Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
BA SCORE
4.15/5
Exceptional
2,698 Ratings
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,598
Reviews:
863
Ratings:
2,698
pDev:
10.6%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
675
Gots:
438
Trade:
25
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,698 |  Reviews: 863
Photo of BretSikkink
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Same rich mahogany color of the Bender, along with the impressively sticky and full brownish head and lacing.

The aroma is fucking badass. Not some insipid, bourgeois, fine-ground and drip-brewed coffee; more like French pressed boutique beans. Very strong and very impressive; the beer hides underneath with the same quality dark malt character as usual.

The flavor is dominated by the coffee, and makes short work of any of the subtler aspects of the original Bender. The strong, dark fruit body still remains, along with the long, slightly sweet, slightly roasted finish. Now accompanied by the java, it's even longer!

The mouthfeel is still broad and rich, with tons of little caressing bubbles that still stays far away from over-carbonated.

Surly knows how to do it, and they've done it again. This is fantastic beer, and I would get myself a ton of this if I lived nearby. I had two pints on tap and felt like moving on, but my sister gave me a 4 pack of regular Bender and I've been leaving a cup or so of coffee in my press each morning to stir in with my beers that night. One to go!

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass coffee-mug style Surly mug.

A-Pours a dark brown beer, looks to be opaque, even murky (I'm guessing an attribute of the coffee addition). Minimal dark tannish head on arrival.

S-Fresh-pressed coffee DOMINATES the aroma. I could find some malts underneath somewhere, but minimally. It's a good thing the coffee aroma is enjoyable.

T-Like the aroma, very strong roasty, fresh-pressed coffee. Oddly, it reminds me of the percolated coffee I drink while camping (but a whole lot tastier). As my taste buds grew accustomed to the coffee flavor, some toasty/roasty malts were able to emerge. The flavor seemed maybe a bit too one-dimensional, but was quite enjoyable, as well.

M-Hearty mouthfeel, nearly grainy with coffee-ness. Lumbered around my mouth roughly with its grainy medium-full body. Carbonation bleded in well with the direction of the beer.

D-As the mug stated, "It's never to early to get surly." I could easily see myself enjoying this brew with breakfast (don't know if that's good or bad...). I thought it was tasty, maybe not overly complicated, but enjoyably different.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

one part porter, one part APA, one part american brown, with about 20 gallons of coffee in every batch. as stated at hopleaf

pour the color of bad coffee. a dark mahogany. decent head... some lace. nose is malt, stale porter style grape, coffee, rotten pineapple hop. taste is lightly acidic working with the sour porter apple. malt is sufficient like a brown with an APA fruit hoppy. wonderful blend of all the additions. nice work surly.

had it again 2 weeks later and it had a nice blend coffee headlined the nice delicate fruit and bitterness. not as hoppy as i remember. more so bitter. great with very slight spicy food... meat particularly.

had it out of the can about six months later. proves to be a bit more of an american porter style to the porter part of the beer. chocolatey... with a nice coffee. coming to realize that this is a fantastic midwest opportunity.

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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 DownDaHatch
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have always enjoyed Surly products and was excited to enjoy this one while at Flossmoor Station. This beer pours like and looks like missippi muddy water. While a dark beer, it doesn't have the presence of an oil-colored stout. The smell is about average and brings a nice aeroma of coffe and malt to the nose. As for drinking it is quite tasty without an overbearing taste of coffee. Because of some of these charactoristics, I find this beer to be very drinkable and several can be enjoyed in the same sitting without doing too much damage.

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Photo of pwoods
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this multiple times over the weekend in Minneapolis. This review is from notes taken at Cafe 28 when Linda gave me a free mug when she found out I came all the way from Cincinnati :D Thanks a lot!

Served in a Surly mug.

Pours a muddy, murky brown, looks almost creamy. A good frothy head forms and holds pretty good for so much froth. Good lacing. Tons of coffee. Maybe a bit of toffee or cocoa in the back but mostly just big time coffee. Taste reminds me of a great iced coffee with an adult twist. Very nice raw flavors deeply roasted coffee with a nice harsh touch. Sweetness balances things out a bit. Body is actually only medium and has a great creaminess. Drinks every good and went great with my brunch.

