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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.

1,854 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1854
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Bear Black Stout Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,854 | Reviews: 1,084 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

stout hopped up.and chocolate malt and very bitter. . Quenched the thirst and then some. Astringent, great with meat and salad. Had on tap a year later and licorice aroma prevalent. Beautiful black appearance. Good carbonation. A top notch stout and a top notch brewery..

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2004 04:28:28 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a nice 1 inch chocolate milk colored head. Smells of dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and spicy herbal hops. Taste is super dark chocolate, espresso grounds, with a bit of herbal hops on the finish. Mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. Good carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, a good stout that is definitely worth seeking out. The price is also right seeing as it's around $3.99 a bomber.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 03:18:47 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, impenetrable mahogany. I do see dark caramel highlights at the margins though, so it isn't a complete and total ambient light sucker. The expansive, thickly creamy head of golden cocoa brown falls infinitesimally slowly and resembles a large scoop of coffee ice cream left to melt in the midday sun.

A tremendous stout nose with power to spare. While sweet dark chocolate is dominant, this is no one-trick pony. Next in line would have to be citric hops (thank you Bear Republic), then brown sugar, then molasses, and finally, coffee. That is pretty much my ideal stout lineup, in exactly that order.

BBBS is good beer, as I was pretty sure it would be. One caveat: if you're not fond of hoppy stouts, this one may not be to your liking. I am and it is. It's even more hopalicious than the nose let on. In fact, I never thought I'd say this, but it's too hoppy relative to the actual stout flavor. I like hops in my dark beer (I like them on a train, I like them on a plane, I like them in Big Bear, I like them anywhere), but I don't like them to overwhelm the business at hand, which is... heavily roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and all that other stouty stuff.

Chocolate malt is still holding down the fort, but the ramparts have taken heavy damage from the humulus lupulus barrage. It's also impressively sweet, as befits a beer to which both brown sugar and molasses have been added. This really is delicious stuff even though its balance is just a tad askew. The finish is long and roastyhoppy with sweet just winning out over bitter. The mouthfeel is a notch shy of full with an impressive smooth silkiness.

Big Bear Black is great beer, but would benefit from being more classically stout-like. Even I need a break from overwhelming hops once in a while. As hard as it is to believe, sometimes I just wanna be 'mauled by malt', to paraphrase the BR website. Can't decide between a hop monster IPA and a darkly chocolatey double stout? Bear Republic has placed both in one bomber for your convenience and your drinking pleasure.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2005 22:21:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a thick black, opague oil like liquid. A nice small tan colored head was present at the start, which hung around for a decent amount of time. A nice long lasting lace was left to cling to the side the whole time, looked pretty good.

S - Lots of coffee and chocolate tones set the stage here. Hints of french vanilla and sugar swirled around and really gave this a nice robust dessert like feel.

M & T - Very nice here, great feel, very frothy and creamy like a milkshake. Great consistency. Big flavors of roasted dark chocolate and coffee. Big suprise was the huge hop presence here. Very dry hoppy finish, but also in the taste. Hints of pine and orange were definatly present and made this a very intresting brew to say the least. Could not really tell which was more dominant, but both were very welcome.

D - Awesome, is the only word that comes to mind. This was extremely drinkable, and even at 8.1%abv not a hint of alcohol was to be found anywhere in this. Not too heavy, but no where near thin, perfect drinkabilty, even on an abnormally warm early spring evening. A+

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2007 21:37:23 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with tawny highlights and a nice tan head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Smells as much like an IPA as a stout, with grapefruit hops mixing together with roasted coffee and woody notes

Taste: Starts out with a rich chocolate flavor that blends with dark fruits by mid-palate; after the swallow, the grapefruit bitterness arrives in a big way; woody dry flavors at the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body (just a bit thinner than it could be) with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This stout hits most of the high points although I wouldn't characterize it as a RIS; it's really more of an American Double Stout in my book.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2007 23:43:16 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Beerandblues2: Poured a light black color ale with a nice brown foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of roasted bitter malt some discernable hops. Taste is dominated by roasted bitter malt with a bitter hoppy finish. Body is more watery then I would have expected for the style with no alcohol being discernable. Overall, I found that this one was way too dry and bitter to really please me.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2007 18:02:19 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok, I buy the style characterization. But the beer does hinge on the gavity of an American Stout. Very drinkable and enjoyable for either because the beer emphasizes the intensity of flavor over gravity or feel. This beer is cramed pack full of strong cocoa flavors that will rival Rogues Mocha Porter. Balance that with a strong coffee (nearly espresso) flavor notes that also complement the sharp, American hops that do resemble the younger American Stout. Fresh and intense describe the flavors well. The body is full for a standard American Stout, but not chewy or dense enought for a RIS. I don't seem to care, where it drops off in thickness, it makes up for with drinkability. Still I keep comming back to that intense cocoa / coffee / nutty / toasty blend that makes this beer work for me. Another hats off to Bear Republic for another world class beer. By the way, this beer could win beauty contests with it's appearance that I just didn't describe very well.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2008 03:10:11 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the first Russian Imperial Stouts I ever had. I can say that it certainly did not disappoint, even if it is a little different for the style.

