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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.

2,099 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,099
Reviews: 1,101
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 127
Gots: 146 | 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:
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: 2,099 | Reviews: 1,101 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tmoneyba
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at The Local, SD, CA.

Poured black color with an average frothy brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing.

Heavy roasted sweet malt aroma.

Medium body with a smooth texture.

Heavy roasted balanced flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

This is a standout beer.

tmoneyba, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of Riccymon
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bomber a nearly opaque, cola black with about a quarter inch of brown head. Smell is a bit roasty, but mostly hoppy with a little booziness as the glass warms.

Taste is... hoppy. When the beer was colder, I got some coffee notes, but during much of the hour and a half I sipped at it, it drank like an APA with some cola and bitter chocolate flavors. Not as out-and-out hoppy as Storm King, for instance. It wasn't -not- tasty by any means, just a little one dimensional to me.

Mouthfeel was silky smooth and a nice aspect of the beer. I also found the beer fairly drinkable, but then again, I sipped it for quite a while. If you enjoy hops in your RIS, you'll probably enjoy Big Bear.

Riccymon, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I am surprised to read that this is an Imperial Stout rather than just a stout, although I suppose that the 8.1% ABV I saw listed on the bottle is explained by that style. However, in all other respects other than ABV, this beer seemed mild to me, much more like a stout than an imperial stout.

Color was dark and head was pretty tall and tan. Aroma was not very rich, but was pleasantly roasty. Flavor was a good "burned pizza crust" roastiness, but I didn't detect much of the chocolate, coffee, or dried fruit notes that are usually present in this style. Mouthfeel was decent, but pretty thin compared to other RIS's.

A good beer, but not up to the competition in the RIS/Imperial Stout category. For that reason, I'd be reluctant to recommend, despite a good review.

BeerBelcher, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of eagles22
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 22oz bomber nice pitch black body with a froathy white foam head

Smell: exceptional...very rich of dark chocolates and also malts and caramel

Taste: wow almost perfect ...great texture also wondeful balance of flavors...i get alot of dark chocolate and roasted malts..nice bite at the end too

Mouthfeel: very smooth and rich

Drinkability: very high for an RIS also for an 8.10% beer very well hidden

eagles22, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of jayfarley3
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured form a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Appearance is nearly pitch black with a frothy tan head that sticks around for a while. Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, hops. Tastes of roasted malts, a bit of coffee and chocolate malts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy smooth. This beer is very drinkable especially for the high 8.1% abv. I would definitely recommend this stout to anybody.

jayfarley3, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber received as a birthday present from Jasinviso. Drank from a pint glass.

A: Black opaque body. 2 fingers of foamy, tan head.

S: Full of roasted malt. Bigger presence of coffeee and dark chocolate.

T: A quick sweetness followed by strong roasted taste. Bitter, earthy coffee notes. Some dark fruit and chocolate as well. Alcohol becomes more noticible as it warms.

M: Medium bodied. Smoothe.

D: Good drinking stout. I think bombers of this are going for about $4.00 here in NJ. It would be hard to find a better stout at a better price.

Jerzdevil1116, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of sjccmd
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with an amber hue and a nice tan head

S: I might have a bit of a stuffy nose, but the smell didn't seem all that present, I did get a whiff of roasted malts and some dark fruits

T: very nice, dark chocolate, espresso-like bitterness, dates or raisins

M: starts off fizzy but finishes smooth, especially as it warms

D: if I had another bottle, I have a feeling I would have no problem drinking that as well...I think RIS's are really growing on me...

sjccmd, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of cameraman
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown to black color, with a quater inch head, that is light brown in color. The head slowly dissolves away. The deep scent of roasted malt hits the nose, but soons fades, and is followed feintly by combination of fragrances. The scent of coffee and chocolate, with dried fruit come through, but are very weak. A malty taste, hearty, with chocolate coming halfway. Then it blends itself to a mild grassy bitterness, that grows to a earthy bitterness at the end. A rich medium bodied feel, that thins out very quickly and brings the strong feel of carbonation across the palate. This stout has great look, hearty flavor, but the aroma is rather weak. The feel, may be the weakest and thinnest stout I have ever had.

cameraman, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours from a 22oz bottle into a .5L pint glass. Emerges a beautiful black color with the faintest caramel colored highlights with a large (three fingered size) but somewhat fizzy toffee colored head. Very nice lacing and the head remains atleast two fingers about two minutes.

Aroma is roasty sweet with coffee, licorice and currant notes. Figs, raisins and dates, a touch of oak and vanilla as well.

Big, huge roasty, coffee flavors. Burnt grains with chocolate, oak, raisins and anise seed. The sweetness is certainly subdued compared with the sweetness in the aroma, which I very much like. Very roasty and burnt grainy with a the perfect amount of dark grain bitterness.

Pretty thin on the mouthfeel for an RIS. Finishes crisp and clean and very roasty. Superbly drinkable. In fact, dengerously drinkable.

