Big Hugs
Half Acre Beer Company

Big HugsBig Hugs
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Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,134
ABV:
10%
Score:
92
Ranked #2,800
Avg:
4.15 | pDev: 7.95%
Reviews:
208
Ratings:
831
From:
Half Acre Beer Company
 
Illinois, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  288
Gots
  199
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Big HugsBig Hugs
Notes: This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.
Reviews: 208 | Ratings: 831 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excited for a new Half Acre beer, thanks to falloutsnow. Canned 2020/11/17
Pours a frothy creamy semi dense 1 finger tan head with good retention, layered lacing, jet black color

Nose begins like the large imperial stouts with big roast, black malt, burnt coffee, baking spices and some licorice as well, some cocoa and vanilla spice, getting into more subtle nutty coffee behind that, burnt caramel, little nougat, spicy hops

Taste brings more roast up front, as well as the charred nougat, baking spices and a bit of licorice again, burnt marshmallow into cooked caramel, some burnt honey even, lots of dark roasted flavors but not quite acrid, charred coffee, with a bit of a nutty smooth coffee but not a lot, cocoa and a little dark chocolate in teh background, a bit of smooth alcohol, and hints of fruit somewhere in the background as spicy hops kick in, med overall bitterness coming from the hops and roasted malts, sticky sweet finish, hint of smooth alcohol again, coats the mouth, and interesting like chocolate covered dark cherry somewhere on the back of the tongue, and bitter spicy hops on the sides

Mouth is thick rich chewy and mouth coating, med frothy carb, hint of warming alcohol but smooth

overall pretty solid imperial stout, addition of coffee didn't seem to do much but they did thankfully let the base imperial stout shine on. I would love to try this after some barrel aging or aging.

May 14, 2021
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dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can purchased off the shelf as a 4-pack for $21.99. Canned on 11/17/20, so this is just over 5 months old.

Look: Pours out a dark brown/black and nearly opaque. A very thin tan colored head remains, with a bit of lacing.

Smell: Initially, I get that interesting "soy sauce" aroma that happens sometimes with aged dark beers. I think that most of that Lots of dark cocoa aromas along with dark roasted coffee. Licorice aroma also. I get other more subtle complex aromas like cinnamon and dark fruits - some dried cherry aroma. As it warms, I am getting a bit of alcohol in the nose - almost smells like alcohol-soaked chocolate covered cherries. Very enjoyable and interesting nose.

Taste: Woa - this is a serious imperial coffee stout. The taste is very smooth, and the coffee flavor is very strong. The crazy thing about this is that it pretty much tastes like I am drinking cold brew coffee, except with a fuller mouthfeel and a bit of carbonation. Very low bitterness and acidity. Up front, there is a bit of sweetness, lots of cocoa. The beer is so drinkable, it moves quickly through the palate and the finish is roasty and has a mildly bitter finish with flavors of roasted malts, coffee, and licorice. A lovely blend between high qualifty coffee and imperial stout.

Feel: The mouthfeel is pretty nice - it's very smooth and has a medium plus body. It's silky and soft. The mouthfeel could certainly be fuller, but I would definitely not call this thin. Highly drinkable, dangerously so.

Overall: I have become quite a fan of Half Acre Beer Company. This is my first dark beer from Half Acre. This is brewed with Dark Matter coffee (another Chicago company). I think that this is luscious. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but compared to a lot of other imperial stouts that I have had it probably has an above average mouthfeel. In my opinion, this is a next-level imperial coffee stout. It is so well-rounded, smooth, and tasty. So hard to believe that this is 10% ABV. This is an awesome breakfast stout (I don't care what other people call a breakfast stout, this is totally a breakfast stout to me and my new favorite). Another thing that I really like about this beer is that it is not sweet but has sweet notes. The finish is actually surprisingly dry and enjoyable. Again, makes this beer super drinkable and enjoyable.

From the website: The coffees used this year are Pacas Viejo, grown by the Pacas family on the mountainsides of Santa Petrona in El Salvador and Catuai, grown on the San Jeronimo Miramar farm in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, fermented with a Trappist beer yeast strain, a process unique to their work with Dark Matter. Both coffees were sourced and roasted by Dark Matter Coffee.

Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout – soft, natural stout splashed with very fine coffee. Rich drinking with notes of bakers chocolate, dried fruit and coffee. 10% ABV

Apr 28, 2021
Photo of JohnniEMc
JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's very little head produced by the action, so a pint can just about fits into a clear pint glass. The color of said pour is exactly what would be expected from a coffee stout. It's the color of black coffee and with little more head and apparent carbonation than it. The aroma is of sweet roasted malt, with hints of coffee and even a little vanilla. It's very pleasing. The taste is robust, yet light to the tongue. It's just sweet enough to carry the bitter contributions of the coffee, but not too sweet to spoil the overall. This is one of the best tasting Imperial Coffee Stouts available. Even being a little light in body, it's full tasting, balanced and the 10% ABV is barely noticeable.

Oct 10, 2020
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timobkg from New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A can from... 11/27/19? I wasn't expecting that. This has clearly sat around for a bit. Oh well, into the Chimay gobblet it goes.

It pours a brown so deep and dark that it might as well be black, with a cream head that quickly disipates.

The aroma is chocolate, fudge, brandy, and prunes. It smells boozy, and not at all what I was expecting from a coffee stout - namely in that I don't pick up any coffee.

Taste is very dark chocolate, with a slight milk chocolate sweetness on the finish that is quickly overshadowed by a bracing bitterness. The combined effect is what I would imagine eating dark chocolate followed by milk chocolate followed by baker's chocolate would taste like. The alcohol also makes itself known - all 10% of it.

It's rich, but not quite as rich as I would expect, as as previously mentioned the alcohol is front and center and not hidden at all.

I feel conflicted about this beer. It's a big, boozy, American stout - but that's not what it's billed as on the can. On the can it's billed as an Imperial Coffee Stout - as popularized by Founder's Breakfast Stout - and that's not what I get here at all. This is a big, boozy American stout - it makes me think of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, Founder's Imperial Stout, and Old Rasputin - and not at all the coffee stout I was expecting. So if you're looking for a big, boozy, chocolaty American stout, seek this out. If you're looking for a coffee stout, look elsewhere.

Sep 22, 2020
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783 from New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Four pack copped from Wine Rack in Millburn. Pours a hazlenut, ebony hue with moderate frothing and a cream laced mahogany head. Assertive aroma replete with hints of chocolate and anise. Pronounced flavor bursting with cacao and date nuances. Not bad, but definitely not worth the hefty $20 price tag for a sixteen ounce four-pack.

Aug 21, 2020
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ten Years of Hugs, proclaims the label, with a bright and meaningless melange of art styles that might have made some vague connection to some pointedly incohesive sub-Adult Swim aesthetic in 2010 but just seem like a sad stretch now.

What would earnestness look like in 2020? Could we recognize it?

Pour is standard for an impy stout, though not spectacular. Dark black, not opaque, okay head that dissipates.

Aroma is sharp hops, bitter barley, and some coffee. Actually very nicely done because of its lack of Xtremeness.

Flavor is great, borderline excellent. Nothing gimmicky here, at least not by 2020 standards. The beginning is ashen with some coffee nodes--a bit thin, but intriguingly so. The middle follows through with a rush of sharp American hops, and everything smooths out all on their on the back end with some bitter barley, slightly less bitter coffee, and milk chocolate nodes. No need for whiskey barrels or tobacco spit or any other such contemporary fineries.

Jul 05, 2020
Photo of arizcards
arizcards from North Carolina

4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 16oz single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop cooler 3-3-20 for $4.99. Canned on 11-27-19; consumed on 5-7-20. Suspect this sat uncooled in Chicago for a couple of months.

Beer poured black with a nice tan head that has some good hang time.

Nose is medium roasted malts and a trace of coffee.

Taste is very good, medium roasted malts and coffee astringency combine nicely with dark cocoa and are balanced with a good dose of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall i really dig the nice touch of coffee and cocoa. This is one of the better balanced coffee stouts i have had!

May 08, 2020
Photo of jzlyo
jzlyo from Iowa

4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is roasted malts, dark fruit, mild marshmallows, coffee and earthy. The flavor is roasted malts, marshmallows, coffee/chocolate and an acidic/slightly sweet finish.

