Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine - Half Acre Beer Company

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Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big MachineHalf Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine

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96 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 18.84%
Wants: 24
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: emerge077 on 06-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This beer was brewed in collaboration with De Struise & Pipeworks. Belgian yeast set the scene for a traditional sour mash and loads of currants & cherries.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 53
Reviews by jpmclaug:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Soonami
3.02/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to ThoreauLikeAGirl for sharing this bottle.

SABM sounded like a flanders red from the description, but it is not. It looked pretty good, a rusty red with a little film of foam. One taste and it was not nearly as sour as expected or desired. There are a lot of dried currant fruit flavor, there is no funky, just a little lactic acidity. The beer has a metallic, phenolic finish. A disappointment.

Photo of curtiswvu
4.66/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful beer from Half Acre and new ground from them, sampled on draft (in line) and later in the bottle once I got home from the release:

A: darker than expected, a nice cherry mahogany color. Beautiful white head. Perfect form.

S: Grapes, wine, Carmel and malt, suprising!

T: it own category. A very malty carmel beer but it tastes like it was aged in wine barrels with a Belgian yeast.

M: thick and bubbly all in balance. Bigger than
I expected no magic hat bs here!

Photo of Vonerichs
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a lighter shade of burgandy with an off white agressive head.

The smell is good, but not very pronounced. There's a yeasty phenolic smell that develops into sweet and tart cherries.

The cherries highlight this beer, but don't dominate it. It's slightly tart, but gets pulled back the other way with a brown sugary sweetness. Overall, I like all the individual aspects of this one, but together they are a little odd.

I would have liked if this beer was a little more thin and prickly. It is medium bodied, but it seems to emphasize the sweet and not the tart.

I liked this beer and it was an interesting collaboration. I'd definitely have it again if it were available, but I know it won't be.

Photo of claaark13
3.97/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shout out to Kayn169 on this one (growler). Edits have been made after a bottle serving.

A - I'm convinced that this category can be bogus. However, this beer poured fantastically from the growler. From a couple feet away, it appeared black. Upon closer review, the true colors of deep reddish brown came out. There was a thick, creamy head of about 1/2" that lowered to 1/4". Fantastic retention.

S - Although the smell was good, it was difficult to get. A little faint. Once I took a couple whiffs and then sipped and smelled again, the aroma got more prominent. It was good towards the end, but not very potent up front.

T - I got flavors similar to the beginning of an imperial brown or quad upfront. I think the slight sweetness made me think of the imperial brown, but overall I'd say quad. Cherries then began to smash the flavor. I had a tough time deciding what I thought about the fore-flavors because the cherries came on quickly. Red wine came to mind in the finish. Through the fist few sips, I was able to find the tartness of the cherries. However, it was not sour. I was finding more of the subtle tartness of a natural cherry than anything. As I drank, I began to appreciate that the cherries and natural tartness were there but not overpowering. Its a lot like if you were to take a drink of Rochefort, replace the bread flavor with cherries, and then ride the cherries out to the end. Although good, its lacking some complexity for the first few sips. So, so smooth though.

M - Good substance here. Moderate thickness with a creamy head. It was thick enough to make me happy and thin enough to make it drinkable. Great balance between the two for the "style".

O - Expectations aside, I was happy with the beer. I'd drink it regularly. Although the mellow cherry tartness is nice, I would enjoy something a little more sour here.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up some bottles from the release at Half Acre. Shared with my brother-in-law. Taken from notes.
Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a hazy brown mahogany color. About a finger of off white head is achieved with a moderate pour that leaves slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Heavy currants and cherry, Belgian yeast, clove, nuttiness, and roasted malts.

Taste – Slightly tart at first but the more you sip the less tart it becomes. The flavors remind me of a brown ale with cherry and currant flavors mixed in. The Belgian yeast becomes more dominant as the beer warms, and as stated the tartness goes away and becomes a brown sugar/malty sweetness. I don’t know…the beer just seemed odd to me overall. I had a taste of it off the tap when I went to the release and remembered it tasting better than when I shared this with my brother-in-law. He too did not care for it and also mentioned it was reminiscent of a flavored brown ale.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

Overall – An interesting beer. Wish this was more tart and that the yeast and fruits mixed together better. I have one bottle left that I will be curious to see how it turns out with some age on it.

Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cool at 50º, it makes a huge difference.

Color looks to be a very dark rusty brown, nearly black, but when held to the light it glows a perfect crimson. Initial fingers width of light tan foam that recedes to a skim after a few minutes. The surface of the foam has a fine, creamy texture.

Belgian yeast aroma, reminiscent of a dark trappist with banana, clove, and brown sugar.

Low level natural cherry tartness, well integrated, fruit dominates with some earthy yeast and light toasty malt behind it. Something vaguely roasty or possibly woody in the middle. Low level phenolic spice, clove and cherry are melded well together, leaving a residual dry peppery spice. Full bodied, supple feel, with a tasty dark cherry flavor that thankfully isn't sweet. I enjoyed it more and more as it came up to room temperature.

SABM is a unique hybrid style, drawing inspiration from Belgian ales like Kasteel Rouge and Cuvée Van De Keizer. Cheers to Half Acre, Pipeworks, and De Struise on the successful collaboration.

Photo of Preismj
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: a hazy brownish red (mostly brown) with a tightly formed light brown head. decent lacing and looks medium-light in body.

s: hints of sour cherry and a slight breadiness. The aroma isn't too potent and the cherry is hidden a bit in there.

t: sour cherry up front, but it isn't strong. Would like to see some more sour here. Tasting Belgian yeast in the mid and the finish is slightly more sour with hints of darker fruits. very very light spice in this, could us a bit more more of the clove and cinnamon I detect.

m: rich and creamy. Nice body on it, with the perfect amount of carbonation for the flavor profile.

o: not a bad beer. Wish there was a bit more sour from the cherry flavor in here and a bit more spice from the belgian side. It isn't as rich in flavor as it could be for something at the 8%+ level. the mildness of this, though, makes it a nice summer brew, but overall was expecting a bit more balance in this one.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly darker then your normal ale. Lots of visible carbonation was evident from the start, chains of bubbles rippling up from the bottom of the glass. Lots of haze, literally made this opaque. Nice one inch thick white head receeded rather quicky leaving behind a thin film on top of the glass and a nice amount of lace drooping down the sides.

The smell was strong, and very fruity. Large hint of raspberry was readily apparent from the start. A very sugary aroma aroma was present as was a slight hint of grain in the back, slight hoppiness was present in the finsh, quite dry actually. Very smooth feel, great carbonation, led to that nice silky, bubbly light feeling. Overall the flavors were very very intense, and the fruit and hop flavors made the profile really jump out at you, and made it actually rather ejjoyable as the session wore on.

Photo of iadler
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle split into two tulips.

A- Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue. A huge slightly off white head slowly dissipates leaving some nice sheets of lacing and a cap that sticks around.

S- Tart cherries, brown sugar, peppery spice, toffee, coffee beans, dark chocolate and some grass. An interesting aroma for sure.

T- Tart cherries emerge first, followed by some coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, and some earthy/spice notes. Finishes with some red grapes and bit of metallic taste.

M- Medium carbonation and body with a dark fruit sourness and metallic finish.

O- A decent beer that is certainly different, but nothing outstanding. The flavors seem to clash with each-other a bit and there is this metallic taste that is noticeable. Not one of my favorites from Half Acre.

Photo of GbVDave
4.52/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Pours a hazy, dirty red color with about 1/2 a finger of khaki colored foam on top. Head quickly melts down to a thin and bubbly collar that leaves small specks of lace behind. Some visible streams of carbonation.

S: Rich aromas of black cherry, vanilla, sweet currants, caramel, milk chocolate, pepper, and spices. Everything becomes more pronounced as it approaches room temperature.

T: Same as above. Temperature is the key with this one. The warmer it gets, the better it tastes. By the end of the glass, the cherry flavors were just incredible.

