Big Hugs | Half Acre Beer Company

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166 Reviews
Big HugsBig Hugs

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 166 | Ratings: 661
Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

As the name suggests, this offering from Half-Acre represents the softer side of imperial stouts. Rather than clobbering the taste buds with overwhelming char or sticky sweetness, Big Hugs takes a subtler approach.

It pours black with lighter brown edges that emerge when held up to the light. A vigorous pour lets out a surprising amount of carbonation that eventually settles down to a thin but persistent layer of head. There's no need for anyone to pull out their review thesaurus to describe forboding blackness.

The smell leans towards the coffee flavors with dark chocolate providing a nice complement.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, but it's smooth enough.

The taste again leans towards the coffee flavors, chocolate, raisin and some burnt sugar follow the lead. The finish is somewhat abrupt, without the lingering flavors that I enjoy in this style. That said, this is a very drinkable effort from Half Acre and well worth a try.

One note for the cellaring types: I've had this several times since its release and I would not recommend this for extended aging. The coffee flavors are fading quite a bit and, so far, no other flavors are stepping up to take their place.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stellar bonus procured from pochman. Huge thanks for this one!

22oz bottle poured into a goblet. Pours an opaque black. A thin mocha-colored head sits atop. Leaves a ring around the edge upon it's release. Minor lace sticks around. Big scents of coffee, espresso, baker's chocolate, wood, wet grass. Wow. That's a nice nose on a beer for sure.

The mouth on this beer is spectacular. Absolutely silky smooth. So buttery and creamy. Coats the entire palate well. Perfect blend of roasted dark malts, bittering espresso, and dark chocolate. Light vinous grapes on the back end. Aftertaste reminds me of melted milk chocolate.

Absolutely wonderful beer. One of the best big stouts I have had the pleasure to enjoy. Kudos, Half Acre! And thanks again, Ed.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up a while back, probably at the Half Acre storefront. I've had this a few times both from bottles and on-tap. Served in a pint glass.

A - Finger of tan foam that dissipates to a thick ring and some light haze, leaving behind patchy lacework. Black body with a glint of brown at the fringes.

S - Coffee grounds, roasted malts, dark fruits. The coffee popped more when this was fresh, but it's still fairly present. A touch astringent.

T - Taste is quite a bit sweeter, with plenty of dark fruits. Slight burnt malt quality. The finish is lightly bitter and roasty.

M - Somewhat harsh carbonation. Medium body, with a sticky finish. Alcohol is well-hidden.

D - I was fine with my 8oz or so, and I could have had some more. Looking forward to a new batch, as well as the barrel-aged version.

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to SeaBass. This is one I have been meaning to trade for.

A: Pours a nice rich dark black hue. Nice tan head with okay retention. Some nice spotty lace as well.

S: Aromas of deep roasted malt, bitter coffee, milky chocolate.

T: Sweet and roasty. Lots of milk chocolate, cream, and rich roasted malt. The coffee is bold but play real well off the sweetness while adding a blast of bitterness. more sweet than bitter but tasty for sure.

M: Creamy for sure. Sweet, and rich good.

D: Very good. My second Half Acre brew and I have to say that I like what they are doing.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a dark brown, almost black, liquid with a dark khaki colored head that is loose and bubbly.

S-the nose offers up a lot, dark roasted malts, slightly burnt coffee, dark bitter bakers chocolate, anise, and a sweet fruit in the back, dark cherries and plums.

T-the taste follows the nose, rich roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, anise up front. Dark fruity malts in back with a light herbal hop presence in the finish.

M-smooth, medium body, low carbonation, thin finish, slightly dry in the back.

D-the feel leaves something to be desired but the stout flavors are quite nice. well balanced, big roasted presence, light sweetness in the back and even a touch of hops.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber comsumed at bobby's tasting on 3/11/2010

A: poured a black as night with a finger head and nice sticky lacing.

S: lots of coffee, roasted malts with slight dark fruits and booze in the nose as well.

T: roasted malts, coffee, and hints of chocolate with a booze presence.

