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Thumbprint Enigma - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint EnigmaThumbprint Enigma

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

832 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 832
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: 832 | Reviews: 422 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bighuge
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

Murky looking brown appearance. Thin, bubbly beige head. Lacing is spotty in nature and low in quantity. Aroma has a little dusty, cellar-like feel to it. Also some sweet and sour aspects to the nose. Cherry and brown sugar. And a little bit of barrel character. Oaky. The flavor follows suit with some of that sweet and sour character. More sweet than sour though. Vanilla and cherry are present. Brown sugar like sweetness. Maybe a little molasses. Moderately carbonated and medium bodied. Finish is a little dry. Good rendition here.

Bighuge, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of malcontent
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%

Really no head and minimal lacing at that. A murky, reddish brown liquid is all I am presented with.

Some good sour fruit notes, mostly tart apple and cherry, along with (and I swear I'm not kidding) a soft, ripened cheese smell. That may sound gross but they're two things I love together so I'm definitely interested at this point.

Ha! I wasn't just smelling it; there's a lactic qulity in the aftertaste and on the back of my tongue. Super-weird but kinda good. The initial rush is squarly a sour one although not as extreme as some Flemish sours. A very weird beer (the name seems quite apt) although one I'm enjoying.

The mouthfeel really thickens toward the end making it not the sort of thing you could drink effortlessly but still, I like it enoughthat I'd gladly accept another bottle if some beer freak just happened to be sitting on one of these long-gone bottles...

Speaking of which, thanks to kmpitz2 for the taste!

malcontent, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of alexgash
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

Murky, wortish, red brown fluid fills the Rodenbach flute. Red-tinted cream khaki head recedes to a clingy film. Light vinegar, flint, and horse blanket cut through rummy cherries and whiff of smoky sugar. Palate reveals moderately sweet cherries and cherry sorbet/juice up front. Whaa? Where's the sour vinegar funk? Oh, there it is; better late than never. The back of the palate brings out more complexity, with whiskeyish malt, vanilla, oak, toffee, before sourness and acidic flavors takeover the dry finish. There is a little residual vanilla and cherry leftover though. Spritzy, adventurous carbonation. Medium body. All in all, I really like the sweet and sour interplay, especially with the oaky vanilla mixed in. Very well done.

alexgash, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of mattcrill
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Thanks to mmmbeer for the sample.

Aroma: Tart cheeries, a hint of brown sugar, and a lactic sourness that is inviting but different.

Appearance: Cloudy iced tea colored with thin white wispy lacing. Not much head.

Flavor: Tart cheery pie, lactic sourness on the back of the tongue, and cherry skins. Kind of alternating between sweet and vinegar. It sounds kind of gross but it was actually kind of interesting.

Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, thin, and a biting sourness that lasts well into the finish.

Overall impression: Enjoyable but not for me. I'm not a huge fan of fruit in beer. Especially if it masks the typical qualities of beer (barley, hops, yeast, etc). You can't get past the sour cheeries in this one. It's well made but I wouldn't want another. Probably would pair well with dark chocolate. Worth a shot.

mattcrill, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of blackie
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

appearance: I absolutely cannot wait to tear into this thing. The pour gives a low, tan colored head that recedes in good time. The beer is hazy, medium-dark brown with hues of red...alot like a cloudy iced tea.

smell: Smells awesome. A load of bold sour cherries perfectly balanced with sweet and grainy toasted malts. Rustic farmhouse aromas add a dose of complexity while some yeasty notes flirt alongside. Booze soaked oak is readily found. There's even a slight note of malt vinegar teasing the nose. Hints of green caramel apple. Superbly balanced aroma while maintaining a very interesting complexity.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the higher side of the low range, and the body a full medium. Thick flavors linger on the dry feeling tongue after the swallow.

taste: Rich, dark toasted malts backed up by a considerable farmhouse presence as sour and sweet cherries play around the different areas of the tongue. Notes of saturated hardwood come in strong and a perfectly done sourness grows into the finish. Subtle yet obvious flavors of dry cocoa are found as the beer lingers after the swallow.

drinkability: A great sipping beer. If I didn't make a conscious effort to pace myself, it could be gone in no time at all.

