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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.

1,989 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,989
Reviews: 1,092
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 116
Gots: 130 | 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: 1,989 | Reviews: 1,092 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Prufrock


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

22 oz. bomber poured into a pilsner.

pitch black color; a touch of brown comes in around the edges when held up to the light. tan, inch-thick head that leaves clumps of lacing.

what an aroma. pine, sweet chocolate, molasses, coffee, and a touch of rindy citrus.

taste doesn't disappoint. malty, sugary chocolate with a bittering aftertaste of piney hops and dark chocolate. incredibly drinkable.

12-31-2005 02:51:22 | More by Prufrock
Photo of ghostwalker


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

Deep, dark, seemingly impenetrable black that yields ruby highlights when held up to the light. 1 finger of rich tan head, doesn't last, no lacing.

Nose is strong bitter coffee/chocolate. Some bitter, piney hops also come out.

Flavor is up front coffee/chocolate. Bitter hops on the finish, also hints of a bitter, strong molasses. Complex and interesting. Not as hoppy as Yeti, not as thick, rich and dark as Stone RIS, (but what is?). A worthy entry into the Imperial/Double stout arena.

Mouthfeel is rich and chewy. Nice!

Drinkability is as good as any of this style. 2 bombers would be better than 1. The bitterness/hoppiness is not a barrier to drinkability as some can be.

12-22-2005 00:52:59 | More by ghostwalker
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark black body with a faint glow of light around the edges of the glass. The head is creamy smooth tan but it is not very big and it last through the entire beer.

S- The smell of deep roasted chocolate nibs and earthiness from dark roasted grain is very strong. A very faint hop bitterness is in the finish.

T- The beer has a big thick roasted malt flavor with some chalky qualities to the taste (but in a very pleasant way). The finish is a mild hop bitterness with a faint soy sauce note. The taste of dark rich malt hangs on at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a bit of a silky texture. There is a bit of fizz that adds nice depth. No real alcohol warmth.

D- This beer has nice big rich dark grain flavors. There are no real dark fruit or lighter grain notes just big dark grains. The hop bitterness is mild but it lingers in the finish balancing the grain.

12-13-2005 02:36:47 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of RBorsato


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Black with a touch of ruby to light, nice brown to dark brown head, and nice carbonation. Light sweet chocolate, roasty, and coffee aromas. Rich robust chocolate and caramel sweetness with a nice roasty balance. A touch of alcohol on the finish but nicely balanced. Medium-full bodied and creamy smooth with a strong roasty dry and light coffee finish.

Per BR website:
Belgian and English roasted barley and crystal malts.
Louisiana sweet molasses and dark brown sugar.
Chinook and Cascade hops.
og 1.076, ABV 8.1%, IBU 68.

(22 oz.)

12-12-2005 20:32:32 | More by RBorsato
Photo of waughbrew


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Black with mocha head. Lacing is ferocious. Glorious deep resinous dates and figs, anise, and espresso. Wicked nutty! Caramel and toffee goodness. Taste is dark chocolate covered raspberries, tobacco soaked in hot cocoa, bitter herbs in dirt. Feel is medium-thick with a smooth, low carbonation. After the sweetness has subsided a bit and the small alcohol warmth has passed, it finishes with enough bitterness on the tongue to welcome another sip. As someone noted earlier, this is not unlike a dark chocolate milkshake.

This is like an amped-up Shakespeare that loses only a bit of its drinkability along the way. Bigger body and caramel sweetness, but certainly wonderful. One of the best stouts.

12-06-2005 23:54:01 | More by waughbrew
Photo of scooter231

New York

3.93/5  rDev -5.1%

Another tasty Bear Republic. Pours a deep, dark, almost opaque color. Smell is coffeeish and chocolatey, with a deep roasted flavor. Taste is quite nice- more coffee and chocolate, with an espresso hint, not toooo bitter- really lovely stout.

Mouthfeel is chewy- very chewy, and full, and creamy. Just good. Quite drinkable for a stout, which is hard to do- good.

12-06-2005 07:18:27 | More by scooter231
Photo of tgbljb


3.85/5  rDev -7%

Poured a very deep brown, almost black color with modest tannish head. Smell is a tantalizing mixture of coffee, cocoa, roasted grains, and a dark fruits. Taste is also very enjoyable with dark fruits (cherries, figs, dates, prunes) making themselves known along with chocolate and coffee. A nice hoppy bitterness arises at the finish along with an alcohol note. A very drinkable beer for 8.1%, almost too easy, because the alcohol sneaks up on you.

