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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.

1,953 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,953
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 113
Gots: 127 | 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: 1,953 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'I'll finish the dinner', I tell the wife, 'you pour the beer.' I've been anticipating this stout for a good couple of weeks now. Good God! It looks like flat cola! 'I poured it as slowly as I could so it didn't get a head', says the missus. After beer 101, I drink some (more of this later), agitate the bottle and create a creamy mocha head to top this onyx beast. What a difference a head makes! the appearance is exceptional, and will remain so throughout, leaving prodigious lacing.

The aroma is nutty, chocolatey and rich, and after sipping I have to say that it is excellently matched to the drinking experience. My first impression on sipping is caramel - there's a lot present and it lends a nice sweetness to the drink, which along with its heavy texture, reminded me of sipping on chocolate milk. Hidden behind this are flavours of roasted malt, café mocha and vanilla. The alcohol is extremely well-concealed, and only became apparently when I started nibbling on some Ghiaradelli dark chocolate while drinking. It turns out that the sweetness performs a function. The finish is smooth and creamy, but also shows the impressions of a nice hoppy bitterness.

This experience really felt like dessert in a glass. I would gladly repeat it.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 15:24:42 | More by bobsy
Photo of Slynger


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of a black bear with red highlights in the bottom of the glass. a BIG furry brown head accompanies. The smell is dry dark chocolate, powdered cocoa, fresh ground coffee and sweet citrus hops. Crisp and dry for a stout yet the mouthfeel remains creamy. The taste is of bitter dry roasted coffee along with sweet cocoa beans and loads of orangey citrus hops. While this was not quite what I was expecting out of this beer; it is quite tasty and unique. I would happily enjoy this one again.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 02:00:36 | More by Slynger
Photo of Proteus93


4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black like licorice, pouring a HUGE head.. quite a light tan/brown contrast to the deep colour of the brew. Rather appealing.

S: Smooth, chocolate. Something of a touch of light-roasted coffee, yeasty smells of fresh-baked bread or biscuit.

T: Bit stout taste, yeasty and rather rich chocolate / chocolate-covered cherry. Roasted coffee bean, some alcohol over the tongue, all the way through to the finish. Expected a little bit more, but yet a good flavour.

M: Chewy, rich body. Thick, but not sticky & syrupy. A very balanced body, perhaps just a touch light for a 5.

D: Easy to drink, doesn't go down too heavy. After a sizeable bottle, it didn't feel overwhelming.

Notes: Admittedly, my introduction to stouts... perhaps being somewhat critical, but have come to have a little more expectation for a big brew. Still quite tasty, nonetheless, but I suspect there's better.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 04:21:36 | More by Proteus93
Photo of williamherbert

New York

3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a thick black-to-dark-brown. Initial sludgy lace that settles into a film. Nice light brown lace.

Severe toasted malt aroma. Lots of burnt, roasted malt and coffee. Sweet porter-ish grape accent as well. Nice.

Quite bitter and burnt. Typical of a porter or stout. There is less coffee here and more sweetly burnt malt. The sweetness is a little too puckery, pungent, cloying. Would benefit from more sour or smoky balance.

Feel is a bitter film on the tongue. Not hard to drink; smooth. Just thick; chewy. It's a middling stout, all things considered. Pleasant enough, a little too saccharine sweet. Not bad, not amazing.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2008 01:15:29 | More by williamherbert
Photo of DrDogbeer


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with an amazing dark tan head. Smells of sweet chocolate. Just the look alone of this beer in a full pint glass is impressive. First sip is delicious- somewhat sharp but many flavors(chocolate, malts, coffee??) all hit my palate at once. So far so great! Enjoyed this beer and was very upset when the 22 oz bottle was gone. Does not taste as strong (8.1%) as it says. Perfect smoothness- not too malty, not to sharp or bitter- just right and very drinkable. Cant wait to pick up another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 18:11:08 | More by DrDogbeer
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to Nonic.

Pours almost opaque black, with hint of dark red when held to the sunlight. Had a UUUGE 4+ finger coffee-ice-cream-colored head which took me by surprise.

