1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big MachineHalf Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

95 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 19.11%
Wants: 23
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

A collaboration beer with Pipeworks and De Struise.

Red Belgian ale fermented with red currants and cherries. Brewed using traditional sour mash methods.

(Beer added by: emerge077 on 06-08-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Arbitrator


1.43/5  rDev -60.4%

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Gusher. This thing basically converts to foam the moment it leaves the bottle, creating a billowing, 4" foam presence in my glass with just the barest hint of liquid beneath it. Ridiculous.

S: Cherries, spice, and a chalky, alcoholic note. It has a potpourri-like scent that I can't quite pinpoint, down to the woodsy note. Weird.

T: I imagine this is like drinking spiced potpourri juice. It has a tart/sour currant flavor backed by lots of must, with a yeast-cakey aftertaste. Weird adornment of spices, cherries, and green apples.

M: This beer is foam. All foam. 'Nuff said.

O: I didn't realize until I came up here to write this review that Struise was involved. That explains a lot; I think they're terrible, and I'm blaming Small Animal, Big Abomination on them.

09-21-2011 06:22:08 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of Photekut


1.5/5  rDev -58.4%

01-18-2012 21:52:22 | More by Photekut
Photo of cpetrone84


1.9/5  rDev -47.4%

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.

08-21-2012 14:32:36 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of jpmclaug

South Carolina

2/5  rDev -44.6%

01-19-2012 12:46:02 | More by jpmclaug
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

2.28/5  rDev -36.8%

22oz bottle, allowed to warm a little before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Small Animal Big Machine pours a very dark maroon, approaching black, with plentiful ruby red highlights shining through. There's about three fingers of khaki colored foam topping the beer, and it displays good head retention. Lacing is barely there though. The nose has a little sugar, a little caramel, and a little cocoa to it. Cherry, and moreso currants dominate. It doesn't all come together well though, reminds me a bit of Coca Cola. The flavor is more of the same, heavy, almost metallic cola taste to it. I don't pick up more than a faint twinge of tartness, which for all I know could just be in my head because I was expecting some sour. The body is nice light, but the carbonation is way over the top and harsh. Small Animal Big Machine is a beer I was really looking forward to, which made the contents of the bottle all the more disappointing.

10-11-2011 04:14:36 | More by axeman9182
Photo of HuskyinPDX


2.55/5  rDev -29.4%

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.

08-24-2011 03:44:33 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Wadsey


2.58/5  rDev -28.5%

Small Animal Big Machine

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours clear brown with amber highlights. Too dark to determine effervescence. Head and lacing is below average. 

S: Out of the fridge, main notes are dark fruits and vanilla. As the beer approaches room temperate, dark cherries become evident. There is another fruity quality, too, and I assume it is currants. Cocoa powder makes a surprise appearance.  Nothing  sour in nose. 

T: Okay, a little tartness joins above characteristics, but it is very, very mellow, earning a generous 2 on 10-point scale, with 10 as ass-puckeringly sour. The mild sourness is an issue because Struise himself called Small Animal Big Machine a red sour ale. The mild sourness functions to offset sweetness, of which there is a generous portion. Once again, the closer the beer comes to room temperature the more cherries and cocoa powder show up. 

M: Medium body and carbonation. A little heavy. Hints at syrupy, but never quite gets there. 

O: I'm giving Small Animal Big Machine the benefit of the doubt and rating it as a fruit beer. It certainly fits that better than a sour style.  In fact, it reminds me quite a bit of Bell's Cherry Stout, a comparison that will scare off some folks. 

Did they rush these bottles out the door? Or should it have been barrel-aged?  Whatever it is, Small Animals Big Machine doesn't come together for me and suffers from slightly below-average drinkability. 

06-16-2011 03:41:07 | More by Wadsey
Photo of jrallen34


2.6/5  rDev -28%

Thanks to Chris for this growler... pours a dark cola, decent head... aroma is terrible its all currants, pepper and generic chemical caramel... the taste isn’t as strong as the nose or it wouldn’t be drinkable, some cherries show, but the finish is terrible... tough to drink

06-18-2011 20:13:56 | More by jrallen34
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

2.8/5  rDev -22.4%

Pours a beige head. Color is a caramel brown.

Aroma: Berries and cocoa. Some roasted malts. I have never had a carrot beer before, but knowing they are in here allows me to pick them out.

Taste: Cranberries, cherries, and carrots. Then a touch of chocolate malts. So many berries.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy. Light bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends roasted.

