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Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,135 Reviews
Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,135
Ratings:
2,370
Avg:
4.13
pDev:
14.04%
 
 
Wants:
180
Gots:
245
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,135 | Ratings: 2,370
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.21/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Unknown vintage; drank 11/5/14 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black hue.

Dark tan head; a curtain of lace.

Black licorice & fresh earth nose.

Medium thick, flat mouthfeel.

Fresh earth & mild black licorice flavors up front; a mild pickle juice hop presence emerges as this warms. This is something no imperial stout should be; boring & forgettable.

 350 characters

Photo of the_awesometeer
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a dark black with a thin foamy brown head. The beer has a nice chocolate smell and roasted nuts with coffee. I get a hint of piney hops under all the deep dark aromas. The beer has a rich chocolate flavor and roasted malts. The coffee flavor is also very strong. The malts bring a slight sweetness under the roasted bitterness. The mouth-feel is very thick and smooth.

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Photo of Act25
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love the brewer, the county, the attitude.

A: Pours a dark brown-black color with a 1 inch tan head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell: Smells IPA-like, with citrus / pine hops mixing with sweet malt, earthy, roasted coffee, and fresh sawn wood notes

Taste: Starts out with a sweet chocolate flavor that blends with dark cherry and plum ripe fruits, then in the long finish it's hops, pine, cedar, fresh cut, woody dry kindling flavors into the finish. Sweet and pungent balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with good weight, sticky, and low carbonation.

O: An American Double Stout / RIS that's sticky, sweet, with balance, hefty and smooth. Try 24.

 655 characters

Photo of leaddog
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate brown with four fingers of frothy mocha head.

Smell - roasted malts, cocoa, coffee bean, hint of black licorice, and earthy and leafy hops.

Taste - Roasted malts followed by the bitterness from the cocoa and coffee bean. There is a caramel sweetness that is present as well. The earthy and leafy hops make their presence known followed by the hint of licorice.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with light to moderate carbonation. Finishes smooth with a lingering bitterness from the malts, cocoa, and coffee bean.

Overall - A big roasty stout from Bear Republic that is dangerously smooth. All flavours work in unison with one another. A nice find here in Cowtown.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Here comes the thick black stout with 1/2" brown head. Aroma hits the chocolate and roasted coffee from the malt feels, but also drops a substantial Cascade hop contingent.

This is quite a hoppy stout. No aspect is underdone, its big on the roast, malt and hops. Thankfully the mouthfeel doesn't reveal a lot of alcohol. Yeast is neutral. Chewy.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black color with a mocha head. This eventually dissipates into a thin ring of lace.
I'm drawn in by the sweet and cocoa crispier like aroma. Very pleasant, warm and inviting.
In the flavor, there is sweetness; dark fruit, alcohol, nutty and, most prominently, cocoa. There is also a nice hops presence in the finish that is bittersweet. Moderately full and velvety in the mouthfeel. Nice alcohol warming without being boozy.
This is a real quality stout by a great brewery.

 485 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Blu Wolf Bistro in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a pretty ominous dark black, with a small head, and just a little bit of lacing.

Smells like roasted malt, piney hops, licorice, and black coffee.

This is a really solid stout here- it doesn't have a whole lot of sweetness. It's definitely West Coast in style, as there's some definite hop bitterness, with roasted malt, and burnt coffee, with a hint of licorice. I don't really get the caramel flavor the description promises.

This is medium bodied. I wish it was a little creamier, it almost feels a bit ashy on the palate.

This is a solid, old-school stout. Not my favorite in this range, but still very good.

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Photo of MeganandDana
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love this stuff. A local pizzeria makes a dessert using this stout and espresso gelato to make a float. We make it at home using coffee ice cream. Excellent. Have used other stouts, but this one works the best.

 210 characters

Photo of puck1225
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Very dark brown with a nice light brown head and lacing. Sweet chocolate smell. Taste is of chocolate and licorice, with a bit of coffee and toffee. Enjoyable!

