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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 hellbilly
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

growler from psprings... wtf! who just pulls out a growler and hands it to you?

this poured a chestnut-y brown... i'm gonna go with a shade darker than the regular bender and a creamy tannish head.

if i smelled this blind i would've told you it was stale coffee. crazy... aromas of whole medium dark roasted beans beans, brown sugar, toasted nuts and vanilla. i'm amazed by the sheer volume of real coffee stink coming off of this thing!

awww, the flavor is a bit of a let down. not bad, just not very... esoteric... a cold cup of mildly sour coffee with notes of brown sugar, faint chocolate and some nuttiness with a very bitter dry finish. there's just not a whole lot happening. it's damn good just a bit too simple and straight forward. it is medium bodied with a nice creamy mouth feel.

i have this fairy tale dream in my head of surly finding a way to get some bacon in this stuff... my personal heaven of my three loves in one glass!

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Photo of heyta
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A -- This beer pours with a great big white head, but as it subsides it leaves pockets of white floating on the surface that look remarkably like mold -- not very inviting.

S - Smells like folgers instant coffee with a slight sour cherry note in the background.

T - Tastes as it smells. I like the coffee taste even if it tastes like a below average coffee, it's refreshing to find it in something other than a stout.

M - Nothing really special here, but the carbonation is good for this style.

O - I would drink it again. For the price and the alcohol content, it's a tasty beer to not get blasted off of.

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Photo of a74gent
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of expectations opening this one and they are lived up to well by the boys from Minnesota.

I think letting this one warm up a little enhances the smell, but causes the flavor to get a little acidic.

The appearance is a nice dark coffee brown...exactly what you'd expect.

Smell is super nice coffee ...just great. I may have rated 5 except that I had another coffee beer yesterday that was a little better on the nose.

Taste is exactly as you'd expect..It is more coffee in the nose and beer on the palate for me though. I think the taste starts out as 4.5 and trends downward a little.

The mouthfeel is nice but a little thin.

Drinkability is a really good although seems a little boozy (if that can be at 5 ABV) when cold. As it warms it changes in a real way...just different not worse or better overall. A very interesting drink...

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Photo of BeerNutz324
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint can into a oversized wine glass

Ap- dark cloudy brownish/black with minimal head.

Ar- All I can really smell is coffee and maybe a little oats.

T- very smooth coffee flavor, refreshing. A little sweet too.

M- lighter on the tongue than I expected. Good carbonation.

O- An enjoyable beer. My brother and I split a 4 pack on the night I reviewed this. I little spendy in my eyes for a 4 pack (equivalent in oz. to a 5 pack) but good nonetheless.

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Photo of bwiechmann
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am a coffee fanatic so this review may be slightly biased

A- Deep brown with light edges. Beautiful head holds up extremely well with minimal lacing.

S- Perfect. Best aroma I have experienced from a beer. The coffee is present and primary but not overpowering. It plays nicely with the roasted malts. Some nutty notes are noticed in the background. Excellent.

T/M- What makes this beer superb is that the coffee flavors don't drown out the flavors of the original Bender. The coffee is noticeable most on the back-end. Up front you get the delicious roasted malts and nuttiness. Really balances out well.
A titch on the light-medium side but still, good mouthfeel.

D- A great, great beer. Surly hits a gold again with this brew. Drinking this beer sincerely improves the quality of my life. I can certainly get through a few of these in one session.

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Photo of Beerisheaven
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to wisconsinbeer1 for throwing this my way in a trade. A fine trader you are no doubt.

A - A nice dark brown ale poured with love into my anxiously awaiting glass. Nice puffy head that quickly backs off leaving some legs and lacing behind.

S - It's all about the coffee and this one certainly delivers. Not the charred blackened coffee that meets one's nose, this one is very inviting.

T - Lots of great coffee flavor dances on the tongue along with a little chocolate and smoke. The taste goes along with the smell. My wife who is a coffee hound gave this one an enthusiastic thumbs up.

M - A little on the thin side compared to the plethora of coffee stouts that dominate the beer shelves. Since it is a brown ale, that is to be expected.