Apr 06, 2020
Photo of briandgilbert
briandgilbert from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black and little thick. Smells great. Taste is great. Not super powerful on the bourbon punch. Good stuff! Supporting local Chicago brewery.

Apr 01, 2020
Photo of tone77
tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of milk chocolate, some coffee. Taste is the same as the aroma, there is considerable alcohol and a bit on the sweet side. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a very good beer.

Mar 24, 2020
Photo of KS_Augsburg
KS_Augsburg from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing beer, comes in multiple varieties: Vanilla or no, Nitro, Barrel Aged. Had the regular and the Vanilla of both the 2018 and 2019 vintage on tap at The Green Lady. Amazing beers all of them. I actually prefer the regular over the vanilla. 2018 was amazing, while the 2019 adds a little more of the coffee notes. Rich in taste but not too fat in mouthfeel (at 10% ABV), beautiful lacing on the sides of the glass. Coffee, toffee, caramel, toasted malt, spice, coffee, with a hint of honey.

Mar 03, 2020
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste: smokey, tobacco, dark roasted malts, coffee beans, dry, slight sweet. Same with the nose. Black/brown, mostly opaque, with delicate tan head, small ring of lace. Medium to med/full body. Dessert time.

Feb 27, 2020
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eppCOS from Colorado

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - Dark brown as night in a mahogany forest hammock. Good lacing.
S - Toasty, light roast coffee, an almost marshmallow fade to it, good use of coffee without dominating.
T - A wonderful imperial coffee stout; curious to see how it evolves and how the malt will sweeten over time as hops fade. My kind of jazz. Not their best however, for Stouts (give me Benthic 95% of the time).
F - Good carb, good palate impression without cloying sweetness. Not a diabetic beer, for sure. Good stuff.
O - a nicely balanced bug hug this year (2019).

Feb 05, 2020
Photo of Buck89
Buck89 from Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Thick and viscous on the pour, with a thick tan head in the glass. Aroma full of roasted grains, dark chocolate, and coffee. Taste followed. There was a slight fruitiness to it, perhaps from the coffee. Full bodied but somewhat dry on the finish and easy drinking. Outstanding.

Jan 24, 2020
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass from the can.

Appearance: Semi thick black body with little bubbles to the frame.

Smell: Light coffee and mocha, dissipates quickly.

Taste: Little sweet chocolate and coffee with a scoop of malt. Roasted coffee with mellow bitterness.

Mouth: Sticky beer with medium carbonation.

Overall: good brew but there's room for tweaking. Coffee beer which comes off a little lighter than I was hoping. Salud!

Apr 01, 2019
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I am sitting here at Chez Woody, CANtemplating the next few days. The Caps/Pens game is on TV & tomorrow is a half-day early dismissal, followed by my 2nd shift at CKW2G. I want to play trivia on Thursday night, having missed out on Monday & then Friday is my monthly excursion to KoP/Gulph Mills for a monthly bottle share. What does any of this have to do with anything? I am also CANtemplating my next beer. I have a crushing backlog that is now worthy of exCANvation. I have a number of brewery horizontals, but I think that I will go with a big single-O for this one.

From the CAN: "Imperial Stout brewed with Coffee & Vanilla".

I beCAN by Crack!ing open the vent on this massive pint CAN of a massive beer. Next came a slow, gentle C-Line Glug into the awaiting glass. I was fascinated by the resulting pseudo-cascade that eventually saw fit to form just over a finger of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-brown head with great retention. Color was solidly Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was a revelation with notes of coffee, Baker's chocolate, light smoke, peanut butter & a soft sweetness that was more like marshmallow than vanilla. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium, but I would have expected a greater fullness in this style. Oh well. CAN't have it all. The taste was initially loaded with coffee and dark chocolate, but it slowly built outwards with a creamy vanilla/marshmallow sweetness. Mmm. I initially thought of hot chocolate with marshmallows, but that would be inexact. Instead, it had a higher bitterness from the coffee than to make the easy CANparison. Does Starbucks (or their ilk) make a coffee-infused hot chocolate with marshmallows? This would be what I expect it to taste like. Finish was dry, more like bitter morning coffee for me, but a really nice treat.

