Thunder Hole Ale
Atlantic Brewing Company

Thunder Hole AleThunder Hole Ale
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Brown Ale - English
Ranked #60
Ranked #37,011
3.73 | pDev: 11.8%
Atlantic Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Thunder Hole AleThunder Hole Ale
Notes: 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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Reviews: 128 | Ratings: 252 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this both at the lobster place just outside Bar Harbor and also brought a bottle home from the pub. It poured a clear dark mahogany with very thin white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent and taste had roast, dark fruit and dark chocolate. The beer was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall its a solid beer.

Aug 16, 2019
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a 12-oz. bottle pours a clear deep dark brown with dark amber highlights.
A strong pour yields a thin short lived dark beige head with almost no lacing.
Roasted malt smell with some coffee and piney hops in the background.
Taste begins bitter and semi-dry, roasted malt leads with caramel malt and dried figs.
The middle is not as bitter with an apple cider twinge. The finish has coffee ahead of the malts as it drys and bitters. A spicy, bitter and astringent aftertaste lingers a while.
Medium-light body with below average carbonation, smooth in spite of the bitterness.
On the dry/bitter side of the style yet still enjoyable.

Jan 09, 2019
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twosheds from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown with tan head

Smells sweet and nutty.

Starts off similar to smell wity nuts and brown sugar. Then has a slight bitterness to balance it.

A pretty straightforward, but delicious nut brown. I would definitely get again.

Jul 15, 2018
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Eamonn-Cummings3 from New York

4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a can shaped glass.

Look is a dark cola color with an off white head.

Aroma is of astrigent roasted malt.

Nice light roastiness to the beer, pretty excellent.

Jul 06, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a thick dark brown, and gives a nice foamy creamy head that leaves a decent lacing in rings. The head is small and dissipates within several seconds. The smell is the malts with just a tad of coffee backed up nicely by some toffee. The taste is the malts again with just a bit of the coffee and the toffee. The palate is about a light to medium on the watery side. Overall, pretty nice English brown ale for the most part.

Jun 11, 2017
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MacMalt from New Jersey

3.67/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

No date on bottle. Poured into pint glass. It pours a color between orange and cola, with a thin, ecru-colored head and lacing. It smells of roasted malt, cherry, caramel, and faint chocolate. The taste features nutty malt, subdued caramel, and hints of chocolate and cherry. It finishes somewhat sour and with a slight hoppy bitterness. I disagree with the description of "full-bodied." I found it to be rather thin, but easily drinkable at 4.8% ABV. Overall, nothing really stands out to me. I cannot discern the age of the bottle and it may have fallen off it bit.

Jan 07, 2017
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argock from Virginia

3.57/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. Best by 01/21/17 smudged on the bottle neck.

A: Burnished chestnut with 2-finger light beige frothy head with good retention and respectable lace.

S: Medium caramel notes, light coffee and chocolate notes with a soft herbal hops note in the finish. Yeast esters are lightly fruity.

T: Very similar to the aroma profile with soft light and medium caramel notes blended with espresso and milk chocolate flavors finished with lightly bitter herbal hop note. Yeast esters are light adding a little fruity complexity. No alcohol detectable.

M: Smooth and light bodied with relatively low carbonation.

O: Enjoyable but not overly challenging brown ale -- nice sessionable offering nonetheless.

Aug 19, 2016
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chicagoish from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours nice clear nut brown, topped with thin head and no lace.

S- Light sweet. Mild.

T- Similar to nose. Starts with a slightly sweet malt taste.

M- A bit thin and watery. Decent mild carbonation.

O-. Pretty nice offering . Easy to drink. Smooth

Sep 13, 2015
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Jan 24, 2015
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gonzo000 from Massachusetts

3.31/5  rDev -11.3%

This beer is above average. Molasses rules the day for me, a taste not usually associated with a brown. Head was HUGE - 4 fingers on the pour. Too much carbonation. The head settles to a .5 finger head of thicker foam that lasts. The finish of this beer is not great.

Oct 09, 2014
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thunder Hole; a questionable name for a beer.

Pours out a deep reddish-brown. Glazing microsuds cloud the top. There doesn't seem to be a whole lotta carbonation in this sucker.

Malty brown ale nuttiness with some appealing bitter relief. Not far estranged from flavors of light roast coffee and English toffee. A little tea-like with an earthiness that has good character. I like this aroma.

Ooh, great flavor! Earthy roast, toffee malts, light roast coffee, chicory root, Earl Grey tea, and a finishing minerality. Very easy to drink, and appropriately tasty. Maybe, exceedingly tasty for an American Brown. Mouthfeel lacks from a blandness of low levels of carbonation and a wet medium body. Zapped. Needs some chew or some foam to cut through. Otherwise, a brown ale that is more than trustworthy. I would go to this.

Jan 19, 2014
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metter98 from New York

3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Nov 27, 2013
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beergoot from Colorado

3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown body with a thick yet quickly dissipating head that leaves a sparse swirl of foam on top. Roasted grains and nuts in the aroma; a bit of dark chocolate. Taste follows the nose along with a twinge of hop bitterness that builds and lingers at the end. Medium bodied, smooth finish.