SaCkErZ9, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of everetends
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber I got in a trade with hopsleeroy, thanks a lot! Served up in an imperial pint.

A: Pours a super black in color that the name implies. The pour appears to be somewhat thick. When held to the light, the color holds, allowing no light to penetrate. About a finger of light brown head slowly bubbles up from the depths of this one. Head slowly diminishes leaving a pretty thick ring with a small circle of foam resting in the center of the glass. Lace is slowly slides down the glass and notches it. Nice looking stout.

S: Smell is a bit hops forward. There is a lot of earthy/herbal hops smells coming out along with just a touch of citrus aromas. A sweet caramel rests in the background with roasted malty goodness. Touch of chocolate, cream and coffee aromas as well.

T: Taste is not as hops heavy as the nose. Lots of smooth caramel and chocolate flavors accompany the nice roasted malts. The caramel and chocolate has such a creamy flavor to it that it stands out as an impressive quality. There is just a nice presence of milky cream as well. The coffee flavors are slight but present. The beer is sweet but not too crazy, it has been nicely cut by the earthy hops presence that adds just a touch of bitterness which mixes well with the coffee and chocolate flavors. There are not any crazy flavors in here but the balance is damn good.

M: Mouthfeel is full and chewy. This one rests gently on the palate and lets the creamy feel bring out these great flavors. ABV is very nicely hidden, and it kind of takes away a bit IMO. I like my RIS's to have a touch of heat to them, but still this is quite solid. Aftertaste is only of some creamy caramel and chocolate.

D: For an RIS, this goes down so easy. Its heavy on the palate or in the stomach, and the lack of ABV heat makes this one dangerously close to a chugger. Just so easy to drink. I know that this beer is not crazy dynamic by playing with crazy flavors, but it is simple and almost perfectly balance. I have been wanting to try this one for quite some time and it sure did not disappoint. Awesome brew.

everetends, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. This beer pours dark almost black color with brown at the edges when held to the light. It has a 1/2 inch light brown head that recedes to a consistent lacing.

The nose has a nice amount of roasted malty sweetness, mixed with some alcohol. There are mild hints of chocolate and coffee.

The taste includes a nice set of roasted malt, that includes chocolate and minimal coffee. It was a bit weak for me.

The mouthfeel was also weak. There is a creamy, almost milk stout feel. Overall, it is again a bit minimal for the body I was expecting. A pleasant dryness lingers.

Overall, I do feel that the weakness of this beer actually makes it a bit more drinkable. I would enjoy it when it is available but will likely not be searching it out.

SykDoc, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Cobrakai22
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black Bear Pours solid black with very light tan colored head. Less than or equal to one finger of head with decent lacing and head retention.

Smell - Oats, espresso and a little bit of dark chocolate. Its also kind of roasty.

Mouth - I took the mouthfeel to be slightly thin compared to other imperial stouts I've had, making it quite smooth.

Drinkability - Very drinkable due to its smoothness and excellent alcohol masking. The beer got a bit more complex as it warmed, though still not as exciting as I prefer in an imperial stout.

At $5 for a bomber, this is a good beer and a great value.

Cobrakai22, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber into a mug

A - the usual look of an RIS

S - chocolate, coffee, roasted barley, and raisins

T - dark chocolate and coffee. The flavors are weak, not strong like other RISs. I didn't enjoy its lack of a flavor punch. noticeable hops as well.

M - very creamy

D - its muted flavor makes it as easily drinkable big beer.

bowersdm, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of Biggness
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours very dark with a dark tan head with lots of lacing. The smell is very robust of coffee, chocolate and licorice. The flavor is nice, not an over the top one with mega flavors but what is there is nice, lots of flavor from the toasted malts along with the coffee and chocolate flavors. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a very slight dry feeling. For 8% this is a highly drinkable brew and for 5$ bombers this is a good fallback for a night out :)

Biggness, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. Very clean coming out of the bottle, some head was noticed and settled very softly. Pitch black in color with caramel/brown head. Magnificent aroma's bailout. Senses of blackberries and chocolate, oatmeal and coffee are present. Gulp. Big bold flavor of the roast plays well with the hops. Lacing on the glass make for some amusement. Another great beer coming out of this bear. Keep it up!

Recommended: To all

BuffaloTapHugger, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of brewintheLou
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours very dark with an off white head that sticks around like a cloud and leaves lacing down the glass. I am seeing some amber around the edges, but that could be the lighting.

Has a very soft floral smell.

Taste hit me with vanilla right off. This thing is incredibly smooth and milky. Has nice chewiness and soft finish. This beer does not slap you in the face with flavor like some RIS's, but it is incredibly drinkable... maybe dangerously so. This is a very delicious brew.

brewintheLou, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of JonathanL7890
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap last night at the Dig Pub.
Poured into a pint glass.
1 Finger of foam. Medium brown head.
Color is pitch black as a stout should be.
Aroma: Lots of cascade hops. Maybe some roastiness but this is a very hop forward stout.
Taste: Almost like a west coast ipa. This is a very hop dominated brew. Roastiness comes out in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.
Drinkability: Good, I like Ipas, though. It would be a tough pint for a non hop lover.

