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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: 2,578
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 mpipe
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. dark with an nice head.

Smell: Coffee and beer.

Taste: This beer is good if you show some self control. Burn through a four pack and it starts to lose it's appeal. Coffee and beer, with chocolate notes. Very good coffee beer.

Drinkability: This beer delivers if you only have one or two. Not something you want to hang out with all night. Clean finish and great on a hot day. Slightly heavy, but enjoyable.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16oz can, Boulevard tulip, no canning date.

Very dark body, but definitely ruby and transparent. Nice head that seems to have the best retention of any of the Surly brews I received from Shango42. Definitely a coffee worthy color; desert MARPAT khaki with sticky foam.

Oily, fresh roast coffee, hop oils, dark chocolate, and cherries. The freshest coffee aromas I've experienced in a coffee beer, full and creamy.

What a job on the coffee addition! The very fresh flavor has a little acidic pop leading to glorious bitter black coffee. Moderate cake sweetness, and the beer culminates with chocolate, hop, and, of course, coffee bitterness. This is coffee beer as it should be done.

Moderate to light body that plays to a cold coffee feeling. Carbonation is not weak, but not biting. Plenty of bitterness with no astringency.

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Photo of MBrausen
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Canned 12/20/11

A. Poured a deep dark brown, nice foamy mocha head, about 4mm thick with a mild-aggressive pour, resides to a nice 1mm thick head after sitting for a few minutes.

S. Smells nicely of coffee, somewhat sweet smelling for a brown ale, oats and brown sugar, slight hops with a mild chocolate.

T. Tastes nicely of roasted coffee and brown sugar, mild chocolate, with a oatmeal finish and maybe even a little bit of honey taste.

M. Medium body, which is nice given the rich smell, dry and chewy with a tingling finish.

O. A very good beer. Well balanced thickness and chewiness, the flavors are very well balanced and compliment each other well, the coffee is not excessively dominate. A great anytime beer, I might have one with breakfast :)

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a one finger, tan head that hangs around with lacing. Awesome coffee and bready smell. Mega dRk roasted coffee taste. The hops blend well with the coffee bean. The finish is quite smooth and with a slight hop bite in the end. Malty goodness brings it all together. Very good.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coffee bean brown that becomes dark cherry with bright orange highlights when held up to my sunlit front window. The golden brown sugar colored head is several finger's worth of wonderfulness. It's loaded with character and is beginning to deposits gobs of moth-eaten lace all over the sides of the glass. Easy call.

I've never been a coffee drinker, but there's something about the smell of the good stuff that appeals to me. Marry that with the best American brown ale on planet Earth and you have sheer olfactory perfection. I haven't even tasted it yet and can already imagine lovers of both coffee and beer going apeshit over this brew.

My biggest fear was that the coffee would completely obliterate what makes Surly Bender so outstanding. The java beans do blur the complexities of the base beer, but then they could hardly do otherwise. Coffee Bender is *almost* as good as the straight stuff... probably better if you're a coffee aficionado.

This just might be the perfect morning libation. All good beer is good at any time of the day or night, but you get the idea. As often happens with coffee-added beer, the initial palate shock fades after a while and the rest of the flavors begin to shine. Those include: brown bread, cocoa, sugared pecans and a handful of leafy hops that brings each mouthful to a snappy close. Wow, that's pretty close to my description of Bender.

The mouthfeel is exceptional for the style and the ABV. It wouldn't be fair to expect any more chewiness from a beer that barely tops 5.0%. As with everything that Todd and Omar release, there's no chink in the armor.

I honestly didn't know that Coffee Bender would be this good. Then again, with Bender as a base beer, it would pretty hard to go wrong no matter what was added (within reason). The original is still the best, but damn!... this is outstanding ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Surly portion of The CANQuest (TM) soldiers on, thanks to Einweizenbitte and Uncle Felonious Monk! I CAN't believe that this is approaching 400! Thanks to all!

From the CAN: "Beer for a mug, from a [CAN]."; "Fresh brewed, keep it cool!"; "It's never too early to get Surly! Coffee Bender refreshes like an iced-coffee, is as aromatic as a bag of whole beans and satisfies like your favorite beer. Utilizing the latest technology, the Surly brew team has developed a cold extraction process that results in intense coffee aromatics and flavor - bringing together two of our favorite beverages. Your only dilemma will be whether to finish your day or start it with a Coffee Bender."