Smell took me a while - and forgive me for the reference - but it reminded me of a high quality latex paint I've used before. Acidic, nutty espresso, with a little bittersweet chocolate thrown in.

Tasted like roasted chestnuts, bittersweet chocolate, cherries, molasses, and a faint citrus hop - what an amazing combination!

Mouthfeel was somewhat creamy going downm and ended with a dry, lightly nipping film on back of tongue.

Very nice version of a RIS - not among my personal faves, but very good nonetheless. Try this one!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2008 19:39:14 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of tempest


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmm, hops and chocolate. Seriously, this is like an imperial black IPA, were that a style. Crazy? Hear me out. It's got rich cocoa and espresso malts with lovely citrus hops in a balance of big but complimentary flavors. We're talking a pretty tasty stout here and I'm not a huge RIS guy. Like Old Rasputin, but more drinkable. A little thick but there's no hint of alcohol, reminds me of Surly Darkness in that sense.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 06:10:20 | More by tempest
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a thick, frothy beige head that left sheets of drippy lace on the glass. Strong aroma - sticky, brown sugary malts. Caramalized sugars, toffee covered fruits, and semi-sweet chocolate. Big hefty mouth full of flavorful richness. Oh yes, there's plenty of flavor here. Sugary chocolate and toffee...mostly sweet chocolate though coating some fruity hops. Oh my, its like drinking chocolate chips. Thick and smooth with not a whole lot of bitterness. It might be a little over the top with the sweetness, but one glass is pretty damn good.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2008 05:53:35 | More by wedge
Photo of mattster


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 22oz bomber and poured into Nonic glass.

1" of nice tan foam atop a dark (root beer) brown brew that is mostly opaque.

Smell is nice nutty with notes of coffee, warm milk and a little smoke. Taste is actually quite nice. Smoke really comes forward on palate with hints of black coffee and toasted nuts. Very smooth finish with a pleasant aftertaste.

Excellent bottle of beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 09:25:57 | More by mattster
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks pretty sweet. Dark brown:deep + almost opaque. Lace is many little bubbles and branchy. I think it might weigh several pounds. Smells like a fistful of chocolatey sweet things. Berries and raisins and creamy layers. ultra thick and intense + still/very enjoyable. .that's probably what I'm looking for right now.

will do

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 05:40:41 | More by tastybeer
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
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 pwoods


4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mmtmatrix and Floydster for this trade and grandq for this amazing extra.

22oz. brown bomber poured into my brand spankin' new Stone IRS Tulip. No dating.

A: Pours completely jet black. Viscosity isn't extremely high but the 1 finger tan head struggles to form leading me to believe it's lower in carbonation. Decent retention even with low carbonation and large rocky bubbles. Silky lacing throughout.

S: I've had 3 IPA's worth of beer tonight and it's still very easy to enjoy the smell of this brew. Very complex. Nice burnt malts with a coffee backbone. Hops add to the coffee with a strong coffee bitterness. Sweet notes everywhere, molasses, dark fruits, caramel/burnt brown sugar, milk chocolate, bitter German chocolate. My nose will be in this throughout the drink.

T/M: Deep roasted coffee beans with a perfectly matching bitterness. Bittersweet chocolate is all over the place adding a nice sweetness. The sweetness is just as complex as the nose with brilliant subtleties. Absolutely delicious. Body is just heavy enough and beautifully creamy, coating the entire tongue. Hops poke back through for a sweet and bitter drying finish just before my mouth starts watering for more.

D: An absolute joy to drink. It's even extremely easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 04:45:14 | More by pwoods
Photo of bloberglawp

Quebec (Canada)

4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to leftmindedrighty for this bonus bomber bottle on a recent trade, you rock dude!!

