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Black Bear XX Stout | Alameda Brewhouse

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BA SCORE
88
very good
106 Reviews
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

Added by RedDiamond on 02-20-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
106
Ratings:
242
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
16.96%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
30
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 242
Photo of akorsak
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
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 wordemupg
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bomber poured into tulip 31/7/14

A black with a deep cola edge, two fingers of dark mocha foam sits around for half the glass but leaves zero lace

S coco powder, chocolate milk, fennel, root beer, nutmeg, faint smoke, raisins, a strange combo but it works

T more of the same with more earthy notes and the roasts darker, much like the nose but stronger

M not as thick as the color would let you believe but still far from thin, bubbles cream it up, a little grit left behind, coco and ash linger

O respectable beer and I'd believe it was under 5%, no problems taking down the bomber but not the richest stout I've had recently

worth a try but another one of those 10$ bombers that I doubt I'd buy again based on price alone

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap with dinner tonight. What a pleasant surprise.

Black with a dense, brown head with good retention and nice lacing, this looks pretty good. The nose is surprisingly good. Creamy chocolate, mild coffee, more cream and some rye spiciness, there's also some licorice present. The palate is a blend of cream, sweetness (more lactose than caramel) with creamy chocolate, a mild bitterness, a flavor that makes me think debittered malt, a little bit of rye spiciness. The licorice comes through on the mid palate. Not as roasty as I was expecting, but not surprising given the style. Sweet on the finish with lactose, chocolate, coffee and minimal bitterness, this beer is medium-light in body and has a wonderful, creamy carbonation. It really is nice on the palate. Yummy, I'd drink this again.

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Photo of Viggo
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
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 trxxpaxxs
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to goryshkewych for this bottle.

A: Pours a deep black with an insane amount of mocha head. It was a slow steady pour that resulted in 3/4 of my snifter filled with some serious froth. It's taking quite a bit of time for it to settle.

S: The beer smells sweet and malty (notes of caramel) and there is a chalkiness to this beer as well. It reminds me of a typical foreign export stout verging towards a hint of Baltic porter.

T: It starts off sweet with some big carbonation that turns the initial flavors a bit bitter. I get that chalk like flavor that I picked up in the nose as well. The beer finishes bitter. Nothing too exciting.

M: Full bodied beer. Massive carbonation, stinging and extremely effervescent. The carbonation dominates.

O: The over carbonation really hurts this beer. It brings both the smell, taste, and mouthfeel way down. I'm not a fan. I'm pleased to have tried this beer, but I wouldn't seek it out in the future.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
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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Photo of ccrida
2.59/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from 22oz bottle into a snifter, the Black Bear XX is pitch black with a 1 finger dark tan creamy head that leaves thick bubbly lace and a hefty collar.
The aroma is pretty subdued, molasses and rye. It opens up and sweetens as it warms, reminiscent of sweet cream, but not appetizing to me for a stout. It also got a bit boozy towards the end, but again, sweet.
The taste is really not my cup of tea, maybe it's the rye, or the anise flavor that I can't ignore (and never like), but I will try to remain objective. It's fairly complex, and also includes the appropriate roastiness, with sweet milk, caramel, and some citrus flavoring hops as well as bittering on the finish. I'm not sure if it's the rye or what, but there is a sweet flavor that strikes me as a bit off, although this bottle is not that old, and has been well kept locally. I have another in the stash and I'll have to see if it smooths out with age or amplifies unfavorably.
The mouthfeel is pretty nice, matching the appearance as strong suits. It is not to heavy and really creamy and frothy in your mouth.
I didn't really care for the taste of this one, and by the end of the 2nd snifter from the bottle, I was pretty sick of it. It wasn't that heavy though though so if it's your thing, it's probably pretty drinkable. Just a bit to sweet for me. I'm compelled to try this on nitro at the brewery now that I live here, although I can't say I'm in a big hurry to do so. Hopefully it'll be more enjoyable and I'll re-review. Same goes for the bottle I'm cellaring.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.83/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Comes out of the tap an opaque warm sable with a bubbly tan head like the fizz on freshly-poured cola. Rich aroma has strong molasses and mocha tones, and is somewhat sweet but not too sweet. Superb, smoky flavor has quality coffee, molasses, nutty and chocolate tones, and is very enjoyable. Thick, fairly fizzy texture has a powdery hint and leaves a fizzy, smoky finish.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Deep dark brown color with a reddish halo and a thick light tan head that dissipates steadily. Roasty aroma of coffee and malt. Medium-bodied and smooth with a rather sharp bitterness around the edges. The nitro smoothness seems to contradict the somewhat harsh acidity in the flavor. Malt and coffee flavors keep it from falling apart luckily. The finish is creamy with a bitter aftertaste. I would not go as far as to say the bottle had turned but something seemed a little off about this.

