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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.

1,959 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,959
Reviews: 1,089
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 116
Gots: 129 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Bear Black Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,959 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of mattcrill


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

Mad props go out to skyhand for the chance to sample this west coast goodie!

Appearance: Black hole black with brown edges. A thin and sticky tan head caps the brew nicely.

Smell: Licorice, chocolate cake, cocoa, and dark fruit all jump out of the glass and warm the nose.

Taste: Sweetness begins the taste...carmel, brown sugar, and licorice. A slightly smoky and roasted character develops in the middle with a nice, sweeter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly creamy. A little watery on the finish but it ends up developing some character as it warms up.

Drinkability: Not too heavy at all. Goes down nicely.

Not as big as I expected but very good. Highly recommended.

Thanks again skyhand!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2005 03:25:05 | More by mattcrill
Photo of santoslhalper


4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours an incredibly dark brown (it's not quite black) with a rich chocolatey head.

Smell: The smell is of nice rosted notes mixed with an odd caramel sweetness.

Taste and Mouthfeel: That is not what I expected! The roasted notes are ridiculously powerful for a stout... the normal dark espresso and coffee flavors of a stout are present but tastefully hidden, while the wonderful roasted nut and caramel flavors are focused. The result is an incredibly well-balanced and tasty beer. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: This is an exceptional beer. I don't agree that it's a stout, but who gives a shit. All that matters is that this is a well balanced and damn tasty brew. Labels and styles only go so far, but at some point you have to drop all that and just let the beer speak to you. And when I did that, this beer left me breathless. Thanks to GClarkage for the brew. Truly above and beyond the average beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2005 02:11:17 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of lackenhauser


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black in color. Very small tight tan head that is gone instantly. Low aroma-burnt currants,some chocolate and toffeeish. Big upfront and assertive flavor-roasted malt,some anise and a very slight smoke flavor. Good body. A damn fine beer-double stout? Dont see it-certainly not imperial but Id call it a stout and leave it at that. Well worth enjoying.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2005 00:44:58 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

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

Bottle. Very classy stuff. Full mouthfeel. nicely chocolatey, with and off-dry finish. Decent amount of hops in there, but pretty well balanced. One of my favourite beers on my US trip. Rich, yet quite soft as well, exceptional stout, probably one of the best i've ever had the pleasure of trying. Extrememly yummy.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2005 11:05:56 | More by rastaman
Photo of OStrungT


4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours like oil. Very black with a brown thick head. The head fades slowly leaving a moderate amount of laces. This beer smells strongly of hops. It smelt quite floral. It also had a chocolate smell. It tasted like coffee and burnt malts. The hops are apperent. There is a slight caramel and toffee flavor to it. It also tastes sweet. It is quite a robust beer. It is full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. This beer might not be the best session beer. It is not too high in alcohol, for a stout, but the flavor is a little off for a night of drinking. In small doses this beer is very good. It could maybe use a little less hop aroma though. It is a stout, not an IPA. Definately worth drinking though.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2005 00:01:51 | More by OStrungT
Photo of gbontrag


4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

smells like chocolate milk.
black with ruby edges. Thick beer meringue collapses onto itself and then slowly dissipates; a picture of decomposition.
Burnt raspberry jams, rosemary, molasses. A bubbly numbness settles in. Burnt vanilla bean bread, or is that a dark chocolate milkshake? Man, it's good. Finishes with jams.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2005 17:50:33 | More by gbontrag
Photo of arizcards


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

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at Trader Joe's back in November for $3.69. Being a Bear Republic fan and a stout fan I figured I could not go wrong. And of course Bear Republic did not let me down!

Poured black as night with a 3 inch tan head that is leaving a splotchy lacing down my glass. Nose is of caramel malts and a hint of coffee. Taste is a caramely coffee with just a dash of bittering hops at the finish, extremely smooth! Mouthfeel is full and refreshing. This is brewing perfection in terms of drinkability. No evidence of the 8.1 ABV, extremely smooth, with just the right amount of hops. If you are a stout fan you have to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2005 23:00:22 | More by arizcards
Photo of watermelonman


4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a mostly black color with hints of red. The head is small, while the lacing looks good.

The smell is very good, bringing a nice combination of dark malts and hops. The taste seems thin at first, but then really hits with the dark malts and hints of toffee. Hops come through strong in the finish.

This seems almost too light and soft in the mouth. On the other hand, that probably helps out with the drinkability, which is very good.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2005 12:57:17 | More by watermelonman
Photo of BadBadger

New York

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

This stout pours a nice dark color. There was a very nice large foamy head which lasted for a relatively long time. The smell was pleasant: nice and malty aroma. The taste was a bit disappointing, with limited flavor. It is slightly above average in drinkability. If you enjoy a stout then you should certainly give this beer a try, perhaps your palate will enjoy it more than mine.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 16:33:08 | More by BadBadger
Photo of travolta


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

Apperance: Black as a cold night. Head was frothy and light brown. Retention was pretty nice. Lacing is light but sticky.

