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Thumbprint Imperial Weizen - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thumbprint Imperial WeizenThumbprint Imperial Weizen

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

624 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 624
Reviews: 340
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 97
Gots: 48 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Weizenbock |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Do not waste time attempting to box this brew into some esoteric guide to styles. This is Dan's bold creation. His passion for unfiltered Weiss collides with Cascade Hops inventing our Imperial Hefe-Weizen. Dry hopping boldly rules over Wisconsin red wheat and our special strain of Bavarian yeast. At almost 20 O.P. this is the super mac daddy of Weiss beers. Decoction mashing was followed by excessive dry hopping to create a fierce onslaught of clove, cinnamon and citrus all in this living beer. Don't bother waiting to enjoy - the time is now.

(Beer added by: EliteDigger on 02-11-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 624 | Reviews: 340 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like the style, thank you Bakerslp for the trade. clove, cinnamon and citrus are claimed and in the mix, though I do not think they contributed to my liking it, (also bannana) but they did to the aroma. Very drinkable,if only I had a bomber to share, above average mouthfeel. Dark colour and good head.

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to burnheartsMKE for sending me this one!

Pours a murky honey orange color with a 2 inch off-white head that fades to a small cap. Chunky spots and rings of lacing coat the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sour apples, cloves, cinnamon, and some bubblegum. Taste is of wheat, banana, bubblegum, the spices (clove and cinnamon), with a slight citrus twang on the finish. Good carbonation on this one makes for a crisp and clean feel. Overall, this is a good American made hefeweizen with all the classic smells and tastes.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for getting a box of New Glarus out to me. Served in a New Glarus taster glass.

Pours a fairly-cloudy bright yellow-golden with a short white head and a spot or two of lacing on the way down. The nose has quite a bit of sweetness combined with some banana, clove, and a touch of spice. The flavor is fairly boozy with some spice and residual sweetness. Too much malt sugar remaining here, IMO. Body is a bit thicker than I'd like with some extra alcohol. I prefer NG's lower-abv German wheat offerings.

Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey/amber color with a massive head that matches the best Germany can offer

Smell: Massive aromatics - clove dominates, but banana, bubblegum, circus peanuts and a citrus/alcohol concoction that I cannot quite place; while interesting, there is something not very appealing about it to me

Taste: Immediately, the clove and banana flavors jump to the fore and a spicy cinnamon peppery bitterness appears; the bubblegum also joins the other flavors at mid-palate; after the swallow, it becomes rather alcoholic and aggressively spicy, with the grapefruit persisting at the end

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with significant carbonation and a lot of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Schizophrenia in a bottle; I appreciate the craft but I can't say I really enjoyed it; I re-visited another bottle 18 months later and it was very different - still boozy, but the hops had faded and it was much more recognizable as a boozy hefe

Thanks, Atron67, for the opportunity

Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The American microbrewery attitude continues to trample upon traditional styles, pummeling them into submission. New Glarus claims victim to the German Hefeweizen by "imperial-izing" its strength and complexity, while also hopping the ale the "American" way.

Its pour is the standard hazy straw color than makes weizen famous. Where its high effervesce is expected, those bubbles fuel a head of rock and fizz, looking slightly more Belgian-like than that creamy character of German wheat. Its certainly an exuberant beer that laces the glass lightly while its retention is semi-stern.

Zesty and fruity aromas abound- lead by lemon, orange peel and grapefruit- its tangy scent of white wine rivals it's traditional bready scent of whole wheat. Cider and tart grape provide an earthy fruit note while the spice of clove, cinnamon and cumin follow closely behind.

Its shocking taste is much drier and tangy than expected. Its bready-sweet upstart is wafer-thin and short; paving the way for fruit and acidity to pang away at the middle palate. Its taste of pink grapefruit, orange slices and green apple outweigh that of banana and thrust into a more tart and dry zinfindale and cider flavor. Its spicy finish is of soft pine, straw, cumin, clove and cinnamon- much a melange of Bavaria and America's West Coast.

Much drier than usual, the beer's proportions in texture much more align with that of Saison. But those bready beginnings carry through with echoes, even while the zest of acidity springs off the tongue, ushering in a bone-dry and spicy-warm finish.

