Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout
2,434 Ratings
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Big Bear is a big, black, stout you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavor is balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops.

2009 California State Fair – 2nd GOLD
2009 LA International Beer Competition – GOLD
2007 Great American Beer Festival® American-Style Stout – SILVER
2002 World Beer Cup - GOLD

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-05-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,434 |  Reviews: 1,152
Photo of flyboy14295
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of RickyBauer
2/5  rDev -51.6%

Photo of Sunn
2/5  rDev -51.6%

Photo of DaggerEyes
2.13/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I don't know if I got a bad bottle of this stuff or what but this Big Bear Black Stout was a total let down and almost undrinkable...

Pours a deep bark black with a rich creamy mocha head.

Lovely nose with scents of milk chocolate and raisins.

The entrance is very active, slightly smokey and sweet, on the finish the beer is somewhat bland and has an AWFUL milky-chimical taste on the after taste. I feel that something had to have been off with this beer because I couldn't even finish it due to the offputting after taste.

Judging by everyone else reviews I think I got a bum bottle, hopefully when I get another some day this beer will redeem itself

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Photo of chicagoanbeerone
2.15/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

very rich dark stout that smells well , a nice smooth bitterness , quite tastey for a stout, can not tatse the alchol heavy but not to over done more simple. The stout needed more flavor from hops and maybe coffee would have been nice overall i would pass on this beer

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Photo of tigg924
2.2/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: dark brown in color with minimal head, clear, low carbonation...I wish this had a better head to it.

Smell: coffee, dark chocolate, and some funky medicinal smell

Taste: dark chocolate, hops, coffee, and some medicinal aftertaste

Mouthfeel: light bodied, low carbonation, bitter with slight sweetness

Overall: Probably my least favorite from the brewery so far. I think it is the aftertaste that is throwing this one way off..It is a bit like bitter medicine mixed with Bosco. I like a lot of stouts and appreciate a good bitter one, but this one was a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of JJFordick
2.25/5  rDev -45.5%

Photo of drone
2.43/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of jmerloni
2.46/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown body with nothin' shining through. Big beige head that laces well. Looks good.

S - Meh. Not much on the aroma. Oak, molasses, milk chocolate.

T - Meh. Even less here. Dry chocolate, artificial vanilla, dead hops. This is pretty bad.

M - Hits grainy chocolate and comes apart like a soda whose flatness is accelerating. Meh again.

D - Bear Republic is one of my favorite breweries - I ADORE Racer 5 and Hop Rod - but this beer is a disaster as far as I'm concerned. I'm not even going to bother going into where this beer could be better because it's a synopsis that is a couple paragraphs long. In short, this is a mediocre beer that was rained on and left outside mistakenly overnight. Wouldn't recommend it, and I wouldn't get it again.

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Photo of spamages
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of craftbeerasian
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of ajs4bd
2.5/5  rDev -39.5%

Photo of n2185
2.68/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours black with a finger of beige head that recedes into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts up front followed by some creamy chocolate aromas. There are some dark fruit aromas in there as well and some light citrusy notes from the hops.

T: Roasted malts with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate and some roasted coffee notes towards the finish. A bit bland, really.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer has a watery feel to it for a stout.

O: Not a very good beer. Just bland and watery overall with no defining characteristics to set it apart (in a good way) from the masses of other imperial stouts.

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Photo of jsh420
2.73/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark dark brown with a 1 finger head that left spotted lacing

smell is not very strong but i was able to pick up roasted malts and hops

taste is way to thin and watery not what i want or expect in a RIS - tastes of watery roasted malts choclate and hops

mouthfeel is very watery and well carbonated

drinkabilty is good just for the fact you can pound these if you wanted to but if i am going to drink a stout this watery hand me a cheap guinness

overall i was disappointed in this offering from bear republic since they put out good ipa (racer5 hop rod) but some breweries cant do every style

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Photo of fafa50
2.75/5  rDev -33.4%

Photo of thegodfather2701
2.75/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A-poured into my chimay chalice. Its nowhere near as thick and dark as other RISs. Its black, but not pitch black more like a shade darker than cola. Head dissipates quickly leaving a slight ring of foam and leaves some slight lacing.

S-Not much going on here in comparison to other RISs. It smells sweet, mostly of brown sugar, not much coffee or roasted malts. Very weak nose.

T-I must say I was surprised by the first sip, there is more flavor than the nose would lead one to believe. However, the flavor isn't really like the nose its more robust with iced coffee dominating, some roasted malts, and it has some hoppiness to it as well.

M-very thin for an RIS it feels more like a stout or porter.

D-very drinkable RIS, I see this beer as a beginners RIS not very complex, thick, or high in alcohol content for the style.

