Smoke | Surly Brewing Company

286 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ebony-hued, Smoke wafts out of the bottle and into your senses, borne on the wings of European traditions, wrapped in American innovation. Lager-brewed, like any true Baltic Porter, with smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany, the home of Rauchbiers, then mellowed by oak-aging. Black malt flavors mesh with notes of raisins, plums, figs and licorice with the subtle smoke on the side, for a complex and luxurious, yet silky smooth drinking experience. It's a sipper at Alc. 8.2% by VOL., but everyone knows you can't have Smoke without fire!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-05-2007

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Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 897
Reviews by travloh:
Photo of travloh
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Darkness Day, 2008. Poured into brand new Surly Goblet. Straight outta the big steel beer-makin' tanks inside the Surly brewery.

Yummy dark dark brown appearance, glimmers of scarlet on the edges break out in the October sun. Head is resilient and oh so yummy looking.

Taste and smell are of course smokey, but in a smooth, fine cigar kinda way. The aftertaste actually reminds me of the taste of a very good cigar. There is something else present, as well. I have heard it called burnt bacon, but I don't quite get that. I get more of a maybe, slowcooked bbq type of essence. Not bbq sauce, but the smokiness.

So far this review makes it sound like something out of a bonfire, but I am just glazing over the moniker. There is actually so much more present. Slight twinges of sweetness, spice and bitterness thrown in right where it needs to be. Back it up with some alcohol burn and you are in business.

After the glass is gone there is sticky spider webs of lacing left over the whole inside of the glass.

I could have had about 3 more of these, highlighting the drinkability. Its good stuff.

 1,117 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of cjn40277
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of blackearth
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis, MN. Poured into a stemmed tulip glass this beer shows an extremely dark brown body with a thin ring of off-white foam. Aroma is raisins, peat, burnt sugar and a hint of smokiness. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a low to medium carbonation level. Flavors are of caramelized sugar, dried grass and level smokiness. Hop bitterness shows for a moment in the finish and is quickly replaced by a dry malt sweetness. I was expecting much more smoke flavors, but this is still a solid baltic porter.

 546 characters

Photo of beaversfan12
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NWer
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of warnerry
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Batch into a snifter

A - Pours very deep brown/black with two fingers of light brown head. Head has decent retention, leaving some lacing behind.

S - Wow. Smoke is right. Very smoky aroma with a nice oak presence. Hard to get much more than smoked malt and peat. Faint bacon aroma.

T - While the smell was good, the taste is much more complex and enjoyable. Yes, smoke and wood still play a large part, but there is much more here, including chocolate, raisin and faint plum, even a small amount of sweetness. Finish is quite smoky.

M - Mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy, with the smoke/char and a nice earthy dryness on the finish.

O - I'm always a little leery of smoked beers, and the smell had me a bit concerned that this would be one dimensional, but the flavors here are wonderful and balanced. Excellent brew.

 825 characters

Photo of chip26
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 77apm
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%

Photo of Chitex78
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Skye1024
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ryancl
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of SjConroy
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of bsp77
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown without much head and very spotty lacing.

Smell: Smoked malts, oak, molasses, raisins, vanilla and licorice. Impressive for a lager, which tend to be mild in the scent department.

Taste: Oak and smoke is very predominant, with nice rounded semi-sweet malts of molasses, plum, licorice and figs. Ends with a touch of spicy and bitter hops, which co-mingle nicely with the smoke.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth and creamy lager body that is somewhat full bodied.

Drinkability: Overall, very nice balance between a Baltic Porter, Rauchbier and Oak-Aged beer. Delicious and very easy to drink, belaying its 8.2% abv.

 697 characters

Photo of MNMike
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of mjtiernan
3/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant mahogany under a 2” tan foam collar with a very fine bead. S: Smells like a smoked pork chop with a light coffee rub. T: Rich Baltic Porter flavors with smoke throughout with caramel and toffee notes and hints of chocolate. The smoke muted the impact of the oak but there is slight vanilla and a mild mellowing. F: Very smooth and creamy, medium carbonation O: A nicely done smoked beer.

 408 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage. 750ml waxed and capped bottle at fridge temp poured into a darkness snifter.

pours out opaque black. a little less than one fingers worth or creamy mocha colored head off the pour. fades to a thick creamy ring that stayed to the finish. some lacing off of a swirl that is fairly quick to fall back into the beer.

some very nice smokiness while still allowing the porter to come through. the rauch malt comes off as smoked meats, bacon, and ashy campfire while being balanced by some cocoa, a bit of dark fruits and almost a milky, creamy milk stout like chocolate. just slight hints of alcohol as it warms. the aroma seems to kind of come and go, maybe my palate just adjusted while drinking the whole bottle?

an awesome smokey taste, even a little more so than the aroma led me to believe. smoked meats, bacon, campfire, but still a nice base baltic porter as well. lots of cocoa, roasted malts, a bit of dark dried fruits and dark chocolate. a subtle bitterness on the finish with some lingering smoke as well as a little bit of bitter cocoa.

slightly heavy side of medium bodied. just a touch on the thin side and just the slightest bit too much carbonation. no booze or alcohol, but definatly comes off bigger than your average porter.

definatly one of my favorite baltic porters and quite possibly my favorite smoked beer as of now. lots of in your face smoke, which i really enjoy, while still staying somewhat in balance. gotta give it to surly, they dont know how to make a bad beer.

 1,513 characters

Photo of warmbier804
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ehammond1
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, stig!

Dark brown with a small dark brown head which leaves irregular cling down the glass.

Aroma of smoke, slight meat character, mild roast, and some vanilla sweetness combine nicely.

The flavor is well-balanced, especially for a smoked beer. Often, I feel the smoke is far to dominant in beers like this, but this has enough roast, malt, and sweetness present to balance everything out. Smoke-forward, without dominating.

Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation.

A very nice beer that made Elaine's home-made pulled pork sandwiches even better!

 598 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. 2010 bottle.

Appearance: Very dark and black with only a slight amount of color shining through the bottom. Decent one finger tan head quickly fades into a patchy layer. Small amount of lacing.

Smell: Big aroma of smoke with lots of dark roasted malts. Has a strong hint of dark chocolate along with some hints of dark fruits. Has a woody character.

Taste: Lots of dark roasted malts up front with a smokyness that lingers well throughout but is not as overbearing as the aroma suggests. Has some hints of plum, raisin, and other dark fruits along with hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. Bitterness is low but felt somewhat in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation. Very creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very good porter that is complex and very tasty. The smoke is tame enough to notice the many flavors going on here. Another great Surly brew.

 934 characters

Photo of DrKarl
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of boogerisu
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Smoke from Surly Brewing Company
4.14 out of 5 based on 897 ratings.
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