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Black Bear XX Stout - Alameda Brewhouse

Not Rated.
Black Bear XX StoutBlack Bear XX Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

207 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 11
Gots: 11 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alameda Brewhouse visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Smooth, rich and creamy. Rye malt blends with roast and chocolate malts to create a new and delicious stout profile, balanced with soft and velvety hops. This northwest original is poured using the traditional nitrogen dispensing method, so it may take an extra minute to arrive, but the wait is worth it. The Black Bear won the Gold Medal at the 2003 GABF in the foreign-style stout category."

6.8% ABV 50 IBU

(Beer added by: RedDiamond on 02-20-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Bear XX Stout Alström Bros
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

nmann08, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A big, rocky tan head forms atop the black liquid and leaves quite a few strands of lace behind

Smell: Chocolate, licorice, pumpernickel, rye and a fruity aspect

Taste: Surprisingly fruity, up front, with a slightly tart black cherry character that complements the ensuing expected flavors of chocolate, licorice and burnt pumpernickel toast; while the hops add another dimension in the middle, after the swallow, some lactic sweetness slips in to offset the bitterness; the tart fruit flavor, however, lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat creamy, with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A lot of different flavors are packed into this beer; while the tart fruit elements have turned off some reviewers, I rather enjoyed that aspect of the flavor profile

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity

brentk56, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.9/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Double chocolate fudge brown with no visible highlights, even with bright sunshine behind the pint glass. The three finger crown is the color of coffee mousse and looks at least as creamy. It's also responsible for the beginning stages of what should be a tremendous display of lace. Great right out of the gate.

If it wasn't for a pervasive dark fruit sourness, the nose would be right on the money as well. It smells like there's plenty of roasted malt present, although the rye malt escapes notice. This one could go either way on the palate.

Alameda Black Bear XX is disappointing. Sweet stouts are good, bitter stouts are good and bittersweet stouts are very good. Sour stouts, like this one, are not. One has to wonder how so much lemon juiciness ended up in the final product. The bottle was manufactured this year, so advanced age is no excuse.

The amount of malt is fine, it's just that chocolate, roasted and rye (along with whatever hops were used) should taste much better than this. Simply put, the tart-n-tangy fruit ruins what should have been a kick-ass export stout. Given most of the other reviews, this bottle almost has to be from a bad batch.

The mouthfeel is lightly creamy and incredibly smooth. A little more heft with more hang-on at the end would have earned the next highest score with no trouble at all.

So far, Alameda Brewhouse has failed to impress me. Black Bear XX is a classic example of how addition by subtraction would result in a much better beer. Subtracting the sourness would add immeasurably to both flavor and drinkability. Too bad I'll probably never get to try it again to put that theory to the test.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +1.8%

jaydoc, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -30%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A 16oz Yankee pint on nitro draft at Henry's Tavern in downtown Portland, from their '99 beers on the wall' (or something of the sort) concept. Why the hell not, my girl is still stuck browsing in Powell's, I'm sure of it.

This beer appears a solid, non-forgiving black void, with the slightest of basal cola highlights, which allows two fingers of tightly foamy, and playfully bubbly milk chocolate brown head, which renders a vista of three-dimensional mountain profile lace around the glass as it gently fades away.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, softly sour ash, medium bittersweet baker's chocolate, some middling dark fruit, and earthy, leafy, and somewhat piney hops. The taste is soft chocolate-ensconced caramel malt, a further dry breadiness, sour cream, subdued black fruit, oatmeal grain, and laid-back earthy, dead leafy hops.

The carbonation is very low (natch), yet pleasantly coddling, the body silky smooth, and dead to rights creamy. It finishes in kind, the now soft, and strangely smooth caramel malt and cocoa persisting above all.

A sexy American beer bar offering, if there ever was one. Chocolate, cream, malt, and a somewhat off-balance sourness, that eventually wends its way through your acceptance gates. Oh, and the nitro: from beginning to end, this special serving slides down like butter, but tastes way, way better.

biboergosum, Jul 08, 2011
Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured cold into a standard pint glass

A - Black w/ a thick tan head

S - Rich, malty, sweet & nutty w/ caramel scents and a very smooth aroma.

M - Full, Rich, deep roasted, dark malt feel with a sweet finish.

T - A really rich stout. Smooth & deep roasted w/ a rich full bodied flavor. Nutty, coffee and cream tastes w/ a honeyish sweet finish. A hint of alcohol w/ sweet strong stout flavors. Bitter hops acccent the full malt profile and make their presence known in the finish.

