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
Photo of dbalsock
2.08/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Got a 1/4 gallon growler fresh from the brewery on my recent trip to VT.

App: Dark, black but not the blackest I've seen with a little tan/brown head.

Smell: Appley and coffee with cream. I notice this apple aroma in a lot of MH beers, and I think they need to switch their yeast up or something.

Taste: Fruity and tangy with a funky coffee in the background. Not very appealing, I must say.

Mouthfeel: Reminds me of thick sour milk (without chunks). The alcohol really cuts through the rest of the mouthfeel too, despite being such a low alcohol RIS.

Drinkability: Thick with sourness, almost chunky = not appealing, ever. At least I didn't have to chew it.

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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 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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Photo of Dansting
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler from the brewery. Pours a dark brown color with a medium brown head. Slight lacing. Nice strong aroma of bourbon and roasted malt. Full mouthfeel. Its flavor is sweet with a bourbon finish. It has hints of cherries in it. A very nice Impy Stout.

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Photo of
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

32oz. growler received in trade from njhcnwk - Thanks!

Opaque, black/brown liquid with mahogany/ruby at edges when held up to light. No head to speak of. No lacing, some legs.

Aromas of bourbon/alcohol. Dark fruits, mainly dark cherries. Some smoke? Overall, smells like it should be sweet.

Initially, sweet, with a mild citrus finish. Well balanced with bitterness from citrus and some roast. Alcohol. Port like flavor profile, except for the citrus finish. Raisins. Bourbon. Hint of smoke.

Medium to full bodied. Low to no carbonation. Very dry. Mouthcoating. ABV warmth, as others have mentioned, seems higher than ABV warrants.

Impressive RIS. Not my favorite, but very well done. In this type of beer, I prefer them to lean towards the sweeter side. Nicely complex.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served first at cellar temp and then second serving warmer about room temp into 6 oz taster, from 32 oz growler. Thanks Prufrock for sharing.

Cooler pour was barely pettilant, showing almost no carbonation. Rich, lovely reddish mahogany at the edges, crystal clear, completely opaque and black through the center. Second warmer pour faired better, creating a nice 3/16" head of fine dark brown foam, not iridescent.

Aroma was sweet alcoholic maltiness, like a good Scotch whiskey. No real coffee odor, and just a hint of acrid roasted malts. On second, warmer pour, character came out more fully, plenty of black fruitiness and more alcohol (but clean, light, sweet alcohol, not harsh like vodka or rubbing alcohol).

Taste was pretty complex when cool and became even moreso as it warmed. A residual sour fruitiness was left on the tongue and fresh alcoholic vapor raised from the throat. Reminds me of Sam Adams Utopias.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, particularly on the finish. Comes as a surprise. I think they focused on fermentables instead of flavor grains. Alcohol is evident, but not in a bad way. Hard to believe this is 7.8%, I'd guess more like 12%.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

32 oz brewery-filled growler

black and impervious to light, sitting angrily under an oppressively thick tan foam.. the foam is dotted slightly with small bubbles, but exists predominantly as a thick, velvety blanket of beery insulation. no mistaking the whiskey in the nose, tweaked slightly by a soy-ish tang that leans the whole skew towards graceful age. slightly acidic yet rich and boozy, sort of like a mexican coffee. not too thick yet full of flavor with an up-front jazzy note of raw cocoa. brisk body is like that of a strong coffee.. flavor hits but thickness does not impede drinkability (is there thickness in this <8 ris?).. finishes with a pulpy sense of sweetness.. lingering malt leftovers perhaps, notes that weren't hidden by the barrely goodness? the coffee and woody earth lay claim to the flavor profile.. and for once, the whiskey is here as essence only but fails to go unnoticed.. and yet refuses to interfere with the overall drinkability.

magic hat used to make good beers. seems like they still are.. at the brewpub. people, if you are losing (blind) faith in MH, visit the brewpub and reconnect with some secret growler fills of bootleg goodness.. you'll be glad you did.

i owe a big debt of gratitude to warriorsoul on this one.. for not forcing me to open mine, and sharing one of his. a true gentleman!

