Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

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2,123 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,123
Reviews: 1,102
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.14%
Wants: 132
Gots: 150 | 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: 2,123 | Reviews: 1,102 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of Wonka
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8.1% ALC. BY VOL.
No dates

Appearance – dark purple/black body; one heck of a massive and beautiful, chunky light brown head that endures; impressive lace; this is what I’d love to see more in stouts, especially at this strength or any strength for that matter

Smell – massive dark berries; plum; molasses; bit of chocolate

Taste – dark powdery chocolate, plum, touch of smoke and molasses with a good dose of hops are perceptible throughout; the alcohol is barely noticeable; dark berries with a bit of hops and acidity to close; it’s the close (mentioned later) that draws the beer down a bit

Mouthfeel – nice moderate and even feel with a bit of oil; enjoyable carbonation; the tenor of the late acidity that draws it back from perfection, but at the 8.1% abv, I can really respect this feel

Drinkability – very drinkable, especially when considering its size; not too dry; the alcohol isn’t cumbersome by any means; in fact, the alcohol may have left the building

Big Bear is certainly not a brash bear. Black Stout dominates its territory and gets the job done without being tearing up the local palates.

Photo of canucklehead
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This stout is a rare Imperial much like Stone's that has all the huge flavours come together in a silky smooth slighty vinous melange. No one note pops its thorny head above the others but rather the whole is greater than the parts. Complex, way too drinkable, this stout is one of the best.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Bear Black Stout pours, well, black. Ink black with no light getting through. A creamy tan head forms on top and slowly dissolves to a thick sheet on the surface. The malty aroma is blended with roasted malt, nuts and some floral hops.

Each sip of this smooth medium bodied beer is filled with roasted malt. A fair amount of hops balances out each sip. Theres hints of nuts and sweet malt mixed in. A mildly sour palate with malty flavor is left behind.

This is an easy drinking well balanced stout. It hides the 8% alcohol very well.

Photo of twelvsies
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a solid beer, but I have to say I like their other beers more. Maybe it's just me but this beer seemed just a little too sweet or flavored. Anyway... as suggested by the label the beer pours big and black, with a foamy brown head. Decent amount of hops in there for a stout, but this is mainly a malty explosion. Lots of flavors in there, and I guess I'm nitpicking but it as I said it was a bit too sweet and a little to coffee-ish for me. Slick and kind of flat mouthfeel. A solid but not exceptional beer.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, impenetrable mahogany. I do see dark caramel highlights at the margins though, so it isn't a complete and total ambient light sucker. The expansive, thickly creamy head of golden cocoa brown falls infinitesimally slowly and resembles a large scoop of coffee ice cream left to melt in the midday sun.

A tremendous stout nose with power to spare. While sweet dark chocolate is dominant, this is no one-trick pony. Next in line would have to be citric hops (thank you Bear Republic), then brown sugar, then molasses, and finally, coffee. That is pretty much my ideal stout lineup, in exactly that order.

BBBS is good beer, as I was pretty sure it would be. One caveat: if you're not fond of hoppy stouts, this one may not be to your liking. I am and it is. It's even more hopalicious than the nose let on. In fact, I never thought I'd say this, but it's too hoppy relative to the actual stout flavor. I like hops in my dark beer (I like them on a train, I like them on a plane, I like them in Big Bear, I like them anywhere), but I don't like them to overwhelm the business at hand, which is... heavily roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and all that other stouty stuff.

Chocolate malt is still holding down the fort, but the ramparts have taken heavy damage from the humulus lupulus barrage. It's also impressively sweet, as befits a beer to which both brown sugar and molasses have been added. This really is delicious stuff even though its balance is just a tad askew. The finish is long and roastyhoppy with sweet just winning out over bitter. The mouthfeel is a notch shy of full with an impressive smooth silkiness.

Big Bear Black is great beer, but would benefit from being more classically stout-like. Even I need a break from overwhelming hops once in a while. As hard as it is to believe, sometimes I just wanna be 'mauled by malt', to paraphrase the BR website. Can't decide between a hop monster IPA and a darkly chocolatey double stout? Bear Republic has placed both in one bomber for your convenience and your drinking pleasure.

