Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout
2,432 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: 2,432 |  Reviews: 1,152
Photo of skrib09
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pitch black imperial stout with a light brown head. good retention.

smells of roasted candy. the more i smell it the more smoke flavor comes through.

tastes really sweet with roasty notes. great flavor. i am impressed. good balance of roasted malt and sweetness with some alcohol in there.

smooth feel, a hint of alcohol.

great drinkability for an imperial stout!

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured this bomber into a stout pint glass where it threw up a head that overwhelmed the pour - tight and meringue like - the color here was a coffee brown with with a lot of particulate matter visible - don't know what's up with that but it still tasted real good -i'll need to get hold of another to see the sediment/particulate re-occurs

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Photo of jgap
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black into a stone RIS glass with substantial head that lingers and eventually fades to a lace that lasts throughout. Smell is thick, roasted malts and hops. Slight alcohol finish. Taste is toffee, burnt malt, and lots of coffee. Strong hops and light alcohol finish. Great, full beer.

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Photo of birchstick
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - jet black with a chocolaty head
S - chocolate malts with some nice toffee notes
T - burnt malts stand out the most. There are some chocolate tones as well. There is some slight grapefruit hop on the finish.
M - goes down too smoothly. Nice carbonation but just a tad bit thin.
D - This is a great RIS. A little more on the hoppy side, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless.

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

Received in trade from MASPuros, thanks again!

Poured into a 1l glass mug. Deep brown/black color with a finger of dark brown head. Head retention is average and theres a little bit of lacing.

Smell is of dark roasted malts, bitter hop, and some molasses.

Taste is moderately complex. Roasted dark malt dominates. Notes of chocolate, molasses, dark fruit and spice blend in the finish. It's hard to detect the flavor sometimes as the bittering covers some of it. Alcohol is undetectable, which makes me happy.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and heavy bodied. I'm pleased with the carbonation level, and I'm happy that the ABV is only 8. I'm rather annoyed with the trend of going for a super-high ABV in stouts, as the alcohol gets too strong to enjoy the full flavor.

Drinkability is good. This isn't my favorite stout but it is good. I could drink this paired with some nice barbecue.

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Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 0z bomber. Black pour with a nice dark tan frothy head, which lasted the entire mug. Some light lacing. Roasty aromas of coffe and malt, some earthy hops. Dark chocolate and heavily roasted/burnt malt, finished rather clean. Quite drinkable. Somewhere between a RIS and a dry stout. A bit too dry to me, which is saying something because I enjoy a dry stout, but still good.

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Photo of hophead247
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle..Pours a deep black with a creamy light tan head that sustained and left some lacing. Aroma was a mix of citrus hops followed by a nice roasty/chocolate malt balance. Really liked how the hops and roast came together in the nose on this one. Flavor of cocoa, roasty, coffee, lingering hop bitterness, some caramel.

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Photo of cpn920
3.43/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown with red on the edges of the glass when help up to light. Head was tan that didn't stick around long. Smell was surprisingly hoppy. I was expecting a stronger malt aroma which was overshadowed in my opinion by the hops. Taste was also hoppy and bitter. It wasn't the bitterness I was anticipating or wanting. Tastes sweet with a bitter finish with modest carbonation. This was not as enjoyable as I was expecting and I won't be rushing back for another. Certainly there are better versions of the style that are just as available.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a black colored body that when held up to the light shows hints of red around the edges. A finger of head lasts the entire glass and leaves a solid wall of lacing as I go down the glass. Perfect.

S- roasted malts and coffee dominate the nose. Something sweet in here as well. Dark fruits like figs or raisins probably.

T- lots and lots of dark roasted malts upfront. Some licorice, coffee, and figs in the middle, and a healthy dose of hops in the finish.

M- medium to full bodied with the right amount of carbonation. Very nice.

D- a great beer that's commonality makes me overlook it most of the time. Easy to finish, but I don't think id want to attempt a second bomber. The price makes it something I should pick up more often than I do.

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

22oz bomber into oversized pinot glass.

Beautiful looking pour, with appetizing coffee-ice-cream colored head. Body of beer has colors of dark birch, almost black, with deep bronze edges. Consistent head retention and lacing throughout.

Hops add some dried cherries to an otherwise sharp, roasted nose.

Quite refreshing stout on the palate: crispness and sustained hop bitterness add structure, keeping the beer rich yet uncloying. I'm actually pleased to find more hop-forward stouts which aren't obviously chocolatey and coffee-like. This beer definitely has those tried and true flavors as a backbone, but has great hops to balance. Touch of spice and a lingering mesquite-y dry finish.

