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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
93
outstanding

852 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 852
Reviews: 425
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 247
Gots: 100 | FT: 7
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: 852 | Reviews: 425 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dogbrick
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mmmmBEEEER for sharing a bottle. This beer is a lightly hazed reddish brown-amber with a thin and filmy off-white head that diminishes to nothing fairly soon. Minimal lacing. Cider-like aroma with touches of yeast and spice. Medium-bodied with a tart fruity character and malt, nut and spice flavors. The finish is sour cherries with a lingering tart fruit aftertaste. Overall a unique and interesting beer that I would try again.

Photo of seaoflament
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice extra provided by ncvbc in a trade, thanks buddy.

Poured into my brand new Aventinus glass I picked up today at South Bay Drugs and Liquor, very nice looking piece of glassware.

The color of the beer is a muddy, tamarind, brown. A half inch of foam develops quickly but settles to a thin veil.

Aroma of tart and sweet cherries with hints of vanilla, oak and brown sugar. I dig the aroma. Some grapes come through as well as yeasty notes and a little funk.

Taste is similar to the aroma. Sweet and semi-sour cherries with some toasted malt, caramel, and oak. Finishes with some grapes. Mostly sweet upfront with just the smallest tanginess in the finish. Good stuff though.

A really clean and crisp mouth-feel, and just a slight tangy after-taste.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
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 WJVII
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is in retirement, however I have an awesome BA buddy whom saved a bottle for me (see cdkrenz).

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a thin almost juice-like consistency, very little head at all.

At first smell it has an almost sour aroma with strong hints of cherry and plum. My first sip was a punch in the mouth. This has a very strong syrup like fruity taste. Light carbonation and thin in the mouth.
This was a fantastic beer and I was glad to be able to sample one. Not that typical, not something that I ordinarily would drink, but it was a good change of pace. Nice work once again from Dan Carey!

Photo of Mudpuppet
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a sniffer. Apple cider look cloudy brown with a water edge, no head.

S- Very sweet almost sweet syrup smell. Ripe fruits.

T- Sweet, sour. Peaches and nectarines. Definite sour notes from bacteria.

M- Good carbonation. Thin in the mouth.

D- I could have a bottle or maybe two of this but it is a bit too sweet for my palate.

Photo of FatheadBrew
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: bottle from Chicone's in a pint glass.

A: Dark copper with amber highlights around the edge. Very little head that falls quickly to a light film around the edge and a bit of lace.

S: a sweet and sour battle with the malt and brett sourness. Lots of fruity esters, dark cherry which may be actual cherry, along with a sharp spice--hop??? or a phenolic--either way, it compliments the rest well.

T: wild yeast tang on the side with a fruity, cherry sweetness up front. The cherry tastes just like the NG Belgian Red, but covered with a bunch of other tastes--brett/lactic sour, malty and bready sweetness, oak and maybe bourbon, and a slightly dry finish. Very interesting, and truly confusing.

M: medium to full, a slight carbonic bite along with the astringenct tang from the yeast. Not heavy for all that's going on.

D: truly an enigma just deciding what it is--and failing. It's sour and big, and fun. Riddle solved.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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 umustdrink
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brownish red, mostly red with a brown tinge. Offwhite head fades to a film. Small strips and small dots of lacing.

S - Sour and sweet with lots of cherries, and a definite vanilla presence. Undertones of earthy oakiness.

T - Starts out with a mild sour bite, then smooths out a lot. Faint sugary sweetness with sour cherries and earthy cereal malts.

M - Medium consistency with a fair amount carbonation.

D - Lots of complex flavors and smells that I can't quite put my finger on. I'd try it again if I could.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
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!!!

Photo of iconoklaztor
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kmpitz2!!! Cheers

Poured into my Das Boot mug!! This beer smells great! A great lambic smell. Tart and sour. The taste is not as tart as I was hoping for! However, this is still a well done brew! The mouthfeel is pretty light which makes this brew very drinkable!

Overall, I like this beer. I wouldnt rush out to get another (I know its only brewed once too) but its a well done beer.

Photo of cokes
2.75/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Translucent muddied brown with magenta highlight under a nebulous ashy beige head that rapidly dwindles and relocates as a broken collar.
Tart cherry nose, obviously. With a loud burst of cinnamon, and more gentle reports of toasted oak. Wild-yeast induces uric acid, and balsamic vinaigrette, and these are on the louder side.
It's all grabby sweet-n-sour cherry concentrate at the outside. Oak adds a partial woody dryness and ghosts of toasted coconut and hazelnut. It's utterly outmatched here. Even the half-shearing tartness of lemon-juice and vinegar (and sauerkraut) can't force a tap-out on the ever-lingering sweettart cherry pulp. This drinks like marinade, while not expressly thick, its gooey, tacky, and gummy as the carbonation bubbles out after a few minutes leaving it lifeless and cloying.
While Belgian Red carries the roughly the same mass, it's cherries are bright and uncomplicated, and unapologetically the feature. Here they are musty, dank, and rotten-seeming, and too gussied up with flavors that do not compliment them. That's the first gripe.
The second is that the Unplugged line is stuck in a rut. Too much emphasis on wild-yeast and barrels. As a result, Sour Brown, Cherry Stout, Enigma, Belgian Quadrupel, and Bourbon Barrel Bock are all basically indistinguishable from each other (though I should note that Sour Brown and Quad do stand out above the rest, but the flavor profile among all of them is numbingly similar).
I've sat on this for a while hoping for something, anything...as I did with Cherry Stout...and once again I received nothing in return. What was once fresh when Sour Brown arrived is now tired. I'm hoping the Rauch (the next unplugged) has nothing to do with Brett or oak barrels.

