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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.

2,008 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,008
Reviews: 1,093
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 119
Gots: 133 | 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
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Ratings: 2,008 | Reviews: 1,093 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jcdiflorio

West Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -12.3%

reviewed on 7/1 fom a 22 oz. bottle,served into a nonic glass. Poured an opaque,black with a dense,creamy 2" tan head,very good retention falling into a pillowy layer leaving a few clumps of lace down the glass.

Very roasty aroma,strong carmell maltinesss with some slight vinious qualitys,earthy/woody with citrus and some slight hints of a metallic aroma.

Strong carmalized maltiness upfront,leaving a sweet taste thereafter,dark fruitiness,strong hop notes take over mid-taste with citrus/woody with slick oily resinious flavors. Well balanced for the strong tastes,imperial all the way!

Heavy bodied,chewy with a good bit of cloying,filling not a beer i'd want to drink more than a couple of. Was a cross between a stout and an ipa with the big hoppy bite and lots of malt,interesting beer.Would make a good winter warmer for me,i'll give this one another try again since i recently became avalible in my area. Thanks to Sudsdog for the send.

07-24-2008 02:44:54 | More by jcdiflorio
Photo of Tilley4


3.7/5  rDev -10.6%

I'm pretty sure that I got this one from Hopsleeroy, so thanks go out to you, Lee!

This pours out into my Duvel tulip totally black... no light at all coming through... slowly forms a very sizable light brown head that is quite persistent... shelves of lacing down the glass throughout as well...

Aroma of very dark chocolate and some deep dark coffee, maybe a hint of espresso....I think I might detect a hop presence as well..

Hmmm... this one started out terrific with a big bitter dark chocolate malt presence that just sort of fade out to...nothing... Weird! It's almost like the malts don't have any complexity to them beyond the initial rush of chocolate.... no coffee, no hops... just dark roasted chocolate malts that fade quickly..

A bit disappointing, I must say. This wasn't bad, don't get me wrong. I was really expecting to be blown away by this and I just wasn't. Sort of an average RIS...

07-23-2008 01:09:11 | More by Tilley4
Photo of blakesell


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured from the tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a very dark brown, not quite black with a creamy cap that quickly subsides to a lighter murk across the top. Light lacing rims the glass.

Smell- Tobacco, tar, pine, dark roasted malts, lactose, brown malts, "C" hops, very refreshing aroma on this one.

Taste- Roasted malts, non malted and black patent maltiness, a hint of smoke malts, light on the tongue. Hops are present and balanced, lightly bitter, not warming.

Mouthfeel- Lightly creamy, roasty, highly carbonated, medium-bodied, effervescent.

Drinkability- Very nice beer, I will revisit it one day.

07-22-2008 01:29:24 | More by blakesell
Photo of jmalex


3.55/5  rDev -14.3%

Purchased for next to nothing at Vidalia's in Lansdale, PA. I love that place.

APPEARANCE: Pours just about as black as you can get into my Victory becker glass. A one-finger, tan head forms on top and slowly shrinks to a hearty collar with nearly a full surface of foam.

SMELL: Heavy aromas of dark chocolate, coffee, some dark fruits, and a decent dose of a warming alcohol. Bitter burnt malts and a very light citrusy hop aroma lurk in the background.

TASTE: Absolutely one of the more bitter Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. Bitter black malt and a robust hop bitterness cut through the sweetness and surpass it quite a bit. The underlying malt is mostly chocolaty but feels a bit empty, which doesn't help it come up to reach the bitterness. The finish leaves still more hop flavor and bitterness which lingers and lingers.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium full in body which approaches on syrupy and slick. Carbonation is medium to low and appropriate.

DRINKABILITY: Definitely one to sip all night. I wouldn't mind it at all if this beer came in a 12 oz. bottle. A bit more balance would go a long way for this beer.

Not too bad. I'm certainly enjoying it. I'd probably buy this again as long as the price was right.

07-21-2008 23:49:14 | More by jmalex
Photo of beereality


4.18/5  rDev +1%

Attempted to pour this vigorously into an imperial pint, but only got three inches of beer before the head rose to the top of the glass. Huge thick head that was sticky and lasted for quite a while, and left lacing from top to bottom. Black liquid with dark cola color around the edges. I smell chocolate right away, nice. Nice thick, but not to thick mouth feel. Kind of a rich malt, chocolate taste, maybe a little coffee, with hops noticeable. Oh so good. very smooth as all the carbonation seems to have left after the pour. Will buy again.

07-18-2008 23:51:46 | More by beereality
Photo of rodrot

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +7.5%

Poured totally black with a nice 1 finger tan colored head. Lots of coffee in the aroma, but with a nice dose of roasted malts as well. Very nice so far. Flavor was full of coffee, licorice and ripe fruits along with chocolaty notes in the finish. Spicy hops were a little evident towards the finish as well. Mouthfeel was medium-full in the palate, but the beer went down fairly easily anyway. I could probably down two bombers of this stuff in one sitting. A great stout that I hope will one day be available in North Carolina. Recommended.

