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Thunder Hole Ale - Bar Harbor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thunder Hole AleThunder Hole Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

209 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 209
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 11.83%
Wants: 8
Gots: 5 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-10-2002)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of malthegal
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very rich dark brown color. Not much head, dissipates rather quickly.

S - Lots of nut and caramel notes.

T - A very nice and subtle caramel flavor, roasted malt presence.

M - Moderate carbonation, very smooth.

D - Very drinkable, low ABV, a good brown ale that I will have again.

Photo of mavbrew
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into my Otter Creek Stein.

A: Pours a deep brown color with a finger thick off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving no lacing.

S: The scent of caramel and roasted malts is most prominent with a hint of nuttiness and toffee are also present.

T: The taste up front has some roasted malts and a spicy note to it as well. Following is a caramel flavor and a bit of a nutty presence.

M: Has a light medium body with average carbonation. Has a smooth finish.

D: This would be a good session beer, being that it is low in ABV. Overall it is a decent brown but this will probably be a one and done beer for me since their are a plethora of very good brown ales out there.

Photo of mgbickel
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. The semi-aggressive pour formed a 1 ½ finger almond head that slowly faded down to a thin layer, leaving lots of lace and clung to the glass nicely. The body is a clear brown, almost the same color as the bottle it came from.

The nose has lots of roasted malts, caramel, toasted nuts and grains.

The taste is right in line with the nose. A nutty, bready flavor starts things off. The middle has a little sweet caramel and malts. The finish turns a little roasted and grainy.

The mouth feel is thin (toward medium), a little slick and well carbonated.

Overall, this is an easy drinking beer. Nothing jumps out and grabs you, but this is tasty and refreshing. Worth a try...especially for the brown ale lovers!

Photo of puboflyons
3.83/5  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 hangh
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark black colored beer with a thick 2" brown head that dissapates slowly leaving a small trace that lingers throughout the drink.

S - Rich coffee and toffee smells rise from the glass. Subtle malty smells, not overpowering.

T - Coffee and toffee rich with some caramel finish. It's a quick and tasty beer that is pretty satisfying.

MF - Light to medium body with light carbonation. Crisp quick finish

D - Very good for an English Brown Ale, a little different but good.

Photo of WhiteOak
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark cola brown in color, with a dark tan head with some lace rings.

S- Smells of roast hazelnut, toffee, sour apple cider.

T- Sweet rich caramel malt, brown sugar, nuts, dark fruits. The finish is half sour but not unpleasant. This is an English brown ale interpretation to the 2nd or 3rd power.

M, D- Creamy feel, good drinkability. No problem finishing the bomber.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

T'were my beer I call it Brown Thunder Hole...

Anyway, dark chestnut color with a pillowy beige head. Decent retention leaves a few lacey smudges. Looks like a brown ale.

Aroma is hickory and nuts--but sweet like nut toffee. Dry leaf earthiness and light cocoa powder.

Nutty with a toffee sweet compliment. Dark chocolate depth that doesn't really manifest until the end. Hops give an otherwise watery mouthfeel (not terrible considering the style) a prickly liveliness.

While Allagash seems to be slipping and Shipyard was never appealing, Mainers keep me intrigued with their lesser known breweries like Bar Harbor, Freeport, and now Marshall Wharf. Cheers to Maine.

Photo of kingcrowing
2.55/5  rDev -31.5%
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 beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +7%
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 koopa
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber purchased at Ramsey Liquors....nice to see something from these guys available in my local store besides Cadillac Mtn. Stout.

Appearance: Pours a handsome chestnut brown with a slight red tinge. the crown is 1 finger, off white to slightly brown, showing little retention or lace.

Smell: Chestnuts, chestnut honey jam, deeply toasted (but not quite roasted) malt, and a nice bready backbone.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, fairly crisp, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Session beer all the way. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Photo of Seanibus
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich and creamy beer, more like a mild milk stout than any brown ale or porter I have tried.

