Black Bear XX Stout | Alameda Brewhouse

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BA SCORE
88
very good
105 Reviews
Black Bear XX StoutBlack Bear XX Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alameda Brewhouse
Oregon, United States | website

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:
105
Ratings:
241
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
16.96%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
30
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 241
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
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 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 PEIhop
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - jet diesel back with ruby highlights around the outside of the one-finger foamy head
S - roasted malts and a nice dark-bitter chocolate
T - great taste here. Chocolate dominates the taste profile, but in a good way because it lets other players: subtle hops and coffee enter periodically into the taste. Well done!
M - I was expecting the body to be thinner, but it was quite full for the style.
D - one of the most unexpectedly delicious pints I have had in awhile. At 7% it is just out sessionability, but I could myself having a pint whenever I see it on tap.
Great beer!

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a shaker glass

A- Poured black with frothy mocha head that left some splashy lace

S- Dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt. Very balanced and pleasant aroma for a stout

T- Big bittersweet and chocolate chip flavors, blackberry and dark fruits, roasted coffee, light vanilla, and light vinegar notes. Incredibly complex stout with all the flavors I love in a stout, very balanced flavor profile

M- Very creamy and smooth, dry, medium body. Really nice silky mouthfeel and incredibly easy to drink

O- One of the best stouts I have had in the past year. Reminds me a lot of favorite, Lion Stout. I love the blackberry/dark fruit flavors I am getting out of this that compliment the chocolate and roasted notes.

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Photo of Bfarr
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark viscous brown and thin brown head with good retention. Coffee, herbs, and chocolate aromas with a hint of orange peel. Flavor follows with a light roasted linger that deepens gradually with traces of cocoa. Creamy medium-bodied feel.

A complex and flavorful stout, this is not one to have several of but to sit back, sip, and enjoy. Its feel is smooth enough to compliment the taste and the roasted bittering is not overpowering. A well-done beer to have from time to time.

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Photo of Derek
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
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 MuddyFeet
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
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 sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep dark black with very little head that settles into a thin tan ring.

S-Chocolate malts with a nice grainy background and maybe a bit of hops.

T-Very nice. A bit of caramel malt on the front with some very nice grainy sourness in the middle and the finish. Surprising, but in a good way.

M-Nicely rich for the style and ABV with light to medium carbonation.

D-Big fan of this beer. I only brought one back from Portland but I would certainly enjoy more than one. Excellent.

HV

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Photo of Kuaff
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I drank this stout at cellar temperature, in a snifter.

Named after the black bear, this is, appropriately, a black beer. And it's got a beautifully billowy beige head (two fingers high) that leaves flawless lacing as it recedes. Real pretty-like.

The aroma is a womp of chocolate milk, dark cocoa, and coffee. Traditional, straight-forward stout notes, burly in all the right places. Though there might also be a little pine and citrus mixed in, kind of like a black IPA.

All of that chocolate and ceffee fills the flavor big-time, with some great earthiness in the aftertaste. The middle is a bit tart in the way some stouts are.

It's pretty well-carbonated, maybe slightly too much. But it's a minor gripe, really.

I'd recommend anyone who likes stouts meet this bear.

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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 IntriqKen
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to weefishheads for this opportunity.
Pours black with a solid tan head that melts to a thick ring of lacing lasting the entire glass.
Aromas are bitter coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, molassis.
Mouthfeel is not too thick...not too thin...just right.
Taste follows aroma....espresso coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, molassis sugars, then...surprise, citrus hops to finish and clean the pallette.
Aftertaste reminds me of a mocha coffee with only a touch of sugar sweetener.
This is a solid stout made for the purist.

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Photo of RedBiddy
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner beer glass. Nice three finger head that slowly slid down the side after each sip. The smell was of unsweetened chocolate and the taste was as smooth as Micheal Jordan's head with Brylcream. The mouthfeel was so pleasant I didn't want to swallow. Perfect carbonation. I would pass up many stores to obtain another.

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Photo of SRossman
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Deep dark brown, almost opaque black, with a frothy tan head that dissipates quickly. I hate to be vague but this looks like stout.

S: Roasted malt, mild hop bitterness, a faint chocolate nuance rounds it out.

T: Pleasant dark chocolate, roasted malt, sweet espresso. Rich flavors across the board.

MF/D: I love the mouth feel of this stout. The texture and carbonation are spot on. The body has a rich fullness to it and feels slick on the tongue. Moderate carbonation makes it very drinkable.

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Photo of Elemental
4.26/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh man, I can tell why this got the gold medal at GABF in 2003.
Apperance - gorgeous! It has a nice thick brown nitro head and is a very deep black color
Smell - a good smell with some hop aroma, very malty smelling, and very inticing
Taste - Very good, big and malty with hints of chocolate and slightly nutty.
Overall - an excellent beer that once I had one I had to have another even though I wanted to try some of the othere from this establishment

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks you theskinny.

A - Great pour as black as they come with a deep brown head an inch tall and having some solid stamina.

S - Deep dark chocolate and smooth rich coffee.

T - Long roasted malts with a nice burnt taste. There's no real cocoa presence but there is a bit of coffee. It fits the style very well.

M - Abrasive in the ending and finish. It has a nice creaminess and it goes down easy... probably too easy.

~ This is a very good beer. I recommend anyone with an avenue to the Pacific Northwest find this stout and enjoy it. Cheers.

