shigadeyo (3296) - Harrison, Ohio, USA - JAN 14, 2009
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
<b>1/14/2009</b>: Surly Darkness has a nearly black color with red highlights and a dense, tan-colored head. This beer has a seriously rich and caramelized aroma accompanied by welcomed vineous and sweet orangy-citrus hoppiness. The flavor is quite sweet with a predominent orage citrus syrup hop flavor. That runs throughout the flavor and is integrated into the rich, creamy milky chocolate and sweet caramelized maltiness. This beer is full bodied and it is unbelieveably smooth (smoother and creamier than milk) and nothing like I expected. However, if it isn’t anything in your mouth though, it is sticky as crap everywhere else. It isn’t the typical chocolate/coffee/roasty impy stout. This is something more and very difficult to describe. The hop flavors are large, but well-balanced - no well-integrated - into the other underlying flavors. The flavor and texture just hangs there. Wow, very interesting and different and memorable and very different that any other Imperial Stout that I have had.
<i>750 ml black wax-sealed bottom shared by alexsdad06. Wow, thanks a ton Brad. Damn fine brew! Rating #268 for this beer.</i>
nbutler11 (1267) - Rota, SPAIN - JAN 13, 2009
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: NOV 21, 2009 Rating #400. Bottle courtesy of Ed at Heritage. Quite possibly the most generous act of beer sharing I have yet to see. Cracked this at the 09er for friends. Pours like motor oil with a pillowy tan head. Smells of charcoal, wood, and hops which carry into the flavor. Very earthy. Tastes of added notes of dark fruit, caramel, bakers cocoa, and faint coffee. Noticeable alcohol on the finish. Dangerously drinkable.
RERATED: On tap at Hop Leaf. Pours inky black with a reddish brown head. Aggressive with grapfruity hops, smoked bacon, and soy sauce. Puts a hurt on your palate. Drinking a pint of this felt like an accomplishment.
Dough77 (821) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - JAN 13, 2009
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark black pour. Nose of chocolate notes, cocoa, malt, coffee, and alcohol. Was pretty solid, but maybe too hopped for my big-dark stout liking. I like some hop for sure, but it was actually a little harsh. Glad I didn’t overpay for a bottle, but would love to get a sampling of a year old bottle for sure.
tjthresh (1867) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - JAN 12, 2009
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours midnight black with plenty of brown head. Nose of soy sauce, and all of the hops that I have been told that are in this beer. The flavor is different to say the least. It starts of with some maple, then slips into a big date or fig finish. I get all the hops in the finish as well. Full body but it seems to be easily drinkable. Gosh...believe the hype.
BVery (8065) - Plymouth, Minnesota, USA - JAN 12, 2009
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: OCT 25, 2014 TAP: at Stub & Herb’s in Minneapolis - was lucky enough to get a pint at the 2008 release party. Pours jet black with a tan head. Aroma is rich, roasty, chocolate, dark fruits, hops, and the taste is similar, along with caramel and the higher ABV presence. Tremendous beer with lots of character - quite possibly the best beer I have ever had.
Re-Rate: was able to try 2008 (tap) and 2009 (tap) side-by-side (thanks Al!). I get a little more fig/port flavor out of the 2008, and a little more hop out of the 2009. The hop profile may be a function of aging, but it seems as though the flavor is different as well. I prefer the 2008.
Re-Rate: 2010 is here! Had it on tap at Blue Nile and at Pracna. Still the deep rich pour with the foamy chocolately head. I get a little bit of tart cherry in this year’s batch - just a bit hiding in there. Hop profile / roastiness seems comparable to the 2009 version. Plenty of chocolate in this.
2011 is here! I’m getting more bitter hop profile and smooth chocolate this year. Still awesome.
2012 is here! Seems to be a throwback to a few years prior when the beer was a bit sweeter - this is awesome.
2013 is here! This is very sweet, perhaps overly so. Still rich and awesome.
3.16.2013: just did a 2008-2012 5 year vertical of this: my order is 2008, 2010, 2009, 2011, 2012. 2010 is amazing. 2008 is ridiculous.
2014 is here! Rating the non-barrel aged version here. Again, very sweet, but still as decadent as ever.
kiefdog (1826) - Tampa, Florida, USA - JAN 11, 2009
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
courtesy of tpd975. Pours a murky pitch black with tannish-yellow head that clings to the sides of the glass. Aroma is roasted and malty with notes of floral hops, ripe dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, some caramel and honey notes. Flavor is intense with notes of roasted malts, coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, ripe dark fruit, molasses, candy sugar, chocolate fudge. Full bodied with a pleasing malty and chocolatey finish. Truly worth the hype.
sloth (2648) - Ceciltucky, Co., Maryland, USA - JAN 11, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Medium brown head, good retention and lace. Black body. Nose of hops surprisingly hits first, sorta piney and citrusy, backed with dark roast and chocolate notes. Medium body, slick on the palate though light for an Impy, some extra carbonation i guess? The usual chocolate, roast notes with the hops sliding in there for an extra flavor boost. Hints of coffee and light dark fruit notes. A nice fairly dry roasty, long finish. Nice Impy., Over rated? Ummm yeah, but nice none the less. The first batch must of been killer?! Props to GMCC2181 for sharing this highly rated brew. You rock Gabe! Almost forgot, props to footbalm for one of these badboys to age and try at a later date, thanks Eric!!
eaglefan538 (2958) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JAN 10, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: JAN 30, 2010 Wow, another embarrasment by GMCC2181, offering up a finer selection that I even have in my cellar at the SSSSLT. Pour was dark black with chocolate colored head, steady retention. The Aroma was strong Pac-NW hops, citrus and pine, really way more than anything in the base beer, not sure I would even have told you blindly the style. Flavor was very nice although not what I expected, the hops playing a flavor role (not adding a ton of bitterness), chocolate notes at the fore, yet vinous and dark fruits very prominent. The mouthfeel was much thinner than I expected and also featured some acidity and carbonation to keep it pretty clean. A nice brew, but overhyped a bit too. Thanks, Gabe, very generous of you, finally the Darkness is downed! Re-rate at NSSRQSOSLT, 1/10, bottle shared by Swolf3, thanks Steve! This thing did much better this time around, big full brew, nice deep rich flavors, chocolate, dark fruits, vinous, hoppy reinforcement all the way. Excellent brew, going up in numbers, but still probably a little bit overhyped?
emacgee (4406) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - JAN 10, 2009
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Huge thanks to Turd for sharing this. Pours a thick viscous dark black that allows some light on the edges, sits black. Nice two finger chestnut brown head. The nos is rich and fruity, mild soy, roasty, bitter chocolate and coffee, some phenolic character, mild alcohol. The flavor is rich and chocolaty, definitive hop feel, dark fruits, waxy hop bitterness, sweet. Has a very young feeling about it. I would love to try this in about 6 months. As Jason said mouthfeel is above and beyond a 5. Very full and silky, rich and warming. George Kastanza would love to drape this velvety treat about his squat frame.
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - JAN 9, 2009
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle shared by Turdferguson - thanks, Sam!!! First of all, palate is a hardcore 5! One of the most enjoyable mouthfeels of all time. You kind of knew from the creamy, inky pour, almost like Guiness on cask but with a big aggressive nose. Oddly, the aroma was fruity and yeasty, much like a Belgian stout or something (Sloth?). But there are enough hops and roasted malts in the flavor to balance this out. They manage to strike just the right balance between these two, mostly opposed stout tendencies, and have created a memorable beer that lives up to the hype. YUM.