Pour pitch black, huge foamy white head that stick around for quite a long time. Rich burnt caramel and roast caracter aroma also quite hoppy, not what I come to expect in a stout. Taste is rich toast/burnt flavor, a bit of star anise, coffee, alcohol and... a bitter taste of hops. Not a cloying ale high gravity ale, very drinkable, this would be something I'd have a couple of pints of if It was not drinving anywhere.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 02:37:44 | More by bloberglawp
Photo of buzzworthy

New York

4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bear Republic is one of my favorite breweries and I've been waiting all afternoon to try Big Bear Black Stout. It doesn't disappoint. The beer is big and black on the pour with a moderate head of chocolate-colored bubbling foam. There is a strong aroma of molasses, brown bread and caramel. The malt strikes first on the taste, with roasted flavors, licorice and espresso. There is a hint of hops at the outset that carries over strong at the finish. There is a much stronger hop presence that a traditional stout but it appeals to me even though I don't like getting hit over the head with hop bombs in other brews. Big Bear is a stout that I could drink all night.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 02:08:20 | More by buzzworthy
Photo of Trueant1


4.78/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown. Sits in the glass as dark as a black bear. Has a light brown head....like the black bear does.

Smells weaker than I thought it would be. Hints of espresso, milk chocolate, oily hops, sweet dark fruits. Wish this beer had a smell that could fill the room, I would rate it all 5's.

Taste is exceptional. Like the smells but the hops are more intense...the bitterness that is...and a very very good way. The extreme bittrness meshes and ballances off with the STRONG malts. The malts are toasty and roasty!

Mouth feel is perfect. THis beer eats like a black bear does. IF a big grizzley was to eat beer, he would choose this one.

Another exceptional brew by Bear Republic.

Notes: Really like all beers I have tried from this brewery,,,, expecially this one and Hop Rod. I am now a huge fanof BEAR REPUBLIC.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 01:45:48 | More by Trueant1
Photo of rye726


4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poired into a snifter glass at 45F.

Close to black, but more of a dark brown color. Thick tan head that quickly settles to a nice cover.

Nice citrus hops up front. Roasted black malts rounded out with caramel and some vanilla.

More roasty malts and bitter hops. There is also ripe fruits, molasses and a smoke taste. Nothing outstanding here, but a nice hoppy stout.

Fairly dry, similar feel to a big Irish stout. Nice full body and well carbonated.

Well balanced and quaffable. Good pub beer to go with a burger or fish and chips.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2007 03:23:02 | More by rye726
Photo of jim102864


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice bomber bottle the contents of which were poured into my nonic glass. Dark black appearance with a skim of head and that's about it.

The aroma presented itself as the contents warmed. Raisens, figs, prunes along with the scent of buttery homemade taffy. Nice.

Taste: mild bitterness with dark fruity esters in the finish. Nutty and smokey too.

Mouthfeel was buttery and creamy with a mild alcohol tweak in the finish.

The style is Russian Imperial but the taste is your average stout. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice brew, probably better on tap. I wasn't bowled over but I did enjoy the offering. I just felt this one was a little wanting. I seem to recall enjoying this on tap at Hop Devil, so I'll look for it there again if it's available during my next visit to NYC.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2007 15:18:40 | More by jim102864
Photo of crayphish


4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This Russian Imperial Stout pours a completely opaque black liquid. An initial half inch head dwindles quickly to sparse foam patches. No lacing at all. Smell is heavy toasted malts, burnt coffee. Hints of sweet vanilla become more evident as the beer warms. Some dark fruits are evident. A slight hop bittering. Mouthfeel is simply a thing of beauty. A crisp creaminess evaporates quickly leaving the palate clean and refreshed. Very smooth, alcohol content is disguised beautifully. This is my second beer from Beer Republic, and I am thoroughly impressed.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2007 03:25:33 | More by crayphish
Photo of Risser09


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a large snifter - $4.99 for this 2007 bottle - Served at cellar temperature

Appearance: Pours a dark black color with no sign of light showing through. The head is only a 1/2 inch tall but it sticks around for a little. It is a dark tan head. A vicious swirl doesn't create much lace.

Smell: After opening I could immediately smell a strong aroma from the bottle and soon after pouring. It is a fresh smell, full of hops and malts. It is slightly vegetal and earthy, with a mineral/soapy aroma. Perhaps this is just a hop variety that imparts a different aroma.

