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Aces & Ates - Big Boss Brewing

Not Rated.
Aces & AtesAces & Ates

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

78 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 188
Avg: 3.94
pDev: 20.56%
Wants: 22
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Hads: 188
Photo of JDV
2.12/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Big thanks to ROBORB for this bottle!
Was really looking forward to this one, but I'm afraid either I had too high of hopes or their bottling line isn't that great.

Pours dark black with a short lived light tan head. Smell is less of coffee than I expected with a huge unwelcomed sour presence. Ugh...

Taste is pretty dull with light roasted malt and coffee flavor, a touch of tartness, and this is actually pretty watery and underwhelming. Thin flavor, and while not as sour in the taste as the smell, the smell was unpleasant and really kills this beer. Smell is sour, taste is watery, body is thin, carbonation is low, and there really is no shining aspect of this beer, unfortunately.

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Photo of callisbeers
2.33/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured in stein. Dark color with small tan head that disappears quickly. Good malty, coffee smell, with a small sour note. Mouthfeel is thin, almost porter-like. Strong sour taste that overpowers all other flavors. Could not finish this one due to the taste. This was bottled in November of 08 as part of a limited release. Perhaps the year in the fridge contributed to the taste. In all fairness, I would try this again but from the tap or drink a bottle immediately after purchase.

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.48/5  rDev -37.1%
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...

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Photo of 7thInningSuds
2.6/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Very dark, coffee look to it.

Smell: Just like coffee. Juan Valdez would love this beer

Taste: If you like beer that tastes like coffee, then you'll like this beer. I'm not a coffee drinker, so this beer did nothing for me. Sampled it as part of a flight at Woody's. Was served in a 3 oz glass. One ounce was enough.

Mouthfeel: Thick beer, as what you would expect from a stout.

Drinkability: Not something I'll try again.

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Photo of discovolante65
2.68/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Got this one on my recent travels through Raleigh/Durham. Went to a lot of stores, might have been PSM in Raleigh.

22oz serving. Poured into an over-sized wine glass (all my father in law had to use) pours an oil black with no visible carbonation, nice big fat espresso colored head about 1 inch thick that retreated into some pretty lacing that lasted throughout.

Smell is fresh ground coffee, little bit of roasted malt, and some hops presence at the end.

Taste is bitter black coffee with some...figs? cherries? and some anise on the very end, more in the "smaste" than the taste.
Not a lot of alcohol in this, but it's not well hidden. Not at all as complex as I expected.

Mouthfeel is sticky and almost unlikable. I say this because it is entirely too full bodied for the lack of big, complex flavor.

Drinkability, well, I opened it, so I gotta finish it. I'm not sure if they hit the mark on this one. I don't hate it, but I wouldn't seek it out again. I bought a lot of local stuff while visiting the in-laws, this was one of them, maybe the hells belle will be closer to style and more enjoyable.

Wow, I had no idea I was only the third reviewer!

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Photo of rudzud
2.7/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Received as an extra in a trade an dpoured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice dark brown porter like hue with a nice one finger mocha head that fades to leave a thin thin blanket and light cloud. Solid.

S - Uhh..what? I get no coffee whatsoever on the nose. Light alcohol and metallic notes, a really weird lightly minty note and well, a ceramic pot kind of thing going on. Maybe slightly spoiled...just a mess of weird off aromas that I cannot find the right words to describe. Maybe some vegetative stuff too...

T - Taste is well, average. Those weird, strange aromas are fortunately not in the taste. I get light bakers chocolate, faint older coffee. Sweet black watered down coffee. Lightly bitter on the finish. Pretty average 1-2 punch going on.

M - Mouthfeel is not nearly as creamy as I would like for the style. Somewhat watery, alcohol is hidden though.

O - Overall, this beer was okay. As average as everything was that nose was just awful. Lots of weird off aromas going on here, glad it didn't taste like it but still, pretty meh.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with beautiful red highlights outlining the inside of the glass. Not much carbonation visible. Smells only of coffee with some alcohol notes present in the nose. First sip is strong coffee but not much else. Sure there is some chocolate, and tobacco present but for a coffee stout, there is so much better out there.

