Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine | Half Acre Beer Company

Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big MachineHalf Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine
BA SCORE
49%
Liked This Beer
3.62 w/ 96 ratings
Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big MachineHalf Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States
halfacrebeer.com

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer was brewed in collaboration with De Struise & Pipeworks. Belgian yeast set the scene for a traditional sour mash and loads of currants & cherries.

Added by emerge077 on 06-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
96
Liked:
47
Avg:
3.62/5
pDev:
18.78%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
23
Gots:
29
Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of Arbitrator
1.44/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Gusher. This thing basically converts to foam the moment it leaves the bottle, creating a billowing, 4" foam presence in my glass with just the barest hint of liquid beneath it. Ridiculous.

S: Cherries, spice, and a chalky, alcoholic note. It has a potpourri-like scent that I can't quite pinpoint, down to the woodsy note. Weird.

T: I imagine this is like drinking spiced potpourri juice. It has a tart/sour currant flavor backed by lots of must, with a yeast-cakey aftertaste. Weird adornment of spices, cherries, and green apples.

M: This beer is foam. All foam. 'Nuff said.

O: I didn't realize until I came up here to write this review that Struise was involved. That explains a lot; I think they're terrible, and I'm blaming Small Animal, Big Abomination on them.

 851 characters

Photo of Photekut
1.5/5  rDev -58.6%

Photo of cpetrone84
1.9/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

pour is murky dark brown with tan head. Nose is overly sweet with a messy malt. Plums, cherries, tobacco, peppery spice, lightly smoky meat. Taste is less smoky, more sweet, with a strange twang in the finish. Plums, cherries, faint leather, faint peppery spice, fairly dry finish, moderate carbonation and oily palate.

 319 characters

Photo of jpmclaug
2/5  rDev -44.8%

Photo of axeman9182
2.29/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle, allowed to warm a little before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Small Animal Big Machine pours a very dark maroon, approaching black, with plentiful ruby red highlights shining through. There's about three fingers of khaki colored foam topping the beer, and it displays good head retention. Lacing is barely there though. The nose has a little sugar, a little caramel, and a little cocoa to it. Cherry, and moreso currants dominate. It doesn't all come together well though, reminds me a bit of Coca Cola. The flavor is more of the same, heavy, almost metallic cola taste to it. I don't pick up more than a faint twinge of tartness, which for all I know could just be in my head because I was expecting some sour. The body is nice light, but the carbonation is way over the top and harsh. Small Animal Big Machine is a beer I was really looking forward to, which made the contents of the bottle all the more disappointing.

 949 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.58/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a medium brown with an explosive medium tan head that fades quickly. It leaves globs of lacing on the glass.

S - Barley and malty. Not much, but some spices.

T - Sweet barley, fruity, spices, and a metallic aftertaste.

D - High carbonation, light body.

O - Sweet, Light, refreshing, but after taste is not pleasant.

 369 characters

Photo of Wadsey
2.58/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Small Animal Big Machine

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours clear brown with amber highlights. Too dark to determine effervescence. Head and lacing is below average. 

S: Out of the fridge, main notes are dark fruits and vanilla. As the beer approaches room temperate, dark cherries become evident. There is another fruity quality, too, and I assume it is currants. Cocoa powder makes a surprise appearance.  Nothing  sour in nose. 

T: Okay, a little tartness joins above characteristics, but it is very, very mellow, earning a generous 2 on 10-point scale, with 10 as ass-puckeringly sour. The mild sourness is an issue because Struise himself called Small Animal Big Machine a red sour ale. The mild sourness functions to offset sweetness, of which there is a generous portion. Once again, the closer the beer comes to room temperature the more cherries and cocoa powder show up. 

M: Medium body and carbonation. A little heavy. Hints at syrupy, but never quite gets there. 

O: I'm giving Small Animal Big Machine the benefit of the doubt and rating it as a fruit beer. It certainly fits that better than a sour style.  In fact, it reminds me quite a bit of Bell's Cherry Stout, a comparison that will scare off some folks. 

Did they rush these bottles out the door? Or should it have been barrel-aged?  Whatever it is, Small Animals Big Machine doesn't come together for me and suffers from slightly below-average drinkability. 

 1,449 characters

Photo of jrallen34
2.59/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Chris for this growler... pours a dark cola, decent head... aroma is terrible its all currants, pepper and generic chemical caramel... the taste isn’t as strong as the nose or it wouldn’t be drinkable, some cherries show, but the finish is terrible... tough to drink

 280 characters

Photo of mothman
2.8/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a beige head. Color is a caramel brown.

Aroma: Berries and cocoa. Some roasted malts. I have never had a carrot beer before, but knowing they are in here allows me to pick them out.

Taste: Cranberries, cherries, and carrots. Then a touch of chocolate malts. So many berries.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy. Light bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Ends roasted.

Overall, a unique beer with lots of berries. Too much carbonation as well. It's okay, but I don't want a lot of it.

 480 characters

Photo of AgentZero
2.83/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Chris aka spycow for sharing this with Alex and I at our BRUINS WIN! (and I don't care) get together.

A - Pours a brownish red color that ambers a little on the edges. Not much head on it and no stick on the sides.

