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Thunder And Son Brown Ale - Half Acre Beer Company

Not Rated.
Thunder And Son Brown AleThunder And Son Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

78 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.4%
Wants: 15
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: emerge077 on 11-13-2010

Big, bold, brown, beer. A real hoss great for winter warming and time in your cellar.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 42
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

neat that the brewery had three brown ales going, but i think this was my least favorite of them. its a little too sweet for me, and while the other two had a great depth of dark grain, this one seems light, too heavy on the caramel for the style, and not quite fermented out as much as maybe it should be. one was enough, but the beer had a cool flavor with some uncommon nuance. i got a woody birch syrup sweetness most of the way through it, and in the absence of the dark roasty grain base, i taste much more of the medium toast cereals in here. the booze is a little bit exposed too, i drinks more like a sweet barleywine than a brown ale honestly, i dont even taste much chocolate malt in this. that said, i like the beer for what it is, and need to be a little better about enjoying a beer as nothing more than a beer, instead of looking for and highlighting all the ways that it isnt true to style, or that its flawed, or that dont meet my expectations. the more i consider this, the more i get a sweet toasted coconut flavor in the finish with the warming alcohol, and thats pretty cool. still not a beer i could drink a whole lot of, but one i appreciated a lot more at last sip than i did on the first sip. evolution baby!

Photo of blankenhoney
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from the 2014 release, enjoyed out of a pint glass

A: Pours a darker shade of brown with some ruby or garnet tones. Thin, beige-ish white head.

S: Sweet malts and brown sugar, dark red fruit (plums, cherries), and booze.

T: Very, very sweet caramel. A bit of roast and hints of nutmeg. There's a bit of intense, fruity dark chocolate, too. Finish was quite bitter, which was a pleasant surprise.

M: Somewhere in between creamy and viscous

O: Tasty and will warm you up on a cold fall night, but a bit one-dimensional (sweet bordering on cloying).

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay goblet. This bottle was purchased in December of 2010.

Appearance: Pours a reddish brown with just a hint of off white head that goes away pretty quickly.

Smell: Sweet and malty, go figure. Some dark fruit and carmel. There is a slight alcohol warmth as well. Nice but not overly exciting.

Taste: Sweet, but not as sweet as I would have expected. Some dark fruit notes along with a hint of brown sugar. The finish has a very slight bitterness to it. The age must have calmed this one down a bit, because the booze is there, but not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: The body is thick and syrupy with tingly carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: I thought this beer was pretty darn good. Not overly boozy or sweet. I'd have another, but I'd leave it in the cellar for a year and a half.

Photo of samie85
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes; originally 10/8/11.

Pours a deep chestnut color.

Robust citrus with bready malt and a bit of chocolate.

Follows the nose with citrus, bready and chocolate malt with a clean bitterness.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and an alcohol hotness on the finish.

This one is a challenge to put down; if I hadn't shared this one I don't think I would have been able to finish it on my own.

Photo of mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From 11/27/11 notes. Thanks to the Chicago Group in the Group BIF for sending this one our way. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted notes, alcohol, light chocolate, nuts, and toasted malts. Definitely some nice chocolate and caramel here, but the alcohol is there as well.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, alcohol, nuts, roasted malts, light chocolate, and toasted malts. Not as much chocolate as the nose and more alcohol and nuts. A step down due to the strong alcohol.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Some alcohol warmth.

o - Overall a decent brown ale, but you can definitely taste the alcohol and tell this one is 12%. Alcohol is present in the nose and even moreso in the taste, taking a bit away from the plesant caramel and chocolate. Worth checking out but probably wouldn't seek it out again as it is a bit too much for me and tough to drink.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

pours a light amber brown with a nice toffee colored head.

Hefty dose of chocolate malt on the nose is matched by a healthy boozy note. Very nice, but boozy. It settles down after a few sips and the booziness is hardly noticeable (until it warms up).

I normally don't like brown ales too much, but this is interesting and tasty.
Chocolate and caramel malts play back and forth with some sweetness up front, blending a hint of coffee in as well.

