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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.

2,003 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,003
Reviews: 1,093
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 119
Gots: 132 | 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: 2,003 | Reviews: 1,093 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EvilKeith


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours into the imperial pint glass nearly black in color with faint ruby highlights. The head is two fingers of camel colored rootbeer float-like dense foam. The lace is generously thick and sinfully sticky.
The smell is sweet roasted malts, ripe dark fruits, dark roasted coffee beans, and creamy milk chocolate with the alcohol hidden beyond detection.
The taste is sweet. Notes of bitter-sweet cocoa, toasted almost charred flavors. The alcohol is more overt than the scent would indicate. The alcohol lends a spicy edge to the mix. Hops bring just enough bittering to keep the malty sweetness in balance.
Crisp, creamy mouthfeel. Medium heavy body. Moderately active carbonation, for an RIS, but here it is not out of place.
This was really a treat. Full, rich, complex flavors.
Thoroughly enjoyed this one after supper. Sweet enough to be served as a dessert beer. FIND THIS, and give it a try!

08-17-2006 23:14:41 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.85/5  rDev +17.1%

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Black as black can be, with a tan 1/2" head that leaves some good lacing on the glass.

Smell: Rich stuff here, and extremely complex. Unsweetened chocolate, powdered chocolate, hints of coffee, roasted malts, raisins, maple, dark berries, and some slight bitterness with the hops to round things out. Extremely balanced and hard to get your nose out of.

Taste: Everything from the aroma comes through amazingly here. A bold powdered chocolate and toasted malt fullness with coffee and mocha in the background. The dark berry characters come through near the finish, which is slightly sweet at first, then dry, letting the hops come through while still having some chocolate and sweetness on the tongue. Absolutely wonderful stuff, and I don't see how this can get any better.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and velvety, with the perfect amount of carbonation. How is it this silky?

Drinkability: One of the best versions of the style I've ever had, hands down. A bomber is extremely easy to finish (you can call that good or bad, though I say the latter), and an extremely fine treat indeed.

08-15-2006 04:52:56 | More by asabreed
Photo of jmz62565


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

This pours a jet black with a huge tan foamy head. Very impressive looking. The smells include coffee, chocolate,and a small amount of dark fruit. The taste is awesome with coffee and chocolate dominating this beer. The high alcohol is well hidden and there is a hidden sweetness in this beer, mollasses? I think the thing I like about this beer the most is that coffee and chocolate and not dark fruit dominate the flavor. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing very well. An excellant beer that I will savor. I got the growler at Half Time in Poughkeepsie. Cheers.

08-13-2006 22:23:14 | More by jmz62565
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%

1 Pt 16 oz bottle poured into a goblet.

Looks Funktasticle!!! Extremely dark brown-near black in color. Massive and expansive 3" frothy mocha colored head, very thick. The head lasted until the very last drop while leaving really nice lacing all over the glass. The "eye" of the head remained bubbly and dense the entire time.

The Nose is very potent. Heady-sweet malt (carmel and brown sugar) One of the more aromatic stouts I've had. It also has some hints of leafy-green style hops.

Tastes smokey with dark/bitter chocolate>Roasted coffee with a oatyness. Sweet carmel malt and a good balance of "green" fresh hops. Starts sweet and roasty finishing bitter and a bit "earthy" from the hop effect. The Balance of Roasty and sweet malt with a bitter hop finish is done well.

This Full body stout feels sticky but smooth, the frothy mocha-like head sticks around til' the very last drop giving this an extra amount of softness. The Carbonation is very good so there is an underlying crisp effect that makes this feel just right.

The 8.1 % ABV is really very drinkable for this style, it goes down really easily because it keeps you interested until the very last drop. Still, it's two or three of these bombers max for one night!

The enjoyable and sustained excellence of the look, aroma, taste and feel makes this one of my favorite big stouts.

08-12-2006 16:34:56 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of Wasatch


4/5  rDev -3.4%

A - Pours a dark brown/black in color, nice carbonation, small creamy dark tan head, nice lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, slight spices, yeast, and toffee/caramel notes.

T - The taste is kinda sweet malty, with some toffee undertones. Also a slight alcohol taste.

M - Medium body.

D - Drinkable. I believe this is my first RIS, not bad, different than a regular stout. Would recommend though.

08-11-2006 23:53:06 | More by Wasatch
Photo of veggiemafia


4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

Sampled courtesy of Chappy052, a fine man and a fine BA if there ever was one.

Pours very dark brown, not quite black, with ruby highlights and a prodigious khaki/crema colored head.