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Photo of dcscientist
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

This stout was excellent. I want to say that I had it cask-conditioned at the brewpub, which made it even more excellent. Great color, balanced flavor, and paired very well with my food. Thumbs up all around for this one.

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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 mjl21
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Belmont Station in Portland. 22 ounce bottle poured into a Moonlight Brewing glass. Comes in at 7%. No bottling info is given.

A-Based on the lighting in the room, it pours black. It has a one finger sandy head that dissolves to a nice foamy ring that surrounds a sandy cover. Has some nice lacing.

S-It has a nice dark malt nose that is nicely balanced. There is some roast malt, molasses sweetness, and mocha like qualities. It is a little nutty. As it warms citrus hops jump out and give it a nice uniqueness.

T-It starts off with lots of chocolate, coffee, and sweetness which reminds me of a freshly brewed mocha. Citrus hops are quite evident in the middle. It finishes with some chalky roast flavor. In between sips there is some lingering sweetness.

M-Thick and creamy. It is nicely carbonated.

D-A nice drinking stout.

This was recommended to me from one of the Belmont Station employees and I was impressed. Worthy of the awards it has won.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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 Docer
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just had at their Brewhouse.. following their wonderful IPA.

- Nice and dark... black with only an espresson brown at the edges... flowed nicely from Nitro to a sitting beer with a thick head about 1".. light brown and chocolate..

- Smell was mild.. little bit of coffee.. chocolate.. roasted maly and bitter finish.

- Creamy good flavor, chocolate, roasted malt... light bitter hopping... and just very good.

- Not dry at all... leaves a good stout flavor behind.. bit sour.. makes me want to slam more down...

- Super-good drinkability.. tastes so light and sessionable... but yet hides any strength it may posses. A good regular staple stout for anyone who loves a winner.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bomber with friends. Nothing surprising about the appearance, big and black with a tan head. I really enjoyed this stout because it wasn't the usual thick, chewy stout. Instead it was a touch lighter, like an export stout should be, with two dominant characteristics: dry roasted black malts and sweet cocoa chocolate. Heck of a beer, checkthis out.

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Photo of josiahschlender
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was on tap at the Green Dragon here in Portland.

Our server apologized for the head on the beer when he brought it out, saying it's too foamy being on nitro. It took up nearly 1/2 of the glass, being very creamy and tan colored. It slowly settled into the black body of the drink with time, but it remained one of the most persistent heads on a beer I've ever seen. Ridiculous lacing on the sides of the glass. Not convenient, but kinda cool.

I liked the smell. Very dark roasted malts. Almost charred. I also noticed quite a bit of earthy (almost dirty mushrooms) hops. It made me even wonder if this is dry-hopped for more aroma.

Malts and hops are abundant in flavors, as well. Again, it's very roasted tasting, with lots of earth and bitterness coming from the hops. Kind of unique.

The eternal, insistent head influenced the mouthfeel for a very creamy, full body that complimented the flavors well and finished dry. ABV of 6.8% was surprising to me, they hid it well in this brew.

Well done! This is a unique stout worth a try.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Henry's Tavern, PDX.

A - Pours black wth 1 finger of mocha head. Doesn't dissipate and leaves nice lacing.

S - Chocolate, light roast coffee, light flowers and citrus, and bittering hops.

T - Heavier notes of malt dominate the taste as chocolate and light roast coffee appear wth a moderate amount of bittering hops.

M - Full-bodied, malt dominated, creamy and sweet.

D - Good overall. Very enjoyable for the style.

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love trying new breweries and this is my first for Alameda. This could be a make or break for trying more of their beers.

Pours a very dark black with a big mocha head that sticks around for a bit and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell is Coffee and chocolate with more dark roasty malt notes. A hint of fruit in there as well, cherry and plum.

Taste is very coffee like, with molasses, chocolate, bitter hops, and a lingering creaminess that is wonderful. It starts velvety with the cocoa and coffee, and then continues with a medium hop aspect that doesn't last, and then more coffee and toffee, malty in the end.

Mouthfeel is velvety, with medium carbonation.

Overall I like this and think I will try more from Alameda.

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

A 16oz Yankee pint on nitro draft at Henry's Tavern in downtown Portland, from their '99 beers on the wall' (or something of the sort) concept. Why the hell not, my girl is still stuck browsing in Powell's, I'm sure of it.

This beer appears a solid, non-forgiving black void, with the slightest of basal cola highlights, which allows two fingers of tightly foamy, and playfully bubbly milk chocolate brown head, which renders a vista of three-dimensional mountain profile lace around the glass as it gently fades away.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, softly sour ash, medium bittersweet baker's chocolate, some middling dark fruit, and earthy, leafy, and somewhat piney hops. The taste is soft chocolate-ensconced caramel malt, a further dry breadiness, sour cream, subdued black fruit, oatmeal grain, and laid-back earthy, dead leafy hops.

The carbonation is very low (natch), yet pleasantly coddling, the body silky smooth, and dead to rights creamy. It finishes in kind, the now soft, and strangely smooth caramel malt and cocoa persisting above all.

A sexy American beer bar offering, if there ever was one. Chocolate, cream, malt, and a somewhat off-balance sourness, that eventually wends its way through your acceptance gates. Oh, and the nitro: from beginning to end, this special serving slides down like butter, but tastes way, way better.

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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
88 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.
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