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Aces & Ates - Big Boss Brewing

Not Rated.
Aces & AtesAces & Ates

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

79 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 191
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Aces & Ates Alström Bros
Reviews: 79 | Hads: 191
Photo of GehenHerzog
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Vintner Wine Market (Charlotte) poured into a Tulip glass

A- Pitch black with a single finger brown head.

S- Mainly getting fresh coffee beans, not a whole lot of chocolate, but it is present.

T- Chocolate up front and a fresh vanilla bean coffee in the back end, especially in the after taste. Very good taste.

M- Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

D- The chocolate in the beer masks the alcohol pretty well but the alcohol is still there and you can tell.

This is the 2nd time I have this beer on draft and it is very good. I'm not sure I could have more than one in a single session but a good beer nonetheless. For being so readily available on draft, I can't seem to find it in bottles even with it being fairly local. I would say it's my favorite beer from Big Boss

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Photo of thagr81us
3.98/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of kkipple
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Duckworth's in Charlotte. $5 for an 11.5 ounce glass.

Arrives in a tall glass, a finger of creamy, mocha-tan foam crowns this deep brown-black ale.

Nose is mostly variations on dark malt and coffee, with a good amount of creamy sweetness that reminds me of Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. It's lush and smooth - I'm betting there's lactose in here... flavor is quite what you'd expect, a fine dark malt / coffee blend, lots of roasty flavors popping, a pervasive unfermented sweetness that flirts with being distracting. Mouthfeel is full, creamy and slick, carbonation is quite good for what's needed here.

Aces and Ates is really surprisingly good, a fine addition to the creamy-coffee beer genre. While you won't want to drink a lot of this, it's solid enough to warrant a look. Nice job, Big Boss.

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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 brentk56
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives with a creamy tan head that sits atop the tawny-highlighted pitch black liquid and literally sheets the pint glass with lace

Smell: Fresh roasted coffee beans with undertones of dark chocolate

Taste: Roast and dark chocolate, up front, with developing layers of caramel, vanilla and black bread; just before the swallow there is a hint of graininess that continues to develop, along with the coffee tones, in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; somewhat creamy

Drinkability: Nicely balanced and roasty; a very nice coffee stout indeed

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Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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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 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 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 Bung
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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!

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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 ShrLSU
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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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 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 wcudwight
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have learned a few lessons about coffee stouts over the years. Don't let them be the last beer of the night-- There's usually a lot of coffee in these. That's why I'm hitting this one at noon.

The beer is a wonderfully American Stout with a lot of roasted and toasted grain aroma and flavors. Never astringent or ashy, but with a great coffee, nutty, toast taste even without the added coffee. Not much in the way of fruitiness or peppery phenols, this beer is pretty clean with the charred grains and cocoa powder. The added coffee gives a clean Columbian coffee that compliments the nuttiness but never gets into the French Roast or espresso flavors that would otherwise dominate the beer.

The body is quite modest and sessionable despite such bit flavors. The finish is none other than the long linger of coffee. Alcohols are light throughout. The beer was very tasty and bold flavored but not overbearing with chewiness or aggression.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.59/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

AKA Coffee Stout.

A: Black with no light getting through. Minimal white head with some lacing.

S: Massive coffee nose right up front and in your business. Not that much else going on but who cares. A touch of roast and milk chocolate for those into that as well.

T: A really nice coffee stout. Not as much coffee as was in the nose.

M: Very creamy. Just a really nice and full mouthfeel.

D: Damn I really love this beer. Reminds me of Southern Tier Jahva without the beating from the booze fairy.

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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 drseamus
4.54/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark black with almost no head.

S: Rich coffee and chocolate explode from the glass.

T: Good clear coffee flavor but not as good as the growler. No roast or chocolate but damn the coffee is good.

M: Creamy but a touch lighter than I would expect.

D: I still love this beer.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Since when does a stout have to be the beer that pins you to the ground like a bear and make you a "man" if you can drink it all in one sitting.

Why can't a stout be a beer you can just enjoy whenever?

Well it CAN - this is that Stout.

For the stout drinker looking to impress his man friends - this isn't the stout to brag that you drank last night while watching cage wrestling on Spike. As a stout drinker I'd drink this if I wanted to have several beers/stouts in one sitting.

Appearance: Solid brown/black with tan head.

Smell: Coffee beans, hint of vanilla extract, hint of bourbon

Taste: Sedated Coffee with an open, bourbon aftertaste that turns into dark chocolate with underlying vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel: Thin, this one's not carbonated, or even has the motor oil consistancy of the classic Founders Breakfast or KBS.

Drinkability: I could pound them back all afternoon. For a true stout lover, this is your session stout. Drink this and be merry! I feel like the beer god is answering the prayers of stout lover looking for a stout to enjoy like the Germans enjoy pilsener. If this brew comes your way - check it out. Great entry-level stout for the up and coming craft beer connoisseur.

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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 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 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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Aces & Ates from Big Boss Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.