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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,941 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,941
Reviews: 1,088
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 111
Gots: 127 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Big Bear is a big, black, stout you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavor is balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops.

2009 California State Fair – 2nd GOLD
2009 LA International Beer Competition – GOLD
2007 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Stout – SILVER
2002 World Beer Cup - GOLD

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Bear Black Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,941 | Reviews: 1,088 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ManekiNeko


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber served at cellarish temps in a Westmalle goblet.

Appearance: Jet black topped by a smallish light brown head which recedes to a light film and a smallish ring after a minute or so. Very impressive sheets of lace were left.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee with hints of spruce. Odd whiffs of mint, too. Faint twinge of booze on the nose as well.

Taste: Roasted malt goodness with a twinges of prunes. Softly bitter hops on the aftertaste. Overall, a hearty and dark malt bill. Nummy.

Mouthfeel: Thin in body for an imperial stout, in my experience. This isn't to say it's like water - it's definitely got a solid medium body - more that I expect an imperial stout to be able to hold a spoon upright. This could maybe hold up a chopstick.

Drinkability: A great benchmark for the style. Hits the right notes, I think there are better imperial stouts out there (SK and BBCS spring immediately to mind).

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2004 02:29:00 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of Stoneman78


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours the blackest of hues, I can barely detect tinges of dark brown on the edges, head is a huge pile of tan craggy/foamy goodness that is slightly diminishing, leaving sticky lace on the glass
S- Aroma dominated by big roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, some piney hops in the background with a hint of alcohol
T- initial taste follows from the aroma and is dominated by roasted malts and very subtle chocolate flavors, some slight tones of caramel, toffee, and espresso, bitter hops show up in the middle and remain throughout a dry finish
M- Medium/full-bodied stout with a mostly watery texture, carbonation is too biting for this genre
D- This is a well-balanced IRS that is not too overwhelming at 8%abv, overall this is a good, solid entrant is this category that falls short of some of the top dogs but would be good in a pinch

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2007 04:03:51 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of bifrostguard


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pitch black with a tall, fluffy dark tan head. Moderate lacing left.

S - Chocolate, roasted malt and some mild hops, but mostly chocolate sweetness.

T - Chocolate and roasted malts. There is a building sweetness with each sip and a detectable hop presence.

M - Thick and creamy

D - Sweetness limits this one, but at only 8% this one is an easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 09:38:56 | More by bifrostguard
Photo of DefenCorps


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased right before Thanksgiving 2007, I'm finally getting around to drinking this, at almost 4 years of age. The beer's been exposed to less than ideal cellar conditions for a few months, but for the past year and a half, has been in a cool, dark cellar at 55-60F

Pouring black with a dense, dark brown head with great retention and nice lacing, this is an attractive RIS. The nose is very nice. Taking on a pleasing, oxidized raisin with a mild prune character, there's some sherry as well. All of this works quite nicely with the mellow cocoa, mild cocoa , making this almost liqueur-like. Nice stuff.

The palate opens with a pleasing blend of fruity, mildly tart cherries, raisins and a mild prune character. This works really nicely with the dark chocolate and cocoa that are present. Mildly bitter with a grainy, mildly dusty cocoa character, the balance of flavors here is rather stellar. A mild coffee liqueur character rounds out the palate. The finish, however, is mildly dull, here. This is where the dulling effect of age and oxidation is most noticeable, with a touch of a papery feel. Mild bitterness, mild cocoa and moderate fruit are also present. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this is a beer that I'm really enjoying, and will have to have again and preferably fresh.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 02:51:16 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of alec7717


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark black with not much of a head and the head did not last but left a slight film.

S: There is a scent of carmel and malt in the beginning and it leaves a sweet smell

T: The sweet carmel taste initially takes over and gradually becomes a nice smooth malty taste with a definite taste of coffee.

M: The sweet taste is taken over by the coffee which lingers for a good amount of time.