Nose: Chocolate, Coffee, maybe some lighter malts, slightly oily. Great balance.

Taste: Not bitter and not too creamy, but a fine balane in between. Carbonation is a little crisp in the begining, but it stays back for you to enjoy the rest at the ned of your taste. Taste of bitter chocolate, espresso, some light hops at the end. You cannot even taste the 8.1%.

Notes: The label has the words "black" in big bold letters across the front, this is no lie. I am glad that on the label the brewery makes no claims of the superiority of this brew. It is only a "black stout" until you pour it out and taste it. this is a fine example of stout beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2005 07:43:09 | More by travolta
Photo of kegerator


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

Picked one of these upon a whim. Hadn't heard or read anything about this brewery but figured I would try it out. Wow. Very nice.

Poured out black, black, black...did i mention this was black :) When held to the light i could make out some very slight ruby tones and the head was a decent 1/2 inch. Smell was big roasted malts with hints of coffee and very slight caramel tones. Taste was all roasted malts up front with a slightly bitter-sweet finish and left a nice sweet after taste that lingered. As it warmed i could feel a bit more of the alcohol in the throat but it was well hidden overall. Mouthfeel was fairly robust and I would say full body-ish. Very easy to drink and a pleasure at that. I would definitnely pick one of these up again. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2005 15:08:33 | More by kegerator
Photo of carln26


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

Deep black color with a thick tan head that settles quickly to a light lace on the side of the glass. Sweet aroma. Toffee, and chocolate in the nose in addition to the roasted malt. Same flavors that I found in the nose along with a bit of hop flower and a pleasant tartness. Slightly oily mouth feel along with a nice warming. Good drinkability. For the 8% punch that this beer packs, it is remarkably balanced. Another great offering from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2005 21:09:48 | More by carln26
Photo of bditty187


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

Largely black in hue and basically opaque but when I held it to a light I could see some ruby highlights. The color of the liquid is lovely. The head was russet in color, about two fingers in height at its highest point. Head retention was very good; it slowly faded to a clumpy, bubbly cap that was fairly thick around the edges. This cap lasted the entire consumption. There was plenty of sticky, unorganized, subsequent lacing. The lacing was akin to tattered wallpaper. The appearance, on the whole, is excellent. The nose doesn’t really contain that massive thumping, boastful roasted malt. The roasted malt is more secondary, it is found in the middle and it offers some char and coffee vibes. Upfront is a soft arrangement of cream and brown sugar. At the back are stiff notes of alcohol heat, kisses of molasses too. The hops are vaguely noticeable every third sniff or so (I wasn’t really counting a ratio but I didn’t smell them every time). Soft. Rounded. The nose does not impress me, there are plenty of muted yet pleasant aromas but this isn’t very boastful for a stout of this sort. Don’t get me wrong the bouquet is inviting. The palate does offer more than the nose but not enough for me to consider this beer great, very good… at best. The creamy, espresso infused with milk flavor is a bit too strong; I wanted a louder, truer roast. Oh well. This softness makes me believe this beer is weaker than need be. The palate is very mellow, heavy on chocolate milk, light on bitterness. Hell, it is light on astringency too. Not much from the hops. There were some random influences of dark fruit. The abv is very well hidden, I could smell a tickle of alcohol in the nose but I don’t taste anything. Amazing considering the 8.1% abv. I do feel the alcohol in my belly and on my brain. Mmm… warm. Overall the palate is mellow and relaxing. It doesn’t remind me of the “typical” Double American Stout. I wonder if only the alcohol content is truly big enough to be considered a Double Stout. Even if I looked at this beer as “just” a Stout it wouldn’t be that big of a beer. Regardless this beer is tasty but I’m not impressed. I like it but I’m not wowed. Somewhat fuller than medium in body, the carbonation is moderate but appropriate for this beer, I like the mouthfeel it is kind of lazy but it’s not sluggish. It allows the flavors to lie on my tongue so I can soak them in. Satisfying. I do see a time and a place for this beer. If I wanted a tasty but mellow stout I’d gladly drink this. If I didn’t want to rip my tastebuds to pieces but I wanted to enjoy a good (and simple) quaff, I’d drink this. I enjoyed my bomber with some Colby cheese and light crackers. Simple food, simple beer… it was a tasty combination. Easy enough to enjoy but its nothing special, I like it fine. Yummy. I purchased a bomber in Milwaukee, WI. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2005 22:01:13 | More by bditty187
Photo of Hibernator


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

I had this from a brown 22 oz brown bomber. Served in a tulip glass. I was lucky enough to find this at Bauer Wine & Spirits. This brewery is rarely seen on the East Coast. Paid $4.99 and I have been looking forward to reviewing this.

Pours a dark as can be shade of black. Tan colored fluffy head. Great head retention and nice sticy lacings. There is no looking through this beer.

Full aroma of dark chocolate, molasses and black olives.

Flavors of dark roasted malts with a beautiful creamy mouthfeel. Espresso bean bitterness, sweet molasses and fruity hop bite.

Taste is so creamy and smooth, its hard to believe this beer is 8.1% ABV. Awesome stout. I'm impressed...recommended

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2004 22:46:58 | More by Hibernator
Photo of clvand0


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

Thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this one. Pours a very dark color with almost no head, therefore it doesn't leave any lacing either. The aroma has a lot of coffee and dark baking chocolate. The flavor was very similar to the aroma - chocolate flavors with a bitter coffee finish. Mouthfeel was very thick, as expected. Nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2004 15:58:54 | More by clvand0
Photo of nogoodreason


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

Thick black with a brown head that sizzles and fizzles down to a nice tan film. Deep reoasty notes in the nose, with spicy citric hops, some alcohol apparent.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with a lot of carbonation (slightly too much?).

Bitter chocolate and sweet caramel mingle well with floral, spicy and grapefruity hops with a lingering taste of burnt sugar. Slight twangs of booziness surface from time to time. Early on, there's no real fruitiness, just big, malt derived flavor. Later in some hints of sweetness appear and there's the fruit, taking the form of prunes, surrouned by orage juice and big flashes of caramel rolling to chocolate rolling to espresso beans. Now the nose develops the dark, dried fruit aspect including powered sugar and stronger grapefruit. Huge, thick caramel finish at the end.

Really nice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2004 15:58:37 | More by nogoodreason
Photo of John

New York

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle conditioned bomber. BR Big Bear pours opaque and sits in my glass like a pristine black beauty. The silky smooth liquid produces a rocky pock-marked head that fades to a tight, persistent layer. The lacing is thick and chunky, outstanding. Dark roasted black malt, molasses, freshly roasted coffee beans make up the aroma. Translate those aromas to liquid form and add a healthly dose of leafy, earthy hops, a touch of dark semi-sweet chocolate and presto, there you have this rich black nectar. The perfect brew to take this chill out of the recent coldspell that's beset the Northeast. A bit of warming Christmas cheer indeed.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2004 21:51:51 | More by John
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


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

My first double stout, this one's been cellaring for at least a year.
Appearance - poured into a half-liter glass rather roughly, it forms about 2 fingers of light mocha head which falls to a very thick cap. Lots of flaky sediment can be seen next to the glass. Held this is front of a strong light and saw particles throughout the brew. Black color with a ruby red edge. Thick lacing.

Aroma - rum and molasses ride atop a chocolate and espresso base. Aromatics can make or break a beer; this one's looking up so far. As the beer breathes, the malt aromas take over.

Taste - malty chocolate, on the sweeter side at first. Hops do a decent job trying to balance, but can't outgun the chocolate/espresso flavors. They show up best after the swallow, providing a minor bitter citrus along with some charcoal notes. Finishes dry but with a heavy roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and satiny, the carbonation is below average, making for a tasty double stout. Not as thick as you might expect, and you may find your glass getting emptier rather quickly.

Drinkability - the alcohol is hidden quite well and the beer is superior on all fronts. Worth having again.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2004 20:17:12 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of HappyHourHero


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Roasted malt, caramel, and cocoa aroma. Decent, chestnut colored head leaves a couple specs of lace. Dark cola colored beer with a ruby hue. Lots of dark malt in the flavor, a bit roasted/burnt, seems dry at first, but the beer is mildly sweet. Definitely some hops in there, kind of reminds me of fresh storm king. It's got hoppy chocolate marshmallow finish to it. Body is fairly thick, the flavors stick to your tongue yet it still goes down quick. I think the finish is the best part. By the time I put the beer down I want more!

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2004 01:57:35 | More by HappyHourHero
Photo of kmpitz2


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

This beer poured a deep brown/black wtih no head or ring. The nose was dark chocolate with hints of coffee. Smells nice. The flavor started a nice chocolate and finished coffe, with a good residual bitter that was not offensive. The feel was moderate to thick, what I expect for the style. The beer was overall, very good. I really enjoyed the bitter bite at the end of it.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2004 03:16:24 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of Kookiekwan


3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours black, has a tan one finger head with decent retention and moderate lacing. The aroma was of roasted chocolate with hints of fruity/berrylike hops. The taste is of roasted malt with mocha, and I could detect the high alcohol % in its bitter coffee-like finish. The beer is medium bodied and goes down smooth but the high alcohol content might deter you from having too many in one night.

Reflection: This is an average American stout. If you know someone who is just starting out trying different styles of beer, this would be a great one to throw at them for a stout.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2004 15:45:35 | More by Kookiekwan
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,959 ratings.