Magnus | Half Acre Beer Company

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27 Ratings

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed October 2009

Added by emerge077 on 10-08-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

I've been eying this bottle for some time. Finally able to pull the trigger. It pours a clear dark sunset russet topped by a finger of dirty ecru foam. Possibly the lightest-looking schwarz I've seen in a while, but schwarz nonetheless. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, almond, and some light wood. The taste doesn't deviate too far from this recipe, though the wood is a bit more pronounced, and the almond has morphed into more of a walnut sort o' creature. The body is a nice medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a mostly smooth feel. Overall, a nice schwarz, not quite the paragon of the style but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 for sharing this which has been on the shelves at a local store for some time now.

I'm hoping now in hindsight that this beer is another oddball that they had created. Schwartzbier, German for "black beer". This is beer, however it's not black. That doesn't mean it's not dark, it happens to pour rather dark amber color instead. The beige foam fades fast to an almost non-existent state aside from clinging barely to the surface. The smell is rather pleasant. There is a slight hint of charred barley, but mostly the smell is of sweet malts. The taste has a far more char and woodsy character to it that isn't really meshing with the malt background. The mouthfeel suffers dramatically due to this odd woodsy taste. However this isn't a bad beer by any stretch, it's just not what I would consider really good either. It's a drinkable woodsy light schwartzbier, that's why I was hoping it was an oddball, and that this was done on purpose.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into a couple of pint glasses.

Pours an initial black in the glass but holding this up to the light actually reveals a clear ruby, which it topped off with a foamy finger of light mocha head. Swirling gets this back up to a near finger at times and shoots a fizzy cascade onto the sides of the glass which then proceeds to slowly creep down and leave back sticky swathes of lacing. The aroma has a nice smelling molasses character going on with it, which mixes with roasted malts, and some green earthy character in the back. This is nice and that molasses flavor in the nose as wholly unexpected.

The taste is mostly roast and earthy hops and is mostly sweet on the edges with cocoa and caramel. This finishes with some light toast and a dry lingering bitterness. The flavors are there but just seem to be bit too muted, especially compared to that delicious smelling aroma. The mouthfeel is medium feeling in the mouth for the most part with a moderate crispness to the carbonation but seems to be a bit soft on the edges and a little too thin in spots. Pretty weak feeling overall for 7%.

Great nose, a decent but not quite good taste, and a below average body have my thumb pointed directly in the middle for this Half Acre offering. I'd be willing to revisit this one again, as the potential was definitely there for a good Schwarzbier.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

Dark chestnut color with some clarity showing; healthy head on top. Clean and roasty nose quickly feigns a Porter, but pulls back. Big lager legs here, thick and nearly chewy medium body with an appealing smoothness. Lots of malt going around, but it is not sure which way it wants to go and simply spreads out its complexities; bready, faint roasted grain, hint of caramel, dried grass and dark chocolate. Modest hopping all around and the alcohol does drop some warmth on the palate. Dry ending that leaves a mild roasty note on the taste buds.

While it is a bit off of the reservation, Magnus makes up for it with its own complex flare and size alone. A Schwarzbier with some muscle ... we dig it.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another brew provided by my great buddy Inflatablechair.... shared a while back at Ditmier's abode.

Pours with a nice frothy brown head... the brew is clear when held to a light despite being black in the glass.

Clean roasty aroma... very traditional.. hints of cocoa with warmth.

again very clean on the palate.... roasty but still plenty of rich toasty maltiness.. pretty standard and well made Black Lager... I liked it and would certainly pick it up fairly regularly if it was available to me.

Cool score Sammy... appreciated.


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Photo of schleprock
3.59/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber.

The beer pours a 1 inch head and has a deep dark brown type of look to it. I'm used to Schwarzbiers being almost black.

The smell is of caramel malt and prunish fruit flavors. There's very little carbination noticed in this beer, almost as if it's going flat but hasnt' yet.

The taste is of raisins and malt with a smooth feel to it. Goes down easy.

