear dark red brown body.

S- The smell is just about ALL coffee. The only thing different from a glass of ice coffee is a tea like gentle hopping.

T- This is one of the strongest on coffee out there. Even among all the big coffee stouts. This is seriously like a glass of iced coffee with cream. A coffee lovers dream.

M- Very smooth with a medium body. Carbonation is low.

D- This stuff has to stay on my wants list. I could have used a second can.

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Photo of Strix
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear mahogany, decent head.

A rich coffee smell, I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love it. A bit of campfire smoke as well.

Coffee, dark roasted malts, and charcoal in the taste. A nice blend. Lighter than most coffee beers. The background brew is solid as well, though this has a heavy coffee taste, it doesn't feel artificial.

Mouthfeel light and crisp.

An interesting and craveable brew. If you enjoyed this, give Furthermore's coffee beer a try, which this reminded me of.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz. can passed around at the Austin BA gathering.

Poured into my Delirium Tremens tulip a dark, seal brown body with a semi-opacity and sluggish carbonation. A chestnut head rises to half an inch and falls quickly, leaving behind a wisp of foam. "Perfect" does not begin to describe the aroma on this beer, as it achieves a sublime espresso and fresh-brewed coffee note that reminds me of a cold-steeped coffee stout I once home-brewed. Dank, dark fruits and a slight waft of citrus hops provide a great balance.

Flavor begins with a creamy, almost milk-like espresso note that quickly gives way to dark roasted coffee and chocolate. Hints of vanilla, fig, and pine thrown in the mix, and the aftertaste is laden with a potent hop & coffee bitterness. Body is a tad thin, but well carbonated, and finishes with a slight dryness. All in all, an exceptional beer that "bends" the style guidelines, but tastes so good it can afford to.

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Photo of parris
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Noticeably thin body for a beer with so much flavor. Although not unpleasant.

As advertised, tons of coffee flavor and aroma. But not super roasty or chocolaty like espresso, more like a quality cup of breakfast coffee.

Lightly carbonated, hardly bitter at all.

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Photo of badmoon
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip from a bottle.

A: Black. Just like good coffee. Very little head and next to no lacing.

S: COFFEE! What else should I say here? Rich coffee aroma.

T: Again, COFFEE! Awesome! This may be my all time favorite beer. OMG!

M: Full. I love it! Just like drinking an iced coffee.

D: Drink one and stop. Please don't attempt to be a hero.

Overall: Awesome beer. Try it and savor it. It is truly unique!

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 16 oz. can into a large mug. L: Brilliant black under a 3” cream colored foam cap. S: Roast malt, coffee and chocolate. T: Has a big initial iced coffee taste with some eventual balancing by malt, caramel, and chocolate flavors. F: Creamy, medium body and carbonation. O: My wife, a black coffee drinker who hates stouts, likes this a lot.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 7/12/11.

Served cold into a chalice, Coffee Bender is a deep chestnut color with thick creamy off-white head. Good clarity and nice lacing.

As soon as I start to pour, I can smell the coffee goodness. Upon closer inspection, I notice a roasted malt backdrop but it's the coldpress coffee that really stands out, as it should.

Flavor is really nicely executed. It's got a nice sweet brown ale base (classic Bender is an excellent place to start) but a healthy dose of medium-light roast coffee really takes it to another level. A good bit of bitterness from the dark malts and coffee balances it out.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. Really nicely balanced from begining to end.

This is THE coffee beer. If you love both, you'll enjoy this.

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Photo of matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I asked the guy at Binny's Liquors for a good coffee beer and he pointed me to these. 4 - 16oz cans for $10.99, so they're not cheap. Canned on date on the bottom of the can marked 10/26/15, so these are pretty fresh.

The beer poured a dark brown color, which you would expect from a coffee beer, but it was also quite clear, which you would not expect. A big 3-finger tan head sat on top for a little over 2 minutes and it left quite a bit of spidery lacing.

The aroma was a nice mix of fresh brewed coffee with a little chocolate in the background.

The Binny's guy told me that the company takes their original Surly Bender beer, which is an oatmeal brown ale, and steeps it in Guatemalan coffee beans for 24 hours before canning it to give it that rich coffee flavor. There are also hints of both chocolate and vanilla flavors in here, yet not enough to turn it sweet. It remains on the dry side and tastes like a good iced coffee with just a touch of bitterness at the end.

Smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel with only moderate carbonation. Medium body overall.

I really loved this stuff and was glad it came in 16oz. rather than 12oz. cans.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. The beer comes out reasonably dark brown. When held up to the light it has red and lighter brown highlights. Looks like it has some good clarity to it during the lighter portions of the liquid. Tannish colored head, various sized bubbles with a rough pour. It goes away after awhile to just some skimming around the edges, decent lacing though.

Smell i is very good. A few short words can sum it up with "fresh brewed dark coffee." For those of you who have tried the original bender, it does have some of the other pleasant malty aromas, but it's the coffee that is BY FAR the most prominent feature here.

Taste is quite good. Much like the smell, there's plenty of fresh brewed dark coffee and that's again the prominent feature. The classic brown ale features are less masked than in the smell here. Nuttiness and hints of coco and some slight herbal, fruity, and earthy hops, but the hops are a little more subtle than the original Bender, but again this is pretty tasty.

Little room for improvement in the mouthfeel and drinkability. Good carbonation level and very smooth. Lighter bodied than one would expect, especially since it has such a big coffee flavor to it. Nice bitter finish as well. Very good beer, a must for any coffee lover or coffee/beer lover.

