2016 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing

15732638_10103858710145900_5244024419511028187_oRating: 5.75/6

2016 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Dark Matter Coffee

 

Description:
This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.

A specialty brew. Grab it when you see it. 10% ABV.

…Big Hugs has grappled with natural order and twisted the pillars of existence. While you hang in the balance, steal time to sit steady and spill this black rumble into your center. Big Hugs Imperial Stout is liquid char scraped from the bowels of eternity, soaked with the free spirit of an adolescent feline. Heed him and rejoice.

The time has come to release our annual homage to the accidentally violent, disastrous fly swatter we call Big Hugs. In its 8th year, Hugs has managed to break through the worm hole and find itself up against the real monsters – human kind.

 

==Introduction==
15774710_10103858709931330_2657997795286261006_o
As a huge fan of this crazy Kaiju Cat, I feel it is my duty every year to bring forth news of the return of a monster. A giant cat that can only suit its feels with hugging and massively destroying to the human race. Of course, he is loved by many. Who wouldn’t? Which makes me wonder how he would fare against Godzilla. To be honest, they would just be the best of friends. Who knows, maybe Big Hugs is Godzilla’s cat and no one knew it. Regardless, this one is one that you have to embrace. Take it on like a quest of dragons…err… cats. Like previous years, I hope to bring the beer to the site. Even if it is just the basic one. I think they do something different every year. Also, since I bought this years Dark Matter Coffee with Pink Himalayan Salt, I wonder if it will actually have that. Although, there is a version like that already. Anyways, let’s take on this Catastrophe!, Cheers!
15723438_10103858709891410_3634212225435208537_o

Aromas:
Chocolate milk shake, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, fudge chocolate, roasted coffee, mocha, fancy coffee, espresso, dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, currants, dark cherries, blueberries, coconut hints, tobacco, molasses, anise, leather, toffee, pecan pie, mild peanut butter and banana hints.
15724911_10103858709736720_1733920277695096374_o

Flavors:
Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Baker’s Chocolate, German Chocolate, salted dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, toasted coconut hints, dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, currants, dark cherries, blueberries, roasted coffee, mocha, fancy coffee, espresso, vinous grape notes, Kahlua Liqueur, brownies, pecan pie, bananas, malted chocolate, chocolate mousse, oatmeal cookies, smokey notes, anise, port wine, earthy notes, cookie dough ice cream, pecan pie, toffee, rock candy, salted chocolate, tobacco, leather, brown sugar, fudge chocolate, hazelnut nectar and pralines.
15776676_10103858709641910_1033702912297359393_o

Aftertaste:
Finishing rich with caramel, sea salt, vanilla, dark chocolate, peanut butter, Fancy Coffee roast, spicy coffee complexity earthy notes and dark fruits. No alcohol in the taste, Dark like the abyss of nothingness dark body, Smooth, velvety and creamy mouthfeel and almost easy to drink despite the ABV.

 

Overall:
I find it very interesting that this version of Big Hugs, while very exceptional and delicious as always, it had some salty notes like that of the Salted Chocolate version of the beer. It is interesting because the actual coffee does have Pink Himalayan salt, yes, the little baggie in the pictures. Makes wonder if they did use the same coffee as they did in the past years or if this is a new blend. Needless to say, still one of my favorite beers and the salty notes surely does add some complexity to the beer. Now while I did love this one, I am sure the variants are even better ofcourse. This one should still be seeked though as it is the original. Here watch this Cat Video from them to find out why you need this beer in your life. LOL Cheers!
15676328_10103858709597000_1678794664869217886_o

Big Hugs from Meredith Anderson on Vimeo.

Anime Corner:
Ark Angel MR or evil Mythra from Final Fantasy XI was used in this pairing as I used her in the last pairing. The original idea had to do with the whole Big Hugs. Since she is a gray cat lady with crimson eyes, it would have fit with the Mecha Hugs Label from back in the day. The fact that she is an Ark Angel, she fits even more perfect with the evil Big Hugs and the whole Big Hugs as she squeezes the orange Mythra representing the colors of the original Big Hugs cat.

