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Thumbprint Spiced Ale - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint Spiced AleThumbprint Spiced Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

43 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 252
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 12.89%
Wants: 5
Gots: 22 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  8.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Ri0 on 01-10-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our heady Spiced Ale summons escape from the ordinary. Lavish English and Wisconsin Malts slow brewed caramel goodness into this beefy bronze Strong Ale registering 20 degrees Plato O.G. Aged on Oak in the Open Top Cellar so that Cassia Cinnamon, Ginger and Allspice could be carefully hand stirred into the velvety Toffee notes of this aromatic Spiced Ale. 100% Naturally Bottle fermented to warm the chill from your soul.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 252
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Appearance: A nice bubble show builds a huge ecru-colored head to sit on the hazy amber liquid; excellent retention and lacing action

Smell: Caramel, oak, cinnamon and ginger

Taste: Caramel tones, up front, with the spices quickly taking hold, bringing the cinnamon and ginger "red hot" tones; vanilla and oak appear, after the swallow, along with a boozy character that makes this taste more like an Old Fashioned cocktail than a beer

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and moderately carbonated but brings the heat

Overall: I can see why this beer has caused such a schism among the reviewers; I can taste the complexity and I understand what the brewer was going for but I can't say that I would want to taste it again as an Old Fashioned is not the type of thing I care to drink (and I suspect that is the case for many other BAs, as well); still, I rated it higher than I thought I would because I admire the craftsmanship

Thanks, WI-Beer-Man, for the opportunity

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.8/5  rDev 0%

"Spiced ale" can go a lot of different directions. But when the sensible nature of New Glarus decides to embark upon the trend, the mind, palate and spirit begins to anticipate the quintessential essence of balance, intrigue and surprise to occur.

And the ambiguous "spiced" ale delivers upon such promises as its beautiful mahogany pour unleashes a short-lived ecru head that pops at every opportunity to reward the nose with nutmeg, clove, ginger and a stern tilt toward cinnamon.

Its beautiful allspice medley remains cinnamon balanced while its undertow of toffee, biscuit and cashew suggest English tendencies while brown sugar and french-toast begin to seep into the palate. Shy of fruitcake, a rummy sweetness and spiciness eludes to what's to be expected in finish.

As the taste slowly recedes, its finish is warm, spicy and pleasantly numbing. Trying to capture the taste and texture of spiced rum, the ale takes a spice-forward demeanor in closure while those maple echoes return to reward the tastebuds with echoes after echoes.

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Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly hazed amber orange, plenty of foam initially, settles to a fingers width of skim and chunks of lace hanging around the edges of the glass.

Aroma is pleasant, caramelized plantains in syrup, toffee, nutmeg, cinnamon. Nicely complex and far better than the majority of Winter Warmers I've had.

Medium bodied with slightly low carb and packed with flavor. Banana esters, light buttery vanilla oak traces, nutmeg, cinnamony cassia that doesn't put off any heat. A little rum-like. Not overwhelming, an interesting unique mix of flavors. Can't say I've had an oak aged winter warmer before. Overall this isn't as bad as some have made it out to be.

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Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to rudzud I think, for giving this to me.

Pours a decent creamy 1 finger head that fades at a med to slower pace, decent lacing, mostly clear rosy reddish orange beer.

Nose has an apple tea mulling spice like aroma, some fair spices, cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, etc, as well as some apple cider like notes, a creamy like almost diacetyl thing, the more I smell the more I get buttery oak, toasted oak as well. That's actually about it.

Taste brings more spices, big cinnamon right out front, clove, allspice, cardamom, etc, lots of mulling spices. Then into apple cider again, a little tart apple note, a touch of acidity I think too. then into heat, some spices nice cinnamon heat as well as pepper like heat but that could all be from the cinnamon, etc. A touch of sweetness, syrupy caramel and toffee like, etc, and a little tingly booez. Then a faint toasted buttery oak. Also a bit of ginger in the center, etc. Finish is sticky sryupy sweet, a bit more ginger and cinnamon heat, as well as mulling spices, little more apple cider, and sweet syrupy caramel candies, and some warming booze on the back end.

