Big Bear Black Stout | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Big Bear Black StoutBig Bear Black Stout
2,415 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: 2,415 |  Reviews: 1,148
Photo of irishkyle21
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark black in color, the lightly tanned head drops to a thin coating. The brew does offer up some nice lacing though.

Smells of molasses, roasted malts, brown sugar and a big whiff of hops.

Tastes of chocolate, bitterness thanks to a healthy hop profile, fruits and brown sugar.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz brown bottle. A burnt oil black/brown with a deep tan head. Very solid foam with a combination of thick and thin bubbles that dissipates to leave brown islands of head.

Smell is chocolaty semi-sweet and of roasted grains. There is also a slight citrus note with coffee undertones.

The creamy taste is initially chocolaty and of big toasted malts, but there is a nice bitterness to this brew. It is almost IPA-ish in its hops. They are a little citrusy and barely fight through the thick stout flavors. The aftertaste is excellent! There is a nice astringency that puckers and dries the palate but those stout flavors are in it for the long haul. There is mix of chocolaty, malty, coffee-ness that sweetens through the bitterness leaving you interested and wanting more.

Not what I expected from this beer. I knew it would be good, but this is closing in on exceptional. I have to say it is creamy yet refreshing sweet but with a nice bitterness. Believe it or not its now in my top 5 of RIS or stouts in general.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.12/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a jet black with a nhuge tan head with mucho carbonation. Smell is very subtle slght roasted smell but nothing pronounced.Taste was rather flat. Not to much going on besides roasted malts, disappointing. ABV was well hidden but I would not buy or drink again considering Yeti is out there.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown with a light tan head that was nice and frothy, and, stuck around for a while. Aromas of deep roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, spicy hops, and maybe some caramel. The hops dominate the front of the taste, which are followed closely by the deep malts that come in the middle, turn very candy like, and finish the end. The mouth feel starts out bitter, is middle to full bodied, and dries out in the end. Overall a very easy drinking RIS of the ones Ive had.

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Photo of lifebeer
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a. pours a burnt caramel brown, opaque and almost black in the glass, 1.5 finger of creamy head, frothy and thick cream puff that hangs around for a while, wide-tiered lacing

s. hops, carmel, mocha, and of course roasted malts

t. strong (surprising) hop flavor up front, then caramel reminiscent of wee heavy, milk chocolate mixes with hoppiness for an unsweetened chocolate sensation, coffee

m. medium to a little thin

d. tasty enough, a little more than just a sipping stout could be persuaded to drink more than one in a sitting

more dextrins and body would have done this brew real go
od, love the creamy head and addition of hops to a traditionally unhoppy stile, works really well

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep dark coal black color with an average espresso colored head. Spotty lacing was noted.

S: Big on the malts. Tons of roasted coffee aromas mixed in with bold dark chocolate. There are tinges of spicy hops hiding beneath the malt.

T: What you smell is what you taste. Tons of fresh brewed dark coffee with equal amounts of dark bitter chocolate. A brown sugar sweetness cuts thru in the middle and a nice hop bitterness comes thru in the finish to balance it all out.

M: Medium in body and smooth.

D: Not bad, I had no problem finishing the entire bomber.

Overall: I love the Bear Republic brews as they tend to be hop heavy. This stout has the perfect amount of hops without going over the top. The chocolate and coffee flavors are big and bold making for a wonderful tasting/drinking brew. It's a winner.

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Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured an opaque reddish brown with tan head. It smelled like licorice with dark chocolate. It had a unique and very subdued flavor of heavy dark chocolate bitterness and oaky malt. It was thick and sticky with no carbonation and a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was the least coffee-flavored stout I've had. I wanted to like this more than it let me, since the flavors were all so good but weak.

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Photo of jaxon53
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served this at cellar temperature, in a pint glass, from a twenty two ounce bottle.

Appearance: This one pours out a spent motor oil, midnight black. Not a single ray of light could pass through this black mass. A bit of a vigorous pour results in a thick, two finger, mocha brown head. Decent head retention leaves tan trails of lace behind on the glass.

Smell: The nose of the Big Bear starts out with a thick dark chocolate aroma, mixed in with a little bit of burnt black coffee. Nice roasty/toasty maltiness. Definitely has a very pronounced hop aroma to it. Not bad so far.

Taste: The roasted malt definitely gives off a smooth chocolate aroma. More of the burnt black coffee that was noted in the nose.Almost gives off a toffee or caramel flavor. A nice hoppy finish balances out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Big Bear Black Stout somewhat lacks in the mouthfeel department. Feels a bit thin for the style in my opinion. Nicely carbonated, tickles the tongue and throat as it goes down.

Drinkability: This one drinks nicely, thanks to a lower 8.1 percent ABV that is virtually not noticeable in the flavor. An above average RIS in my opinion. I've yet to be dissapointed by Bear Republic.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fairly black beer and lighter around the edges than most others I've seen. Semi-sweet chocolate nose and light roasted malt as well. Very fresh flavor of roasted malts and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is almost full-bodied and the finish is somewhat bitter from the hops and astringency of the roasted malts.