Overall not bad but nothing stunningly great. I'm willing to give this beer another try, perhaps it's an older bottle that I got and it has been in my fridge for a couple months.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber - scooped at West Lakeview in Chicago earlier this summer. bottle is about 10 months old

appearance: plain, but attractive label. served in a tyranena pint, mahogany-cola body, light tan head with no retention

smell: dry cocoa, nutty, caramel, lighlty toasted malts, toffee

taste: dry and roasty, cocoa, woody, rum, toasted nuts, hint of smoke, minimal earthy hops. Nice schwarz from Half Acre, but the flavor profile is a little subtle for me

mouthfeel: light bitterness, medium-light body

drinkability: good

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a bomber at Dobby's in Palatine, now drinking it from a FFF pint glass. The beer is dark reddish copper and brilliantly clear, still not easy to see through due to the dark tint. The off-white foam is wet looking, no lace but the layer of bubbles never quite breaks into islands on the liquid.

The beer smells like lightly roasted malts, only the good elements transferred to the aroma. Things like light chocolate, a little toastiness, maybe some lightly fruity hops too. It's definitely not an in-your-face aroma but everything that's in it works well together. Speaking as a non-fan of schwarzbiers in general, I found this to be appealling.

The taste was much the same, go figure. Light roasted malty sweetness and more herbal hops notes than fruit. Solid and delicious while again remaining understated. Probably just about right for the style. The body is on the light side, there's just enough carbonation in my opinion, this tends towards cask in mouthfeel. Very satisfying, this may just be my favorite of the style.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark reddish-brown color with a white head. The beer is very clear. The aroma is a nice mix of caramel, chocolate and toffee malts, definitely a malt bomb. The flavor is mainly caramel malt, roasted malt and a hint of smoke. I don't get too much chocolate in the flavor after getting a lot in the aroma. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. Poured dark brown with a frothy white one finger head. The head settled out but left some good lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a little roasted malts with some hints of coffee, cocoa and some nuttiness. The taste has a lot of the same flavors as the nose suggests with some bitter coffee and cocoa. The nuttiness really seems to come through in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's a pretty smooth good tasting brew. The lagering definitely helps give it a smoother taste that really helps the drinkability.

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Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a few bombers left at Foremost in Albany Park for $8.99.

Might as well compare and contrast with the fresh growler sample I had when it came out 3 months ago.

Seems to be holding up well, about a finger of light tan foam. Dark copper ruby body, not black like a Schwarzbier, but it looks good. Some minor lacing on one side of the glass.

Aroma is better than I remember, nutty with some coffee traces. Malty, grain husk, a little tobacco. Flavor is similar, with some mild roast, malt sweetness, and hop bitterness coming out. Pretty light and easy to put back. Not bad, bigger than a traditional Schwarzbier, but a nice beer altogether.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.59/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Always happy to try something from a new brewery.

I poured the "Schwartz Beer" into my Stone imperial pint glass. I think it's too light in color for a schwarzbier. It has more of a clear brown/red appearance. Foam retention is OK. Not a terrible-looking beer, but if I was an anal BJCP judge, I suppose I'd be forced to give it below-average marks here. Since I'm not a beer judge, I feel quite justified in giving it a 3.0.

The beer gives off a husky grain aroma; some sourdough bread. Hints of caramel, light roast, and wildflowers.

Taste is lightly roasted malt, mostly. Grainy thickness at mid-palate, with a kiss of floral hop bitterness leading to a dry finish. Slight nippy alcohol. Medium body with somewhat soft carbonation.

For drinkability, I'd like to see the alcohol knocked down a notch, and creaminess bumped up a bit. Still, a good attempt at a dark lager. Based on this, I'm interested in trying more Half Acre beers.

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Photo of Florida9
3.57/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, but still fairly translucent. Two fingers of light tan head with okay retention. Some light lacing.

S: Roasted malts with plum and dark fruit sweetness. Alcohol is beginning to show through.

T: Roasted malts. Sweetness of plums, molasses, and brown sugar. A mild pine bitterness on the finish.

M: The lighter side of medium in body with medium carbonation. Actually a little thin and watery.

D: For my tastes, this one is firmly in the "decent" category. Better than your average beer, but there are far better schwarzbiers out there for less $. This one is neither worth the cost nor the effort needed to track it down and is the least successful beer I've had from Half Acre. I'd hesitate to call this beer Magnus by any means.