M: medium body with light carbonation and a slight dry finish.

D: drinks pretty damn good and had to come back for seconds.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased in Chicago about 2 months ago. Cool label with a Godzilla fat kittie, a little katakana thrown in to make it look a little more Japanese.

The beer is dark brown to the edge of being black, opaque but it seems a murky brown when held to the light, really thick creamy tan head. The aroma is sweet malts and chocolate, lots of chocolate. On tasting the chocolate comes through strong but you can taste the coffee too for sure. Roasted malts in the after-taste. The body is on the thin side for a double stout, not bad but it doesn't match the big flavors too well.

This is a good stout, no doubt about it, but I'm not sure if it's special enough to stand out from the competition. The field is simply so filled with strong stouts.

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Photo of hawks10
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my Half Acre pint glass...

Pours pretty much black, maybe a little light penetrates the edges...a thick three finger dark tan head forms and sticks around for a while...

Some dark roasted malts in the nose, toffee and caramel as well. A bit of a coffee bean aroma and a bit of bitter dark chocolate...

Taste pretty much follows the nose, bittersweet dark chocolate, roasted malts, bitter coffee and a bit of a hop bite in the fnish...

Thin mouthfeel for an Imperial Stout, silky and smooth, medium bodied and nicely carbonated...

Pretty good beer from Half Acre, mouthfeel left a little to be desired, just drinks a little too thin for what it is. Definitely something I'll be drinking again though...

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to emerge for grabbing me this one. Pours an extremely dark brown that borders on black with a thin light tan head on top. Aromas are solid with dark roasted malts alongside a bright fresh brewed coffee, akin to sniffing some fresh ground beans.

First sip brings smooth dark malts up against a wall of rich coffee flavor. Hints of chocolate intertwine with a nice roast. Flows down with a touch of creaminess and lingering java aftertaste. Not nearly as viscous as I expected.

Mouthfeel is smooth with good carbonation..body is more along the lines of a regular stout to me than an "imperial" stout but I'm not complaining. Overall, a tasty coffee stout from a great new local brewery. Being this is my first bottle Half Acre beer I've tried, I am looking forward to more.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from BA user lorena. thanks! drank from an oversized snifter.

A- this one pours out a nearly black shade of dark brown. very small ruby red highlights can be seen around the edges of the glass when held up to a light. a small coffee colored head forms on top but doesnt last very long. small spots of lacing are left behind.

S- the first thing i notice about this beer are the roasted malts. after that coffee steals the show. there is a little bit of chocolate in here as well.

T- just like the smell, there is a ton of coffee in the taste. in fact, thats pretty much all thats in here. the roasted malts come through, and some chocolate as well.

M- too thin for what this is. nicely carbonated. leaves my mouth nice and dry.

D- easy to finish and im wishing i had another bottle. if you like chocolate, check this one out.

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Photo of vacax
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First of all mad respect to the designers of this label. Pours black with a dark brown head that is nicely thick and leaves spotty lace. Aroma has roasty coffee, sweet and tasty coffee. Pretty much just coffee. The taste is plenty malty with a vinous character, raisins, good coffee and slight tartness with a dry finish. Medium bodied with matching carbonation, but a bit light for my coffee bomb. This one tastes pretty pretty good! I would like to have it again.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks for sending this one, Dave! Had it on 3.26, from notes.

Pours deep deep black abyss, oily with small tan foam, dotted lace not too much retention.

Big booze in the aroma, day old coffee grounds, a little acrid with pure ethanol. Chocolate is there too but the booze dominates. Wow, well the taste is much less boozy surprisingly. Much more integrated, still pretty robust and some more appealing chocolatey notes and coffee bean flavor. A little oily on the mouthfeel accentuates the booziness felt on the palate. We split a bomber between 3 people and there was still one third of the bottle left.. nobody wanted to finish it. Maybe some time would do it justice.

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Photo of koopa
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber received in a trade with Husslerc thanks Cory! Consumed on 3/26/10.

