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Aces & Ates | Big Boss Brewing

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very good
82 Reviews
Aces & AtesAces & Ates

Brewed by:
Big Boss Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BitterLover on 01-31-2009

For Trade:
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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 206
Photo of NCSUdo
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler

A: Deep black under a small dark brown head. Some hints of lace and OK retention.

S: Smells of dark coffee with some hints of a sweet creaminess, and some hints of grainy malt underneath.

T: Big fresh coffee taste, with a mild roasted bitterness to end. Some hints again of a creamy sweetness and some dark chocolate (noticed this was clinging to my front teeth after the swallow). Ultimately finishes in a dark coffee character. Very well done.

M/D: Full bodied, pretty good amount of carbonation in this one, but nothing that attacks the tongue. Slighty slick. Drinkability is pretty good on this one as it is pretty smooth. Big Boss is usually hit or miss with me, this is definately a hit.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, I can't believe I'm the 2nd one to ever review this beer. I feel like a celebrity! Is this my 15 minutes of fame???? Ha ha ha

First and foremost - thanks go out to pwoods... See, he forgot to take this home last night (don't worry, Patrick - I still have a bottle in the basement).

Pwoods purchased this one from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC (I know because I was with him!). Presented in a 22 ounce brown bottle with a very attractive and unique label. In fact, it states bottle # 2662 / 5000 printed on it! Just looking at this label makes me want to hop on a Harley or run to a machine shop and cut some gears or something... Big & bold silver label with white text - like something from the Air Force or Harley Davidson.

Poured into my Foothills Brewing mini-pilsner glass with a 1" dark tan head . Body, as expected is a super dark brown to black with a clear brown to red edge. Head recedes quickly leaving no lacing.

Smells of fresh, heavily roasted coffee abound... In addition, I am picking up a solid, floral hops presence. Sweet malts also appear for a minute. Overall, the nose is a little lighter than I was expecting, but nonetheless, I bet it will taste solid.

Mouthfeel is big and oily combined with ample carbonation (though hidden from the quick head retention). Medium to full bodied and full flavored. Coffee, dark malts, light smoke and hops all play along in a nice blend. Frankly, I'm surprised this was classified as an American Stout and not a Double or Imperial Stout (At least, it's an American Stout on BA at the time I type...) As I drink, the big stout presence is seen with a light brown oily hazing on the side of my glass.

As BIG as this beer looks and feels, I was a little underwhelmed in the flavor category. Sure, it's big, but by the eyes alone, I thought this beer would explode with flavor and personally, I craved more big coffee flavors. This particular beer almost tasted watery at times, or didn't stay big and solid as I drank... All in all, this is the first Big Boss beer I've had and I look forward to trying more now...

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Apex, NC.

Served in a standard pint glass. Dark, nearly black. Big dense head that has great retention leaving lacing all the way down the glass.

Some fairly roasty notes here, almost burnt like Starbucks. There are the other typical notes here too like dark chocolate, but it is that roasted coffee note that really stands out.

Flavors very much mimic the aromas in that there is plenty of coffee on the palate but it isn't overpowering. There is a nice bittering that comes in for balance but the hops play second fiddle to the roasted malt. Bittering follows all the way through the finish.

Medium carbonation is a nice match to the rest of the body of this brew and it really is pretty easy to drink. I nice brew all around. Another great brew from Big Boss!

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.78/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 10 oz. glass

This beer is infused with Larry's Beans XXX cold brewed coffee.

This solid black stout is a medium bodied stout with a dark chocolate flavors and a coffee flavor that sits just behind it all. The combination of sweet malt, chocolate flavor, and coffee make blend well. Lighter carbonation works well for this beer.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint of this at Big Boss Brewery's taproom.

Look: dark brown (nearly black) pout with a finger of tan head
Smell: dark chocolate, coffee; overall smell rather weak
Taste: dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt
Feel: smooth, medium/heavy body, medium/light carbonation

Overall: this was a pretty good stout. I'd definitely have it again.

