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Thumbsucker - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ThumbsuckerThumbsucker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

84 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 74
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 60
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: UnionMade on 03-14-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 74 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Max's in Baltimore. Shared with Masterski.

Pours near-black with a thin head of tan-ish bubbles that doesn't hang around for too long. Perhaps a thin collar for at least a bit.

The nose is really nice, bringing some oak and vanilla along with some roasted malt. Some chocolate in the background as well. Really nice and integrated, though no real bourbon character; instead, just the oak.

The flavor adds in a good bit of booze. There's roast and chocolate there as well. The oak and vanilla aren't as prevalent as in the nose. The heat certainly takes it down a notch from where the nose was, which is surprising given the age and the fact that this is fairly-low in alcohol.

Body is medium with light carbonation and a bit of booze through the finish.

Overall, pretty good and I'm very glad I finally got to try this one.

Thorpe429, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blacker than Satan's heart. Not one photon of light, not even a wee glimmer, penetrates the liquid. The molasses colored crown started life at a cascading four fingers and is now descending at a snail's pace. It's thick, rich and rugged, like a milkshake made with coffee ice cream. Even though there's very little lace, this is still an impressive looking beer.

The nose is a concentrated, vinous mixture of bittersweet chocolate, ground coffee beans and heavily charred barley, with a whiff of sweet smoke. I wish it was a little bit more aggressive, but it smells much too good to penalize it for that.

Thumbsucker is beautiful beer. An intense burst of flavor slams into the taste buds with each sip, and consists of a barrage of dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, sweet black licorice and oak-aged bourbon. And it's still impressively smoky. This is a wee heavy or rauchbier lover's Imperial stout.

I started the beer at 50 degrees. As it warms to the recommended 55 degrees, the depth and breadth of the flavor profile expand to impossible dimensions. What the hell has Magic Hat put into this bottle? I swear there's a hint of Scotch whisky in there as well. Did these guys have some peat smoked malt shipped across the Atlantic? I have a lot of questions, but the only answer that matters is... delicious.

My first impression of the body/mouthfeel was that it was a shade too light for the style. However, with repose it has thickened into a smooth (not quite silky), chewy, luscious treat. Flavor intensity lingers on the finish--again, like fine whisky--and puts me in a philosophical frame of mind. Then again, maybe that's the alcohol talking.

This is one beer in which I'm glad the alcohol hasn't been buried beyond all recognition. It seems such an integral part of the experience that its absence would be sorely missed. At 7.8%, it's on the low end for the style, but definitely adds up over the course of an entire 750. Let's just say that I'm feeling pleasantly fuzzy right about now.

Magic Hat Thumbsucker is improperly named. Rather than the thumb, it should be named for another part of the anatomy, because it's the beer equivalent of mother's milk. Now pardon me while I savor the remainder of this (most impressive) bottle. A shout out to RocketWidget for an outstanding experience.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Lubiere: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of fruit cake with light port notes. Taste has probably lost some of the characteristics related to an imperial stout due to aging which have been replaced with nice notes of port and fruit cake with light dry roasted malt notes still perceptible. Description mentions bourbon aging though I can’t say that I could taste any notes of bourbon. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Still good after all those years but I have to wonder what I fresh version would taste like.

Phyl21ca, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -4.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A rough pour brings up a full head of orange-tinted brown foam over an opaque black body. Only a glint of a ruby cusp can be seen at the bottom of the glass; and although it's been long cellared, all of the yeast seems to have been brought up off of the bottom. The head holds fairly well before dropping to a creamy collar and lacy surface covering. It leaves some minimal spotty lace, but most of what's raised with each sip simply slips back down into the glass. The nose is quite complex, and even lightly vinous at times. It delivers a lightly sweet note of bourbon; a flash or bordeaux, a fruitiness that's reminiscent of the Ringwood yeast strain; some more tropical fruit that includes a touch of cocoanut and papaya; a solid oakiness; the remnants of a buttery note; some mild acetaldehyde; ethanol; a thin roastiness; dark bittersweet chocolate; and some background grassy hops. In the mouth it gives a gentle caress to the tongue based on it's very fine, low-level carbonation; and it fades away smoothly with just the bite of some ethanol to remind you that there's a "real" beer in front of you! The flavor delivers a rich, ethanol-drenched, roasted malt that's lightly floral, mildly spicy (due to the alcohol), a bit fruity, mildly sweet and slightly chocolatey backed by a bold bitterness. It finishes quite dry with its combination of drying alcohol and firm bitterness working off of one another. Surprisingly "hot" considering its listed 7.8% abv - this Imperial loses a bit of drinkabilty due to it's forward ethanol character!

