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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.

2,099 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,099
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: 2,099 | Reviews: 1,101 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

arizcards, Feb 05, 2005
Photo of watermelonman
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a mostly black color with hints of red. The head is small, while the lacing looks good.

The smell is very good, bringing a nice combination of dark malts and hops. The taste seems thin at first, but then really hits with the dark malts and hints of toffee. Hops come through strong in the finish.

This seems almost too light and soft in the mouth. On the other hand, that probably helps out with the drinkability, which is very good.

watermelonman, Feb 05, 2005
Photo of BadBadger
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This stout pours a nice dark color. There was a very nice large foamy head which lasted for a relatively long time. The smell was pleasant: nice and malty aroma. The taste was a bit disappointing, with limited flavor. It is slightly above average in drinkability. If you enjoy a stout then you should certainly give this beer a try, perhaps your palate will enjoy it more than mine.

BadBadger, Jan 30, 2005
Photo of travolta
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Black as a cold night. Head was frothy and light brown. Retention was pretty nice. Lacing is light but sticky.

Nose: Chocolate, Coffee, maybe some lighter malts, slightly oily. Great balance.

Taste: Not bitter and not too creamy, but a fine balane in between. Carbonation is a little crisp in the begining, but it stays back for you to enjoy the rest at the ned of your taste. Taste of bitter chocolate, espresso, some light hops at the end. You cannot even taste the 8.1%.

Notes: The label has the words "black" in big bold letters across the front, this is no lie. I am glad that on the label the brewery makes no claims of the superiority of this brew. It is only a "black stout" until you pour it out and taste it. this is a fine example of stout beer.

travolta, Jan 21, 2005
Photo of kegerator
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked one of these upon a whim. Hadn't heard or read anything about this brewery but figured I would try it out. Wow. Very nice.

Poured out black, black, black...did i mention this was black :) When held to the light i could make out some very slight ruby tones and the head was a decent 1/2 inch. Smell was big roasted malts with hints of coffee and very slight caramel tones. Taste was all roasted malts up front with a slightly bitter-sweet finish and left a nice sweet after taste that lingered. As it warmed i could feel a bit more of the alcohol in the throat but it was well hidden overall. Mouthfeel was fairly robust and I would say full body-ish. Very easy to drink and a pleasure at that. I would definitnely pick one of these up again. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

kegerator, Jan 20, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep black color with a thick tan head that settles quickly to a light lace on the side of the glass. Sweet aroma. Toffee, and chocolate in the nose in addition to the roasted malt. Same flavors that I found in the nose along with a bit of hop flower and a pleasant tartness. Slightly oily mouth feel along with a nice warming. Good drinkability. For the 8% punch that this beer packs, it is remarkably balanced. Another great offering from this brewery.

carln26, Jan 16, 2005
Photo of bditty187
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Largely black in hue and basically opaque but when I held it to a light I could see some ruby highlights. The color of the liquid is lovely. The head was russet in color, about two fingers in height at its highest point. Head retention was very good; it slowly faded to a clumpy, bubbly cap that was fairly thick around the edges. This cap lasted the entire consumption. There was plenty of sticky, unorganized, subsequent lacing. The lacing was akin to tattered wallpaper. The appearance, on the whole, is excellent. The nose doesn’t really contain that massive thumping, boastful roasted malt. The roasted malt is more secondary, it is found in the middle and it offers some char and coffee vibes. Upfront is a soft arrangement of cream and brown sugar. At the back are stiff notes of alcohol heat, kisses of molasses too. The hops are vaguely noticeable every third sniff or so (I wasn’t really counting a ratio but I didn’t smell them every time). Soft. Rounded. The nose does not impress me, there are plenty of muted yet pleasant aromas but this isn’t very boastful for a stout of this sort. Don’t get me wrong the bouquet is inviting. The palate does offer more than the nose but not enough for me to consider this beer great, very good… at best. The creamy, espresso infused with milk flavor is a bit too strong; I wanted a louder, truer roast. Oh well. This softness makes me believe this beer is weaker than need be. The palate is very mellow, heavy on chocolate milk, light on bitterness. Hell, it is light on astringency too. Not much from the hops. There were some random influences of dark fruit. The abv is very well hidden, I could smell a tickle of alcohol in the nose but I don’t taste anything. Amazing considering the 8.1% abv. I do feel the alcohol in my belly and on my brain. Mmm… warm. Overall the palate is mellow and relaxing. It doesn’t remind me of the “typical” Double American Stout. I wonder if only the alcohol content is truly big enough to be considered a Double Stout. Even if I looked at this beer as “just” a Stout it wouldn’t be that big of a beer. Regardless this beer is tasty but I’m not impressed. I like it but I’m not wowed. Somewhat fuller than medium in body, the carbonation is moderate but appropriate for this beer, I like the mouthfeel it is kind of lazy but it’s not sluggish. It allows the flavors to lie on my tongue so I can soak them in. Satisfying. I do see a time and a place for this beer. If I wanted a tasty but mellow stout I’d gladly drink this. If I didn’t want to rip my tastebuds to pieces but I wanted to enjoy a good (and simple) quaff, I’d drink this. I enjoyed my bomber with some Colby cheese and light crackers. Simple food, simple beer… it was a tasty combination. Easy enough to enjoy but its nothing special, I like it fine. Yummy. I purchased a bomber in Milwaukee, WI. Worth a try.

