Black Bear Ale - Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Black Bear AleBlack Bear Ale

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BA SCORE
75
okay

83 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 83
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 16.2%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
Tennessee, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 83 | Reviews: 37
Photo of myelo
3.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Calhoun's restaurant.

Clear, light brown, mahogany color with medium beige head that settles quickly. Tiny bubbles.

Medium light aroma of malt with some nut and toffee. Low hops.

Flavor is medium-high malt up front with sweetness dominating. Very low hops in background.

Mouthfeel is medium body with moderate carbonation. Very smooth with no astringency or heat.

Overall very clean and drinkable. The sweetness dominates and with not enough bitterness to balance.

Photo of mrfrancis
3.59/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear brownish amber with a creamy, thick khaki head.

S: Malty aromas of praline, nougat, chestnut, pecans, leather, caramel, toffee, and heavy cream dominate the nose, though closer inspection reveals subtle traces of earthy hops.

T: Notes of caramel, toffee, nougat, praline, leather, chestnut, pecan, heavy cream, grass, herbs, and lemon distinguish themselves in the mouth. The finish is earthy and rather nutty with pronounced notes of praline, toffee, pecan, herbs, and grass.

M: On the lighter side of medium, slick, and oily. Carbonation is very delicate. It goes down smoothly, but it is slight and flabby for the style.

O: Not bad at all. I think some reviewers may have been expecting too much. While this is not exactly like many commercial English brown ales, it still ticks most of the boxes one would expect for a beer of this style.

Photo of BEERchitect
2.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The taste of "Brown" makes its way across the pond and into the Appalachian Mountains. Inspired by British origins, this rendition tastes as much of a Mild Ale as it does an English Brown Ale.

Pouring more of a copper or bronze color, the notion of "brown" doesn't exactly ring true to the sight. A fairly turbulent pour yields a dainty skirt of foam on the surface; even a strong swirl of the glass reluctantly gives up any foam- the ale is nearly still. Mild lacing creeps up the glass, but does so in timid fashion. Its nearly obvious that the Smoky Mountain Brewery is trying to capture that cask ale-like calmness.

Caramel and apples rise to greet the nose instead of the expected chocolate, toast, or toffee. Bruised fruit and grain top off the aromatics while a shift to caramel and toasted barley take shape in taste. Here, a very mild chocolate tone blends with bread crust, nutty coffee grounds, and cola nuts. A tinge of fruitiness in the middle is a little of white grape and wine tannin. Its late profile is unsettled grainy and lacking the malt profile for Brown but settling nicely in the Mild Ale world.

Light in body, the ales inspiration may be Newcastle but with more sweetness. Still, its grain character overshadows malt richness and allows the beer to become thin and exposed late. Finishing mildly astringent- the ale seems to have an Olde Ale staleness that may or may note be intended.

Black Bear needs a hug- unlike several of the beers in its six-pack melange, this ale doesn't know which direction he wants to take. But billed as a Northern English Brown, on par with Newcastle just doesn't cut it. It needs more brown.

Photo of jjs581
2.21/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This beer was very disappointing. I was not sure if the waitress had even given me the correct beer upon its arrival. Instead of looking like a typical "English Brown Ale" as the menu stated, this reminded me of an English pale ale. The taste was very sweet and malty but with little flavor from anything roasted or dark malt. It also had almost no hop flavor at all. I would not recommend this beer to anyone expecting a true brown ale.

Photo of Tucquan
3.33/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2012-11-11 in Danville, KY

A - Fairly clear, brown with an orange tinge, 1-finger tan head that fades in half pretty quickly, leaving mild lace.

S - Floral, chocolate. Mild.

T - Vegetal/mossy, mild roast, light sweet chocolate, cherry. Some bitterness in the dry aftertaste.

M - Thin body and light-medium carbonation.

O - Serviceable. Sessionable and thirst quenching, which is appropriate for this style.

Photo of barleyroad
3.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber/brown in appearance. Smell is some what wheaty and malty in aroma. Mouthfeel is very delightful and inviting. This brew leaves the tongue nicely. The taste is lackin from those quality brown style beers. However it is a good tasting beer. Over all this beer is acceptable but does lack in the wow factor.