D - A very big and smooth tasting stout. Ultra tasty and refined, but perhaps a strong one for multiple tastings, a winner and worthy of tasty again.

Slatetank, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Took a flyer on this on my bottletrek order...

Pours ebony with a sliver of mocha head. Nice viscous look, above average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee & cocoa powder, prunes

T: Lactose notes & sour cherry, plus some roasty malt character up front. Slight brown bread flavor, plus rye, oakyness, cherry stone dryness, plus a touch of cocoa as this warms, plus dark fruit & tannins; this verges on a Belgian feel. Finishes with baker's chocolate, bone dryness & prunes

MF: Dry, medium bodied, with moderate carbonation & stickyness

Drinks kind of slow, if your into very dry with Belgian influenced tendencies. This isn't my back, but I could see where some folks would love this

russpowell, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is the #11 Foreign / Export Stout. Beer served from a 22 ounce bottle into a Russian River -tion glass.

Beer is brown to black with a big dark brown head of small bubbles, moderate to low carbonation, some lacing, looks good.

Aroma is sweet and coffee like with roast. Nice.

Beer is medium in body but thinner on the finish and in the middle, sweet up front, heavy coffee and some bitter on the backend. Overall a decent beer, pretty enjoyable, I'd have it again.

drabmuh, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Full ebony proclaims the appearance, not a streak of light seeps through, and a majestic cocoa cap holds guard on top, lush and creamy, an impressive looking stout, at the start.

Aroma begins with chocolate, molasses, spice, and bittersweet coffee tones. Earthy, gritty, rich...coffee grounds are now the primary senstation, overall an expansive, and flavorful nose.

Immensively full on the palate, at first swallow. Rich, dark, utterly satisfying. Plenty of grit and texture, flavors of syrup, rich chocolate, bitter coffee beans, tangible, and a touch tart behind the bitter.

Plump mouthfeel,... long, sticky finish,... viscous is an appropriate qualifier, but not too, this is very approachable for the stout fan. But definitely not a brew for those that shy from the darkness. The rest of us, we're in high heaven here. A stout lovers wet dream, not too strong, not too thick, but so full in all other respects that it fulfills our every need. Drinkability? Assured. When you're that tasty, you don't stand a chance in my glass, pal.

A very solid stout. So tired of middling versions, blase' people pleasers, so glad to find one with serious cojones, yet so simple to slide back the throat.

Thanks, Kim, for the growler!

feloniousmonk, Aug 02, 2005
Photo of mactrail
3.38/5  rDev -14%

Weirdly sharp mouthfeel. I thought it was just the carbonation, but there is something unusually acidic for such a dark roasted brew.

Some malty sweetness. Tannic with chocolate milk, old coffee, perfume. Dry, winey finish. Decent foam in the tall glass. From the 22 oz bottle.

mactrail, Aug 20, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

oriolesfan4, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bomber with friends. Nothing surprising about the appearance, big and black with a tan head. I really enjoyed this stout because it wasn't the usual thick, chewy stout. Instead it was a touch lighter, like an export stout should be, with two dominant characteristics: dry roasted black malts and sweet cocoa chocolate. Heck of a beer, checkthis out.

tempest, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, light char, toast, dark bread, floral, light pine, light rye, and floral/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of roasted malt notes with a fair amount of hop presence; and great strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, light char, coffee, toast, dark bread, light rye, floral, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Fair amount or roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, light char, coffee, toast, dark bread, light rye, floral, light pine, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of roasted malt flavors with a fair amount of hop balance; with nice robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very creamy and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent foreign stout. All around great balance and complexity of roasted malt flavors with a fair amount of hop presence; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

superspak, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured jet black with good carbonation that leaves a small tannish cap which quickly resedes leaving a mere bubble, small cap and zero lacing. Uncharacteristic of this style.

S: Deep roast, with coffee, light chocolate

T: First sip reveals deep roasted malt, coffee, good amount of bitterness lingers with a dash of chocolate. The finish is rather dry, light booze, more lingering cofee and bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied, wl carbonated, big dry roastiness with coffee sit on the palate

O: Good. i can see why this one GABF medals.

barleywinefiend, Oct 10, 2012
Photo of akorsak
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A 22 oz bomber from Tangfoot as part of the I Want That BIF.

