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Big Hugs - Half Acre Beer Company

Big HugsBig Hugs

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

427 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 427
Reviews: 147
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 8.87%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: emerge077 on 12-10-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 427 | Reviews: 147 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.88/5  rDev -7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 15:57:21 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of falloutsnow


3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From: Gift from JS, much thanks
Date: 12/2013 bottling
Glass: Tulip

Big Hugs is a good, coffee-forward (though still a bit mellow) imperial stout that's only downside is a bit of overemphasis on its ethanol. The aromas and flavors are of cold-pressed coffee, light chocolate syrup, a satisfying background sweetness, and subtle roasted malt working well together. Overall, if this were available in my town, I'd purchase it again: it's not genre-defining, but good enough that I'd be happy to drink it whenever. As it's not, I don't think I'd go out of my way to seek it out, but accept it if it were ever another gift.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of dark tan-colored foam, made up of small to medium-sized bubbles, yielding a sudsy, soapy appearance. Retention is a bit above average at about 1.5minutes, the head fading to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of thin foam atop the body. Lacing is good, with a moderately dense matrix of dots clinging to the walls of the glass. Body is a dark brown to black color, with light . Carbonation visible only along the sides of the glass due to the opaque body, fairly numerous and active.

Aroma of smooth, mellow, roasted coffee from a cold press, a bit of chocolate syrup, and light ethanol.

Overall flavor is of mellow cold-extracted coffee with balanced backing sweetness from base malt, light chocolate syrup and burnt toast, and moderate ethanol. Front of palate tastes mellow coffee, ethanol, light cocoa, all balanced out by a mild sweetness underneath the rest. Mid-palate of mild coffee, chocolate syrup, balanced sweetness and vanilla, a bit of woodsy hop character, with fairly noticeable ethanol. Back of palate tastes anise and ethanol, modest sweetness from malt, cold extracted coffee, slight chocolate syrup and charred toast. Aftertaste of stale coffee, a bit of smooth milk chocolate, pleasant underlying sweetness, a bit of mild bitterness from roasted malt and hops along with sharpness from ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a mouthfeel that is slightly foamy (1/4) and mostly smooth (3/4), appropriate for a stout sipping beer. Ethanol felt as moderate burn on palate and back of throat, heat in nostrils. I've enjoyed beers that hide their ethanol better, but this is not that bad. Closes semi-dry, with moderate stickiness clinging to the walls of the glass.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 06:31:16 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of Fcolle2


4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick dark black with no light making it through this beer. Head is tan in color, about 2 fingers and has really good retention. Extra props for a sweet label

Smell is great. Rich dark chocolate malt plays nicely with a slightly acidic dark coffee aroma and more cacao aromas. Mild earthiness and spicy aromas follow. Smells very rich and decadent.

Taste is great and follows the nose. Very rich chocolate malt is forward along with more rich and slightly acidic coffee flavors that add a nicely complexity. Char bitterness is very light and let's the rich chocolate malt and coffee shine. There is a slightly bitter hop finish however.

Mouthfeel is great. Huge body and rich feel makes this a perfect after dinner sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 23:51:20 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of gueuzedreg


4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark brown roasty coffee color. Very thin lacing that dissolves quickly.

S- Honestly, it smells like a used sushi board. haha, seriously. Woody, sort of funky, caramel, coffee, grassy

T- Burnt toffee, malts, some coffee, great imperial stout flavor.

M- Smooth, creamy. Pretty much the way I like imperial stouts. Very little carbonation follows down the throat.

O- My first Half Acre, and I like it much more than the Pipeworks extras that I seem to be getting.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 01:33:08 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of joe1510


3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
Half Acre

2013 Bottling

A black beer, Big Hugs is, black as night. Zero light shows through the dense body. The coffee brown head shows some purple hues and easily grows to a finger plus in height. Thick streams of carbonation run to the surface and keep the thick ring alive after the head settles to a film. Patchy lacing remains behind after each drink.

The nose is full of rich aromas. Molasses drizzled berries get things moving. A handful of star anise flashes through before the roasty, yet balanced, coffee comes to the forefront. With warming burnt sugar shows itself. This is an all around deeply complex stout.

Coffee is more upfront in the flavor, a nice moderate roast with body. The anise is alive and the molasses is present but in the background. A berry medley, mostly blackberries, come along mid palate with a little spice. The roast is enough to linger and leave some moderate bitterness after each swallow.

The mouthfeel is spot on. A moderate heavy body that's smooth as silk with soft carbonation allowing the beer to move at it's own slow pace. There aren't a lot of residual sugars so this beer actually finishes somewhat dry, which is right up my alley. No cloying at all. The roast adds enough bitterness to keep things interesting. Nicely done.

Big Hugs shows a ton of depth with unusual flavors including the molasses and star anise. The coffee is added with a delicate hand and becomes an aspect of the drink instead of the drink itself; rare these days. Great body and all sorts of delicious!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 04:32:48 | More by joe1510
Photo of CooperEllis

New York

3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
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.


