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Black Bear XX Stout | Alameda Brewhouse

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Black Bear XX StoutBlack Bear XX Stout
BA SCORE
3.93/5
Very Good
257 Ratings
Black Bear XX StoutBlack Bear XX Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alameda Brewhouse
Oregon, United States
alamedabrewhouse.com

Style: Foreign / Export Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Smooth, rich and creamy. Rye malt blends with roast and chocolate malts to create a new and delicious stout profile, balanced with soft and velvety hops. This northwest original is poured using the traditional nitrogen dispensing method, so it may take an extra minute to arrive, but the wait is worth it. The Black Bear won the Gold Medal at the 2003 GABF in the foreign-style stout category."

6.8% ABV 50 IBU

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
111
Ratings:
257
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
34
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 257 |  Reviews: 111
Reviews by Slammy:
Photo of Slammy
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Just bought this 22 oz. bottle at Whole Foods in Portland, Oregon for $3.99.

A: Noticeably syrupy as it is being poured out of the bottle, this deep, molasses colored stout is entirely opaque. The rich tan head was quite minimal - one cm at best - and foreshadowed an underwhelming experience. At 7 percent ABV, I was expecting a fuller head that lasted longer. This one, however, dissipated within 20 seconds. Lacing was minimal throughout the drinking, which, after seeing the pour, I was not surprised.

S - This was definitely the weak point of the beer as there was little aroma to discern. I got some nuttiness and a hint of alcohol, but - probably due to the lack of head (perhaps this is just a bad bottle?) - there was so little for my olfactory system to interpret.

T - The taste made me somewhat forget the underwhelming aromas. I was able to detect light hints of pistacho and molasses, the latter of which was surprisingly light.

M - This is definitely a creamy beer. After quick carbonation on the tip of my tongue, the beer was very smooth and syrupy, which was not unexpected after watching the pour. This aspect, to me, was the highlight of the beer.

O - Well, I can't say that I was thrilled with the beer, but I would drink it again. I'm guessing that it would be better on tap, which I will try the next time I am close to the brewery. Hopefully, it will be a better experience.

Edit: I just noticed the bottle date was VERY recent (12/21/12). Perhaps this beer would do better with some aging.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

I got this bottle as an extra from msbulldog25, thanks for knocking one off my "wants" Brian! Black Bear XX turns my pint glass the blackest of blacks, completely opaque without letting a hint of light glint through the body. A standard pour brought the khaki head up surprisingly quickly to three fingers. The head slowly fell to a thick craggy finger and left behind chunky spider webbed lacing. The creamy head shows good staying power and lasts throughout. This is a damn fine looking stout.

Dark, modestly, roasted malts hit the nose right from the start and are the biggest factor throughout the aroma. Mild coffee grounds and a hefty whiff of creamy dark chocolate quickly join that dark roastiness and although they try to take over the roastiness manages to hold them off. There's mildly sweet nougat popping up here and there that adds some complexity to the overall smell of this beer. Last out of the gate are clean alcohol and a decent hop presence.

The flavor goes hand in hand with the aroma. Dark roasted maltiness lays it down strong with a little acidic bite. The coffee grounds are more pronounced in the flavor then in the nose and the dark chocolate falls back mid palate. The nougat comes across as nuttiness occasionally and seems to change it up with each drink. The swallow brings out clean, mild warming alcohol and a combination of roasty and hop bitterness on the lips. This is a good foreign style stout, and unique to boot.

I wasn't sure what to think about the mouthfeel of this beer at first. It seemed lighter then it should be but as this beer gets warmer and warmer (nearing probably 55) the body fills out and has a medium fullness to it. The carbonation is higher then expected and keeps this beer moving fairly quickly.

This is a stout with good flavor and good drinkability. The bomber ended up disappearing pretty quickly and the carbonation is part of the reason. I want another drink after the last and find it tough to slow down.

Alameda makes a good foreign-style stout that I wouldn't hesitate to drink again. Black Bear XX is a robust stout with moderate enough alcohol to drink a few at a time. It's too bad this isn't available in my area. Thanks for the great extra Brian!

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black. Clean. Almost perfect even. An enormous creamy and foamy tanned head layers itself on top, and takes its time to come down, leaving ring after ring just in case you forgot what was there.

Extremely roasty and extremely metallic aromas clash appropriately. Dark chocolate, charred bread, toasted nuts. Iron, mineral water, damp soil.

Each sip plays back and forth with an initial roasted grain intensity followed by a smooth semi sweet milk chocolate. All together, each sip is reminiscent of chocolate covered toasted nuts, followed by a sharp metallic and floral finish.

It starts creamy and sweet, then roasty and bitter. Full bodied but ends dry except for the sticky film that coats the lips.

