Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,404 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,404 |  Reviews: 1,146
Photo of loupap
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of rrock44
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lawnboy33
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of EmmetD
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of plumcrazyfx
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Pellinore1
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of throwback
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of mkotsayfan
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber. Pours a nice dark black with a mocha colored head that is about two fingers. The aroma has a nice amount of chocolate and roasted malts, along with some hops. The taste has chocolate and malt notes, along with a hint of vanilla and coffee aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, along with being very smooth and creamy.

A very solid stout, quite a nice bang for your buck on this one. Wouldn't mind more of these in the future.

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Photo of Daktyls
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark black color with a one fingered tan head that dissipates to a half-fine, half-rocky head that clings mostly to the outside edge of the glass.

S: Malty notes are present along with light cocoa and coffee notes. I'm also detecting a very light amount of floral hops and dark fruits.

T: Definitely on the lighter side again with some maltiness present and I'm picking up some light amount of hops as well. Very light on the cocoa and chocolate, but still present.

M: Almost a little watery, which contributes to the lightness. Medium amount of carbonation offsets the lightness a bit.

O: Still going to give 4.0 overall, definitely a tasty beer and enjoyable, but I wish it were a little heavier and thicker.

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Photo of azdback
3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone Imperial glass. Deep, dark black. Just the lightest of off black highlights. A pretty aggressive pour results in a little over a finger of light mocha colored head. Lace isn't sticking now but we'll see.

Smell is of dark roasted malts. Chocolate and coffee lead the pack. There is just a hint of smoke or char and maybe some sweet molasses and tart cherries.

The taste has lost a lot of the nose. The char and super roasted malts remain, but the chocolate and coffee aren't there. Kind of a disappointment.

Mouth is a bit crisp and the carbonation is prickly. Body is medium and the finish is average and dry for a Double Stout.

Overall I didn't enjoy this one, but didn't hate it either. A great and reasonably priced Double Stout to maybe start your beer journey with but not one you will enjoy well into it.

 835 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out with a nice looking black color with a healthy brown head on top also. The lacing wasn't too bad here. The smell of the beer was chocolaty and roasted much like any stout should smell. The taste of the beer was rich with dark malts and some roasted bitterness. The mouthfeel was above average to me, I thought that the carbonation level was pretty good and the body itself wasn't too thin either. OVerall this wasn't a bad Stout, I'd say it worth having.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bomber of this for $3.99. Pours jet black, nice and creamy tan head. Aroma is nice and roasty. Taste is medium to heavy bodied, nice roasted malt and a great hop backbone to it. Awesome mouthfeel, well balanced, and goes down wicked smooth. A great stout, hides the ABV well and is definitely one of the better beers of this style I've tried.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Rich dark brown color with a light beige head that does not recede completely and leaves some small amounts of lacing. Aroma is that of dark chocolate, sweet malts and a bit of roasty-ness. Taste is that of a chocolate bar dipped in coffee and then roasted with malts. YUM.

Mouthfeel is medium but it feels heavier because of the richness of the flavor. Very, very drinkable...this was a favorite of my brother who usually hates beer.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of the darkest brown-black. It puts up a one and a half finger head of latte colored bubbles. This shows good retention, and never really goes away. The lacing is very sticky, creeping and oozing around the glass. Carbonation appears medium, but it is hard to see, and the same goes for haze and sediment. The aroma is of deep chocolate, as in a tootsie roll. This is sweet, with bitter chalkiness. There is the added sweetness of fruit, but this seems soaked with booze. The coolness of heavy creamer and the steely bite of raw coffee come in for the balance. The malts are heavily roasted, to the point of being charred and smoky, with an almost woodiness about them. With warmth there is a strong licorice note. As we sip, the flavor begins with lactic sourness, grassy hops, and darker malts. There are also citric hops and metals, which cut the darker flavors quite a bit. At the peak of the flavor, and through the middle, we see char and unsweetened cocoa. This quickly calms down with cutting white sugars, and cleaner, less smoky malts. The finish revives that curious souring flavor, with thin hop oils, and a burnt malt to pucker the last drops of each sip. The aftertaste breathes of strong coffee bean, hollow steel, sticky sweetness, and white sugars. This is all wrapped up in a smoky cloak. The body is light to medium and the carbonation is medium. There is definite drying astringency from the bittering chocolate and coffee flavors. With each sip comes nice cream and smack, but less slurp. The abv is appropriate, and this is wildly drinkable.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the look, and then the smell. The color was beautifully rich in color, and the head retained forever. The aroma then set things up with full inclusions of everything you would expect. What was really nice was when the beer warmed, and everything calmed down a bit. On the down side, the beer was thinner than one might like, and it really doesn’t give enough substance behind the nice base of flavors and aromas built.

 2,050 characters

Photo of bigdrewsmoove
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a bomber I picked up from CBX.

A-Poured aggressively into my glass to see what kind of head I could get. It is the most "chunky" I've ever seen on a head. Nice brown color with good lacing as it goes down.

S- Sweet smell, but what is surprising is the hops on the nose. Very unfamiliar to me for a stout in my limited experience.

T-Man this is good. Very sweet chocolate is present to start with a nice bitterness coming through at the end.