Mouth is med to a bit bigger bod, little syrupy, lots of carbonation, a little tingly heat.

Overall decent, I do like the mulling spices and ginger, etc, apple notes are interesting as well but not great, oak is an interesting addition, booze kicks in a bit.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tumbler.

Aw, it looks like VDubb and the Mrs. were thinking of me in Wisconsin, 'cause they brought me a bottle o' this. Good people. It pours a clear ruby-garnet topped by a finger or so of rich khaki foam. The nose comprises allspice, toasted caramel, light French toast, and a touch of dark greens. The taste brings in more of the same, with an emphasis on the caramel, but plenty o' spice breaks on through, especially cinnamon, ginger, light black pepper, and mace. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a solid brew, if a touch one-dimensional with the heavy spicing. I'd have another if given the opportunity.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with red foil-ed over green/gold branded pry-off pressure cap acquired in a trade with my long-time trade partner Duff27 and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, TX. Expectations are sky-high given the brewery, whose work I love. Reviewed live. Reviewed as a spiced ale because the label and name identify it clearly as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white colour. Decent thickness and creaminess. Okay complexion. Okay consistency. Head retention is quite good - about 8+ minutes. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent copper of above average vibrance. No yeast particles/sediment is visible; it's quite clean. Good clarity.

Overall, it's a pretty good looking beer that I'm excited to try. While not unique or special, it doesn't have any overt flaws.

Sm: I'm immediately assaulted by spices and herbs. Ginger, mint, evergreen, spruce, coriander, and allspice are the most prominent. I have trouble finding any cinnamon. There's also plenty of honey, light oak wood, pale malts, clean barley, and English malts. The spruce/evergreen/oak/wood notes are easily the highlight here. I also pick up some light bready notes - banana bread? Hopwise, I get some vague fruity and floral character which works well with the malts. It's got just about the perfect amount of residual sugars based on the aroma.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

A very inviting and pleasant aroma of above average strength. Surprisingly, it's more herbal than spicy.

T: Oh wow. Fantastic balance. The spices and herbs (all mentioned above) work fantastically with the honey and English malt base. The subtle floral hop character plays well with the malts. The woody (spruce/oak/evergreen) notes aren't as prominent here as they are in the aroma, but damn do they work well. I'm not finding the cinnamon here, but I do pick up on some caramel as well as the ginger and allspice. Maybe coriander too. The aroma evoked banana bread but I can't find it here.

The balance is incredible. The build is extremely cohesive, but not quite gestalt. It incorporates a ton of complex flavours and nuances, and is pretty intricate for a spiced ale. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour. There's a lot of flavour here and all of the notes work together to form an impressive and enjoyable whole. I'm really liking this beer.

I will say that it has some American malts that dilute its otherwise English character - and however it's accomplishing that, I like it. I can't tell what kind of malts they used, but the malt selection is damn near perfect.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Perfectly carbonated. Great body and thickness. It's got an ideal weight on the palate for the flavour profile. In fact, I'd say this texture feels custom-tailored to the taste. While not perfect, it's a damn good complement to the flavour profile and helps coax out the nuances of the taste. Great presence on the palate. It has a nice softness.

Not astringent, gushed, oily, hot, or boozy.

Dr: More great work from New Glarus. Easily the best spiced beer I've had in recent memory. I'd easily recommend this to friends and trade partners and I'd absolutely get it again - preferably by the 6 pack. It's a fantastic brew for almost any season and I can't see why anyone would dislike it. I'm really glad I got to try this, so huge thanks to Duff27. Just a damn solid brew from one of the best institutions in the business. The thumbprint series continues to blow me away.

To nitpick, more of an oak presence would really round out this beer.

High B

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Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large layer of fluffy beige tan head. Color is a clear gold hued copper.

