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Thumbprint Barley Wine | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
117 Reviews
For Trade:
Thumbprint Barley WineThumbprint Barley Wine

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mobius387 on 01-13-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 350
Photo of jethrodium
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy totoropanda. Thanks Daniel. Pours a clear light amber small head that has decent retention and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is fruity with lots of caramel, some floral hops, and light alcohol. The taste is sweet with lots of brown sugar and caramel and some floral hops. The finish has a light bitterness and a hint of alcohol. Medium body. Low carbonation. Not bad, but nothing special.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at AndrewK’s tasting.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is an alcohol kick and a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty strong.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a really nice honey-amber color with just a touch of a white head that quickly disappeared into a nice white ring. Clear beer, some touches of orange and red hues in there.

S - Malt forward, nice hop presence. Bit of burnt sugar, caramel, and whiff of booze.

T - Slight taste of burnt brown sugar with a touch of lactic sourness on the end. Pretty smooth, alcohol is well hidden for something at 12%. It's got a lot of hop character, and is really clean when you first start drinking it. At first, you might mistake it for a really big IPA. Lots of malt and sugar up front.

M - Crisp, smooth, lower carbonation, medium bodied.

O - Solid beer, if you like hoppy barleywines, this is pretty good. Smooth, alcohol is well hidden.

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3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Glarus Thumbprint Barley Wine

Appearance: New Glarus’ take on the barley wine style pours a cloudy, golden, honey-colored, viscous liquid. A creamy finger and a half or so of off-white head forms at the top, but quickly disappears leaving only slight alcohol legs and an even slighter crust. Spotty lacing is left behind all over the glass, but it does not stick around, probably due to the high alcohol content. This is a good-looking example of the style, yet more head à la the excellent Bigfoot from the impossibly consistent folks at Sierra Nevada. Nevertheless, this one packs more of an alcohol punch than Bigfoot, so less head and less lacing are to be expected.

Aroma: First whiff gives an interesting and delicious scent akin to citrus fruit mingling with sugary sweetness that is usually elicited from freshly baked sugar cookies. There is a slight tartness to the smell as well, as if one took that citrus glazed sugar cookie recipe and put sour cream in the dough. Add to this delectable smell a particular creaminess and maltiness and the drinker’s nose is in for a treat.

Taste: This beer is huge. The hop flavor is everywhere, ranging from orange to tangerine to lemon to pineapple and just hits on a sour apple note somewhere in the mouth. The bitterness is there, but contained by the other component of the flavor: the sweet malt. The malt fights tooth and nail against the hops the whole way down the throat leaving a strange, yet balanced taste in its wake. Honestly, as another reviewer said, this beer tastes less like a barley wine and more like a ridiculous imperial IPA. There is a faint grapey sourness that may be from improper storage or another pre-opening factor that is slightly unpleasant. It has that Midas Touch from Dogfish Head sort of wine-esque quality to it that really does not fit in with this style. What is even more unfortunate is that the vinegary sourness is the taste that lingers. Lastly, the alcohol comes through ever so slightly in the very end of the taste. It is not a bad tasting beer, but it is an odd example of the style.

Mouthfeel: As with the rest of the categories, the feeling on the palate is huge. This beer is thick, sticky, viscous, and just fills the mouth with an undeniable fullness. There is a mild carbonation as well, but nothing ridiculous. This does not hurt the distribution of the taste because of how enormous this beer is in flavor. The alcohol that imparted a bit of taste also gives a certain warming quality that is always welcome, especially going into the cold months as we are now.

Overall: Perhaps this is a bad bottle for taste, but the vinegar sourness really threw me off. I had this one a while back (when it first came out this past winter), and have been saving this bottle since. Perhaps something happened that threw off the taste, but I do remember the bottles I had before having a strange, wine-like characteristic to them that was definitely off-putting. It is an example of the style that is possibly worth seeking out if you are a barley wine fan, but New Glarus could certainly do better. Hopefully in the future they will. 16/20

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Photo of liamt07
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle from mscarpen, 12oz into a tulip. Thanks Scott!

Hazy darker orange with a couple fingers of white head - nice lace and retention. Lovely nose - oranges, tangerines, sugary sweet, cookie dough and caramel. Almost like a bigger maltier imperial IPA. Taste is super malty upfront, sugary, alcohol, caramel accented greatly by the hops, citrus, with some grass and light spiciness to them. Full feel, not too sticky. Bitter finish, no alcohol save for some warmth in the throat. A lovely, citrusy barleywine.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, citrus, alcohol and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus that are followed by a mild alcohol sting. Then a strong but not over-powering and very 2IPA-like hops presence comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are other beers in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of aasher
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's bottle was courtesy of Dave E. Thanks man!

