Thumbprint Barley Wine | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
117 Reviews
Thumbprint Barley WineThumbprint Barley Wine

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mobius387 on 01-13-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 350
Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Thumbprint Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company.
Score: 91

2012 vintage bottle with code "3611 09:30" printed on the bottle neck. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 03/29/12.

Appearance: Pours a transparent golden orange color with a finger of white seafoam head that settles into a ring around the glass and foggy cap over three-quarters the beer. Above average lacing, above average retention. 4/5

Smell: Piney hops, tropical citrus, pineapple, grapefruit, caramel and barley malt. Very light alcohol heat. A little lemon in the nose too. Hint of coriander. 4/5

Taste: Peach, apple and honey sweetness, pine, grass, hoppy grapefruit, orange and spicy caramel malt. The caramel malt sweetness is well contrasted by the piney hops and a modest bitter barley flavor. Rye spice and black pepper perkiness on the midpalate. Very DIPA-like in flavor, though more malty than a DIPA. Has a juicy and malty orange backbone. Finishes with a pineapple, grapefruit and hops flavor that has average linger. Just a hint of booziness and warmth on the palate -- nothing that screams 12% ABV, though. Very refreshing overall, quite balanced. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Juicy mouthfeel. Malty and bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: A superior brew from New Glarus' Thumbprint/Unplugged series. I have really come to enjoy hoppy barleywines of late, and this is a really good example of the American barleywine style. Hopefully New Glarus will bring this brew back in the near future; this might be my favorite beer of theirs.

Recommendation: Seek this beer out and drink it fresh. The tropical citrus hoppiness really works well in this beer, and hops tend to fade over time. I will be aging a couple of bottles of this, however, so, assuming this blog is still being updated a few years down the road, I will report back to let my readers know how this one holds up over time. Hopefully I will not regret saving more of this beer for future consumption, it no longer being produced at the present time, but this beer is just too enjoyable fresh to let sit on the shelf.

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes.

Cost: $10.99 for a four pack.

 2,181 characters

Photo of scaliasux
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Medium amber-gold. Quite cloudy. Tall sudsy white head that dissipates quickly into a fairly thin foam.

Smell - Rich malitness. Dark fruit and bread. A little alcohol. A little citrus.

Taste - Very rich malt. Backed by fairly prominent citrusy hops. Ends up on the sweet side - almost syrupy. Toffee and raisin and orange. Don't really taste the alcohol, but definitely feel it.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full and smooth. Alcohol warmth.

Overall - Rich and complex, well made beer, but the flavor (though certainly what the brewer was looking for) isn't quite up my alley. I appreciate New Glarus making this, but I'm probably not in for more than a single 4 pack.

 677 characters

Photo of dgugliuzza
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber blonde in color with a flat, white head. Large carbonation bubbles shoot up from the center of the glass. This body glows like a embers on a log.

Mix of piney hops and toasted malts in the nose. Pine resin and candi sugar aromas follow. Bittersweet blend that lends a citrusy and caramel balance.

The taste is a mix of bitter hops and sweet, toasty malts. Piney and resiny hops are countered by caramel, candi sugar and citrus. There is a lot going on here. It's more reminiscent of a hoppy American strong ale than a barley wine.

Medium-full bodied feel with some nice creaminess. Soft and smooth on the tongue. Lots of prickly carbonation. Heat is present. This one's a sipper.

This is one impressive barley wine style ale with some non barley wine characteristics. Very complex and flavorful as it stands, but it certainly warrants some time in the cellar to see what happens to the malt profile when the hops fade. Good stuff.

 941 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Masterski for this one. Sent in a recent trade. First beer back in America while watching the NHL Playoffs.

A fairly fluffy white head for a barleywine. I would say on the lighter side of depth of color for barley wines. A brass/amber color with a touch of carbonation rising from within.

Deep liquor laced caramel in the aroma. A sense of hops at the end. Can’t say pine, per se.. but there is definitely a sense of hops in the aroma.

Again the liquor laced caramel with honey. Lots of malty goodness and some rich pine at the end. I actually like the flavor here. There’s another flavor I am not exactly identifying here. Somewhat fruity actually.

Not as heavy as some other Barley wines. Medium body, not syrupy at all.

I dig this beer. Thanks Alex for shooting this one over.

 799 characters

Photo of Steasy66
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz into snifter
A- Deep orange, 1 finger dense white head.
S- Booze, malt, sweet
T- Very sweet, a little malt, some apple, very little hops in the finish
M- A bit of carbonation tingle in the finish, not as thick as expected.
O- This beer is fine, but considering CW Y2K and BBBW have the same distro and price point, I can't really justify ever buying this again.

