Black Mamba | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

very good
45 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 37
Reviews by donniecuffs:
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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More User Reviews:
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 bpfrush
3/5  rDev -20.8%

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 umtox
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of cola with a small toffee colored head. Smells of heavily roasted malts. Medium on the palate for a beer this potent. Definitely has some characteristics of american stout style. The belgium strong ale as listed, is evident in the sweetness. A creative brew overall.

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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 tempest
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Farmhouse. Served in a pint glass, this appears dark brown with a tan head.

The aroma reminds me immediately of Chimay Blue, which is certainly a good thing. It's just a touch sweeter than traditional Belgians, but it's by no means in line with the chewy messes that many American brewers are putting out. It finishes dry with clove and dried fruit on top of a mellow, roasty base. Overall, this is a mighty fine Belgian and worth trying.

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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 dannyfayy
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

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 FtownThrowDown
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Comet.
Pours very dark brown in color. Cola like without any head at all. Smell is heavy black malts and a bit of roast. The malts really shine in the flavor as well. Plenty of black patent malt and a bit of a roasty porter finish. This was a pretty decent beer, and it's highly drinkable.

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

On tap at the Bear Republic in Healdsburg, CA. From notes.

A well crafted BDA. Slightly watery, but sweet. The candi sugars come through. Above average drinkability. Some spice and complexity for an interesting overall tasting experience. Definitely a beer to repeat at a sitting and a delicious and subdued change of pace from BR favorites like 5 and X.

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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 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 brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Brewpub the other day. They had both a regular version of this beer, and an oak aged version. IMO the latter was clearly superior, so that's the one I reviewed.

The beer pours an amber brown color with decent head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty complex on this beer, consisting of vanilla, wood, dry sherry and some underlying tartness. The flavors generally replicate the nose, with a bit more sour flavor on the palate. The beer is pretty smooth from the oak aging, and there is a bit of gritty bitterness in the finish. Abv. is pretty well disguised, though there's something about the finish that I'm not in love with.

An interesting beer, but probably one I would not order again any time soon. One reviewer indicated that this was listed as a dark wit beer, which is considerably closer to how the beer was described to me at the pub (Belgian version of a dunkelweisse).

Note: This beer is listed here at 5.3% abv., but the brewpub listed a significantly higher abv. (7.6 or something like that). The oaked aged version was even higher, and was listed at 8.1%. While the beer carried it's alcohol pretty well, it certainly tasted as if it were considerably higher then 5.3%.

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Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of MisterClean
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Bear

A - Pours a dark brown with little head.

S - Candi sugars, roasted malts, medium roast coffee.

T - Roasted malts, with a medium roast coffee, with lt candi sugar esters and lt plums.

M - For a stout, fairly silky and smooth. A little light on the ester though.

D - Would like to see more ester in this beer. Otherwise, great.

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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 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 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 Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Barclay's in Oakland, and a very healthy pour it was- an Imperial pint of the stuff. Pours black with reddish brown highlights when the light shines through. Very thin head, but superb lacing. The aromas are light at first, but they develop as the beer warms into light spicy and fruity notes. The taste is very satisfying. Fruity and dry but with a depth of body, and wheaty with an almost porter-like roastinesss and flavor on the finish. Very unusual and delicious combination of flavors. The brewers dub this a Belgian-style black wheat. The mouthfeel is creamy and soft, and this is just delicious and easy to drink.

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