This barley wine pours a medium bodied bright copper in color with a slight white lacing around the glass. It's definitely lighter in color than most barley wines. The nose is light and sweet. It's fruity and features aromas of pear, apple, honey, and golden almost Belgian malt with some alcohol near the finish. All in all, interesting and Im glad the alcohol is somewhat restrained. The flavors too have nice complexity, featuring the aforementioned fruity bouquet. It's almost like a DIPA that is past it's prime. The flavor profile would never lead you to believe that this is 12%. It drinks light and doesn't have as much residual sugar as it could. I appreciate that. Overall this is a nice barley wine and another nice beer from the Thumbprint series.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 (the only?) vintage. Tasted 8 September 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours medium amber, clear, one finger of yellowish head. Retention and lacing are okay. Not much to say.

Smells like a barleywine - has that potent, robust malty sweetness, though it's more robust than sweet. A little bit of hops sticking through, and a tiny bit of alcohol.

Taste is pretty similar. Moderately sweet, moderately hopped, nicely balanced. Doesn't have a whole lot of fruit. Sugary-sweet, with caramel and toffee. Nice balancing hops, not quite bitter, but a good contrast to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is heavy, chewy, with rather low carbonation. Relatively low ABV for a barleywine, which makes it more drinkable than many.

A good malty, half-hoppy barleywine. Not super-sweet like most English barleywines, but not hopped-up like, say, SN Celebration. An interesting middle ground. Straightforward, not overly impressive, but a tasty beer.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Kasteel goblet.

Appearance- Golden orangish color that keeps a solid 1 finger cloudy head with nice lacing being left behind. Small little carbonation bubbles are cascading to the surface.

Smell- Lots of fruit. Apple, orange, and even a pumpkin and all spice scent.

Taste- A booze bomb up front. The back end has a small amount of the sweet fruits as detected by the nose.

Mouthfeel- A good medium feel that doesn't make it as hard to take all the boozy flavor.

Overall- A little to boozy for my liking. They need a little more malt and definitely more hops presence to balance the alcohol. I would suggest this for those who don't mind a somewhat boozy beer. Would work well as a winter warmer because you do get a nice mellow burn.

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Photo of abrand
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a yellow/orange color with a nice 2 finger head that quickly fades. Nice brightness to the pour. Smell is full of sugar with some hops as well. Lots of sweetness on the nose. Taste is quite complex but sugar is still dominating the palate. As it warms some malts and hops come forward. Still a good tasting barleywine. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky. Overall a very enjoyable barleywine.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed golden amber, moderate cap of bone white froth, gone quickly. Nose brings immediate attention to the hops - light citrus with earthy, herbal and grassy notes, smooth medium caramel in the back end - nothing too bold. Taste again is hop forward, earthy more than fruity. For a barleywine, the malt profile disapoints a bit as its mostly smooth caramel and honey. Again, the body is out of style - smooth, medium, moderate carbonation. Good beer that I enjoyed, but slightly out of style.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.76/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a murky (opaque, really) copper body that glows sunset orange against the light. Head is 2 fingers in height and it lasts a while, leaving some suds around the rim of the glass.

S: Caramel, sugar, some orange pith and possibly tangerine. I must admit I was expecting something more hop-forward given the American barleywine designation; that being said, it doesn't have the rich, nuanced malt profile I'd expect from an English barleywine, either (toffee, nuts, etc.). I don't know where to place this, but it's not expressive in either the malt or hops department.

T: This has a general, sweet richness of caramel / sugar with a small citrus pith flavor; I get the sense it used mild flavoring hops or this bottle has faded. Not much complexity, but no flaws, either. If you told me this was a barleywine from a no-name brewpub, I'd believe it. From New Glarus it's surprisingly weak.

M: Slightly watery, but there is no hint of the ABV, and despite the sweetness, the beer finishes relatively clean.

O: Pretty mediocre, and I tend to like New Glarus a lot.

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Photo of rawfish
3.37/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours light amber gold with decent carbonation. Evenly rocky two finger high head. Retention is average and doesn't really provide any type of lacing on the glass.

