Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Big Hugs | Half Acre Beer Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
166 Reviews
Big HugsBig Hugs
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.

Added by emerge077 on 12-10-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
166
Ratings:
657
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
8.54%
 
 
Wants:
299
Gots:
173
For Trade:
17
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 166 | Ratings: 657
Photo of BSiegs
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful dark black pour with two fingers of light brown foam. Retention and lacing are average. The aroma is big chocolate with slight notes of coffee, roast, and earthiness. The taste follows the aroma, with dark chocolate and roast leading the way. Feel is medium full, with low carbonation and very smooth. Balanced finish. Overall, a nice imperial stout.

 360 characters

Photo of DJChaseTheBase
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Twisted Spokes Chicago. This beer is a nice imperial stout w/ not to much complexity. It is a simple easy to drink Imperial stout w/ your typical coffee and chocolate flavors. Didn't feel it really gives you that heavy mouthful like some imperial stouts. Very smooth none the less. Would be interested in picking this up in a bomber at some point for an easy drinking stout.

 387 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich dark brown black with a fair amount of frothy light brown foam retention.

Wonderfully abundant notes of sweet and bitter chocolate, fresh coffee grounds, and a fair amount of earthy, roasty goodness.

Chocolate and roasted flavors explode up front with a subtle toffee/caramelized sweetness on the back end.

Heavy-bodied, light-medium carbonation, sticky, semi-chewy, bitter-sweet.

Overall, while the hype around this is strong and lines at the brewery on release days wrap around the building, the hype is definitely warranted. Very solid balance of sweet and roasty/earthy bitter character.

 608 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

650ml bottle, with the coolest label+peel-off label out there. Served in a minisnifter glass. Pours a dark black body, light one finger offwhite head, not much retention or lacing. Smells of chocolate, espresso, a bit of dark fruit, fair bit of roast. Not too complicated. Flavour is chocolate and coffee, roast. It's a bit on the medium-heavy side, good body, lower carbonation, silky and smooth. Solid coffee stout with a nice body and good coffee flavour.

 458 characters

Photo of Barnoloid
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from draft pour. Dark mocha in color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Served at a reasonably warmed up temperature which allows the coffee to take center stage, which it absolutely does. The chocolate, dessert feel is balanced with the bitter coffee. There is some tiramisu sponge sweetness here without being overly sweet. Some marshmallow notes interplayed with raisins and cola. Great complexity.

 415 characters

Photo of vic21234
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. No bottled on date visible, but it is the latest vintage.

A- Pours black with a thin amount of khaki colored head which quickly fades.

S- Notes of roasty chocolate and coffee on the nose.

T- The smell carries into the taste. Notes of roasted malt are first and foremost along with dark chocolates. The coffee is present as well through much of the taste.

M- Medium to heavy bodied yet an easy sipper.

Pretty good imperial stout but I expected a bit more coffee flavor.

 513 characters

Photo of pbgnar
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap into a snifter.
L - pitch black with a small caramel head that quickly dissipated
S - smells a bit like stale coffee
T - huge coffee flavor with a tiny bit of booze some vanilla and caramel
F - great mouth feel. Nice full body with lingering taste
O - very good beer. I've had it in the bottle and the coffee flavor came through much more there. To begin eat, coffee was a little too much from the bottle and not quite enough on tap. Other than that, very balanced with a great mouth feel

 497 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a 12 oz snifter from draught at Firkin on December 31, 2015. Look is black with a thick tan head and sticky lacing. Smell is dark cocoa, currants, espresso, nougat and dark roasted malt aromas. Taste is currants, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, molasses, herbs and dark roasted malt flavors. Feel is smooth and creamy with a slightly bittersweet finish.

 368 characters

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing special coming from this bomber, just a good stout to share with friends over a football game.

Simple, a bit thin, but drinkable and sweet on the palate.

Artwork on the label was the highlight.

 205 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark black color stout with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing notes. Aroma of roasted malt with some black chocolates notes and light sugary notes. Taste is also dominated by dry roasted malt notes with some black chocolate and light residual sugar notes. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and quite enjoyable without standing out from the crowd of RIS.

 447 characters

Photo of Chris912
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - black with a beige colored, head - lacing remained
S - chocolate shines, black coffee, little alcohol
T - chocolate and roasted coffee. A bit bitter
F - thick feel, coating
O - Wish it was brewed more than once a year!

 223 characters

Photo of Redrover
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to my brother for grabbing me a couple of bombers!

Served in a imperial pint glass, the beer is black with a stick tan collar.

I love the aroma of roasted malts, coffee, & dark fruit.

It is a one two punch of darkly roasted malts and coffee. It is bitter but I think it is from the dark roast. There is also raisins, molasses and bit of coco. The alcohol is well hid as the beer is not a bit hot.

The mouth is smooth and silky.

When served at the correct temperature with a bit of age on it, this beer is tough to beat.

Well Done!!

