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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 n2185
3.17/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark brown with only hints of red coming through at the edges and a finger of light tan head. The head quickly recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Coffee dominates the nose. There are a sweet creaminess and some chocolate notes to it as well, but mostly coffee. As it warms, a slight nutty aroma comes out.

T: Robust coffee up front followed by some slight roasted malt characters. The finish has a nutty and lightly bitter character to it.

M: Medium body and carbonation, though the body has a slightly watery characteristic.

O: Overall, not a bad beer, but almost indistinguishable from a typical coffee stout. I pick up on a slight nuttiness in the finish, but that's about the only brown ale characteristic this beer has. You could put it in a lineup of coffee stouts and likely not be able to pick it out. As a brown ale, it's almost unrecognizable and as a coffee stout it doesn't really stand out from the pack.

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Photo of gatornation
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pored very dark brown with thin beige ring with little head it did have some nice sticky lacing smell was all coffee and some vanilla some burnt malts..the taste was coffee first strong coffee it overwhelmed the bender with roasted somewhat bitter taste.. the malts and the hops could not be detected..overall i did not enjoy this one like say Peruvian morning it was not balanced between malt hops and coffee..ill stick to plain bender for my brown ale fix

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Photo of xpdrinker
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can poured into my Surly pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with reddish hue, more murky than Bender. Mocha pencil-thin head, not much lacing.

Aromas include empty metal coffee can, dry malt, mixed nuts, a bit leathery.

Light body, medium carbonation. Standard brown with extra roastiness, most of the coffee comes on the dry finish. Bitterness hangs out on the perimeter of the tongue. Slightly peppery.

Enjoyed it a bit more than regular Bender but still don't find anything about it that stands out. Balanced but not very complex. I'd like to try it again but wasn't extremely impressed this time around.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this form the can into a chalice.

The beer is a very dark fown with about a finger and half of light tan head that fades way to quickly. The lacing is good. As the head fades it sticks to the sides like a shadow from the past.

The aroma is combination of wood and coffee, but despite these two normally dominating aromas the aroma overall is pretty light.

The taste is very light and somewhat disappointing because it is pretty flavorless. If it wasn't called coffee bender I wouldn't even think of coffee and be able to pick any out of it. To me its tastes like a light fun of the mill brown ale.

The mouthfeel is heavy and lasting but because of its blandness its not very drinkable, not because its filing but because its just bland.

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Photo of beerkittycat
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From a can poured into a smaller tasting glass and shared with others. Appearance is a murky amber brown with a tan head. Decent lacing. Aroma smells awesome of freshly ground high-quality coffee and some citrus hops in the background. Taste was....a little disappointing compared to the aroma. First off was the thin mouthfeel which surprised me considering the line-up of big beers that Surly makes. The flavors were rather thin, too, and was dominated by the coffee with little malt or hop flavor to balance things out. Too much carbonation in this beer probably allowed the mouthfeel to seem a little thin. I'll try it again, but I've had much better coffee beers than this.

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Photo of Roland45s
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Surly compares to a starbucks iced coffee in a can, almost like one of the starbucks energy drinks. A very strong potent smell of coffee and beans, but a very weak beer. It's almost like a light beer with color additive. Overall I would drink it again b/c I am a coffee fan, but I truly believe the "coffee" added makes it like left over coffee from the pot in the afternoon.

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Photo of Hayley_86
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer has a pleasant look and smell to it that promisses a lot for a good coffee beer. The taste is okay but not strong enough and the feel doesn't hold up to the better coffee beers. High hopes but I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped.

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Photo of bashiba
3.26/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep clear shade of brown with bright clear cherry wood colored highlights and a thick tan head, some nice lacing.

The smell is that of very fresh ground coffee with hints of roasted malts creeping through.

The coffee flavors are very aggressive with a mix of slightly bitter coffee and dark roasted barley. There seems to be a strong level of bittering hops as well as it continues to get more bitter as I drink it in a very even and earthy sort of way, some light smoke and toffee flavors sort of come out as it warms has a touch of astringency as well.

The mouthfeel has a medium body and a bit of oily and resiny quality to it.

Very much a coffee beer, its not bad, but a big to heavy handed with the coffee for my taste.

