Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Company

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842 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:
842
Ratings:
2,602
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
10.84%
 
 
Wants:
672
Gots:
411
For Trade:
24
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Reviews: 842 | Ratings: 2,602
Photo of billab914
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16oz can into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Pours brown in color with a big bubbly tan colored head. It had very nice head retention as well as left some excellent lacing on the glass.

The aroma has caramel, cocoa, bready & nutty malts and of course coffee. The coffee really integrates well into the other flavors and doesn't overpower the other great Bender flavors.

The taste has cocoa and caramel coming through more up front and the bitter coffee comes through more in the finish. Like the nose it has a nice bready and nutty malt flavor to it. The coffee really integrates well into the flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very good, it was a pleasure to drink. Overall it had some great flavors and the coffee really enhanced the overall flavor instead of taking it over which was great. Very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Greg for including this in a recent trade box.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with an initially fluffy tan head.

S: Pretty much what I expected from this one: big time coffee aroma with only some slight undertones of nutty, toasted malts.

T: The flavor profile is pretty much what you would expect from the nose. This is obviously very coffee forward on the flavor with a nice nutty sweetness that you expect from the base brown ale.

M: The mouthfeel is nice, but nothing spectacular. On the light end of medium in terms of body with moderate carbonation.

D: Fantastic coffee beer! This one really just tastes like a cup of coffee, and is just so easy to drink, especially with the lower ABV.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to GoGriz for this can!

Finally, I get to try one of Surly's regular brews. This one pours a lovely ruby brown topped by a finger or so of light ecru foam. The nose is dominated by a light coffee breeze, while some chocolate, toffee, and maple syrup form a sturdy foundation beneath. The taste is very similar, though the coffee doesn't assert itself as much until the finish. Instead, it shares the spotlight with cocoa and maple syrup, the latter two spiraling into the wings to allow for the coffee's final aria. The body is a staunch medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat fizzily smooth feel. Overall, a very nice beer. I can now understand how this thing has such a strong reputation 'round these parts.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

a - A very dark brown color with about an inch of foam and and moderate carbonation. Looks similar to Bender, but not as much head.

s - Obviously a heavy coffee smell, with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. It really smells like smelling a bag of coffee beans.

t - Again, tastes strongly of coffee, as well as roasted malts. Also had a little bit of toffee/cream taste to it.

m - Light body but very carbonated. Smooth and creamy feel to it.

d - The can really doesn't like about this one; it really tastes just like an iced coffee. I liked the creamy coffee taste it gave off and the smell is one of straight coffee. Definitely look forward to getting more of this stuff.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Surly portion of The CANQuest (TM) soldiers on, thanks to Einweizenbitte and Uncle Felonious Monk! I CAN't believe that this is approaching 400! Thanks to all!

From the CAN: "Beer for a mug, from a [CAN]."; "Fresh brewed, keep it cool!"; "It's never too early to get Surly! Coffee Bender refreshes like an iced-coffee, is as aromatic as a bag of whole beans and satisfies like your favorite beer. Utilizing the latest technology, the Surly brew team has developed a cold extraction process that results in intense coffee aromatics and flavor - bringing together two of our favorite beverages. Your only dilemma will be whether to finish your day or start it with a Coffee Bender."

Okay, first my take on coffee. I am a Navy retiree and on my first ship, the USS Fulton (AS-11), I was made the Deck Department supply and admin "queen", and my duties included ensuring that coffee was going 24-7. I initially despised the stuff, but would add copious amounts of creamer and sugar when I needed a boost. One day, my salty Senior Chief growled at me, "Queenie, when are you gonna drink coffee, instead of having a hot milkshake?" I had no answer until one day when we were at General Quarters/battle stations for hours and sandwiches and a CANnister of coffee were delivered to us, but no accoutrements! I choked down a cup, but quickly realized that I needed to wean off of anything but black if I was going to hang in for four years. Later, while an auxiliary cop on shore duty, I became a cop stereotype - never without coffee and usually with a donut. After joining the USS Normandy (CG-60) as a plankowner, there were many of us with 55-gallon drums with a handle welded on walking around. Go-go juice was a way of life. After I retired, I swore off of both coffee and donuts, but slowly, I have been sucked back in to the point that I drink at least two big cups every day before Noon.

