Thumbsucker - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
ThumbsuckerThumbsucker

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

74 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 86
rAvg: 4.25
pDev: 9.88%
Wants: 58
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:
Beer added by: UnionMade on 03-14-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 74 | Hads: 86
Photo of beerluvr
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out of the unique looking corked/caged bottle with a rich deep tan head. Opaque blackness in the glass. Sweet coffee and and rummy brown sugar and chocolate nose...top shelf stuff! The taste is roasty malt, coffee, chocolate and fruity yeasty notes all combining wonderfully for a super tasting brew. Later some strong woody bitterness and alcohol are tasted. Finishes long rich and very complex, wish I had another bottle or two to age for a bit.
Thanks to ppoitras for this complex elixir! (498 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a midnight black with a dark tan head. Alcoholic tannins and spots of lace all over the chalice.
Aroma has peaty scotch notes, minor chocolate notes and some coffe hits.
Flavor is a big hit of scotch to start that slides to a chewy chocolate and minor espresso note.
Mouthfeel is a spicy peat-filled front that slides to a malty middle and finishes with a sweet alcholic pop.
Drinkability is high but you better like scotch tones.
Thanks to Mikeys01 for this special beer. (483 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a pitch black, motor oil colored, body with a beautiful orange/tan head that died quickly. Quite a breathtaking head and body.

The nose was mostly whiskey, oak and a fusel alcohol smell. A very clean nose. Very slight chocolate and coffee type malt smell. But overall just a big whiskey/wood/alcohol smell dominates.

The taste is big and thick. Rich milk and dark chocolates. A soft roasted barley bitterness that just sits noticeable, but a little under the radar. Very light hop presence. Touches of wood, oak and whiskey. It’s actually very light on the tongue, a little thin even, but so smooth. It ends soft and chocolate with a slight bitterness and touch of whiskey.

Nailbiter aged in oak barrels and mellowed a bit. Really quite an amazing beer. A great imperial stout with a bit of added complexity by the aged mellowness and whiskey flavors. I’m not really a big fan of whiskey barrel aged beers, but this is quite good. Sort of like a cross between stone imperial stout and magic hat chaotic chemistry. A must try. (1,053 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (277 characters)

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool 16.9oz Champaign-like corked bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a black tar with a dark tan head and a fair amount of lacing.
A big sweet malt aroma blasts forward at first pour. The smell of barnyard wet hay mixes with licorice, coffee and hops.
The sweet toffee malt has tastes of rye dough and coffee with cream and sugar.
Highly hopped with grapefruit and lemon bitterness and a peppery spiciness. An astringent camphor taste sneaks through. Alcohol is noticeable. It's a bit too sweet for my liking, but it should be noted that this is a very well-crafted brew. (577 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
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! (1,831 characters)

Photo of RocketWidget
4.92/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First, a few notes. First of all, the current picture of the beer looks different from the bottle I bought in March 2004. My bottle has a painted on label rather than a paper label, and looks beautiful, better than the one pictured. Also, this is a corked beer, but I had more trouble opening this friccin thing then any other corked beer I had, I had to use a corkscrew. Damm that sucker was in there tight!

I've never opened a beer before and been blown away by the smell BEFORE I poured it, but in this case I was surprised. An overwhelming aroma of sweetness and chocolate emanated from the open bottle, and was amplified when poured, accompanied by smells of malt and spice. Pours a deep chocolate black, with subtle amber hues when held up to light. Head is brownish white and frothy, though not as long lasting as I would have hoped.

This beer has a taste that is out of this world amazing. Taking a sip of this presents a symphony of malty overtones, hoppy undertones, subtly carbonated, with undercurrents of fruity, spicy, and sour flavors. Potent aftertaste of spice and hops. If I was stuck on a deserted island, and could only take one beer with me, Thumbsucker would certainly be in the running. The best nine dollars I've ever spent. (1,254 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
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 (906 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick, black beer pours with a beautiful, fluffy head that is the color of light caramel. It shows staying power that would make a porn star proud. A very well distributed lace is left behind. Hints of mahogany are visible in the liquid at the edges of the glass. The aroma is of chocolate, pears, plums, roasted malts, touches of bourbon scents and a hint of port wine. Also a nice, almost perfume of hops, which was really unexpected. The taste is very high on roasted notes, with a strong espresso kick. Decent amounts of dark chocolate are intermingled in with the coffee flavors. Just a bit more astringent and dry than I like in an imperial, but still nice flavors. Sweetness builds as the temperature of the beer rises. Mouthfeel is slightly thin, but very smooth. Drinkability is good. Doesn't go down like a Sam Smith's or Storm King, but still nice. Not too bad to drink an entire 25 oz. bottle in an evening.