1/4 12oz. bottles shipped down from dirtylou

blackie, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

Yet another limited release from NG dablling in the sour beers.

A-hazy, rusty orange body with red undertones. Sticky beige head made up of tightly compact carbonation. An "unfiltered" appearance gives it a farmhouse appearance.

S-Sour, rotten, and oaky. Three ways to sum this up. It smells like you are sticking your head in a well-worn fresh cask of this. The cherries are evident and welcomed. Tons of depth here.

T-A tart and sour front make way for a smooth and fruity finish. The natural sugars and oak funk make a great combination. The cherry pits seem to lend an earthy characteristic.

M-The sharpness of this beer spreads quick and leaves a soft, tart mouthfeel. Nice and enjoyable.

D-Extremely unique and a great example of a sour brown. It would be an AWESOME beer straight from the cask on a hand pumped engine. Nice try for the sour fan.

Thank god New Glarus is in Wisconsin!

ALESwhatCURESya, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of shbobdb
2.58/5  rDev -37.8%

Why did they pull this monster out of retirement? Especially at the expense of, what, Staghorn? One of the best domestic Maerzens.

Maybe I'm being too hard on it, it tastes like a 80/20 mix between their Belgian Red and their Oud Bruin. Now, I didn't really like the belgian red but I loved the Oud Bruin, so the balance is towards me very much not liking this beer. But let's break it down:

It pours a hazy cherry read with a head that collapses into a ring around the beer. Not lovin' it.

It smells, ahhh, like something nice and rotten. Like the Oud Bruin mixed with some cherries. I was pretty excited while smelling it.

It tastes, like sweet cherry juice. Like I am drinking black cherry juice. As it warms there is some of the nice rankness of the wild fermentation. There is just too much of the former and too little of the latter. And it is way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too sweet. It is an artesianal version of Leinie's Berry Weiss. (Original score, 1.5).

So, I let the beer sit until it was very near room temp. The funk has taken over a bit and it has gone from being actively bad to merely a letdown.

Mouthfeel: A little cloying, but not really bad. Just mediocre.

Drinkability? Heck no. No desire to have this beer again.

shbobdb, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

There are a thousand different things going on in this beer.
Pours a cloudy deep, dark tea color with a smallish head that soon becomes a sticky halo ring.
Aromas are basically tart fruit with brown sugar to mellow it out.
Flavor is initially semi-tart cherries, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, followed with a lemon citrus hop.
As it warms and you explore it more the taste becomes less tart and more candied cherries. Really, really complex and really, really nice.
Aftertaste is sort of a lip smacking dry tartness that pleases and makes you want more. With each sensation of tart fruit is the presence of sweetness that makes this an incredibly balanced brew.
What? Retired???
Fate is not kind.
Sometimes the world makes no sense to me.
I want more.
Many, many thanks to nflmvp for this golden opportunity.

IntriqKen, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

Presentation: A 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle that has a high quality cream colored cartridge type paper with dark brown lettering and picture of a merry looking chap raising a tankard. More brown lettering with the word ‘uplugged’ emblazoned across in a banner style box with a red background. Metallic dark red foil covers the dark green logo’d crown cap and is itself overlapped with a cream colored neck label that simply says ‘Enigma’. No strength or freshness listed.

Appearance: A dark brown, rustic, clouded body fills my straight sided Stone Old Guardian goblet. Thin cream colored head soon dissipates and leaves only a halo-ring around the meniscus once it all stabilizes. Light lacing and very fine sized high level of conditioning.

Nose: Sour tones, but not that strong. Hints of Devon toffee and darker cherries. Malts seem to be infused with vanilla odors which at times have a coconut milk aroma. Funk lines the smell start to finish, but takes a back seat.

Taste: The initial mouthful is of a sour brown ale steeped in cherries with an oak aged backdrop. Beyond this, further tastes revealed vanilla tinges to the oak, with a brown sugar sweetness which helps to balance the spiking carbonation and sourness. Dry finish lingers with an acetic nature. Lovely lip smacking residuals seemingly last for ever.

Mouthfeel: Works up to being full bodied, warms as it swallows. Tart and dry with a smooth vanilla tinged oak coating for the throat and tongue.