Dangerously drinkable. Again, the hop crispness make it a refreshing, yet rich drink, with the ABV very disguised.

Solid beer. I know if I could restrain myself for another 15 min to let it come to room temp, it'll only get better, but its already gone as I type this last sentence. As always, Bear Republic delivers.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at The Local, SD, CA.

Poured black color with an average frothy brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing.

Heavy roasted sweet malt aroma.

Medium body with a smooth texture.

Heavy roasted balanced flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

This is a standout beer.

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Photo of Riccymon
3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bomber a nearly opaque, cola black with about a quarter inch of brown head. Smell is a bit roasty, but mostly hoppy with a little booziness as the glass warms.

Taste is... hoppy. When the beer was colder, I got some coffee notes, but during much of the hour and a half I sipped at it, it drank like an APA with some cola and bitter chocolate flavors. Not as out-and-out hoppy as Storm King, for instance. It wasn't -not- tasty by any means, just a little one dimensional to me.

Mouthfeel was silky smooth and a nice aspect of the beer. I also found the beer fairly drinkable, but then again, I sipped it for quite a while. If you enjoy hops in your RIS, you'll probably enjoy Big Bear.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.51/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I am surprised to read that this is an Imperial Stout rather than just a stout, although I suppose that the 8.1% ABV I saw listed on the bottle is explained by that style. However, in all other respects other than ABV, this beer seemed mild to me, much more like a stout than an imperial stout.

Color was dark and head was pretty tall and tan. Aroma was not very rich, but was pleasantly roasty. Flavor was a good "burned pizza crust" roastiness, but I didn't detect much of the chocolate, coffee, or dried fruit notes that are usually present in this style. Mouthfeel was decent, but pretty thin compared to other RIS's.

A good beer, but not up to the competition in the RIS/Imperial Stout category. For that reason, I'd be reluctant to recommend, despite a good review.

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Photo of eagles22
4.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 22oz bomber nice pitch black body with a froathy white foam head

Smell: exceptional...very rich of dark chocolates and also malts and caramel

Taste: wow almost perfect ...great texture also wondeful balance of flavors...i get alot of dark chocolate and roasted malts..nice bite at the end too

Mouthfeel: very smooth and rich

Drinkability: very high for an RIS also for an 8.10% beer very well hidden

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Photo of jayfarley3
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured form a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Appearance is nearly pitch black with a frothy tan head that sticks around for a while. Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate, hops. Tastes of roasted malts, a bit of coffee and chocolate malts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy smooth. This beer is very drinkable especially for the high 8.1% abv. I would definitely recommend this stout to anybody.

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber received as a birthday present from Jasinviso. Drank from a pint glass.

A: Black opaque body. 2 fingers of foamy, tan head.

S: Full of roasted malt. Bigger presence of coffeee and dark chocolate.

T: A quick sweetness followed by strong roasted taste. Bitter, earthy coffee notes. Some dark fruit and chocolate as well. Alcohol becomes more noticible as it warms.

M: Medium bodied. Smoothe.

D: Good drinking stout. I think bombers of this are going for about $4.00 here in NJ. It would be hard to find a better stout at a better price.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours black with an amber hue and a nice tan head

S: I might have a bit of a stuffy nose, but the smell didn't seem all that present, I did get a whiff of roasted malts and some dark fruits

T: very nice, dark chocolate, espresso-like bitterness, dates or raisins

M: starts off fizzy but finishes smooth, especially as it warms

D: if I had another bottle, I have a feeling I would have no problem drinking that as well...I think RIS's are really growing on me...

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Photo of cameraman
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown to black color, with a quater inch head, that is light brown in color. The head slowly dissolves away. The deep scent of roasted malt hits the nose, but soons fades, and is followed feintly by combination of fragrances. The scent of coffee and chocolate, with dried fruit come through, but are very weak. A malty taste, hearty, with chocolate coming halfway. Then it blends itself to a mild grassy bitterness, that grows to a earthy bitterness at the end. A rich medium bodied feel, that thins out very quickly and brings the strong feel of carbonation across the palate. This stout has great look, hearty flavor, but the aroma is rather weak. The feel, may be the weakest and thinnest stout I have ever had.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours from a 22oz bottle into a .5L pint glass. Emerges a beautiful black color with the faintest caramel colored highlights with a large (three fingered size) but somewhat fizzy toffee colored head. Very nice lacing and the head remains atleast two fingers about two minutes.

Aroma is roasty sweet with coffee, licorice and currant notes. Figs, raisins and dates, a touch of oak and vanilla as well.

