Blackbeard's Bear Hug
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Blackbeard's Bear HugBlackbeard's Bear Hug
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #748
Ranked #4,232
4.24 | pDev: 11.79%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Blackbeard's Bear HugBlackbeard's Bear Hug
Notes: Aged in rum barrels with vanilla, cinnamon and coconut. A rich and intense beer with layers of complexity that offers waves of dark rum, burnt sugar, rich vanilla, toasty coconut, cinnamon, light roast malts, dark chocolate and more. A perfect cool weather sipper or accompaniment to dessert. This version of Bear Hug is aged in rum barrels with seven different types of vanilla beans, toasted coconut and Saigon cinnamon.
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 51 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BB1313
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 10/9/19. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with a small dark khaki head that quickly fades and fizzles out leaving okay retention and nice lacing. There's also some sediment that floats to the top which was unexpected, which hurts the appearance I suppose. The aromas have lots of rum along with some chocolate. Hints of vanilla and coconut. Malts are there. The aromas really open up (besides the rum) as it warms up a bit. The flavors basically follow the nose for the most part. The rum barrel shines. More chocolate. More vanilla and coconut. There's some really nice cinnamon notes going on, especially in the finish. The cinnamon is balanced though. There's a nice subtle spiciness going on. Some black pepper in the mix. Malts do their thing. There's a sweetness to this one, but it's balanced and definitely not cloying or anything over the top. For as big as this beer is, the alcohol is ultimately well hidden despite there being an obvious warmth going on. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's thin and a little spritzy. It's not one of those thick "milkshake" type stout, but that's okay. This beer definitely falls in the "dangerously drinkable" category despite obvious being a big brew.

This is a great stout. The rum barrels shine. The addition of cinnamon really takes the flavors to the next level. The flavors are extremely bold, but balanced. I bet this one would age very well, but it's still drinking just fine right now. Well done.

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Photo of rypkr
3.44/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 1 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Looks - like shit. Beautiful pitch black but ZERO head, WATER THIN, and has floating chucks of God knows what floating across my snifter. Lowest rating I've ever given a beer - primarily because it looks like black water... with puke on top.

Smell - cheap rum, alcohol, dark roasted malt. I generally dislike rum BA beers so this is somewhat of an unfair review. BUT, all things considered my senses are strangely intrigued and excited by the smell of this beer. I actually don't hate it at this point.

Further waffing invites vanilla, oak, and AMBURANA wood. It strangely smells 100% like every amburana aged beer I've ever had (all of which ive loved). This beer redeems majors points on the aroma.

Taste - is pretty damn solid. I'm actually almost entirely certain this beer is amburana aged. It tastes like black note was aged on amburana.

*update* as it warms it tastes like everclear was also added. Its boozy as fuck.

Feel - is shit. Its borderline flat and 1 dimensional.

Overall - this would make a great liquor. Reminds me of something strong, boozy, and with unique flavors like jagermeister. As a beer though? Pass if you see it.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. bottle into a PAA whiskey glass, this beer pours out dark brown with highlights. Caramel colored bubbles ride to the top but never stick around long enough to form a crown. Huge amount of coconut sediment floating on top.

The nose brings a huge, hot, botanical rum. In the back we have underlying notes of graham cracker, pie crust, vanilla marshmallow creme. Slight cinnamon.

The taste brings in a chocolate that is reminiscent of being by a campfire, graham cracker, marshmallow cream, slight coconut and a lingering cinnamon that accents everything.

Little thin, not a lot of carbonation. Not too much sticky sweetness. Boozy, somewhat smokey, but not really.

Overall, I like this and how all the layers mix. It’s just a bit hot right now.

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Photo of MaximalC
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opening the bottle reveals thick gobs of dried yeast at the top of the neck, along with a raft of floaties—never seen anything like it before. I can only assume that the case was shipped upside down, but I can't deny it's a pretty offputting sight...

Pours seal brown with mahogany highlights. What little khaki foam was precipitated is ephemeral at best, which is unsurprising considering the ABV. Rich, bold aroma smells of rum, cinnamon, toffee, prunes, dates, brown sugar, vanilla, graham crackers, and booze. Among the most decadent aromas I've come across in a stout, it's almost more evocative of a fine barleywine.

The taste features rum-raisin, coconut, cake batter, cinnamon, brown sugar, prunes, and a healthy alcohol kick to boot. All of the adjunct flavors come across quite prominently, so much so that it can be difficult to tease out the character of the base stout. Medium body and meager carbonation make for a slick, still mouthfeel that is decidedly thinner than I would have expected.

