Thumbprint Spiced Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
254 Ratings
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Thumbprint Spiced AleThumbprint Spiced Ale

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our heady Spiced Ale summons escape from the ordinary. Lavish English and Wisconsin Malts slow brewed caramel goodness into this beefy bronze Strong Ale registering 20 degrees Plato O.G. Aged on Oak in the Open Top Cellar so that Cassia Cinnamon, Ginger and Allspice could be carefully hand stirred into the velvety Toffee notes of this aromatic Spiced Ale. 100% Naturally Bottle fermented to warm the chill from your soul.

Added by Ri0 on 01-10-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 254
Photo of sweemzander
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a nonic.
(A)- Pours a deep and dark caramel colored amber. Produced a giant cap of frothy white with great retention and thick rings of lacing all the way down the glass as it slowly dissipated.
(S)- A rich and welcoming spice box. Clove, vanilla, toffee, caramel, nutmeg, and cinnamon on the make for one sexy aroma.
(T)- Quite similar to the smell. This lovely rich sweetness of caramel and toffee meets a very rustic but deep spice flavors that work very well together without it tasting muddled.
(M)- A good carbonation level meets a superb balance of spice and sweet richness without being too rich or heavy.
(O)- A wonderful beer. Everything works so well together. Not sure if an old ale, american strong, or winter warmer, but in any case this is superb and would be a great alternative to a pumpkin ale during the colder months

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8.8% ABV

A - This hazy copper-colored beer pours with some life, filling the snifter with a lace-leaving off-white head.

S - A subtle blend of wintery spices joins forces with fresh potpourri and earthy banana esters for a lively aromatic entry. Caramel dipped pralines add slightly nutty characteristics to the malt base of this beer as it finishes with faint warming alcohol.

T - Rich caramel-drizzled bread coats the tongue with warming maltiness as the soft spiciness sets in, bringing a wonderful potpourri blend to the foreground gently.

M - With a medium body and smooth texture, Spiced Ale makes an impressive entry that grows nicely spicy only to finish with warming alcohol; a perfect way to end the beer.

O - New Glarus' Spiced Ale decorates the tongue with a blend of potpourri that compliments the beer's rich base of caramel-drizzled bread, finishing with warming alcohol. The whole package is conducive to cold weather enjoyment, especially where the spice and warming alcohol are concerned but, since it's a little higher octane, this would be a prime candidate for setting aside for next year's harsh Wisconsin winter as well.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall New Glarus Signature Pilsner Glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and fairly hazy amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Big three finger off white head with decent retention. Leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A very spicy and fruity malt forward aroma with big hints of winter spices and oak. Huge upfront mix of winter type spices with hints of cinnamon, clove, ginger, allspice, and cardamon. Solid barrel presence with hints of oak, wood, and vanilla. Toasted malts with hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet scent of brown sugar. Fruit hints of banana, raisin, and fig. Hops are pretty light. A very solid spicy aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very spicy, woody, and fruity malt forward taste with big notes of winter spices, oak, and malt. Big upfront taste of winter spices with notes of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, and cardamon. Good oak aged presence with notes of oak, wood, and sweet vanilla. Toasted malt with notes of toffee, caramel, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Solid fruit taste of bananas as well as some fig and raisin. Sweet notes of brown sugar. Light hops in the background. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very spicy and somewhat chewy. Finishes dry. A little heat is felt but things are still smooth.

Overall: A very good spicy brew. Good mix of winter spices with a nice kick of oak and some Belgian like fruit undertones.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells awesome. Vegetal, Fall warming spices of nugmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Not to sweet, semi dry finish. Great medium thick mouthfeel. Coats your pallet. This is up there with the best Fall beers I've ever had. Solid.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with a finger and a half of head which settles to about half a finger while drinking. Sticky lacing left behind at each level. Low to medium amount of active carbonation. Color is a clear ruby red color with some accents of brown.

Smell: Spice loaded front of moss, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, and ginger. Slight pinch of alcohol burn in the body. Detectable malt body which adds tones of vanilla, caramel, and molasses.