I rather like the dry effervescence and the American hop character that this distinctive weizen presents. Its a rustic and zesty attitude that resonates through the session with sprite and zeal.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Oakbluff: Poured a cloudy beige color weizen with a big foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of spicy yeast with loads of cloves and wheat malt note. Taste is a mix between some cloves with some huge wheat malt note with a spicy yeast note at the end. Full body with limited filtration and some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Really like this beer but thought it was a bit cloying at some point and maybe a less extreme version would have been more appreciated.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.88/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Barely blurry ripe apricot with an impressive number of bubbles rising in stately fashion to a wonderful looking crown. The head is thickly frothy and is ridiculously rocky as it melts. It's also sticky, which leads to the formation of an eye-pleasing array of tenacious lace.

What a nose! Who would have thought that Imperializing a hefeweizen and then using a few tons of Cascade hops would result in something that smells this good? Well, okay, it stands to reason, but only in the hands of an extremely talented brewer. Loads of lemon citrusiness mingles with the more usual banana and clove esters. I can't wait to tip up the glass.

Imperial Weizen is dee-licious beer! Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this is damn good stuff. As one who loves American hops, big beer and expertly brewed hefeweizen, this Unplugged offering is right up my alley. It might have tasted even more vibrant right out of the hopper, but it's a definite gobsmacker right here and now.

The flavor profile includes sweet banana puree, orange peel, pink grapefruit peel, pink bubblegum, ground cloves and vanilla bean. The hefeweizen banan-o-meter is a palate pleasing 4.0/5.0. Purists will probably have a stroke, but the use of Cascade hops puts this remarkable ale over the top. Forget unplugged, this beer is electric!

For an ABV approaching double digits, there's almost no evidence of alcohol on the palate. This is a well thought out, masterful creation that Brauerei Weihenstephaner would have a hard time replicating. Assuming they'd even want to try.

The mouthfeel is perfect. It's full, silky smooth, fresh cream-like and plush without being the least bit heavy or sticky. There is nothing about it that I would change. Nothing... at... all.

Imperial Weizen is the finest Unplugged beer that I have ever had. It's also at least the equal of the legendary Wisconsin Belgian Red and is the best hefeweizen that has ever entered my glass. Sorry Germany, but Dan Carey has just kicked your collective asses all the way to Dusseldorf and back. This is an outstanding ale that begs to be brewed again. I'd love regularly, but will settle for annually. Wow!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.93/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let me preface this by saying that this is easily one of the best beers I have ever had of any style. I traded for a couple of these a while back, and just last night had gotten around to try it. I was in the mood for something light on the body, but was hoping for a very full, and flavorful experience, and this was exactly what I received with this one. Very nice twelve ounce bottle, with the red foil unplugged wrapper over the cap. I pulled this one right out of the fridge and immediately poured it into my Terrapin snifter, which gets the brunt of all use from me and proceeded to enjoy it over the course of the afternoon.

Appearance - The pour was wonderful. As a decanted it into the glass, a wonderful two finger high head of sticky white foam rose up from it. Some really nice retention here as this thing was literally going nowhere. It eventually turned rocky, and then a short time after that managed to crater away the top half of it, but even as it finished there was some foam left in the glass and a more then adequate side glass presentation. The streams of carbonation that could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass only served to reinforce this fact, and when combined with the head, made a very active looking beer indeed. The color was a deep, sun dripped yellow, with an enormous amount of haze and cloudiness to it. I was really quite please with how big this looked overall, and needless to say was quite impressed with the overall look of this beer.

Smell - The aroma was to die for. As soon as I took that first whiff I new I was going to be getting into trouble with this one, and I would soon find out I was very right indeed. The first whiff was loaded down with sweet lemongrass infused hop notes. Nice and light, nothing heavy coming through on this one at all. Underneath with delicate smells of banana and clove. You know a good Hefeweizen when you get this smell, and if you don't know what I am referring to, you probably have never had a good one! Evolving over time, the hops faded and the light grain, and wheat base came though and brought the banana and light clove flavor to the forefront. Very complex and satisfying, this was exactly what I was looking for.

Taste - The flavor followed suit beautifully, being extremely full and complex. The first note to come through the palate was the hops. Nothing distracting or heavy like a big IPA, rather, this was light and airy, a bright hop profile with the lemon flavor leading the charge here. Nothing too heavy about it at all. As you let this go by and expose the grainy underbelly of it, you come across a really nice bit of light yeasty flavors. Here comes that lovely light banana and peach flavor that I was looking forward. Not heavy at all, and more of a hint of it then anything else, but still very nicely done, with the flavor of clove wrapping itself around it and giving you that wonderful, light, earthy, bright flavor. This then faded and the hosp came back for one more go round, as the lemon flavor dried out the tongue and let the bitterness leave, letting you prepare for another sip to come through.

