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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 839 | Ratings: 2,579
Photo of beachbum1975
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Backdrop: Just got done cleaning my garage from about 10AM - 4PM (It was WAY overdue), chillaxin' now - it's my time. Gorgeous 80 degree day out today and the ipod shuffled some great songs for me today. Oh, and I just washed both cars, too. It's definitely time for daddy to enjoy a nice beer...

A: 1 pint, great colors and style on the can -I love all Surly artwork though. Before I forget, thanks go out to newtonty for gifting me this one. Pours a dark root beer brown into my over-sized Duvel tulip. The head on this is amazing! Large 2 inch head with streaky lacing down the sides.

S: Light coffee, malts and slight earthiness on the nose.

T:/M Coffee is much more dominant in the mouth. This is a medium flavored beer and after the coffee, I get lightly sweet malts, biscuit yeasts and a light floral hops presence. Light bodied with average carbonation. Coffee grinds are detected in the aftertaste. Coffee isn't dauntingly heavy on this one, but rather lighter and refreshing.

D: Like all Surly beers, HIGHLY sessionable. With the 5.1% ABV, I could put these back all night. Very enjoyable.

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

Poured into a goblet

Appearance is a dark brown with a small tan head that forms on top

Smell is very much of coffee beans a malt just like promised

Taste is where this really pens up the malty sweetness of the brown ale almost acts as sugar for the coffee balancing to a very nice beer the coffee flavor is very dominant but not quite overpowering

Mouthfeel is good medium body and carbonation fits well with the style of the beer

Drinkablity is high if you like coffee for me the strong coffee flavor will wear me down a little but this is still a nice drinkable beer.

I really enjoyed this, and is I every turn into a raging alcoholic and need to start my morning off right this is definitely the beer I would go to.

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to markwise for the try.

A: Pours a nice shade of brown with a nice tall foamy tan head. Good retention and lace exhibited.

S: Lots of fresh coffee and roasted malt.

T: The bold coffee flavor carries over to the taste. Nice malt backbone with subtle hints of nutty toffee. This one is all coffee though.

M: Medium in body smooth.

D: Drinks like iced coffee, I like it. This one is all coffee, which is fine with me. Yum!

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

16oz can obtained in trade with Grbdg. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head falls gradually, with heavy and leggy lacing. Aroma is rich coffee and ample sweetness. Taste follows the nose, more acrid from the coffee, closes with evident hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is reasonably smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Nice one.

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Photo of badmoon
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip from a bottle.

A: Black. Just like good coffee. Very little head and next to no lacing.

S: COFFEE! What else should I say here? Rich coffee aroma.

T: Again, COFFEE! Awesome! This may be my all time favorite beer. OMG!

M: Full. I love it! Just like drinking an iced coffee.

D: Drink one and stop. Please don't attempt to be a hero.

Overall: Awesome beer. Try it and savor it. It is truly unique!

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

I'm actually not a huge fan of Brown Ales or Bender, so I didn't have high hopes for this one, but wow. It caught me off guard. Pours a very dark brown with a light brown head. The nose is coffee and some nice malts. And coffee. This one's not messing around.

I love that this beer doesn't play it safe. It's not going for a "hint" of coffee to bring out "highlights" in the beer, no sir. We've got a distinct coffee-ness here, but it works. It's really something different, but you've got to commend the brewery for giving something like this a shot. When you take risks like that, everyone once in a while it works out. This is an example of it working out.

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Photo of goatgoat
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks mikereaser for the opportunity.

Beer for a mug, from a can! I <3 cans. (yes... that's less than three cans)

Pours an opaque brown with clear ruby highlights. A finger's worth of tan head falls quickly. No lace.

Aroma is clear roasted coffee. Perfect roasted coffee, nothing less and nothing more.

Flavor starts with a nice fruity malt character. which morphs through lightly hop notes into a strong coffee finish that lingers for quite a while. Subsequent sips are 'front loaded' with the coffee flavor, which puts the other notes in the background.

Body is decent, carbonation good.

This is _coffee_ beer. This is my first coffee brown ale and color me impressed. Tasty, tasty.

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Photo of sonicdescent
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a very murky red/brown with a nice crown. Excellent lace.

Smells of fresh coffee beans, like opening a new bag. No alcohol or hop presence, this is straight coffee, but unlike most roasted malts, this is more fresh bean.

Tastes..excellent. I can't say I've ever had a beer like this. Iced coffee. I can't believe this is a beer, and its so damn good!

Mouth is medium in body and carbonation.

This is an incredible beer, period.

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Photo of kingsizedave
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am not a fan of coffee but this beer introduced me to the wonderful world of coffee beers. I have continued to enjoy this beer for it's full coffee aroma and smooth taste. I enjoy the chocolate taste and the way the flavor sticks to the back of your tongue.
I would encourage anyone who has a fascination with flavored coffees to try this beer.
Beer may come from a can but you must absolutely drink it in a glass...

