Thumbprint Barley Wine | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
350 Ratings
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:
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Reviews: 117 | Ratings: 350
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip glass. Pours a very clear orange-brown with a very thin off-white head. Aroma has citrus fruits, some pine and resin. Taste brings sweet hops, honey, some lemony bitterness and a bit of malt back. Very crisp and clean. Syrupy flavor depth without the thickness. Finishes with some length and some alcohol. Not like any barleywine I’ve had; the alcohol content is there, but this is much more citrus hoppy and light fruits than dark grapey or raisiny fruits. Overall, a decent barley wine from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of gford217
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Adam for this bottle.

Pours much lighter than any barleywine I've ever seen. It's a clear golden with a small beige head that recedes quickly and leaves a collection of bubbles in the middle.

Aroma is massively hoppy for a BW with lots of herbal character as well as a ton of citrus, pineapples and mango. The malts are definitely in the background with some faint caramel and bready malts. Smells like a DIPA.

Taste brings the sweetness, much more than in the aroma. That said, the initial flavors are oranges and pinapples from the hops. The sugary sweet malts are definitely more prevalent than in the nose creating a stickiness after each sip.

The mouthfeel is smooth and extremely boozy. Every sip leaves a sticky hop resin on the palate with alcohol burn.

I'm not exactly sure how to compare this to other barleywines as it seems much more like a double/triple IPA. A really good beer, if not slightly miscategorized.

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Photo of MaxSpang
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Belgian tulip. Enjoyed on 2-21-12.


This beer pours a slightly hazy orange-yellow-honey color. It's fairly light compared to other barleywines I've had, and it looks very much like an IPA or double IPA. The head was massive, about 3 fingers, and just the slightest bit off-white. It leaves some nice lacing along the side of the glass, and after the initial pour there is almost no carbonation bubbles to speak of.


This is a citrus bomb! Tons and tons of fresh hoppy aroma come out, bringing grapefruit, tangerine, and fresh orange zest. Some slight alcohol follows. I tend to enjoy the hop/alcohol combination, so it definitely works. There is a slight malt smell after the hop barrage. Like the bottle says, there is a bit of graham cracker detectible. Overall, WOW this brew smells fantastic.


Could it be? Is that MALT I taste?! Indeed it is! And plenty of it - I was worried that this was going to be like an IPA in terms of bitterness, but to my surprise there is a lot of sweet malt in this bad boy. It brings notes of caramel-covered graham crackers and toffee. The hops bring a wonderful complexity, bringing some old familiar favorites: citrus, tangerine, tropical fruits, mango, and everyone's favorite "cat piss". Yum. The booze is definitely evident. This beer drinks like a 12% ABV brew, which I think holds it back slightly. The flavor is wonderfully complex and intense, I very much dig.


For as big of a beer as this is, it's no struggle to drink. It drinks more like an imperial IPA than a barleywine, which can be a dangerous thing! It's not as thick as one would imagine, and it has a (dare I say it?) DRY finish! What a mindf**k. There's a medium-low amount of carbonation - perfect for this particular beer.


I usually don't like hoppy, American barley wines, but New Glarus just can't seem to get a bad beer past me. I was worried about this beer being too bitter, but the bitterness and hop character are just about perfect. I'm glad to taste the sugary-sweet malt mess that I like in barley wines. I'm also glad they made a BIG barleywine, not a casual 8-9% ABV barleywine. I can only imagine what this beer tastes like after a year or two of age on it.

VERY special thanks to Duff27 for sending me a whole 4 pack of this delicious brew.


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Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: orange shiny body, finger white head,
solid lacing

S: sweet candy, grapefruit/mango/orange aroma

T: sweet citrus, light barley, boozy, hard candy,
bitter sticky finish

M: med/heavy body, big oily/sticky mouth.

O: Another mighty fine brew from New Glarus.
Highly recommend to other BW fans. Hope
they make it again.


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

A: Poured a clear light amberish orange color with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap and bubbles

S: Booze and big hop wallop, neither of which being bad

T: Immediate hop blast with citrus, light pine and some tropical fruit being very prevelant if not dominant. A bit bready, nice booze sting with a good dose of sugar in this.

