Damien | Surly Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
60 Reviews
DamienDamien
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
surlybrewing.com

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Ungertaker on 10-22-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
60
Ratings:
360
Avg:
3.94
pDev:
10.41%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
33
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 360
Photo of mynie
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. A few months old. I love how even though Surly is now a fairly large production brewery who are held in universally high esteem they still sometimes do bottle art that looks like it was taken from a high schooler's notebook in 1997.

A dark pour. A pour... of THE DAMNED. Very black, very opaque, with a light head and good lacing.

Smells charred and chocolatey with minimal hop presence--basically everything I look for in a black ale aroma. The grain bill takes center stage, and it's assertive and interesting enough to carry the whole show.

Tastes burnt, fruity, peaty, and creamy. Perhaps a little aged, but not unpleasantly so. Starts with charred grain with some balancing nodes of coffee and chocolate, the middle is sweeter with strong nodes of ripe, generic fruit, and then at the end there's finally some American hops with a hint of marshmallows. The finish is of an old school RIS, sticky and vaguely vinous.

This is a rare beast for 2017, in that it tries to innovate within a stylistic frame rather than just do its own thing outside of any means of mooring. This is a black ale that starts like a stout and ends like an APA but then the aftertaste like an old, English russian imperial.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample from brewery. Notes taken back Oct 2016.

Great idea to pull some runnings from Darkness, and this beer coming in at 8% means Darkness would perhaps big an even more massive beer than it already is.

Great take on the American Black Ale, even coming from an Imperial Stout base this is beer does have that roasted character but not so much it would take it out of its style. Well hopped, big but balanced. Its really hard to notice the 8% abv until several sips in. I want to see more from Surly like this beer.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really dark brown color with mocha head. Aroma has dark malt, some sugar, even a hint of liquorice. Taste starts with chocolate, roasted malt, caramel and finishes with just a hint of roasty and earthy bitterness. Medium body, soft carbonation. Overall it's quite good but nothing really special.

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Photo of Cfred371
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

First things first: whoever designed the bottle art should be fired. I hate the label, HATE it. Bottled 11/07/2016, so not too fresh, but it's a black ale, so it shouldn't be terribly important.

Look: Damien, while pouring, comes out a brown color, but in the glass appears black, and opaque. A nice slight tan head appears up top, and is nice and thick.

Smell: I first am hit with a wave of chocolate, coffee, and, after swirling, am greeted with the piny hops the black ale is dry hopped with.

Taste: There's a lot going on here: anise, leather, some coffee roast notes, the piney hops, and, surprisingly, not all that much chocolate. What chocolate is there is a bitter, bakers cacao.

Feel: Reminding myself this is a black ale, not a stout, the body is alight. Medium bodied, carbonation prevalent throughout, and a slight bitterness/drying presence in the finish

Overall: This is a tasty beer worth seeking out. While not Surly's best offering, at 7 or 8 dollars a bomber, it is about right for the price.

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Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle split with my wife, who used a random number generator to pluck a bomber out of the fridge. Not what I would have picked tonight, but hey. Dated 9/30/16.

Pour is dark brown with a long-last Tempur-Pedic head (though I’m sure a lot softer than those torture devices in the guise of mattresses). Smells like an old nut brown with a sideboob of piney hops & roast. Interesting.

Damien - proving not every black IPA sucks (they should put that on the label). The roast & the pine cone hops are in nice harmony; xtreme roast is what dooms most of these halflings. Mild sweetness. Citrus & bitterness take the hand of the pine & lead it all the way to the end as the non-hops vanish from the scene. Disconcertingly creamy, & it takes concentration to drink this.

What’s really a Frankenstein, made-up-ass category that should have been smothered in the crib has had a few tolerable outliers, & this is one of them: Surly has found a balance that works. Good beer.

 982 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted malt, pine and bitter dark chocolate. Some nice bitterness on the end. Real good for a hoppy black ale. Surly knows their way around a black ipa.