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Photo of CWiggins
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This year's version is called Aces & Ates, and is sold on tap and in 22oz bottles.

Purchased at EarthFare for $6.49. In the year or so since Edenton Brewing became Big Boss, bottled product has been appearing at a slow pace; this is the popular Raleigh breweries first single bottle offering.

Pours an oily, dark black, with very little surface foam. Coffee and bittersweet chocolate are the dominate aromas. The flavor is outstanding, with dark-roasted coffee evolving from a sweeter front taste. The coffee flavor persists through the aftertaste, combining with a mild hoppy bitterness for a perfectly balanced finish. I really adore the low carbonation of this brew; this allows for a thick, nearly chewy texture. Great stuff!

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Photo of GehenHerzog
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Vintner Wine Market (Charlotte) poured into a Tulip glass

A- Pitch black with a single finger brown head.

S- Mainly getting fresh coffee beans, not a whole lot of chocolate, but it is present.

T- Chocolate up front and a fresh vanilla bean coffee in the back end, especially in the after taste. Very good taste.

M- Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

D- The chocolate in the beer masks the alcohol pretty well but the alcohol is still there and you can tell.

This is the 2nd time I have this beer on draft and it is very good. I'm not sure I could have more than one in a single session but a good beer nonetheless. For being so readily available on draft, I can't seem to find it in bottles even with it being fairly local. I would say it's my favorite beer from Big Boss

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Photo of cbros
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter. #610/5000, bottled in November 2008

A- Pours a jet black with a nice tan head that disipates rather quickly with a small head that goes away after a few minutes. Decent cling to the glass.

S- Strong presence of coffee flavor coupled with a sweet malt finish, also some hoppy flavor at the end but nothing major.

T- Medium bodied flavor that reminds me of a black coffee, has a tiny malt finish near the end. Also has a cough syrup type mouthfeel, not that encouraging.

Bought this at Sam's Bluelight in Durham and am satisfied but not overwhelmed. This is my first offering from Big Boss out of Raleigh and I plan on getting some of their other stuff. HOwever this was not a great representative of the American Stout. Somewhat strong but not imposing, a decent offering from Big Boss but I probably would not get this again. Somewhat of a let down in the flavor category, pours nice and looks good but something is lost from glass to your mouth. Even though I would not buy this agian I would suggest trying this if given the opportunity.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bomber on a day off due to a nice blanket of snow.

Pours black with brown highlights around the edges, just like a heavy french-pressed coffee. Topped with a thin, frothy, khaki head.

Smells of chocolaty robust dark-roast coffee with a bit of cream and sugar. A stronger version of that coffee-shop smell. A coffee lover's wet dream.

A blast of cocoa and coffee. No citric notes that I often get in coffee stouts. This one is a chocolaty desert beer. Hints of oaky vanilla. No acrid edge...more on the sweet side, but a little bit of bitterness from the coffee helps keep it in check. No sign of alcohol, even at 8%. Mouthfeel is smooth with just slightly more carbonation than I was expecting for the style, but it works.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks very much like a porter. Light black color with a thin tan head. A whirlpool like swirl sat on top for awhile before it headed for the hills. Smell is dark roasted malt, but on the other hand is very sweet. Definitely has more of a porter taste and feel to it. Pretty light feel for a stout, as there isn't enough chew to it. Similar to a sweet stout in taste. Very sweet milk chocolate taste with a little bit of coffee notes that try to offset the sugar. Don't really know about this one. Nothing really makes it standout, and isn't one that i'd grab over several other choices.

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Photo of ShrLSU
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pured a deep black color with no light shining through at all. A slight head receding quickly to some nice lacing cascading down the glass. The nose is roasted coffee and and malts with a slight tinge of vanilla. The taste is nice and roasty with a small amount of sweetness from a vanilla essence and some very nice coffee bitterness. It's not disturbingly thick, but it has body to it. Overall a solid coffee stout. Worth a shot.

