Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Cipher | Half Acre Beer Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
55 Ratings

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 02-08-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 20
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A peruse of the beer aisle starts to look like a fourth grade techno-junkie's weekend project with a quilt work pattern of grid, angular, and neon catches my eye. I guess I'm a sucker for obnoxious beer labels.

As most American brewed, Belgian-style blonde ales do, Half Acres' pours with a tarnish straw color and the expected yeasty haze. A creamy head forms a semi-dense head of absolute white foam that retains well with adequate lace, but shyly demonstrates the authentic rocky structure and withstanding of traditional Belgian versions.

Distinctly Belgian, wheaty, and yeasty as the aromatic profile plays out with estery fruits that seem almost banana with papaya, plantain, and southern pawpaws. Balancing scent of spicy clove and coriander seep into the bready notes of light light baking bread, candied grain, honey suckle and overall floral character. An almost-brine scent rises and reminds me of latex and copper and offers an unsettled intrigue.

All those supple and whimsical notes return in flavor for a sweetish tone of honey, biscuit, restrained caramel, and saccharine then followed closely by the spices of white pepper, clove, celery seed, straw, mulled grass, salt and soap. Met with an odd peppery and meaty character that oddly reminds me of electrical tape and ham causes me to take pause but doesn't deter me from returning to the next sip.

Creamy and medium textured (perhaps robust for the style), the beer's timid fullness endures through mid palate and into an extended finish of tardy semi-dryness and peppery bite to finish. The aftertaste of fruit and spice seems more of an evaporated aroma than a taste.

Rustic yet characterful, this verbose Belgian blonde ale gathers a range of taste that's normally avoided in the style but are somehow delivered in fairly pleasant light in this quirky rendition. Good job Half Acre!

 1,859 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a dry tulip glass. A rinsed glass seemed to negate the head completely. Hazy golden tone, thin cap of white foam that settles slowly after a few minutes. Minute carb trails rising from around the edges. Foam eventually breaks on the surface, leaving island clusters of larger bubbles. A dense collar of lace is left behind after a few sips.

Initial sulfuric note blows off quickly, becoming fruity with banana and pear from the yeast esters.

Creamy and smooth, slight phenolic spice in the form of clove and pepper to a lesser extent. Banana and pear notes in the middle with some vanilla tapioca creaminess throughout. Medium bodied with delicate carbonation. Dry finish with a light aftertaste of earthy vegetal hops. Very flavorful and fresh, an interesting take on BSPA.

 787 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a shaker pint glass.

Thanks to taiyed for sharing this bottle!

Gotta love a bottle o' beer that challenges you mentally while you drink its contents... This stuff pours a very lightly hazy golden straw topped by over a finger of white froth. The nose comprises banana peel, clove, wet wheat, light toffee, very light buttery biscuit, and a touch of cashew. The taste follows fairly closely, but there's a stronger sense of vague sweetness now, and this clashes with the Belgian yeast, creating a somewhat strangely nigh-funky flavor on the tongue that just doesn't sit well with me. The wheat and toffee come through strongly, along with heavy amounts of clove and black pepper. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, an alright beer, but one that suffers from a disconnect between the yeast and the rest of the beer. Just didn't do it for me...

 927 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of BeerOps
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of MasterSki
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up by AgentZero - thanks bro! Served in a flute glass at Stella's spiffy Oscar party.

A - Voluminous white foam settles to a thick cap, leaving behind splotchy lace. Transparent golden body with visible streams of tiny bubbles.

S - Phenolic Belgian yeast, with some spicy and peppery qualities to it as well. Very low sweetness, with some toasted grains, perhaps some wheat, and minimal hop presence.

T - Taste is a touch sweeter, with some stone fruits mingling with the prevailing Belgian yeast and grain character. I think there's a bit more balance here.

M - Smooth, medium body, with lower carbonation and minimal alcohol. Somewhat juicy, with a long lingering finish.

D - Pretty easy drinking beer, but nothing really special or mind-blowing (other than the cool label art). Still, no major flaws and a solid Belgian offering from Half Acre.

