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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.

1,958 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,958
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 115
Gots: 128 | 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: 1,958 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bignick


3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle purchased from Wine Gallery in Brookline. Poured into a pint glass.

This is a very good beer, but for the style, it is only somewhat above average. It pours near black with a thin, foamy head. The taste is very nicely chocolately, as opposed to coffee. There is a smooth creamy mouthfeel, but it is a bit thin going down. I like the richness of the taste, but as good as this is, there are better RIS's out there.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2006 04:38:39 | More by bignick
Photo of Brian700


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

This beer pours a dark black with a huge creamy brown head. There is really good lacing going on.

The aroma is of chocolate and dark fruit.

The flavor follows the nose. There is a lot of chocolate, molasses, and dark variety fruit flavors. There almost seems to be a bit of ginger here. It took me a long time to put my finger on it. It is in the aroma a bit too. It leaves you with a touch of heat.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation

This is a very drinkable beer. I loved this one. Familiar and unique all in one.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 05:44:18 | More by Brian700
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Uber dark brown, almost black body. Gorgeous fluffy oatmeal colored head forms unique mounds like mashed potatoes.

S: Sweet & roasted malts. Bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee and licorice.

T: Smoked peat starts off immediately. Tangy, slightly sour. Roasted coffee flavors finish off the party. Alcoholic personality is present.

M: Bit thin and prickly for the style.

D: Not a bad beer but I wouldn't search it out.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 05:41:28 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of TheBungyo


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, I liked a big head on my beer but this was a tad too big (3 inches or so). The body is every bit as black as a stout should be and the head looks like Cappuccino. Nose is a weird milky sweetnes that I don't really care for. Taste is slightly sweet chocolate, big sweetness kind of from out of nowhere, roasty coffee and a tinge of hops. This was the first Imp Stout that really blew me away in my early BA days. I still think its good, but a little too sweet for my tastes now. Mouth is pretty spot on for the style. If this was on tap, I wouldn't need my arm to be twisted to make a night of it, though as I said, the sweetness might get to me.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 06:00:36 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of denjen


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at/Price: Binny's / $4.99
Dennis: One of the first bear republic brews I think we've tried, this definitely sets a good tone for the brewery. The smell of this stout when opened is perhaps a little sweeter than expected (molasses perhaps) but the taste is a bit more mellow. Nicely hopped, there's just a twinge of bitterness on the swallow (probably where that 8.1% alcohol is hiding) but over all everything is nicely balanced to make a pretty darn good stout.
Jen: I am very impressed with this stout. It starts off with a nice toastiness to it with hints of chocolate and coffee. It is followed by a mouthful of malts and roasted nuts that is quite delicious. It ends with a bit of a hop bite, but nothing too overwhelming or detracting from the rich malts. It is creamy and smooth with a good balance of a good thick body and a vibrant finish. This stout is a bargain and is definitely necessary for a stout lovers fridge.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2006 23:05:33 | More by denjen
Photo of JayTheFinn


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a damn good RIS, but not my favorite.

It's got a good, dark brown but not completely black look. What a massive head! Three tan fingers that holds...and holds...and holds...jesus!

Nothing crazy-exciting in the smell, maybe a little chocolate, a toasty kinda burnt smell.

I taste the chocolate and a dry chalky burnt flavor. The sweetness level is low in this one, for me anyway. I taste more salt or soy sauce-like flavors than I care to. But overall the taste is still quite good.

Creamy, smooth mouthfeel with steady bubbles rising up the sides.

Drinkable, yes, most definitely. Although one is more than enough.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2006 19:08:47 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Not really black, as the name suggests, but very dark, opaque brown. Fabulous, fluffy head, a creamy nougat brown. Great retention.

Smell: Pretty subdued for an RIS, but good. Espresso, dark chocolate, malted milk, caramel, brown sugar, and even some clove and anise. Light esters, maybe from hops or alcohol, which is somewhat vodka-like. Very lush, deep, and inviting.

Taste: Ooh, now that's nice. A dark forest of baker's chocolate, rich caramel, and lots of burnt notes. Light berries. This is an atomic malt bomb, but it does have a current of fruity hop oil. It's not as complex as some other entries in the style, but it's still damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: Rich and grainy, viscous but well-carbonated and bouyant.

