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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.

2,102 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,102
Reviews: 1,101
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 127
Gots: 146 | FT: 4
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: 2,102 | Reviews: 1,101 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zorro
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Zorro, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Px2GrafX, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Derek, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.


Gaisgeil, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of SurgeonGeneral
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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!

SurgeonGeneral, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of FightingEntropy
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

FightingEntropy, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

IrishRedRock, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

neonbrown82, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

TastyTaste, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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...

MaltyGoodness, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of BlastTyrant
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

BlastTyrant, Oct 04, 2005
Photo of russpowell
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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!

russpowell, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of HardTarget
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Plain and simple: Grapefruit hops, almost a grapefruit rind, very pungent.

Appearance: Black glass with a brown edge, brown collar of foam left a thin but solid brown lace down the glass.

Flavor: hints of black malt then BAM the hops hit. Same grapefruit taste as the smell foretold. Really a pretty simple taste, but it hides the alcohol masterfully.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and body with a prickly texture.

Overall Impression: The grapefruit is a bit much, but overall the beer is very drinkable. Thanks to Weedchugger for sharing the bounty of his great state.

HardTarget, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of tekk9
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As the name implies, this beer pours a beautiful black color with a thick tan head. Excellent lace. The smell and taste of coffee abounds with hints of chocolate and lots of malt. One of my favorite things about this beer is its thickness in my mouth. I can feel the thickness as I role my tongue through it. A great beer that will defiantly be in my future beer experiences.

tekk9, Sep 21, 2005
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
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,102 ratings.