Crack & Glug time: Two quick fingers' worth of thick, deep-tan head with great retention and a wafting odor of coffee greeted me on the pour. Color was a deep, rich brown with ruby highlights. Nose was a knockout - it was like walking into Starbucks and taking a deep breath. I am not a big fan of their coffee, but it does smell deelish! I had some coffee earlier this AM, cowboy-style (warmed up in the microwave from yesterday), and I wanted to see how this would measure up. Mouthfeel was creamy with a VERY roasty coffee flavor up front, followed by a dark chocolate bitterness behind. Wow! Iced coffee was NEVER this good. Finish was bitter, I mean good, coffee bitter, but not for the faint of heart. Holy heart palpitations, Batman! I was more jittery than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Zounds! More, please, sir! F**k Joose or Four Loko, this is all the caffeine and alcohol you'll need.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ahalloin for hooking me up with this. I've been wanting to try this brew for some time.

Served into a pint glass.

A: bubbly like a coca-cola with a nice head and good lacing

S: coffee, obviously, but not as much as I hoped for and expected. I'm gonna try another can as soon as I can and see if I get the same result. It makes me feel like I'm in Starbucks.

T: Creamy iced coffee. Again, I feel like I'm in Starbucks. This is seriously tasty. You have to be a coffee drinker to really appreciate this one. Super smooth and creamy, I just wish it had more coffee.

M: nice mix of smooth with crisp carbonation. I wonder if the can contributed to that.

D: Honestly, I could drink this with breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. This is refreshing iced coffee beer. If you like coffee and beer, this is your session beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance - A deep brown, maybe a little hazy or murky. Not a lot of light penetrates. Nice khaki head that laces all over the glass.

Smell - I'm surprised the nose isn't as dominated by coffee as the taste. Much more of a brown ale aroma with coffee in the background. Nutty with some vanilla, then coffee.

Taste - Here's where it's all coffee. Tons of coffee with a little bit of hazelnut brown ale and some vanilla. The beer comes through in the form of a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Easy drinking. Bitter, maybe too much, but at least it reminds me that I'm drinking beer and not coffee.

Overall - I'm not usually a fan of coffee-dominated beers, but the coffee in here is dominant without being too acidic. It makes for a very pleasant coffee experience.

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Photo of stakem
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mothman for the opportunity to try this one.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a dark brown but when held to the light it displays a clear amber red color. More than 2 fingers of fluffy tanned head sit atop this brew and receed leaving patches of lace about the glassware.

The aroma of this beer slaps you with the scent of coffee beans straight out the gate. Mingled in with the coffee is the smell of sweet chocolate, citrus and floral hops. There is a super faint twang or sour note about it that makes the smell of the coffee seem more "bright."

The taste of this brew has the coffee character right upfront. It has a decent citrusy sweet hop bitterness to back the coffee character. Just like the nose led on, there is an extra bit of twang in there that doesn't directly seem like a contribution of hops but it is provides both a citrus note that also comes across a bit tart. Either there is a flavor of hop coming out in this brew that I am not familiar with or a bit of sourmashing was done to this brew that adds a layer of complexity to this brew that really accents the coffee character. Regardless, it works and I like it. Other flavors of dark malt and roasted grain are throughout the profile of this brew.

The feel of this beer is medium with a moderate level of carbonation. Long lingering aftertate of coffee and dark grain bitterness is left on the tongue that at times comes across like chocolate but mostly coffee. It also finishes with some citrus hop character and a bit drying that makes you want to sip this brew more and more. Overall a wonderful brew. Being a coffee lover, I thought this beer was fantastic.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be my favorite out of the Surly beers maybe even my favorite coffee beer. Pours with a billowing tan khaki head and forms fine even lacing down the sides of the glass. Their infusion process really makes the beer, body is a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. Aroma has dark nutty notes of coffee, with hints of cream and sugar, really it's like the best iced coffee you've ever had with a strong earthy coffee nose. Flavor is excellent the most intense and flavorful coffee beer I've ever tasted, this beer tastes great. Creamed coffee, chocolate, dense creamy vanilla highlights within a dark brown ale just tastes great. Mouthfeel is creamy textured and I'm burping up coffee beans this is an intense beer experience. Mouthfeel is slightly acidic with coffee bean notes, and goes down easy loving every second of it. Drinkability is creamy texture is awesome and the beer that I've dreamt of when it comes to coffee beers thanks again Ryan aka Schlais, if you need anymore White Rajah let me know!

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Photo of vfgccp
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Beautiful, deep mahogany with ruby highlights and a tall, off-white head. Identical to Bender, but with better retention and lace.

S – Unadulterated, dark roasted coffee beans.

T – A fantastic medium roast coffee body with dark chocolate overtones. More fresh roasted coffee beans than actual brewed coffee. The roast builds in depth through the middle then backs off into a light hazelnut backend. Leaves a lingering coffee-bitter finish.

M – Medium light body is smooth, and ends dry. Nice carbonation.

O – A tasty brew that’s almost more akin to a carbonated iced-coffee than a beer; but that’s still delicious in my book.