07-17-2008 22:56:56 | More by rodrot
Photo of opwog


4.55/5  rDev +9.9%

In goblet.

A- Dark chocholate, with a one finger latte head.
S- Roasted malt so fresh, it smelled like I had just brewed it myself.
T- I have had this in a bottle before and it didn't stand out to me as it did on tap. Everything that you want from an imperial stout.
M- Thick and malty, leaves the lips slightly sticky.
D- I could easily put a few of these away if the keg was next to my couch, instead of a 5 mile drive away.

07-09-2008 08:36:07 | More by opwog
Photo of Kolsch


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

22oz Bomber.

Pours black, can't see anything thru this beast.

Smell is sweet caramel, slightly bitter chocolate.

Taste is smooth, creamy and I can't believe this is 8.1 ABV. Don't detect traces of coffee as others have said.

Overall: I was expecting a sweet, coat your tongue, can only drink one of these type of Stouts. Quite the contrary: Absolutely easy drinking, with little after taste, and one of the best IMP Stouts around!

07-03-2008 00:39:10 | More by Kolsch
Photo of indiapaleale


4/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours slightly viscous with a nice coffee colored head. Its amazing how smooth this beer pours. You can really see the just how thick and rich this beer is going to be based on how it fills the glass.

Smells of sweet coffee, bitter chocolate with a toasted malt side as well. It definitely comes across as a roasty, slightly smoky strong stout. No complaints from the smells, overall it is rich and appealing.

Taste is oh so smooth. Its way too drinkable for being over 8%. The dryness is there in the finish but before that comes a lot of deep dark sweet malt tastes. The sweetness really draws you in and the strength is hardly noticeable. Lots or roasty, smoky tastes as well. Love it. Excellent beer.

06-28-2008 03:26:03 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of philbe311


3.85/5  rDev -7%

A - Opaque jet black... thin foamy tan head...

S - Roasted malt... Cocoa... Caramel... Faint scent of black licorice...

T - Hoppy... Smokey flavor... Coffee... Bitter dark chocolate...

M - Rich... Medium bodied... Lingering dryness... Smokey feel...

D - Solid stout... A little too hoppy for my liking... One or two per sitting... 8.1% ABV bites by the 2nd glass...

06-20-2008 02:15:36 | More by philbe311
Photo of misterdmac


3.98/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

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


4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

Bomber from Pacific Park Market, on to the beer:

A hoppier and fruiter RIS in comparison to others. In fact much of the time, I though I was drinking a dark IPA. Sweet lemon, some hop juice, and minor notes of fruity esters were more dominant than the traditional roasted cocoa flavors. Easy to knock back and a different viewpoint of the style, being it's lighter and fruitier.

06-15-2008 04:44:48 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of UA8


3.85/5  rDev -7%

A- Pours a dark mahogany color with tan foam

S- Smells of heavily roasted malts and chocolate

T- The taste starts with dark chocolate and then moves to roasted malts and slight sweetness

M- Gentle carbonation rolls across the mouth. decently refreshing for a stout. Could have a slightly heavier body.

D- Overall a very nice stout. A tad on the sweet wide. Something that I may not session but nice with a cigar or smoky bbq.

06-15-2008 01:43:41 | More by UA8
Photo of allengarvin


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Into a pint glass, this beer is quite dark, with just a slight ruby tinting when held to the light. The head is small but thick, and tan-colored. The aroma is rich in soft cocoa and caramel malts. Excellent malty complexity in the flavor: An initial start of sweet milk chocolate gives way to lightly roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes with enough bitterness on the side to drive the sweetness into the background. Nice resinous hoppy taste as well. Soft and creamy texture, and surprisingly light for the alcoholic strength.

06-14-2008 17:42:19 | More by allengarvin
Photo of LunaChick


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

Rich, slightly alcoholic nose. Caramel. Pours rich deep sable--nearly black. A sturdy head lasting throughout. Taste is complex. Rich. Hints of bitter chocolate and slight vanilla. Very smooth in the mouth. Very easy to drink. Deceptive as well. At 8.10 abv its not as powerful as most but this bear will bite.
What I like most is how drinkable it is. I can enjoy this with a grilled delmonico and spicy arugula salad or after dinner with creme brulee. Its highly drinkable all year round. Its going on tap at my bar.

06-14-2008 02:15:47 | More by LunaChick
Photo of BEERchitect


4.45/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

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


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Pours a thick black with a small tan head. Smells of heavy chocolate and slight coffee. There's some hop aroma mixed in there too, but it's in the background. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy, but not syrupy. It coats your tongue and delivers a heavy chocolate flavor that lingers there and warms up the mouth. This thing is a fabulous dessert. I don't know if I'd call it an all out imperial stout, but if it were categorized by BJCP standards, it's probably my favorite American stout. The hops are restrained, it's not overly sweet and the flavors are all balanced perfectly. It's not an extreme beer, so it's approachable and delightfully drinkable. I'll take 2, please.

