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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,853 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1853
Reviews: 1084
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.12%

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
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Ratings: 1,853 | Reviews: 1,084 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BB1313


3.14/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

Best by 7/14/14. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with a little light getting through; huge fluffy khaki head that fades very slowly and leaves great retention and lacing. The aromas are loaded with cocoa malts. Some hints of chocolate with a kiss of vanilla. The aromas are ultimately subtle. The flavors are pretty mellow and bittersweet. More milk chocolate along with some dark chocolate to give it a little bitterness. This one has some roasted coffee notes. More vanilla. Hints of caramel along with some dark fruits. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's on the lighter side full-bodied and it's creamy and fluffy. Very smooth.

This is solid, but it's somewhat boring and not as bold as I was hoping for. It's crazy that it's 2014 and this is my first time trying this beer, so I had some high hopes. It's not bad, but it's nothing too special.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 19:54:18 | More by BB1313
Photo of Gryphon69


3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1 pint bottle
no visable date
purchased 8/13

A- Pours like its name, black with a medium tan head about 1 finger high. Decent lacing that sticks to the sides and left a ring around the base of the glass.

S- from the bottle comes some chocolates, dark fruit, caramels. from the glass, the dark fruits come first, then some cocoa, vanilla, some roast in the finish, but overall kinda sweet.

T- Malty, some cocoas, dark fruits, not getting much in the way of hops till the very finish and even then its just a slight bitterness that leaves it kinda dry. Still kinda sweet, guess I need to lay off the RIS before I try these other...stouts.

M- Light to medium, a tad thin to say medium. Slightly creamy and a slight slickness, makes it easy to drink.

O- I had to rescore this one as a imperal stout and not what I was thinking a RIS, big difference.
So as a IS this is a pretty good beer, a good combination of cocoa, dark fruit and malts. Has a certain creaminess that makes it easy to drink. Being a IS I was expecting more in the hops bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 02:33:27 | More by Gryphon69
Photo of watermelon

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled 3/25/13

A: Pitch black body with an off white head. Medium lacing with decent retention.

S: Coffee and chocolate.

T:follows the nose slightly bitter as well.

M: Smooth and carbonated. Bit of alcohol burn.

O: Good stout, killer price.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 23:43:42 | More by watermelon
Photo of 57md


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of head that dissipated at a somewhat quick pace. The nose has the quality of roasted malts. The flavor profile is deeply roasty and the finish has a nice dry bitter roast quality. The body on this offering is perfectly hearty. I could enjoy a few of these anytime. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 19:21:56 | More by 57md
Photo of ExtraStout


4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of a bomber. Big thick tannish head that settles a bit but has great retention and great lacing. This beer is opaque black.

Big caramel aromas, slight toffee, some dark roasted coffee and some smokey malt. I couldnt keep my nose out of the glass, this beer just smells so damned good!

Incredibley smooth sweet toffee and caramel blended with bitter chocolate and a slightly spiced hop character to balance the heavy malt out to near perfect.

Nice moutfeel that really coats your taste buds with flavor. The drinkability of this beer is very good. So tastey that you just want to keep drinking it and you could because the 8.1 is nowhere to be found...until it creeps up on you.

This is an exceptional beer and I cant wait to pick up some more.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 19:03:28 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of dank203

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours into tulip, . getting a lack of real crazy flavors. but a beyond perfect balalance and drinkability. it does have faint notes of all kinds but it doesn't hit me as especially roasty, sweet, boozy, smokey, just a nice subtle meld. at 8%abv it's almost sessionable

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 18:31:43 | More by dank203
Photo of RickS95


4.79/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The look really does it for me. It's pitch black. No sign of light, even around the edges. The head is a faint brown color of both tiny and larger bubbles. It's not overly thick and doesn't retain well, but it leaves a ring around the top of the liquid and a patchy lace.

I dig the smell too. Full of chocolate and caramel malty goodness. It smells more chocolately than a lot of chocolate beers I've had. Smells like dessert.

The sip is of complete and total quality. It's very malty and the nose of chocolate and caramel carry over to the taste. I can't pick up any of the Cascade hops, and that's ok because in a stout I don't want a piney, citrusy taste. The taste is perfect just the way it is.

There's really nothing to improve on here. The malts provide plenty of sweetness and there's enough malt to give it some body. Very full and dessert-like. Not too sweet. While the hop presence is minimal at best, there's a lingering bitterness to let you know when it's time for a new sip.

Extremely easy to drink, and a joy to do so. Overall, it's one of the best beers I've had. I wish I didn't have to travel to get this.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 03:46:05 | More by RickS95
Photo of whitehorse


3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
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 BierJager89


3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black with a mocha head.

S: Roasted barley and maybe coffee grounds in the nose.

T: Chocolate, coffee, toffee, a touch of alcohol, roasted malt, and very well balanced.

M: Full bodied, though less than smooth.

O: This is a good stout, but definitely overrated in my opinion. It's just kind of boring. Recommended, perhaps best if it's fresh (maybe it's supposed to be hoppy).

