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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,183 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,183
Reviews: 1,113
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 140
Gots: 170 | FT: 4
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,183 | Reviews: 1,113
Photo of EvilKeith
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into the imperial pint glass nearly black in color with faint ruby highlights. The head is two fingers of camel colored rootbeer float-like dense foam. The lace is generously thick and sinfully sticky.
The smell is sweet roasted malts, ripe dark fruits, dark roasted coffee beans, and creamy milk chocolate with the alcohol hidden beyond detection.
The taste is sweet. Notes of bitter-sweet cocoa, toasted almost charred flavors. The alcohol is more overt than the scent would indicate. The alcohol lends a spicy edge to the mix. Hops bring just enough bittering to keep the malty sweetness in balance.
Crisp, creamy mouthfeel. Medium heavy body. Moderately active carbonation, for an RIS, but here it is not out of place.
This was really a treat. Full, rich, complex flavors.
Thoroughly enjoyed this one after supper. Sweet enough to be served as a dessert beer. FIND THIS, and give it a try!

Photo of corey0212
4.72/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Imperial Russian Stout I ever had, seemed like a good time to go back and give it a formal review...

Pours midnight black, some dark brown highlights around the edges when held to light, big rocky/foamy tan head fades somewhat slowly, leaves a foamy film on top of the beer, a few stray big bubbles floating around, just a few spots of lacing on the glass. Big roasty smells just pop out of the glass, dark chocolate, strong coffee aroma, dark fruits in the background, and just a hint of alcohol. Taste is burnt coffee,, molasses, bitter dark chocolate covered espresso beans, spicy alcohol on the lips. For me, it's just the littlest bit over-carbonated, but it's a minor complaint for such an outstanding brew. A total classic, one that will be enjoyed in my house for years to come.

Photo of webbcreative
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black pour with 3 finger tan head..absolutely gorgeous looking in the glass! Smells of dark bitter chocolate, also smells like a dark fruit smell, although i dont know what fruit that would be. taste is again some dark bitterish chocolate, and a get a bit of hop bitterness in the end. mouth feel is really nice here, realy smooth and just a little creamy.

Overall, wow, this is a pretty darn good RIS, would like to do a blind or at least side by side tasting with this and Old Rasputin for comparison though.

Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a pub style glass
Bottling date 6/12/12

A- Near jet black mahogany body, 2" fluffy brown head

S- Roated malts, funky hops, slit soy sauce aroma once it reached near room temp.

T- Bitter dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, roasty, nutty, caramel malts, funky hops, alcohol twang

M- Creamy, below average carbonation, slit alcohol heat

O- A pretty damn tasty stout. Lots of bitter dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. Roasty, nutty, caramel malts, and some funky, dank hops. I'm kind of disappointed with the bottling date and can't help but wonder if this brew would have been better fresh. It's my fault though for not taking the time to research where the bottling date was, prior to the purchase.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from MASPuros, thanks again!

Poured into a 1l glass mug. Deep brown/black color with a finger of dark brown head. Head retention is average and theres a little bit of lacing.

Smell is of dark roasted malts, bitter hop, and some molasses.

Taste is moderately complex. Roasted dark malt dominates. Notes of chocolate, molasses, dark fruit and spice blend in the finish. It's hard to detect the flavor sometimes as the bittering covers some of it. Alcohol is undetectable, which makes me happy.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and heavy bodied. I'm pleased with the carbonation level, and I'm happy that the ABV is only 8. I'm rather annoyed with the trend of going for a super-high ABV in stouts, as the alcohol gets too strong to enjoy the full flavor.

Drinkability is good. This isn't my favorite stout but it is good. I could drink this paired with some nice barbecue.

Photo of rrock44
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of mnj21655
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, no freshness date, poured into a pint glass

Pours black with ruby hints at the edges and over two fingers of luscious, pillowy brown head that exhibits excellent retention. Aroma is quite good, roasted malts are dominant with coffee and dark chocolate notes. Also present are some restrained citrusy hops as well as brown sugar and molasses. Taste is, at first, a bit sweet then predominantly malty. As we near the finish the roasted malts make their triumphant return as some subtle dark chocolate mingles with more powerful coffee flavors. Bitterness and some faint hoppiness then join the party. The bitterness is well rounded, not at all harsh, and definitely from both the roasted malts as well as generous hopping early in the boil. Mouthfeel is quite good, medium-full body that is velvety and not quite chewy with moderate carbonation. The 8.1% ABV is masked incredibly well and the only reason that I noticed is was a gentle warming sensation that I felt when I was about finished with the bottle. Overall this is one heck of a brew. I felt that this wasn't really an RIS (well, maybe a very American interpretation of the style) but an excellent American Double Stout. I highly recommend this brew.

Photo of DaveONan
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of nleaders
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of ArmedsouthernEr
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Gasc0igne
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of briman
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours almost pitch black, some ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Nice thick, fluffy dark tan head....great retention, the best I've seen so far, lots of lacing.

Aroma is roasted malts, caramel, & coffee.

Taste is slightly sweet upfront...caramel malt, touch of bittersweet chocolate, moving more towards dark roasted malt through the middle. Finish is dry, with a nice cofee bean bitterness.

Medium-full body, doesn't seem highly carbonated, but it's got just the right amount. Smooth, very easy drinking stout...great flavor, not too strong, not too weak. Well balanced, and easily the kind of beer I would drink again and again.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased at Jungle Jim's for me by a friend last Thanksgiving. Poured into a Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a pitch black without the slightest hint of color around the edges. There is a one finger thick brown head that has decent retention and lace. If the retention and lace were a bit better it would have gotten a perfect score here.