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Photo of johnnnniee
2.74/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received in trade from GPHarris, thanks for the opportunity! Pours a deep brown with garnet highlights when held to light. Tightly bubbled beige head shows moderate retention and lace. Smells like freshly ground coffee beans mostly. I try to find something else in the aroma but the coffee is overpowering my olfactory system. Taste really follows the aroma. Upfront I get bitter roasted coffee, midway through I get a hint of sugary sweetness (cream maybe?) finish is a long lingering acridic roasted coffee. Did I mention this tastes like coffee. Medium body and carbonation level, acridic bitter mouthfeel. I will preface this by saying I don't drink coffee. I enjoy some beer with coffee flavors or with coffee added, but this one is to far over the top for me. I can't find the beer underneath the coffee. One and done on this one.

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

Poured from the can into a nonic pint glass. Can is dated April 12th 2011.

A very large off brown head, that is very light tan. Head doesn't stay as long as it's Bender sibling, but also has some large bubbles. Body is considerably darker than regular bender but almost comparable with a walnut brown body and some nice red hues. Great lacing while drinking and finishing with lots of ring stick! Regardless it still looks great.

What a great nose on this thing! Coffee! Big time but more so, it's as if the fresh beans have just been ground! I get that sense brewing and grinding my own beans in the morning and this is it right here! Not much else to speak of, but I'll take this in spades!

Taste, fantastic. Great coffee flavor with just a hint of heat, gives that sensation of fresh brew. Finish is identical and feel to regular bender with a prickly carbonation. This is even creamy feeling and tasting as well, just flat out fantastic.

This is morning breakfast beer right here, lots of great fresh brewed morning coffee without a giant big stout like body. Superior win right out of the gate.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to morimech for this one!

16 oz. can:

Pours dark brown with rubyish highlights. A thin light brown head leaves lacing.

The smell is of roasted coffee beans.

The taste is of iced coffee - roasty. After a little while, a caramel/toffee brown ale undertone comes through to back up the roasted iced coffee, improving it. It has a roasty finish.

Medium-to-full bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth.

Roasted iced coffee and Bender mix. Balance leans towards the coffee. Becomes more balanced as it progresses. I'm thinking that this could have replaced one of my weekend morning coffees. Certainly one for coffee (and of course beer)lovers to try!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surly Bender infused with coffee, ...what bean, what blend, what process? Golly, I don't know, but it's great.(an edit to cover my ignorance, info from the brewer: Beans are from the Vinca Vista Hermosa plantation located in Agua Dulce area in Huehuetenango,Guatemala.
Grown by the Martinez family.
Full City roast by Coffee &Tea Ltd.,Linden Hills,Minneapolis. Cold-steeped.)

Solid ebon color, browish at bottom, with a beautifully hued head, a deep cocoa tan looking for all the world like a shot of espresso, with a generous dollop of froth.

Aroma's where it's at, wide open and long-lastin, rich with coffee, with a hint of cream.
Herbal, nutty, chocolatey, brimming with coffee essence. A treat to drink in with the nose.

But now let's let the lips and tongue go to work. More delights. The coffee has overpowered the subtler parts of Bender's character, but there's no sorrow in this, as the coffee flavor that controls it now is an exceptional playmate for the palate. Really sticks to the tongue and lays long in the finish.

Medium to full body, long, coffee-tinged finish, unflinchingly flavorful, and still an easy treat to drink down. This has met with near unanimous praise among those I've witness enjoy it, and I can only hope it's attempted again and again, so that more may discover this jolt of joy for java freaks, and beer geeks alike.

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

On-tap at Sheffield's. Served in a pint glass.

A - One and a half fingers of tannish foam with great retention and solid lacing. Color is kind of unattractive - a murky, uneven, dirt brown. Not as handsome as regular Bender, that's for sure.

S - Roast coffee, but not bitter at all. Think coffee with too much cream & sugar in it. Chocolate, vanilla, biscuity malt sweetness - all the regular Bender smells are in there too, but further in the background. It's Bender, but with nice coffee - what more do ya want?

T - Roasty coffee, some floral hops, chocolate, malt, biscuit. The taste has a fair bit more roasty bitterness than the smell.

M - Some similar complaints to regular Bender - kind of thin and watery. Nice carbonation - just a little tingle on the upper lip. Otherwise creamy & velvety.

D - Less drinkable than Bender, as the coffee is a bit fatiguing, but the lower ABV and carbonation are definitely positives.

I don't like this quite as much as regular Bender, as the coffee masks the hoppiness that I really like and gets a bit tiring after a pint or two. It's still a nice, lighter, coffee brew.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from the can into a standard pint glass. Beer is dark, nearly black, brown at the corners. Forms a thin off white head that breaks in the center, carbonation mild, some lacing. Darker than I expected but it is coffee, definitely darker than Bender.

