Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
BA SCORE
89.9%
Liked This Beer
4.15 w/ 2,665 Ratings
Coffee BenderCoffee Bender
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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
Ranking:
#1,453
Reviews:
857
Ratings:
2,665
Liked:
2,395
Avg:
4.15/5
pDev:
10.6%
Alströms:
-
 
 
Wants:
674
Gots:
426
Trade:
25
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,665 |  Reviews: 857
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a deep brown color, might as well be black. The head was tan and creamy looking. There is a thin scattered lacing on the glass with a pretty good retention. The smell of the beer has a great coffee aroma with a subtle malt sweetness in there too. The taste follows the nose, a very nice coffee flavor from start to finish on this beer with a touch of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth as hell, and has a soft carbonation to it. Overall it's a great beer, no surprise there because it's from Surly. This is a killer brew, well worth trying.

 579 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16oz can (3/29/13 can date).

Pours with a tan, airy 1 inch thick head. It doesn't last very long, but laces the glass. It is dark brown, with dark red hues. Think dark cherry wood.

The smell is what you would expect, heavy coffee, but not much more is coming out. However, it doesn't have that pure coffee grinds smell that some coffee beers have.

The taste is smooth. You get coffee up front, a little bitter. A few hints of toffee or maybe some nuts.

Medium body, a bit thin, which is nice since its only around 5%.

Rarely would I reach for a coffee beer in the warm summer heat, but this is oddly refreshing.

 633 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear yet very dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin creamy dark beige head.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of roasted coffee beans in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, strong flavors of roasted coffee beans dominate the overall taste, which has some hints of sweetness in the initial taste and finishes with a slight amount of bitterness with flavors of coffee grinds.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is deceptive in that it has strong aromas and flavors of coffee beans for not that full of a body, but this also makes it very easy to drink and go down very easily. I would have no problem drinking several of these in one sitting, although it would probably to do so in the afternoon or you’ll be up all night with a coffee buzz.

 881 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's kind a hit or miss on whether coffee infused beers help or hurt the base beer... at least for me. I'm hoping that the intesity of the coffee doesn't mess up the medium nature of the base Bender.

If the aroma is any indicaiton, they've hit a home run. Chocolate covered espresso beans hit the nose (not the stale ones from T.J. Max or Marshalls, but the good ones from Starbucks) and combine with a malted milk scent of Whoppers candies... this could be one delicidant beer. Light earthy hops, malty caramels, and mild nuttiness enter the mix but can't compete with those chocolates and espressos.

Getting back to the pour, the beer looks exactly like Bender. A medium viscocity with dark browns, crimson highlights, good clarity, lightly tanned head, very good head formation/retention, and great lacing.

Flavors start with a malty caramel taste, but quickly turn to bitter coffees, over-attenuated maltiness, and moderate grain tastes. Columbian coffees still pick up the nuttiness but promote a dry bitterness that isn't nearly as balanced as the nose suggested. No fruitiness or finess in the malts, the coffee aggression eventually proves to bully the beer too much.

Lacking a balanced sweetness, the beer shows acrid dryness, fully attenuated sweetness, complex bitterness from the hops-coffee oil combo, and a malty-crisp texture. That creamy-dry-woodsy-nutty-powdery thing makes the beer inviting, yet off-putting at the same time.

Coffee Bender is a well controlled and well attenuated beer but I really enjoyed the insenuation of sweetness that I found in the nose and really wished that it could have found its way into the flavor and body.

Thanks jctribe25!

 1,679 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.64/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on-draught at a bar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed from notes. Serving vessel was a Surly Mug. Cost was $5.00 USD.

A: No real head at all. Solid black colour. Mildly appealing.

Sm: Coffee, mocha, and alcohol. A mild strength aroma.

T: Coffee, light chocolate and vanilla, and buried caramel. Not horribly complex, but balanced and decently built.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit too thick. Doesn't really suit the flavours; it should be coarse and dry.

Dr: Not really drinkable. More of a tame sipper, which is inexcusable at this low an ABV. I wouldn't have it again, but it's okay for the style. Coffee beer fanatics might be the only ones that will truly like this. Give me a Black Damnation II Mocha Bomb any day of the week, but leave this one be.

 768 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Map Room.

Dark auburn tone with a ruby glint where the light gets through. Creamy foam, a few bigger bubbles on the surface. Rings of drippy lacing all around.

Nutty aroma, dry coffee hint, pretty clean, but not super pungent.

Big coffee flavor, high quality, freshly ground. Acidic fruitiness, long lingering bitter/dry finish. Nutty almond flavor, lightly malty. The coffee really dominates, but it's balanced enough to drink quite a bit. Easy going with light carbonation. This is a unique and flavorful coffee beer, not too under/overdone...just right!

 578 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Unlike the draft version I had last year, the can pours out with a firm tan head that has a whipped egg consistency and leaves plenty of lacing to boot

Smell: Brown bread and roasted grains are dominated by the coffee

Taste: Roasty, up front, with a bready character underneath, but by mid-palate, the coffee flavor dominates both before and after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While the beer is certainly enjoyable, I can't help but believe that the coffee overwhelms some of the more interesting aspects of Bender

 576 characters

Photo of oline73
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat murky very dark brown color with little light coming through. There is a one finger tan head that dissipates but leaves some lacing.

Smell: The first thing you notice is definitely the coffee, but it doesn't completely overpower everything else. I'm also picking up some malt sweetness. There is a nutty quality in there as well. Quite nice.

Taste: Coffee brown ales are some of my favorites, and this ranks up there with any that I've ever had. As in the taste, the coffee is the main thing going on here, but it leaves room for the other flavors to come out. There is also a nutty caramel malt flavor that is really nice. The finish is mildly bitter and roasty. Awesome!