D - You could probably drink these back for quite a nice session. Given its ABV, it allows you to enjoy more than one, that is for certain.

I really enjoyed this beer a lot. Seems like you can pick probably from 50 coffee beers today if you so choose. If you do, make sure that this in one that you do pick. It is worth it. Another cool Surly can has met its match.

Thanks Jason for passing along my way. I appreciate your generous trades.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap, some cans too.

Big Surly fan here, found this one interesting. One of my first coffee beers.

Yeah, there's a coffee smell. But it's in my beer. Thought that might be fun and unique. it was, but it took a while, didn't like it initially. Flavors hard to get used to. but once you do, it's good, if you like coffee.

not my favorite coffee beer, but still pretty good.

the more I have it, the more I like it, so maybe it's better than I think. Read some other reviews, I'm flailing here.

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Photo of schellsbeer
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oh Surly....you are the best in Minnesota.

I have been waiting some time to try this Beer since I don't get to the Twin Cities much.

Here goes the review.

For the most part, I really like this beer. I love coffee and I love beer so when a brewery mixes the two, it usually tastes great. I have had a few that were horrible...my very first review was a horrid coffee beer....but for the most part, I love the coffee beer mixture.

So, when I heard that my one of my favorite breweries was putting their coffee beer into cans for a larger distribution area, I got really excited. I think that I personally ticked off a few local beer stores with my constant calling....sorry Keith.

Anyway....Coffee Bender doesn't disappoint when it comes to a beer tasting like coffee. However, I personally like most of the other Surly beers better than this one. Now, before anyone takes my head off for the above comment, listen to my reasons why. Like I stated earlier, I love beer and I love coffee. It is just that this Bender tastes soooo much like coffee that I wanted a little more beer flavor like you get in the real Bender. Don't get me wrong, I love this beer but for a truly exceptional beer from Surly, I would have to go with the Furious, as well as their regular Bender and CynicAle.

Everything is great about the Coffee Bender. Color, Smell, Taste, Mouthfeel and low alcohol which makes this an exceptional beer to drink.

This beer, in my opinion, is an exceptional cold coffee. Serve it with eggs in the morning, a good corned beef sandwich for lunch, and a thick T-Bone on the grill for supper. Excellent.

I will purchase this again, but I will purchase much more Furious to just keep on hand.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I waited for this one to come out in cans to review. Every time I have it on tap I proceed to drink a lot more afterward.

Pours a few shades darker than a normal Bender, it looks like coffee in my mug, with a deep tan head. The coffee smells jumps right out of the can as soon as you open it, and blows up all over the room when you finally poor this bad boy into your mug/glass. This is made with some of the finest coffee available in the Twin cities, from Coffee and Tea LTD. It maintains that creamy rich mouthfeel that makes Bender so enjoyable, and gives the kick of a nice strong cup of coffee.

This is a MUST TRY for anyone who likes coffee and likes beer. Costs about 12$ for a 4 pack, $3 a beer aint so bad, if you consider that last week the only place to find this was at the bar.

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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 GabrielM
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

A - nice dark brown color with an off-white head on top.

S - coffee, a hint of vanilla, maple, bread.

T - the coffee was a little weaker than I suspected, but it's there. This is basically a nice brown ale with a pleasant, nondominating coffee injection.

M - good carbonation, nice flavors, etc.

D - a delicious brew with a sessionable ABV that I could sip all night.

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Photo of pigc
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep dark brown chestnut, almost black with two finger head.

S - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa.

T - This is literally like drinking an iced coffee. Light roast, some bitterness from the hops. Plain and simple straight forward coffee beer.

M - Very thin almost watery.

O - One of my least favorite Surly beers. I get what they are doing, just wish it had a bit more complexity. If you are looking for an iced coffee with a bit of alcohol then this might be the beer you've been looking for.

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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 Momar42
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from can into standard pint glass

A - medium to dark brown. Not opaque but dark. Fair head of light brown head forms. Faint lacing present.

