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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.

1,955 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,955
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 114
Gots: 127 | 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: 1,955 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of weeare138


4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to sckressler for this...
Appears a dense black with a 1 finger tan head that lasts for a minute. Nice hearty lacing that lasts for a while.
Smell is of rich chocolate fudge with dark fruits. Lots of red & black grapes, plums, black cherries, all swirled in a fresh pot of fudge laced coffee.
Taste is of caramel, chocolate fudge, dark fruits, coffee.
Mouthfeel is just a shade thin to be good. Nice sweetness with a mild hop finish.
Drinkability is pretty good. I enjoyed this brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 17:37:46 | More by weeare138
Photo of Golden2wenty1


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

Picked up a 22 oz. bomber at Riley's here in Madison. My first Bear Republic beer.

Pours black with some fiery amber highlights when held to the light. Nice 3/4" creamy tan head that fades to a swirly coating with some decent lacing. Nose is more subtle than I had expected - dark fruits, some bittering hops, and faint coffee at the end. The taste is also much more subtle than I would have thought -dark fruits, some citrus, mild hops and the faintest choco/coffee roastiness to balance out the hops. The alcohol is almost not noticible on the palate, a very well-hidden 8.1% abv. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but still refreshing along with solid carbonation on this ungodly hot Wisconsin night. I can feel the alcohol warming me, which I don't really need at this point, but I'm still enjoying this beer. Not mind-blowing, but very solid.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2005 05:37:57 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of rowew


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

Presentation: 22 oz bomber. California flag looking with the bear prominently displayed. Description of the beer and brewery on one side. No freshness info.

Appearance: Pours very dark with just the slightest hint of red around the edges. Huge frothy tan colored head. Great retention.

Smell: Coffee and chocolate dominate the aroma, with just a hint of alcohol peeking through. The hops combine with the coffee aroma to give a slightly bitter note.

Taste: Nice medium to full body, but not as thick as you would expect. Very creamy and smooth, with the coffee flavor very present. The alcohol is very well hidden. Nice hop bitterness in the finish.

Overall impression: A highly drinkable stout that is deceptively strong. Nice balanced flavors make this a joy - now off to finish off the bomber with a cigar!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 03:14:54 | More by rowew
Photo of mentor


4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Well, after two crappy beers tonight, I’m ready for something decent. Bomber provided by Eyedrinkale ala BIF20. Thanks much for the opportunity. Pours a brown/tan one-finger head over a very dark liquid. Dark brown-red edgings when held to light. Smells potently of coffee/roasted grains that are countered by a sweet toffee. There is also a sour (from black patent). Tastes sweet and of rich chocolate, some coffee, and the sour of cherry that indicates a heavy hand of black patent. During the swallow, hop aromatic begins and there is an alcohol sting. Aftertaste is phenomenal. Waves of caramel and coffee rising on a backbone of chocolate. Thick creamy mouthfeel and mildly carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2005 04:42:11 | More by mentor
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown, almost black pour with a small brown foamy head.

Aroma is chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, and coffee. Surprising hop presence in there as well.

Taste is a pleasantly roasted chocolate character. The coffee pulls through pretty clearly as well, as does a bit of warming alcohol. The flavor has a light vanilla note in it as well that is just barely apparent to the tongue. The hoppiness adds a little extra bite on the end....quite nice.

The only semi-complaint that I have is that the mouthfeel is a bit thin for something with a flavor this big. I feel like it could stand to be a bit thicker to stand up to the big taste and ABV. That said, it's an incredibly drinkable stout for its power, and part of that is probably due to its light mouthfeel. I don't love this one the way I do BR"s Racer 5, but it's a good stouf.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2005 03:09:57 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of DrJay


4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark brown, basically opaque, topped by a huge, light brown, creamy head. Great lacing and excellent retention. Rich, malty aroma with lots of chocolate and some molasses. Roasted and nutty provide some depth as well. Ripe fruit and alcohol are just noticeable. The flavour is big and malty, as expected, some dark chocolate, roasted and a bit of burnt under it all. Bitterness and hop flavour are present, but mainly provide balance to the malt. Finishes with mild alcohol warmth and a nice balance of malt and bitterness. Creamy texture, full body and medium carbonation. Very slight astringency from the dark malts. Great drinkability, I could drink this all night. Another great beer from Bear Republic and an excellent beer for my 300th review.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2005 00:31:27 | More by DrJay
Photo of goschool