NeroFiddled, Aug 12, 2003
Photo of MasterSki
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Max's and shared with Thorpe429. A bourbon barrel-aged RIS from Magic Hat, - intriguing. Bartender said this was from 2004.

A - Pretty nice looking beer, and still adequately carbonated after over seven years in the cellar. A finger of tan foam settles to a collar, some wisps, and a few specks of lace. Solid, opaque black body that might be brownish in better lighting conditions.

S - Plenty of roasted malts, vanilla, oak, fudge, and chocolate. I didn't confirm this was barrel-aged until I looked up additional info on the beer, but I surmised as much from the heavy oak presence. Not much overt bourbon or alcohol at this stage, and a hint of vinous port-like oxidation. Still - pretty enjoyable stuff.

T - The taste isn't quite as good, as it's more faded and understated, with perhaps a hint of minerality and astringent oak in the finish. Still, plenty of vanilla, oak, roasted, and chocolate flavors even after extended aging. Probably more of a 3.75 at this stage.

M - Medium body, with more the sufficient heft for the listed 7.8%. Dry, roasty, oak, and tannic, pleasant lower carbonation, and a sticky persistent finish. A hint of warming alcohol actually shows up to remind you this was bourbon barrel-aged.

D - Considering the lower ABV and age this is still a pretty good beer. However, it's probably approaching novelty status, and I'd be wary of pre-2004 vintages and bottles of uncertain provenance. Still, we managed to put down most of the bottle between the two of us.

MasterSki, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This funky-ass conical bottle, which traveled here all the way from Connecticut, thanks to paceyourself, corked, caged, and wrapped, stands now in the Hall of Fame of Cool Beer Bottles.

Now to drink the thing! But first!
Color: dark as the Devil's stool, it is, with a buzzing, bubbling dark brown head atop.
Large aroma, full of roastiness, and chocolate and more....anise, molasses, rum, bark, carob, ... this actually has some very particular sensations for an Imperial, some that I can't put the word to, unfortunately. It's rather whiskeyish...is there something extra in this?...

Fully loaded on the tongue, with flavor, with malt, with hops. It all feels well-integrated, too, with no odd cluttering of flavors. It tastes a like a molasses candy bar, mingled with chocolate. Not too strong, as many over-powering ISs are these days, it still packs a wallop in flavor and alcohol. Generously sized bottle helps this carry me through the night.

The name, though, "Thumbsucker"? Am I supposed to crawl into a ball and call out for Mommy? A bit presumptuous, if that's their taunting tactic in the name.
It will put me to bed, though. A uniquely tasty IS, and one I'm glad I've had the chance to try!

feloniousmonk, Apr 02, 2003
Photo of yourefragile
4/5  rDev -4.8%

yourefragile, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -4.8%

orangesol, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of weeare138
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft in the VT Brewers VIP tent...
This batch was aged in Wild Turkey barrels for 1 year.
Appears black with brown tints and a small tan head that leaves spotty lacing.
Smell is of dark roasted malt with pleasant oak bourbon and vanilla.
Taste is of well rounded roasted, chocolate malt that is outright addictive. This is such a kick ass brew.
Mouthfeel is slightly dry(probably due to the oak aging and bourbon subtleties) but contains such a nice roastiness with a rich, lasting flavor and hops coming through.
Drinkability is great. I need more and more of this.
Evidently, I was one of the lucky ones who got some of this in the VIP lounge. Seems that a leak had occured sometime after I got mine.

weeare138, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome bottle, releases a black nectar, which oozes flavor, complexity and intrigue. Raises a dark tan tiny bubble head, leaving nicely developed lacing. Nose of burnt fruit, alcohol, and coffee. Notes of dark malt, expresso,orange rind, rum, toffee, chocolate milk spiked with vodka. This is a bold, flavorful, strong and complex brew. Medium bodied, a pleasure for the senses. Put a few bottles away for a year or two.

Billolick, Jun 22, 2004
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2002-03 bottle, complete with the tag that says 'good by end of summer 2003'. Jdiddy traded this to me and I shared it with untold BAs at the General Lafayette Stone Soup II.