M: So rich and velvety. Sweetness is kept in check by a slightly peppery dryness. Finishes with just a hint of tartness. Masterful.

O: Wow. This was just killer. Thanks for brewing this, guys!

Photo of Thorpe429
3.09/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Geist. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderately dark brown with a really nice off white head and loads of lacing on the way down. Good cap throughout. The nose has some cherry and dark fruits. A bit of oxidation in the nose. The flavor corresponds with all of this and adds a bit of dark malt. Medium body with plenty of fruit; semi dry finish. Okay.

Photo of AgentZero
2.83/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Chris aka spycow for sharing this with Alex and I at our BRUINS WIN! (and I don't care) get together.

A - Pours a brownish red color that ambers a little on the edges. Not much head on it and no stick on the sides.

S - Couldn't put my finger on it at first, but MasterSki is right, this smells like strawberry twizzlers. I'm not a big fan of twizzlers, particularly in my beer. Smells a bit harsh, with some cocoa and cherries and other weird fruit odors.

T - You can taste the currants, I think, it's some odd fruit. It's actually quite boozy, tastes like a hard mixed drink and has a spirit-alcohol taste. Some harsh phenolic yeast and a really bad finish. As it warmed up, it smelled worse, and started to taste a little better with the cocoa coming out, but the finish still killed it. Only reason I gave it a 3 instead of a 2 was that it's quite complex, although not real good.

M - Mouthfeel is actually fine, smooth, syrupy, somewhat active carbonation.

O - This beer is exceptionally hard to get down. I had one small glass and was done. I am horribly disappointed, and really had high hopes for this beer. It seems it's getting the Hellshire treatment from locals, or my tastebuds are just different from most other peoples'.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Lancaster shaker pint glass.

Not sure how to even approach this one, so just jumping in. It pours a mostly clear amber-garnet (heavy on the latter) topped by a finger of lightly dirty tan foam. The nose comprises maple syrup, light black grapes, light red apple, toffee, light cocoa, and light lacto. The taste holds notes of brown sugar, black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, and tart red grapes. Unfortunately, none of these flavors, nor the combination, really pops: they just kinda meld into one another. The body is a straight medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a kinda sticky finish. Overall, not too bad a beer, but one that just seems meek. No other word really works here. (For the sake of comparison, the closest I can come by is Enigma from New Glarus. Take that and water it down a bit, and you'll have something akin to SABM.)

Photo of Spider889
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours with no head. Reddish brown in color.

Fruity but tame. Getting some cranberry in the aroma. Sweet.

Tastes of light caramel. The fruit is subtle but there.

Medium/light body. Sweet and sticky.

Nice beer, but hype worthy? Nah... the label is easily the best aspect of the entire enterprise.

Photo of phiberoptik
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As the below reviews, Urbancaver for "testing" the over-carbonation rumor and proving it true, thus forcing us to drink it.

Served at room temperature and poured a deep mahogany, almost dark enough to block light. I could comment on the head, but most of that fizzed out of the bottle for the first 5 minutes it was open.

Smelled of a lot of alcohol right up front. Probably a bit young with predominant cherry/fruit notes. Fresh cut apples.

This tastes almost entirely cherry.. tart cherry. A bit of malty sweetness in the middle but little in the finish.

Very bubbly and poor mouthcoating as it pretty much was foam when it hit my mouth.

This would be interesting to try a bit colder and older.

Photo of FosterJM
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

631st Review on BA
Bottle to small snifter

Thanks to Teamizm for this one.

App- A light reddish/brown with a nice one finger head that dissapates quickly and leaves just a touch of cling in the glass.

Smell- When you stick your nose in this beer your likely to smell medicine. Some people like that some people don't. This was more of a grape/cherry robitusin smell for me.

Taste- Much better on the tastes than on the nose with a cherry note taking over and the beer smoothing out to where you get a balanced fruit/malt/ and small hop note. This was def. fruit forward but still tasty.

Mouth- Medium bodied and almost a high carb but retaining a medium like note to it.

