1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Big Hugs - Half Acre Beer Company

Not Rated.
Big HugsBig Hugs

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

567 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 567
Reviews: 157
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 280
Gots: 143 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: emerge077 on 12-10-2009

This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 567 | Reviews: 157
Reviews by ShemRahBoo:
More User Reviews:
Photo of weatherdog
3.89/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler provided by Richard and shared among friends, poured into a Cigar City snifter.

It pours big, black and thick with a smaller mocha colored head.

The aroma is filled with a deep roasted fresh coffee with a backend of bitter chocolate

The taste follows up with the huge roasted coffee flavor, it borders on burnt though which is distracting. An alcohol is pretty noticeable at the end as well.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side which really help the beer from becoming too sweet. Drinkability is also pretty good with the only exception being the alcohol finish.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date though we are most certain this one will cellar well.

LOOK: Black as black can be, sticky tan froth all over

SMELL: Espresso, charcoal, nougat, burnt currants

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, charred palate, shot of espresso, dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, black currants, herbal hop, very warming alcohol, bittersweet charred finish

So anyway ... we are beer lovers, and we love to drink, we think about how cute they are, and how their labels, and caps, and we just love them. We just want them in a basket, with a bowtie, on a rainbow and in our bed to roll around. But we can't hug every beer.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to emerge for grabbing me this one. Pours an extremely dark brown that borders on black with a thin light tan head on top. Aromas are solid with dark roasted malts alongside a bright fresh brewed coffee, akin to sniffing some fresh ground beans.

First sip brings smooth dark malts up against a wall of rich coffee flavor. Hints of chocolate intertwine with a nice roast. Flows down with a touch of creaminess and lingering java aftertaste. Not nearly as viscous as I expected.

Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation..body is more along the lines of a regular stout to me than an "imperial" stout but I'm not complaining. Overall, a tasty coffee stout from a great new local brewery. Being this is my first bottle Half Acre beer I've tried, I am looking forward to more.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is full of coffee and chocolate with a lot of roasted malts. A very nice smelling Imperial Stout.

The flavor is more of the same. The chocolate and coffee really compliment the roasted malt notes well. There is also a nice cream and oats component to the flavor which I really enjoy.

Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

A very nice Imperial Stout.

Photo of ehammond1
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (2010)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, crushedvol!

(Aged for 3 years)

Nearly black, but truly a very dark brown and ruby. Small dark brown head. Irregular spots of stick left down the glass. Pretty stout.

Not a hugely expressive aroma. Will adjust this as I let the beer warm throughout the review, if necessary. Roast and a touch of coffee. Just a bit of chocolate-covered dark fruit as well. In fact, as the beer warms, lots of oxidation character emerges. It's not distracting, but it's not ideal, either.

The flavor follows the aroma, with chocolate-covered dark fruits and a bit of roasted coffee character emerging nicely. Moderate bitterness. Very drinkable, and the alcohol is exceptionally well hidden.

Near full in body with low carbonation.

Excellent. This aged nicely.

Photo of rudylaw
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler on release day 12/18/09. Served in my Boulevard Smokestack chalice.

Pours a deathly black with a whispy light brown head that quickly subsides into a thin rim.

This sucker smells like freshly brewed coffee! Immediately, I'm reminded of the beauty that is Founders Breakfast Stout. Fresh ground coffee beans, dark bakers chocolate and the slightest hints of marshmallow and whipped cream.

Tastes like a coffee stout. In fact, this is much better described as such, rather than a straightforward imperial. Screw it, this IS a coffee stout. Now, the taste is much more complex than the smell. Sure, the coffee grounds and chocolate are here, but I'm also picking up dark fruit. Plums... the farmers market kind, some heavy cream, toffee and roasted malt. There's also a slight bit of hops here on the finish.

At 9.5%, this is amazingly drinkable. It's too thin for an RIS (this is where FBS separates itself), but as a coffee stout, it's darn solid. I know there are to be other takes on Big Hugs and I can't wait to see where it goes, or how it translates to the bottle.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thick head that fades to a thick tan ring and last for a bit. It is too dense to see any sign of carbonation.
S- This beer has a dark roasted coffee aroma followed by a tootsie roll note and a nougat hint that becomes more mocha as the beer warms.
T- This beer has a big dark coffee flavor with a spicy cream finish. There are some roasted dark malt notes underneath and a nougat note that finishes with a slight tartness that grows as the beer warms.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noted and a chewy texture for the first few sips.
D- This beer is a bit one dimensional with the coffee, although pleasant, dominating the flavor and little support from the stout. It is very smooth and easy to drink for an imperial stout.

