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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

198 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 11
Gots: 9 | 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
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 96 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

4/5  rDev +1.8%

22oz Bomber

I got this bottle as an extra from msbulldog25, thanks for knocking one off my "wants" Brian! Black Bear XX turns my pint glass the blackest of blacks, completely opaque without letting a hint of light glint through the body. A standard pour brought the khaki head up surprisingly quickly to three fingers. The head slowly fell to a thick craggy finger and left behind chunky spider webbed lacing. The creamy head shows good staying power and lasts throughout. This is a damn fine looking stout.

Dark, modestly, roasted malts hit the nose right from the start and are the biggest factor throughout the aroma. Mild coffee grounds and a hefty whiff of creamy dark chocolate quickly join that dark roastiness and although they try to take over the roastiness manages to hold them off. There's mildly sweet nougat popping up here and there that adds some complexity to the overall smell of this beer. Last out of the gate are clean alcohol and a decent hop presence.

The flavor goes hand in hand with the aroma. Dark roasted maltiness lays it down strong with a little acidic bite. The coffee grounds are more pronounced in the flavor then in the nose and the dark chocolate falls back mid palate. The nougat comes across as nuttiness occasionally and seems to change it up with each drink. The swallow brings out clean, mild warming alcohol and a combination of roasty and hop bitterness on the lips. This is a good foreign style stout, and unique to boot.

I wasn't sure what to think about the mouthfeel of this beer at first. It seemed lighter then it should be but as this beer gets warmer and warmer (nearing probably 55) the body fills out and has a medium fullness to it. The carbonation is higher then expected and keeps this beer moving fairly quickly.

This is a stout with good flavor and good drinkability. The bomber ended up disappearing pretty quickly and the carbonation is part of the reason. I want another drink after the last and find it tough to slow down.

Alameda makes a good foreign-style stout that I wouldn't hesitate to drink again. Black Bear XX is a robust stout with moderate enough alcohol to drink a few at a time. It's too bad this isn't available in my area. Thanks for the great extra Brian!

08-28-2008 01:59:11 | More by joe1510
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

A solid very black stout with huge tan head and a nice roasty nose. This is a drinking stout that has all the chocolate and roasted malt flavours but no sharp edges. Not the biggest stout on the block but very well put together and oh so drinkable. Worth buying

08-27-2008 22:49:24 | More by canucklehead
Photo of Reidrover
Reidrover

Oregon

4/5  rDev +1.8%

Bomber bought from Capital Market, Salem . Gorgeous looking beer. black with dark,dark brown hints around the edges, good lookingbrown head. slightly roasty aromas, not too strong, some dark chocolate, slight fruit. Quite semi-sweet bitter, burnt toast towards the end, bitter black coffee finish mixed with treacle. Slight alcohol hint in the belly.Good stuff. Nicel on the palte, not as heavy as expected and thats a good thing as it adds a point or two for drinkability. Over all nice beer

07-20-2008 20:54:42 | More by Reidrover
Photo of IceEyes
IceEyes

Oregon

4.6/5  rDev +17%

Served on nitro at the brewpub. An unbeleivably smooth stout with dry character, lots of roastiness, and a slightly bitter finish. And its not overly strong meaning that you can (and should) have more than one or two. The body is sultry and polished. Perfectly black. Truly a standout beer.

06-02-2008 20:09:03 | More by IceEyes
Photo of josiahschlender
josiahschlender

Oregon

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

This was on tap at the Green Dragon here in Portland.

Our server apologized for the head on the beer when he brought it out, saying it's too foamy being on nitro. It took up nearly 1/2 of the glass, being very creamy and tan colored. It slowly settled into the black body of the drink with time, but it remained one of the most persistent heads on a beer I've ever seen. Ridiculous lacing on the sides of the glass. Not convenient, but kinda cool.

I liked the smell. Very dark roasted malts. Almost charred. I also noticed quite a bit of earthy (almost dirty mushrooms) hops. It made me even wonder if this is dry-hopped for more aroma.

Malts and hops are abundant in flavors, as well. Again, it's very roasted tasting, with lots of earth and bitterness coming from the hops. Kind of unique.

The eternal, insistent head influenced the mouthfeel for a very creamy, full body that complimented the flavors well and finished dry. ABV of 6.8% was surprising to me, they hid it well in this brew.