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 21:58:29 | More by BierJager89
Photo of tmm313


3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Black, but with reddish brown hues around the edges. Poured a pretty good 1 finger head. Nice lacing.
S- Dark fruits are most prominent with dark chocolate and licorice mixed in. As it warms, fresh hop, caramel, and booze begins to show up.
T- Dark fruits, chocolate, and a slight touch of pine/citrus up front. Notes of coffee and roasted malt come in toward the end. Aftertaste is roasty with a touch of pine and earthy, minty hops.
M- Medium body with crisp carbonation. Drying.
O- 3.75

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 20:25:20 | More by tmm313
Photo of CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle. Pours black-brown colour. Not huge on the nose. Subtle notes of chocolate and molasses. Tastes very smooth and hides its alcohol well. There are chocolate and dark fruit notes toward the back of the palate and the finish is nice and bitter. Medium- to full-bodied, but not too heavy. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2014 23:21:10 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of Ranz


4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a growler.

A: In my Stone wide-snout snifter, it pours an opaque, rich black with a thin head that flew away rather quickly.

S: With toffee, roasted caramel, and slight alcohol, this has one of the sweetest yet pleasantly mottled noses of any stout I've tried. Subtle and complex undertones of cocoa and maybe spent coffee grounds are present, too. The aroma here is a real winner.

T: Rich and roasty, the hops make decent treble noise while the roasted malts give balanced bass notes. Caramel creaminess slides through in the swallow and aftertaste. This is a winner.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy yet effervescent. It leaves a thick hint of its presence without being overpowering.

O: For $5, this is one hell of a deal for a bomber. I will certainly grab this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 23:21:52 | More by Ranz
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 2013 batch. sampled on December 24, 2013.

The pour is dark brown with reddish highlights around the glass. There is a small off-white head.

The aroma is dark and malty but I did not pick up much in the way of chocolate or cocoa. Maybe I wasn't supposed to.

Thin to medium body.

The malts are roasted and there is a quick lingering hop finish. But for 8.1% ABV the alcohol is well integrated.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 21:37:36 | More by puboflyons
Photo of T100Mark


4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 ounce bomber into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Black. Tan, dense head. Good stickage on the glass. A great looking beer.

Smell - Alcohol! Coffee. Black liqourice.

Taste - Alcohol! Burnt malt. Dark chocolate (acidic). The hops play second fiddle here.

Mouth - Acidic. Bitter. Big!

Overall - This is one large, bold, kick-ass beer. At what point does an ale become a barley wine? This stout is a fine product but it's a little gnarly for my palate. Enjoy slowly.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 04:25:16 | More by T100Mark
Photo of Ieatlambfries

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance was very good. Opaque black with a two finger tan head. Spotty lacing that dissipates quickly.

Very nice smell. Big roasted malt, with hints of baking coco, licorice, and espresso.

Taste was OK. Unfortunately for me the flavor didn't deliver on the promises hinted at by the smell. Slightly sweet burnt malt and ash were the dominating flavors. Bitter coffee, mixed with unsweetened baking coco. Hoppy twang on the back end.

Mouthfeel was thin. I prefer a richer thicker feel in my RIS's.

Overall not bad, just very average for the style. I noticed a few people giving this brew a pass by rating it as a regular stout, or Euro. But, when rated compared to it's peers as a Double Stout or RIS, it's just out classed.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 03:23:24 | More by Ieatlambfries
Photo of techdiver


4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great looking brew, easy 2 finger head that slowly settled leaving nice lacing down the glass. Nice malty, molasses smell. Very balanced taste, one of the most enjoyable glasses I've had in a while. Mouthfeel is thick, creamy and very smooth. I need some more of this, it falls right in with what I enjoy most, a good stout or a Belgian Dark Ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 02:38:04 | More by techdiver
Photo of Flounder57


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle was poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Milk chocolate, toasted and roasted malts, molasses, a little booze, and caramel.

Taste: Sweet milk chocolate, caramel, toasted malts, molasses, roasted coffee, a little bitterness, and a little smoke.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied, medium carbonation, a little chewy, silky, and delicious.

Overall: Extremely balanced for a double stout. I can enjoy a couple of these here and there. Very delicious and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2013 03:54:37 | More by Flounder57
Photo of mcflypie


3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: A deep black and brown brew.

S: Sweet and roasted, almost like burnt marshmallows.

T: Heavy caramel up front, with a more bitter, malty, and hoppy after bite.

M: Hearty, almost Earthy in nature.

O: A good robust roasted black stout. Not the most amazing specimen, but a worthy contribution.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 07:24:30 | More by mcflypie
Photo of alaimoa


4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz with no freshness date purchased about 6 months ago
Pours jet lack with thin layer of caramel color head that barely appears

Smell roasted coffee, burnt chocolate and hint of raising sweetness. Not overpowering just very pleasant

Taste: upfront roasted chocolate/ coffee and a bittersweet flavor in the back
Can't even taste any alcohol which is amazing at 8.1%.. Sessionable imperial aside from likely passing out after 2

Mouthfeel could be a tad thicker with a bit more kick from the roasted malt

Overall I am enjoying this a lot and would buy again. It's less complex than some of the really bold imperials that throw a ton of different flavor notes in them.. This is simple, well balanced and very drinkable

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2013 21:48:10 | More by alaimoa
Photo of kbrown


3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bomber enjoyed on the patio.