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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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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

After having the Bender, this one was next up.

About the same color in the pour, a tad darker than brown. Clean and clear. Head is a bit sparse as is the lacing.

Coffee aroma. Sanka it seems. Unlike some coffee beers, this one doesn't seem as rich. Coffee dominates aroma

It pretty much dominates the flavor. Some sweet caramel at first, but the nuttiness of the Bender thwarted by the coffee. And this coffee seems thin. Too bad, some nuttiness would provide some more smoothness. Seems a bit hollow, and not like a Brown ale much at all. Still, it's not a bad beer...just not a two-canner for me

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Light black in color with some penetration to light. A fingernail of khaki colored head sits on top. Strong aroma of very bitter intense coffee is present. The flavor is extremely bitter coffee with no room for anything else. The mouth is thick and creamy.
Appearance: 3.5

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Photo of Sabtos
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Light red-brown, darkens at full pour, with a large tan head that dissipates to a persistent film, leaving tons of cobweb lace.

Roasted coffee aromas are almost the sole influence, with the exception of a little astringent, metallic note in the background.

Taste is old school coffee grounds. It reminds me of the 80s actually, and I didn't realize I would have that distinct a memory of coffee in the 80s, but now that its hits me, it's very clear to me that coffee in the US was quite different at that time. Aside from that tin tub of coffee grounds, I also get some raisin in taste.

Frothy, a little tangy, but overall, quite a weird one for a basic coffee beer. I actually liked it better completely at room temperature.

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Photo of ELS
3.29/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I was expecting more from this beer. I thought the beer had nice color with a half inch of foam that slowly dissipates. The smell was pretty good with the obvious coffee aroma. However, the taste was bitter, dare I say second rate coffee that isn't well integrated into the beer. The base malt backbone does little to save the taste with a weak, underwhelming flavor. The beer did get slightly better as it warmed. I'm glad I tried it but I've had many much better coffee brown ales and porters brewed here in Florida. No reason to seek it out in the future.

 565 characters

Photo of KBoudreau66
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this brew as an extra with a trade from Skinnyguy. It pours a nice dark brown color with two fingers of foamy off white head. It smells exactly like a pot of coffee, but with sweet undertones in the aroma. I don't really know what to make of this beer. I can't tell if I'm impressed with it or not. Very strong coffee flavors with a bit of sweetness that I detected in the nose. I really can't explain the taste of this too well, if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it's like a Newcastle with a cup of coffee poured in it, buty obviously with more flavor than a Newcastle. Overall, not a bad brew, and I'm glad that I got to try it. I always look forward to trying new beers, especially ones that I'm unable to obtain in Massachusetts.

 750 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, dark brown color with a stable residue of light beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass and a small amount of fine black sediment remains at the bottom.

S: Very freshly ground coffee. The smell would be extremely authentic if this was coffee, but for a beer it is more than a little unbalancing.

T: Begins dry, with scorched malt and strong aromatic coffee flavors. Acidity is restrained into the middle, with some black pepper complexity marking the transition. The middle tastes mostly of coffee, slightly astringent with just a touch of unctuousness. The finish is moderately bitter with a coffee quality that remains assertive to the end.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slightly astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: While this beverage represents a remarkable showcase for honest coffee qualities, it is fairly mediocre as a brown ale. Its beer qualities remind of Sierra Nevada Tumbler, a little too dry to be compelling. Expect it to lose some of its coffee focus as it warms, becoming more like a beer but still fairly lacking in distinct qualities.

 1,154 characters

Photo of bengore
3.31/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rather dark brown with a big foamy head that sticks around for quite a bit leaving minimal legs on the glass.

S: Nothing in particular stands out to me, sure you can smell the coffee but there is nothing quite exciting about it.

T: Initial taste is extremely reminiscent of a sip of iced coffee. Flows into a malty goodness with some chocolate notes

M: Very light, easy to drink.

O: A pretty decent brown ale, but overall I'm not sure it deserves the high rating it holds here on BA. Perhaps I need to spend a little more time with this one, but I am not in love with it.

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to treyrab for sharing this can of beer with me. Where would be in life without beer...err...Friends?

