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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

833 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 833
Reviews: 422
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 245
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: 833 | Reviews: 422 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of surlysober
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

SECOND TRIAL: I like sour. I like sour a lot, so it's not surprising that I enjoy this beer. That being said, I don't think it's best sour I've had, but it is very good. It pours a very cloudy, dense brownish-red. The aroma is sour cherries, apples, and a little alcohol. The taste is quite similar and the finish is slightly dry. Although, my second tasting (which came quite a while after the first) seemed slightly less sour and slightly more alcohol-y. Overall a very interesting beer, I'm glad that the Unplugged line seems to take real chances. Good... bad... it doesn't really matter as long as it's something different (although this one does happen to be delicious).

surlysober, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

That sweet luscious tang of pomegranate and sour coconut juice rise from the glass. Lubricious and sassy, with faint pine fusels, nips of higher alcohols, rising warmth and glowing brett. Great Stuff. Lighter on the apple skins and edging more towards acetone, yet with a pleasing grape must edge. Pours a murky ruddy amber, hazed and rimmed with off-white. On the tongue, a potent kick of sweet acidity. Rich, warm and mouth filling with a Christmas potpourri of tangled florals and perfumes. Lots of fermenting pale fruits over a luscious creamy malt base. The sour notes and wild funk are beautifully blended into the malt character here. First with the bold flow of oaked farm fields and cheese must, then into a creamy grain of roasted caramel and toasted almonds. Sweet and silky. Then out the back door with fading hop presence, maybe more than the style typically brings. On the palate, so airy and mystifying with gentle breezes of sweetness and acidity. Not scorching, yet gentle and calm, with a deft use of wildness to make a very peaceful and enjoyable version.

CharlesDarwin, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of biegaman
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an odd and unique tarnished brown colour. Different shades of orange glow brilliantly in the light. The colour is actually rather light on the bottom but in contrast to a much darker (brown) top half. Any head exist only in the form of an (again, unique looking) outer trim of mocha brown. Becomes muddied as it's swirled. Overall, a quite musty appearance.

First punch of the aroma is brown sugar and a wild strain of yeast. A huge amount of oak - very strong oak! Thick vanilla but I can't seem to get much fruit.
The mouthfeel again carries the oak quite well. Strong vanilla notes once more.

The cherry is there, but really understated and seems to lie beneath that predominant oak coating. The cherry is tasteful, but soft and fading. It comes through most in the aftertaste.
The yeast really hits a tart note on the back of the mouth, stings a little. Leaves a long, lasting sensation. Drinks so well, soft and understated flavours. Maybe not quite enough malt to carry it. The wild yeast does nothing to interrupt the flavours (unlike what I've experienced from other American brewers experimenting with). On the contrary, the yeast seems to really mesh all the flavours - that otherwise might not blend too well - together. But sure enough, the oak, the cherry, the vanilla, the funk all seem to blend nicely.

This was good, if not better, warm. I came to like it more and more. What an excellent sipper...a real shame it's retired.
Big thanks Sammy!

biegaman, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to skinnyelvis for sending me this fine offering from New Glarus.

A: Red foil around the cap and neck. Pours a murky raspberry puree or raspberry smoothie color with a half finger white head. Sticky thick lacing.
S: Tart raspberries that aren't as strong as a wild ale or a lambic, but aren't as mild as say a regular fruit beer. Strawberries and dark cherries are also quite present. A nice sourness is balanced by a sweet sugary aroma. Smells a bit like raspberry fruit yogurt--extra creamy.
T/M: Wow...hello! Sweet fruit notes together with a sour tart raspberry flavor. Raspberry, strawberry, and cherry pie all coated in thick whipped cream. Creaminess cuts down the tartness a whole lot. Thick and coating almost like a smoothie. Creamy and smooth on the palate. Aftertaste of those strawberry and raspberry seeds that get caught in the mouth.
D: Quite a pleasure to drink. Utterly smooth and surprisingly well balanced between the tart and the sweetness. Highly recommended as it will change your stance on fruit style beers. Truly an enigma and very complex.

bjohnson, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of crwills
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of a tasting with northyorksammy, biegaman, grub, and derek. Thanks guys!

