Lair Of The Bear
Mammoth Brewing Company

Lair Of The BearLair Of The Bear
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From:
Mammoth Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #389
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
90
Ranked #9,460
Avg:
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Reviews:
26
Ratings:
91
Status:
Active
Rated:
Mar 20, 2022
Added:
Dec 23, 2012
Wants:
  8
Gots:
  25
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Lair Of The BearLair Of The Bear
Notes: Aged in Heaven Hill barrels.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
Rated: 4.09 by QuintusHorace from California

Mar 20, 2022
 
Rated: 4.62 by Resistance88 from California

Oct 16, 2021
Photo of WoodButcher
Reviewed by WoodButcher from Virginia

4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
L-poured from a bottle marked “Winter 2020”. ABV was 12.5%, considerably higher than the 9.5% listed here on BA. Poured a shiny black like used motor oil, thick, dense chocolate-brown head with lots of retention. Once in the glass the color had a faint tinge of brown but was as opaque as blanket.

S-the nose revealed pleasure ahead; coffee, chocolate, a hint of bourbon along with deeply roasted malt notes and a bit of toffee. Balanced nose; nothing overwhelming.

T-Wow! This stuff is fine! Like the aroma the taste is nicely balanced with the same chocolate, coffee, and maltiness. The bourbon comes through on the finish. Takes a sip, and dwell in between and the bourbon notes are delayed on your palate as you exhale. This is interestingly complex and also has light finish notes of vanilla or toffee. All without being too sweet. The alcohol is apparent but subtle. I haven’t taken my time with a beer like this in a long time. It’s one that asks to be savored.

M-mouthfeel was smooth and a little creamy without feeling thick. It surprisingly didn’t have that syrupy or oily feel that some really big stouts and porters do. The long retention on the head contributes to the smooth and creamy feel.

O-this is one of the best stouts I’ve ever had, bar none. The complex and balanced flavor profile is fantastic. I had this while visiting CA so I’ll be hard pressed to find it back home on the East coast which is a bummer.
Jun 02, 2021
 
Rated: 4.29 by B_B from California

Mar 28, 2021
 
Rated: 3.84 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

Aug 06, 2019
 
Rated: 4.02 by cd34 from Illinois

Sep 26, 2018
 
Rated: 4.24 by HopBelT from Belgium

Dec 09, 2017
 
Rated: 3.75 by rossracing from Illinois

Sep 26, 2017
 
Rated: 3.51 by MickeyHops from California

Aug 12, 2017
 
Rated: 4.25 by PA-Michigander from Pennsylvania

Jul 23, 2017
 
Rated: 2.5 by atrocity from Virginia

Jul 13, 2017
 
Rated: 4.02 by leitmotif from Romania

Apr 19, 2017
 
Rated: 3.83 by jakecattleco from California

Apr 17, 2017
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Reviewed by Ciocanelu from Romania

4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Black color with mocha head. Aroma has really nice whiskey notes with some dark berries. Taste is sweet at first with nice bourbon but also fruity notes. Finish has caramel and butterscotch, just a bit of roasted malt bitterness. Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel. Overall it's a really well made beer with all flavors integrated nicely into the whole.
Apr 14, 2017
 
Rated: 3.75 by StoutAtTheDevil from Alabama

Feb 06, 2017
 
Rated: 4.06 by RBuckley73 from Nevada

Jan 05, 2017
 
Rated: 4.23 by AlvinLin from New York

Dec 22, 2016
Photo of Marius
Reviewed by Marius from Netherlands

4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
50cl bottle at home. Pitch black with an espresso head and thin strips of carbonation. Huge bourbon notes in the nose, followed by vanilla, coconut, milk chocolate, toffe. The taste follows the same notes, heavy on the bourbon, vanilla and toffe. Full bodied with a soft carbonation and a bourbon sweet and spicy aftertaste. Lacking a bit in the roasted malt department, but otherwise an excellent beer.
Nov 11, 2016
Photo of charlzm
Reviewed by charlzm from California

2.82/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75
I wrote an entire, detailed review of this beer. The review disappeared a few seconds after I posted it.