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Photo of morimech
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black brew that looks thick and creamy pouring out of the bottle. Impressive for a 7% ABV beer. Just over one finger of tan head forms and hangs around for a long time before settling to a thick cap. A blanket of lacing is left down the glass during consumption. One of the best looking stouts I have seen.

Surpisingly sweet malt aroma comes through. Definately expecting something roasted. Hints of chocolate and malted milk balls and something fruity tart deep underneath.

The flavor is not as deep as I was hoping. Not much roasted qualities and not bitter at all. This drinks more like a porter imho. A little bit of tartness. Some earthiness and citrus from the hops. A few yeast tannins slip in as well that give this the slightest Belgian quality.

Impressive mouthfeel for a stout of this strength. Leaves many breweries RIS's wanting. Thick and creamy texture. Almost perfect carbonation.

An interesting stout that surprised me a little where it counts and that is the flavor. Not really roasted and bitter but with some tartness.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass; black with a thick inch of tan head.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt and more chocolate. Great balance.

On the tongue: bitter chocolate, toasted malt, grippingly bitter with a caramel aftertaste.

Soft and creamy body with light carbonation... quite perfect.

Overall a simply amazing drink. Drinks like milk, only better for you.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
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 BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

Slow-moving brown bubbles form a tight, well-retaining head. Stout black; nope, no light coming through here. Big chocolate nose with a spiciness layered within. Silky, creamy, smooth full-bodied brew. Cocoa powder, hint of charcoal, spicy rye and some coffee make their mark on the taste buds. Hops provide a great backup for balancing out the malt sweetness. Vague dark berries and a nutty yeast in the semisweet finish. Roasty bliss. Hefty, non- hyped Stouts are hard to come by these days, and this is one to seek out.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this at Bert’s Bierhuis. Had been wanting to try this brew for quite a while so was very happy to see it on a local shelf. Quite enjoy export stouts and this is one of the higher rated American brewed examples of the style.

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Transparent, very dark brown pour, almost black, yields a two finger, medium looking, light tan head with excellent retention. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. A faint wisp remains leaving lots of nice lacing down the glass. Very good looking porter.

SMELL: Lots of milk chocolate, sweet vanilla cream, lightly roasted aromas with caramel as well. Creamy nose, if that makes any sense. Nice and plenty forthcoming.

TASTE: Very flavorful. Some black malts and roasted flavors up front, with a smoky and slightly bitter finish. Bold and lingering aftertaste of sweet caramel malts, roasted malt, chocolate, bitter hops and some burnt and charred notes. Very flavorful and plenty going on. Excellent export stout profile.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A touch lighter on the palate than hoped, creamy enough, goes down fine and finishes slightly drier than expected.

OVERALL: An excellent, high quality export stout. I can certainly see why it boasts all the medals they’ve won on the label. Deserves every one of them. Very nicely done and impressive for a 7% beer. The feel could use a bit of beefing up perhaps, but the rest of the show is a treat. Glad this one showed up locally and if I see it again, I’ll be all over it. Highly recommended.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in big bomber from specialist beer shop Beermoth
This is a real treat for stout drinkers
rich liquorice taste & full on cocoa & tobacco aroma

I really like this

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Photo of Reidrover
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bought from Capital Market, Salem . Gorgeous looking beer. black with dark,dark brown hints around the edges, good lookingbrown head. slightly roasty aromas, not too strong, some dark chocolate, slight fruit. Quite semi-sweet bitter, burnt toast towards the end, bitter black coffee finish mixed with treacle. Slight alcohol hint in the belly.Good stuff. Nicel on the palte, not as heavy as expected and thats a good thing as it adds a point or two for drinkability. Over all nice beer

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Photo of arizcards
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
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 EgadBananas
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks awesome on the pour. Black as night, with a robust dark mocha head.