M- Some kick, you know you're drinking 8% on this one. A nice sting but not too overpowering.

O- Very glad I picked this one up. Been trying a lot of stouts lately but this one is a much better quality than I've experienced thus far. Great brew, def. recommend.

 739 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep deep near black. Head is thin and leaves a couple rings of lacing.
S- The smell is less roasted and more sweet than expected. Caramel, vanilla, light chocolate.
T- It's a tasty beer, but the sweetness is overwhelming the roasted malt. Caramel heavy, with notes of vanilla and espresso. More roasted malt flavor would be appreciated.
M- Medium-light body for a double stout. Body is somewhere between a normal and double stout. Smooth body, sweetness lasts on the tongue.
O- A good stout, but I found it leaned a bit too much on the sweet aspects of the beer. Still worth a try.

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Photo of agomega
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a Stone IRS Snifter

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black with a large, creamy tan head. Good lacing.

Smell: A lot of specialty malt aromas including caramel and chocolate. There is also a noticeable citrus hop presence.

Taste: Very smooth and well balanced. Good malty backbone with some caramel and chocolate notes similar to the nose. Finish is slightly bitter with some slight citrus hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Fairly dry for a big 8% stout. Very easy to drink. Even my wife had several sips.

Overall: An excellent beer that is easy to drink and well balanced. Definitely worth buying again.

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Photo of mattyb
3.18/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber, no date that I could see.

Overall this was just an average stout to me, nothing special.

A - It poured a nice dark brown, first pour had a small head, second pour I was a little more aggressive and got an one inch head.

S - Smelled of chocolate and malt.

T - Pretty straightforward, nothing too complex, some chocolate malt, and a hint of vanilla.

M - A little thin mouthfeel with good carbonation

O - Like I began with, just an average stout for me.

 466 characters

Photo of mltobin
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber, poured into a pint glasss.

The appearance is a dark brown color with a short tan head. The nose on this stout contains roasted malts, caramel and some coffee. While the taste of this offering from Bear Republic has vanilla, smoke, espresso and black licorice. The mouthfeel is medium with a decent carbonation level. Not a great stout, but a tasty one.

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Photo of marty21
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Alibi Room

A: It’s a dark brown, almost black with 1 finger worth of very light brown head. Settles to a nice cap and left tons of lacing.

S: Dark roasted malts with some dark chocolate and coffee. I do get a hint of alcohol on the nose as well.

T: More dark roasted malts along with the dark chocolate and coffee. There also seemed to be enough hops in this stout to actually taste them.

M: Medium carbonation with a medium body.

O: Big Bear was a really tasty and easy to drink stout especially for it being relatively higher in alcohol.

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Photo of Rschis16
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flat black in color, no room for light. Little tan head that doesn't stick around for too long, but does leave nice lacing. The smell is simply awesome. Huge amounts of caramel malts and dark roasted malts combine into a sweetish aroma that begs you to take a sip. Every whiff is aromatic, smelling slightly sour almost, but with a woody back that sets everything off. Very balanced nose.

Doesn't taste like other stouts I've had. This one is medium to full in body, with a certain sourness from a combination of the caramel malts and wood-like smokiness. The sourness has a sweetnes to it that goes well in balancing other flavors of dark roasted malts that sit in as the backbone while those other flavors go to work in making this a very unique stout. The caramel malts through and through become the main character of this beer. They offer a sweetness that outshines other, traditionally simpler stout flavors. Those dark roasted malts give this beer a perfect background on which to other tastes can play around on your palate. Such a unique beer is nothing less than I'd expect from a good brewery. The three others I've had from Bear Republic (Hop Rod Rye being my favorite) have all been stellar. This is no exception, so buy if you see it. Decent price for the bomber as well.

 1,287 characters

Photo of aorloski
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a very dark black liquid with about a half fingers worth of mocha colored head that quickly disappears. Not as thick as i like my stouts, looks a little thin and highly carbonated. Carbonation running from the bottom of the glass up to the top quickly.

Smell - Burnt roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and bitter chocolate. A mild espresso note runs in the background to hold it all together.

Taste - Very impressive. Again like the nose, nice roasted malts and bitter chocolates. right up front you are met with the bitterness, in the middle of the tongue comes the malts and ends with a very nice chocolate/coffee taste. Great tasting beer.

Mouthfeel - A little to thin and carbonated than i like but not that bad.

Overall - I really enjoy this beer, it is readily available and only 6 bucks a bomber. It is my go to cheap good tasting stout. Is it the best stout I've ever had? Far from it, does it still hold its ground in this category? Absolutely.

 974 characters

Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a 22oz bottle; poured into a snifter.

A: Pours near-black with a coffee-coloured head. Looks enticing!

S: Nice stout aromas. Chocolate and molasses with some roast and burnt toast.

T: All the flavours in the nose are present, but damn is this one hoppy stout! Yeah, a bit too much IBUs for my likes (at least when I'm not expecting it). It actually now borders the line of Black IPA.

D: Drinkability is just average. It does feel heavier than its ABV, but the mouthfeel is nice, so no worries.

Overall: Middle-of-the-road stout for me. The price cannot be beat and its definitely unique, but this is a bit too boozy and hoppy for an American Double Stout.

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.13 out of 5 based on 2,404 ratings.
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