Jan 5, 2015

Lickinghole Creek Virginia Black Bear

It’s no secret that I love a big, robust stout. I love the earthy, rich and sometimes in your face attitude that a glass of black gold can often contain. Lickinghole Creeks’ Virginia Black Bear is my kind of stout.

This 9.3% ABV and 78 IBU Russian imperial stout is also the base brew for the company’s more well-known Enlightened Despot (a beer I have yet to encounter). As it stands on its own, Virginia Black Bear isn’t just a wooly mammal I’ve seen crossing the road on my commute home. This is an excellent brew with a no-nonsense nature that has been the cause of several purchases of it since first enjoying bottle #165.


The brew pours an opaque black in color with a large crown of dark brown, rocky foam.

Lickinghole Creek Virginia Black Bear photo


Welcoming dark coffee (with a hint of astringency), a lightly peppery hop character, roast malt, hint of licorice, cocoa and a soft sweetness waft from the surface with an earthy and assertive nature.


This is a no-nonsense brew. It doesn’t mess around as a surge of robust flavors wash over the tongue. Dark coffee, chocolate, a lightly acrid roast, peppery hops and a solid amount of hop bitterness domainte from start to finish. There’s a moderate amount of sweetness in the mix, as well as hints of licorice and a good bit of warmth in the lightly drying finish.


Like I said in the intro, this is my kind of stout. It’s robust and earthy with an assertive nature, but not so much as to come across aggressively. It’s a beer that has shown up several times in my fridge since first encountering it for this review last November. Now, if only I can find its barrel-aged bigger brother.

Rating: 4.25/5

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