Photo of dogger6253
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mud brown once it settles, but during the pour - an avalanche of color. Several gradients ranging from bright orange to deep brown. The bottom is closer to orange than the top, hints of ruby red swirl among the middle ground. The head is thick and retentive, mocha colored. The head stays around 1/4 inch, little bits of lace hang on the glass as I drink. Man, this is beautiful.

The smell is wonderful, very warm and rich with cherries and cinnamon coming through. It smells like warm apple cider, nutmeg, and a strong oak presence. There is sort of a chocolatey-tobacco smell going on here too.

The taste is excellent, cherries and apple cider are the majority of the flavor, but adding to the mix are some sweeter layers and some more bitter layers. There is a bit of vanilla and a bit of brown sugar, some toffee. In the finish, we have more oak flavor and some of that tobacco and unsweetened chocolate I was smelling. There's no real hops flavor, but a sort of floral/earthiness to it. The taste basically goes through three phases: tart at first, working into sweet and fruity and finishing dry and slightly bitter.

The body is awesome, thick and syrupy, clinging to your mouth and lingering on long after you've swallowed. There is some noticeable carbonation running through your mouth and a wonderful alcohol warming feel. I like this beer a lot, I need to get more of this stuff before it disappears.

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy, dark brown. A bit lighter than a cola. Little to no head but I had bubbles rising through the beer the entire time.

Smell: All sour cherries. Good sour cherries.

Taste: Just like the nose. Sour cherries. A bit of a bread flavor on the back end as well as vanilla and a woody flavor. Very good flavor. There is also a nice bit of warmth as you go.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and carbonation. You get a decent amount of cherry flavor lingering behind.

Drinkability: Too bad this was a one shot beer. Very tasty and very drinkable. This is a drink I would like to have several of. One note, this beer is one of the few that I believe was better while it was colder. It seemed to lose a bit of it's complexity as it warmed. Still a very good beer.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hoppymeal for this one, gotta love a good New Glarus brew.

Pours a murky ruby red with a nice brown tint. Head is a good two fingers that quickly dies down to just about nothing. Stickiness is non-existant. Smell has a big cherry character with a bit of chocolate malt, almost seems like it's their Belgian Red mixed with their Uff-Da. Some sour smell in the nose too, very unique smelling to say the least. Taste starts off with a great cherry sweetness followed by a sour cherry aftertaste. A bit of bready flavors appear, but are dominated by the cherry. Not a whole lot other than cherries going on in terms of flavor, but I love it. This basically tastes like my grandma's cherry pie. Tongue tingles from start to finish. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. I really like this brew, not as sour as the Belgian Red but at the same time not as sweet. Maybe someday they'll brew this one again.

Photo of quasimoto
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Its appearance is a deep choclate brown with an ever so tinge of pink to it. The head is light tan and has that slight pinkness to it as well. Strong aromas of tobacco, oak, chocolate malt, sour cherries and some sweet molasses dominate the nose. Such a complex bouquet of aromas that it is really something that is hard to pin down. The taste is strong sour cherries and back grounds of chocolate malt. The oak definitely comes out and adds a sense of sweetness to it. The mouth feel is light and smooth almost cloying. Very easy going down. If I wasn't so partial to the Belgian Red I would say that this is the best thing out of New Glarus ever.

Photo of cdkrenz
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$8.49 / 4 Pack
County Market
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Appearance - Hazy brown nearing a very dirty purple. A 1/4 inch of head that fades quick leaving wisps of white clouds atop the surface of the brew.

Smell - Fruit and malt scents are obvious in the aroma. There is a distinguishable cherry that I'm expecting to really control the flavor.

Taste - Too much fruit and not enough malt in this brew. It moves into a very strong cherry after starting with subtle malt in its beginning.

Mouthfeel - Smooth beer to the mouth and a sweet aftertaste that lingers on for... well it's been a 1/2 hour and it's still going strong.

~ To me this is a good after dinner drink or desert type beer. Even for breakfast perhaps? Not the type I look forward to indulging in again.

Photo of longarm
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark and cloudy amber. Little to no carbonation. Not exactly the most inviting appearance, but I have no idea how to compare it with others.

Strong fruity aroma...mostly cherries. Spices noticeable in the background akin to nutmeg/mace. This smells like a nice winter seasonal.

Sweetish but not cloying initial hit of flavor hits the palate. Cherries and/or raspberries balanced with fair amount of malt combines for a delectable beer. I'm drinking it on a cool Summer afternoon, but it tastes just as good as I suspect it would on a cool Winter evening. Something (unclear) helps give it a clean finish, but not hops which stay away from this party.

