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Aces & Ates - Big Boss Brewing

Not Rated.
Aces & AtesAces & Ates

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

182 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 182
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.35%
Wants: 21
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Big Boss Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BitterLover on 01-31-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 80
Reviews by BitterLover:
Photo of BitterLover
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, NC three times now (finally took some notes last night). The menu there mistakenly lists it at 9.9% ABV (which is why I tried it), but it's actually a more modest 8%. This is a stout that is brewed with coffee roasted by a local coffee roaster. The label on the bottle calls it a "coffee stout", but that style was not available in the Ba listing.

Appearance: Inky black with a very modest light brown head that quickly dissipated, but left very thin, branch-like lacing all the way to the bottom of the glass. It was so black that I couldn't see through it, so couldn't detect any carbonation.

Smell: Not surprisingly, the nose was of dark roasted coffee with dark chocolate.

Taste: Black coffee mixed with a hint of dark chocolate covered cherries. At first I thought it was almost too sweet, but then the bitterness stepped up and lasted into the finish. When I aerated the beer in my mouth, I got a subtle black licorice flavor. This is a complex beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy.

Drinkability: This beer is so rich that I would not want to hurry through it. You need to savor it and appreciate its layers as it warms. And at 8%, it's not meant to be pounded.

I haven't seen this beer in any of my favorite beer stores, but I'm going to keep looking for it. Outstanding stuff.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Vintage 301 here in Greensboro.Poured into a standard pint glass a a near jet black except for some ruby highlights when held into the light,a thinner but well retained light mocha colored head.Aromas of heavy roast and molasses really stood out along with faint bitter chocolate.Dark roast coffee flavors with a bit of a bitter chocolate tinge on the palate,quite earthy and dry in the finish.A little sharp in the mouth but its a solid big coffee stout.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Apex, NC.

Served in a standard pint glass. Dark, nearly black. Big dense head that has great retention leaving lacing all the way down the glass.

Some fairly roasty notes here, almost burnt like Starbucks. There are the other typical notes here too like dark chocolate, but it is that roasted coffee note that really stands out.

Flavors very much mimic the aromas in that there is plenty of coffee on the palate but it isn't overpowering. There is a nice bittering that comes in for balance but the hops play second fiddle to the roasted malt. Bittering follows all the way through the finish.

Medium carbonation is a nice match to the rest of the body of this brew and it really is pretty easy to drink. I nice brew all around. Another great brew from Big Boss!

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Pitch black, brown head

SMELL: Creamed coffee, charcoal, burnt currants, cocoa powder, dark brown sugar, brownie batter

TASTE: Silky smooth, full body, burnt sugar, dark-roasted coffee, charcoal, warming alcohol, figs, unsweetened dark chocolate, roasty finish

Whoa! This is a serious coffee beer for serious beer drinkers. Old-school robust Stout talk up front and just enough coffee to back it up—and a very well-balanced 8-percent beer to boot. Further proof that beer geeks should be looking to North Carolina for great craft beer.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle had been in the back of my fridge for eight months.. Pours an inky, dark, and viscous, black body with an impressive light brown head that towers over the opaque body. Good retention and some patchy lace.

Aroma of roasted coffee, cocoa, dark roasted malts, and some vanilla.

Medium body is smoother than expected. Low medium carbonation.

Taste has a roast coffee dominance. Vanilla sweetness softens the bitterness of the dark roasted malts. Earthy hops add complexity. Alcohol is well hidden. Espresso aftertaste.

Very solid and well crafted. Vanilla notes really evened out the biterness of the coffee. Nice!

Photo of kris10michele
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: my fiance refers to this as "the espresso of beers" partially because of its dark, dark coloration. It's almost pitch black, with a lovely tan head, and almost perfect lacing as you drink it in.

Smell: I love beer, and I love coffee...and this American stout has both. It has the aroma of a yummy, sweet, alcohol-infused mocha latte. If that doesn't convince you that you should try it, I don't know what else will.

Taste: This is a fantastic stout that leaves nothing to be desired (except maybe another round or two.) Big Boss has found the perfect formula for a fusion of coffee and beer, and it's working quite well here. This stout is sweet, but not too sweet, and it leaves a slightly sweet, bitter bite in its aftertaste, just like a satisfying cup o'joe.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, but not too creamy, this beer is full and smooth while remaining completely drinkable.

Overall: This is my favorite from Big Boss. The smell, taste, appearance, and mouthfeel all contribute to a satisfying beer-drinking experience. It hides its 8% abv very well.

Photo of glid02
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC.

Pours black with a half-finger dark tan head. The head recedes fairly quickly into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of roasted coffee with roasted malt aromas lurking in the background. As it warms the coffee aromas fade, though not much.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted coffee flavors up front, with a good deal of roasted malt flavors giving it more body. The ending is pretty bitter. I would prefer a bit more complexity, but as it is it tastes above average.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side, but solid carbonation still makes it go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I finished one glass and then another. I could drink a few of these.

Overall this is a solid coffee stout, though it has a way to go before it can be considered great. Still, worth a shot, especially if you're a big fan of coffee stouts.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Beer #5 in an NC beers only tasting, thanks to Benny (styleisking).

