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Big Hugs - Half Acre Beer Company

Not Rated.
Big HugsBig Hugs

Educational use only; do not reuse.

157 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 157
Hads: 597
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 286
Gots: 146 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Russian 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Hugs Alström Bros
Reviews: 157 | Hads: 597
Photo of jeffthecheff
2.74/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a black color with some red hue towards the top. Light brown head forms at first and then dies down to a weak, diamond shaped lace in the middle.

The aroma is not very nice. It's incredibly boozy. Even though its strong and intense, it still manages to be bland. There are some dark, plummy, fruit aromas in there but it's not very good. A bit of solvent, nail polish remover aromas are in there as well.

The taste is not as boozy as the aroma. It drinks like your typical imperial stout with some coffee in the finish. There was a gooey, ash type of sharp roast in there that is too acrid for my tastes. There is a bit of dark, chocolaty sweetness as well as licorice flavors.

Mouthfeel is thick and coating with a still, undercarbonated feeling. Not as full feeling as some of the better imperial stouts but its still good.

I wasn't a big fan of this beer, and even when it was split three ways we ended up dumping some. The aroma hurts the drinkability and it doesn't taste like a well made imperial stout. Maybe it was rushed.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Just to start off with, what a goofy looking bottle, although, not really in a bad way, just funny. Very dark, basically black, looks fairly viscous, small tan head, not sure how high it would have rose had a server not poured it.

T - Big coffee notes, slightly roasted bitter cocoa smell to it. It's really a huge dark roasted coffee smell that is present more than anyhthing else.

T - Tons of coffee flavor on this one, slightly smokey mixes in with a bitter chocolate taste. Very rich, with some small earthy tones.

M - Solid, full bodied, dry finish.

D - Tastes good, but so much coffee, could only do one.

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Photo of boothbeer
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split this 4 ways with friends.

A: Thin Dark Black liquid pours out of this really cool looking bottle. Light tan head that reduces to a thin film.

S: Good coffee/chocolate character. Picking up almost a orange peel/hoppy character

T: Sweet chocolate and roasted coffee. Lots of hoppy characteristics- maybe amarillo hops giving it that orange smell I was picking up? I really enjoy this flavor. I think 2-3 more months of age will do a nice job on this beer.

M: A little thing and a little too carbonated. I like my stouts more viscous.

D: Flavors are really nice. If there is any downside its the mouthfeel. Half Acre is making some really nice beers. Check this one out!

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours completely black with a loose foamy brown head with a decent hang time and a good amount of lacing for a heavyweight beverage. It's got a nice, fairly aggressive, choco-licorice smell that comes together with the alcohol and moderately roasted malt. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is thinner than my favorites of this style. It's creamy and i appreciate the coating character of the body...but the bottom is falling out and it cleans up more quickly than you might expect. The well roasted malt and bitter java are followed by a somewhat understand chalky NECCO chocolate and black licorice. A nice drinker, the 9.6% ABV is well integrated. REALLY glad that i had the opportunity to consider this one. Thanks, Pops!!

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Photo of drunkmonk
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One shade from being pitch black. Pillowing dark tan head, leaves a wispy lace that last the duration. Aroma is all about the coffee, with a hint of chocolate. Rich expresso note. Coffee pretty much dominates the taste. Some phantom smokiness and earthy hop notes way in the back. Rich coffee flavors linger. Slick, almost thin mouthfeel and way too easy going down. The alcohol is nowhere to be found. Can't beleve this is over 9%! Where did they put it? Yeah, this one is all about the coffee, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks Dave.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to imperialking for this beer. It's got an awesome cat on the label, so this one is definitely for me!

A: The pour is just about black with a tan head on top.

S: The nose has plenty of coffee and roasted malt with a slight smokiness to it and some dark, bitter chocolate.

T: Like the aroma, there is plenty of rich coffee along with the roasted malt. The smokiness here is very mild and perhaps is more of an earthy flavor and plays well with the chocolate.

M: The body is full and the carbonation gives the beer a very smooth feel on the tongue.

D: I was surprised by easy this beer is to drink. Another good offering from Half Acre.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to boothbeer for opening this one up. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber and split four ways. Really love the artwork on this bottle.

A- Pours a dark, coffee bean, brown color. Produced two fingers width of tan head. Distinct lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Good head retention.

S- Chocolate, roasted malts with a considerable amount of espresso. Rich and potent.

T- Taste is dominated by espresso and roasted malts. The chocolate adds just enough to balance out the taste. Finishes with a bit of dark fruit and a tremendous amount of sweetness. Slight bitterness in there as well.

M- Creamy feel, but definitely on the lighter side for this style.

D- Very drinkable, especially since this is close to 10% abv. The sweetness did wear on me after a while, but it was nowhere near overdone.

Overall, this was quite a surprise. If you see this one on the shelves, pick some up.

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Photo of billab914
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just found out that I'm getting another snow day from work tomorrow, making it a total of 4 in a row now. The girlfriend is out of town so I figured I'd celebrate the snow with a Big Hug and just chill out with the puppy on the couch and watch my new Blu-Ray copy of Braveheart.