 199 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle - I've oft come across this brew in my wanderings, but never pulled the trigger on it, for one reason or another. Now, of course, it plops right down into my lap (courtesy of my fave local bottleshop).

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with subtle basal amber edges, and four fingers of puffy, rocky, and chunky brown head, which leaves some thickly splattered op-art lace around the glass as it lazily sinks out of sight.

It smells of bittersweet chocolate, bready and doughy caramel malt, some free-range roast, cafe-au-lait, a hint of Scandahoovian licorice, real vanilla, a mixed tropical fruitiness, and leafy, piney, and slightly perfumed floral hops. The taste is lightly toasted, bready and sugary caramel/toffee malt, lush medium cocoa, well-creamed coffee, vanilla cookies, muddled dark orchard fruit (very berry-forward), black licorice, and very down-low earthy, leafy, and piney green hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite understated in its punch-clock frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and mostly smooth (just a bit of that as yet masked booziness showing up to mildly ill applause), and somewhat creamy. It finishes well off-dry, the lingering caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and milky notes ensuring that outcome.

Overall, I'm sure that this was the shit, bee's knees, boss, whatever, back when it had fewer throne-usurping competitors out there, but now it ranks as merely really good, instead of existing among those elite ranks that big-ass American stouts can attain in these currently heady days.

 1,544 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Donovan's Pub on 08/12/16.

Opaque black with a thin tan head that fades to a thin ring on top and leaves spots of lace. Roasted malt, cocoa and subtle herbal aromas. Big roasted malt and cocoa and faint coffee flavors with faint earthy hops on the finish. A fairly standard but, solid stout.

 304 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black in color with no light penetration. There's a solid inch of densely packed brown froth resting on top. The aroma is of dark malt, chocolate, caramel, and piney hops. The taste is on the sweeter side with luscious milk chocolate, caramel, and some piney hops to give it a nice bitter finish. The mouth is rich, creamy, and smooth.

 339 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Coffee, cocoa powder, dark berries and hoppy. Balanced between the roasty and nutty malts and the oily hops. Very drinkable, doesn't seem like a double stout, it's not boozy at all. It could easily be a session beer, but watch out. Dry and smooth mouthfeel

 256 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid finger of tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A roasty and rich dark malt driven aroma with a scent of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Dark roasted barley malt with a scent of chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, and nuts with yeast. Sweet hints of vanilla and molasses. Nice hints of licorice along with some dark fruit hints of raisin, fig, and prune. Also some hints of earthy hops. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a roasty and rich dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, and nuts along with some yeast. Sweet taste of molasses and some vanilla. Some good notes of black licorice. Dark fruit notes of raisin, prune, and fig. Background notes of earthy hops. A very nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, chewy, and pretty smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A very good Imperial Stout. Good roasty malt notes with some nice licorice and dark fruit undertones.

 1,209 characters

Photo of cbenson
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: As dark as they come. Looks exactly like iridescent black paint. The head is tan and fairly dense with long retention.
Smell: Intense even for a stout. Chocolate, caramel, licorice, oak, alcohol. It kind of smells like rum.
Taste: Tons of chocolate with notes of licorice, toffee candy, and espresso. The malts are doughy. Alcohol is very noticeable.
Feel: I expected it to feel thick and dull but it was surprisingly full-bodied and prickly like grape soda. Perfect balance.
Overall: Typically I don't enjoy beers that can't mask their alcohol well but something about the combo of chocolate, hearty malts, and the yeast make this beer amazing. I only wish it were on the lighter side for being a desert beer. I feel like I'm drinking a whole cake.

 760 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black. Quite outstanding head volume, world class lacing and retention.

Outstanding nose of semi-sweet dark chocolate, roast, caramel, vanilla hints and a light berry like note.

Light full body that is extremely smooth with a solid creaminess. World class carbonation with just the right carbonation / body balance. The middle provides a nice effervescent burst that trails into a finely bubbled prickly finish.