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a bit dry.

Overall: Again, I'm a sucker for this style. I love the balance of this beer and I really hope that I'm able to get some more in the future.

 977 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of zeff80
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a two-finger, tan, thick, foamy head that head big bubbles. It left sticky sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of fresh coffee beans with notes of chocolate and caramel.

T - It had a bitter coffee bite with dark chocolate flavors. A mild caramel flavor emerges as it warms. There were also subtle fruity flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a fantastic beer with a great coffee taste. I'm glad I got my hands on one.

 540 characters

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

Medium sized off white to tan head ever so slowly settles into a nice lacing above a clear burnt amber colored beer.

Rich black Folgers coffee aroma, no cream, no sugar, just straight ahead rich morning coffee aroma like your parents had brewing back in the day when you tried to smell the bacon, eggs, and toast but that strong black coffee smell overwhelmed the senses.

Rich coffee taste, not quite as bold as the aroma, but roasted coffee malt tastes above all else.

Almost a full bodied beer, it seems to be lacking some of the body other such beer seem to have, if my memory serves me correctly.

An almost dry aftertaste that brings the roasted coffee notes to a close.

If I was a coffee drinker this would be my beer of choice or at least one of the finalists. Surly seems to be doing some pretty good things up there in Minnesota, can't wait to get back and watch the Twins or Vikings choke while I drink some good beers from Surly, Summit and a host of other pretty good breweries in the area.

 1,007 characters

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

I've sampled this one several times during local tastings over the past year, but this the first can I've had all to myself. Big thanks to kbutler1 for the four-pack, this is one of many great Surly beers I'll be enjoying thanks to him.

Coffee Bender pours a translucent mahogany color, dark nearly to the point of being opaque but not quite there. A thin tan cap tops the beer, never quite rising to a large height but exhibiting good retention.

The nose displays equal amounts of coffee and toast. The coffee has a freshly-ground quality to it, nearly espresso-like. Malt is reserved but it has a distinct toast character, which only serves to enhance the air of breakfast; it's like a cup of black coffee and a plate of freshly toasted bread.

Toasted malt hits the palate first, with coffee not far behind. The coffee character obliterates a lot of the depth and subtlety that regular Bender has, but the coffee character in itself displays a lot of complexity; it's earthy, roasty, lightly acidic - one of the most rounded and complex coffee profiles I've detected in a beer. The finish has equal amounts of toast, roast, toffee and coffee. It finishes coffee-forward, slightly bitter and decidedly dry with a coffee grounds finish. This is stellar, up to Surly's usual high standards and pretty unique to boot.

 1,318 characters

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

 694 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this while watching Futurama, specifically the episode where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee, how relevant. Thanks to both grub and KeefB for this shiny metal ass-can. I've been told by quite a few people to try this, so here it goes.

A: Pours nice large 1 finger head that bubbles around for a bit but fades to a light head covering. A nice roasted brown color with brilliant clarity. An interesting red hue appears as light sneaks through.

N: Some coffee on the nose, but a butt load of roasted malts. THis is a lot more beer than coffee, and opposite of some other coffee beers I've had. I also get a slight aromatic hop aroma and spiciness.

T: Taste starts with a crisp beer like taste, and lots of roasted malts. A huge frothy carbonation builds up in the mouth too. A nice bitterness and American hop flavor add a nice touch to it. It has a very slight fruity malt quality like a raisin almost, but very slight. The bitter hop goodness and roasted malt taste really blend well, and the coffee is still surprisingly light taste. A slight sweet brown sugar like taste can also be hinted at.

M: Very frothy and carbonated, a nice spicey hop taste, and some thick mouth feel.

F: Finishes pretty bitter, and nice. It dries off, but not too much. A nice roasted charred quality taste really show through towards the end. The finish is not too long and pretty crisp and clean, and leaves your mouth ready for more, which is good cause I want to keep drinking it.

Final thoughts: Yes, this is much more beer than coffee, unlike most of the other coffee beers. And it's blended really well with the roasted malts, coffee, and good hop bitterness. The finish is pretty bitter and tastes great. Can't wait to have another sip.

 1,736 characters

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a thinner slight off white head atop.Full on coffee in the nose,not beerish at all really,if your into coffee this is it.The beer is good...very good but the coffee is dominant and it maybe leaves the fact that it's a beer behind,besides the coffee on the palate I get some chocolate and mild caramel.I have had alot of coffee infused beers this cuts the cake as far as coffee goes,is it caffeinated?That's the question.

 450 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with some reddish hue; tan head and good lacing.

S: Brown malts overshadowed by plenty of coffee notes.

T: Lots of coffee and a little bit of a hop presence. The coffee provides a little bit of earthiness.

M: Medium bodied and fairly dry.

D: The coffee is a bit overwhelming for too many, but the can my wife and I shared was gone rather quickly.

 364 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear very dark brown bordering on black in color with some dark amber highlights when held up to the light and moderate amounts of visible carbonation near the surface at the edges of the glass. The beer has a two finger tall creamy tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans with some lighter hints of roasted malts.

T: Similar to the smell, the flavor of this beer is dominated by freshly brewed coffee. There is a light amount of sweetness in the taste initially with the bitterness of coffee grounds in the finish (light lingering bitterness).

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation.

O: As an avid coffee drinker (and lover of coffee + coffee flavored things - also, Guatemalan coffee is one of my favorites), I find this beer to be extremely enjoyable. The combination of great flavors along with the lighter body make this beer easy to drink. This beer is definitely sessionable and one that I would thoroughly enjoy drinking many of in a session. Not sure if there is any caffeine in this beer but it almost seems to give a little buzz.

 1,278 characters

Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89.9% out of 100 with 2,665 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.