Feel is solid, but the finish is a bit sticky and oily.

They call it a brown ale, the site calls it a strong ale... I call it decent. It was fun to try.

Photo of wifehatesthebike
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark cola like appearance with a thin creamy head that settles into a wisp of off white film. Bottle only let off a slight fizz when opened, perhaps was not capped tightly.

S: Smells scary. Malt, nuttiness and obvious alcohol fumes, even after sitting for 9 months in my basement.

T: Taste mimics the smell. Nice smooth initial mouthfeel, roasty middle, then the alcohol creeps up.

M: Smooth and satisfying. Good stuff here.

O: A great beer except the alcohol is quite strong and overbearing. Not sure a brown ale needs to be 12% to be honest, 9%-ish might have yielded a better overall result.

Photo of Wadsey
2.24/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thunder and Son

Served in New Belgium globe glass. 

A: Pours a very dark, but clear amber. Sorry, not brown.  A creamy, dense yet huge head erupts during pour and leaves very nice Brussels lacing. Does not appear to be very bubbly. 

S: Smells like a slightly aged American Barleywine: caramel, dark dried fruit, fading hops and so forth. In addition, I note powdered chocolate and brown sugar.  Alcohol punches at nose and is expressed as solvent and vodka. 

T: Malty sweetness touches palate first, followed quickly by caramel and raisins.  Powdered chocolate and alcohol play more significant roles in taste. The alcohol is distracting, but then again the beer tastes like it was thinned out by the use of table sugar as a fermentable. So body is not substantial enough to hide gigantic abv. Medium bitterness. Harsh alcohol permeates finish. 

M: Medium body and light carbonation. Thin, watery mouthfeel and very, very warming. 

O: I think Half Acre should stick to pale ales, IPAs and others of that ilk. Thunder & Son is a boozy mess. I do not recommend. 

Photo of errantnight
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

So since I've been drinking basically every Half Acre beer under the sun thanks to the incomparable GBVDave, figured it's about time to start reviewing them! Alas... it's with one that wasn't my favorite (but I appreciate the beer no less, Dave!).

This pours promising, a deep dusty brown with a nice finger cap of head. The nose is a touch hot, and fruity esters slip in around a touch of burnt toast to almost give hints of a barleywine.

I had a hard time scoring this one... on the one hand, it's not offensive. Its primary flaw is the booze. At 12% I want something a bit more chewy, with some lingering complexities, to linger over and sip. This has the straightforward mid-palate chocolate sweetness and short roast finish of a nice brown ale, but with some dark fruit and a long warm finish in the chest. In other words, I'd have no trouble putting down a bomber, on the other hand, I can't help but feel that there's a version of this beer that's either half (or less) the alcohol that's better.

Photo of MasterSki
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at the brewery. I also drank this right when it came out from a growler. Served in a wine glass.

A - A hard pour yields a quarter-finger of tan foam that settles to a thin partial cap and leaves minimal lace. Even though the foam volume is low, the retention is quite good. Transparent dark ruby-brown body.

S - Chocolate, brown sugar, light apple skin, cinnamon, nuts, toasted malts, and reasonably well-hidden alcohol. Pretty much what you'd expect from an Imperial Brown Ale.

T - Taste is a little less pleasant - there is still plenty of booze present. Mostly roasted barley malt, notes of vanilla and chocolate, and some residual hop bitterness in the finish (or perhaps that's alcohol - hard to know).

M - Grainy medium-full body, light carbonation tingle. Some definite warmth, but not as hot as it was upon release. Fairly sticky finish.

D - I'm glad this beer isn't cloying and boozy - it's merely boozy. The alcohol has mellowed out a bit, particularly in the aroma. I don't see this improving much with additional age. If you dig high-gravity brown ales this may be of interested, but it's not a very easy-drinking beer.

Photo of benpopper
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this right after the initial release, then last night. It has gotten much more even with some time in the cellar, much less hot than fresh.

poured a deep brown with about a half inch of tan head which faded quickly with very little lacing.