Flavor profile: Brown sugar, toffee, caramel, cinnamon, ginger, and other spices I probably have never heard of. It has a dried cherry flavor and a some biscuity malts. I am also picking up some raisin notes.

Mouthfeel: Kind of dry. Light to medium bodied. Good carbonation. Ends fairly clean, but some of the spices linger around.

Overall, for this being a spiced beer it was fairly enjoyable. I had no idea it was 8.8% as you really can't taste it. Half a bottle would be enough for me on this one.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting beer....would put it on par with most winter/Xmas ales. The beer pours a rich amber with white head that is leaving a nice lace. The scent is pine, nut meg and cinnamon. The taste follows the scent closely. Themouthfeel is medium in body with decent carbonation. Overall its good....but one is enough for me.

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Photo of rudzud
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice lightly hazy dark amber/copper hue with a one finger super faint tan head that fades to leave a thin, creamy blanket and no real side lacing.

S - Aromas of apples, cinnamon stick, allspice, faint ginger, faint oak.

T - Taste is rather boozy, faint cinnamon stick, allspice, and ginger. The apples are very faint too. It is rather potpourri with big toffee notes. This is definitely a strong ale, heavy emphasis on the strong side.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, which keeps it light on the tongue, but, still is a sipper.

O - Overall this was a fun, aromatic beer. I think it might benefit from some aging to let that alcohol die down some.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a nonic.
(A)- Pours a deep and dark caramel colored amber. Produced a giant cap of frothy white with great retention and thick rings of lacing all the way down the glass as it slowly dissipated.
(S)- A rich and welcoming spice box. Clove, vanilla, toffee, caramel, nutmeg, and cinnamon on the make for one sexy aroma.
(T)- Quite similar to the smell. This lovely rich sweetness of caramel and toffee meets a very rustic but deep spice flavors that work very well together without it tasting muddled.
(M)- A good carbonation level meets a superb balance of spice and sweet richness without being too rich or heavy.
(O)- A wonderful beer. Everything works so well together. Not sure if an old ale, american strong, or winter warmer, but in any case this is superb and would be a great alternative to a pumpkin ale during the colder months

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Photo of barczar
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a clear deep amber with copper highlights and a foamy cream head that lingers.

Aroma is dominated by floral notes, along with ginger, clove, and cinnamon. Unfortunately for me, ginger is overwhelming. There's a bit of candy sweetness and toffee evident.

Flavor reveals cola notes, attributable to the ginger and candi sugar interaction. Not my favorite. Cinnamon and clove are easily detected, as well. There's a fruity malt/ester note underneath.

Body is moderate, with prickly carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Not a fan of ginger in my beer, or overly spiced beers, in general. Just not my cup of tea. Spices are way overdone.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells awesome. Vegetal, Fall warming spices of nugmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Not to sweet, semi dry finish. Great medium thick mouthfeel. Coats your pallet. This is up there with the best Fall beers I've ever had. Solid.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8.8% ABV

A - This hazy copper-colored beer pours with some life, filling the snifter with a lace-leaving off-white head.

S - A subtle blend of wintery spices joins forces with fresh potpourri and earthy banana esters for a lively aromatic entry. Caramel dipped pralines add slightly nutty characteristics to the malt base of this beer as it finishes with faint warming alcohol.

T - Rich caramel-drizzled bread coats the tongue with warming maltiness as the soft spiciness sets in, bringing a wonderful potpourri blend to the foreground gently.

M - With a medium body and smooth texture, Spiced Ale makes an impressive entry that grows nicely spicy only to finish with warming alcohol; a perfect way to end the beer.

O - New Glarus' Spiced Ale decorates the tongue with a blend of potpourri that compliments the beer's rich base of caramel-drizzled bread, finishing with warming alcohol. The whole package is conducive to cold weather enjoyment, especially where the spice and warming alcohol are concerned but, since it's a little higher octane, this would be a prime candidate for setting aside for next year's harsh Wisconsin winter as well.

