I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip pint glass. Its best before date was notched at August 2013. It cost $4 ($0.18 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque dark black with no highlights. Forms a large, dark tan, frothy head which laces and retains well.
Smell: Plenty of roasted barley, hints of vanilla and milk chocolate.
Taste: I’m so used to drinking large, imperial stouts I sometimes forget
what can be done with smaller versions like Berkshire Mountain Brewers
Black Bear Stout. This is a by-the-book brew in the sweet stout style.
It has everything you expect and nothing you don’t. So, yes, it’s good,
but it’s been done.
Light, sweet maltiness at the beginning of the palette. Slight milk
chocolate flavors with perhaps a dairy flavor often found in stouts
brewed with lactose sugar (not sure if this one is or not). Slight
tanginess through the middle with hardly any bitterness, finishing with a
short, but noticeable, burst of roasted malt or coffee-like bitterness.
It fades away almost completely clean and rather quickly, making this a
beer that’s satisfying, but a bit too fast for its own good. Not quite
robust enough to be a dessert beer, it’s a stout for the sake of
drinking stout. I can live with that.
Drinkability: I had considered rating Berkshire Mountain Brewers Black
Bear Stout a little lower because of the mild palette, but then I
realized its drinkability is quite impressive. The mouthfeel is quite
thin, but then again it’s a deliberately lighter bodied beer. It’s soft
and smooth across the tongue and glides down the gullet with ease. At
4.9% ABV it’s perhaps a bit too big to be defined as a session beer,
though drinking it in large quantities should not be a burden on anyone.