Drinkability: This has a very clean and dry finish, so even though it's fairly heavy and high in alcohol, it's very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2006 04:14:19 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of mmmbeer


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

22 oz. bomber, served lightly chilled in a big chalice. It pours black with a 1 inch khaki/yellow head of variable-sized bubbles that leaves big pits as it recedes. It looks quite majestic and retains a cap of foam that leaves moderate lacing throughout. The smell is more hoppy than malty, with a big grapefruit/pine hop resin aroma that overtakes that malts. The hops also dominate the flavor, with citric/pine being the most prevalent, but there are also lots of roasted/coffee malts and notes of chocolate and caramel malts to balance the big bitterness. The body is medium to thick, which isn't thick enough for my imperial stouts - I want to almost chew on them - but that is about my only complaint with this beer. Overall it is a pretty good example of the style and I didn't have any problems finishing this one myself.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2006 23:59:19 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of briman


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2006 02:07:58 | More by briman
Photo of sinstaineddemon


3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - light cannot escape the blackness of this stout, it wells up a acorn brown 3/4 finger thick head, no visible carbonation

S - mmm, smells stouty, very rich dark aroma, the typical coffee and chocolate aromas, mixed in with the bouquet are hints of vanilla, hops and alcohol

T - not what i expected, i expected it to be sweeter, but it is much better, a hint of sweetness, but mostly bitterness, at first its an alcohol bite, then its got a great coffee flavor, no sweetness, a great bitter flavor

M - a dry bitter beer, very tasty, needs a little sweetness, chocolate or vanilla or whatever, for balance\

D - moderate, great on hops and bitterness, could be too bitter for some, very tasty IMO, but as i said before, needs a stronger hint of sweetness

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2006 00:44:26 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of bashiba


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

Poured a deep dark black some dark brown highlights and a creamy tan head.

Smell had a mixture of sweet chocolate, dark fruit, alcohol, and a touch of anise.

Taste is full of classic stout flavors - big burnt malts, bitter chocolate, a touch of coffee, plus a few others including some nice hints of dark cherries and raisons. Has a nice bit of earthy bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy with a medium body to it, slightly warming.

Overall a pretty decent Imp stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 01:26:52 | More by bashiba
Photo of Blakaeris


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

Pours absolute black with a tan head and generous lacing.

Smell is sweeter than expected. Milk chocolate with bitter coffee undertones.

Taste is is once again sweeter than expected of an imperial stout. Sweet chocolate with generous dark fruit notes. Finish is more creamy than dry. Although there is a definite bitter coffee flavor, hops are rather subdued for the style. Sweet dark fruit lingers after the finish. High ABV is well concealed.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Surprisingly smooth.

This is a different take on an imperial stout. Not as hearty as expected. Sweetness prevails. Still this is an interesting and tasty treat.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 01:21:52 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of IntriqKen


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

Poured deep black beautiful stout color with amber colored head that melts to a very think lacing.
Aroma is toasted malts and bittersweet chocolate and raisens.
Taste is raisens, toasted malts, and bitter chocolate to me. I don't notice a coffee flavor but that is ok...it is nicely balanced without it...finishing to a perfect bitter hops...zero citrus.
Mouthfeel is incredibly rich and creamy...carbonation just smooths throughout your mouth as you savor this intense beer.
I honestly don't notice the alcohol in the smell, taste, or aftertaste.
I honestly AM feeling it as I finish this wonderful brew.
Not a session for me...but, oh, I love it.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2006 03:32:12 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of Stubbie1


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

WOW is a good way to start off with this brew. Black as black can be in color with a deep dark brown/black head. Nice and thick is the head and it did stay for some time before finally fading to a thick lace. Nice! Deep dark roasted malt hits the nose, chocolate and coffee, the deep dark roasted type hit the nose. After you fight your way threw this, a hint of alcohol is at the end. Thick and sticky in the mouth with the deep roasted flavor and the 8.1 is well hidden. This beer is well worth looking out for and will be on my list of beers to enjoy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2006 00:33:55 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not black (but pretty damn close. dark brown with rooteeresque wisps up top). big coffee flavor appears after a dry chocolate and piney hop aroma

definite smokiness and a fairly bitter finish. sizeable hop flavor—very resiny

not a big beer. RIS might be a stretch. it is very flavorful and bitter, but RIS? i'll sleep on it

mos def enjoyed it. they're big on IPAs at BRBC so it's nice to have a changeup

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2006 06:22:28 | More by bruachan
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