Poured a reddish gold into a sample glass. Significant pinkish head that fades fast. Strong cherry and caramel malt aroma. Slick, oily mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Cherry with hints of coffee beans and molasses, and an acidic apple-juice aftertaste.

crwills, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of Derek
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber-brown, light tan head, some retention & lace.

S: Sour cherries with a little funk & spice.

T: Bready, slightly sour, hints of spice. Pleasant sweet/tart balance & not too fruity.

M: Moderate body is silky smooth. Light to moderate carbonation.

D: Quite good. I really enjoyed this.

Thanks for the sample Sammy!

Derek, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Sammy, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of grub
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

quarterly tasting party feb 21/07 with northyorksammy, Derek, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. northyorksammy contributed this one, so thanks sammy!

review updated may 7/07 now that i have a full bottle to enjoy courtesy of a trade with autumnaldave. thanks dave!

12oz bottle.

pours slightly hazy red-brown with a big tan head that drops slowly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. bit of spice - nutmeg and cardamom? lots of sourness and funk. bit fruity. bit of malt vinegar and lemon. crackery malt.

taste is nice. light sweetness. mild malt vinegar. bit of lemon sourness and acidity. light funk. orange peel. maybe a hint of cherry. just a hint of spice. some alcohol. very nice. as it warms, the cherry really starts to shine through.

mouthfeel is good. light, well integrated carbonation. good medium body.

drinkability is good. alcohol is balanced fairly well against the fruity and sour/tart flavours, especially as it warmed and had time to breathe. nice and enjoyable.

grub, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown coloration, fine, fizzy froth above, soon dissapating.

Nose is sour cherries, fruity fink, twisted cognacy feel melded with caramel malt and wicked Belgian yeast. Sour grapes mix with licorice and leather. Interesting.

In the mouth and on the tongue, there is is, the Flemish Red style with a touch of the lambic. Fruity, sour, complex and invigorating. Well-balanced, not too forward, good integration, and terminally tasty. Warm brown ale meets sour fruit. A twisted elixir.

Soft, tart fruit finish. Medium body. Not off-putting in the least, and easily down able, but a treat to relax and luxuriate with.

thanks to JD!

feloniousmonk, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a teak brown body with a thick hazy to it. There is a thin creamy head of tiny bubbles and a gentle carbonation.

S- The big fragrant blend of dark cherries, wet oak, dry prunes and cola come through right away. As it warms there is also hints of decomposing leaves which is very nice and a fresh shaved raw coconut aroma.

T- The bright cherry bite has a slight balsamic vinegar hint and a coco nib taste to the dark malt. There is a cola flavor with a some cherries and cream notes. As it warms there is more of a raw coconut flavor that comes through and enhances the cherry notes.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a slightly slippery texture.

D- This beer has a nice complexity but it is very well blended. There is a cherry coconut flavor that has an interesting fruit punch flavor but also a hint of wild ale to it. This is a very smooth drinkable beer with lots of good character.

rhoadsrage, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a tulip glass, poured a good brown color, cloudy, a decent starting head that shrinks to a swirly film, a little lacing, pretty nice lookin. Aroma is prominently sour toned, oaky hints from conditioning, vanilla, some fruits in there, hard to distinguish, but I want to say rasberries. Taste is along the same lines, sour, sweet fruits, tart rasberry, the oaks line the edges of this delicious brew. The mouth is crisp and dry, sour, well bodied, and overall, its just a finely crafted piece of work. Makes me with I got the 4-pack.

objectivemonkey, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

BEERchitect, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of oakbluff
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an off whie head, cloudy with a red caramel body. Smell is funky. Carbonation is medium to high- very sour ale. The cherries are present, but not the main act like the Belgian Red. The brown ale aspect is more evident in the after taste. I actually enjoyed this more than Belgian Red which I'm sure is sacrilege of some sort. Glad I had a chance to try this unique offering.

oakbluff, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of BeerCheese
2.6/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pulled this bottle out of the fridge and poured it into my favorite glass. Color was brownish orange and cloudy. Head was tan and dissipated almost immediately. Very disappointed in the lack of head retention. Smell was somewhat sweet/malty. First taste was a surprise. My first reaction was that it tasted a little like a wine cooler, but I've always thought that about the fruity beers. It's actually pretty good, bot nothing I'll drink very regularly. I don't think I'd even want to drink two in a row, so the drinkability would be considered low for me.