Smells pretty good with the toasted malt up front, carmel maybe. The smell of alcohol which was very prevalent initially has faded significantly, seems much less than advertised now.

With this cooling down a bit, the hints of chocolate, coffee, molasses; mat comes through much more and made it a whole lot more enjoyable. Could get tricked into drinking almost the whole bottle without knowing it is 12%.

Creamy, smooth and a light carbonation make it pretty solid.

Overall much better than it used to be and makes me want to go out and try to find one more bottle to have in another 6 months to see what it transforms into.

Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a very dark brown, close to black color with a thin, spotty head scattered across the top of the beer. It looked pretty close to an imperial stout actually.

The aroma shows a lot of roasty and bitter-sweet chocolate flavors to it for the style. I get a pretty big sweetness to it as well with caramel, brown sugar and some dark fruits coming through. Pretty nice and interesting aroma, it almost feels like a mix of a brown ale and an Imp stout.

The taste starts out with more of the sweeter, caramel, toffee and dark fruit flavors to it. Midway things start to get a little more roasty and bitter with some dark chocolate flavors to it that last through the finish.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer, it definitely wasn't your standard brown ale though. As I said before it reminded me a little of a mix of a brown and imperial stout. Pretty tasty beer to sip on though this evening.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pawola22 for sending this bottle to me.

The beer pours a brown color with red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the chocolate with some alcohol and caramel notes. Smells like an alcoholic brown ale.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of chocolate and roasted malt. There are also some toffee notes in the flavor. When drinking you can tell that the beer is 12 percent ABV.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of 7ways
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn near black with a pretty minimal head, but I guess that's no surprise.

Carries the aroma of a nutty barleywine. Layered dark fruity malt and raisins. Very substantial, I dig it.

Is this what Palo santo tastes like without the wood?
Starts off great: juicy malt, light chocolate and nutty ovewrtones, a little licorice and molasses. But the finish really leaves room for improvement. It all falls away quickly and leaves what feels like a residue of lima beans, alcohol, and detergent on the tongue. It's actually pretty mild, but noticible.

Bully mouthfeel. That's right. Bully.

This would be a stunning beer if they cleaned it up a bit.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted blind as part of Blind BIF #4

Blind Beer #9 from Khazadum

22 oz. bottle shared on Friday with a couple buddies during some March Madness. Go Bucks!

The underlined word "thunder" on the blind wrapping gave a hint as well as the recent Half Acre brews I had, which is why I decided to share 3 ways.

The first whiff as I opened the cap made me think english barleywine with a huge malt bill.

Pours an opaue brown with a solid 3 finger head that cratered my glass. Some lacing as we drank.

Nose was incredibly complex! We got big caramel and molasses notes as well as some roasted nut and dark coffee. No hops anywhere.

Taste was just amazing. The best way to describe is this: Take a fresh baked biscuit from the oven, top with butter, a huge dollop of dark caramel and a dab of molasses. Then, after you take a bit, take a sip of espresso. That's what Thunder and Sons tastes like.

Very full bodied and light carbonation, despite the monster head. Quite appropriate for the style. Had some interesting butter feeling, but also as it warmed, I picked up a dryness that almost tastes like licking wood, though I don't think this is oak aged at all.

The beer was way more drinkable than I expected. I had purchased a Thunder and Sons when it first came out, but the early reviews all said it was too hot. That no longer holds true. The beer is drinking fantastically well right now and felty like 8% tops. Went down way too easily.

Reveal: Half Acre Thunder and Son

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours a rich chestnut hue with two fingers of sudsy khaki head. Retention is pretty solid for the abv.

Smell -- Cocoa, nutty roast malt, dark fruits, minty hops. Alcohol presence is high, but otherwise it's nice.

Taste -- Nutty roast malt, cocoa, dark fruits. Herbal/medicinal hops show up near the finish. Solvent-like alcohol presence is high.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full body with gentler carbonation. Feels good.

