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Thumbprint Enigma - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint EnigmaThumbprint Enigma

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

830 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 830
Reviews: 422
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 246
Gots: 102 | FT: 8
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 05-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 830 | Reviews: 422 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Strix
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Clear orangish-red, some initial head, fading to little.

Vague cherry scent.

The same cherry flavor as in WI Belgian red, but with candied apple, sour cherry, vanilla, and cinnamon. Very complex, which I like.

Light mouthfeel, bubbly carbonation.

I headed into this with some trepidation after my experience with the Old English Porter, which I found to be foul. This was a completely different beast, with a variety of complex flavors that merged nicely.

Strix, May 29, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Really excited to try this on out! Malted barley and cherries with a spontaneous wild yeast fermentation. Sounds crazy.
Pours a reddish brown color with minimal head. The first aroma is nots of the oak barrel followed by vanilla and cherry. Wow, the tastes are hard to describe. Cherry, fruit, vanilla, and some funkiness all at once. Oak flavors in the background. Not like anything I have had before. Not as sour as I would have thought but then again this is a young beer. Slight bitterness. Almost a nuttiness flavor at the end.
Mouthfeel is medium. No real head retention at all.
This beer is a freakin' Enigma. Don't know what to think of it.

kbutler1, May 28, 2010
Photo of Mandark
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

I'm not that experienced with sours; I'm not a big fan of fruit beers. Those seemingly huge disqualifications out of the way, I can tell this is a well crafted, balanced example of, and, probably, the best introduction to New Glarus' particular brand of sour-cherry infatuation that I've tried so far. This is a live review.

12oz bottle poured into a 3Floyds pint glass. It pours a very clear amber-red without much head and no real lacing I can discern.

The smell is cherry sweet with a discordant, sour note underlying it at first. As it warms there is cinnamon, chicory, maybe some nutmeg to add to the complexity.

Then you take a sip and, boy, that cherry tastes a lot more sour than it smelled! Then it slides down your tongue and into your throat and it's tart cherries, mild sour, vanilla and cinnamon all the way. There is a dry, tart finish that grows more enjoyable throughout. Wow. I am much more impressed with this than I thought I would be.

Carbonation is high and, to my mind, that makes this an easier drinker than some other NG fruit beers, such as the Cherry Stout or the Wisconsin Belgian Red.

I wouldn't drink more than one of these in a sitting, but I'd like to have a few on hand to try over several months or a year, just to enjoy how my own taste and reaction to this changes as I try different beers. I've had much more truly sour beers (NG's Old English Porter, for one) and this qualifies in that style as the sourness is definitely THERE, but it tastes closer to a Rodenbach or Monk's Cafe in the sweet/sour department. That's a compliment.

I'll be getting more of this before it disappears, no doubt. A very impressive outing, one that has expanded my appreciation for this style.

Mandark, May 27, 2010
Photo of jera1350
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%

Coppery brown color with a rather thin sudsy head that is sandy colored.

Mouthwatering scent of sour cherry, some vanilla and oak.

This reminds a lot of their Cherry Stout. Lots of tartness right on the tip of the tongue. Tons of sour cherry, caramel and very faint hints of vanilla and oak.

Lightly prickly feeling, but mostly smooth. Dries out the tongue immediately upon consumption.

Drinks well enough for me to put down a few of these. I don't quite see a big difference between this and their Cherry Stout however. This is a bit more sour and a bit less malty, but not much of a difference in my opinion. Still a good beer.

jera1350, May 26, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a clear dark red almost mahogany color that produced an awesome fluffy & frothy eggshell colored head that stuck around for awhile before dissipating. It left a bit of lacing behind too.

(S)- A fruity aroma of tart cranberry & cherry with a slight cocoa profile in there. A light dry hay/wheat thing that provides a touch of funk to the fruits.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. The cranberries being the primary fruit flavor from what I cal tell. Plenty of tart/sourness with that same cocoa-like hay dryness that counteracts the sour & tart fruits.

(M)- A great carbonation level & balance. Fruity, yet tart, sweet, dry, and a little funky. Complex. Goes down smooth, yet has that tart/sour kick to keep it interesting.

