Thunder Hole Ale - Bar Harbor Brewing Company

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Thunder Hole AleThunder Hole Ale

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217 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 217
Reviews: 123
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 10
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bar Harbor Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-10-2002

Delicious. Full-bodied. Complex. Sure, you can say all those things. Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to take a sip of this handcrafted brown ale and come up with your own superlatives? This is the brown ale that beat Newcastle, Sam Adams and more, at the World Beer Championships in Chicago.
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Ratings: 217 | Reviews: 123
Reviews by HarryPotHead:
More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.22/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz bottle. The beer was a light to medium brown color with a small head that quickly disappeared. It had a caramel, nutty aroma. The taste was a little nondescript. It was mostly sweet, with some coffee/chocolate undertones. A mild beer, and a little thin.

Photo of mbrandon2w
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz.
Nice deep brown color, dense off-white head.
Aroma is fairly light. A whiff of roastiness but that's about it.
Flavor is solid, with a hint a touch of chocolate and hint of coffee-like roast. Nice touch of bitterness at the end.
Mouth feel is smooth, but a bit too prickly with carbonation.
Very nice beer, would be nice in any weather.

Photo of fdrich29
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle brought back from the brewery by mom and dad.

Beautiful thick and creamy head atop an amber caramel body. Lot's of lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Nice malt nose, just the way I like it.

I'm not a fan of brown ale's but this one is very mild and malty with a little smokiness.

Mouthfeel was a bit tingly but smooth and a touch of alcohol bite at the end.

Glad I had a chance to try this beer. Although definitely not my favorite style, it was a well crafted beer.

Photo of tigg924
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, medium carbonation, minimal head, light brown in color

Smell: toasted malt, nuts, sugar

Taste: Toasted malt, some nut, and sugar

Mouthfeel: smooth, high carbonation that can be felt

Drinkability: A good brown ale. This may be my least favorite of Bar Harbor's three big offerings, but is still a pleasure to drink. I could have up to three and will always bring a couple bottles back when I visit Maine...Although maybe not a six.

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.19/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Darker reddish brown with a thin off white head.

Smell: Malts and nutty.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of toasted malts and nuts.

Overall: This is an ok Brown Ale. I am not personally a fan of Browns but I enjoy this one.

Photo of kingcrowing
2.48/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber poured into a schlitz mug.

Pours a slighty ruby deep brown color with not much head at all, totally acceptable for the style. Nose is like vomit! It's gross!

Taste luckily is nothng like vomit which is good, but it's still not too great. Lots of nutty malt, caramel and sweet molases dominate. Light carbonation and a thin body lead to a dull mouthfeel. Ok beer but not fantastic.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown hue with great clarity. Massive rocky beige head despite a slow pour. Probably an inch thick. After a couple of minutes it fades to a quarter inch. Aroma of dark malt and chestnut. Flavor of dark malt and caramel is prominent. The mouth is smooth and dry.

Photo of far333
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Hazey chestnut with an oatmeal colored head that rises u an inch high and settles out quickly. Low aroma of sweetish toasted malt. Flavor of half cooked chestnut, toasted malt, hint of mushroom. Mild bitterness, no hop flavors noted. Full and creamy mouthfeel, very round and rich. Overall below average. Pretty one dimensional, not very complex.

Photo of yankeeheel
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a big fizzy tan head. The smell is of caramel and a little bit of roasted nut but nothing that makes it any different than another brown ale.

The taste is very good. A nice medium malt profile with a whole lot of nut coming through. Mouthfeel is medium with just enough carbonation. Very little hop is detectable. As it warmed the flavors became more pronounced. At times it almost had a porterish taste/mouthfeel, but it's definitely not a porter.

Another highly drinkable Maine beer...go figure.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look who showed up in Pittsburgh, two beers from Bar Harbor...Thunder Hole Ale, and Cadillac Mountain Stout. This appears a dark crimson amber color, quite clear when held toward the light. Aroma has some roasted malt qualities that bring out a touch of caramelized sugars...these beers are crazy drinkable across the board. Flavor wise minimal balanced sweetness peaks across an earthy English ale type of a brown ale with complex malt flavors and herbal earthy hops. As it warms you get more subdued malt character, these guys know how to ferment out the residual sugars not cloying bone in this beers body, it's amazing. Mellow natural carbonation on the mouthfeel in a medium bodied brown ale, I can't tell you to go out and try these beers enough. Overall high quality artisitic masterful brewers that know their art and have been at the game for a long time. I'm happy to see some of it distributed outside of New England, down here in the Burgh.