 153 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer pours a deep black with a large, foamy, mocha colored head. The aroma offers up coffee, smoky-roastiness, with some chocolate and raisin. The flavor is replete with roast coffee notes, cocoa powder, fruity pebbles cereal, tropical fruit, and something that reminds me of fancy soap. The mouthfeel is very light, almost thin, with fairly low carbonation. Overall, this does feel like a seconds thought of a beer - a bit thin with some unusual flavor combos.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 11/6/16

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for the share

A: Appears black from a distance, but really dark brown - pours with a medium size, light tan head, fades to a medium size, creamy head

S: Dark and roasty, with some chocolate malts, burnt malts, smoke, and char - dark caramel, dark chocolate - leather - nice hoppiness as well, with some citrus and some grass - low sweetness

T: Dark but nicely small - dark and roasty, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, semisweet chocolate, toast, roast, smoke, char, leather, some dark fruit - some pine, grassy hops, and citrus - some dark fruit - light sweetness - lots of flavor

M: Medium body, smooth, medium carbonation, dry finish

O: It's like Darkness without the hangover

I don't think of Damien as an American Black Ale. It's a small beer made from Darkness, and most of the magic of Darkness is here, just in a milder form. If you enjoy Darkness, this is definitely worth tracking down.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle. Very tasty black IPA, both the aroma and taste have very nice balance of roasted malt and hops. Medium silky feel. Would definitely have this one again.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

didn't even know this thing existed until a recent swap with timthebatteryman. cheers bud, and thanks for the cool extra. as for the brew itself, nothing too special...kinda like a watered down black ipa. light roast light hop just really light all around.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

It is a medium viscosity jet black with an ample amount of light brown foamy head. Really good retention. Leaves a noce film and some slotty lacing, and is easily agitated back into some soapy bubbles.

Smells very one dimensional. All hops. Very, very strong floraly pine. A bit of charred aroma and some licorice being suppressed in the background.

Very surprised by the flavors. Much more balanced than I would have ever expected. I was thinking Founders Dark Penance, but it has a nice amount of roasted, slightly charred malts, some brown sugar, some sort of baking spice, and licorice. A hint of tobacco, and a significant amount of orange/tangerine. There is a bit of lingering resinous pine needles.

It has a pretty good amount of carbonation. Lively feel. The consistency is a bit more watery than I would like.

While the flavors are good, and nicely balanced, the depth is lacking a bit. The roasted malts just don't come across very strong and it is a bit thin tasting and feeling. Pretty good beer, but not toward the top of my black ales list.

 1,104 characters

Photo of NickSMpls
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Is this a "small beer" ? The answer is no, for sur on this one. Pitch black pour with a solid head which fades to a persistent froth. Aroma is light slightly burnt toast whole grain toast (no jelly, no jam) and not much else. The hops come out in the taste which is right down the center of a black ale. Enough there to rate it well.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Damien pours a black color with a big, long lasting and lacing head. Big smokey and bitter aromas. The taste is bold, smokey, with a harsh bitter aftertaste. Slightly watery body. Overall, very tasty and smokey black ale.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours a deep black with a one finger off-white head.
Smells of toasty nut, hop and chocolate with slight hop.
Roasted coffee and chocolate malts up front. Bitter hop and licorice join at the end. Wonderful warmth from hop and alcohol.
Good mouthfeel for an ale. Awesome brew!

 280 characters

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L (4.5) - Pours a very dark cola color. Almost black. Thin brown head on top.
S (4.5) - Smells like an IPA, kinda. But definitely masked by those roasted coffee-esque aromas.
T (4.5) - Tastes very good. Definitely get the roasted tastes at first, but plenty of the bitter hops to balance out. They kinda play tug-of-war with your taste buds.
F (4) - Smooth drinking beer but probably should be a little drier?
O (4.5) - I compared this to Blakkr, which I may like a little better. But I kinda bought this on a lark and was not disappointed. Good example if you're not familiar with the Black IPA types of beers.

 622 characters

Photo of Strix
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

Deep black, brown edges. Good initial head, fades to nothing.