bditty187, Jan 07, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this from a brown 22 oz brown bomber. Served in a tulip glass. I was lucky enough to find this at Bauer Wine & Spirits. This brewery is rarely seen on the East Coast. Paid $4.99 and I have been looking forward to reviewing this.

Pours a dark as can be shade of black. Tan colored fluffy head. Great head retention and nice sticy lacings. There is no looking through this beer.

Full aroma of dark chocolate, molasses and black olives.

Flavors of dark roasted malts with a beautiful creamy mouthfeel. Espresso bean bitterness, sweet molasses and fruity hop bite.

Taste is so creamy and smooth, its hard to believe this beer is 8.1% ABV. Awesome stout. I'm impressed...recommended

Hibernator, Dec 29, 2004
Photo of clvand0
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this one. Pours a very dark color with almost no head, therefore it doesn't leave any lacing either. The aroma has a lot of coffee and dark baking chocolate. The flavor was very similar to the aroma - chocolate flavors with a bitter coffee finish. Mouthfeel was very thick, as expected. Nice brew.

clvand0, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of nogoodreason
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thick black with a brown head that sizzles and fizzles down to a nice tan film. Deep reoasty notes in the nose, with spicy citric hops, some alcohol apparent.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with a lot of carbonation (slightly too much?).

Bitter chocolate and sweet caramel mingle well with floral, spicy and grapefruity hops with a lingering taste of burnt sugar. Slight twangs of booziness surface from time to time. Early on, there's no real fruitiness, just big, malt derived flavor. Later in some hints of sweetness appear and there's the fruit, taking the form of prunes, surrouned by orage juice and big flashes of caramel rolling to chocolate rolling to espresso beans. Now the nose develops the dark, dried fruit aspect including powered sugar and stronger grapefruit. Huge, thick caramel finish at the end.

Really nice.

nogoodreason, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of John
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle conditioned bomber. BR Big Bear pours opaque and sits in my glass like a pristine black beauty. The silky smooth liquid produces a rocky pock-marked head that fades to a tight, persistent layer. The lacing is thick and chunky, outstanding. Dark roasted black malt, molasses, freshly roasted coffee beans make up the aroma. Translate those aromas to liquid form and add a healthly dose of leafy, earthy hops, a touch of dark semi-sweet chocolate and presto, there you have this rich black nectar. The perfect brew to take this chill out of the recent coldspell that's beset the Northeast. A bit of warming Christmas cheer indeed.

John, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first double stout, this one's been cellaring for at least a year.
Appearance - poured into a half-liter glass rather roughly, it forms about 2 fingers of light mocha head which falls to a very thick cap. Lots of flaky sediment can be seen next to the glass. Held this is front of a strong light and saw particles throughout the brew. Black color with a ruby red edge. Thick lacing.

Aroma - rum and molasses ride atop a chocolate and espresso base. Aromatics can make or break a beer; this one's looking up so far. As the beer breathes, the malt aromas take over.

Taste - malty chocolate, on the sweeter side at first. Hops do a decent job trying to balance, but can't outgun the chocolate/espresso flavors. They show up best after the swallow, providing a minor bitter citrus along with some charcoal notes. Finishes dry but with a heavy roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and satiny, the carbonation is below average, making for a tasty double stout. Not as thick as you might expect, and you may find your glass getting emptier rather quickly.

Drinkability - the alcohol is hidden quite well and the beer is superior on all fronts. Worth having again.

brewdlyhooked13, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Roasted malt, caramel, and cocoa aroma. Decent, chestnut colored head leaves a couple specs of lace. Dark cola colored beer with a ruby hue. Lots of dark malt in the flavor, a bit roasted/burnt, seems dry at first, but the beer is mildly sweet. Definitely some hops in there, kind of reminds me of fresh storm king. It's got hoppy chocolate marshmallow finish to it. Body is fairly thick, the flavors stick to your tongue yet it still goes down quick. I think the finish is the best part. By the time I put the beer down I want more!