Drinkability: This style is right up street, it’s what makes me tick. So my penchant for Sour Browns, especially with the Cherries, should in theory be a treat. And it is. Sadly the 12 ounce was all soon consumed and I find myself looking at my aging stash of RRBC Supplication. Once I got started into this bottle I knew it would be Cold-Turkey for a few hours afterwards. Oh yeah, it’s dangerously quaffable.

Overall: An excellent rendition of how good Sour Brown Ales can be, the Cherries and Oak exposure lend a lovely soft complexity to this offering.

An Uncensored, Uncut and Unplugged Thanks for yet another New Glarus winner shipped West by my mate BigHuge. Recommended.

TheLongBeachBum, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of maundythirsty
3.23/5  rDev -22.2%

Violet-tinged amber beer. Dark and a little cloudy. Fizzy head starts and inch deep, but doesn't stay there. Smells perfumey -- Belgian banana, berries, and wheaty yeast.

Taste is powerfully sweet cherry and a cidery spiced flavor. Light feel with zippy carbonation.

Not my cup of tea. Because it kinda tastes like flavored tea. Spices might make it a good holiday choice.

maundythirsty, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

Pours a murky burgandy....some funky barnyard on the nose...also brown sugar and tart cherries...

Taste is starts out sweet....overripe cherries soaked in brown sugar....but also an overripe almost spoiled orange flavor..a little tart cherry flavor...then notes of oak and even lighter is a little vanilla.

Medium to full bodied....feels right.

This is another great fruit beer from New Glarus...certainly more complex and better suited for the beer geeks than the Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart....feels more like a Belgian beer than those....well done

ZAP, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of Callenak
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

A friend of mine got two of these in a trade. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a murky copper with a tint of red. Not a big head but fizzy bubbles in the beer. Looks like a cherry coke. Smell is similar to a Flemish sour. Fruit and oak with a hint of caramel malt.

I thoroughly enjoy sour beers so was excited to give this a whirl. There is definitely a sour presence but not over powering. Taste is similar to a Flemish sour with a strong cherry presence with a hint of vanilla, most likely from the oak.

I was honestly a little let down by this one. I was under the impression it was going to have a much more "wild" taste to it. Of course we shouldn't go into a beer expecting much of anything, but sometimes it's unavoidable. It was enjoyable for a one time thing, but I won't go out of my way to try and get another one.

Callenak, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of trevorwideman
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%

Recieved as part of a trade with demcorhip, thanks for getting me this Wisconsin gem!

Wow, this pour really is mysterious. I've never seen a beer like this. A small head persents itself then dies to a slight lace. It is at the same time translucent and opaque, which dosen't make any sense at all. It seems like it's thick with sediment, but I'm not sure that's what it is. I think the best way to describe how this beer looks is that it looks like a glass of prune juice. Almost exactly. Mild carbonation from what I can tell. The nose is very unique as well, aromas of cherry, strawberry, rhubarb, plums, raisins, and a cool yeasty funkiness. Mostly sweet, but the little bit of sourness that there is is very pleasant.

Taste is just plain unusual, yet wow. All the fruits I mentioned before make an appearance, but the straight-up farmhouse funkiness absolutely smashes the palate when this beer hits the tongue. Yes sir, there's a little Belgian trickery in here. There's nothing bitter about this beer at all, just lots of sweet and tart flavour to make you salivate for more. My only complaint is that the carbonation is a little too fizzy and rather siezes the tongue on first sip. Other than that this is a real sipper that is really very unique and pleasant, I'm very glad to have the opportunity to try it.

trevorwideman, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of CH3CH2OH
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Smells like an apple orchard on a warm day, with some blackberry. Pours a murky rust with a fast diminishing head. Very different if you drink it without making an effort to smell it at the same time. The tast and aroma mix to complement each other, with some of the mustiness of fermenting fruit enhancing the sweet/sour taste. Very drinkable in that it gets better with each sip. This is a very aptly named beer in that it seems to mysteriously change from a forceful cacophony of flavors at first to a subtle, floral, easy drinking beer at the last. Yea, I haven't used the word "cacophony" for a while.

