Black Mamba | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

very good
37 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 06-05-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 45
Photo of AgentZero
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very deep brown, almost black with some very dark red on the edges. Small head that dissipated to a ring with no lacing.

S - Roasty nose with some odd sort of mint smell, brown sugar, little yeast, and some dark fruit.

T - Not as sweet as I was expecting, which helps the taste. Roasted malts and caramel don't go bitter, get some dark fruit that is not sweet, touch of hops leads to the slightest bitter of finishes.

M - Slightly flat, medium bodied.

D - Not too bad, I did more than one, which was surprising as I was not expecting to like it. Would have guess it had more alcohol though.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glossy, deep brown with purplish highlights. Small head, small bubbles. Streaking is filmy.

Sweet aroma. Malt and some faint yeasty biscuit. Dark cherry, candied fruit.

Flavors dance between sweet bread, red plum, candy-grape and some esters. Hints of floral. The flavors are not pronounced and a bit weak. Not sure if this would hold up to many dishes.

Nice drinking.

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Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler pour from DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY, pours darkest shades of brown, minor head, minor collar, next to no lace. Nice roasty malt nose, with a hint of minty, leafy hops. This came advertized as a "dark wit beer" but I'm not feeling the wit beer thing with this one. Mostly it seems to be infused with darker, chocolaty/light coffee notes and more leafy hops. It does seem to be more of a Belgian dark ale, as listed on the site. No concern, its light, tasty, quite sessionable and pleasant to quaff. Quite dry in the finish, with a dash of ripe fruits and smoke.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bear Republic in August 2009.

Poured a nice, dark brown with a pretty good head. Smell of medium roasted malts with a nice floral hoppiness along with a bit of spice. Taste was similar, with a nice bitterness; nothing overpowering, consistent with the style. Mouthfeel was thin to medium with adequate carbonation. Very nice and sessionable brew overall. Nicely complex while very easy drinking.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good and fresh Belgian dark ale offering on tap, albeit a bit thin and shy.

Presentation: 12 Oz draft serving. Menu offers a brief and fairly accurate description. Notes Alc. by Vol. (5.3%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown lingering on black pour with a nice foamy head showing average retention and lacing.

S - Faint aromatic profile, shy sweet malt notes, with a minimal hint of spices.

T - Pleasing roasted malt flavor, with a sour soft stroke towards the end.

M - Medium body feeling a bit light with adequate carbonation.

D -A bit thin if pleasing... It is nice to have but not particularly exciting.

Notes: It has some nice characteristics of a Belgian Dark Ale but a bit too subdued. Feels fresh on tap, and in that context works fairly well but it is not particularly memorable.

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Photo of glid02
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown in Washington DC.

Pours a dark purplish-brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of dried dark fruits - raisins and prunes mostly - with hints of roasted malts and lighter hints of unsweetened chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Very light roasted malt flavors up front are soon overtaken by prune and raisin flavors. Near the end of the sip hints of unsweetened cocoa make an appearance before an ending that's equal parts sweet and bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass quickly and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer however I think it could be improved upon by showcasing the fruit flavors even more so than they are now. Still, worth a shot if you see it around.

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Photo of cokes
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Darkest of brown with glints of crimson at the edges. The head is low and tan.
Sweet, brown sugar and golden raisin nose, with some prickly phenols (mostly clove and pepper), and a bit of dark rum alcoholic flare, though it doesn't smell particularly boozy.
Sweet at the onset through the mouth. Brown sugar, raisins, and hints of things more tropical, a la grilled pineapple. It turns drier later on, though the sweetness never leaves it merely cedes a bit of ground to roasted grains and carob. More of that dark rum essences at the close, adding a spiked punch dimension. All told, it drinks quite a bit bigger than it actually is, though the medium body is in tune with something on the lighter side of the Belgian-styled spectrum, but seemingly thin for as sweet and perceived alcoholic as this is. Carbonation is low to moderated but stays steady throughout.
It definitely leans sweets, but has some balance. The yeast doesn't bring a lot to the table, but it is noticed. Not bad. Not great.

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Photo of eallured
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in bells tulip at maduro in Madison. Opaque black brown with a vary light brown head (not tan) head that settles to leave a nice ring of small bubbled foam and "scum" on top. Little lacing, who knows what to chalk that up to, might be the beer vu I suspectthe glass.
Fruity phenolics, cherry, apple and white raisins. Nice dark caramel aroma is light but noticeable. Sweet smell but not dominant.
Flavor is...complex. Like the aroma, there is bright, tart fruit but also deeper flavors, plump red raisins, burnt sugar and prune. A bit of clove without rotten banana esters. Roasted malt rounds out the big flavor profile.
Surprisingly high carbonation and more tartness than expected. This provides a nice contrast to the deep flavors I normally associate with sweeter beers. Medium- full body, not thick. There is a moderate alcohol warmth that comes through in the finish.
For the amount of flavor this is a drinkable beer. Not cloying at all. Tartness would not deaden the palate for a while. Bear republic has proven themselves beyond their usual hoppily delicious offerings.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

on tap at the dirty truth
served in a tulip glass

A - deep dark brown, nearly black, with a full finger of dark tan head

S - hops! rich citrus, grapfruity citrus, which melts into a rich pine, strong and powerful, some slight sweetness at the end