The flavor profile is world class. Balance is near perfect for this stout that brings a nice pine middle bitterness that compliments the roast. It begins with a mild roast character that has just enough bite. Caramel provides a higher level of sweetness than most stouts and shines after the middle as the chocolate influence maximizes. You don't taste the alcohol, but it makes its presence in the very dry lingering finish and with a bit of heat.

 881 characters

Photo of arlo19
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Solid stout. Nothing jumps out, but it is well balanced and malty. Not much carbonation or aroma. Very drinkable. Inexpensive so that makes it one I'll return to.

 162 characters

Photo of Zebulan
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz into a Belgian beer glass.

L: Nice dark black pour with tan head. Head disappears rather quickly.
S: Unremarkable smell. Faint sweet smell; faint chocolate or caramel smell.
T: Roasted malts and caramel taste. Just a little warm and boozy but not offensive at all.
F: Smooth feel. Warm in the mouth. Balanced all around.
O: Really nice and solid American stout. Great example of a classic stout. Would recommend you try it if classic stouts are your thing.

 488 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind

S- Dark roasted malt with a pronounced earthy hop presence. Also a bit of booze fume.

T- Dark roasted malt brings some caramel sweetness and a bit of char to the table. Somewhat high level of hop bitterness for the style but it reacts well with the roastiness. Alcohol is concealed rather well.

M- A bit sharp and moderately viscous. Medium carbonation and a full body.

O- A hop-forward but well-balanced stout.

 720 characters

Photo of unclekeith
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bomber in a Teku

L: Jet black with a thin beige head - quickly dissipating to a tiny collar
S: Roast malt, caramel, chocolate
T: Follows the nose
M: Creamy, a tad thinner than expected
O: Great roasted stout, nice sweetness, wish this was readily available in Alaska

 267 characters

Photo of Reema
4.71/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a shaker pint

Pours extremely dark brown (essentially black) with mocha colored suds. Smells of dark chocolate, coffee grounds, slight vegetal hoppiness, and a pleasant caramel toffee scent. Taste reflects the smell perfectly. Dark chocolate, stronger coffee flavors, stronger hops bite and flavor, along with a nice caramel toffee flavor. Initial dark chocolate and coffee flavors flow into a hops vegetal flavor which finalize with a pleasant caramel malty sweetness. The feel is thick with moderate carbonation. Works well with the heavier flavors. Overall this is a good stout with a strangely pleasant hops flavor and bitterness that really work well. It's darn good!

 705 characters

Photo of GuitarIPA
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate and espresso - on the nose and the tongue. Appearance is feint black with nice tan lacing. Full bodied, but not boozy. A little sweet on the finish.

 163 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into small chalice, color is black, head is light tan, some light lacing

Smell is a little boozy, followed by some roasted malt and coffee grinds

Taste is big, heavy roasted malt, then some coffee grinds, booze is noticeable in the finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit heavy, but expected, strong presence and large bitterness and sweetness that comingle - need some dessert to counter balance the big presence.

Overall, very good strong, sweeter stout, fairly bitter and strong mouthfeel

 489 characters

Photo of thepenguin
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed 2/4/12

L: Black as the next imperial stout. Pretty decent lacing.

S: Roasty to say the least -- somewhere between black chocolate and a bold roast coffee. Rich dark malts; you can really pick out the chocolate malt. A hint of alcohol.

T: Pleasant dark malt and hop bitterness merge as one, complimenting the other and lingering after the sip. Slightly dessert-like, but bitterness runs the show here. A little bit of discernable alcohol.

F: Very little carbonation. Body is medium-full; lighter than expected yet slick. Slight alcoholic warmth.

O: This is a decent imperial stout, but quite hoppy and bitter and lacking in maltiness to balance it out; in that sense, it seems somewhat unidemensional and I wouldn't call this one world-class. Also, while aroma is pretty nice, I would have preferred a thicker mouthfeel and slightly more carbonation.

 873 characters

Photo of bgold86
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty average stout, helps that it's pretty cheap. Not much to talk about here, it's serviceable at 8.1%, taste is kind of ok, some dark dried fruit and chocolate notes.

 170 characters

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 2,370 ratings.
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