Split pour into a perfect pint glass. Pours a foggy light brown, with some red hues, and is pretty clear around the edges. No head from pour, just a light tan ring. No lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is neither good nor bad. An off-putting airiness is present, but as the beer warms a lot of creamy caramel scents come out. Still, not what I was expecting for a nut brown ale with coffee. Some slight coffee latches onto the caramel and provides a segway for a subdued sweet chocolate scent. There is a rather nice nutty scent, but there is nothing about the smell of this beer that makes me jump and say, "Wow!!"

Again, the taste is not what I expected for the style. Nutty, and very old aged mature coffee that tastes like its been sitting out for a few days. Match that with primarily biscuit malts and roasted chocolate malts and a very watery taste and mouthfeel and you have a very underwhelming taste. I'm really shocked buy this one, I'm not the biggest fan of regular Bender, but I had higher expectations for this one. There is an almost sweet cola taste that appears on the end. Still, I attest to the fact that Surly is one of my favorite breweries, given that they brew one of my favorite IPA's.


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Photo of crossovert
3.34/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy coffee color with a frothy off-white head.

It smells like coffee, I have never had a beer that smells prety much 100% liek coffee like this before. i am not a coffee drinker but I enjoy most coffee beers, this one smells like it could be cold, carbonated, alcoholic coffee.

It tastes just like coffee too, I'm not a fan of coffeee but this is somewhat tolerable. It literally tastes like coffee, thar bitter, roasty, but almost fruity flavor.

Overall it is decent, kinda gives you a stomach ache.

 512 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thinnish, offwhite head, cola reddish color. Some decent lace.

Coffee grounds on the nose with some dark cocoa.

Nutty (walnut?) in the taste, pretty dry. Not too rich, some hop citrus.

Kinda course mouthfeel.

This ended up reminding me of some kind of coffee-flavored soda. Not bad, but not particularly good.

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Photo of herman77
3.37/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a ruby red hue. A little bit of khaki colored soft-head. Nice sticky, small bubble lacing is left everywhere.

S: Fresh roasted coffee with a hint of carmel malt.

T: Wow. This is very very coffee flavored. Holly shit! Its too coffeeish for me. Intense dark roast up front that goes bitter with a touch of toasted malt. Its like an iced coffee with malt flavoring. If I was a coffee drinker, I'm sure I would love this.

M/D: Medium to lighter body. Carbonation seems on the higher side. Drinkability is pretty low for me due to the intense coffee flavor. A pint is too much for me.

Too coffee forward, its not my thing.

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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 calcio360jrd
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First Surly beer for me here in south fla

Now i love big coffee stouts, that roasty smell when i open up a bottle or can gets me going. Coffee bender pours out a nice black color, not opaque, a little lite getting in. Has a nice coffee smell to it, maybe a bit strong, but i like strong coffee. The taste for me wasn't what i hoped for. It really did just taste like a cup of coffee i brewed the day before and left out all nite, i can see why the can says the taste of an iced coffee. Felt very thin on the pallette as well, guess i was hoping it would be like a big 10% RIS instead of a 5% ABA.

Good but not great, got some other surly beers to try in the coming week

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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 pigc
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep dark brown chestnut, almost black with two finger head.

S - Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, cocoa.

T - This is literally like drinking an iced coffee. Light roast, some bitterness from the hops. Plain and simple straight forward coffee beer.

M - Very thin almost watery.

O - One of my least favorite Surly beers. I get what they are doing, just wish it had a bit more complexity. If you are looking for an iced coffee with a bit of alcohol then this might be the beer you've been looking for.

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Photo of aasher
3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a wine glass. I bought the four pack this past weekend in Minneapolis. It pours a hazelnut brown in color, pretty light in body, with a one finger beige head that turns to lacing around the glass. The aroma is of very fresh coffee grounds with light chocolate. The grounds are very pungent and bitter. It's not very complex and is on the verge of being completely one dimensional. It's just so much ground, yet not much actual coffee. The flavor too is in your face coffee grounds with some slight sweet roasted malt and a light bitter finish. It's ok, and easy to drink, but it's just ok. I just wish it had more complexity. It drinks light and you can tell it's built for a can the way it poured and due to how light it is. Overall it's just an ok brown ale without much complexity. I'd say this is the first beer from Surly I'm not overly impressed by.

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