S - coffee flavor is there but not as strong as many have mentioned. This surely isn't the shot of espresso to get you going but more along the "cup o' joe" variety. Maybe a faint roasted malt, but not certain.

T - coffee flavor dominates upfront. Maybe a 50/50 split with the roasted malt flavor in the middle then back to the favor of coffee as it finishes with a nice coffee aftertaste. Drinks like a light bodied, but tasty coffee porter. Tasty.

M - mouthfeel is light to medium I would say. Carbonation is spot on. Slight creaminess that yields to a smooth easy finish. Well done.

O - I actually prefer coffee beers over actual coffee. If its possible for coffee to be understated it is here. There is just enough to really enjoy but not too much to overpower the exceptional quality brown ale. If you like this style, porters and/or coffee seek this out. Maybe not earth-shattering but a damn drinkable beer. Wish it was easier/cheaper to find. Good beer.

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Photo of Genghis22
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Kevin, my Secret Santa!

A - Pours a ruddy brown. Ruby highlights when the glass is held up. Frothy coffee colored head. Good sticky lacing.

S - A strong smell of nice coffee. Not overly strong and burnt smelling like a stout, but also not weak and watery like the stuff they serve at Denny's. Bready, malty, touch of chocolate, with a bitter finish.

T - Nutty, malty delcious. The first taste is all brown ale, but the coffee creeps in and builds over time. The end result is less brown ale, much more coffee, with the hops coming in at the last moment. The aftertaste is bitter, mostly hoppy bitter, but also the coffee plays into it as well. Very nicely down.

M - Viscosity is nice, medium body. Not thick or chewy, but very fitting for a brown ale. Moderate carbonation, which really accents all the differnt flavors. Very well done.

O - If I could get my hands on this, I would be all over it. This beer is super tasty. It combines two of my three favorite beverages in one can, and does a fine job of it. The abv is also low enough to make this a beer you could have a few of in a session. I would love to take this camping, would be a great way to start the post dinner camp fire huddle.

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Photo of Preismj
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: nice golden brown with a lovely quarter inch head. moderate lacing, looks slightly watery

s: coffee notes and roast hit up front, some smoke and a nutty vibe. smells like a wonderful brown with nice roasted coffee...

t: Lovely coffee up front. As the sip progresses I get a nut malt in the back that is just sweet enough to not overpower the coffee. the result is a wonderful mix of the two that is like having a nice cup of joe with brown sugar and hazelnut. Well done on the flavor

m: smooth and silky, perfect amount of carbonation to help this pop just right in the mouth. I do wish it was a bit thicker in body to match the bold feel of coffee.

o: I've only had 2 brews from surly though both have been utterly fantastic. Glad I got to try this and hope I can acquire some more sometime soon.

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Photo of amcmaho1
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to UMNbeerhunter for this one!
Poured into an appropriate "surly" snifter
canned on 1/11/11

Appearance: Out of the can, it pours a very nice dark brown with some reddish hues. The color is very opaque and is contrasted by a big coffee colored head. The head has some great retention, and slowly starts to die down, leaving some thick lacking along all sides of the glass.

Smell: Some great coffee notes on the nose, but certainly not overpowering (though this is coming from a coffee fan). I think the coffee works more as an asset to an already great beer, giving some more dynamics. There is some definite malt character there, giving me a lot of roasty and charred scent. There's small stringency likely associated with the coffee, but as the beer warms it goes away.

Taste: The coffee definitely comes through in the taste, and seems so smoothly integrated into the beer. Since the "base" beer is the regular bender, there is some great oaty notes, and lots of sweetness too, though the mild hop profile and coffee keep it really well balanced. Certainly the balance of taste is what i'm enjoying here!

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, with nice carbonation. I've been drinking a lot of coffee-infused beers, and this certainly stands out as one of the easier drinkers due to it's overall aesthetics, approachability, and drinkability. I really wish we got Surly in New Mexico now!

Drinkability: This is a great beer, and definitely one which will appeal to the coffee fans among us. This beer seems to have a lot going for it, and i would certainly seek out future trades for more!!