Taste: The taste is dark and rich with ample amounts of sugar. There is no cloying bitterness! YES! Dried fruits fill the flavor spectrum. Plum is a heavy hitter, and is followed by raisin, blueberry and an espresso flavor. I am left with a chocolate malt flavor and a bitter and sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Smoothe and quite coaxing, this beer is medium bodied with a lot of flavor and a little bit of booze. The alcohol isn't over the top for a RIS, but adds to the warmth in my stomach. Carbonation is lively at first and gets thrown out before it reaches first base.

Drinkability: Very nice. I will easily be able to drink this whole bomber by myself. It is not a great beer, but at $4.99 for a single bomber, is pretty damn good! In a world of price escalation, this one is a true winner. If you live anywhere west of PA, you should be able to get this one pretty easily. Nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 02:41:52 | More by Risser09
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque darkness with a full finger wispy tan head that fades fairly quickly. Some lacing observed. The smell is solid roasted malt and unsweetened chocolate without being real aggressive. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is medium-full bodied. A tingle from the alcohol, the 8.1% ABV is also present in the swallowing breadth. Full flavored, the taste roasted malt and coffee taste is slightly more bitter than my favorite RIS and the aftertaste lingers some. Not my favorite by any means, but a good drinker and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2007 22:58:37 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of srandycarter


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into the tulip.

A - Black - the florescent cannot penetrate. Head smalls over time. Tenacious thin lacing.

S - First note -green, pickled olive. I kid you not. Once settled down, deep malt and chocolate, some coffee.

T - Toffee chocolate. Yum. Sweet and bitter chocolate. Good finish.

M - Good carbonation and coating.

D- Another great product from Bear!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2007 05:08:21 | More by srandycarter
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Huge frothy head that is 3 fingers thick that clings very well.

Smells: Chocolate and caramel malts with chinook hops. Slight licorice and tofee undertones.

Taste is of rich chocolate malts with a roasted characteristic. Caramel malts pull through followed by a dry and abrasive chinook hop bitterness. Licorice and toffee are undertones

Mouthfeel has a slight creaminess but is a little over carbonated (taps fault maybe?)

This beer is very nice and easy to drink. Well craft RIS.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2007 01:47:06 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of DIM


4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Pitch black, no highlights at all. Small light tan head with some lacing.

s: Fairly strong smells of coffee and dark chocolate. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

t: Roasty dark chocolates and espresso are bold and very upfront. A bit of bitterness from the hops presents itself at the end.

m: Very thick with decent carbonation. Perhaps a bit too dry.

d: I'm glad for the chance to try this, but there are much better RIS's out there. I doubt I'll try it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 23:49:40 | More by DIM
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split a 22oz with my gf.

A- Nice jet black color into the glass.Minimal chocolate head.

S: Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and some toffee thrown in as well. Nice big smell

T: Chocolate and coffee. With a nice earthy tone in between.

M: Medium body. I could stand for the body to be a little thicker. Carbonation is just right for me however.

D: Really enjoyed this one. While definitely not a session beer it was rather drinkable. Sometimes it's good to not spend 1.5 hours drinking one beer.

4.99 for the bomber.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 21:41:56 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of NitroGen


4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 1PT.6fl oz 8.1% ALC by VOL Dark Brown Bottle with no discernable date stamp

A: Thick dark midnight black pour with a two finger roasted caramel foam head that slowly lowers to a light cover with a thicker ring and heavy lacing.

S: Deep and full nose of dark roasted espresso, bittersweet chocolate and a wild grainy finish.

T: The tip of the tongue is hit with an earthy hop grainy bite and then blindsided on both sides with bittersweet chocolate, robust roasted coffee, without the cream, with a pleasant vanilla, dark caramel …. with nary a hint of alcohol.

M: Medium body and well balanced from beginning to end and with a very pleasant yet complex finish. This is not a gentle stout, as it really shakes up the mouth!

D: I really like this and will use it as an example of a big beer stout to friends wanting to venture into the dark side while they leave their corona at the beach.
I will be picking this one up and would call this a session beer with training wheels.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 06:53:58 | More by NitroGen
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,953 ratings.