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Big Bear Black Stout - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,853 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1853
Reviews: 1084
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.12%

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: 1,853 | Reviews: 1,084 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Damian


3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 1pt. 6fl oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westborough, MA
Served in a snifter

Poured a thin, translucent, chestnut brown. The liquid was topped by a near one-finger tall crown of tight, mocha colored foam that slowly faded to a thick, clingy, bubbly ring of froth. Sheets of lacing cascaded down the glass with each sip. Spotty drops stuck along the glass.

The aroma was pleasant but subtle for the style. Roasted malts were prominent. Dark chocolate and black coffee notes as well. Hint of caramel. Good amount of brown sugar-like sweetness. Touch of vanilla. Slightly smoky.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but a bit more punchy. Good amount of roasted malts on the front end. Sweet brown sugar notes and toffee balanced out the roastiness. Black, cold coffee came through in the center. The finish contained notes of charred malts and earthy, piney, semi-bitter hops. Some ashiness lingered on my palate.

The mouthfeel was decent albeit exceptionally thin for the style. Smooth and frothy with a soft, medium effervescence.

Overall, this is a very "light" imperial stout. Though immensely drinkable and enjoyable for what it is, I think it should be labeled as simply an American stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 03:29:52 | More by Damian
Photo of SolipsismalCat


3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a glass mug.

A: Dark black with two-finger, tan, frothy head that lasted several minutes. Great lacing.

S: Smokey and roasted. Chocolate. Mild.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate bitterness. Smokey and alcoholic. Some coffee.

M: Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. Smooth and creamy and dry.

O: I'm surprised I can taste the alcohol at only 8.1% ABV. Not a bad stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 05:44:22 | More by SolipsismalCat
Photo of Dope


4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't see a bottle date but I believe this to be around 2 years old.

A: Pours a nice really dark brown. Big, dense and foamy light brown head. Fades slowly with pretty nice lacework left behind. Good retention with a persistent island of foam.

S: Chocolate with a surprising amount of anise. A little smoke and char.

T: A little char up front with some mild chocolate. Fairly sweet. Both persist into the middle where the sweetness fades away a bit, leaving the flavors a little more bitter and acrid. Get hints of mild coffee, especially in the middle. Get the lightest bit of smoke and meat in the finish. Touch of anise in the lingering aftertaste. Some stale hops throughout, definitely has some age on this one. Probably better fresh when the hops can stand out more.

M: Medium bodied, a little dry and chalky in the finish.

O: Not a bad stout, a solid example of the style. Nice gamut of roasted malt characteristics and pretty mellow and balanced overall. Nothing in particular stands out in a positive or negative fashion. It's just plain good.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 05:22:34 | More by Dope
Photo of Michael_D

New York

3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Coles. Dark dark almost black pour. Looks like a black bear. Smells like dark chocolate, hops, coffee. Not like a bear. Not a super heavy body, but full flavored. Chocolate, coffee aftertaste, and hops. Great balance. Makes me feel like a bear.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2013 02:52:38 | More by Michael_D
Photo of LampertLand

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bear Rep. 'Big Bear Black Stout' @ 8.1% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $6.50

A-pour is dark brown/black with a small tan head that is leaving some sticky lacing along the pint glass

S-nothing jumping out at me , a standard smelling RIS , weird

T-sweet caramel start , boozy middle , slight burnt bitter end

MF-full bodied , with good carbonation , smooth on the palate

Ov-no wow factor , good beer , decent price for a import ,

sampled alongside Parallel 49 'Russian Imperial Stout & Driftwood's 'Singularity'

prost LampertLand

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 21:34:45 | More by LampertLand
Photo of arfenhouse


3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Black with a light brown head. Nice retention and some lacing on the glass.

S: Picking up some chocolate malt. Some hints of black coffee. There's a bit of some dark fruit that I can't really put my finger on. A touch of soy sauce. A small bit of alcohol. Overall smell is small and unimpressive.

T: Starts off with a small molasses and brown sugar sweetness. Some bitter grains and chocolate around the middle. Aftertaste is of bitter black coffee (in a good way).