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Photo of Schmittymack
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into a shaker glass. Color is a deep mahogany brown with a small head that lingered for a few sips. Aromas of roasted malt, a little chocolate, and lots of fresh coffee. Full bodied and nicely carbonated. Taste was like drinking sweetened iced coffee in a can. And with the alcohol content not being all that high, I could do two or three of these over the course of an evening. Great job, Surly.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of DbHog. Served in my SA Sensory Pint. Poured a deep brown that appears maroon when backlit. Frothy one inch head slowly receded leaving behind thick bands of lacing. Robust, roasted coffee nose; incredible aroma with no charred characteristics. Taste follows nose but also detected a nutty quality in the mix with a touch of char at the finish. Mouthfeel was creamy, light to medium in body, with a mild carbonation. Incredibly easy drinking and flavorful. What an amazing session brew. I am quickly becoming a Surly fan.

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Photo of larryi86
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can dated 10/14/11 poured into a snifter
Thank you hockeyd for this!

A- Dark brown with a two and a half finger tan head.

S- Coffee, coffee, and more roasted coffee, pretty much all coffee, hint of regular Bender.

T- Coffee is really toned down from the smell, but still big coffee flavor. Nice malt backbone, earthy hops, nice bitterness.

M- Smooth, medium body, a little creamy.

O- Probably the most coffee forward beer I have had. I really like this and found it better than regular Bender. Very happy that I have more cans, definitely will seek out again.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager, again.

A: 1/2" creamy light brown head over cola coloured liquid.

S: Coffee, caramel and clean yeast.

T: Chocolate, caramel, some roasted malt, some coffee, clean yeast and grassy hops.

M: Somewhat dry with medium viscosity and carbonation.

O: Very enjoyable, great beer for a wet coast fall day.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can into mug. Huge thanks to Dev (buckeyesox) for the hookup!

Reviewed at about 45 degrees F and up.

Pours very dark brown, a few ruby highlights around the very edges when held up to direct light but not many. Nice, thick finger-and-a-half light khaki head, creamy and dense, that takes a nice while to recede into a dense cap. Amazing stickage, it's like the head turns into silly putty whenever I tilt the glass to take a sip.

Nose is just gorgeous. Brown ale happens to be one of my favorite styles, and this is the best nose I've ever gotten from a brown ale. So rich - coffee, cocoa, nutty, breadcrust, a very smooth, rich roastiness - everything just blends in beautifully with each other.

Taste is rather like the nose. Smooth roasty and coffee notes, a rich nuttiness, hints of cocoa, a sharp, breadcrusty bitterness on the back of the tongue leading into a trail of nutty coffee, hints of pine, rich bready dark malt... yum. Not quite as epic as the nose, but still excellent. Tone the bitterness down a hair and you'll be spot on.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, smooth, light carbonation that's plenty adequate, drying towards the finish.

Drinkability is great. The hop bitterness is a bit more than I like in a brown ale, which is probably the only thing holding it back from 5s in taste and drinkability, but that's a minor quibble. Bender is very good, Coffee Bender is superb.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A can poured into my duvel tulip, thanks to a great trader.

A- three fingers of tan rocky head rises from an aggressive pour that holds for a good bit then settles very slowly leaving behind all types of crazy sticky chunky lace like sea foam after a big storm. Murky very dark brown in color with just a dim amber glow at the edges when held to the light.

S- loads of coffee and toasted malts bring a dark bread thing with it. A bit of brown sugar and caramel. The simply amazing coffee sents really take the drivers seat but don't over shadow the rest.

T- huge coffee flavor but with no acrid or over roasted flavor. Like they say its like beans. Nutty with a touch of chocolate. Lightly sweet, caramel and brown sugar again. Its all so well integrated and balance that you really get taken for a great ride. Nice long roasty coffee finish.

M- a few steps less then medium in body with a smooth mid level carb that works perfectly against the body.

D- yes I would like to go on a bender with this bad boy. I enjoyed its base beer very much but this one is amazing. So easy to drink but you could spend hours on it picking it to pieces. One of my new favs. Damm surly not a bad beer yet.

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Photo of Skidz
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out bright red-brown and sits a vibrant mahogany in the glass with a large frothy beige head with good lacings all around.

Bright nutty aromas up front with bits of grassy hops and muddied coffee notes. Hints of cocoa, cinnamon and whipping cream.

Lightly sweet, biscuity malts and coffee up front. More dustings of baker's chocolate and finishes with mild bitterness. Hops flavors are present minimally.

Medium bodied, silky smooth and ultimately refreshing. A solid coffee-infused beer and a stellar brown overall. Only downside is the price, and the way Furthermore Oscura hits the same spot, it's a bit easier on the wallet to throw down for the local Wisco brew... but I would still trade up for this any day.

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Photo of davexisxrabid
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this in a trade with skinnyguy, thanks!

Poured into my Sam Adams pint glass. Medium to dark brown with a nice two finger thick fluffy head. Great lacing and good retention during the drinking period.

Aroma of cocoa powder and a hint of roasted coffee beans.

Flavor of dark chocolate, caramel, a bit of roasted malts and watered down coffee (not in a bad way).

Amazingly thick and chewy mouthfeel but the carbonation cut the body a bit. A coffee like aftertaste that really lingers on your palate.

Very good overall and very easy to drink. Excellent flavor and a healthy 5.1% abv means you can have more than one in a night. Looking forward to more of these!

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Photo of msjacilynn
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark redish-brown with tan head

S: coffee cocoa and roasted malts

T: exceptional brown ale that yields a coffee and vanilla aftertaste. Biting and crisp roasted malts.

M: perfect carbonation. Medium body.

D: drinks well for a coffee ale. I tend to find my taste buds burnt after one, but I could easily have 2 of these guys!

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.
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