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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.

2,118 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,118
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: 2,118 | Reviews: 1,102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Overlord
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a big black, opaque color and a thick cream head that disippates over five or six months.

The smell, and taste, are of burnt carmel, coffee, some chocolate tones, coffee, maybe a hint of sweet berry, coffee, and licorice. Also coffee. As you may imagine, I found this to be a predominatly coffee-ish stout with some other flavors mixed in to spice it up.

Slightly thin in mouthfeel, and the head and carbonation started ferociously and were gone relatively quickly. Still, at 2.99 you won't find many better stout bangs for the buck (except for deschutes obsidian stout).

Photo of MmmIPA
3.28/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Two finger brown head that fell pretty fast off this style of beer.Impenatrible black body with some red highlights to it.Bitter chocolate taste and some sweet chocolate in the nose and some fruit also.Creamy mouthfeel with the diffenet taste and feel of alcohol,it burns your throat.Not much lacing is left if any.I dont know if this impy stout ranks up there with the other ones Ive had.There is a berry taste somehwere in there as well.Ide like to have this beer in six months to a year and see how it mellows.There is also a smell that im not familliar with when I dring the glass up to my mouth.There is also some licorice in here also.Not a bad beer but not a impy stout that I will come back too since I have better choices.I think there is bakers chocolate in there and some sort of a hop.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from jgaston courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a thin brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of chocolate, roasted dark malts and a strong amount hops for the style.

T: Despite the appearance, the taste does not have the heavy maltiness, smokiness or sweetness as most big stouts. I consider that a good thing, but you’re looking for the typical stout-like taste you’ve got the wrong beer. All of the previously mentioned attributes are certainly present, but there’s a strong hops presence that dominates to the point that if you close your eyes, you might think you’re drinking an IPA. Only one other stout that I’ve had has even approached this type of flavor, much less done it this well. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp for the style, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easy, a little bit filling, good representation of style while adding a very nice twist, good kick, as I stated earlier, it’s not your typical RIS, which is exactly what I like so much about it. It’s definitely a sipper and not a pounder, but it’s a very good beer.

Photo of Floydster
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1/2 liter stein from Hollingshead's Delicatessen in the city of Orange

This brewery is full of surprises and I can honestly every single of their beers is very good

This pours about the blackest I have seen a stout like this with a head like Guinness, but much thicker

Smell is strong and full of sweetness

This beer is way heavy, but one could still drink a lot of it because it so good and smooth

Beautiful texture and great Imperial Russian from Bear Republic

Photo of Atlas1
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this bad boy a while back whilst away from the computer and took notes on it. A belated, but very favorable, review.

Poured into a belgian style snifter, the BBBS appears a dense dark black color. There is some faint reddish tint near the creamy brown head at the top, but otherwise this is a very black stout. No bones about it. The nose is of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit (mostly cherries and plum) and is a thing of beauty. The taste is at first sweet and fruity on the intake, then fades into a pleasant bitter coffee finish. Mouthfeel is rich, creamy and smooth.

This is, as suggested, a big bear of a beer. The relatively high ABV (8.10%) makes it a great fall or winter sipper. It's better served cold and allowed to warm up to room temp, as the nuances of the aroma and taste really emerge as the beer warms up. Another fine beer from our friends at Bear Republic.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was aged for a year before drinking. Pours black with a relatively thin head and decent lacing. Smell is complex. Licorice, prunes, sweet malt, soy sauce, caramel. The taste is very smooth and mellow with a slight roastiness and similar flavors as the smell. The finish has a slight earthy hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft. Very drinkable.

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Now that's what I'm talking about!! This is exactly how a stout should be, in my opinion. Dark, dark brown as it poured from the bottle, nearly black in the glass. The head was a pretty coffee brown. I got a lot of alcohol in the nose and was a bit worried about that, but then didn't notice strong alcohol in the taste at all. The mouthfeel was rich and creamy, and more dry than sticky. The flavor was really great: toasted malts, chocolate, coffee--all the great tastes I love in stouts. I finished my 22 oz. bomber in short order and would have loved a second one, so even at 8.1% I'd call this a very drinkable beer. Can't wait to have another one!

(I've been looking for a good stout to use to try an ice cream and stout float. This is the one I'll try first; I think it will work perfectly.)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I brought back this bomber from a business trip to Wilmington, DE earlier this year.

It pours a dark opaque brown, not a motor oil black like I expected, with a rocky tan head. Smells sweet and malty with significant citrusy hops in the nose, no roastiness detected.