This is a damn good classic export stout. In the same ballpark as the more well known like Pelican Tsunami and Guinness Foreign Extra. When I'm in the mood for such, no question I'll reach for some more Black Bear XX. Cheers.

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Photo of london1o1
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Alameda brewpub, on nitro and on cask....the difference in enjoyment was pretty dramatic, and not as expected.

Appearance: Cask was black in color, with a weak, short-lived brown head. Nitro was also black in color, but the fine and creamy head was brown with a lovely reddish tinge, and was everlasting.

Nose: Cask sample had a sharp, powdery cocoa nose...like a dry chocolate cake mix, and thats it. Nitro nose was rich, sharp, and chocolately, but this time like a chocolate cake, complete with dark chocolate frosting. These notes were well-developed and yielded some intricate complexities.

Taste: Nitro sample yielded a rich and sharp raisiny-chocolate velvet malt base that opened up with complex bitter dark chocolate notes and subtle cherry esters in the transition to a sharp, roasty, lightly astringent dark bittered chocolate finish with strong lingering cocoa mass flavors.
Cask sample yielded similar but significantly attenuated flavors.

Mouthfeel: Cask sample was way too thin, almost watery! Carbonation was also a bit lacking, even for cask.
Nitro sample was wonderfully full and silky...working extremely well with the flavors and character of the beer. What a difference!

Conclusion:
Wow, the nitro sample was drastically better than the cask version in almost every way. The nitro stout was very enjoyable, complexly rich, and masterfully balanced with a nice sharpness that love in dark beers. Scores are based solely on the nitro version.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A solid very black stout with huge tan head and a nice roasty nose. This is a drinking stout that has all the chocolate and roasted malt flavours but no sharp edges. Not the biggest stout on the block but very well put together and oh so drinkable. Worth buying

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Photo of ElGordo
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a deep rich black hue topped by an inch of thick, creamy tan head. Beautiful aroma of sweet, rich roasted malt, with notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Palate is rich and sweet - tons of rich roasted dark and chocolate malt, with notes of vanilla, mocha, milk chocolate, and a very mild hop bitterness. Finish is smooth and well-balanced between the rich malt and the subtle hop profile. Body is thick, smooth, and creamy, just wonderful. Goes down very easily for a strong stout. I'm a big fan.

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Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased about 4 months ago at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $4.49, and forgotten about until now. According to the just-noted freshness date, this was bottled December 6, 2011.

Poured a shade of brown so dark as to virtually be black. Holding the glass up to light only makes the absolute edge look a lighter brown. Decent sized tan head dropped after a few minutes.

The nose on this beer isn’t terribly strong. I get coffee and brown sugar, and that’s about it.

The taste is similar to the smell. Bitter, coffeeish notes balance the sweet, brown sugary elements in a competent, unspectacular manner. A subdued hop zap announces the swallow to the tastebuds.

Medium bodied, with a slightly coating mouthfeel.

A decent, unspectacular beer that I will try at least once more when I have a shot at a fresh bottle and if required, will amend my review accordingly. As it stands, it’s a good stout, not a great one that requires any kind of fevered search.

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Photo of arizcards
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from the Belmont Station in Portland yesterday for $4.98.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is roasted malts with hints of cocoa and some dark fruit like sweetness. Hopping is ample enough to keep it from being cloying.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy smooth.

Overall a nice stout that is fairly priced. I would recommend it if you enjoy the export stout style.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This beer is black as night and has a beautiful nitro head. It comes up like Mt. St. Helens on a bad day and is very dark.

Smell – This has a humongous nose. The dark, roasted malts are evenly mixed with some strong coffee grounds that are burnt to a crisp. I can catch some whiffs of dark chocolate as well and maybe some light brown sugar.

Taste – The nose finds its way nicely into the taste. The malt flavors in particular are very rich and creamy. The chocolate came out strong on the tongue making this a very complex stout.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied and creamy with some good, strong bitterness. The nitro mouthfeel is glorious, of course, and combined with the bitter nature of the stout gives this one a terrific feel in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – A high quality session stout? Yes, this does fit the bill. Its low ABV and smooth delivery can keep you going all night.

Comments – I would have had to pretend to like it anyway since skyhand was sitting next to me and wouldn’t shut up about how great it is, so it was a real bonus that I liked it so much.

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Photo of akorsak
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A 22 oz bomber from Tangfoot as part of the I Want That BIF.

A: The stout has a gloriously thick bubbly head that, like a decent stout, creates a cascading effect as the head settles out. The settling out process is slow, with the thick four finger head leaving a prodigious trail of lace. The stout is a standard, dark black stout color.

S: The nose has a roasted, burnt toast malt aroma that is nicely pepped up with a bitter hop element. The aroma conjures up the image of a Lion Stout ad, with chocolate and chile pepper notes.