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Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Barley John's. The aroma is coffee-ih. Good looks, black with lots of white head. Better tasting than Town Hall's coffee stout, average mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Just too coffee, what is it about these local coffee beers?I just couldn't take more than a couple sips. Overated.

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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 joe1510
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Pint
$5.00
Flossmoor Station

Coffee Bender was brought to my table in an imperial pint glass. The body was the darkest of browns bordering on black even in the fairly bright restaurant. A two finger beige head sat atop this beer and took its sweet time to settle down to one finger which lasted throughout. Drink lines were left behind after each sip. This is an attractive looking beer.

The nose showed a good amount of freshly roasted coffee but it integrated very well with the other aspects of this beer. The coffee sits on top of a mild chocolate and caramel base with a tendril of smoke and hazelnut-iness. The mildly citric hops are noticeable without much work which makes for something I don't see everyday in a coffee infused beer.

The coffee comes through as freshly pressed with a mild roasting but that doesn't stop the coffee from being large and in charge. As big as the coffee is in this beer the caramel and chocolaty notes of Bender are still very much alive. The nuttiness is smooth and runs from start to finish while there's bitterness on the finish from both the mildly citric hops and coffee grounds.

The body of this beer is surprisingly light as it leans toward the lighter side of medium. The bitterness steps forward on the finish but never rises above mild. With the body as light as it is on the tongue it does manage to keep a light creaminess.

My first glass of this went down fast. As a matter of fact it was gone before I even realized it. The second glass went just as quickly. This beer is super drinkable and goes down like a champ.'

Today was my first dance with Coffee Bender and hopefully I see this one around more often. Bender is very unique and enjoyable brown ale all by itself, the addition of coffee just adds to the depth of the original.

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Photo of younger35
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After double fisting this glorious liquid at every possible opportunity during 'Darkness Weekend' '08, I finally got to sit down at the Bavarian Lodge and enjoy a couple pints and review this. It's even better than I remembered it. Drank from a small non-logo'd nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark brownish amber with a nice ½ finger fluffy light tan head. Nice cap and collar remains the entire beer while leaving a bit of spotty lacing down the glass.
Smell- My first whiff of this always is lightly smoky which is fairly surprising considering how overly abundant the coffee is. Feint aromas of chocolate and toffee mingle with the coffee adding a Starbuck like aspect. A light herbal and citric kick appears as well every so often. There are indeed hops in here. This is by far the most intense coffee nose I've smelled in a beer. Easy.
Taste- Coffee lovers rejoice! Big, huge, massive, mammoth lightly roasted breakfast blend integrates perfectly with the lightly sweet nuttiness of Bender. Hints of caramel and chocolate tend to sneak in every now and again when the coffee allows. A tinge of citrus and roasted bitterness towards the finish adds a little something to break up the coffee. Amazing stuff.
Mouthfeel- Very crisp and clean body with a medium feel that somehow manages to also be silky smooth and creamy.
Drinkability- This is by far my new favorite brew and probably favorite of all time. I think it edged out the ABYSS and Alaskan Smoked Porter. I drove all the way to Minneapolis to drink as much Darkness as possible and ended up have two glasses of it and probably ten glasses of this. Obviously I love my coffee. I also loves me a good Brown Ale. Well, Bender + Coffee = Amazing! Seek, this, out.

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

Had on tap at the Bavarian Lodge 11/05/08.

Appeared a very dark brown with a thin head that sunk to a skim and left little to no lacing.

Aroma was of mild chocolate, slight caramel, but mostly bold roasted coffee. Kind of like sticking your face in a bucket of ground coffee.

The taste had a bit of mild caramel sweetness up front with some chocolate but that was quickly taken over by the profound fresh coffee taste that dries up on the finish.

Mouthfeel was medium, and came across quite creamy and drinkable.

For a coffee beer this stuff is very drinkable. You kind of have to like coffee to really enjoy this one to it's full extent as it's bursting with it.

