Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

2,643 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 2,643 |  Reviews: 852
Photo of Kenai4
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of hilgart1
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of mdillon86
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of danjohn1234
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of bonbini26
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of drummermattie02
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of beereality
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of stealth
4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

What a great coffee beer. As the name implies, you expect coffee, and that's what you get. Lots of it. The most 'coffee' coffee beer I've tasted. Has the coffee roast bitterness on the finish, but its balanced well by some mild sweetness. Could drink this with breakfast.

 271 characters

Photo of AApparel
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours two fingers of a light colored foamy cream colored head on top of a dark soda with slight caramel red hints. Head settles into a half finger, leaving slight lacing.

Smell: Plenty of caramel aroma, with a full vanilla and coffee body. The aroma is a carbonated with a very sugarier smell. Almost that of a coffee cola smell. 

Taste: Plenty of fresh brewed dark coffee, over a classic brown ale flavor. A roasty nuttiness with hints of coco and some slight fruity, earthy hops. Though the hops are not a strong. Coffee up front, with malty middle, and a brown ale hoppy finish. Not as sweet as the smell makes you think. Definitely a well rounded taste. 

Mouthfeel: Has a great mouthfeel and drinkability. Decent carbonation level and very smooth. Lighter bodied than you would expect, especially since it has such a big coffee flavor to it. Bitter finish on the end. Very good beer, a must for any coffee lover or coffee brown ale fan.

 957 characters

Photo of Rhode17
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Abrahammer
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of TheBeerologist
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of angrybabboon
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Review adapted from notes taken 7/22/11

Appearance: Dark brown with some clarity around the edges - a little beige head, nice lacing, nice retention - looks more or less the same as Bender

Smell: According to my notes, "magic" - freshly roasted coffee beans - an overwhelming aroma of coffee, and it's a really delicious-smelling coffee - underneath the coffee, there's some burnt, and some more roast - sweet, cooked malts, some creaminess - honestly reminds me of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz ice cream...

Taste: As the aroma would suggest, this has a ton of coffee - fresh, glorious coffee - very roasted but really not burnt - some hints of chocolate - malts impart a nice amount of sweetness, breadiness - the coffee definitely overpowers some of the subtleties of Bender, but it works surprisingly well

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, could definitely be heavier, smooth, nicely carbonated

Overall: Just about the best coffee beer ever

I've criticized some coffee beers in the past for being more like coffee than beer, and I must admit that Coffee Bender is very close to that line. Yet somehow I love this beer. I think a major reason is that I really love the coffee that they used.

 1,203 characters

Photo of fitzgerald88
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ehammond1
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Can (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

This really is a gorgeous beer. It's a dark as can be brown, without any light passting through. The head is light brown, thick, persistent, and leaves spots, lines, and spiderwebs of lace down the glass. Gorgeous.

The course ground coffee beans really shine, especially as the beer warms. The coffee is at the center here, along with some mild roast character, charred chili peppers, and a bit of sweetness.

The flavor follows similarly, with a ton of coffee flavor present forwards and backwards, along with a bit of roasted pepper skin (strangely enough), roasted malt, a touch of sweetness, and low bitterness.

Thin to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

A delicious way to start my beer drinking (morning).

 768 characters

Photo of Nuggetnectarfan
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of icecoldphatty
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of kdpark
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of darkmoon66
3/5  rDev -27.7%

Photo of jegross2
3.13/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewing the Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company.
Score: 79

Canned 11/01/11, served in a pilsner glass (the only beer glass available), and and enjoyed 1/4/12.

Appearance: Pours three and a half fingers of foamy khaki-colored head (obviously exaggerated by the glass it was poured into) on top of a dark soda/caramel red/brown colored body that falls between transparent and translucent. Head settles into a half finger, leaving lots of sticky residue on the side of the glass. Good lacing. 4/5

Smell: Coffee and vanilla cream soda. Plenty of caramel aroma too. The aroma is a little fizzy, with the sugarier smells from the head of the beer "crackling" and "popping" such that they shot up my nose (akin to taking that first sip from a freshly poured Coke) when I got in too close for a smell. 3.5/5

Taste: My first impression was coffee up front that quickly turns into a caramel finish. Very malty middle (in fact, very malty overall), but not overly sweet. Hints of vanilla soda in the linger. As the beer layers, it becomes a more consistent coffee and caramel flavor throughout, including the finish. For a beer with a fizzy smell at pour, this beer tasted surprisingly flat. Did not detect any nuttiness. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied with light-plus carbonation. Felt a little flat and much waterier than expected. Finish is slightly sweet and the mouthfeel kind of reminds me of a totally melted malt ball. 2.5/5

Overall: Perhaps I cannot adjudge this beer too harshly because it was slightly over 60 days old, but I was not overly impressed with the base beer (Surly Bender) either (though that one too was old -- I tried a "fresher" can recently, but that can had no carbonation). I guess this one could be a step up from Bender if fresh, but I honestly felt like Bender had more "freshness upside" to it. Alas, some have informed me that Bender and Coffee Bender are not particularly the type of beer to "rapidly age," unlike Surly Furious (which was much better fresh). I really do not know how to feel about this beer, other than I did not particularly enjoy my first experience with it. Both Bender and Coffee Bender looked and smelled much better than they tasted. If you are buying Surly beers right now, do yourself a favor and skip this one and buy some (more) Abrasive Ale for a few extra dollars

Recommendation: Worth trying, but not particularly worth seeking out -- at least not if its 60+ days old. Flavors are not too intense or too harsh to put off casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Peanuts?

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.

 2,579 characters

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.

 1,326 characters

Photo of davidthebruce
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of dragomni
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,643 ratings.
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