12-05-2005 00:51:59 | More by tgbljb


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Appearance - Dark brown. 2" frothy beige head with great retention. Lots of carbonation. Thick lace.

Smell - Chocolate. Roasted malt. Coffee, cappucino. Dark fruit. Smoke? Nice balance of hops mingling throughout.

Taste - Bitter hops mix with the flavors of bitter dark chocolate at the front. Caramel. Sweet, dark roasted malt. Some fruit (raisin) as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Rich and round with good carbonation.

Drinkability - Outstanding!! Long bitter finish. Smooth. Excellent as the beer approaches cellar temperature. Thanks to BA tryemall for the sample as this beauty is unfortunately not available around these parts.

11-27-2005 04:40:45 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of nortmand


4.68/5  rDev +13%

Pitch black pour, with a finger of tan head.

Smell is caramel dominant with a roast background. Alot of caramel and cascade.

Wow. Alot of crystal malt in this brew. Caramel malt with roast in a supporting role. Huge cascade flavor.

Full bodied and the immense amount of crystal malt gives a nice rounded, smooth finish. Very drinkable and very delicious.

11-27-2005 03:38:23 | More by nortmand
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe


4.7/5  rDev +13.5%

Ebony--not exactly midnight black--liquid, with rosewood highlights, fills the pint glass. A healthy, one-inch deep pile of umber fluff leaves a decent webbing of stringy lace. Tempting smells of chocolate shortbread batter are rounded out by suggestions of prune, currant, and pralines, although the nosefeel would benefit by being fattened up a bit. Still, nothing prepares me for the taste... holy wow... dark chocolate truffles, charcoal-roasted toffee bars, mocha buttercream. There's no danger of things becoming too sweet, as an aftertaste of slight vanilla extract bitterness arrives to balance things out. Mouthfeel is effortlessly light and satiny, with no alcohol effects noticeable whatsoever. The chewiness of bigger-bodied stouts is not missed. Drinkability here could be measured in seconds if I wasn't making the attempt to suck out every last molecule of flavor from each gulp.

Ahem... this is... er... really, really fucking good...

11-22-2005 02:37:45 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of PatYoda


4.55/5  rDev +9.9%

Pours dark brown with a nice light brown head that leaves behind great lacing and ring around the snifter. Smell is very chocolatey and roasted. The chocolate is an equal combination sugary milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate. A little alcohol in the background, but not much. Taste is almost as much chocolate as the Rogue Chocolate Stout! This actually reminds me quite a bit of that beer. The roastiness is there as well, though in much smaller quantities as in most Double Stouts. Actually this is by far the smoothest and most easy drinking double stout I've had, and I'm loving it.

Too bad I split the bomber with my girlfriend. Maybe I can snatch the rest from her. Anyway, the mouthfeel is a bit thin, which works well with the easy going flavor here, but I feel that it's just a tad too watery for my tastes. Very clean finish with only a little lingering hop bitterness to go along with the dark chocolate bitterness. It's nice to see that some brewers still emphasize a little restraint within this style, and that this beer is great despite not being way over the top.

11-18-2005 02:29:46 | More by PatYoda
Photo of jaluria


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

Very dark color with soft tan-colored head that is thick and foamy with excellent retention and even better lacing. Aromas of sugar and cocoa are most apparent. The taste is interesting and complex with a profile that contains a fair amount of hop bitterness. A lovely bittersweet finish that leaves behind just a slight sourness. Despite the high ABV, this beer is very easy to drink.

11-14-2005 16:06:31 | More by jaluria
Photo of Zorro


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Pours a clear dark brown stout that isn't quite able to block all light. Tall and frothy light brown head that is very thick.

Smell is fruity and chocolate and coffee is a slight bit of acid in the scent. The scent of kahlua and nuts float to my nose on the alcohol fumes present. Fruity scents exist mainly as raisins, figs, and cherry scents.

Taste is extremely mild and very creamy at the very start much like a chocolate malt. Big chocolate flavor is what hits me first and then the coffee. After a bit the more bitter flavors appear in the taste profile mostly chicory and faint citrus hops. This loses some points in the flavor for lack of complexity, that it will get back in the drinkability department. This is simply a near perfect stout that emphasizes the chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel is chocolate milkshake, I seriously doubt that this can be improved upon.

Perfect drinkability here. Tasty and so easy to drink a Budweiser fan could drink this. This is basically a terrific chocolate beer milkshake. I love this stuff and will buy much much more.