Overall, this was very disappointing, even for only spending just under $5.00 on a bomber. I was expecting much more. I wish I had of spent a couple more dollars and tried something else. Even in its price range this doesn't compare to other RISs such as Storm King and Old Rasputin, which blow this away. I rarely say this, but I do not recommend this RIS unless you are trying to branch out into the style and do not want something too overpowering.

 1,282 characters

Photo of ChicagoNick
2.75/5  rDev -33.4%

Photo of trytoketchup
2.75/5  rDev -33.4%

Photo of vkv822
2.79/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours black with a thick, foamy light brown head.

The aroma and taste are a bit muted, but consist mainly of some roast malts, lending a slight cocoa and coffee character.

Nice medium to full body with light carbonation.

A decent Imperial Stout overall, and would do in a pinch to satisfy a craving for one, but nothing too memorable in the large world of Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
2.83/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks Sideswipe! Even though I respect "The Bros" reviews, I have no idea how they gave this one an A+. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Koningshoeven snifter. Pours a thin'er black with reddish tinge. Head is light brown last lasts pretty long, and when it dissapates...remains a thin surface head. Lacing is pretty good though...sticky and remains for quite some time.

Aroma is pretty bitter. Stout like characteristics, mostly overroasted coffee bitters...and that's about it...unfortunately.

Stouts are my favorite beer, but when they resemble too much bitterness, it kills it for me. This one flirted with that line. At first, I picked up a licorice or bitter chocolate, followed by hoppy bitterness that was strong and lingered for a few minutes. There wasn't much sweetness to compliment the bitterness. Medium to thin(for a stout) mouthfeel. Crisp and carbonated, another opposite of great stouts. Booze was pretty well hidden while cold, became more pronounced as it warmed up to room temp.

 1,003 characters

Photo of funjack5150
2.88/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I'm not happy with this supposed to be an Imperial Stout. Drinks more like a Porter to me. Very thin on the taste. I like a creamy stout, but that's just me. This that's like a hoppy beer, although I love hoppy beer..... I DON'T want my Imperial Stouts to taste HOPPY!!!! If I want a "hoppy beer" I'll drink an IPA, thank you!!

 329 characters

Photo of negroobserver
2.93/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle. 8.1% abv. No production or expiration date.

C: Dark, almost black. In direct sunlight, very little sunlight penetrates the glass. Pours with about 1 1/2 inches of cappucino brown head, which dissipates over two or three minutes and leaves behind ample visible lacing on the glass. You will also find a cocoa powder colored sediment at the bottom of your glass (not uncommon), which tells me that its unfiltered.

S: Coffee. Roasted malts. Nutty overtones. Light hint of chocolatey sweetness.

T: Roasted nutty taste is at the forefront on this beer. Strong presence of alcohol. There is a moderate bitter finish with a smoky aftertaste and a hint of alcohol.

M: Light carbonation. It has a light, almost watery texture for a stout.

Overall Grade: C

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Photo of waldowin
2.96/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a dark-coffee brown, with a thin tan head, that fades to a ring fairly quickly. Not as dark or thick as I expected from an imperial stout.

Smells of coffee, oak, and a hint of bourbon. Surprisingly not alcohol-heavy on the scent.

Taste is of roast, coffee, and toffee, with a hint of salt, which is probably the hops. The malt, alcohol, and hops, are not very aggressive here, and are almost overpowered by the coffee.

Mouthfeel is slightly gritty, and a little bit thin. A little bit slick and oily on the sides of the mouth.

It's not bad, but it's not one I'd buy another of. I tend to like my russian imperial stouts very, very rich and hearty however, so that may have knocked it down a bit in my review.

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Photo of SmashPants
2.98/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: standard brown long-neck ping glass, "big" U.S.-style label. The quality packaging has me looking forward to a great beer.

Appearance: liquid jet back with a 1cm thick tan head with good retention. So far so good!

Aroma: dominated by heavy roasted malts, some caramels and coffee / biscuit. A touch of citrus hops underneath, which is odd for a Stout.

Taste: goes all wrong for me here. Not really too much going on - it actually tastes like a standard Milk Stout with some roasted malt poured in. Very disappointing. Definitely doesn't taste like an Imperial Stout.

Aftertaste: pretty much follows the taste. Lingers reasonably well, but only with a bittering off-malt flavour - which is never pleasant.

Mouthfeel: reasonable mouthfeel for a Stout - low carbonation and heavy body.

Overall: I was expecting big things from this beer, and unfortunately it didn't deliver. I will openly admit that I generally drink English / Irish / Australian Stouts & Porters, so maybe I am not used to the U.S. versions yet. Will have to try a few more then revisit this beer later.

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 2,434 ratings