M: Body feels medium-full. Thick and creamy with low carbonation.

O: Overall a decent stout. Flavor and smell are a bit small for my taste but it's to be expected considering the low price. Good value buy, might as well try it.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2013 07:48:33 | More by arfenhouse
Photo of JuicesFlowing


4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer is as black as dirty motor oil. A frothy mocha colored head recedes to an assortment of big bubbles. Light lacing sticks to the glass.

There's a nice sweetness in the aroma at first, and it has a great rich chocolate character. Soon after, black licorice and burnt malts, some charcoal smokiness.

The taste profile is started with a drier, roasted coffee bitterness. Some bitter dry chocolate and a heartier oatmeal component come through. Not as much sweetness in the taste as the aroma, but on the back end there's a good dark chocolate sweetness that comes through.

Mouthfeel is very dry.

Overall, a very, very rich stout to spend some time with. Has a lot of good components to sift through. Very rich. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 02:00:11 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of obrike


4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked a bomber up today at Round Rock Specs for a low low price of 3.99

Very attractive looking beer in my Stone IPA pint glass. Poured jet black with a light brown, sudsy head. This one left ample lacing. Me likee.

Getting a whiff of coffee, chocolate, anise, and toasted malt. Not as pronounced as I had hoped, but scent seemed to get bolder as it warmed.

Initial taste was toasted malt, grassy and citrus hops with a good bitter coffee/chocolate aftertaste. Had a fairly thin feel and was quite dry... a medium/low amount of carbonation, but was so very very easy to drink.

Very happy to see another quality Bear Republic beer here in Central Texas. This is one I'm sure I'll be picking up quite a bit at that consumer friendly pricepoint.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 03:59:05 | More by obrike
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle opened at home on 8th Jan 2013: poured (a couple of times) into an Abbot Ale glass pint tankard.

Really is a big black stout: on top a full and deep tan coloured foaming head.

Roasted/toasted and slightly burnt malty aroma with chocolate and coffee notes.

The taste follows the smell with strong flavours of over boiled coffee and chocolate. The taste gets more bitter and drier towards the end of each gulp and the alcohol is well hidden by the body strength and heavy flavours of the aforementioned coffee and chocolate.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 20:45:31 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of jaasen64


3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a dark brown that appears a mostly opaque dark reddish brown with some translucency around the edges. Fairly thin (half finger at most) off-white brownish-yellowish yeasty head that recedes fairly fast and leaves some very light spotty lacing. Fairly low carbonation.

S- Raisins, chocolate, some light dark fruits. Nice smell, average aroma strength, but could be a little bit richer.

T- Very light dark fruits, raisins, some light malts. Nice flavors, but could definitely be more robust and flavorful.

M- Fairly thin for a stout, low carbonation, a bit watery, easy drinking.

O- I enjoyed drinking this beer, but it wasn't very impressive in terms of a stout. It was way too thin bodied and could have been a lot more robust. I liked the overall flavors but there was a lot that could have been improved. I would maybe drink this again, but there are a lot of other imperial stouts that I would prefer.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 23:31:13 | More by jaasen64
Photo of cvm4


3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours pretty black but didn't seem like a thick beer upon pour. One finger khaki head and a little bit of lacing.

S - Roasted malts, coffee and light brown sugar.

T - Very bitter dark chocolate, straight coffee (no cream), roasted malts and a light helping of molasses.

M - A bit thin but it's pretty smooth.

O - A good stout that falls in line with the "no frills" of other stouts out there. Seems like this one would deliver time & time again no matter what.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 17:08:40 | More by cvm4
Photo of SportsandJorts


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bomber poured into a pint glass

appearance-black and nearly opaque. thick tan head that faded slowly to a nice lacing along the edges

smell- molasses and hints of roasted malt, nothing overpowering.

taste- molasses, slight roasted malts, and bitter chocolate, very well balanced.

mouthfeel- a tad thick and creamy. low carbonation. pretty easy to drink. as a big imperial stout i would prefer it to be a little heavier in terms of mouthfeel

overal- definitely a good beer. i really enjoy the sweet start to bitter finish and the low tones of the roasted malts. very pleasant drinking beer. i wish it was a little bit more of a sipper than it is. all in all easily worth the $5 i paid for a bomber

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 04:51:48 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of vfgccp

New York

3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased 8 months ago, opened in December 2012.

