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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.

2,059 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,059
Reviews: 1,097
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 126
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: 2,059 | Reviews: 1,097 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of rkhaze
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

rkhaze, Jun 09, 2004
Photo of Onceeven
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Onceeven, May 27, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

WesWes, May 21, 2004
Photo of nomad
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

nomad, May 18, 2004
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Popsinc
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Popsinc, May 10, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

Mitchster, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of Suds
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Suds, Apr 18, 2004
Photo of RootedFool
4.93/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

RootedFool, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of edchicma
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceptional brew! Appearance was extremely inviting...black with a very nice head. The smell was of coffee and smoke in a beautiful balance. The taste was outstanding!!! Smoooth....coffee,,,burnt malt...ending in a great hop dryness. Equal parts of each made it a sensory experience. Mouthfeel was full-bodied and rich...abv very deceiving. The nice dry finish made me go back for another glass. A definite Top 50 brew.

edchicma, Apr 05, 2004
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Anam Cara.

This Imperial Stout poured an opaque black color with creamy, brown foam that persisted but eventually settled. The smell was a lightly sweet malty and roasted barley aroma; nicely pungent. The taste was rich and malty with flavors of caramel and coffee and roasted barley and with a hint of alcohol. The mouthfeel was smooth, creamy, and rich with full body and moderate carbonation. This was a great Imperial Stout! Not "over the top" in any way, but just all around very good.

UncleJimbo, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of pio
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

black volume but lets enough light in for a cherry colored glow. colosal foamy dark beige and cranberry colored head 2 fingers in height with points of activity. leaves pretty nice pachy lace.
tickeling scent, heavy on the roasted malts abiding with a maple, vailla and butterscotch. there are cocoa and espresso hints. a hops like a blooming flower bed after a hot early summer rain. damp musky soil and rosey.barely any alcohol detected.
just faintly sweet on the start with butterscotch and maple influencing the malt. long brown sugar middle before it sneakily dries evenly without being particularly bitter or sour or tart or anything but crisp. very nice. leaves with a long and strong bitter espresso and woody note, a lingering sweetness is also evident in the finish.
carbonation seems exactly right for the style and the beer, massaging tiny bubbles and complimenting crisply to the flavor and the body. smooth satiny body, solid and substantial, it's big bodied.
drinkability...good bear...grrr.

pio, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color that is crowned by a prodigious thick, creamy, deep brown head. Strong aromas of coffee, treacle, chocolate, a floral hoppiness, and perhaps some citrus. This has a great thick, creamy mouthfeel, yet it still is light and smooth at the same time. The beer finishes sweet with roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee flavors. This beer is so silky smooth as it goes down. The roast character, that is here, is missing all of the harsh astringent flavors that are often found in a stout, and this is a good thing. This is a very well integrated, very well balanced beer. I must say that Bear Republic continues to impress me.

Gueuzedude, Apr 01, 2004
Photo of Crosling
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a deep dark brown. Loads of sediment. The head is light in color (for the style) and leaves a nice lace.

Rich aroma. Dark bitter chocolate, molasses, brown sugar and coffee. This smells like any ol' imperial but with something hidden underneath: fingernail polish. Quite odd. Nothing special in the aroma here.

Some interesting flavors come about in this beer. Loads of sweet molasses start everything off, followed by a velvety smooth chocolate soak. Coffee flavors are apparent but stagnent in this imperial. It finishes with roasted cocoa, burnt grapes and an unmistakabe cascade hop finish. The hops are in the backround throughout. I don't like cascade hops with Imperial Stouts.

Very drinkable as the 8.1% alcohol hides itself well. Nice mouthfeel as well.

This beer is very good when compared to every beer but compared to Imperial Stouts, especially California Imperials, it is mediocre.

Crosling, Mar 29, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big Bear pours an inky opaque color into a Fuller's pint glass, with an impressive, two finger, light brown, head. The patch and sheet lacing still catches the eye long after the glass has reached room temperature.
Ideal stout aromas of roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate are up front. Intriguing scents of roasted almonds and Cascades hops pique the interest.
Finally, in the mouth, I find a smooth richness enhanced by tingling carbonation, and a pleasant, funky, hops bite.
An unexpected smoked walnut flavor greets the tastebuds, before the big roasty malts throw around the roasted coffee and dark fruits. Tart, cherry, sweetness emerges a couple of times midway through. The fresh hops presence is what makes this one really special, and it definitely sets it apart from most other stouts. Hops seem Cascades most of the way through, but at times seem to lend a funk, English note such as Fuggles or Goldings.
This was a beautiful stout to stare at in the glass, from beginning to end. Robust, and smooth, with the surprising flavors of tart cherries and smoked almonds joining the roasty coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and standout, funky, hops appearance. A wonderful brew here, that should be a "top twenty" selection.

merlin48, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

d tasting, thanks Hopsrus Very dark body wearing a film beige head. Aroma is of restrained intensity, lightly hoppy, resinous and piney with mild coffee notes. Mouth entrance hits you with a little raw sugar moment which is swiftly followed by brown sugar and caramel maltiness. Again, rapidly, cascade hops take control leading to a dry hoppy finish (resin, pine, coniferous) paired with a classic slightly citric acidity. Body is medium with considerable carbonation for the style. Straight to the point west coast stuff.

Rastacouere, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of scottum
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Anam Cara in Brookline.

Served a deep dark black with a thick tan head. Mouthfeel is thick and wonderful just like stout should be. Tastes big and malty, with some wonderful roasty thangs going on. Overall a solid stout on tap and worth every penny.

scottum, Mar 21, 2004
Photo of daledeee
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nicely labeled 22oz bottle. Pours a dark opaque glass with a pretty robust head for a stout. Coffee and malt nose. Taste is strong. Dark chocolate, strong coffee, burnt, pretty hoppy some sweetness through all this. Good balanced mouthfeel. Alchohol is not noticible. A little strong and bitter for me, otherwise a good beer.

daledeee, Mar 07, 2004
Photo of gnaussea
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very, very dark amber. Light only peeks through if you make an attempt to see it. Head is low and tan, settling easily. Smell is mostly of black patent malt, I think, but there is also an intriguing kind of sweetness present. Taste is fairly straightforward, and infinitely enjoyable. Nice roasted malts over sweet caramel malts. A very nice, smooh, dark flavor prevails, leading to a subdoed hop flavor. A bold brew, but delicately balanced, and for that reason it suits any occasion. The alcohol content is hardly noticable, despite being 8.1%.

gnaussea, Mar 06, 2004
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,059 ratings.