 367 characters

Photo of axeman9182
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of AlAlvarez. It was allowed to warm before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

New Glarus Thumbprint Barley Wine pours a super clear orange, with three to four fingers of cream colored foam topping the beer. The head retention is very good, but the lacing is fairly spotty. The nose is heavy on dank piney hops, with an herbal-mint edge. There's also just a hint of caramel lurking about. Each sip brings a touch of bready malts and caramel at the front end of thing. The bitterness is definitely noticeable, but definitely not quite as intense as some of the more highly hopped barleywines. The hop flavor isn't quite as heavy on pine as the nose. That ends up leaving room for more minty-herbal notes to clearly shine through. The body is surprisingly light for the style, and there's a definite (though not harsh) warming sensation from the alcohol. Cabonation is nicely dialed in, there's enough to boos the hop profile a little bit, but it stops short of being bubbly to a distracting degree. New Glarus's Thumbprint Barley Wine was a nice beer to have in my glass for a while this evening, it just doesn't hit the mark solidly, specifically as a barleywine. There's just not enough of a sturdy malt background. It's probably closer to the dryness of a DIPA in that department.

 1,304 characters

Photo of Treebs
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle served in a Deschutes tulip.

A: Pours a hazy solid amber color with a thin yellow head forming on the pour. It recedes quickly to a thin ring.

S: Candied sugar and large piney hops fill nose right away. Caramel malt sweetness is present as well, but it smells like a big and boozy DIPA right now.

T: The taste is more barely wine which I really enjoyed. Caramel malts sweetness, candied sugar, some light alcohol with a nice bitter hop profile to balance it out. As it warms more of the booze takes over and takes away from the over all flavor profile

M: Medium bodied, but a little on the lighter side. Slightly sticky and there is a lower carb level.

O: This was a solid over all American BW. There alcohol was noticeable, but there wasn't any heat to take away from the mouthfeel, although the alcohol taste did take away from an otherwise nice tasting BW.

 878 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Thorpe, served in a snifter, beer is yellow and mostly clear with a white head, one finger, small bubbles, no lacing, moderate retention, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is plain and sweet with a mild malt and a little cider.

Beer is medium in body and drinkable, sweet and nice throughout with a good finish. It is a fine little beer but a little too dry on the finish and has this mild cidery sense to it. Interesting but not great. I don't think I'll repeat.

 466 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for getting a box of New Glarus out to me. Served in a New Glarus taster glass.

Pours a fairly-clear caramel color with a thin white head. Retention is a bit weak, quickly falling to a thin collar. The nose has some sweet malt with some light fruits and a good dose of bread plus caramel. Some lingering hops contribute a bit of bitterness to the flavor, and there's some warming booze in the background. Medium-full body with a good dose of residual sugar. Decent, but not a standout.

 511 characters

Photo of hardy008
2.21/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Clear light amber with a one finger off white head with decent retention and no lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, caramel, and alcohol. Much of the aroma is not very strong, and it was pretty difficult to pick up as much as I did.

The strongest taste in the beer is the alcohol, no contest. That is not a good thing, since I like to have the alcohol well disguised, instead of front and center. There is also the taste of grapefruit and caramel, but they are overwhelmed by the alcohol taste.

Less than medium bodied with somewhat high carbonation. Not what I expected, and really disappointing. Doesn't really taste or feel like a Barleywine, just a booze bomb.

 665 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wendall for this one!

A: Pours a clear orange color with a small white head on top. Not much retention reducing to an extremly thin cap on top. Thin, but sticky lacing forms on most of the glass.

S: Extremely hoppy, but not like Bigfoot. Lots of pine and citrus - plenty of rind. Very faint alcohol tinge.

T: Not as hoppy as the aroma, but still plenty of citrus with some malty sweetness backing it up. A little bit of bready malt as it warms.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinks very easy and smooth.

O: Very different compared to most barleywines I have had, and I quite like this one. Doesn't come off all heavy and malty, but a bit lighter with lots of hops coming through.

 712 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is crystal clear, appearing a light golden color. Mild effervescence and a lasting quarter inch of white head that leaves some decent lacing on the glass. The aroma brings malt, caramels, alcohol, maybe a hint of butterscotch candy. Alcohol presence is nicely disguised. This one could sneak up on you in a hurry. Malty, fruity, a tad sweet. Hop presence shines in the finish, offering a light bitterness. Overall, I thought this was really solid. I would have this again.

 516 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
2.44/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into Founders snifter. I don't know if others exist, but this is a 2012 vintage.

I think this was an extra from mnbearsfan, but I am not 100% on that.