M: Very nice, well carbonated but one dimensional. Stinging, acidic at times, warming but no letdown on the palate

O: This beer is what it is..a big, mega hopped American barleywine that leans to the lighter end of the spectrum..much like a Hog Heaven. I suspect this will cellar well oeaking in about five years

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Photo of knepper
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Deep gold with a frothy white head that recedes quickly; great sticky lacing. Crystal clear.

Smell: Big fruity, hoppy nose. Candied lemons, alcohol, fresh cut fruit.

Taste: By this time, I already know that I'm in for a different experience when it comes to barleywines. Around these parts, they are mostly thick, malty, giants with, maybe, a solid hop backbone with a bit of dark crystal/roasted malts. Not this one. The mouthfeel is rich, crisp and much thinner than expected - ultra drinkable. The hops immediately take center stage. While there is a decent amount of bitterness, its mostly clean. Again, candied lemons sit over top a piney, earthy, herbal hop flavor. The malt is there providing a rich, semi-sweet balance to the hop show. The ethanol is noticeable but it isn't intrusive and doesn't compromise the experience.

A great one by New Glarus. More reminiscent of double IPA; I like the curveball here.

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Photo of Zachtheporter
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a wine glass.

A- Pours a rich bright gold that has a reddish tint to it. The head is white and very thin.

S- This is a very citrus/hoppy smelling barley wine. There are notes of Orange, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Mango as well as other sweet fruits that I can't quite put my finger on. There is also a slight hoppy bitterness that melds its way around the overall aroma.

T- This is very hoppy for a barleywine. The taste is very sweet and fruity. The sweet start to the beer is also very tart and bready. There are notes of grapefruit and mango with light hints of barley in the middle. It ends with a sweet and bready finish somewhat reminiscent of shortbread cookies or graham crackers.

M- Chewy. Very carbonated with almost a slight sting to it. Slightly abrasive.

O- This is a barleywine that definitely grew on me a little. Initially I really did not enjoy it very much because of how hoppy it is. This is definitely the hoppiest barley-wine I have ever tasted. I originally bought a 4-pack and put 3 of them off to the side to age but unfortunately my weak will ended up leading me want to go back and try it again....twice. I am really looking forward to how the remaining bottle will turn out after about 4 years. A rare miss by New Glarus in my opinion.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a medium-sized Duvel tulip. Thanks to Tony for sharing; I'm always ecstatic to try a new New Glarus brew.

A: Bright pale orange body with a light-tan layer of froth. Spotty lace. Ok.

S: Huge hops. Tangerine, grapefruit, and grass. No malt to speak of. It would be solid (but not spectacular) as a DIPA, but it's a little disappointing for an American Barleywine. At least it doesn't smell too boozy.

T: Fruity hops up front, with some nutty malt filling in behind. Juicy, dank citrus on the finish. Big bitterness, light sweetness. Again, more of a DIPA by far. Still, tasty and impressively devoid of alcohol; I never would have guessed 12%.

M: Creamy, frothy medium-full body. Excellent.

O: I'd love to get a hold of a couple four-packs to age, as I have to imagine the dominant hops will give way to more complex malts within a year or two. Right now, though, this is just too purely hoppy to impress me. I enjoyed drinking it, to be sure, but was still disappointed since it didn't live up to my expectations.


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Photo of Buzzerben
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice golden orange-hued color. Thin lacing throughout.

S - Hoppy, citrusy notes, rock candy marmalade. An estery hint on the finish. Nicely balanced for a beer of this size.

T- Succulent citrus, barley hint, and a sweetness that gives way to seductive warmth.

M - Smooth, resinous. Coats and adheres in delicious stickiness.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. Though it may not stick to style the entire way, the daring and experimentation that are hallmarks of New Glarus shine through. Impressive.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With New Glarus being one of my favorite local breweries, I knew I had to try this high alcohol offering from them the minute a friend told me he saw it in the store. Also, with it only being $8.99 for a four pack from East side Woodmans in Madison, it is a great buy for such a big beer. Sadly though, the beer didn't measure up to another local barleywine (Both of Central Water's barleywine options). Additionally, it tasted more like an IPA to me than a barleywine. This isn't a bad thing since I really enjoy IPAs but I almost need to compare this to other IPAs that I have had instead of barleywines. Even when I do that; it still wouldn't be my favorite IPA. So I will say that this beer was decent and I will keep a few bottles stored away for aging but I can't say I will go out and buy more before it is off of the shelves.

