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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.

2,028 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,028
Reviews: 1,094
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 119
Gots: 135 | FT: 5
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: 2,028 | Reviews: 1,094 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MuddyFeet
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.

MuddyFeet, Oct 26, 2004
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.

mntlover, Oct 22, 2004
Photo of oberon
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.

oberon, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of SeanChouffe
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.

SeanChouffe, Oct 18, 2004
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.

alexgash, Oct 05, 2004
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.

Padron4KM, Oct 02, 2004
Photo of SixpointJMH
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.

SixpointJMH, Sep 14, 2004
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.

putnam, Sep 11, 2004
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.

crookedhalo, Sep 09, 2004
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.


wyllder, Sep 05, 2004
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.

yankeeheel, Sep 03, 2004
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.

elmocoso, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of Sammy
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..

Sammy, Aug 22, 2004
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.

Southernbrew, Aug 19, 2004
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.

beertaster13, Aug 07, 2004
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.

ngandhi, Aug 02, 2004
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.

NEhophead, Jul 07, 2004
Photo of Dmann
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Dmann, Jul 04, 2004
Photo of CBFanWish
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

CBFanWish, Jun 20, 2004
Photo of marcobrau
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

marcobrau, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of ark57
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

ark57, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of beergeek279
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

beergeek279, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

GCBrewingCo, Jun 13, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

jdhilt, Jun 11, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

meathookjones, Jun 11, 2004
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,028 ratings.