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Thumbprint Enigma - New Glarus Brewing Company

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Thumbprint Enigma
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1,041 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,041
Reviews: 456
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 260
Gots: 183 | FT: 25
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,041 | Reviews: 456
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Its been a while, yet this reminded me all along off the New Belgium. Copper amber colour with a cherry Slimovitz aroma, with alcohol. Small head. Average mouthfeel. Great cherry taste and satisfying aftertaste.
Thanks jpm30 for this unexpected bonus, you are generous to a fault.

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to burnheartsMKE for sending me this one!

Pours a semi-clear honey orange color with a 1 inch light orange-brown head that fades to an oily cap. Thin and ragged rings of lace form on the drink down. The first smell I am getting from this beer is cranberry along with sour cherries and vanilla. There is also a slight funky vinegar aroma. Taste is slightly sour with cranberry/cherry flavors along with some funk and wood. I see this was fermented with a wild yeast and put in oak casks so that makes sense. A higher level of carbonation makes for a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer from New Glarus. Bottle calls this a sour brown ale, but whatever style this may be it is very tasty.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of nmann08
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/caramel color, with a wispy white head that dissipated very quickly.

Nose is fruit, cranberries, cherries, apples. The funk is there, which actually lets it take on a sour apple type smell. Oaky, but no vanilla.

Taste is tart fruit. Sourness is there, but a little timid. Caramel, a bit of medicine type flavor. It's pretty sweet, which is cutting the sour a bit too much for me.

Mouthfeel is good, decent carbonation, dry finish.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to BeerFMAndy for sending a bottle of this out my way. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

Pour yields a brew with a dark bronze color and a really good white head. Moderate lacing as it goes down. The nose is smells of slight oxidation, though it fits with the cherry. There's also some mild oak and some lightly-sweet bready malt. Cherry comes back through, especially as it warms. The flavor hits notes of cherry with a bit of oak and light vanilla. A light touch of acid, though not much. The sourness is mostly confined to the finish. Pretty good, though not as good as their standard fruit offerings.

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy russet, with a decent sort of head that fades fairly quickly, leaving a few shards of lace

Smell: The initial vanilla-toned waft of oak is supplanted by a tart cherry aroma in short order; cinnamon and funk, too

Taste: Nice oaky taste up front that takes a while to be joined by the vanilla, tart cherry and subtle Bourbon elements, underneath; after the swallow, it is predominately tart cherry

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a puckery feeling from the tartness, too

Overall: A fantastically balanced oud bruin/kriek concoction

Thanks, ThomasHardy, for the opportunity to revisit

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kinda like an Oud Bruin and Kriek blend, however the emphasis is on the sweet, allowing a tart counterpart for balance. The beer shows a pleasent malt sweetness (Brown Ale), but with a tart, candy-like sourness. A cherry aroma helps to solidify the tartness, while adding an added fruit sweetness. An earthy, aged-hop character adds balance to the sweetness and contribues an earthy, dirty complexity. With all this going on, the flavors are well melded and properly aged. A solid malt sweetness wants to play heavy to the mouth, but with the tarness acting as a thinning agent to make the beer very drinkable while adding a mild dryness and astringency late. A cherry flavor persists even after the remaining flavors subside. Unusual flavors, but likable nevertheless.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Monger: Poured a dirty brown/reddish color ale with a medium light foamy head with average retention and good lacing. Aroma consists of oak with some tart notes and some red wine characteristics. Taste is a very well balance mix of oak with some tartness and some acidic notes well balance by light cherries and some dry red wine. Body is above average with some low filtration and medium carbonation. Very well done and definitely something that I would like to try again.

Photo of Knapp85
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a vibrant red color, beautiful clarity also. The head was white and fizzy. No lacing or retention. The smell reminds me of cola, with hints of cherry on the nose too. The smell is just very impressive to me. The taste is also impressive, it's got a blast of tart cherry and citrus upfront that fades into vanilla and some smokey oak flavors. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, it's thin like wine, but also dry. Overall... I'm really impressed, this is a very nice beer. Lots of great aromas and flavors in this beer and its not insanely sour which I love. This a gem in my opinion, never expected to like this as much as I did.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Never tell a man you can read him through and through; most people prefer to be thought enigmas."

--Marchioness Townsend

Caramel orange that could also reasonably be called ochre. The pale brown sugar colored crown fizzed initially, but has now settled down to a creamy two fingers of foam that gives off a faint crackling noise if one listens closely. Patchy lace covers more than half the glass.

After seeing the words 'sour brown ale' on the label, I wondered whether Flanders oud bruin wouldn't be a more appropriate style. After the smell test, I'm certain that it would be. Tart cherries and brown malt dovetail beautifully with loads of oak barrel oakiness. A wild yeast funkiness is present as well.

Enigma is a sour brown all the way. The thing that I like best about this style (when done right) is the complex interplay between sweet and tart. Too much of one or the other ruins things. Mr. Carey has hit the proverbial nail on the head in that regard; not a bit surprising from the man who is responsible for the best fruit beer ever created.