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Photo of gford217
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle courtesy of OldStyleCubFan poured into a snifter.

Pours almost completely black in the glass underneath a one inch rocky tan head that dissipates to a small swirl and collar fairly quickly. Lacing is minimal.

The aroma is very good with lots of dark roasted chocolate malts with enough coffee to make me notice it, but not enough to overpower everything else.

The taste just didn't live up to the nose for me. It was dominated by a dry tangy bitterness (presumably from espresso) that was fairly offputting. There is some dark roasted malts and hints of coffee and chocolate, but the astringent bitterness is tough to get through.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with good carbonation and very soft on the palate.

I was expecting good things from this one and the smell was nice, however I wasn't all that impressed with the taste. It seemed fairly one dimensional and that one dimension, coffee, was a little too bitter in its presentation. Anyway, not a bad beer but not one I would go back to.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks very much like a porter. Light black color with a thin tan head. A whirlpool like swirl sat on top for awhile before it headed for the hills. Smell is dark roasted malt, but on the other hand is very sweet. Definitely has more of a porter taste and feel to it. Pretty light feel for a stout, as there isn't enough chew to it. Similar to a sweet stout in taste. Very sweet milk chocolate taste with a little bit of coffee notes that try to offset the sugar. Don't really know about this one. Nothing really makes it standout, and isn't one that i'd grab over several other choices.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at Horniblow's Tavern in Raleigh. The beer is dark black a 1-finger creamy tan foam. The smell is good for a coffee stout, some roasted malts but mostly the dark bean comes through. The taste is likewise good, coffee bean plus sweet malt. My only issue was that the mouthfeel was way too light for the style, very watery. I'd prefer a more substantial body to match the strength of the flavor.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle 1971/5000. Black coffee black with miniscule margins of coppery burnt orange. The pale caramel colored crown has a tight texture, takes several minutes to lose half its initial height and does an acceptable job of decorating the pint glass. A & A looks the part...

... and smells the part. There's a beautiful, complementary balance between roasted java beans and bittersweet chocolate-like roasted malt, which bodes well for the flavor profile. Let's see if Big Boss can pull off a praiseworthy version of this increasingly popular style of stout.

Whoa! What the hell happened to all the malt? A limited release stout with an ABV of 8.0% should not feel like a 4.5% porter. The beer's lack of size has the usual negative effect on strength and depth of flavor. What's appreciated is decent, it just needs a whole lot more in the way of malty guts.

Like the nose, the taste is appropriately simple... roasted malt and black coffee in roughly equal measure. There's a light char and a small splash of vanilla as well. Malt sweetness is on the low end... and hop bitterness isn't much more prominent. There's no hook here. Nothing to keep the craft beer aficionado coming back for another sip.

The mouthfeel is thin, thinner, thinnest. It's been a while since I've seen a beer of this ABV be this light. The bubbles have a lackluster feel and drag down enjoyability another peg or two.

If Big Boss Aces & Ates was a low-ABV coffee porter, it would have earned higher scores all around. The moral of the story is that if a brewery sets the bar high, they better make every effort to clear it. Unfortunately, this (not very) limited release isn't in any danger of doing that.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Richard.

Pours almost black in color with minimal head formation. The nose definitely has quite a bit of coffee to it. There's also a lot of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a bit of charred character. The flavor is a bit thin and mild compared to the nose. Some good coffee notes and a decent roastiness, but that's about it. Maybe some cocoa powder. The body is sort of disappointingly thin as well.

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Photo of joe1510
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber

Bottle #432/5,000
Bottled 11/08

A big thank you goes out to Kegatron for coming through with yet another stellar box of beer today, this included, thanks buddy! Aces & Ates pours what else but black as night? The body seems to actually look glossy in a strange sort of way as the mocha head sits up top with good retention. The head grew easily to three fingers and faded to one becoming quite silky on its way down. A decent amount of patchy lacing gets left here and there as the beer recedes in the glass.

