Darkness | Surly Brewing Company

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3,932 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
2017 - Witch

Added by ryantupy on 10-08-2006

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,932 |  Reviews: 896
Photo of Shawner
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of GJ40
4.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled a 22oz bottle from 2012.

A - Deep black with a sturdy head. Clings nicely to the glass. The inside of the cap was oddly bubbled and spotted. Not sure why.

S - Dark chocolate, molasses and brown sugar. Inviting.

T - Moderately sweet with a dark chocolate lead followed closely by brown sugar and raisins. No significant bitterness or roastiness. Smooth and balanced.

M - Creamy and smooth with a low, well behaved carbonation.

O - A little sweet for me but tasty and worth a try.

 491 characters

Photo of bum732
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of rbrefbeerman
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Rekrule
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Gambyt20
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TastyIsBeer
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of nlmartin
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
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 MaximumYuks
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the 2012 and 2013 next to each other.

2013 stole the show, hands down. The grade is reflective of that one.

Great color and head on both beers.

Aroma on the 2013 was much more powerful in terms of coffee, chocolate and hops. 2012 was sweeter smelling with a lot of dark fruit.

Flavor was much of the same differentiating factors. 2013 was balanced, hoppy, smooth and delicious. 2012 had a weird metallic 'twang' to it with every sip, and was just way too fruity and sweet with no hops or coffee/chocolate to add a little bitterness.

Overall, I was very disappointed with the results. While I am now glad I traded away my older bottles, I was expecting something a little more 'badass' in terms of a vintage showdown. Oh well, maybe my bottle just didn't age properly. Either way, the fresh bottle was outstanding and on par with my favorite RIS...Stone RIS.

 869 characters

Photo of CBrodbeck
4.69/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of tourdot
3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Rado
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of SaxmanRick
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of AleWatcher
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
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

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5/5  rDev +11.6%

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4/5  rDev -10.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

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4/5  rDev -10.7%

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4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

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4.75/5  rDev +6%

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4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

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4.3/5  rDev -4%

Darkness from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 3,932 ratings