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Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

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DarknessDarkness
BA SCORE
4.48/5
Outstanding
3,895 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:
#131
Reviews:
892
Ratings:
3,895
pDev:
8.93%
Bros Score:
4.5
 
 
Wants:
3,310
Gots:
1,553
Trade:
135
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,895 |  Reviews: 892
Photo of Elicoleman
4/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of msumike89
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jeffrotell
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of ptrck_nl
4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Umdrunner
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is for the 2015 release:

Definitely worth the hype! Rich dark flavors of chocolate, coffee and raisins. Hits with a little crispness, goes down smooth and velvety, finishes with a lingering flavor of a 12% ABV beer! I can't wait to try the BA version!

The 2015 offering is 12% ABV

 287 characters

Photo of floridadrift
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A big stout that seems to change year to year.
2014 was chewy with some initial roast with sweet malt and big chocolate notes through out, really enjoyed this one. Smelt like chocolate malt and prunes.

 201 characters

Photo of mwilbur
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured on-tap into tulip.
A: Pours a thick black with 1/2 inch dark mocha head with good retention and lacing.
S: Smooth dark chocolate, vanilla, dark dried fruit, sweet bourbon, and a hint of cream.
T: Dark chocolate milk, bourbon, dark cherry, vanilla, heavy cream, raisin and other dark dried fruit, molasses, and bitter coffee and chocolate finish. The more I get into this, the more I appreciate the hop elements (citrus, bitter note, etc).
M: Velvety smooth, creamy, and sweet. Bitter note becomes apparent in the mid-palate and stronger in the finish. Moderately heavy body. Drinks lighter than the hefty ABV would suggest. Amazing balance of super heavy malt notes and yet the hops shine through (although still playing second fiddle).
D: Definitely an exceptional brew...well done Surly! Outstanding for style and lives up to the hype (which isn't always easy to do...especially since I've been waiting a few years to try this one). One of the best beers I've had with excellent complexity and drinkability.

 1,023 characters

Photo of Jho3325
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of fishermanrobb
4.94/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Exceptional, outstanding

24 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap, both at the brewery and at a local bar.

Comes in a silky black color, with a dirty-white head. Definitely lives up to its name.

Taste is marvelous, and besides subtle tones of roasted coffee beans, it also includes plum, raisins and cranberries. Despite being an incredibly dark beer, it's surprisingly fruity - without ever becoming unbalanced. The feel is delightfully thick, while never being combative.

All-in-all, a most fantastic beer, and well worth its reputation.

 489 characters

Photo of M-Jez84
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DraftDaddy
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of dailyminefield
4.11/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nuebs
3/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

Photo of DissentFatsquirrel
4.94/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Draught @ Brewery: 2015 edition. This one pours a deep, dark inky brown color. There was just a bit of a beige head that didn’t leave much lacing. The aroma was good. Complex and a lot going on. Molasses, dark fruit, chocolate, bready, a touch of alcohol. Some faint hops in there too. The taste was very good. Similar characteristics to the nose, with some raisins, licorice. Limited sweetness with some bitterness in the finish. Full mouthfeel. Very Nice!

 459 characters

Photo of Boston970
4.02/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rudzud
3.78/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, a belated Halloween beer. 2013 Brewcifer bottle.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a dark oily black with a fat two finger mocha head that fades to leave a creamy blanket and light lacing.

S - Aromas of hickory, licorice, roast malts, chocolate, vanilla, very light dark fruit.

T - Taste is similar to the to the nose, hickory, licorice, anise, roasty almost charred malts. Fair amount of sweetness, both in malt and in dark fruit juice. Raisins and prunes. The finish has just a little bit of hop bitterness on the finish, but still, once the licorice and char is gone all you're left with on the tongue is sweet dark fruits.

M - Mouthfeel is slick and a bit oily. Bit smooth and syrupy too. Alcohol is hidden very nicely though.

O - Overall, this beer was a rather standard RIS. I can see why when it first came out the beer was great, however, 8 years later there are loads of russian imperial stouts on the market. For the money, I'd go with nearly any readily available RIS.

Serving Type: Bottle

 1,009 characters

Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle. A very big stout with a heavy alcohol presence and a surprising amount of hop flavor. Comparing it to others in it's league, I'd put it a step above Dark Lord, but not quite as good as Black Note. Made for a great Halloween beer though.

 251 characters

Photo of kemoarps
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Based on a google search of the label artist, this must be a 2013 bottle. Thanks to Dominique for including this in his predraft box. The only good thing to be associated with that league this whole year as far as I'm concerned...
Pours that beautiful obilisk-black that gets us all a titter in a good big stout. Finger or so of brown head settles relatively early into a thin film with disparate colonies of soapy bubbles. Surprisingly little lacing.

The nose fluctuates depending on how far from the glass I am. Sitting a ways back I get an undeniable hit of fresh hand made bread dough as it's rising. Yeasty dark grains. In passing past the glass there can be hints of dark fruit with sweet plums and prunes and boozy black cherries. But stick your nose intentionally into the abyss and you get blackstrap molasses and sin.

Initially sweeter than I would have expected. And not a bittersweet, no, this is more fructose and juice. The finish carries this through to its logical conclusion of candy sweet peaks. Far from one note, though layers of chocolate and cold pressed coffee give way to the aforementioned sweet peaks balanced by the coffee's bitter close.

Initially, the alcohol overwhelms a bit, but as the glass warms it mellows in to a nice complementary role. Fine carbonation steps aside and lets the smoothe if a bit... thin. Not thin thin, but medium where I was looking for thick and chewy as toffee... anyway, sweet and smoothe and incredible. This is my assessment. Too bad so sad this is the only bottle I've got.
Thank you @domvan for sending it along!!

 1,582 characters

Photo of maedhros09
3.99/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Look: opaque black with creamy tan head that retains well
Smell: At first I thought is smelled kind of soapy, then I realized it smelled almost exactly like drying paint. This sounds unpleasant but the aroma was ok. The resemblance to drying paint was somewhat distracting .
Taste: What was most noticeable was the alcohol, which is on the same level as a wine. Powerful and spicy. There was some roastiness but it tended to be overpowered by the drying paint again. At some point I realized this was kind of a resinous hop aroma, but again the resemblance to drying paint was distracting
Feel: Very full bodied, thick, syrupy mouthfeel with perfect fine carbonation. This might have been my favorite part of the beer.

Overall: Well, I had high expectations for my first Darkness. Honestly it was OK until I realized it smelled exactly like drying paint, at which point it became a somewhat less pleasurable experience. Still, it is worth a try, and who knows, maybe my palate was messed up from something I ate.

 1,017 characters

Photo of dvmin98
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of McHenry
4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Evilyak
3.92/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours black as midnight, with a tan head that doesn't last. smells of coffee and that stupid dark fruit nonsense that covers every stout ever. it's cloyingly sweet, with a roasted aftertaste that doesn't make me want to finish the bottle.

in terms of a RIS with a great reputation, it fits the mold. in terms of a great beer, i could ask for more.

 349 characters

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 3,895 ratings
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