Yeast anomaly notwithstanding, this is a bold, flavorful stout that delivers on all of the promises of the label. Between the rum, cinnamon, and other adjuncts I could easily see this finding a home during the holidays. While I would have appreciated a fuller body and more nuanced integration, I can't deny that this brew brings the flavor.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 10/9/19; drank 10/30/19 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance with lots of off-white flotsam.

An even pour yielded a minimal, noisy dark khaki head; almost no lace.

Rum, cinnamon & mild oak notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel. Rum, cinnamon & oak flavors.

Thin, boozy & abrasive on the cinnamon.

This isn't very good.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Packaging date of '10/09/19.'
Opted for a tulip here.
The appearance, well, let's start with the color which was black in my glass. Uhmmmm, this head or what was supposed to be there seemed quite repulsive - constant popping bubbles with a certain faint 'fizz' in my ear. Do I continue? Me, of course I do, if I want full credit for reviewing this beer fully (we're not starting off so hot).
The aroma had a light dose of coconut and rum barrel up front with some remnants of a black licorice spicy character. Dry wood and cinnamon bark definitely pinches in with a sly dark chocolatey to milky chocolatey mixture. Some vanilla makes for a good balance.
The flavor seemed to do fairly decent with some dry spicy to sweet and subtle roasty agreement seemingly mixing it on up with those dark chocolate tones, somewhat powdery and existent in the aftertaste, some black licorice showing a light presence.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied, perhaps closer to full bodied. This is a sipper all of the way through, enough rum barrel spiciness and black licorice sharpness pummels my tongue into submission. Decent enough carbonation. Finish is dry and lingering with some earthiness and spicy barrel to subtle roast.
Overall, well, I blame myself for trying this so "fresh" so with that in mind, I won't rate this too low and absolutely go back and but another bottle to age.

If anyone is reading this, don't drink this until the dead of winter. Only bad thing I will say is that Bell's probably shouldn't have released this now. In my opinion, they should have waited until closer to Winter, that way the casual unsuspecting beer person won't be taken aback of appearance, and "lonesome"/ "green fresh" qualities that keep this beer at where it currently is.


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Photo of Wolvmar
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Oct 25 2019. 12oz bottle dated 10/12/19. Bought at ML in Birmingham, MI.

Pour: deep brown with dark amber edges. Small tan head. Lots of bubbles and fizz but surprisingly small head considering. Plenty of coconut or cinnamon residue floating on top and stuck on the sides of the glass. Interesting but not super attractive.

Nose: Rum, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla. Pretty much as advertised.

Taste: follows the nose. Rum is pretty huge but works for me. Plenty of coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, subtle chocolate, and some more rum booziness on the backend.

Mouthfeel: some complained about the carbonation but it seemed ok; high but not too much. Pretty thick and slightly viscous.

Overall: this is different, bold and something you probably like or dislike. I’m in the like camp. The rum is big but there’s plenty going on to just barely balance it. Worth trying at least and I look forward to another fresh then two after aging.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Having a 12 oz bottle of this. Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark, almost black color with a nice tan head that’s about half an inch thick when first poured. Settles eventually to a thin ring lining the inside of the glass along with good lacing. Aromas of roasted malt, rum oak, caramel sweetness, hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut. The taste is of course very similar and even better, roasted malts with caramel and slight chocolate notes that are accentuated nicely with vanilla, coconut, cinnamon and maple notes. This all gives way to the oaked rum, and being that this beer is 14.4% ABV, there is also of course a boozy note as well. Just a slight trace of some earthy hops. A good balance of flavors here for sure. An excellent beer all around flavor wise. Just fantastic. Has a somewhat crisp, slightly oily and gritty, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one really coats the inside of my entire mouth nicely and doesn’t let go. All the flavors really stick around after each sip for the aftertaste. A damn good beer here!


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Photo of laketang
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, shadowy black elixir with only a bubble ring.
As advertised, great barrel presence with vanilla, spice, chocolate with a hint of anise with a nice amount of coconut reminiscent of a mounds bar. Smooth rum notes and 14.5 % not too noticable As it warms the rum and coconut enhances. Medium feel smooth.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sample at Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen 2017, red session. Aroma has cinnamon, spicy rum and dark malts. Taste is sweet, spicy with biscuits, coconut, rum and some acidic cacao. Quite spicy and roasty overall.

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Blackbeard's Bear Hug from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 51 ratings