Complex yet light and airy, cinnamon and creme crackers with a touch of fruitness. Lemon, apple and wild berries. Breathe of alcohol as well as some pine and grassy hops.

The flavor doesn't really have an identity or any strong character amber malt with some brown sugar, graham crackers and cinnamon. Hop presence is oily with dampered hop resins and a light spiciness. Beastly alcohol here that is unlikely to smooth out with the evident lack of malts. Sipping it slowly.

Lightly steps on the palate and the hops show a heavy hand that allows it to dry. Low carbonation well built but again bothered by the alcohol.

A barleywine that offers little complexity yet is well constructed and expertly brewed. I just don't think the inspiration was there, more of a double amber ale or worse, an old DIPA.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a golden colored transparent body; mild amount of carbonation with big bubbles; white rocky head forms, holds well; lacing is slightly above average

S - Sweet malt smell; high ABV; malted barley nose; popcorn; butter; ginger; floral notes, chamomile; touch of berries - strawberry; spices

T - Brown sugar blast, but really lacks a sweet flavor identity, I can't put my finger on exactly what it ism maybe graham cracker?; saturated cinnamon spice taste; spices; toasted cracker; pine hop

M - Back of the tongue tingles from cinnamon-spice; watery consistency; not very carbonated; spicy aftertaste on the tongue; slightly hop bitter aftertaste; dry

D - Not a beer to chug, but to be enjoyed over a long period of time, with small sips; graham cracker and cinnamon taste really take control of this beer; not for the faint of heart

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 8/5/12 tasting notes.

Thanks to ncketchum for the bottle. Poured this into a CBS snifter. Served slightly chilled.

A) Orange with a little red tint. Full finger of off white head. Nice retention, a dusting remained. Decent lacing too.

S) Malty sweetness, caramel, tropical fruit, pineapple, honey, light pine and grass as well. The alcohol was faint on the nose.

T) Follows the nose pretty closely, with the exception being the alcohol is definitely more pronounced in the flavor. There is a little tingle and some warmth, but it stays balanced, and highly drinkable.

M) I found this to be pretty full bodied. Thick, chewy, even a little bit syrupy. Light carbonation worked well. This was smooth all the way to the alcohol tingle. There was some warmth, and a pleasant aftertaste.

O) I really enjoyed this brew. One of the better barley wines I've had in recent memory. Drank this on the patio, and didn't really take into account the 12% ABV, but man it hit me. I walked inside and said to my wife, get those kids some chicken nuggets and put on a movie. Special thanks to Daniel and Deborah Carey at New Glarus Brewing Co. Woo Hoo... Everyone's getting laid tonight!! Glad to recommend this fine brew.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Hazy Orange with a very thick wispy look to it, giving it a very unfiltered look.

Smell - Sweet Caramel, Toffee, Hops, and Malts with hints of Molasses

Taste - Very similar to the smell. With Caramel, Toffee, Molasses, Malts and Citrus Hops. There is however a noticeable booziness/alcohol flavor which does detract from the flavor itself

Mouthfeel - Light and somewhat thick but not to a chewy extent.

Overall - It's a decent barleywine and a good effort, but the flavor could've been a little less boozy. For what it is, it's still pretty good.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle of this

Consumed 7/13/12

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly clear copper color - moderately sized, off-white head - fades to a nice ring, leaves some lacing

Smell: A bit mild - looks too clear to be a barleywine, but it smells like one - cooked malts, cooked grains, grainy bread, and multigrain crackers - hops are prevalent here as well, with some citrus, pine, herbal notes, and earthy notes - some fruit, some alcohol

Taste: Rich - very malty, with a lot of cooked malts, caramelized malts, caramel, and dry crackers - sweet, but not sugary, just malty - complex, but not exceptional depth for the style - herbal citrus and pine, slightly resinous - bitter, with a lingering pithy character - some booze, becomes "a lot of booze" as it warms up

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, chewy, with some alcohol heat - could use a little more carbonation, maybe a little less booze

Overall: A tasty barleywine

This is a very hoppy and very boozy barleywine. Definitely a sipper. It's tasty, but a bit harsh for what I personally want in a barleywine. The malts could also be a tad more interesting. It might get better over time, but sadly this is my only bottle.

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Photo of ChimRichels
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Not at all what I was expecting... A very bright murky orange color with about an inch of head that dissipates to about 1/8 inch pretty quickly.

S - Smells like an extreme blast of hops. So far this beer is all DIPA. Sugary sweetness is tied in there as well along with a touch of alcohol.