Well done! This is a unique stout worth a try.

01-16-2008 21:16:11 | More by josiahschlender
Photo of WonderfulSam
WonderfulSam

Washington

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%

I got this one on tap at the brewpup, and I quite enjoyed it. This selection was on nitro tap, and was served to me black as night, with a luxurious tan head that looked creamy and persisted through the entire experience. The smell was nice, sweet molasses maybe and roasted grain. It was not a particularly strong aroma, though. Taste was a good balance of malt, chocolate, roasted grain, with mild hops underneath all the other well-balanced flavors. Nothing in this stout was overdone.

This stout was velvety smooth and felt great in my mouth and going down my throat. It was extremely pleasant and easy to drink, especially for such a big, bold stout. Definitely something I'll get again.

10-06-2007 16:22:32 | More by WonderfulSam
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

07-24-2007 04:54:38 | More by Slatetank
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.1/5  rDev -21.1%

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.

07-04-2007 01:37:42 | More by akorsak
Photo of ElGordo
ElGordo

Oregon

4.47/5  rDev +13.7%

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a deep rich black hue topped by an inch of thick, creamy tan head. Beautiful aroma of sweet, rich roasted malt, with notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Palate is rich and sweet - tons of rich roasted dark and chocolate malt, with notes of vanilla, mocha, milk chocolate, and a very mild hop bitterness. Finish is smooth and well-balanced between the rich malt and the subtle hop profile. Body is thick, smooth, and creamy, just wonderful. Goes down very easily for a strong stout. I'm a big fan.

04-03-2007 06:33:38 | More by ElGordo
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

2.53/5  rDev -35.6%

Poured from 22oz bottle into a snifter, the Black Bear XX is pitch black with a 1 finger dark tan creamy head that leaves thick bubbly lace and a hefty collar.
The aroma is pretty subdued, molasses and rye. It opens up and sweetens as it warms, reminiscent of sweet cream, but not appetizing to me for a stout. It also got a bit boozy towards the end, but again, sweet.
The taste is really not my cup of tea, maybe it's the rye, or the anise flavor that I can't ignore (and never like), but I will try to remain objective. It's fairly complex, and also includes the appropriate roastiness, with sweet milk, caramel, and some citrus flavoring hops as well as bittering on the finish. I'm not sure if it's the rye or what, but there is a sweet flavor that strikes me as a bit off, although this bottle is not that old, and has been well kept locally. I have another in the stash and I'll have to see if it smooths out with age or amplifies unfavorably.
The mouthfeel is pretty nice, matching the appearance as strong suits. It is not to heavy and really creamy and frothy in your mouth.
I didn't really care for the taste of this one, and by the end of the 2nd snifter from the bottle, I was pretty sick of it. It wasn't that heavy though though so if it's your thing, it's probably pretty drinkable. Just a bit to sweet for me. I'm compelled to try this on nitro at the brewery now that I live here, although I can't say I'm in a big hurry to do so. Hopefully it'll be more enjoyable and I'll re-review. Same goes for the bottle I'm cellaring.

03-31-2007 06:53:44 | More by ccrida
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Thanks to weefishheads for this opportunity.
Pours black with a solid tan head that melts to a thick ring of lacing lasting the entire glass.
Aromas are bitter coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, molassis.
Mouthfeel is not too thick...not too thin...just right.
Taste follows aroma....espresso coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, molassis sugars, then...surprise, citrus hops to finish and clean the pallette.
Aftertaste reminds me of a mocha coffee with only a touch of sugar sweetener.
This is a solid stout made for the purist.

01-09-2007 05:04:12 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of froggyfrog
froggyfrog

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -8.4%

22 oz. labeled bottle, beer served in glass snifter.

Pours about as black as a starless night with a slight red tinge. A huge, billowy, brunette head coats the glass in chunky sheets of lacing.

Smells highly of roasted barley with steamed milk and rich caramel overtones. Also dark cacao and hints of floral hops.

For flavors I'm getting toast and roast and a healthy dose of kola. Caramel flavors are on the milky sweet side, with the sweetness more than adequately cut by the bittering hops, carbonation and dryish finish. The dark chocolate in the nose transitions into a creamy milk chocolate here.

Downy on the tongue from the bottle, this beer must be downright velutinous served from a nitro tap. This is a full-bodied but easygoing stout with no rough edges.