Smells are very dry, intense roastiness, coffee and espresso, not so fruity. I like this, becuase I really like a grainy character in lots of beers, and you get that roasted grain thing very prevalently here.

Taste is more of the same, coffee and grains with a herbal kind of earthy hop presence as well that really brings out some brightness in this and makes it work.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy, medium-bodied for a RIS, if anything.

This may be a little dry to drink a lot of, but still a very fine beer.

08-07-2006 02:38:31 | More by veggiemafia
Photo of akorsak


4/5  rDev -3.4%

This is a bomber served in a Three Philosophers glass. The stout is cool.

Appearance: The beer is pitch black with no hints of anything beyond the off-white head. That head laces nicely.

Smell: The stout has a roasted aroma with undertones of chocolate and wine.

Taste: The ale has a big taste, with chocolate and roasted malts leading the way. There is a slight undertone of vanilla and no hop presence.

Mouthfeel: The hops and vanilla flavors are good, as are the toasted malts. Nicely done by Bear Republic.

Drinkability: The ale is smooth without a killer hop profile. The vanilla hints are very nice, as well.

08-03-2006 02:53:14 | More by akorsak
Photo of jackorain


4.68/5  rDev +13%

22 oz. bottle fridge cold poured into pint glass

A-Black color dark tan 1 inch head with really high crown

S-Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, mild green hop,

T-Roasted malt, coffee, very chocolatey, bitter green hop with a malty sweetness on the finish to balance out the hops, one really good beer.

M-Medium to thick body, cabonation is light to medium but maybe still a little to bubbly for a stout for me.

D-I could drink for the whole night.

Overall, this is one very good beer

08-02-2006 21:30:52 | More by jackorain
Photo of nlmartin


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

This beer came to me thanks to dhchatfield.

The beer was served in a Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The beer is black with a slight ruby opaqueness to light. The head is a finger high with a burnt creamed coffee coloration. The head has great retention and leaves rings around the glass.

Smell: The smell of the beer is a bit of a let down. The beer has a understated mocha java smell. The beer has a bit of berries and black currant fruityness. Vague undertows of pine resin and citric smells hops rise out of the beer. Alcohol is well hidden in the smell. The beer is missing something that would make it great smelling.

Taste: The beer has a mildly roasted espresso and powdery cocoa combination. The beer has loads of sweet mollasses and brown sugar sweetness. The beer has a good hoppy citric taste. The hops are more than what would suggest themselves in the smell. The alcohol is well covered and incorporated into the flavor. The beer is missing something in the way of flavor that would make this one a great beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is very smooth and creamy. The alcohol is well masked in the taste and smell. The beer is just shy of being full bodied. The beer is a dam fine beer drink by many of my standards. The beer is missing a certain unnameable something that would make it great. I will definately give this beer another try some day.

08-02-2006 13:25:49 | More by nlmartin
Photo of dirtylou


3.68/5  rDev -11.1%

Re-reviewed for the context of Imperial/Russion Stout Session...8th in line for myself, expatsteve, DaPeculierDane, and Golden2wenty1

appearance: pours the lightest of the stouts...a creamy lighter mahogany shade...creamy tan head with a decent lace

smell: the one blatantly hoppy stout of the night...normal imperial stout characteristics are a little lacking here, as coffee/chocolate are minimal on the nose

taste: oddly sour I thought, very green-hop driven...lightly sweetened chocolate, tart cherry. This one fairs a lot better isolated from the huge malt alcohol bombs. I will re-visit this on an isolated night soon to further judge

mouthfeel: creamy, tart, one of the lighter stouts of the night

drinkability: pretty good

07-27-2006 19:05:15 | More by dirtylou
Photo of DaPeculierDane


4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Dark brown, near black with a generous tan froth. Strongly hopped aroma. Light an fruity. Coffee flowing over Cascades. Tastes slightly sour like powdered cherry drink mix. Lemony with a healthy dose of java, chocolate, brown sugar, and caramel. Light to medium body (for style). Very hoppy yet extremely drinkable. Not very typical for an RIS but quite nice none-the-less.

07-27-2006 16:26:38 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of KarlHungus


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

This beer pours an opaque black color. The head is three fingers in height, rocky, and tan. Lacing is thorough. The aroma is wonderful: chocolate, toffee, cream. The taste is like the aroma but with a little more toffee than chocolate. The mouthfeel is nearly full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a really good stout that I would certainly drink again if it were available in Minnesota.

07-23-2006 22:16:58 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of westweasel


4.18/5  rDev +1%

Poured from a 22oz. bomber bottle.

The beer pours out black with a tall beige head. The aroma definitely contains
hops. There's a slight citrusy smell mixed in with some roasty malt scents.

