1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Bear Stout - Barrington Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Black Bear StoutBlack Bear Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

38 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 15.52%
Wants: 2
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Barrington Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  ABV ?

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-28-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by almychristopher:
Photo of almychristopher

New York

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer pours a dark brown, with a nice tan head that fades quickly to a ring of lacing, the aroma brings a great roasted malt smell with the typical coffee aroma. the taste follows woth the delicious toasted malt flavor dominating right through to the sweet finish. good mouthfeel and co2 make this a nice drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2011 17:11:46 | More by almychristopher
More User Reviews:
Photo of Juanziac


4/5  rDev +1.8%

07-19-2014 23:14:09 | More by Juanziac
Photo of grahuba


3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

03-09-2014 17:33:20 | More by grahuba
Photo of civicm87

New York

3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

02-03-2014 01:15:23 | More by civicm87
Photo of Teddy-Pickles


4/5  rDev +1.8%

11-23-2013 00:24:56 | More by Teddy-Pickles
Photo of MLaVioletteJr


2.75/5  rDev -30%

11-18-2013 00:43:18 | More by MLaVioletteJr
Photo of MattXT


4/5  rDev +1.8%

11-12-2013 00:12:06 | More by MattXT
Photo of nebula1999


3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

10-20-2013 01:04:24 | More by nebula1999
Photo of vfgccp

New York

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

10-08-2013 21:31:33 | More by vfgccp
Photo of julie3231


2.25/5  rDev -42.7%

08-09-2013 23:15:17 | More by julie3231
Photo of jbertsch


2/5  rDev -49.1%

08-09-2013 23:13:36 | More by jbertsch
Photo of Tiernan


4/5  rDev +1.8%

08-01-2013 15:48:45 | More by Tiernan
Photo of rorjets


4/5  rDev +1.8%

08-01-2013 14:42:02 | More by rorjets
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewpub on July 26, 2013.

The pour is very enticing with its deep brown to near black color. The head is moderate. The look is top of the line.

On the nose I get a pretty obvious coffee grinds note and roasted malts. In some ways it smelled like a Porter.

The body was a little thinner than I might have liked but basically in line with Guinness.

As for the taste - again with the coffee grinds! There are also dark malts and a slightly dry ending. There were other brews in this pub I preferred.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2013 02:08:15 | More by puboflyons
Photo of PEIhop


4/5  rDev +1.8%

11-23-2011 17:39:31 | More by PEIhop
Photo of paulmcm


5/5  rDev +27.2%

11-15-2011 17:25:36 | More by paulmcm
Photo of jondeelee


3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring an opaque black, Black Bear Stout opens with a rich, malty nose, smelling much like the interior of a brewery: heavily yeasty and ripe with grain aromas, somewhat resembling baking wheat or marble rye bread. The grain aromas are lighter than would be expected for a stout, with only subtle hints of darker chocolate and black malt aromas, as well as black coffee and ash. These are tempered by brown sugars and vanilla, and smell delicious.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a big, black mouthful of coffee grinds and tobacco, the bitter, charred flavors apparently trying to make up for their relative lack of presence on the nose. Huge on ash and char, these initial flavors are soon joined by bits of brown sugar, vanilla, pepper, and anise, but the latter flavors have to fight constantly to get themselves noticed, and often lose the battle--especially towards the end of the mouthful, as the sugars die off. The overall effect is somewhat like eating the burnt crusts of a slightly spiced and peppery loaf of artisinal wheat bread. The aftertaste is almost exclusively tobacco ash and black malt char, with just enough sugars remaining to make it palatable, and lingers for some time. Mouthfeel is a surprisingly watery medium to medium-light (given the potency of the flavors), and carbonation is medium.

Overall, there is certainly no doubt that this beer is a stout, and the word "black" in the title is equally opportune. As a whole, the beer does push slightly too far in favor of the charred flavors, somewhat forsaking them for the sugars, and I would have liked at least some discernible dark fruit esters (such as fig or black cherry) to help balance things out. Still, the beer is by no means unpalatable, and if char and ash are what you want, this will most certainly provide them in abundance.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 22:27:10 | More by jondeelee
Photo of smcolw


4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light does pass on the edge of the motor-oil brown color. The head settles to a set rim bubbles, but they do leave some streaky lace.