T - It is strongly hopped. Like DIPA hopped. but it has quite the body to hold up to it. Sweet and rich with a strong bite of tangy citrus to keep things balanced.

M - Really smooth and thick in the mouth, the hop adds a nice tingle in the back of the throat.

O - Solid beer, however this drank like a straight DIPA, not a barleywine. Still delicious, however.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

big thanks to mnbearsfan for the sweet extra! enjoyed from my "E" snifter.

a - brew poured a transparent orange with a finger full of off white head that hung out for a bit, but dissolved to a a thin layer of fizzy head.

s - nice citric hop profile, kind of smells like a hoppy pale or a timid/faded ipa. not the big bold odor that i that i would expect for a barley, but pleasant none-the-less.

t - flavor is JUST like the nose. subtle citric hoppiness reminiscent of a hoppy pale or a faded ipa. nice and soft...NO sign of the booze that this one carries. bug again, not very barleywine like...but tasty.

m - a bit fizzy, the ABV is hidden extremely well. a bit thin for such a big beer, but dangerously drinkable.

o - overall, not very barleywine like, but a tasty soft easy drinking beer with a HUGE ABV that is hardly noticeable. yet another beer that makes me sad that NG doesn't distribute to me. hopefully some day this brewery will make it out of WI to the east coast.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is the Unplugged Barleywine. NOT the Unplugged Iced Barleywine. 12oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1 finger fine white head with moderate retention. Beer is clear orange copper. Lacing is stringy and thick with little stick. Solid, especially given the style.

Nose is caramel, molasses, tree sap, citrus, and cane sugar. Nice and crisp but at the same time, lacking that certain robustness.

Opens sweet citrus, mango, and papaya. Tree sap and cane sugar in the middle. Pineapple. Caramel and sap hoppiness at the end. Finishes sweet caramel. Toffee in the aftertaste. Solid.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Bubbly and prickly in the mouth. The same going down. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. A bit thin.

A nice offering from New Glarus but overall, this one lacks the body and robustness required for the style. Not sure of the aging potential of this one. Still though, fresh, its a decent beer and worth trying.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single from my madison "connect"

appearance: served in an oversized snifter, bright glowing orange-amber body, thick white cream but only light lacing

smell: very hop-forward, grassy citrus, honey, booze

taste: pretty deviant from the style - huge honey notes, grassy and herbal, stinging citrus hops, pretty large alcohol bite, low residual sweetness. I dont know - not crazy about this

mouthfeel: oily, creamy medium body

overall: well crafted, but not crazy about the direction

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Photo of jjanega08
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage mentioned on the bottle.

A= Pours a translucent amber color with a small white head on it that rises to a finger high and holds some decent retention without being great and the lacing is spotty.

S= The smell is peppery and hoppy. I dunno why but it has a black pepper smell to it for me. Nice grassy hops and a little malty sweetness to back it up.

T= The taste is big hops without being over the top. A nice peppery grassy hop character in it and a bit of a malt backbone. The alcohol is well hidden despite other reviews I've read. Really not bad at all. A sort of American barleywine with english hops?

M= Nice carbonation.

O= This is much better than I expected after reading other reviews. It's not the hot mess people have made it sound and it actually is a subtle enjoyable barleywine with soft hop characters and a soft malt backbone to follow. Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours copper in color with a thin white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass. Aromas are boozy with some caramel and vanilla. Tastes are overly boozy with notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, some pine on the finish. Mouth-feel is on the thinner side for a barley wine, finishes dry, and yes - boozy. Overall, I think the ABV could have been toned down to a 10 or so to take away the booze factor here. Still drinkable and decent, but there are better barley wines on the shelf to choose from.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear light amber color ale with large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of light cookie dough with some caramelized malt and some light toffee. Taste is an interesting mix between some dry caramelized malt notes with light cookie dough notes and some light toffee, the whole mix is note as sweet as I was expecting. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed with great level of complexity.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tulip glass. Managed to cut my finger on the foil, ugh.

A: Pours crystal clear, light golden with a finger of light beige head. Good retention and a few streaks of lace. Looks like a pale ale.

S: Crystal malt, honey, apple, some graininess, a touch of caramel.

T: Mostly malt, honey, coriander, with gripping bitterness throughout the sip and a little sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium-full body and medium light carb. Hides the alcohol well.

O: More reminiscent of a clean, strong golden ale or something. There are no hops left.

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Thumbprint Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 117 ratings.