BVery (5969) - Burnsville, Minnesota, USA - OCT 27, 2010
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2013 Cask - oak-aged version on Darkness Eve @ Stub & Herbís (10.22.2010). Dark black pour, minimal head. Rich roasty aroma and taste. Very similar to regular Darkness, maybe a little "drier" and less rich overall. The oak was present, but not terribly forward. I like regular Darkness better, but this is still awesome.
arminjewell (6069) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - APR 29, 2010
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The dry-hopped, oak aged cask version at Firkin Fest 2010. Pours deep black with creamy thick brown head. Aroma is BIG hops, and I mean big, followed by some creamy chocolate and coffee. Huge hop character up front melds seamlessly with a big chocolate, coffee, mocha taste that finishes sweet. Great brew, only complaint is the lack of depth that was in the original Darkness. Another stellar showing from Surly!
AdmiralDiaz (4) - Minnesota, USA - DEC 23, 2009 does not count
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
A: Jet black with a one-finger brown head with great retention and good lacing. Someone next to me left their beer sitting for about 30 minutes and the head didnít lost any retention and ended up leaving a full glass of lacing.
S: Strong bourbon with molasses, chocolate, brown sugar with very little hop profile. Very sweet and very appealing. In a way reminds me of Goose Island Bourbon County with a hop profile.
T: Rich! Very strong sweet molasses and boozy bourbon turns into burnt brown sugar with sort of a funky taste accompanied with a little bit of hop profile thatís faded during the aging. Very complex with a finish that leaves a sugary bourbon taste in your mouth for quite some time. Iíve heard some people complain that Darkness gets too sweet over time, but I feel that itís just right and still well-balanced...even more so with the bourbon notes.
M&D: Very syrupy, but well carbonated, which gives an overall very silky texture leaving a thick coating in your mouth and stickiness on you lips (lol)...really though, itís pretty much perfect in my opinion. Drinkability is pretty good considering the thickness and the alcohol content. I ended up having two glasses and wasnít tired of it yet.
Overall: Very, very impressive. I wasnít expecting a whole lot, since Darkness hasnít been my absolute favorite. With the bourbon and age added this beer is even more complex and very delicious. As unique as Darkness is by itself, this beer is one-of-a-kind. If you ever get a chance to sample it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
DalzAle (1965) - Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA - DEC 22, 2009
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
2008 vintage on tap tonight at Mackenzies. Midnight black pour, nice thick dark brown carbonation. Aroma is decadent bourbon, molasses, and a little vanilla. Flavor is just as complex as the aroma, thick sweet brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, bitter chocolate and still some noticeable hops on the finish. Those who hated the 2008 version will not like this, but people like me who loved it should go out of your way to try it.
beernbourbon (1285) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - NOV 17, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I have been lucky enough to have this beer twice, both times at the FoBAB. This yearís vintage was a bit thinner than the last one, at least from what I remember. Pour is black with a thin brown head. Aroma is huge malt, light bourbon, vanilla, and a very fain hop character. The barrel seems to have diminished the hops a bit. Flavor is still exceptional as far as Im concerned. Not quite as full bodied as I was hoping. Lots of huge malt, mild but present bourbon, and light wood and hops. I like it.
chicagodri (1683) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 11, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
FoBAB 09. This was the first beer I went to go taste and I thought it was good...but a little let down from the normal Darkness beer. It is still sweet, but now has wood and bourbon added in as well. Good, but plain Darkness was better.
BeerBunker (709) - Burbank, Illinois, USA - NOV 9, 2009
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Fobab 09. Pours black with a small brown head. Aroma is of oak, bourbon, chocolate, malt, vanilla, and rubber bands. Taste is a big mess of oak, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, smoke, and some dark fruit. All the flavors mix into a big, muddled mess that doesnít work. There was also a strange rubbery presence, that apparently several other had people noticed, too. The malt base is lost somewhere in this mess. Mouthfeel is a thick, sticky mess. I was horrendously dissapointed by this beer, which really sucks since I love the regular Darkness.
hombrepalo (1818) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 9, 2009
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
FoBAB tasting 09. Really dissapointed in this beer, expected a better version of the regular but actually didnít like this one. It was a mess of sweetness and rubber. Poured thick looking, smells like wood, coffee, vanilla, and malts. Taste is too strong of sweet stuff. I wanted to like it but really missed on this one. Had to have a huge glass of water to clean the palate off.
TheAlum (5575) - Lisle, Illinois, USA - NOV 9, 2009
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Sampled at FoBAB 2009. Pours a pitch black opaque pour, small brooding dark brown head, dies to a small head. Aromas are chocolate chip cookies, caramel, some smoke, faint hopping, light bourbon oak and sweetness. Thick, initial is thick, full, sweet, brooding. Chocolate, coffee, cookies, caramel, bordering cloying but the oak and bourbon pull it back a little, sweet, hops have faded, coats well. Vanilla, full, smoke on a smaller level. this grows on me and the big pour doesnít hurt. Warming, bourbon comes in fuller further in. This is nice, coats and sticks well, but is far too sweet for normal consumption.
HonkeyBra (3261) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - NOV 8, 2009
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
The first beer I tried at FoBAB 09. Thick, dark, ugly pour with little head. Aroma of chocolate, bourbon and smoke. Sweet god this is delicious. I get some hops, dark chocolate, smoke, earth. Creamy, boozy, an absolute beast of a brew. This beer could make me a religious man. Only while Iím drinking it, though.