I also included original character Kisha the furry cat (character created by Kisharra of DeviantArt.com) as her color represent Christmas. This beer is released for Christmas so I figure this would work out since I found a picture of her hugging another furry cat on Christmas. Also, with that sensual stare, who wouldn’t want to hug up against a warm cat. Ofcourse, just like Big Hugs, big cats in real life are dangerous, just like the ABV on this one.
15775034_10103858709287620_4011940462523244335_o
Sources:
https://brewerianimelogs.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/564b9-chp6jf56bks039cj.jpg
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OqDjeY-4Tco/VkYAtgys6-I/AAAAAAAAdq4/8PD6QB9JRlM/w1602-h895/furry-%2525D1%252584%2525D1%25258D%2525D0%2525BD%2525D0%2525B4%2525D0%2525BE%2525D0%2525BC%2525D1%25258B-furry-art-furry-feline-1828652.png
http://tbib.org/images/3267/1b28a1e0f2f2b5d828c92ed0744d0309599c850f.png
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_E5x9oEAUbI/WAyX6gKIN6I/AAAAAAAACyQ/KpGw1qUkCCg3qGdScYywQgg-VgZ2YTSWACJoC/w1044-h1980/AYvf2nGehqw.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/2qwyCtD.jpg

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2015 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing

12694886_10103058666874030_3569766809273095544_o 12647486_10103058668381010_1880941113016382910_n 12694617_10103058671654450_270806987610674873_oRating: 5.75/6

2015 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Dark Matter Coffee

Description:
This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.

A specialty brew. Grab it when you see it. 10% ABV.

==Introduction==

Another year, another installment of the great and mighty Big Hugs. Every year since I first had it I have tried to get a hold of this one. I have missed some installments in the past but each year is something different but similar to the previous beer. Big Hugs the Cat started off with hugging giant buildings but he moved on to hugging other things and having to fight other giant monsters. This time, a giant snake. Since they released the beer, Dark Matter also released a special Coffee as well which are the coffee beans that were aged in the same beer. Essentially, more ingredients for future beers. Anyway, let’s have a look at this, cheers!

Aromas:
Rich mocha, Fancy roasted coffee, espresso, Vanilla, Caramel, Milk Sugar, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, bakers chocolate, German Chocolate, brownies, peanut butter, pecan pie, rock candy, toffee, Bananas, clove spice, vinous grape notes, dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, currants, coffee cake and pecan pie notes.

Flavors:
Rich Vanilla, Caramel, Milk Sugar, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, bakers chocolate, German Chocolate, Mocha, Fancy roasted coffee, espresso, vinous grape notes, java, Kahlua liqueur, Dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, currants, dark cherries, blueberries, brownies, peanut butter, pecan pie, rock candy, toffee, Bananas, clove spice, herbal notes, tobacco, leather, smokey notes, walnuts, pralines, cinnamon, earthy notes, oatmeal cookies, cookie dough ice cream, anise, port wine, vinous grape notes, chocolate fudge, cherry and coffee cake, chocolate mousse, malt chocolate and coffee milk shake.

Aftertaste:
Finishing rich with vanilla, caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, Fancy Coffee roast, spicy coffee complexity earthy notes and dark fruits. No alcohol in the taste, Dark like the abyss of nothingness dark body, Smooth and creamy mouthfeel and almost easy to drink despite the ABV.

Overall:
What can I say about this beer that I have not mentioned before. There is a reason I get this beer every year and even implemented dark matter coffee into my homebrews. Their stuff is the stuff of craft beer legend. With the recipe using the Coffee, it elaborates so many deep dark complex, fruity yet chocolatey, caramely and other sweets of the sweets goodness. As every year I try this, I highly recommend it.
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Anime Corner:
Ark Angel MR or evil Mythra as well as Dragoon Mithra from Final Fantasy XI was used in this pairing as I used her in the last pairing. The original idea had to do with the whole Big Hugs. Since she is a gray cat lady with crimson eyes, it would have fit with the Mecha Hugs Label from back in the day. The fact that she is an Ark Angel, she fits even more perfect with the evil Big Hugs and the whole Big Hugs as she squeezes the orange Mythra representing the colors of the original Big Hugs cat. This beer as you stare at the dark yet determined Dragoon Mithra which represents victorious version of Big hugs in the under label, she wears that Snake like it was a dragon armor… a victory well suited.