Appearance- Oily black darkness. Head dissipates fast to a caramel colored rim.

Smell- Roasted malt, sweet caramel, cocoa, but not as much aroma as I wanted.

Taste- Decent chocolate & carmel flavor, but clearly not high calibre. Some nice berry flavor adds needed depth.

Mouthfeel- Soft & frothy with a sharp carbonated edge underneath.

Overall- Doesn't have the strong, flavorful malty backbone that many superior Imperials have. Too many better options out there to ever buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 00:02:16 | More by kbrown
Photo of ISmith87


4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sun Devil Liqours find in Mesa. 22 oz bomber poured to stout glass.

A - 4.25 - beer is very dark brown black color with minimal head and no lacing.

S - 4.25 - chocolatey coffee roasted malt smells balanced with hoppiness

T - 4.0 - don't get me wrong this beer is great but its definitely not as complex as other stronger stouts, coffee, chocolate, very slight creaminess, balanced by hop bitterness, what an imperial stout is defined by

M - 4.0 - medium body. Alc hidden, roasted aftertaste.

O - 4.0 - good beer, just not great. Its a good beer i would buy again if I wanted a bomber of stout for 4.50.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 03:18:25 | More by ISmith87
Photo of itlnstallion11


4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Let me start by saying this is a really good stout!

a-motor oil black, tan head that doesn't really last long and lacing is mediocre

s- molases, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, raisins

t- amazing, sweet like sugar cane upfront with a nice roasty chocolate flavor. finally ends with a little bitterness that lingers on the palate like the smell in left in your house after using the fireplace.

m- full bodied loveliness

O- get it if you can, a sweet stout, very sweet to me! Not bitter, but leaves a little bite for you to consider it "well balanced."

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2013 07:02:19 | More by itlnstallion11
Photo of dar482

New York

4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a black color with a big tan brown head.

The aroma has very "stout" qualities. Roasted malt, a bit of coffee, and chocolate, along with some milk stout lactose.

The flavor follows as a solid stout all the way through. There's some again of that milk stout flavor, but mostly dominated by medium roasted malt and a bit of smoke. There's a hint of bittersweet chocolate int here. However, it's almost a good thing with all the sweet beers out there that this is not dominated by chocolate or coffee flavors.

The finish has a big bitterness of hops and roast on the back. It's a wonderful highlight of the beer.

The body on this is medium and very good for 8.1% ABV.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beer and it is surely better than Yeti. I would drink a lot of this regularly as it really exemplifies Imperial Stout flavors without messing around.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 06:51:22 | More by dar482
Photo of joe1510


4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber

I was waiting to drink this on a cold night and here it is. Poured Big Bear Black into a snifter. Now this stuff looks tasty. A big creamy tan head sits on top of the opaque black body. Not one glimmer of light shows through this beer. The head leaves sticky, moderate lacing.

The smell is packed full of dark flavors. Lots of molasses up front. The more you take in the more everything else comes out. Brown sugar, dark malt, rum soaked raisins, and chocolate This smells like dessert in a glass. I even get a hint of cream.

Wow!! This stuff is huge on flavor without being overpowering. The flavor profile changes throughout the entire drink. Every inch of your mouth gets hit with something different. I try and figure out how it's all layered but it's too difficult for me so I'll just give you the flavors I'm getting. I'm getting every flavor that's in the scent. The molasses is more subdued than in the nose but there is a nice addition of roasted malt and faintly bitter coffee. Finishes with a hint of vanilla. I can't even tell there is any alcohol in the here. Very very good.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium. In my opinion it could be a little thicker and heavier but not by much. The tastes explode all over the inside of my mouth. As it warms there is a barely perceivable alcohol warming in the throat.

The drinkability for such a big beer is exceptional. The alcohol is so well hidden I could easily see it catching up on people if they didn't know it was there. I took off slightly for mouthfeel because it is a little lighter than I'd like but that actually adds to the drinkability.

Overall Big Bear Black Stout is an outstanding beer from Bear Republic. This is the perfect beer to drink on those upcoming cold winter nights and my fridge is going to be loaded up with bombers. Wow!!! Very impressive!

Reviewed: 11/1/06

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2013 03:34:21 | More by joe1510
Photo of woosterbill


4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from way back in 2009, forgotten in my cellar until now.

A: Dark brown body under a finger of tan head. Ok retention, good lace. Not bad.

S: Pleasantly old, with spice, chocolate, graham cracker, coffee, and raw cocoa powder. Really nice.

T: Chocolate, molasses, raisin, port, coffee, pepper, and residual hop bitterness. Tasty.

M: Medium-to-full body, moderate carbonation. Solid.

O: This aged a lot better than I expected from such a relatively low-ABV Imperial Stout, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who tried a pour. Really complex, and only slightly oxidized in a rather pleasant way.


Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 17:07:49 | More by woosterbill
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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,853 ratings.