I was expecting a full on coffee bomb but the nose is a little weaker than I expected. A lightly roasted coffee starts things off and is noticeable throughout. Roasty grains, black licorice, and dusty cocoa all have their own little niche in this brew. The anise actually comes across pretty noticeably on the backend. The dusty cocoa and dark chocolate seem to be interchangeable and add some nice depth. This is a nicely balanced stout but I would have preferred a coffee bomb in this situation.

The flavor basically follows the aroma with mild coffee that's actually a little tough to pull out at times. Anise and roasty grains play the major roles in this brew, the soft roastiness leading the way. A mild nuttiness comes through mid-palate while the dusty cocoa shows up on the finish. Slight underripe berriness finishes things off. This is a well made stout, and tasty, but for having an abv at 8% and coffee added it misses the mark.

The mouthfeel hits nicely right up front with a slickness and moderate heavy body on the tip of the tongue. The carbonation picks up shortly and becomes slightly fast moving, propelling this beer through the back of the mouth a little too quickly and creating a lighter feel.

This beer is easily drinkable with the lighter feel and all around muted flavors. A glass or two is enough for me since this one doesn't quite push my buttons.

I expected a lot more coffee and robust flavors out of this beer and it was a bit of a let down in that department. I enjoyed the stout overall but it just doesn't fit into what's advertised. Thanks for knocking this long want of my list Heath!

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Photo of Onenote81
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Have had this a few times on tap, so it's about time for a review. Most recently imbibed at City Beverage here in town. Pours a deep black with a thin mocha head on top. The nose carries a good amount of roasted aromas, coffee, charred wood. The feel of this starts out well, but lacks in endurance. Just not enough heft to hold up these flavors and alcohol. Flavors of coffee and toasted bread, chocolate, and light boozy quality. All of this weakens as I sip, and the flavors get jumbled into unintelligible mess. This beer starts out nicely, but lacks in its finish. Not a bad beer, but not one of my favorites either.

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Photo of porterwoobie
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: black in color, one finger tan head, some lacing.

S: coffee, roasted grains, chocolate. smells pretty good.

T: doesn't quite have the flavor that the aroma leads you to think you'll get. coffee doesn't come out as bold, but more of a balanced flavor to go with the dark roasted grains and chocolate taste.

MF: light bodied, moderate carbonation. this felt light bodied.

Drinkability: not a bad beer. drinks like a sessionable beer and not 8% ABV. wish it was full bodied and bolder in flavor.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours damn near black with almost a finger of chocolate colored head, looks to be fairly bubbly, the head recedes in about a minutes time leaving only a thinner outer ring, lacing is pretty minimal.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, cocoa powder/chocolate.

T - Very roasty bitter, burnt currants and cocoa, with a mildly roasty bitter aftertaste.

M - Lighter bodied for the color, a good bit of carbonation in this one - doesn't really fit the style IMO.

O - Light and more refreshing than it should be, but it's kind of nice to have those qualities and a roasty chocolate/coffee brew like this. Decent, but not writing home about it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a jet black body with a full, though short-lived mocha-colored head.

Smell: Aroma of roasted malts, spent dark grains, and cold, abandoned coffee in a glass decanter.

Taste: Highly roasted coffee and dark malts with a touch of graininess. Some hints of dark chocolate with only a minor amount of sweetness. Mostly, the bitterness is supplied by the roasted grains and coffee beans. This beer doesn't just boast the roast, it brings it, baby! Roast-driven finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Mild carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmm, it's pretty good, you know? Hope you like roast, though!

Update: Sampled 3/14/09 giving a comparable score, but, now bottled under the Aces & Ates moniker, I noticed a slightly dialed down roast component, allowing for lighter tastes of licorice and molasses to emerge.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, I can't believe I'm the 2nd one to ever review this beer. I feel like a celebrity! Is this my 15 minutes of fame???? Ha ha ha

First and foremost - thanks go out to pwoods... See, he forgot to take this home last night (don't worry, Patrick - I still have a bottle in the basement).