06-06-2008 17:26:34 | More by TheEremite
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -11.8%

Served in my DFH snifter. Pour was brownish-red, but appearance was cola-colored in the bowl. Half-inch khaki-colored head consisted of tiny dense bubbles and a cap speckled with ringlets. Scent of malt and a hint of cocoa; metallic smell presented itself as brew warmed. Head was replenished with each pour. Sheets of consistent lacing with lots of leg. Taste consistent with nose, but a lightly charred coffee flavor is presented up front, as well as a lingering hops bitterness at the finish. Similar to the nose, I also detected a faint metallic flavor at the back. Mouthfeel is fair; somewhat watery and a little too effervescent, which is not what I consider to be characteristic of an RIS. Mild astringency experienced under the tongue and along the sides. Alcohol was well-hidden, and brew was reasonably priced. Faint metallic presence keeps this from being '4's across the board; a decent brew nonetheless.

06-05-2008 23:03:41 | More by Jwale73
Photo of brewmunster


3.43/5  rDev -17.1%

It could just be me because of my inexperience, but when i first took a sip it tasted a bit like soy sauce lol. Later on I detected other roasted flavours, but thats all. Maybe if I were to give it time I might get use to stouts. I know that guiness is really only watered down with some sweet roasted characteristics, but this one is too complex for me at the moment.

06-04-2008 11:54:51 | More by brewmunster
Photo of biggmike


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

Bomber. Poured an attractive black color with nice tan head that lingers a little while. Aroma is of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. Flavor is very similar to the aroma. The hops balances the malt nicely. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Alcohol is really hidden well in this one. Excellent beer.

06-02-2008 07:21:33 | More by biggmike
Photo of hopsleeroy

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -2.2%

A- Black stout with little light coming through and 2 inch head that disppeared quickly.
S-Very chocolate smell, some roast malt smell, not picking up a lot of fruit, mild vanilla. Just OK aroma.
T-Roast grain, chocolate, some earthy wood flavors mixed in and a little bit smoky. There was a chalky taste that was not totally pleasurable on the backside. Pleny of hops in this one balancing out the sweet. Hope came thorugh as it warmed and it became more complex.
M-Very creamy with good carbonation
D-Dangerously drinkable. It gets better as it warms and begins to change the flavor making me want to drink more.

Fine beet-very enjoyable.

05-30-2008 19:52:16 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of acrawf6


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

Pours out a black with a little amber light coming through the edges of the glass with a thick tan head.

Smell. Light amount of chocolate with a smooth roasted malt.

Taste. Nice balance of a sweet espresso flavor and enough bitterness to balance it out. I get some roasted and burnt malt flavors, but overall the main characteristic that is getting my attention is the coffee flavor and a small bit of chocolate. Aftertaste lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel. This isnt the fullest beer, but it is very creamy to me. There is a thick and creamy silkiness to it that makes the beer quite easy to swallow.

Overall, I really like this beer, one of the most easy drinking RIS I've had. Has a decent amount of hops without being overly hopped, which is a little surprising to me coming from bear republic. I'll be getting this one again.

05-28-2008 16:45:21 | More by acrawf6
Photo of paco1029384756


3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

Pour is black with a creamy tan head, bubbles climb up the side of the glass. Malty scent with some roasted almonds, chocolate, and molasses. Flavor is heavy on roasted coffee beans and malts, strong and bitter. Mouthfeel is smooth with a nice bite from the bitterness. Good drinkability for a stout, nice to savor.

Nothing more here than a damn good beer at a damn good price. Recommended.

05-24-2008 23:03:53 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of khiasmus

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -7.5%

Ok. The problem with this beer is not the craftedness of it, the flavor, the appearance, the deliciousness... The problem is that the brewery thinks it's an RIS. This beer is not nearly intense, sweet, alcoholic, or full enough to be an RIS. If it were classed as a dry stout, or even a foreign extra stout, it would be top notch. As an RIS, it's thin and a bit weak, all roastedness and lacking in sweetness and alcohol character.
Black, decent tan head, ruby highlights.
Nose is almost all of roasted malt, with a bit of coffee and minimal hops in the back.
Taste is much the same. Would be the best dry stout I've ever had. Tons of roasted grain, coffee, grain bitterness.
Mouthfeel is smooth, with medium carbonation, but is not as thick or full as I feel it should be.

This is an excellent beer. Very, very tasty. I highly recommend it, and it will probably become a go-to tasty stout. But it's not an RIS.

05-23-2008 01:32:29 | More by khiasmus
Photo of zdk9


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

A- Pours black with a good amount of cocoa head. Just a smidgen of lacing.

S- Roasted nuts, chocolate, vanilla, cherries.

T- Nice amount of fruitiness combined with chocolate and espresso. There's also slight soy sauce kick to it. Delicious.

M- Smooth.

D- Recomended

05-22-2008 06:31:10 | More by zdk9
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,008 ratings.