Smooth and simple to drink, this beers sets a nice pace with its full weight and enjoyable flavors.

Thanks to msubulldog25 for the chance to sample this fine brew.

10-23-2006 03:57:05 | More by froggyfrog
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -10.2%

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Deep dark brown color with a reddish halo and a thick light tan head that dissipates steadily. Roasty aroma of coffee and malt. Medium-bodied and smooth with a rather sharp bitterness around the edges. The nitro smoothness seems to contradict the somewhat harsh acidity in the flavor. Malt and coffee flavors keep it from falling apart luckily. The finish is creamy with a bitter aftertaste. I would not go as far as to say the bottle had turned but something seemed a little off about this.

10-04-2006 18:10:51 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

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%.

07-29-2006 22:35:05 | More by jdhilt
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +13.2%

On nitro-tap at Alameda Brewpub, Portland. $2.60 for a Happy Hour pint.
Listed as 7.0%abv, 50 IBU.

A: Absolutely pitch black, zero light coming through. A fluffy meringue-like ivory head, 1.5 fingers at least. Cascades of bubbles (thank you, nitro tap) - a gorgeous stout. Beautiful steady lace, also.

S: Robust toasted smell of chocolate malt. Rye, as well. A faint toffee sweetness, too, with a touch of hops to balance things out.

T: A rich, creamy beer - so full of chocolate malt with sugary sweetness and hop bitterness, all wonderfully married together.

M: Outstanding - with the caveat that the incredible velvety smoothness imparted by the nitro-tap gets 'bonus points'. Black Bear is well balanced, with full mouthfeel a mild lingering bitterness. Just enough carbonation to keep things interesting.

D: A fantastic stout. So smooth & creamy. Great flavor. A "must-have" pour if you're in Portland. May I have another?

A worthy two-time winner of the GABF "Foreign Style Stout" category.

07-22-2006 01:33:51 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of bjohnson
bjohnson

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

My buddy kindly brought a 22oz. bomber back from Portland on his recent vist to see his brother. $3.95 at Belmont Station, Portland, OR.

A: Pours a jet black almost inky color with a two finger caramel colored frothy head that leaves puffy cloud like lace.

S: Aromas of sweet caramel malt notes with a roasted mix. Noticed some licorice and chocolate malts on the second whiff. Smells very smooth and full bodied.

T: Tastes of sweet chocoloate and caramel malts blends with roasted malts. Very silky smooth and quite rich tasting. Not overly rich though, just that perfect taste that keeps you coming back for more.

M & D: Mouthfeel and drinkability are awesome on this offering from Alameda. Full bodied but very well balanced. Low carbonation allows you to fully taste the chocolate and caramel. This is what a stout should taste like. Two thumbs up for Alameda. If I had another, I'd drink it right now. I would love to try this on tap...Gotta get out to the Left Coast soon!

03-15-2006 00:54:51 | More by bjohnson
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%

Written from notes. Sampled on-tap at Redbones during lunch on 11/15.

Thick and dense in appearance. Very black. Thick brown, creamy head that was glorious. Even more impressive layered, coating lace all around the glass.

Aroma was very subtle but deep and dark. Kind of like a low basson you cannot quite hear but you know is there and you find a pleasant feel from the low note vibrations.

Not a lot of anything but there was a little of a lot of things. Some slightly toasted malts with chocolate, vanilla and licorice. Kind of a dark bread flavor going on too. Slight hop bitters come through at the finish.

Very full body. It tried to be milky but was more creamy. Easy and smooth drinking. Not so much a cloying finish but more of a thorough finish. Very nice afternoon working my way through my pint.

11-16-2005 22:32:22 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +16.5%

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!

08-02-2005 06:02:12 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +7.4%

Appearance – This beer is black as night and has a beautiful nitro head. It comes up like Mt. St. Helens on a bad day and is very dark.

Smell – This has a humongous nose. The dark, roasted malts are evenly mixed with some strong coffee grounds that are burnt to a crisp. I can catch some whiffs of dark chocolate as well and maybe some light brown sugar.

Taste – The nose finds its way nicely into the taste. The malt flavors in particular are very rich and creamy. The chocolate came out strong on the tongue making this a very complex stout.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied and creamy with some good, strong bitterness. The nitro mouthfeel is glorious, of course, and combined with the bitter nature of the stout gives this one a terrific feel in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – A high quality session stout? Yes, this does fit the bill. Its low ABV and smooth delivery can keep you going all night.

