2016 Darkness by Surly brewing

14940021_10103680153175500_3389432619380915674_o 14853029_10103680153205440_3766869538666307885_oRating: 6.35/7

2016 Darkness by Surly brewing is a 12% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout.

Label:
The legendary hound of Hades Cerberus was said to guard the gates of the Underworld, preventing the dead from leaving. In this year’s art by Adam Martin, he also protects a massive stash of Surly Darkness. Go ahead and try to grab one. If his three heads don’t get you, his snake-headed tail certainly will.

This massive Russian Imperial Stout contains notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, and raisins. It finishes sweet, with a piney resinous hop character.

You can drink this now, or hoard it like Cerberus, it’s up to you if you want to be a bit more generous with it than he is.
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==Introduction==

Wow… Stronger this year it seems. 12% ABV is what many sites are giving this one and plainly it is awesome. Surly beers don’t show an ABV and sometimes, some beers won’t have any ABV listed anywhere but for 12% that is really cool. Darkness has been a very important beer. It represents the Dark Lord in the state of Minnesota similar to how California has Black Tuesday and Texas has La Muerta. Of course, as the years go by, the hype for specialty stouts change. Like right now, one of the biggest stouts people are hyped about here in California is the Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation. A stout I will probably not bring to the site until it becomes easier available. Anyways, every year I bring this beer to the site and every year it is always one to the masses. Let’s take a look at it shall we? Cheers!
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Aromas:
Dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, molasses, anise, mild rum, leather, tobacco, toasted bread on blackberry jam, rich sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake, crème brulee, tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, stone fruit mango, peaches, apricot, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate, chocolate mousse, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy and oak.

Flavors:
Deep Dark Abyss of 4th dimensional chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, Belgian and German chocolates, stone fruit mango right off, peaches, apricot dark fruit raisins, prunes, currants, raspberries, plums, figs, dark cherries, molasses, anise, tropical guava, dragon fruit, passion fruit grapefruit, tangerine gummies, citrus, oranges marshmallows, lechera sweetened condensed milk, crème brulee, whipped cream, plantains, chocolate mango, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy, bourbon hints, bananas, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, maple syrup, earthy hop notes, stone fruit peaches and cream, mocha, coffee cake, cherry Dr. Pepper hints, rocky road ice cream, almond joy chocolates, toasted coconut, grahama crackers, double chocolate cake and cherry chocolate mousse.

Aftertaste:
Rich Chocolate mango, coffee, tropical fruit like dragon fruit, passion fruit, earthy notes, oak, rye bread, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, banana, dark fruit raisin, blackberry preserves, coconut, fruit cake, pecan pie and other sweet goodies. No alcohol in the taste, dark abyss, 5th dimensional dark matter body (I can see a black hole forming), smooth velvety, chewy and silky mouthfeel and a dangerously easy drinkability as past iterations.

Overall:
Supremely above Exceptional and definitely something is different with this one. I think with the additional ABV, the more malts that went into it and certainly enhances the flavor to new heights. A rich complex and sweet stout that has reminiscent flavors of tropical fruit hints. Absolutely one of my favorite beers for being hard to get for sure. They released the Barrel aged version of this one but I think my last review of the brew with the bourbon barrel one does it justice so I will leave it be. However, for this beer, if you have not ever had this one before of if you are a fan of this one, I strongly and highly recommend you find a way to get your hands on this piece of gold!!!
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Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill was chosen in the previous versions of this beer. Every year I try to find as many details as I can as to why she fits with the iterations of the brew. For starts, the red and white of the label pair well with the evil version of her which is the white one with Junketsu as well as the blood. The aspect of Cerberus for her comes with the different versions of (2 Junketsus and the regular Senketsu version which is the one black armor). Maybe a stretch for sure but I definitely love pairing her with each year’s version since the first time I tried it.
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Sources:
https://danbooru.donmai.us/data/__junketsu_and_matoi_ryuuko_kill_la_kill_drawn_by_takatsuki_nato__b716e63ddef98837323fdb232372b08e.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/pcNT5vs.jpg
https://www.rpnation.com/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FsST0chF.jpg&key=3b91f57e98d7828abb73c9cb94fd8f54189127f251490e7c84ed1b9fe8b343bd
http://i.imgur.com/rqACHxM.jpg
http://67.media.tumblr.com/097550c0e49e04ad47080ab498657833/tumblr_nsu1965O2I1u6f6neo1_1280.jpg