Aroma is dominated by caramel and coffee. Its a really nice smelling beer.

Coffee is the dominant flavor here. Overall smooth and medium bodied beer. A lot of sweetness in this beer, kind of tastes like a coffee beer. Interesting, second taste. There is a slight roasty aftertaste with this beer. Mouthfeel is good, the sweetness and coffee add a lot to the connectivity of this beer and normally i'm not a big coffee beer guy but this was great. Drinkability high.

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Photo of Duff27
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with a light light mocha head. Good head retention and solid lacing.

S- Coffee, pretty decent coffee too. Wooo!

T- Coffee is more subtle than the nose would lead you to believe. Slight sweetness on the tail end.

M- Very well carbonated.

D/O- Very drinkable brown ale, even with the coffee flavors.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of KeefD who threw this in as an extra in a great trade. Thanks!

Dark brown with red highlights. Nice tan, two finger head with an aggressive pour. Slight Brussel's lace forms with each sip.

Smell is definitely rich, Sumatra coffee. Nutty, earthy with a slight acridness associated with moderately roasted fresh ground coffee.

Taste is full blown, French pressed iced coffee. Nicely done! Dark malts provide a slight sweetness - as if this coffee had one tablespoon of liquid sugar added to it. Bitterness comes from the roast as I have real trouble discerning the 45 IBUs. Okay, maybe I get a touch of green hops in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very nice at this ABV. Creamy - as a good iced coffee should be. A nice silkiness is also present.

Drinkability is great! I could see getting pulled in two different directions with this one after one too many.

Overall, a very nice beer from Surly!

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

Courtesy of Adam as an extra in his first trade. Awesome dude, thanks again! Poured from the 16 oz can into a tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with very obvious maroon hues throughout, especially noticeable towards the top surface and in the light. A creamy tan colored head forms quickly and has a moderate dissipation. Spotted sticky lace coat the walls, and medium bubbles line the perimeter and surface.

S: Fresh brewed coffee, spearmint, chocolate, cream, caramel and slightly roasted malts. This smells really nice and keeps the Brown Ale base in tact while adding a healthy dose of coffee on top of it. Instead of dominating the aroma, although it is the focus, it blends well with the underlying qualities.

T: Whole fresh coffee beans, chocolate, roast, caramel and a bit of vanilla all come through on the first sip. It's interesting, as it seriously tastes almost like an iced coffee without the beans ground up. Really tasty and well integrated with the malts and light hops that poke through towards the back end.

M: Bubbly, medium-bodied with plenty of carbonation. Not too much to go overboard but just enough to keep it from getting thick and sticky.

This is really damn good. I'm a fan of fresh tasting coffee beans (no stale ones, please) and this delivers. I love that it's a low ABV beer and that this is a Brown Ale base. Considering its one of my least favorite styles, Coffee Bender is seriously making me rethink that.

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

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

Its a shame this beer is just about out as it should rock the world of any coffee and beer lover. I had 12 oz. pour in a trappist goblet, pitch black with short than head. I'm thinking the coffee oil took a bit out of the head, but it still looks delicious. Aroma is heavy, dark roasted coffee. I think the bartender told me it was Guatemalian, locally roasted and a few other special things. Either way, this is the best coffee beer I've had. Where others hint at coffee, or the coffee taste feels watered down, this one goes all out. Its true that most of the flavors of Bender are no where to be found, but you'll still get some chocolate peeking around the coffee. Smooth but dry mouthfeel. I could definately start out every day with a glass of this.

UPDATE 7/31/09:
Just tried the canned version and this is beer is more balanced, but hardly less tasty. You can still taste the malts and hops here. Delicious.

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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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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 TheSevenDuffs
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Can courtesy of korguy123. No canned on date on the bottom as was the case with other Surly beer I have had recently.

Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Medium to dark brown with a small amount of light brown head.

S - Bitter coffee, cocoa, a good amount of overall sweetness (some brown sugar and caramel) and a slight bitterness.

T - Bitter dark roasted coffee, brown sugar, cocoa. A nice lingering bitterness in the finish.

D - A unique beer. Definitely had its brown ale characteristics which is a nice change from typical coffee-infused porters and stouts.

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

Thanks goes out to Buebie for this brew.

Poured into my Surly glass a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger creamy tan head, with lots of thick/creamy sticky lacing. The nose is malty, with a good hint of coffee. The taste is bitter, malty, very nice touch of coffee notes. Medium body. Very drinkable, another excellent brew from Surly.

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Coffee Bender from Surly Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 2,602 ratings.
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