S: Chocolate, molasses, and coffee make for a very nice aroma.

T: Initial flavor of the parts of the aroma mentioned above that is quickly washed away by a truckload of hoppiness. I did not expect this level of hops in this one. The bitterness lingers through the finish. I really like the departure of having a nice load of hops in a stout, but it takes away from the malty sweetness you expect from the style a bit too much for me.

M: The feel is thick and smooth. There is just a bit too much prickliness from the carbonation and/or hops for me.

D: The big bitterness in this one makes it a bit of a slow go for me, but it is by no means a struggle.

Photo of olmatty
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours a one finger light tan head with some moderate lacing and a deep black colored beer.

Smell- Bittersweet chocolate and espresso coffee with a slight biscuity malt and a touch of yeast in the nose.

Taste- Moderately chocolately, somewhat dry, a bit of licorice, Italian espresso and bitter hops continue on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Smoothly carbonated and bitter without biting.

Drinkability- If the bottle didn't say 8.1 ABV I'd think it was 5. Smooth and very dangerously drinkable for the style.

Photo of nickss
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Almost black... very very dark and completely opaque. 1" rocky head leaves beautiful lacing on the sides of the glass.

Some alcohol is initially perceptible in the aroma, along with roasted malt, dark cherry and chocolate. Very nice aroma.

Very smooth and enjoyable taste. Not as in your face as many other stouts i've sampled from this style. That's not to say it is not as well crafted, just a touch more subtle. Lots of roasted malt and toffee tones. The alcohol that was in the aroma is nowhere to be found in the taste... it becomes slightly more noticeable as the beer warms. Additionally, caramel notes become more prevelent after awhile.

While the carbonation level is about right (not highly carbonated), this brew is a bit too thin for me... I'd prefer for it to be a bit thicker and a bit more chewy.

For a brew of this abv, this beer is extremely drinkable. The alcohol is barely noticeable, the brew isn't thick, and the flavour is subtle which makes it easier to quaff (if one was so inclined.. not saying its a good idea).

This was the first brew I tried from Bear Republic, and I am pleased. Very solid brew, and one I could see myself drinking quite often if it was available to me.

Photo of DaggerEyes
2.13/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I don't know if I got a bad bottle of this stuff or what but this Big Bear Black Stout was a total let down and almost undrinkable...

Pours a deep bark black with a rich creamy mocha head.

Lovely nose with scents of milk chocolate and raisins.

The entrance is very active, slightly smokey and sweet, on the finish the beer is somewhat bland and has an AWFUL milky-chimical taste on the after taste. I feel that something had to have been off with this beer because I couldn't even finish it due to the offputting after taste.

Judging by everyone else reviews I think I got a bum bottle, hopefully when I get another some day this beer will redeem itself

Photo of eberkman
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. capped bomber purchased for an astonishingly low 5 bucks at Nejaime's in Lenox, Mass.

Pours an opaque, oil-slick jet black with a big, durable tan head that never completely goes away. Smells of dark chocolate, vanilla, dark-roasted coffee and booze. The taste is a winner – again, bitter dark chocolate, creamy vanilla, pungent coffee and what seemed like bourbon and buttered rum notes. Additional creaminess as it settles – an overtone of what almost seems like Ghirardelli hot milk chocolate. Delicious. The mouthfeel, on the other hand, keeps this out of the Hall of Fame. A little thinner and watery than I would have anticipated. Still a wonderful evening sipper – paired great with 80% cacao Belgian dark chocolate after a hearty dinner.

Photo of tchenery
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge stout head on this monster! It's nice and foamy, a deep off-white tan color. The beer itself is opaquely black. Looking good.

Smells good, kind of a roasted/caramel/dark chocolate aroma.

Nice roast taste to it. It has that soft coffee bitterness as well. It tastes like a big toasted marshmallow.

Very smooth for a beer this big in ABV. Nice full body, but still "thin" in Guinness terms. Excellent beer, very drinkable and I will definitely go back to this one in the future.

Photo of TBoneJones
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black in my pint. Perfect thick caramel-colored head.
Smells like dark cocoa, chalky malt. Nondescript in a way.
Tastes like a somewhat choco-coffee and grainy/ mildly bitter take on an imperial stout... not a favorite profile of mine, but in this it seems to work. A hop presence in the bitter (but not overly so) finish. Balances well for what it is, but it lacks a certain robust sweetness, something I prefer in heavier stouts.
Mouthfeel is medium thick, somewhat sticky.
Overall where this beer impressed me is in its drinkability. Up front chocolate turns to bitter coffee, im not blown away by anything in particular, but im able to finish the pint easily; I don't feel like im drinking an 8. % beer.

Photo of lvoutlawjlh
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of jl2414
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of elmocoso
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Finger and a half of tan head - very tight knit. Ruby light shines through in the thinnes part of the tapered glass. Nothing else visible but pitch black. Very sweet nose and wine/stone fruit. Raiseny, resinous. Nice hop smell behind the sweetness. Sweet first draw with the impression of ash smells and tasts in the mouth. Smokyness lingers after sweetness recedes. Hop aste present but hidden behind the sweetness. A little sweet for me, but a nice sipper. Mouthfeel is great - full and creamy.

Photo of jessealmlie
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of twax
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of FriedSlug
5/5  rDev +21.1%

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,183 ratings.