Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

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2,123 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,123
Reviews: 1,102
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 132
Gots: 150 | 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: 2,123 | Reviews: 1,102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ballewblake
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hoppy goodness is all about it here. Pours your typical dark stout with a decent one finger, light brown head in a pint glass. Smell is super hoppy which I wasn't expecting in this stout. Taste had the same bitter hoppy notes and was light on the tongue, not a heavy drink. Slightly roasted malts were barely there, but the hops really took control on my palette. Went down easy and was quite enjoyable in the session.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a big wine glass at 59 F/ 15 C.

Black, tinged reddish brown, small tan head, finely textured lace.

Smells like dark chocolate, citrus and pine hops, dark brown sugar/ molasses, caramel, coffee. Deep, rich, and good.

Tastes like rich roasty caramelized malt, pine forest, rosemary, earth, orange rind, grapefruit, and mild molasses. The roastiness is soft and smooth, yet rich. Mild sweetness. Moderate dose of hop bitterness, the hops are mainly fresh and flavorful rather than bitter; the hops really shine, without dominating. Great balance; big full flavor without going to any extremes. Very tasty. Chocolate and citrus linger for a long satisfying finish.

Nice medium body, fine bottle conditioned carbonation. Refreshing hop flavor with deceptively low bitterness, and great balance, make for a very drinkable beer.

Great stuff!

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample on tap at Rustico
Pours an overall opaque black color with some brown highlights towards the bottom of the glass. Big fluffy, tan head is formed with wide open bubbles; this is a sign of things to come. In the aroma, I wonder if someone dropped some squid ink in an IPA, this one is hop forward, very floral but there is also milk chocolate and a slight roastiness. On the palate, it is simply too hoppy. There isn't an overly roasted feel to it, it is closer to a hopped up brown or porter. Following that it is also overcarbonated for style, and a too thin body. Drinkability is low because when I want a solid RIS, I reach for a BCS or Expedition, not this hopped up monster. Besides, Storm King is already out there and this one seems like another clone.

Photo of mnj21655
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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 IBUnit63
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice pour into mug from 22. Dark chocolate/double espresso body with tight, latte-colored head - a little lacing; head mellows earlier than expected. Minimal carbonation.

Dark roast, deep malt of chocolate, coffee grounds and a little yeast; tight and well-made. Rounded, subtle grassy hops in distant background.

At first sip, the alcohol stands out and apart from the dry coffee and mild hop tones typical of the style. Needs a little time to round out - better balance comes forth shortly with a little sweetness emerging from the back of the palate.

With time this coats well and is rather soothing - still a little bit heavy on the alchohol burn in relation to everything else.

All told, decent, well-made stuff that's definitely drinkable if not a little unbalanced.

Photo of BeerSox
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber into 8oz snifter.

Pitch black with no light getting through. The head is thick and frothy, and slowly settles to a dense cap. The receding head leaves a solid wall of lacing.

Thick and bitter malts make the base, while a sharp hop aroma adds a slight punch. The alcohol can be perceived with a deep whiff. The smell is topped off with a bit of raisin.

Coffee and a bit of bitter chocolate, along with some brown highlight the flavor. The base is some bitter malts, along with some grassy hop flavor that complements the malts well. Full bodied with good carbonation.

This one is bold and complex, but still delivers a great amount of drinkability. This one is hard to put down. The alcohol is well hidden as well, although it's not as strong as other beers in the style. Recommended.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black wit faint ruby highlights if held to the light. Creamy off white head slicks around for a little bit then laces the glass. Aroma come through with some smooth chocolates and some hops. Taste hits with a bit of chocolate then some roast then some alcohol then a bitter hop finish. Aftertaste of roasted malts and hop bitterness. Nice thick stout creamy in the mouth. Great stout, a bit hoppier than I like, but solid stout nonetheless.

Photo of JDV
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rerate- Now that I like Imp. Stouts I enjoyed this much more than previously..
Black pour with lasting tan head and some lacing. Smell is of lots of hops actually, some alcohol for sure, and some roastiness. Taste at 1st is big hop bitterness that fades after a bit and finishes fairly cleanish. As it warms becomes less bitter and roastier. Good Imperial Stout

Photo of m1ked
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Slick black opaque. Thin tan head

S- Definetly hits me with hops. Seems almost unexpected, at least for this style. Slight chocolate, ahhh more like it.

T- Starts with bitter hops, fades to a smokey woody flavor, finishing with....hop bitter.

M- Watery

D- Not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination, just not my favorite for this style.

Photo of Pudge43
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to wkcyr4 for this one. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. The beer poured a very dark black color with a creamy two finger head that seemed to hang around for quite a while. Nice aroma, with a hint of roasted malt. The initial taste was very sweet malt, which then turned to a roasted malt and slightly hoppy finish. Very low carbonation which was right on for this beer. Mouthfeel was very full and thick. The alcohol content was not overpowering for a beer over 8% ABV. Would definitely have this one again.