O: Awesome black stout that I would take over most regular stouts and I definitely will have this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 23:24:57 | More by alec7717
Photo of Chico1985


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours, big, black, and bearish. Enormous beige head rests up top. The head here takes a while to calm down. Stays great-looking the whole time, you barely see the top of the beer the entire time. Leaves crazy thick lacing. Smell is a bit weak (gets a bit stronger once the head shrinks a bit), chocolate, caramel and a bit of dark fruit. Also a strange smell that resembles old leather? This stout isn't quite as "hefty" as I remember. Definitely much easier to drink and watery than your average RIS. Subdued tastes of roastiness and light chocolate sweetness combined with some hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit too watery for me and the tastes don't really stand out except for the amount of hops which is unusual in a stout. The highlight here is drinkability, one of the easiest-drinking RIS's I've had, good taste, no alcohol taste whatsoever and good price.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 01:31:41 | More by Chico1985
Photo of jayhawk73


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Rustico:

Pours black with a one finger cocoa head. Amazing lacing on my snifter, and a true black hole in appearance. The nose is mainly chocolate, coffee, malt, and hops. Very smooth and balanced, although on the weak side. Taste is the same as the nose but slightly better. Feel is super smooth, velvety, amazing. This is a really good beer, and great on cask. Cheers.

Serving type: cask

01-05-2012 02:49:08 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, charred yet barely translucent blood; crater-pocked 33%, cotton candy textured, beige foam cap. Cherry cordial aromas dominate a struggling earthy pine hop scent. Sweet roasty malts. Big sweet date sugar cherry flavor all floating in a chocolate infused bourbon. Vinous middle yields to a roasted malt finish, almost coffeeish. Alcohol apparent for most of the swallow and lingers in the aftertaste, which is predominantly sour. Super sticky lacing. Slick mouthfeel, medium body. Roasted malt quality expands as the beer warms. A bit on the sour side, but the roasted malt quality is magnificent. Another fine offering from Bear Republic.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 03:14:09 | More by orfeu
Photo of JohnWaynes44


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour in a tulip with a light tan fluffy 3 finger head. Some lacing and nice retention. Licorice and alcohol on the nose. Toasty, burnt anise at first and then nutty with some toffee and candle wax with more licorice with a long finish. Alcohol is present throughout. Feel is really good. Medium body and the the very sharp carbonation lingers on the tongue. Drinkability could be better. It is a little harsh. It is good, but it is missing something to make it great for me. Bigger malt and more coffee. A little to anise for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 03:23:00 | More by JohnWaynes44
Photo of Luchman


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black with a full, light tan head. Head calms down a bit, leaving a thin layer, but stays smooth and creamy on the top throughout most of the drink. Lacing does nothing but cling to the side of the glass.Looks yummy.

S: Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate hit at first. Some slight dark fruit, like currants, are there, but very faint. Some slight grass/pine hops around as well.

T: Roasted malts are the leader here. Slight chocolate and some toffee in there as well. Hops lend there hand, making this somewhat hoppier than expected, which I'm not too big a fan of in stouts, but this is nice. Ends semi burnt and smokey with a faintly dry and apparent bitter finish.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. I think this mouth feel lacks a bit compared to what a RIS should be. Too bad. Other people seem to get smoothness, but sadly, I dont feel it.

D: Overall, a very drinkable stout. I think the mouth feel drags it down in the end, but still pretty tasty. If your in the mood for a tame, somewhat hoppy, tasty stout, then this is your beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2007 04:18:36 | More by Luchman
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours solid black with shades of brown around the edges. Body doesn't look all that thick for an R.I.S. A tight, one-finger, tan head sits on top. Pretty good retention and decent lacing to boot.

Smell: Toffee, oats, smooth dark chocolate, mocha, caramel and black malts.

Taste: Dark chocolate, toffee, roasted malts, caramel, and some piney hops in the finish. Burnt malt and hop bitterness hang around to form the aftertaste. Toffee flavor gets stronger as the beer warms. Drink this a little above the suggested temp and I think you'll be happier with it.

Mouthfeel: Fairly creamy and velvety smooth. Carbonation is perfect. Body feels a bit light for the style, and flavor doesn't hang around for too long. Still, incredibly smooth.

Drinkability: Thought this was just a standard RIS when I started, but as it warmed it got better and better. Still not a great RIS, but very smooth and pretty damn drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 02:43:28 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of misterdmac


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into imperial pint glass.