Very nice over-toasted bread aromas, just shy of burnt. Notable hop smell in the background.

The taste is more "burnt" toast. The hop is oddly less evident. The body is rich without being oily. The carbonation is correct for the body.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2011 20:20:10 | More by smcolw
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome! It has a good mix of black and chocolate malts; coffee-like with a touch of chocolate. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth black/roasted malt character; dry and earthy with a touch of chocolate malt sweetness. It goes down quick and easy with a thin, dry finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good stout. The aroma is incredible. My only complaint is the lack of body and the carbonation level. It seems to have a tad too much CO2.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 18:31:01 | More by WesWes
Photo of Kendo

New York

3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on 2/4/11. Bottle - purchased on Great Barrington at a local package shop for about $4 after snowtubing at Butternut - is notched with a freshness date of April.

A: Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. Body is black with a smallish chocolate-brown head. Occasional legs, but no real lace.

S: Roasty malt, roasted coffee beans and burnt coffee.

T: First impression is not of the taste but the mouthfeel: it's thin, watery and yet at the same time somehow manages to be slick. . . . OK, back to the tastebuds. . . . There's some day-old coffee, some roasted barley and fruit-like sweetness. Finishes with an ever-so-slight roasted bitterness.

M: See above. Really surprised at the slickness.

D: OK. Not my cup of tea - err, stout - but not horrible either. At least it was inexpensive.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 03:08:40 | More by Kendo
Photo of Sam21


3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best if purchased before January notched on side of label.

Appearance - Black body wuth a milk chocolate colored head that looks creamy and leaves nice lacing. Head recedes somewhat quickly.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee, light roasted notes, and caramel. Smells delicious.

Taste - Sweet up front with rich caramel and chocolate. Not picking up much roastiness, which I think would take this stout from good to amazing. Finishes with light roasted and smoky flavors mixing in with thick sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied. Oily smooth texture with a minute tickle on the tongue from the carbonation. Creamier carbonation would make it a bit more pleasant on the palate. A bit too heavy.

Drinkability - Definitely a drinkable beer. While not the overall best stout I've ever had, it is still a great beer. It's full flavored with a pleasantly sweet nose. Happy to have it as a local.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 01:36:43 | More by Sam21
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the Barrington Brewery & Restaurant in Great Barrington, Mass., in a 3 oz. beer flight glass.

A: Black body with a frothy tan head. Zero visibility and decent head retention.

S: Nice, earthy, roasted malt, some coffee and cocoa as well as some herbal hop bitterness.

T: Big, roasted black malt flavors to go with the sturdy hop bitterness. Lots of charcoal, roasted coffee, bittersweet dark cocoa, wood and pine flavors are balanced with a floral, resinous herbal bitterness from ample hopping. Good stuff!

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy throughout. Good balance with some lingering hop bitterness.

D: A very good American stout with plenty of bold, roasted flavor. A must-try and a solid option to take in a growler. Well-balanced, easy-drinking, big, rich and satisfying flavors and aromas all around.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2010 01:35:41 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of albern


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this when I visited the brewery. I tried the sampler and this was by far the hands down favorite of the 5 I tried. The beer pours a matte brown color with a nice creamy head. There is good lacing going on and a nice dark malt aroma in the nose. The aroma is not overly assertive but there is a slightly charred whiff or two that you can detect.

This is a low alcohol, very creamy, very smooth, maybe a touch watery stout. There is a slightly charred flavor to the beer, with a touch of bittering leafy hop towards the finish. There is plenty of roasted notes, but the beer isn't particularly chocolately. There may be some coffee flavors, definite dark crystal malt, with a slightly nutty flavor underneath, and a slight bittering and tartness that tightens the beer up on the back end. The beer is fairly light and very sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

04-19-2010 23:53:46 | More by albern
Photo of EarlNobdy

New York

4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For Spring Break of '98, I was hanging close to school that week, getting high, reading paperbacks, and drinking in the mostly empty college bars, when my Mom called up to say that she and Silas were driving up to Stockbridge to see his mother, and would I be interested in spending a couple of days with them in Massachussetts. Silas' mom, Marion was in a nursing home up there, and she had recently stopped taking food by mouth, so if there as going to be any mother and child reunion, old Sy better get while the getting was good.