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2015 Darkness & Barrel Aged Darkness by Surly brewing (Double Review)

10660163_10102989070181360_1084719787016361949_nThe time has come for another yearly review of Minnesota’s equivalent of Dark Lord Day (Darkness Day), Surly Darkness! If you were lucky to have the 2014 version of Darkness, there was only one release at the time that was both the original but also aged in Rye Whiskey. This time, they released both the original non-barrel aged and the barrel aged versions. Today I will bring you the review for the original brew for this year and the Whiskey Barrel variant. Both beers, though a pretty penny, I was able to get through online means. If you want to get this one, you can try and find them at www.mybeercollectibles.com or best your chance to trade. Regardless, I want to see if these beers are worth the trade but also want let you know if they are worth it to save you some time. Who am I kidding, ofcourse these are awesome! Then again, let’s see if they have changed over the years too. Cheers!

2015 Darkness*
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1610051_10102989070595530_524251208855766257_n 10608207_10102989070944830_3916456067613084757_o 857538_10102989071438840_5975169059840529456_o
2015 Darkness by Surly brewing is a 10.3% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout.

Label:
Our 2015 vintage bottling of Darkness features a screeching bat-nightmare by local artist Brandon Holt.

No creature is more adept at navigating in the Darkness than a bat. Emerging from a deep and ancient cave, this year’s twisted nocturnal creature has evolved a set of adaptations well suited to detecting and devouring uncommon nourishment.

Notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, and raisins emirate from his lair. If you can evade the talons and teeth, the think body of this Russian imperial stout finishes sweet, with a piney resinous character.
___

Aromas:
Rich sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake, crème brulee,tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, stone fruit mango, peaches, apricot, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate, chocolate mousse, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy, oak, dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, molasses, anise, mild rum, leather, tobacco and toasted bread on blackberry jam.

Flavors:
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, fudge chocolate, stone fruit mango, peaches, apricot, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, chocolate mousse, capirotada raisins bread pudding, peaces and cream, tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, molasses, anise, dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, cherry Dr. pepper, rocky road ice cream, maple syrup, raspberries, marshmallows, graham cracker smores, toasted coconut, flan, earthy notes, mild rum, leather, tobacco, toasted bread on blackberry jam, rye bread, tres leches cake, lechera sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, plantains, chocolate mango, brown sugar, honey, dark candi sugar, fruit cake, pecan pie, almond joy and bourbon hints.

Aftertaste:
Rich Chocolate mango, coffee, tropical fruit like dragon fruit, passion fruit, earthy notes, oak, rye bread, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, banana, dark fruit raisin, blackberry preserves, coconut, fruit cake, pecan pie and other sweet goodies. No alcohol in the taste, dark abyss body, smooth velvety and silky mouthfeel and a dangerously easy drinkability like before.

Overall:
It has been a long time since I tried the original. The 2014 one was straight up barrel aged and that one was super amazing. So the original is definitely true to when I tried it back in 2013. Damn luscious evil, darkness, black magic, abysmal craziness. If you have never tried this beer, you have to get your hands on this one or any of the previous variants. This is always ridiculous to the core. A true Dark Lord of its own arts!

2015 Barrel Aged Darkness
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10334387_10102989072207300_1700630853551401295_n 1571_10102989072691330_8408251456470671156_n

2015 Barrel Aged Darkness by Surly brewing is a 12% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout aged in High West Rye Whiskey Barrels.

Label:
(Same as The 2015 Darkness)
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Aromas:
Dark cherries, prunes, plums, currants, raisins, blackberries, vinous Caramel, dulce de leche caramel, rye whiskey, bourbon, marshmallows,oak, vanilla, Danish cream, Khalua coffee, mocha, leather, tobacco, Bubulubu chocolate, capirotada raisins bread pudding, Rich bananas, Flan, tres leches cake, vanilla, crème brulee, grilled plantains, platano burro, brown sugar, pecan pie, Gansito Chocolate berry pastry, honey, graham crackers, waffle cone, stone fruit peaches, chocolate mangos, mature mangos and hazelnut nectar.

