After several months of sitting in my fridge and repeated trips to and from my parents ending in unsuccessful sampling, I have finally come to the perfect tasting time. Amidst the feet of snow on the suburban Minnesota lawn out the window, and a long night ahead, a beer brewed with coffee seemed the perfect combination. Relax and re-energize, right there in the same bottle.

It looked a typical stout, dark as can be, perhaps a few dark brown tones around the mostly black center. The head was puffy, fluffy almost, like a frosting-topped cupcake. It dwindled before my first sip, but laced like the shed skin of a snake, in tan strips above the opaque liquid. The scent is sweet, molasses, brown sugar and roasted coffee beans. Its one of the few stouts that I could tell you was brewed with coffee, before being told that it was by the label or a review from The Perfectly Happy Man (wink).

Its incredibly smooth, although not as thick as many stouts. Almost somewhere between a heavy porter and your standard stout. The bitter of the coffee and hops kicks in full gear on the finish. It is a linger of burnt and roasted grains and coffee. That finish hangs on for a long time, too. Compared with other milk stouts, it is definitely dominated by the coffee and roast elements, rather than the sweetness of the milk sugar. There is a caramel hint, right at the outset, that is soon overtaken by the others. Overall, the fourth Surly special creation was an enjoyable one. I’m definitely looking forward to Five next month!