Picked up this one from South Lakeview Liquers. Poured pitch black into my stone RIS glass with a one inch frothy tan head. The head settled down and formed a bubbly ring around the edges of the glass, where it left very good lacing.

Coffee and roasted malt are the most present things in the nose. It's a very nice and the coffee isn't overpowering. The taste also is strong with coffee and roasted malts. The coffee is most present in the long bitter and dry finish.

The mouthfeel is above average but not too thick and the carbonation is on the lower side. Drinkability is good, I really liked this beer and would say it's one of the better coffee stouts I have had. Would purchase again, and another very good beer that I got to try from half Acre.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Solid black with a thin creamy mocha head and strings of lacing leading to a ring of foam.

S - Huge espresso aroma, bitter dark chocolate, somewhat nutty or earthy with sweet roasty malt.

T - Coffee and dark chocolate dominate followed by hints of bitter hops and dark fruits, more nutty/earthy flavors and lingering sweet roasty malts.

M - Rich but fairly thin for an Imperial Stout with a dry lingering finish even though it is somewhat sweet.

D - Not a sipper as this one goes down pretty easy. Half Acre is definitely making a nice contribution to the Chicago beer scene.

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Photo of Popkas
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured at cellar temperature. Black with a big 3 finger creamy head that recedes to about a half finger that lingers.

S: Roasted coffee! Some roasted malts and a touch of chocolate in the background

D: Much the same as the nose. Big coffee, roasted malts and a touch of chocolate. There is some bitterness as well.

M: Thick and creamy. Nice body.

T: Very nice for a Imperial Stout and at this abv. Well done.

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Photo of sidetracked
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a light-brown head that lingers for the whole glass.

First impression is a Imperial Stout that smells of roasted malts and coffee. Taste is slightly bitter with a roasted coffee finish. The aftertaste is of roasted malts with a slight sweetness. After pouring a second glass I start to notice a gradual decrease in the coffee aroma and flavor, until it's really not there at all. The smell takes on more of a sweet dark fruit aroma. The finish has become VERY sweet and almost seems more like a Milk Stout.

Mouthfeel is full, but not chewy. There's a bit more carbonation than I'm used to in Imperial Stouts.

Drinkability is great--Big Hugs is quite enjoyable and easy to drink. The sweetness does become a bit much at the end though.

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Photo of KeefD
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up last weekend while in Chicago. Pour is dark brown, black as night in the glass, large creamy caramel colored head that left some great lacing in the pint. Big time coffee notes in the nose, among the best coffee stouts I've come across as far as aroma goes. Becomes more developed as it warms in the glass, chocolate and roastiness starts to come out. Oh yes, great balance in this beer. Coffee is dominate, but it's followed up nicely by a creamy milk chocolate flavor with only a mild roastiness that's well integrated with the coffee and chocolate. Bitterness is light. Would like a little more body for an imperial stout, but it's by no means thin. Creamy is the best way to describe this beer throughout. Alcohol heat only peeks through on the finish. I tried three Half Acre beers in the last few days and have been highly impressed with everything they've done. This is a great up and coming brewery, and Big Hugs is their shining star for me. Excellent beer.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber split with my drinking partner BeerFMAndy.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is pitch black with a huge creamy two finger head. Some light cascading can be seen after the pour. After settling a nice lace ring is left behind.

The aroma is a solid mix of coffee, chocolate and roast malt. It has a nice balance of all three never really overpowering eachother. A fine representation of a AIS nose.

The flavor is much the same as the nose. Coffee and roast malt. Hints of chocolate and molasses. It has a great burnt malt/charred wood finish that I love in a well made stout. Harly any of the ABV is noticable.

Full chewy body with hardly a trace of carbonation.

Overall this is an outstanding beer. So drinkable. I could recieve big hugs all day long.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this on tap into a snifter.

The beer is black with a medium tan head, not a ton of retention or lacing.

The aroma is all roasted coffee, same thing with the taste. It is a little too much bitter coffee for my liking to be great.

The feel is ok, decent drinkability.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Photo of Beerkovich
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Half Acre,

I'm enjoying a bottle of the "Big Hugs" stout right now. If you have not tasted it yet, it is magnificent.

I've been craving a perfect stout for the last couple months, and for the time being I've grown a little tired of the cliche, over-the-top, american renegade brewing-type stouts that keep turning up everywhere (except for Dark Lord & Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but those aren't available yet).

Big Hugs has fully satisfied my craving for the perfect stout this winter. I had no idea it was going to be this good. The aroma is addictive, and I find myself smelling it more than sipping it. Perfect balance of flavors. Not too rich, sweet, or sticky, nor too dry, hoppy, or burnt. It has a smooth mouthfeel and perfect carbonation. It's fruity, creamy, and has a subtle, but quite complex and rounded coffee flavor. It reminds me of how Italian gelato expresses a flavor in its full essence. This is an elegant, thoughtfully crafted american double stout, that balances an array of delicious flavors with masterful restraint.

