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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.

194 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 8
Gots: 3 | 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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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of geexploitation


3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, nutty brown with a head that is initially huge before fading to a thin layer and a collar. Aromas of caramel malts, some drying English style hops and smooth, residually sweet notes (think old molasses) that round things out but keep things suitably low-key. On the palate, bitter first off, with lots of carbonation that fills the mouth. Bright, hoppier bitterness comes through at the mid-palate, along with some chocolatey malt flavors. Mouthfeel is overcarbonated and a tad light on the malts. Overall, this is a decent brown ale, but nothing to get too excited about.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 03:17:52 | More by geexploitation
Photo of Nipitato


3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber while on vacation in Bar Harbor, ME.

A: Dark amber brown hue. Brilliant clarity. Topped with a thin off white head.

S: Toasty – almost roasted. Some light fruity ester. No bitterness or hop aroma.

T: Malty sweet with toasted and caramel character. Nice bitter finish provides balance. Some light fruity esters add complexity.

MF: Medium light body. Well carbonated.

D, notes: An eminently sessionable beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2007 18:00:05 | More by Nipitato
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - rich auburn / brown color, off white head
S - nutty malty caramel notes dominate
T - similar to the nose but with a prominent roasted grain / coffe note in the background.
M - medium bodied, lively carbonation, dry slighltly roasted note lingering in the finish.
D - a flavor packed brown ale that's easy to quaff and still keep standing. Something of a rarity in today's ever increasing ABV.

a bit dryer in the finish than most brown ales I've had as of late. Pleasing alternative take on the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2007 12:55:56 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from purplehops courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a medium, foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, maple and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very malty with a good amount of sweetness and flavors of caramel, nuts and maple. There’s a mild hops presence that comes in and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky but clean for the style.

D: Pretty tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, very good representation of style, this is a very nice beer that you can drink for a whole evening, especially if you’re not in the mood for something hoppy but don’t want something as heavy as a stout. Overall, this is a very good beer and one of the best brown ales that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2007 03:01:59 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of number1bum


4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber purchased at the brewery earlier this summer pours a reddish brown with nice clarity and a soft, creamy beige head. Head recedes slowly and retains a nice lace, also leaving a little patchy stick on the sides of the glass.

Smell has a nice sweetness to it, with caramel malt primarily. Also a hint of hops and some nutty aroma.

Very pleasant, smooth and straightforward flavor. Caramel malt and grain mingle with a nice nutty flavor and a bit of chocolate to make this sweet but smooth and easy drinking.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and nicely creamy. This is a very drinkable brown ale (a drinkable style to begin with).

You're not going to find this outside of Maine, but if you see it in the state pick it up. It's quite good.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2007 20:40:39 | More by number1bum
Photo of mobud


3.13/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into nonic pint glass.

A- A dark caramel brown with an active head that remains thru the sample.

S- Very malty with some fruit salad notes.

T- Not as sweet as expected from the smell, but nice level brown ale taste with some roasted malts and a slight sweetness that balances it out.

M- Very light.

D- This beer was very drinkable to me. I think they only do bombers and you have to get them in Maine, so this was a nice beer to try that I will never see again.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 18:24:35 | More by mobud
Photo of kimcgolf


3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very tasty medium bodied ale that poured to a medium brown color with decent carbonation and an off-white head that left okay lacing. The nose was a very pleasant roasted nutty malt, and the flavor followed suit. Although only 5% in alcohol, this left a sweet, tasty, somewhat warming finish

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2007 01:10:29 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of PCmofo

New York

3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Beer is a rich brown color but still surprisingly clear with only a small amount of haze.
S- It has a subtle caramel/mocha smell to it that is not overpowering.
T- This beer is full of flavor and has a wonderful coffee/caramel taste to it with a slightly bitter hops finish
M- Mouthfeel is thinner than a guinness but not by much.
D- I think this beer comes in the 1pt 6oz bottle for a reason.... you probably only want to have one. Its a solid beer but I dont think I could drink more than a bottle or 2 of it.