[Appearance: 3.75] This is a big, thick and rich-looking stout, and it has the look. It's very, very close to black with a heavier viscosity. The one thing lacking is a strong presence from the tan head, but only enough to keep it from showing off its beauty as much as it could. There's a creamy cling to the stretching lace.
[Aroma: 3.75] Coffee could be a little stronger but puts up some earth and hearty roast. Some almost fudgy cocoa comes in with a little creamy sweetness that ends with char.
[Flavor: 4.25] Coffee is more pronounced, fresh grounds of a good, strong brew that's both earthy and creamy with a not-quite-smoky sweetness. Coming in behind are some toffee, caramel, fig and something like black cherry along with an almost blackstrap note. A little char comes in at just the right level without being overdone to tie in the sweetness and add its own depth.
[Mouthfeel: 4.0] It starts off smooth and stays that way while adding just a little bit of bite to the tongue. Carbonation is light to moderate, and alcohol tames the thickness without thinning too much. A light dryness comes into the finish.

Photo of tastybeer
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thick deep brown color, opaque and topped by frothy big medium brown head. Head fades to a thin layer and leaves a bit of spotty lace. Both aroma and flavor are smooth + creamy, lightly robust, softly toasty, and just the right amount of sweet. Chocolate, some fruit, and some milkiness are apparent. The Larry's Beans are a yummy fit. This almost also has an oatmeal stout-like thing going on. Certainly can't complain about that. Real smooth. creamy, melted chocolate-like texture is rather nice. Just a touch of roasty bitterness in the finish. Very drinkable end easy to consume.

Mmmmm beer.

Photo of tdm168
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap City in Raleigh.

From Notes:
Pours a deep black, with a quarter inch of head which sticks around. Smells of coffee and roasted malt. The coffee and roasted malt come through strong again in the taste. Finishes clean with no hint of the 8% ABV. I thought the mouthfeel was a little thin. Overall a great beer. Big Boss should quit bottling their regulars and get their other offerings into a more constant rotation.

Photo of dirtylou
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, delivered to me by Blackie

#32/5000

"aces and ates" - the marketing director of big boss should probably be terminated

appearance: poured into a hopleaf tulip, big bold mahogany body with a thick chocolate foam and foamy lacing retention

smell: im not getting "huge" coffee aromas as many others have described...dry malt, milk chocolate, light coffee roast

taste: I like this stout quite a bit but am totally underwhelmed by the coffee presence. This doesnt really even come close to lining up with some competitors (tyranena, central waters, bells) in the coffee component...I get more creamy chocolate than anything, with light tones of coffee roast, burnt espresso, dark chocolate

mouthfeel: foamy and actually rather light

drinkability: just dandy

Photo of Kegatron
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Horniblow's Tavern (Raleigh, NC).

Pours a pitch black with a thin wispy tan head that retained nicely into a creamy ring around the rim of the glass but not much lace was left behind. The aroma is definitely that of a coffee stout. Rich with roasted malt, coffee bitterness, smokiness, and some residual chocolate sweetness in the background.

The taste is more of the same, with burnt coffee bitterness and roasted smoky malts that are tempered by chocolate sweetness. Finishes with burnt bitterness that gives way to a splash of sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a poppy carbonation that really accentuates the bitterness. That 8% ABV is nowwhere to be found.

This was my first experience with a Big Boss beer and it was a good one. It's definitely more of a burnt and bitter coffee stout experience than others but if you like your coffee black, than this is definitely the one for you. The easy going mouthfeel and nonexistent feeling ABV really make this one a pleasure to quaff. And to think that I had my sense of smell and taste dulled from all the smoke in the Tavern and I still really liked this. Who knows what I would have thought in a non-polluted environment!

Photo of Riverwarrior
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

S = Huge coffee aroma with cocoa in the background.

T = Big blast of coffee upfront with a dry cocoa flavor rounding out the flavor. The finish is all expresso coffee with a hint of roasted chocolate. Alcohol completely hidden.

MF = Body and carbonation just below medium. I would have liked the body to be a little thicker. Smooth and very easy to drink.

Overall, if you like a coffee styled beer, this one will certainly not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will continue to pick it up when I'm in NC.

Photo of thagr81us
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured black with a minimal light tan head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of slightly roasted malt and dark chocolate. The flavor was of slightly roasted malt, dark chocolate, and cream. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice brew. Had a good flavor going on here. The aroma however was definitely lacking in intensity. Went down really nice and smooth for an 8%er. 8%er!? Wow, that is the first time I noticed the alcohol on this one... Never would have guessed. Could see it getting you in trouble quite easily.

Photo of andrewm190
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very strong entry from Big Boss Brewing. Super coffee intensity. Maybe a bit too much. Almost more like coffee than coffee. Also very heavy, although not quite as heavy as the Avery Imperial Stout, another beer I had recently. Strong aftertaste. This is basically a one and done beer. Any more and you'll strongly consider doing anything your friends suggest.

Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solid black pour, just a ring of off white head around the glass. Aroma is mostly espresso, some roast malt and cocoa. Taste followed suit, pretty straight forward. Mocha latte, just enough licorice and hop to off set. Medium body, but a bit light for the style. However this contributed to it being rather drinkable, and went very well with my barbeque beef rib. Would recommend and a good coffee stout, not ground breaking, but the best I've had from Big Boss. Will have again.

Photo of CptBlackBeerd
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Charlotte Flying Saucer. Jet black with a pillowy light tan head. Nice lacing all the way down. Aroma is roasted malts, fresh coffee and dark chocolate. Taste is malt, coffee and cream up front with vanilla bean and just a touch of bitterness on the finish - very smooth. Mouthfeel is medium to full with moderate carbonation. Extremely easy to drink for 8% ABV. Overall a very good coffee stout from Big Boss.

Photo of EgadBananas
2.48/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to injuredreserve for sharing!

2008 vintage. From Notes:

Fairly black pour, maybe a half a finger of slight mocha colored head.

Aroma is faint coffee, butterscotch, mild sweetness with a hint of tart thrown in there.

Taste had a bit more coffee than the aroma, some roasted, some metallic notes and some of that back-end tartness.

Thin and watery feel, low to no carbonation at all.

Drinkability is a challenge to say the least.

I think this boils down to age not doing this thing a bit of good, or poor storage. The feel ruins this completely and the lackluster taste and aromas can't save it for me.

Would love to see how a fresh one fares...

Photo of wedge
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Made with organic fair-trade coffee beans from local Raleigh roasters: Larry's Beans.

Opaque black with a good sized brown head that shrinks to a thin sheet. Coffee, cream, and roasted black malt aroma. Smooth, dark coffee flavor with some creamy sweetness, almost like a milk stout, near the finish. Considerably drinkable for 8% abv. Rich, chocolate maltiness. Medium-plus body, lightly carbonated with only a little bitterness. Mmmm...good stuff.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks have to be given to a wonderful trade who sent this one my way. A local brewer to which I was not able to get a hold of, needless to say I was thrilled to finally be trying this one. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/30/2009.



The pour was very, very nice. Rich dark black in color with no light shining through whatsoever. A very large head of tan came up over the top, sticking around for a few minutes before settling back down to earth. The whole while dropping some nice side glass lacing and never really leaving a bare top at all. The aroma was rich coffee as one might imagine, but interlaced with nice notes of roasted malts and hints of light vanilla. All ABV was well hidden as the subtle and sweet roasted coffee notes were all that I was really picking up. Smooth, even carbonation was a hallmark and a highlight here. Really wonderfully put together as the coffee was brilliantly placed, not being over the top or over shining the hallmark of a very nice stout which lie beneath it. Quick, clean and effective finish here as the molasses like notes mingle with a light bitterness that thoroughly coats the tongue and leaves you looking for more.



Overall a very, very solid coffee stout here and up there with some of the better ones that I have had. I would have no issue at all with looking for this one again some day soon.

Photo of wcudwight
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with a nice thick milk chocolate colored head. Head fades to a tight ring of lace crowning the beer.
Smells of cocoa, roasted grains, and coffee. The coffee doesn't stand out as much as other coffee stouts but rather blends nicely with the other two.
Kind of a roasted sweet malt flavor. Touch of chocolate, but not as much as in the nose. Nice coffee flavor with a bitter finish. Finish is kind of acidic in a way but imo it just adds a bit of bite to the beer.
Good smooth creamy mouthfeel with the bitter finish adding excitement.
Good beer. I LOVE coffee stouts and this one doesn't disappoint. Will go pick up a few more bombers before this one is history.

Photo of blackie
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: The beer is tar black in color, with a respectable mocha colored head atop.

s: Fresh dark roast coffee seamlessly blended with a slew of sweet, chocolaty roasted barley.

m: Ultra smooth, low carbonation with a full, slick body.

t: As in the aroma, the coffee flavors have been perfectly blended with what seems to have been an already excellent double stout. Dark, low acid coffee flavors compliment the moderately sweet, roasted flavors of barley and bitter chocolate.

d: A great beer and certainly a pleasure. I think I'd take this one over even the excellent Bell's Java, the only thing I can really compare it to.

pint at Horniblow's

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin tan head that took a long time to fade away.
S: There are moderate aromas of coffee beans in the nose along with notes of chocolate.
T: The taste is similar to the nose and also has some hints of vanilla beans.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is a great one to sip and savor.

Photo of ShrLSU
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pured a deep black color with no light shining through at all. A slight head receding quickly to some nice lacing cascading down the glass. The nose is roasted coffee and and malts with a slight tinge of vanilla. The taste is nice and roasty with a small amount of sweetness from a vanilla essence and some very nice coffee bitterness. It's not disturbingly thick, but it has body to it. Overall a solid coffee stout. Worth a shot.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.78/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 10 oz. glass

This beer is infused with Larry's Beans XXX cold brewed coffee.

This solid black stout is a medium bodied stout with a dark chocolate flavors and a coffee flavor that sits just behind it all. The combination of sweet malt, chocolate flavor, and coffee make blend well. Lighter carbonation works well for this beer.

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Aces & Ates from Big Boss Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.