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Black Bear Ale - Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Black Bear AleBlack Bear Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
75
okay

80 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 80
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.21
pDev: 16.82%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beveritt
1.4/5  rDev -56.4%
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.

beveritt, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of Dogbrick
1.43/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

(3-31-03): Got a new bottle thanks to johnrobe, and unfortunately it was just as bad. This brewery either has ongoing issues or the beer is really supposed to taste this way. I am guessing it is the former.

(12-09-02): Acquired via trade. This may be a good beer and I may have gotten a bad bottle but the vinegar aroma ruined this beer. I was given pause before I even had a chance to take a sip because the vinegar aroma is so potent. Plugging my nose and drinking did not help much as the vinegar was prevalent in the flavor as well. I will give this one another shot down the road but I had to pour this one out.

Dogbrick, Dec 09, 2002
Photo of Sunstealer
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Sunstealer, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of jjs581
2.19/5  rDev -31.8%
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.

jjs581, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of GreatLaura
2.23/5  rDev -30.5%
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.

GreatLaura, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.35/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Brentfeesh: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of roasted caramel malt with a hint of sourness, which was not too pleasant. Taste of sweet caramel malt with some subtle hops. I think this beer had a small infection since I could pick-up some sourness, which shouldn’t be in this beer.

Phyl21ca, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of GreenWBush
2.55/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reddish mahogany. Peculiar, low-carbonation head found endemically in almost all of the SM beers. Nil lace.

Nose is leathery, unsweetened brownie mix, toasted then moistened pumpernickle bread, slight suggestion of hazelnut.

Taste has an vegetal DMS thing going (celery), nut-meat, underattenuated tea leaves. Watery fudge. Fishiness on outro.

Thin, caustic, a drain-pour.

GreenWBush, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of Swill5786
2.65/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

Swill5786, Dec 13, 2010
Photo of Viperman1316
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

Viperman1316, May 30, 2014
Photo of bzach
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

bzach, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of GMan
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

GMan, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.83/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

SaCkErZ9, Dec 08, 2008
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.

BEERchitect, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of BlueMoon10
3/5  rDev -6.5%

BlueMoon10, Apr 23, 2013
Photo of johnrobe
3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a light brown with a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it white head. Aroma is very scant. In the taste I thought I could pick out the nice toasted malt flavors of Munich malt more than anything else. It's not as sweet as other brown ales I've tried and the hops, while appropriate for a brown ale, seem light for an "American" brown ale. There's a touch of sourness in the finish that's off-putting, but it dissipated as the brew warmed up. It's a bit light in the mouthfeel department as well. With all that said, it is, imo, pretty easy to drink.

johnrobe, Feb 04, 2003
Photo of mntlover
3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear brwon with redish highlights small tan head falls to tiny ring of foam.
Aroma is light malt slightly chocolately in nature some euro hop skunkiness that adds nothing to be desired.
Taste is slightly chocolate some light maltiness and hints of hops in finish maybe a little grain and touch of very light spiciness. Overall a very average brown ale taste like something the king of beers would make.
Mouthfeel is to thin for a brown carbonation is a little too much and drinkability is very average not a much better choice then an amber bock.

mntlover, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of tfsimpkins
3/5  rDev -6.5%

tfsimpkins, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of Jalogan2
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Jalogan2, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -6.5%

WynnO, Sep 03, 2014
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.

Tuey13, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Falcone
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Falcone, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of Yjt2
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Yjt2, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of khargro2
3/5  rDev -6.5%

khargro2, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of ahbaggins
3/5  rDev -6.5%

ahbaggins, Feb 01, 2013
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Black Bear Ale from Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
75 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.