(D)- A fantastic fruit beer that actually is a borderline sour/wild ale in my opinion. Goes down smooth & quenches your thirst. Definitely something special, but one of these at a time for me is fine; any more would be too sweet to consume.
This is just further proof that New Glarus knows their fruits!

sweemzander, May 24, 2010
Photo of dbtoe
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

12 oz poured into a pint
I've just started getting into sour beers and am very happy to see this one come out. Thankfully it isn't as sweet as the other NG fruit beers. It's a good drinkable sour. I'll be picking up much more of this one.
Look a red/brown with an off white head that reduces fast.
Smell is oak and sweet cherry.
Taste is sweet and oaky with a fair sour bite. Not real complex sweet cherry, oak and a sour cherry is about all I get out of it.
Feel it is well carbonated and creamy finishes real clean.
Drink this is a sour I could drink many of in a sitting. Perfect for a hot day like yesterday and today.

dbtoe, May 24, 2010
Photo of crossovert
3.1/5  rDev -25.3%

2010 version. Says it's a fruit beer on here, not sure if it is a full blown fruit beer.

It pours into my chalice a vibrant reddish orange. It has a decent white head that quickly recedes it leaves a bit of lacing.

The smell is very oaky, for some reason the oak scents in New Glarus beers are a bit more blunt than other beers. There is a light fruity character, but no sourness.

This is a very sweet beer, almost cloying. It is fruity but not overly so. It has a nice sourness. Over all this is the oak which again, is blunt. I don't know if it is the barrels but the oaky New Glarus products just seem off for some reason to me.

This really reminds me of Monk's cafe which I find a terrible representation of the style, this one like that one is just too sweet and the oak just doesn't meld properly.

crossovert, May 20, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a nice medium-brown color, with just a tinge of red. A good, frothy ecru head rapidly dissipates and retreats to the sides of the glass. Good cherry aroma is immediately noticeable, along with some spice and a little wood. This one is just a little bit sour, with tart pie cherries and vanilla. I have enjoyed all of the Unplugged beers I have tried, and this one is no exception.

emmasdad, May 19, 2010
Photo of weatherdog
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%

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.

weatherdog, May 19, 2010
Photo of djhowell
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%

A
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a chalice. Reddish brown colored body with 2 fingers of delicate white head that quickly disappears.

S
Smells like cherry pie a la mode.

T
The flavor is considerably more intense than the scent. Cherries (both tart and sweet) dominate but brown sugar and vanilla are also present.

M
Light bodied with quite a bit of carbonation. Works well.

D
Better drinkability than the other fruit beers from New Glarus that I've had. I still think I would only have one in an evening though.

djhowell, May 18, 2010
Photo of alcstradamus
4.15/5  rDev 0%

Pours a ruby/brown color with a finger of head. The aroma is fresh cherry, sweet maltiness, and pie crust. Very similar to Wisconsin Belgian Red.

The flavor is also very similar to the Belgian Red, however it is a tad more malty. There is a hint of tartness, and the fruit is a nice blend of cherries and maybe even a bit of orange peel. Nice pie crust.

The body here is medium and carbonation is spot on for the style.

Drinkability is very high, probably the most drinkable New Glarus fruit beer I've had yet. I know this is labeled as a sour brown, but it really doesn't have the characteristics of that style. Overall this is a fine beer and I can see why it is a cult classic.

alcstradamus, May 16, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

***

10-23-2006
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.

emerge077, May 16, 2010
Photo of hawks10
4/5  rDev -3.6%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass...

Pours a nice mahogany brown with red tints, very clear. Barely one finger of soft white head which dissipates almost immediately...

Sweet cherries loaded with an oaky scent. Slightly musty...

Slightly tart cherry flavor and feel that is overshadowed a bit by a very drying oak/wood flavor. Earthy overall with a slight sweet/tart tinge, no real "sourness." A load of vanilla becomes apparent after a few sips...Fairly complex while still simple and easily drinkable...

Light to medium bodied with a bit of a "wine-cooler" spritziness...but after a few sips that bubbly feeling seems to fad giving the beer a creamy and slick feel with some vanilla flavors lasting in the aftertaste...

Pretty good one by New Glarus, not the greatest but a solid offering...

hawks10, May 15, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

Reddish-orange, with almost no head, save for a few patches and a ring around the perimeter.
Smell is sour, tart, cherries, with some vanilla and vinegar notes.
Taste is tart cherries with some sour notes. More vinegar, vanilla, and
Mouthfeel is smooth, yet there is a little bit of bite towards the finish. Slightly sticky on the finish as well. Mediumlight body, low level of carbonation.
Drinkability is good. Very good beer overall.

