Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
81
good
53 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
53
Ratings:
97
Avg:
3.56
pDev:
25.84%
 
 
Wants:
23
Gots:
29
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 97
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at FosterJM's birthday celebration.

Pours a murky brown with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with some fruity and spice aromas. Taste is the same with an emphasis on dark fruit flavors. This beer has a super high level of carbonation with an extremely prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the carbonation level is much too high.

 477 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cool at 50º, it makes a huge difference.

Color looks to be a very dark rusty brown, nearly black, but when held to the light it glows a perfect crimson. Initial fingers width of light tan foam that recedes to a skim after a few minutes. The surface of the foam has a fine, creamy texture.

Belgian yeast aroma, reminiscent of a dark trappist with banana, clove, and brown sugar.

Low level natural cherry tartness, well integrated, fruit dominates with some earthy yeast and light toasty malt behind it. Something vaguely roasty or possibly woody in the middle. Low level phenolic spice, clove and cherry are melded well together, leaving a residual dry peppery spice. Full bodied, supple feel, with a tasty dark cherry flavor that thankfully isn't sweet. I enjoyed it more and more as it came up to room temperature.

SABM is a unique hybrid style, drawing inspiration from Belgian ales like Kasteel Rouge and Cuvée Van De Keizer. Cheers to Half Acre, Pipeworks, and De Struise on the successful collaboration.

 1,023 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.09/5  rDev -13.2%
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 mothman
2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
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 mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly darker then your normal ale. Lots of visible carbonation was evident from the start, chains of bubbles rippling up from the bottom of the glass. Lots of haze, literally made this opaque. Nice one inch thick white head receeded rather quicky leaving behind a thin film on top of the glass and a nice amount of lace drooping down the sides.

The smell was strong, and very fruity. Large hint of raspberry was readily apparent from the start. A very sugary aroma aroma was present as was a slight hint of grain in the back, slight hoppiness was present in the finsh, quite dry actually. Very smooth feel, great carbonation, led to that nice silky, bubbly light feeling. Overall the flavors were very very intense, and the fruit and hop flavors made the profile really jump out at you, and made it actually rather ejjoyable as the session wore on.

 853 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
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 mdfb79
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From 11/27/11 notes. Big thanks to the Chicago Group for sending this in the Group BIF. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of sour cherries, currants, roasted malts, light spices. An interesting mix here, and the sour cherries dominate, which I kind of enjoy.

t - Tastes of sour cherries, currants, roasted malts. Less sour than the nose and more roasted malts, a slight step down for me.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall an interesting beer. I enjoyed the sour cherries in the nose, but would have liked more in the taste. Wouldn't seek it out again, and not Half Acre or De Struisse's best work.

 767 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bonus points for the imaginative and creative artwork on the label. The beer is hazy and chestnut brown in color with a ginormous tan head that leaves ample lacing on the glass. A bit over-carbonated.

Sweet fruit dominates the aroma. Currants followed by berries.

The flavor is lightly tannic, offering some oak character and a healthy serving of currants. Definitely more sweet than tart / sour. Alcohol presence is mild. A few ounces is plenty. This was fun to try, but not a big hit among the guys in the tasting group.

 525 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.16/5  rDev -11.2%
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 drabmuh
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by the other Matt, beer served in a snifter, Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head, low retention, the bottle artwork is sort of amazing really. No lacing.

Aroma is sweet, dark fruit, nice malt presence, smells nice.

Beer is a bit of a letdown, thin body, sweet on the finish, beer is just OK, mild dark fruits, prunes perhaps, an interesting beer but nothing too special. I doubt I'll have it again.

 422 characters

Photo of corby112
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to lurchingbeast for sending this in a recent trade.

Pours a hazy dark ruby color with mahogany edges and a 1.5 finger light beige head.  Good retention slow fading into a lasting ring.  Spotty lace left behind.

Interesting aroma with hints of roasted dark malt and vinous dark fruit.  Slightly somkey and chalky with hints of cocoa and caramel followed by a bunch of sweet fruit notes.  Hints of grape, cherry,  plum and dark berries.