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Photo of watermelon
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint from a 12oz bottle then finished in a snifter.

A: Near perfect appearance. Body is pitch black with a dark khaki head that displayed excellent retention as well as generous lacing.

S: Coffe and chocolate scents dominate could be stronger and a bit more complex.

T: Chocolate with faint coffee. Some dark fruits. This hides its 8% well.

M: Creamy mouth feel that sticks to your teeth. Reminds me of the filling on a three musketeers bar.

O: If your into the style you should defiantly pick this up

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Photo of porterwoobie
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: black in color, one finger tan head, some lacing.

S: coffee, roasted grains, chocolate. smells pretty good.

T: doesn't quite have the flavor that the aroma leads you to think you'll get. coffee doesn't come out as bold, but more of a balanced flavor to go with the dark roasted grains and chocolate taste.

MF: light bodied, moderate carbonation. this felt light bodied.

Drinkability: not a bad beer. drinks like a sessionable beer and not 8% ABV. wish it was full bodied and bolder in flavor.

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Photo of andrewm190
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very strong entry from Big Boss Brewing. Super coffee intensity. Maybe a bit too much. Almost more like coffee than coffee. Also very heavy, although not quite as heavy as the Avery Imperial Stout, another beer I had recently. Strong aftertaste. This is basically a one and done beer. Any more and you'll strongly consider doing anything your friends suggest.

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Photo of Riverwarrior
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

S = Huge coffee aroma with cocoa in the background.

T = Big blast of coffee upfront with a dry cocoa flavor rounding out the flavor. The finish is all expresso coffee with a hint of roasted chocolate. Alcohol completely hidden.

MF = Body and carbonation just below medium. I would have liked the body to be a little thicker. Smooth and very easy to drink.

Overall, if you like a coffee styled beer, this one will certainly not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will continue to pick it up when I'm in NC.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks aerozeppl for the pours from your growler.

Thick and pitch black. The aroma is enticing...The smell of quality coffee worth waking to sip.
Taste of coffee and chocolate. There is a lot going on here, but everything is coming together so well. I'd like to use this for a dessert...float a scoop of ice cream in the glass.

This is a great beer. It may be one of the best coffee stouts I have experienced. Drinks well. Just enough bitterness in the bite. No hint of the 8%.

This was a great beer experience.

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Photo of LauraAlberts
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Since when does a stout have to be the beer that pins you to the ground like a bear and make you a "man" if you can drink it all in one sitting.

Why can't a stout be a beer you can just enjoy whenever?

Well it CAN - this is that Stout.

For the stout drinker looking to impress his man friends - this isn't the stout to brag that you drank last night while watching cage wrestling on Spike. As a stout drinker I'd drink this if I wanted to have several beers/stouts in one sitting.

Appearance: Solid brown/black with tan head.

Smell: Coffee beans, hint of vanilla extract, hint of bourbon

Taste: Sedated Coffee with an open, bourbon aftertaste that turns into dark chocolate with underlying vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel: Thin, this one's not carbonated, or even has the motor oil consistancy of the classic Founders Breakfast or KBS.

Drinkability: I could pound them back all afternoon. For a true stout lover, this is your session stout. Drink this and be merry! I feel like the beer god is answering the prayers of stout lover looking for a stout to enjoy like the Germans enjoy pilsener. If this brew comes your way - check it out. Great entry-level stout for the up and coming craft beer connoisseur.

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Photo of NitroGen
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

P: Poured from a growler from NCSUdo from the Growling at the Moon BIF

A: Black, black and more black pour with a finger of dark brown sugar colored foam that settles to a thin cover with lacing that leaves a ring at each drink level on the glass.

S: Dark roasted espresso, chocolate and a hint of sweet cream.

T: Dark and slightly sweet milk chocolate, rich dark roasted malt then dark roasted coffee jumps out and takes over at the finish.

