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Thumbprint Enigma - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint EnigmaThumbprint Enigma

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

467 Reviews
THE BROS
95
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 467
Hads: 1,245
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 263
Gots: 240 | FT: 33
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 05-01-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 467 | Hads: 1,245
Reviews by THANAT0PSIS:
Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

New Glarus Enigma

Appearance: New Glarus’ newest entry into their typically awesome pours a crystal clear, beautiful ruby color. Surprisingly, there is not any head or carbonation visible whatsoever; this is not a serious dig against the beer, but given Belgian Red, Apple Ale, and Raspberry Tart’s awesome appearance of extravagant effervescence and a small, yet fluffy head, one gets accustomed to seeing a beer at its most majestic. Equally surprising, there are slight alcohol legs, which, at only 5.5% ABV is practically unheard of. Perhaps these strange qualities play into the name of the beer? Whatever the case, like Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler, this beer looks like fall; excellent timing, Mr. Carey.

Aroma: This is a full recovery from the borderline disastrous appearance (by New Glarus’ lofty standards). It almost smells like the wine one might drink at Communion. There are swaths of cherry and cranberry notes playing off their own innate sourness and an aroma that cannot quite be placed; perhaps the enigmatic (HA!) aroma is wheat or malts or earthiness? Nevertheless, this smells as one would expect. If the taste is as sour as this lets on, puckering (the good kind, like before a nervous first kiss) may be in order.

Taste: Strangely, wine and champagne descriptors keep sneaking up on the drinker amidst a near cult-like following of the nose. The sourness can be the only culprit for these evocations of grape-based beverages past. This is not Jolly Pumpkin levels of sour, but it is similar to sucking on a particularly sour Jolly Rancher (without the disgustingly sugary taste). The sourness is overpowering, but only in comparison to the rest of the beer; most folks that have experienced a sour beer before will not be put off by this. Underneath the brilliant mixing of flavors from its brothers, the excellent Wisconsin Belgian Red and great Cranbic Ale, lies the earthiness just hinted at in the nose. This must be from the barley and the oaking of the beer (as described on the bottle); unfortunately, for balance reasons, the barley is beat down almost immediately by the sour flavors. This is definitely characteristic of most sour ales, however, so no harm, no foul. As for the aftertaste, well, good luck getting this out of your mouth.

Mouthfeel: As with most New Glarus beers the mouthfeel is exactly where it should be. Even if a beer tastes mediocre (looking at you, Spotted Cow), the mouthfeel is almost always a homerun for whatever style they are dabbling in. This beer is light, crisp, and refreshing. The carbonation is much more present than the appearance let on and succeeds in doing what carbonation always does: spreading around and mixing up the tastes. There is a bit of astringency here, similar to drinking cranberry juice, but it is most welcome as it insists the drinker continually imbibe it to keep the mouth from puckering too much. Never fear, this puckering keeps itself in check before getting out of hand. This is wonderfully refreshing and would make a great mate to lounge away these brisk autumn days.

Overall: While the appearance is not overwhelming and the aroma is simple, the flavors and drinkability of Enigma more than make up for these slight shortcomings. This has all the great qualities New Glarus has conditioned us drinkers to expect from their forays into fruit beer brewing. Distilled down to simplest terms, this beer’s finest quality is a very personal one: everything about it evokes memories of autumns past. This was truly the perfect time to release this delicious beer, and it would make an excellent addition to both the New Glarus seasonal release calendar and a refrigerator near you. 17/20 (3,691 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of cambabeer
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was fantastic. Really drinkable, especially for the style. Very tart and crisp. If available, I would drink this often. (124 characters)

Photo of KillerJigger
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this a lot better than their Ohd Bruin. (47 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.74/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy hell is this good. Fell in love with Cran-bic, but I might just like this better. Poured dark brown with a red hue. Bready sour cherry aroma. Has that light "musty" lambic note. Taste is huge cherry, with hints of vanilla and caramel. Good sour bite, but balanced well by the sweet bread yeast taste. Amazing! (314 characters)

Photo of Drewsio
4.96/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

If you don't at least love this beer, your tongue is missing. (61 characters)

Photo of peensteen
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Andrew!