BeerCheese, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Phyl21ca, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of Brian700
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer, well first off, let me start by saying how ashamed I am of myself. Everyonce in a while I make it into this beer store about an hour from my house and they have had this in there every time I've been there. I have yet to pick up a 4-pack of it. Someone sent one of these to me to try and I recognized it as the one from New Glarus that I knew little about and kept passing up because I've had too much in my cart already. After first sip I hung my head and asked myself how I could call myself a beer advocate.

This beer blew my mind and Dan you should brew this again and not make it a one shot deal like stated on the bottle. Wow.

The beer pours an interesting amber/orangish color with almost reddish hues coming through. A smaller cm or so head sits on it and disipates slowly.

The aroma has some funk presence. Bret/lactic lambic-like (frombois obviously, states raspberries on the label) smell that is quite refreshing and makes me get a little as I anticipate the flavor of this one.

I pick up on the lambic-like qualities right away, then I get barrel aged vanilla, raspberries, oak, probably a wheat addition to this with the pale malt. The sour is just enough to lend a hand to the fruit character. Excellent.

The mouthfeel is great. medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Very refreshing on the palate.

Drinkability is through the fricking roof. I know where there is more and I am going to clean them out. I will not say where.

Brian700, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of Erdinger2003
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a goodsized head with an almost buttery smell in the backround. It's almost lambic-like with just a faint hint of horse blanket. The taste isn't quite as sour as the lambic and it's more bitter, the flavor isn't as smooth with bitter flavors it has. It still has a malty buttery flavor in it's backround. The mouthfeel is very carbonated giving it a bite. Overall I started out loving it, but I don't think I'd reach into my cellar for a while for this one.

Erdinger2003, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of DrMalt
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thx to Demcorhip for his run into Wisconsin.

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a large goblet.

Brown with orange hues. Cloudy.

Aroma is varied. Cherries, peach & I could even smell something similar to marshmellow? An earthy smell.

Taste is not unlike a flanders brown ale yet with more fruit flavours. Initially the flavour of the cherries is dominant but it finishes with some smokiness and some sweet vanilla notes.

First few sips, the tartness is apparent & the sourness becomes almost too dominant. Yet as I was half way through this beer the more my palatte was intrigued. The bottom half of this drink was tremendously enjoyable.

Drinkability--Tasted like more.

Similar to a Rodenbach or other sour ales, as I got used to the tart taste, the more I wanted.

Good stuff!

DrMalt, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of andrewmartin
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my cousin Jared for picking up a four pack of this last time I was through Minnesota.

A: My wife hit it on the head, pours a dark honey with a quickly dissapating head.

S: Completely blown away by how this smells-cherries and other fruits (apples) mingle with malt sweetness and stand alongside strong vanilla notes.

T: Starts off quite tart but not unpleasent at all. This then gives way to a rich vanilla sweetness. The finish is a long, tart alcoholic one that slids wonderfully down the throat.

M: Very acidic as expected, but the vanilla and malts round everything out.

D: For a complex brew, this was very drinkable.

After reading the label, I figured I would review this with kreik guidlines in mind, and, although there are similarities, the name of this beer definately fits. I'm off to email the brewery to reconsider this for another run.

andrewmartin, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of soulgrowl
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Hazy chestnut brown, opaque for all intents and purposes. Head is a somewhat fizzy affair, parchment-colored and fleeting. A handsome but not gorgeous pour.

Smell: This is really special. Sour funk is the most noticeable character, along the lines of a Biere de Garde or a Flanders red, but less fruity and more leafy, more herbal, and more vegetal, but in the best possible way. Notes of orange zest, sour cherries, clove, and oak trees add a light potpourri-esque perfume. A hint of Peaty smoke lends a dusky depth and the impression of Scotch whisky.

Taste: Holy mother of God. This is amazing. Lush essences of vanilla (loads of vanilla), honey, cocoa, and caramel; mouthwatering fruity sourness that doesn't pucker or burn; subtly woody oak; fresh cherry juice; fresh, autumnal, almost tobacco-like leafy crispness. On the sweet side, but well-countered by the healthy level of tartness. Finish has a dry, vinous bittersweetness that closes with a tug of savory oak.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, solid, medium- to full-bodied with a slickness from the cherry sugars. Well matched with the flavor and not nearly as rough as many other sour beers.

