Surly Brewing Company

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Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #13
Ranked #227
4.48 | pDev: 8.71%
Yesterday at 02:56 PM
Oct 08, 2006
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.

This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier.
85 IBU

MALT: 2-Row, Golden Promise, Aromatic, Chocolate, Black, Special B, Roasted Barley, Oats, Brewers Crystals, DME 50/60.
HOPS: Warrior, Amarillo, Simcoe.

2007 - Grim Reaper
2008 - Devil
2009 - Mummy
2010 - Vampire
2011 - Zombie
2012 - Werewolf
2013 - Brewcifer
2014 - Harpy
2015 - Bat
2016 - Cerberus
2017 - Forest Witch
2018 - Minotaur
2019 - Tree Monster
2020: Gorgon
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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by bros:

  None found.

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Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
16oz can in a cardboard box = fancy. Canned 09/19/23 (about 2-1/2 months ago) poured into a Spiegelau stout glass at just above fridge temp 12% ABV per can. The beer pours pitch black with no light penetration and medium brown colored head. The head recedes to a rocky cap and leaves spotty lacing all over the glass. The aroma is moderate with notes of bakers chocolate, coffee beans and red berries. The taste is bittersweet roasted malt with expresso, caramel, berries and dark chocolate followed by slightly ashy, earthy moderate plus bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium plus bodied with just less that average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, world class RIS.
Yesterday at 02:56 PM
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.5 by mwvman from Indiana

Tuesday at 05:01 AM
Rated: 4.25 by Nyoder

Nov 25, 2023
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Reviewed by Curt2969 from Ohio

4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Super chewy, chocolaty, hint of licorice, and somehow a little tart? It's all over the place, but in concert is amazing. You definitely need to get one.
Nov 14, 2023
Rated: 4.26 by timmy2b from New York

Nov 12, 2023
Rated: 4.28 by micada from New York

Nov 06, 2023
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Reviewed by MrBoz21 from Colorado

4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Surly Darkness
22oz bomber with waxed seal. 2015. Drank oct/2023.
- aroma: Smokey ash, cherry, rich molasses, licorice, lite floral hop notes, lite oxidation. 11/12.
-- Appearance: black, opaque, oil like with creamy head that settles into thick ring and crema- like skiff on surface. 3/3
FLAVOR: Rich chocolate covered cherry, molasses, and licorice. Lite pepper notes; firm hop bitterness balances sweetness, and swallows with lingering black licorice character. Mellow dank earthy hops. 18/20
Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, creamy, med low carbonation, no astringency, moderate to light warmth. 5/5
Overall: complex bouquet with intriguing depth that tends towards molasses and licorice. Balanced. Full flavor that adds more chicolate notes to aroma. Finishes smooth and silky. Very nice to look at. Quality beer. 9/10. 46/50.
Oct 30, 2023
Rated: 4.63 by Electros from Canada (ON)

Oct 23, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by Budlum from Maryland

Aug 05, 2023
Rated: 4.43 by pdonovan16 from Massachusetts

Jul 20, 2023
Rated: 4.39 by Bhubbard34 from Pennsylvania

Jul 20, 2023
Rated: 4.2 by ThaKennster from Texas

Jul 18, 2023
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Reviewed by UWDAWG from Washington

4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2022 vintage:

Poured from a 16 ounce can dated 9/28/22 into a snifter.

Look- Black, opaque, medium brown frothy head, above average head retention and lacing.

Smell- Toasted oats, cacao, toffee, medium strength of scent.

Taste- Coffee, cacao, cherry, mildly sweet, high strength of flavor.

Feel- Between medium and full body, average carbonation, moderately bitter, mildly sweet, moderately mouth coating, moderately mouth warming.