Serving type: bottle

06-30-2013 21:24:14 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of cvm4


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Bottle

A - Pours pretty black with a thin tan head that dissolves into just a ring around the glass.

S - Coffee abounds with vanilla, roasted malts and light semi-sweet chocolate.

T - Starts off with a great coffee notes and roasted malts as balance. Semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, vanilla and molasses. Bitterness from may'be the coffee?

M - Medium to full bodied with medium to low carbonation. Very smooth and velvety.

O - Awesome label! Just in your face coffee bitterness with secondary flavors and a body to back it up.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 01:19:36 | More by cvm4
Photo of Purp1eOne


4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - This baby is black with a nice creamy head

S - Smells like a dark coffee with hazelnut and a hint of vanilla

T - Strong coffee taste with a good balance of the hazelnut and the vanilla. A good sweet flavor that compliments the coffee.

M - Creamy and smooth with good body and nicely carbonated.

O - This was my first Half Acre brew which got me hooked. A very good stout that makes me look forward to the fall.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 01:58:13 | More by Purp1eOne
Photo of ehammond1

3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 01:21:41 | More by ehammond1
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and coffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice cocoa and coffee flavor.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2013 00:42:15 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of herman77


4.26/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a small tan head. A bit of spotty lacing clinging on.

S: Nice dark roast coffee with some vanilla/hazelnut creamer. More roasted malt with bittersweet chocolate and vanilla sweetness.

T: Lots of roast and coffee (but not too much coffee) right at the start, then lots of sweet malts, vanilla, hazelnut and rich toffee take over to balance the roasty bitterness. A really great balance of sweet and roast that battles throughout the palate. Finish is a bit bitter roasted malt with a touch of creamy sweetness.

M: Medium to fuller body. Average carbonation. A bit smooth and creamy.

O: Really easy drinking for a 10% imperial stout. Probably more roasted bitterness than most stouts because of the coffee, but its got a great vanilla and hazelnut sweetness to balance it out. A solid Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 21:46:18 | More by herman77
Photo of mendvicdog


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blind BIF Beer #8

Finally a stout. We had to let it warm up a considerable amount of time.

The faint coffee smell did not surface until after it warmed a bit. Initially it just smelled like roasty chocolate goodness.

Thick black appearance. Minimal white head.

Good smooth chocolatey taste. Nice mouthfeel.

Guess: Big Black Voodoo Daddy

Reveal: Cool. I had this on draft but don't really remember it.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 12:41:19 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of russwbeck


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black pour with a large brown head. The head only sticks around for a few minutes, but laces a decent amount. 4

S: The aroma is of chocolate, light coffee, and some booze. Roasted malt plays a part as well. It's a strange smell, but I do enjoy it. Hard to place, I think it's the chocolate taking over. 4

T: The coffee and chocolate are really the forefront of the taste as well, but there are certainly other tastes as well. The roasted malt comes out in a big way, as well as some caramel and molasses. Some hop bitterness as well. Overall a great taste that is really unique, which is saying something considering how many imperial stouts with coffee I've had. 4

MF: Thick, rich, and full body with the perfect amount of carbonation. The drinkability is great, as I really don't get a lot of alcohol. The bitter finish makes me crave the sweetness of the beginning. 4

O: Really glad I got to try this. It really has a wonderful label, definitely one to save. If you like stouts with coffee, you won't regret getting a Big Hug! 4

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 01:35:31 | More by russwbeck
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from MasterSki, 650ml into a tulip.

Dark brown/black with a medium brown head, nice retention and lacing. Nose of roast, milk chocolate, some mild dark fruit notes, brown sugar, a whiff of alcohol and some bruised banana. Tastes of chocolate, roast, vanilla, and again some banana character that I though was peculiar, but interesting. Medium full feel, silky texture and lower carbonation. A very nice imperial stout, focus is on the malts here which I appreciate more in the style than heavily hopped iterations.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 20:44:07 | More by liamt07
Photo of rlee1390


4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head that doesn't last long.

S-Good deal of roasted malt, coffee abundant, tad chocolate and vanilla.

T-Roasted malt, coffee, nuts, chocolate. Lots of coffee.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated.

