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: 846 | Ratings: 2,627
Photo of Wiffler27
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with a creamy head.

Smell is pure coffee, very clean aroma.

Nice coffee brown ale, good flavor and creamy smooth. One of the better coffee ales I've ever had.

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Photo of bwood06
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had my eye on trying this one for a while but just hadn't done it until recently. Bought a 16 oz. can and poured it into a standard pint glass due to not having any other glass available at the time. The head is creamy and rich, khaki in color, and dissipates rather slowly to a rocky lacing that is retained nicely. The beer itself is dark brown with a bit of mahogany around the edges. Carbonation seems to be fairly light with small bubbles rising slowly toward the surface. 4.25/5 The aroma is very heavy on the coffee although there is plenty going on here. Dark roasted malt, molasses, and dark chocolate all come out and provide a fairly sweet aroma but this sweetness is cut by the coffee. An earthy nuttiness also permeates the aroma, toning down both the sweetness and dark roast. 4/5 The flavor is very much like the aroma with a nice molasses sweetness coming out on the tip of the tongue and then being followed up by dark roasted grains, dark chocolate, and then the coffee. The coffee is very active throughout the entire profile with an accompanying bitterness that is fairly light but noticeable. This bitterness lingers ever so slightly on the finish. The earthy nuttiness from the aroma also comes out, along with a bit of char, mainly on the back half of the flavor, and cuts into both the sweetness and coffee bitterness. 4.25/5 Medium bodied in stature with a light carbonation burn up front that fades quickly. Moderate dryness comes out in the middle of the sip and lingers for a moment or two after swallowing. 4/5 Very well balanced coffee brown ale that features a nice sweetness while keeping the focus of the beer on the coffee. Fairly sessionable beer that is light enough to have multiple while providing excellent flavor. 4/5

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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 jaypaul522
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

I drank this very cold on a hot day, and it was great! Very refreshing, and the flavor was like a fancy coffee drink. This is an excellent coffee beer that isn't too heavy so it hits the spot. Geed anytime.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Light red-brown, darkens at full pour, with a large tan head that dissipates to a persistent film, leaving tons of cobweb lace.

Roasted coffee aromas are almost the sole influence, with the exception of a little astringent, metallic note in the background.

Taste is old school coffee grounds. It reminds me of the 80s actually, and I didn't realize I would have that distinct a memory of coffee in the 80s, but now that its hits me, it's very clear to me that coffee in the US was quite different at that time. Aside from that tin tub of coffee grounds, I also get some raisin in taste.

Frothy, a little tangy, but overall, quite a weird one for a basic coffee beer. I actually liked it better completely at room temperature.

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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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Photo of bbtkd
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surly Coffee Bender, 5.1% ABV, 45 IBU, American Brown Ale. Pours medium thickness, brown color, five+ fingers of tan head, decent lacing, nose is coffee coffee coffee. Taste follows, though not as bitter as most coffee beers. Overall excellent and a nice variation on the usual coffee stouts. Could drink these all morning.

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Photo of matcris
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Black, but a nice ruby bulb when held up to a light. Nice full carbonation rising. Good 2 fingers of creamy, khaki head that lasts and lasts. Tremendous lacing down the glass.
AROMA: You can smell black, sweet coffee from a foot away from the glass, that's good. Up close, smells like a very rich, black cup of coffee. Almost burnt roasted, love it, and I don't drink coffee.
TASTE: Tastes more like a cup of iced coffee than a beer, really. There is some sweetness overall, but mostly that deep roasted, bordering on burnt/charred flavor.
FEEL: Carbonation is light-medium, there is a nice creaminess to the beer. Body is Medium light. Not chewy at all.
OVERALL: Maybe I should start drinking coffee.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Comes in brown in the middle, red to the edge. Solid head, 3/5". Coffee aroma is just perfect. I mean perfect.

Taste is a nice sessionable brown ale with loads of coffee. Coffee I've always thought works better in non stout styles, less to clash with, drown out. Rather simplistic and better for it: brown malt and coffee. Can't screw that up.

Will buy this every time I can. Just phenomenal stuff.

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Photo of mlockman
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Holy Moses, this beer is amazing; honestly, this might be my favorite coffee beer. While I'm used to only being satisfied by imperial versions of coffee stouts and porters, this beer's strong aromas and flavors were so intense, I completely forgot this was practically a "session beer."

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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 LloydDobler
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can 12/21/15 canning date

I have never had a beer that tasted so much like straight coffee. As a matter of fact, it was more like coffee than beer! This is one tasty, crushable coffee brew.

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Photo of pearsewalters
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From the can in Estelle's in Wicker Park. Bold, yet refreshing!

One finger head into a quaint lace. I'm expecting a deep brown (the bar light is too dark to tell and by candle light is ruby red). Smell is strong, slap-your-face coffee, reminiscent of chocolate covered espresso beans. Taste is a rich, malty complex of coffee (of course), toast, chocolate. Medium to light-medium body, crispy on the tongue, soft on the back pallet, like it ought to. Overall? Quality beer with an interesting story. This is my first from Surly, and I'm certain to try another from them.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

COD 11/20/15. Pours a rich dark brown, almost as dark as a stout. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

World class nose of rich coffee - fresh brewed medium roast that is not stale or over roasted. Underneath is a mere hint of chocolate malt.