Reddish-purple/brown colour, ring of white head, no lace. Smell is cherry and oak with sharp fruit notes, sour berry, vinous-wine like acidity. Taste is a mix of sweet and sour cherries, dry oak, vinous, strong wine like flavours mid palate to finish, a building acidity, fruity, red berries and a dry finish. Med-dry carbonation, medium full body. A nice sour brown, my only objection is that it may be a bit to dry after about half the bottle but that is just a minor complaint really. (503 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first taste of this long desired brew was a whopping let down. After more than a year of anxious anticipation I felt betrayed. Expecting intensity, I found only timidity. I sought boldness but was only given subtlety. Not long into my first glass I began cursing myself for buying Jenny Street Market’s entire stock of Enigma. Sometime into my second glass that feeling began to change.

Enigma is considerably lighter, less fruit forward, and more subtle than I had expected, however, it does not lack for interest and complexity. Enigma’s appearance is quite elegant and wine like. It boasts minimal to no carbonation and just a thin, glass clinging lacing, but its reddened chestnut hues still manage to foster a rather unique and splendid appearance.

Funky sour oranges and tart rotten cherries are pulled cohesively together by overriding aromas of oak aged liquor. Vanilla, oak, and hints of bourbon flow throughout with nuances of must and rotting wood rounding everything out. Fans of Bourbon and Whiskey Barrel aging should enjoy this beer immensely.

Flavor wise, the beer appears to be a blend of the Sour Brown and Belgian Red, however comparisons to NG’s Cherry Stout are inevitable. In many ways Enigma tastes like a toned down Cherry Stout. Still, taste is predominantly a product of the barrel rather than the fruit. With Enigma, the oaky vanilla rules the cherry every step of the way. The end result of the aging is a product that is both sour/tart and supremely smooth. The mouthfeel seems considerably lighter and better balanced than New Glarus’s other fruit beers. Drinkability is through the roof, even for someone like myself who is often not a fan of barrel aging in general.

Enigma is not the explosively “big” beer that I expected but it makes up for it with interesting subtlety and by simply being pleasurable. It’s quite the hybrid stylistically and goes highly recommended to fans of fruit beers, Flemish reds, sour browns, and barrel aged beers alike. (2,005 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for cracking this one. Thumbprint Enigma pours a solid copper color with some deep amber that outlines the edges. It has decent clarity and comes topped with a soapy, thin, and slightly gray-tinted head. A few spots of soaking wet lace stick to the glass, but don't last for the entirety of the brew.

The first sniff reminds me of ripe, sour apples; mildly tart and incredibly juicy. It's very vinous, as the apple aroma gets usurped pretty quickly by truckloads of white wine grapes, oak, and tart black cherry skins. It smells a bit acidic and lactic, but maybe not quite to the stomach burning degree. If there's one thing I've learned about New Glarus, it's that they do "fruit" flavored beers well, so I'm sure this won't let me down.

It can definitely be said that the taste isn't as sour as the aroma made it seem like it would be, but it's certainly a bit more complex and layered - a trade-off that I'm more than okay with. Despite not reaching mouth-puckering levels, the brew is still a bit tart, just not quite on par with Rodenbach Grand Cru or Cuvee des Jacobins.

Lots and lots of candied apples, both sweet and sour and juicy all the way through. Apple cider vinegar and a mound of sweet, bready malts are spruced up with a mild cinnamon-like spice. Does this have cinnamon in it? It sure tastes like it, and I'm not complaining. Light colored grapes, mild oak and vanilla, with a lightly tart and fruit-juicy finish. Thin bodied, but it fits the brew, with medium-heavy carbonation and a crisp, almost dry mouth feel and finish.

Another great beer from New Glarus, and something that I could probably drink gallons of without getting sick of it (or too inebriated, for that matter). It's not quite as tart and layered as some of my favorite Flanders' sours, like the ones previously mentioned; rather it comes across as a mildly-tart fruit beer. No matter, though, as it's still a well executed and tasty beer nonetheless. (1,957 characters)

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of weatherdog
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a Bells tulip glass. This bottle is from the newer release.

It pours a crystal clear hazelnut with just a tint of red. A dense two finger cream head dies into a small thin layer of bubbles. New Glarus really knows how make a beer look good.

The nose is candied cherries with just a little bit of a tart sourness. The fruit is very forward in this beer, much more than I would have thought and hoped for from what I knew about this beer. It's not as sweet as the standard NG fruit beers but still overly sweet for my taste in a 'sour' beer.