 555 characters

Photo of ARoman
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

*transferred from old notes - 12/30/2013*
22oz bomber poured into a snifter. The coffee-forward nature of this one comes through immediately. A blend of fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee beans burst through. This is accompanied by an undertone of dark cherry and maybe some melon (cantaloupe?). A bit of caramel aroma peaks through as well as the hint of alcohol. It’s a deep, rich red-brown, nearly opaque pour with a milky brown head. Initially it appears that this one’ll have nice head retention, but it slowly retreats to a thin, wispy layer leaving very trace amounts of lacing along the glass. Medium-heavy sweet malty flavoring deriving from dark fruits and milk chocolate hit the tongue first, but quickly give way to a mellow, but very much present, coffee bitterness. Creamy texture, medium body, aided by above average carbonation in the mouth makes this a dangerously smooth beer - especially to an experienced coffee addict!.It does get slightly sticky near the end of the bottle and finishes with a decent alcohol kick - although it’s fairly mellow, not really offensive by any means - which provides a nice warming quality to the swallow. This fades to a mild roasted coffee aftertaste with some spiciness to it (I’m thinking licorice / anise), but it’s a very mild and light aftertaste at that

 1,325 characters

Photo of treywinkle
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 o.z. bottle into a Half Acre pint glass.

Thin, ebony color with edges of caramel similar to cola. Carbonation is present, but no foamy head to speak of.

Big coffee presence. Slight banana and chocolate. Minimal dark fruit (dried) aroma.

Sweet chocolate with mingling coffee. Great nuttiness without being bitter, but has an undeniable hop.

Thinner for an Imperial, but has a great, lingering finish. 10% abv so it makes complete sense.

Very good beer from an exceptional brewery.

 503 characters

Photo of Way2drunk
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Just drank the 2015 version of this and I felt like I had an awesome cup of coffee. Compared to brickstone who also made a stout with dark matter coffee. Half acre definitely got it right. Color: dark black like a cup of expresso. Smell of fresh brewed coffee house. Taste: like I'm running in a field of coffee beans(corny yet funny)! Feel: like Cookie Monster with his cookies. Overall: fantastic! And it has a super cool peel of sticker with second design underneath! Nerd alert!! What 2 do with my sticker?!?

 512 characters

Photo of Chrisfarleywine
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great coffee stout, very good flavor and well balanced. Not overly boozy. The mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste, I prefer something a bit heavier.

 152 characters

Photo of blankenhoney
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bomber from Dec. '13, enjoyed from a coffee mug.

A: Dark and viscous-looking with a creamy khaki head

S: Smells like chocolate milk with licorice, roasted malts, and pretty faint coffee

T: Toasted malt, licorice, baker's chocolate, and sweet, sugary, creamy light-roasted coffee. Licorice flavor is quite strong (along the lines of Kalamazoo Stout). It's bitter too, but it's a hop-based, rather than a coffee-like, bitterness. And there's a cola-like sweetness to the flavor.

M: Silky smooth, with a nice, dry, coffee-like bitter aftertaste

O: Big Hugs is a bit sweeter and much less coffee-forward than I'd prefer for an imperial stout with coffee, but it's an enjoyable beer nonetheless. I had one back in December of last year and don't remember it being any better than it is now.

 791 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared by HopasaurusRex, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a creamy tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Huge coffee aromas as well as some chocolate roast and light brown sugar. Light earthy aromas and a very faint dark dried fruitiness round out the aroma quite well. The flavor is rich dark chocolate maltiness with a bunch of creamed coffee poured over it. Light fruit and earth round out the flavor quite nicely. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation. Really nice coffee brew, I'm glad I got to try this.

 559 characters

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at Half Acre Out of the Vault Series from 2012

A) thick, dark used motor oil color two finger Mocha color head leaves good amount of lacing.

S) coffee, milk chocolate, black patent malt

T) sweet milk chocolate, espresso, toasted bread, coffee finish.

M) thick like melted chocolate ice cream.

O) great coffee stout, glad to
Have had the 2012 version on tap.

 378 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Nice khaki head. Leggy. Medium collar.

Smell - Deep roasted malts. Like coffee and dark chocolate. Some licorice.

Taste - Dark chocolate. Licorice. Roasty. Bitter coffee finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy, but very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Simple, but well made and drinkable for an imperial stout.

 376 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From: Gift from JS, much thanks
Date: 12/2013 bottling
Glass: Tulip

Big Hugs is a good, coffee-forward (though still a bit mellow) imperial stout that's only downside is a bit of overemphasis on its ethanol. The aromas and flavors are of cold-pressed coffee, light chocolate syrup, a satisfying background sweetness, and subtle roasted malt working well together. Overall, if this were available in my town, I'd purchase it again: it's not genre-defining, but good enough that I'd be happy to drink it whenever. As it's not, I don't think I'd go out of my way to seek it out, but accept it if it were ever another gift.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of dark tan-colored foam, made up of small to medium-sized bubbles, yielding a sudsy, soapy appearance. Retention is a bit above average at about 1.5minutes, the head fading to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of thin foam atop the body. Lacing is good, with a moderately dense matrix of dots clinging to the walls of the glass. Body is a dark brown to black color, with light . Carbonation visible only along the sides of the glass due to the opaque body, fairly numerous and active.