Pours a rich, opaque brown with a slightly cream colored head, like the froth on a cappuccino. The aroma is rich and dark, roasted and woody, with dark bread and dried dark fruit notes. The flavor is milder than I had expected from the aroma, with a bready, nutty, smooth taste without a significant hop bite. The finish is mild, with a coffee-like bitterness that develops late on the high back of the mouth. The standout characteristic is the mouthfeel - it is thick and creamy, even a bit chewy.

This is a good beer, though not precisely what I would predict from a brown ale.

Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours rubyish brown with a thin off-white creamy head that lasts. Trailing lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted nuts, toffee/nougat, with earthy notes.

The taste with sweet chocolate, hazelnuts/ walnuts, roast, and earthy tones balance the sweetness. Finishes with fruity tones - mild, but could be milder. Sour touch in the finish, especially as it warms/progresses.

It is medium-to-full bodied. Velvety, Nice roasty character lingers.

Complex - nutty, roasty, toffeeish - a tad too fruity as it progresses. Still-in-all a great brown with a sour touch.

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a fun trade with rheisler. Thanks Ryan.

A: Poured a pretty light frothy head that fades quickly. A semi dark raisin brown color with a slight reddish hue that is surprisingly clear for how dark colored it is. Perhaps this isn't a beer that should be filtered.

N: Some light toasty malts, sweet sugar, almost a light brown sugar, some light crisp ale aromas (perhaps this wasn't filtered but they did a good job of dropping the yeast out and giving a good crisp aroma). A slight earthy aroma, and that's about it.

T: Starts semi sweet and wants to be creamy, but not really. I get some nice roasted malt flavor and some darker caramel malts, as well as some light flavors of dark fruit, semi reminiscent of a light porter. Some light brown sugar comes through as well with hints of toasted malt flavor. A slight bitterness and touch of spicy hops, but not really that hoppy. A touch of chocolate malt too towards the end.

M: Medium body with a touch of spicy tingly feeling, and lower carbonation.

F: Finishes a pretty dry and slightly bitter. It's still somewhat crisp and refreshing, but has more of those lingering porter like tastes and slight brown sugar. Otherwise the tastes seem to disappear pretty well, so they did a pretty good job to finish crisp and ready for more drinkin. A good session beer.

Photo of smcolw
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours like Coca Cola in every way--Large bubbles that die to a flat surface. There's even soda-like bubbles on the side of the glass. The only thing missing is the ice. Color looks like water with caramel coloring.

Darker malt aroma. Some metallic elements

Very spritzy. The body, in a word, is thin. This is distracting. The flavor cannot make up the difference. Darker malt (perhaps darker crystal). Mid-taste the metal shows up. Nearly no hop...the aftertaste dies quickly.

The bottle features a World Beer Championship Gold Medal. I don't see it.

Photo of PiratePete
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm an SOB or ESB kinda guy but I do like Browns. Usually with a little more oomph! But after three - not all at once - I began to just plain like the thing. It is a nice drinking ale. A very small head but a earthy taste. Not a strong smell but there was a hint of things roasted/toasted like malts and hops and a bit of chocolate. Light nuts in the aftertaste.

What struck me about it was with the three remaining I took them to a firend's place. Neither of the two guys there like brouns or stouts etc. but they weere willing to try a Thunder Hole. They liked it! Maybe, it is a good starter for those who have never explored.

Photo of berley31
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served with a spare-sized, off-white head. Body is clear with a touch of haziness, and a dark-brown color.

S: Smells of average, roasted malt. Not as robust here as I would have expected from the style.

T: Taste, however, comes across much with a very nice, roasted flavor. Moderately sweet with a short duration. Nothing fantastic, but still quite respectable and enjoyable.

M: Light-bodied with an oily/creamy texture. Soft carbonation.

D: Quite easy to drink, the aroma is disappointing but the taste of the beer starts to make up for what lacks in the smell. A very decent entry from Bar Harbor Brewing.