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Photo of Beerking721
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We made beer floats by combining this with sweet cream liqueur. Absolutely delicious!!!

A= Poured into a Surly Pint glass, the beer exhibits the color of an October midnight - black. The head is thick and off-white/brown in color upon pour and disipates rather quickly into fine lace.

S= Aroma showed deeply toasted malts combined with expresso and roasted hazelnuts.

T= A cooperative combination of brown ale flavor with a lighter than expected coffee enhancement. Malty, earthy, and nutty with some fruity essence.

M= A little thinner than expected for such a dark beer. A decent finish makes up for thinness.

D= As stated above, we did beer floats. This made the experience more fun and added a unique dimension as the coffee up front was followed by rich, sweet cream. On it's own, I would be hesitant to have more than one at a time.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight fours across the board. This was one interesting beer, speaking of which, here goes.

A - Pours a black, with a thick, viscous consistency and a nice tan head - it really does look like iced coffee.

S - Coffee, roasted chestnuts, burning wood - smells like camping, I like it.

T - Up front bitterness, but not from hops, it really is the bitterness of coffee. It works well with the ale - Roasted espresso beans, malt highlights, lots of smokiness going on. mmm....I really recommend pairing this one with one of those chocolate muffins you get from CostCo.

M - Slight tingle of carbonation, but overall very smooth and not offensive in any way.

D - I'd love to try one of these for breakfast!

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Photo of bennetj17
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark brown, I can just barely see through it if I hold the glass up to the light, as deep ruby hues shine through. The head is medium thick, tan, leaving a hearty lace. The aroma is all coffee, no malt sweetness really, like a freshly roasted pot. I like it.

This thing tastes like a cold and carbonated cup of coffee really. I don't like coffee all that much, but for a beer this is great. The dry roasted bitterness is really pleasant with just enough malt backbone to balance things. The mouthfeel might seem a bit thin, but the rather sharp carbonation compensates for that nicely.

I must say this coffee-flavored beer is excellent. It's really nothing like the original Bender, but that is fine. This Packs alot of flavor into a really sessionable brew. Highly recommended...

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz. can passed around at the Austin BA gathering.

Poured into my Delirium Tremens tulip a dark, seal brown body with a semi-opacity and sluggish carbonation. A chestnut head rises to half an inch and falls quickly, leaving behind a wisp of foam. "Perfect" does not begin to describe the aroma on this beer, as it achieves a sublime espresso and fresh-brewed coffee note that reminds me of a cold-steeped coffee stout I once home-brewed. Dank, dark fruits and a slight waft of citrus hops provide a great balance.

Flavor begins with a creamy, almost milk-like espresso note that quickly gives way to dark roasted coffee and chocolate. Hints of vanilla, fig, and pine thrown in the mix, and the aftertaste is laden with a potent hop & coffee bitterness. Body is a tad thin, but well carbonated, and finishes with a slight dryness. All in all, an exceptional beer that "bends" the style guidelines, but tastes so good it can afford to.

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

Poured from 16oz can into a tall shaped glass.

A :: Very dark brown, almost black, pour with a thick, frothy head. After a few minutes a small amount was left with some lacing where it had been.
S :: Lighter on the coffee aroma than expected. Smells more of a roasted barley with some chocolate, very little hop spice and some nuttiness.
T :: This is where the coffee hits. Tastes like a nice dark roast with a touch of chocolate. The finish is not as bitter as expected with the amount of coffee that comes through. Very nice indeed.
M :: Medium body and silky smooth. It's like a well done iced coffee.
D :: Mighty drinkable. Low alcohol content and smooth texture makes you want more.

I'm not huge on coffee, but when I have it I'd rather have iced which makes this a wonderful choice. This may be the best part of waking up...if only it were acceptable to drink in the morning...at work...from a coffee mug.

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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 hopdog
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can acquired in trade with wetherel (thanks!).

Poured a deep and dark amber color (almost brown) with a an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of coffee, roasty, pine, earthy/diirt, and nuts. Tastes of coffee, roasty, vanilla, and caramel. Light lacing left on the glass.

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Photo of stumac
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this brew pours up a dark brown color with crimson edges and a big frothy tan head. the nose is straight coffee, big malts, not much else but DAMN it smells good! the taste is coffee bitterness, nice malts, light to medium body, medium carbo. A very nice brew but I wish that it could have had a little bit more of a chewy malt characteristic that I so love in Brown Ales.

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

Thanks to natasharai for the trade.

Pours a dark brown with amber highlights when held to the light. Thin head that dissapated with decent lacing.

Smells like I shoved my nose in freshly ground espresso beans. Super amount of coffee. Maybe some hazelnut but the coffee masks alot of the other aromas.

Tastes just as it smells. A ton of coffee mixed with a pretty strong brown ale taste. Weird bitter aftertaste. Too much coffee in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is a little thin.

Overall a coffee bomb. Don't think I will trade for this one again but I was glad I tried it.

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


Pour was a nice caramel like brown.