Lacing still appeared on the glass despite looking pretty weak and thin. But the aroma and taste really pull this one up. There is a lot of caramel and semi-sweet chocolate notes in this one. Pretty good job of presenting the malt highlights.

Oct 16, 2013
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

3.49/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, mahogany coloring that is vibrant under light, with a frothy, light, off-white head that quickly settles into a sparse coating. Aromas of rich nutty sweetness, with hints of hazelnut and almond. Very sweet on the nose. Flavors are rich and sweet on a light, crisp body. Nut sweetness is cut by the beer's body, and the roastiness is all that carries over into the aftertaste. Flavors fall off a bit, and there is a semisweet, slightly watery finish to the brew.

Apr 15, 2013
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sommersb from Tennessee

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 08-10-2012
Freshness: Best by 12-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, twist-cap
Glassware: Schooner
Purchased: Received in a trade

Clear, reddish-amber color, with a tan head of 2 fingers. Lacing and head retention are good.

Smells are of caramel, roasted malts and some nutty aroma.

Tastes include caramel malts, and woody/earth hops. More malty sweet than hoppy bitter.

Mouthfeel has a high amount of carbonation and a finish that is balanced well between dry and sweet.

Overall a very good brown ale, my favorite so far from Bar Harbor.

Thanks to Greg for this one!

Aug 11, 2012
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Aug 03, 2012
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woosterbill from Kentucky

3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear, deep persimmon body under a finger of frothy off-white head that settles slowly into a ring and leaves some spotty lace. Lovely color.

S: Nutty, roasty, and hoppy. Very herbal in terms of hops, but the roundly dark malts take center stage. Nice.

T: Soft, bittersweet roasted malts. Dark fruit, nuttiness, and a hint of chocolate. Herbal hops lend some balance and mild bitterness on the finish. Tasty.

M: Medium body, highly frothy carbonation. A bit much, but still pleasant.

O: Really pleasant beer. Not a style I really like, but this one is totally enjoyable.


Aug 03, 2012
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Cavanaghty from Maine

3.19/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Apr 27, 2012
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BeerKangaroo from Alaska

3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass:

A: dark brown colored body that yields a foamy creamy head that leaves a decent ringy lacing. The head is small and dissipates within several seconds.

S: malts with just a tad of coffee. Some toffee presents itself as well as the beer warms.

T: malts again, with just a bit of the coffee and toffee.

M: light, leaning on the watery side.

O: I like this beer. It may not be one of the best "browns," but it still does the trick.

Apr 10, 2012
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WVbeergeek from West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

Apr 06, 2012
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capeannbass36 from Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours an exceptionally clear reddish brown, topped with a 1/2 finger off white head. Next to no lacing at all.

S- Initially slightly sweet malt followed by a somewhat mineral water scent.

T- Similar to nose. Starts with a slightly sweet malt taste, finishing almost metallic.

M- A bit thin and watery. Decent carbonation.

O- Nothing bad, but nothing all that memorable. Just o.k. Easy to drink.

Apr 01, 2012
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tobelerone from New Jersey

3.16/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I used to vacation at Thunder Hole when I was a kid so my dad bought me this bottle for sentimental value. Turns out to be a very typical brown, nothing particularly noteworthy, drinkable and slightly above average. Brown with reddish highlights, good sized head. Retention and lacing both solid. Mild malty, bready aroma with a faint mineral note.

Taste follows the nose; mostly bready malt and a subdued floral hoppiness on the finish. Lesser aspects of roast, nuts, light sweetness. Again, the mineral/metallic note is in there and not particularly appealing. Body was medium to a little thin, with fairly high carbonation. Dry finish. Felt a little prickly. I would have liked a smoother overall mouthfeel.

Mar 21, 2012
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ckollias from Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours an amber-brown hue with a huge, 4-finger, tan head that slowly dissipates into a solid persistent lace.

S: Strong malty hoppy aroma. Hint of toasted malt in the background.

T: Smooth malty nut brown flavor which is an equal part sweet and bitter.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: This is a solid nut brown ale. Very smooth and tasty.

Feb 25, 2012
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far333 from Connecticut

3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Dec 17, 2011
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speter from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruddy brown with a two-finger tan head in the style of a southern English ale. Moderate lacing.

S: Toffee and brown sugar dominate the nose. There's hints of light-roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee and a bit of cinnamon.

T: Toasted walnuts and pecans with a light sprinkling of Dutch cocoa. Overall, not very complex, but refreshing. There is an American, rather than an English, feel to the aftertaste, which is quite bitter, which plays up the walnut characteristics of the beer.

M: Well done in the southern English style. The body is light and the carbonation is restrained.

O: This is a very nice Anglo-American Brown Ale. You could well view it as a premium version of more well-known brands like Newcastle.

Nov 11, 2011
Thunder Hole Ale from Atlantic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 252 ratings