Darkness Rye BA - Double Vanilla
Surly Brewing Company

Darkness  Rye BA - Double VanillaDarkness  Rye BA - Double Vanilla
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Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
4.19 | pDev: 10.5%
Mar 12, 2023
Dec 10, 2020

Darkness already has inherent notes of baker’s chocolate and dark fruit–making it the perfect candidate for a double dose of aromatic vanilla. Double Vanilla Darkness features rich cacao flavor, sweet vanilla, and a honeyed character from aging in spirit barrels that were previous used to age rye whiskey.
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Rated: 4.18 by einman from Minnesota

Mar 12, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by a77cj7 from South Dakota

Mar 14, 2022
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Reviewed by TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A - Pours jet black with a small fizzy tan head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla and a rye spiciness.

T - The taste is dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, marshmallow, spicy rye and a hot whiskey finish.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - Really nice. Vanilla is subdued, but the rye more than makes up for it.
Jan 23, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by smartassboiler from Illinois

Jan 19, 2022
Rated: 4.21 by cbcrunch from Wyoming

Jan 06, 2022
Rated: 4.21 by Sparky44 from Illinois

Aug 22, 2021
Rated: 4.16 by BarrelAgedG from California

Aug 15, 2021
Rated: 4.45 by Buck_Jones from Michigan

Jul 04, 2021
Rated: 4.1 by loganburgh from Michigan

May 24, 2021
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Reviewed by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours dark black. Aroma was a bit thin. Mostly Rye with a hint of vanilla. Taste is much more complex combination of dark chocolate, vanilla, charredness and the rye. Medium feel. Overall really great stout.
May 08, 2021
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Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours opaque, jet black in color with minimal head. Taste is vanilla pods, Breyer's vanilla ice cream, char, molasses and roasted malt. Super thick and heavy body, sweet roasty, low carbonation. Really opens as it warms. Not crazy about the smell but this is good.
May 08, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by fthegiants from California

Apr 01, 2021
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Reviewed by kevanb from Illinois

4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
16oz can, dated 11.13.2020, poured into a stemless wine glass.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, thick and viscous with a thin layer of tan head that recedes with a nice layer of film and spotted lacing. The aroma is pleasant, lots of rich dark chocolate, vanilla and marshmallow, burnt barrel, rye spirit offers a nice heat, hearty grain and stone fruits. The flavors offer more of the same, lots of bittersweet dark chocolate, brownie batter, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, charred oak, rye spirit and stone fruits. The mouthfeel is good, coating with a full heavy body, smooth with a warm finish.

Verdict: A nice barrel aged stout from Surly. A good take on Darkness, but perhaps lacking in vanilla for a beer that is "double vanilla." The balance is good, but a lot of roastiness and classic RIS hallmarks that make Darkness great appear to be missing in this one and it feels like a more straightforward American stout with vanilla. The rye barrel helps but isn't enough to overcome the lack of vanilla and classic Darkness base beer.
Apr 01, 2021
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Reviewed by Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Brief Review:

O: Finally completing the 2020 BA Darkness trilogy. Not liking this as much as the Vietnamese coffee, but it's definitely number 2. Really nice vanilla notes, rounded out with a touch of cocoa. Good, full body. Only knock is maybe it's the booziest and harshest of the 3. Would like to see it sit a few more months, maybe.

Recommendation: Easily one of the better variants of this season, make sure you grab this before Molé.
Mar 25, 2021
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Reviewed by hoptheology from California

4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
16 oz can, complete with cardboard box, canned on 11/13/20, into Tallgrass globe snifter.
Purchased at Williquor's @ $13.99.

Super dark slick black with a beige head of 1/2 finger, fleeting to a ring. No lace.

Aroma is rye barrel forward, but thins out in aroma, being cut, more like a barrel aged porter would. Some cola, chickory, vanilla, and fudge cake at the deepest whiffs.

Flavor brings vanilla, sarsaparilla, rye, whiskey barrel, caramel, toffee, butterscotch pudding, dead grass, wood, more rye whiskey, and light cherry cough syrup in that order. Alcohol is massive on this, both in feel and flavor.

Feel is burning and dry, some stickiness but easily eclipsed by the dryness; numbs the tongue with its sheer alcohol, and is surprisingly thin. Hot finish, light stickiness. Does the parched for thirst thing well, like the actual Hell I'm told.

Overall, Surly does some decent beers. This one lands about in the middle for me. It's good but not something that makes me drop my jaw. I think the regular BA Darkness is better, but that's kind of hit and miss depending on the vintage, as well. Everyone was talking about Vietnamese Coffee but I figured I'd do this one instead just to be different. It wasn't a bad choice but probably wasn't the greatest one. To be honest I was expecting more vanilla cake from this, but the beer is mostly booze and rye grain. It's very harsh. I'm glad this is in cans at a lower price point but with Prairie and BCBS around, there's no need to revisit this beer.
Mar 24, 2021
Rated: 4.08 by imperialking from Illinois

Mar 16, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by craigbelly from Iowa

Mar 14, 2021
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Reviewed by Damian from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Drank from a 1 pint can purchased at Fenway Beer Shop, Boston, MA
2020 Variant
Canned on 11/13/20
Served in a tulip

Really impressive packaging. As for the beer, it poured a deep, dark brown hue and fairly thin for the style. A small, frothy, khaki colored crown topped the liquid, but it quickly dropped to a fine collar. A few streaks of lacing stuck along the glass.

The nose was a bit disappointing initially but improved with time. Rye (or bourbon) barrel notes were quite prominent. Somewhat boozy. Vanilla was also detectable. As the beer warmed, the vanilla really intensified. High quality vanilla extract came to mind. Moderate amount of brown sugar sweetness. The rye barrel notes also seemed to become more pronounced, as did the booziness. Hint of cocoa powder.

The flavor profile mirrored the nose. Malty and robust up front. Big brown sugar presence. The spicy rye barrel notes became quite apparent as the beer moved along the palate. Good dose of vanilla as well. More rye barrel and booze on the back end and the finish. Unfortunately, the cocoa was completely absent.

As I anticipated by the appearance, the mouthfeel was quite thin for the style. A finer bubbled, moderate effervescence gave the liquid a nice creamy, frothiness on the palate. By the drink’s end, the sugars in the beer left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

Double Vanilla Darkness is an enjoyable beer, though it is of little resemblance to the super high gravity, adjunct rich pastry stouts popular today. I would actually compare it more to an imperial brown or a strong ale than a stout of any type. As long as you go into this beer knowing what to expect, you will likely have a better initial reaction to it than I did.
Mar 06, 2021
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Reviewed by SpeedwayJim from New York

4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
A big thanks to Jeff for this one. Outrageous packaging. 16oz. black can packaged in a box into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Nose is loads of vanilla, oatmeal, sweet soy sauce, molasses, tobacco, chocolate, fudge, and booze. Rich, dense, and creamy. Super aromatic. Beer opens sweet soy sauce, salted caramel, vanilla beans, fudge, molasses, and chocolate. The booze seeps in towards the middle. I still get hints of oatmeal mixed with biscuit, more chocolate, and cocoa powder. End is vanilla, lactose, and more fudge. Molasses, syrup, and chocolate at the finish. Body is medium with moderate to low carbonation. Smooth with some bubbles on the palate and hot going down. Lingering, sticky finish. This one's actually a bit thin.

The flavor and nose is there but this one's actually a bit thin... which is its downfall.
Mar 02, 2021
Rated: 3.94 by Nichols33 from Massachusetts

Feb 28, 2021
Darkness Rye BA - Double Vanilla from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 50 ratings