Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

3,825 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

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.

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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,825 |  Reviews: 878
Photo of CCutch
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of jakemn91
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for sharing this beer. A chance to sample this next to the coveted Dark Lord from Three Floyds proves that Surly Darkness is an Imperial Stout worthy in the company of the best available. Roasty chocolate cocoa and hops leave this beer a bit more drinkable than the boozy monster previously mentioned. It is a different animal but quite tasty as well. A berry tart attribute orange hops parallel the espresso and dark malts. Full bodied rich and beautiful, this beer is everything I hope for from a RIS.

Hope this is helpful.

 563 characters

Photo of Hopheadhiker
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of CoolEthan
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of HoppySeb
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of kevindp9
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of robwestcott
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage -- big thanks to wisonsinality for this one.

poured cold and black from the bottle to a 10oz surly darkness snifter with a full finger, small bubbled, frothy, mocha head leaving spotty, receding lace after each sip.

aroma of espresso, candied figs and dark fruits.

semi-sweet baking chocolate, creamy cappuccino, ripe dark fruits and a hint of smoke in the wayback. at the FFF XV party, i had this one on tap and i recall a fairly evident hops profile that i'm not getting from the bottle (?)

big bodied, medium carbonation, creamy smooth, hot.

overall: great RIS, its one i'll come back to every year.

 620 characters

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

Photo of brewcrew76
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Solid black with 2 fingers of creamy brown head that leaves sticky patchey lacing everywhere.

S - Milk chocolate, slight soy sauce, hints of smoke and roasty malts.

T - Similar to aroma. Milk chocolate, dark fruits, hint of soy sauce and licorice, some smoke and roasted malts.

M - Very creamy but slightly thin. The mouthfeel reminded me of a creamy porter.

D - The lighter body made this one too easy to drink, even at 10%+ ABV. Tasty.

 445 characters

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

2010 on tap at Small Bar Division in Chicago on 11/10/10-

First note I liked this version better on tap than from the bottle, maybe that will change with aging.

Appearance- Dark black with a rich thick chocolaty head that lasts for minutes and leaves a beautiful latticework on the glass.

Aroma- Rich and mysterious with notes of Dark Chocolate and a light dusting of hoppiness.

Taste- Concentrated and complex. It is a stout that requires some thought and serious contemplation. Perhaps a bit sweet and not as bitter as it could be, but it really is a taste that brings you back wanting to figure it out more and more. It aint the 08 darkness but it is much better than 09.

Mouthfeel- Thick and full. It meets a good standard of attenuation for what I want in an RIS.

Drinkability- I could drink a bomber by myself with a cigar and a rooftop. But yeah it is an RIS so don't count on an easy pint.

IMHO better than the 09 & 10 Dark Lord, 09 Darkness, 09 Black Tuesday, and 10 KTG, but I'm a midwest homer so take it with a pinch.

 1,036 characters

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

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

Photo of Deltoro
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PG2G
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of FBarber
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage.

13 characters

Photo of emottram
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

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

On-tap at Bangers and Lace in Chicago. Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours pretty damn dark, black with a finger of creamy coffee colored head, eventually settles down to a thin collar, good lacing.

S- Sweet aroma, lots of fruit, chocolate, not as much smoke or burnt malt as I expected, rounded out by sweet booze.

T- Very sweet overall. Has a decadent center of raisins, cherries and slightly spicy, warm alcohol. Finishes with a more pronounced charred malt with coffee and melted dark chocolate, lingering sweetness. Hop bitterness provides a nice base but is totally outclassed by the big, sweet malts on this beer.

M- Full-bodied, creamy, chewy, rich, coats the palate with a slightly syrupy, thick feel.

O- An impressive, forbidding beer with huge flavors. Definitely among the best of the Russian Imperial Stouts.

 822 characters

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

Photo of frasergrove
4.51/5  rDev +2%
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 ckeegan04
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DoctorB2B
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of jtladner
3.25/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of ALC82
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,825 ratings.
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