Suffice it to say this beer was sour. Whether due to infection or design, I cannot say. I aged the bottle for about 1 year. It was stored upright in a dark, 50 degree refrigerator.
Nov 07, 2016
 
Rated: 4.04 by robgage from Pennsylvania

Sep 23, 2016
 
Rated: 4.42 by Kavinci from California

Sep 01, 2016
 
Rated: 4.41 by Jeremiah_Nelson from California

Aug 21, 2016
Photo of ccg
Reviewed by ccg from Virginia

3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
I love the thick, viscous look of the beer as it's pouring. Once in the glass, there's a thin, brown head that sticks around for a while, but there's only a little bit of lacing. It looks inviting.
The whisky is fairly subtle on the nose. The most obvious thing is something akin to cocoa powder. I'm also getting hints of coffee and vanilla.
The flavor is also dominated by dry, dark chocolate, and it finishes with some bitter hops. There's some whiskey and oak in the mix as well, but they are background players. I'd say it's nicely balanced. The barrel aging is complementing the stout without overwhelming it.
The mouthfeel is probably my favorite part. It's dense and oily in a way that complements the dark chocolate and bitter hops. It would be perfect on a cold winter night (not that we have those in the South), but it's still a treat in August.
Overall: It's a really solid BA stout, especially if you like the ones on the drier end of the spectrum. I like that it's not a cloyingly sweet, boozy mess (only 9.5% ABV), which sometimes happens to BA stouts.
Aug 05, 2016
 
Rated: 4.1 by nmann08 from Virginia

Jul 23, 2016
 
Rated: 4.22 by rawfish from California

Jul 02, 2016
 
Rated: 4.25 by Marvicsin from California

Jun 02, 2016
 
Rated: 3.98 by Bubbawilly88 from California

Apr 25, 2016
 
Rated: 4.19 by Braz from Washington

Mar 27, 2016
Photo of biegaman
Reviewed by biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.39/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Paul Gauguin once said "Reject black, and that mix of black and white they call gray. Nothing is black, nothing is gray". Of all people you'd expect a painter to know better! Certainly some stuff is black. Lair of the Bear is definitely black, and that delicately thin lace around its perimeter is definitely a grayish-brown.

The aroma is that perfect balance of tarry malt and pungent hops that I love so much in American Imperial Stouts, plus the added bonus of vanilla paste, charred oak and spiced honey afforded by an eleven month slumber in a combo of Heaven Hills, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and 4 Roses bourbon barrels.

And by the smell and taste of things, time could not have been better spent. Those flavours of rich, gooey chocolate fudge and blackest roast espresso - not to mention the characteristically leafy, resin-dripping West Coast hops - are given a boost by all the vanilla, toasted wood, honey and pantry spice.

A year in any barrel is sure to be character building but that doesn't automatically make it good. Criteria must be met: a) the base beer needs to be bold enough to hold up; b) the flavours need to be conducive; and c) the end product must still be drinkable. You can check off all those boxes here.

There was no shortage of amazing beers to buy at Los Angeles' Ramirez Beverage Center (an absolutely incredible place, by the way) but I couldn't be happier that Lair of the Bear was among the select few to make the suitcase (actually, we bought a fourth suitcase to accommodate). But it definitely warranted it.

Breweries say all kinds of things to promote their products, but when Mammoth calls this "a true winter warmer to sip by the fire" they aren't embellishing in the least. Lair of the Bear is a classic RIS tastefully complimented by barrel notes. It's a sleeping giant of a beer that doesn't bite. Highly recommended.
Mar 15, 2016
Photo of DerelictPI
Reviewed by DerelictPI from New York

4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Look: Well, it looks like how it should. The liquid is dark as the night and the foam is khaki colored. A good amount of foam lacing.

Taste: Roast, some vanilla and coconut, oak, char, slight peat, chocolate, not a lot of sweetness.