There is a good balance of the sweet and roasty dark malts in the flavor. There is some persistent citrusy hops peeking through in the finish, unusual for a big stout like this. Mouth is medium bodied but lots of flavor. The roastiness builds as you make your way through the glass. The aftertaste has lots of hops, Cascade certainly or something like it. The robust ABV is well-masked and is very drinkable.

Bear Republic makes damn good beer, in case you haven't heard.

Photo of kirok1999
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a really dark black with garnet hues around the rim of the glass. Persistent off white lacing and a thin head.
Smells mostly of chocolate, roasty malts, and slight dry hops.
Taste is not quite a match for the chocolate in the smell. There is some chocolate in the taste but not that much. Mostly it's roasty malts with a very dry finish. Not very sweet at all and therefore not my favorite stout. There is a distinct carbonation that I don't really like as well.
Even though its taste is not my favorite, it is easy to drink.

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

Pours a dark black with a rich and foamy tan head about 2 inches tall that quickly fades and leaves minimal head and lacing. Smell is hoppy with some dark chocolate aroma, as well as fruit, such as some bittersweet cherry. Taste is a little different from the smell, and not as impressive. The taste is mostly bitter hops, and I can't taste much of the cherry or chocolate. Mouthfeel is creamy, and smooth and no carbonation. A very promising beer but I take a sip and expect a little more in the flavor department.

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

Pours a dark opaque black with a chocolate milk head that takes its sweet time. Smells of hops for a stout, roasted nuts, coffee, chocolate. Dry in taste, coffee grounds, bakers chocolate, nuts and some hops. Finishes bitter with alcohol throughout. Feels medium in the mouth with minimal carbonation. Drinkability is medium. A delicious offering from Bear Republic.

Photo of david131
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A very dark liquid. Not nearly as dark as I have seen, I can get some hints of light through the middle of the glass if I hold it up to a light.A nice and thick off white head sits atop.

S- Chocolate and coffee, kind of light. Hints of vanilla, smells very smooth. Roasty with hints of caramel as well.

T- Same as the smell, but pretty sweet. This isn't packed full of flavor, but it is really rich. Not overly complex, but it gets the job done.

M- Pretty creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Leaves a good coating in the mouth and just a tad dry on the finish.

D- I was kind of torn with this. It is really rich, but it is not overwhelming by any means. This is surprisingly refreshing on a very hot and humid day in Michigan.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, 8.1% ABV. Appears dark brown as poured, but as it sits in the glass, it is pitch black. Thick mocha head. Great head retention.

Roasty nose, burnt caramel, milk chocolate and a blast of piney, citrusy hops.

Big roasty flavor fades into a blast of bitterness. Some chocolate and citrusy flavors. Finishes dry.

Medium body. Not bad, but too hoppy for my taste.

Photo of sessycuban
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber. I still can't get over the fact that this beer is modestly priced at $2.99. Hats off to the men and women at Bear Republic.

A - The beer pours a pitch black, very opaque. The head is a very light brown and retains at a thick half inch. The lacing is medium and sticks well.

S - Roasted coffee malts, chocolate, hints of vanilla; very creamy. Not too overwhelming aroma.

T - I'm getting bitter caramel and toasted malt; a lot of chocolate, but not a lot of coffee. The hop flavor in very pronounce in this stout, which is a surprise.

M - The beer is medium bodied with minimal carbonation. Nothing spectacular here, but still very good.

D - Given the price and the quality of the beer, this one is one of the best you can get. $2.99 for this beer is truly a steal and boy do I feel like a bandit!

Photo of Lothore
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Big tan colored head that doesn't back down quickly. Black in color.

S- Smells of Sweet buns, floral notes. Not at all what i was expecting.

T- Taste is of chocolate, coffee, slightly bitter aftertaste.

M- Thick mouthfeel that is very carbonated.

D- For an IRS this is extremely drinkable.

Photo of mhaugan
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle in a shaker pint

Nice big head with a light tan color. Smell has hints of coffee and chocolate. Taste is nice roasted flavors with a great hoppiness that sets a good stout apart. Great complexity that makes this a serious drink. These same factors reduce the drinkability a bit.

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

22 oz. bomber,

A: Dark black, with a thick, tan head, which leaves excellent lacing in a pint glass.

S: Dark chocolate, coffee, and some American piney hops.

T: Black coffee, with bittersweet chocolate and mocha, backed with piney hops, to round out the flavors.