Taste: Spices lead up front but certainly not in an overpowering fashion. A splash of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon hit the palate then yield to a rounded malty body with accents of caramel and vanilla. The malt body continues to ride into the finish where the spiced tones pop their head up again leaving the palate with a light dryness.

Mouthfeel: Extremely drinkable for the style. Nice transitions of dry spices and rich malt keep the palate wanting more.

Overall: Spiced ale more then any other style in my opinion seem to have the most wild variations due to the challenges of finding balance with all the ingredients. Leave it to New Glarus to create the front runner in the style in my opinion. Balance is key here and leads to a simply wonderful brew. For most drinkers this isn't a style many seek out, myself included, but this brew is simply fantastic.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Brownish/red - slightly cloudy. Foam head measured ~2 inches when poured aggressively. Lacing is minimal to none.

S - Spice, malt, vanilla, and bourbon. Not as aromatic as would have expected.

T - Sweet, spicy, and tart up front - flash of bitterness in the middle - vanilla bourbon finish - Lots going on with each sip.

M - Thick and creamy - works well with flavor profile.

O - Complex yet drinkable. It's not my favorite New Glarus unplugged, but it's a great change of pace to a lot of the other beer styles I've been drinking as of late. I would pick up another 4-pack if it's still around next time I'm at the brewery. Prost!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I gotta' say I'm a little surprised by the low scores on this one. This is an incredibly rich and complex drink which I found immensely interesting and enjoyable.
Nice amber color and whitish head with o.k. stamina.
Aroma was not as rich and complex as the flavor but still nice and interesting with many of the aspects to be described forthwith.
First thing I noticed with the taste was the classic (for New Glarus) fruitiness that comes from his wild ales with a slight tartness but fruit non-the-less. Next was the oak, wood and vanilla. Then the caramel/toffee flavors with a shot of richness and full body flavor. And finally the spiciness, esp. the allspice but also the drying that seems to come from spiced beer. Subsequent drinks were an adventure in what would present next in a fun an interesting way. Any of the above could show in any level of balance or blending. It was really nice. Alcohol was very hidden and made minimal if any appearance in flavor or feel.
A slightly thin body for style but certainly still in the moderate zone with a bit above average carbonation.
I enjoyed this very much. Went well with the a first time listening of the re-releases of the first 3 L.Z. albums at the roost (Wow that 's rich too).

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Photo of don1481
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Ol' Trusty Pint Glass

Appearance: Pours a deep amber color with a lot of white-ish foam. Lots and lots of bubbles flowing up in this one.

Smell: If King Kong wanted a beer, this would be right up his alley. VERY strong banana notes. Some cinnamon comes through and a hint of the ginger as well. Subtly spicy smelling. Pretty complex.

Taste: Huh. That's... different. VERY yeasty, bready, with the cinnamon and ginger definitely shining through. Can't quite put my finger on it, but there seems to be more to it. Not toffee, not caramel. AHA - that's the spice notes. Not bad at all.

Mouthfeel: For something this bold-tasting, it's pretty crisp and clean in the mouth. Good amount of carbonation, but not so much that it's like drinking seltzer water. Well-balanced and some of the spice notes linger.

Overall: This is... different, for sure. Dan Carey has done it again - creating a beer that doesn't fit into the usual categories that you have to have more than one of to really get a true feel for. I'll always buy at least one 4 pack of each Thumbprint that comes out because this is what it's all about.

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Photo of TheSSG
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a huge, dense head with good persistence. There is a strange yeasty/spicey aroma that reminds me of bubblegum and spices at the same time. Amber-sienna color. Starts off with an assertive spiciness and some bitterness. Malt BURSTS THROUGH to make this into DELICIOUS Christmas cookies, then the spice dominates into the finish.

I REALLY wanted to hate this one. Spiced biers are so hit-or-miss, and I DESPISE ginger. But, New Glarus does no wrong, and this is fantastic. I may get a second 4-pack of this. It's fantastic.

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Photo of TH28
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is deep golden with a hint of orange, clear, with a thick white head. Aroma is an intense mix of oak, vanilla, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and caramel. Taste starts with rich caramel and toffee and gives way to a woody, oak flavor with the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with a moderate carbonation and a strong alcohol warming. Finishes dry, with a lingering oak and vanilla flavor.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This pours a golden amber color with a foamy, off-white head. The aroma has hints of coriander, banana, citrus, and other spices in the mix. The taste is smooth and clean with mild tastes of banana and spices that are very well blended. Finishes crisp and clean that is rather tasty and well made!