The flavors starts off as the signature NG tart sweet cherry beer flavor and then a firm but restrained tartness hits you. Barrel aging is also very present in the middle of the taste with an oaky dryness. The second half of the glass, as the beer warmed, the fruit died down and more tartness became evident.

The carbonation was pretty full with a light dry crisp finish. I do have to ding the drinkability because of the amount of sweetness in the front end of the flavor.

I was so hoping for much more tartness and sour beer character like Lost Abbey's Red Poppy, but this beer leans too much towards the fruit beer which NG tends to do. I agree with other reviewers when I say that I hope Dan is just gearing up the palate of Wisconsin beer drinkers for a real sour beer. Either that or bring back the sour brown ale. That was a very well crafted oude bruin. (1,432 characters)

Photo of tbryan5
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As I pop the cap curls of white smoke emerge from the bottle and rise up. It pours into my glass a deep cola brown with red accents and a half inch of light tan head on top. Slightly hazy. Aromas begin with sour cherries well upfront. Some caramel and roasted malt along with a good bit of fruity sweetness. Woody, oak tones that sit on top of vanilla and a Brett funk. Complex and interesting.

First sip brings the aforementioned sour cherry flavor upfront with a mildly roasted brown ale malt underneath. The tartness is not overpowering here and is met by a fruity sweetness midway through. It flows down with vanilla and oak accents. Just a touch dry on the finish with a mild Brett aftertaste along with woody tannins. Yum.

Mouthfeel has an exceptional smoothness to it. Steady mellow carbonation with a medium body. Almost has a silkiness to it that makes it incredibly enjoyable to sip. Overall, just a solid, intense and flavorful brew. Whether you like sour beers or not you should be able to enjoy this. Glad I have another bottle sitting around, darn good stuff. (1,075 characters)

Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of equinox1
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of warnerry
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FatheadBrew
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich, slightly opaque amber, almost ruby red. Very small head that falls quickly.

S: First smell is strong oak barrel. Similar to other New Glarus "unplugged" brews. Almost too much oak. Some fruity aromas coming through.

T: Interesting. Mix of sweet and sour. Some malt and oak as well. First sip makes you want to take another. Complex.

M: Medium. Some tingling from carbon dioxide.

D: Goes down very easily. Makes me wish I had purchased another one. The sour lactic and the tart/sweet cherries blend very nicely. I could see myself having a couple of these.

Overall, I was very impressed. I don't remember seeing this one on the shelves the last time I there so I think they have been keeping some in the basement aging. I didn't try this when it came out, but it currently is great. Grab one if you see it. (819 characters)

Photo of 77apm
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jason
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Mildly hazed rusty reddish brown, great lacing all the way down. Extremely aromatic of sweet tart cherries, vanilla , and toasted wood. Even tartness throughout, smooth level of carbonation within a medium body. Wood tannin, ripe cherries, kiss of vanilla, char, mild spice, hint of funk, and a touch of alcohol. Finishes dry.

Pretty damn spectacular, I'd be buying cases of this beer to cellar if I had access. (460 characters)

Photo of badbeer
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unplugged Enigma, released October 2, 2006. Not from the unmarked previous batches.

Poured a murky reddish brown color, with a good off white colored head with surprisingly, good retention. Smell is of oak, vanilla, subdued cherries, sour apples, and a hint of bourbon. Taste starts off sour, but slowly and seamlessly transfers into an oaky, vanilla, boubon finish. There is tartness throughout the taste, but everything is blended together so nicely that there didn't seem to be an overpowering flavor, all parts were seemingly equal. Medium bodied, lower carbonation, little bit of a dry oaky finish. Drinkability is good in the sense that it's a pleasure to drink, but I felt this one is a sipper. Try it before it runs out again. (737 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this bottle. I have been looking forward to trying this one. 2010 vintage.

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is very nice. I get a lot of cherry and brown sugar notes, as well as some vanilla. The beer also smells quite tart.

The flavor is more of the same. The predominant flavor is cherries with some maple and caramel malt notes. The beer is semi-tart, but overall it does not taste as tart as it smells. The fruit and tartness mix very well together and make the beer extremely drinkable.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very glad I got to try this one. (633 characters)

Photo of ryancl
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of JC333
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of strangebrew52
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

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Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 467 ratings.