Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Thumbprint Apple Ale - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint Apple AleThumbprint Apple Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

443 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 443
Hads: 1,529
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 347
Gots: 211 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Skidz on 09-25-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Thumbprint Apple Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 443 | Hads: 1,529
Photo of Lucular
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

By far my favorite apple beer.Thumbprint Apple Ale is to Redd's Apple Ale what Serendipity or Strawberry Rhubarb is to Straw-ber-rita. I'm consistently amazed at what New Glarus is able to accomplish in their fruited beers.

 223 characters

Photo of Ryanster8
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light copper color, strong fresh apple smell and taste. Would not describe this as a beer but rather a carbonated apple juice. Very refreshing and slightly on the dry side which is nice because it's not overly sweet like apple juice or cider typically is.

 255 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a clear mug.

Appearance: light brown hue with a touch of haze and a strong effervescence. Head pours a thin layer of frothy ivory foam. Not bad.

Smell: the smell of apples is incredibly strong, but it doesn't seem overly cidery, which is interesting. There is a little beer aroma under it, which is nice, but the story here is all apples all the time.

Taste: apples are what is advertised, and apples are what you get. There's a sweetish, malty brown ale underneath, but the apples take over everything. Quite good if that's what you're into.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good fizziness. It works.

Overall: this is a sweet and appley beer. I like it a lot, but it's a bit on the sweet side to just quaff all day.

 764 characters

Photo of Jonada
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a teku glass

Appearance: Pours a copper orange, brown color with not much head at all, but does settle to a thin ring. Body is clear with a few light amount of sediment.

Smell: Apple, apple juice, apple cider, red apple skin, light sweetness. One dimensional, but really nice.

Taste: Medium sweetness right away, followed by apple juice, cider-like spices, and finally a light bready/pie crust character to remind you that this is in fact a beer. Definitely a sweet beer but not even approaching cloying, and there's a very light tartness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp with medium carbonation. Finishes semi sweet. Super drinkable.

Overall: Another excellent fruit beer from New Glarus. So much clean, crisp fruit character and incredibly easy to drink. Definitely worth trying if you have the chance.

 855 characters

Photo of Bshaw22
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Great dessert beer. Really joyed this after a nice rich meal. Don't normally love beers this sweet but I would recommend this for certain situations.

 151 characters

Photo of papat444
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Thanks to Tricerahops for this one.

Sourish apple juice, authentic, swear i can taste the peel shavings. Flavor leaves a sour, creamy feel. This one left me a lot on the fence and a few days after, i still can't quite seem to make up my mind if i l would try it again or not. Interesting for sure.

 298 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev -2.9%

A: medium amber with slight haze; 2-3 fingers of ivory foam

S: apple and spice - lots of apple juice and apple pie aromas

T: fruity and sweet - honestly tasted like organic apple juice - hints of spice you'd probably associate with an apple-based dishes during the fall and winter, like clove or nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice...

M: light, fresh, and brisk; clean-finishing, modest carbonation, touch of tartness

O: I'm not sure what to make of a beer that tastes this much like apple juice - if that's what you're looking for, you might want to go as high as a 4.5, but for me, as a stand-alone product, for which I had no expectations, it was a good-tasting, easy-drinking ale that went real easy on the abv, but not necessarily what I'm inclined toward in an ale.

 769 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

From notes on 11/30/13

Pours light copper with little head. Smells like apple cider. Very fruity aroma. Interesting flavor. Lots of apple flavor. Very tart. At the same time, lots of malt flavor. If you can imagine a nice amber beer with tart apples, blended oddly very nice, because it sounds horrible, but is actually great, this would be it. This is definitely not a cider. This is a must try if you want something different.

 429 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Pours apple juice/apple cider colored with a thin wispy head. Not much lacing.

The smell is of apple cider with a hint of cinnamon.

The taste of apple is sweet with some sour. A touch of caramel, bread and a hint of cinnamon mix in.

While it is sweet, there is a touch of sour and a hint of spicing. Reminds me of baked apples.

A beer with strong cider character.

 372 characters

Photo of blackcompg
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Appearance - Poured a finger of off-white lite tan foam which disappeared in about a minute. Bode is a slightly hazy amber. No lacing whatsoever.

