Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Surly Darkness Review

Name: Surly Darkness
Style: Imperial Stout 
ABV: 10.3%

Every fall, one of the most highly anticipated craft beers in Minnesota is released by Surly Brewing which is their Darkness. How highly anticipated you ask? Some stores have to release it in waves to ensure everyone gets a fair shot at getting it and some stores sell out of their entire supply in less than half an hour. This isn't some $5 bomber either, it ranges in price anywhere from $17-25.

Since we didn't get this here in Duluth until about 3 days or so after they sold out of it in the Twin Cities, procuring a bottle of this was much less of a hassle than it was when I first got it. And by "less of a hassle" I mean not having to call ahead or be put on a list.

The bottle artwork also changes yearly as well and it always looks pretty badass. A couple years ago, when I first had it, it depicted a zombie holding a snifter glass. This year it's a Hell Demon holding a chalice as it's face is melting off. If anyone from Surly happens to stumble upon this blog, next year have Cthulhu as your artwork. Just saying!

It goes without saying that there's a good chance that by the time you are reading this, every bottle of this year's Surly Darkness will either be consumed or cellared for aging purposes. In my case, it was consumed!

Darkness pours a pitch black color with a foamy khaki-colored head. There isn't any visible carbonation and the lacing it leaves behind is great.

The nose has a strong chocolate, vanilla and cherry scent about it. Complimenting this are roasted malts & barley with some light smokey notes. For some reason, I'm expecting this to be barrel aged given my initial impressions and they apparently do have a barrel aged Darkness.

In the flavor I'm getting chocolate nibs, vanilla, cherries, and dark fruity notes. This is supported by a stronger smokiness, chocolate malts and roasted barley and some mild but noticeable hoppiness. The flavor as a whole is very rich and robust.

It's got a very smooth and creamy body that is light weight and almost free from carbonation. You should have no trouble drinking this at all.

Simply put, Darkness is a beer that you must experience for yourself. It has everything you'd want out of an Imperial Stout and more which makes it one of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had. Since it is more than likely sold out for 2013, try and seek this out if you can next year around the end of October. Trust me, it'll be worth it!

Surly Darkness - 9.75/10

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