HappyHourHero, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a deep brown/black wtih no head or ring. The nose was dark chocolate with hints of coffee. Smells nice. The flavor started a nice chocolate and finished coffe, with a good residual bitter that was not offensive. The feel was moderate to thick, what I expect for the style. The beer was overall, very good. I really enjoyed the bitter bite at the end of it.

kmpitz2, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Kookiekwan
3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours black, has a tan one finger head with decent retention and moderate lacing. The aroma was of roasted chocolate with hints of fruity/berrylike hops. The taste is of roasted malt with mocha, and I could detect the high alcohol % in its bitter coffee-like finish. The beer is medium bodied and goes down smooth but the high alcohol content might deter you from having too many in one night.

Reflection: This is an average American stout. If you know someone who is just starting out trying different styles of beer, this would be a great one to throw at them for a stout.

Kookiekwan, Dec 09, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Head is a velvety, toffee brown and bumpy. Swoopy, sheety lacing. Clear, dark brown beer. Lots of powdery cocoa in the nose plus caramel, chocolate and some milk. The front is milky sweet. Milk chocolate in the foamy, creamy middle. Bitter, bitter chocolate and some peas in the finish. There are some nice, roasty nuts in the aftertaste and a little charcoal. Imperial or Double? Dunno. But it's a nice, sweet stout. The alcohol is completely buried. Good.

kbub6f, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of AlexJ
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been keeping one of these babies in the cellar for about a year and decided to crack it yesterday(Thanksgiving). Pours pitch black but allows just a little light through which is strange for a "double" stout. Smells of roasted grains, dark coffe, and bitter-sweet chocolate. I was told this was a hoppy stout but this is not evident in the smell. Tastes as good as it smells. Full of roasty, toasty malty goodness that we love in a good stout. Hops are more evident in the finish but are subdued due to a year in the cellar. Alcohol is well hidden--maybe cuz all I've been drinking lately are crazy-strong barleywines and my taste-buds are fried!

AlexJ, Nov 26, 2004
Photo of Hagbard
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dark beer pours black with a fairly thin brown head. When held up to light, the faintest amount is able to pierce through creating a few ruby highlights to break up the darkness. The aroma is chocolate with a bit of roasted malt. These 2 aromas are brought along by a nice blast of hops aroma. This smells like it will be a good one. The taste certainly doesn't let you down. Initially there's bittersweet chocolate with a subtle sweetness. Shortly, the sharply roasted malts join in with an exquisite bitterness. This bitterness from the roasted malt is shortly joined by a small amount of hop bitterness. The finish is dry and very clean. The alcohol makes itself known as it warms your stomach. The aftertaste intermingles all the flavors and adds a touch of espresso. The alcohol also coats your tongue a bit along with a bit of astringency. The mouthfeel is nice and full. The carbonation level is fairly light, just right for the style. This is an easily drinkable imperial stout. Very tasty, very dangerous.

Hagbard, Nov 20, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with red undercurrents. Huge light tan head develops leaving layered rings of lace on the pint glass.
Aromas of milk chocolate, burnt coffee, roasted grains and malts with a citrus and resin hop twang in the background.
Flavors of smooth caramel, chocolate balls, lightly roasted coffee and a light citrus and even heavier, light resing hop hit. Brown sugar notes emerge as the beer warms.
Mouthfeel is a very solid combination of sweet, roast and bitterness. Sweet and roast much more prevalent and very enjoyable.
Drinkability is high. Goes down very smoothly. Afrementioned combination of flavors and feels produces a really enjoyable beer.

CRJMellor, Nov 13, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice micro-bubbled tan head that settles on top of opaque blackish-red liquid. Nice dark fruit and roasty nose. Flavors of bittersweet chocolates, sweet malt, light coffee and a good hop bitterness. Can't say I can taste/feel any alcohol here. Finshes chocolatey and roasty in a long drawn out lingering finish...lip-smacking good!

beerluvr, Nov 07, 2004
Photo of WetCoaster
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep chocolate brown/black, nearly opaque. Wow, head-o-rama, big 1.5 finger rocky monster tan (with oxblood hints) head with incredible retention. Thick lacing. About as good as it gets.

Smell: The toasted malts dominate. There's also a carmelized sweetness, toffee, a slightly sulfur molasses.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Sweet raisin hits the sides of the tongue. This is short lived; the real signature flavor of this beer is black and intense, with burnt coffee and deeply roasted, smoky malt. The caramel sweetness promised on the label IS there, but it comes across more as weight than flavor, it's lurking underneath in the background, but stays quiet. Finishes with a drying, hoppy, bitter bite. Despite the 8.1% ABV, no alcohol bite to speak of. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with (initially) crisp, active carbonation.

Drinkability: It depends what you like. If you like a sweet, mild stout, this ain't it. If you like your stouts bitter and robust, this is a star. Biting, hoppy, a bit crisp, maybe a tad rough, but good stuff.

WetCoaster, Oct 31, 2004
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
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,099 ratings.