Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
846 Reviews
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Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
846
Ratings:
2,627
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
10.84%
 
 
Wants:
670
Gots:
416
For Trade:
25
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Reviews: 846 | Ratings: 2,627
Photo of tturaiders
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a pint can into a pint glass. Thanks, gibby!

Appearance: Dark amber with a decent sized head on it. The lacing is slightly spotty and recedes well down the side of the glass.

Smell: Roasted coffee with a hint of sweetness. Maybe some caramel and toffee.

Taste: Strong coffee but has a subtle sweetness to it. Tastes like a good coffee that is built into the beer. The sweetness of the malt balances it so that the coffee isn't overpowering. You get a bit of that hop bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Well carbonated and it's got a nice body to it. It's very smooth and very soothing. I could sip on this all night. I was really anticipating this one and it lived up to my expectations.

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

16oz can poured into a Surly Darkness tulip. Can provided by UMNbeerhunter, thanks Joe!

A - Pours into the glass a dark mahogany brown, almost bordering on black but still allowing some deep cherry highlights. Atop the brew is a 2.5-fingered, light tan head with pretty good retention. No apparent streams of carbonation, even though the body itself is pretty clear. Lacing is very good as well, with dense foam clinging strongly to the walls of the glass.

S - This beer really captures the essence of a nicely steeped cup of iced coffee, with strong coffee been aromatics mixed with thick malts to smooth out the nose. That's pretty much the bulk of the bouquet here, which given the name, isn't so surprising.

T - The taste takes the coffee bean aroma of the nose and really gives it a nice palate to work with. Although it's not as straightforward coffee as the nose would suggest, the smoothness and overall taste is great. I've had beers that had more of a espresso push to it, they weren't as balanced or easily drank as this. The front actually has a formidable malt presence, sweetening up the mouth and prepping the way for the coffee to intersperse and leave a nice taste. The end is also a bit hoppy to both complement and contrast with the bitterness of the espresso. No alcohol here.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, medium bodied while having a nice carbonation. Finish isn't incredibly long, but its filled with coffee and bitterness from both the beans as well as the hops.

D - Drinkability is high. An incredibly balanced coffee beer that brings a ton to the table. Easy to drink and very enjoyable. I could imagine tailgating with this all morning if only I could find it around here!

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

Acquired from an awesome BA trader (maximum12) and also scored more from a fantastic BA (unclejedi) because I love it so much. This is my first official review after trying it the past few years at beer fests and a can or two since August.

Poured into my favorite hand blown (antique?) Whitbread Extra Stout stemmed tulip glass a brilliantly clear ruby-toned mahogany with a fluffy, loose and somewhat craggy 1" light beige head. Some fine visible uprising carbonation visible. Unbroken walls of fine light beige lace all the way down.

Ultra fresh cafe mocha scent is glorious. You can really smell heavy whipped cream as it melts into this foo-foo (insert your favorite coffee shop name here) mocha latte. So flippin' fresh and appetizingly accurate. I can't wait to...

...take a gulp, it's as good as it smells. The chocolate notes fade to the back a bit while the roasted malts are masterfully showcased. The coffee vs. beer flavors are articulately balanced so one doesn't outdo the other. The bitterness that cleanses the palate is coming from hops, but it very much reminds me of the nice bite of a good coffee. Now that I think of it, how do I really know where this bitter edge is deriving? Rich and malty with bittersweet chocolate and coffee cascading flavors, all beautifully intertwined and deliberate.

Mouthfeel is a litter richer than medium bodied with a perfect amount of fine, yet restrained carbonation. Silky, ultra smooth and elegant. The rich and slightly bitter coffee and rich malty finish is loooong.

Drinkability is superb. Very authentic and natural tasting.

I have to laugh at the fact Surly classifies this as a 'Brown Ale'. I've had reputable porters with less balls than this. This is one pronounced and articulate coffee infused ale for sure. Not one tasty facet of this brew tastes contrived or out-of-balance. Imagine a roasty, chocolatey, coffee inspired beer of your dreams, and you've got it right here - in spades!

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

Big thanks go out to G311 for this brew. Poured into a nonic.

A 2 finger off white head of tight rocky carbonation sits atop a semi opaque brown body with amber hues towards the edge of the glass. Quite impressive retention and lacing left behind.

The nose is chock full of freshly ground coffee and vanilla with a faint dose of hops in the background.

