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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.

1,961 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,961
Reviews: 1,089
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: 1,961 | Reviews: 1,089 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of kbub6f

New York

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

Head is a velvety, toffee brown and bumpy. Swoopy, sheety lacing. Clear, dark brown beer. Lots of powdery cocoa in the nose plus caramel, chocolate and some milk. The front is milky sweet. Milk chocolate in the foamy, creamy middle. Bitter, bitter chocolate and some peas in the finish. There are some nice, roasty nuts in the aftertaste and a little charcoal. Imperial or Double? Dunno. But it's a nice, sweet stout. The alcohol is completely buried. Good.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2004 17:20:59 | More by kbub6f
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

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

I've been keeping one of these babies in the cellar for about a year and decided to crack it yesterday(Thanksgiving). Pours pitch black but allows just a little light through which is strange for a "double" stout. Smells of roasted grains, dark coffe, and bitter-sweet chocolate. I was told this was a hoppy stout but this is not evident in the smell. Tastes as good as it smells. Full of roasty, toasty malty goodness that we love in a good stout. Hops are more evident in the finish but are subdued due to a year in the cellar. Alcohol is well hidden--maybe cuz all I've been drinking lately are crazy-strong barleywines and my taste-buds are fried!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2004 15:49:46 | More by AlexJ
Photo of Hagbard


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

This dark beer pours black with a fairly thin brown head. When held up to light, the faintest amount is able to pierce through creating a few ruby highlights to break up the darkness. The aroma is chocolate with a bit of roasted malt. These 2 aromas are brought along by a nice blast of hops aroma. This smells like it will be a good one. The taste certainly doesn't let you down. Initially there's bittersweet chocolate with a subtle sweetness. Shortly, the sharply roasted malts join in with an exquisite bitterness. This bitterness from the roasted malt is shortly joined by a small amount of hop bitterness. The finish is dry and very clean. The alcohol makes itself known as it warms your stomach. The aftertaste intermingles all the flavors and adds a touch of espresso. The alcohol also coats your tongue a bit along with a bit of astringency. The mouthfeel is nice and full. The carbonation level is fairly light, just right for the style. This is an easily drinkable imperial stout. Very tasty, very dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2004 03:32:49 | More by Hagbard
Photo of CRJMellor


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

Pours dark brown with red undercurrents. Huge light tan head develops leaving layered rings of lace on the pint glass.
Aromas of milk chocolate, burnt coffee, roasted grains and malts with a citrus and resin hop twang in the background.
Flavors of smooth caramel, chocolate balls, lightly roasted coffee and a light citrus and even heavier, light resing hop hit. Brown sugar notes emerge as the beer warms.
Mouthfeel is a very solid combination of sweet, roast and bitterness. Sweet and roast much more prevalent and very enjoyable.
Drinkability is high. Goes down very smoothly. Afrementioned combination of flavors and feels produces a really enjoyable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2004 15:13:32 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

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

Pours with a nice micro-bubbled tan head that settles on top of opaque blackish-red liquid. Nice dark fruit and roasty nose. Flavors of bittersweet chocolates, sweet malt, light coffee and a good hop bitterness. Can't say I can taste/feel any alcohol here. Finshes chocolatey and roasty in a long drawn out lingering finish...lip-smacking good!

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2004 21:59:31 | More by beerluvr
Photo of WetCoaster


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

Appearance: Deep chocolate brown/black, nearly opaque. Wow, head-o-rama, big 1.5 finger rocky monster tan (with oxblood hints) head with incredible retention. Thick lacing. About as good as it gets.

Smell: The toasted malts dominate. There's also a carmelized sweetness, toffee, a slightly sulfur molasses.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Sweet raisin hits the sides of the tongue. This is short lived; the real signature flavor of this beer is black and intense, with burnt coffee and deeply roasted, smoky malt. The caramel sweetness promised on the label IS there, but it comes across more as weight than flavor, it's lurking underneath in the background, but stays quiet. Finishes with a drying, hoppy, bitter bite. Despite the 8.1% ABV, no alcohol bite to speak of. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with (initially) crisp, active carbonation.

Drinkability: It depends what you like. If you like a sweet, mild stout, this ain't it. If you like your stouts bitter and robust, this is a star. Biting, hoppy, a bit crisp, maybe a tad rough, but good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2004 08:29:25 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

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

A rich, deep, earthy stout with a great coffee-flavored finish. It poured black in color with a thick stubborn head I head to wade through to get at the beer. Where the light was able to penetrate through the beer it shown a rich, chocolate brown. The flavor had hints of chocolate, hazelnuts and coffee. The coffee flavor lasted through the finish and was also very present in the beer's aroma. A great slow-sipping beer that I enjoyed on a cold autumn day with my BBQ ribs.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2004 15:07:59 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of mntlover


