Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

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DarknessDarkness
BA SCORE
4.48/5
Outstanding
3,985 Ratings
DarknessDarkness
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
This listing is ONLY for Darkness that is NOT barrel-aged, which excludes all of the 2014 bottles, all of which were aged in whiskey barrels. 2014 has a separate entry (http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/13014/141724/). Any subsequent years that have barrel aged variants, indicated by gold wax and lettering, also have their own separate entries.

Labels:
2007 - Grim Reaper
2008 - Devil
2009 - Mummy
2010 - Vampire
2011 - Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
2014 - Harpy
2015 - Bat
2016 - Cerberus
2017 - Witch

Added by ryantupy on 10-08-2006

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#137
Reviews:
907
Ratings:
3,985
pDev:
8.93%
Bros Score:
4.5
 
 
Wants:
3,302
Gots:
1,568
Trade:
137
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 3,985 |  Reviews: 907
Photo of TheGent
4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Straight from my July 2018 Cellar Review post earlier this evening:

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted in this thread. I did not pull this from my cellar, but rather it was given to me a month or so ago by a generous BA who goes by @GreenBayBA

Surly Darkness (10/21/2016)

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a frothy light brown head. Over time the head disappeared almost entirely but for a thin film across the top. Some sticky, bittersweet lacing was left alongside my glass. She’s got legs. She knows how to use them. No visible carbonation, but a nice hiss released when I got the wax cap off.

Smell: The aroma of this beer is sweet, roasty, and piney. Powdered cocoa, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, espresso, raisins, figs, vanilla, marshmallow, a hint of cinnamon, a touch of wood, pine and a wee bit vegetal described as fresh pumpkin. The dark, dried fruits come through to me as a tawny port aroma. IF this beer’s taken on any notes of oxidation it’s just the right amount. The alcohol comes through just enough without being overpowering.

Taste: I’m going to throw out the “follows the nose” comment with some tweaks. The woody and vegetal notes do not come through on the palate. There is a nutty flavor. This beer starts out sweet and shifts to bitter on the finish. I think part of that is driven by the roasty aspect of the beer, but make no mistake that there’s a piney, lemon rind, bitter hop component like you’d find in an American Barleywine such as Bigfoot. Picking an example for frame of reference. It’s not that bitter or hoppy, but almost. This is a big, flavorful beer. I will still be tasting it on my lips when I wake up in the morning. That’s a good thing. (And that’s what she said)

Absent from this beer that I’ve had in aged RIS before (or even fresh) are the “soy sauce” and “meaty” flavors. If those are not your jam, no worries here.

Mouthfeel: Although not the thickest beer I’ve ever had, this certainly is a chewy beer. The carbonation is mild and it feels silky smooth. The sugary sweetness coats the palate. There’s a pleasant warmth from the alcohol that fills the pipes.

Drinkability: This beer is highly drinkable and enjoyable. While I’ve never had the beer fresh, clearly it has held up nicely, and there is really nothing off for me to mention. For a 12% beer it drinks easy enough. This is basically what I want in an RIS. IF I had more of this beer I’d be drinking them now. Really excellent, and well aged stuff. I’ve got about 6 ounces left by the time I’m done with my notes here so I’m going to put down my phone and enjoy the rest of it with some tunes.

Cheers, and thank you, Micah

 2,715 characters

Photo of Hawkfish
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jzlyo
4.09/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is chocolate, coffee and mild fruit/cherries. The flavor is chocolate, dark malts, fruit/dark fruit, a hint of hops and a mild whiskey burn/acidic finish.

 161 characters

Photo of Kinnick21
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Rothobinide
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ajramirez1
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tmbgnicu
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BiggieG
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kwright
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of DavidR_9
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 cerberus bottle, poured into belgian tulip.

Opaque black body, huge tan tight bubbly head with larger soapy bubbles - truly something to behold. The nose has quite a bit of rasoty malt, a little touch of fig, chocolate, and a nice helping of booze. Taste follows the nose with the roasty complex malt character interacting with a figgy raisin covered in the smallest layer of subtle chocolate. Coffee roastiness is there but almost completely gone at this point. a big warming boozy character comes in at the finish along with some light-medium bitterness but well within the territory for a russian imperial stout.

 621 characters

Photo of tittyfish
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of bpa112
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Mike_Benson
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

smooth, full-bodied, complex favors. just an amazing stout. was happy to get a couple bombers of this beer, its great to share with friends over a good meal.

 157 characters

Photo of csmrx7
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This may be the best non BA Imperial Stout I have had. Even young this is smooth full of body with complex chocolate and coffee malt flavours are just right with a perfect mild ABV heat.

 187 characters

Photo of joberlander
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of RickyBfromCT
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SFC21
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Chilmer
4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of berto714
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Seeker_11
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I really enjoyed this beer. Had a great flavor. Very well balanced.

69 characters

Photo of dafla67
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DaverCS
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours super black with a nice head, alcohol legs, and great lacing.

Aroma is of roasted malt, coffee, and booze. Lots of deep roasted notes.

The beer has a great viscosity for not being barrel aged. Taste is aggressive: deeply roasted with a light lingering bitterness. Lots of burnt black coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and even some oak-like notes. Some definite booze. Yummy beer.

Overall, for the beer being non-BA, it is delicious and worth the hype. I would like to try the BA version at some point, as it would round out the beer. Not nearly as good as some of theequally hyped BA stouts, but great nonetheless. Would see this pairing well with a richer-fatty steak, perhaps with a golgonzola dolce, roasted mushrooms, and a light fennel salad. It gets a 93/100.

 770 characters

Photo of msturgis524
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of beersgud
4.01/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason1221
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 3,985 ratings