Big Hugs | Half Acre Beer Company

168 Reviews
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
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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 686
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.

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

22oz Bomber
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!

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 64oz growler into a snifter

A: Pours a completely opaque black with just a touch of brown. Tan colored head sticks around for a few minutes. Moderate splotchy lacing.

S: Deeply roasty. Coffee and some burnt smoky notes.

T: Still very roasty, but with a marked amount of rich, dark chocolate. Roasted coffee creates a great mocha flavor. Subtle notes of smoke and licorice.

M: Fairly smooth and medium thick. Easier drinking than a lot of comparable stouts. Low carbonation.

O: Delicious beer. Coffee forward with a hefty chocolate malt backbone.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - Big Hugs vs. Mechahugs (2012) in a box from ikaika122

Only thing not well above average of this one is the aroma which is mostly "beer" with bakers chocolate. The pour is flat, matte if you will, black with thin lacing and moderately carb'd.

Bit of dark fruit in in this - or candied fruit as there is also considerable molasses. Considerable only that there is very little sweetness in the nose, it is well balanced in the taste.

Rich, modestly chewy. IF you've the patience to chew on this there is significantly more flavor profile from which to pick out elements. Vanilla extract is also present in the finish.

Enjoyed the first bottle of this I had (2011, I think) and this batch was better than I remember that being. Will be one of those I look to have added in boxes coming from Illinois for as long as it's offered.


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Photo of cvm4
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Bottle

A - Pours pretty black with a thin tan head that dissolves into just a ring around the glass.

S - Coffee abounds with vanilla, roasted malts and light semi-sweet chocolate.

T - Starts off with a great coffee notes and roasted malts as balance. Semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, vanilla and molasses. Bitterness from may'be the coffee?

M - Medium to full bodied with medium to low carbonation. Very smooth and velvety.

O - Awesome label! Just in your face coffee bitterness with secondary flavors and a body to back it up.

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Photo of Purp1eOne
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - This baby is black with a nice creamy head

S - Smells like a dark coffee with hazelnut and a hint of vanilla

T - Strong coffee taste with a good balance of the hazelnut and the vanilla. A good sweet flavor that compliments the coffee.

M - Creamy and smooth with good body and nicely carbonated.

O - This was my first Half Acre brew which got me hooked. A very good stout that makes me look forward to the fall.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (2010)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, crushedvol!

(Aged for 3 years)

Nearly black, but truly a very dark brown and ruby. Small dark brown head. Irregular spots of stick left down the glass. Pretty stout.

Not a hugely expressive aroma. Will adjust this as I let the beer warm throughout the review, if necessary. Roast and a touch of coffee. Just a bit of chocolate-covered dark fruit as well. In fact, as the beer warms, lots of oxidation character emerges. It's not distracting, but it's not ideal, either.

The flavor follows the aroma, with chocolate-covered dark fruits and a bit of roasted coffee character emerging nicely. Moderate bitterness. Very drinkable, and the alcohol is exceptionally well hidden.

Near full in body with low carbonation.

Excellent. This aged nicely.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and coffee flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice cocoa and coffee flavor.

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Photo of herman77
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a small tan head. A bit of spotty lacing clinging on.

S: Nice dark roast coffee with some vanilla/hazelnut creamer. More roasted malt with bittersweet chocolate and vanilla sweetness.

T: Lots of roast and coffee (but not too much coffee) right at the start, then lots of sweet malts, vanilla, hazelnut and rich toffee take over to balance the roasty bitterness. A really great balance of sweet and roast that battles throughout the palate. Finish is a bit bitter roasted malt with a touch of creamy sweetness.

M: Medium to fuller body. Average carbonation. A bit smooth and creamy.

O: Really easy drinking for a 10% imperial stout. Probably more roasted bitterness than most stouts because of the coffee, but its got a great vanilla and hazelnut sweetness to balance it out. A solid Imperial Stout.

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

Blind BIF Beer #8

Finally a stout. We had to let it warm up a considerable amount of time.

The faint coffee smell did not surface until after it warmed a bit. Initially it just smelled like roasty chocolate goodness.

Thick black appearance. Minimal white head.

Good smooth chocolatey taste. Nice mouthfeel.

Guess: Big Black Voodoo Daddy

Reveal: Cool. I had this on draft but don't really remember it.