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

The head and lacing on this brew are fantastic. Tiny bubbles race up the sides of the glass. This nose is big and chocolatey with its fair share of coffee and molasses. Now don't get me wrong this is a big stout, but the mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy, not as sticky or oily as most double or imperial stouts. The hops taste fruity and compliment the milk chocolate and java very well. Now allegedly this stuff is 8.1% abv, but I wouldn't mind drinking this like other people can throw back Guinness.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 08:31:19 | More by goschool
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with red around the edges, medium tan head, good lacing on the glass. Roasted malts are right at the front of the nose, some hop presence is noticable behind, with a sweet fruity aroma as well. Taste is dark fruits, roasted malt, chocolate and coffee, like a souped up version of their Tribute Brown ale. Nice and hoppy, with some fruitiness near the end. Excellent stout, very very smooth and creamy, very excellent. Thanks DrJay for the import.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2005 02:29:13 | More by Viggo
Photo of Franchise


4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is good, it pours out dark black with a brown head. It smells of chocolate, coffee, and a faint nutty smell. The taste is spectacular! It tastes of coffee, caramel, dark fruits(plum, black cherry, chocolate dipped raspberries). Def one of the best stouts I've tasted. Would pair well with dark chocolate fruit such as strawberries, def a dessert beer IMO.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2005 22:13:55 | More by Franchise
Photo of blitz134


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly opaque black with only bits of red at the edges. Single finger dark tan to light brown head on the pour. Lacing grips the glass as the head keeps hanging around.

Smell is hop dominated without much else. Mainly Cascade hops with their typical grapefruit citrus aroma. Maybe a hint of alcohol in the nose. I would like to have picked up on some typical stout aromas in this one. Without any form of toasted anything or coffee aromas I can't rate the smell high. Its just all hops.

What the aroma lacks the taste makes up for. This stout is hoppier than most but still has the typical stout flavors in the forefront. A good dose of strong dark toasted malts with bits of chocolate and an expresso finish. A hop bitterness picks up as well with some floral sweet flavors. This is a very nice tasting stout which is a bit different than most other stouts with its hop presence.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and thick. Coats the mouth well. Filling like a stout should be. Drinkability is good to boot, a good thick heavy feeling that probably wouldn't dissuade most from finishing the bomber.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2005 01:23:58 | More by blitz134
Photo of GClarkage


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/13/05- Purchased at Beltamo's in Menlo Park.

Presentation- 22oz bomber with no dating. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Dark black pour with a nice dirty head on the surface. Very nice lacing along the insides.

Smell- This one smells very dark and very chocolaty. Definite roasted coffee qualities as well.

Taste- Nice milk chocolate flavor with a big slap of coffee in your face as well. Nice bitterness in the hops to finish it off.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and very creamy with lower carbonation.

Drinkability- Can't taste the 8% for the life of me. Had to share the bottle, but felt none of it after 12oz or so. Wishing I had the whole bottle to myself. Awesome stout I will be having again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 20:07:44 | More by GClarkage
Photo of cubedbee


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

Pours a pitch black with a solid two fingers of coffee colored head with good retention and lots of lacing. Smell is of dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, and hops. Taste has a very strong assertive roasted malt backbone, with hints of coffee, almond, and chocolate, and just a little hint of the alcohol. Medium bodied with a medium/low carbonation and a very dry finish, this beer has a very nice feel. This is an absolutely wonderful double stout---enjoyed every moment of it, could easily drink these all the time.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2005 22:43:30 | More by cubedbee
Photo of Troyone


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color, could not see if there was evident carbonation, and the off tan head was minimal.

Has a roasted nutty molasses malt smell with pine and citrus hops.