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Photo of bmwats
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a pilsner.

A: Medium dark brown with an amber tone. Thin layer of foamy carbonation. some clingy carbonation remains.

S: Dark roasted malt, with a sweet nuttiness.

T: Smoked roasted malt. very slight bitterness. Subtle sweet tone.

M: Light carbonated feel. Full hearty flavor.

D: Good to sip or drink.

Good atmosphere. really solid appearance, and an uncomplicated but full hearty nose. Flavor is also pretty basic, but really full and pure. overall this is a great quaff.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Loterbol tulip.

A: Pours a dark cola brown/black with deep ruby highlights at the edges. Sitting on top is 1 1/2 fingers of just off white foam that has a short retention span, but leaves a bunch of lacey webbing in the glass.

S: Strong roasty malt aroma coupled with biscuits, molassas, caramel, bitter dusty cocoa, and some fudge with a tiny hint of banana.

T: Rich roasted malt, toasted bread crusts, molassas/brown sugar, bakers chocolate, crackers, bitter cocoa, and a whisp of canpfire smoke.

M: Quite prickly considering the carbonation is a little on the lazy side. Excellent roasty and bitter mouthfeel with a spicy/peppery zing that carries on through the finish.

D: Schwartzbiers are definitely not one of my go to styles, but this was enjoyable in the fact that it wasn't "one note". Another excellent Half Acre brew!

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Photo of rye726
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Nose has chocolates, molasses, roasty malts and subtle hops. Taste has a nice cocoa presence over nutty malts, camelized candies and bitter hops. Medium body is crisp and refreshing. Nice example of the style.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer has a dense dark brown body with no light passing through and a thin antique white head with lots of craters supported by tiny bubbles that stick on the side of the glass.
S- This beer has a dark nougat hint with a slight berry note that turns more chocolaty as the beer warms.
T- This beer has a smooth dark roasted note with a nougat quality that grows as it warms. There are some prune notes with a molasses note and a dark chocolate notes to follow. There is a soft roasted note that lingers a bit.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a soft fizzy finish.
D- This beer is not a typical schwarzbier it has more depth like a full stout that has been well lagered to smooth and refine the edges.

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Photo of greenmiller
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My favorite in Half Acre's lineup so far. Dark, almost opaque with a 1.5 finger nice foamy head. Rich taste. Good session beer for my tastes. Should be savored and enjoyed. I would buy this more if it were in six packs as bombers become cost prohibitive for me.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Whole Foods. Served in a pilsener glass.

A - Pours with a finger and a half of light tan foam that dissipates quickly and leaves a partial cap and collar but not much lacing. Dark stained mahogany color with red and yellow highlights when held up to the light. Transparent with streams of tiny of bubbles.

S - Cocoa, floral hops, light roasted malt, banana. The bouquet is pretty nice, but it's understated and doesn't really leap out of the glass, even when warm.

T - Light roastiness and cocoa, that morphs into some banana sweetness. Finish with some nice bittering hop and roasty flavors. It's pretty nice but it isn't quite as complex as the smell. It's a solid example of the style, but nothing really stands out.

M - Pretty light body, with some grittiness and a little bit of tingly carbonation. There's a little bit of cocoa powder residual feel that accompanies a somewhat dry finish.

D - I could drink a lot of this - the bitter aftertaste is moderate and the ABV is well-hidden. It's a nice simple and fairly traditional brew - not the amped up Death & Taxes approach.

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Photo of Redrover
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a growler for a birthday party. Turned out to be an excellent choice.

Poured into a pint glass, the beer is a very dark brown with some garnet highlights. Lots of tan head and ok lacing.

The nose is of lightly roasted malts, coco and bananas.

The taste tracks the smell. The malts are nicely roasted with some bitterness. A bit of toffee, a touch of bakers chocolate and a hint of smoke.

The mouth was silky smooth and just thick enough. Incredibly easy drinker and one to revisit. It is very easy to pair with food as well.

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Magnus from Half Acre Beer Company
Beer rating: 4 out of 5 with 27 ratings