Mouthfeel a little more spritzy than most beers, but it maintains a decent balance of malt and spices and has a relatively dry finish.

A solid and drinkable beer (but not a session beer). I can taste/smell reasons for the name, since it's hard to pin it down. Still I'd love to enjoy more offerings like this one and you have to applaud the New Glarus spirit and talent for pushing the edges of the envelope yet again.

Surprisingly it also matches quite well with a mild baby swiss.

Photo of udubdawg
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

well now here was a unique experience!

Pours a murky looking brown with a little orange. Head is off white and very brief, and lacing minimal. Interesting.

The aroma seems quite tart at first, though I quickly get used to it and start to get more specific cherry fruitiness, and a lot of spice.

OK, the first sip I tasted made me immediately think of cider - sweet and tart in the front, cinnamon in the back. Of course I investigate further and aren't as sure, and then I don't see cinnamon in anyone else's review...In retrospect I think my palate wasn't used to it and my brain made some jumps here - fruity + sweet/tart = must be cider, and spicy + cider = must be cinnamon! After a few sips I wouldn't call it cinnamon, and I assume it is the wood that gives it this intoxicating spiciness.

But I digress - Whatever it is, it is undeniably good. Tart up front, sweet ripe fruit with lots of brown sugar in the middle, and spicy at the end, with the sour reappearing in the aftertaste as my mouth is overwhelmed with a strong drying effect. This stuff is sticky too.

I wish I knew how old this was. I bought it a mere month or so ago at the New Glarus gift shop, but I have no idea when it was brewed.

Pretty drinkable. I doubt I'll have another tonite, but it won't be long before I get an urge to taste this interesting brew again. Really well done.

Photo of screwcitybeernut
2.55/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

:::purchased from the New Glarus Brewery's gift shop:::


a::: Murky brown red - the color of my parent's old velvet couch. Had to pour from over a foot up just to encourage some head, which quickly dissipated.


s::: Very little aroma. From the description on the bottle, I was expecting some fruit, horse-funk, vinegar, sour, SOMETHING, but no, just a hint of alcohol and maybe a little wild yeast. Maybe it's my allergies, but I don't think so.


t::: I see what he's shooting for, but I don't think the brewmaster hit the mark. Like the aroma, very subdued. I guess you could say it's a "balanced beer," but I was expecting a little more strength. flavor, or oomph from a limited availability, super-premium brew like this.


m::: Thin, and sticky. Leaves the mouth very dry, which is to be expected.


d::: I guess I would have this again if I were in Wisconsin, eating some venison or beef jerky. Otherwise, no.

I love the New Glarus Brewery, but Enigma was not to my liking. I still suggest you go to the (impeccably clean) brewery and take the tour.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A cloudy brown and orange color. Small head with little retention.

Smell - Raspberries, cherries, peaches & some earthy spices.

Taste - Sour. Raspberry flavor is prominent with the peach and cherries helping. There seems to be a smokiness and vanilla in there as well. It's a lot more complex than I can really describe.

Mouthfeel - Medium body and carbonation.

Drinkability - Where can I get more?

Photo of TexIndy
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no dating system into a pint glass. The color was a cloudy reddish brown. It had almost no head and what was there quickly disappeared. The aroma was sour cherries with an oaky vanilla backbone. This age has aged a bit so the aroma was toned down. The taste also seemed mellowed out by time. It was good but missing the sour cherry bite that I love in these beers. Overall, glad I got to try it but wish I could've tied it when it was new. (3.5, RB, T, Y)

Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to flyingbison for this brew.

Pours a cloudy dark amber/brownish color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, not much sticky lacing at all. The nose is tangy, mostly cherries, spices, and some caramel. The taste is very nice though, mostly malts, cherries/dark fruit, there's some bourbon going on as well, and some caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a nice little brew, would definitely drink another, glad to have had a chance to try it out.

Photo of gmcfarre
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - Pours a dark ruby brown hazy unfiltered color with a minimal off-tan colored head. Lacing is minimal.

S - Puckering sweet sour cherries. Notes of wild yeast spiciness and fruitiness. Complex but tart cherries certainly dominate.

T - Mouth puckering cherry with strong acidic cider-like nature. Blend of tart fruit and wood-aged oakiness with yeast spiciness. So complex that it is very hard to describe and very unlike anything I've tried.

M - Smooth yet tartly puckering with a mild carbonation and slight touch of alcoholic zip.

D - So different it has to be tried if you can still get your hands on it. Still, its a sipper and not exactly mouth watering.

Photo of Atron67
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-poured a brown with redish tinges it was a foggish cloudy color/ had a tannish brown head, but the head didnt last long at all
S- can smell what comes across as toffee even though its a blend of fruits, im not sure exactly what im smelling beyond, cant really separate he scents
T- wow totally different than i was expecting, slightly juicy in content a sharp sweetness, its slightly tart, a little fruity
M- has a tartness that really balances the sweetness of the beer, good carbonation
D- the beer has a balance which makes it a pretty drinkable beer

Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 852 ratings.