Photo of JoeBoxer522
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! What a phenomenal brew! Got this from the Big Hugs release in late December of 2011 and cracked open the growler the next day.

A: Darker than dark, very inky black pour with a deep tan foamy head.

S: Roasty, a hint of coffee, a deep sweet smelling stout. Already getting a contact high.

T: A little more bitter than I expected, but incredibly smooth. You can tell the alcohol is there, but not quite as overbearing as other Imperial Stouts I've tried. Velvety smooth texture and a lingering bitter-sweetness. Overall excellent.

M: Velvety smooth, surprisingly sticky given it's not super sweet. Definitely lingers in your mouth well after it's gone.

Overall a fantastic brew. As a side note, I had 3 Snifters worth of the growler and I got a unique wonderful buzz that lasted through the night and into the morning, without any real hangover. Quality stuff :)

Photo of nkersten
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Winter Batch poured into NB globe. Pours pitch black with a two finger tan head that settles into a collar and nice lacing for the high abv. Smell is bitter but fresh coffee, some alcohol, chocolate malts and caramel. Taste follows smell, lots of fresh brewed coffee, chocolate, bitter hops, very balanced sweet malt and bitter coffee and hops. A bit of alcohol in the finish. Heavy but silky body with a light carbonation, slightly coating. An excellent coffee stout, very drinkable and balanced.

Photo of Lazerlobe
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Bottling

A: Dark brown, slightly viscous pour yields a toasted brown congregation of head that recedes quickly leaving a cappuccino foam behind.

S: Creamy marshmallow, hot cocoa, and coffee notes reminiscent of an empty cup of espresso. I don't have a 2010 to compare to but the coffee must already be the out. This still allows the base beer to shine and it is intoxicating.

T: Bummer, the coffee is bitter and slightly sour. Heavily kilned malts mix in with the coffee upfront. Roast and graham cracker poke through the coffee facade but don't get too far. The aftertaste is in line with a coffee stout though. I feel like I just had a cup.

M: Thinner than I like but subtle carbonation compliments the body.

D: This is a light beer that goes down easily. Not a night cap by any means. Glad I got to try this and I'll need a 2010 to compare to!

Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

More of a stout than an IS. Fairly fresh. Big licorice. Coffee and a little acidic. Rather ordinary RIS.Thanks Liam. 10% is not apparent over the coffee and roast. Assertive carbonation. Maybe more interesting in a year. Bold flavour but just did not get it tonight.

Photo of Poti0nseller
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong, roasty espresso smell with a medium body. I enjoyed this brew considering I love strong coffee.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Nice khaki head. Leggy. Medium collar.

Smell - Deep roasted malts. Like coffee and dark chocolate. Some licorice.

Taste - Dark chocolate. Licorice. Roasty. Bitter coffee finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy, but very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Simple, but well made and drinkable for an imperial stout.

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. I believe this is the 2010 edition.

Pours black, with 2 ½ fingers of rich mocha head. This retains with a thick 1/2 finger that drenches the sides of the glass with a sticky latticework of creamy lacing. The aroma smells of ripe earthy hops, roasted coffee, cocoa, some darker fruit, and a touch of spicy alcohol.

The taste is more ripe citrus, leafy bitterness, and crunchy coffee flavor up front, which then gives way to a wave of bittersweet chocolate, tangy caramel, and dark fruit character that, separates itself out from those citric hops. The finish is dry and bitter with some lingering brunt tones. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp on the tongue with a firm creaminess that fills out the mouth. This has a light underlying alcohol presence, with a warm spiciness that lingers in the finish as well but is overall pretty smooth and drinkable for the size.

This was a pretty darn nice take on an Imperial Stout, with a nice range of flavors and a bit yet still accessible body on it and I was especially pleased to find that this wore it’s ABV on its sleeve just a bit. This is another solid beer from Half Acre. Worth a look.

Photo of heliosphann
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

64oz growler from paco1029384756. Thanks Frank! Shared with fellow BA infestaxion in pint glasses.

A: Pours Dark black/brown. A finger of dense, mocha head that collapses somewhat quickly. Small amount of lacing, but not much to write home about.

S: Roasted coffee and creamy chocolate reign big in the fragrance dept. Nutty, earthy tones come to the front as the beer warms up.

T: Some of the same coffee and chocolate that were mentioned above are present, although not nearly as prevalent. Instead there is a good amount of dark fruit and malty sweetness. There is also some nutty flavors mixed in as well. Some earthy hops squeak through to balance things out. Along they way there is a little bit of booziness, but not much.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is just right and helps highlight the flavors. I think it could be a little thicker, but my qualms are minor in this regard.

