Black Bear Ale | Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant

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Black Bear AleBlack Bear Ale
97 Ratings
Black Bear AleBlack Bear Ale

Brewed by:
Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
Tennessee, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2002

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 |  Reviews: 41
Photo of Viperman1316
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of atrocity
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of KerryCummins1977
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of myelo
3.18/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Calhoun's restaurant.

Clear, light brown, mahogany color with medium beige head that settles quickly. Tiny bubbles.

Medium light aroma of malt with some nut and toffee. Low hops.

Flavor is medium-high malt up front with sweetness dominating. Very low hops in background.

Mouthfeel is medium body with moderate carbonation. Very smooth with no astringency or heat.

Overall very clean and drinkable. The sweetness dominates and with not enough bitterness to balance.

 482 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
3.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear brownish amber with a creamy, thick khaki head.

S: Malty aromas of praline, nougat, chestnut, pecans, leather, caramel, toffee, and heavy cream dominate the nose, though closer inspection reveals subtle traces of earthy hops.

T: Notes of caramel, toffee, nougat, praline, leather, chestnut, pecan, heavy cream, grass, herbs, and lemon distinguish themselves in the mouth. The finish is earthy and rather nutty with pronounced notes of praline, toffee, pecan, herbs, and grass.

M: On the lighter side of medium, slick, and oily. Carbonation is very delicate. It goes down smoothly, but it is slight and flabby for the style.

O: Not bad at all. I think some reviewers may have been expecting too much. While this is not exactly like many commercial English brown ales, it still ticks most of the boxes one would expect for a beer of this style.

 863 characters

Photo of Smoky54
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of Greasy
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of CurtFromHershey
4/5  rDev +23.8%

Photo of khargro2
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of Segelstrom
3.25/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of utvol
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ctrevino
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of swgwilt
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.25/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of Hugh37
3.25/5  rDev +0.6%

Photo of Falcone
3/5  rDev -7.1%

3.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
2.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The taste of "Brown" makes its way across the pond and into the Appalachian Mountains. Inspired by British origins, this rendition tastes as much of a Mild Ale as it does an English Brown Ale.

Pouring more of a copper or bronze color, the notion of "brown" doesn't exactly ring true to the sight. A fairly turbulent pour yields a dainty skirt of foam on the surface; even a strong swirl of the glass reluctantly gives up any foam- the ale is nearly still. Mild lacing creeps up the glass, but does so in timid fashion. Its nearly obvious that the Smoky Mountain Brewery is trying to capture that cask ale-like calmness.

Caramel and apples rise to greet the nose instead of the expected chocolate, toast, or toffee. Bruised fruit and grain top off the aromatics while a shift to caramel and toasted barley take shape in taste. Here, a very mild chocolate tone blends with bread crust, nutty coffee grounds, and cola nuts. A tinge of fruitiness in the middle is a little of white grape and wine tannin. Its late profile is unsettled grainy and lacking the malt profile for Brown but settling nicely in the Mild Ale world.

Light in body, the ales inspiration may be Newcastle but with more sweetness. Still, its grain character overshadows malt richness and allows the beer to become thin and exposed late. Finishing mildly astringent- the ale seems to have an Olde Ale staleness that may or may note be intended.

Black Bear needs a hug- unlike several of the beers in its six-pack melange, this ale doesn't know which direction he wants to take. But billed as a Northern English Brown, on par with Newcastle just doesn't cut it. It needs more brown.

 1,653 characters

Photo of jjs581
2.21/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 1.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This beer was very disappointing. I was not sure if the waitress had even given me the correct beer upon its arrival. Instead of looking like a typical "English Brown Ale" as the menu stated, this reminded me of an English pale ale. The taste was very sweet and malty but with little flavor from anything roasted or dark malt. It also had almost no hop flavor at all. I would not recommend this beer to anyone expecting a true brown ale.

 437 characters

Photo of thaghost
3.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Volsdawg10
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of fishguyac
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of Jalogan2
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of ahbaggins
3/5  rDev -7.1%

Black Bear Ale from Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 3.23 out of 5 with 97 ratings