Overall: This is a really nice beer for the style. I wish I bought more than one, so I could try it with age.
Feb 12, 2016
 
Rated: 4.25 by Hohnbaum from Kansas

Feb 10, 2016
 
Rated: 4.18 by jaydoc from Kansas

Feb 08, 2016
Photo of Lingenbrau
Reviewed by Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2015 Offering. Not much more you could ask for in a BA Stout. Ink black, tan head, smell of vanilla, bourbon and oak. Taste of vanilla, bourbon and oak, along with roastiness and toffee. Slight alcohol warmth. Guaranteed it would have a higher avg rating if it were from a more "desirable" brewery. Another solid example from Mammoth. Cheers!
Feb 04, 2016
 
Rated: 4.5 by redfox405 from California

Feb 04, 2016
Photo of TBonez477
Reviewed by TBonez477 from Vermont

4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A: Was surprised at how pitch black this poured. I'm talking ink black! Nice finger of mocha colored head that slowly recedes. 4.5
S: Smell is the closest aroma to KBS I've had in a long time. Sweet bourbon booze up front with a long lingering mocha scent to finish. 4.25
T: Bourbon is less evident than in the aroma. Opens with a hit of roasted strong coffee, giving way to a strong alcohol heat. Flavors then shift gears to slight vanilla and dark fruit to finish. 4.0
M: Feel is appropriate for the style. Not slick or oily but not thin either. Carbonation is right in the middle of the range which keeps the feel where it belongs yet still reasonably drinkable. 4.0
O: Overall a good BA imperial stout but not world class or outstanding. A nice one to try. 4.0
Jan 25, 2016
 
Rated: 4.23 by kzz from California

Jan 17, 2016
 
Rated: 3.9 by Shawner from Minnesota

Jan 15, 2016
Photo of Tdizzle
Reviewed by Tdizzle from California

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
L - Lair of the Bear pours inky black with a dark tan-colored head of foam that sticks around for quite a while, leaving swirl patterns and a thick ring along the inside of the glass. A few streaks of lacing cling to the glass on the drink down.

S - A wonderful aroma with layers of milk chocolate, toffee, toasted bread, dark fruits, big roast, and bold notes of whiskey barrel. The 9.5% ABV is fairly subdued.

T - The flavor is strong with barrel character. The enticingly sweet elements that the aroma promised are a bit overshadowed. Prominent notes of bitter dark chocolate and heavy roast blanket the palate. A sharp, oaky char lingers well after the sip. The finish is only slightly dry, and the high ABV lends a lasting warmth.

F - The texture is thick, smooth, rich, full-bodied, viscous, and slick. The carbonation is dialed in nicely.

O - A luscious, flavorful beer that boasts a slightly better aroma than flavor, but still very enjoyable. A "must try" for lovers of barrel-aged beers, and one that I would definitely revisit. Slightly underrated, in my opinion, as this beer's 89-point rating feels a bit low for a beer of this stature.
Dec 31, 2015
Photo of notchucknorris
Reviewed by notchucknorris from California

4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A: Pours a viscous black with a nice one finger khaki colored head that leaves some thick lace behind with each sip.

S: A little faint, but smells really nice. Wet wood and char, light toffee and coffee grounds and a touch of molasses.

T: Lots of heavily roasted malt, black licorice, tobacco and tar. Light toffee and caramel before they're swallowed by more roasty malt, charred wood and bourbon. Body is just a touch light, but this is a really solid beer.
Oct 07, 2015
Photo of Absolut
Reviewed by Absolut from California

4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
poured into a snifter at home. been aging 6 months or so.

pours a dark brown with a solid tab head. very thick pour.

smells of chocolate and booze. some toasty malt.

at first the taste is very hot- booze forward. I let it warm and the chocolate, tobacco, wood and caramel come through.

feel is smooth, almost like a stout on nitro.

I really like this beer and am glad I let it warm.
Sep 29, 2015
Lair Of The Bear from Mammoth Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 117 ratings