CH3CH2OH, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of BrewnZ
4.15/5  rDev 0%

Purchased a 4pk of 12oz bottles in Milwaukee for $9.00USD. Labeled as a sour brown ale.

Rich fruity aroma with hint of sourness, cherries, and mellow brett. funk. A cloudy red/brown similar to their other fruit beers bu more brown. Now for the 1st taste . . . Like a maltier version of the Wisconsin Belgian Red. Very good, but could use some more sourness for balance. Med-full bodied with stale hop flavor (cheese) and some buttery diacetyl that adds complexity rather than distracts.

Later, while on the brewery a the brewer hinted that they pasteurize this beer by pumping it into the boiled kettle and heating it to 140F. I get the feeling they do this or something to stop the brett. action on all their fruit beers. No of them seem very hard or lambic like, to me, give the fermentation process they described on the tour.

BrewnZ, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%

A: Pours a murky amber brown, looks like some raspberry juice was squeezed into it. Head is decent, a bit fizzy with an obvious pinkish tint.

S: Now how the hell do you describe that? Does this really smell like cheese? Buttery cherries, oak, and vinegar in the real highs. Unique to say the least.

T: Whoa! I'm going to need to step back and reprepare myself. OK, here goes....Begins with loads of musty cherries, massive buttery brett and darting tart nips to the tip of the tongue. Transisitions to balanced oak, black pepper kicks and lemonade. Finishes very buttery with loads of brett. Lingering, gentle tartness coast the beer to fruition.

M: Medium body with a full, smooth mouthfeel.

D: This beer would scare the bejesus out of non seasoned beer drinkers. It could have gone either way...but too much cheese and it could be a serious turn off. Personally, I think its brilliant. Another feather in the cap for New Glarus, one of the finest breweries in the world.

Westsidethreat, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of mcallister
3.9/5  rDev -6%

An opaque rusty color with a white head that is overly carbonated. Fades quickly into a nice ring around the glass and very little lace.

Sour cherry and hints of yeast dominate the nose. This is very fruity with a whiff of acidity and brett I believe.

This is a big full mouthed highly acidic beer. Wonderful flavors of chocolate covered cherries, very sour and in your face. Brett again I believe.

The mouthfeel is enormous for the style. Seems to coat the palate with a syruply chocolate enigma:)

Very Good.

mcallister, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%

Thanks to demcorhip for this Wisconsin rarity. Mahogany/red color, with plenty of haze. There is no head, just scarce, soap-like foam with large bubbles occasionally reaching the surface. A nice bouquet of sweet and sour cherry, woody spice, and apple cinnamon tempt the nose. It smells almost like a fresh cherry pie, though only subtly sweet.

The taste is a bit drying, plenty more cherry and apple fruit spice. There is a light acidity, but it doesn't seem very sour. The flavor is almost suspended between being tart, and sweet, and it lies somewhere in the middle. In the finish I sense a light tang with mild alcohol notes, which doesn't round out the taste very well. Light in body, moderate carbonation.

I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped. I didn't really know what to expect, and I'm still not sure I fully understand this beer after trying it. I suspect this might be why it's labeled a fruit/vegetable beer as opposed to a sour brown or other style. The flavors are interesting, but don't add up to a winner in my book. I would have enjoyed more tartness and more carbonation on the palate. I have a few bottles and I will be revisiting this one again...

bennetj17, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of sacrelicio
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%

This is odd. Very sour, brown, wood tasting. Cherries, citrus, bitterness. Very weird. Good, but weird. Brown and red colored. Hazy. Hard to drink. Very aquired taste. Like a young, super oaky, oxidized Bordeaux. Good, but too strange to ever buy again, unless I acquire a taste for this. I've had Duchesse du Bourgogne, and it's sort of like this.

sacrelicio, Nov 03, 2006
Photo of demcorhip
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

Been waiting a while for this, took a little longer to make to the top part of the state i guess.

A hazy brown ale with red hues. Poured with a thin tan coloured head. Decently and finely carbonated, and looks like it wants to leave substantial yet fine lacings. Just another enigma???

A very well named beer. My nose easily detects the oak, yeast funk, and a touch of sour cherries. The malts are also there, but not so easy to discern from the other scents mentioned.

