anders37 (22307) - Malmö, 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.
BVery (9298) - 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 & Herb’s (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 (9237) - East Lansing, Michigan, 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!
Ughsmash (7506) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 13, 2007
4.4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at GTMW. Poured black with a short cap of loose cap of deep beige head. The aroma picked up huge doses of dark chocolates and fainter espresso with milder pine and citrus hoppage tagging along with bourbon, vanilla, and charred oak as accents.. strong nose on this, and absolutely decadent!.. thought the barrel integration was very well done (perhaps a short stay in there??).. with more bourbon sugars as it warmed up. The flavor had deeply-roasted chocolates and bourbon char at the core.. some sourness from the oak worked OK, but was a tad distracting.. long, toasty dark chocolate finish with a kiss of bourbon at the very end. Heavier-bodied on the palate with very good roast and the OK sour accents.. left a solid impression as it left the mouth. Great stuff, but I enjoyed the regular Darkness a bit more.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - NOV 18, 2007
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
On tap at the 2007 GTMW: Pours a completely opaque with an airy rich dark brown head. Aroma of heavy sweet dark chocolate and caramel malts with a big, fresh grapefruity hoppy presence and some mild bourbon oaky notes with a touch of vanilla. Body starts full, sweet malty and viscous with lots of dense dark chocolate caramel and fresh resiny grapefruity flavor hops toward a sticky, bittersweet warming finish. Good balance of oaky bourbon throughout. A smooth, flavorful and enjoyable, dense, barrel-aged imperial stout.
TheAlum (6825) - Aurora, 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 doesn’t hurt. Warming, bourbon comes in fuller further in. This is nice, coats and sticks well, but is far too sweet for normal consumption.
BBB63 (6526) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - NOV 4, 2007
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: NOV 8, 2009 Rerate FoBAB 2009: Much less impressed this time around, this one seems too boozy and bourbon driven with band-aid notes. Kills the base beer character. perhaps it is the been redone with a newer vintage? AR: -1, FL -2, OV: -2
FoBAB 2007: Opaque with a huge creamy head and outstanding lace. The aroma has notes of coffee, charred malt, chocolate, fig, oak, and vanilla. The flavor starts with rich malt, chocolate and vanilla overtones. It is kind of fruity in the middle and tart towards the finish. There are moments of smoke and wood as well. The mouth feel is a tad thin and aggressive. A solid brew and worth a try, I suspect the barrel aging thinned out the mouth feel. Look forward to trying the regular version to see how it stacks up.
JK (5625) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - OCT 2, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: OCT 5, 2007 A very good beer, but not as incredible as standard Darkness. But fortunately, the bourbon hasn’t ruined the beer. It compliments, rather than overwhelms the flavors. As a beer that relies heavily on hops for its flavor, this might be a bit past its prime and has come to taste differently than probably intended. Bourbon in the aroma along with roasted malt and red wine. Flavor has slightly more bourbon that compliments the sweet malt and hops. Thick and heavy palate.
Cornfield (5570) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - NOV 24, 2007
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This poured out thick and black with a tall, creamy tan head. The aroma was heavy with Bourbon and alcohol (fine with me), also with burnt dark malt, cocoa, vanilla, oak, and dark caramel. Much the same with the flavor except that a sharp astringency developed near the finish that was something of a distraction. Otherwise, a dandy little beer.
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Skyview (5464) - Papoose Jct, Minnesota, USA - OCT 1, 2007
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Sampled on draught at the ABR 07 in Minneapolis, MN. Pours an opqaue almost black brew with a thick and slow dissolving tan head. Most excellent lacing. Aroma of dark roasted chocolate malt, coconut, bourbon, dry oak, and just a touch of vanilla. Taste is full bodied, very little carbonation with flavors of dark chocolate, coconuts, bourbon and some slight grassy hops. Finish is awesome. Smooth, near syrupy with a good balance of bourbon and dark malt with chocolate. Was it worth the wait in line for 25 minutes? Yeah. No problem!