Photo of jmz62565
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark mahogny with a small head that's gone quickly. The smell is slight, but very good with alot of sweet malt,toffee, and nuttyness. The taste, like the smell, is full of malt and nuts. The creamy toffee and nut flavor is very good. The m/f is light and well balanced with just the right amount of carbonation. A very good brown ale, one of the best I've had in a while.

Photo of QXSTER1
4.42/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brown ale is a find. Pours a dark brown with a creamy tan head that lasts till the end and laces on the way down. Taste is spicy with subtle roasted grain and bready flavors. Hops are rounded and in the background but contribute to the balance and drinkability. With a smooth medium bodied mouthfeel and crisp well defined flavors this is one fine brown ale.

Photo of asabreed
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Medium to dark copper and brown color, unfortunately with very little head or retention. Looks like soap bubbles at first, and they vanish pretty quickly.

Smell: Malt sweetness and slight roastiness. Some toffee, mild honey, coffee.

Taste: Expected from what the aroma gives off. Some light sweetness and slight roastiness, finishing with some slip herbal and citrus hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A little slick and watery until the end, where a burst of carbonation makes itself known.

Drinkability: Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every Brown I have lately is the same as all the others. It's become a style that seems apparently easy enough for many domestic breweries to make, and with many there's nothing that they're trying to do to set themselves away from the pack. A double Brown? Maple syrup? Brett? Something at least a semblance on the experimental side? If you like your Browns easy and sessionable, however, you'll most likely enjoy this, since, though it's an easy going brew, it's hard to knock it in that sense, to a certain degree.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I exspected the beer to come flying out of the bottle when I uncapped it, like it's namesake. Thank goodness it didn't. A nice brown clolor. The taste was semi-sweet and malty, with a hint of hops. Almost a porter, but not quite. This was quite a tasty beverage.

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

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle with no expiration date or lot code. Sampled on July 27, 2010. The pour is a nice looking brown tone with good clarity but little in the way of head and lacing. The aroma tends to be on the malty side with the kind of bitterness more frequently associated with brown ales. The taste has a bit of nuttiness but mainly malts with a back-up shaker of hops. The malts are key. Still a nice enough beer.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark coppery-chocolate with a fizzy tan head that dissipated quickly. Toffee highlights glisten around the glass edges from the light while a good sense of carbonation can be seen within. No visible lacing was left behind.

S: Some fruity notes, apple skins mix well with a soft nuttiness of cashews and brazilian nuts. The strength was medium with a bit of toasty caramel appearing on the finish.

T: A sweet fruitiness, almost dopple bock like, meets a nuttiness of cashews and brazilian nuttiness. The hopping is assertive and spicy, almost what you expect from a Belgian (im guessing styrian golding or fuggels) while the malting is residious and malty well suited per style with toasty caramel and soft smoky amber notes. I love how everything just blends togther, the spicy hops, the warm toasty caramel and dried toffee sweetness with a crisp, dry fruitiness compliments of the yeast making this a triple threat. As an English brown this is bold and as good, if not better then most offerings across the pond. Leaves a big help of residual malt covering the tongue with some dry bakers chocolate for a close.

M: The mouthful is medium with a good maltiness and a very smooth and silky texture. Small traces of effervesce is detected while things finish out with a dry nuttiness and soft residual malt coating.

D: Very drinkable aided by a low 4.8% abv which increases the chance of session material but never gives an inch flavor wise. Big, bold and spicy with some fairly unique traits per style makes this a standout and definite go to for fans of the style while making some in the process.

Photo of TexIndy
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got from Roberts after this trip to Maine - many thanks! Poured from a 22oz bottle (no date but he got at brewery so should be fresh) into a pint glass. It was a deep brown with reddish tint to it. It had a finger of fizzy tan head that quickly settled to a very thin collar. Not much visible carb which is different from other review so wonder if the heat from shipping damaged it a bit. No lacing at all.