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Photo of Strix
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big frothy head with gobs of lace, bright amber

Smells of cinnamon, with an herbal hop note.

Starts out fairly normal, caramel malt, bready notes, red delicious apple, then in the aftertaste you get black pepper, cinnamon, and a variety of other spices.

Medium-dense mouthfeel, smooth finish.

I liked this quite a bit more than I like most "spiced" beers or winter warmers. The spices accentuate the taste rather than feeling you have eaten a spice rack. Nicely done.

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Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightly hazed amber orange, plenty of foam initially, settles to a fingers width of skim and chunks of lace hanging around the edges of the glass.

Aroma is pleasant, caramelized plantains in syrup, toffee, nutmeg, cinnamon. Nicely complex and far better than the majority of Winter Warmers I've had.

Medium bodied with slightly low carb and packed with flavor. Banana esters, light buttery vanilla oak traces, nutmeg, cinnamony cassia that doesn't put off any heat. A little rum-like. Not overwhelming, an interesting unique mix of flavors. Can't say I've had an oak aged winter warmer before. Overall this isn't as bad as some have made it out to be.

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Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Appearance: A nice bubble show builds a huge ecru-colored head to sit on the hazy amber liquid; excellent retention and lacing action

Smell: Caramel, oak, cinnamon and ginger

Taste: Caramel tones, up front, with the spices quickly taking hold, bringing the cinnamon and ginger "red hot" tones; vanilla and oak appear, after the swallow, along with a boozy character that makes this taste more like an Old Fashioned cocktail than a beer

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and moderately carbonated but brings the heat

Overall: I can see why this beer has caused such a schism among the reviewers; I can taste the complexity and I understand what the brewer was going for but I can't say that I would want to taste it again as an Old Fashioned is not the type of thing I care to drink (and I suspect that is the case for many other BAs, as well); still, I rated it higher than I thought I would because I admire the craftsmanship

Thanks, WI-Beer-Man, for the opportunity

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear shade of bronze with a short-lived goopy white head.
S: Pretty sweet, with apples, oak and grassy hops standing out.
T: Wow, very strange. Opens fruity and sweet with some caramel followed by an amalgamation of spices……..ginger and cinnamon being the only ones I can positively identify. Seems like they used a Belgian yeast. Oak rounds it out and ties things together nicely.
M: Light bodied with ample carbonation. No complaints here.

I liked this more than I expected to, given the style. This is nice for a slow sipper, though one would probably be my limit.

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Photo of Ri0
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Was probably bottle a week ago.

A - Bright dark red/bronze color that is semi clear with a dirty white 2 finger head. Thick collar and lacing.

S - There is so much going on in my glass. Yeast, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, caramel, toffee, light wood, banana bread.

T - It is sweet with some yeast up front. It gets pretty complex with sweet cinnamon toast, banana bread, and all spice. Chewy caramel and waves of thick toffee shine, with some oak on the finish.

M - Medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Many of the spices linger on the palate.

O - I'm not a lover of spiced ale, but this was pretty good. My guess is that if you enjoy pumpkin or holiday spiced style beer (I don't) you will want to try this beer. Always fun to try a new Dan Cary creation.

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Photo of JerUrbans
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice bubbly amber color with 1" puffy white head with big bubbles. Smells great, like cinnamon, and banana bread. Taste is good and really reminds me of banana bread. The spices are right on nothing over powering just blend really well. Mouthfeel is bubbly and light with some bitter at the end.

Overall one of the best spiced beers I've had, and I will really enjoy this 4 pack.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spiced Ale pours a hazy bronze color, with a huge frothy head. There is a very spicy aroma, with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon. The taste has a nice alcohol warmth, lots of cinnamon, lots of nutmeg, very spicy. Good full flavors, good warm feel. Overall its alike a pumpkin ale without the pumpkin.

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Photo of Etan
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into a snifter.

A: Pours a clearish reddish brown with a nice off-white head.