Light body that is smooth. Superb carbonation that delivers a fair burst of effervescence in the middle and a strong prickly punch in the finish.

The taste profile is not complex but is quite outstanding. It delivers what it was designed to do, rich iced coffee flavor over a subtle malt base. As stated, this is coffee forward but it is also perfectly balanced. Coffee flows throughout the tasting experience with the middle being the transition point for the other flavors. Here, a very mild roast like bitterness emerges that is buttressed by subtle notes of caramel and chocolate. These flavors persist throughout the slowing fading finish.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

coffee bomb! not usually a fan of the brown ales but this is wonderful. crushable! could start a warm summer morning off by the pool w/ these then easily transition into some sessions. not filling in the least bit. dark brown appearance with a bubbley frothy head which disipates rather quickly. coffee aroma beyond belief! sweet coffee flavor with a dark roast aftertaste. mouthfeel is medium for the style but much thinner than what i'd normally have considering the flavor. overall, worth trying. don't go out of your way for or anything. but, if you see it don't pass on it. got as an extra in a recent trade. Cheers!

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown that only allows light through when held up directly in front of a light. Charred coffee notes are heavy in the aroma and taste. The taste is very much coffee forward, without much sweetness or bitterness. It sits rather neutral, just like a well made glass of iced coffee. Mouth feel is a bit watery, but sips well and easy. Overall, this is a good beer. The coffee forward notes are fantastic, although, they do smell and taste a little charred. I find it eerily similar to a beer I've had in the past as well.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tastes like lightly carbonated coffee. The end. If you're wanting some subtle touches outside of that, like you normally get with coffee stouts, then you'll be disappointed.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Coffee, coffee, coffee, as expected. Poured it from a can (pint) into a beer mug. Dark coffee like hue with a light brown head. It smells coffee and it taste coffee, and a little bit of chocolate and sweetness too. It is not too much coffee bitterness, just right for a pleasant but strong coffe taste and aroma. The mouthfeel was creamy. I liked it very much.

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Photo of laketang
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours thin black with not much of a head

roasted coffee in my face as expected.some burnt wood notes.

the roast of the coffee is just right, think, taking a sip of your black coffee after going cold

thin but just delish, not harsh or strong and clean finish

great one for me, i'll get more.

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Photo of GStone899
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a coffee beer! From the the smell to the taste, this beer is incredible. By far the most coffee taste of any beer I've had (and that's a good thing). The coffee taste is robust but doesn't over power your pallet of leave a bad aftertaste. Worth the money as the four-pack is a bit expensive. My favorite surly so far.

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Photo of SnackDaddy
2.39/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

When they say coffee, the freaking MEAN COFFEE!!

LOOK: more brown than black. Light lacing that disapates quickly. All head gone withing 3-5 min

SMELL: Unbelievably strong coffee smell on the initial nose. Not fresh coffee, but coffee that's been sitting in the coffee maker all day and you keep hitting the brew button to keep it warm... All... Day... Long.

TASTE: Coffee. No nuance, no 'hint' of anything, no 'just a touch' of anything, just straight up black coffee with just maybe some Starbucks-level toasted malt. Maybe the smell is so strong that coffee is all I can taste, but I didn't feel like holding my nose while drinking it in public. I was expecting a little vanilla as some reviewers have mentioned, but heck if I can pick it up. I thought that maybe the taste would mellow as the beer drank on, but no dice, strong coffee the whole beer through.

FEEL: not much to comment on. Nothing out of ordinary. My tongue just feels coated with 20-hr old coffee.

OVERALL: disappointed. Surly has a reputation for making some great beers, but this one just isn't for me. Seems like it needs it's own classification: Burnt-Coffee Ale.

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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 stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Flight at MSP. Rating based on my personal distaste for coffee beers. Coffee forward, dominates taste and aroma. Completely obscures wonderful brown ale (previously rated). Go with the overall ratings here, not to my liking.

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Photo of kitch
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 16 fl oz can canned on 2nd July 2015 and poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: It poured a clear dark brown colour much like a French pressed coffee. There was a one finger tanned head that dissipated quickly but leaves some nice stringy lacing.

Aroma: Like a fresh brewed cup of coffee from freshly grounded coffee beans with a hint of vanilla and brown sugar.

Taste: Roasted coffee, coffee grounds followed by some nuttyness with a hint of milk and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: A very good brown ale with nice coffee flavours. Very easy to drink especially if you like coffee.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into snifter.

Pours a perfect coffee color, brown-to-black, 100% opaque. Head is 2 fingers, recedes to creamy ring.

Aroma of coffee and coffee beans. Faint cocoa behind it.

Taste is complex yet still one noted. Lots of coffee, roast/burnt coffee bean; behind that there are squirts of citrus and a hint of chocolate sliver.

Feel is semi-creamy and medium bodied. Dry finish.

Overall this is a one trick pony as a morning coffee beer. For that purpose it works wonderfully. Any other time of the day? No thank you.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,627 ratings.
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