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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 ucis
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from that can like 10/30 motor oil. Large frothy head that slowly dissipates. If you don't like coffee why are you drinking this? Smell is biscuits malt and COFFEE. Please don't add any creamer. This ship is meant to go down black. Mouth is just north of light and crisp. Coffee is overwhelming. Is there really Surly Bender under there? I am blown away by malts, chocolate, coffee. Skipped my morning coffee in exchange for this. Doesn't appear to have any caffeinated effects. Only the faintest of light penetrating this dark bean.
One of the best coffee infused drinks I have had the privilege of wrapping my taste buds around.
The very local watering hole "THE WHITE HORSE" has this on tap every so often. From memory I can clearly announce that it's even more amazing from a spigot.

Overall if you like coffee- you need to try this. If you like flavored, fake coffee--stay away.

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Photo of 77black_ships
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

568 ml. can sampled. Pours a dark brown with little head. Smells straight-up like coffee, the real grounds, the actual stuff, roasted, just pure intense actual coffee, no beer ingredients, interesting. Taste is straight up iced coffee, like a glass of iced coffee with some ice cubes & carbonation, roasted, grounds, coffee beans, light chocolate, caramel. Easy to drink. This is more coffee than beer. I am not a coffee drinker but one doesn’t need to be that to enjoy iced coffee & I quite liked this. Cheap & in 4packs, I would buy this regularly, it is quite easy to drink.

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Photo of jeremy13586
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Canned 3/9/2012. Poured in to an imperial pint glass.

Translucent and dark brown color. The beer poured a khaki, dense, two-finger head that protruded above the glass. Left some nice lacing behind.

Nutty roasted malt and some coffee. A little bit of toffee.

Nutty and roasty. The coffee taste is actually quite mellow, but does pop out at times. There is a little bit of toffee and an earthiness at the end. Pretty simple tasting, but all the flavors are well balanced. A bit of a lingering bitterness for the finish, but it doesn't linger for too long.

Very well carbonated and very smooth. Medium bodied.

This brew was incredibly drinkable and didn't sit too heavy. I'm not a huge fan of coffee in general, but I do dig on some coffee beers. Coffee Bender had enough coffee to keep things interesting, but it wasn't overbearing.

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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 calcio360jrd
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First Surly beer for me here in south fla

Now i love big coffee stouts, that roasty smell when i open up a bottle or can gets me going. Coffee bender pours out a nice black color, not opaque, a little lite getting in. Has a nice coffee smell to it, maybe a bit strong, but i like strong coffee. The taste for me wasn't what i hoped for. It really did just taste like a cup of coffee i brewed the day before and left out all nite, i can see why the can says the taste of an iced coffee. Felt very thin on the pallette as well, guess i was hoping it would be like a big 10% RIS instead of a 5% ABA.

Good but not great, got some other surly beers to try in the coming week

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Photo of abecall98
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thank You Chewy08x.

*Accidentaly reviewed this under "Bender", it was coffee bender that I had, even better!

A - Looks like an average brown, slightly darker. Head is rather low and quick on the dissipation, not the prettiest beer, but not un appealing in the slightest.

S - Has a sweet, roasty, coffee, slight bitter smell. Smells like a hot brewed coffee with some sugar in it. Nice.

T - This beer tastes great. Heavy on the coffee flavor in a great way. Some slight sweet brown sugar sweetness follows, and then a coffee/hoppy bitterness in the finish. Lovely.

M - Weak. I could tell by the weak head that the mouthfeel would be rather bland. It feels wet, undercarbonated, and sticky. I wish there was more pop in it.

D - This beer has enough flavor to keep me asking for another sip, and doesn't get too overpowering in any aspect. Damn Drinkable!

O - I know why you guys love Surly. Because it is good.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 12-16-2009 02:35:50

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

They say it's a brown ale but it looks black. Nice tan head and lacing. The aroma is almost all 'dark roasted blend'. It is almost like I am smelling an iced coffee. The taste is much the same. Has a great refreshing coffee flavor, plus a ton more roasted malts. Goes down with a smooth mouthfeel and is as drinkable as a cup of joe.

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