The strong hop presence masks any other flavors that may be here. After the intitial sip, I struggled to find any complex aftertaste notes that I hope to find in a good barleywine. Is this beer really 12% abv? If so, the alcohol is really hidden. There was a decent booziness to it but not 12% worth.

EDIT-As I hoped and expected, this beer is much better with a year on it. The hops are still really strong but have faded somewhat leaving behind a really sweet tasting barleywine. The color seemed to be different also as it had a very pleasant, light hue. I have one more bottle left and I will leave it sit for at least two years to see what is left behind when the hops hopefully go away for good.

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Photo of Duff27
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Very pleasant looking clear light amber bodies beer, half-inch white head. A couple dozen streams of effervescence float on upward. Good head retetnion and nice lacing.

S- Citrus hops, a touch of booziness.

T- Juicy citrus. Low end of malt complexity, agreed. I feel like the booze is the biggest player in this beer.

M- On the thicker end of mouthfeel, carbonation fits.

D/O- This beer really does straddle the line between DIPA and barleywine. A good beer but not as outstanding as what I envisioned when I heard New Glarus was coming out with a barleywine again. I think this could be a good candidate for aging and one beer that will benefit with 2 to 3 years on it.

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

A- Pours a honey gold with a short-lived white head that fades into small bursts of lacing. Clear with a thin steam of effervescence spiraling upwards.

S- Pretty hop-forward in the nose, followed by a juicy sweetness. Citrus, pineapple, and a sugary maltiness.

T- Follows the nose. Hops are more than present, slight pine taste/bitterness lingers. Candied orange or lemon peel, maybe. Honey-like sweetness is a big part of this. Light alcohol burn.

MF- Slightly sticky. Hard to describe the carbonation...a burst at the end of each sip? Feels good.

O/D- I finally understand the comparison between barleywines and DIPAs. The hop presence in this is undeniable. I find it to be dangerously drinkable, but overall it's quite different from others I've had of the style.

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

A: One-finger white head that disappears kinda quick, nice golden color, some carbonation

S: Nice blend of hops, some citrus, bit of pine, some earthy malted barley, touch of sweetness

T: Sweet, then citrus hops, bitterness that stays, some bready barley, bit of alcohol/boozieness

M: Medium bodied, smooth and resiny, doesn't feel like 12% ABV, okay carbonation

O: Good stuff, got some to enjoy now, to share, and to store and see what happens

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ng barleywine

a 3.5-4 fairly hard pours raises a one finger barely off-white head above a clear light amber body. a cap stays around a while. too dang clear and light for a barleywine imo.

s 4-4.5 lots of orange rind, candied pineapple, and a little pine and bread. no appreciable abv is noted. hard to believe 12%

t 3.5-4 the power is noticed on the tongue. oily sloshing around the mouth with a spicy zing. cannot help but be reminded of hopslam, though there is more alcohol bite here. the finish is on the bitter and spicy side. some butterscotch sweetness is there but it is playing backup at the moment. does seem more like a boozy dipa than a barleywine. as the glass wears on, the lack of malt complexity and the accumulating bitterness make the beer seem a little less companionable.

m 4 resiny, medium+ bodied, leaves things a bit dry and puckery, but with enough wet to keep it from being unpleasant.

o 4 my first sips revealed a beer that is a little challenging yet potentially rewarding, a beer with some character, which is a surprise given it's ng. this is a beer i would actually like to monitor as it ages. it certainly seems worth having now and again--but is there enough interesting malt in there to make it great after a time? my guess it will age a lot like hopslam.

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Photo of psychotia
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been looking forward to this - going to try to review one beer per week along with NBS in order to begin reviewing more regularly.

A - crystal clear, golden. 1-inch head with vigorous pour, settles to a thin lace within 30 minutes.

S - citrus in the front, mostly pineapple... some pine notes shine through as well. at pour, could not detect much else, particularly any alcohol.