Mouthfeel - There was a very nice feel with this one as well. It was a little bit heavier then the standard for the style, but that is about what you would expect from an imperial Hefeweizen then couldn't you. Good carbonation never let it feel too heavy though and there was no real thinness or lightness to it at all, this was a really top notch beer by all accounts.

Drinkability - There was an outstanding drinkable factor to this one, and in fact I had no idea how strong this was until I looked it up. To say the alcohol in it was well hidden would be the understatement of the year. Maybe it could have been around seven percent and even at that level would be well hidden, but over 9% wow!. This was incredibly smooth and the flavors so deep and bright, I could have drank this one all night long without an issue, truly one of the best things I have ever served in my house.

Overall this was absolutely outstanding, and easily one of the best beers of any style I have ever had. There is something to say of a brewer taking a style like this and doing it right, that is no easy task for sure, but New Glarus has one me over with this one. Definitely a top notch beer and something that I would like to share with a certain person in the area, who may get a kick out of this one. If you can find it, seek this one out for sure!

Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Brad for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a hazed golden amber color with a big off-white head on it.

S: Smells sweet with plenty of spice. Lots of banana, cloves, and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Light notes of citrus peel (oranges, for the most part) to go along with a lot of sweet malt and bread aromas.

T: Much the same in terms of the flavor. Sweet bread, honey, and wheat malt flavors. Banana and orange fruitiness with lots of spice notes. The clove and nutmeg seem to be the most abundant.

M: Medium to full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Good flavors and aromas, though a bit too big to drink a ton of. Nice beer.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, golden body with a small, fizzy, white head.

Smell: Aroma very nearly stinking of coriander with lesser notes of toasted banana chips, tangy-smelling wheat, and grapefruit juice.

Taste: Tangy wheatiness with a dash of citric grapefruit juice hot on its heels. Then, it's back to wheat with a subdued sweetness, though it builds upon warming. Flavors of banana and a big hit of coriander. Medium-high bitterness. Some floral hints prior to the tangy, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty exciting for wheat!

Photo of emerge077
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Three fingers of creamy meringue foam rise to the 0.5L mark in a curvy weizen glass. After settling, there's a wispy crown of lace that remains. Deep hazy orange tone, with ever present streams of lazy carbonation.

Clove and citrus are dominant in the nose, with a sweet banana creme pie notion. Inhaling deeply gets a more phenolic note with a muted presence of alcohol.

After the first sip, the bigger body is noticeable, compared to Dancing Man Hefeweizen. More pronounced citrus, lemon, orange, with smooth banana/clove combo in the background. A light grapefruit bitterness is there too. Creamy feel and very tasty. The higher abv may limit a session to 2 at a time. Break out that liter krug, or dump 4 into a 2L boot if you're feeling like a beerfest. This is a call-out to the holiest of holies, the perfect American usurper to challenge Weihenstephaner, et al.

A big thanks to malcontent for bringing this back from WI!

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.44/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have to confess, this bottle was alleged to be 2 years old. I cant confirm that, but the expectation on my end here is that a fresh one of these would be wonderful (as the bottle itself suggests), but an older one just doesn't maintain. this one poured a really cloudy pale yellow color with an average white bubbly head. the nose is vanilla and cinnamon, with some honey sweetness and more alcohol than I am used to in wheat beer. my girlfriend loved the flavor, thought the spice and sweet combination was fantastic. I liked it less, with the spice being a little overdone, and the wheat malt sort of having a deteriorated flavor to it, not as fresh and clean as it might have been. it lost its ability to support the other flavors, which don't seem to have diminished at all. the feel came across a little thin, and the alcohol was piercing. new glarus does some wonderful stuff, and im sure a bottle right off the line of this would rectify that viewpoint, but this beer (however old it really was) just did not get it done. way out of balance, weird yeast properties, and just sort of all over the place. I will have to revisit this one when I can verify its source and birthday.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Color: Hazed orange, epic lacing.

Smell: Alcoholic esters, bready wheat, yeast, cotton candy, citric hop and ripe tropical fruit.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth, slick and creamy full-ish body. Maltiness flexes strong, bready and grainy and certainly a moving force here that is not taken down. Yeast tone is very prevelent, ripe fruit as well. Warming alcohol appears about halfway down the glass. Suggestions of taffy, banana and a ghost phenol more towards the bittersweet finish.

Overall: This brew throws the gauntlet down, be ready to take this beer on as it is not for the faint of palate. Of course for me I took it one big sip at a time, not wanting to finish it took quick ... trying to savor but wanting another sip right away.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Acquired via trade from BuckeyeNation, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy orange/gold color with a large foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of yeast, bananas, light malts, citrus and some hops.