D: For a 9.5% Stout, this drinks really well. There is a slight bit of booze shining through, but overall very little. I'm getting ready for my second pint and might be ready for a third after that.

Half Acre continues to churn out a very nice lineup. Luckily they're pretty close by and hopefully I'll be able to visit the Brewery/Tasting Room soon. I found Big Hugs to be a little deceptive, but it turned out to be a solid brew.

Photo of jhoban19
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler fresh from the brewery (and only walked a block from there to my house), served in my favorite personalized chalice (12oz).

A: Jet black with a finger's worth of foamy, caramel head. When held to the light, some subtle ruby hues are visible. Head dissipates very quickly into a thin ring around the edge with sparse surface coverage. Dotted lines of lacing cling to the glass like a stock chart on the sipping side of the glass. On the opposite side, a solid yet fleeting lace akin to a receding tide on the beach.

S: Initial aromas of coffee with some dark chocolate and even a hint of hazelnut. As it warms, not much change- the bitter coffee and dark chocolate continue to dominate the nose.

T: tastes like a cold cup of coffee with cream (no sugar), in a good way. A pleasant coffee bitterness lingers throughout the entire glass. I don't detect the 10% ABV at all. I also don't detect any hop flavors, but I'm usually not very good at detecting hops in a beer like this. Guess I need to get working on my Hops Appreciation kit!

M: before warming up, Big Hugs is a little too fizzy. As it warms, the carbonation settles and I'm left with a medium-bodied beer with a smooth and creamy finish, though still a pleasant fizz as the liquid hits the back of throat. I was expecting a bit more of a full body and this where Big Hugs loses a little bit of steam. Some sticky hops resin on the lips also starts to develop (at least I assume that to be a result of the hops). The bitterness (and probably the alcohol) is really creating a dry-mouth situation as I near the end of my glass, though nothing a sip of water or a few scoops of vanilla ice cream wouldn't cure!

D: if you like stouts, this is a good one. At 10% I'm finding myself being cautious- was saving it for a NYE party tonight, but I couldn't wait, just had to bust it open (one glass now, I'll save the rest for when my guests arrive). This is a good one for a cold day when you want to sit back and really take your time to enjoy a big beer like Big Hugs.

Photo of Jaycase
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: black as night. thick, creamy tan head. sticky lacing

s: dark chocolate and coffee with chocolate being the much more predominant aroma.

t: Roasted malts up front with nice blend of coffee and chocolate through the finish.

m: Smooth, thick and creamy. Finishes slightly dry.

o: Very enjoyable stout. Incredibly drinkable. Solid all around, no glaring negatives. Seek this one out stout lovers. I know I will again.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - Big Hugs vs. Mechahugs (2012) in a box from ikaika122

Only thing not well above average of this one is the aroma which is mostly "beer" with bakers chocolate. The pour is flat, matte if you will, black with thin lacing and moderately carb'd.

Bit of dark fruit in in this - or candied fruit as there is also considerable molasses. Considerable only that there is very little sweetness in the nose, it is well balanced in the taste.

Rich, modestly chewy. IF you've the patience to chew on this there is significantly more flavor profile from which to pick out elements. Vanilla extract is also present in the finish.

Enjoyed the first bottle of this I had (2011, I think) and this batch was better than I remember that being. Will be one of those I look to have added in boxes coming from Illinois for as long as it's offered.

(205th)

Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black stouty body, arcing mocha lacing all around, ringing the glass. A solid skim spreads across the surface, receding from about a finger of initial foam. In the light there's a glint at the rim of burnt ruby mahogany.

Aroma is a little estery with a nice and warm note of mellow, rich coffee. Roasted malts and coffee candy.

The flavor is similarly estery, in the end it's more like a big coffee porter. Bitterness is moderate and coffee derived. Some unsweetened dark chocolate may also be responsible to a lesser degree. Lingering roasty malt aftertaste. Fairly rich but light bodied and dry in the finish. Not palate-destroying or syrupy like so many other American RIS'. Some dark fruit inklings that never really express fully. Easy drinking, a growler would almost be a better option if you're sharing. Nice stuff...

Photo of KDawg
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into a tulip. Pours a dark black color, but lacking a bit of head

Very good aromas of coffee, caramel, belgian chocolate and a good amount of malts. Very balanced, but slightly shy compared to the rest of the beer

Full bodied with a real great and smooth feel. Dangerously smooth with great depth too. Polished with great flavors of belgian chocolate, roasted malts, and a good amount of hot caramel. You can't notice the alcohol on this at all.

This is really damn good. Insanely smooth and polished, this is really impressive from half acre.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into an Imperial Pint. 9.5% ABV, 2009.

Big Hugs to Beerwolf77 for sharing Big Hugs!