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out very dark brown with a tan head. Roasted malt aroma with chocolate and a good amount of hops, which I always like in a stout. Flavor pretty much follows from the aroma. There is a crispness to this beer that is not found in most stouts. Medium mouthfeel. As some reviewers have pointed out, this is not an Imperial Stout. It is very tasty, and went well with some chocolate.

Photo of bnuttz
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark crimson, burnt black color with a tan colored fizzy head. Smells of chocolatey malts, espresso, spicy hops. Taste is very chocolatey and bitter from the black malts and spicy hops. Taste reminds me a lot of a porter. Taste is very smooth, kind of light on the mouth, but this stout is so decieving. I would never be able to detect the 8% alcohol. Because of the light mouthfeel and decieving alcohol content this is probably the most drinkable stout of this caliber I have ever had.

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

Mad props go out to skyhand for the chance to sample this west coast goodie!

Appearance: Black hole black with brown edges. A thin and sticky tan head caps the brew nicely.

Smell: Licorice, chocolate cake, cocoa, and dark fruit all jump out of the glass and warm the nose.

Taste: Sweetness begins the taste...carmel, brown sugar, and licorice. A slightly smoky and roasted character develops in the middle with a nice, sweeter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly creamy. A little watery on the finish but it ends up developing some character as it warms up.

Drinkability: Not too heavy at all. Goes down nicely.

Not as big as I expected but very good. Highly recommended.

Thanks again skyhand!

Photo of santoslhalper
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours an incredibly dark brown (it's not quite black) with a rich chocolatey head.

Smell: The smell is of nice rosted notes mixed with an odd caramel sweetness.

Taste and Mouthfeel: That is not what I expected! The roasted notes are ridiculously powerful for a stout... the normal dark espresso and coffee flavors of a stout are present but tastefully hidden, while the wonderful roasted nut and caramel flavors are focused. The result is an incredibly well-balanced and tasty beer. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: This is an exceptional beer. I don't agree that it's a stout, but who gives a shit. All that matters is that this is a well balanced and damn tasty brew. Labels and styles only go so far, but at some point you have to drop all that and just let the beer speak to you. And when I did that, this beer left me breathless. Thanks to GClarkage for the brew. Truly above and beyond the average beer.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black in color. Very small tight tan head that is gone instantly. Low aroma-burnt currants,some chocolate and toffeeish. Big upfront and assertive flavor-roasted malt,some anise and a very slight smoke flavor. Good body. A damn fine beer-double stout? Dont see it-certainly not imperial but Id call it a stout and leave it at that. Well worth enjoying.

Photo of rastaman
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Very classy stuff. Full mouthfeel. nicely chocolatey, with and off-dry finish. Decent amount of hops in there, but pretty well balanced. One of my favourite beers on my US trip. Rich, yet quite soft as well, exceptional stout, probably one of the best i've ever had the pleasure of trying. Extrememly yummy.

Photo of OStrungT
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours like oil. Very black with a brown thick head. The head fades slowly leaving a moderate amount of laces. This beer smells strongly of hops. It smelt quite floral. It also had a chocolate smell. It tasted like coffee and burnt malts. The hops are apperent. There is a slight caramel and toffee flavor to it. It also tastes sweet. It is quite a robust beer. It is full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. This beer might not be the best session beer. It is not too high in alcohol, for a stout, but the flavor is a little off for a night of drinking. In small doses this beer is very good. It could maybe use a little less hop aroma though. It is a stout, not an IPA. Definately worth drinking though.

Photo of gbontrag
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

smells like chocolate milk.
black with ruby edges. Thick beer meringue collapses onto itself and then slowly dissipates; a picture of decomposition.
Burnt raspberry jams, rosemary, molasses. A bubbly numbness settles in. Burnt vanilla bean bread, or is that a dark chocolate milkshake? Man, it's good. Finishes with jams.

Photo of arizcards
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber at Trader Joe's back in November for $3.69. Being a Bear Republic fan and a stout fan I figured I could not go wrong. And of course Bear Republic did not let me down!

Poured black as night with a 3 inch tan head that is leaving a splotchy lacing down my glass. Nose is of caramel malts and a hint of coffee. Taste is a caramely coffee with just a dash of bittering hops at the finish, extremely smooth! Mouthfeel is full and refreshing. This is brewing perfection in terms of drinkability. No evidence of the 8.1 ABV, extremely smooth, with just the right amount of hops. If you are a stout fan you have to try this one!

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,123 ratings.