Aroma of smooth, mellow, roasted coffee from a cold press, a bit of chocolate syrup, and light ethanol.

Overall flavor is of mellow cold-extracted coffee with balanced backing sweetness from base malt, light chocolate syrup and burnt toast, and moderate ethanol. Front of palate tastes mellow coffee, ethanol, light cocoa, all balanced out by a mild sweetness underneath the rest. Mid-palate of mild coffee, chocolate syrup, balanced sweetness and vanilla, a bit of woodsy hop character, with fairly noticeable ethanol. Back of palate tastes anise and ethanol, modest sweetness from malt, cold extracted coffee, slight chocolate syrup and charred toast. Aftertaste of stale coffee, a bit of smooth milk chocolate, pleasant underlying sweetness, a bit of mild bitterness from roasted malt and hops along with sharpness from ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a mouthfeel that is slightly foamy (1/4) and mostly smooth (3/4), appropriate for a stout sipping beer. Ethanol felt as moderate burn on palate and back of throat, heat in nostrils. I've enjoyed beers that hide their ethanol better, but this is not that bad. Closes semi-dry, with moderate stickiness clinging to the walls of the glass.

 2,412 characters

Photo of Fcolle2
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick dark black with no light making it through this beer. Head is tan in color, about 2 fingers and has really good retention. Extra props for a sweet label

Smell is great. Rich dark chocolate malt plays nicely with a slightly acidic dark coffee aroma and more cacao aromas. Mild earthiness and spicy aromas follow. Smells very rich and decadent.

Taste is great and follows the nose. Very rich chocolate malt is forward along with more rich and slightly acidic coffee flavors that add a nicely complexity. Char bitterness is very light and let's the rich chocolate malt and coffee shine. There is a slightly bitter hop finish however.

Mouthfeel is great. Huge body and rich feel makes this a perfect after dinner sipping beer.

 739 characters

Photo of MNishCT77
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

13 oz. tried at the tap room, poured into a Half Acre snifter glass and shared with my wife over 30 minutes.

A: 3/3 - pitch black, no light shall pass, tannish-brown head settled into a half finger lacing; large alcohol legs

S: 8/12 - coffee, chocolate, toffee and molasses notes predominate but the intensity was slightly muted; minor hop and alcohol notes are also detectable

T: 15/20 - on the first sip in the front of the mouth, there is a slight coffee and dark chocolate bitterness that quickly evolves into a more complex malt character with toffee, butterscotch and caramel presence; there is a slight sweetness on the aftertaste but not cloying inviting subsequent sips

M: 4/5 - slightly thin for style but otherwise appropriate with alcohol coating and low-to- moderate carbonation

O: 8/10 - a solid RIS that was a nice change of pace and culmination after having several excellent hopped-up ales; unfortunately for Half Acre (but fortunately for the consumer), there are so many great RIS on the market at that moment that this one doesn't stand up to the intensity and complexity of their flavor profile (Brooklyn's BCS, Founders RIS, Sierra Nevada's Narwahl and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy immediately come to mind); however, for the price point ($6 for a 13 oz. snifter), it's definitely solid and worth forming your own opinion

TOTAL - 38/50

 1,355 characters

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark brown roasty coffee color. Very thin lacing that dissolves quickly.

S- Honestly, it smells like a used sushi board. haha, seriously. Woody, sort of funky, caramel, coffee, grassy

T- Burnt toffee, malts, some coffee, great imperial stout flavor.

M- Smooth, creamy. Pretty much the way I like imperial stouts. Very little carbonation follows down the throat.

O- My first Half Acre, and I like it much more than the Pipeworks extras that I seem to be getting.

 470 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber
$10.99
Half Acre

2013 Bottling

A black beer, Big Hugs is, black as night. Zero light shows through the dense body. The coffee brown head shows some purple hues and easily grows to a finger plus in height. Thick streams of carbonation run to the surface and keep the thick ring alive after the head settles to a film. Patchy lacing remains behind after each drink.

The nose is full of rich aromas. Molasses drizzled berries get things moving. A handful of star anise flashes through before the roasty, yet balanced, coffee comes to the forefront. With warming burnt sugar shows itself. This is an all around deeply complex stout.

Coffee is more upfront in the flavor, a nice moderate roast with body. The anise is alive and the molasses is present but in the background. A berry medley, mostly blackberries, come along mid palate with a little spice. The roast is enough to linger and leave some moderate bitterness after each swallow.

The mouthfeel is spot on. A moderate heavy body that's smooth as silk with soft carbonation allowing the beer to move at it's own slow pace. There aren't a lot of residual sugars so this beer actually finishes somewhat dry, which is right up my alley. No cloying at all. The roast adds enough bitterness to keep things interesting. Nicely done.

Big Hugs shows a ton of depth with unusual flavors including the molasses and star anise. The coffee is added with a delicate hand and becomes an aspect of the drink instead of the drink itself; rare these days. Great body and all sorts of delicious!

 1,550 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe