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

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Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big MachineHalf Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 52
Photo of bauermj
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of sbricker
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of savagepanda
5/5  rDev +40.4%

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 axeman9182
2.29/5  rDev -35.7%
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.

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Photo of stxSS07
3.86/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A- Huge hiss/pop upon cracking this one open. Pours a dark brown with 3 fingers of pillowy, khaki head that hangs around forever. Leaves nice lacing.

S- Tart cherry and currant, sweet sugary malt, maybe a bit of an herbal medicinal note? Bit of toasted grain/mineral notes as well.

T- Again leads with tart cherry and currants, followed by a milk chocolate-like sweetness, sweet and toasty malts, and ends with a nice bready finish that lingers despite the carbonation. No detectable ABV.

M- Medium-light with high carbonation that attacks the palate. A bit too aggressive for my taste.

O- This is definitely a polarizing beer...I mean just look at the pDev. I happen to be on the side that thoroughly enjoys this brew. It combines elements of a sour, brown ale, and a porter that really clicks with me.

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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.

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Photo of monitorpop
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown-ish red with a cream ring.

S: Sweet cherry.

T: Malt, Slightly sweet/tart ripe cherry.

M: Clean and smooth with a medium carbonation. No alcohol burn.

O: Unique ale with a nice cherry accent that improves as it warms up. Very drinkable. Plus, the best label art ever!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: This pours an elegant cranberry brown color with lighter transparent edges. A beige head rises up to a nice level before gently fading to a thin film while leaving some nice lacing.

Smell: Actually fairly sweet. Ripe cherries and soft currants provide the fruit aromas, with some brown malt and light tartness.

Taste: This is much less sour than I was anticipating. The cherry flavor is strongest, with the currants a little bit in the background. The sweetness blends with a sweet bready brown malt flavor. A light tartness comes in toward the end, but it is very subdued.

Mouthfeel: Very lightly tartness creates salivation toward the end of each sip. It is lightly sticky and creates a resiny coat on the inside of my mouth. The carbonation is smooth and controlled, with a medium body.

Overall: This was sweeter that I would have liked. Although it had a number of different flavors, I would have preferred it to be more sour.

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Photo of readbaron
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to KickInTheChalice for sharing this one.

Dark, reddish brown, the color of plum skins. Tan head, 2 fingers, then it fades into a small ring. No lacing.

Smell is intriguing. Good - but odd. Cherries, currents overwhelm the rest of the nose. Maybe a bit of malt and earthiness underneath. A bit boozy.

Taste is equally interesting - fairly sweet. Cherries & currants are present, some sweetness as well. Simpler than the nose.

Mouthfeel is good. Well carbonated, a bit creamy, and a bit sticky.

Overall - pretty good beer. Not at all what I expected, not sour at all, and quite unusual, but still pretty tasty.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Soonami
3.02/5  rDev -15.2%
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 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.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Acquired this in the Hype Train BIF sponsored by urbancaver and received from RC0032

A: A small cap of head formed atop the bottle as soon as I opened it, and when I poured man was there a lot of thick foamy head, with nice lacing. It grows out of the beer like like it's on fire. It basically looks like my infected Black Albert looked like, not a good sign. The pour itself is deep mahogany.

S: Really smells a lot like a quad, sugar and Belgian yeast, not what I was expecting. Lots of currants, hints of apple, not getting a lot of cherries though. Musty.

T: Currants, lots of cherries, candied sugar, a bit of alcohol, musty Belgian yeast. The cherries really come up big on the backend.

MF: Light, over carbonated, bit of alcohol noted.

O: While it tasted good, a lot of factors make this an average beer. Sort of expected more from these two breweries, but I'm glad I got to try it!

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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.

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Photo of sliverX
3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Matt (bauermj) for the bottle.
Poured a rich murky brown with a rocky white head some lacing
smells of sour dough bread, malt, booze, faintly of currants
taste is sweet malt, turning sour, tart fruits, nice saliva inducing tartness, sourness
Mouth feel is a chewy thin... has body but finishes watery
Overall I like it and is nice on a warm day, could i drink it every day no but its still pleasant in the surroundings

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Photo of phiberoptik
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As the below reviews, Urbancaver for "testing" the over-carbonation rumor and proving it true, thus forcing us to drink it.

Served at room temperature and poured a deep mahogany, almost dark enough to block light. I could comment on the head, but most of that fizzed out of the bottle for the first 5 minutes it was open.

Smelled of a lot of alcohol right up front. Probably a bit young with predominant cherry/fruit notes. Fresh cut apples.

This tastes almost entirely cherry.. tart cherry. A bit of malty sweetness in the middle but little in the finish.

Very bubbly and poor mouthcoating as it pretty much was foam when it hit my mouth.

This would be interesting to try a bit colder and older.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.67/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes, 7-30-2011
thanks cam

this bottle was opened using thumbs. it was very over carbonated.

A - dark brown body, with a light tan head

S - smells exactly of room temperature fresh cut gala apples.

T - tart cherry primarily, maybe something that tastes like cola? could be the carbonation

M - goes to foam in the mouth, but otherwise its a decent body

O - it's ok, interesting.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened the bottle using my thumb... Literally. So overly carbonated that the cap was about to pop! Didn't really foam over but way heavy carbonation.
Pours a reddish brown with lots of tan head. Looks fairly pretty. Smells tart and bitter. Some acidity on the nose. Currants and cherry as well. Tastes like cherry and currants. A nice roasty malt backbone. Pretty solid in my book. Carb issues don't seem to effect the flavour that much. I actually enjoy this beer a lot

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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.

