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overall
100
99
style
Serve in Snifter

bottled
common

on tap
common

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 931   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.21   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 85   EST. CALORIES: 288   ABV: 9.6%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This massive Russian Imperial Stout brings waves of flavors; chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee. We add a touch of hops to make this delicious brew even tastier. 85 IBUs. Labels:

’07 = Grim Reaper
’08 = Devil
’09 = Mummy
’10 = Vampire
’11 = Zombie
’12 = Werewolf
’13 = Hell Demon
’14 = Harpy


4.7
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
sbroome (149) - Burnsville, Minnesota, USA - NOV 28, 2008
UPDATED: MAR 10, 2010 Thanks to the fantastic Cafe Twenty Eight for this fabulous rarity stll on tap... the famed Surly Darkness, in all it’s 8 oz. glory. Oily black appearance with a medium brown, frothy tan head. Smell’s sweet, almost candy-like. Mouth-feel is heavy and thick. First taste is sweet molasses and/or candy sugar. Definate roasty, complex and delicious. Afterwards, you taste the grapefruit and floral hops, although it’s disquised well. I tried the 2007 last year and definately enjoy the 2008 much more. Surly, perhaps it’s time to start bottling this gem of a beer on a regular basis.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ChainGangGuy (4373) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - NOV 28, 2008
2008 Vintage. Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a large, frothy, light tan head. Smell: Roasty, burnt malt nose with strong notes of dark chocolate liqueur, coffee, smoky creosote, and pine needles. Taste: Roasty, dark, chocolaty maltiness displays both depth and richness. A few spoonfuls of frothed cream pairs with a flavor of strong coffee. Bracing amount of sweetness present. Vinous fruity character. Touch of creosote. Strong pine and citrus hoppiness though not unreasonably so. The bitterness makes a decent attempt, but, for me, it doesn’t ever even begin to overtake the malt sweetness. Darkness finishes with a strapping roastiness and more unyielding sweetness. Mouthfeel: Decidedly full-bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Drinkability: Excellent melding of full flavors wrapped up in a dense, creamy body. I wasn’t disappointed. Nice work, Surly.

4.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
DMRz (230) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 27, 2008
2008 bottle. Pours an inky black-brown with a short lived dark brown head. Aromas of Godiva dark chocolate liquor, vanilla, and roasted bitter espresso beans. The flavor is pure pleasure: dark chocolate, cafe au lait, Madagascar vanilla beans, and roasted malt. Silky smooth with near perfectly concealed alcohol. None of the flavors are overpowering - this is the best stout I have tried to date, and it is hard for me to imagine anything superior to this amazing brew. Phenomenal!

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
AgentSteve (1614) - SF Bay Area, California, USA - NOV 27, 2008
UPDATED: NOV 14, 2009 ’08 bottle. Pours attractive deep brown with a dark tan head. Rich nose of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Had after Dark Lord, so this one seemed balanced in comparison in way of sweetness. Creamy mouthfeel and slight bitter finish.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
glkaiser (1214) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 27, 2008
On tap at Sheffield’s in Chicago. Tried for the first time about a year ago at Sheffield’s as well, but that sample was strong soy...figured it wasn’t the best representation. Poured dark black with creamy head. Lots of chocolate and sweet malt. A little soy comes through, but nothing like before. Much better. This beer’s strengh is definitely its drinkability for such a big beer. Smooth and minimal alcohol burn for a >10% beer. But, overall too sweet and I don’t get the deep roast and coffee flavors I love so much in big stouts.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Sammy (8627) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 27, 2008
Caught up with this at the Blue Nile in Minny. Black with huge off-beige head. Hoppy RIS.Sourness in first sip. The bitterness builds up, flows over the sugary finish. Integrated coffee, sugar to make it coffee liquor acceptable?ABove average mouthfeel. Better as warms up, was served a bit on cold side.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
fidel (1302) - Livermore, California, USA - NOV 21, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2008 Thanks faro99. Black, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, vanilla, roasted malts, slight hop finish.

4.8
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
dchmela (2640) - Orlando, Florida, USA - NOV 21, 2008
Thanks to Brent (Redlight) for giving me a sample. Yeah, it’s black and thick, you knew that. Huge dark fruit, raisin, plum, chocolate aroma, simply wonderful. Taste is what really struck me as amazing. This is liquid velvet, so smooth with an amazing balance of chocolate, dark fruit and oats. This is just stunningly awesome.

4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
JLAudio (282) - Crestwood, Illinois, USA - NOV 21, 2008
On tap at Sheffields bar (Chicago, IL). Poured into a goblet at perfect semi-cool temperature. Black opaque with a fantastic 3 finger tan head. The aromas of roasted malts hit my nose most predominantly along with chocolate, oak, and dark cherry. The mouthfeel was phenomenal, soft, velvety, and mouthfilling. It had slight, slight carbonation, it worked perfectly. The flavors were so refined and balanced, full of roasted chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, honey, and a slight bourbon. The IBU’s could be felt on the finish, along with a gentle warming of alcohol. Superb. One of the best imperials out there. Now I need to try in bottles.

3.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
GodOfThunder (1247) - Orlando, Florida, USA - NOV 21, 2008
Thanks to Redlight, the owner of the best beer bar in the South, for sharing this with the Orlando RateBeer crew. Dark black cherry color with a raspberry chocolate head. The smell is dense with oak, chocolate, berries and a hoppy tartness. This is certainly more hoppy than expected and it is filled with chewwy raisin bits. Smooth and thick, it goes down pretty easy. More sweet, bitter and tart than I was expecting, and not totally balanced. Still, it is good, but it could be better.


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