A - Big Hugs pours out totally black into the glass with a low cascading. A bit dense dark tan head pops up and hangs on for a good while but fades later to leave lace all over.

S - Very coffee rich nose that truly smells like cold but fresh-brewed coffee. Iced coffee to be exact. Lots of roasted malts behind with a bold aroma and some mocha. An absolute delight to smell.

T - Tons of coffee flavor is all over the place with a well-balanced roasty bitterness with a light chocolate and cream background. A mild sweetness lingers in the background. Bold and dark, Big Hugs could hug me ANY time.

M - Robust and full-bodied, it's bold and huge flavor lends well to he near-syrupy texture that goes down smooth. Low carbonation helps with the rich texture too.

D - This is one of the most drinkable RIS coffee stouts I've ever had. It would substitute well for a typical cup of joe any day, any morning.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to robbiemoy13 for this bottle. Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Poured black with one finger of bubbly espresso coloured head that quickly receded to a few bubbles.

S - Big charred malt aroma up front with some smoke, licorice and bitter dark roasted coffee. More bitter than sweet in the nose and very robust overall.

T - Big roasted malt profile up front that gives way to huge espresso notes. The finish has some licorice, char and smoke. Fairly prominent overall bitterness with some warming alcohol present. There is a sweetness here as well to provide some balance and light chocolate notes but the bitterness dominates, especially in the finish with is fill of huge bitter roast flavours.

M - Medium body and somewhat creamy at times. Light carbonation.

O - A good example of the style but too much bitterness for me. This one would really benefit from some aging.

Photo of jegross2
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Big Hugs from Half Acre Brewing Company.
Score: 88

Fresh 2011 vintage bottle poured in a CBS snifter glass. Amazing artwork on the bottle. Click on the images to the right (labels from the different Big Hugs vintages) to enlarge.

Appearance: Pours a pitch black with a half finger of creamy tan head that settles into a thin ring around the glass. Pretty solid lacing. 4/5

Smell: Velvety black coffee. Raw cocoa beans, dark unsweetened chocolate and raw coffee beans. Light hops aroma. 4/5

Taste: Creamed coffee. Some hops on the mid-palate. Raw bitter coffee bean finish. Some raw, unsweetened chocolate on the mid-palate as the beer layers. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium bodied. Light-plus carbonation, perhaps a touch too much carbonation. Finish is bitter and a little acidic. 3/5

Overall: A solid imperial stout from Half Acre. Certainly worth trying, but a little over-hyped if you ask me.

Recommendation: A very true to style, tasty, and inoffensive beer that I recommend to beer geeks and casual beer drinkers alike. Do not go too far out of your way to try this one, however.

Pairings: Chocolate cake.

Cost: $12 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle from the Half Acre Brewery Store.

Photo of yamar68
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter:

Pours an ominous abyss of dark matter. Dense mocha head of about a finger and a half. Consistent retention and lacing. Big everything: coffee, melted chocolate, with all the appropriate malty backing flavors - vanilla, caramel, toffee, earthy goodness. Taste mirrors the nose. Stupendous. The feel is cloying and thick. Carbonation could be beefed up a notch. Overall, this is very tasty stuff. I wish this made it up to my neck of the woods. Thanks to bpgpitt10!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thrilled to death to try this one, came packed to me with Daisy Cutter but I just got around to cracking this one last night. Served chill and in a 6oz snifter glass, this one was consumed on 01/12/2010.
 
Very big pour here as a dark as night liquid emerged from the bottle almost effortlessly. Nice tan head rose up and capped the top of it reaching a height of close to an inch, even in the small glass, before knocking back down to earth and leaving behind tons of thick, chocolate lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Really just very well done. Aroma starts out with a ton of coffee, really just dominating the aroma until it hit room temperature. At this point, bitter dark chocolate, touches of fruit and a nice hop note start to come out. Really struck me a bit odd at first, but I warmed up to it as the night went on. I think it needed just a kick more of a sweet nature to really put it over the top. The first sip hit with a nice kick to it. Rich dark, roasted malts, touches of bitter chocolate and a nice and smooth, almost prune like note all came together very nicely. Nice hop notes dropping in and out of it as well, really thickened up the flavor and gave it great depth. Leather and licorice snapping back as it warms now with a nice, smooth, and semi dry finish that really just did me in.
 
Overall a very solid and very drinkable RIS. I really like what they did with the hosp here and it gave it a flavor that tended to lean towards the Darkness like profile, but with a kick of bitter coffee notes thrown in. Really nicely done and something I would have no trouble at all with trying again any day.

to view more.
Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
93 out of 100 based on 567 ratings.