Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,411 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,411 |  Reviews: 1,147
Photo of 2neardead
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of cornucopia
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of cmq103
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle I picked up at The Beer Store in Southampton PA, into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass.

Appearance: A thicker, dark black color is noticed during a semi-aggressive pour, which resulted in a 1/2" tan head. Lacing was present but spotty with much larger bubbles than what I expected.

Smell: Roasted malts dominate the nose followed by a hint of molasses and vanilla. Not as bold as I would have liked for the Imperial Stout style. As the beer warms and with several swirls of the glass, I catch some mild booziness. All in all, I'm a little disappointed by the weaker nose. I really did expect more. The big roasted malt aroma is promising though.

Taste: Roasted malts, malts and more malts, followed by a mild hop bite, sweet caramel and a hint of molasses. A pleasant dark coffee-hop bitterness in the finish. Nice, but again, I expected more. As the beer warms I catch the booziness right at the end of the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation was adequate for this moderate to heavy beer with a dry, slightly bitter finish. The 8+% ABV is well hidden by the roasted malts and bitter finish in my opinion.

Overall: This was a pretty darn good beer that got better as it warmed. A 22 oz. bottle is the perfect size for one night. I would recommend this beer for any Imperial Stout fan.

 1,309 characters

Photo of jak
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

 593 characters

Photo of kornkid8600
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of fergster75
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of tobelerone
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An opaque, nearly jet-black stout with a good-sized brown head that sinks quickly to a thin band on top. Not much lacing.

Aroma is a nice mix of dark chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt, with a noticeable undertone of hoppy bitterness. The flavor is much the same; with all the elements well-balanced. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roast, molasses, a hint of anise and dark fruitiness. No single taste dominates or stands out in particular; it’s a tasty but not particularly “big” example of the style. A bit easier drinking and moderate than American Imperials often seem to be these days. Hoppy but not overly so. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

Medium carbonation and a medium body for the style; not too chewy or sticky. I think I’ve actually come to prefer (and expect) a bit thicker and viscous mouthfeel from an IS so while this is certainly acceptable I’d prefer something a little more hefty. Very sensible; not an “extreme” stout by any means. Well-crafted and enjoyable but a little short of top-notch for me. Quite drinkable.

 1,055 characters

Photo of kdown
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of muttyd
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of bozodogbreath
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of pavpav12
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of imbibehour
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter.

A nice light and large cocoa head forms wonderfully, lots of retention and togetherness, slow falling. Body is a very dark walnut truly getting black but with also some large carbonation in places. Scattered lacing and lots of leopard like prints on the glass.

Fruity barleywine nose, mixing in soft anisette qualities. Rich, strong, a little boozy smelling also.

Light roasting char, with a good malt presence. Palate feel is a little wet, but manages to have some body but not much. Lightly flavored, kind of fleeting tastes that don't bring themselves forward. Mostly some burnt char on the aftertaste which is nice.

Overall, kind of ordinary, but certainly not awful. I guess I was expecting a little more.

 766 characters

Photo of caseyoharaa
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of bigred89
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of tbizzle0
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of JohnWaynes44
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black pour in a tulip with a light tan fluffy 3 finger head. Some lacing and nice retention. Licorice and alcohol on the nose. Toasty, burnt anise at first and then nutty with some toffee and candle wax with more licorice with a long finish. Alcohol is present throughout. Feel is really good. Medium body and the the very sharp carbonation lingers on the tongue. Drinkability could be better. It is a little harsh. It is good, but it is missing something to make it great for me. Bigger malt and more coffee. A little to anise for me.

 541 characters

Photo of jcanddr
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of anwo56
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Daveychu
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of musicman575
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dark, brownish-black, espresso-like color. Not much head, but what's there is pretty brown.

Has a pretty heavy bourbon smell on top of strong roasted malts.

It's immediately bitter, but in a very balanced and pleasing way (not like when you get a cup of coffee that is way too strong). It tastes more like chicory than hops.

It leaves a good warm feeling and a lot of noticeable booze as I breathe out of my nose. Aftertastes of coffee linger.

 452 characters

Photo of HungarianCount
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 2,411 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.