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Photo of spointon
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I had this one on tap at the Bavarian Lodge, in Lisle, IL on 11/5/2008.

A= This ale poured a medium dark brown color with cola colored highlights around the edges. The dark tan head started at 1/2", then dropped fairly quickly without leaving much lacing down my glass.

S= The smell was completely dominated by the roasted coffee aromas. I also detected signs of a brown ale within the coffee, finding notes of malt, chocolate, and some earthy hops.

T= Much like it smelled, this ale was full of (delicious) roasted coffee bean flavors as well as the underlying characteristics of the brown ale within. Sweetness was provided by the malts and a mild chocolate flavor. A small hop bite, and a bit of astringency came forth near the end.

MF= This was definitely on the lighter side of medium bodied. At times it felt a bit thin to me. Carbonation was crisp without being overly sharp.

D= Decently good drinkability, though the big coffee flavors make this one I wouldn't want to drink all night. Definitely worth a try though!

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Photo of beerad666
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of the keg around 8:00 am at Darkness Day '08.

Poured into a plastic cup... A dark dark brown color with a huge light brown head. I believe there was a lot more head in this more then there should of been. Someone else mentioned that it almost looked like a cappuccino with the head and I can totally see that as well. There was a very delicious coffee aroma with some hints of sweet chocolate. Coffee is my true favorite drink so when I can have it with my second love of beer that is pure ecstasy in my book. The roasted smell is great especially for the morning. With the first sip you get that bitter roasted taste you would expect from coffee and then hints of the sweet chocolate comes in. But surprisingly the coffee isn't too much, you can definitely taste that this guy has its roots in a porter.

Drinkability is great! Coffee and beer - I love it! Surly hits another home run here.

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Photo of icefisherman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

as with some of the other nuts on this site i also had this wonerful concoction at about 8:00 am at darkness day when they set out a keg for all to have a verry classy move if i do say so my self anyways on to the reveiw most delicious with the smell of fresh coffee just the kick i was looking for the flavor of a nice french press cup of good coffee (not to be comfused with the crap i drink all day at work) an exceptionaly smooth feel and man oh man could i drink this all day long but the keg was dry soon after no appearance decription as i drank mine out of a 20 oz dite coke bottle i found in the back seat of my car

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Photo of accordselux
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Darkness day.

A: Dark ale with a nice tan head. Not very exciting in a plastic cup, but it looked appetizing.

S: Coffee. This stuff is cold pressed, so it smelled like cold coffee. My nose may have been runny after hanging around outside in the cold for two hours, so that was the only thing I smelled.

T: Cold coffee. Very high quality coffee taste, roasted well, with a bit of hop and roasted malt aftertaste. If I could categorize it, i'd say it's a good breakfast beer, but I'm pretty sure most places of employment wouldn't like the term 'breakfast beer' at all.

M/D: Very smooth to drink, but i'm not very sure how much of this I could drink, as I'm not much of a coffee drinker to start with. It's good to have on occasion, but I wouldn't want to session this.

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Photo of mynie
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this for free at 8 AM on Darkness Day. It takes a good goddamn bunch of Americans to leave a whole keg of fancy beer unattended around a bunch of drunken strangers. That--it just about brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. A more or less grown woman did a keg stand in front of me. At 8 AM. Yes, she was annoyingly drunk and everyone wanted to kick her before noon finally rolled around, but that was still something special to see.

Then I had this again, the day after, at a little hippy beer cafe downtown. They poured it in special translucent glass mugs that looked like big Coffee mugs and were emblazoned with the surly logo.

What I'm getting at is that the guys at Surly got class.

Pours dark black and thick with a decent head that quickly settles and gives the whole thing the look of a cappuccino.

Smells strongly of rough chocolate malt, roasted, raw like a porter but evened out and nutty sweet, like a crown ale. Also coffee. Bags and bags of coffee. (Just Bender plus coffee, pretty much...)