Overall, a unique beer with lots of berries. Too much carbonation as well. It's okay, but I don't want a lot of it.

06-10-2012 16:41:58 | More by mothman
Photo of AgentZero


2.85/5  rDev -21.1%

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'.

06-16-2011 16:19:22 | More by AgentZero
Photo of Kayn169


2.95/5  rDev -18.3%

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip

A- Pours a burnt reddish brown. A 2 finger head head that pours not quite tan, but more than off white

S- Smells sweet with some cherries, possibly a touch of cocoa

T- The cherries in the nose are there, but not as pronounce as I thought they would be. I taste more of the currents than anything. Also a good amount of brownsugar sweetness, almost no tartness, and a very light spice hidden amonst the other flavors.

M- medium bodied, with a sticky linger.

O- I was honestly a little disappointed with this beer. When I read the description, about using sour mash, and calling it a red Belgian, it made me very interested. The sticky mouthfeel, lack of noticable sourness, and indicisiveness in style lead to the score. It was like a cross between a Belgian quad, a sweet amber, and just a touch of a Flanders red. It is worth trying, but I wont be seeking it out again.

07-06-2011 12:02:29 | More by Kayn169
Photo of Soonami


2.98/5  rDev -17.5%

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.

08-27-2011 22:25:08 | More by Soonami
Photo of bstyle


3/5  rDev -16.9%

11-15-2011 07:04:24 | More by bstyle
Photo of Kaydogg


3/5  rDev -16.9%

12-27-2011 16:13:54 | More by Kaydogg
Photo of WynnO


3/5  rDev -16.9%

04-27-2013 16:23:04 | More by WynnO
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

3/5  rDev -16.9%

12-04-2011 21:47:45 | More by nmann08
Photo of thewimperoo


3/5  rDev -16.9%

11-17-2011 22:27:30 | More by thewimperoo
Photo of Duff27


3/5  rDev -16.9%

01-15-2012 15:34:38 | More by Duff27
Photo of spycow


3/5  rDev -16.9%

12-01-2011 04:32:28 | More by spycow
Photo of Thorpe429


3.08/5  rDev -14.7%

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.

02-25-2012 20:28:37 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -12.7%


Thanks to Chris (spycow) and Alison for picking this up while I was out of town. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A late-rising tan foam settles to a thin ring, with some hazy swathes and minimal lacework. Transparent dark orange-red-brown body.

S - Red licorice, cherries, spicy phenolic yeast, some fruity spirit alcohol character (brandy? grappa?). Alcohol presences grows as it warms up, along with the sour mash characteristics.

T - Taste is actually a bit understated. The sour mash contributes a malt character that is similar to the one I tasted in Sour Plead the 5th. Doughy malts, some buttery toffee, and light tart cherries. Finish is tart currants, but somewhat unexpected and not totally integrated all that well. Alcohol is less present than the aroma.

M - Pleasant carbonation tingle, smooth pleasant texture, medium body, and a little bit of alcohol warmth in the finish. Some gritty tannic character from the fruit.

D - I really wanted to like this beer. I think all the different collaborators are great people, and all of them have made some great beers too. Unfortunately I thought this was a boozy, jumbled mess. Seemed higher in alcohol than the listed 8.5%, which is unexpected considering most of Urbain's beers have masterfully hidden alcohol. It's certain complex and unique, but in this case too many cooks may have spoiled the broth. Perhaps it is better in the bottles. I struggled through my one glass, and had no interested in refilling it.

06-16-2011 20:10:28 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.18/5  rDev -11.9%

Thanks to jedwards for sharing this. Pours a murky mahogany with a thin, cream-colored skim. Nose expresses grape, bubblegum, yeast and a sour mash quality. Taste is tart, grapey and vinegary. Cherries come out as the brew warms, but the overall taste reminds me of cough medicine. Tough to get a read on other aspects of the mouthfeel due to the extremely gassy carbonation levels. There's also a slight acidity. This was a tough brew to drink even split amongst six. This collaboration was definitely not a winner in my book.

07-01-2011 00:41:47 | More by Jwale73
Photo of TMoney2591


3.2/5  rDev -11.4%

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.)

06-19-2011 19:30:05 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of Gonzoillini


3.25/5  rDev -10%

04-19-2013 01:30:20 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of alpenglocken


3.25/5  rDev -10%

09-25-2012 21:17:32 | More by alpenglocken
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine from Half Acre Beer Company
82 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.