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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.

2,062 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,062
Reviews: 1,097
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 127
Gots: 140 | 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: 2,062 | Reviews: 1,097 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kbnooshay
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours an awesome black as hell color with a few red highlights when held up to light. The head is tan, moderate, and uneven( but nothing like racer 5) but dense and good retention. Interesting lace but doesn't stay put. The smell is alcohol, coffee roasted goodness with chocolate and sweetness apparent. The taste rocks, full of coffee, chocolate and malty as hell. Moutfeel is creamy and smooth. No wateryness here. one of the best and most drinkable stouts i have ever had. At 8.1 abv too! wow. wow. wow.

under 4 dollars for an amazing imperial stout like this? Fuck the 7 dollar great divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. This is mine.

kbnooshay, Sep 01, 2005
Photo of egajdzis
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black with a small tan head and nice lacing. Roasty aroma of chocolate, big time nuts, and light dried fruits. Very chocolately and roasty with some nice hops for balance. Very drinkable here as no alcohol is noticed. A very nice stout, thanks Eyedrinkale!!

egajdzis, Aug 24, 2005
Photo of karst
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, with burgundy glints from backlight. Dense head with good retention and lace.

Aroma of chocolate, roasted barley and little alchohol with breathing.

Flavors of Chocolate, caramel,molasses and dark roasted barley. Dark fruits (prunes and figs) and some esthers with a good finish of lingering hop bitterness. Medium body and a dextrinous mouthfeel. Big Bear Black is a delicious well balanced. A must try.

karst, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big dark tan head and heavy lacing. fades to island type head.

way to round out a great tasting session....this is a fantastic stout...not the waterd down crap that guiness makes...

its like the difference between coffee at the bowling alley and coffee at starbucks.

Not the thickest stout I've ever had by any stretch but just fine attention to detail. Coffee with slight chocolate taste . slightly oily mouthfeel that is pleasant and it actually finishes a perfect malt then cleansing...

DogFood11, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of zjungleist
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blackish beer, brownish head. No suprises so far. Smells fairly sweet, with big roasted malts and sharp hops. Taste has a bitter start and sweet finnish. Starting with hops, then burnt smokey coffee, malt and a little yeast, then finnsihing with a dark caramel aftertaste. Mouthfeel is pretty standard heavy, with good carbonation for a stout. A nice alternative to some of the "motor oil" imperials.

Holy (explitive)!!! This is my 1 year BA aniverary review too.

zjungleist, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of far333
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest chestnut colored with no light showing through. A finely bubbled thick head of light brown froth seals the liquid underneath. Aroma of cocoa and marshmallow, some coffee and toffee.

Flavor is deeper than the aroma suggests - baker's chocolate, burnt coffee, smokey oak, pungent molasses, and a bitter hop backbone riding beneath. The ABV lurks beneath all this, not mauling the flavor. A bitter coffee flavor lingers.

Mouthfeel is tingly on the tongue throughout the entire sip, pretty round, but could be a little fuller for my tastes. Pretty drinkable, a great sipper. Thanks to cvschaller for sending this one my way.

far333, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle. Not available here in Wichita. Thanks, Bruiser81!

Appearance: This beer poured a very deep brown with amber highlights. It didn't have that thick, viscous look that some stouts have. The tan head exploded and took up more than half the glass. It dissipated very slowy, become lightly fluffy and sticking to the side of the glass. The lacing was heavy.

Smell: Awesome, classic stout aroma. Roasted barley was framed nicely by cream, roasted malt, light milk chocolate, and spiced bread. A light, sharp fruitiness and some hops gave the aroma the little edge that it had. Not overly complex, but great.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and lightly coating. Silky smooth all the way through the mouth.

Taste: Creamy chocolate and roasted malts emerged upfront. Then in the middle, bitter hops and deeply roasted, bitter barley and malt kicked in. Hints of fruit came through at times, as well as a strong breadiness.

A great beer, but maybe just a little rough around the edges. I had it on tap before and it was much milder all around, which seems to be typical of my past experience with tap versus bottled beers. I love Bear Republic. It falls in my top three breweries that I would love to see move into Kansas.

Quaffer, Aug 08, 2005
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.

weeare138, Aug 04, 2005
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.

Golden2wenty1, Jul 25, 2005
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!

rowew, Jul 19, 2005
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.

mentor, Jul 15, 2005
Photo of whartontallboy
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.

whartontallboy, Jul 12, 2005
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.

DrJay, Jul 11, 2005
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.

goschool, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of Viggo
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.

Viggo, Jun 30, 2005
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.

Franchise, Jun 19, 2005
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.

blitz134, Jun 16, 2005
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.

GClarkage, Jun 13, 2005
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.

cubedbee, Jun 09, 2005
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.

Troyone, Jun 05, 2005
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.

Beaver13, Jun 05, 2005
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.

garymuchow, May 22, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
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.

ommegangpbr, May 16, 2005
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.

Naerhu, May 06, 2005
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.

beerceller99, May 06, 2005
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,062 ratings.