Amazing. Well done. You're probably keeping a tally for this, so please mark me down as someone who would love to buy this beer for a few months out of every year.


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Photo of Florida9
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Opaque black and visibly viscous. A nice 1/2 in of thick, tan colored head, that has little retention and leaves little lacing. Some light showing the edges at the very top of the glass.

S: A gentle smelling beer. Coffee, milk chocolate, roasted malts, and fresh-baked brownies.

T & M: First, let me note this beer has a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel to it. With the mild chocolate flavor and the creamy texture, I am reminded of a glass of chocolate milk. There are also some light coffee notes and some more noticeable roasted malts, but for a beer that indicates it is brewed with coffee, the coffee flavor is quite subdued. Flavor is thin on the front end, but finishes much stronger.

D: Once you get past the adolescent looking, poorly drawn label and the similarly poorly chosen name, Big Hugs (shudder) reveals itself to be a quite good imperial stout. Can't say that it is up there with the best of them, but it is a very solid beer. The somewhat lighter character leads to an easy drinkability.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to pop for the assist!

A: Pours a pure coffee black with a creamy dark mocha head. This sports suprisingly good retention, sticking around for a few minutes before receding down to a thick ring. Some globs of lace were left behind.

S: Obviously, there's a very large coffee presence in the smell. Also along for the ride was some blackened malt, fudge brownies, and brown sugar/molassas. Wonderful espresso aromas.

T: See above. Amazingly fresh dark roast/french press coffee flavor blends seamlessly with dark chocolate, molassas, and dark fruit.

M: Medium bodied with a surprisingly bitter (coffee/hops/alcohol) bite. Kind of a Porter mouthfeel.

D: Half Acre crushes it. Stellar! Some reviewers decried the fact that the mouthfeel was a little thin. That's precisely why we liked it so much. It doesn't make you feel like you're drinking a stout shake.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of BigBigPickle
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a bomber at the Half Acre facility on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago - what a great looking place. The loading door was open and it smelled divine. Looked cool too - I will be booking a tour soon.

A: Pours jet black, cola with a toasty brown head - marvelous looking beer in the glass. The head has okay staying power and there is great lacing on the glass.

S: HEAVY malt and coffee grounds with a sweet, slightly nutty smell.

T: Bitter at first, sweet, too sweet and fruity. Some coffee, but I have to be honest - way too thin and sweet fruit for a big beer like this. I really think it missed the mark.

M: Just okay - thin body with residual coffee and hop bitterness creating a decent mouth feel.

D: Eh. I would like to try it again to be certain of this review, but not at $10.99 per bomber. I drink a lot of stouts and this one missed the mark for me.

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Photo of DoppleJock
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 6 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Binny's on Clark St. just got this in stock a few days ago...

A: Pours like coffee, looks like coffee. Almost no head retention, but leaves a caramel ring around the inside edges of the glass.

S: Medium-bodied coffee scents with hints of caramel and toffee. Should have sipped this from a coffee mug!

T: Was expecting something really malty, but it's actually pretty mellow, which prevents the alcohol from overpowering the coffee taste (doesn't taste like 9.5% ABV). Really pleasant coffee aftertaste as well.

M: VERY smooth. Would actually drink this beer instead of coffee in the morning if it wasn't socially frowned upon at work.

D: Some imperial stouts are a "one and done" event, where drinking a few bottles in one sitting would be too much for me. Not so in this case. I could easily finish this bottle now but I want to save some more for later.

Verdict: If Half Acre was open at 6:30 AM like Starbucks, I'd start going there for my morning coffee! (I pass the brewery every day on my way to-and-from work).

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Photo of homebrew311
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep black with a slight amount of clarity on the pour, a coffee colored head forms and persists, leaves heavy lacing

S: strong brewed coffee notes on the front which are melded with chocolate and roasted barley. Smells very robust

T: the taste is similar to the nose with some added malt sweetness in the mid palate, some molasses, lots of roasted/burnt flavors, not as much coffee on the palate as the nose led me to believe , this beer is good but isn't anything I would go out of my way to get

MF: creamy texture, medium to thick body

D: the alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are smooth. I was expecting the coffee to be more prominent than it was. Overall I enjoyed this beer, but it wasn't as good as I hoped for.

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Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +2%
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...

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Photo of trbergman
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Pours an inky black with a half inch of tan head that leaves behind plenty of lace.

S - Espresso, dark chocolate, caramel. A little subdued, but good.

T - Plenty of coffee, with chocolate and a sweet note of dulce de leche. None too roasty, though there's a fair level of hop bitterness. Hints of dark fruit - raisins, figs. The finish is lengthy and bittersweet.

M - Medium-full body, though surprisingly light for its 9.5% abv. Some added dextrins could really take this beer to the next level.

D - Big Hugs is very quaffable despite its strength. An impressive beer from Half Acre - I think that with a few small tweaks, it could be stellar.

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Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.