Smell - Huge nose of apple juice, and just a whiff of minerals.

Taste - There's very good apple flavor here, it's definitely sweet but not overly sweet like some carbonated apple juices are. The apple flavor seems very natural and authentic, not artificially flavored. I'm trying to find more "ale-like" nuances here but I can't find any. There may be a touch of breadiness long into the finish, but it is not easy to find.

Mouthfeel - Lighter side of medium, very juice with some lighter but crisp carb, it's somewhat smooth but has some carb prickle that builds up air in the esophagus quickly, very much like soda pop would. Some of the carb has edges all the way down, but I don't find this enjoyable or desirable.

Overall - So there is excellent apple flavor here. But If there is a brown ale base used here it has been overcome by the apples. If you like apples, you're going to love this, as the apples are bold and natural flavored. I'm glad to have tried and rated this but I will not seek it out again.

 1,163 characters

Photo of barczar
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

Brilliant deep copper writer a lingering, frothy cream head. Aroma is dominated by red apple flesh and green apple skin. Slightly floral, and I don't know if it's just suggestive, but I get a little cinnamon. Flavor is the best apple product I've ever had. I'm not a huge apple fan, but that lingering apple flavor is balanced nicely between sweet red and a sour note reminiscent of an oud bruin. Pleasantly surprised with the complexity. Wish I had bought more.

 462 characters

Photo of foobula
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle. Pours a clear golden color with 1/2 finger bubbly white head that dissipates quickly. A tangy apple bite comes through in the nose, maybe a little caramel in there too. It smells like cider in a way that no other ale does: right up my alley. Taste is appley and tangy up-front. The sides give a little pucker. It's pretty much apple until the finish, which has some malty wheat flavor. After the apple fades (5 mins or so) there's a vegetal aftertaste that I don't recall from the previous bottling. Mouthfeel is medium with lots of carbonation, which tingles the tongue and the throat on the way down. Overall it's well-made, lots of apple, some acidity, some tanginess. It isn't very complicated but it's very, very enjoyable. It tastes a bit like cider, but it isn't, so I give it extra points for the style. Here's hoping this special edition brew continues to make a regular appearance.

 904 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Thanks Matthew!

A: Pours a clear apple juice color with a frothy off-white head that briefly foamed up after the pour before fading into a faint bubbly collar.
S: Surprisingly musty notes of stinky cheese almost edge out the crisp and lightly sweet scents of fresh squeezed apple juice. Apple does smell juice-like rather than a specific type of fresh apple.
T: Carbonated apple juice all the way. Tastes like a cider. I get notes of pear mixed in with the golden apple, caramel, and slight butterscotch. Finish has some of the cheese from the nose, and the aftertaste is full of apple skins and martinelli's apple cider. Very mild tartness. Crisp finish.
M: Chewy mouthfeel, thick and syrupy at times, but finishes dry and sweet. Splashy carbonation. Drinks well.
O: Very similar to a cider, maybe a bit thicker and maltier than most. Overall good, but not NG’s best.

 884 characters

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.61/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Riedel tulip glass. The liquid is amber-orange, and produces a yellowish head. The pour produces a ton of bubbles that stick to the side of the glass underneath the surface of the liquid for a long time, occasionally detaching and shooting up to the top. Looks nice, but I'm not really sure what to compare it to - if anything, it looks kind of like a dark, over-carbonated IPA.

Holy cow this really smells like apples! Not even joking, my grandpa used to run an Apple Orchard, and this smells just like the cooling storage room for the apples there! It's not super-sweet. It's mostly earthy, kind of like the meat of a Red Delicious apple, which is not my favorite kind of actual apple flavor, but it works for a beer smell. Other than the apples, I feel like I smell some cinnamon, although of course I could just be imagining that - maybe a little bit of malt, but it's mostly the apples.

Wow this is a great flavor! There's a bit more sweetness on the palate, as well as a nice bit of balancing tartness. There's the earthiness of the apple meat with the possibly imaginary hints of cinammon. Does a really great job not being too sweet or too tart! Finish is clean - the perfect mix of sweet and tart.

Mouthfeel is thin with tons of carbonation. I feel like the carbonation enhances the tartness a little bit - it's a really good match for the flavor profile.