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Photo of cbutova
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed during the last week when out of service area/Wifi in WY/UT. Full phone notes taken at the Rustic Inn, Jackson, WY.

A- Fairly dark amber pour to a small hotel room glass. A one finger off white cap forms with nice retention and a puffy foamy texture. Thick patches of lace result after each sip.

S- Ginger and allspice seem to be the prevailing aromas in this bottle with cinnamon and malts coming in behind that. Medium caramelized malts, fruits and general spiciness.

T- The spices really open up here and take over with enough ginger, cinnamon and allspice to remind me of a pumpkin ale. Apple fruit esters, raisin, phenolic spice, earthy, vanilla sweetness and caramel malts.

MF- Medium bodied ale with a creamy texture that is slightly chewy. Carbonation really puffs up on thr palate at a medium high level. Spiciness coats the palate in the finish from the ginger and cinnamon.

I know this is a spiced ale but the spices truly are a bit much. The malts and yeast try to balance it out but the added spices feel harsh even compared to Pumpkin Ales.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Jan2! Enjoyed from a new glarus flute.

a - brew poured an amber brown. Great champagne like carbonation with a nice full bubbly head and streaky lacing.

s - nose is odd. Clove, banana, sugar, vedgies and white spicing.

t - much like the nose the tadte is odd. Leads with ginger. Very vedgie with some banana wheat sugar clove toffee and a hint of toastedness like an amber ale with some earthiness.

m - a bit prickly and heavy handed on the sweet

o - overall a tickers gonna tick but is isnt anything i would want more than a bottle of.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from the Jan-Feb 2014 Thumbprint release. Poured into a New Glarus pilsner glass today, 1/21/2014 as a post-workout beer.

App- clear, light brown mahogany body. Thick, fluffy tan head that recedes in just the right amount of time allowing the pour to continue. Lots of lacing.

Smell- Spices- clove, ginger and nutmeg, faint cinnamon. Bubblegum. Toffee, caramel sweetness.

Flavour- Bubblegum, cloves, toffee, caramel, some warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel- lighter-medium body, good carbonation, crisp and drying. Alcohol is apparent on the backend, supplemented by the spices that linger.

Overall- not Dan's best creation; I actually like Winter Warmer better. The finish detracts a lot for me, with the alcohol heat mixed in with the spices.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I gotta' say I'm a little surprised by the low scores on this one. This is an incredibly rich and complex drink which I found immensely interesting and enjoyable.
Nice amber color and whitish head with o.k. stamina.
Aroma was not as rich and complex as the flavor but still nice and interesting with many of the aspects to be described forthwith.
First thing I noticed with the taste was the classic (for New Glarus) fruitiness that comes from his wild ales with a slight tartness but fruit non-the-less. Next was the oak, wood and vanilla. Then the caramel/toffee flavors with a shot of richness and full body flavor. And finally the spiciness, esp. the allspice but also the drying that seems to come from spiced beer. Subsequent drinks were an adventure in what would present next in a fun an interesting way. Any of the above could show in any level of balance or blending. It was really nice. Alcohol was very hidden and made minimal if any appearance in flavor or feel.
A slightly thin body for style but certainly still in the moderate zone with a bit above average carbonation.
I enjoyed this very much. Went well with the a first time listening of the re-releases of the first 3 L.Z. albums at the roost (Wow that 's rich too).