Moderately sweet and bitter roasted molasses malt taste with hints of coffee and maybe chocolate, also has pine and different citrus flavors in the hops.

Full bodied, dry and resinous, soft to flat carbonation, and a slight astringent finish.

Very drinkable for the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2005 09:12:57 | More by Troyone
Photo of Beaver13


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours a nearly opaque black (there's some ruby highlights). It has a creamy light brown head that goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing. The second half pour leaves some sediment.

The aroma is some roasted malts, figs (and dark fruits), a little anise, and a some sweet cream oakiness.

The flavor is more of the same - roasted chocolate, figs, anise, and sweet oak with a nice lightly bitter dry finish. The alcohol is well hidden. There are some sweet and sour notes that keep it from being truly excellent. It is medium to thin bodied, a little low on the carbonation and a little watery at times.

Overall, a good imp stout. It reminded me of Left Hands Oak-Aged, but wasn't quite as good.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2005 03:35:39 | More by Beaver13
Photo of garymuchow


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

This sample presented via gueuzedude. Many thanks.

Deep dark malt, coffee, whisky, alcohol and chocolate.
Decent head for size of beer. One inch that settles slowly. Black, but can see reddish hues and somewhat clear. Lacing.
Flavor less complex than aroma. Many of the same qualities, just a lot less intense. Big bold malt with strong dryness. Bitterness towards the finish. Good, but certainly not exceptional.
Dedently smooth and full. Mildy rich. Solid. Has a thin quality in time.
Too bad flavor didn't live up to the aroma. Good nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 03:12:25 | More by garymuchow
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely pitch black with a beautiful dark brown head. Lots of good stouty smells going on; dark chocolate and coffee and the like.
Tastes pretty good, though I think it smells better than it tastes. There's a bit too much in the way of hops bitterness for my taste but that may be your thing.
The mouthfeel doesnt impress me. Seems a bit thin and maybe chalky from time to time... maybe from the hoppyness.
Alcohol is very very well hidden; this one could sneak up on you. I spose this is pretty drinkable for a stout but I don't think I could get through too much of this stuff at a time.
Definately a nice find for the price.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2005 00:53:35 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of Naerhu


4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pure black body with chocolate-colored, small, tight head.
S - Amazing malt aroma, rich premium coffee grounds.
T - Amazing rich maltiness, kind bitterness, no sweetness, delicious yeastiness. Again, premium coffee, Moka Matari specifically.
M - Alcohol adds lightness and verve to this smooth beauty. Extremely drinkable and simply amazing.
D - I could drink this for breakfast everyday and not feel guilty.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2005 15:08:28 | More by Naerhu
Photo of beerceller99


4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared since early 2003. Enjoyed on 19 feb 05.
See through black color with a fleeting , brown one finger head.
Strong chocolate malt and roasted nut smell.
Medium-full bodied and lightly carbonated.
Tasty chocolate syrup and blackened malt flavor with a hint of vanilla.
Finishes slightly dry with a nice alcohol bite.
This brewery has yet to fail me.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2005 01:49:02 | More by beerceller99
Photo of Wonka


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

8.1% ALC. BY VOL.
No dates

Appearance – dark purple/black body; one heck of a massive and beautiful, chunky light brown head that endures; impressive lace; this is what I’d love to see more in stouts, especially at this strength or any strength for that matter

Smell – massive dark berries; plum; molasses; bit of chocolate

Taste – dark powdery chocolate, plum, touch of smoke and molasses with a good dose of hops are perceptible throughout; the alcohol is barely noticeable; dark berries with a bit of hops and acidity to close; it’s the close (mentioned later) that draws the beer down a bit

Mouthfeel – nice moderate and even feel with a bit of oil; enjoyable carbonation; the tenor of the late acidity that draws it back from perfection, but at the 8.1% abv, I can really respect this feel

Drinkability – very drinkable, especially when considering its size; not too dry; the alcohol isn’t cumbersome by any means; in fact, the alcohol may have left the building

Big Bear is certainly not a brash bear. Black Stout dominates its territory and gets the job done without being tearing up the local palates.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2005 00:33:15 | More by Wonka
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

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

This stout is a rare Imperial much like Stone's that has all the huge flavours come together in a silky smooth slighty vinous melange. No one note pops its thorny head above the others but rather the whole is greater than the parts. Complex, way too drinkable, this stout is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2005 14:48:52 | More by canucklehead
Photo of WanderingFool


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

Big Bear Black Stout pours, well, black. Ink black with no light getting through. A creamy tan head forms on top and slowly dissolves to a thick sheet on the surface. The malty aroma is blended with roasted malt, nuts and some floral hops.