Overall, really amazing apple flavor. I just don't even understand how they translated apples into beer so perfectly.

 1,500 characters

Photo of dar482
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in an amber color.

The beer straight up tastes of fresh apple juice in the front, slightly tart, and some sweetness. Then the beer moves onto this medium plus bready and chewy body that surely separates this as an "ale" instead of a cider. The beer has a substantive body instead of being light and champagne like.

A very delicious and refreshing brew that stands up as a beer instead of a cider.

 413 characters

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

If Raul was cruising with Eve in the Garden of Eden and New Glarus apples were the forbidden fruit, Raul would be tempted to take a bite. Just smooth, all kinds of smooth. Crisp like my baby mama hair after too much hair spray, yet delicate like my baby mama hair sans hairspray.

Not amazing, but Raul likes it. Yep!

 317 characters

Photo of mverity
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear amber brown with bubbly tan head that settles pretty quickly into a medium tan collar. Aroma is of warm apple cider: brown sugar, cinnamon, some faint clove. Taste is wonderfully the same; apple, sweet caramel and some spice. Fairly carbonated and medium body. Another amazing beer from New Glarus!

 312 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: deep orange to copper color. a half finger plus of an off-white head that fades fairly quickly and leaves little behind. not quite clear but almost there

Smell: up front i am greeted with apples, turns into a more of an apple cider flavor. some sweet malt complexity.

Taste: opens up with huge taste of apple cider. almost tastes exactly like a little lighter version of cider you'd buy fresh at harvest time. light caramel malt play in the end but mostly covered by apple sweetness

Mouthfeel: sweet but not quite cloying. fairly light.

Overall: ehhh, i can't say i am disappointed because i didn't expect much from this one. overall it just tastes like cider and there isn't much else too it.

 711 characters

Photo of arlingtonjoe
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A nice dark amber color with a small cream head.

S: Aromas of apple, cider, and some dough.

T: A nice tarness up front, cider and some apple pie.

M: Good carbonation, light body, a little sticky with a pleasant finish.

O: Geat representation of style They sure know how to make fruit beers in wisconsin and would sure like to get more for those warmer days ahead. Next time I will have to try this ala mode.

 418 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium goblet. There are numbers on the bottleneck but they're smeared.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- Cinnamon and apples. Pretty much just like apple crisp.

T- Apple, a bit more cinnamon and some light malt. Sweet but not cloying. Tastes like sparkling apple juice, not apple cider, but apple juice. Light note of caramel is appropriate.

M- Quenching and the medium body makes it so that, luckily, I don't feel like I'm just drinking cider. Medium-low carbonation.

O- Tasty and refreshing, but I could've used some more carbonation.

 757 characters

Photo of Scotchboy
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome 12oz bottle from laymansbeerfan (thanks!) who is generous beyond belief. Shared with my wife in 8oz tasters.

A: Darker, clear gold, with some white head that does fade quickly.

S: Exactly what you would hope for from a New Glarus apple beer; red apple sweetness, hearty apple cider, definite malt breadiness, some brown sugar, suggestions of spices and cinnamon on the finish.

T: Apple and bready malt, akin to apple cider but with light/moderate malt backbone and enhanced body. Sweetness is moderate with suggestions of brown sugar and caramel. I get more red apple than green apple, but there is some fruity tartness as well.

MF: Light/medium body, higher carbonation, with some creamy tones and flashes of tartness.

O: Impressive beer, takes the apple ale game to another level. Flavors are reminiscent of the best apple ciders, with enhanced body and malt backbone. Suggestions of caramel malt lends a nice layer of complexity, but this beer is really as straightforward as the name. Well done.

 1,012 characters

Photo of shadetree67
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Amber gold in color. Stiff pour yielded minimal head which dissipated very quickly. No lacing or retained head. Even swirling the glass wont bring the head back. More reminiscent in appearance of a cider than a beer.

S. Tart Apples. Smells fantastic though not very complex as apples are all that I smell.

T. Tart Apples and spices. Slight caramel malt. Classic new glarus finish which comes from the yeast - it is present on all of their fruit beers. Delicious.