Apricot colored body sits with a fluffy beige crown of 3 fingers loftily perched atop. Very thick lacing and strong retention. I prefer my barleywines to be a shade darker, but I will admit that this looks mighty fine.

Smells surprisingly light on the malt bill... I get a big herbal spicy hop note over a sugar-glazed-citrusy sweetness. Quite underwhelming.
The flavor is much the same, but with a very large booziness on the backend. Spicy, piny, and herbal hops dominate the profile... Overly boozy.

Feels thin and overcarbed.

Overall-- a rare miss from NG. I tend to really enjoy their offerings, especially the unplugged series... But this just lacks anything special.

 842 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a goblet, this barley wine was a reddish copper color with a slight head. The most immediate aroma was the citrus note of hops. Initial taste was a intense citurs flavor. As other reviewers have noted, this is more characteristic of an DIPA. Also hidden in the flavor was a faint nutty taste that reminded me of amaretto. It should further be noted that there was a strong alcohol presence in the taste with a slight malt backbone. The aftertaste, aided by a thicker texture, had a lingering warming sensation of alcohol. The citrus hints accompanied the alcohol, but were no longer as potent.

New Glarus may be my favorite brewery and barley wine is among my favorite styles, but this was certainly a letdown. Lacking the sweetness of a good barley, this does resemble a DIPA.

 806 characters

Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Devil's Backbone tulip. It poured orange amber in color with a thin but frothy head covering the top.

The aroma has a bready, biscuity, slight caramal flavor coming out of the malts. I get a good amount of hoppiness to it as well which gives it a moderate citrusy and fruity presence. It's got a little bit of a candied orange flavor to it. Pretty good balance of hoppy and malty. As it warmed though more of a alcohol heat started to come out.

The taste also has a pretty big hoppiness to it with grapefruit and citrus rind bitterness throughout. The maltiness comes through as more of a sweeter, candied orange like flavor. Bitter, citrus rind lingers well after the finish. A little alcohol heat is there in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being average. Overall it was a pretty de centbeer, but the maltiness was a little too reserved and one dimensional for my preferences in the style. The hoppiness just seemed to dominate a little too much, especially in the citrus rind, bitter, finish. I think this could have easily been labeled a DIPA and I wouldn't have questioned it much. I got a lot of alcohol heat to it as well that didn't help. Good beer overall, but not one that stands out in the style for me.

 1,304 characters

Photo of Hanby
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden/ reddish with a finger of off-white head. Held against the light, it looks like a wheat field under the setting sun (poetic, I know.)
Smell: Graham crackers and hops.
Taste: Good balance of malty sweetness with subtle hops. The malt stands out the most, with a somewhat sweet graham cracker flavor. The hops are present but subtle, keeping the beer from being too sweet.
Mouthfeel: Full, sweet, and crisp. Big alcohol presence.
Overall: I really enjoyed this barley wine. It was more than I expected: the stand-out flavor is definitely in the graham cracker malt, but it is balanced by a subtle hop presence that I enjoyed. Very good beer. The one complaint may be a little too much booze-taste. It is 12% ABV, which, I think, is normal for a barley wine. But it was a little much. Overall, though, very good.

 829 characters

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Brilliant robust golden color, two fingers of thick head

SMELL: Marmalade, green peppercorn, faint leather, passion fruit, rose water, alcohol, light caramel, crackers

TASTE: Incredibly smooth, creamy, full body, dry biscuits, yeast, ripe exotic fruit, pulling hop bitterness, leafy, mint, hop resin, citric rind, peppery, floral, big alcohol, lingering clean graininess in the boozy semi-bittersweet finish.

Bit of a booze bomb, a sipping brew all the way. I can understand the brewers intention but it just does not hit me the right way fully. Fun to drink? Sure, just make sure you sip it or share a bottle ... that might be better.

 687 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Gold, good head and lacing.

Smell: Sweet sugar candy and citrus hops.

Taste: Sweet entry and a citrus finish. Not particularly complex.

Overall: This really doesn't hit the barleywine spot for me, either English style or American style. It seems more like a big bock or a "strong ale", with a lot of sweetness but not much caramel or toffee flavors like expected from a barleywine. There is a fair amount of citrus hops, kind of reminds me of a Lagunitas brew. Not bad but not what I was expecting from a New Glarus barleywine, especially after the Iced Barleywine from a few years back.

 602 characters

Photo of cradke
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden with a nice little head to it. Transparent. Welcoming appearance

Smell: Quite a bit of hops for a barley wine. Sweeter nose to it. The malt comes through and there isn't much alcohol.

Taste: Hoppier than most barley wines even though this has about 2 months of age on it. There is a decent sweetness to it. Little alcohol. I wish there was a bit more balance and complexity but it's still a fantastic brew. A very refreshing and easy going barelywine.