Can hardly see through this one, nigh pitch black...heady espresso color, slightest transparency under the light. Sticky, light coffee, two-finger head that rises above the rim of the glass.

Nose is of dark chocolate and a sweet espresso shot. Present alcohol behind a sweet maltbomb backbone.

Espresso, dark chocolate up front. Subtle dark fruits, roasted malts, and a smoky bitterness in the finish.

Carbonation is just right for me. Not at all drying but I don't get that lingering syrupy sensation in the back of my throat. Nice. Pretty big body, but this one's so delicious I'll call it mad drinkable.

This is another success from Bear Republic. Simplistic approach to a stout and a really solid beer, all told. Price was right, too at $4.69 a bottle. Word up.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2008 03:16:20 | More by misterdmac
Photo of mmmbeer


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, served lightly chilled in a big chalice. It pours black with a 1 inch khaki/yellow head of variable-sized bubbles that leaves big pits as it recedes. It looks quite majestic and retains a cap of foam that leaves moderate lacing throughout. The smell is more hoppy than malty, with a big grapefruit/pine hop resin aroma that overtakes that malts. The hops also dominate the flavor, with citric/pine being the most prevalent, but there are also lots of roasted/coffee malts and notes of chocolate and caramel malts to balance the big bitterness. The body is medium to thick, which isn't thick enough for my imperial stouts - I want to almost chew on them - but that is about my only complaint with this beer. Overall it is a pretty good example of the style and I didn't have any problems finishing this one myself.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2006 23:59:19 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Jimmys


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into short-stemmed tulip.

A: pitch black with a healthy brownish head that has decent retention. however, leaves some nice lacing behind.

S: warm, soft chocolate. roasted coffee. caramel. marshmallows. a little bit of char as well as a touch of vanilla.

T: the body is creamy and slightly milkshake-like. almost some sort of mint? the sweetness in this thing isnt playing around. not cloying, but definitely boatloads of residual sugar left post-ferm. finish is a bit oaty mixed with tons of astringent dark, bitter grain.

M: smooth and subtle. very smooth. medium/full body.

D: this really does not drink like a double to me. a hearty stout, sure, but a lot of doubles are really over the top lately. not that that is a bad thing. it both drinks and works very well. good flavors, well made, no complaints here, just not blown away.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 02:53:18 | More by Jimmys
Photo of whitehorse


3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This stout pours with a color so black you cant see the light through it.
the head is a light brown color and is full and seems to stick around .
the only complaint here is the smell. it smells far to reminiscent of teriyaki.
a pint bottle for only 5 dollars i will defiantly be buying this again

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 00:29:40 | More by whitehorse
Photo of AleWeizengarten


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours solid midnight brown with big, foamy cloud-like head that stays with a lacing that splotches the glass in alluring patches. Caramel roast scent draws you in. Great balanced, sweet hops and malty smoothness hides the 8.1 ABV amazingly. Extremely drinkable, could be

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2010 03:43:09 | More by AleWeizengarten
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle opened at home on 8th Jan 2013: poured (a couple of times) into an Abbot Ale glass pint tankard.

Really is a big black stout: on top a full and deep tan coloured foaming head.

Roasted/toasted and slightly burnt malty aroma with chocolate and coffee notes.

The taste follows the smell with strong flavours of over boiled coffee and chocolate. The taste gets more bitter and drier towards the end of each gulp and the alcohol is well hidden by the body strength and heavy flavours of the aforementioned coffee and chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 20:45:31 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of barefootbrewer


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer poured a dark brown (almost black) color with a nice tan head and light lacing.

S: There is an abundance of aromas in this brew. Everything from spice, licorice, malt, roasted malt to caramel can be perceived.

T: This is an aggressively hopped RIS. Hops, roast, malt and ever green flavors are all present.

M: The beer is medium bodied with a slight carbonation tingle. The alcohol is noticeable.

