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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

840 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 840
Reviews: 424
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 247
Gots: 101 | 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: 840 | Reviews: 424 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bennetj17
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

Appearance
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???

Aroma
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.

Taste
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.

Mouthfeel
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.

Drinkability
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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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
Photo of weeare138
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to 2beerornot2beer for the trade...
Appears a slightly hazed, transparent copper toned brown with a small off-white head that fades out within a minute. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is oaky, light spice, cherries, with inviting tartness.
Taste is of sweet cherries, oak, wild tartness, blended sugar, along with a touch of creamy vanilla.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet & mild tart mix, along with a gentle oaky dryness. Pretty nice.

weeare138, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of dirtylou
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is not retired, not even close really

12oz bottle, got a 4pack at Riley's

appearance: standard New Glaurs Unplugged label which i am fond of...pours into a wide mouth wine glass....rose-mahogany body with a light violet highlight, light beige froth with light lacing on the rim

smell: immediately similar to belgian red and cherry stout. This isnt a bad thing, but its very familiar. tart michigan cherries dominate the nose for me, rather sour...in the background i get vanilla and oak but the sour cherry dominates

taste: the flavour is much more complex to me as more of the beer is revealed than in the nose...every sip is pretty divine if you ask me, it starts with a sour-tart michigan cherry flavour then the vanilla and oak follow in the finish, a little booze comes through but the finish remains quite tart and sharp. As it warms i get more and more bourbon in the finish...Theres been some conversation on how similar belgian red, cherry stout, and enigma are to each other but i am not bothered...this is another wonderful fruit beer from new glarus

mouthfeel: tart, slick medium body, velvety smooth

drinkability: a joy

dirtylou, Oct 19, 2006
Photo of kmpitz2
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. This brew pours a deep amber color with a half finger of head that falls to a nice film over top of the beer. It has a moderate amount of haze. and there is no carbonation visable. In the light, there are some nice ruby highlites in the beer as well. The nose is nice sour cherry, with a very solid oak tannin and a light tartness that adds a nice character to it. The flavor is definately reminding me of the sour brown they made a year or so ago. It has a nice creamy character along with a solid sour cherry in there. It finishes with a very solid tannin character from the oak. It is tasty. The feel is very creamy with moderate body and a light carbonation. It is really smooth. This is a really tasty beer. I think the oak character really sets this one apart from the other NG beers that it is similar to. I will be interested to see if time makes any difference in what this one becomes. I think it is tasty now, and could get even better in time.

kmpitz2, Oct 17, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first taste of this long desired brew was a whopping let down. After more than a year of anxious anticipation I felt betrayed. Expecting intensity, I found only timidity. I sought boldness but was only given subtlety. Not long into my first glass I began cursing myself for buying Jenny Street Market’s entire stock of Enigma. Sometime into my second glass that feeling began to change.

Enigma is considerably lighter, less fruit forward, and more subtle than I had expected, however, it does not lack for interest and complexity. Enigma’s appearance is quite elegant and wine like. It boasts minimal to no carbonation and just a thin, glass clinging lacing, but its reddened chestnut hues still manage to foster a rather unique and splendid appearance.

Funky sour oranges and tart rotten cherries are pulled cohesively together by overriding aromas of oak aged liquor. Vanilla, oak, and hints of bourbon flow throughout with nuances of must and rotting wood rounding everything out. Fans of Bourbon and Whiskey Barrel aging should enjoy this beer immensely.

Flavor wise, the beer appears to be a blend of the Sour Brown and Belgian Red, however comparisons to NG’s Cherry Stout are inevitable. In many ways Enigma tastes like a toned down Cherry Stout. Still, taste is predominantly a product of the barrel rather than the fruit. With Enigma, the oaky vanilla rules the cherry every step of the way. The end result of the aging is a product that is both sour/tart and supremely smooth. The mouthfeel seems considerably lighter and better balanced than New Glarus’s other fruit beers. Drinkability is through the roof, even for someone like myself who is often not a fan of barrel aging in general.

Enigma is not the explosively “big” beer that I expected but it makes up for it with interesting subtlety and by simply being pleasurable. It’s quite the hybrid stylistically and goes highly recommended to fans of fruit beers, Flemish reds, sour browns, and barrel aged beers alike.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was allowed to warm up for a few hours.

Pour was dark brown / dark red, with a small head.

Smells just like a Jack and Coke. Or maybe Jack and Cherry Coke. A wooden bourbon aroma was husky and mellow, and was more distinct than the light fruity or cherry aroma.

The flavor was smooth and mellow. Sweetness came from a cherry flavor, but nothing like their Unplugged Cherry Stout. This was more like icing on the cake, and the cake was a nice wooden bourbon mixed with uncarbonated cola. In fact, I'm reminded of Captain Morgan Gold, and how they blended their rum with a low carbonated cola.

Carbonation was perfect, allowing the finish to fade out into a warm oaky aftertaste. A fascinating type, and definitely worth trying out again. I think I'll try to pair it with a juicy grilled steak next time.

terrabyte, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple 4's at Riley's here in Madison. Tasted side-by-side with their Cherry Stout.

Pour: slightly hazy, translucent mahogany/copper under a finger of loose khaki foam that fizzles in a few seconds.

Nose: tart cherry, sour woody oak notes, lambic-like yeasty funk

Taste: sweet fruit up front; tart, almost spicy cherry on the midpalate; mild, oaky smoothness and a cool, slightly metallic finish. Like drinking a fine cigar.

Feel: smooth and slick on the tongue - substantial, with velvety carbonation

Drinkability/Overall: the oak aging has done well to smooth out and mellow this beer. Refined, and tight as a knot. This is one to drink AT room temperature as it retains a distracting metallic bite when chilled. Another great cherry beer from the guy who does it best.

Golden2wenty1, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice almost clear golden medium amber with an off-white head which rose tall and fell very slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was a melding of oak aroma and bourbon. Neither aroma was overpowering and both worked well together. Behind that was a light fruitiness which was hard to distinguish between cherry or raspberry.

The flavor was fruity and slightly sour, or better termed as acidic. The flavor was distinctly cherry, but more subdued than say Cherry Tart (Wisconsin Belgian Red), much more. The cherry flavor was tempered with oak that finally finished out as a bourbon, but was only subtle, never overdone.

The finish was dry and crisp with lasting cherry which transformed on the palate in the finish to oak and later to light bourbon. The body was medium and the carbonation was spot on.

This beer, probably one of the few released from the brewery was worthy of asking about if you ever visit. Most bourbon beers are overdone and perhaps overrated, but this one is subtle and sublime. A mix of fruit beer and bourbon and a wonderful way.

Purchased for $10 in 2003 at the brewery on a private tour prior to Great Taste of the Midwest, unlabeled with only a gold crown cap on a green 750 ml bottle. At least 12 other people purchased a bottle(s). I wish I had another bottle, and had been waiting for the right moment to open this one. It should have been stored for even longer and a more special occasion, but today seemed like the day. The reason was GT tickets went on sale today even though I will not be able to attend this year.

Wood and Barrel-aged Beers: 2003 Silver Medal GABF, 2004 Bronze Medal GABF.

We need a BA Wood and Barrel Aged beer style!

GCBrewingCo, May 01, 2005
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Thumbprint Enigma from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 840 ratings.