Overall- Black with medium brown frothy head and above average head retention and lacing. Bouquet was medium in strength and dominated by toasted oats with notes of cacao and toffee. Taste was high in strength and a superbly balanced mix of coffee, cacao and cherry. Feel was between medium and full body with moderate mouth warming and moderate coating properties. Overall the bouquet of this beer was more understated than expected, but the rest of the attributes more than made up the difference providing an overall great drinking experience.
Apr 05, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by bacher468 from Pennsylvania

Mar 31, 2023
Rated: 4.57 by Giggy from Michigan

Mar 24, 2023
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Reviewed by Tsar_Riga from Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
A huge RIS, well appointed with robust fruit and chocolate, an earthy and grass splash of hops, and a long lingering alcohol warmth. The finish is clean, and impressive for it. Well done!
Mar 11, 2023
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Reviewed by augustgarage from California

4.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Traded for this ages ago, probably from ShogoKawada, thanks whoever it was! 2008 vintage. Enjoyed on 3/3/23. Poured from a 750mL waxed and capped bottled into a snifter. Served lightly chilled.

Impenetrable seal brown liquid with a lasting dun collar. Fine lacing; thick viscous legs. Surprisingly good retention.

Molasses, chocolate covered cherries, medium-roast coffee, maple candy, and complex malt in the nose.

Stale coffee, milk chocolate, weak tobacco, and brown sugar on the palate. Low bitterness, faint grapefruit, but the hops have faded. Flavors are good but a bit flat, though there are few other signs of oxidation. Medium finish with malt balls, loam, and plum pudding.

Medium-full bodied, creamy, with decent carbonation. ABV is well integrated.

After 15 years this is surely past its prime, but remains a brooding, stately gentleman of an ale.
Mar 04, 2023
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Reviewed by Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
2016 Vintage served at 52 degrees.

While the color of this beer is like pretty much every other stout, what stands out is the glorious, thick and persistent dark tan colored head. Beautiful looking consistency and excellent lacing. Rare for me to think of a stout as anything above a 3.75, but this is getting a 4.5

Nose isn't up to the same level as the look, but it's still really nice, highlighted by loads of chocolate, toffee and faint roast. Taste largely follows, but with much more roast & coffee. Body is not quite as hefty as I anticipated. I want to say it's light, but it also feels like a milkshake, and those two things don't seem to make sense together, so I'm not sure how to describe it. Regardless, this is quite tasty. Glad I finally cracked it open.
Feb 10, 2023
Rated: 4.42 by bruindre from Massachusetts

Feb 08, 2023
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Reviewed by Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
(bomber, black-waxed, Darkness 2020; purchased off shelf at Shangy's last week... poured into my Trillium fat tulip)

L: tight, creamy dark tan foam; dark brown liquid, bordering on black, opaque... head recedes into a splotchy cap and smeared collar, but it laces lots in jagged, fingery-flecked bands

S: mint and espresso overtones; bittersweet dark chocolate... slowly emerging hints of roasted grains, alcohol, Irish Cream qualities... a few beats later, charred and deeply toasted, caramelized grain... kind of an overall typical RIS aroma profile; tonic, outdoorsy top notes; perhaps short of cinematic in scope, but nonetheless invigorating

T: big burst of bold flavors: espresso, toffee, molasses cookie... sweetish, roasty, residual underbelly and lightly campfiery, roasted nutty overtones in the aftertaste; big burp after a minute brings up sweetish, sooty dark chocolate... second big sip, more of a rounded malt character, with the interplay, contrast, and divide of heavy roast and rich crystal malts more stark; still little booziness, but some delicate spicy phenols and dark dried fruit notes starting to surface, and not long after some subtle black licorice... hop herbality finally opens up, rising above the burnt bliss of sugars below

F: cooling quality to its aromatics... slick velvet texture... lithe levity despite its luscious lines... medium-full bodied, bordering on the latter... malt milk, attenuated and accentuated by the balance of booze; dark nog, rib-sticking... maybe it's the 2 years on this, but it's heaven to my senses

O: not the most nuanced, but a pretty darn solid RIS... its sweetness is a touch more redolent than most style examples but luckily the roasted barley and hop bitterness are as intense, lending some needed balance... as expected, its high marks are likely because of its relative unavailability; this was the first time (along with Abrasive) that I've encountered it out this way, so I was easily compelled to buy a bottle (2086)
Feb 05, 2023
Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 4260 ratings