M: Smooth, not as robust as I would like in a RIS, a little thin, pretty average.

D: The lessened mouthfeel adds to the drinkability, making this probably the most drinkable RIS that I've ever had. A very good beer by Bear Republic, I would definitely drink this again.

Photo of BMoney575
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 7-023-07

Pours absolutely pitch black, with a big, clingy, tan head and lacing.

Smell is outstanding. Huge roasted malt, with bits of vanilla and anise, and a good smokiness.

Taste is much like the smell, with a big, sweet maltiness at the front followed by a smooth hop bitterness to balance things out. The finish is smoky with a hint of coffee.

Mouthfeel is good, maybe a bit thin for the style.

Drinkability is very good, sweetness is well-checked by the hops.

Overall, a fantastic experience. A huge beer with big flavors and big balance. I'm very glad I picked some up in Ohio. Highly recommended.

Photo of BabaJohn
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured black as night, as any good stout should, into my glass tankard. The head required a vigorous pour and was a pleasing brown/red hue, but this faded quickly to a thin layer on the surface of the brew. Aroma was slightly sour and of coffee; more like espresso perhaps? Delicious. Thick and malty flavors are constantly swapping with the bitter coffee and roast tastes while the beer is in the mouth. This fades once swallowed to a pleasantly herbal taste of hops on the back end. Once adjusted to the intense quality of the malt flavors, some esters of dark fruits and berries can be detected in the nose and appreciated on the taste buds. A beer this strong in alcohol and character is not the most drinkable because you can’t just knock it back. However, it’s not as boring as many beers that you could just knock back. A fantastic beer.

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

Appearance: Deep mahogany color, with a thick, persistent tan head, and scattered, broken lacing.

Aroma: Grapefruit hop notes are very prominent, overpowering any othe aspects of the aroma.

Taste: Opens with a strong grapefruit rind note, which carries throughout the taste. Beneath this, there are notes of coffee and chocolate. Alchol flavors are nearly imperceptible.

Mouth feel: Smooth, full, with slight stinging carbonation, a bit dry, but quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A very well-crafted example, with an obvious bias towards the hops. Would benefit from aging, or perhaps a slightly restrained use of hops.

Photo of Absumaster
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark brown beer, when held to the light, almost black. A creamy head which disappears after several minutes.

Smell is roasted, chocolate and malty with typical US hoppiness, citric and resinous.

Taste is burned and roasted with liquorice notes. Bitter with distinct maltbitterness. The American hops really shine in this beer, they are raw and resinous, giving the beer a great balance with it's citric and grapefruit, fresh hop character. Body is medium and mouhfeel is very smooth and a little sticky.
Aftertaste is dry, maltbitter and roasted.

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

Decent, if somewhat average American version of an RIS. Nice black colour with a tan head. Roasted malt, espresso smell. Very faint vinous hints.

Bitter, dry, roasted malt taste. Sour, somewhat winey essences. Dark chocolate traces. Nothing spectacular, but a decently balanced taste.

Overall, a decent imperial stout. I've had better, but this is a good, respectable stout. Good carbonation, no bad aftertaste. Could be more exciting, but not by much.

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

On tap in NE Ohio. Pours a black color with a thick, dark head. Sweet smell, most likely from the molasses. Enjoyed the taste, less malt than expected, with a hint of hoppiness. I like the alcohol content. Finishes bitter and lingers slightly. Interested in more of the Bear Republic selections.

4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of those beers I've been waiting a long time to try. A nice 3 finger carmel colored head erupts on top of the deep black body with a bit of brown on the edges when held to light. Leaves decent lace. Nose is a sweet zesty malt with deep dark fruits and cordial candies. Not as sweet as expected as it enters the mouth, bitter blackness paints the mouth. It is sharp and long but nicely integrated and very even. Sweetness does develop a bit more with some warming. Mouthfeel is of burnt malt. Alchol is well hidden. Wow! What a drinkable masterpiece. Well worth the wait. Now I cant wait to find some more.

Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small head for the style, but nice lace. Nearly black in color; no light can penetrate the glass.

First whiff: refrigerator. Second whiff: mild black patent malt, some chocolate and mocha.

Excellent balance. Noticeable hop which is unusual for the style. Nice chocolate-coffee flavors. Rich body with good carbonation. The aftertaste is largely hop tinged with bitter darkened malt.

This is an exceptional (imperial) stout. Delicious and rich; to be sought out.

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,118 ratings.