Photo of mikeg67
3.47/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Copper Cellar, Knoxville. Pours dark red hue with a white, medium lasting head and a lot of carbonation. Aroma is of cherry fruit and caramel malt. Medium, smooth body. Taste is caramel malt, cherry fruit and hints of hops. Nice session brew.

Photo of haddon
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

light brown body capped with an off-white head.

malty nose smelling of bread and nuts... perhaps a bit acidic like pecans

caramel, molasses, and a bit of pecan showing up again. Minimal roastiness. Medium-light sweetness. light dose of hops and bitterness just like you would expect form an EBA.

Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

a solid brown ale that's nothing extravagant but worth the try.

Photo of beveritt
1.45/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Presentation: Thanks go out to my sister and brother in law for bringing this back from a recent trip down to TN. Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label is simple; predominantly black with a red banner and some gold lettering. It depicts a bear with a fish in its mouth standing in front of a mountain range. No freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Pours with a light tan head that just barely provides completely coverage. Settles so quickly, I hardly eve have a chance to look at it. Leaves no lacing or trace of foam. The beer itself is amber with a slight chill haze. Some sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Strong vegetal aroma with hints of band aid phenols.

Taste: Wow, this is bad. A horrific mix of off flavors with slightly sour sweet undertones make this incredibly difficult to even choke down a sip. Grass and asparagus with lemon zest. Lingering mild bitterness, but not that typically associated with hops.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is very high; spritzy and big bubbled, indicative of force carbonating. Body is thin.

Drinkability: Nothing good hear, except maybe the label. It is kind of cool in a classic way. This beer is just bad all around.

Photo of Swill5786
2.67/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark orange-brown with scant head. Sweet caramel malt in the nose with elusive aroma of piney hops. The taste is rather sweet, almost fruity. The pine shows up in a grapefruit-like mid-palate experience. Crisp mouthfeel thanks to mild carbonation. Drinkability is low due to the unimpressive nature of the brew.

Photo of zeff80
3.39/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with very light brown highlights. It had a tiny white head of bubbles that left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled fairly nutty and of sweet caramel. Good but nothing amazing.

T - Sweet caramel maltiness with a nutty flavor. There is a mild bitterness/hop presence.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A light bodied ale that is quite sessionable.

D - This is another passable beer from Smoky Mountain Brewery. Not adventurous nor that flavorful.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Disembarks the bottle a clear, light brown body capped with a modestly-sized, bubbly, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, malty nose smelling of deeply toasted bread, really focusing on those crunchy, crusty accents, as well as notes of pecans and dark caramel.

Taste: Deep toastiness along with caramel, molasses, and a nibble of pecan pie. Minimal roastiness. Medium-light sweetness. Very light-handed dose of hops and bitterness. Ever more maltiness on the finish with a light, lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: BBA is simply a good, smooth, serviceable brown ale.

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

*Notes from Fratlinburng, TN trip to Smokey Mountain Brewery*

Pours a solid clay brown color with a thin ring of head.
Smell is well malted, some sweet on the aroma, maybe some syrupy fruit.
Taste has a solid blend of sweet malt and what I have to define as a fruited taste in the meat of the flavor.
Finish is wet and messy but this is good, thin on taste but this quality makes this a great choice on a cool day.
Drinks solidly, there a few hang ups in this English Brown.

Photo of mwa423
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very clear light golden brown with a sticky head.

S - Nice malty smell with slight frutiness

T - Surprisingly fruity with caramel like malt flavor.

M/D - Reasonably drinkable brown. However, I think that the frutiness would get to me. Mouthfeel is very thin, but for some reason it seems appropriate.

Photo of atsprings
3.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip pours a crisp dark orange with a thin eggshell head that diminished to barely a ring, this is supposed to be a brown ale? Aroma is a slight hint of brown malt, but not much there. The taste is a nice amount of burnt caramel malt with a decent backbone of subdued hops. The beer is medium bodied, not quite as light as you'd expect from a 5.4% beer. This one certainly better than their pale, but even still, nothing special.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.81/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to lithy for this one.

