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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.

1,994 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,994
Reviews: 1,093
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 116
Gots: 131 | 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: 1,994 | Reviews: 1,093 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wyllder


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

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.


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


4.18/5  rDev +1%

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.

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


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

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..

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


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

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.

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


4.58/5  rDev +10.6%

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.

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


4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

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


4.63/5  rDev +11.8%

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.

07-07-2004 13:13:57 | More by NEhophead
Photo of Dmann


4.72/5  rDev +14%

This is an exceptional stout! It poured a very very dark brown with a small brownish head that soon settled into a creamy layer of foam leaving slight lace down my glass. The smell was great with a great roasted maltiness and hints of carmel. The flavor was stunning and sweeter than I was expecting, but it all worked wonderfully. The roasted malt flavor created a great semi-sweet flavor and there was a slight smokiness in the finnish that really topped it off. The mouthfeel was smoothe and creamy and there was absoloutly no hint of the %8.10 abv. Another winner from Bear Republic!

07-04-2004 09:04:39 | More by Dmann
Photo of CBFanWish

New York

4/5  rDev -3.4%

Black with a moderate tan head that quickly dissapates and leaves a nice lace. The aroma is coffee with subtle hints of chocolate. The taste is coffee with semi sweet chocolate. Very malty. Very smooth. This is perfect for a cold day. I had it with dutch apple pie and it worked perfectly.

06-20-2004 05:17:53 | More by CBFanWish
Photo of marcobrau


3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

Pours black, true to its name, with a hoppy aroma mixed with roasted malts. There's also an odd touch of a sort of sea salt aroma. Very well attenuated, not much of a thick body for such a strong stout. Lots of bubbles, but didn't foam too much. Finish is quite long with some mammoth bitterness played against some burnt chocolate bits and espresso like flavors. Wow, what a long finish! It's more delicate up front, almost sweetish, but the bitterness kicks in not too soon after and it's scorched earth (or should I say scorched malt) not much later. A bit harsh, but fortunately I like the bitterness. It's almost over the top with espresso flavors and bitter hops. Could be more complex, but a decent stout.. It's almost like a Guinness on steroids; has the body of dry stout but the strength of an Imperial.

06-18-2004 02:18:46 | More by marcobrau
Photo of ark57


4.05/5  rDev -2.2%

It pours an opaque, deep dark, black with a ligth brown head. The aroma has a lot of roasted grains and chocolate and some caramel. It is robust and full bodied with coffee and chocolate notes. It is sweet and malty and finishes with a sligth citrus bitterness.

06-16-2004 16:47:18 | More by ark57
Photo of beergeek279


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

Served in the 22 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is black, with a foamy layer of white head with some lacing on the glass. The smell is a light chocolatey smell. The taste is a nice rich chocolatey taste along with just a bit of bitterness, and very little alcohol. Mouthfeel seems just a tad thin for an imperial stout. As for drinkability, could definitely have quite a few of these.

Well, I must admit that if I look at this as an Imperial stout, it seems a bit underwhelming. But I'm reviewing this on its own, and this is a fantastic beer, and that's what's important! A nice richness, and this is a beer that I would absolutely have again.

06-15-2004 03:48:37 | More by beergeek279
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

The beer poured black with ruby highlights. The head was tan and coated the glass from start to finish.

The aroma was sweet malty caramel and chocolate with a coffee impression behind. Slight dark fruit and fruity alcoholic aroma.

The flavor was dark fruits with caramel and chocolate, but overall very strong coffee or expresso flavors dominate. The bitterness of the dark grains was well balanced with the malt sweetness. The hop presence is notable and well accomplished.

The finish was dry with coffee and alcohol warming in the finish. The body was past medium full and all but full.

22 ounce bottle.

06-12-2004 23:28:19 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours with a two-finger brown head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Black as midnight. Good carbonation. Nose is coffee/caramel. Strong hickory flavor, nice beefy stout but not as dry as a Guinness. The high ABV is not noticeable. $4.60 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

06-11-2004 22:31:49 | More by jdhilt
Photo of meathookjones


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

22oz brown bomber. This pours a nice opaque black color with and excellent tan light brown head. The head slowly fades away leaving a lacing about the glass. The aroma is very rich with a roasted coffee and dark chocolate scent that is mouthwatering. There is also the smell of a slight sweetness. Its starts off tasting of coffee and roasted malt with a touch hop for some balance. Then has a dry dark chocolate finish with a slight bitterness. There are also notes of dark fruits to be had in this brew, no traces of alcohol in the taste. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, you couldn’t really ask for more. This is an excellent imperial stout that is highly drinkable and I would love to try on tap. I could defiantly drink more of these than I should with the high alcohol.

06-11-2004 12:33:27 | More by meathookjones
Photo of rkhaze


4.6/5  rDev +11.1%

Pours a deep dark chestnut color with a large dense creamy tan head. Good retention and fat rings of sticky lace.
Smells of dark roasted malt and coffee. Chocolate, red fruit and a hint of licorice also make appearances.
Tastes of earthy sweet roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, caramel and red fruit. Finishes with a zippy spicy/citrus hop bitterness and a creamy mocha aftertaste. Excellent balance of bitter and sweet flavors.
Medium bodied with a chewy and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Good carbonation gives it a nice creaminess.
Alcohol is hidden wicked well! Outstanding drinkability.
Another top notch beer from Bear Republic.