Drinkability: Good lord, I just wish I had stocked up on more of these when I was in Wisconsin. I could drink this all the time. Complex yet mellow, big and creative yet affordable, sour but not too sour. Way up there on my list, for sure, and definitely the best I've had from New Glarus.

soulgrowl, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of electrojosh
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Before writing this review I took a few minutes to read what others have written about New Glarus Unplugged Enigma, and I have to admit that I'm utterly surprised that this beer isn't better respected. This stuff is flying off the shelves in beer stores across Wisconsin and soon wont be available anywhere. I feel lucky to have found a couple of four packs at a liquor store and a case at the brewery itself.

Everyone I have ever shared this beer with has agreed that it is something special. Unplugged Enigma is without a doubt my favorite beer ever.

Packaging: 12oz bottle with brown old fashioned label and bright red foil. Purchased as four-pack at Riley's in Madison ($9) and by the case at the New Glarus Brewery ($54).

A - Dirty orange color, almost reddish. Pours with a 1cm head.

S - Slightly sour, but with complicated aromas I can't place. Orange peel? Bourbon? Absinthe?

T - Sweet, sour, and a little dry. As with the smell, the taste is highly complicated and difficult to place. Dry hop finish. Something in the flavor reminds me of the wild yeast taste of Belgian lambics.

M - Dry bitterness upfront overwhelms apparent carbonation. Dry afteraste of oak. If I could have but one wish granted, it would be to enjoy this remarkable beer on hand-pull without the carbonation.

D - This beers is so complicated that I would almost have to say that it stands on its own and shouldn't be paired with anything. I recommend it for short chats with an ex-girlfriend, or for watching some long-forgotten movie on television. Like life itself, this beer is complex and under-appreciated.

The sales clerk at Riley's said it all: "This beer changes every time you drink it."

electrojosh, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of Sjixxxy
3.03/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A weird brew, truly fitting to the name of "Enigma". Each sip seems to hit you with the favors of about 15 different fruits, or maybe just one fruit created in a New Glarus basement laboratory that science is yet to give a name. Either way, this feels more like drinking a fruit juice that makes your head light, then a traditional beer style. Which may explain why everyone I let have a sip of mine universally said "That is the worst thing ever." I don't mind it though, I just couldn't see myself drinking it in mass quantities.

I do love the red/brown murky appearance though.

Sjixxxy, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of fisherman34
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle via trevorwideman. Consumed with rudge75 after drinking the Belgian Red. Dark red in colour with medium carbonation. Aromas of cherries, a hint of vinegar, and vanilla. In the mouth a great balance is struck between the cherry, oak (vanilla), nutty almond, and gentle sourness. A cleamer finishing than expected, but that’s not neessarily a bad thing. Complex and flavorful, yet very easy to drink. Good stuff and it made an interesting counterpoint to the sweeter and more straightforward Belgian Red.

fisherman34, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty cool beer. I'm always a little cautious with wild yeast beers, but I'm pretty sure New Glarus knows what they're doing.

Looks a dark, hazy amber with little retention. Smells funky (of course) to begin with and I have a tough time describing it.It smells creamy, almost like cream cheese. Grapes comes out in the flavor with a little apple, but its's still mostly a tart creamy flavor. This beer is wild, yet drinkable. Definately a conservation piece for beer geeks. Grab a bottle if you can find it.

Edit: See Bighuge's review below, I think he picks this brew apart pretty well.

tempest, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of Sephiroth
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to shbobdb for this unsolicited bottle. Pours with average head, some lacing, the beer looks unusual. When held up to the light, the bottom outlining edge is a cherry brown color, and above, the beer is dark, opaque brown. This smells absolutely mouthwatering. Slightly tart cherries with a nice dose of oak.

The taste is somewhat subtle. Cherries on the front of the tongue, the wild yeast adds a faint tartness, and then the oak and some barnyard notes. The oak might be the strongest flavor in this beer, yet it does not dominate the beer. This has a full, creamy mouthfeel, it extremely drying. The drinkability is outstanding.

New Glarus is the undisputed king of fruit beers in America.

Sephiroth, Dec 19, 2006
Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 833 ratings.