 866 characters

Photo of beernads
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of brandoman63
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of Belgian yeast as well as some biscuit malt. The flavor is more complex. I get some nice yeast and orange citrus notes, as well as some coriander. There is also some sweetness from the biscuit malt. The alcohol is also noticeable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 342 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a teku)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear clover honey golden body with a slow motion carbonation that supports an off-white head of thick cream that sticks to the glass with each sip leaving register marks.

S- Even during the pour, the aroma of candied fruit esters and flowers followed by green candied hops come through. Nice full pineapple weed hops finish the aroma.

T- The softer dry yeasty esters have some green herbal hops that take on more of a pungent role in the finish. There the hops linger just a bit after each sip.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz prick in the finish that complements the hops flavor and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- The crisp light beer has a great aroma with lots of yeasty ester depth and strong hop support. It doesn’t come through as much in the flavor but it still is very tasty. The beer really dries out as the beer opens up.

 902 characters

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of scruffwhor
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, pilsner like pale yellow color. Steady bubbling, good head, and full on film o' foam for all twenty two ounces.

Clean, dry yeasty fruit with a little lightly toasted pils malt. Astringent hop profile. Maybe Saaz or Styrian hops aroma.

After some warming up, there's still some tinny mouthfeel hanging around this brew. Lightly toasted pils, dry Belgiuan yeasty, fruity flavors. Pretty light fruity, yeast flavors. A little warm on the lingering finish. Nice and crisp, yet dry yeasty palate. But there's a little warmth from the abv. that lingers after each sip.

 573 characters

Photo of Sparky44
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My wife grabbed this for me in Chicago. Enjoyed on 5.20.12

A - Pours a hazy, light honey-orange with a one inch near-white head. Solid retention.

S - Light Belgian yeast comes through and some subtle lemony citrus.

T - Lemons and Belgian spices, just as it should be.

D - Good carbonation and a light body.

O - Good Belgian-style without being overly spicy.

 362 characters

Photo of Florida9
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Vonenrichs for the hookup on this bottle.
Beer pours a full, slightly hazy yellow in color. Forms a very fizzy white head that fizzes away as quickly as it forms. No retention. No lacing. Aroma is strongly Belgian with lots of yeast and yeasty phenols and notes of straw, hay, and barnyard. Taste is similar, but even more intense: Toast, straw, yeast, bread, a bit of spice, and just the faintest hint of banana. Lighter bodied with appropriate carbonation, a mild bitterness, and a rather dry mouthfeel. Overall, a good beer, with some excellent Belgian qualities that would likely pair well with a wide range of food.

 631 characters

Photo of Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Fountainhead for the Half Acre/Perennial Event.

A - Pours a clear golden yellow color, fluffy off-white head, wisps.

S - Belgian yeast notes, spices, light hops, grass. Very clean and straight forward to the style.

T - Light hops, yeast character, grass, light sugary sweetness.

M - Light body, good carbonation, clean finish.

O - Not the best Belgian Pale I've had, but not terrible. Pretty forgetful and not something I'd purchase nor try again.

 463 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a slightly hazy bright blonde color. Loads of suspended sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Not too much head or lace to speak of.

S: Definite Belgian-y aromas here. Spicy, fruity, peppery. Hint of cut grass as it comes up to temp.

T: See above. Taste follows the nose exactly.

M: Full and spicy. Finishes bone dry when cold but gradually fills out and takes on a distinct white pepper edge.

O: Could've done with a little more fruit or sweetness, but I really liked the spice and grassiness. Nice.

 601 characters

Photo of thewimperoo
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of mcallister
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light straw colored with a medium bodied white head. Good retention with spotty lacing.

Aromas of chalk, rock candy, belgian yeast, black pepper, some clove and bubblegum phenols as well. An almost barnyard character as well like it's a bit "shitty".

Phenolics come through nicely, some toasty malts, light noble hops on the finish, a bit grassy with rounded belgian yeast ester and belgian spices. An odd off flavor on the finish and long after that really messes things up. Otherwise a nice beer. More like a triple or blonde than a BSPA.

 542 characters

Photo of jegross2
3/5  rDev -18.3%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Cipher from Half Acre Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 55 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.