Each sip of this smooth medium bodied beer is filled with roasted malt. A fair amount of hops balances out each sip. Theres hints of nuts and sweet malt mixed in. A mildly sour palate with malty flavor is left behind.

This is an easy drinking well balanced stout. It hides the 8% alcohol very well.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2005 21:27:29 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of twelvsies


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

This is a solid beer, but I have to say I like their other beers more. Maybe it's just me but this beer seemed just a little too sweet or flavored. Anyway... as suggested by the label the beer pours big and black, with a foamy brown head. Decent amount of hops in there for a stout, but this is mainly a malty explosion. Lots of flavors in there, and I guess I'm nitpicking but it as I said it was a bit too sweet and a little to coffee-ish for me. Slick and kind of flat mouthfeel. A solid but not exceptional beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2005 21:31:37 | More by twelvsies
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, impenetrable mahogany. I do see dark caramel highlights at the margins though, so it isn't a complete and total ambient light sucker. The expansive, thickly creamy head of golden cocoa brown falls infinitesimally slowly and resembles a large scoop of coffee ice cream left to melt in the midday sun.

A tremendous stout nose with power to spare. While sweet dark chocolate is dominant, this is no one-trick pony. Next in line would have to be citric hops (thank you Bear Republic), then brown sugar, then molasses, and finally, coffee. That is pretty much my ideal stout lineup, in exactly that order.

BBBS is good beer, as I was pretty sure it would be. One caveat: if you're not fond of hoppy stouts, this one may not be to your liking. I am and it is. It's even more hopalicious than the nose let on. In fact, I never thought I'd say this, but it's too hoppy relative to the actual stout flavor. I like hops in my dark beer (I like them on a train, I like them on a plane, I like them in Big Bear, I like them anywhere), but I don't like them to overwhelm the business at hand, which is... heavily roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and all that other stouty stuff.

Chocolate malt is still holding down the fort, but the ramparts have taken heavy damage from the humulus lupulus barrage. It's also impressively sweet, as befits a beer to which both brown sugar and molasses have been added. This really is delicious stuff even though its balance is just a tad askew. The finish is long and roastyhoppy with sweet just winning out over bitter. The mouthfeel is a notch shy of full with an impressive smooth silkiness.

Big Bear Black is great beer, but would benefit from being more classically stout-like. Even I need a break from overwhelming hops once in a while. As hard as it is to believe, sometimes I just wanna be 'mauled by malt', to paraphrase the BR website. Can't decide between a hop monster IPA and a darkly chocolatey double stout? Bear Republic has placed both in one bomber for your convenience and your drinking pleasure.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2005 22:21:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

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

Pours out very dark brown with a tan head. Roasted malt aroma with chocolate and a good amount of hops, which I always like in a stout. Flavor pretty much follows from the aroma. There is a crispness to this beer that is not found in most stouts. Medium mouthfeel. As some reviewers have pointed out, this is not an Imperial Stout. It is very tasty, and went well with some chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2005 00:49:44 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of bnuttz


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark crimson, burnt black color with a tan colored fizzy head. Smells of chocolatey malts, espresso, spicy hops. Taste is very chocolatey and bitter from the black malts and spicy hops. Taste reminds me a lot of a porter. Taste is very smooth, kind of light on the mouth, but this stout is so decieving. I would never be able to detect the 8% alcohol. Because of the light mouthfeel and decieving alcohol content this is probably the most drinkable stout of this caliber I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2005 00:46:51 | More by bnuttz
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,955 ratings.