O-A wonderful coffee forward stout. Not the same level as Breakfast stout, but damn, a solid brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 21:53:56 | More by rlee1390
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 04:37:27 | More by Sammy
Photo of Rifugium


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown-black pour with a thin wispy layer of bubbles for a head; minimal lacing. Aroma was roast-driven, notes of coffee, dark malts, maybe some unsweetened cocoa. More of the same in the taste, toast & roast, dark bread, slightly bitter coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, fleshed out with some dark dried fruit essence, subtle earthy hop notes also detectable. Body was somewhere between medium and full, moderate carbonation, and a bit of harshness from the alcohol, but nothing really detrimental. Good brew overall.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 23:02:07 | More by Rifugium
Photo of chanokokoro


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage 22 oz. bottle poured into a Half Acre Beer Company branded snifter

Pours a viscous opaque black with a light beige one and half finger head. Average retention , no visible lacing. Espresso, roasted malt, burnt raisin, and some alcohol. Charred, roasted malt, molasses, big, dark roasted coffee beans, hints of black cherry, coffee ground and hop-driven mild bitterness on the finish. Heavy medium to light full body, smooth with some creaminess. Moderate to low carbonation. A solid big stout that delivers some bold flavors without being overpowering. An annual release that have been proven to be always enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 03:44:37 | More by chanokokoro
Photo of Finatic


4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A special thanks to Mjmoser for this beer.

22oz bomber poured into my miniature CCB snifter. The beer was originally chilled for 2 hours and sat at room temperature for 45 minutes before pouring.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a nice brown foamy head that recedes quickly.

S: Strong smell of roasted malts. Hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. Expresso coffee strong at the start but mellows as the beer warms.

T: Coffee, chocolate and some vanilla on the palate. More sweet than bitter and has a very smooth appeal to it.

M: Very smooth for a 10% beer. A very east drinking Stout.

O: Solid offering from one of my favorite midwest breweries. Half Acre is making some solid brews up there.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 18:29:29 | More by Finatic
Photo of Holland


4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark brown to black, excellent hsmall head with great retention and lacing.

S: coffee and stout, delicious smelling, but not super distinguished

T: wonderful stout, excellent fresh coffee flavor, not too sweet at all with some good bitterness to balance a bit of richness

M: great medium carbonation along with medium heavy body and a smooth feeling.

O: delicious. Love coffee stouts, and this is right up there With breakfast stout and peche mortel.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 06:01:51 | More by Holland
Photo of Kegatron


4/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2012 17:01:02 | More by Kegatron
Photo of kevanb


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2011 vintage, reviewed live, poured into a Half Acre tulip.

Pours a nice jet black color, lots dark brown when held to the light, a nice big frothy caramel colored head sits atop the beer and has pretty decent retention. Lots of foam sticks around as well and it leaves behind ample webbed lacing. The aromas are good, charred chocolate, toasted dark malts, licorice, touches of coffee but big malt and chocolate presence, faint alcohol. Lots of chocolate on the tongue, bitter toasted malt, burnt coffee and a ton of licorice and alcohol on the finish. The body is good, medium to full, ample carbonation with a nice creamy finish.

Verdict: This is a really fine stout from HA and one I wish they would make more often, especially for their canned line, but even as a winter seasonal, I'm glad they are making this because it's darn good and has aged well.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 04:17:18 | More by kevanb
Photo of Jeffo


3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this in a recent trade with Irishgurl4. Thanks a lot for the loot!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A transparent dark brown pour produces a one finger, medium looking, fizzy, light tan head with good retention. Black body and lower levels of visible carbonation. Head eventually fades to a half wisp and ring. The ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel malt, cocoa, with quite a bit of vanilla and sweet cream in there. Espresso and milk chocolate with lactose sugar as well. Medium strength, and not much in terms of roasted malts. Smells very much like a milk stout.

TASTE: Some lightly roasted flavors up front, with caramel and lots of bitter cocoa and espresso coffee flavors at the swallow. Sweet cream and vanilla show up as well. A bold and very persistent aftertaste of sweet cream, powdery cocoa bitterness, espresso and some lactose sugars as well. This has got to be a milk stout, and a very nice one at that.

PALATE: Medium body and lower levels of soft carbonation. Very creamy, sliky smooth on the palate, goes dowm smooth and finishes slightly dry. Great feel on this one. Just a touch more weight and it'd be a perfect score.

OVERALL: This is a really good beer. The aromas and flavors scream milk stout, but I don't remember reading anything about that on the label or here. Regardless, a good beer is a good beer, and I was glad to have a chance to try this one. Thanks again for the trade Irishgurl4. This one comes recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 12:34:47 | More by Jeffo
Photo of maximum12


3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kawilliams81 for an excellent in-person trade at the equally excellent Central Waters Anniversary party in February. I have judged that this bottle has been gathering dust long enough. Die! 22 oz. bottle split with the wife.

Pour is black. Always fun to watch people try to describe differences in pitch black, eh? Quiet beer. Nose is mostly roast, with a side of sweet sauce. Tame.

Big Hugs could rep the style at the national RIS convention; will the huggy delegate from IL please stand up? Lovely roast character stands up in the front row. Nice sweetness in the middle that tangos with a quick bitterness (hops, I presume) A dash of cream at the end.

Really, this is your double-yellow stripe right down the middle of the road of good big stouts. Nothing exciting, nothing deep, nothing complex, just a standard-bearer in a great style. Good.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 02:36:16 | More by maximum12
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 13:34:17 | More by TheSevenDuffs
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Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
93 out of 100 based on 427 ratings.