S - Couldn't put my finger on it at first, but MasterSki is right, this smells like strawberry twizzlers. I'm not a big fan of twizzlers, particularly in my beer. Smells a bit harsh, with some cocoa and cherries and other weird fruit odors.

T - You can taste the currants, I think, it's some odd fruit. It's actually quite boozy, tastes like a hard mixed drink and has a spirit-alcohol taste. Some harsh phenolic yeast and a really bad finish. As it warmed up, it smelled worse, and started to taste a little better with the cocoa coming out, but the finish still killed it. Only reason I gave it a 3 instead of a 2 was that it's quite complex, although not real good.

M - Mouthfeel is actually fine, smooth, syrupy, somewhat active carbonation.

O - This beer is exceptionally hard to get down. I had one small glass and was done. I am horribly disappointed, and really had high hopes for this beer. It seems it's getting the Hellshire treatment from locals, or my tastebuds are just different from most other peoples'.

 1,249 characters

Photo of Kayn169
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip

A- Pours a burnt reddish brown. A 2 finger head head that pours not quite tan, but more than off white

S- Smells sweet with some cherries, possibly a touch of cocoa

T- The cherries in the nose are there, but not as pronounce as I thought they would be. I taste more of the currents than anything. Also a good amount of brownsugar sweetness, almost no tartness, and a very light spice hidden amonst the other flavors.

M- medium bodied, with a sticky linger.

O- I was honestly a little disappointed with this beer. When I read the description, about using sour mash, and calling it a red Belgian, it made me very interested. The sticky mouthfeel, lack of noticable sourness, and indicisiveness in style lead to the score. It was like a cross between a Belgian quad, a sweet amber, and just a touch of a Flanders red. It is worth trying, but I wont be seeking it out again.

 908 characters

Photo of bstyle
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Kaydogg
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of thewimperoo
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Duff27
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Soonami
3.02/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to ThoreauLikeAGirl for sharing this bottle.

SABM sounded like a flanders red from the description, but it is not. It looked pretty good, a rusty red with a little film of foam. One taste and it was not nearly as sour as expected or desired. There are a lot of dried currant fruit flavor, there is no funky, just a little lactic acidity. The beer has a metallic, phenolic finish. A disappointment.

 405 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.09/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Geist. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderately dark brown with a really nice off white head and loads of lacing on the way down. Good cap throughout. The nose has some cherry and dark fruits. A bit of oxidation in the nose. The flavor corresponds with all of this and adds a bit of dark malt. Medium body with plenty of fruit; semi dry finish. Okay.

 369 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.16/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

THIS PRODUCT IS NOW A BOTTLE-BOMB. HANDLE WITH CARE!

Thanks to Chris (spycow) and Alison for picking this up while I was out of town. Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - A late-rising tan foam settles to a thin ring, with some hazy swathes and minimal lacework. Transparent dark orange-red-brown body.

S - Red licorice, cherries, spicy phenolic yeast, some fruity spirit alcohol character (brandy? grappa?). Alcohol presences grows as it warms up, along with the sour mash characteristics.

T - Taste is actually a bit understated. The sour mash contributes a malt character that is similar to the one I tasted in Sour Plead the 5th. Doughy malts, some buttery toffee, and light tart cherries. Finish is tart currants, but somewhat unexpected and not totally integrated all that well. Alcohol is less present than the aroma.

M - Pleasant carbonation tingle, smooth pleasant texture, medium body, and a little bit of alcohol warmth in the finish. Some gritty tannic character from the fruit.

D - I really wanted to like this beer. I think all the different collaborators are great people, and all of them have made some great beers too. Unfortunately I thought this was a boozy, jumbled mess. Seemed higher in alcohol than the listed 8.5%, which is unexpected considering most of Urbain's beers have masterfully hidden alcohol. It's certain complex and unique, but in this case too many cooks may have spoiled the broth. Perhaps it is better in the bottles. I struggled through my one glass, and had no interested in refilling it.

 1,535 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.22/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to jedwards for sharing this. Pours a murky mahogany with a thin, cream-colored skim. Nose expresses grape, bubblegum, yeast and a sour mash quality. Taste is tart, grapey and vinegary. Cherries come out as the brew warms, but the overall taste reminds me of cough medicine. Tough to get a read on other aspects of the mouthfeel due to the extremely gassy carbonation levels. There's also a slight acidity. This was a tough brew to drink even split amongst six. This collaboration was definitely not a winner in my book.

 527 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Lancaster shaker pint glass.

Not sure how to even approach this one, so just jumping in. It pours a mostly clear amber-garnet (heavy on the latter) topped by a finger of lightly dirty tan foam. The nose comprises maple syrup, light black grapes, light red apple, toffee, light cocoa, and light lacto. The taste holds notes of brown sugar, black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, and tart red grapes. Unfortunately, none of these flavors, nor the combination, really pops: they just kinda meld into one another. The body is a straight medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a kinda sticky finish. Overall, not too bad a beer, but one that just seems meek. No other word really works here. (For the sake of comparison, the closest I can come by is Enigma from New Glarus. Take that and water it down a bit, and you'll have something akin to SABM.)

 862 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

Photo of alpenglocken
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

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Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine from Half Acre Beer Company
Beer rating: 49% out of 100 with 96 ratings
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