Mouthfeel: A little thinner than most but nothing to complain about.

Overall: A nice easy going barleywine. A little sweeter and lighter than most but refreshing. Interested to see how this would age.

 675 characters

Photo of pweis909
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really, this is much more like an DIPA, IMO. I expect a barleywine to maltier. And the piney citrusy hopping was much more like DIPA.

Pours orange, white foam. Hops are immediately apparent in the nose. The taste is bitter, almost overwhelmingly so, but I warm to that aspect of the beer with time. However, it is a bit boozy, which I prefer not to have.

I am gradually realizing that I am not a big fan of big hoppy boozy beers that so commonly are touted by my fellow BAs.

 478 characters

Photo of tewaris
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz poured into a snifter. Split with a friend.

It's a blondie! Much lighter color than others of its kind with a good head. Fleeting malts and citrus hops in the aroma... certainly sweet and somewhat fruity. Smells like a malty pale ale to me.

Tastes fruity, slightly bitter, slightly boozy... like an ordinary DIPA. Not the beast as it proclaims to be. Disappointingly thin with no particular highlights. Seems like a beer to age on barrels if highlighting barrels is the objective. Thoroughly ordinary and not memorable in any way.

4.5, 3.5, 3, 2, 3

 559 characters

Photo of Strix
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden-orange, head dissipates to a ring.

Citrus, fruits, and spices in the nose.

Cherry, apple, sugar, alcohol, caramel, dark fruits, black pepper, orange rind. Deliciously complex.

Quite carbonated, but mouth-coating.

Wow, these thumbprints continue to amaze. This one defies categorization. Definite DIPA and even belgian ale aspects.

 342 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright sunset orange color, jewel tone clarity, thin skim of foam across the top, leaving a bare halo of lacing around the edges of the glass.

Dried papaya, orange peel, boooze. As it warms the alcohol is less than subdued, and pretty overt.

Tastes fruity with plenty of tropical hop character, papaya, mango, and citrus. This is at the edge of its descent into mellowness though, but the fruity hoppiness is still prevalent. Creamy smooth feel and plenty drinkable, though clearly an ass kicker. Best served up with hearty food. Yes it's hoppy, and that's a good thing.

 573 characters

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Poured a massive three finger head. Excellent retention. Thick lacing. Color is pretty strange for a Barleywine. Color is a dark orange.

S. Smells pretty hoppy. Bordering along lines of a DIPA. Some caramel malt. Nice citrus hop notes. Smells good, just not really a whole lot like a barleywine.

T. Taste is also a lot like a strong DIPA a little bit past its prime. Get some pretty sweet citrus hop flavors, balanced with a nice malty sweetness. Not too much bitterness. Get a little bit of dry malt flavor.

M. Medium bodied. Some lingering sweetness on the finish. Medium carbonation.

O. Interesting beer. I think time will bring about some changes to this beer. Right now it gives me a DIPA vibe. Not that it really matters what style it is as long as it is good, and this is a good beer. Not the most flavorful or complex Barleywine I have had, but an easy drinking for 12% beer.

 930 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottles from both d0b and joshuaseresse - thanks guys! Served in an Alchemist pint glass.

A - Voluminous orange-tinged foam has excellent retention - I had to wait a while before I could actually start to drink the beer. When it eventually settles there's tons of creamy glass-coating lace left behind. Transparent dark golden body with some slow-moving bubbles. A bit light for the style, but otherwise very attractive.

S - This is one insanely hoppy barleywine - all I can smell is pine, herbs, and bitter citrus, with perhaps a hint of cat pee and alcohol in the background. At one point I caught the faintest glint of sugary malt, but I may have imagined it - the malt is otherwise a neutral, crackery, and unobtrusive.

T - The taste has a tad more malt sweetness, but this is largely citrus, with some herbal notes and alcohol bite in the finish. There's also a mildly nutty character to the malt bill. Reminds me more of some triple IPAs I've than a typical 'barley wine'.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, with lower but active carbonation. Actually a tad watery for 12%. Pretty low alcohol warmth considering there's some booze in the aroma. Chewy, viscous, and fairly dry and resinous in the end.

D - Not what I was expecting - very low sweetness but with tons of hop character. While alcohol is present it's not out-of-line for the listed 12% and should mellow in time - I think the sharp herb and pine character of the hops probably exacerbates the alcohol presence anyway. I actually found this pretty easy to drink, and ended up pacing myself so that I wouldn't fall asleep working this evening. Another well-crafted New Glarus beer that's worth checking out.

 1,673 characters

Thumbprint Barley Wine from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 350 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.