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown with a 1 finger khaki crown. The head shows moderate retention and good lace.

Smell: Lots of chocolate fudge, a hint of coffee, and moderately roasted malt.

Taste: More coffee and less chocolate than the nose. I enjoy the very well integrated coffee bitterness and hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the light side of medium bodied with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Goes down super easy for the style!

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Photo of robbyc1
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saved me a bottle from the brewery to watch the hawks game tonight. Pours jet silky black with a nice but small tan head. Lacing is minimal.

Deep coffee nose w chocolate. Great maltiness, deep flavors pursue the nose, the finish is nicely, good use of hops. I do wonder how this would stand up with barrel aging, could rival the big boys, BCS and KBS. Not the flavor bomb of those beauties, but well done. This is boozy on the nose but not in the mouth.

Not a heavy stout, rather a silky stout, more to my liking, well carbonated. Drinkable yes, as Bourbon County Stout makes me think of splitting a 12ozer, this bomber I can finish happily. Well done.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
2.74/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a black color with some red hue towards the top. Light brown head forms at first and then dies down to a weak, diamond shaped lace in the middle.

The aroma is not very nice. It's incredibly boozy. Even though its strong and intense, it still manages to be bland. There are some dark, plummy, fruit aromas in there but it's not very good. A bit of solvent, nail polish remover aromas are in there as well.

The taste is not as boozy as the aroma. It drinks like your typical imperial stout with some coffee in the finish. There was a gooey, ash type of sharp roast in there that is too acrid for my tastes. There is a bit of dark, chocolaty sweetness as well as licorice flavors.

Mouthfeel is thick and coating with a still, undercarbonated feeling. Not as full feeling as some of the better imperial stouts but its still good.

I wasn't a big fan of this beer, and even when it was split three ways we ended up dumping some. The aroma hurts the drinkability and it doesn't taste like a well made imperial stout. Maybe it was rushed.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Just to start off with, what a goofy looking bottle, although, not really in a bad way, just funny. Very dark, basically black, looks fairly viscous, small tan head, not sure how high it would have rose had a server not poured it.

T - Big coffee notes, slightly roasted bitter cocoa smell to it. It's really a huge dark roasted coffee smell that is present more than anyhthing else.

T - Tons of coffee flavor on this one, slightly smokey mixes in with a bitter chocolate taste. Very rich, with some small earthy tones.

M - Solid, full bodied, dry finish.

D - Tastes good, but so much coffee, could only do one.

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Photo of boothbeer
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split this 4 ways with friends.

A: Thin Dark Black liquid pours out of this really cool looking bottle. Light tan head that reduces to a thin film.

S: Good coffee/chocolate character. Picking up almost a orange peel/hoppy character

T: Sweet chocolate and roasted coffee. Lots of hoppy characteristics- maybe amarillo hops giving it that orange smell I was picking up? I really enjoy this flavor. I think 2-3 more months of age will do a nice job on this beer.

M: A little thing and a little too carbonated. I like my stouts more viscous.

D: Flavors are really nice. If there is any downside its the mouthfeel. Half Acre is making some really nice beers. Check this one out!

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours completely black with a loose foamy brown head with a decent hang time and a good amount of lacing for a heavyweight beverage. It's got a nice, fairly aggressive, choco-licorice smell that comes together with the alcohol and moderately roasted malt. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is thinner than my favorites of this style. It's creamy and i appreciate the coating character of the body...but the bottom is falling out and it cleans up more quickly than you might expect. The well roasted malt and bitter java are followed by a somewhat understand chalky NECCO chocolate and black licorice. A nice drinker, the 9.6% ABV is well integrated. REALLY glad that i had the opportunity to consider this one. Thanks, Pops!!