The flavor profile is bursting with both sweet and tart cherries, fermented fallen apples, oak, leather and a modest splash of apple cider vinegar. The back end is snappily acidic and only semi-dry, thanks to an abundance of fruit and malt sugars. This ale has aged beautifully, although that wasn't my intent.

The mouthfeel is well-constructed. It's lightly viscous, and faintly sticky on the finish, with an enlivening amount of carbonation that keeps things hopping without coming close to stepping over the line.

Enigma isn't an enigma at all. It's what results when a talented brewer at the top of his game is unleashed (Unplugged) and lets his imagination run wild. If brewed on a regular basis, this would be one of the best Flanders oud bruins in America. Maybe *the* best.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass

A – Poured an extremely hazy and sediment filled caramel color brown. This thing was essentially completely opaque as you could not see through this at all whatsoever. Nice two finger high head of tan foam graced the top and eventually settled down into a thin layer across the top. Lots of sediment on the bottom.

S – Aroma was thick with alcohol and spice. A somewhat light fig smells as well. Some kind of fruit but it was really hard to nail down what along with hints of grass and almost a tree bark like aroma.

T – Wow, now this was a seriously good beer, why does everything coming out of this place taste so darn good! First initial wave was of spicy rum like alcohol but this settled down and blended out as it warmed up and was replaced by a thick flavor of spiced apple and tart cherries or raspberry. Really great tart fruit finish though, really actually turned this into quite the fruit beer. This seemed to really transform as you went through it, going from almost a spiced rum flavor to the tart fruit, with a decent hop back. Really very very nice.

M – Very nice and quite thick medium bodied ale. The carbonation was very nice and lasted throughout the entire session giving it a silky like feel and really adding a lot to it. Very creamy with a very long-lasting finish.

D – Now here is a tricky one. This on one hand tasting fantastic, and almost unlike anything I had ever had before, but on the other side of the coin, I could really not envision myself having more then one of these in a session. Juts too strong of a flavor to draw it out more then once, though I would love to have a few to sit on and break out every once and a while.

Overall this was a very fine example of the style, tasted very unique and really was quite a pleasant surprise for me. I really liked this and would love to have some more. Seems everything coming out of here is a winner and this was no exception. Go and try it if you can.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

an interesting Americanized version of this style. it pours a bright shining orange amber color with a milkshake head in khaki hue. the nose is a lot of fruit for the genre, dried cranberries, cherries, figs, pears, very strange. the sweetness from that runs into a sour wall of yeasty and bacterial fermentation which is almost sharp in the nose. flavor wise, the first thing I detect is the ridiculously high sugar content here. this beer is downright sweet. its a funny trait to have in a sour beer, but its there alright. the sour is a hyper acidic, peroxide feeling, intense front of tongue type that is not entirely compatible with the fruit flavors. everyone in our crowd thought this beer was incredible, I wasn't quite so compelled for that reason. in terms of mouthfeel, the sugar content is cloying, and frustratingly sickening. even half a bottle of this is too much for me. the sour leaves a sour patch kids burn on the tastebuds and roof of my mouth, and its just out of sync somehow. good carbonation though, and a body that would be right on if not for the sugar. overall its a challenging brew for me, a staple characteristic of this whole series from new glarus, and although its well made, its not something I intend to revisit. more of a personal thing though, and I suggest this to any sour fan, or new glarus fan more generally. on a side note, this reminds me of the flanders fred, which was a much anticipated but underwhelming brew. similar flavor profile and storyline here.

Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for sending me this one.

A: The pour is a dark blood red with a thing ring of off-white foam along the outside of the glass.

S: A definite cherry aroma to this one, reminiscent of the Belgian Red, but not quite as sugary. A fair amount of oak--the musty, damp kind.

T: A rich cherry flavor that provides a nice sweetness. The oak is really powerful and is almost like chewing on a piece of wood. A mild vanilla note and a bit of a smokiness.

M: The body is medium with a high level of carbonation that leaves a mild dryness.

D: This was a lot easier to drink than the Belgian Red. Not so overwhelmingly sweet and much more complex.

Photo of largadeer
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nickd717 shared this one. This is the original batch, '03 I believe. Thanks a bunch, Nick. Turbid and murky, brown in color with a thin off-white collar. The aroma is complex and inviting, smelling intensely of funk and sherry-like oxidation with a backbone of cherries and bourbon. There's a bit of toffee and faint buttery oak as it warms. Tart cherries are surprisingly up-front on the palate for such an old beer. Caramel, bourbon and sherry are equally prominent, leading into a lightly acetic mid-palate with more sweet and tart cherry flavor and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Finishes sweet and tart with lingering cherry and bourbon flavors. Delicious.

Photo of emerge077
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brand new batch, glad to see this one brewed again.

Seems a bit different from what I last recall, drank my last batch #1 bottle a few months ago. The major differences are the color and lighter feel of #2. The new batch very much resembles Cranbic, and i'd almost go as far to say they have the same base beer involved.