Mar 13, 2019
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superspak from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce can into snifter, canned on 11/20/2018. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense and rocky tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, and dark/brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, dark fruit, smoke, char, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Minimal booze in the aromas as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with great strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, and dark/brown bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, molasses, dark fruit, smoke, char, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal, grassy, peppery hop; and roast/char bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, toasted biscuit, dark/brown bread/crust, licorice, molasses, dark fruit, light smoke/char, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance; and no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/roast bitterness. Medium carbonation and fairly full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and lightly slick/sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Mild increasing warmth of 10% after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic coffee imperial stout. All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, coffee, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the big ABV, with the mildly bitter/drying finish. Amazingly rich malts and moderate fruity/nutty coffee complexity; with solid earthy hops against sweetness, and mild fruity yeast. Was expecting a bit more coffee intensity, but there is an adequate amount. A highly enjoyable offering, and outstanding style example as expected.

Feb 20, 2019
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cjgator3 from Florida

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a snifter. Canning date of 11/19/18 printed on the bottom of the can. Large fizzy tan head when poured into the glass. The nose and taste of this beer is dark and toasty with coffee. Overall, Big Hugs is a solid imperial stout.

Feb 20, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.69/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown/black color.

Dark tan head; strong lace.

Coffee bean & lactose sugar nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Hops & coffee beans mix; pickle juice is hinted at but a milk finish smooths it out.

Just OK.

Feb 19, 2019
Photo of Jlabs
Jlabs from New York

4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a can into tulip glass

Color is a rusty brown with mocha foam

Smell is bitter coffee and dark chocolate

Taste follows the nose mostly but the coffee flavor is a bit sweeter

Medium carbonation

Mouthfeel is full but not heavy

Feb 14, 2019
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beer_truth from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Overall a very good beer. The can I bought says imperial stout brewed with coffee, and you can definitely smell the coffee roast on the nose. Looks good, although the head retention isn't great. A little thin in the body, takes it down a notch for me. I would enjoy it more if it were a fuller mouthfeel, more body, considering it is 10% abv. Still a good beer, drinks more like a 7% coffee stout, a little dangerous in that regard. First can I have ever seen, I recommend it. Hard to go against a Half Acre beer.

#beertruth

Feb 07, 2019
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JdubsNY from New York

3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice dark brown with full tan head and smells of good coffee notes, but then fails to deliver on taste. What a disappointment for a coffee stout. Best thing about this beer is the can art.

Jan 31, 2019
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can into a pint glass. Canned 11/16/17, so 14 months old.

Jet black body with a small tan head which quickly fizzes out to a ring. no lacing.

Only very faint coffee notes.

Quite tasty though. Slightly sweet, smooth coffee taste, stronger than expected after the nose. nice slow burn from the abv.

Mouth is around medium, but comes off thinner than expected. Finish is a slow coffee burn.

Overall, it's a tasty enough beer. perhaps it's an age issue, but it's a little light in most of the categories, no head, light aroma, thinner mouth.

Jan 17, 2019
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned on 11/20/18. 16oz can poured into a tulip. Pours almost black with a creamy dark khaki head that falls leaving great retention and nice lacing. The aromas are balanced. Hints of coffee and vanilla. It has an espresso vibe. Lots of malts. The flavors basically follow the nose. More coffee and vanilla along with some chocolate syrup. Moderate bitterness. There's a touch of sweetness. Nice malt backbone. Mild warmth in the finish, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's fluffy, slightly creamy and velvety, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a pretty solid coffee stout. It might not be "mind blowing", but it's still pretty nice. It's well crafted and enjoyable stuff.

Jan 10, 2019
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black in color. Poured with a short, creamy, dark beige foam with medium low retention. Sweet dark chocolate aromas with light roasted malt, roasted coffee, and earthy malt notes. On the heavier side of medium bodied with medium light carbonation. Creamy smooth feel through the middle followed by mellow boozy warmth to the end. Sweet dark chocolate, dark malt and light roasted malt flavors. Medium light hop bitterness through the middle followed by dark malt and roasted coffee notes. Finished dryly with dark chocolate and light earthy hop notes. Body was a little on the light side and generally lacked the richness that's indicative of the style. Balance tipped a bit to the sweet side. Nice dry finish. This was okay.

Jan 10, 2019
Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 831 ratings