In a blind tasting by BJCP trained experts, this beer rated


Surly Brewing Company Darkness 2013

Aroma: “Rich malt sweetness. Full of chocolate and cocoa. Nice roast character and some sweet dark fruit, raisin, plum prune notes. Slight hints of coffee. Well aged—raisins and light alcohol.”

Flavor: “Rich and full bodied—what an explosion of flavor! It’s very sweet but the alcohol dries out the finish nicely. Everything the nose promised is here: malt complexity, warmth, and fine aging. Roast quality meshes well with the other malt flavors and the raisin/dried fruit richness is welcome. High in alcohol for sure, but the higher alcohol meshes well with the malt and it seems well aged.”

Overall: “A beautiful example—chewy and rich, designed for sipping, and not too hot. This beer has all of the characteristics of a great imperial stout. It’s rich, complex, roasty, and huge with some obvious age to it. Sweet yet complex with the right amount of bitterness in a supporting role. Smells and tastes like a gift from the back corner of the cellar.”