11-13-2005 23:52:07 | More by Zorro
Photo of Px2GrafX


3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

presentation: 22oz. bomber with an illustrated bear inside of a circle inside of a star in the center of the label. "bear republic" is across a banner over the top of the label, and "big bear black stout" is in big letters around the bear. 8.1%abv displayed. bear republic's interpretation of their stout along with brewer's notes and a map showing the brewery location are on the left side of the label. no freshness date to be found.

appearance: pours a deep black with dark, dark brown highlights in a snifter glass. head is a half-inch walnut color after an aggressive pour. head drops to a thin capper fairly quickly. lacing is nice, however.

smell: chocolate and coffee in the first nose. roastiness and some caramel as well. some earthy hop aromas.

taste: more chocolate and burnt coffee. very roasty with a nice hop bitter balance. currants, molasses and some light anise. some alcohol in the finish. finish is roasted bitter-sweet chocolate. aftertaste is a roasty bitterness. did i mention roasty?

mouthfeel: surprising light-medium body with an even more surprising heavy carbonation. mini burps after almost every sip. rolls around a bit harshly and swallows just as harsh. mouthfeel and swallow thicken and smooth as the brew warms.

drinkability: drinkability is pretty good with a somewhat crisp and below average light mouthfeel for a double stout. alcohol is there but well masked. would probably make a good session stout for a double. more of a sipper as the brew warms.

overall: pretty good double stout, but i'm not too sure what all the hype is about. everything about this beer is better at close to room temperature. mouthfeel is lacking, but improves with warmth. pretty good aroma and flavor. excellent try and i won't turn one down, but there are better out there. thanks a bunch to mlh1227 for sending me this.

11-10-2005 02:37:57 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

A: Black with a ruby tinge, small head & lace. A stout needs more head retention & lacing though!

S: Chocolate & roasted malt.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, roasty aftertaste. Only a hint of warming sherry in the background, it REALLY hides its alcohol well.

M: Syrupy, chewy, moderate-heavy body, medium carbonation.

D: Great!

Thanks MDS!

10-31-2005 23:01:04 | More by Derek
Photo of Gaisgeil


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

I've been sitting on this bottle for a while, so now that it's nice and aged let's have a go shall we?

Pours an opaque black in color with a light tan head that had a good amount of retention. Nose is very full, roasty toasty with a very pronounced hop character as stouts go. Taste is multileveled, lots of nice rich roast and dry baker's chocolate, some dark fruit as well. Hops are definatly in there, much more to the front than is the norm.

A very well made big stout, highly quaffable.


10-30-2005 04:45:08 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of SurgeonGeneral


4.7/5  rDev +13.5%

Serving temperature: 55F Serving glass: Goblet

Presentation: Brown bomber, a red/yellow/green theme going on with a picture of a brown bear on the label. No freshness date, although as others point out- not really a concern with this brew.

Aroma: This is why Imperial/Double Stouts are my favorite style! So much going on here. Dark, roasty malts. Sweet figs. Brown sugar, caramel. Stretching it a bit, I pick up on some grapefruity hops. MMmmm... So nice.

Appearance: Deep, opaque black. Only small hints of brown poking through the edges held up to a 400W HPS light. That's frickin' dark. Big dark tan head that reduces to a thin film rather quickly, but holds throughout the duration of the drink. Good lacing.

Taste: Huge roasted profile with the sweetness to back it up. Molasses.. deep, dark molasses. Raisens, figs, fresh baked french bread. Bitterness follows the malt wallop, leaving a well balanced carmely sweet/slightly sour bitterness to linger and make me wish I had more than 22 oz. of this brew.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick, chewy. 'Nuff said. A hearty brew, perfect to sit by a fire and roast chesnuts in the dead of winter. Do people still roast chesnuts? If so, I imagine this is the beer to drink while doing it.

Drinkability. Wow. Very well done, perhaps now my favorite of the style, whatever you want to call it. I could get into a lot of trouble with this seemingly innocent 8+% stout. Yum!

10-28-2005 04:56:21 | More by SurgeonGeneral
Photo of FightingEntropy


4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Held up to the fall sunshine looking over my patio, Big Bear Black Stout by Bear Republic Brewing pours dark and thick, living up to its name. Drinks very smooth, and fast, the 8.1% alcohol hitting much harder than anticipated. Strong roasted flavor underneath the very sweet malty taste. The beer pairs very nicely 45 degree wind blowing through an open patio passed a big screen tv showing Big Ten football. Warmed up slowly and expanded many of the flavors, though didn't test this fully since it was gone too fast.

