Received this in a recent trade with mully, thanks Matt! Bender pours dark mahogany, bordering on a dark brown, that glows when backlit. The craggy beige head grew to a finger on the pour and left good lacing on its way down.
Big aromas from a lower abv brew. First off is a big whiff of brown bread followed by a touch of rye like spiciness. Coffee, caramel and a swirling of vanilla join the party and make for an interesting brown. There's a mildly spicy, fruity hoppiness toward the back. Lots of complexity in the nose!
The flavor mirrors the aroma nicely. The only difference I come across is a (more than the nose suggested) generous hopping that are all at once fruity and spicy. I even get a touch of that leathery goodness found in some other brews. This is an exciting brown ale and I don't think I've ever said that before.
The oats add a nice creamy texture that really helps this beer stand apart. The body is medium and incredibly smooth.
The drinkability is way up there. The low(er) abv and big flavor make for a great session beer.
Another home run from Surly! This is an exciting, delicious brown ale. Keep it up over there guys.
Served In: Pint Glass
*Uploading my old reviews, this one has a review date of: 10-5-07. If I can acquire the beer again I will re-review it*
Thanks go out to metallitone1 for this extra!
Can’t pour this one into anything else but my Surly pint glass.
Pours a brown color with some ruby hints when held to light. Huge head on this one and it takes its time to settle down too.
Great aroma, the best smelling brown ale I’ve had so far. Big coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, hints of vanilla with some caramel or toffee notes.
Tastes like the aroma; it starts off a little subtle but the finish has a nice roasted malt and coffee flavor. A little hop finish, the Surly trademark. Some nutty flavors start to come out after the beer warms up a bit.
Mouthfeel is very good, almost silky and extremely easy to drink.
Served In: Pint Glass
Murky mahogany color with a ruby glow at the bottom and edges. A mediumish sized capping of soft, light cocoa colored foam sits a top with good stamina. Fades to a thin collar and the lacing sits well across the glass in a broken sheeting.
Aroma is fairly solid of dryish black malt and chocolate malt husks. Tipping towards a sweet side with dark caramel malts and a milky powdered cocoa sense. There's a nice little grassy hop note feathered into the husky tones thats quite nice.
Taste is rounded and immediate with a fairly full maltyness of caramel sliced with vanilla slivers, dustings of brown sugar, and breadish sweetness. Stays in place for good length adding oat barley flakes in there for some extra girth of sweetened breadyness before the sublime finish where it drys out with one fantastic realm of black malt-like grainyness and chocolate malt fluffyness. Slightly doughy but holds dry with a finely set tone of husk-like dryness. Very natural tasting and has a perky little hint to some grassy hops mixing in with the chocolatey dryness. A very nice taster. Nearly porter-like in stature.
Feel is fairly full and well-rounded; balance is slightly tilted in sweetness but then the finishing areas slide in with its intricately woven dryness pulling the sweetness off the tongue only leaving reminders of what once was. What's left is a bready smooth porter-like soothingness with a small grainy, dryish, chalky, chocolatey milken texture. Unique and wholey acceptable in its sensibility.
Fully drinkable and sessionable. At around 5% this stuff can be had at the bar for a good long while and then some, and not get to terribly tiresome either due to its intriguing finishing qualities. A very nice American Brown/Porter-esk hybrid of a beer.
Served In: Pint Glass
The Surly Brewing Company had intended from the start to create beers without definitions, that went beyond stylistic boundaries. With their initial releases, they have shown this ambition and realized it well. though we call this an American Brown Ale, it's much more than that, and seems like a porter at times, which is how the brewer described it as, an Oatmeal Brown Porter. And why not?
Burnt sienna body, a crisp mahogony hue, with ruby crimson feet. Warm cocoa-toned head, like a cappocino topping, lasts long into the life of the pint.
Aroma is lightly nutty, slightly sweet, some caramel/toffee notes, then reveals itself dry and roasty. Earthy, open, inviting. I like it.
The brew boards the palate with confidence and lets loose an array of flavors. Malt is the main ingredient here, and some compelling ones were put into play, several caramels, some chocolate, (to make it more of a brown porter than a robust one) some Belgian Special B (yum, I'm reminiscing on some favorite dubbels at times), and aromatic hops. Chocolate is here, nuts, and toffee, sweet for a second, then dry again, and toasty. The oats add an excellent amount of texture and grit to the mouthfeel that makes every sip something to savor.
Body is medium to full, but it's that texture that makes it memorable. It's smooth, but substantial, with a long, memorable finish, the flavors echo with every drop that rolls back over the tongue.
Here's a brown ale you can drink, and which makes you think. Rather than pass the time in between gulps of a light, uncomplicated sweetish brown brew, it grabs your attention and your palate and makes you wonder a bit about it, and ponder on what makes you like it so much. It's an excellent introductory brew for this upstart, as people can reach for it again and again over a night at the bar,("another Bender", you say to the barman, and pretty soon you're on one!) and still ponder on it's quality and taste, and come back for more the next night.
(notes: Feb, 2006)
Served In: Flute Glass
Review from 10/26/06
A - Beautiful dark cola brown. Transparent, but very dark brown. Fluffy, coffee like head that is about one inch thick.
S - Roasted malts dominate the nose. Coffee, caramel, and cocoa.
T - Almost like a lighter oatmeal stout. Coffee, cocoa, and roasted malts dominate the flavor. Hints of vanilla and oatmeal. Stale coffee. Slight citrus hop finish.
M - It is a "brown ale", so I guess I should consider this here. Light to medium bodied. Very smooth and clean.
D - I could drink a ton of this. Amazingly easy to drink.
Served In: Other
This dude pours a nice dark brown color. The brew is lacking in head. Very, very thin head that didn’t last very long. The head does stay along the eges on the way down. Smell is nto what I expected, a lttle weak. The taste is where it’s at with this one. Some malts in it, almost like a \"light porter\". Very drinkable, and I will definitely be getting more of this.
Served In: Pint Glass
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