The taste is excellent. A strong hop presence even in a stout. There are
also some roasty flavors in here. A little carmel. This is not sweet by any means.
The mouthfeel is very full and thick. It has a very dry finish.

This beer has excellent drinkability. Even though it is somewhat bitter, it is not
overpowering. You should be able to drink a few and enjoy them all.

07-16-2006 03:03:31 | More by westweasel
Photo of poluti


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

22oz bottle
Pours thick and black with dark tan head. This is a great looking stout.
Smells of malty goodness with a tint of alcohol and a small punch of piney hops.
It tastes of burnt malt with the perfect amount of hops to bitter this great tasting stout. This is very well balanced and I was very suprised at the hop content in such a black stout.
It coats the mouth well and the carbonation pushes the flavor along very nicely for a fantastic finish.
I loved this beer, as I love most of Bear Republic's beers. Writing this makes me want to go to BevMo and pick up more Bear Republic. I will definately have this again.

07-11-2006 22:26:20 | More by poluti
Photo of ultralarry2006


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Poured from a 22 0z. bomber. Left an espresso foam brown head, about two fingers deep, receding to lasting surface skim, and good lacing. Body was the deepest brown, almost black.

Smell - Dark bready malt and some PNW hops - that is, dark bread, caramel, chocolate, and citrus. Smell is rich and mouthwatering.

Taste - every bit as promised by the smell, and more. The dark bread, chocalate, caramel, and toffee, washed with a restrained, but nicely counterbalancing lemony hop bite, and some alcohol warmth ( but not harsh ). Finishes with toffee and lemon.

Mouthfeel - full, smooth, slight hop oil slickness, low carbonation, slightly drying.

Drinkability - goes down well, and is very good ale. Rich and satisfying. Could go for two bombers in a session if I'm offsetting my beer with food, and not drinking beyond that, but if not, then one per session would suffice, although I'd be eagerly looking forward to the next session to enjoy more of this in that case.

07-02-2006 17:08:56 | More by ultralarry2006
Photo of CrackyMcZap


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured the whole bomber into a snifter. Came out black and opaque, even when held up to a strong light. Formed a creamy tan head with some bigger bubbles on the sides. Melted back to a thin, tenacious layer.
Notes of chocolate and plum in the nose.
Flavor: Big chocolate with a little backup of subtle coffee, roastiness, and some grape notes.
Mouthfeel is mildly fizzy and filling in a medium-heavy way.

06-30-2006 09:21:17 | More by CrackyMcZap
Photo of Vancer


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

Exceptional pour – coal black night with a big, creamy, frothy, foamy ivory head. Major lacing all the way down.

A rich malty aroma of chocolate and coffee greeted my snout.
But holy moly,what’s up with this pine kick? On a RIS? Someone drop pine cones in the hopper? It does grow on you, but it sure took me by surprise – not unpleasant though.

Very rich and creamy brew, a good sipper with the 8% abv. I’m impressed with Bear Republic, and look forward to some more Black Bears.

06-27-2006 14:11:35 | More by Vancer
Photo of ProudBeerSnob

New York

4.47/5  rDev +8%

A great food beer. Solid enough to stand on its own in the style, but not overpowering the food. Very drinkable for an Imperial, which I suppose is my only "criticism." I'm not normally a fan of Imperial stouts, because of that "bite." This stout smells more like an imperial than it tastes like one, which makes it VERY drinkable. Glad I have a bomber so I can top of my glass halfway through.

06-25-2006 01:08:02 | More by ProudBeerSnob
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

I brought a bottle of this back from LA a month ago. Finally I opened it and it was awesome, Bear Republic should start distributing around here for my sake.

The color was opaque black with a thick tan foam fed by decent carbonation. The aroma was dark too, with sweet malts and burnt malts. The flavor was mostly sweet, with some dark fruits and more toffee than coffee. A little bit of bitter hops in the after-taste. The body was thick and chewy, almost perfect.

Excellent RIS.

06-24-2006 22:40:54 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of IceAce


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

Not even the midday SoCal sun can punch through this one.

From the zesty entry to the vapid, dry finish, this stout is layered with comnplexities to please most any fan of the black oil.

Built on a sturdy backbone of deeply roasted malts, this stout offers a palate-pleasing mouthfeel and well-hidden abv.

06-18-2006 16:50:22 | More by IceAce
Photo of bignick


3.78/5  rDev -8.7%

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.

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


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

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.

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


3.73/5  rDev -9.9%

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.

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


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

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.

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


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

05-27-2006 23:05:33 | More by denjen
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.