Looks: High clarity red with a russet twinge. Served cold into a Duvel tulip, a vigorous pour produced a two finger head. Spotty lace seems to cling somewhat as it slides back into the froth. A large cluster of surface bubbles remains, encroaching on a crescent of wispy skim across the top.

Aroma: Spiced cherries, brown sugar, faint hint of something cheesy and musty. Resembles a spiced apple dish at thanksgiving. Not the wild, woody Enigma of 2006.

Flavor: Mildly tart upfront, with sweet cherry in the middle. Dry oak and vanilla traces after the swallow, lingering into the aftertaste. Fairly clean and straightforward, with fruit seeming to dominate the barrel nuance. Nothing especially wild/funky manifesting, aside from the light tartness, which is very clean.

Feel/Drink: Light bodied, crisp and tart, finishing on the dry side. Definitely an accessible, mass-appeal type of "sour". Very quenching, perfect timing for the warmer weather ahead. Can't wait to pair with some funky cheeses.

#2 resembles a tamer Flanders Red, where the original #1 was harder to pin down, but was closer to an Oud Bruin variation. The whole "fruit beer" thing is getting a little repetitive, but NG continues to succeed with these styles.


A+ / 4.65 look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | drink: 4.5
Flanders-style sour ale, let's get that established...

Pours into a Moinette chalice, a ruddy brown color, with one finger of foam. Lacing stays for the duration of the glass.

Smell is rich and pleasant, mostly sweet molasses, aged gouda, vanilla, & oak. A sweetish whiff of bourbon...barrel-aged Oud Bruin?

Taste is complex, and seems to go through phases over time. At first, the sweet and sour character of a Flanders Red/Sour Brown is complimented by vanilla, dried cherry, and muted bourbon (sweet/woody) notes toward the end. The finish is oaky, slightly dry. Mouthfeel is rich, somewhat full & malty, but not heavy. Maybe a lactic quality as well. It's balanced, and well-crafted. After warming, the ale takes on a more balsamic sweet/tartness with oak still in the finish. Very delicious, I could easily have a couple in a sitting.

An exceptional, innovative gem from New Glarus...this is Dan Carey at the top of his game.

2007: Audible fizz, nice head on a year-aged bottle. Spice, woody barn funk, and celery oddly enough. Still at the same level of tartness, medium carbonation. Still funky and complex as well, maybe not as distinct as it was fresh. Looking forward to finishing off the stash.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass at the Brickhouse.

Review #900! Honestly, during the pre-interview extravaganza, I did not expect to see this gem come through on-tap. I'm glad it did. It pours a mostly clear russet-copper topped by nearly a finger of off-white micro-foam. The nose comprises black cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, dank raspberries, and a kick of oak. The taste is definitely something: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, red apples, cherries, black grapes, sourdough, rye bread, oak, tobacco, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Whew. It all melds together so nicely that it takes a while to really deconstruct it (and I'm pretty sure I missed something). The body is a hefty medium, with a very-light moderate carbonation and a slightly thick feel. Damn, was this an interesting brew! So many fruits and berries, with some nice spicing as well...it's all quite the adventure. Get some!

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

As I sit down to review this beer it is with both joy and sorrow, for this is the last of my 6-pack stash. It also reminds me of my last serious girlfriend who moved to Madison a year ago, and whom I first enjoyed this beer with. But that's also kind of like this beer in a way, as it's sweet and sour, but with great depth behind it.

It pours a murky, deep chestnut brown beneath a short head of creamy off-white that fades steadily to a thin collar. Minor spots and splashes of lace are left about the glass, but not much more.

The nose is malty with a sweetish edge that's almost sugary but fruity, kind of like a jam. Lots of vanilla, apple, and cherry. Clear notes of oak come through as well, and I'm thinking a tiny bit of barnyard underneath. There's even a kind of pineapple note to it. Complex and interesting! I could enjoy this beer just based on the smell alone!

In the mouth it's medium with a decidedly dextrinous edge, and a delicately crisp, tiny-bubbled carbonation.

The flavor is intense, with tartness and sweetness fighting it out for dominance in a face to face death-roll. Over and over they swirl, repeatedly gaining and losing to each other. The vanilla and oak do the same, and the cherry and some caramelish malt all help to round it out. There's a suggestion of earth and smoke in the background, but they're soft. No bitterness is really needed, and it finishes with a lingering note of sharp acidity and caramel-sticky malt that clings to the teeth. Cherries fade to apples, apples fade to vanilla, vanilla fades to oak, and then vanilla returns softly along with a note of soft, sweet caramel in the long-lingering finish.

A year in the cellar has done wonders for this beer, and it's far more smooth and round than when I first tasted it fresh from the brewery. Oh that I could have more, oh that I could see my sweet love once again!

I realize that this is listed on BA as a fruit/vegetable beer, but this is one of tne of the best oud brune/sour Flemish brown ales in the world!!! Absolutely worth seeking out!!!

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Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 1,041 ratings.