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Photo of homebrew311
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a mostly clean orange with generous three finger head. One the head settles, it leaves behind a coating on the glass. The aroma is, well, spiced... Just like the name implies. Notes of bubblegum, nutmeg, clove and coriander all present with hints of orange and banana in the back. The taste starts with heavy spice which come off a little over the top on the palate. The clove brings a bitterness to the flavor and almost makes it taste medicinal. The finish is more of the same with some sweetness and citrus fruit towards the end. Overall, this one does not work that well for my tastes.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall New Glarus Signature Pilsner Glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and fairly hazy amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Big three finger off white head with decent retention. Leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A very spicy and fruity malt forward aroma with big hints of winter spices and oak. Huge upfront mix of winter type spices with hints of cinnamon, clove, ginger, allspice, and cardamon. Solid barrel presence with hints of oak, wood, and vanilla. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet scent of brown sugar. Fruit hints of banana, raisin, and fig. Hops are pretty light. A very solid spicy aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very spicy, woody, and fruity malt forward taste with big notes of winter spices, oak, and malt. Big upfront taste of winter spices with notes of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, and cardamon. Good oak aged presence with notes of oak, wood, and sweet vanilla. Toasted malt with notes of toffee, caramel, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Solid fruit taste of bananas as well as some fig and raisin. Sweet notes of brown sugar. Light hops in the background. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very spicy and somewhat chewy. Finishes dry. A little heat is felt but things are still smooth.

Overall: A very good spicy brew. Good mix of winter spices with a nice kick of oak and some Belgian like fruit undertones.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spiced Ale pours a hazy bronze color, with a huge frothy head. There is a very spicy aroma, with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon. The taste has a nice alcohol warmth, lots of cinnamon, lots of nutmeg, very spicy. Good full flavors, good warm feel. Overall its alike a pumpkin ale without the pumpkin.

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Photo of Etan
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into a snifter.

A: Pours a clearish reddish brown with a nice off-white head.

S: Definite cinnamon and nutmeg in the nose, a bit buttery, hint of red fruitiness.

T: Taste brings nutmeg, brown bread, lightly astringent spice, hint of green apple.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A nice spiced ale in the vein of pumpkin ales/winter warmers.

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Photo of Ri0
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Was probably bottle a week ago.

A - Bright dark red/bronze color that is semi clear with a dirty white 2 finger head. Thick collar and lacing.

S - There is so much going on in my glass. Yeast, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, caramel, toffee, light wood, banana bread.

T - It is sweet with some yeast up front. It gets pretty complex with sweet cinnamon toast, banana bread, and all spice. Chewy caramel and waves of thick toffee shine, with some oak on the finish.

M - Medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Many of the spices linger on the palate.

O - I'm not a lover of spiced ale, but this was pretty good. My guess is that if you enjoy pumpkin or holiday spiced style beer (I don't) you will want to try this beer. Always fun to try a new Dan Cary creation.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This pours a golden amber color with a foamy, off-white head. The aroma has hints of coriander, banana, citrus, and other spices in the mix. The taste is smooth and clean with mild tastes of banana and spices that are very well blended. Finishes crisp and clean that is rather tasty and well made!

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.27/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

New Glarus Spiced Ale

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into accompanying New Glarus stemmed glassware. Served chilled.

A) Nice looking amber with good clarity. Bubble trails... A two finger head with good retention and lacing.

S) Cinnamon stick... This has some fruitiness to it. The aroma is a little like an apple cinnamon nut muffin.

T) I prefer the aroma... The spice is a bit much for my liking. Like a pile of potpourri in my mouth. If this was heated up I could see people drinking it like a Christmas wassail. Aftertaste lingers a bit.

M) Medium body with moderate carbonation. Spices coat the mouth.

O) I have no doubt this is a well crafted brew, but it is not doing much for me. Easily my least favorite thumbprint to date.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - The beer poured a golden brown with a slight white head.

Smell - There was a big shock of nutmeg in the aroma, on par with "pumpkin beer" that merely contain the spices of pumpkin pie.

Taste - Well, it certainly tastes like nutmeg. Cinnamon and nutmeg were also very present. The elements of beer are largely masked by the spice. There was a slight metallic taste that fell behind the nutmeg. There was a somewhat sour aspect in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation was modest, with the beer being somewhat thick.

Overall - I am glad that I only purchased one bottle.

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Thumbprint Spiced Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.