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

Pours black with red highlights with chocolate tan head. Aroma is sweet chocolate, expresso, molasses hints with light alcohol and citrusy hops. Nice sweet and roasted smelling with enough hops thrown in that you know it will have a decent kick. Taste is smooth creamy roasted malt, coffee and chocolate flavors flow around the taste buds imparting sweet nectar followed by a fruity hoppy flavor leaving a lasting bitterness. A drinkable stout that is smooth and creamy but doesn't seem to heavy strange. Mouthfeel is not bad smooth but seems a little to light for some reason. Drinkability is good nice example of a great style.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2004 15:55:22 | More by mntlover
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark black with a mocha colored creamy head,big hop presence in the aroma for the style zesty and nutty with a little moch a coffee thrown in very nice.Wow where to begin on the flavors in this bad boy very creamy feel in the mouth, drier than expected some unsweetened chocolate and nutty earthiness with a background of zesty,spicey hop.Alot going on and way to easy to drink for the alc% every flavor u could want in a beer with a smooth creamy mouthfeel,just awesome.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2004 00:48:22 | More by oberon
Photo of SeanChouffe

New Mexico

3.13/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A deep dark brown with red highlights. Head is light brow and foamy. Light co2 detectable on the fringes. Aroma is initially of hops, very American and a little abrupt, but then a roastiness and presence of chocolate emerges. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and watery with a slight creaminess and a bitter finish. Tastes sweet at the start with a roasted and lingering hop finish.
I have had stouts that are able to pull off a rough mixture of flavors, but is not one of them. It’s crudely flavored and one-dimensional. Bottom line: I was so unmotivated to finish this concoction that I gave it to my dog (the one that likes beer). She liked it, and does have a discriminating palate for a pooch.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2004 02:46:38 | More by SeanChouffe
Photo of alexgash


4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let the Bear Republic continue to roar its ursine roar...
Ursus americana is a formidable drinking parner, pours a dense, black-brown body with a think tan head (most wild bears have a black head). Smells of mmmm....roasted barley, sweet rum-raisin pudding, chocolate, and bitter northwoods cabin percolater coffee. Shit! He just took a swipe at me with his delicious, frothy, yet dangerous paw! Tastes of sweet, roasted malt, accented with raisin juice and rummy alcohol. Turns bitter quickly with obvious, does-a-bear-shit-in-the-woods hop presence (cascade?). The effect is of strong espresso and bittersweet, dark chocolate into the finish. Full, chewy mouthfeel. Very hoppy stout, like SN and Rogue IS, and very well made.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2004 03:45:43 | More by alexgash
Photo of Padron4KM


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

Pours a dark blackish brown with some reddish hues on the top and sides.
Thick brownish beige head. lots of sticky lace.
Aroma is chocolaty, malty, coffee and alcohol. little vanilla whipped cream on top.
Flavor is straight up espresso, with light sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel.
long burnt coffe finish.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2004 06:33:59 | More by Padron4KM
Photo of guinness33

New Jersey

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

of the five bear republic brews i've sampled, i expected at least one to blow me away. while all very good, very solid brews, none did, but the big bear (along with maybe, and surprisingly the xp pale ale) came the closest. this one pours a nice dark brown colour with hints of amber shining through. the head was big, creamy and foamy with nice sticky qualities. if anything, i thought this one looked a bit thin for a double stout, but still fine nonetheless. the smell is of sweet chocolate, malt and hints of coffee in the back. maybe a touch of alcohol too. very basic, but very good. the taste and mouthfeel were really outstanding. a creamy chocolate goodness stretches throughout. a touch of roasted coffee and malt is present, though nicely subdued. alcohol can barely (and i mean barely) be detected. you wouldn't think 8.1% abv if you didn't know. this one is just so smooth and creamy. it's quite a delight to drink. like i said, a tasty brew that wasn't far from blowing me away, but also wasn't quite there. easily recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2004 17:38:23 | More by guinness33
Photo of putnam


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There is a beaten cream texture to the mocha-colored head -- and this after accidental freezing and corresponding loss of beer slush when the cap was forced open. High ABV must have protected it. After the same treatment a bottle of African lager exploded and was useless. This was allowed to thaw and come to 50 deg. F before tasting.
The color is very dark. The aromas are a boozy blend of coffee, chocolate, dark rum, nutmeg and charred fruit pits. On the palate it is rich, slick and inundated with flavors of rum-soaked raisins, roasted hay, ancho chiles and sweet alcohol. The finish is dry and punctuated with charcoal bitterness. I doubt freezing did any damage to the specimen -- the worst thing would be its effect on dissolved gas, and that does not seem like a problem here. In any case, the excess of raw and burnt grain combined with simple sugar and alcohol flavors prevent this from earning top scores. Not bad; and certainly a "big" beer, for those who obsess about such things.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2004 22:21:16 | More by putnam
Photo of crookedhalo


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber. Pours deep brown with some ruby highlights around the edges of the glass. Fluffy tan head. Modest dark grain aromas, dark chocolate, toffee, and chicory. Surprisingly, I'm picking up a lot of grassy and piney hops, too. The finish affirms this, there is a boatload of West Coast hops in there. Most of your roasty, malty, caramelly sweetness is up-front, smoothness (a touch of oat?) in the middle, but the oily, high-alpha dry finish keeps this monster drinkable. Higher ABV is masked quite nicely. One of the better stouts I've had recently.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2004 04:38:33 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of wyllder


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off: Big thanks go to edchicma for the bottle.

