portableparty (2010) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - OCT 22, 2011
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Glass at brewery. Pours oily black brown with tiny little thin collar. Aroma is sweet vanilla and chocolate. Taste has a awesome wood vanilla and chocolate with a silky malt flavor with a subtle bitterness. Palate is full and creamy slick with a bitter dry finish. Some of the smoothest BA beer to date!
anders37 (18758) - MalmŲ, SWEDEN - JUN 5, 2011
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft @ FoBAB 2009, Chicago, IL. Pours a black color with a small tan head. Has a roasted malty bourbon and vanilla aroma with hints of chocolate. Roasted malty oaky bourbon and chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla. Has a roasted malty chocolate and bourbon finish.
wilnatp (631) - Minnesota, USA - MAY 17, 2011
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
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. Slight anise/fennel seed flavor leading to a faint liquorice finish. The oak was present, but could have been more pronounced
jrallen34 (3488) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 29, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
341ml bottle poured into my Darkness tulip...A slighter darker than average coca cola with a disappointing amount of head, no lacing at all...Average aroma of peat moss, light coffee and a grain alcohol prominance that is distracting. Roast presents lightly...The taste starts alcoholy again, this is a disappointment in every aspect. Light bitter from alcohol but roasty or coffee.
Not sure what they were thinking here, but unsuccessful.
LamarBurton (376) - California, USA - NOV 11, 2010
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Cask at Stubs to finish a great evening with armin. First people to get served in the basement, our waitress was awesome! No head, minimal carbonation, no lacing. Pitch black. Aroma suffers a bit from lack of carb...not as much rushing out of the glass at me as with regular darkness. The wood seems to mellow some of the flavors, eliminating some of the complexity of the original. Still a wonderful beer though...bliss on the tongue
BVery (7470) - Plymouth, 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 (7999) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, 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 (2002) - 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 (1366) - 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.