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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

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2,143 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,143
Reviews: 1,103
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 133
Gots: 155 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,143 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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...

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

Well, after two crappy beers tonight, I’m ready for something decent. Bomber provided by Eyedrinkale ala BIF20. Thanks much for the opportunity. Pours a brown/tan one-finger head over a very dark liquid. Dark brown-red edgings when held to light. Smells potently of coffee/roasted grains that are countered by a sweet toffee. There is also a sour (from black patent). Tastes sweet and of rich chocolate, some coffee, and the sour of cherry that indicates a heavy hand of black patent. During the swallow, hop aromatic begins and there is an alcohol sting. Aftertaste is phenomenal. Waves of caramel and coffee rising on a backbone of chocolate. Thick creamy mouthfeel and mildly carbonated.

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

Deep brown, almost black pour with a small brown foamy head.

Aroma is chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, and coffee. Surprising hop presence in there as well.

Taste is a pleasantly roasted chocolate character. The coffee pulls through pretty clearly as well, as does a bit of warming alcohol. The flavor has a light vanilla note in it as well that is just barely apparent to the tongue. The hoppiness adds a little extra bite on the end....quite nice.

The only semi-complaint that I have is that the mouthfeel is a bit thin for something with a flavor this big. I feel like it could stand to be a bit thicker to stand up to the big taste and ABV. That said, it's an incredibly drinkable stout for its power, and part of that is probably due to its light mouthfeel. I don't love this one the way I do BR"s Racer 5, but it's a good stouf.

Photo of DrJay
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark brown, basically opaque, topped by a huge, light brown, creamy head. Great lacing and excellent retention. Rich, malty aroma with lots of chocolate and some molasses. Roasted and nutty provide some depth as well. Ripe fruit and alcohol are just noticeable. The flavour is big and malty, as expected, some dark chocolate, roasted and a bit of burnt under it all. Bitterness and hop flavour are present, but mainly provide balance to the malt. Finishes with mild alcohol warmth and a nice balance of malt and bitterness. Creamy texture, full body and medium carbonation. Very slight astringency from the dark malts. Great drinkability, I could drink this all night. Another great beer from Bear Republic and an excellent beer for my 300th review.

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

The head and lacing on this brew are fantastic. Tiny bubbles race up the sides of the glass. This nose is big and chocolatey with its fair share of coffee and molasses. Now don't get me wrong this is a big stout, but the mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy, not as sticky or oily as most double or imperial stouts. The hops taste fruity and compliment the milk chocolate and java very well. Now allegedly this stuff is 8.1% abv, but I wouldn't mind drinking this like other people can throw back Guinness.

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.

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,143 ratings.