Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

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DarknessDarkness
BA SCORE
4.48/5
Outstanding
3,889 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:
#132
Reviews:
891
Ratings:
3,889
pDev:
8.93%
Bros Score:
4.5
 
 
Wants:
3,310
Gots:
1,549
Trade:
135
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,889 |  Reviews: 891
Photo of scott2269
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark brown with light brown head
S: Roast, sweet dark fruit, dark chocolate, cherry, licorice, coffee
T: Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, roasty, cherry, dark fruit, caramel, hop bitterness, orange
M: Full and creamy
O: Probably a top 10 non BA stout

 258 characters

Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled multiple times at the 2007 GABF. I don't like to review at beer fests, but this is one of the few that really stood out.

Pitch black color with a thick espresso brown head. Nice lacing and retention.

Wow, this stuff has more nose than most bourbon aged stouts. Sweet profile of caramel, black and chocolate malts. Lots of dark fruit with molasses, coffee, and fudge.

Rich burnt and roasted malts with lots of chocolate and coffee. Keeping the sweetness in balance are big earthy floral hops and bitter molasses.

Thick and chewy yet silky smooth over the palate. Perfect body and carbonation for the flavor profile.

Doesn't get much better than this. Near perfect. Could drink this one all night.

 711 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of jegross2
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing Darkness from Surly Brewing Company. I have been looking to try this one for quite some time.
Score: 97

Fresh and on tap at Kuma's Corner in Chicago, home of the best burgers in the universe, in 16 oz pint glass servings! Thank you Oddball Ilana for acting as my notetaker on this one.

Appearance: Pours pitch black. Completely opaque, like a vacuum for light. Thin brown head that mostly settles after pour. Excellent lacing. 4.5/5

Aroma: Molasses sweetness. Raisins and caramel. Creamy malts. Sweet figs, raw coffee beans, and maple. A little dark rum. 4.5/5

Taste: Incredibly complex. Sweet caramel and raisins. Dark fruit and maple syrupy sweetness. A little coffee and dark fruits on the mid-palate. Roasted malty sweetness. A little citrus becomes apparent as the beer layers on the mid-palate, as does some faint cocoa. Burnt chocolate flavors come through a few sips into the beer. A little cherry halfway through the glass too. Finishes with sweet raisin, very dark unsweetened chocolate and a little charcoal. Absolutely delicious! 4.75/5

Mouthfeel:Full-bodied and viscous. A little oily and chewy. Has a very sweet and slightly sticky finish. Despite all the sugary-sweet descriptors, the beer does not overwhelm the palate with sweetness. 10.3% ABV is absolutely hidden. 4.75/5

Overall: An instant classic! Delicious, well rounded and delivering on the hype. It's a little sweet, but nowhere near Dark Lord sweet.

Recommendation: An absolutely great beer that must be tried by everyone.

Pairings: My Neurosis burger at Kuma's Corner went GREAT with this one. Hamburgers, steak and caramelized onions are the food pairing to beat.

Cost: $10 for a pint, $20 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

 1,715 characters

Photo of DonFrap
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of iatethecloudsfor
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of mpayne5
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of frasergrove
4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 rendition. Was a little suspect when it was pouring out...but this beer is as dark as they come. Held up to the light, and there is nary a hint of amber or pale. Nose is sweet toffee, rich medium roast coffee, cacao, smooth. Damn...this beer is a mouthful. Thick, chewy, lingers for a while. Smooth...so smooth. Light roasted undertones, toffee, maple syrup...ripe figs. This beer does not disappoint. Amazing.

 415 characters

Photo of far333
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
First review of 2010
Compliments of BuckeyeNation
Served in a crystal snifter glass

Pours a deep chestnut color with a two finger head of frothy and firm light brown foam. Bubbles cascade briefly as it rises up to a peak and settles slowly down, leaving a sheet around the inside of the glass.

Complex nose of dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, currant and subtle hops.

I'm struck first by the velvety and luscious mouthfeel, creamy and smooth and rich. This leads into the rich and complex flavors of cocoa and vanilla, a little milky upfront, morphing quickly to bitter espresso and molasses, charred bark and tart cherry. Finishes slightly dry, a bitter and puckery tartness lingers, punctuated by piney hops that underscore all the other flavors moving around. The alcohol strength is well hidden, but a slight warmth does move up the cheeks.

Tremendous beer, very flavorful and very drinkable despite its strength and depth of flavor. Many many thanks to BuckeyeNation for sending this my way purely as a gift, happy new year my friend.

 1,059 characters

Photo of hardy008
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I had this on tap, it had a small tan head. When I poured the beer from the bottle into a tulip glass, it had a huge tan 2 finger head with excellent retention. Very impressive. Pitch black color, allows no light to pass through.