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Emerges a rather light color for a brown ale; not really brown, more like an amber color. Soda like consistency white head. No lacing.

Aroma was fruity and slightly sour. A touch of green apple in the nose. Some decent caramel but mostly sour fruit.

A large biscuity presence with some caramel sweetness as well. Not bad I guess. But the mouthfeel and green apple taste make this a difficult one to gauge. Too carbonated and too fruity for a brown ale. I do like the biscuit and bread in the flavor.

I would say this is a subpar brown ale. Thin on the mouthfeel and the carbonation is way too high on this one making the thinnes hard to handle. Glad I got to try this one so thanks lithy.

Photo of Douglas88
3.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Joe. Pours a clear amber color with a small white head. The aroma is very interesting; lots of sweet fruity notes, some malt and light nutty aromas. A fairly sweet and very fruity mix, honey and earthy caramel malts also. The finish is very interesting; some fruit and maybe some smoke. Very nice. Almost like a baby Barley Wine.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives at the table a dark copper color with a small head. Head drops fast. No lace.
Smell is roasted malt,hops, a faint dark fruit note (upon warming).
Taste is more involved, malt, hops, a slight metallic/celery note.
Smooth with a light/medium effervescence and a fullish body. Mildly creamy, esppecially through the aftertaste. A very good brew, especially when sipped to allow the taste to linger longer.

Photo of tburkhart
3.67/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at the brewpub in Gatlinburg, TN.

Appearance - Nice copper color with very little carbonation

Smell - like a typically American Brown Ale, slightly malty

Taste - Slight malt profile, next to no hops

Mouthfeel - smooth.

All and all not a bad beer from a lesser known brewery. Look forward to going back and trying this on tap sometime.

Photo of Misfit138
3.88/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought home a bottle from the Gatlinburg location

A- Pours a nice medium brown with a fizzy inch head.

S- Smell is faint, mostly malt

T- iniatial almost nut like flavor followed by some hoppiness.

M- Medium body and mild carbonation

D- I like it, its a solid brown ale and is better than most brown ales. Worth a try.

Photo of nem2006
4.14/5  rDev +29%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Gatlinburg location. Is a clear, amber-brown with not much carbonation or head.

The smell was sweet and I caught a molasses hint to it. This is different from most English Brown Ales and I was pleasantly pleased by the difference.

The taste fell in line with the smell. It was sweet and had molasses to it. Extremely smooth and a beer I could drink almost all year round.

Photo of TheBierBand
3.7/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Pigeon Forge location.

Served in a pint glass with a thin cap of head. The beer looked a little light for a nut brown.... I would call it orange or a light amber. Lacing was minimal.

Thr aroma was slight. Malty and a tiny hint of hazelnut.

Taste: Not bad... sweet malt with a slight hazelnut finish and some diacetal buttery flavor.

Mouthfeel: A little thin and a bit too highly carbonated for my taste.

Drinkability: Nothing offensive here. Could have downed a few of these, but I wanted to move on to other selections.

Photo of GreatLaura
2.25/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I have had the beer on tap in Gatlinburg location several times and keep coming up with the same verdict. Very flat, and almost a soured taste. Hints of roasted carmel taste but leaves the mouth almost immediatley. No head present, even when just poured.

Photo of meechum
4.27/5  rDev +33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of my brother in law Breadslicer.

A - Rich brown coppery color poured into a pils glass. Poured pretty aggressive with little head just about a finger but left a little lace

S - Smells up front with nutty, malty, buttery smells

T - Taste had many of the smells..up front I got a good taste of the rich sweet malts with a hint of a buttery, nutty flavor..cut by mild hops

M - Medium carbonation with a good crisp taste, very enjoyable

D - This is very drinkable in my opinion and I wished he had more but he only had 2 of them and we both had one at the same time

Photo of Tuey13
3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the Pigeon Forge location. Has a dark brown caramel color with a moderate light tan head. The aroma is a caramel with some hints of chocolate. Has a sweet taste with a strong caramel flavor, although it is a bit thin for a brown ale. I think this is almost a beer I could session or one that will go great with some barbecue.

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Black Bear Ale from Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
75 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.