Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

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DarknessDarkness
BA SCORE
4.48/5
Outstanding
3,921 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:
#128
Reviews:
895
Ratings:
3,921
pDev:
8.93%
Bros Score:
4.5
 
 
Wants:
3,312
Gots:
1,557
Trade:
134
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,921 |  Reviews: 895
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.91/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09' Mummy vintage into my go-to stout approved snifter

Dark pour with a beautiful cinnamon colored fluffy head: nice

Smells perplexing with an initial whiff of powdery cocoa, currant, and a hefty dose of vegetative hops. There is a prevalent scent that I cannot wrap my senses around. It's alternately pleasantly sweet and sickening so. My beak hovers over the glass in a vain attempt to understand.

The initial taste matches the nose quite well. Sweetness is kept in check by a medley of light chocolate, currant, and a dark fruit/berry medley - plums? Leafy plantlike hops add a nice finishing shot. Served right out of the cellar at 55, this was quite appealing. As the beer warms, it becomes more muddled. Sweetness begins to overpower this beer and it's more difficult to separate the enjoyable initial layers. Borders on cloying.

Initially, on the tongue, this beer is a bit oily, but once it hits the back of the throat it's a stouty milkshake, almost chewy.

The drinkability on this beer decreases as it warms. While not overpowering, the alcohol creeps in as the bottle dwindles.

 1,094 characters

Photo of sourdog
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of zeledonia
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A beer I've had many times, but never done a full review. 2012 vintage. Tasted 3 August 2014.

Pours black and dense, with a big, thick, coffee-colored head. Looks like old engine oil.

Smell is a little bit hoppy, heavy on the fruits and chocolate. Cherries and plums and raisins and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Like a box of designer chocolates.

My favorite non-barrel-aged stouts have incredibly rich and varied flavor. This has exactly that. Sweet, but balanced by hops that tend to fade with age, making this 2-year-old bottle a lot more malt-forward. Chocolate, cherries. Rich. Raisins, plums, figs. All these different deep fruity flavors. Fantastic.

Feel is so thick and chewy, but with carbonation that's almost foamy.

A fantastic imperial stout. Really sweet and rich, but balanced enough for me. And all the elements work together so so well.

 861 characters

Photo of scott2269
5/5  rDev +11.6%

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

Big thanks to Blaine for sharing his 2010 bottle during our recent tasting at Willard's. The brew pours a visibly viscous bowling-ball black and is capped with a patchy brown-mocha head that recedes to an encircling wisp; the glass is marked with both legs and lace. The nose has a fair amount of hoppiness; while it is not intensely bitter, it shows a lot of specific hop character, centered in the herbal and lemon-citric range. After a bit the hop impact wanes and suggestions of brutally roasted coffee, 90% cocoa dark chocolate, and something akin to smoked date compote are noted; it is good but not mind-blowing. The flavor kicks it a notch higher in my estimation, with rich sweetness leading the way in the form of suggestions of dark chocolate, dates macerated in port, fig newtons, dark bread and prunes. There are elements at play to temper the sweetness, including hints of meaty smoke, some earthy and herbal hop character, and a fair dose of heavily roasted espresso. The feel is slick and creamy and works quite well. Overall, not world-class, but quite good, nearly exceptional.

 1,095 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 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 iatethecloudsfor
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 MTKATL
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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 AlCaponeJunior
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of ralerwen
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of my_knew_craft
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of cultclassic89
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 3,921 ratings
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