Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

3,809 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

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/

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

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Ratings: 3,809 |  Reviews: 877
Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
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 SomethingClever
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 version

12 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has been easily in my top 5 wants for a couple of years. I was finally able to land not one but 2 bottles from a great trader. This bottle is the 2010 version. The beer was served cold and will be allowed to warm up. First impressions really came up short but I reminded myself the beer is far too cold. So here is hoping my patience is rewarded. In the end my patience was rewarded. The beer has a lot of hype to live up too. My verdict this beer easily stands up to at least 85% of the hype.

Appearance: I am a sucker for beer that pours a straight black. An occasional ruby highlight manages to penetrate but not for long. The head of the beer s a dark burnt tan coloration. The head resolved into a thin ring of burnt tan foam. Lacing rings my glass as the beer is consumed.

Smell: After waiting for 20 minutes for the beer to warm up the beer started to shine. Darkly roasted and lightly charred aromas start to rise out of the glass. Dark fruits figs, prunes and dates combine with a flash of citrus, citrus zest, tiny amounts of smoke and yes even a suggestion of candied pine cones. Well played!

Taste: The flavor has dark roasted and a bit burnt on the malt. A bit of powdery cocoa lots and lots of dark fruits stewed together definitely figs and date. The citrus cuts across the flavor pleasingly. Brown sugar and molasses wrap around a brief pine cone flavor. The char of the malt keeps the malty nature of this beer in check.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is full. In spite of the full body the beer wears a wonder bra. The mouth feel is no where near as thick as I was hoping for. Made me wonder where all the curves went. Light carbonation breaks the body up a bit. Dam near a perfect beer! I love the roasted and fruit notes. Alcohol is present in all layers of the beers experience but for me only tends to accentuate the beers strong points.

 1,891 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich a viscous tar black with a thin layer of light brown foam, minimal carbonation.

Sweet Bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, roasty, and surprisingly big fruity notes.

Fudge, sweet and bitter chocolates, vanilla, roasted malt, but a little heavy on the fruit.

Medium-heavy bodied, low carbonation, unfortunately thin.

Overall, while in appearance this pours thick and rich, it leans heavy on fruitiness rather than the roasty goodness I usually look for in a stout. Additionally, the mouthfeel is where this totally falls off, thinness does not match the appearance profile. Okay, but not world-class.

 613 characters

Photo of heysuz
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of PhatAtUT
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Rado
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of AleWatcher
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage served in snifter on thanksgiving day.

Very dark brown-- looks black until backlit, then deep reddish hues make a triumphant and glorious appearance.
Wow, this is MUCH better than the bottles we opened up about this time last year of the 2010 vintage! I think I have notes from that review in which I would have given it a C- at best! This is quite different indeed;
Notes of chocolate malt turn into fudge/brownie batter as the beer warms... Some caramel malt provide a little depth and sweetness up front. A touch of anise creeps up in the dry boozy finish.

Feel is thick and viscous, oily and creamy, firm and full.

Overall-- this is a quite an enjoyable little beer to sip with turkey in my belly and football on tv. Niiice.

 747 characters

Photo of CelticAleMan
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of MaseFace
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of kodt
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of AdamP
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ajzy
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of whitenads
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of MaximumYuks
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Hop_God
3.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of peabody
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a really dark black with no light coming through. One finger of small dark brown suds.
Raisin bread smell. Very doughy with hints of fruits, mango and pepper.
Taste is like sweet mango with sugar malts and raisin bread with just a hint of chocolate and a tinge of coffe aftertaste.
This is a well balanced and very refined drink.
Mouthfeel is wonderful and leaves just a tad of sugar behind. Love how it goes from sweet to salty then coffee bitter to dry sugar. This is a great RIS.
Drinkability is so high here because you cannot taste any alcohol or feel any in the back of the throat.

 597 characters

Photo of Abbbp
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Stillyman11
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of johnnyboy76
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of dogfishandi
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of dannycohen62
4.51/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bennetj17
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Silky black appearance, semi-viscous. Nice 1/2 inch deep tan foam, holds a minute leaving some decent lace. Smell is quite hoppy, with mix of roasted malt. Almost reminiscent of Stone 11th.

The first sip feels very smooth, with a subtle chewiness. The grassy hops are strong in the flavor also, with the bitterness creeping in slowly. This is not much of a typical RIS, as the burnt roast is downplayed by the heavy hand of IPA-like hops. The malt tastes quite sweet and chocolatey. With hops being the focus, perhaps I should have drank this thing fresher?

This beer did not live up to the hype. There is something missing in the balance here. I don't mind a really hoppy stout, but the overt sweetness was too much. There needs to be more of a dry roasted character, and beyond that some more complexity. Again, this was alot like the Stone 11th Anniversary, althogh I would say that was balanced more perfectly than this. Worth a try, but otherwise overrated...

 968 characters

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,809 ratings.
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