Picked it up at Chicone's Liquor in Hudson with getting New Glarus Belgian Red--I'll pick up another bottle of Big Bear the next time I'm there.

10-22-2005 19:44:47 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of IrishRedRock


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

22 oz bottle. Pours a viscous, oily black, thin tan lacing recedes from a fluffy head. Sweet chocolatey aroma blends with a fresh floral hop aroma. Sampled after only about 30 minutes in the fridge, this is quite the complex stout. Black coffee, bakers chocolate...sweeter butterscotch in the finish. Vanilla. Lingering hop bitterness. Very roasty with notes of espresso. Alcohol is well hidden, carbonation is mild. An excellent American Imperial.

10-15-2005 01:37:01 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of neonbrown82


4.47/5  rDev +8%

This beer pours to an almost completely opaque black color with a thin tan head that doesn't last long. Carbonation is not seen or felt, though this beer doesn't seem like it's gone flat by any means. Looks good aside from the weak head.

Smells awesome. Very vinuous and hoppy. Some rich and roasty chocolate malt and coffee show up in the smell as well as some caramel.

The taste is quite smooth. The roastiness is quite mild, though it seems slightly intense for a split second on the tongue before subsiding into a rich chocolatey sweetness. Very earthy and nutty. A light smokiness resides in the finish, along with some grassy herbal hops. Very good.

The mouthfeel is thick, not too syrupy. Has a dry moderate alcohol finish. This is a great example of the style, and I'm sure I would drink another, but not consecutively; afterall... I wouldn't want to get mauled, as the label says.

10-14-2005 03:37:53 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of TastyTaste


4.9/5  rDev +18.4%

Appearance: Jet black except for a little clear maroon on the bottom of the glass. Head is small from the get-go.

Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon, smell is very dark and deep, strong and slightly sweet, like some chocolate frosting thrown in there.

Taste: Big and bold, boozy and hoppy. Definitely has a bourbon-y kick, hops are very good, lots of coffee and chocolate. I could sip this all night, just excellent.

Drinkability: I was hoping for a gigantic stout when I got home from work today, and I was happily appeased.

10-12-2005 02:17:58 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS


4.1/5  rDev -1%

First experience with this style. Actually a friend brought it by one night; we did get to it, his loss. Didn’t know that it was a double stout, the taste was extreme at first bite, and then I realized that this was not you average stout

As the name implies, it is black, dark, no room for light. Head comes up as being kind of like a stepchild. Contrasted against the darkness of this beer, it’s almost the yang to its yin. Bubbly and thin.

I am not a fan of black licorice, but this beer tastes like black licorice- and I liked it. I also detected walnuts and smoke, an interest and complex mix.

The bomber was gone before I knew. Big alcohol that is disguised well.

10-10-2005 00:58:58 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of MaltyGoodness


4/5  rDev -3.4%

22oz. bomber

Pours jet black, not a hint of light sneaks through. Light brown head that thins, but doesn't completely fade. Light lacing.

Smells of chocolate and cramel and a hint of coffee. Smells nice and rich. Inviting.

Taste is rich and full of chocloate and coffee with a mild hint of caramel. Nice roasted flavor. A very full flavored stout.

Nice full body, meaty as a stout should be.

This bomber is going down way too easily. Wish I had a second one...

10-09-2005 22:01:22 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of BlastTyrant

New York

4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Pure black with a brown head, which diminished quickly for an imperial stout. Aroma of coffee, molasses, and brown sugar. Thick, chewy mouth feel. Flavor is malty, with brown sugar and molasses sweetness blended with bittersweet chocolate. Moderately hopped for the style. I could drink this all night.

10-04-2005 01:08:59 | More by BlastTyrant
Photo of russpowell


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

Starts out with a crazy/chunky brown bublly head and jet black body that when held to an intense light source reveals mahogony/ruby pigmentation. Big lace all the way down the glass.

Smells of molasses, rum, fruitcake and alcohol

Taste: Bitter hopiness on tounge is sync with licorice, dark rum/molasses and hints of chocolate. A faint hint pepper and maple syrup?? Aftertaste of hops hits the back of the tounge and throat.

Syrupy chewy mouthfeel with a just right carbination level, as balanced as an Imperial stout can get.

Super effort, doesn't quite hit all the notes to get full marks, but will drink any chance I get!

09-27-2005 02:39:20 | More by russpowell
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,989 ratings.