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

Dark, charred yet barely translucent blood; crater-pocked 33%, cotton candy textured, beige foam cap. Cherry cordial aromas dominate a struggling earthy pine hop scent. Sweet roasty malts. Big sweet date sugar cherry flavor all floating in a chocolate infused bourbon. Vinous middle yields to a roasted malt finish, almost coffeeish. Alcohol apparent for most of the swallow and lingers in the aftertaste, which is predominantly sour. Super sticky lacing. Slick mouthfeel, medium body. Roasted malt quality expands as the beer warms. A bit on the sour side, but the roasted malt quality is magnificent. Another fine offering from Bear Republic.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 03:14:09 | More by orfeu
Photo of HimerMan

New Jersey

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

At Stout, NYC in bottle. Excellent head, chocolate in the palate, strong finish. Highly suggest trying if you enjoy rich, full-flavored stouts with robust and clean taste. Didn't wait long to enough to check for hoppy finish if warmed, however, this one is smooth enough where it will go down without having the opportunity to let it go warm. Highly suggest trying if you are interested in robust, full-flavored and delicious stouts.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 02:47:21 | More by HimerMan
Photo of DaggerEyes

New York

1.98/5  rDev -52.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 21:57:37 | More by DaggerEyes
Photo of Terp96

North Carolina

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

Wow. This is a great Russian stout.

Pours a deep brown, black with a thick tan head. Lacing is great throughout the glass.

Smell is of coffee, chocolate, roasted nuts, and hops. The hop presence makes this one stand out for me.

Taste is phenomenal. Sweet up front but quickly followed with the roasted malt flavor and a dry hoppy finish. Dark fruit taste up front but a nice hop finish. You can definitely tell this one is from the left coast.

Mouthfeel is good as well. Syrupy but not too thick. The sweetness sticks to your mouth but not in a bad way. It offers a nice balance to the dry finish.

Overall, well done and a great stout but not very drinkable in my opinion. I love this beer but I can only handle so much at a time.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 04:03:45 | More by Terp96
Photo of brewcrew76


3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber

A - Solid black with a brown creamy foamy inviting head.

S - Strong chocolate and dark roasted malts followed by grapefruit, citrusy hops. I was a bit surprised by how stong the hop presence is in the aroma.

T - Roasty chocolate, coffee, hint of figs and raisins. Then the hop wallop hits you. It abruptly changes to a sour bitter roasty flavor. Leaves a quite bitter black coffee, roasted malt taste clinging to your mouth.

M - Medium body. Creamy with a good deal of carbonation. Hint of alcohol in the finish.

D - A nice RIS. A bit too much of the sour bitterness in the middle for me but still enjoyable. I would definitely try it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 22:41:18 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of beermanbrian


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

Pours a nice deep black with a creamy tan head. The head sinks to a nice thick film that holds nicely and leaves nice lacing. Smell of sweet caramel malt with a nice roasted background. Also some cherry smell. Taste gives a much more bitter blast than i was expecting from the smell. The roasted flavors come through especially strong. This bitterness hangs in the aftertaste. Full cloying mouthfeel. One of the nicer stouts that i've had in a while. Bear Republic puts out another winner, wish they were more available in the area.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2006 01:28:08 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of froggyfrog


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle served in a snifter.

Black as a black bear's black hair with a nifty little khaki colored fluffy head.

Smell is sweet with roasted malt notes, dried walnut shells and rubbing alcohol.

Taste is very smooth. It brings to mind your usual flavors: chocolate and coffee and roasted malts. Alcohol is also noticeable here. There is a roasted nuttiness throughout and it closes with an elevated level of zesty hops.

An exceptionally smooth stout. Inoffensive and well-crafted. I believe this is my first offering from Bear Republic and what a bang-up beer it is.