The aroma was good. Nice and malty with toffee tones. A little bit of hops. The taste was nice and smooth. Typical nutty flavor for a brown. Was a little more watery tasty than some others in the style. Nice finish to it.

Overall another very good beer from Bar Harbor. Browns just don't have a ton of flavor to them but want they do have goes a long way. This one is a good sitting around drinking beer. Session worthy.

Photo of smakawhat
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a large bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A nice off tan almost creamy one ginger head is formed, makes a lot of noise when settling as you can hear those bubbles snapping. Body is a great looking amber brown and clear with red and dark chestnut hues.

Bouquet is kind of muted, small chocolate sense but hard to find, kind of wet and clean. Mild roast character.

Taste is overall a good roast and toasty grain. Malt mildly present but kind of wet bodied and lacking in texture a bit. Large emphasis on roast with this one it seems. As it warms up it gets into tasting like a little pan gravy.

Overall It's still not too bad it's quite pleasant overall, not that much exciting it seems though.

Photo of jsanford
2.98/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a clear, dark amber-brown with a fluffy, khaki-colored head that never fully dissipates.
S - Pretty mellow and subdued aromas of toasted caramel malt, baked brown bread, and brown sugar.
T - More slightly roasted toffee and caramel flavors from the malt, along with a bit of brown sugar and roasted nuts. No real noticeable hop flavors, but there is a slight copper-penny oxidized flavor that's making me think this is an old bottle.
M - Medium-thin bodied with a slightly watery consistency and sharp carbonation.
O - This could be a nice, sessionable English Brown Ale if it was a fresh bottle. As is it's a bit bland and watery, with a oxidized flavor that ruins it. If only more breweries dated their bottles, this might not have happened. Sigh.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

hazelnut color and a light offwhite head that capped the top with vigorous carbonation throughout. aroma is sweet, lots of caramel and roasted nuts, hints of bready grains, touches of light earthy hops, really quite nicely done i have to admit. moving forward there is a clean, crisp feel to it, smooth medium body is well deserving and shows off the overall profile very, very well. i was quite impressed with how easy this was. flavor is dominated by caramel and roasted nuts and the overall expierence is that of a lightly sweetened and very sessionable ale.

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: When held up to a light, the beer is clear very dark garnet red in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high light beige head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Moderate aromas of nutty malts are present in the nose.
T: Much like the smell, the taste is very nutty and has underlying hints of toffee malts. Neither sweetness nor bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I really enjoyed this beer as it was filled with flavors of nutty malts but was very easy to drink and sessionable. This would make for a nice accompaniment to a burger if you are looking to pair it with a meal.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.41/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Original 22oz bomber

Pours a copper color with a large sized head, fades slowly with patchy lacing and a decent cap.

Smell is malty and pretty one-sided.

Taste is crisp although it has a bit too much carbonation, malty with a weird sourness, doesn't really work with this brown ale.

Photo of claspada
3.89/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Initial aromas of sweet toffee and lesser amounts of roasted malts, vanilla and milk chocolate.
The taste begins with toasted caramel maltiness that becomes increasingly more complex as it warms. Some light bitterness from either the roasted malts or some faint hops.
Mouthfeel is a little thin for my taste but at less than 5% ABV it is to be expected. Could use a little more carbonation as well. Overall this is still a great session beer full of flavor which is no small feat. Very impressed with this brew. Probably the most complex session beer I've had in a while; it's no Maduro from Cigar City but still very good.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany brown, with a wisp of frothy head around the rim.
Smell is very heavy on roasted barley. Taste is more the same. This is a good, basic, all around brown. Easy drinking and smooth. A well put together beer. Very sessionable, but not impressionable.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Color is a bit light for a brown ale, deep amber red with a 1/2 inch of frothy head.

S - Smell of English and brown malts, a twang of hops, and a bit of toffee.

T - Actually quite good for a hop forward brown. English malts and toffee take the show with bittering herbal hops in the finish. Not too complex but it works.

M - Light to medium would guess it was around 5 or more but the ABV screams session.

Overall the only draw back here is the price since Pittsburgh doesn't distribute these guys I found the single for $3.50 at the House of 1,000. It was good but not over 3 bucks a pop good.

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Thunder Hole Ale from Bar Harbor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 217 ratings.