A: The stout has a gloriously thick bubbly head that, like a decent stout, creates a cascading effect as the head settles out. The settling out process is slow, with the thick four finger head leaving a prodigious trail of lace. The stout is a standard, dark black stout color.

S: The nose has a roasted, burnt toast malt aroma that is nicely pepped up with a bitter hop element. The aroma conjures up the image of a Lion Stout ad, with chocolate and chile pepper notes.

T: The ale begins with the body of a stout, roasted with dark chocolate and burnt bread flavors, grainy without getting too intesnse. Layered atop the roasted body is a hop flavor that adds a citrusy flavor to the dark body. A funky aftertaste emerges, overtaking the hops and spoiling the taste.

M: The mouthfeel straddles the malt sweetness and hop bitterness line nicely, allowing both flavors to come through.

D: I split the bomber with my wife, it was okay but the aftertaste was a bit too much to take.

akorsak, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil with a four finger tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and very heavy bodied. Chocolate nose. Starts with a bitter chocolate flavor, some middle sweetness, finish has a slight bitterness. A decent stout. $3.25 for a 22oz bottle from John's Grocery Tigard, Or. Label puts the ABV at 7.0%.

jdhilt, Jul 29, 2006
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to msubulldog25 for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, with lots of dark stuff. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, my first from this brewery, thanks Brian.

Wasatch, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of plaid75
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Henry's 12th Street Tavern, Portland, Oregon.

Poured a deep black hue with a one and a half finger creamy dark tan head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a moderate cocoa aroma.

The taste consisted of soft chocolate malts, a mile rye spice, cafe au lait element and cocoa.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a touch of creaminess.

Overall a stout with good drinkability that could use a bit more black malt.

plaid75, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of PEIhop
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - jet diesel back with ruby highlights around the outside of the one-finger foamy head
S - roasted malts and a nice dark-bitter chocolate
T - great taste here. Chocolate dominates the taste profile, but in a good way because it lets other players: subtle hops and coffee enter periodically into the taste. Well done!
M - I was expecting the body to be thinner, but it was quite full for the style.
D - one of the most unexpectedly delicious pints I have had in awhile. At 7% it is just out sessionability, but I could myself having a pint whenever I see it on tap.
Great beer!

PEIhop, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Viggo
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a pretty opaque black, some dark reddish highlights but almost impossible to see through, very thick light brown head forms, slowly drops to a thick layer and ring leaving a ton of lace chunks stuck to the glass. Smell is nice, lightly lactic, lots of caramel, chocolate milk, very roasty, quite fruity, some vanilla, light orange peel, cherries, some coffee, pretty neat. Taste is similar, some lactic sourness, milky, chocolate, very roasty, some vanilla, fruity, more chocolate milk, pretty interesting stuff, lightly toasty, oaky in the finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty silky and smooth, some acidic roasty character. Pretty cool stuff! Thanks Russ!

Viggo, May 16, 2009
Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

harpus, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served Imperial pint glass. Poured a typical solid black, with over an inch of thick, tan head that had decent retention and OK lacing.

Nicely roasted scents greet the front of the nose and the expected solid malts fill the rest of aromatic aspects. The flavors were also just about what you expect from the style, nice roast, earthy malts and just a hint of mellow hops.

The body was about as full as you'd expect, smooth and not overly heavy. Drinkability was good, if you like the big stouts you'll drink a few of these. Overall, a good, solid example of the style, one that's certainly worth trying when you see it.

beertunes, May 14, 2012
Photo of Derek
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head, good retention and lace.

Aroma of cafe mocha, brown sugar, black licorice, quite bready.

Pumpernickel rye bread, black strap molasses, piny resin, coffee, tobacco, salty black licorice, burnt caramel, solid (tar-like) bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

Body is rich and creamy, perhaps a little too full, but it is more of a protein shake than residual sweetness.

Certainly has a bit of domestic and PNW flavour (that you don't find in many export stouts), but it's one hell of a brew!

I'm glad they decided to export this to the foreign land of Canada!

Derek, May 01, 2012
Photo of flagmantho
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: entirely black with a thin layer of frothy dark-tan foam. Pretty nice.

Smell: light roastiness which includes both chocolate and coffee notes. Quite pleasing.

Taste: light roastiness with a mild coffee character. A light tartness and mild bitterness are also present. Tasty enough, but kind of mild and boring.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a light carbonation. Decent.

Overall: a pretty mild export stout, but quite drinkable nonetheless. I would have this again.

flagmantho, Apr 01, 2012
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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
88 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.