Thumbsucker | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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86 Ratings

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UnionMade on 03-14-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 86 |  Reviews: 74
Reviews by far333:
Photo of far333
3.19/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cute mini-growler care of Jamie2Dope. Many thanks.

Appearance: Intitially pours with a gorgious dark brown head but that quickly disappears. Next thing to notice is the viscosity. Color is opaque dark brown with a very minimal brown skim. Very attractive oily qualities come into play each time this beer is swirled.

Aroma: Boozey. Is there bourbon in this? Wood, generic fruitiness that is hard to place. Some coffee. No chocolate that I can detect.

Flavor: Bourbony and woody notes come out first followed by small touches of coffee grounds. Roasted malt and a tangy strawberry flavor that is really more of a generic fruit than strawberry. Very boozey. Liquorish. Finish is decently hopped, mostly piney.

Mouthfeel: Twangy and tangy (along with that generic fruitiness I spoke of). Oily. Not that heavy despite the noticable booze in the flavor. Syrupy too. Definately high in sugar but not too unbalance.

Drinkability: This growler went down without a hickup... I really like the twang.

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Photo of shapudding
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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!

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Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome bottle, releases a black nectar, which oozes flavor, complexity and intrigue. Raises a dark tan tiny bubble head, leaving nicely developed lacing. Nose of burnt fruit, alcohol, and coffee. Notes of dark malt, expresso,orange rind, rum, toffee, chocolate milk spiked with vodka. This is a bold, flavorful, strong and complex brew. Medium bodied, a pleasure for the senses. Put a few bottles away for a year or two.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A rough pour brings up a full head of orange-tinted brown foam over an opaque black body. Only a glint of a ruby cusp can be seen at the bottom of the glass; and although it's been long cellared, all of the yeast seems to have been brought up off of the bottom. The head holds fairly well before dropping to a creamy collar and lacy surface covering. It leaves some minimal spotty lace, but most of what's raised with each sip simply slips back down into the glass. The nose is quite complex, and even lightly vinous at times. It delivers a lightly sweet note of bourbon; a flash or bordeaux, a fruitiness that's reminiscent of the Ringwood yeast strain; some more tropical fruit that includes a touch of cocoanut and papaya; a solid oakiness; the remnants of a buttery note; some mild acetaldehyde; ethanol; a thin roastiness; dark bittersweet chocolate; and some background grassy hops. In the mouth it gives a gentle caress to the tongue based on it's very fine, low-level carbonation; and it fades away smoothly with just the bite of some ethanol to remind you that there's a "real" beer in front of you! The flavor delivers a rich, ethanol-drenched, roasted malt that's lightly floral, mildly spicy (due to the alcohol), a bit fruity, mildly sweet and slightly chocolatey backed by a bold bitterness. It finishes quite dry with its combination of drying alcohol and firm bitterness working off of one another. Surprisingly "hot" considering its listed 7.8% abv - this Imperial loses a bit of drinkabilty due to it's forward ethanol character!

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Photo of beerluvr
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out of the unique looking corked/caged bottle with a rich deep tan head. Opaque blackness in the glass. Sweet coffee and and rummy brown sugar and chocolate 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!

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Photo of edchicma
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark pour. Good head. Had at the Extreme Beer Fest. Finally getting around to adding to my reviews. Nose was all hops! Who cares... I love hops. Oak presence, malt and alcohol was there too. Hops notably on the back palate. This brew has a great dry presence, both in mouthfeel and in drinkability. Not the highest abv in An Imp Stout, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2002-03 bottle, complete with the tag that says 'good by end of summer 2003'. Jdiddy traded this to me and I shared it with untold BAs at the General Lafayette Stone Soup II.

A: The stout took an effort and a half to open, that damned cork was wicked buried in it. When we finally found a quality corkscrew (thanks mac300), the stout was still moderately carbonated with a thick oily look.

S: The aroma was imperial, thick with lots of toasted grains, chocolate and porter flavors. From the nose, the beer seems to have withstood the test of time.

T: This may be repetitive, but the stout has held up far better than I expected. The moderate abv was a risk, but the flavor remains strong. Dark bread and burnt toast flavors define the mouth, touched with a bit of lactic sweetness that may be a result of the age. There are little hops to get in the way of the dark malt. Overall the flavors are restrained, showing some signs of age but still holding their own. The mild chocolate flavor at the end of the sip is pleasing.

M: The mouthfeel is that of a stout that has taken some age under its belt. The flavors have mellowed out without completely losing the stout element.

D: The abv is low and the aging has done wonders. I'd gladly enjoy another bottle of this beer.

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Photo of pbrian
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Lubiere: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dark brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of fruit cake with light port notes. Taste has probably lost some of the characteristics related to an imperial stout due to aging which have been replaced with nice notes of port and fruit cake with light dry roasted malt notes still perceptible. Description mentions bourbon aging though I can’t say that I could taste any notes of bourbon. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Still good after all those years but I have to wonder what I fresh version would taste like.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of MJR
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of lou91
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for this rare treat. Beautiful packaging and despite the warning about contents under pressure there was not even a fizz. It did pour very alive, thick and dark with the shape of the bottle giving it a glug , glug glug sound as it poured out. Wow, what an amazing nose of bourbon, alcohol and oak. Oh baby what a taste. Great taste to match the nose including hints of coffee grounds, milk chocolate and raisins. I think this needs to be retested because it did not taste like 7.8% alcohol. It tasted like 10.8% and in this case that is a good thing. Please brew this one again and send it out to CA. I'm putting this one back on my want list.