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Photo of silver1audi
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought from the brewery in the "feast of fools" growler. Pours pitch black with an ever-so-slight coffee colored head. Smells of Toffee, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. The taste will set you back in your chair; by far one of the most potently flavorful imperial stouts I've had. A warming note of alcohol is present over huge flavors of burboun whiskey, toffee, oak, coffee, and a hint of smokey/fruity sweetness at the end. Mouthfeel is thick and coats the entire mouth. One of the best I've had in the style, although the robust flavor and mouthfeel prevent it from being quite as drinkable as some of the others I've had. This burly beer is welcome in my house anytime, but I would likely choose it for special occasions and opt for a more forgiving RIS for a more regular drinker . Highly recommended and worth seeking out for fans of the style. Not for the faint of heart!!

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

WOW! this is one of the damn best beears I’ve ever had! DEEP DEEP AND DARK. Bourban whiskey, oak...yeah lots of oak and bourbon, slightly sweet awesome aftertaste! Sweet and chocolate. very earthy. Lots of flavor. Slightly bitter finish.

Awesome 9% ABV beer. I highly recommend purchasing this beer. I drove to South Burlington and visited the brewery! Good [slightly crazy] people make this brew! And it's very very good and slightly crazy.

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Photo of dherling
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in 2004. Poured out a dark black color, tan head, with moderate lacing. Smells malty, dark chocolate with raisins and plums.Alcohol is fairly evident. The taste is malty with dark burnt wood and bitter chocolate notes with some dark fruit finish. These are plums, grapes, and sour cherries finishing with a tiny bourbon note. Mouthfeel is slightly salty, slick and quenching.

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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 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 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 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 egajdzis
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured pitch black with a large tan head which quickly diminished. Aroma of vanilla, chocolate, whiskey, and alcohol. Roasted malt, chocolate, some raisin, coffee, and whiskey taste. Not bad, but, as with all MH brews, it was very thin... especially for an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Higravity
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I served this beer at cellar temp and split with Choakbarrel.

It is black as hell with a brown tint at the edges. It pours out of the nice 750 a gives a real stellar head in the snifters we used, the head is a light chunky brown not as dark as some RIS. The aroma is right away of coffee and roasted malt and sweetness of long boiling malt. After getting through the ample head the taste of this beer is quite spot on for what I like about these beefed up stouts. By that I mean crisp bitterness from the black roasted malts but backed up by a slight sweetness of caramelization and lingering in it all is added flavor of dense hops that add a citrus burst and liven up all the darkness. The body on this was a little thin to my liking not enough substance, but the alcoholo is hidden nicely and overall I would have this beer anytime.

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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 AlexJ
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've been saving this bottle for a looong time, since Christmas 2003 (a gift from my fiancee). I decided to open it to celibrate her 27th birthday on July 15th.

The 750 opens with a pop as a puff of vapors escapes from the bottle. It pours perfectly, absolute pitch black, impermiable to light. A dense and creamy head the color of melted milk chocolate fluffs up and retains like Cool Whip. Lacing is as thick and crusty as it gets. It just looks perfect in my Delirium goblet.

The aromas grab me from five feet away. Succulant dark chocolate, toasted coconut, caramel, molasses, red ripe fruit, vanilla, oak, BOURBON, cinnamon, coffee, marshmellows, and licorice. One of the most intense and complex noses I've ever encountered. Powerful and seductive.

There is no let down in the tasting department. It's like an explosion of flavors in my mouth:dark silky chocolate dipped toasted coconut clusters, creamy vanilla laced bourbon, oak, plum, red currants, campfire toasted marshmellows, bittersweet coffee, molasses, cinnamon dusted creme brule', and hints of maple syrup. It's on the sweet side, but well within the realm of what is acceptable. This has aged beautifully, and would have no doubt done well for several more years.

The body on this beauty is huge. Mouthfeel is creamy, viscous, and bordering on syrupy. Tiny pinpoint carbonation rolls the complex flavors across your palate, coating your entire mouth.