T - earthy base, like peat or charcoal with a marvelous hop kick, same flavors as the aroma, piney/citrusy, and vanish into a slightly coffee aftertaste

M&D - smooth and silky, very easy down, and at only 5.3% ABV possibly the most sessionable American brewed Belgian ale

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Photo of Gavage
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 1/2" head. Some moderate lace develops.

Smell: roasted malts and some soft spiciness is very light and hard to pull from the glass.

Taste: roasted malts, mild chocolate, prunes sweetness, yeast spiciness, some black pepper, and a nice bitterness make up a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: a bit thinner than expected. Lightly crisp throughout.

Drinkability: this one was a bit of a slow sipper becasue of the more complex flavor profile. Several of these can be consumed over the course of an evening.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap into tulip.

A one finger tan and dense head settles to a 2mm and even cap. The aroma is light, giving off a little bit of smokiness and roastiness, along with a slight tough of phenols. The flavor is very interesting. Some of the Belgian yeast spice mixes with the tart wheat malt. The wheat malt is also roasted, which gives a very unique characteristic to the beer. It's not quite into Belgian Stout territory, but it still has a burnt grain quality to it. Recommended.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cheat sheet to this beer for me is that it's probably the tastiest version of the style I've ever had. It has the punch of many Belgian Strong dark ales while only being 5.3% alcohol. Tasty and well balanced dark fruit profile without a cloying type of presence. While not precisely a sit-and-drink-all-night sort of brew, one could easily enjoy a few pints of this and still be able to walk without wobbling.
Raisin flavors with almost smokey, coffee type things going on; solid malts with stuff going on to dry up the finish to make one want another sip.
A really nice beer for those that indulge in darker proclivities.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes...also, this review is for a barrel-aged mamba that I had at the brewpub; I didn't see 'barrel-aged' on the list, so here goes..)

A: Dark brown, near black; thin head; very little lacing.

S: Whiskey, plum, oakiness, sour cherry, nuttiness, earthiness...fairly impressive.

T: All of the above came to the fore, but the whiskey/oak essence was somewhat overpowering, which obviously must have been imparted by the bourbon barrel.

M: Nice full-bodied flavor; velvet on the tongue, but a little bit of a burn.

D: Needs more flavor balance to be sessionable.

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Photo of GJ40
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Woody's in Raleigh.

Almost black with some light coming through and a moderate beige head. It's got a reserved nutty and fruity aroma. The flavor leads with a slight bitterness from both the roasted malt and the hops. It's joined by nutty and fruity notes and a touch of sweetness. It's a bit thin for a darker beer but it works. The carbonation was low with no interruption of the flavors. My empty glass had picture perfect rings of lacing. While not overly flavorful, this is a smooth and interesting beer.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a pint at Bukowski's Back Bay this past Friday. Served in a standard pint glass. Dark brown in color. No head retention. Tasted like a watered down porter. Nothing Belgian about this beer at all. Was surprised at how thin the body was. Easy to drink because it was like nothing going down. I've had much better dark ales. This was a shocking letdown from a previously top notch brewer.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Mamba, on tap upstairs at Monk's, Asheville, VA. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A dark coffee brown - very similar to coffee actually, startlingly so - with only the faintest amount of light creeping in around the peripheries. Capped by one finger of fast fading head, though there is some good lace stickage around the rim of the glass, particularly on the non-sip side. It fades out a little as things warm, but there are still some good drips and blobs of lacing as things commence.

Aroma: Bread crusts characterize the dry side of this one, which is actually probably the dominant side. The sweeter elements are reminiscent of dark toffee and brown sugar. There are a few decidedly Belgian notes - a few fruity overtones and a spicy underlying presence - but the malts dominate.

Taste: Spicy phenols - white pepper, mainly - mingle with tart fruit - cherries, grapes, oranges, almost pithy-like on the fruit side, though - and the malt notes described above (toast, some burnt astringencies, bread crusts, dark toffee, and light earthiness). It's more medicinal than the smell, as well.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and assertive on the effervescence front, with a body itself that's relatively medium in thickness, resulting in a fluffy, even, cloud-like body.

Drinkability: An interesting stab at a style that's not widely loved, so it seems. At 5.3% abv, you can afford to not like this one too much, though, and though I wasn't a huge fan, I'm glad to have tried it. Unfortunately, the other limited release Bear Republic (the Double Aught) kicked right before I ordered this one, but this one was solid enough. Perhaps not one I'd order again (not that I'll likely get the opportunity to), but worth trying once if you see it.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Devil's Den...