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Photo of franksnbeans
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out like engine oil with a chocolate milk head. Smells of molassas, chocolate, maple syrup and caramel. Taste is mild and sweet. The flavors are the same as the nose with a very minimal bitter finish. Medium in the mouth and smooth as silk. A sipper but could sip this all night.

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Photo of bignick
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at TPH 2/22/06.

Wow, this is one great imperial stout. It is not as "extreme" as many of the top rated imperial stouts, but it is just as delicious. It is, by far, the best Magic Hat brew I have tasted. The interplay between the hops, the fruity yeastiness, and the roastiness of the malt is just phenomenal. I could drink this beer all night.

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Photo of dansteino
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep coke brown, little head. Highly bourbony nose bears plenty of vanilla and dark malts on top of herbal hops. Superb flavor, I almost gave it a 9. The malts are deliciously roasty and even toasty. A gentle smokiness emerge and seems to overtake the roasty aspects, letting the mint shine through in a spectacular way. Rooty alcohol warmth rapidly becomes obvious through a beautiful woodiness. Small bubbles through the light-medium body, growing alcohol burn on the tongue. Excellent!

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Photo of weeare138
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft in the VT Brewers VIP tent...
This batch was aged in Wild Turkey barrels for 1 year.
Appears black with brown tints and a small tan head that leaves spotty lacing.
Smell is of dark roasted malt with pleasant oak bourbon and vanilla.
Taste is of well rounded roasted, chocolate malt that is outright addictive. This is such a kick ass brew.
Mouthfeel is slightly dry(probably due to the oak aging and bourbon subtleties) but contains such a nice roastiness with a rich, lasting flavor and hops coming through.
Drinkability is great. I need more and more of this.
Evidently, I was one of the lucky ones who got some of this in the VIP lounge. Seems that a leak had occured sometime after I got mine.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of meathookjones
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with the logo etched on sampled on 12-17-04. A bubbly brown head formed over the inky black body after the pour. Good amounts of lacing where left about the glass as this was consumed. Aroma was filled with a dark ripe fruitiness with an underlying chocolate malt backdrop. A bit of licorice and roastiness is present as well. The flavor starts off with strong dark fruit sweetness with a touch of alcohol and some dark chocolate. There is also a bit of tartness but not much. Notes of roastiness and licorice mingle are present. Aftertaste leaves a nice chocolate sweetness coating your tongue. Mouthfeel was about medium and slick. Great stuff, it goes down east and had plenty of complexities inviting you back after each sip. I will be trying to get more of this great stuff. Thanks to slander for the chance to try it.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25ozer bought a few years ago, been hanging around in the "Cellar" ever since. Corked & caged, with black foil, green bottle.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed an uneven dark brown froth over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Lacing is minimal but lasting, partially due long legs. Dark roasty at the start, with whiskey dominating the rest. Taste is sweet dark malts, with a barrelly alcohol character, almost has a bug spray tinge to it. Mouthfeel is creamy, and drinkability is pretty good. Think this one was a bit adversely affected by the aging, but what can you do.

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Photo of aracauna
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Max's in Baltimore. Shared with Masterski.

Pours near-black with a thin head of tan-ish bubbles that doesn't hang around for too long. Perhaps a thin collar for at least a bit.

The nose is really nice, bringing some oak and vanilla along with some roasted malt. Some chocolate in the background as well. Really nice and integrated, though no real bourbon character; instead, just the oak.

The flavor adds in a good bit of booze. There's roast and chocolate there as well. The oak and vanilla aren't as prevalent as in the nose. The heat certainly takes it down a notch from where the nose was, which is surprising given the age and the fact that this is fairly-low in alcohol.

Body is medium with light carbonation and a bit of booze through the finish.

Overall, pretty good and I'm very glad I finally got to try this one.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of grub
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

johnnnniee hooked me up with this one. thanks john!

32oz growler.

pours nearly opaque black with a small dense brown head. held up to the light you can catch just a hint of ruby at the sides of the glass, but there isn't much light getting through this one.

wow! aroma is fantastic. huge bourbon and vanilla kick. touch of alcohol. big biscuit malt. toasted wheat bread. molasses. bit of anise, especially as it warms.

taste is excellent. lots of bourbon and vanilla up front. huge bread and biscuit malt base. nice roast. anise. molasses. light alcohol. touch of orange. caramel sweetness. milk chocolate. low bitterness level. bit of raw oak.

mouthfeel is great. nice big chewy body. medium-low well integrated carbonation level. the growler had just a tiny leak in transit, losing about 1oz of beer and possibly just a little carbonation. however, this one is just plain awesome at this carbonation level.

drinkability is excellent. balanced and very enjoyable. for me, this has just the right amount of bourbon character. heresy fresh is too much bourbon for my tastes, and after a year has mellowed out almost too much. this one is great right now. big thanks john, this one was a definite treat.

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Thumbsucker from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 86 ratings