Sources:
https://brewerianimelogs.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/564b9-chp6jf56bks039cj.jpg
http://cdn-images.9cloud.us/220/lusciousnet_247-mithra-sliver_647660714.jpg
http://76.72.168.19/images/2010-01-24-238064.jpeg

2014 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing

10914885_10102331749327620_1838702685752348415_o 10919053_10102331750170930_1811900761799292639_n 10924151_10102331744612070_1425635638745076138_o 10928177_10102331745949390_8699194606630806242_nRating: 5.5/5

2014 Big Hugs by Half Acre brewing is a 10% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Dark Matter Coffee

Description:
This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace.

A specialty brew. Grab it when you see it. 10% ABV.

==Introduction==

This is the second time I try this beer and this time it is at its freshest. Thanks to www.mybeercollectibles.com for helping me obtain this one as this one is nowhere to be found here in California. Although, from what I remember in the last time I reviewed this beer, it was awesome aged. This beer is still hard to find unless you live near Chicago or can trade for it. Either way, let us see how well the fresher one does here.

Label: https://brewerianimelogs.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/c74e2-bighugs2014_over-final.jpg

Aromas:
Fancy roasted coffee, espresso, Mocha, Java Kahlua, vinous grapes, dark fruits like raisins, prunes, plum hints, dark cherry, blackberry, currants, deep dark chocolate, hazelnut nectar, rock candy, Danish Cookies, oatmeal cookies, spices like ginger, herbal notes, brownies, peppercorns and tobacco.

Flavors:
Mocha, Fancy roasted coffee, espresso, vinous grape notes, java, Kahlua, caramel, vanilla, dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, hazelnut nectar, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, molasses, walnuts, pecan pie, toffee, brownies, rock candy, peanut butter, Danish cookies, oatmeal cookies, peppercorn, tobacco, leather, smokey hints, brownies, spicy notes, herbal hints, complex coffee notes, earthy notes, dark cherry, black berries, and prailines.

Aftertaste:
Fancy Coffee roast, spicy coffee complexity earthy notes, caramel, dark chocolate and vanilla. No alcohol in the taste, Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, almost easy to drink despite the ABV, Dark like the abyss of nothingness dark body.

Overall:
Damn, every time I try a different roasty variant from different companies such as Dark Matter or Portola Labs, they always have some really complex stuff. Like the fact that the coffee world is on its own level, just mixing it with some of these beers makes them that much more complex. Also the fact that this makes this one is just that much of an exceeding expectations kind of beer is just phenomenal. I really think the fresher the beer is better as you get more of the coffee complexity than what I did with the 2 year aged one. It is rather strange but I really feel like this was the case with this one.

Anime Corner:

Ark Angel MR or Evil Mythra from Final Fantasy XI was used in this pairing as I used her in the last pairing. The original idea had to do with the whole Big Hugs. Since she is a gray cat lady with crimson eyes, it would have fit with the Mecha Hugs Label. The fact that she is an Ark Angel, she fits even more perfect with the Cat Angel of Death and the whole Big Hugs as she squeezes the orange Mythra representing the colors of the original Big Hugs cat. This beer is evil, Feline Evil.

****Update****:
Just like the surprise toy in the cereal boxes or the special prizes they have on those McDonalds cups, Peel the original label to get so much Win in this awesome label behind the Original. Yeah I really didn’t catch this until later. YAY BigHugs!! See, Ark Angel MR and regular Mithra are great friends!
IMAG7504

Sources:
https://brewerianimelogs.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/564b9-chp6jf56bks039cj.jpg
http://oi62.tinypic.com/29zu35v.jpg

Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (CHP) by Heretic brewing

11415_10102323355124670_8793380615176811571_n 10917112_10102323354775370_3507348971530490476_nRating: 4.65/5

Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (CHP) by Heretic brewing is a 7% ABV American Porter brewed with natural flavors.

