Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Bear Republic - Big Bear Black Stout 8.1%
When you hear the words "Bear Republic Brewery" from California, the first thing that springs to mind might be the wonderful fruity mango and tangerine IPA Racer 5 or possibly the coarse, orange, pine and peppery Hop Rod Rye, but today I've gone down to the woods for their Big Bear Black Stout.
This is an Imperial Russian-style stout possibly on the lighter side abv-wise for its type and brewed with Cascade and Chinook hops. A '... robust, deep-roasted heartiness you can sink your teeth into ...' the brewery states on the bottle, so let's get stuck in.
It pours a light-sucking inky black with the smallest of dark dark brown edges. The head is like the foam on a black coffee that has had a faint drop of milk added then whisked to perfection. Moving expectantly forward, the aroma has deliciously generous portions of coffee, molasses and dark muscavado and whisky marmalade. This beer is singing to me already, drawing me toward it with some beautiful deep dark notes. Treacly coffee with a rich orange-tinged toffee and a hint of aniseed and chilli coat the mouth with a wondrously full and an incredibly rounded crescendo of tastes. There's a tiny prickle of hoppy grapefruit served up in a spoonful of blackstrap molasses right at the end before the sticky dry finish throws in some date and caramel to add to the rest of this awesome experience.
Another fantastic beer from a brewery that never fails to amaze with the quality and complexity of their output. A dark, fruity, rich, engulfing brew that is best experienced alone, I'd say. Sit, savour and smile.