Review: Surly Darkness 2016


The greatest thing about being in Surly's only international market is having the ability to try a bunch of new Surly products without driving down to the States to try them! We've had so many treats so far from Xtra Citra to Damien, Hell Lager and Abrasive. The one beer all my beer geek snob buddies/acquaintances rave about is Surly's Darkness Russian Imperial Stout, it only comes out once a year and previously you'd have to go down to Minnesota to get it.. now it's available in Manitoba! Surly's 2016 edition of Darkness was released in Manitoba back in October, and Surly's 2017 edition was released just the other day. I'll be doing a review of the 2017 edition in next few weeks.

Appearance: Rich, dark, black stout with a dark brown hue to it. Moderate amount of burnt caramel head on top. Just your everyday Imperial Stout!

Aroma: Front up boozy and roasty. There's notes of coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, a bit of spiciness that gives it a bit of heat, molasses and a good amount of booziness (hint of rum and vanilla). 

Taste: The first impression I get is that I'm getting a medley of flavours all in one sip: There's a heaping dose of raisins, dark chocolate, molasses and a rich booziness. The more I'm drinking this, the more I get mild notes of chocolate covered cherries... which I'm not generally a fan of, but it works in this brew. It's boozy, giving off a light woodiness to it, a hint of vanilla, and a definite burn in the throat. Good deal of dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, earthy hops, and a light amount of spiciness at the the very end.

Overall Thoughts: This bottle retails for $30 CAD, which seems a bit much, but considering the exchange rate and it had to be imported to another country.. it's definitely worth the price. This is worth trying at least once (per year). I loved how complex and up front it was for the initial tasting, the fruitiness popping up here and there, and the roastiness.. which wasn't quite as roasty as most Russian Imperial Stouts I've had lately, was still great. 12% ABV

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