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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.

2,163 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,163
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 138
Gots: 164 | 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: 2,163 | Reviews: 1,105 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pershan
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
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 +9%
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
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
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 -0.7%
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
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
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
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
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
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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
4.46/5  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 -0.7%
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 +1.2%
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 -16.9%
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
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

Photo of tempest
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of wedge
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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.

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,163 ratings.