Drink- I was anxious to try this one and had my doubts, but it was quite tasty and flavorful. I will say its not for everyone and it needs to be probably drinken slowly to allow more flavors to develop.

Photo of Cavery
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml shared with Klym, big thanks to SpdKilz for the bottle-- fruits of a first trade.

poured into Lost Abbey Tulip, yeast left at the bottom of the bottle.

A: Dark rustic red black with a micro bubble filmy head. A biscuit bready head rose to two fingers before mellowing and leaving waves of lacing. Good looking aesthetics, but I have to say the color was quite unexpected! Not a bad thing at all, just adds tot he intrigue. Dark black earth tone reds.

S: Really up front caramelized banana. A bit of a metallic middle to the nose where I can only describe it as "deep fried pennies". There's even a bit of a biting fruity character that definitely points towards currents. A deep nose-full left me with a maced-in-the-face experience of tart berries. Once again, a bit unexpected, but not unwelcome.

T: Up front present of very subdued currents and cherry skins; gives into dense dark berry studded fruit cakes. Fermented cherries really become apparent in the middle of the flavor. The cherries ride on a rustic bunt cake as the only sweetener. The sweetness is really light, which I like quite a bit. There's a bizarre presence of a refreshing coconut water infused creamy coffee that kept me guessing. A light malt sweetened nuttiness adds a fusion of macadamia/pecan sprinkles on the fruit cake. Damn fine fruit cake!

M: Micro bubbles really ease you into this offering. Dark fermented flavors are served on a satin table cloth. This is really key to the rest of the beer, and is the Achilles heel to me liking it. This does have a very Soda-pop like carbonation character, but I actually like that quite a bit; this really makes the dark theme of the beer much more accessible. Soft aspirin in the mouth in the end.

O: Initially, I liked the beer, and then it progressively grew on me. Really do sit with this one and let the temperature change. Latent flavors include vanilla, coconut, light coffee, dried dark cherry coulis, and rustic sweet muffins. The other thing I would say is that flavors of Cherries/Currents can be quite homogenized; whereas there are distinct transitions in here. Solid, and would be happy to revisit. Time to try some more half-acre.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.58/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a medium brown with an explosive medium tan head that fades quickly. It leaves globs of lacing on the glass.

S - Barley and malty. Not much, but some spices.

T - Sweet barley, fruity, spices, and a metallic aftertaste.

D - High carbonation, light body.

O - Sweet, Light, refreshing, but after taste is not pleasant.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

picked this one up on release day at the brewery. been looking forward to having this since that day. hurricane irene seemed like the right night.

a - opened and filled my duvel tulip. glass poured with almost all head. liquid was a deep reddish brown.

s - cherries and booze. some candied sugar.

t - nice and sour with a chunky fruity kick. again, boozy. spicy. a little nutmeg sweetness. has a bit of the belgian struise flavor characteristics. kind of sweet tartish. dark chocolate covered fruit. mostly cherry.

m - lots of carbonation, a bit thicker than i expected. has a bit of a flanders vibe...a bit fizzy...a bit sour. aftertaste leaves a bit of a grimace on my face.

o - overall, i was hoping for more with this beer. i don't find it to be as bad as most people are saying, but certainly not a MUST try kind of beer. mostly sour cherries with some struise flavoring in the mix.

Photo of stxSS07
3.86/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A- Huge hiss/pop upon cracking this one open. Pours a dark brown with 3 fingers of pillowy, khaki head that hangs around forever. Leaves nice lacing.

S- Tart cherry and currant, sweet sugary malt, maybe a bit of an herbal medicinal note? Bit of toasted grain/mineral notes as well.

T- Again leads with tart cherry and currants, followed by a milk chocolate-like sweetness, sweet and toasty malts, and ends with a nice bready finish that lingers despite the carbonation. No detectable ABV.

M- Medium-light with high carbonation that attacks the palate. A bit too aggressive for my taste.

O- This is definitely a polarizing beer...I mean just look at the pDev. I happen to be on the side that thoroughly enjoys this brew. It combines elements of a sour, brown ale, and a porter that really clicks with me.

