Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

BA SCORE
98
world-class
3,816 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:
Starting in 2014, bottled Darkness will be aged in whiskey barrels. This listing is ONLY for Darkness that is NOT barrel-aged. For 2014 Darkness go here: http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/13014/141724/

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

Added by ryantupy on 10-08-2006

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,816
Reviews:
878
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
9.28%
 
 
Wants:
3,312
Gots:
1,520
For Trade:
137
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,816 |  Reviews: 878
Photo of aerozeppl
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to drseamus for letting me sample this beer.

A: Pours black with no light getting through. Dark tan head with some lacing.

S: The first thing that strikes you is how hoppy this smells for an IRS. Citrus is very present. After than you get some of the roasted elements.

T:Bitter from the roasted malt at first. There is something at the middle we could not figure out. It lasts about half a second and it is wonderful. We classified it as burnt sugar (Caramel) but I do not know if that accurately depicts what is going on there. There is also a slight alcohol taste but within tolerances for the ABV.

M: Thick body that is slightly syrupy with a good amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for the ABV. This beer was sampled VS some other RIS including Stone, Avery Czar, and Siberian Night and while it is a great beer I do not know if it is worth all of the hype. People at the tasting favored the Stone RIS with a year on it and I favored another with a few more years on it. The super limited availability I am sure has something to do with this. Great beer no doubt just don't mortgage your house to get it. That being said if you can get it reasonably definitely do so.

 1,193 characters

Photo of bashiba
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of MinorThreat
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of stephensinner
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Blazer22
4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

I had this one on tap at the 2008 Illinois release party at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle.

A= This stout poured a very dark brown/black color with a beautiful 3/4" creamy brown head. Retention was good, and the head eventually left some spotty lacing on the glass.

S= Naturally this was served a bit too cold, so it took a while for the aromas to open up. Eventually I found a complex yet somewhat subdued profile of chocolate, dark ripe fruits, some roasted malts, sherry, and a surprisingly large hop presence.

T= From front to back, this was one complex and satisfying beer. The huge sweet malt base started this one off in a good way with a heady blend of flavors such as dark fruits (cherries, raisins), treacle, brown sugar, and molasses. The middle was completely dominated by a surprising hop bitterness that seemed out of character in this beer, yet worked well with the other flavors. Following on the heels of the hops was a bitter one-two punch of dark chocolate and roasted coffee notes. The finish dried a bit and left a pleasant alcohol spiciness on my tongue and warmth in my belly. Each sip begged the next to follow.

MF= This is a big full-bodied brew. Mouth feel was viscous without being syrupy. Carbonation was adequate to carry the heavy load, yet soft and creamy on the tongue.

D= Though I cannot say that this has toppled my favorite beers in this style, it was a real joy to drink. I found this beer to be all about the matchup of complexity vs. subtlety. It was sweet without being cloying, bitter without being too dry, high alcohol but not too hot or astringent. A great beer and one I will gladly drink again!

 1,647 characters

Photo of Paccamacca
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dataylor21
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of CPAles
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of CrellMoset
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Darkness, bottle courtesy of a ratebeer trade, and split at my 1-year Anniversary Tasting with a few friends. My portion poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a thick, pitch-black, dark beer, oily, heavy, glug glug glug into the glass. The head is light cocoa, tan, with great retention - it's swiss cheese like, bubbly, sticky, foamy in places, meringue-like in others. The lacing is three-dimensional in places, sticky, strewn all over the sides of the tulip. Just a great looking beer.

Aroma: Huge, pungent cocoa and soy, with plenty of hops, too - citrusy, lightly grassy, which would be overpowering in any brew other than this one. Hints of coconut, too. There are lots of sweet, nondescript malty notes, though plenty of solid roasted, toasted notes as well. This beer's least enjoyable aspect - it's not doing a lot for me.

Taste: Oh wow. What a fantastic taste. Tons of residual sweetness with every roasted and toasted malty note imaginable - butterscotch, caramel, toffee on the light end, coffee, cocoa, toast, molasses, deep brown sugar on the darker end - and only a kiss of soy sauce. A few dark fruits notes, raisin being most prominent, round out the malty sweetness. Anise is prominent as well and melds well with a somehow prominent amount of hop bitterness and citrusy, leafy hop notes, orange-zest like in places, slightly minty in others. It's very complex and well-rounded, and only loses the half-point due to the overwhelming amount of residual sugars - it's just slightly too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and somewhat even, though there is a fair amount of unevenness here. What is here is creamy and milky, however, a good fit for the tasting notes here. It leaves a bit of a syrupy, sticky feel in the mouth too. However, this one improves drastically as it warms, evenening out as the carbonation dies. Creamy and mellow.

Drinkability: This is a good beer ... it's just not quite as good as I thought it would be, and though I try not to take off points for expectations, I may have in a few spots here. There's plenty of good here - it's big, it's bold, it's complex, it's pleasantly well-hopped, and the alcohol's well-hidden. On the other hand, the alcohol's pretty high, the aroma is a little lackluster, and it's pretty crazy sweet. The verdict: it's a winner. Is it worth $16? Probably. Would I try it again? Yes. If you get the chance to trade for it, should you? Definitely.

 2,412 characters

Photo of DangerDawg
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of randylangford
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of inlimbo77
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml, 2012 vintage
The Bruery tulip

A: Pours pitch black. Finger light tan head. Big lacing. Some ABV feet.

S: Smells of sweet soy sauce. Dark dark chocolate. Cocoa puffs. Some alcohol.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness up front. Some of that cocoa puffs. Dark roast coffee. Some of that blueberry sweetness. Some alcohol burn. It's a really nice brew.

M: Full bodied. Not crazy vicous.

 386 characters

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
3.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of thereal_adam
4.06/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Celtics76
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of polopaul20
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Poupae
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of VonZipper
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of woodchip
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bottle.
2010 Vintage.

A - Pours a dark dark brown almost black color that lets no light through. A vigorous pour generates a tan 2 inch head that is very dense and thick and has some medium sized bubbles mixed around.

S - Aroma statts off sweet with some burnt caramel notes. Slight raisin and prunes are also present. There is some boozy heat and sweetness as well mixed in with the caramel. Slight vanilla hints mixed in with some spicy cinnamon on the nose.

T & M - Wow. I can see how this beer is so beloved. Starts off with some sharp alcoholic sweetness that isn't too overwhelming or intense but just right. There are hints of burnt caramel and some slight raisin notes. All these flavors are well represented and crafted but not too intense or overwhelming. Seems pretty balanced for such a big beer. In the middle of this sweetness there are some slight bitter chocolate hints and espresso notes. The coffee hints give this a nice roasted middle and slightly dry finish. There is a nice sweet after taste though that is mildly sticky but not sickeningly. The beer is smooth and oily and goes down easily but surprisingly and in my opinion the body isn't too heavy. It is near perfection in terms of mouthfeel with good carbonation as well.

D - Although this beer gets a lot of press here on BA I feel that it is deserving. It is quite big in ABV and complexity of flavors but at the same time not overly sweet. Quite approachable and repeatable.

 1,497 characters

Photo of midlifec
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,816 ratings.
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