T: The ale begins with the body of a stout, roasted with dark chocolate and burnt bread flavors, grainy without getting too intesnse. Layered atop the roasted body is a hop flavor that adds a citrusy flavor to the dark body. A funky aftertaste emerges, overtaking the hops and spoiling the taste.

M: The mouthfeel straddles the malt sweetness and hop bitterness line nicely, allowing both flavors to come through.

D: I split the bomber with my wife, it was okay but the aftertaste was a bit too much to take.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.96/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Double chocolate fudge brown with no visible highlights, even with bright sunshine behind the pint glass. The three finger crown is the color of coffee mousse and looks at least as creamy. It's also responsible for the beginning stages of what should be a tremendous display of lace. Great right out of the gate.

If it wasn't for a pervasive dark fruit sourness, the nose would be right on the money as well. It smells like there's plenty of roasted malt present, although the rye malt escapes notice. This one could go either way on the palate.

Alameda Black Bear XX is disappointing. Sweet stouts are good, bitter stouts are good and bittersweet stouts are very good. Sour stouts, like this one, are not. One has to wonder how so much lemon juiciness ended up in the final product. The bottle was manufactured this year, so advanced age is no excuse.

The amount of malt is fine, it's just that chocolate, roasted and rye (along with whatever hops were used) should taste much better than this. Simply put, the tart-n-tangy fruit ruins what should have been a kick-ass export stout. Given most of the other reviews, this bottle almost has to be from a bad batch.

The mouthfeel is lightly creamy and incredibly smooth. A little more heft with more hang-on at the end would have earned the next highest score with no trouble at all.

So far, Alameda Brewhouse has failed to impress me. Black Bear XX is a classic example of how addition by subtraction would result in a much better beer. Subtracting the sourness would add immeasurably to both flavor and drinkability. Too bad I'll probably never get to try it again to put that theory to the test.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Written from notes. Sampled on-tap at Redbones during lunch on 11/15.

Thick and dense in appearance. Very black. Thick brown, creamy head that was glorious. Even more impressive layered, coating lace all around the glass.

Aroma was very subtle but deep and dark. Kind of like a low basson you cannot quite hear but you know is there and you find a pleasant feel from the low note vibrations.

Not a lot of anything but there was a little of a lot of things. Some slightly toasted malts with chocolate, vanilla and licorice. Kind of a dark bread flavor going on too. Slight hop bitters come through at the finish.

Very full body. It tried to be milky but was more creamy. Easy and smooth drinking. Not so much a cloying finish but more of a thorough finish. Very nice afternoon working my way through my pint.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is the #11 Foreign / Export Stout. Beer served from a 22 ounce bottle into a Russian River -tion glass.

Beer is brown to black with a big dark brown head of small bubbles, moderate to low carbonation, some lacing, looks good.

Aroma is sweet and coffee like with roast. Nice.

Beer is medium in body but thinner on the finish and in the middle, sweet up front, heavy coffee and some bitter on the backend. Overall a decent beer, pretty enjoyable, I'd have it again.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To begin with, I like the name of this beer which accurately conveys a sense of the dark color and full body. Black Bear XX is opaque and comes served with a full finger of thick, light-brown froth that holds itself with some authority. The aroma is restrained yet tantalizing – a curious chocolate-mint. The flavor arrives in layers of chocolate cream with a splash of nuts and grain. It is predominantly dry with a robust malty body and an elegant finish. Rye malt adds a subtle complimentary balance. The mouthfeel, infused with nitro, is sensual and pleasing.

This beer won the 2003 GABF Gold Medal for Foreign / Export Style stout. Usually such ornamentations fail to impress me. In this case however, Black Bear XX lives up to high expectations of artistry and taste. This is truly a great Ecotopian brew.

I’ve revisited this beer on several occasions and have reaffirmed that its credentials are sustainable and intact. Black Bear XX is rich, chocolaty, and beautiful. You can drink it as easily in July as in January; like black silk on tap.

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Photo of loren01
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color, good sized tan head with nice lacing down the glass
S: Roasted malt, earthy scents as well as some lightly smokey scents
T: Very roasty, lots of roasted barley. Slight rye taste. Also coffee, chocolate and slight smokey flavor. Very nice.
M: Medium to full mouthfeel, creamy going down
D: This is a great beer, loved it. I would like to try this one on nitro.