The taste is of fresh coffee, subtle vanilla, sweet caramel malts and a somewhat distracting hop presence. As the beer warms the coffee flavor begins to become more subtle and strikes a better balance with the hop bitterness. A lingering smokey coffee flavor remains between sips.

The mouthfeel is on the light end of medium bodied with smooth and creamy carbonation. The creaminess almost makes you think you are drinking an actual coffee with cream. Good stuff.

A great beer. Would have this in my fridge on the regular if Surly distributed to CA.

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

03.05.10

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....

3.27.09

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

16 oz. can.

Dark chocolate molasses brown body. Thick finger of dense, creamy, dark sandy brown head. Great lacing and retention. Sweet brown sugar, molasses, milk chocolate, and graham cracker malt aromas mix nicely with funky (Sumatran-esque), roasted coffee. Bright, roasted, coffee bitterness up front. Scorched caramel and chocolate malts follow. Strong roasted bitterness stays throughout. Nutty, with vanilla and molasses notes. Finish is coffee bitter with lingering caramel. Medium-bodied, with a slightly oily feel. Delicious!

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Photo of tsauce2
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 16 fl oz can in to Duvel tulip.

A: SRM is brown. Head is frothy/bubbly tan, 1 in, dissipates to rim of glass. Light lacing, medium carbonation.

S: Luscious coffee notes explode off the nose. Hard to pick up much else; may be selective smelling...

T: Medium/dark roast malt, coffee, medium chocolate sweetness. Aftertaste is roast coffee and caramel.

M: Medium body. Semi viscous. Coffee adds nice depth of flavor. Dry and crisp finish.

O: One of the best all time coffee beers. Very critical of coffee beers, and this delivers big time. Only down side is that I did not buy more.

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

Thanks go out to mikereaser for sending me this great beer.

A: Pours a dark, dark brown color with a thick, creamy mocha-colored head. Lacing is very thick all around the top of the glass. The liquid and head are both darker than Bender. Great looking beer.

S: Obviously, there's a strong coffee aroma. Notes of toffee/caramel, nuts, and cream, as well. Nose is quite strong and still retains some of Bender's original complexity.

T&M: Fortunately, the coffee doesn't overpower the rest of Bender's great flavor. Coffee blends interestingly with citric hop flavors. The cream flavors detected in the nose reappear now to mellow things out nicely. Body is medium with a smooth feel, though the coffee seems to have coarsened the feel somewhat.

D: Still quite drinkable and tasty. I just drank my first Bender about 30 minutes ago, and adding Coffee to it certainly works well. The impressive thing is that they pack so much flavor into a lower ABV, lighter bodied brown ale.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

16 oz. can into glass pint.

$13.99 / 4 pk.

40°F

S: Wow! Huge coffee aroma. Best part of waking up? I don't pick-up malt or hop aroma, but that is obviously not the intent. This beer succeeds perfectly at its goal, and there is something to be said for that.

A: Clear dark brown body that still manages to blot out the sun. Topped by a big tight head that has good retention, but leaves only the slightest lacing and a weak cover. Not great, but looks aren't everything.

T: Not the most complex taste, but again, it doesn't try to be. Overwhelming coffee flavors take center stage with only the faintest hint of dark malt. The IBUs are listed as 45, but are hard to discern from coffee until the bitter end.

M: Very light body with medium carbonation.. Exceedingly crisp, with no residual sensation on the tongue.

D: Wonderful beer that has the drinkability of a lager, but the amazing flavor profile of a stout. In the end all that matters is that it goes down easy and tastes great. Well done.

O: This is my new favorite everyday beer. Light enough to drink solo on a hot day (like an iced coffee), but a flavor profile that goes great with a dog or a burger, and still manages to satisfy on a cold December night in Minnesota.

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Photo of wcintula
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Everything looks better in a Duvel glass, and all 16 oz of this baby fit. Great 3 finger puffy sticky head on a brown/black body with mahogany highlights. Nice lacing. Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, nuttiness. Great matching taste profile and then some. Chocolate is bitter, some hop bitterness too, woodiness. Medium body with carbonation. Excellent beer, so happy the cans are 16 oz.

Check it out:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/photo.php?pid=4801444&fbid=429853478843&id=543268843

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Coffee, coffee, coffee, as expected. Poured it from a can (pint) into a beer mug. Dark coffee like hue with a light brown head. It smells coffee and it taste coffee, and a little bit of chocolate and sweetness too. It is not too much coffee bitterness, just right for a pleasant but strong coffe taste and aroma. The mouthfeel was creamy. I liked it very much.

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Photo of newk340
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a fantastic beer from a can, love the mantra "beer for a mug, from a can." certainly could have had this for breakfast in place of my typical cup of joe.

A: a very dark coffee stout, one finger head when poured from the can.

S: COFFEE!!

T: COFFEE!! absolutely no taste of alcohol, shocked by its resemblance to my favorite morning beverage.

M/D: could easily replace a cup of coffee in the morning, nearly no carbonation, smooth feel down the throat.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was shared by StayWhatYouAre2 with beeruser, funkydelic, 67couple, others, and myself at a recent tasting graciously hosted by beeruser! Served from can into a Duvel Parra tulip. Poured a deep dark brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, cream, coffee, and subtle caramel. The flavor was of roasted malt, coffee, subtle caramel, and cream. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. I had been wanting to try this one for quite some time and finally got the chance. I was not disappointed at all in this one. I don't even drink coffee and loved this thing. Can't imagine how much more I would have enjoyed it had I been a coffee drinker. Really worth trying and the effort to get your hands on it. Nice job Surly!

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

Poured from a growler at DLD 07, This was an awesome sellection, I had to take some notes. The liquid was dark brown chilled just right with a nice toasted caramel head about one fat finger thick. My snifter did some some lace.

The smell was a medium coffee aroma, mixed with chocolate and toasty caramel notes.

The taste followed, this beer was nice, very nice tasting, The rich malt and coffee flavor was mixed very well. I really like a coffee brew that has a good malty primary taste. The coffee was there but did not over power like a cold bitter Cup O'Joe. A great chocolate note as well. The beer seemed to warm great as well but it did not last too long in my glass.

The mouthfeel was good, better then medium body, carbonation worked well also.

The drinkability was very good, this is one fine easy drrinking coffee brew. Prosit, MK

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

Extra generously received from BarrytheBear. Thanks Barry!

A - Dark coffee brown with a creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

S - Coffee and roasted malts. Smells sweet, almost milky with a faint vanilla whiff. Mmm.

T - Wow! More coffee and dark, sweet roasted malt. Absolutely no bitterness from the coffee, this is a nicely constructed coffee brew. Very nicely balanced too, there's no mistaking that its a coffee beer, but the malts even it out.

M - Creamy and incredibly smooth. Carbonation is nice and prickly, just how I want a beer like this. Medium bodied.

D - I could easily drink a couple of these, if only Surly distributed to GA. Great melding of coffee and beer and another great example of an "exciting" brown ale.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with some ruby highlights when held up to the light. Thin mocha head that slowly fades and leaves behing spiderweb lacing.
Smells like a dark roasted coffee and a can of mixed nuts. Which pairs pretty good imo. How does Surly maintain the complexities of Bender yet still add all of that rich coffee flavor? It doesn't matter to me...What does matter is that this is one tasty beer. Sweet malts. Pecans and walnuts. And of course a big fat cup of joe. Smooth mouthfeel maybe to thin for some but it's a 5% beer. So I feel it's supposed to be thin. Very easy to drink. I love coffee beers and this one is right up there with the best of them.

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Photo of Ri0
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured 16 oz can into a snifter, but I couldn't get it all in there.

A - Pours a..wait for it... coffee brown color with about 2 fingers of a sandy head. A nice frothy cap remains afloat the dark liquid below. Some lacing on my glass.

S - So I get coffee, espresso, cappuccino, coffee, and some brown malts as well.

T - Big, bold roasted coffee, espresso, and cappuccino crank up the flavor with some brown malt, bready flavors. Dark chocolate and hops round this one out.

M - Typical body for a brown ale, medium light. Nicely carbonated with a creamy mouthfeel.

O - There is only one coffee beer that tops this, but it is only brewed every 4 years or so. If you like beer and coffee, this is a big coffee beer that you should try.

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

Into (several)(free) pint glasses poured on D-Day.... pours a dark brown to black with a nice fizzy light tan head, doesn't stay too long due to the coffee most likely, served a bit too cool. The aroma livens up as it warms, but all throughout... the most delicious coffee aroma, stunning... they sure use damn good beans for this one. There is also a faint malt wafting about, and some hop too.

Upon first taste, I realized this was the perfect beer to this even... 10AM, sitting around with a bunch of folk who've been up for hours. Coffee, rich and glorious roasted coffee paired with that beautiful brew Bender, sweet toffee, chocolate, all those fine qualities plus the added dimension make this one special brew. The body and carbonation are the same as normal Bender, very creamy smooth. Three cheers to the Surly crew for one fine beverage.

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

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

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

This was poured into a glass stein.

Appearance- Coffee Bender has one-finger of white head off a hard pour. The retention isn't great but the body more than makes up for it, quite an attractive dark brown-ruby body with some walnut highlights. There are only slight columns of carbonation rising to the top of the glass.

Smell- Coffee certainly does dominate the nose, but luckily, it is not doing so in a way that is off putting. Mainly, it is an iced coffee and coffee creamer scent with some biscuit malt underneath. What seals the deal on this is the slight grassy hop that comes out of the coffee.

Taste- Obviously, the coffee roast is the backbone and will be on the palate all the way through the finish. It is around mid-drink though, that the coffee creamer and caramel malt start to bloom, and that's when the beer kicks it in to high gear.

The finish is nice and presents the distinct hop that was on the nose and also has just a bit of vanilla mixing things up.

Mouth feel- The body is right where it should be. Creamy and decently medium, the drink is also pretty slick. There is a little harshness due to the coffee roast, but it's not off-putting.

Overall- Bender with iced coffee is exactly right and the only way to market this beer. What really makes it great is that the coffee never completely dominates. It leaves just enough room for the creamer, hop, and sweet malt character. A really fun and delicious beer.

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

Had this on special at Downtime. $3 a can. Not a bad deal at a bar considering that some liquor stores sell them at $13.49 or $12.49 a 4-pack.

I asked for a pint glass to enjoy this properly. Dark brown coffee bean color with a creamy tan head. Can't tell if there is carbonation or not. Lacing is great.

The nose is where it's at on this one for sure. I could drink this in with my nose all night. Incredible coffee scent, with subtle hints of coffee, nuttyness and an almost vanilla smell, maybe cream. This is coffee beer perfection, from the aroma stand point.

Taste is pretty dang good, but not quite as good as the nose is. Great coffee taste. I was worried that, like many other coffee beers, the taste wouldn't show as much coffee as I'd hoped. Often times the nose is great but the taste is more watered down coffee or non-existent. I'm pleased to say that the coffee presence in this one is strong and assertive. Chocolate and nuttyness are there as well. Honestly, this is very different from normal Bender, I think it's better.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. This is truly a treat. If this wasn't as expensive as it is normally (when it's not on special) I would order it more often. Top notch brew. Kudos Surly, again.

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

Looks just like regular Bender, except just a bit lighter. Thin head that has decent retention, some nice lacing. Smells a whole lot better though. Instead of just some sweet malt, lots of awesome coffee smell. Tastes just like an iced coffee, strong coffee flavor without being overbearing. Also helps to balance out the hops. Perfectly carbonated, lingering on the palate, great mouthfeel, and an amazingly drinkable beer as it warms. Like Bender, but better. A great beer!

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

Served out of a 16 oz can into a standard pint glass.

A: brown/black color with a dark tan head that dissipates slowly while lacing the glass

S: roasted grains and coffee aroma

T: tastes just like the can says, like you are drinking an iced coffee. the coffee and hop bitterness is balanced nicely with the sweetness from the malts.

MF: smooth and creamy

Drinkability: definitely would drink this beer again. coffee and beer, great combination.

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

Served from a 16oz. can acquired in a trade into my Troegs Trogenator mug at the appropriate temperature (03/20/10).

A: Pours a dark mahogany brown capped with 1.5 fingers of a creamy light tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Great coffee aroma with a splash of malt. This beer smells like a nice glass of iced coffee.

T: Wow! The coffee flavor is unbelievable and it is like you are actually drinking iced coffee.

M: Medium-bodied with appropriate carbonation. Rather creamy with some nice bitterness.

D: Easy to drink and low in abv.

Overall this was a great coffee-infused American Brown Ale and another fine offering from Surly. Thanks again Meagan and Nate! Recommended.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,627 ratings.
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