Drinkability -- Wow, not in love. Booziness is a big issue in this beer, but otherwise there are no off flavors. In the end, it's a wash. Hopefully they will iron out the wrinkles in a possible future release as there is potential in this one.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive Brown Ale, both in malts and hops. And at 12% abv., the alcohol flavor and feel doesn't let the malt, nor the hops steal the show.

This massive American Brown Ale pours with a viscous pour that builds a light brown dense, creamy head that eventually falters under because of the gravity and alcohol of the beer. No apparent lacing, this beer behaves much more like an Imperial Stout, aside from the deep brown color, rather than black.

Aromas of bitter chocolates, heavy toast, and barley malt strike the nose first; then with a rebuttal from citrus and grassy hops. Alcohol scent mixes with cherry-like esters and medicinal phenolics for a somewhat confused closure to the aroma.

Flavors definately favor the malts- robust with burnt chocolate, cocoa, toffee, and charred toast flavors, the beer's sweetness carries it from inital sips through the mid palate where the alcohols and hop bitterness take over. Increased alcohol flavor gains precidence as the malty sweetness subsides and hop flavor/bitterness contributes layers of grapefruit, fresh cut grass, and a resiny flavor that seems of pine. At this high of alcohol, the stressed yeast gives some cough syrup-like cherry flavors along with a medicinal phenolic note that provides as much a distraction as it does bennefits.

Thick, malty, and robust creaminess fills the mouth at the onset and then turns silky/velvety over the somewhat fatty mid palate. But the malts waiver heading into the finish with a warming, even hot alcoholic numbing along with a sharp hop bite that's something more than just bitterness. Finishes very warm, still sweet, and with a yeasty/hoppy bite in the cheeks and throat.

An all-in-all pleasant, but over the top Brown Ale. While the flaws are noticable, they are subtle to moderate. Besides, the forerunning malt flavors and full body are so bright, the flaws seem minor in comparison. You'll enjoy this beer if you like sturdy Brown Ales, the body of Imperial Stouts, and with a little burn in the finish.

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark Reddish Brown with a finger of Tan head which faded quickly. Head is a 50/50 mixture of large and small bubbles with light lacing on the glass.

S - Smells of Milk Chocolate, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Minerals, Dried Dates and Molasses.

T - Tastes of Chocolate, Vanilla, Cola, Dried Dark Fruit and Alcohol.

M - It is a little bit sweeter than I would have expected but it actually helps.

D - I don't think I drink a whole lot of these but I would like to get more. The Alcohol is very well hidden and in a dangerous way. I didn't even know it was 12% until I happen to look at the style and saw the ABV right below it.

This is more of an aperitif or desert beer than a normal Brown to have with dinner. This is a perfect candidate for barrel aging.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AgentZero for this one. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a reddish-amber color with some brown tinting. Huge tan head that sticks around for awhile and leaves plenty of lacing. The nose brings some caramel, toffee, light fruits, and a bit of a metallic component in the finish. The taste brings the metallic notes further to the front, nearly overwhelming the sweet caramel malt of the underlying brew. Pretty hefty alcohol character as well. Feel is slightly metallic and has quite a bit of alcohol along with plenty of residual sweetness. Overall, a bit of a mess and the first Half Acre beer I didn't really care for.

Photo of robwestcott
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to mishuggah for this one.

poured cold from the bottle a deep dark cola brown to a dogfish head signature glass with a thin, short lasting tan head with a hint of retention.

aroma of toasted malts, molasses and burnt buttery brown sugars. a bit of alcohol teases in the wayback.

hot. not so subtle, tingling alcohol burns upon the first sip - this is a big beer, and as close to a stout as the style could muster without going whole hog. nice dessert beer. dark semi-sweet chocolates, dark black coffee, molasses. big malts.

hot. thick and creamy, smooth, medium carbonation. no bitter.

drinkable - uhm, with help.