T - follows suit with S; I detect a slight sweetness, a light caramel-bread note, but it is very subtle. alcohol is very well-masked.

M - not incredibly thick - what I would expect for the style.

O - I can see where others are coming from when they look at this beer and say, "DIPA?" perhaps, yes... but regardless this is a fine beer. I will pick some more up to see how it develops in time - currently, the hops seem to do a lot of the work. don't miss this one!

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- light transparent caramel color, with a 1 finger dirty white head. Few clumps of bubbles cling to the glass.

S- sweet malts and a ton of citrus (orange rinds), some booze is noticeable as well.

T- sweet caramel at first followed by a big punch of citrus. Decent citrus hop bitterness but not overwhelming.

M- medium body, creamy. Abv not as noticeable in taste and feel as in nose.

O- solid American Barleywine. Many will say this is just a boozy dipa, but this has a slight more malt sweetness to it.

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Photo of runfoodrun
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle to Duvel glass.

A: deep golden, nothing special.

S: not alot here, some hops.

T: awesome, sweet, caramel, nice fruity hops.

M: smooth, some carbonation, crisp.

O: Love it. Not great smell, but it tastes great! I've knocked New Glarus before for lack of complexity, but this is fantastic!

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Photo of KBomb
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bright and clear copper color with a half inch head that disappears quickly, leaving behind some swirly lacing and just a cluster of soapy bubbles. Appearance resembles and IIPA.

Smell is of grapefruit citrus and a honey sweet/estery malt.

At first sip the flavor is a really bright and sweet mix of hop flavors: citrus, floral, tea-like. Malt flavor is mostly undetectable. The finish is a little rough; a more plain-bitter aftertaste that is not nearly as pleasant as the beginning of the sip.

Mouthfeel is a little sticky, not surprising considering the style. Some fine, assertive carbonation balances it nicely.

This is a stark departure from the Barleywine NG made a few years ago. The array of hop flavors at first is delightful, but ultimately fails to live up to hope without adequate malt backing and poor aftertaste. Worth trying, but won't make a "best of" list.

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

First NG thumbprint beer of 2012. Let see how they did...

poured into a snifter.

Appearance: golden orange bodied beer with a solid one inch tall bone white head. Spotty lacing clings to the side of the glass. Head drops quickly to a ring around the side of the glass.

Smell: Smells really fruity and citrusy hops grapefruit, oranges, pineapples, mangos and lite pine. The malts seem to be hiding in the back of the beer with notes of light caramel, biscuits and a light syrupy smell to it.

Taste: Moderate bitterness right out of the gates. Lots of pine notes with the citrus getting lost in the bitterness. The malt bill also seems to be lost in this beer. Finishes bitter and piney. Just barely any boozey notes even though this beer is a monster at 12%; that is the impressive part of this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation levels. This beer is both slick and clean despite it bitterness.

Overall: Its not a barleywine and its closer to an Imperial IPA, but its not really that style either. Its a beer with a lost identity. I really love NG beers, but I gotta say I am dissapointed. I am not a huge fan of American style Barleywines, but I still can appreciate a good American Barleywine. Its a well made beer, but I think that New Glarus could have done a better job on this beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One cannot cross the border without bringing back the latest New Glarus frankenstein, & I didn't. The Unplugged/Thumbprint series have been good enough that I picked up a couple four-packs of this sight-untasted. 12 oz. bottle into my lovely Cap'n Larry tulip.

Pour is a shiny orange. Color is deep enough that it seems to glow from within rather than depending on an external light source. Crystal clear. Almost have to submerge my nose to get much smell-wise, bits of sweet malt, sugar, plum, very fruity.

Thumbprint Barley Wine certainly has a small mule's kick to it. Hot alcohol is immediately evident in the tingling of the throat, warming of one's core functions, & a sharp increase in IQ. As others have noted, this is one hoppy barleywine. Citrus & pine are oozing over my palate with a boozy sting. Very bready. Lots of reddish fruit in the mid-section, plum, apple. Sugary. Almost a rum-like tinge in the aftertaste. Numbing. Would be a good substitute for Novocaine for oral surgery. A shot? No thanks. I had three Thumbprint barleywinesh in ze lobby.

