Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged | Surly Brewing Company

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113 Ratings

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AdmiralDiaz on 12-23-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 113 |  Reviews: 22
Reviews by Mistofminn:
Photo of Mistofminn
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes. Went to Mackenzie's (first time going there actually) to give this a try after finals were over (yea I had a final 2 days before Christmas...gross huh?)

I consider 2009 to be better than 2008, but it's hard to compare a fresh bottle to a year old keg, as the only time I've had 2008 Darkness was a couple weeks before Darkness Day 2009 on cask. I found 2008 to be almost overly sweet and the hops had dropped off quite a bit, while 2009 was intensely hoppy and just plain better all around.

Pours deep, motor-oil black with a brown sugar colored head. Excellent retention and awesome lacing.

No idea of the length this spent in the bourbon barrels, or even what kind of bourbon they were, but the bourbon is strong in this. Other notes include sweet and roasted malt, brown sugar and molasses and a dry hop character. It's pretty much exactly what I thought it would be, Darkness 2008 (sweet) with bourbon barrel aging characters.

Taste is just like the nose, but sweeter. Bourbon and wood characters shine, along with roasted malts and light hops. The wood character comes out strong, and I didn't pick it up in the nose.

Thick and rich, chewy and creamy. Full bodied with a low carbonation. Drinkability is dangerous, especially considering the ABV.

This puts an entirely new spin on Darkness. It adds enough to dimish the sweetness and focus my mind on other things. Excellent, and so glad I got a chance to try it! Wouldn't have missed this for the world (or another final!) so follow Surly on twitter to find out things like this!

 1,560 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of brycelarson
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a simply magical brew. Darkness is, on it's own a powerful brew. It's nutty, fruity, malty and as the bottle says - dark as hell. This adds a new layer to that fantastically complex and powerful beer.

This beer pours almost like a syrup. It coats the glass with a thick, dark film. The head, since it was a cask pour was moderate - but the thickness held it well. It's utterly light-proof in the glass.

The nose starts a bit harsh - the high alcohol content mixed with the bourbon note hits you immediately but mellows to the background aromas quickly. The overall list of what you can smell is nearly unlimited. There are fruits, malt, there's a hop back end and some spice. There's a moderate sweetness in there as well - caramel, coffee, chocolate, cherries, raisins and tons of other scents. The bourbon lays on top of all of those - adding a second layer to everything.

There's a density of flavor that makes this beer extremely difficult to pin down. It rotates in your mouth through almost every descriptor you could apply to a beer.

The mouth feel is heavy and thick and pleasing.

Overall this is a utterly fantastic beer.

 1,143 characters

Photo of Jayman931
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark....minimal head
S: Superb
S: Sexy
T: Not quite Darklord but damn its good..

Top Tier Beer.

So my comment must be 250 characters so let me wax poetically about the greatness of this beer. Tastes greaaat!

In all seriousness its exceptional...second only to 3F Darklord.

 287 characters

Photo of Shawner
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of biniek13
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Futbolmanby
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cwehr13
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of rossracing
3.79/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Kingcom
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Awesome looking bottle with cool artwork and gold colored wax that didn't overly stick to the bottle which is good in my opinion. I think I read somewhere that this beer was aged in barrels for only 3 months so I wasn't expecting much but this beer completely transformed over those 3 months so I'm guessing the barrels were fairly new. Anyways, I shared this bottle between 2 other people at about 50F in a snifter.

L: Pitch black with about 1 finger of head
S: Huge notes of barrel, vanilla, and burnt chocolate
T: Completely tasted like it smelled which was awesome
F: Thick and full
O: I prefer regular BA imperial stouts without the coffee, spices, etc. and this is exactly what you get here. To date, this was one of the best BA imperial stouts I've ever had. It will be interesting to see how this one ages. Try it if you get the opportunity.

 850 characters

Photo of RRC87
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Bunuelian
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DrewSimm
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of joedevivre
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Elicoleman
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nwrightjr
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of DeschutesNut
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted this at the 2011 Autumn Brew Review at the Historic Grain Belt Complex in Minneapolis. Attended the first session. Was about 10th inline for this right as the gates opened.
Aroma smelt of bourbon and dark roasted malt. Head was a dark brown that was thick. filled half of my taster.
Tastes chocolate and a slight vanilla. Bourbon was there but was surprisingly smooth. Easily top 5 of the fest.

 401 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head. Aroma of smooth bourbon notes with vanilla and black chocolate notes are very enticing. Taste is also a nice mix of bourbon notes with vanilla and light woody notes with a mix of black chocolate notes and light roasted malt flavours. Body is full with nice smooth texture and good carbonation with limited alcohol being perceptible. Solid take on the style and something I wish was available more often.

 479 characters

Photo of tribeerguy70_3
4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of carlton012
4.88/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best beer of the Surly entourage, by far. It's like cough syrup. I loved looking at my empty glass, seeing the residue look like syrup. The flavor and pour were my favorite. It was a perfect compliment to a spicy breakfast, specifically chorizo. It was a very smooth beer, with a great bourbon feel from the initial taste to that feeling as it's going down. Love this beer.

 385 characters

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
2/5  rDev -55.8%

Photo of Yulles
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of enelson
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of FreshmanPour77
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Hopsiam14
5/5  rDev +10.4%

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Darkness - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Surly Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 113 ratings
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