JonathanL7890, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bottle.

Pours with a medium dark brown head. Medium carbonation. Color is opaque, pitch black. Aroma is quite roasty and coffeeish, hops definitely noticeable. Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky, medium body. Starts chocolatey, dry and is roasty throughout. Finishes with some burnt toastiness but pleasant. Alcohol is warm, not overpowering. Body, mouthfeel and alcohol all seem on the low end for an imperial stout.

htomsirveaux, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of Stimack
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After numerous times saying that I was going to pick up this brew I finally decided to, pretty dumb of me waiting this long I suppose. Well this brew poured to a pitch-black color with a good sized dark tan head that had very good retention and left a ton of thick lacing at the top of the glass and then rings down the side. The aroma is very inviting with its very dark roasted/ astringently burnt malt that also gives strong impressions of chocolate, coffee and berry like fruit. Also lurking is a slight alcohol aroma that you knew would be there with this brew weighing in at 8.1. The flavor is nice, the astringent malt comes out quickly but that breaks down to a nice mixture of chocolate, caramel and a slight sweet berry flavor. As it warms more of a coffee/espresso flavor comes out mixed with a clearer alcohol warmth. Has a dry finish that adds a little bit to the astringency. This is a good brew, can't have many of these in one sitting as you will get in trouble quickly but a nice sipper, especially as the flavors do change a bit as it warms. I should not have passed this brew up and will try some other offerings from this brewery in the near future.

Stimack, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of popery
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: entirely black. great looking stout
S: chocolate, coffee, toasted malt
T: chocolate, toasted malt, big flavor, delicious, good hop bitterness, slightly metallic, sweet, dry finish, sweet toasted malt through the middle, some caramel
F: creamy, full, sudsy
D: delicious
Also, Big Bear Black Stout is great name to go with this warming West coast stout.

popery, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of Graham5161986
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a very dark, opaque brown with a thick 3 finger, rocky tan head that has excellent retention ad leaves come nice thick lacing on my glass. Aromas of strong northwest hops come to mind with a touch of peppery spiciness (jalapeno possibly?) with hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel on the nose. Taste is of some nice dark fruit up front with a highly enjoyable subtle hop presence throughout. Finish is quite chocolaty with a slight spicy kick @ the end. Nice roastiness from the malts on the linger as well. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a very nice amount of carbonation (not too much!). This beer has a mouth-coating finish that is cut nicely by a good amount of crispness and a touch of spice. Finally, despite its relatively high ABV, this beer is quite drinkable. It goes down smooth and its spicy crispness prevents it from feeling too heavy. The alcohol is certainly present but NOT overwhelmingly so. An excellent buy which I will surely be buying again in the future. Overall a truly remarkable stout.

Graham5161986, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of SirEgbert
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Into a large mug: pours a nearly black, mahogany color. Creamy, khaki-colored head sticks at about a quarter inch. Good lacing.

S: Creamy esters. Roasted malts and dark fruits (plums?). Slight licorice.

T: Roasted malt and an earthy moss taste of hops. Mild piney aftertaste.

M: Creamy and big, with a biting astringent aftertaste. Cooling hops with an espresso-like bitterness.

D: This is a fantastic brew! Heavy, thick and malty, but the hops balance things out very well, drying the palate for the next sip. Alcohol makes itself known through a spreading warmth, but it is not forceful.

SirEgbert, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of cvfish
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured black, with some brown highlights on the side, produced a tan frothy head that had good retention left nice lace around the glass

S - Aromas of roasted malts are prevalent, along with some chocolate and coffee

T - This Imperial Stout start with the nice roasted malt flavor one would expect, bitter dark chocolates, coffee bean, and molasses (which came from La.!), finished with a decent hop flavor

M - The body on this left a little to be desired, but only a little, medium to heavy body, smooth and creamy, with moderate carbonation

D - This Imperial Stout is one of my favorites, especially since we do not get much in the way of craft down here, the only complaint is the body, but nothing to stop me from really enjoying this beer

cvfish, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of GPHarris
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a light tan (almost eggshell color) one finger thick head into a goblet. the head left a nice ring and lace throughout and really coats the glass. the body was dark black.
s - sweet malts and chocolate.
t - dry roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel.
m - medium and clean.
d - terrific beer and it goes down way easy.

GPHarris, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of redneckchugger
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass, black black black dark tan head, dark lacing black out the sides of the glass as i drink it.
smells amazing, roasted malts, huge amount of hops for a stout.
the taste is not as big as the smell, its almost tame by comparision, still damn good though. hoppy for a stout, but now it amost tastes like a hoppy american stout instead of an RIS.
That aside i love this beer, great taste, the hoppiness is a great suprise and it hides the abv quite well.

redneckchugger, Dec 29, 2008
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,099 ratings.