Medium bodied with some tight carb up front and some dry roasted malt that lingers into a dry finish while being countered by the sweeter dark fruit notes.  Toasty with hints of cocoa, caramel and roasted coffee countered by hints of grape, dark cherry, plum and other dark berries.  Slightly chalky with a dry finish.  Lots of boozy sweetness.

 799 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.58/5  rDev -27.5%
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 Jwale73
3.22/5  rDev -9.6%
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 jrallen34
2.59/5  rDev -27.2%
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 cosmicevan
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

picked this one up on release day at the brewery. been looking forward to having this since that day. hurricane irene seemed like the right night.

a - opened and filled my duvel tulip. glass poured with almost all head. liquid was a deep reddish brown.

s - cherries and booze. some candied sugar.

t - nice and sour with a chunky fruity kick. again, boozy. spicy. a little nutmeg sweetness. has a bit of the belgian struise flavor characteristics. kind of sweet tartish. dark chocolate covered fruit. mostly cherry.

m - lots of carbonation, a bit thicker than i expected. has a bit of a flanders vibe...a bit fizzy...a bit sour. aftertaste leaves a bit of a grimace on my face.

o - overall, i was hoping for more with this beer. i don't find it to be as bad as most people are saying, but certainly not a MUST try kind of beer. mostly sour cherries with some struise flavoring in the mix.

 892 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
1.9/5  rDev -46.6%
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 AgentZero
2.83/5  rDev -20.5%
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 FosterJM
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

631st Review on BA
Bottle to small snifter
22oz

Thanks to Teamizm for this one.

App- A light reddish/brown with a nice one finger head that dissapates quickly and leaves just a touch of cling in the glass.

Smell- When you stick your nose in this beer your likely to smell medicine. Some people like that some people don't. This was more of a grape/cherry robitusin smell for me.

Taste- Much better on the tastes than on the nose with a cherry note taking over and the beer smoothing out to where you get a balanced fruit/malt/ and small hop note. This was def. fruit forward but still tasty.

Mouth- Medium bodied and almost a high carb but retaining a medium like note to it.

Drink- I was anxious to try this one and had my doubts, but it was quite tasty and flavorful. I will say its not for everyone and it needs to be probably drinken slowly to allow more flavors to develop.

 885 characters

Photo of Florida9
3.97/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany color. A very reddish brown. Forms a thinnish dark tan head. Surprisingly clear.

S: Fruity aroma of cherries, currants, raspberries, and a sweet summer fruits.

T: More cherries. Reminiscent of NG's Beligian red without the candy sweetness. Sweet currants and a faint chocolate flavor on the finish. This beer is neither overly sweet nor tart (nor dry for that matter). It has a light sweetness complemented by tart cherries and a light maltiness. Finish is quick.

M: Medium in body with good carbonation.

O: A good beer. Sweet, but not too sweet with a flavorful fruitiness. Tasted this with BA hannydawg, whom noted a resemblance to NG's Enigma so we popped a bottle and did a side by side. I would say the two, while not identical, have a an amazing similarity. Never-the-less, I seemed to give this beer a bit more credit than most of the people in my tasting group and I did find it enjoyable.

 917 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
3.91/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bottle (courtesy of mrkanable ~ thanks, Matt), poured to a slender nonic-ish glass, aptly enough from the recent Portland Fruit Beer Festival (SABM having been brewed with currants and cherries).

A ridiculous label: Half Acre produces both the lovely (Daisy Cutter) and the absurd (Big Hugs), but this one may be my new favorite. A tricycle-riding three-headed bird, flapping its wings to manipulate a much larger skeletal bird, clad in cogs and propellers? Brilliant, I think...

Of further note, this was brewed in collaboration with local Pipeworks Brewing and Belgian superstar-brewery De Struisse...

A: First, the bottle arrived via trade with perhaps 3 oz. leaked out (liquid inside down to the flair of the neck) due to an indeterminable capping issue, so I had some concerns about holding any longer than necessary. A hearty 'pfft' on uncapping indicated there was nothing to worry about. Pour is very dark, brown that ably matches the color of the bottle glass; at its core there's a ruby glow, with plenty of fast-moving carbonation. Flocculent, sandy-tinted foam crests above 2-fingers before a gentle reduction to a razor thin cap, ringed in holding cream. Slim rings of sea foam lace.