Flavors:
Rich bananas, Flan, tres leches cake, vanilla, crème brulee, grilled plantains, platano burro, brown sugar, pecan pie up front, rye whiskey, bourbon, marshmallows, smores chocolate, campfire hints, maple syrup, dark cherries, prunes, plums, currants, blackberries, oreo cookies and cream, rocky road ice cream, Dr. Pepper cherry, stone fruit peaches, chocolate mangos, mature mangos, molasses, anise, fruit cake, almond joy chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, dark chocolate, leather tobacco, Gansito Chocolate berry pastry, honey, graham crackers, waffle cone, Danish cream, Khalua coffee, mocha, leather, tobacco, Bubulubu chocolate, capirotada raisins bread pudding, candi sugar, milk sugar, hazelnut nectar, tropical fruit like passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, tangerines, citrus, oranges, whipped cream, ice cream cake, chocoflan, chocolate cheese cake, port wine, Vinous Caramel and more.

Aftertaste:
Rich berries, rich coconut, vanilla, dulce de leche, rye whiskey, tropical chocolate mango, dark fruit raisins, figs, leather, dark cherries, fruit cake, pecan pie, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallows, chocolate smores, tres leches cake, and almond joy lingers. Super Rich. No alcohol in the taste despite this being strong ABV. The drinkability of super easy is quite dangerous. This beer treads the neither regions of dimensions of what truly is, a full dark body, smooth velvety, rich, syrupy and creamy mouthfeel.

Overall:
Talk about going head to head with some of the greats out there especially Black Tuesday from the Bruery, Three Floyds Dark Lord Imperial Stout and others like them. Rye Whiskey barrel aged version is more complex as this addition gives way transforming the original but also makes it more complex with varying temperatures. For only being able to purchase one per person at the Darkness Day Event, I am very grateful to the person who gave up theirs in order for us to have a chance to post it to the website. Such a damn honor and cheers to you good sir or m’am! As for you, the reader, I think it is definitely worth it to find this one. It be a rare whalez!

Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill was chosen in the previous versions of this beer. This year, since the barrel aged version is golden labeled, I am pairing also the Ryuko version with Senketsu Kisaragi. For those that do not know this form, it is the one that looks like she turned super saiyan from Dragon Ball Z increasing her power exponentially like the way the original Darkness power was increased by the process of Rye whiskey Barrel Aging. Each beer in its own means is delicious and evil as I show case the version of Ryuko when she was evil using Juunketsu (The White armored version). The original time I used Ryuko in 2013 was the original form with Senketsu so I paid tribute to that by bringing forth the Ryuko plushie in this pairing.
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Final Judgment:
Absolutely love them both. The Rye Whiskey version bring out more of the rye and whiskey flavors and mild the hoppy mango flavors although they are still present as the beer warms up. So definitely depending on your taste, you can choose one or the other but they are a damn fine collection worth having.

Sources:
http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/734/568/c3d.jpg
http://i1.pixiv.net/img-original/img/2014/03/31/21/12/59/42604840_p0.png
https://im1.ibsearch.xxx/9/43/265ecaa4c0d5f8c785419d982c939.png
http://cs627722.vk.me/v627722304/b5fe/viblojSJFyM.jpg
http://nowere.net/p/src/1440672835871.png
http://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2014/34/1408797252-sample-4000c119b28b5aecc2ae23c16a292504.jpg

Rating: 6.25/7* 2015 Darkness
Rating: 7/7* 2015 Barrel Aged Darkness

2014 Darkness by Surly brewing

1509689_10102186509978440_6829349576157779259_n 10306075_10102186510342710_2982500445631121598_nRating: 6.2/5

2014 Darkness by Surly brewing is a 10.4% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in High West Rye Whiskey Barrels.

Label:
Covet the Darkness
The legendary Harpy tortured unwary travelers by stealing their precious food and drink. This year’s cruel creature defends her cauldron of Darkness with razor claws and a dead stare of malevolence. Don’t mess with her Darkness.