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

A: Black pour with a large brown head. The head only sticks around for a few minutes, but laces a decent amount. 4

S: The aroma is of chocolate, light coffee, and some booze. Roasted malt plays a part as well. It's a strange smell, but I do enjoy it. Hard to place, I think it's the chocolate taking over. 4

T: The coffee and chocolate are really the forefront of the taste as well, but there are certainly other tastes as well. The roasted malt comes out in a big way, as well as some caramel and molasses. Some hop bitterness as well. Overall a great taste that is really unique, which is saying something considering how many imperial stouts with coffee I've had. 4

MF: Thick, rich, and full body with the perfect amount of carbonation. The drinkability is great, as I really don't get a lot of alcohol. The bitter finish makes me crave the sweetness of the beginning. 4

O: Really glad I got to try this. It really has a wonderful label, definitely one to save. If you like stouts with coffee, you won't regret getting a Big Hug! 4

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Photo of MCain04
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap at the brewery into a 13 oz snifter.

A: Dark brown, almost black. 1 finger tan head with good retention and decent lacing.

S: Roasty malts, dark chocolate, a little coffee, some piney hops.

T: Bitter coffee, hazelnuts, toffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt. A little soy sauce when served cold, improved upon warming.

M: Medium carbonation, smooth, dry finish, lingering bitterness.

O: Really liked this, one of my favorite local RIS for sure. A BA version of this would be killer. Maybe a little less bitterness and it'd be world class.

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Photo of liamt07
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from MasterSki, 650ml into a tulip.

Dark brown/black with a medium brown head, nice retention and lacing. Nose of roast, milk chocolate, some mild dark fruit notes, brown sugar, a whiff of alcohol and some bruised banana. Tastes of chocolate, roast, vanilla, and again some banana character that I though was peculiar, but interesting. Medium full feel, silky texture and lower carbonation. A very nice imperial stout, focus is on the malts here which I appreciate more in the style than heavily hopped iterations.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head that doesn't last long.

S-Good deal of roasted malt, coffee abundant, tad chocolate and vanilla.

T-Roasted malt, coffee, nuts, chocolate. Lots of coffee.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated.

O-A wonderful coffee forward stout. Not the same level as Breakfast stout, but damn, a solid brew.

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Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

More of a stout than an IS. Fairly fresh. Big licorice. Coffee and a little acidic. Rather ordinary RIS.Thanks Liam. 10% is not apparent over the coffee and roast. Assertive carbonation. Maybe more interesting in a year. Bold flavour but just did not get it tonight.

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

Dark brown-black pour with a thin wispy layer of bubbles for a head; minimal lacing. Aroma was roast-driven, notes of coffee, dark malts, maybe some unsweetened cocoa. More of the same in the taste, toast & roast, dark bread, slightly bitter coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, fleshed out with some dark dried fruit essence, subtle earthy hop notes also detectable. Body was somewhere between medium and full, moderate carbonation, and a bit of harshness from the alcohol, but nothing really detrimental. Good brew overall.

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

2012 vintage 22 oz. bottle poured into a Half Acre Beer Company branded snifter

Pours a viscous opaque black with a light beige one and half finger head. Average retention , no visible lacing. Espresso, roasted malt, burnt raisin, and some alcohol. Charred, roasted malt, molasses, big, dark roasted coffee beans, hints of black cherry, coffee ground and hop-driven mild bitterness on the finish. Heavy medium to light full body, smooth with some creaminess. Moderate to low carbonation. A solid big stout that delivers some bold flavors without being overpowering. An annual release that have been proven to be always enjoyable.

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Photo of UnderJoath
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Map Room. Pours black with tan head. Smells of boozy malt and dark chocolate with some subtle vanilla. Tastes sweet, chocolate and vanilla, with a bit of burn that lingers for a bit. Beer is a bit thin for my liking but flavor is spot on.

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

A special thanks to Mjmoser for this beer.

22oz bomber poured into my miniature CCB snifter. The beer was originally chilled for 2 hours and sat at room temperature for 45 minutes before pouring.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a nice brown foamy head that recedes quickly.

S: Strong smell of roasted malts. Hints of dark chocolate and vanilla. Expresso coffee strong at the start but mellows as the beer warms.

T: Coffee, chocolate and some vanilla on the palate. More sweet than bitter and has a very smooth appeal to it.

M: Very smooth for a 10% beer. A very east drinking Stout.

O: Solid offering from one of my favorite midwest breweries. Half Acre is making some solid brews up there.

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Photo of Holland
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark brown to black, excellent hsmall head with great retention and lacing.

S: coffee and stout, delicious smelling, but not super distinguished

T: wonderful stout, excellent fresh coffee flavor, not too sweet at all with some good bitterness to balance a bit of richness

M: great medium carbonation along with medium heavy body and a smooth feeling.

O: delicious. Love coffee stouts, and this is right up there With breakfast stout and peche mortel.