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Photo of luvND
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P-22 oz bomber

A-not quite pitch black

S-Really nice, chocolate, currants, dates, a whiff of etoh

T-Burnt (in a good way), roasty, but not over hopped like a lot of RISs, really well balanced

M-about perfect for a stout, thick enough but not too much, great lingering aftertaste

D-good, but still a big beer, 1 x 22ozer is just right

Notes: This could be one of the best RISs I've had. I think they did a nice job of not over hopping, like a lot of the other ones do.

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

Poured into tulip glass from 22 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Deep brown/black with a thick caramel-colored head that dissipates to a thin circle on the edge of the beer.

Smell: Very complex aromas going on here - Coffee, chocolate, brownsugar...even some sort of spiciness. Hops?

Taste: Wow...this beer is a wonderlust of roastiness! I was expecting a bit more sweetness, but dryness seems to prevail...but no matter, Still quite yummy. There's a good amount of bitterness from both roasted grains as well as hops, but its hard to distinguish between them. For a fleeting moment, I also detected some piney flavors..perhaps hops.

Mouthfeel: Nice, thick body. The beer tingles in the mouth.

Drinkability: Quite complex, but well crafted as it hides the alcohol well.

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

A-Deep dark brown color with lighter highlights. Thin tan head that reduces to a film that leaves some lacing.

S-Burnt roast and chocolate. Some faint dark fruit. Aroma becomes better as it warms.

T-Nice roasty malts with some chocolate. A subtle hop bitterness. Very solid.

M-Medium body. Quite creamy very nice rishness without being heavy. Where is the alcohol?

D-Very...almost a session stout..but at 8+ ABV hardley! This is a totally solid American stout.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into my snifter.

A- Body is a deep brown/black that pours with a thick 2+ finger foamy dark tan head. Head fades to 1/2 finger and retains very nicely. Some lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Nose comes through more hoppy than most stouts. Hops are the main character followed by some toasted malt in the background.

T- Initial flavor is roasted chocolate and caramel malts with a big hoppy overtone. The finish is surprisingly all hop flavor. What lingers is some hop flavor and a deep roasted malt taste.

M- Medium carbonation and a body that is pretty lightweight for a stout-esp. an imperial stout.

D- The light mouthfeel and no detection whatsoever of alcohol make this a very drinkable brew. I was quite surprised when I looked at the bottle and saw the ABV. This is a nice hoppy west coast stout. I wouldn't call it a RIS.

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Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a two-finger, caramel colored head. It left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and chocolate. Also, a floral/hop aroma was present.

T - It tasted of chocolate and sweet, sweet caramel. It was sugary sweet with a subtle hop bitterness.

M - It was very smooth and soft. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good RIS. I wish it was available closer to home.

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Photo of ROMER79
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, very black with a nice brown head.

S: Chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, and maybe a hint of a little fruit.

T:Again, you could really taste the chocolate and roasted malts. Hops were present in the mix and then in the after taste I could really pick up on the caramel and molasses notes.

M: Rich and creamy. Very nice for a stout.

D: Very easy. You almost want to say session beer? But you will get rocked. This beer is strong!

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Photo of NDPDuke
4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip(all I had at the time) via trade from Nitrogen (thanks again buddy).

APPEARANCE: Black tinge with a thin head. Good looking stout already.

SMELL: Strong smell. Deep, roasted malts, molasses and a hint of chocolate. Awesome smell

TASTE: Wow...this is a great tasting RIS. Soft and smooth, yet extremely strong in flavor. Molasses, roasted malts,and hints of chocolate. Nice undertone of hops really makes this a great beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Perfect flavor and strength. Creamy and not too strong. You can't even taste the alcohol.

DRINKABILITY: For being over 8%, this beer is easy to drink. I would get murdered by this beer because I would love to continually go back to back on this beer.

Overall, this is a fantastic beers. One of my favorite beers that i have tasted. Once again, thank you Nitrogen!

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

Pitch black body with a huge pillow of tan head that retained well and laced better than I have seen most beers.

Smell is of bittersweet chocolate, good coffee, and absolutly no presence of alcohol. Taste is unbelievably good. Perfect balance of coffee, bittersweet chocolate with a toasty malt base. Easy to drink and again no hint of the 8.1% ABV. Feel is creamy and smooth. Thick enough to coat the palate and let the flavors really soak in.

This is one of the top RIS for me. Easy to drink. I wish I didn't wait so long to try it. This is definately worth geting and enjoying. Bear Republic has it dialed in.

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

Had this 22 oz. bottle in my cellar for about 8 months, and cracked it open this past weekend. Poured it into two crystal stemmed beer glasses. The color was a shade of mahogany-black darkness. Pours with a tan head that lasts the entire time, and lacing that stretches from the top to bottom of the glass. The smell was full of roasted malt and coffee. Taste-wise, this was one of the best RIS that I have ever had. It was sweet and roasted all at the same time. All I could think of was caramel and chocolate covered coffee beans. Delicious. For an 8% abv beer, this one went down very smoothly. It's one of those beers that you think that you could easily drink 3-4 bombers. Not a bad idea. This is one of my new favorite beers from Bear Republic.