A - Light khaki, creamy head. Sub par retention and ok lace. Light cola body with ruby brown highlights.

S - Sweet nose. Molasses, ginger bread, anise, salt, dark caramel, brown sugar, and root beer.

T - Butterscotch, molasses, dark roasted hazelnut, a hint of char, resiny plant bitters, thick ginger bread, and a light milk chocolate.

M - Low carbonation, even to style. Medium/light body.

O - Not a bad stout, but the balance feels a little off and it's a shade too sweet for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 08:56:34 | More by vfgccp
Photo of MDDMD


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown Black color with a nice tan hear and some lacing

S-coffee, dark chocolate, malt, hint of pine and earthiness

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, espresso, nice bitter hop finish with hints of pine

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, creamy and smooth yet with a nice crispness, alcohol very well integrated

O-this is a tasty stout and a very good value, easy drinking

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 22:26:04 | More by MDDMD
Photo of heygeebee


3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. In all fairness the brew was poured too cold.

Pours black with a thin head. Little lace.

Aromas are muted and of roasts and licorice

Taste also is more roast driven,with choc coming thru as it warms, toward the end licorice is dominat note.

Mouthfeel not too heavy.

I actually had this as a Foreign Export rather than double. Flavours not massive.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 00:24:18 | More by heygeebee
Photo of barknee

New York

4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

B.B.B.S. pours an opaque black color, similar to the time you forgot to change your engine oil after 25,000 miles.
Deep rich toasted mocha colored head, dissipating quickly, but rejuvenating nicely when agitated, which admittingly is a much more impressive recovery than some folks I know.
Absolutely totally insane nose of oaked vanilla, bread pudding, flan, bittersweet chocolate, marshmallow and fine cream.
Smooth and velvety in the mouth; the weight of this brew is simply fantastic, and fortunately not too sweet.
Flavors of cocoa-cream, roasted chicory and gourmand milk chocolate make this one of the most enjoyable stouts I've ever encountered.
I've given the "smell" of this brew a 5 for the incomparable aromatics that waft from the glass, unmatched by any other stout; a truly remarkable tour de force in brewing!
This brew is a true labor of love.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 22:12:33 | More by barknee
Photo of atr2605

New York

3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours black with a tan head with average retention
S-columbian coffee, rich chocolate, low hop aroma, hazelnut
T-more coffee and chocolate, roasted malt
M-medium full bodied
O-very well rounded and easy to drink. Definitely needs to warm to reveal its complexity. I would have it again

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 03:13:16 | More by atr2605
Photo of chicagoanbeerone


2.15/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

very rich dark stout that smells well , a nice smooth bitterness , quite tastey for a stout, can not tatse the alchol heavy but not to over done more simple. The stout needed more flavor from hops and maybe coffee would have been nice overall i would pass on this beer

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 19:55:36 | More by chicagoanbeerone
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in an over-sized wine glass (because I wanted to do something different).

Appearance: This would be a 4 if not for the lack of head, I give it this nice even lacing body coming off dark brown almost black with little bubbles to the body. Head is tan slightly lighter than the norm but still looking good.

Smell: Light coffee bean notes, and scent of bitter dark chocolate.

Taste: It's a little bitter, like bitter chocolate, light molasses that make it a notch sweet. It feels almost like a milk stout, espresso meets a little cream but still espresso bitter if that makes sense. Malty and a little all over the place.

Mouth: Medium carbonation feels a little light. This beer because of it's smoothness is a good introduction beer for your first imperial stout "tryout".

Overall: I was half way into my glass thinking already in my head this beer has to be rated somewhere in the 80's I am surprised that it is rated this high considering what I consider to be "world-class". Factoring price and how easy this brew is to get, maybe it makes more sense. Good beer that takes a little time to break in, Salud!