A: Very black with a nice, tan head.

S: Chocolate, espresso, and hops. Quite hoppy for an imperial stout.

T: Plenty of hops along with chocolate and espresso.

M: Quite smooth with good carbonation and a slight alcohol presence.

D: Highly drinkable. Good all around stout. Very, very highly recommended to any hophead who is looking into branching out into RIS's.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2009 03:12:50 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha head that quickly faded away leaving lacy patterns of bubbles on the surface.
S: There are aromas of burnt malts and roasted malts in the nose along with notes of chocolate and licorice.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some coffee flavors as well as a moderate amount of bitterness, which particularly stands out in the finish.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer is rather easy to drink compared to others in the style because any traces of alcohol are well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 05:13:25 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a near black body with a thick, foamy tan head.

Smell: Earthy, roasted malts saturate the aroma, as well as hints of caramel and aniseed. A touch of dark fruits in the nose as well.

Taste: Sweet, full malt backbone with flavors of caramel, dark chocolate, and molasses. Smooth finish accented by a light, grassy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with a silky, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Easy drinking stout. An ample, respectable brew, but it lacks the complexity of other Russian Imperial Stouts.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2006 05:10:06 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black with a mocha colored creamy head,big hop presence in the aroma for the style zesty and nutty with a little moch a coffee thrown in very nice.Wow where to begin on the flavors in this bad boy very creamy feel in the mouth, drier than expected some unsweetened chocolate and nutty earthiness with a background of zesty,spicey hop.Alot going on and way to easy to drink for the alc% every flavor u could want in a beer with a smooth creamy mouthfeel,just awesome.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2004 00:48:22 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black topped by a full, foamy, dark tan head that drops but keeps a thin 1/8" surface covering and leaves nice lace throughout the glass. The nose displays a gently fruity (currant, black raspberry) dark chocolate, coffee, and sweet cocoa. The medium body teams with the very fine and moderate carbonation to create a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The flavor is of a creamy sweet caramel and fruit-tinged toffee with a roasted edge. It starts with a bitter espresso note and warms into more softly roasted cocoa notes. Some alcohol is apparent but unobtrusive. It finishes drying with a lingering bitterness, mild roastiness and soft notes of mocha. Exceptionally well balanced. The bitterness builds on the palate throughout the serving but never goes out of bounds. A really nice stout with a very good drinkability. Well worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2003 19:05:45 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black as the darkest night, with a tall, fantastic, booming, cocoay/brown head, leaving chocolatey lace.
Aroma: creamy, dry, with faraway hints of coffee, becoming more prominent by the second. Another case of an unfolding flavors.
Smooth first sip, "ah," I'm thinking, "that goes down easy." But, oh, no, don't be fooled, the finish is thick and long, and the effect is powerful!
Rich, coffeeish, with a full, warm rum/cognac feel.
Excellent texture, lush, long-lasting, dark and rewarding flavors, full and roasty and delicious.
More earthy, espresso-like dominate the palate, and more, fruitier flavors show up and intermingle, giving off more and more to appreciate.
Alcoholic content is also a kicker, and seems to get stronger, darker, more wicked as we go. I save a small sample as a pick-me-up in the morning, throughout the day, when the man's getting me down, anytime's the right time.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2003 20:35:20 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from jgaston courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a thin brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, roasted dark malts and a strong amount hops for the style.

T: Despite the appearance, the taste does not have the heavy maltiness, smokiness or sweetness as most big stouts. I consider that a good thing, but you’re looking for the typical stout-like taste you’ve got the wrong beer. All of the previously mentioned attributes are certainly present, but there’s a strong hops presence that dominates to the point that if you close your eyes, you might think you’re drinking an IPA. Only one other stout that I’ve had has even approached this type of flavor, much less done it this well. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp for the style, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easy, a little bit filling, good representation of style while adding a very nice twist, good kick, as I stated earlier, it’s not your typical RIS, which is exactly what I like so much about it. It’s definitely a sipper and not a pounder, but it’s a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2007 04:20:19 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Starts out with a crazy/chunky brown bublly head and jet black body that when held to an intense light source reveals mahogony/ruby pigmentation. Big lace all the way down the glass.