Big Bear pours an opaque, deep chocolate with a small caramel head. Leaves just a bit of lacing as you go.

Nose is chocolate, currants, and black cherry all mingled together.

Taste follows where the nose leaves off. Deep and rich, hints of chocolate are here, along with currant and black cherry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter but leaves some lingering chocolate on the palate.

Mouthfeel is nice, and suffers slightly from coming across as somewhat watery. At 8.1%, this hides its alcohol very well.

Wonderfully drinkable, suffering only a bit to the slightly watery mouthfeel.

Overall, this reminded me of a cross between the Lion Stout & Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout. Very good stuff.


Serving type: bottle

09-05-2004 12:35:18 | More by wyllder
Photo of yankeeheel


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

Pours the usual stout black with a moderate coffee colored head. Good lacing. Smells so nice. Lots of molasses and cherry. Really wonderful even with my seasonal allergies. Tastes like the stout fairy cam to town. Big gobs of sweet caramel, cherry, molasses, coffee and fig blow up in your oral cavity. The sweetness borders on cloying at times so I couldn't give it huge marks for taste, otherwise it's really well done. Mouthfeel is large and drinkability is high. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. Get you some.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2004 00:12:10 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of elmocoso


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

Finger and a half of tan head - very tight knit. Ruby light shines through in the thinnes part of the tapered glass. Nothing else visible but pitch black. Very sweet nose and wine/stone fruit. Raiseny, resinous. Nice hop smell behind the sweetness. Sweet first draw with the impression of ash smells and tasts in the mouth. Smokyness lingers after sweetness recedes. Hop aste present but hidden behind the sweetness. A little sweet for me, but a nice sipper. Mouthfeel is great - full and creamy.

Serving type: on-tap

09-01-2004 19:32:21 | More by elmocoso
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

stout hopped up.and chocolate malt and very bitter. . Quenched the thirst and then some. Astringent, great with meat and salad. Had on tap a year later and licorice aroma prevalent. Beautiful black appearance. Good carbonation. A top notch stout and a top notch brewery..

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2004 04:28:28 | More by Sammy
Photo of Southernbrew


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Midnight black with a 1/2" head.

Rich aroma of milk chocolate, rum, dark fruit, caramel and espresso. Lots to take in.

Full bodied, very smooth. Roasted flavors up front mix with a light alcohol flavor. A cascade of flavors like caramel, chocolate, rum, coffee, a light acidity and even hops show up afterward. A nice full bitterness and alcohol flavors finish up this very well done imperial stout.

One of the best I've had. Several different flavors are blended together very well. Wish I'd bought more.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2004 03:30:34 | More by Southernbrew
Photo of beertaster13


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great stout, pours a ruby dark oil black with a caramel tan head that is amazing to look at, also hop sediment lingering in the glass. The smell is of wild hops are coffee beans with hints of dark ghiradelli. The taste is wild, hoppy, very hoppy, unusual for a stout but works well with the chocolate/caramel sweetness. Espresso hints warm the soul. Very good, medium bodied, highly drinkable, I love the hops.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2004 02:29:23 | More by beertaster13
Photo of ngandhi


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

Lactose-coffee-nut-imperial-Speedway-you-can-kiss-my-ass stout.

Judiciously hopped, balanced by fruity craft coffee. Dry, astringent finish is stunningly reminiscent of Batdorf Bronson, a small West Coast roastery.

Incredibly powerful in every way -- fudge, deep roast, hops . . .

Warming. Comprehensive of the style.

Relax, relax.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2004 14:35:34 | More by ngandhi
Photo of NEhophead


4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Frothy brown head, that even when it mellows the carbonation still gives the stout a nice tan layering at the surface. Thin intricate lacing all over the place: Very nice cascading effect that really sticks. Pitch black in color impossible to see through.

An overwhelming roasted chocolate aroma packed with a nose of maltiness. Very rich malt, chocolate, adn deep caramel tones.

Dark chocolate flavoring that really carries throughout the palate. Nice roasted hazlenut qualities that come in and out. A dark cherry fruit flavor that adds a nice component to the dark chocolate. Medium bitterness given a nice finality to the overwhelming chocolate flavors.

Well-balanced smooth imperial stout. A very hearty/heavy beer which is what you would expect from the style.

This really is a treat to drink! At the same time it's a hefty and heavy imperial. More than one 22oz. bomber at 8.1% abv every so often would simply be too much.

There are elite versions of this style and then there are somewhat great versions. This beer is at the lower tier of the elite.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2004 13:13:57 | More by NEhophead
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,961 ratings.