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: 2,635
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 Harrison8
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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Photo of ClePaul
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look 8/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 36/40
Feel 7/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 85/100

Summery: Ok beer. Makes me wish I was drinking a stout isntead of a brown ale though~

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice complement to Surly Bender, it's a shade darker and richer. Light carbonation and dry taste, light on the tongue. Iced coffee taste, with a nice malt body. It's a brown ale first and foremost and, personally, I'm pleased Surly takes such care to brew a fine example.

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Photo of LeRose
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Consumed mostly from the 16 oz can except for a bit poured into the hotel room plastic cup to take a look...

Looks - limited commentary, but basically a dark, translucent brown like weak coffee. Can't comment on head - did not pour enough.

Aroma - the aroma is fantastic. Smells like freshly made iced coffee and very good coffee at that. Some toasted malt was in the background.

Taste - the coffee if front and center, but well-supported by the malt and slight sweetness. Slightly bitter, no burnt notes whatsoever. I think the coffee overwhelms the base beer quite substantially, but in this case I don't mind - the coffee flavor is very pure, finishing with a touch of chocolate notes and a slight vanilla-like sweetness. The base beer is still present, just playing third fiddle, maybe.

Feel - medium carbonation, lightly drying astringency. Texture very like iced coffee, actually. Slight bitter feel at the end, but not excessive.

Overall - well, I guess it is technically a brown ale flavored with coffee. So does it fit the "American Brown Ale" style - I can't pick out the base beer well enough. It is there but hardly prominent. There is enough of the beer characteristic hiding to detect - but I wonder if given this and the actual coffee used (both blind) in carbonated water, would I be able to tell? I'm not entirely certain. I liked it and would drink it again, but have probably scored heavily on the fact that I really enjoyed the flavor and aroma of the coffee moreso than the beer.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste: smooth coffee cocoa, toffee, toasted dry malts.
Dark brown and mostly clear.
creamy coffee sweet aroma.
medium body, refined head, some lace.
45 IBUs

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Photo of MUTINY
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can into a smallish tasting tulip.

A: Pours a nearly-opaque mahogany with slightly reddish hues around the edges. 3/4" tan head recedes at a moderate pace. Retention & lacing are both quite good.

S: Coffee, milk chocolate & an indiscernible nutty quality. Traces of brown sugar. Faint plum.

T: Comes on with more milk chocolate that quickly becomes more of a coffee with cream character that ultimately defines the mid palate. The finish is just off-bitter with an almost overripe raspberry quality.

M: Moderate-to-high carb married to a surprisingly light, dry body.

O: I like this brew, it maintains a certain simplicity throughout. Overall quite good!

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - Looks more like a cola than a beer! Head and all. Head settles into decent lacing.
Smell - Nice sweet coffee smell. Some roasted grain and coffee beans.
Taste - Like an iced coffee. Sweetness, coffee bitterness. No cream tho. You can tell this is a brown ale.
Feel - Creamy with a clean finish.
Overall - Everything I love about the brown ale style plus coffee! What's not to love? Surly rocked this!

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Photo of B15C
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: pours clear brown with ruby tints and a light tan head, fine bubbles

Aroma: Initial fresh clean coffee, with hints of nut and coco transitioning to malt/bread

Taste: quick coffee flavor lifted off the palate into a nutty, sweet malt flavor fading to a slight bitterness

Mouthfeel: light to medium light body, slightly thin and slick

Overall: Very interesting, very good coffee beer. Was happy to find a good brown ale well complimented by a prominent coffee flavor.

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Photo of Alequine
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

To the person that rated this beer a 1.22 you should be ashamed of yourself. If you had this beer and found it that distasteful you may have wanted to withhold your rating and go back and try it again. This beer is just very well made. Surly Brewing has perfected this style. Initially the indication of coffee in the can leads you to think Imperial Stout. I had to be reminded by a friend that it is an Imperial Brown Ale and my first that I can remember having. The coffee begins emanating from the can when you open it. This is amazing. It pours a medium colored brown and looks lighter in the glass than a Porter. Low tan head after the pour with the coffee emanating from the can, the glass, your mouth whatever - just damn tasty and light drinking. Medium malty sweet which is balanced by the bitterness from the coffee. Light mouth feel, very light but you have to keep in mind the style and category of this beer. Dry on the finish leaving you wanting more. Surly has just perfected this style. I would love to have more of this.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,635 ratings.
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