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 07:17:51 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a pub style glass
Bottling date 6/12/12

A- Near jet black mahogany body, 2" fluffy brown head

S- Roated malts, funky hops, slit soy sauce aroma once it reached near room temp.

T- Bitter dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, roasty, nutty, caramel malts, funky hops, alcohol twang

M- Creamy, below average carbonation, slit alcohol heat

O- A pretty damn tasty stout. Lots of bitter dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. Roasty, nutty, caramel malts, and some funky, dank hops. I'm kind of disappointed with the bottling date and can't help but wonder if this brew would have been better fresh. It's my fault though for not taking the time to research where the bottling date was, prior to the purchase.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 20:59:27 | More by Chris_Cali_2o9
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650ml. bottle with no freshness info.

Appearance: Completely black body, nice shimmering effect with the head which is full and light brown. Intricate patchwork like a web forms on the glass.

Smell: Good roasted aroma, molasses, tootsie rolls, milky chocolate.

Taste: Roasted malt mixed with chocolate, has a milky coffee thing going and the finish is more robust in the coffee flavor. The unfortunate thing is there isn't terribly much depth to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, coffee-like bitterness in the finish.

Overall: Good but not a standout.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 12:42:04 | More by papat444
Photo of mjtiernan

New York

4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Teku stemmed tulip. Can’t find a bottle date but I’ve got good reason to believe that it’s fairly fresh.

A: One finger light brown head. Moderate fading...nice lacing. No light getting through the body.

S: Dominated by a real nice chocolate aroma. Some sugary caramel, light hops and a touch of roastiness.

T: Oh man, that’s good. Chocolate and caramel with a really nice semi-dry roasty finish. Delicious.

M: Creamy and luxurious. Pretty much exactly what I want a good stout to feel like. Carb is low-to-medium. Body very full.

O: This is the first time I’ve had this beer, but I’ll seek it out again. Reminiscent of Stone IRS. Wonderful example of a big standard stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 03:46:20 | More by mjtiernan
Photo of jmerloni


2.4/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown body with nothin' shining through. Big beige head that laces well. Looks good.

S - Meh. Not much on the aroma. Oak, molasses, milk chocolate.

T - Meh. Even less here. Dry chocolate, artificial vanilla, dead hops. This is pretty bad.

M - Hits grainy chocolate and comes apart like a soda whose flatness is accelerating. Meh again.

D - Bear Republic is one of my favorite breweries - I ADORE Racer 5 and Hop Rod - but this beer is a disaster as far as I'm concerned. I'm not even going to bother going into where this beer could be better because it's a synopsis that is a couple paragraphs long. In short, this is a mediocre beer that was rained on and left outside mistakenly overnight. Wouldn't recommend it, and I wouldn't get it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 01:59:48 | More by jmerloni
Photo of RussBecker1

4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours like a classic imperial stout with a very inky texture and a toffee head that sits atop everything else. The body is not as thick as some however, which would have set the look over the top.

S- Deep complex smell with malts chocolate and licorice.

M-Smooth/creamy, but not too thick to overwhelm. The perfect feel to the taste.

T/O Holy crap!! Honestly this beer swept me off my feet. The flavor profile is absolutely monstrous. Each sip bounces between delicious malts/chocolate/coffee/licorice/plum? other deep fruits/alcohol and the occasional bit of strawberry. More amazingly, the profile is remarkably balanced making each and every sip a new exploration in flavor. I can't believe it has taken me so long to find this!

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2012 15:23:30 | More by RussBecker1
Photo of draheim


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter. Pours an opaque black w/ a thick mocha head, good retention. Some reddish light penetrates the sides of the glass.

Aroma is a blend of molasses, black licorice, dark fruit, sticky caramel. Really strong licorice/anise character.

Taste is fruity, roasty, and dry. Molasses, caramel, licorice w/ a bitter finish. Floral hop presence.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a little sticky, w/ a lingering aftertaste.

Overall a solid American stout.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 05:39:49 | More by draheim
Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,853 ratings.