Pwoods purchased this one from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC (I know because I was with him!). Presented in a 22 ounce brown bottle with a very attractive and unique label. In fact, it states bottle # 2662 / 5000 printed on it! Just looking at this label makes me want to hop on a Harley or run to a machine shop and cut some gears or something... Big & bold silver label with white text - like something from the Air Force or Harley Davidson.

Poured into my Foothills Brewing mini-pilsner glass with a 1" dark tan head . Body, as expected is a super dark brown to black with a clear brown to red edge. Head recedes quickly leaving no lacing.

Smells of fresh, heavily roasted coffee abound... In addition, I am picking up a solid, floral hops presence. Sweet malts also appear for a minute. Overall, the nose is a little lighter than I was expecting, but nonetheless, I bet it will taste solid.

Mouthfeel is big and oily combined with ample carbonation (though hidden from the quick head retention). Medium to full bodied and full flavored. Coffee, dark malts, light smoke and hops all play along in a nice blend. Frankly, I'm surprised this was classified as an American Stout and not a Double or Imperial Stout (At least, it's an American Stout on BA at the time I type...) As I drink, the big stout presence is seen with a light brown oily hazing on the side of my glass.

As BIG as this beer looks and feels, I was a little underwhelmed in the flavor category. Sure, it's big, but by the eyes alone, I thought this beer would explode with flavor and personally, I craved more big coffee flavors. This particular beer almost tasted watery at times, or didn't stay big and solid as I drank... All in all, this is the first Big Boss beer I've had and I look forward to trying more now...

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to drunkmonk for the opportunity to try this one!
Bottle #120/5,000, Bottled 11/08
Pours an opaque darkness with a full finger foamy dark tan head that fades quickly to spotty patterns of Belgian lacing. The smell is timid; tons of black malt, roasted grains and black coffee. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is light-medium bodied and slightly acidic. The big black malt and coffee flavors are complemented with a hint of dark chocolate. The 8% ABV is well integrated. Would like to try this one draught.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a deep caramel one inch head that dissipates into a quarter inch head.

Smells citrusy sweeat. Light and slick. Light even for a single stout.

taste is roasted like crazy. Very light, almost like a roasty coffee porter. Decent body, but nothing really stands out unless you let it sit out for like a half hour. The smoke feels like liquid smoke, light and a fake smoke flavor. The coffee comes out as it warms, and its more bitter than aroma.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, delivered to me by Blackie


"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

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, basically black. Brown, espresso like head taht slowly fades to a thick brown ring. Rings of lace left on the glass.

S - Roasted malts, just a touch of some burnt grain and hints of fresh ground coffee. Coffee is not as strong as I would expect for a beer that advertises coffee on the label.

T - Light roasted grains up front with a nice fruity citrus hop taste. Coffee comes through mid-drink but is not very strong. Finishes with a light sweetness.

M/D - Medium body, a touch thin on the feel. Good carbonation. Easy drinking. I especialy like the nice hop profile in this one.

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Photo of cbros
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter. #610/5000, bottled in November 2008

A- Pours a jet black with a nice tan head that disipates rather quickly with a small head that goes away after a few minutes. Decent cling to the glass.

S- Strong presence of coffee flavor coupled with a sweet malt finish, also some hoppy flavor at the end but nothing major.

T- Medium bodied flavor that reminds me of a black coffee, has a tiny malt finish near the end. Also has a cough syrup type mouthfeel, not that encouraging.

Bought this at Sam's Bluelight in Durham and am satisfied but not overwhelmed. This is my first offering from Big Boss out of Raleigh and I plan on getting some of their other stuff. HOwever this was not a great representative of the American Stout. Somewhat strong but not imposing, a decent offering from Big Boss but I probably would not get this again. Somewhat of a let down in the flavor category, pours nice and looks good but something is lost from glass to your mouth. Even though I would not buy this agian I would suggest trying this if given the opportunity.

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Photo of glid02
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Aces & Ates from Big Boss Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.