Big Hugs | Half Acre Beer Company

692 Ratings
Big HugsBig Hugs

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 169 | Ratings: 692
Photo of 98green
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap. Black and opaque look. Smell is roasty and toasted malts. Taste is all toasted malt, coffee comes after. It is close to tasting barrel aged although I know it isn't. Abv is hidden amazingly. I'd swear this is 6% tops, not 10. Overall an amazing RIS. Probably top 5 non-ba stout for me

 292 characters

Photo of grover37
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle for $11 from Puerto Rico Liquors in Chicago. Black, some retention. Nose of white chocolate and vanilla, very faint. Watery taste with light chocolate and an anise finish. Not good. Really light mouthfeel, incredibly thin. Not worth half what I paid for the bottle.

 277 characters

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color—only slight traces of dark brown are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark malts are present in the nose; the smell gets a bit stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of dark malts, a bit of roast, and coffee.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a solid coffee stout and masks its alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

 699 characters

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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
4.1 out of 5 based on 692 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.