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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: 838 | Ratings: 2,570
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.


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:

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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.


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

On tap, pours a deep brown with half a finger of mocha head. Nose- huge waft of coffee rinds, very fresh and medium roast, some chocolate just beautiful. Taste- fresh coffee in forefront, with nuts, caramel and light milk chocolate. freaking delicious! Mouthfell is medium bodied with carbonation on the low side to made it go down like melted butter. Hops show up in the finish to help clean away the strong coffee flavour and make you go back for more.

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

Dark brown. Imagine a strong coffee with a tiny splash of chocolate milk and you're probably getting close. A good sized head, very tan, which fades away very very slowly. Beautiful in the glass.

Coffee dominates with malt taste falling in behind it. The coffee aroma prevents you from noticing anything specific about the hops.

Coffee again is the dominating factor. The bitterness is more like hops than coffee though, which is interesting. A lot of the flavors that come out in the normal Bender are drowned out by the coffee, except for some possible chocolate notes.

Thick, creamy, and smooth. It makes you feel almost like you're drinking an iced coffee with a bit of cream, though the flavor goes pretty quick. Not that I mind picking up the glass to take another sip.

As a beer geek and a coffee nut, I could drink this all day. I've definitely had it with my breakfast before. It's lighter than a coffee stout, and as a result significantly more drinkable.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received today from a very generous Stevef03! Thanks again!!!

Popped the cap and let this baby slide out into my brand new Surly pint. I left the remaining few ounces in the can to sample out of for the fun of it. For a brown ale, I am blown away from first glance. Beautiful rich full brown body, near black. I need to compare to the regular bender (which I will probably have tonight if not later this week) to see how much color was actually contributed from the beans. Head on this baby is amazing. Khaki colored and full, it slowly settles with each sip. Lacing is fantastic, remaining through the experience. A fluffy character to it, I am super impressed.

Smell is about the coffee. Though it is not as intense as other coffee beers, it is well done nonetheless. The brown ale comes out to play, though the coffee character has a very prominent role to play. Notes of chocolate, mocha and vanilla, with a nice bread/crust undertone. The total nose experience is more of a mild iced latte. Well done.

Just as I suspected. The nose led me to think that this would be a brown ale with coffee added, instead of the other way around. The brown ale base is present in the fore tongue with a splash of chocolate and roasted malt base, that leads rather quickly into the coffee infused body of the beer. The mid tongue picks up on the coffee notes, with an intense flush of fresh roasted beans. The finish brings back the brown ale, finishing again with notes of walnuts, chocolate, vanilla, and maple syrup. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side...oh wait. i'm reviewing a brown ale. Forgot that this wasn't a stout for a second. For a brown ale, expectional. Coffee stout brewers take note, this is how you do it. This is not only a great example of coffee in beer, but also how to make an already great beer greater. Still waiting on the Bender experience, but I can tell I'm in for a treat.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

COFFEE!!! Man, I love coffee. Coffee beers are fickle for me, but this one is supposed to be great. I landed a few Surly beers in a trade, including this one and the Furious, which is also on the list. He also sent a can of their Over Rated… which is quite over rated. It's a "West Coast style IPA" and doesn't taste like a West Coast IPA at all. Anyway, stoked to try this one. I like coffee, I love beer, and I hope that both of these combine here for an enjoyable beer drinking experience! Let's go.

In the Glass: It is deep dark brown/black in the glass, and appears almost flat. No lace here, and hardly any head at all. Coffee doesn't have head, so maybe this has more coffee than I am used to. I will say most coffee beers are weak and rarely taste like coffee. Speaking of coffee, I used our Randall Jr. the other night and made a coffee pilsner. It was fun. I used espresso beans. Anyway, I am getting impatient. Let's drink the Coffee Bender!!!

Nose: Um, coffee? This isn't beer. This is coffee. Did they can the wrong stuff? Holy crap, this smells incredible. I mean, seriously… not getting any booze here, and it smells like a nice roasted cup of Joe. Man, I hope this tastes like this smells. What a great aroma.