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

Hoppy goodness is all about it here. Pours your typical dark stout with a decent one finger, light brown head in a pint glass. Smell is super hoppy which I wasn't expecting in this stout. Taste had the same bitter hoppy notes and was light on the tongue, not a heavy drink. Slightly roasted malts were barely there, but the hops really took control on my palette. Went down easy and was quite enjoyable in the session.

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

Served in a big wine glass at 59 F/ 15 C.

Black, tinged reddish brown, small tan head, finely textured lace.

Smells like dark chocolate, citrus and pine hops, dark brown sugar/ molasses, caramel, coffee. Deep, rich, and good.

Tastes like rich roasty caramelized malt, pine forest, rosemary, earth, orange rind, grapefruit, and mild molasses. The roastiness is soft and smooth, yet rich. Mild sweetness. Moderate dose of hop bitterness, the hops are mainly fresh and flavorful rather than bitter; the hops really shine, without dominating. Great balance; big full flavor without going to any extremes. Very tasty. Chocolate and citrus linger for a long satisfying finish.

Nice medium body, fine bottle conditioned carbonation. Refreshing hop flavor with deceptively low bitterness, and great balance, make for a very drinkable beer.

Great stuff!

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sample on tap at Rustico
Pours an overall opaque black color with some brown highlights towards the bottom of the glass. Big fluffy, tan head is formed with wide open bubbles; this is a sign of things to come. In the aroma, I wonder if someone dropped some squid ink in an IPA, this one is hop forward, very floral but there is also milk chocolate and a slight roastiness. On the palate, it is simply too hoppy. There isn't an overly roasted feel to it, it is closer to a hopped up brown or porter. Following that it is also overcarbonated for style, and a too thin body. Drinkability is low because when I want a solid RIS, I reach for a BCS or Expedition, not this hopped up monster. Besides, Storm King is already out there and this one seems like another clone.

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Photo of mnj21655
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, no freshness date, poured into a pint glass

Pours black with ruby hints at the edges and over two fingers of luscious, pillowy brown head that exhibits excellent retention. Aroma is quite good, roasted malts are dominant with coffee and dark chocolate notes. Also present are some restrained citrusy hops as well as brown sugar and molasses. Taste is, at first, a bit sweet then predominantly malty. As we near the finish the roasted malts make their triumphant return as some subtle dark chocolate mingles with more powerful coffee flavors. Bitterness and some faint hoppiness then join the party. The bitterness is well rounded, not at all harsh, and definitely from both the roasted malts as well as generous hopping early in the boil. Mouthfeel is quite good, medium-full body that is velvety and not quite chewy with moderate carbonation. The 8.1% ABV is masked incredibly well and the only reason that I noticed is was a gentle warming sensation that I felt when I was about finished with the bottle. Overall this is one heck of a brew. I felt that this wasn't really an RIS (well, maybe a very American interpretation of the style) but an excellent American Double Stout. I highly recommend this brew.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice pour into mug from 22. Dark chocolate/double espresso body with tight, latte-colored head - a little lacing; head mellows earlier than expected. Minimal carbonation.

Dark roast, deep malt of chocolate, coffee grounds and a little yeast; tight and well-made. Rounded, subtle grassy hops in distant background.

At first sip, the alcohol stands out and apart from the dry coffee and mild hop tones typical of the style. Needs a little time to round out - better balance comes forth shortly with a little sweetness emerging from the back of the palate.

With time this coats well and is rather soothing - still a little bit heavy on the alchohol burn in relation to everything else.

All told, decent, well-made stuff that's definitely drinkable if not a little unbalanced.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber into 8oz snifter.

Pitch black with no light getting through. The head is thick and frothy, and slowly settles to a dense cap. The receding head leaves a solid wall of lacing.

Thick and bitter malts make the base, while a sharp hop aroma adds a slight punch. The alcohol can be perceived with a deep whiff. The smell is topped off with a bit of raisin.

Coffee and a bit of bitter chocolate, along with some brown highlight the flavor. The base is some bitter malts, along with some grassy hop flavor that complements the malts well. Full bodied with good carbonation.

This one is bold and complex, but still delivers a great amount of drinkability. This one is hard to put down. The alcohol is well hidden as well, although it's not as strong as other beers in the style. Recommended.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black wit faint ruby highlights if held to the light. Creamy off white head slicks around for a little bit then laces the glass. Aroma come through with some smooth chocolates and some hops. Taste hits with a bit of chocolate then some roast then some alcohol then a bitter hop finish. Aftertaste of roasted malts and hop bitterness. Nice thick stout creamy in the mouth. Great stout, a bit hoppier than I like, but solid stout nonetheless.

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Big Bear Black Stout from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 2,415 ratings
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