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Photo of Preismj
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: a hazy brownish red (mostly brown) with a tightly formed light brown head. decent lacing and looks medium-light in body.

s: hints of sour cherry and a slight breadiness. The aroma isn't too potent and the cherry is hidden a bit in there.

t: sour cherry up front, but it isn't strong. Would like to see some more sour here. Tasting Belgian yeast in the mid and the finish is slightly more sour with hints of darker fruits. very very light spice in this, could us a bit more more of the clove and cinnamon I detect.

m: rich and creamy. Nice body on it, with the perfect amount of carbonation for the flavor profile.

o: not a bad beer. Wish there was a bit more sour from the cherry flavor in here and a bit more spice from the belgian side. It isn't as rich in flavor as it could be for something at the 8%+ level. the mildness of this, though, makes it a nice summer brew, but overall was expecting a bit more balance in this one.

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Photo of Scrumtralecent
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours a very dark rose tinted brown. Along with a foamy off white head. Plenty of carbonation. Interesting appearance.

S - Currants and cherries are prevalent with some spice and fig. The currants give it an almost nutty smell. Very unique smell, but not sure how appealing it is.

T - Up front is the currants with some cherry adding sweetness around that flavor. It has a very crisp taste, reminds me of apple. The taste seems a little disjointed, not alot of backing to bring it all together which is what I see missing the most. The sour from the mash is not very noticeable, maybe a slight tinge in the backend.

M - Very carbonated with a fairly light mouthfeel.

O - While unique in it's approach and delivery, this beer didn't really deliver. It needed some more pronounced flavors that played off each other. It's good as a lighter beer with some light sweeter fruit flavors, probably a better fit for a fall day.

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Photo of Cavery
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml shared with Klym, big thanks to SpdKilz for the bottle-- fruits of a first trade.

poured into Lost Abbey Tulip, yeast left at the bottom of the bottle.

A: Dark rustic red black with a micro bubble filmy head. A biscuit bready head rose to two fingers before mellowing and leaving waves of lacing. Good looking aesthetics, but I have to say the color was quite unexpected! Not a bad thing at all, just adds tot he intrigue. Dark black earth tone reds.

S: Really up front caramelized banana. A bit of a metallic middle to the nose where I can only describe it as "deep fried pennies". There's even a bit of a biting fruity character that definitely points towards currents. A deep nose-full left me with a maced-in-the-face experience of tart berries. Once again, a bit unexpected, but not unwelcome.

T: Up front present of very subdued currents and cherry skins; gives into dense dark berry studded fruit cakes. Fermented cherries really become apparent in the middle of the flavor. The cherries ride on a rustic bunt cake as the only sweetener. The sweetness is really light, which I like quite a bit. There's a bizarre presence of a refreshing coconut water infused creamy coffee that kept me guessing. A light malt sweetened nuttiness adds a fusion of macadamia/pecan sprinkles on the fruit cake. Damn fine fruit cake!

M: Micro bubbles really ease you into this offering. Dark fermented flavors are served on a satin table cloth. This is really key to the rest of the beer, and is the Achilles heel to me liking it. This does have a very Soda-pop like carbonation character, but I actually like that quite a bit; this really makes the dark theme of the beer much more accessible. Soft aspirin in the mouth in the end.

O: Initially, I liked the beer, and then it progressively grew on me. Really do sit with this one and let the temperature change. Latent flavors include vanilla, coconut, light coffee, dried dark cherry coulis, and rustic sweet muffins. The other thing I would say is that flavors of Cherries/Currents can be quite homogenized; whereas there are distinct transitions in here. Solid, and would be happy to revisit. Time to try some more half-acre.

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Photo of Klym
3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a lost abbey tulip. Thanks to Cavery for the share.

A: Pours much darker than I expected.. really quite black. Actually looks like a belgian dark ale more than it looks like your typical fruit beer. A nice off-white head of about one finger with some erratic lacing.

S: This smell is a lot more substance to it than I expected. Cavery pointed out banana and I think that's on the money for the core of the smell. Besides banana, definitely cherry, and dare I say a good mixture of more savory smells like coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. These later few smells caught me off guard but I can't get myself to believe they aren't dancing around this nose. A very interesting beer it would seem.

T: Less powerful than I was expecting. I thought the flavor would cut deep and last by the nose and appearance of this beer but it's pretty fleeting and somewhat mysterious. Hits with a small tart bite that mellows on the edges of the tongue into a very cherry/currant flavor and on the middle of the tongue more savory flavors, especially vanilla, coffee, and a little bit of chocolate covered banana. It's a bizarre mix of beer worlds but I think works pretty well. I could do without the flavors transitioning and basically disappearing so quickly, though.

M: On the heavier side of being light-bodied with very fruit-beer like generous carbonation. I think the mouthfeel works for this beer but I wonder what it would be like with a little less carbonation and a bit more thickness because of the more savory flavors swirling around. That's more of an experimental suggestion than it is a criticism, though.

O: This beer really grew on me throughout the course of drinking it. The flavor and drinking experience here is pretty darn complex and different from what I expected or have experienced before. As someone who appreciates something new and surprise in my drinking experience, I give this high marks.

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Half Acre / Struise / Pipeworks Small Animal Big Machine from Half Acre Beer Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 96 ratings.
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