Okay, first my take on coffee. I am a Navy retiree and on my first ship, the USS Fulton (AS-11), I was made the Deck Department supply and admin "queen", and my duties included ensuring that coffee was going 24-7. I initially despised the stuff, but would add copious amounts of creamer and sugar when I needed a boost. One day, my salty Senior Chief growled at me, "Queenie, when are you gonna drink coffee, instead of having a hot milkshake?" I had no answer until one day when we were at General Quarters/battle stations for hours and sandwiches and a CANnister of coffee were delivered to us, but no accoutrements! I choked down a cup, but quickly realized that I needed to wean off of anything but black if I was going to hang in for four years. Later, while an auxiliary cop on shore duty, I became a cop stereotype - never without coffee and usually with a donut. After joining the USS Normandy (CG-60) as a plankowner, there were many of us with 55-gallon drums with a handle welded on walking around. Go-go juice was a way of life. After I retired, I swore off of both coffee and donuts, but slowly, I have been sucked back in to the point that I drink at least two big cups every day before Noon.

Crack & Glug time: Two quick fingers' worth of thick, deep-tan head with great retention and a wafting odor of coffee greeted me on the pour. Color was a deep, rich brown with ruby highlights. Nose was a knockout - it was like walking into Starbucks and taking a deep breath. I am not a big fan of their coffee, but it does smell deelish! I had some coffee earlier this AM, cowboy-style (warmed up in the microwave from yesterday), and I wanted to see how this would measure up. Mouthfeel was creamy with a VERY roasty coffee flavor up front, followed by a dark chocolate bitterness behind. Wow! Iced coffee was NEVER this good. Finish was bitter, I mean good, coffee bitter, but not for the faint of heart. Holy heart palpitations, Batman! I was more jittery than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Zounds! More, please, sir! F**k Joose or Four Loko, this is all the caffeine and alcohol you'll need.

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Photo of Dotcubed
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get an early christmas present, my wife & mother inlaw stood in line the other day for a growler. I am a lucky guy. Not sold it stores, it has a clever lable painted on.

Pours like a stout, fumes of lovely coffee. You can see a bit of light threw it, a nice deep brown. Not enough cabonation to give any foam. That's ok. It smells really good.

I mention this and the ladies want a sip. I'll share because I know how cold it is outside in a line.
Heavenly smooth and sweet. nearly perfect balance. Nice coffee bang in the middle. Not a cheap sanka flavor either, this is the real deal. Reminds me of the good stuff I drank at the independent homegrown coffee house back home before they sold out.

I really hope I get to re-fill before they sell out of this.

I think the hops are lost in the coffee but still worth the trip.

I think I could spend a long Sunday morning with this beer.
Roast beef, Chocolate, maybe some game.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= dark and delicious looking with a small head but decent lacing
S= really smells like a frappachino or something like that. Then once the coffee smell is subdued the beer comes through,
T=tastes much different than the bender actually. This is a whole new beast. Just plain good too. The coffee flavor is delicious.
M= smooth and creamy. Pretty light body
D= very high. Screams session!

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

Served from the can into a Russian River goblet

A - Pours a deep and dark brown with a nice head formation that holds in the glass for awhile. Heavy lacing.

S - Smells of deep roasted and caramelized malt and coffee.

T - Nice roasted coffee up front with an almost milk sugar presence that helps cut the harshness of the roasted flavor. I get some subtle bakers chocolate flavor. Tastes excellent. Great balance of flavor going on.

M - Very creamy and effervescent body with the carbonation scrubbing all the way through the taste. Finishes medium dry and with a hint of coffee and cream left on the tongue, just like a cup of coffee would.

O - This is the second beer I have had from Surly and I have definitely been impressed. They did an excellent job balancing the flavors and it tastes damn well close to an iced coffee. I need to try their brown ale now to see what the base beer tastes like before they added the coffee. A great buy.

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

1 pint can into a pint glass

A: Deep red toned brown-black. Pours and holds a gorgeous foamy, beige head. Spotty lace.

S: Coffee grounds and malt. That about sums it up.

T: I've had other coffee beers but this is by far the best coffee flavor I've come across. It tastes just like an iced cold press coffee. The malty backbone and sneaky hops only help bolster and round the coffee. Exceptional.

M: Very chewy, thick on the palate. Medium carbonation. Very nice.

D: For this style and flavor profile this is about as drinkable as they come. I could easily session this delicious coffee brew!

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Photo of Aguirre
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another absolutely stellar beer from Surly. The smell on this one is unreal, thick, rich coffee mixed with dark malty ale goodness. The taste follows suit with a great mix of sharp coffee and delicious Bender, which stands on its own as a great beer. You don't get as much out of the hops as you do with regular Bender, but it's still incredible.

When I drank this, I couldn't stop smiling. Simply one of the most delicious and interesting beers I've ever had. If I lived closer I'd drink it regularly. I expected big things out of this beer, and wasn't even close to being let down. Long live Coffee Bender!

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Photo of Packforever1976
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in my british pint.

A: Pours a medium redish brown, with a smallish light tan head. Head recedes quickly leaving a small layer on top. Decent lacing.

S: I haven't had this in quite awhile, and I forgot how good it smells. Good quality dark roasted coffee dominates the nose. Some hints of hazelnut and vanilla as well. Amazing.

T: A nice bitter dark roasted coffee flavor up front. That bitterness is quite nice, as alot of coffee beers are way too sweet. Some nice hazelnut and vanilla flavors follow, and in the finish I get some good quality dark chocolate. Man, this beer is tasty.

M: Mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is spot on. Nice level of thickness for the style.

D: Coffee Bender is crazy drinkable. I probably wouldn't be able to put down more than a couple pints at a time, but those pints would go down very smooth. Another winner from Todd and Surly.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is all roasted coffee beans and dark malts and exactly what you look for in a coffee-flavored beer.

T: The taste likewise is loaded with a strong flavor of black coffee. There's a hearty malt character and just a mild enough sweetness to keep the beer from being too bitter. The hops presence is very mild but is exactly where it should be for this kind of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of the coffee-flavored beer segment, this is an excellent darker but milder beer that is worth drinking for an entire evening.

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Photo of ludachris
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its seemingly deep brown body transforms when held to the light, revealing its true intense red mahogany hue. Just over a finger's worth of tightly knit creamy beige head floats on top, doing well at playing into the whole dessert coffee idea.

With my eyes closed and this glass held to my nose, I would say, without doubt, I am smelling a dessert coffee . It's actually unbelievable. The texture of cream plays a significant roll in the nose. The roast is pleasant and the impression is rich. The creamy hazelnut character that is whipped throughout makes tiramisu come to mind. 5 out of 5 for me.

Smooth and soft roasty notes of coffee impart a gentle dryness on the back of the palate. A thin layer of cocoa slides its way in the middle and then fades as heavier notes of hazelnut give weight to the taste. A fresh milky sweet character soon follows. Roasted grounds make a full roundabout, asserting themselves again in the finish. Where can the apparent 45 IBU's be found? I haven't got a clue.

The mouthfeel is what surprised me most about this beer. Its light, creamy, and weirdly refreshing. As enjoyable as that is, I'd really love the feel to carry a bit more umph with the incredible dessert coffee character it possesses. The more I sip on it though, the more I appreciate it. And man is this easy to drink.

A coffee or a coffee bender in the morning? Me being not a big coffee drinker, I'd take the latter 9 out of 10 times. This would actually make for a legitimate alternative to a coffee any time of the day. This is hands down one of the best beers I've had in a long time. At 5.1% ABV, this packs a punch in every category. The only question I'm left with is why did I only order a 4 pack of this.

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Photo of dlello2
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Cherry/Amber in color. Somewhat more carbonation than Surly's Bender.

S - Yum. Smells like freshly ground coffee. Getting the malts and hops. Really quite nice.

T - Yum this is freaking refreshing. Lots and lots of coffee. Really wakes up my senses. Coffee first then some bittersweet chocolate and hops. Then coffee/espresso in the aftertaste. Leaves me quite nicely. Very very drinkable.

M - Really nice. Nothing unpleasant.

O - This was really good. Very inviting and warming. 5% alcohol and 45 IBUs... really nice balance in flavor and quite sessionable for me. So much different and more pleasant for me than Bender.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my wife for picking this up while in Minnesota.

Poured from a can into an imperial pint.

Pours a dark rust, medium brown color with a frothy head that recedes to a sticky lace clinging cap.

Aroma is coffee and slightly bitter malt. The coffee is upfront and in your face. The smell of this beer is not to be reckoned with.

Flavor is dark roasted malt on the front, dark fruit and chocolate with a touch of cream. Surprisingly the coffee on the nose is not as strong on the tongue. Middle is dark roasted, fresh brewed coffee. The bitterness of the coffee balances the sweet malt nicely. Finishes dry with bitter coffee and slightly roasty nutty flavor. Smallish metallic flavor on the finish from the coffee I imagine.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for a beer that seems to be a porter or stout. Refreshing to drink and very nicly done.

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Photo of joetheyounger
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got some fresh cans of this beast. I cracked one in Vegas in the morning in my room because there was no coffee maker present. Damn this stuff is good. Just like drinking straight up black coffee. Thin mouthfeel, which makes it seem more like an iced coffee drink than a beer, which is kinda cool. One of the best brown ales i've had!

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Photo of BeerThursdays
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one last night before Beer Thursdays. Poured form the can into a medium sized dimpled mug. I'm calling this one my light stout from now on. Pours a brown/reddish color with a thick fluffy head. Lacing is good and head retention is apparent. Smells just like coffee, but there is a hint of malt in there too.
Taste is just out of this world. Like nothing I've ever had. Has a heavy coffee/chocolate taste that is balanced by a bitter hoppy finish. The coffee flavor lingers a bit, leaving you ready for more.
Feels good in the mouth too. A good amount of carbonation, but that could just be the head you have to get through to get to the beer. Very complex in the mouth. Lots of flavors you don't expect to taste good together going on.
I could drink this one for days. If it was more readily available in my area, this would turn into my session beer. Like I said, it's like a stout light. All the taste, half the alcohol. Don't know the algorithm for ratings, but this should be getting an A+ from me.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into my pint glass. It's a deep brown with a thin off white head with decent lacing. I love the smell of this one. It has a nice nutty wooden aroma with a big coffee smell. The coffee is really well done. It comes through predominantly but doesn't overpower anything. The taste is a bi coffee flavor with hints of brown sugar and nuts. It finishes slightly bitter. It really reminds me of an ice coffee with just a bit of cream and sugar. Really good stuff. Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated with a smooth medium body. I really wish I had this stuff local, probably my favorite brown ale.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown and red color, great carbonation. Massive coffee aroma, the biggest ever, totally cannot imagine it being possible to be any stronger in a beer. Did I mention this is prolly my favorite coffee beer? Did I mention this is prolly my favorite brown ale?

Taste, more coffee, like so much, as if the ratio is just straight 50% premium high end coffee, and 50% Surly (which is always high end). Its pretty simple. Coffee and beer. I don't drink coffee, but I'll have this stuff any morning. This stuff is even better than Breakfast Stout in the am. Yeah, there's a degree of chocolate malt and decent bitterness, but this is all about the coffee.

This is the best brown ale by a longshot in my book.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer has a dense dark body with a deep amber highlights showing at the base. There is a thick light tan head that last and last and a few tiny bubbles stuck to the glass.
S- The fresh espresso roasted beans have a nice black malt aroma to support them and a nice graham note that grows as the beer warms.
T- This beer has a rich cold coffee bean flavor with chocolate and cream finish with a nice light tangy note. There is a pine hop flavor that lingers just a bit and blends well with the coffee.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat or astringency.
D- This beer is like eating chocolate covered espresso beans and the hops let you know that there is a great beer base underneath. Delicious.

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Photo of DCDevilDancer
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. Hell of a first impression of Surly. This stuff is magic. By far, the most highly sessionable coffee beer I have yet had the pleasure to enjoy. So smooth and easy to drink.
Looks great.. dark amber, resilliant tan head.
Smells great.. just like an American iced coffee ale should.
Tastes.. yummy and addictive. The rich black coffee notes, and suddle hop presence persist for minutes after sips, with just a bit of a refreshing tanginess.. like an espresso tang, but racier. Doesn't have the depth of flavor of, say, a Founders BS, but it's not supposed to. It excells at being what it is.
Mouthfeel.. soothing.
Excessively drinkable! Aptly named!
Can't wait to try Furious next.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours brown, quite like Bender but the head is much thicker and denser. Doughy, bubbly head with tons of webby lace.

A-Whoa that smells exactly like coffee. Fresh brewed pot of coffee. Really a far cry from the normal Bender. The beer's base is almost masked by the coffee and I am totally digging it.

T-Like a cold cup of iced coffee. Iced coffee with a bit of milk and sugar. I could go into specifics of the other nuances of this beer but I won't; this beer is all about the coffee. It's delicious.

M-Medium to light in body. Softer carbonation and no booze...Could almost pass for iced coffee.

O/D-Wasn't super impressed with Bender but Coffee Bender is a beautiful brew. The genuine coffee flavor is impeccable. I loved this beer.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,578 ratings.
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