Tastes almost exactly like it smells. Very bitter, from the roasted malt flavors of the Bender. Then right after that there's a brief respite of brown ale sweetness but that quickly goes away and and coffee bitterness slams into you. This lingers for a while, pleasantly, and then nearly cloyingly--which is why it gets a 4.5 instead of a 5.0. But before it gets to be too much it zips away, you get a sweet brown ale finish, a light kiss of hops, and then a wonderful aftertaste of pure coffee.

Goes down like water, even at 8 AM. Thanks for turning my cute little drinking problem into full-blown alcoholism, Surly.

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Photo of brdc
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured generously by the Surly guys at their doors while people waited in line for Darkness; nice gesture, nicer beer.

Brown in color, fluffy, voluminous head, tan, good retention.
Rich coffee aroma, chocolate, some hops. Nice.
Medium bodied, creamy and pleasant on the tongue, with overpowering coffee, but a very nice coffee. Still ,some other bender nuances come through once in a while to offer some measure of balance.
For coffee lovers, a very nice treat indeed.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Arrives in a snifter glass with a nice dark brown color and a big creamy light tan head on top. As the head falls the aromas come out of the brew with a wonderful fresh pressed coffee that mingles with a malty, slightly roasty nuttiness as well. The cold pressed coffee comes out the most with a touch of hops in the background.

First sip brings the same big, fresh pressed coffee flavors upfront that meld in wonderfully with the nutty, rich malty flavors in the brew. Flows down with some good bitterness with hints of chocolate and a touch of hops as well. Really robust flavor that keeps me coming back sip after sip. Coffee beer loves rejoice!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp and smooth. This is really an easy drinking coffee brew and very damn enjoyable if you ask me. I would have like to have ordered another but I had to run. One of my favorite Surly offerings from fests and I'm glad to see it on tap in my area.

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Photo of cdflem
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first review, so bear with me.

Had this beauty on-tap (pint-glass) at Hopleaf in Chicago.

A: Dark brown with deep amber/auburn tints. Slight tan head with a little bit of foaminess (almost nitrogen smooth head).

S: Absolutely amazing. Like a cup of good coffee, but not overwhelming. Sometime got a strong roasted malt flavor, which balanced nicely with the coffee.

T/MF: First notice the coffee flavor, but it backs off fast to remind you that you are drinking a beer. Ends with a bit of hoppiness that works well. Very smooth.

D: I could have this all day long, which was unexpected from a coffee-style beer. Absolutely another great Beer from Surly.

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Photo of emerge077
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Map Room.

Dark auburn tone with a ruby glint where the light gets through. Creamy foam, a few bigger bubbles on the surface. Rings of drippy lacing all around.

Nutty aroma, dry coffee hint, pretty clean, but not super pungent.

Big coffee flavor, high quality, freshly ground. Acidic fruitiness, long lingering bitter/dry finish. Nutty almond flavor, lightly malty. The coffee really dominates, but it's balanced enough to drink quite a bit. Easy going with light carbonation. This is a unique and flavorful coffee beer, not too under/overdone...just right!

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Photo of mcallister
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark almond with ruby hues and a thick stagnant off white head leaving a lovely lace in it's wake.

Aromas of fresh ground ethiopian coffee beans dark malts, toffee, honey suckle, burnt figs, brown sugar, and other dark fruits. Some pined hops show through toward the finish.

Nice coffee flavors really meld with the brown ale characteristics and subdue the hop somewhat until the very finish. Hints of milk chocolate, burnt malts, dark breads, roasty caramel tones, with a good amount of light coffee showing in the middle that leads into a piney earthy hop finish. Not overly complex with a mouthfeel that shows spicey carbonation. Very good and easy drinking but something has got me.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on tap at the Map Room in Chicago

A: Pours a rather dark brown, nearly black with some minor ambery brown highlights along the edges of the glass. The head is about a half inch thick and recedes about a quarter of the way through the session while leaving behind some decent lacing.

S: Aroma is out of this world. It smells like walking into the walk in cooler at starbucks, its just about the most amazing smell there ever could be in a beer, it makes my mouth water just thinking about how fresh and how much like fresh gound coffee this beer smells like while also backed by some decently fruity hops. This is no way on earth one could possibly improve on how good this beer smells.