S: Definite cinnamon and nutmeg in the nose, a bit buttery, hint of red fruitiness.

T: Taste brings nutmeg, brown bread, lightly astringent spice, hint of green apple.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A nice spiced ale in the vein of pumpkin ales/winter warmers.

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Photo of TheBeer
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't have many spiced ales to compare this to, but the others that I did try ended up with the beer gods. Not my favorite style by any means, nor will it probably ever be. However, this is a manageable spiced ale to consume.
A- Looks very similarly to a lager with a small head that persists throughout the beer.
S- Holy smell. Smells like the best foreign dessert your mother could possibly make...and then mixed with beer!
T- Again, not very fond of this style in general. It seems as though the spices added outweigh the profile of the hops and malts present in the beer. For me this is a very weird concoction that sounds good in theory but doesn't deliver in product.
M- Very lasting mouthfeel to the beer. Equatable to a very heavy lager in mouthfeel.
O- Maybe if it was Christmas and only Christmas, that time of year when the weather is below freezing (to include you non frozen states) and you are desperately searching for something to provide you a bit of warmth, this beer will fulfill its purpose. Otherwise, if you live in southern Texas and seek out this beer, you should think otherwise. This may in fact be the first beer from New Glarus that I will not purchase again based off of my own preferences (and that is saying alot being I have had >90% of their beers)

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Photo of elmore
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass. Purchased from Metcalfes in Madison, WI yesterday.

Deep redish brown color and slightly opaque. Thick head that receded in a moderate amount of time. Minimal lacing after the initial pour.

Getting over a cold, so my olfactory sense is limited. Smells like winter in the Midwest should. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves. Kind of like a good spiced cider only not as overpowering.

Flavors are subtle for a spiced beer. Nicely balanced. Not cloying like some spiced beers. Alcohol is hidden well.

Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall very good for a spiced winter type of beer, which I'm not a big fan of in general. Kept a sweetness to a minimum, which I appreciate in this style.

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Photo of roger617
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into tulip glass.

A: Pours a light brown in color with a little bit of a golden hue. Has a finger of white head that reduces fairly slowly and leaves a few lines of lacing. Head reduces to a thin layer with a collar around the glass.
S: All spice and banana. Not a whole lot else going on here.
T: Just like the aroma, there's a ton of spice and banana coming through.
M: Carb level feels a bit high, aftertaste is only slightly dry.
O: This is a very enjoyable beer. The aroma and flavor are unique, and something I'm glad to have experienced.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I bought a 4-pack almost 30 months ago and spaced out the tastings, in part hoping the alcohol would mellow and, also, that the spices and malts would mature together.
Only the latter happened. The spices are more subtle and the brew slightly sweeter.
But the alcohol, New Glarus needs to tame that.
Does Spiced Ale deserve to be on New Glarus' site page of "Beers We Have Known and Loved" ? Since I presume the "we" includes me, a devotee, my answer is a cautionary "yes"

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Photo of rudzud
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice lightly hazy dark amber/copper hue with a one finger super faint tan head that fades to leave a thin, creamy blanket and no real side lacing.

S - Aromas of apples, cinnamon stick, allspice, faint ginger, faint oak.

T - Taste is rather boozy, faint cinnamon stick, allspice, and ginger. The apples are very faint too. It is rather potpourri with big toffee notes. This is definitely a strong ale, heavy emphasis on the strong side.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, which keeps it light on the tongue, but, still is a sipper.

O - Overall this was a fun, aromatic beer. I think it might benefit from some aging to let that alcohol die down some.

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Photo of cervezango
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

pours amber and gold with a nice retentive two fingers of white head. rings on the glass with each sip.

cinnamon, raisin bran, horchata smells. really good

clean dry mouth feel with a malty aftertaste.

lots of spices, strong cinnamon flavor like a atomic fire ball, or big red gum. it is very sweet reminds me of a ginger snap.

this beer is kinda weird, but i tried to enjoy it and i did. I had it with spicy food and it was a perfect pairing. I would buy this if i was making Mexican food for some one.

and pick up some tapatio hot sauce too.

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Thumbprint Spiced Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 254 ratings.
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