Marion in the home didn't look like she was dying except for the oxygen up her nose. She was sitting in a chair by the window, and Mom and I kind of hung back when Silas went to her. He's a master of bluff that guy, Sy, and a real pro of the palaver. Without missing a beat, he just went right into some patter about what's a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this? And on and on about her muumuu and how nice her hair looked and did they have a salon here at Grendale and was she sure she didn't maybe want to try a little bit of food?

But no was always the response each time he brought it up. And he didn't press, and he didn't prod. The radiant lines at the corners of his just got a little bit more squinted each time and deeper defined. Occasionally we'd all have to pause our visit to let Marion catch her breath, and each time she apologized as if she were somehow being impolite by expiring before our very eyes. Which in some ways isn't the nicest thing to do to people, but then again she hadn't exactly asked us to come. By the wistful look on Marion's face, I believe she would have been just as content by that point to have sat quietly by that window until at last her soul flew out of it.

Still, it's nice to have a chance to say goodbye. And Visiting Hours puts our grief in these bite-sized portions.

As soon as we were out in the parking lot in an early evening mist, Silas sidled up to me and bumped my shoulder with his. "I don't know about you, but I'm just about gagging for a beer."

"Now you're talking."

I had seen the Barrington Brew Works on the way up and suggested it as a viable option with Fresh Beer and decent pub grub, and actually, the call was right on--Fresh Beer and Decent Pub Grub. I believe I had the burger. What else do you have in a brewpub except for maybe flatbread pizza or else the steak and kidney, and for some reason I wasn't in the mood for the taste of piss at that particular time. No kidding, there's a tang to steak and kidney pie--you oughta try it sometime and see what I mean.

The real buried treasure, though, was the Black Bear Stout. Okay, so it's not the most original name in the beer lexicon, and I imagine the recipe for Barrington's version of the American Dry Quaff is fairly standard and written by rote. But what they do is, they do it right. They get it. They understand what this beer should be. A little chewy in the mouthfeel--Stout drinkers want a meal they can drink, deep dark dirt--reminds me of these deserts my sister made once where you crunched up oreos and put them in flower pots with gummy worms hanging out--that kind of black soil. Choco and coffee, just the right amount of sweet and bitter. A dessert beer I could drink all Session long. A mighty nice barley pop.

12 years later I'm back in the same area with my wife on our getaway weekend from the City and the Kids, when I spy that familiar signage. I make a mental note, and then on the way back the next day, Char and I make a little pit stop. She stays in the car, but she wouldn't have been able to follow anyway. I walk backward in time and soon am between worlds.

Where I order up a growler of the Black Bear Stout and stand at the bar thinking how Marion had died not long after graduation. The brew master was cleaning out his tanks with a hose through a glass partition, and the sun was just right to illuminate him with steam. That smell, that primordial smell of yeast and alcohol. Drunks bleeding on barroom floors, tankards hung overhead. And a frail old woman sitting in a chair by a window. Looking out at nothing, but seeing everything, her whole life entire. And ready. That was something she kept saying--how ready she was to go. I mean, how are you going to argue with that. So Silas didn't. He just pulled a chair beside her and sat and held her hand every chance he got for three days.

And tonight when we get home from our weekend away, I tap the growler and pour a mighty pint and remember one of life's quieter moments. No one did anything heroic or funny or mean. We simply sat idly by to watch a woman die, because sometimes that's exactly what people need from you. To show them you are letting go. But only so I'll see you around.

Serving type: growler

02-23-2010 12:35:46 | More by EarlNobdy
Photo of largadeer


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Dyan!

The pour is dark but translucent, and in the glass it's an opaque black with two fingers of frothy head that slowly settles to a crown, leaving webs of lace on the glass. A beautiful stout.

Roasted malt, coffee and toast are first to greet the nose. Something about this reminds me of breakfast. The roasty, grainy quality is thoroughly enjoyable.

Roasted malt and coffee are prominent again on the tongue. Licorice and almost-burnt whole grain toast appear mid-palate. There's an acidic twang near the finish from the roasted malt, leading into a bittersweet coffee-like aftertaste. Dry on the whole with a slightly thin body for the style. This is a great stout on the whole, one I'd gladly revisit were it available locally.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 02:48:34 | More by largadeer
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Black Bear Stout from Barrington Brewery & Restaurant
87 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.