Parrotbeak, May 15, 2010
Photo of Wisconsinality
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%

12oz bottle poured in Chimay Chalice.

A- Pours a nice ruby red with a half finger of head that recedes quickly and leaves nothing behind. Completely transparent.

S- The scent is of a big dose of oak and mild cherries. I find this very similar to the Cranbic.

T- Nice mellow oak and cherries. A good amount of sweetness in there as well. A faint bit of malt and maybe even a little cocoa.

M- I was a little disappointed as it was not nearly as sour as I was hoping for. Tart might be a better word for it. Medium to light bodied with a slightly dry finish.

D- This beer is sweet but not overly so and not as sour as anticipated. A lot of the same characteristics of the Cranbic. I was telling another BA, Dan might be training our palates for when he pulls out the big guns.

Wisconsinality, May 15, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

Not sure if this is the new vintage, but I don't think so. Ditmier pulled this long time want out last weekend... pretty badass Eric!

Thin lite tan head... hazed brown brew.

nose is pretty tame compared to the palate... fruity and lightly funky.... sweet and with plenty of sour bite.

Flavor is much like Belgian Red mixed with a bit of brown sugar and bit of tawny port... some apple cider... lite "earth" or "leather"

having a problem.. too much going on ... never seems "sour" really, but wow alot of complexities that I'm having a problem identifying.... very nice and complex....

Thanks again Eric... this one is where I need to go hunting and score my own!!

3.5/3.5/4.5/3.5/4

JohnGalt1, May 14, 2010
Photo of dancinwillie
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%

2010 release, bottle to nonic.

Lighter in color than I remember, a clear yet darkish mahogany. Head is the same color as the tan label, or I should say it was. It evaporated almost immediately, leaving just a hint of head film remaining. I don't think that's a bad thing, just what happened.

Aroma is deep rich cherry with an oaky undercurrent. A little vanilla is there too, and maybe a little bit of chocolate. smoke aroma is very subtle, and adds a nice dimension to all the sweetness.

Flavor is sour, yes, but not as sour as some would have you believe. More tartness than actual sourness. Cherry is featured prominently and mingles well with the oaks earthiness. Malt is strong enough to stand up to the sweetness, but takes a back seat to it overall. Balance is the key here, and it has unlocked my door. Wonderful taste here, right up there with Duchesse, and maybe even better.

Medium bodied, higher than medium carbonation, and a creamy mouthfeel make this a delight to sip or quaff.

Overall a damn good beer, and one that I wish was a year round offering. But I'll take it when I can get it, and I'm getting a lot of it this year. The only thing that I can say would benefit from improvement is the thinnish appearance. And that's something that I personally don't care too much about anyway. Keep on making hits Dan and Randy, this one's damn dandy! Cheers!

dancinwillie, May 13, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%

2010 vintage. I've been super excited to try this one since I didn't get it last time around.

Poured into my pint glas the beer is a crystal clear orange brown. A full three fingers of head burst to the top of the glass and fall rather quickly. A small amount of soapy lace slides down the sides of the pint.

The aroma is a nice mix of sour cherries and sweet candied cherries. The oak is very present. Some dry dusty wood along with wet soaked wood. There is just a hint of funk. As it warms I can pick out a trace of vanilla. This smells rather close to Cranbic maybe a tad more tart. Either way it has a nose I could whiff all day. Superb.

The flavor is bit more subdued than I had hoped. Lots of tart cherries and oak remenents with a smooth smokie vanilla finish. Just not the tongue bruiser I was hoping for. The nose would lead you to think it would be much more sour. Don't get me wrong it's got a great flavor profile just not quite epic.

Medium to light body. lots of carbonation to give it an almost wine spritzer feel.