Comments – I would have had to pretend to like it anyway since skyhand was sitting next to me and wouldn’t shut up about how great it is, so it was a real bonus that I liked it so much.

09-27-2004 17:46:54 | More by RoyalT
Photo of HiroProtagonist
HiroProtagonist

Maryland

4.43/5  rDev +12.7%

Tasted at the Alameda brewpub, on nitro and on cask....the difference in enjoyment was pretty dramatic, and not as expected.

Appearance: Cask was black in color, with a weak, short-lived brown head. Nitro was also black in color, but the fine and creamy head was brown with a lovely reddish tinge, and was everlasting.

Nose: Cask sample had a sharp, powdery cocoa nose...like a dry chocolate cake mix, and thats it. Nitro nose was rich, sharp, and chocolately, but this time like a chocolate cake, complete with dark chocolate frosting. These notes were well-developed and yielded some intricate complexities.

Taste: Nitro sample yielded a rich and sharp raisiny-chocolate velvet malt base that opened up with complex bitter dark chocolate notes and subtle cherry esters in the transition to a sharp, roasty, lightly astringent dark bittered chocolate finish with strong lingering cocoa mass flavors.
Cask sample yielded similar but significantly attenuated flavors.

Mouthfeel: Cask sample was way too thin, almost watery! Carbonation was also a bit lacking, even for cask.
Nitro sample was wonderfully full and silky...working extremely well with the flavors and character of the beer. What a difference!

Conclusion:
Wow, the nitro sample was drastically better than the cask version in almost every way. The nitro stout was very enjoyable, complexly rich, and masterfully balanced with a nice sharpness that love in dark beers. Scores are based solely on the nitro version.

08-22-2004 04:55:11 | More by HiroProtagonist
Photo of freed
freed

Oregon

4.63/5  rDev +17.8%

Since muscles were on the menu, I decided a stout would be my drink. Plus, the beer had just won a medal at the world beer cup.

The body of the beer is an impossibly dark brown with an elegant nitro-foam cap. The small brown bubbles crest it to make a beautiful pint.

The aroma is somewhat hidden by the foam, but there are slight burnt toast and roasted malt aromas. Even at 50 IBU, the smell of hops isn't readily apparent.

The taste, and drinking sensation are amazing. The smooth and creamy feeling is silk like in the mouth, and the body, despite serious malts and hops, isn't the slightest bit bullish. Roasted barley, coffee, and slight chocolate flavors combine in what could has easily have been desert.

Granted, it went quite well with the muscles. I can't explain why that is, but it does.

05-31-2004 21:04:08 | More by freed
Photo of Elemental
Elemental

Oregon

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%

Oh man, I can tell why this got the gold medal at GABF in 2003.
Apperance - gorgeous! It has a nice thick brown nitro head and is a very deep black color
Smell - a good smell with some hop aroma, very malty smelling, and very inticing
Taste - Very good, big and malty with hints of chocolate and slightly nutty.
Overall - an excellent beer that once I had one I had to have another even though I wanted to try some of the othere from this establishment

05-01-2004 15:16:00 | More by Elemental
Photo of RedDiamond
RedDiamond

Oregon

4.6/5  rDev +17%

To begin with, I like the name of this beer which accurately conveys a sense of the dark color and full body. Black Bear XX is opaque and comes served with a full finger of thick, light-brown froth that holds itself with some authority. The aroma is restrained yet tantalizing – a curious chocolate-mint. The flavor arrives in layers of chocolate cream with a splash of nuts and grain. It is predominantly dry with a robust malty body and an elegant finish. Rye malt adds a subtle complimentary balance. The mouthfeel, infused with nitro, is sensual and pleasing.

This beer won the 2003 GABF Gold Medal for Foreign / Export Style stout. Usually such ornamentations fail to impress me. In this case however, Black Bear XX lives up to high expectations of artistry and taste. This is truly a great Ecotopian brew.

I’ve revisited this beer on several occasions and have reaffirmed that its credentials are sustainable and intact. Black Bear XX is rich, chocolaty, and beautiful. You can drink it as easily in July as in January; like black silk on tap.

02-20-2004 23:16:28 | More by RedDiamond
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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
88 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.