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Thumbsucker - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

83 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 83
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: 83 | Reviews: 74 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SheepNutz


4.45/5  rDev +6%

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep reddish black color with one finger of dark tan head. A bit of lacing. The smell is rich in burnt malt and lots of molasses. A little bit of a dark fruit character. The taste is sweet with chocolate and a little coffee. A hint of alcohol on the finish. The mouthfeel is incredible. It really coats the lips and entire mouth. The drinkability is fairly good for 7.8%, maybe a little too much alcohol flavor coming through. Damn it's good though.

10-25-2004 18:15:56 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of clvand0


4.53/5  rDev +7.9%

Extremely cool bottle. Pours an extremely dark color with a tan head that quickly dies off. Thick aroma of dark sweet fruit and some chocolate and coffee as well. Complex. The flavor has a lot of chocolate and coffee, but also has a subtle sweetness from the dark fruits. Very very good example of the imperial stout. One of the best I've had.

10-25-2004 13:58:40 | More by clvand0
Photo of koolkat

United Kingdom (England)

4.6/5  rDev +9.5%

The beers pours a nice deep blackness with a very brown head. The taste is reminiscent of a burned toast dipped in coffee. The maltiness of this beer is incredible. The finish is cleaner than expected with no residual roasted flavor lingering on the tongue. The hops are rather subdued, but really only for this age of over hopped monsters. I easily finished the 750 and wanted another.

10-24-2004 23:29:03 | More by koolkat
Photo of kmpitz2


4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

The beer departs the bottle black, with a half finger of dark tan head that falls to coat the beer. The nose starts with a blast of dark earthy figgy fruit that moves into chocolate notes. The flavor is wickedly good. Its a nice roasted dark flavor, but the aftertaste is out of this world. Its a great chocolate aftertaste that keeps changing as you sit between sips. The mouthfeel was a nice thick and smooth one, very good as well. Another beer that I think everyone at the tasting could have drank all night. Once again, out hats off to SheepNutz for this treat.

10-24-2004 20:28:31 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of MJR


4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

Inky black with random hints of dark reddish-brown around the edges. Opaque as far as I can tell. Head starts out medium tan, but darkens considerably to an intense and creamy dark brown with a bit of swirling. Great retention and lacing, as it holds a firm covering 'til the last drop. It also is presented in possibly the coolest looking bottle I've ever seen.

Aroma is rich and malty, with roasted malts, burnt marshmallows, warming whiskey notes, heavy black licorice, bitter chocolate, burnt caramel, prune-like fruitiness, a hint of medicinal phenolics, and alcohol drenched hops. Superb aroma here.

Flavor is rich and creamy, with a hefty blend of roast, chocolate, caramel, and licorice on the outset. A strong whiskey/oak undercurrent throughout lends a welcome alcoholic warmth. Burnt fireside marshmallows melting off the stick and ripe prunes arrive mid-palate, only to be forced into the background by the continuous malt onslaught and drying wave of alcohol flavor. Not much in the way of hop flavor or bitterness, save for a humble flourish of green hop flavor in the aftertaste which combines with the spicy alcohol for an almost black pepper-like suggestion. Ghost-like Ringwood yeast notes linger after the swallow.

Mouthfeel is sufficient, if not a bit on the thin side. Instead of being a flaw, it actually aids in it's drinkability.

Overall, a great example of the style that exhibits impressive depth and complexity for it's quite modest strength. Well done Magic Hat.

09-28-2004 05:07:24 | More by MJR
Photo of aracauna


4/5  rDev -4.8%

The body is nicely dark with an equally nicely dark head. The aroma is spiked with a noticeable bit of alcohol. Otherwise, it’s mostly a sweet chocolate in the aroma. The flavor is sweet, verging on rich with strong chocolate and caramel malt flavors dominating. Not a bad imperial stout, but seems lacking somehow. It could just be that it doesn’t cover the alcohol well.

09-10-2004 22:12:30 | More by aracauna
Photo of dansteino


4.9/5  rDev +16.7%

A wonderful example of an American version of a Russian Imperial Stoudt. There is a decent hop presence -- but it definitely complements and does not overwhelm the mocha character of the beer.

This beer was simply fantastic.

If you have the opportunity to try this, consider yourself blessed.

08-23-2004 05:51:26 | More by dansteino
Photo of shapudding


4.9/5  rDev +16.7%

Pitchblackness with a creamy brown head.
WOW! Fuckin' amazing scents here!! Scented of whiskey,chocolate, and merlot... Just makes you want to sit down and think and smell it for a long while....
Tingles from the first sip... Rich and creamy, incredibly smooth. Black coffee and chocolate. Light whiskey flavors but not overwhelming. Great flavors, easy drinking. Could EASILY enjoy tons more of this!! Very interesting bottle too. Nice one from majic hat, who has not impressed me in the past. Very, very wonderful offering!

08-06-2004 00:07:44 | More by shapudding
Photo of NEhophead


4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

Presentation: Champagne bottle straight from the brewery.

1" brown head that sticks around for a few minutes that eventually leads to intricate and cascading lacing. Very dark appearance; almost pitch black. Looks very hefty.

Chocolate, almonds, and coffee aromatics. Very malty nose that isn't too sweet. The aromas are very bold and promise good things.

A complex dark chocolate flavor followed quickly by roasted hazlenuts and almonds. I even detect some darker fruit in here; maybe a dark cherry flavor. The flavors are all very bold and hold their own. The syrup quality is dead on for a thick, great imperial stout. There's also a warming alcohol that accompanies a nice bitterness at the finish.

Well balanced considering how many flavors are at play and there is a nice bitterness in the finish to balance the stout's malty character. Very smooth.

This is one of the better tasting imperial's I've had in a while, but it's not one that I could drink all night. It truly feels like eating a five course meal in terms of how heavy the stout is. A great treat to try and to go back for more. Definitely worth seeking out during the few months out of the year in which they release it.

07-14-2004 13:01:17 | More by NEhophead
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +4.8%

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!

06-27-2004 16:53:23 | More by beerluvr
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

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.

06-21-2004 23:49:52 | More by Billolick
Photo of CRJMellor


4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

05-14-2004 01:04:55 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of taez555


4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

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.

05-13-2004 08:11:16 | More by taez555
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

05-08-2004 23:21:20 | More by jdhilt
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

04-27-2004 02:36:33 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of tavernjef


4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

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!

04-14-2004 01:28:53 | More by tavernjef
Photo of RocketWidget


4.93/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

03-31-2004 01:11:59 | More by RocketWidget
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

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


03-08-2004 01:34:41 | More by Bierman9
Photo of aaronh


4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

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....

11-29-2003 02:08:45 | More by aaronh
Photo of kmo1030


4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

10-10-2003 00:27:09 | More by kmo1030
Photo of beernut7


4.03/5  rDev -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.

09-28-2003 20:39:14 | More by beernut7
Photo of UnionMade

New York

4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

08-29-2003 18:13:52 | More by UnionMade
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.22/5  rDev +0.5%

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!

08-12-2003 01:54:14 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of 86MonteSS


4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

07-23-2003 03:37:24 | More by 86MonteSS
Photo of francisweizen


4.88/5  rDev +16.2%

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.

07-03-2003 14:24:04 | More by francisweizen
Thumbsucker from Magic Hat Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.