Big, huge roasty, coffee flavors. Burnt grains with chocolate, oak, raisins and anise seed. The sweetness is certainly subdued compared with the sweetness in the aroma, which I very much like. Very roasty and burnt grainy with a the perfect amount of dark grain bitterness.

Pretty thin on the mouthfeel for an RIS. Finishes crisp and clean and very roasty. Superbly drinkable. In fact, dengerously drinkable.

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

22 oz bomber I got in a trade with hopsleeroy, thanks a lot! Served up in an imperial pint.

A: Pours a super black in color that the name implies. The pour appears to be somewhat thick. When held to the light, the color holds, allowing no light to penetrate. About a finger of light brown head slowly bubbles up from the depths of this one. Head slowly diminishes leaving a pretty thick ring with a small circle of foam resting in the center of the glass. Lace is slowly slides down the glass and notches it. Nice looking stout.

S: Smell is a bit hops forward. There is a lot of earthy/herbal hops smells coming out along with just a touch of citrus aromas. A sweet caramel rests in the background with roasted malty goodness. Touch of chocolate, cream and coffee aromas as well.

T: Taste is not as hops heavy as the nose. Lots of smooth caramel and chocolate flavors accompany the nice roasted malts. The caramel and chocolate has such a creamy flavor to it that it stands out as an impressive quality. There is just a nice presence of milky cream as well. The coffee flavors are slight but present. The beer is sweet but not too crazy, it has been nicely cut by the earthy hops presence that adds just a touch of bitterness which mixes well with the coffee and chocolate flavors. There are not any crazy flavors in here but the balance is damn good.

M: Mouthfeel is full and chewy. This one rests gently on the palate and lets the creamy feel bring out these great flavors. ABV is very nicely hidden, and it kind of takes away a bit IMO. I like my RIS's to have a touch of heat to them, but still this is quite solid. Aftertaste is only of some creamy caramel and chocolate.

D: For an RIS, this goes down so easy. Its heavy on the palate or in the stomach, and the lack of ABV heat makes this one dangerously close to a chugger. Just so easy to drink. I know that this beer is not crazy dynamic by playing with crazy flavors, but it is simple and almost perfectly balance. I have been wanting to try this one for quite some time and it sure did not disappoint. Awesome brew.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. This beer pours dark almost black color with brown at the edges when held to the light. It has a 1/2 inch light brown head that recedes to a consistent lacing.

The nose has a nice amount of roasted malty sweetness, mixed with some alcohol. There are mild hints of chocolate and coffee.

The taste includes a nice set of roasted malt, that includes chocolate and minimal coffee. It was a bit weak for me.

The mouthfeel was also weak. There is a creamy, almost milk stout feel. Overall, it is again a bit minimal for the body I was expecting. A pleasant dryness lingers.

Overall, I do feel that the weakness of this beer actually makes it a bit more drinkable. I would enjoy it when it is available but will likely not be searching it out.

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Photo of Cobrakai22
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black Bear Pours solid black with very light tan colored head. Less than or equal to one finger of head with decent lacing and head retention.

Smell - Oats, espresso and a little bit of dark chocolate. Its also kind of roasty.

Mouth - I took the mouthfeel to be slightly thin compared to other imperial stouts I've had, making it quite smooth.

Drinkability - Very drinkable due to its smoothness and excellent alcohol masking. The beer got a bit more complex as it warmed, though still not as exciting as I prefer in an imperial stout.

At $5 for a bomber, this is a good beer and a great value.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.81/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bomber into a mug

A - the usual look of an RIS

S - chocolate, coffee, roasted barley, and raisins

T - dark chocolate and coffee. The flavors are weak, not strong like other RISs. I didn't enjoy its lack of a flavor punch. noticeable hops as well.

M - very creamy

D - its muted flavor makes it as easily drinkable big beer.

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Photo of Biggness
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours very dark with a dark tan head with lots of lacing. The smell is very robust of coffee, chocolate and licorice. The flavor is nice, not an over the top one with mega flavors but what is there is nice, lots of flavor from the toasted malts along with the coffee and chocolate flavors. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a very slight dry feeling. For 8% this is a highly drinkable brew and for 5$ bombers this is a good fallback for a night out :)

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Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass. Very clean coming out of the bottle, some head was noticed and settled very softly. Pitch black in color with caramel/brown head. Magnificent aroma's bailout. Senses of blackberries and chocolate, oatmeal and coffee are present. Gulp. Big bold flavor of the roast plays well with the hops. Lacing on the glass make for some amusement. Another great beer coming out of this bear. Keep it up!

Recommended: To all

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 2,432 ratings