Over all a great beer but not my favorite flavor.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2007 01:50:52 | More by PCmofo
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled "Brew #01910," 22-ounce bottle carried back from the brewery a few weeks ago by a good friend who knows my passion for craft beer. Sitting in a nonic, this ale is a lovely garnet-brown with a slightly noisy, substantial, smooth and clumpy light-sand head. Looks perfect to me. Nutty toasty aromas abound, along with some "summer fruit" esters that smell like melon, plum juice, and red grape skins. Some leafy herbal hop notes come through as well but only in a very gentle way. Hoppier flavor than I expected. It's bitter, but not in an American fashion by any means. These hops are grassy, herbal, slightly spicy, and tea-like. There is also a solid nutty malt base here, drier and more acrid than it is bready. Some soft fruit flavors (see aroma description above) are also noticeable. Very subtle mineral bite at the finish. Bright yet sturdy mouthfeel, nothing too filling but a bit heftier than I'd expect at only 4.8% abv. Smooth and dry overall with a slight peppery business at the finish. A very respectable drinker here. Not as outstanding and complex as their stout nor as special as their dark mild ale, but a fine, tasty, sessionable ale. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2007 02:03:25 | More by orfeu
Photo of briman


3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a medium dark reddish brown. About a 1/2 inch tan head, with huge bubbles. Average retention, not much lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, and toffee, with a touch of roastiness.

Flavor is toasted caramel malt, & toffee. Finishes with a slight hop note, and a little bit of a roasted malt character.

Medium body, moderately high carbonation. Balance is good. It does seem a bit over-carbonated, and I think I would like it better if it was less spritzy. Overall, though, a highly drinkable brown that would be good for a few in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2007 01:14:27 | More by briman
Photo of Hibernator


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bar Harbor Thunder Ale Hole Ale
22 oz brown bottle
Brew #01870
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours an amber brown becoming less pronounced at the bottom of the pint. Fluffy head on top leaving trails of lace behind.

Clean nose with whiffs of thick malt and a touch of spicy hops.

A solid brown ale that is pretty smooth showcasing a respectable malt presence. Tastes full-bodied and whole. Hints of cocoa with juicy caramel twist. Nice hop bite on the finish. Very well balanced overall and quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2007 17:42:45 | More by Hibernator
Photo of sulldaddy


4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of many ME brews that I purchased during a recent visit to the state. I am sampling at room temp and poured into a pint glass. THe beer purs a deep mahogany color with some deep ruby highlights. A soft fluffy beige head foams up and recedes slowly to a sturdy surface layer. First sip reveals an average body and slightly creamy texture. Mild rolling carbonation caresses my palate. Flavor is predominantly sweet malt, with caramel, toffee some chocolate powder and even a little bit of almond and dark fruit (plum) lingering in background. These last two flavors are very mild. Overally the brew is very smooth easy drinker with no hop presence to speak of. Quite a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2006 02:03:46 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of tavernjef


4.43/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Up to a strong light its browned ruby with a husky glow and dimmly clear in body. Solid dark leathery brown in the shadows. Perfect capping of light sandy brown, firmly set foam grows to just over an inch high and sinks slowly to keep an always plumply present amount. Adequate lacing in gooey-like patches and thick stringy globs stick across the glass. Eventually, a bunch of big spots remain. A very nice looking brown.

Aroma is slight and fair with a clean present essense of cocoa dusted graham crackers and a sliding caramel noting.

Taste is solid. Fluffy, mild, milk chocolate with a slight undertoned sweet malt of caramel and a snappy firm body at the healm. Tiny little ascents of cherry, apple, and powdered cocoa make for nice plays along the way. The cocoa becomes quite evident as it finishes well with a very nice fluffy-like dryness of powdered sugar mixed with creamed milk. A mild yet steady pace of flavors make this a very pleasing drinker.

Feel is also solid. Firm, soft, creamy, subtle, with a slight snap of carbonation in the front half. Medium bodied overall, perhaps a nudge more when colder. As it warms it becomes even, calming, and super damn drinkable. A solid brown. A well done brew in a style that in most cases is a bit boring. This has lasting interest and flavor. Solid and sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2006 00:11:41 | More by tavernjef
Photo of Phatz


4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is sort of a terrible name but here is the break down:

Appearance: Pours a garnet chestnut brown color that is hazy but does let some light show through.

Smell: The aroma is a bit small but there is hints of grassy hops with along with the malts.

Taste: Smooth and malty, brown sugar flavor. Typical brown ale taste. Easy and pleasant. I like the aftertaste. It has just the right amount of grassy hop flavor balancing nicely, with the beautiful sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth.

Drinkability: As a fan of Brown Ales I find this to be a typical easy drinking, approachable (small) Brown Ale.

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2006 05:36:26 | More by Phatz
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 11:57:52 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of jmz62565


3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 01:53:38 | More by jmz62565
Photo of waughbrew


4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

[brew # 01746 purchased in February at Downeast Bev. Co.]