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

The beer poured an inky black color with a creamy, rocky head into a pint glass. Not much aroma, just a hint of roasted malt. The taste was initially of sweet malt, but morphed nicely into a roasted malt and slight bitter hop finish. The carbonation was right on target (low, that is), making for a thicker, more syrupy mouthfeel. The alcohol content was nicely concealed (would never have known it was over 8% ABV), making it an immensely drinkable ale.

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

This black beauty poured a nice creamy head. The nose had hints of coffee and roasted malts. The taste was so devine, fullbody mouthfeel that leaves a creamy/silky finish. The flavors of roasted malts,chocolate,coffee and dark fruits.
The drinkabilty was insane, so well balanced never noticed the 8% alcohol at all! I even let my bud l.t freind have a taste and he went wow!
Hats off to this brewery making beer in wine country!

Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this based on the A+ rating it got from the "The Bros". I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon but they were spot on. This is one fantastic beer and as good an Imperial Stout as I've ever had.

This beer is strong in ever way but it all fits nicely together. The 8% alcohol is nicely hidden by the roasted malt and accompanying hops. The thick foamy head really makes it a thing of beauty and the overall consistency is deserving of a knife and fork.

I was visiting the Houston Flying Saucer from out of town so I made myself move on to other beers after this one but I could just as well stuck with this all night. In fact, I think I should have. Now I just have to find it in NC.

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

22oz bomber into a Unibroue Maudite snifter.

Pours a very dark brown/black with some garnet highlights just visible around the bottom of the glass with 1-2 finger widths of poofy tan head. Retains nicely into a creamy ring that leaves sticky lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma is sweet up front with chocolate and caramel that gives way to some coffee and dark fruit tones.

The taste is deep with chocolate sweetness, dark fruit tartness, roasted coffee and finishes with a burnt and hop bitterness combo. The mouthfeel is full bodied but imparts more of a viscous feel than a creamy one. Alcohol is present and while hidden for the most part, it does rear its head in the end to add a little oompth to the finish.

This is a really good Stout (Duh!) from Bear Republic. Tons of deep warming flavor and a well hidden ABV make this one highly drinkable and complex RIS. It definitely went down easy on this cold, winter's night.

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

Pours pitch black with a thick tan two finger head that fades very slowly to a thick cap. The resulting lace nearly covers the entire inside of the glass.

Smell; chocolate and molasses greet me right away followed by a little roasted coffee beans. There's also an underlying citric hoppiness going on.

Taste; wow, nice rich chocolate and coffee cake, with some brown sugar sprinkled on top. Some mild hops come out toward the middle and then it fades to chocolate and and touch of coffee in the finish. The finish is a touch soft, and very smooth.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice creamy smooth carbonation, which just increases the drinkability. Wish I had more.

Photo of number1bum
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber pours out a not quite completely opaque black color with about an inch of khaki colored head. Recedes to a patchy lace and leaves a bit of stick on the sides.

Smells of roasted malt with some caramel sweetness, and also a good amount of hoppy aromas - pine especially and a touch of citrus.

Tastes has a smooth sweetness of chocolate and caramel, with a much subtler coffee flavor. Deep roasted flavor is dominant through the finish. There's just a touch of hoppy flavor that seemed more pronounced in the smell, but there is some pine flavor there for sure and maybe even a little bit of citrus. This is very tasty and smooth.

Mouthfeel is a medium body, a little thinner than expected for the style. Good creaminess to it.

This is one of the most drinkable Impy's I've ever had. It's a little lighter than most, which is probably a big contributor to the drinkability, but the flavor is extremely smooth and very tasty. Very nice, recommended brew.

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

A perfect blend of sweetness & bitterness, Big Bear Black stout is a bit different from most stouts. Bold espresso, dark chocolate, with a fairly hoppy bite. Thick, creamy body, just what you hope for out of a stout.

Overall, fantastic stuff. I have only positive things to say about this beer. Excellent price, too.

Photo of bosco7
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one Bear Republic product I am not to familiar with, so I decided to give it a try.

Pours pitch black with a creamy brown head that is thick and full.

Licorice, coffee, dark chocolate, pepper, prune and some burnt wood in the nose.

Starts a little sweet with some licorice, lots of dark chocolate and black cherry flavors. The middle has some citric hop flavors but only are apparent for a second before acrid roasted malt flavors take over the palate. The finish is full of espresso bean.

The beer feels nice on the tongue, full but not too viscous. I think this is nice brew but when I think Bear Republic I think of their hoppy offerings and will continue to do so. Still this is a very balanced imperial stout. Try it.

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

Poured into a glass from a bottle

Appearance-pours a dark brown/black color with a thick creamy head.

Smell-Nice sweet sceents of raisin,plum,and other fruit. It reminds me of Trois Pistoles so far.

Taste-Kind of a chocolate hint in the taste something sweet about it but other than that not to bad.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability-As I drink this I get just a little bitterness that lingers after it goes down other than that there isn't anything bad to say about this stout.

Had another on 10-21-2010 and its not bitter at all. Enjoy.

Photo of bobsy
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.

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.

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.

Photo of williamherbert
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.

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.

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,123 ratings.