The aroma is roasty, with some chocolate and dark fruits.

A little sweeter taste, roasted malts, and more dark fruits. Pretty much mirrors the aroma, just a bit more complex.

Feel has a nice creaminess to it, medium, slick feel.

Quite nice, one of the better Foreign Stouts.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the brew pub in Portland, OR on 2010-01-18

A - Dark brown with a 1-finger tan head

S - Bread and chocolate

T - Delicious. Chocolate, coffee, bread, sweet, mild hops.

M - Thick as a milkshake with low carbonation

D - A nice treat. Could have this one for dessert.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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 tpd975
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours deep black with a creamy brown head. Some light retention and spotty lace.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee.

T: Lots of roast, hints of smoke as well. Very subtle cafe mocha flavors. light hops in the finish.

M: Medium in body, pretty smooth.

D: Not great but solid.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
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 msubulldog25
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On nitro-tap at Alameda Brewpub, Portland. $2.60 for a Happy Hour pint.
Listed as 7.0%abv, 50 IBU.

A: Absolutely pitch black, zero light coming through. A fluffy meringue-like ivory head, 1.5 fingers at least. Cascades of bubbles (thank you, nitro tap) - a gorgeous stout. Beautiful steady lace, also.

S: Robust toasted smell of chocolate malt. Rye, as well. A faint toffee sweetness, too, with a touch of hops to balance things out.

T: A rich, creamy beer - so full of chocolate malt with sugary sweetness and hop bitterness, all wonderfully married together.

M: Outstanding - with the caveat that the incredible velvety smoothness imparted by the nitro-tap gets 'bonus points'. Black Bear is well balanced, with full mouthfeel a mild lingering bitterness. Just enough carbonation to keep things interesting.

D: A fantastic stout. So smooth & creamy. Great flavor. A "must-have" pour if you're in Portland. May I have another?

A worthy two-time winner of the GABF "Foreign Style Stout" category.

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Photo of Redrover
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was one of the rotating taps at Post Street Ale House in Spokane.

It was on Nitro and was served after a loooong pause in pour. The beer comes in an imperial pint and is jet black with a Massive dark tan head.

Aroma of roasted malts and a bit of coffee. Could be turned up a notch.

The taste is of darkly roasted malts, a bit of coffee and some raisins.

The mouth is soft (thanks nitro) but thins in the end.

This could be a good session beer but for the 6.8%....

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to psiweaver for this one by way of IS BIF 2. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Blue Point Snifter.

A: Viscous pour yields a solid, 2 finger dense, milk chocolate head with stubborn retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is outstanding. Great legs, frothy, and with excellent cling.

S: Aroma is heavy on the liquorice and roasted coffee beans. In fact, those are the only initial flavors I detect. A bit of subtle roasted malt lingers in the background but not much else. Aromatic but simple.

T: Opening is much like the nose. Liquorice, roasted malt, and coffee in the back. A slight hint of chocolate sweetness emerges in the background as this one warms up a bit. Bitter roasted malt is predominant throughout. Finishes with bitter chocolate. Aftertaste is oily, slick, and bitter.

M: Medium bodied with a solid amount of carbonation. Feel is oily and viscous and goes down real smooth. Drinks bigger than its ABV. Finish is accented and aftertaste lingers.

D: What this beer is, is a really good representation of its style. Flavor is very balanced and nothing really sticks out. Feel is appropriate and real heavy (in a good way) for its ABV. Drinkable too, as it goes down very smooth and silky.

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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
3.95 out of 5 based on 242 ratings.
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