Label:
Chocolate hazelnut Porter was the very first beer I entered in competition. It took 3rd place and gave me feedback on what I could do to improve. This sparked my passion for using competition to improve my brewing. The next time it took 1st place and eventually a Best of Show award. This is just something wonderful about the combination of rich chocolate and toasty hazelnut. When I started Heretic, people asked when we would release Chocolate Hazelnut Porter, but we had to be patient. Like that first award winning beer, I had to make sure the one in this bottle was perfect before we could release it. Many brews and tastings later, I am proud to offer you this rich, chocolaty, nutty, dessert in a glass. -Jamil Zainasheff

==Introduction==

I’ve seen some of the Heretic beers around but this one really caught my attention. I rally like sweet beers so chocolate hazelnut really sounded like an awesome mix. This would probably remind me of the Rogue Hazelnut Nectar, I thought. So I picked it up and brought it for a review here on the site. If you have tried this one let me know what you think, but here is what I think, let us take a look shall we? Cheers!

Aromas:
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, hazelnut, brown sugar, mocha hints, smokey notes, roasted coffee, graham cracker, peanut butter hints, caramel, molasses and dark fruit hints.

Flavors:
Dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter hints, hazelnut, roasty coffee notes, pecan pie, marshmallows, smokey notes, graham cracker, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, caramel, vanilla, mocha hints, notes of dark fruit raisins, dark cherry hints, brown sugar, molasses and anise.

Aftertaste:
Earthy notes, roasted coffee, hazelnut, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and pecan pie hints. No alcohol in the taste, smooth and creamy mouthfeel, dark full body and moderate drinkability.

Overall:
A very good beer which showcases a lot of sweet complexities but also emphasizes a roasty and smokey like character that balances it out over all. As it warms up, more of the sweeter chocolate and hazelnut flavors do tend to come out more frequently. While the beer is not as super complex and rich as other beers it still has enough to get things going and mainly still be considered a very nice dessert beer that would pair with other desserts. A must try.

Anime Corner:
Tayuya from Naruto was chosen in this pairing to pair with the motto of the beer. Release your Inner Heretic. There is a hidden evil yet deliciousness about the beer, but Tayuya has been used in several pairings to express something evil hidden. Some of the beers I have used to pair with Tayuya have been bitter or smokey in a sense as she brims with the hidden fires of her cursed form which you can see what it looks like. Sweet on the outside but dark and roasty on the inside. The beer kind of fits as the flavors of Chocolate and Hazelnut are presented in the beer and then shift into the roasty and smokiness to balance everything out.

Sources:
http://www.zerochan.net/1331583#full
http://static.zerochan.net/Tayuya.full.626165.jpg

2013 Barrel Roll No. 1 Immelmann by Hangar 24

1378233_10101428786197970_827203505_nRating: 5.75/5

2013 Barrel Roll No. 1 Immelmann by Hangar 24 is a 11.4% ABV Imperial Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels

Label: 
IMMELMANN: An ascending half loop followed by a half roll resulting in level flight in the opposite direction at a higher altitude

Just as it takes consummate skill to perform the Immelmann maneuver in the air, it takes the choicest ingredients, patience and consummate skill to bring you our IMMELMANN, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. This hand crafted beer is brewed with 2-Row, Munich, Cara-Munich, Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Malts, Oats and Cocoa Nibs, along with whole Vanilla Beans. Aged in Bourbon Barrels for six months and blended with twenty percent fresh Porter to produce enticing aromas of chocolate, coffee, tobacco, bourbon and sweet malt along with a complex pallet of dark roast chocolate, oak and maple followed by a subtle vanilla finish. This is an intense, yet refined flavor experience to be savored today or aged to be enjoyed at your leisure.
___

Do a Barrel Roll!! This was the first beer in Hangar 24’s Barrel Aged “Barrel Roll” program which was first released back in 2010. They released it again in 2013 and have decided to keep it California limited. I was lucky to barely get a bottle of this one to review. This one I got at Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights, one of the best rare treasure beer shops in Los Angeles since I first started looking for rare beers. It sold out within the first couple of hours of it being posted on the internet. If you are lucky to find this one and enjoy the barrel roll series, definitely pick this on up.

Aromas are of milk chocolate, hazelnut nectar, pecans, rocky road ice cream, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, bourbon, oak, vanilla, molasses, mocha, coffee, flan, brown sugar, campfire smoke hints, tobacco and almond joy

The flavors are of bourbon, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, pecan pie, caramel flan, dulce de leche, toasted coconut, vanilla, oak, mocha, molasses, brown sugar, rocky road ice cream, marshmallows, tobacco, almond joy chocolate, cherry notes and some smokey notes

The aftertaste is of rich chocolate, hazelnut, almonds, caramel and bourbon. This is a sipper and meant to be enjoyed. The alcohol is barely noticeable and does not interfere with the rich flavors.