Aroma of lots of coffee, dark malts and the faintest hop aroma. A very nicely smelling coffee beer. Flavor was full of coffee beans, some chocolate and a got that nice malt brown ale flavor. I really like how smooth this beer is, its very creamy and very drinkable. This is an awesome coffee beer. Too bad i only have one can, and its impossible to get here in NY.

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Photo of mothman
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #200 for me.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Color is a dark carmel brown, slightly dark ruby. There is a tan head with fades of light yellow in it. Not a very large head, but good lace rings.

Aroma is like a coffee shop. Lots of rich coffee aromas. A roasted smell with a lot of malts. Very good.

Taste is pretty light for a dark colored beer as this. It tastes like dark coffee meets beer. Definitely mainly malts. Amazing, if you enjoy coffee.

Mouthfeel is simply refreshing. Smooth and creamy. Ends with a super-clean aftertaste. Good carbonation.

Overall, amazing and easy to drink. I definitely want more surly. I highly recommend this beer, as it is all-around amazing.

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Photo of ZAP
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am not a big fan of coffee (although I do drink it from time to time) or coffee beers but this is well done. It has a good dose of coffee bean flavor on the aroma and on the nose. In fact my only complaint is the bender qualities are overwhelmed by the coffee. I guess that is why it is a coffee beer but I would have liked to have seen a little more of the bender brown qualities emerge.

Body is a little thin and slightly acidic feeling.

If you like coffee beers you will most likely find this appealing. If you are looking for bender with subtle coffee notes you will be disappointed as this is a coffee bomb.

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


An update as I really feel I've had a different experience the second time around - mainly when it comes to aroma! I am pushing that from 4 to 4.5 this time.

Pour - out of the can this floods my glass and settles as a reddish brown color with a big, thick, off-white foamy head. Looks like a nice beer right out of the can.

Aroma - wow. Once you pop that tab it smells like you cracked one of those little Doubleshots from Starbucks. The smell is that of super fresh roasted coffee and can easily be detected from across a room. Hay-soos! Coffee galore when it comes to the aroma, not much else to say. Hooray for coffee!

Taste - a big wave of bitter, dark-roasted coffee heaven takes center stage followed by some sweet malt and some tangy flavors. This is a very solid brown ale mixed with some ridiculously fresh (and quality) tasting coffee.

Overall - I had this once before and wasn't all that impressed. For some reason the second time around is a totally different experience. Maybe Surly changed things? Maybe this can was fresher? Who knows. All I know is that the coffee flavor in this beer is intense and makes for one hell of a great tasting beer.

Would I buy more of it? - part of me wishes I lived in Minnesota and part of me is glad I don't. I'd be spending a lot on Surly beer....


Pretty psyched to get a couple of these from Kiefdog. Thanks!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a half inch of stark white head. The head fades quick leaving a perfect ring.

The initial smell is pretty mild, I don't get a lot more than some caramel, cocoa and brown sugar. All the prototypical brown ale smells, no coffee at first.

Taste upfront is that super nice Bender brown ale taste followed by a nice bitter wallop of dark roast coffee. It all comes together very, very nicely.

This is a great drinking very rich and complex beer at only 5.10%. Most beers with this much flavor also have a super high ABV leaving you pretty numb. I love it. I need more low ABV coffeee brown ales!!!

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Photo of tprokop7
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Buebie for this one. Got in trade last week.

Slightly more head than the standard bender, and somewhat darker. The coffee flavor is strong, but the malt base still comes through a bit. Expected carbonation. Not much for hops. I like this a lot, I'm glad they made it a standard offering.

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

I acquired this through a trade with wery0001. I poured from a 16 ounce can into a standard pint glass. It pours a deep reddish brown with a fuzzy white head. It has great aroma. It is sweet, dark roasted coffee. The flavor follows. It has great balance, a great combination of beer and coffee. The beer has medium body and just the right amount of carbonation. This is better than my normal cup of morning joe.

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Photo of beveritt
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 16 oz can into an Imperial pint glass. Label is typical red, gold, white, and black of Surly. However, the logo is on a pint glass that is blasting off, I suppose a reference to the coffee. No freshness date. Thanks to biniek13 for this one.

Appearance: Pours with 3 1/2 fingers of medium to light tan head. This settles very slowly, and still maintain nearly 2 fingers of height. Areas of the glass which have been uncovered show nice, sticky lacing. The beer itself is a deep mahogany and nearly completely opaque. Hints of light sneak around the edges.

Smell: Strong aroma of slightly sweet coffee, though the aroma does not contain much bitterness. Some underlying caramel malt with a hint of roastiness in the finish.

Taste: Semi-sweet coffee flavor upfront, with enough roasty bitterness to balance it out. Finishes with a lingering, mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is very good.

Drinkability: As touted on the can, this is an iced coffee for adults. Smooth and immensely drinkable, it is also very flavorful. Another hit from Surly. I hope they eventually expand their distribution, but will give them time to do it right.

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