M: This is a big treat for the mouth! Very well balanced, as each unique flavor takes a turn in the mouth: chocolate, coffee, malted milk balls and lastly dark roasted coffee. Each is distinguishable to the mouth. This is a bright mouth feel with no cloying thickness at all. At 8% ABV there is no noticeable alcohol vapors or bite just really really smooth.

D: One of the best Imperial Stouts/Coffee Stouts that I have ever had. Absolutely nothing not to like about this one, as it is a splendid tasting imperial stout! If I lived anywhere near, Big Boss Brewing I would be ordering this again and again and again.

Thank you Jake!

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #125 of 5,000. Purchased at Sam's Quick Stop in Durham $6.99/bomber.

The lable exclaims "Handle your business". Ok, I'm game.

Pours almost opaque black, just a hint of light at the edges of glass. Firm, thick dark tan swirling lace lasts all the way down. Fantastic aroma of dark rosted coffee, some charred malts cutting through and faint hint of anise. Nice blend of dark roasted malts and dark roast coffee. Coffe flavors are very smooth, non acrid. Roasted malts hang firm, but definatly a second fiddle to the coffee. Sweet malts flavors finish things off. Smooth and somewhat subdued carbonation lends to a creamy but moderatly thin mouthfeel. The 8% abv is extremely well integrated. Slight warming ethanol noticed only when this bomber was three quaters sunk.

Very well done Big Boss, looking forward to more of these special releases in the future.

Check this one out if you get the chance.

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Photo of tommy78
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank bottle #2808....and was it a great bottle indeed!

A - Black. Simple as that! Minimal head after pouring out the beer.

S - Great smell. A combination of cocoa, coffee, and malts, which are subtle yet powerful at the same time.

T - Holy Cow! Very few beer have knocked off my socks like the taste of the beer. The smell translated very well into the taste. In fact, the taste got better as I got deeper into the pint glass.

M - Very smooth for a stout.

D - If I didn't have to go to work tomorrow, I would drink three of these! For an 8 percent beer, it is easy to drink the beer. Wow!

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Photo of KM_Seahawk
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap - Dark pour with a tan head, aroma & taste of dark chocolate & coffee. This is very enjoyable beer and the coffee not overpowering but noticeable.

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Photo of CptBlackBeerd
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Charlotte Flying Saucer. Jet black with a pillowy light tan head. Nice lacing all the way down. Aroma is roasted malts, fresh coffee and dark chocolate. Taste is malt, coffee and cream up front with vanilla bean and just a touch of bitterness on the finish - very smooth. Mouthfeel is medium to full with moderate carbonation. Extremely easy to drink for 8% ABV. Overall a very good coffee stout from Big Boss.

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Photo of fingolfin72
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black color with a mahogany head. Rich aroma of chocolate with hints of coffee and smoke. The palate is very big, but well balanced. Malty chocolate milk predominates, but there's an unmistakeable French Roast coffee undertone there. Profoundly satisfying on a cold, rainy day.

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Photo of ZorroZ
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: dark, dark beer. Thick head that dissipates surprisingly quickly.
S: Pleasant, but a lot less aroma than I'd expected.
T: Malty & chocolatey up front, w/coffee on the back end.
M: Around what I'd expect for a stout, very enjoyable.
O: Perfect for a cool, rainy day.

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Photo of OhYesILoveBeer
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aces & Ates poured by Lynn @ the tap room above the brewery. Pours very dark, almost jet black with ruby hues on the sides of the glass, and has a dark tan 1/2" head on top. Smells of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel, and a faint hint of vanilla bean. Tastes matches the nose quite well, considering most of their offering do the same, dark chocolate, coffee, and a faint caramel presence. Overall this is a very good stout, one that is not insanely hopped like much of the other offerings by other breweries. Keep in mind that a few pints of this in one evening will make you kick ass on the free pool table, and table tennis that they offer. Cheers!

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Aces & Ates from Big Boss Brewing
3.94 out of 5 based on 206 ratings.
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