Oct 13, 2017

Surly Furious Black

Ah, yes, the black IPA. It is a fickle thing. How does one balance a pungent hop profile with the characteristics of a dark-malt based brew. Get it wrong and you’ve got an unbalanced mess of a beer with flavors that don’t play well with one another. Get it right, and well, you’ve got yourself a treat. Surly Brewing’s Furious Black gets it right.

This black IPA from Minneapolis was only available the past couple of years during Surly’s annual Darkness Day festival, but as you can see in the photos, it’s being released in bottles for the first time. The company has taken their flagship Furious IPA and dunked it into a vat of blackened gloom, altering its very core and sending any one who drinks it into a swirling maelstrom of evil… or maybe Surly simply added some roasted barley late in the lautering process instead. The details are hazy.

Regardless, what you have here with Furious Black is a beer that delivers a telltale hop-driven IPA flavor profile packed with resinous pine and luscious citrus notes, as well as an incredibly smooth inclusion of roasty notes and a dark cola brown appearance. Hints of coffee, cocoa and a gentle roastiness arrive first with each sip before swiftly, yet deftly transitioning to full on pine and citrus hop flavors. That shift is nearly immediate and incredibly smooth as this medium bodied brew presents a moderate amount of bitterness, eventually leading to a long lasting and lightly drying finish.

I’ve only had Surly’s Furious once before, several moons ago so I can’t faithfully use my memory to make a comparison with Furious Black. What I can tell you, as a passing fan of black IPAs, is that this one is good — real good. I love the balance and transition the beer makes from that smooth roast to full-on IPA pine/citrus profile. I would surely purchase this brew if it were ever to become available in my neck of the woods.

This is a review of a promotional sample.