E: This beer is intense, but somehow works.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2008 22:32:12 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of ShrLSU


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a big bottle into a snifter glass. Poured dark black with a slight tan head. Lots of thick lacing on the glass. Nose was of bitter chocolate, slight fruits, and a touch of alcohol. Initial taste is of sweet malt and bitter chocolate. This one finished creamy and smooth. I expected more bitterness but it didn't have as much as I was anticipating, which was good. This is a perfect example of a solid Russian Imperial Stout. Overall quite tasty!

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2008 04:58:36 | More by ShrLSU
Photo of TheodorHerzl


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque black with a minimal brown head on it. Not much lacing to speak of, but the head stayed for the entire beer.
Smell: I get plenty of chocolate, toffee, roasted malt, and even a touch of grassy hops on the nose. The smell is quite rich and makes me think I am about to drink dessert.
Taste: The flavor profile combines roasted malt and chocolate as the most dominate flavors. I also get secondary flavors include toffee, espresso, and an earthy grassy hoppiness finish the beer off.
Mouthfeel: This beer is quite full bodied and almost borders on the "chewy" realm, but overall is quite smooth and creamy.
Drinkability: This is a beer I could get used to having around for when I'm in the mood for a RIS, and at a very good price.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 20:12:43 | More by TheodorHerzl
Photo of tobelerone


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An opaque, nearly jet-black stout with a good-sized brown head that sinks quickly to a thin band on top. Not much lacing.

Aroma is a nice mix of dark chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt, with a noticeable undertone of hoppy bitterness. The flavor is much the same; with all the elements well-balanced. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roast, molasses, a hint of anise and dark fruitiness. No single taste dominates or stands out in particular; it’s a tasty but not particularly “big” example of the style. A bit easier drinking and moderate than American Imperials often seem to be these days. Hoppy but not overly so. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

Medium carbonation and a medium body for the style; not too chewy or sticky. I think I’ve actually come to prefer (and expect) a bit thicker and viscous mouthfeel from an IS so while this is certainly acceptable I’d prefer something a little more hefty. Very sensible; not an “extreme” stout by any means. Well-crafted and enjoyable but a little short of top-notch for me. Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 15:34:22 | More by tobelerone
Photo of stephendr


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle - color dark black – thick coffee color head - nose of coffee bean , anise , pine hopps , earthy , and coco – taste of chocolate , pine hopps , bitter baking chocolate and - body creamy , gummy and sharp – aftertaste of chocolate , earthy , and hopps

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2006 07:12:27 | More by stephendr
Photo of notchucknorris


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd been wanting to try this one for a while. A friend brought it to a tasting, so I finally got my chance.

A: Black with a thin tan head.

S: Huge roasted malt and dark chocolate aroma with a bit of wet dog in the background.

T: Roasted malts, dirt, espresso, leather, smoke and some charred wood. Very dry, very bitter and pretty good. You definitely have to be in the mood for this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 22:24:00 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of harrymel


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle date: unk

A: pours a black ale with a singer of dark mocha head, this falls to a scattered sheet of the same. Sheeted lace. Clarity irrelevant.

S: Nice resiny hops over the top of dry, coffee and nutty malts. Nice dark bitter chocolate smells as well. A hint of ink.

T: Dry and malty. Coffee, soil, hint of anise, and a small hint of praline.

M: A little thin for the style, but with low carbonation and these complement well.

O: I like this beer very much. I think this is more like a standard Stout, not an Impy, but the ABV merits it's label. I always enjoy when this beer is on the shelves.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2011 08:38:32 | More by harrymel
Photo of albern


3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a nice thick, sweet imperial stout, but I wouldn't give this a "world class" rating. It pours a thick, inky black color, impenetrable to light. The head is thick, creamy, dark tan with a discernible orange hue. The beer retains well and laces very well. It is a thick meal of a beer. The nose is pretty indicative of what's to come. There are chocolate and dark roasted malts, some cherry dark chocolate notes, but there is also a definite whiff of ABV.

The taste follows suit. The beer is thick, creamy, nourishing, but it has a bit too much ABV presence. There are some charred notes, in addition to the chocolates and roasted dark malts. The warming alcohol and ABV just diminishes what could have been a better imperial stout. The beer is thick on the tongue, full bodied, and there is some ABV throatiness and charred remains in the aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 21:14:15 | More by albern
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,941 ratings.