T: The taste is spicy and fruity up front with flavors of lemon, banana & clove. Then there's a bite of alcohol followed by bready flavors of yeast and a hearty malt character. There's a decent hops presence, but there doesn't seem to be much balance in this beer. The after-taste is slightly spicy and slightly bready.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style but I think this beer is guilty of losing the essence of the style for the sake of going "imperial", it's not a bad beer but it's not one that I'd choose again.

Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a Weizen glass.

Pours a hazy dark orange with HUGE head of poofy off-white foam. Glad I had the extra head space available for this guy. Once it all settles down, the retention is very solid and leaves a big, sticky latticework of lacing behind. The aroma is an alcoholic fume of Weizen character, with orange, banana, wheat, yeast, and a bit of spice all being married together and encapsulated in a tingling heat profile.

The taste is a beefy mix of orange zest, prominant banana notes, and spicy clove that all floats on a wave of yeast and wheat. There is also a bit of a hop profile that brings up the rear. It's all very balanced and works together very well. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a definite beefy alcohol feel. Not much carbonation imparts a slick and flat feeling at times.

I really like what New Glarus did with this. I just wish that all of that great flavor could have hidden a bit more of the alcohol. I'm not sure what the ABV of this was but between it and the sometimes flat feel, it become a bit stinging towards the botttom of the glass.

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

Pours a clouded brown hued orange with a frothy off-white head, nose is a lot of bubble gum and perfume. Very minor banana and spices are also present. Flavor goes along the exact same lines as the fragrance. Bubble gum, bananas, and spices. Though the latter two give a bigger show on the tongue than the nose. I do get a bit of alcohol on there as well, but it's not ruining anything. What I get that really sticks with me is apricots and tangerines. Feel is sticky and slick on liquid. Carbonation is just barely slightly below the mid mark on things. Overall, this is definitely a hefe on some juice. Not so much a relaxing flavor profile as it is a slap to the tongue. But bottom line is that it's good, in an imperial sort of way.

Big thanks to grandq. Always happy to be able to try a New Glarus brew.

Photo of russpowell
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Beertracker, cheers Jeff! Review based on notes

Pours effervescent apricot with 2 fingers of cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Loads of bubblegum & tropical fruit

T: Bananas, sweet tropical fruit & lemony hops up front. Mango & grapefruit assert themselves as this warms along with green bananas & appleskins. Finishes with more green bananas & appleskins

MF: Chewy & smooth carbonation

Drinks pretty, easy one I like, but don't love...

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of oline73
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an orangish golden color with two fingers of very thick off white head. This beer has some great retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Lots of sweet malt and fruity notes. There are some Belgian like yeast notes in here as well. Some banana and clove.

Taste: Sweet malt with some herbal yeast notes. Not nearly as fruity as the smell with a stronger presence of alcohol. I'm picking up a citrus and hop note too. The alcohol in the finish is a bit much.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a very slight dryness in the finish.

Overall: I would have liked a bit less alcohol in this one. The other flavors were good. Don't know that I would go back.

Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to FlandersNed for this one. It's from February 2008. Served in a weizen glass.

A - Pours with four-plus fingers of soapy foam that dissipates slowly to a thick cap with tons of sticky lacing. Hazed dark golden orange color with some obvious suspended sediment and a few tiny bubbles. This is pretty much right on for a hefeweizen.

S - The smell is a cross between faded IPA and hefeweizen. I'm guessing this was hoppy a la Crack'd Wheat when it was fresh. It's aged into a potent blend of fruits, notably apple and banana, mixed with some caramel, malted wheat, and a hint of bubblegum. The smell is perceptible as soon as the cap is removed, and leaps out of the glass. Damn I wish I had this one when it was fresh. Alcohol is very well hidden.

T - Taste is more citrus (mostly orange & lemon) mixed with hefe yeast, bubblegum, and malted wheat. There's a mild soapy finish which I suspect is a result of the Cascade hops, and it's unfortunately a little distracting. Again, the booze is very hidden. This is definitely past its prime, but it still enjoyable.

M - Body is sufficiently big for the 9.6% ABV, but it's still refreshing like a session hefeweizen. Some zesty carbonation that's not overdone, and a little bit of residual graininess.

D - You can start feeling the higher ABV about halfway through the bottle, so I can't imagine having more than a couple of these. Still, I hope they make this again or better still introduce an Imperial Crack'd Wheat with this recipe.

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Thumbprint Imperial Weizen from New Glarus Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 624 ratings.