Photo of laikom
4.13/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Poured a deep reddish brown with beautiful ruby glow. 1 inch head with minimal lacing which quickly fades.

S – Heavy malts and subtle cherry

T – A virtual rainbow of flavors. It started off malty, transitioned nicely to some subtly bitter hops. The hops were quickly overpowered by the tartness of the cherries and surprisingly a good flavor of the currants (I thought the cherries would stand out the most). The tartness was well balanced by the malts. I found the tartness to be well balanced with malty smoothness, not sweetness necessarily. I was led to believe this was going to be a sour beer, which is the only reason I did not rate it higher. I think it was (for some unknown reason) rushed and could have stood to age much longer with some extra bugs to sour up a bit.

M – Medium bodied, with decent carbonation.

O - Overall, very well balanced. A complex deep and flavorful brew, but refreshing enough to down a growler with another friend in one night and wonder if there’s more! I’ve always been a fan of Half Acre, and though it’s a collaboration this favorite Half Acre beer to date.

Photo of Jayli
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from GBVDave in our most recent trade, so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a deep mahogany color with a one finger of light khaki colored, sudsy head. Head recedes quickly and leaves minor spots of wispy lacing.

S: Nose is ooo - tart soured cherries, a bit of alcohol, and a good deal of soured apple.

T: Taste starts with a strong soured cherry flavoring, mingled with a good helping of alcohol. A good deal of belgian, spicy yeast fill the middle - balancing nicely instead of dominating. Finish is soured apples.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, rich and oily in the middle with a very sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, not too filling, decent kick, nice representation of style. The alcohol notes lighten as the beer warms, and had this not leaked just a little bit, I may have aged it. A good beer that I would like to try again with some age on it.

Photo of cpetrone84
1.9/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

pour is murky dark brown with tan head. Nose is overly sweet with a messy malt. Plums, cherries, tobacco, peppery spice, lightly smoky meat. Taste is less smoky, more sweet, with a strange twang in the finish. Plums, cherries, faint leather, faint peppery spice, fairly dry finish, moderate carbonation and oily palate.

Photo of Klym
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a lost abbey tulip. Thanks to Cavery for the share.

A: Pours much darker than I expected.. really quite black. Actually looks like a belgian dark ale more than it looks like your typical fruit beer. A nice off-white head of about one finger with some erratic lacing.

S: This smell is a lot more substance to it than I expected. Cavery pointed out banana and I think that's on the money for the core of the smell. Besides banana, definitely cherry, and dare I say a good mixture of more savory smells like coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. These later few smells caught me off guard but I can't get myself to believe they aren't dancing around this nose. A very interesting beer it would seem.

T: Less powerful than I was expecting. I thought the flavor would cut deep and last by the nose and appearance of this beer but it's pretty fleeting and somewhat mysterious. Hits with a small tart bite that mellows on the edges of the tongue into a very cherry/currant flavor and on the middle of the tongue more savory flavors, especially vanilla, coffee, and a little bit of chocolate covered banana. It's a bizarre mix of beer worlds but I think works pretty well. I could do without the flavors transitioning and basically disappearing so quickly, though.

M: On the heavier side of being light-bodied with very fruit-beer like generous carbonation. I think the mouthfeel works for this beer but I wonder what it would be like with a little less carbonation and a bit more thickness because of the more savory flavors swirling around. That's more of an experimental suggestion than it is a criticism, though.

O: This beer really grew on me throughout the course of drinking it. The flavor and drinking experience here is pretty darn complex and different from what I expected or have experienced before. As someone who appreciates something new and surprise in my drinking experience, I give this high marks.

Photo of monitorpop
4.17/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown-ish red with a cream ring.

S: Sweet cherry.

T: Malt, Slightly sweet/tart ripe cherry.

M: Clean and smooth with a medium carbonation. No alcohol burn.

O: Unique ale with a nice cherry accent that improves as it warms up. Very drinkable. Plus, the best label art ever!

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Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine from Half Acre Beer Company
82 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.