I'm finding it hard to pass judgment on this beer. Certainly tasty, stoopidly easy to drink. A very good beer that doesn't fold itself nicely into any category. Wonder what time will do to it.

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Photo of vitrael
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, golden, evervescent pour with a nice creamy head with great retention.

S: Rich sweet malt and floral hop aromas, both quite strong. Difficult to pick out what kind of hopping is going on here, but it screams American Barleywine.

T: Just so excellent. Very complex malt body: sweet fruit, and a little bit bready, with a tasty warming alcohol presence. Hop bitterness picks up in the middle and finish, quite clean and refreshing on the tale of a rather sweet brew. Quite nice.

M: A little on the light side of the body; I could go for some more mouthfeel. It finishes rather slick and tart.

Great beer! Happy addition to my cellar.

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Photo of motorhed
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack of this at The Nova of Hudson. Love that place! Poured out of a bottle into a Stone pint glass.

A - 1/4 inch of head after pour and receded to next to nothing after about 5 minutes. Very golden/orange in color, what i would expect from an IPA. Filtered clear appearance with very minor lacing as the beer goes down the glass.

S - Pick up some minor hop smell. Mostly pick up scents of sweetness, some fruitiness in there as well. Had no idea of the ABV on this one but could definitely smell it, so i was assuming it was 10 percent or higher. Temp of the beer when opened was cellar, probably 55-60 degrees.

T - Big sweetness up front turns into sharp bitterness in the middle and a dry finish spewing big alcohol. This one is a soul and body warmer. =)

M - Medium bodied with very light carbonation levels.

O - Really enjoyed this beer, i think it will get better with some aging. The alcohol finish on this is pretty prevalent as well as the bitterness and may mellow out a bit with some aging. Other than that, i think it's a really good barley wine from New Glarus.

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Photo of Jparker37
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought the thumbprint 4 pack and plan to age the remaining 3. Bought young, tasted young. I purchased this in early January right when it hit shelves.

A - Large white head quickly recedes to a small (and after 30 min, no) cap of foam. Its golden color leaves it on or under the threshold of color expectations. Brilliant clarity with little to no lacing.

S - Complex hop character yet no overpowering distinctions. A little bit of sourness, green apple, tangerine citrus hops, clear belgian candy sugar sweetness, really light malt notes. Noticable alcoholic nose only gets more prevalant with temperture.

T - Pretty distict clear candy-like sweetness, no real caramel, chocolate, roast or dark malts. Has a sharp bitterness that is close to overwhelming. Alcoholic warming finishing features.

M - The lighter end of full bodied, light carbonation.

O - Not very complex flavors for a barleywine. I did an initial review and waited to finilize it after I had again reviewed it after it warmed up. On the bottle Dan Carey describes the malt as graham cracker which for me is hard to fathom unless refering to its sweetness, for the beer is clearly hop centered. An overall rare letdown from New Glarus. I will be aging the other 3 bottles so hopefully the alcohol mellows and the malt character steps forward.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.85/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Notes Jan 18 2012

Pours a deep clear orange, looks like a DIPA to me.

Smell is very tropical, a little acohol as well.

Taste is a decent amount of hops right off the bat, tropical fruit then after that fades you get a more bready, spicy barlywine flavor. A solid alcohol burn at the end.

Mouthfeel is spot on.

Hats off to Dan on this one. I love a good barlywine and this is a great one! It may be right on the line between DIPA and barlywine but that is fine by me as I love both styles.

If you can get your hands on some go out and get it.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange with a 1 finger white head that faded almost immediately leaving just a trace of lacing.

Smells of brown sugar, bready malts and tropical fruit hops.

Bright tropical fruit hop presence hits the front of the tongue. Brown sugar and graham cracker give it a sweetness in the middle and it finishes with a bit of piney bitterness although the caramel flavor is also present. Finishes with a touch of alcohol as well although not harsh.

Medium body for a BW with lowish carbonation.

Definitely an American Barleywine although the hops aren't as strong as some others I've had. It's a bit too boozy to do more than sip on it and I doubt I'd want more than one in one setting, but still good.

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