Wow. Oak, vanilla, and a touch of sour cherries in a sour brown ale (which was another great "Unplugged" imo). The flavours all blend so well with each other, with nothing really dominating. Think i'm starting to be able to pick out the malts, with a nutty and toffee character. Finishes with a touch of earthy and peppery spice that nicely compliments this brew and goes great with the yeast funk. An incredibly complex and well crafted brew, and it will be my pleasure to see how this one ages.

This finely and well carbonated enigma is a real treat and challenge all in one. Dan is the man, and brought together oak, cherries, and the sour brown ale in a wonderfully complimentary fashion, nothing predominates, and everything blends and compliments the other flavours wonderfully.

What a rich and decadent session one could have with this brew. The depth and complexity have me sipping this creation in blissfull amazement. This is a very serious beer and is definately created for the serious beer drinker, and isnt something that would go over well with a typical macro drinker. A great beer to treat onself with when looking for quality over quantity (although it would be a pleasure to enjoy a few of these in a sitting).

demcorhip, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of jdoherty
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

A: Pours a brownish red opaque color that seems to get darker the closer to the middle of the glass it is.

S: You can easily smell the cherry notes which are absolutely delightful. You can smell the oak from the casks wafting up. The malty notes seem to combine all these together, but theres even more that my nose can't put a finger on The complexity of the smell could fill paragraphs

T: Cherry sour taste which is consistent from start to finish. Light malty flavor which is very pleasant. A very different taste which is almost a cross between hard cider and sour brown ale.

M: Highly carbonated, medium bodied taste. The best part is the way the taste of the beer lingers in your mouth long after the drink is finished

D: Absolutely addictive, the only the thing that could possibly turn you off is the price. Worth every drop, every penny.

jdoherty, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of brewcrew76
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%

A - Pours a hazy, almost murky, apple cider color with brownish/amber highlights. A thin ring of lacing is left behind.

S - Sour cherries and slightly rotting oranges with a bit of tartness. I really notice some of the same aromas from the Sour Brown and Belgian Red.

T - Sour, slightly tart cherries and a hint of sour apple. This flavor is immediately dusted off the palette by smooth vanilla, oak and tannins. The tannins create a nice light bourbon like finish that slowly melds back into sour cherries on the tongue. The tannin/oaky flavor starts to become a little dominant as the beer warms.

M - Very creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation which makes it very smooth.

D - This one definitely tastes like a combination of the Belgian Red and Sour Brown (my 2 favorite NG beers) aged in oak. I really like how all these flavors blend together for a nice complex beer. The oak adds a nice presence. I will be stocking up on this one to see how it does with some age.

Note to self - slowly going downhill with time.

brewcrew76, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of badbeer
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%

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

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

badbeer, Oct 24, 2006
Photo of Winter
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%

Pours a murky reddish copper witha thin off-white head. Aroma of sour cherries, oak, vanilla and fermented apples. Medium-bodied mouthfeel. First impression of the taste consists of tart cherries and oak. The flavor turns sour midway and is followed by a puckering and sour cherry taste. Feint charred smokiness emerges. Cherries return for the finish which is impacted greatly by the oak aging. That oak and vanilla flavor linger for quite awhile.

I didn't think too much of this following my initial first few sips but Enigma definitely grew on me and by the end of the glass I was enjoying it quite a bit. Not something I'd probably want more than one of in a sitting, but it's good regardless.

Winter, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of pweis909
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%

Fizzy, but with no real head. Brown and red and hazy. Cherry malt sourball? Cherry, not as intensely as Wisconsin Red, and sour, like their sour-brown ale. There is a bit of bitter under those flavors. It's not a hop bitter, it's more like a lemon-rind bitter (cherry pit, skins?), or maybe has to do with the oak? Sour beers makes me think more of soda pops than beer. Maybe that's why this one gave me a quick headache. Very tasty, but maybe I drank it too fast

Although perhaps brewed as a one-time offering, it's the first I saw it on the shelf . Looks like it was retired after one review in 2005, and now it has been offered again, or maybe just old stuff is reaching the shelves in my part of Wisconsin,

pweis909, Oct 20, 2006
Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 832 ratings.