Photo of almychristopher
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a nice clear brown color with an off white head with that recedes to thin layer of lace. the aroma speaks of the sweet roasted malts that are dominant in the taste. this beer is a pretty good brown, and fairly true to the english style. the lack of hops makes it a bit unexciting for me, but the medium body and good co2 make it an easy drinker. thunder hole is kind of cool, but not as good as the view from mt. cadilac.

Photo of Kallessin
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Full foamy light tan head. Clear dark brown cola-like appearance.

Light roasty aroma, with a little sweetness and a some other faint hop aromas.

Has some light sweet roasted malt flavors with a little toastiness. There's a slight hoppiness to it with again a toasty aftertaste. There's not a ton of flavors here, it's fairly mild, but it's still very pleasing.

I find the mouthfeel pretty thin, yet smooth. Light to moderate carbonation. I would like a little more body to it.

Overall I think it's a good solid brown ale, good for a session, although I only brought back a single 22oz bottle from Bar Harbor. There not a lot to think about when drinking it; very enoyable.

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a trnslucent brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, roasted and crystal malt scent along with some light yeast esters. The taste is decent. It has a smooth mix of dry roasted malts with a bit of caramel sweetness. It's also got some oxidized off flavors. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a pretty good English brown, but I can't see it being a gold medal winner.

Photo of rhinos00
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

A- Pours a brown color with shades of garnet hues throughout. Great amount of clarity. Revealed a tan head with some retention.

S- Smelled of earth and roasted pecans. Maybe a little bit of sweetness from the malts. Underwhelming for sure.

T- Slightly better than the aroma. There was a pleasant sweetness and a bit of nuttiness up front. However, there was a distinct earthy flavor at the end of each sip...I really wasn't digging it.

M- Light to medium bodied. Left a dry mouthfeel. Decent carbonation.

D- While the taste was not that complex, there was nothing overly offensive. Couple that with the low abv and this one goes down pretty easily.

Overall, I probably won't bother with trying this again unless someone offered it to me.

Photo of JRed
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in body.Slight roast, chocolate, alcohol,malt in the nose. Weak chocolate, hops, malt, spices in flavor. Medium bodied brew with weak flavors that don't stand out too well. It's a very subtle English brown, the only thing that stands out to me are the sweets which can be quite annoying toward the end of the drink.

Photo of tigg924
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
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 joerodiii
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice, mild brew. While I generally prefer my browns a bit more robust, this beer offers a clean, flavorful ale with low ABV...a nice session beer.

It is a fairly clear and light brown with a small head. The aroma is a blend of crystal malt sweetness and light hops. Crystal malts dominate the flavor, but it is well supported by the grassy hops. There is also a slight biscuity flavor.

The beer is thin, which is OK, but the carbonation is a bit high.

Although it is not the most amazing beer I've had, its mix of easy drinking with a lot of subtle flavors makes this a very drinkable brew.

Photo of JohnQVegas
2.68/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown, bit of a tan head.

Aroma is a bit roasty and just a tad nutty.

Taste is a bit of roasty malt, a bit nutty. Finish is just a bit nutty, maybe the tiniest hint of cocoa, watery. Not much of anything really.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin, watery, carbonation seems just a bit off, comes close to dominating the flavor.

Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a frothy light tan head that tickles lace down the sides of the pint glass

Smell: Brown bread, with hints of malted milk balls and caramel

Taste: Opens with a brown bread and malted milk flavor, along with a kick a hops that adds a nut skin bitterness; by mid-palate, a bit of caramel adds a touch of sweetness; after the swallow, the nut skin bitterness becomes even more pronounced, although the other flavors remain present in a more muted fashion

Mouthfeel: A bit overcarbonated, with a medium body

Drinkability: The carbonation gets in the way a bit with this beer, but it is otherwise a decent example of the style

Thanks, mikeale, for the opportunity

Thunder Hole Ale from Bar Harbor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 209 ratings.