She’s hoarding this massively opaque barrel aged Stout screaming with notes of chocolate, coffee, dried tart cherries, vanilla, rye whisky and raisins. The thick body of this Russian Imperial Stout finishes sweet, with a piney resinous hop character.

Dare if you will to open the bottle and steal from the imagination of our 2014 Darkness artist, Erica Williams.

See more at: http://mnbeer.com/2014/07/29/darkness-2014-artwork-from-erica-williams/#sthash.HpMuBrV3.dpuf

Omar Ansari
Todd Haug
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As Rick James would say: Darkness… darkness is spreading, black, midnight, evil, black magic, raw darkness and cold as ice. This beer is all that and more and especially since this year’s version is barrel aged. The 2013 was insane too but to try this one, well let’s just say this one may only be better than the original but we will definitely have to see how dark this beer goes and if we can even come out of this evil beer alive. Either way, maybe you should still consider getting this one even if don’t read further. The Devil’s water is pretty sweet!

Aromas:
Rich bananas, old matured bananas, rich mango, rich matured bananas, plantains, oranges citrus, grapefruit, papaya, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, dark fruit raisins, currants, dark cherries, dulce de leche caramel, molasses, whiskey, oak , vanilla, rye bread on black berry toast, leather, tobacco, anise, mint, stone fruit, peaches, apricots, flan, sweetened condensed milk lechera, dragon fruit, passion fruit, guava, honey, brown sugar, pecan pie, marshmallow smores, toasted coconut and molasses.

Flavors:
Rich bananas, plantains, whipped cream, pecan pie, rich matured bananas, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, chocolate covered mango, vanilla, oak, bourbon, whiskey, leather, tobacco, toasted bread on blackberry jam , dulce de leche caramel, oak, rye bread , dark fruit raisins, prunes, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, mocha, roasted coffee, brown sugar, cherry Dr. pepper, rocky road ice cream, maple syrup, stone fruit peaches and cream, molasses, grapefruit, passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, citrus, oranges, flan, cinnamon, capirotada raisin bread pudding, anise, raspberries, marshmallows, graham cracker smores, toasted coconut, flan, earthy notes, mild rum, brandy, almond joy, pecan pie, herbs, fruit cake, sweetened condensed milk lechera, brown sugar and honey.

Aftertaste:
Very rich banana, dark chocolate, mango, dragon fruit, passion fruit, Earthy notes, dulce de leche, vanilla, oak, bourbon, whiskey rye bread, dark fruits like raisins, blackberry preserves, leather, coconut, dark cherries, fruit cake, pecan pie and more! No alcohol In the taste despite it’s ambiguity, smooth and silky yet syrupy mouthfeel, dangerously easy to drink but should be sipping, pitch black body beyond the chaos and unseen realms of dimensional dark existence.

Overall:
If the original wasn’t as awesome, how about aging it in some really nice High West Rye Whiskey Barrels to amplify this one into further realms of taste, smell and overall, beer experience. This one just kept pushing and pushing and pushing deeper and deeper into the abyss of flavors to the point where I was not sure if I got everything I tasted. All I knew was just how damn great this was. I am sure the 2014 Dark Lord Barrel Aged would do just the same but that Barrel aging surely brought it to the new level that mainly says to really search this one out. It is no joke. It is damn good.

Anime Corner:
Ryuko Matoi from Kill LA Kill was used once again in this special pairing. One of my favorite anime girls makes her return in her evil form. In the show, when she is brainwashed, she is forced to wear Junketsu which is that white uniform she has making her way stronger than her original form and pure evil. There is a lot of blood spilled when they try to fight her and her spilling of blood and tearing up a wedding dress is like that of the harpy in the label. She is sweet but she is not so forgiving in this form. While this is not her ultimate form, which she becomes more of an angel, this fits the evil in her heart when she really lost her way and even in the darkness, there is still hope and that is why this beer is very rich and sweet.

Sources:
https://33.media.tumblr.com/0a86c14eface4524e9646bd1a90dd8e2/tumblr_n88xbb0JFw1qfb777o5_500.jpg
http://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2014/34/1408797252-sample-4000c119b28b5aecc2ae23c16a292504.jpg