I've been holding onto this one since spring, I guess waiting for the cooler weather to arrive. BTW, the cork was nearly impossible to extract. But after destroying a corkscrew and trying a few pairs of pliers, I finally triumphed over the very tightly inserted stopper. Luckily, no injuries occurred. Is this the origin of the name "Thumbsucker"? Hmmm.... (1,280 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black, black beer, with a dark brown head that whitens and thins as it sits. very sweet chocolatey, toffee aroma. also a little bit of a vanilla extract aroma.something that is remeniscent of maple syrup too. i don't really pick up any hops. the taste is very rich and toffee like. some fruitiness underneath it all. a little vanilla to back up the hints of it in the aroma. big malt character, with a little hop bitterness in mid taste, not at the beginning or the finish. a little bourbon barrel aging is apparent too. a hint of a smokey character in the aftertaste. very full mouthfeel, definitely one of the thickest beers i've had. this is a relly great offering form magic hat, i'm glad to see them experimenting a little. (728 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I expect great things from this brewery, and I have not yet been disappointed. This funky-bottled brew pours heavy with an equally creamy mocha head. A deep aroma of toffee and caramel malt first greets the nose with undertones of chocolate. The first sip is creamy smooth with a building floral spice and a bold bitterness. The malt is supported well and pushed forward by the body. The alcohol comes out in the finish with a brief warming character. Excellent. (462 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

After drinking the Grant's Imperial Stout earlier in the week, I was definitely ready for a real imperial. Not to mention that I drove up to VT to get this. It was all sold out in the state within a couple weeks of release. The brewery didn't have it, and they sent me to some big VT state liquor store type place. They had six cases, and all were empty except one lonely bottle with my name on it.
With much fanfare, the Thumbsucker was unleashed last night, to a crowd of two other beer geeks eager for a taste. The bottle and packaging is exceptional, the only thing i would change is to switch the label to a screen directly printed on the bottle, like they did with the chaotic chemistry.
Slightly viscous tar brown look to the beer when pouring, turning to a muddy black with a thick oily grayish brown head. Some head sticking to the glass.
Aroma is very strong, with a slight alcoholic whisky note. Whisky cask conditioned? Very burnt and roasty. The massive body comes through in the aroma. Hints of black cherry, charred oak, and plum.
Flavor is big and strong, almost overpowering. The first few sips i had to get used to the flavor. Hops are definitely present, but take a back seat to the huge maltiness and alcoholic astringency. The bittersweet maltiness and the alcoholic acidity are a strangely potent combination, but make for a very rich, decadent flavor. Slight grassy citrus aftertaste from the hops, and continues into a whisky-like flavor. Alcohol is certainly present, with a sweet whisky tinge. Carbonation is mild and smooth, providing for an almost syrupy mouthfeel.
Pretty awesome. It better be for $11 a bottle plus a 5 hour drive each way. (1,677 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
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! (1,547 characters)

Photo of 86MonteSS
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, so others have mentioned the difficulties they had with the cork, but I'm inclined to believe mine was even harder to pull than the rest. First my friend tried to open it, he was unsuccessful. Then he told me to give it a shot, I couldn't do shit. He gave it to his dad, still no luck. Then my friend held the bottle while I pulled at the corkscrew. We ended up bending the handle of the corkscrew. I mean, what the hell... I'm almost 200 pounds and can benchpress myself, and he's pretty much the same. How could a friggin cork be so much trouble? Finally, he braced himself against the corner of a wall while I put all my weight and bodily strength into that little bastard cork. It finally gave, and we hardly spilt a drop. Whoopdy doo, I wish they were all that much fun.

The taste was well worth the struggle we put into opening the bottle. It had all the elements of a great imperial stout: hints of coffee, chocolate, and spices with the perfect compliment of hops. When I think Magic Hat beers I usually think fruity, rooty-toot college beer. But after having Thumbsucker, I know the brewers are serious. Glad I had the chance to try it. (1,152 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
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. (1,274 characters)

Photo of mikeys01
4.68/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thumsucker is an excellent example of an imperial stout from Magic Hat. Wish I could get a couple more bottles. Thumsucker is one of the Humdinger series of special beers released from MH, released in a champagne style bottle, corked, priced around $10. On opening, has an amazing aroma, notes of coffee and chocolate and spice. Good head for a bottled stout. Fairly strong alcohol presence, good and warming going down, definitely a sipper. I noticed the flavors became much more developed as thumbsucker warmed up a bit. (522 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out thick and black like used motor oil. A dense dark tan head erupts, and quickly fades to a thin halo. Abosolutely no light shows through this. It sounds alive!

Scents of roasted fruit and smoke.