S: A mild 'dessert' aroma of chocolates and over-ripened fruits, then a peculiar/familiar spicy yeast that is hard to describe, but oh-so recognizable in De Struisse-made ales. Neither 'sweet' nor 'tart', falls somewhere in between with moments of cardamom and candy, others of tart cherry mash.

T: Tart cherries and a metallic twang with some balsamic tendencies; it's not pucker-inducing, but does twist and confound the tongue for a while. Lemon-lime moments give way to vinous grape-ness and oaky/woody undercurrents.

M: Carbonation = big/busy. No surprise here.

O: Tasty and rather rich/complex, though maybe not the mind-blower I'd expected. But so what? A tasty and sipable beer (8.5% remember?) overall, with some sly fruit additions that compliment nicely. Too bad I felt so inclined to open this right away as I'd have liked to have tasted its development... then again, another bottle is just an 'ISO:' away...

 2,135 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.52/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a hazy, dirty red color with about 1/2 a finger of khaki colored foam on top. Head quickly melts down to a thin and bubbly collar that leaves small specks of lace behind. Some visible streams of carbonation.

S: Rich aromas of black cherry, vanilla, sweet currants, caramel, milk chocolate, pepper, and spices. Everything becomes more pronounced as it approaches room temperature.

T: Same as above. Temperature is the key with this one. The warmer it gets, the better it tastes. By the end of the glass, the cherry flavors were just incredible.

M: So rich and velvety. Sweetness is kept in check by a slightly peppery dryness. Finishes with just a hint of tartness. Masterful.

O: Wow. This was just killer. Thanks for brewing this, guys!

 845 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
1.44/5  rDev -59.6%
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 SpdKilz
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up some bottles from the release at Half Acre. Shared with my brother-in-law. Taken from notes.
Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a hazy brown mahogany color. About a finger of off white head is achieved with a moderate pour that leaves slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Heavy currants and cherry, Belgian yeast, clove, nuttiness, and roasted malts.

Taste – Slightly tart at first but the more you sip the less tart it becomes. The flavors remind me of a brown ale with cherry and currant flavors mixed in. The Belgian yeast becomes more dominant as the beer warms, and as stated the tartness goes away and becomes a brown sugar/malty sweetness. I don’t know…the beer just seemed odd to me overall. I had a taste of it off the tap when I went to the release and remembered it tasting better than when I shared this with my brother-in-law. He too did not care for it and also mentioned it was reminiscent of a flavored brown ale.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

Overall – An interesting beer. Wish this was more tart and that the yeast and fruits mixed together better. I have one bottle left that I will be curious to see how it turns out with some age on it.

 1,216 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from GBVDave in our most recent trade, so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a deep mahogany color with a one finger of light khaki colored, sudsy head. Head recedes quickly and leaves minor spots of wispy lacing.

S: Nose is ooo - tart soured cherries, a bit of alcohol, and a good deal of soured apple.

T: Taste starts with a strong soured cherry flavoring, mingled with a good helping of alcohol. A good deal of belgian, spicy yeast fill the middle - balancing nicely instead of dominating. Finish is soured apples.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, rich and oily in the middle with a very sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, not too filling, decent kick, nice representation of style. The alcohol notes lighten as the beer warms, and had this not leaked just a little bit, I may have aged it. A good beer that I would like to try again with some age on it.

 931 characters

Photo of Vonerichs
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a lighter shade of burgandy with an off white agressive head.

The smell is good, but not very pronounced. There's a yeasty phenolic smell that develops into sweet and tart cherries.

The cherries highlight this beer, but don't dominate it. It's slightly tart, but gets pulled back the other way with a brown sugary sweetness. Overall, I like all the individual aspects of this one, but together they are a little odd.

I would have liked if this beer was a little more thin and prickly. It is medium bodied, but it seems to emphasize the sweet and not the tart.

I liked this beer and it was an interesting collaboration. I'd definitely have it again if it were available, but I know it won't be.

 714 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine from Half Acre Beer Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 97 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe