Black River Stout | Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse

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20 Ratings

Brewed by:
Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse
Michigan, United States

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by plaztikjezuz on 01-13-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 9
Reviews by LilBeerDoctor:
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed on 6/29/2010. On tap at the brewpub. The beer pours black with a thick dark tan head. Aroma of roasted malt. Flavor of roasted, charred malt and bitter chocolate. Overall, I found this to be your basic oatmeal stout here - it is pretty plain.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of WuAnquo1
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Brenden
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On location in Gaylord on 2 occasions.

A: Thick and black, not quite inky but definitely solid. Beige head is small and leaves little behind.
S: Lots of roast, some coffee and a little sweet caramel balance. A touch of char that carries it just past where it should.
T: Coffee and caramel, as promised, but more like older, stale coffee. Not terribly off, just enough to notice. Roast leads to char and keeps going until a little astringency comes out. Some rich malts help maintain before it goes too far.
F: Pretty full body, within the appropriate range as far as thickness. It is quite dry, but not so astringent in the feel.

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Photo of DruC4
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DaveBar
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the brewery for a steep $3.85 for a 12oz bottle. Served at 10deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head that is gone in a minute. Very dark brown colour

S- Good malt and chocolate.

T- Thin and weak. Not much body at all. Has a coco based chocolate that is not pleasant.

M- Chalky

O- Not a good beer at all. Throw in that it's almost $4.00 and call it a kick in the nads. Not happy. Two from Big Buck. Two raw deals. Not hitting well boys

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with....... Oysters! The salt from the oysters really opens up this brew


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Photo of StoutHunter
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Big Buck's Black River Stout last weekend when I was visited the brewery. I thought this was a pretty solid Oatmeal Stout on tap and I'm interested to see how it is in bottles, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks really nice, with some nice artwork of a dark toned river with some rocks and rapids in it, I think it's pretty eye catching. It poured a very dark brown color that was on the border of being black while not letting any light through and it had two fingers worth of creamy mocha colored head that died down to a thick ring with a thin layer in the middle that stayed till the end and it left some smaller sheets of lacing behind. This is a very good looking Oatmeal Stout, I have no complaints at all.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts being the first to show up and they impart some nice roasted malts, grainy, chocolate and coffee aromas with the roasted malts and coffee seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes a nice creamy aroma that's a little similar to a Milk Stout and it's followed by a earthy and slightly charred malt like aroma. This beer had a pretty good aroma and it's just what I would expect from a good Oatmeal Stout.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the same roasted malt aspect that I got in the aroma. but this time it's the grainy and roasted malts that seem to stick out the most and there's also a slightly watery flavor to it. Up next comes a slight earthy flavor followed by a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness that has a charred malt like flavor to it and has a roasted, grainy, linger bitterness on the aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting Oatmeal Stout, but I wish the bitterness was toned down just a little with no watery aspect.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, slightly creamy, a little watery, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a nice mouthfeel, but i wish it was just a little smoother and not a little watery.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a solid example of an Oatmeal Stout, it had most of the aspects that I look for in the style, but there were a couple aspects that held this beer back from being as good as it could be, but it was still a solid Oatmeal Stout overall. This beer had ok drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little crisp, slightly creamy, dry on the finish, not filling, and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, but I think the bitterness would start to wear on me after a while so I think one pint would be my limit. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and aroma, I thought they were both pretty good and very true to style. What I liked the least about this beer was the mouthfeel, drinkability, and bitterness, those seemed to be the weak points of this beer. I don't know if I would buy bottles of this again, but I might order a pint of it next time I go to the brewery and I think it makes for a nice late winter/early spring beer. I would recommend giving it a try to people who like the style, but I wouldn't tell them it's the best. All in all I thought this was a solid Oatmeal Stout, it did have a couple flaws, but overall it was still enjoyable and what I would expect from the style. I liked the tap version better, it seemed to be creamier with a more pronounced coffee and chocolate flavor. It's not my favorite Oatmeal Stout or my favorite Big Buck Beer, but it's still solid nonetheless. Good job guys, keep up the solid work.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

was served a black pint with a pinky width off-white head, head dropped very slow.
the aroma was malty, dark malts, hint of chocolate, slight wiff hopsack
the flavor malt, coffee, carmelized malt, hint of hops, bit of chocolate.
the mouthfeel is a little creamy
beer is very drinkable, best enjoyed on a cold night.

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Photo of speedvagen
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%

Photo of weizenbob
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 bottle purchased at Big Buck Brewery in Gaylord, MI. At $16 for a six-pack, it was the most expensive brew available for takeout because, as the hostess explained, it was their darkest beer. Sigh. The label is light on information and Big Buck’s website ( does not even list this brew. Stout can be a wide-ranging style so I have been given little idea what I’m diving into. I poured this into a tulip glass.

A horizontal pour manifests more than two fingers of foamy, khaki-tinted head. Retention is decent. Lacing sticks to the glass as the head recedes. The beer is very dark, nearing black. I was ready to hate on this, but I have to admit that it is a good looking stout.

The brew is initially fruity on the nose. Chocolate is lurking close behind. There isn’t much else going on, and the aromatics are fairly mild.

The stout does have a nice flavor. Chocolate malt is pleasantly forward on the tongue. The middle is creamy and transitions into a nice heavily roasted malt flavor. The finish is laced with a hoppy bite that is noticeable, though it does not overtake roasted malty sweetness of the brew. The balance is nice and it tastes good.

The feel of the stout is nice and creamy. The body is medium to full. The carbonation level is low, but I think that aides to the smooth character of the brew. I get the impression that this may have been more highly carbonated on tap. The bottle didn’t seem like it was capped very tightly and not much hiss was released when the cap was popped. The label appears to have been printed with a laser printer, giving the bottle a homebrew-quality look. It leaves me with the impression that these bottles may have been filled straight from the tap. I wish there was more information available from the brewery, or that the brewery staff had been more knowledgeable/forthcoming. Regardless, this is a very sturdy stout. Per serving it’s in the same price range as much better stouts like Great Rasputin so I can’t say that it is a good value. However, I will say that I enjoyed it.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz for Black River Stout, which isn’t as impressive when you note that it’s about three times the cost.

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Photo of Morakaton
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of garymuchow
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whiff of coffee with a sweet malty and soft roast that hints of the oats within.
Black, black, black with a small dark creamy looking head.
Nice creamy softness which often seems hard for brewers to bottle or can. Might be a tad thin, but enjoyable nonetheless. Long finish of coffee that is a pleasing closing.
Just hints of the flavor that moves towards soy sauce, but not too distracting. Good coffee flavor and bits of chocolate.
Overall a pretty decent beer. Drinks well and nice flavors.
Thanks Drevis.

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Photo of FaradayUncaged
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%

Photo of Rons35
3/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of GoldenChild
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer isnt retired great beer the abv % is higher now cant remember the number ill edit when i do.

Came in a pint glass big thick white head, black beer you cant see through.
Smells like chocolate and coffee
Tastes like caramel, chocolate, and coffee.
Great mouth feel and carbination

Will be drinking more of this.

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Photo of Pelletben
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of afinepilsner
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of lupercmda
3/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Dogbrick
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample at the Gaylord location: Jet black color with a thin and bubbly light brown head. Lacing is nil. Aroma of roasted malt and coffee. Medium-bodied and creamy smooth with milk chocolate and coffee flavoring, along with some roasted malt. The finish is lightly bitter coffee and hops. Not great, but pretty solid all around.

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Photo of tastymug
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Black River Stout from Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 20 ratings