The flavor of this is quite complex. Notes of smoke, whiskey, molasses, licorice, plums, & raisins bounce around. This has a very wine like character throughout. My wife even said that it smells like wine. Blends seamlessly into an interesting and full hop profile. Finishes dry, with a slow moving astringentcy. Minty flavor lingers long after its gone.

Lipsmacking good. I can't believe I drank the whole bottle by myself! (637 characters)

Photo of dwarbi
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This stout is solid black. Completely opaque. This, brown head at first, but it settles quickly, with almost no lacing. Smells primarily of apples. Nice aroma. Tastes very smooth.. smoky and a little chalky. Extremely drinkable. Pleasant coffee aftertaste. (256 characters)

Photo of pbrian
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork's a bitch, for sure. Poured wonderfully into the glass, fat tan head atop what appears to be clear black nectar. The aroma, oh the aroma. A beer and whisky lover's (that's me) dream. Oaky, smokey, leathery whiskey aromas greet you first mellowed by sweet burnt malts and a hint of yeastiness. Careful of that first sip... KAPOWEE. It gets a little crazy, but there's those oaky whiskey notes, a deep vinous character, dark malts and coffee, it's sweet then it's dry, it's velvety smooth and everything in between. And I'll be damned if that Ringwood yeast doesn't fight its way through. I was at first upset that the bottle said it was only 7.8% alc/vol, I expect more out of a special edition Imperial Stout but I think they forgot a digit. It drinks much more potent than that. Maybe its the whiskey notes sublimilily telling me its stronger. Doesn't matter though, this is one I really enjoyed drinking. (911 characters)

Photo of nixhecks
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I saw this brew on the shelves at $29.99, I was very disappointed that I wouldn't ever get to try it ( can't pay that much!), especially as Magic Hat is hands down my favorite brewery. As luck would have it, tonight I saw it for only 15.99. Although, I have probably just been totally had by this package store, I am now happy regardless.

Now if I didn't deserve a beer before this, I sure did after wrestling out the cork. It actually took two people - one to hold the bottle down and the other to lift (of course we were using a swiss army knife corkscrew). All worth it.

Poured an inky black, I wasn't able to pick up any of the brown other reviewers reported. Also, the brown head had surprisingly good retention from what I expected. The aroma is nice and sweet, mocha, burnt chocolate, and a definitive whiskey aroma. The taste was really something else - easily the most complex taste I have ever experienced. It starts of as a fruity, whisky-ish, licorice, mouth puckering, I-just-can't-figure-out-what-the-hell-I-am-tasting brew, and then slowly molds into a bittersweet, mocha finish. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth with low carbonation. And trust me this description leaves out a lot - I could come up with flavor descriptions all night. The flavor changes as the beer warms - I had served it well below the recommended 55 degrees, and at first the chocolatey finish was the most prominent characteristic. However as it warmed the whisky, burnt flavors started to poke through. Unbelievable as far as I'm concerned - money well spent. (1,554 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
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! (1,216 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sosatel Paltzeu

My girlfriend (originally from Russia) says that it means "finger sucker" or "one who sucks their fingers" and the phrase further implies that they are sucking their fingers because there is something tasty on them

she says that there is no word for thumb in Russian, it’s called the “big finger”

now onto the review...

'03 vintage reviewed right after release:

Pours black with a nice tan head. My first thought is "ahhhh! the whiskey barrels ruined Nailbiter!" Certainly I am of the opinion that Nailbiter (the same brew minus the aged whiskey barrel time) is much better, but this is still a damn fine brew. The whiskey barrel flavor adds something to the brew, but it also masks some of the complexity of Nailbiter. If you see Nailbiter on tap it is a must drink. If you can't get that, buy a bottle of this.

Update on the '04 vintage as of 11 months in the cellar:

I didn't even bother to crack one of these bottles fresh this year. But 11 months later I'm wondering if maybe this year's batch will bring me joy. Alas, yet again not a Nailbiter. Still though, I think this vintage of the Thumbsucker is better than the '03 with similar aging. Quite smooth with that sweet thing going for it. But damn you wiskey flavor! (1,265 characters)

Photo of far333
3.19/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the bottle dark brown, nearly black, with a dark brown foam that rises quickly (too quickly actually) to a huge head that is slow to dissipate. The smell is slightly hoppy, but without much character. Crisp mouth feel. The flavor is intense, with a bitter hoppiness on the front of the tongue, and finishes with hints of bitter chocolate and coffee. Tough to have more than one of these, the flavor can be overwhelming. Honestly not one of my favorites from Magic Hat. The Heart of Darkness is much smoother (although I realize HOD is not an imperial). This one tastes very similar to Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout, but is not as creamy or smooth, and is much more expensive. Price may come down if they roll this one out, but I prefer to stay with the Brooklyn for this style of brew. (797 characters)

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Thumbsucker from Magic Hat Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.