Smells of molasses, rum, fruitcake and alcohol

Taste: Bitter hopiness on tounge is sync with licorice, dark rum/molasses and hints of chocolate. A faint hint pepper and maple syrup?? Aftertaste of hops hits the back of the tounge and throat.

Syrupy chewy mouthfeel with a just right carbination level, as balanced as an Imperial stout can get.

Super effort, doesn't quite hit all the notes to get full marks, but will drink any chance I get!

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2005 02:39:20 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep black color with a thick tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that boasts of black roasted and chocolate malts. It smells sweet with a dry finish. The taste is good. It has an intense black malt flavor and dry malty finish that leaves a black type aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. It goes down smooth and warms the throat. This is an excellent stout with great flavor; a good sessions brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2004 21:23:20 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this bomber at the store the other day because I am running seriously low on ticks in my beer fridge. Poured into a DFH snifter glass.

Beer is black / dark brown and hazy with a nice brown head of small bubbles, the head has retention and leaves rings of lacing all the way down the glass.

Beer is medium to heavy in body with a mild sweetness, pleasing, moderate roast, a nice finish with good levels of bitterness. The beer has this fudgy quality to ti that I really like. It took me a while to finish it but it was very good.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 16:00:07 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a two-finger, caramel colored head. It left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and chocolate. Also, a floral/hop aroma was present.

T - It tasted of chocolate and sweet, sweet caramel. It was sugary sweet with a subtle hop bitterness.

M - It was very smooth and soft. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good RIS. I wish it was available closer to home.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2008 03:01:03 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color that is crowned by a prodigious thick, creamy, deep brown head. Strong aromas of coffee, treacle, chocolate, a floral hoppiness, and perhaps some citrus. This has a great thick, creamy mouthfeel, yet it still is light and smooth at the same time. The beer finishes sweet with roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee flavors. This beer is so silky smooth as it goes down. The roast character, that is here, is missing all of the harsh astringent flavors that are often found in a stout, and this is a good thing. This is a very well integrated, very well balanced beer. I must say that Bear Republic continues to impress me.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2004 16:22:09 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out with a nice looking black color with a healthy brown head on top also. The lacing wasn't too bad here. The smell of the beer was chocolaty and roasted much like any stout should smell. The taste of the beer was rich with dark malts and some roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel was above average to me, I thought that the carbonation level was pretty good and the body itself wasn't too thin either. OVerall this wasn't a bad Stout, I'd say it worth having.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 00:30:08 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is of chocolate and caramel/toffee - rich - with roastiness. Citrus and pine/resin are there in the mix.

The taste is of chocolate and caramel/toffee - rich - with roastiness. There's an earthy/piney/resiny/citric bitterness that keeps up with sweetness, even getting ahead of it, especially in the dry, bitterish finish. A bit of warming alcohol shows in the finish, as well.

The body is full and velvety. Coating. It has a bit of a bite, but smooth overall.

A big stout - a hoppy version, though roasted maltiness does well. Very rich. Delicious! Certainly recommended for those interested in a hoppier, less traditional, take on the style!

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2008 01:24:23 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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 RblWthACoz


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost opaque with a big tan head off a strong pour. Nose is mildly malted. Flavor is smooth with a touch of sweet that morphs into a roasted and hearty flavor. What is left afterwards is a strong, earthen flavor on the tongue. Feel is good. Great carbonation and highly drinkable. Pretty damn good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 02:48:58 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearqance: Deep black with a tan thin head massive beer deep dark and robust thin lacing. Aroma: Deep caramel notes with roasted chocolate coffee notes what a wonderful rich spectrum of aroma. Taste: Slight hop character wonderful layers of roasted malt and coffee notes rich and syrupy goodness milky sweet and big. Mouthfeel: Full body stick to my gums good wow. Drinkability: Still incredibly drinkable wow just about one of the smoothest creamiest beers I have ever tasted.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2003 21:15:55 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

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

Appearance: deep evil black in color with a 1.5" light brown colored head. The head had some big bubbles floating in it. Some light lacing develops.

Smell: nice combination of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and some pine needles.

Taste: the flavor is bold as roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, molasses, piney bitterness, and a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, but mostly smooth with a prickle of crispness at the finish. Aftertaste is long on the flavor components.

Drinkability: nice drinkability, could easily substitute for one of my three meals of the day.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2006 13:03:35 | More by Gavage
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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,854 ratings.