Overall this will be a staple in my fridge until they stop making it. I'm a huge sour fan and this has just enough sour to keep me coming back for more. No sipping this beer for me. Big gulps and it's gone.

beerwolf77, May 12, 2010
Photo of levifunk
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

appearance - clear reddish brown color. good amount of head that dies down quickly.

smell - vinegar and cherry. smell is similar to their raspberry tart.

taste - quite sour. less fruity than the nose leads on. oak wood flavor comes out slightly with a subtle sweetness. very unique and pleasant.

mouth - light. carbonation very appropriate.

overall - very good beer. i'm new to sours and this is a great experience.

levifunk, May 11, 2010
Photo of Soneast
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%

My 2010 Enigma poured a relatively clear, blazing copper/red color with tons of carbonation evident. It developed a good 1 inch sized head that condensed fairly slowly to a bubbly ring, leaving little, to no lacing.

The aroma starts out with some woody, pungent, somewhat vinegary aroma, some sourness with some tart cherry fruitiness following suit.

The flavor is similar, you have a tart, balsamic, woody flavor initially that gives way to a some slightly sour, cherry flavors with a touch of vanilla throughout. Quite a complex combination of wild yeast/barrel/fruit flavors, that finishes a touch sour but leaves a sweetness on the tongue.

This beer is nice and lively, refreshing and thirst quenching. Very easy drinking and overall delicious. To me it was reminiscent of Monk's Café Flemish Sour Red Ale, albeit with more fruity character.

Soneast, May 10, 2010
Photo of antoines15
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

A: copperish, red with a slight collar and minimal lacing.

S: smells unlike a lot of beers that I have had. Slightly sour and cherries

T: just like the smell. A very tasty brew. Sour up front, then sweet

M: good carbonation, feels great

D: the more I drink, the more I want it.

I only bought a 4 pack and I am regretting the decision already. I am tempted to open another but...I...must...resist. From the other reviews I read, it seems as though it only gets better with age.

antoines15, May 09, 2010
Photo of BarrytheBear
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Most recent vintage released just this week.

Nice rusty pour with some big league bubbles into my Great Taste of the Midwest tasting glass

Muted sourness, canned crushed cherries, and a touch of soapiness

Tartness and sourness are muzzled here. The cherry presence reminds me more of cherry pie filling than of fresh cherry. There is a cleanness in both the mouthfeel and finish of this beer that leaves me wanting more. While quite enjoyable, I expected a slightly more bruising sour experience. Oh, what could have been with this beer. A local sour would be a real treat. Having said that, this beer drinks so smoothly and easily. That, coupled with the lack of crushing experience, make this a breeze to drink.

BarrytheBear, May 08, 2010
Photo of d0ggnate
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Thanks to Ben for opening this beer last night. I had never even heard of it, but was glad you broke it out.

Poured an amber brown/red color with close to no head, just a ring around my glass. The nose was pungent with a salty, sweet aroma, initially likened to potato chips. When examined closer, I found it to be more smoky cherry and vanilla. The taste was very smooth vanilla creamy with soft cherry notes. Just the right amount of bourbon appears here, too. If I had to lay criticism, I would say it was a bit too salty-flavored. This beer really reminded me of soft, cooked, mushy cherries. Delicious and I will seek this one out again.

d0ggnate, May 03, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Delirium tulip. No date or info but I know it's OLD (at least 4 years. Not the Re-release).

Thanks to bnieman for busting this out of his cellar!

A - Absolutely no head forms on the pour. Not even lace. Nothing on top. The appearance is just a hazy brown-amber color. Not much to look at.

S - Lots of toffee and caramel with a toasted malt character and a light barrel-wood oak nose. A kiss of sour brown ale hides in the background. Very sweet nose full of maltiness.

T - Dried coconut is surprising to encounter on the first sip. Tart brown amber flavor and toasted toffee mingles with a lightly roasted coffee in the background. Awesome flavor!

M - Toasted flavors and the tart bitter finish are well-balanced with a smooth malty sweetness and medium body.

D - Totally awesome with four years or so on it! So good in flavor it's a shame there isn't more of this to go around! I really liked this one!

BeerFMAndy, May 02, 2010
Photo of Popkas
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

A: Pours a murky deep orange-brown with a thin cream head. Kinda reminds me of a home brewed iced tea.

S: Nose is of tart cherries, vanilla and a nice bit of funk.

T: Reminiscent of Belgian Red (a very good thing) but with a taste of oak and vanilla.

M: Nice feel but a little thin with good carbonation.

D: Really enjoyable beer.

Popkas, Mar 07, 2010
Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 830 ratings.