M. Lively carbonation. Sticky finish like apple cider.

O. As a fan of hard cider and beer - I really like NG's apple ale. It's very refreshing and goes down easy. I should have bought more than a single 4-pack

 679 characters

Photo of kojevergas
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label and red foil-ed over iconic green/gold pry-off pressure cap acquired from the extremely generous Duff27 in a trade and served into Cantillon stemware in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky-high given the brewery, which is undoubtedly amongst my favourites in the U.S.A. Thumbprint series. No ABV is listed on the bottle.

Served cold - straight from a quick stint in my freezer - 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 half finger wide head of dull off-white colour. Creaminess is decent. Lacks frothiness. Disappointingly thin. Head retention is bad - about 45 seconds. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent pale copper of good vibrance. Clean. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears well-carbonated.

While the head is disappointing, overall the appearance is good for an apple ale. Sure, it's not unique or special, but it looks as it should. I'm optimistic.

Sm: Fuck. This has the best damn apple aroma I've ever encountered - has a fresh crisp orchard apple character that's to die for. Redolent of the finest fresh squeezed apple juice and artisanal French cidre. Sweetness is perfect, and it's just juicy enough. It never feels too cidery, though - it always comes off like a beer.

I also pick up on clean barley, a kiss of graham cracker, and some apple pie spice.

The apple aromatics are just perfect. I'm not sure an apple beer could have much of a better aroma. This tops even Ephemere. So damned juicy.

Clean; no yeast character or alcohol is detectable. It has no noticeable hop profile.

An extremely inviting aroma of moderate strength.

T: Has a fantastic apple profile with surprising depth of flavour. Crisp orchard apples, fresh apple juice, refined apple cidre, subtle hints of apple pie spice (kisses of cinnamon and nutmeg are the only ones I can identify). It's got some crystal malt character to fill out the malty build. Clean barley. A biteen of graham cracker. This is just plain delicious.

Sure, it's not the most complex or intricate flavour profile. But it's an impeccably balanced one and it's loaded with nuance. I'd safely call this flavour profile gestalt; I can't imagine removing or adding any notes without negatively affecting the quality. It's meant to be a simple straightforward apple beer, but boy does it boast impressive depth of flavour. Good duration and intensity of flavour.

The subtle tartness is divine, and works beautifully in this flavour profile. Subtle hints of brown sugar. This is one of the freshest tasting beers I've ever tried.

No yeast character, hops, or alcohol come(s) through.

Mf: Has near perfect crispness, if slight overcarbonation. Smooth and wet. Smacky and refreshing. Fresh, clean, and refreshing as hell. Has a near perfect medium body and extremely apt thickness. Fantastic presence on the palate. This texture feels custom-tailored specifically to this beer's taste. I'm extremely impressed.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, harsh, or rough.

Dr: I forget how great New Glarus is, and then I'm reminded almost every time I try a beer of their's I haven't had before. This is flat-out fantastic stuff for the style, and beats even Ephemere in this category. I think it's safe to say this is the best apple ale I've ever had, and New Glarus continues to defend their well-earned reputation as the best brewer of fruit beers in the world. This is obscenely drinkable, and if you offered me a keg of it I'd fork over the deposit right now on the spot. One of the most refreshing and enjoyable ales out there. Artfully executed and of commendable quality. I'd recommend friends try this ASAP - even if they have to go out of their way to seek it out. Bravo, New Glarus.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the opportunity to try this gem!

High A-

 4,008 characters

Photo of d5001986
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

A: Not really much to look at, reddish with minimal head.

S: Tart apples, slight vinegar, and sweet.

T: Apple cider beerified. Sweet, but not so much it's unappealing. Simple, but great!

M: Crisp light body with high carbonation.

O: I'll admit I'm not a fan of hard cider's, so I wasn't expecting to be wowed here. But this stuff is solid, New Glarus just can't do any wrong with fruit beer.

 428 characters

Photo of JayCheG
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Very inviting with a lot of carbonation and very good lacing.
S: Apples... not much else for me besides apples
T: A beer that tastes like apple juice? Does this count for a fruit for today?
M: Nice carbonation and goes down very well
O: Its like apple juice as a beer. New Glarus does a very good job with these fruit beers.

 327 characters

Thumbprint Apple Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 443 ratings.