The nose on this is amazing. A nice combination of smeet malt, molasses, chocolate, raisins, coffee, and hops makes for a great aroma.

The flavor is just as amazing. The malt takes center stage and the beer is wonderfully sweet and somewhat hoppy at the same time.

As high as the alcohol is, it is amazing at how well it is hidden. Full bodied, rich, creamy, and nicely carbonated. Nicely drinkable for such a big beer. I wouldn't change a thing.

 686 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Massive cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for acquiring and sharing this

Note: 2011 vintage (zombie)

Consumed 8/19/12

Appearance: Dark, dark brown with some around the edges - big, tan head, keeps a nice cap, some streaks of lacing - looks like an RIS should

Smell: Dark, roasty, and burnt - cooked, toasted, roasted, and charred malts - milk chocolate and some dark chocolate - molasses, with a lot of sweetness - sweet, dark fruits - interesting, but not remarkably complex

Taste: More sweetness than darkness - molasses, brown sugar, and a ton of port-like boozy sweetness - dark fruits, milk chocolate, and some sweet coffee - roasty and burnt, but the dark fruit/port/sugary sweetness really overpowers - (2012 bottle) smoke and tobacco in abundance

Mouthfeel: Full, smooth, creamy, some boozy stickiness, but it works because it is nicely carbonated

Overall: Good, but too sweet to be legendary

I am very happy that I finally had a chance to sit down with a glass of this. I've had it at BA fests and at an epic stout tasting, and I always thought it was too sweet. And apparently I was not imagining it. It's just too sweet. But if you're into that, I guess this would be epic.

Update: 2012 bottle

Slightly better than I remember. It's still overly sweet, but it's quite tasty overall. There is more smoke and tobacco than I remember. Maybe it's just more interesting than the first bottle. Scores upgraded slightly (taste and overall bumped up .25).

Update: 2015 bottle

Maybe it's just because I was actually at 2015 Darkness Day, but this tastes special. I wouldn't describe this batch as overly sweet. Very rich and chocolatey, with some depth and some leather, with a rich, velvety mouthfeel. I'm bumping taste, feel, and overall all up .25.

 1,754 characters

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

Photo of uturn
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of hooliganlife
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to mnjeff

pour is not quite jet black but very dark cola, almost black, with a cocoa head. little to zero retention and lacing

so much going on, bourbon, cherry, molasses, light floral hops, sweet roasted malts, vanilla, and a bit of booze

even more in the flavor. this was quite complex with a mixture of so many flavors. again, herry, molasses, light floral hops, bitter citrus hops, sweet and bitter charcoal roasted malts, vanilla, a bit of booze, dark fruit, and a touch of brown sugar. mind blowing.

thick! the glass has a slick glaze in it. its almost enough to chew on.

this may be the best imp stout i have ever had. i want to drink the shit out of it but its 10.30 ABV (which is hidden well) and a 750ml bottle. it would be trouble, but "trouble loves me".

play on playa... this is it.

 814 characters

Photo of ralerwen
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of my_knew_craft
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of FBarber
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage.

13 characters

Photo of cultclassic89
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of smutty33
3.69/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mctizzz
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of Tyecko
3.5/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of Vonerichs
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown to black. It was served in a snifter with an impressive head and cascading lacing through the finish.

The smell was dark fruit, sweet malt, and a light chocolate.

Delicious. Very sweet malt with a hint of dark berries, a little currant. There are touches of chocolate and dark roast coffee, but both are minimal.

Mouthfeel is creamy, but not too thick. Finish is dry and slightly bitter in a chocolate or coffee kind of way.

The alcohol was detectable, but not 10% detectable. This is a sipper, but damn tastey.

This is one of the better RISs out there, no doubt.

 584 characters

Photo of jaasen64
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Darkness, 750ml bottle poured into Lawson's tulip. Thanks Jameson for sharing this during our Murda'd Out tasting.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears a jet black in the glass with a thin mocha brown head that has about average head and recedes to a flat top. Spotty lacing that slides back into glass.

S- Cocoa powder, light bakers chocolate, some faint hop, decent aroma strength.

T- Cocoa powder, light baker's dark chocolate, light hops hiding in background that I would assume is more pronounced in fresher bottles. Finishes with rich dark chocolate cocoa powder that lingers as a nice aftertaste.

M- Smooth, very drinkable, nice carbonation that doesn't dominate too much, medium bodied.

O- This was a great stout that I really enjoyed drinking however I'm not sure if I'd say its one of my favorites. The overall flavor could have been richer instead of the cocoa powder taste. I would love to compare a fresh version of this.

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Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 3,889 ratings
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