beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - DEC 20, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Served very cold in a tulip-like goblet at Muddy Pig: Plain glossy black. No head was present when served on any of my orders? Iím sure, perhaps at point of pour there may have been, but I saw none. A glare of oily residue coats the glass while flecks and specks of lace frantically stick about the surface.
Heavy, dark, aroma of deep dark fruity tanged fig, raisin, with a nice rounded black malt sweetness. Crisp and fresh smelling at first wiff. Only slight smoked ascents at first but it grows with a delicate and gradual nudge as it warms. Creating more smoked bacon tendencies as it goes as does a bit more roasted deepness.
Wonderfully broad deep flavors. Clean, invitingly deep, lasting flavors of all sorts of malts with caramel smoothness, black malt sweetness, roasted malt dryness, and smoked malt tangyness. Mildly figgy and raisin paste make for a nice quick tang of a dark fruity nature upfront. The smoked meat flavors are a near perfect match as it is never overpowering in any fashion. Its just a mild yet fulfillingly rich and well blended tone all across the palate. Notes of burnt rubarb pie, black cracked pepper, cocoa, and vanilla create nice little additional things among the smokey realm of its character. Lots of subtle layers and melding flavors in this one. A smoked crockpot of malts if you will. Nice!
Body is smooth, clean, and partially silky with a well handled tang of dark fruit and smoke. Tends to get slippery real quick as its medium body isnít a thick monster of malt. Its quite casual and leads you easily into a lull of drinkin ease and great flavors.
The drinkability is outstanding! Ahhh, but here is where I think that term "Smoke" came from other then the obvious use of smoked malts. As its the ABV that renders itself like smoke from a fire smoldering in your head. It builds slowly at first, filling your head gradually with smoke, eventually, and before you know it your head is a blaze of swimming glee from the ABV. Wow, one sneaky fuckin beer! Watch out for this one, be sure to drink water to help slow the smoke. Whew...
brewblackhole (1588) - Muskego, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 16, 2007
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Aroma was slightly more roasted malt then smoke, little tidbits of smoke could be detected,but with Toddís usally ballsy approach,this seemed a little light,that being said it was a great raosted aromataste was chocolately,slight roasted coffeeand again light hints of smoke in the aftertaste,next batch tell the mallster to keep it on the beechwood a little longer. Still a great brew
Brewso (238) - Mt Kisco, New York, USA - DEC 16, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Tap Cafe 28 served teasingly in a Darkness Goblet. Saturday night before the Darkness bottle release- I toast all the people driving from other states and preparing to spend the night outside the brewery. I am in awe.
The aroma of Smoke is...well Smoke. Appearance is also tantalizingly similar to Darness- Solid black with a large cocoa head. The taste is pleasing milk chocolate and liquor. Mouthfeel is as silky as it gets. Without significant hop taste (unique for Surly) you really get a view of their craft expertise in how flawless the mouthfeel is. The smoke is by no means overwhelming but adds a dimension of interest to a baltic porter that would have been wonderful without it. The alcohol is surreptitious - its there but its not...kinda like smoke.
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didnít exist." (Usual Suspects).
ketchepillar (1172) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - DEC 16, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at brewery. Aroma: Strong smoked ham, a bit of fruitiness. Taste: pretty strong of smoked ham, dark dried fruits. Nice finish.
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap at the Blue Nile. First off... I am not a huge fan of smoked beers, nor am I big on porters, thus smoked porters generally arenít big for me. But leave it to Todd and the crew... Enticing aroma of lightly smoked moist wood. A hint of maple bacon. Nuanced smoke. Earthy with a touch of peat. Quite a lot of oak. Pours pitch black with a thin khaki head. Quite nice on the tongue. The smoke doesnít overpower the beer. Lightly charred wood, smoky malt, leather, burnt vanilla, bitter chocolate and dried coffee grounds. Rich and creamy. Full bodied. Finishes with a touch of earthy and smoky malt. By far the most nuanced smoked beer Iíve tasted. The smoked malt doesnít overpower the flavor and aroma, rather it enhances the beer. Nicely done!
WisconsinBeer (713) - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark viscous used motor oil color with a thick grimy head. Aroma is surprisingly light for a smoked beer. Smoke flavor is not overwhelming, but plays a nice complimentary roll. Medium bodied. Well done, as a lot of rauch beers seem to be heavy on smoke and light on body, which doesnít describe this beer at all. Thanks to Omar for breaking this out on tap during Darkness Day 12-15-07!
islay (1327) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
5 or 6 oz. pour, on tap at Mackenzie in Minneapolis. Consumed on 12-14-07. Coffee, chocolate, and plum scents from the malt. Sweet tobacco, leather, and black cherry, and curry scents from the smoke. Vanilla from the oak. Pronounced underlying sweetness in the aroma. Bitter smell that probably derives from the dark malts, but perhaps some may come from hops. The aroma is pleasant, but I wish it were stronger, especially the smoke component. The smell really isnít all that smoky. Pours a dark brown, almost black with a mahogany hue. Almost no head. Coffee bitterness is the primary initial taste. Some cigarette (as opposed to cigar) tobacco, but not much. Seems to be somewhat hoppy, but that may be an illusion from the dark malts, smoke, and oak. Sweet tobacco and sugar flavors emerge eventually. Alcohol not fully masked. Medium body. Soft and lively in the palate; typical Surly texture. Oak Aged Smoke is good, but, as a big fan of both Surly and smoked beers, I was hoping for more.
Tripplebrew (778) - Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
The aroma is light. It is pretty light. Not a typical smoked beer. There are no bacon flavors. Roasted malt, chocolate flavor. A medium bodied beer. There was quite a bit of a thick tan head. The beer was very dark. color of used oil. It was a good beer but I was hoping smoked factor would be a little stronger. overall it is a well balanced beer. Pretty strong too.
undsioux7 (825) - Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap on darkness day at brewery. Aroma of smoke, some hoppiness comes through. Nice sweetness, bitterness isnít really there. Nice beer.
grimreeser (797) - Minnesota, USA - DEC 15, 2007
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
On tap on darkness day at brewery. Aroma of smoke, some hoppiness comes through. Nice sweetness, bitterness isnít really there. According to one of the Surly guys, the smoke has mellowed nicely since ABR. Nice beer.