A: The stout took an effort and a half to open, that damned cork was wicked buried in it. When we finally found a quality corkscrew (thanks mac300), the stout was still moderately carbonated with a thick oily look.

S: The aroma was imperial, thick with lots of toasted grains, chocolate and porter flavors. From the nose, the beer seems to have withstood the test of time.

T: This may be repetitive, but the stout has held up far better than I expected. The moderate abv was a risk, but the flavor remains strong. Dark bread and burnt toast flavors define the mouth, touched with a bit of lactic sweetness that may be a result of the age. There are little hops to get in the way of the dark malt. Overall the flavors are restrained, showing some signs of age but still holding their own. The mild chocolate flavor at the end of the sip is pleasing.

M: The mouthfeel is that of a stout that has taken some age under its belt. The flavors have mellowed out without completely losing the stout element.

D: The abv is low and the aging has done wonders. I'd gladly enjoy another bottle of this beer.

akorsak, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one-fingered light tan head that goes slowly and leaves a good lace. Black and totally opaque. Moderate carbonation. Molasses/chocolate/malty nose. Sweet medicinal flavor similar to Brother's cough drops. Heavy bodied; a unique imperial stout. $9.95 for a 750ml bottle.

jdhilt, May 09, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25ozer bought a few years ago, been hanging around in the "Cellar" ever since. Corked & caged, with black foil, green bottle.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed an uneven dark brown froth over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is minimal but lasting, partially due long legs. Dark roasty at the start, with whiskey dominating the rest. Taste is sweet dark malts, with a barrelly alcohol character, almost has a bug spray tinge to it. Mouthfeel is creamy, and drinkability is pretty good. Think this one was a bit adversely affected by the aging, but what can you do.

ppoitras, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to grub for sharing this minigrowler, I'll try to even it up one of these days.

Pours an opaque black, no light gets through, thin tan head, some lace spots, settles to a thin layer, very viscous looking. Smell is licorice, chocolate, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, sweet molasses and oak, cherries, alcohol, excellent. Taste is anise/licorice, chocolate roast, espresso, bourbon, sour cherries, alcohol, toffee, more bourbon, vanilla/oak, amazing. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, warming, very smooth, fantastically done. Thanks Russ!!

Viggo, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of johnnnniee
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a growler or two from the brewery.
Pours an opaque brown/black with a very minimal tan head, very low carbonation here. Aroma comes through with strong bourbon and alcohol and some dried fruits. Tastes almost port like with some roasted malt bitterness. Raisins and bourbon come through as well. Mouthfeel is thinnner than I expected, but leaves a roasty figgy aftertaste.
A great RIS very complex beer.
I'm not sure I believe that this beer is 7.8% abv might be artificially low to get around Vermont's ancient beer laws.
I wish they would bottle this again so I could see how it ages.

johnnnniee, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of chippo33
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

chippo33, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of tavernjef
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classy champagne shaped bottle which looks black, but empty is a dark hazy green; comes wrapped, caged, and corked, and my cork came right out...ha, ha. Inky black based liquid that can't get any darker really, finger high head of broken chocolate brown that's thick, bubbly, and frothy with some spotty lacing.

Solid oak-barrel boubon sweet nose, very lush and robust in that regards. Nice and bourbony with a pleasing oak-filled alcoholic presence at first. But it takes a bit of a turn towards the end of the bottle and/or as it warms where more of the rich and dark bakers chocolate and vanilla take over mixing with notes of black currants and plum. So as the whisky subsides the chocolate takes over and stays put, but that alcoholic-bouron-oak-sweetness is always underneath. Quite lovely!

Taste is complexingly thick and rich with a bold tone of tangy darkened chocolate that coats well leaving just enough surface left for the other nuances of oaky whisky sweetness, deep dark fruits, molasses, vanilla, espresso and anise spiced notes and even some slight hop bitterness mixes with the chocolate twinge in there too. Yum! Very slight alcoholic vapors sneak in late up through the nose, woufff, wow, how effective is that! Very! -Great oak barrel boubon notes! Oh and that finish is so coated with thick chocolate malts its nearly close to eating a chewy chocolate fudge brownie; and its laced with some boubon. How fancy and teriffic!