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Photo of drunkmonk
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One shade from being pitch black. Pillowing dark tan head, leaves a wispy lace that last the duration. Aroma is all about the coffee, with a hint of chocolate. Rich expresso note. Coffee pretty much dominates the taste. Some phantom smokiness and earthy hop notes way in the back. Rich coffee flavors linger. Slick, almost thin mouthfeel and way too easy going down. The alcohol is nowhere to be found. Can't beleve this is over 9%! Where did they put it? Yeah, this one is all about the coffee, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks Dave.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thick head that fades to a thick tan ring and last for a bit. It is too dense to see any sign of carbonation.
S- This beer has a dark roasted coffee aroma followed by a tootsie roll note and a nougat hint that becomes more mocha as the beer warms.
T- This beer has a big dark coffee flavor with a spicy cream finish. There are some roasted dark malt notes underneath and a nougat note that finishes with a slight tartness that grows as the beer warms.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noted and a chewy texture for the first few sips.
D- This beer is a bit one dimensional with the coffee, although pleasant, dominating the flavor and little support from the stout. It is very smooth and easy to drink for an imperial stout.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to imperialking for this beer. It's got an awesome cat on the label, so this one is definitely for me!

A: The pour is just about black with a tan head on top.

S: The nose has plenty of coffee and roasted malt with a slight smokiness to it and some dark, bitter chocolate.

T: Like the aroma, there is plenty of rich coffee along with the roasted malt. The smokiness here is very mild and perhaps is more of an earthy flavor and plays well with the chocolate.

M: The body is full and the carbonation gives the beer a very smooth feel on the tongue.

D: I was surprised by easy this beer is to drink. Another good offering from Half Acre.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to boothbeer for opening this one up. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber and split four ways. Really love the artwork on this bottle.

A- Pours a dark, coffee bean, brown color. Produced two fingers width of tan head. Distinct lacing is left on the sides of the glass. Good head retention.

S- Chocolate, roasted malts with a considerable amount of espresso. Rich and potent.

T- Taste is dominated by espresso and roasted malts. The chocolate adds just enough to balance out the taste. Finishes with a bit of dark fruit and a tremendous amount of sweetness. Slight bitterness in there as well.

M- Creamy feel, but definitely on the lighter side for this style.

D- Very drinkable, especially since this is close to 10% abv. The sweetness did wear on me after a while, but it was nowhere near overdone.

Overall, this was quite a surprise. If you see this one on the shelves, pick some up.

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Photo of billab914
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just found out that I'm getting another snow day from work tomorrow, making it a total of 4 in a row now. The girlfriend is out of town so I figured I'd celebrate the snow with a Big Hug and just chill out with the puppy on the couch and watch my new Blu-Ray copy of Braveheart.

Picked up this one from South Lakeview Liquers. Poured pitch black into my stone RIS glass with a one inch frothy tan head. The head settled down and formed a bubbly ring around the edges of the glass, where it left very good lacing.

Coffee and roasted malt are the most present things in the nose. It's a very nice and the coffee isn't overpowering. The taste also is strong with coffee and roasted malts. The coffee is most present in the long bitter and dry finish.

The mouthfeel is above average but not too thick and the carbonation is on the lower side. Drinkability is good, I really liked this beer and would say it's one of the better coffee stouts I have had. Would purchase again, and another very good beer that I got to try from half Acre.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Solid black with a thin creamy mocha head and strings of lacing leading to a ring of foam.

S - Huge espresso aroma, bitter dark chocolate, somewhat nutty or earthy with sweet roasty malt.

T - Coffee and dark chocolate dominate followed by hints of bitter hops and dark fruits, more nutty/earthy flavors and lingering sweet roasty malts.

M - Rich but fairly thin for an Imperial Stout with a dry lingering finish even though it is somewhat sweet.

D - Not a sipper as this one goes down pretty easy. Half Acre is definitely making a nice contribution to the Chicago beer scene.

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Photo of Popkas
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured at cellar temperature. Black with a big 3 finger creamy head that recedes to about a half finger that lingers.

S: Roasted coffee! Some roasted malts and a touch of chocolate in the background

D: Much the same as the nose. Big coffee, roasted malts and a touch of chocolate. There is some bitterness as well.

M: Thick and creamy. Nice body.

T: Very nice for a Imperial Stout and at this abv. Well done.

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Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.
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