06-08-2004 23:49:23 | More by rkhaze
Photo of Onceeven

New York

4.33/5  rDev +4.6%

Just tried this beer for the hell of it, I only knew how good the other Bear Rebubllic brews were. That said this beer did not disappoint. I've had a lot of stouts, and this one was one of the best. Probably wouldn't have know this was an Impy had it not said so on the menu. Taste was smooth rich and delicious.
Poured black with a rich tan head. Wonderful intermingling of hop and malt aroma. Tastes of roasted bitterness, subtly sweet malt and a warming alcohol. Exceptionally balanced and drinkable. I'll be ordering a few more pints of this for sure.

05-27-2004 16:32:45 | More by Onceeven
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev -3.4%

The beer pours a deep black color with a thick tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich dark malt scent that boasts of black roasted and chocolate malts. It smells sweet with a dry finish. The taste is good. It has an intense black malt flavor and dry malty finish that leaves a black type aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. It goes down smooth and warms the throat. This is an excellent stout with great flavor; a good sessions brew.

05-21-2004 21:23:20 | More by WesWes
Photo of nomad


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Deep brown with a head that appears like a tightly-packed whipped cream, but tan and well retained. Delicate lace everywhere. A handsome bear.

Begins with a big caramel sweetness surrounded by fig notes, then subsiding into high-quality coffee beans. The solid background of black and roast malts has piercingly high-alpha hops peppering its edges.

Flavors of black and roasted malts roll around with salty and raw citric hops, Centennial for sure. Notes of espresso are strong with fruity, oily, green flavors in the finish. Refreshing and powerful like a fresh brewed espresso. A bit too thin of a mouthfeel.

A good Imperial Stout of brash hops but enough malty goodness to balance. Good drinkability is par for Bear Republic yet again.

05-17-2004 23:09:06 | More by nomad


4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

22 oz. bomber

Very hoppy smell. Before I poured it I was almost wondering if this was actually a mislabeled Racer 5 I could smell the hops so much.

THis poured a nice head, and the beer has a dark brown/black ish color.

The hop smell is reflected in the flavor. Hop presence almost like SN Stout. Aside from the hops there is a very nice roasted toasty bready flavor. Not a ton of depth or complexity to the taste of this brew, but the overall character of the flavor is simply excellent.
This is an excellent stout for a hophead. It drinks like a champ too.

05-14-2004 16:55:31 | More by GIVEMEBACKMYSON
Photo of Popsinc

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

Very nice looking pour with a rich bronze head. The nose is lightly roasted . Great taste of dark chocolate, roasted malt and hints of vanilla bean. Smooth coffee notes with nice hoppiness showing its face on the finish. A very rich, smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Excellent stout.

05-10-2004 19:06:59 | More by Popsinc
Photo of Mitchster


4.88/5  rDev +17.9%

Brewed with "Belgian & English roasted barley and crystal
malts", Chinook and Cascade hops.
OG=1.076, 8.1% ABV, 68 IBU.

Pours out black with deep-brown accents when held to a halogen light, forming a modest dark-tan head with good retention and stunning, delicate lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is redolent with mild fruity Cascade hops with an emphasis on prunes, vanilla, and milk chocolate. As it warms, I get the suggestion of alcohol. Mouthfeel is wonderful...creamy smooth with a medium-dense body. Taste is exquisite...starts with very nicely balanced Cascade, but it's very subtle in it's bitterness and has just enough fresh fruit (not citric or piney) taste to offset the deeply roasted grains in the malty and rich body. The middle has the requisite coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits with a very well-balanced smooth bitterness. The finish is rich with gradual release of more roast malt, pleasant chalk, grain, hop flavor, and vanilla...lingering pleasantly on the tongue, but never overpowering it. The finish is just dry enough such that it begs you to drink more. As it warms, the flavor profile is rock stable. Absolutely no off-flavors. Clean as a whistle.

This is an absolutely beautiful beer. I could drink pint after pint of this. The alcohol is exceptionally concealed. In many ways it reminds me of Old Rasputin, with it's wonderful complexity and exquisite balance. The flavors are perfectly in union here. This brew has everything going for it...wonderful look, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and drinkability. Dangerously drinkable and highly recommended!

04-27-2004 01:28:50 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Suds


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

Occationally you smell and sip a beer…and all you can think is “wow”. This is one of those beers.
It pours thick and black, with slight reddish tinge. The aroma is full of an intense roasted barley character. Coffee and licorice smell with a hint of alcohol and piney hops. Resinous and only slightly sweet. From the mid-taste through the finish, the beer is dominated by west coast hops. Full, fresh, and moderately bitter. Somewhat dry. I could drink this one all night long.

04-18-2004 01:17:45 | More by Suds
Photo of RootedFool


4.93/5  rDev +19.1%

Purchased a bomber at the North Coast Co-op in Eureka, California.

Poured straight down into a goblet. Pitch black body with faint ruby highlights when held to the light. The head is nearly an inch, chocolate milk in color, big pizza crust bubbles -- scant lacing holds to the glass.

Hearty nose here: dark chocolate, roasting coffee, hints of sourdough. Solid, hefty wollop of an aroma.

Taste opens with a broad sweep of burnt-black bitterness that holds on throughout, but toward the finish becomes not unpleasantly sour/acidic. In the middle some chewy malts stomp in -- succulently sweet -- and balance brilliantly with the bitterness. Aftertaste is, as mentioned, sharply bitter, and also has a deep roasted character. The high ABV isn't noticeable in the taste at all.

Mouthfeel: creamy, rolls around my palate with authority, and with enough carbonation to be just noticeable.

Nothing about this Big Bear is small!

Be careful.

04-15-2004 07:07:44 | More by RootedFool
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,994 ratings.