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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,145 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,145
Reviews: 1,103
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 133
Gots: 155 | FT: 3
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,145 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattster
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of tastybeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
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

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of pwoods
4.74/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of bloberglawp
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of buzzworthy
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of Trueant1
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of rye726
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of jim102864
3.74/5  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.

Photo of crayphish
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Photo of Risser09
4.32/5  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.

Photo of jjayjaye
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of DIM
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Photo of NitroGen
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of atsprings
4.77/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Boston Lager glass a nice deep opaque black with a decent tan head that slowly diminished and left spotty lacing. The aroma was roasted barley with some mocha aspects as well. The taste was dominated by roasted barley with dark cocoa and burnt espresso right behind. More hops than you would expect come through as well, especially in the finish. The beer is medium bodied with somewhat hidden alcohol. This is a very enjoyable Imperial Stout that I would love to see here in NC.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, served in a pint glass.

A - very dark brown color with a small tan head that faded to a ring leaving bits of lace behind.

S - sweet roasted malt, pleasant aroma.

T - sweet roasted flavor of malt with a bitter, espresso coffee like finish.

M - medium/full bodied, mild carbonation.

D - a bit heavy, but drinkable none the less.

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nearly pitch black. A bit of light is able to pass through. Fingers worth of tan head that turns to a thin layer that sticks around for the duration. Tiny bit of lacing as well.

Smell: The good stuff. Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee. What a stout should smell like.

Taste: Very good. Much like the nose. Chocolates, caramel, toffee. All put together with a roasted nutty flavor. Finish is a good coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Leaves a good amount of roasted coffee flavor behind.

Drinkability: Good beer. Nice and creamy and sweet, without the bitter hoppiness that some stouts like to add in. The best stout I've had in some time. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of ralree
3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a 2-finger tan head. Sufficient carbonation. Decent lacing.

S: Dried fruit predominant with roasted malt in the background. Perhaps some chocolate. Too sweet for a stout.

T: Alcohol heavy and really fruity and sweet. Reminds me more of a Belgian than a stout. Not too bad though - plums and fruit are the first taste, followed by a very good chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavor. Final flavors are roasted malt, mild hops, and a little bread. I like everything about the taste except the beginning, which is a major part.

M: Dry and non-astringent. Carbonation is near-perfect. Medium-bodied.

D: The alcohol hinders the beer a bit in this category since it's so strong, but it's not bad. It actually goes down pretty smooth, but I like quite a few other stouts better.

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not as black as promised, but a truly remarkable beer. Very drinkable at 8%. Smell is the only characteristic of this beer that is not outstanding. Flavors of dark chocolate & coffee mingle with the perfect amount of hops. Mouthfeel is sexual, thick and warming. Alcohol isn't shy by any means, but doesn't overpower a perfectly crafted flavor. I won't hesitate to eat this beer again, ever.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Foamy brown head, thick and tight and plentiful. Opaque and black; just right.

Dark chocolate, slightly burnt, and molasses in the nose.

Roasted character is pleasant, with a big dash of malt while the hops play a bitter and oily part in keeping it balanced.

Creamy and yeasty mouthfeel, nicely hidden alcohol.

Really good stout.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into goblets.

This RIS pours very black with a nice fluffy tan head. Rich aroma of chocolate and coffee and roasted dark malt. Taste is smooth and chocolaty, with coffee, dark malt and ripe prunes coming through.

Big bodied and creamy in the mouth. This is a real nice evening sipper. I split the bomber but I could have sipped another glass after mine was gone.

Photo of Stoneman78
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours the blackest of hues, I can barely detect tinges of dark brown on the edges, head is a huge pile of tan craggy/foamy goodness that is slightly diminishing, leaving sticky lace on the glass
S- Aroma dominated by big roasted malts, sweet dark chocolate, some piney hops in the background with a hint of alcohol
T- initial taste follows from the aroma and is dominated by roasted malts and very subtle chocolate flavors, some slight tones of caramel, toffee, and espresso, bitter hops show up in the middle and remain throughout a dry finish
M- Medium/full-bodied stout with a mostly watery texture, carbonation is too biting for this genre
D- This is a well-balanced IRS that is not too overwhelming at 8%abv, overall this is a good, solid entrant is this category that falls short of some of the top dogs but would be good in a pinch

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,145 ratings.