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A nearly opaque black color with a small amount of brown showing through on the sides. A small tan head disappears almost entirely except for a small ring, but this is a growler that I got earlier in the week so that probably has something to do with it. Small amounts of lacing as well

S- A rich full chocolate smell right away. Moderate amount of roasted malts that is layered with smells of dark chocolate. There might be some slight hints of coffee as well, but this is dominated by the chocolate and roasted malts. There is also small amounts of alcohol noticeable.

T- Smooth chocolate similar to the smell. The chocolate seems to be almost bitter sweet throughout the beer, jumping from one to the other. Some malt sweetness can be tasted as well. Light amount of coffee, but it doesn't quick stack up to the chocolate character. Medium amounts of roasted malt also are apparent throughout. Although this is 10% alcohol, there is only a small amount noticeable at the end of the beer.

M- Full bodied and slightly creamy. Some alcohol warmth towards the end. Terribly smooth for 10% beer.

O- I have been looking forward to this beer and it did not disappoint. Incredibly smooth for its size and its combination of chocolate and roasted malts were a great balance.

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

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. I believe this is the 2010 edition.

Pours black, with 2 ½ fingers of rich mocha head. This retains with a thick 1/2 finger that drenches the sides of the glass with a sticky latticework of creamy lacing. The aroma smells of ripe earthy hops, roasted coffee, cocoa, some darker fruit, and a touch of spicy alcohol.

The taste is more ripe citrus, leafy bitterness, and crunchy coffee flavor up front, which then gives way to a wave of bittersweet chocolate, tangy caramel, and dark fruit character that, separates itself out from those citric hops. The finish is dry and bitter with some lingering brunt tones. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp on the tongue with a firm creaminess that fills out the mouth. This has a light underlying alcohol presence, with a warm spiciness that lingers in the finish as well but is overall pretty smooth and drinkable for the size.

This was a pretty darn nice take on an Imperial Stout, with a nice range of flavors and a bit yet still accessible body on it and I was especially pleased to find that this wore it’s ABV on its sleeve just a bit. This is another solid beer from Half Acre. Worth a look.

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Photo of kevanb
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2011 vintage, reviewed live, poured into a Half Acre tulip.

Pours a nice jet black color, lots dark brown when held to the light, a nice big frothy caramel colored head sits atop the beer and has pretty decent retention. Lots of foam sticks around as well and it leaves behind ample webbed lacing. The aromas are good, charred chocolate, toasted dark malts, licorice, touches of coffee but big malt and chocolate presence, faint alcohol. Lots of chocolate on the tongue, bitter toasted malt, burnt coffee and a ton of licorice and alcohol on the finish. The body is good, medium to full, ample carbonation with a nice creamy finish.

Verdict: This is a really fine stout from HA and one I wish they would make more often, especially for their canned line, but even as a winter seasonal, I'm glad they are making this because it's darn good and has aged well.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this in a recent trade with Irishgurl4. Thanks a lot for the loot!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A transparent dark brown pour produces a one finger, medium looking, fizzy, light tan head with good retention. Black body and lower levels of visible carbonation. Head eventually fades to a half wisp and ring. The ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel malt, cocoa, with quite a bit of vanilla and sweet cream in there. Espresso and milk chocolate with lactose sugar as well. Medium strength, and not much in terms of roasted malts. Smells very much like a milk stout.

TASTE: Some lightly roasted flavors up front, with caramel and lots of bitter cocoa and espresso coffee flavors at the swallow. Sweet cream and vanilla show up as well. A bold and very persistent aftertaste of sweet cream, powdery cocoa bitterness, espresso and some lactose sugars as well. This has got to be a milk stout, and a very nice one at that.

PALATE: Medium body and lower levels of soft carbonation. Very creamy, sliky smooth on the palate, goes dowm smooth and finishes slightly dry. Great feel on this one. Just a touch more weight and it'd be a perfect score.

OVERALL: This is a really good beer. The aromas and flavors scream milk stout, but I don't remember reading anything about that on the label or here. Regardless, a good beer is a good beer, and I was glad to have a chance to try this one. Thanks again for the trade Irishgurl4. This one comes recommended.

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

On tap at the Memphis taproom during PBW.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and decent lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, as I pick up coffee, milk chocolate and vanilla. Given the aroma profile, I was bit surprised by what I picked up on the palate. The beer delivered flavors of dark chocolate, licorice and espresso, all wrapped in a moderately sweet package. However, the licorice seemed to dry this beer our very nicely on the long finish, with the dark chocolate coming on strong as well. There was also a hint of tobacco and leather on the palate that I thought was intriguing. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with lots of chocolate, coffee and licoriceo on the long finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, and I really got no sense of the 9.5% abv. in this beer.

A nice enought RIS, but I can't really say it was anything extraordinary either.

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Big Hugs from Half Acre Beer Company
4.1 out of 5 based on 686 ratings.
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