Flavor: If this doesn't taste like coffee, I am going to be sad. It's too cold, but holy crap that's a big flavor. It doesn't have a lot of coffee flavor, but the finish is straight burnt coffee… almost espresso. I would almost like to try this warm if not hot. I don't drink coffee hot, but I have been drinking it warm.

There are too many bubbles, but there is a ton of dark roasted coffee flavors here, again in the finish. Also, swish this around in your mouth a little. Then the coffee flavors REALLY explode. When I swish, the flavor just overtakes my palate and leaves me completely satisfied. Well done, Surly. Also, I love how they got their name. Fun!

Mouthfeel: At first, there are way too many bubbles. I am also drinking this too cold. However, as it sits the coffee flavor really opens up. Hang on… I need to text Jazz about this beer. Be right back.

OK, back. I get a ton of bubbles up front, but as it slides down the flavors really start to open up, and the beer becomes quite drinkable. I would love to see this on cask somewhere. I mean, it doesn't come to Arizona at all… but a flat somewhat chilled version of this would really please my palate.

Aftertaste: More coffee! Not as intense as a cup of coffee, but still a nice lingering coffee flavor. The beer is so good, I don't want to let the beer sit on my palate.

Sorry, I was on the phone. We are having AC issues. Back to the beer. As I was on the phone, the beer is really starting to heat up nicely. The flavors are becoming more balanced and the coffee is becoming more defined. Jazz also replied to my text. He called the beer, "Stupid dumb good." We have his approval.

This beer has my approval, too. I am sure Sheryl likes this. She better. Man, this is good. If you like beer, grab a can. If you like coffee, grab a can. If you like beer AND coffee, grab a case. It's worth it to the last drop. Cheers, coffee craft beer drinkers. Yummy!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can(s) courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Another lower abv brew from Surly...hehe...they do some fine ones.

It pours from the 16oz can a dark brown with hues of red and a good 2 finger billowy head of offwhite foam.(served near room temp) Some good lacing ensues.

The smell is of freshly brewed coffee and it seems to overpower anything else that may be there. Not too bad a thing in my book.

The taste is the same as the nose. Big coffee, as expected but also a good smackering of roasted malt and even a touch of caramel malt sweetness that I taste just before the finish where it returns to the tasty fresh coffee goodness that I enjoy so much. Damn, when these "coffee" brews do it right, they almost make me want to convert and become a coffee drinker. Weird isn't it as I enjoy tea more than coffee!

Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel here.

Drinkaility? Give me a cup of coffee...one cup, and I'm done. Well made coffee inspired beers seem to defy any sensible reasoning, given my "stand" on coffee, as I find them very damn drinkable. This is one of the easiest coffee brews to quaff. 'nuff said.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was part of a birthday box sent to me from zimmerbloke.

A- "Beer for a mug, from a can." So I poured the 16oz can into a big mug. There is a strong mocha head with good retention. The beer has a semi clear dark red brown body.

S- The smell is just about ALL coffee. The only thing different from a glass of ice coffee is a tea like gentle hopping.

T- This is one of the strongest on coffee out there. Even among all the big coffee stouts. This is seriously like a glass of iced coffee with cream. A coffee lovers dream.

M- Very smooth with a medium body. Carbonation is low.

D- This stuff has to stay on my wants list. I could have used a second can.

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

Clear mahogany, decent head.

A rich coffee smell, I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love it. A bit of campfire smoke as well.

Coffee, dark roasted malts, and charcoal in the taste. A nice blend. Lighter than most coffee beers. The background brew is solid as well, though this has a heavy coffee taste, it doesn't feel artificial.

Mouthfeel light and crisp.

An interesting and craveable brew. If you enjoyed this, give Furthermore's coffee beer a try, which this reminded me of.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,570 ratings.
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