Drink it chickenheads!

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2006 04:15:15 | More by froggyfrog
Photo of supernaut


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dropping back down from some bigger Imperials, this beer caught me off-guard....

Poured out deep opaque black with a montrous pillowy head. Did I leave some soap in the bottom of this glass? Major head retention and thick chunky lacing...

Wow, what a smooth stout. a subtle burnt-caramel note kicks it off, with the ubiquitous coffe and bittersweet chocolate to follow. A slight smokiness at times combines with some malty sweetness. A hint of chicory, and the slightest faintest taste of (maybe I'm imagining this) cinnamon, or at least something with a tiny bit of spice.

On the backside, you get an earthy resonation with an incredibly mouth-wateringly smooth finish, if not just a hair on the dry side.
Moderately viscous for this style and quite simply, a well balanced stout.

Very impressed with this beer. The lower ABV (as compared with some of the big guns above 10%), probably allowed this beer to achieve such a great balance without having to overwhelm.

Absolutely worth coming back to again and again.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2006 23:31:10 | More by supernaut
Photo of Ego

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

found @ Decicco market, pelham, ny

music : voivod - nothingface

half a finger of tan/brown head, dark and opaque but not as dark an opaque as some other RISs. not to detriment, just a note. it doesn't pour thick like some, overall a good looking RIS if nothing to special, the lacing is very good and a thin film is left all the way down the glass as you swallow this libation de noir...

someone melted a frappucino and burned it, added chocolate, and threw in a few raisins for good measure.. and made it a beer. toasty dark caramel in a wash of dark chocolate and dark fruit notes, delicious. like most good RISs you could stick your nose in this all damn day and enjoy it, perfect snifter fodder for the inner beer snob in you...

taste etc...
the nose knows. everything I described in the nose is present here in the same manner. The carbonation is quite lively which saves this from being watery. The hops are present in the back of the aftertaste after the burnt coffee notes fade. Bitter burnt chocolate is present but not uber sweet (which is perfect for me). For some reason I want this to be just a touch thicker.. but not much, it is damn close. This leaves a nice burnt offering in the mouth after the sipping... not as burnt as Dragonslayer... maybe the bitter of the hops seem to balance it more (I actually like more of the burnt tones myself). Burnt bitter chocolate, that might just sum it up period.

tasty as hell. if this was local I would definitely buy it more often. I get Old Rasputin and Perkuno's Hammer readily and enjoy them a hair more, but I would not be averse to picking this one up sometims as a change up in my standard RIS. A little thicker or creamier and this would slay. All in all a great example of the style, this one drinks too well also for the ABV, and isnt a total killer ABV compared to some. what can I say? I enjoyed this one a good deal.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2006 04:17:17 | More by Ego
Photo of alexwag

New York

3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'd never even seen Bear Republic on the East Coast until I moved to Manhattan. Had this in my frige for a while, preparing to tackle it. May be a bit old (that is to say, had time to ferment more), as I've had it for a bit and it appeared to have been in the store for a while. That said, here goes ...

A- Pretty freakin' dark. A little bit of color sneaks around the sides when held up to the light, but otherwise: no dice. Thick, mocha head, pretty good lacing.

S- Dark, rich and boozey. Lots of chocolate, caramel, various maltbombness. Some burnt/toasted as well.

T- Sort of tart, pretty alcoholic tasting. Flavor stays on top of the tongue instead of branching out. Lots of maltiness, but not as much as I expected from the smell. In fact, surprisingly curbed flavor.

M- Smooth, creamy, rich, but lacking a little something -- as I said, it just doesn't "spread out" -- seems contained. Strong alcohol detracts a bit IMO, but that's what one gets in this style, yes?

D- Again, it might just be this bottle judging from the other reviews, but overall I think this is just ok. I've definitely had better, and despite the smell and appearance, the actual drinking experience is underwhelming and canned, sort of. I tried to give it time to open up but it never really did.

I'll probably give it another try someday based on its category ranking and the aforementioned peer reviews, but I'd go for something else if I wanted sure satisfaction.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 01:28:09 | More by alexwag
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,958 ratings.