Photo of StoneTSR
4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Deep, dark brown, almost black. Had the appearance of a stout or porter, and in fact, the first time I had the Thunder and Son on tap, I just assumed it was. It was not until I went to Half Acre to buy a bottle that I realized it was actually a brown ale. Continuing with the porter-like look, the head was thin and quickly dissipating and some pretty and wispy arches laced the glass, particularly at the top.

SMELL: Very impressive and strong. The aroma was intense and very straight forward - toasted, smoky malt. Strong in every sense of the word, not just intensity, but quality as well. Great nose.

TASTE: Sweet, delicious, malty and chocolate-like. This is a fantastic dessert beer that will satisfy a craving for sweet, but stay balanced enough to please any serious beer drinker. I hate to put it this way, but it is not a "girly" sweet, it still has a nice, although mildly bitter aftertaste and undertone. Amazing flavor.

MOUTHFEEL: Oily and smooth, but after letting it sit on my tongue for a moment in order to soak in some more of the flavor, it developed a touch of a sparkling bite.

DRINKABILITY: Wow. Very impressive. Sweet, smooth and ridiculously tasty. I'm not a huge fan of brown ales, but this is motivating me to try some more imperial browns. At 12% the Thunder and Son is dangerously easy to send down the hatch. By far, Half Acre's finest effort and rivals Bourbon County as one of Chicago's best beers.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to emerge077 for hand delivering this one.

A - Mahogany with a thin tan head that stays behind for a while.

S - Toffee, caramel, nutty, fruity, honey, candied fruits with a touch of sweet alcohol.

T - Rich malty, toffee, sweet caramel flavors followed by a rubbery, solventy alcohol bite. Slight sting from the alcohol. Dark fruits, bitter fruity hops and a lingering barleywine like sweetness.

M - Medium to full with a bit of alcohol bite. Surprised by how smooth and creamy it is for how sweet it is.

D - I think this would be much better below 10% or with some age on it. A nice attempt by Half Acre but the boozy part is a bit overpowering.

Photo of GoldenJet
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So far I've been impressed with almost everything Half Acre does, and Thunder and Son is no exception.

While I was a little apprehensive about a Brown Ale, as it's not really my favorite style, the nose slowly put that apprehension to rest, with big hop aromas and tons of nuttiness! Something sweet there too, but not sure what it was.

The taste though, is where it's at - tons of caramel, chocolate, and nuts, and a sweet molasses-thing going on. Honestly, if you told me this was a Brown Ale, I'd be hard-pressed to believe you - the creamy chocolate and booziness (it is 12% after all) really took over.

Might not be for everyone, but I really think this is a stellar beer.

Photo of homebrew311
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Chimay chalice.

A: appears a deep dark brown with ruby red highlights from light passage. Thin collar of head forms and sticks around. Significant lacing.

S: bit sweet malts with molasses, dark fruits, caramel, and some notes of dark chocolate. Notes of maple also come through. Finish smells a bit boozy.

T: sweet caramel notes up front with hints of maple and molasses through out. The alcohol is very prevalent at the finish with a dose of hop bitterness as well.

MF: the body is big and thick with moderate carbonation and a significant heat

D: this one is a sipper. Big sweet malty flavors, perhaps a touch out of balance with the big boozy finish. Not a bad brew, but maybe a little too strong for its own good.

Photo of 2BDChicago
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always want to root for the home team. but that's not why I love this brew. HA mostly made great brews, but a few specialties were clunkers. This Thunder is awesome and deserves to be a regular in the line-up.

A: Beautiful clear, dark mahagony appearance.

S: Aroma is enticing to me because of the high Centennial hops (I believe) aroma. Then followed by molasses, some dark fruits, and a little nutiness.

T: Perfect blend of dark malt, citrus hops, dark sugars, and a tad of alcohol fire.

D: It's a big abv, but surprisingly drinkable. I really like this brew, but the label of Brown Ale threw me off for a moment. I like it to the point that I hope HA put into a seasonal rotation.

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Thunder And Son Brown Ale from Half Acre Beer Company
86 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.