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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

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2,183 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,183
Reviews: 1,113
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 140
Gots: 170 | 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:
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: 2,183 | Reviews: 1,113
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

Photo of Atron67
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- poured a dark black stout with a big fluffy white head. the liquid is clear but dark, no particulates, heavy lacing on the glass

S- a roasted malty scents. bitterness prevents the malts from being too sweet

T- a heavy maltiness with a strong roasted flavors and a really strong bitterness on the back

M- a solid, heavy body with a very thick. A strong carbonation

D- a solid great stout

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Boston the last time I was up that way. I loved Bear Republic's other offerings that I've sampled, and this tends to be one of the styles that I always enjoy, since I've never had a bad brew of this type. This beer didn't disappoint me at all, but if you're looking for a tough-as-nails, motor oilesque, knock ya on your ass type stout, this isn't it by a longshot. Nevertheless, I am finding it pretty enjoyable!

Of course, this pours dark, but it's NOT thick at all. The head was decent but there isn't much of any lacing to be found here. I was expecting dark chocolate, roasting, and alcohol in the taste, but what I get here is a coffee flavor, above all else. Very little espresso, chocolate, currant, and licorice can be detected here, and calling this a Russian Imperial Stout is quite a stretch from the truth. This isn't a bad beer by any means, since it is solid, well-crafted and leaves a pleasant, mellow aftertaste. It just doesn't compared to the Victory Storm King and Stone Russian Imperial stouts, in more than one way.

The 8.10% ABV can be felt here, but it's not an overwhelming wallop. Most heavy stouts would be on my to-drink list after a strong meal, but in this case, I'd rather have it for a snack with some biscotti or the like. It's different from what I've had before, but not bad. I just wish it was a little more filling and robust. It's only worth a try for someone new to this style and wanting a light introduction...

Photo of Overlord
3.63/5  rDev -12.1%
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
3.21/5  rDev -22.3%
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
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
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
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.17/5  rDev +1%
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
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
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
4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
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 +7.7%
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
3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
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
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,183 ratings.