Coffee, roasted malt, a little wood in the nose.

I'm not really sure what's going on here, but the actual taste is really bland. Like an old, cold, cup of coffee. I let it warm up hoping something else made an appearance but no. Basically like Guiness, but with less flavor.

Mouthfeel thin and near flat. I think this is part of what sinks this. My tapwater is chewier than this.

I've never had Darkness, but if it's anything like this I no longer need to.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap at the Brewery into a tulip glass.

Jet brown with walnut dark highlights and quite opaque a bit, some transparency through the bottom of the head. A creamy tan head is presented, very light looking and almost orange in color. Neat looking beer.

Very different mix on the aroma. Slight fruity indistinct ester. Clean and very subtle flavors though being a bit closed. Hints to slightly raisin and hop accented fruit tones with a faint spicy to clove sweetness. Very pleasant but involves some exploring.

Very light bodied for a Casacadian on first sip. Slight roast in the mid palate with a bit of a hop punch. Very good hop tangerine orange like citrus finish while swallowing. Unfortunately missing some malt depth and is quite watery.

Tastes like a sessionable black IPA essentially. Good for what it is but was hoping for a little more.

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Photo of Sabtos
2.93/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pitch black with a large, fluffy caramel-tan foamy head that settles to a thin blanket.

Smell is woody cedar, coffee, roasted malt, and salted nuts.

Taste is actually less distinct and forgettable--there is so little flavor, to be honest, it almost doesn't seem like beer. How the aroma is so much more substantial than the flavor is beyond me. There is a little caramel, salted toffee, smokey wood, and a slight tart or floral note. Overall, it's all very light, and like a bitter cola, but really not as bitter or hoppy as I was expecting. There's some light milk chocolate, with a pineyness that is just barely there, along with a little wheat bread. I'm really reaching here, trying very hard to discern flavors, but there really isn't even all this much going on.

Feel is thin and watery, slightly crisp, with a faintly dry finish. I'm really surprised how watery this is when the look lets absolutely no light through, even with a bright LED flashlight pressed right up against the glass.

 997 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle. Pours black with an ample khaki head. Smells of nutty and lightly nutty malts. Tastes of light roasted malt. A little creamy with some very light chocolate. Just a bit of pine hops. Really not a very dynamic flavor. Light body. Kinda boring. Not a black IPA, really. I know it's not supposed to be a heavy beer, but this is pretty watery and bland.

 373 characters

Photo of Gotti311
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I think this beer succeeds in so many areas where Darkness comes up short. The chocolate seems a bit heavier which keeps all the roasted notes in place very well. The slightly heavy hops really supplement this beer greatly. Bravo

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Photo of gregy55902
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Apparently this beer is 5% not 8% abv. Definitely tastes like watered down darkness, but yeah, that's what it is (parti-gyle and whatnot). I am picking up on the advertised citrus fruity hops, but they don't quite work with the base malts of this beer. Overall it's okay, but not Surly's best.

 293 characters

Photo of jzlyo
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is pine, dark malts and uniquely perfumed. The flavor is earthy/dark malts, grapefruit, citrus and a mix of dryish and bitter/tart in the finish.

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Photo of morimech
3.49/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Looks great, smells good, tastes weak. Typical 2nd running type of beer and Surly did not work any miracles with this beer. Tastes like hop water but packs a lot of ABV.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was good but not as good as I expected and it drank much smaller than it's listed abv. Not as complex as I expected either for being "child of Darkness". Nonetheless an ample ale with darker malt but not significantly roasted with some fruit flavors, soft chocolate but unexpectedly small feel. Hopping seemed a little subdued but not non-existent.

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Photo of CraigP83
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, huge frothy mocha colored head. Malty, cocoa powder scent underlying pine. Interesting beer, almost porter like, touch of molasses, a bit dry. I don't get ANY tangerines or citrus like the label says.

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Damien from Surly Brewing Company
3.94 out of 5 based on 360 ratings.
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