A nice brownish red with black lowlights, small fizzy unretentive no-lace head. Very aromatic malts with some good chocolate, faint coffee with actually a little rubbing alcohol(! there is a surprise for a 4.8 beer!) and band-aid. Very nutty too, leading to a cool, complex nose. Flavor is earthy dates with a little fig and grain, but overall pretty mellow. Finish is morphing, complex cold coffee, graininess, and earthy bitterness. Even with a proper pour, the feel is a little sizzly at first and a little dead after that. I prefered it dead, but I would rather not have to choose between those two.

Despite the poor look and feel, this is one nice drinking brew. I like it more than the numbers will show, and I would be pleased to have it often. Cheers Bar Harbor Brewing Co.!

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 22:45:29 | More by waughbrew
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured either a deep khaki or a light brown depending on my mood. I keep going back and forth on the color. Very clear. Nice and thick sponge-like head. Nose is very low-key. Slightly malty with just a bit of a nut presence.

Flavour is rich and smooth. Malts are present at first in a dry, toasty way but then quickly mellow to a sugared hazelnut flavor. Some biscuits as well. Very, very slight hoppy grassiness towards the back end of each sip makes for a nice balance.

Silky and creamy mouthfeel with just a lsight dryness. A nice unassuming session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2005 19:06:16 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of goodbyeohio


4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks erik

majestic head.. even and tight with random big bubbles. orange and red shines through the predominantly hazy brown body. looks like a substantial brown, just what i want my EBA to look like.

smell and flavor carry a creamy almond nuttiness with a light spicing of green euro hops. fresh toasted botanical flavor layered into charred malts with appealing bitterness. finishes with hints of fresh cut grass. dry and crisp overall, slightly fizzy and very drinkable. pretty much a perfect brown save the bubbles.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 14:31:50 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.05/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light tan, three finger head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Deep, clear amber color. Nose is nuts and coffee. Starts slightly malty, hints of burnt coffee, finish is smooth but a touch of bitterness. $3.99 for a 22oz bottle from Otter Creek Market Otter Creek, Me.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2005 22:20:06 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear brown in color with some amber highlights. Thin 1/2" head which falls to surface foam quickly. Aroma is full of toffee and floral hops. The flavor consisted of toffee, mild nuttiness, pumpernickel bread, and a soft bitterness.

Mouthfeel was smooth at the start, and finished smooth with the toasted nuts and toffee softly lingering on the tongue. Very nice drinkability - overall a decent brown.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2005 11:26:53 | More by Gavage
Photo of DrJay


3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown with a slight haze. Small bit of light brown, reddish head that remained for quite a little while. Grassy hop aroma with chocolate malt followed by a bit of caramel. This follows through into the flavour, along with acidity and a light bitterness. Short finish. Coarse, high carbonation with a dry, grainy texture. Overall, not bad but a little lacking. Thanks Viggo.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2005 23:29:05 | More by DrJay
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown/orange, slightly hazy from the bottle conditioning, small off white head, some lace. Smell is chocolate, sweet malt, grassy hops, floral and roasty. Taste is sweet chocolate, grassy/citrus hops, some rich malt and a clean bitterness. Light bodied, medium-high carbonation, really coats the mouth, tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2005 18:00:33 | More by Viggo
Photo of OldSock

District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance and Presentation – 22 oz bomber with “Brew 01610” stamped on the side. When the beer is poured into my pint glass it is a dark brown that turns dark red when held to the light. The creamy light-tan head has pretty good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell – Smells English, light herbal hops and some good roasted malts. It has the faint aroma of coffee with some herbs that I can’t recognize thrown in.

Taste – At 50 degrees I actually think that this is too cold. My first few tastes are pretty bland, not much hop presence, just a smooth, slightly sweet, toasted-malt flavor. Toffee and coffee both come to mind, but neither is that strong. As the beer get warmer it doesn’t get too much more flavorful, but the hops begin to peak their herbal flavor through and give the beer balance. The finish also gets more dry as the beer warms as well.

Mouthfeel – Medium body with carbonation that is a bit too strong for me.

Drinkability and Notes – This is a good looking, solid American made English brown ale. It is certainly easy to drink, but it lacks the characteristic nutty flavors and complexity of classic English brown ales. Nothing worth seeking out, but a good buy if you see it.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 21:49:29 | More by OldSock
Photo of jjboesen


3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My sample is from a 22-ounce bottle purchased about a month ago during a trip to Portland - it may not be as fresh as other samplings. A dark, ruby red color, Thunder Hole (great name) opens with a thick head that dissopates very quickly - too quickly, actually - into a thin transparent layer, leaving no lacing. There is a mild nuttiness, but nothing comparable to previous reviews. Still a quaffable beverage; wish I had others from this brewery with which to compare.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2005 02:25:00 | More by jjboesen
Thunder Hole Ale from Bar Harbor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.