A - Dark brown with red hues. crisp off white head, good lacing.

S - dark roasted malts and grain. some dark fruit (cherry, currant, plum)

T - Dark roasted malts and nuts up front. Mild, dried dark fruit flavors (currant, plum, raisin). Slight spice, slight hop bitterness, slight yeast.... pretty complex and developed. Not what i expected from a belgian.

M - medium to full bodied. slightly oily. good carbonation.

D - Mild flavor, low ABV = very drinkable. not very belgian, but ill take it.

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Photo of atsprings
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Pit served in a tulip glass a dark brown almost black with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is a bit of dried fruits and dark malts. Taste is a nice amount of dried fruit and burnt molasses with slight spice and hints of dark chocolate. The beer is medium bodied and quite smooth. This is a very interesting brew, definitely worth trying.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on the growler station at Charleston Beer Exchange.

Poured from tap to growler to pint glass. Pours a dark plum color with cherry highlights. Topped by a lightly creamy, mocha white colored head. Pox of lacing with a thin veil of lacing.

Aroma is slightly sweet, fruity, roasty, dark fruits. Hints of chocolate.

Good flavor. Slightly sweet up front with a solid belgian yeast bite. Large roast and toast flavors also. More fruits, slightly earthy and a touch of bitterness.

Light to medium bodied with some hop bitterness in the back end. Slightly sweet but nowhere near cloying and rather balanced all around. A good beer.

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Photo of weeare138
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a deep chestnut with auburn notes when held to the light. A small off white cap quickly fades into a tiny collar. Streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, caramel, bakers chocolate, cloves, and tart wheat.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a valet yeast flavor standing out.
Mouthfeel is spicy, doughy, and dry.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Shady McGrady's in Harrisburg after work on a muggy day. Served chilled in a pint

A - Translucent cola brown w/ 3/4 inch bone white cap which quickly becomes a film. The head revives slightly when swirled. The bead is very fine and the color is accented slightly w/ bronze hues.

S - mIld fruit w/ slightly fig tinged and plum notes w/ touches of earthy twiggy notes. The aroma has dark grain and roast hints w/ a black cherry odor.

M - Mild sweetness w/ a gentle tanginess of fruity yeast and mild carbonation w/ slight creamy feel which seems light w/ a mild bitterness in the finish

T - The taste has mild fruit flavor like plum or black cherry w/ dry toast followed by a slightly spicy and bitter hop flavor. The hop has an herbal accent so it adds to the taste and goes well w/ the mild raisin sweetness. The mild nuttiness and toast is usurped by the slightly grassy hop flavor that hangs on into the semi-sweet finish.

D - A fine ale -well balanced but mild flavored for the style.
a drinkable beer, but not overly impressive example IMO. The hops are slightly out of place but I would not hesitate to taste this again if it were bottled.

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Photo of Jayli
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap at The Publick House 6/25/09
This beer pours a dark brown, with some light passing through. Capped with an offwhite 1/2 inch head that doesn't stick around, and very little lacing to speak of. Nose is of roasted and caramel malts, yeast, and a touch of vanilla. Taste is a roasted coffee burnt malts up front, then moves in to milk chocolate with some dark fruits and yeast making it's way in. This is a thin to medium bodied beer, decent carbonation, it's a bit chewy and goes down very easily.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draught @ Blind Tiger, into tulip.

Pours hazy, dark brown w/ red highlights showing through, rocky tan head that lasts awhile and lots of lacing.

Nose is spicy yeast, clove, with hints of citrus zest, and just a hint of roasty malt and even cocoa.

Taste really is an odd combo of roasty and wit flavors - the yeasty characteristics of the wit leave the roasty tasting oddly off, with a dry, yeasty finish.

Light body and moderate carbonation. An interesting experiment, but definitely not my favorite from BR.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown that still lets light through. Thick creme head. Flavor is tangy with a slight kick of spices. Dough is there, but it's a tad sour almost. That's the extent of the yeasty funk. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation bites slightly. A decent Belgian style that makes for a worthy effort, but probably not something I'd go for again.

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Photo of Nickls
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Pretty near black, but could be considered a very dense dark, dark brown. Head was mostly white in color, not great retention

S - Prune sweetness and caught some alcohol in the nose, but followed with bitter chocolate hints

T - Chocolately maltiness with roasted characteristics. Darkish fruit flavors (ie not appley or citruisy)

M - A bit thinner than I expected, but still a solid medium body. Pleasant and definitely sticks

D - Easy going on the sample, though I wouldn't be eager to quaff another soon after this sample.

Overall, pretty good brew, but not a standout for the style. I would still recommend giving it a shot.

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Black Mamba from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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