Overall it exceeds expectations, mainly due to the rich chocolate, caramel, mocha and bourbon flavors. This does not seems like a porter but more like a stout or strong ale yet the porter flavors are there in some aspect as it is pretty freaking sweet (Both is flavor and awesomeness of course) It is close to Pugachev’s cobra but still missing some more richer flavors. Yet, still flies the beer treasure skies of space and beyond. Definitely do this barrel roll!!

Big Hugs 2011 edition by Half Acre Brewing and Dark Matter Coffee Company

897_10101340750976260_551078974_nRating: 5.2/5

Big Hugs 2011 edition by Half Acre Brewing and Dark Matter Coffee Company is a 10%ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Dark Matter Coffee

Description: 
This beer is a thug. Big and chock full of tender embrace. 

A specialty brew. Grab it when you see it. 10% ABV.
___

Hard to find, but aged for 2 years, this is Big Hugs. Looks like a nice kitty that wants to give a loving Christmas embrace, but in reality, it’s intentions are difficult to tell. Many have lost and have fallen victims to it’s temptations (either willfully or by bloody force). Opening this beer, it definitely smelled way different than other stouts to begin with.

First thing I noticed in the aromas were that there was a good amount of dark fruits and molasses. The beer has developed nicely. Above it are the rich cola like aromas followed by super dark chocolate, fancy coffee, a peppery and spicy aroma, possibly nutmeg notes, vanilla, caramel, toffee, brownie and hazelnuts

The flavors are like a rich fancy coffee with spices, Kahlua notes, vanilla, hazelnut, bakers and dark chocolate, hazelnut, raisins, molasses, walnuts, toffee, brownies and spices but not heat wise, definitely something else (must be the fancy coffee)

The aftertaste is roasty, semi sweet dark chocolate, spicy and a touch boozy. ABV has probably increased to a 11% or 12%. The mouth-feel is moderately syrupy so this one is definitely a sipper.

Overall, age has done this one wonders. Either that or the beer has always tasted this nice. Regardless, it was definitely interesting, different and kinda creepy.

Mexas Ranger (Tequila Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller

17743_10101112255557910_1242787346_n 253670_10101112258372270_2145209974_nRating: 4.8/5

Mexas Ranger (Tequila Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller is a 6.6% ABV Chile beer brewed with spices, almond milk, cocoa, chiles, black beans, avocado leaves and aged in tequila barrels.

This beer has no description hardly and if I were to guess what it might taste like, it would be close to the complexity I got in El Murcielago (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/el-murcielago-by-cigar-city/)

I have had other Tequila barrel aged beers like Firestone 16th (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/firestone-xvi-sixteenth-anniversary-ale-by-firestone-walker/) which adds tequila barrel aged PNC and the Cupapa Tequila Barrel aged beer(https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/tequila-barrel-aged-ale-by-cerveceria-cucapa-of-mexicali/)

The aromas are very complex. Just like that which I remember of El Murcielago. Like having a Chicken Lime dinner plate with fragrance of avocado, lemon, tequila, chocolate, chile spices, Chile Tapatio, slight mole, frijoles, slight almond or pecan, slight tortilla, limes, tomato and oysters . The flavors are of tapatio and raw chiles if they were sweeter and a lot of less heat, tomatoes, onions, tequila, Abuelita’s dark bitter chocolate, almond joy coconut and chocolate, hazelnut, special spices, slight bitter avocado peel, lime, mole, beans, vanilla, raisins, caramel, some bitter or salty oyster like notes, herbal hops, garlic, soy sauce, agave, oak, wine grape sourness some biscuit bread and corn tortillas. I don’t know whether the label is racist or not. I don’t really care though. I am Mexican and I find this beer very intriguing. The label maybe controversial, but the beer is not controversial at all. This was similar to El Murcielago in many ways. It is still a very complex style of beer that is close to some Mexican spices as possible but still carrying the overall bitterness and chocolate with it. It is weird but deliciously awesome. A must get if you can find the Tequila version.