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A big, rocky tan head forms atop the black liquid and leaves quite a few strands of lace behind

Smell: Chocolate, licorice, pumpernickel, rye and a fruity aspect

Taste: Surprisingly fruity, up front, with a slightly tart black cherry character that complements the ensuing expected flavors of chocolate, licorice and burnt pumpernickel toast; while the hops add another dimension in the middle, after the swallow, some lactic sweetness slips in to offset the bitterness; the tart fruit flavor, however, lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat creamy, with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A lot of different flavors are packed into this beer; while the tart fruit elements have turned off some reviewers, I rather enjoyed that aspect of the flavor profile

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity

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Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a pretty opaque black, some dark reddish highlights but almost impossible to see through, very thick light brown head forms, slowly drops to a thick layer and ring leaving a ton of lace chunks stuck to the glass. Smell is nice, lightly lactic, lots of caramel, chocolate milk, very roasty, quite fruity, some vanilla, light orange peel, cherries, some coffee, pretty neat. Taste is similar, some lactic sourness, milky, chocolate, very roasty, some vanilla, fruity, more chocolate milk, pretty interesting stuff, lightly toasty, oaky in the finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation, pretty silky and smooth, some acidic roasty character. Pretty cool stuff! Thanks Russ!

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Photo of morebeergood
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber back in the summer of 2008, and have been aging it in my cellar ever since. Tonight, my wife and I drank it for a special occasion, along with a dessert of chocolate cake. Poured into Brooklyn Brewery goblets. Dark brown color with a thin but thick beige head. Some lacing on the glass - not a lot. Smell had a nice roasted barley smell to it, with just a hint of pine tingling my nose. The taste was excellent. It really had an enjoyable flavor of burnt espresso, but with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Mouthfeel was moderate but not overly thick; it was on the smooth side. An easy stout to drink, and very tasty at the same time. A nice accompaniment to a rich dessert.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of plaid75
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Henry's 12th Street Tavern, Portland, Oregon.

Poured a deep black hue with a one and a half finger creamy dark tan head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a moderate cocoa aroma.

The taste consisted of soft chocolate malts, a mile rye spice, cafe au lait element and cocoa.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a touch of creaminess.

Overall a stout with good drinkability that could use a bit more black malt.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My buddy kindly brought a 22oz. bomber back from Portland on his recent vist to see his brother. $3.95 at Belmont Station, Portland, OR.

A: Pours a jet black almost inky color with a two finger caramel colored frothy head that leaves puffy cloud like lace.

S: Aromas of sweet caramel malt notes with a roasted mix. Noticed some licorice and chocolate malts on the second whiff. Smells very smooth and full bodied.

T: Tastes of sweet chocoloate and caramel malts blends with roasted malts. Very silky smooth and quite rich tasting. Not overly rich though, just that perfect taste that keeps you coming back for more.

M & D: Mouthfeel and drinkability are awesome on this offering from Alameda. Full bodied but very well balanced. Low carbonation allows you to fully taste the chocolate and caramel. This is what a stout should taste like. Two thumbs up for Alameda. If I had another, I'd drink it right now. I would love to try this on tap...Gotta get out to the Left Coast soon!

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Photo of froggyfrog
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. labeled bottle, beer served in glass snifter.

Pours about as black as a starless night with a slight red tinge. A huge, billowy, brunette head coats the glass in chunky sheets of lacing.

Smells highly of roasted barley with steamed milk and rich caramel overtones. Also dark cacao and hints of floral hops.

For flavors I'm getting toast and roast and a healthy dose of kola. Caramel flavors are on the milky sweet side, with the sweetness more than adequately cut by the bittering hops, carbonation and dryish finish. The dark chocolate in the nose transitions into a creamy milk chocolate here.

Downy on the tongue from the bottle, this beer must be downright velutinous served from a nitro tap. This is a full-bodied but easygoing stout with no rough edges.

Smooth and simple to drink, this beers sets a nice pace with its full weight and enjoyable flavors.

Thanks to msubulldog25 for the chance to sample this fine brew.

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Photo of Derek
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a tan head, good retention and lace.

Aroma of cafe mocha, brown sugar, black licorice, quite bready.

Pumpernickel rye bread, black strap molasses, piny resin, coffee, tobacco, salty black licorice, burnt caramel, solid (tar-like) bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

Body is rich and creamy, perhaps a little too full, but it is more of a protein shake than residual sweetness.

Certainly has a bit of domestic and PNW flavour (that you don't find in many export stouts), but it's one hell of a brew!

I'm glad they decided to export this to the foreign land of Canada!

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Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, split, served as base for some experimental mussels

appearance: served in ommegang chalice, ebony body, light bubbly rim, some garnet hue

smell: smoke, roast, rye, cocoa

taste: dry, moderate roast, bitter cocoa, spicy rye, smoke, char, some light green hops, espresso. Not very memorable, but worked well with the shellfish

mouthfeel: uncharacteristically thin, creamy but lacking depth

overall: bizarre stout - quite drinkable but doesnt really fit the bill for the style

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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 257 ratings