T/MF: Tastes almost exactly how it smells. Waves of fresh ground coffee and bitter chocolate wash over the tongue in wave after wave of pure beery goodness. I don't care how well this beer matches the brown ale style this beer tastes huge feels huge and smells huge without having to jack up the ABV. There are 10-15%ABV beers out there that dont taste or smell half as good as this beer does. An absolute marvel of a beer, just the tiniest bit weak and grainy in the mouthfeel at some points but otherwise this beer is perfection in a glass.

D: Yet again another beer I could drink all day and all night, if you put this under my nose with a blindfold one I would never ever mistake this for a beer, I dont really see how that description fits into the drinkablility factor but thinking about it makes me want another one of these beers so bad it makes my brain hurt just thinking about it.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Nile. Thanks Al for your hospitality.
Good appearance. Smallish dark head that left small lacing. Very dark brown.
Coffee dominates aroma. In both aroma and flavor has a quality of ground beans as opposed to whole beans. Not that I'm a coffee expert (cuz' I'm not, I disliked coffee until a few years ago), but there is a grittiness to the feel and aroma that reminds me of ground beans. Anyway, in the aroma this the dominant aroma with hints of brown ale, and slight brown ale (chocolate).
Flavor is similar, but the bender parts are more apparent. Intermittently, the hops show forth with nice flavor and mild bitterness, which really rounds out the drink nicely. Good brown ale flavors of mild roast malt and soft chocolate.
I like the feel of bender with it's lighter quality and flatter carbonation. As noted seems like some grittiness with the coffee, but it's hard to express here well.
I've noted this before, but I like flavored beers more with brown ales than porters. I like the blending better and the drinkability. This is a good drinking experience.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was very happy to see this beer available at Oregon Brewers Festival 2008. I made it my first sample of the fest on Thursday afternoon, to a clean mug (a 4 oz. pour, followed by a second one).

OBF program lists a slightly higher 5.8% ABV.

A: Very dark brown, though some amber highlights show in the sunlight. Nice frothy, vanilla-colored half-finger head - lasts a couple minutes and leaves flecks of lace.

S: Full-on aroma of brewed coffee and a roasted nuttiness; hints of sweeter vanilla and oatmeal in the finish.

T: Robust coffee-roast flavor, just a little acrid/astringent. Dark chocolate bitterness blends with notes of vanilla and spice.

M: Light-medium body with a fairly lively carbonation. A lasting 'burnt' coffee bitterness, growing thinner and a little slicker.

D: Another tasty brew from Surly, one I'd want to find again - perhaps at the source? (I found it good, but not as outstanding as many previous reviewers). Coffee flavor grew a little heavy and bitter, but I am a fan of dark roasts and drink my coffee 'black', so I was still pleased. Not the type of beer you'd want to have every day, but certainly a nice addition to the lineup - I'm glad Surly finally made an appearance in Oregon!

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Photo of John_M
3.27/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the OBF today. Was looking forward to this beer, so came armed with pencil and paper, and bought the full glass.

The beer pours a dark brown color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is really impressive, with a huge aroma of (surprise, surprise) coffee. It really drowns out pretty much anything else.

On the palate this beer is a surprise. I appreciate the fact that the abv. is low, but the flavors on this beer are anything but impressive. The one dimensional flavors come across as light and disappointing, smacking of cheap coffee dumped into some boring brown ale. There's almost a grainiess/grittiness, from what tastes a bit like coffee grounds. I'm not the least bit impressed. A friend I was with made a very good comment I thought; noting that it tasted as if Surly used a very low grade of coffee making this beer. Texture is light and almost watery, and drinkability is unimpressive. You can tell the abv. is low, thankfully, but the flavors are so disjointed, it's really no fun drinking this beer. It really tastes like an uninspired brown ale with some cheap coffee grounds thrown in.

After drinking a can of furious last week, this beer more then any other was something I was looking forward to at the OBF. All the more reason it was the disappointment of the festival. Maybe it just didn't travel well from Minn. to Portland. Oh well...

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 2,698 ratings