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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:
243
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
16.96%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
30
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 243
Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Bomber into Pint glass.

Pours a jet black with creamy tan head that takes a little while to dissipate. Once the head dissipates it leaves nothing but a tan ring around the glass. The aroma is faint coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. The taste is watery upfront that develops into a chocolate bitterness that lingers for awhile. Its a fairly medium-bodied beer that has plenty of carbonation. Its a very drinkable stout in general but just not something I would continually reach for with plenty of other options available.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark jet black. Creamy tan head, with good lacing. The pour was very carbonated, but that settled down and wasn't Belgian carbination, which was nice.

S- Roasted coffee and malts are right there up front. With a nice chocolate vanilla smell that mixes in and blends well with the other smells.

T- The malts are burnt and roasty, with a good coffee taste. There is something that reminds me of dusty rain as far as a taste is concerned. It is very drying in the after taste. The chocolate is slightly sweet, but faint in taste.

M- Thick with a good balance of carbonation.

D- Pretty drinkable. Goes down smooth, and other then the drying effect this has it isn't too bad.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of ramnuts. Thanks buddy!

A: Bottle opens with a mild hiss, and pours a pitch black color with slight bourbon brown highlights when held to a lamp. Head is half an inch of tan foam and quickly recedes to a film on the glass. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Mocha at first, which devolves into individual coffee and chocolate smells as the beer warms. Roasted dark malts and a little grainy aroma.

T: Roasted malt lays the groundwork for what initially seems like a sweet beer. There's a substantial taste lag before the coffee and dark chocolate flavors kick in to mellow out the sweetness and provide some bittering contrast. Towards the end of the taste, there is a sour grain sensation that comes as a surprise, but works very well.

M: Medium bodied, with light carbonation. Perhaps a bad bottle. Regardless, it could use a little more carbonation.

D: I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this despite a couple of complaints. This is an example of a solid stout, and at 6.8%, a very drinkable one.

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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 Magpie14
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Interestingly the bottle was almost filled to the top of the brown bomber. Poured rich and viscous, very dark and safe to say "black as night" on this one. Rim of the glass holds bourbon colored hues. Creamy mocha colored head with adamant lacing. Good look and my interests were sparked!

S: sweet tart fruits, dark malts, and chocolate...smells different than expected

T: unique mixture I must say. Astringent sweetness, deep chocolates, roasted malts, crusty breads. Fruits are tart and of sour cherries and lemons, takes away from the overall experience. None the less it is quite unique...I'll give it that. Malts sit in the back and chocolate pushes its way in the finish to a semi-sweet chocolate chip feel...I do not pick up on much hops...

M: for a stout it is great! heavy body but very light on the tongue, soft and creamy. Borderline silk feel even with just a pinch of carbonation in it. The finish is dry, has grains, and makes me pucker

D: easily drinkable, I know that I will drink this one again, I am just having a hard time getting over the fruity sour-like characteristics. Not as if they are overpowering, but they are teasing this beer from being a awesome stout.

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

Took a flyer on this on my bottletrek order...

Pours ebony with a sliver of mocha head. Nice viscous look, above average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee & cocoa powder, prunes

T: Lactose notes & sour cherry, plus some roasty malt character up front. Slight brown bread flavor, plus rye, oakyness, cherry stone dryness, plus a touch of cocoa as this warms, plus dark fruit & tannins; this verges on a Belgian feel. Finishes with baker's chocolate, bone dryness & prunes

MF: Dry, medium bodied, with moderate carbonation & stickyness

Drinks kind of slow, if your into very dry with Belgian influenced tendencies. This isn't my back, but I could see where some folks would love this

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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 BuckeyeNation
2.96/5  rDev -25.1%
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 joe1510
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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 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 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 IceEyes
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on nitro at the brewpub. An unbeleivably smooth stout with dry character, lots of roastiness, and a slightly bitter finish. And its not overly strong meaning that you can (and should) have more than one or two. The body is sultry and polished. Perfectly black. Truly a standout beer.

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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 WonderfulSam
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one on tap at the brewpup, and I quite enjoyed it. This selection was on nitro tap, and was served to me black as night, with a luxurious tan head that looked creamy and persisted through the entire experience. The smell was nice, sweet molasses maybe and roasted grain. It was not a particularly strong aroma, though. Taste was a good balance of malt, chocolate, roasted grain, with mild hops underneath all the other well-balanced flavors. Nothing in this stout was overdone.

This stout was velvety smooth and felt great in my mouth and going down my throat. It was extremely pleasant and easy to drink, especially for such a big, bold stout. Definitely something I'll get again.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured cold into a standard pint glass

A - Black w/ a thick tan head

S - Rich, malty, sweet & nutty w/ caramel scents and a very smooth aroma.

M - Full, Rich, deep roasted, dark malt feel with a sweet finish.

T - A really rich stout. Smooth & deep roasted w/ a rich full bodied flavor. Nutty, coffee and cream tastes w/ a honeyish sweet finish. A hint of alcohol w/ sweet strong stout flavors. Bitter hops acccent the full malt profile and make their presence known in the finish.

D - A very big and smooth tasting stout. Ultra tasty and refined, but perhaps a strong one for multiple tastings, a winner and worthy of tasty again.

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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 ElGordo
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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 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 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 froggyfrog
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
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 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 jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil with a four finger tan head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and very heavy bodied. Chocolate nose. Starts with a bitter chocolate flavor, some middle sweetness, finish has a slight bitterness. A decent stout. $3.25 for a 22oz bottle from John's Grocery Tigard, Or. Label puts the ABV at 7.0%.

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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 bjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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 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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Black Bear XX Stout from Alameda Brewhouse
3.95 out of 5 based on 243 ratings.
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