Creamy, smooth, silky, coating feel, lingering and sticking in length with chocolate and a favorable alcoholic bourbon twinge always keeping a presence upon bigger sips, which kept this from being completely, utterly drinkable for me, but man it's damn close! Ends semi dry and maintains a good chewy-like coating dotted with chocolate. This was gone in no time; as it is delicious!

tavernjef, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 Notes[Jim Beam]: 750ml corked and caged bottle. This is a 'humdinger' series beer from the folks at Magic Hat. This is their Nailbiter imperial stout aged in used Jim Beam barrels and than bottled.

This is an excellent imperial stout that poured a very dark, opaque, black colour with a large tan head. The aromas were heavy on the bourbon oak casks that they used to age this beer in. Besides an oaky and alcoholic nose, this beer smelled of coffee, various malts, chocolate, and hops. The taste was very boozy, chocolaty, hoppy, and excellent. The mouthfeel: thick and chewy. The drinkability: also excellent. This was a great imperial stout from Magic Hat.

2004 Notes[Wild turkey]: 750ml corked and caged bottle. This is a 'humdinger' series beer from the folks at Magic Hat. This is their Nailbiter imperial stout aged in used Wild turkey barrels and than bottled.

The 2004 is still an opaque black colour with a nice large head of tannish/brown foam. The 2004 has more oak, and bourbon on the nose, yet it still retains a subtle smoothness. The flavor packs a bigger punch than the 2003 dues to the heavier bouron notes as well. The mouthfeel and drinkability remain top notch as well. Wow, this is some damn good stuff and I have re-rated it accordingly.

francisweizen, Jul 03, 2003
Photo of whartontallboy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

whartontallboy, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of woosterbill
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

04 bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Big thanks to Tony for sharing this antique oddity.

A: Black body with a quarter inch of frothy short-lived tan head. Ok.

S: Weird, musty, organic basement. Vegetal funk, yeasty spice. Lichen. What?

T: Opens with bizarrely spicy, musty vegetal funk, and then closes with clean chocolatey booze. Strangely clean finish. I actually kind of like this. Is this wrong of me? Do I need help?

M: Slick medium body with light carbonation. Not bad.

D: Unceasingly interesting, and very clean despite its weirdness.

Notes: I've certainly never had anything quite like this, and it was fascinating. Bizarre is the surely the best word to describe it, but that doesn't even begin to convey the sheer wackiness of the flavors contained in this one.

Cheers!

woosterbill, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of jfcaa193
4/5  rDev -4.8%

jfcaa193, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of Bierman9
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This afternoon JohnnyP and I split a bottle of this, which was originally a gift from VENOM.
Pours a dense, thick, opaque dark brown, producing a very fine and extremely creamy tan head, which lasted very well, and left nice sticking inside the glass. Aroma was a lovely mix of dark fruit (raisins, dates, currants...) along with an intense woody, oaky aspect brimming with whiskey notes. Quite delightful! The bier passed fairly smoothly and easily over the tongue, though I was slightly disappointed by the fact that it was less than medium in body. I expected a thicker, fuller feel. What you detect in the nose is what you get on the tongue: myriad dark fruit melding with the prominent oakiness and segueing into a smooth, dry, but nicely tasty finish. Has a nice little warming quality to it also! Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.2
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

689

Bierman9, Mar 08, 2004
Photo of srandycarter
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - No pop out of the bottle. Dark flat beer. No head, no lacing, no nada.

S - Wonderful rich boozy malt.

T - Boozed malt starts, finished by sour off 'corked' flavor.

M - Sux. Flat.

D - Sux. Flat.

It's really hard to appreciate a beer when it is meant to be carbonated and it is flat as a pancake.

Bummer.

srandycarter, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the Duvel glass (don't know why, but it seemed appropriate) inky black with a froth dark brown head that was everlasting and made the glass scream for mercy as it coated it with lacing and foam.

The aroma was deep and intense with roasty aroma and a strong fruit alcohol presence. The aroma had a maple syrup sweetness and a bourbon character. The dark fruit aromas of raisins and prunes were strong and lasting.

The flavor was strong bourbon and alcohol with dark chocolate and coffee roasty presence. The dark fruit flavors of raisins and prunes was also present.

The finish was surprisingly even with lasting alcohol, dark chocolate and coffee. The body was sadly watery. It was medium full at best and not very well done, really detracted from the mouthfeel.

750 ml bailed and corked black screened bottle. Many thanks to poundboy for the trade, but he was right, I should have drank it sooner rather than later. It was still and interesting beer, but not what I expected.

GCBrewingCo, Apr 16, 2005
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Thumbsucker from Magic Hat Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.