Drinkability is the only area that didn't get a 5 IMO. It's delicious and insanely complex, but hard for me to finish the 750. Toward the end, it just gets too sweet and thick tasting. One or two glasses is pure bliss, but a whole bottle is just too much of a good thing. The best beer from Magic Hat EVER!

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Photo of necoadam
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 verison

Poured out a pitch black color with a nice tan head which lasted the entire way. Smell consisted of a heavy dose of chocolates, with a toffee/coffee underlying aroma. Taste was very good. Very chocolately in taste with a light flavor on some dark fruit which mixes in the middle. As the beer warms up, the wild turkey barrels really kicks in. Mouthfeel was medium-full body, with a little carbonation lacking, but didn't affect the scores. I let this age another year in the closet and paid off quite nicely. Best magic hat beer I've had yet. Great job on this one.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the Duvel glass (don't know why, but it seemed appropriate) inky black with a froth dark brown head that was everlasting and made the glass scream for mercy as it coated it with lacing and foam.

The aroma was deep and intense with roasty aroma and a strong fruit alcohol presence. The aroma had a maple syrup sweetness and a bourbon character. The dark fruit aromas of raisins and prunes were strong and lasting.

The flavor was strong bourbon and alcohol with dark chocolate and coffee roasty presence. The dark fruit flavors of raisins and prunes was also present.

The finish was surprisingly even with lasting alcohol, dark chocolate and coffee. The body was sadly watery. It was medium full at best and not very well done, really detracted from the mouthfeel.

750 ml bailed and corked black screened bottle. Many thanks to poundboy for the trade, but he was right, I should have drank it sooner rather than later. It was still and interesting beer, but not what I expected.

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

Blacker than Satan's heart. Not one photon of light, not even a wee glimmer, penetrates the liquid. The molasses colored crown started life at a cascading four fingers and is now descending at a snail's pace. It's thick, rich and rugged, like a milkshake made with coffee ice cream. Even though there's very little lace, this is still an impressive looking beer.

The nose is a concentrated, vinous mixture of bittersweet chocolate, ground coffee beans and heavily charred barley, with a whiff of sweet smoke. I wish it was a little bit more aggressive, but it smells much too good to penalize it for that.

Thumbsucker is beautiful beer. An intense burst of flavor slams into the taste buds with each sip, and consists of a barrage of dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, sweet black licorice and oak-aged bourbon. And it's still impressively smoky. This is a wee heavy or rauchbier lover's Imperial stout.

I started the beer at 50 degrees. As it warms to the recommended 55 degrees, the depth and breadth of the flavor profile expand to impossible dimensions. What the hell has Magic Hat put into this bottle? I swear there's a hint of Scotch whisky in there as well. Did these guys have some peat smoked malt shipped across the Atlantic? I have a lot of questions, but the only answer that matters is... delicious.

My first impression of the body/mouthfeel was that it was a shade too light for the style. However, with repose it has thickened into a smooth (not quite silky), chewy, luscious treat. Flavor intensity lingers on the finish--again, like fine whisky--and puts me in a philosophical frame of mind. Then again, maybe that's the alcohol talking.

This is one beer in which I'm glad the alcohol hasn't been buried beyond all recognition. It seems such an integral part of the experience that its absence would be sorely missed. At 7.8%, it's on the low end for the style, but definitely adds up over the course of an entire 750. Let's just say that I'm feeling pleasantly fuzzy right about now.

Magic Hat Thumbsucker is improperly named. Rather than the thumb, it should be named for another part of the anatomy, because it's the beer equivalent of mother's milk. Now pardon me while I savor the remainder of this (most impressive) bottle. A shout out to RocketWidget for an outstanding experience.

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Photo of counselor
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

pours a pitch black with a full tan hued head that dissipates quickly. The aromas are of coffee, licorice, anise, and coffee. Tastes like darkroast , french roast, espresso coffee wit a strong aalcohol background, like anisette in espresso. Wow, the mouthfeel is slick and smooth, full bodied, yet not at all cloying or thick. Yes, there is significant alcohol notes, but not overpowering. I polished off a 750 during a cold winter evening. This is akin to storm king,though not quite. I wish this were a regular seasonal offering.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmaruschak for scoring this one for us. I had the opportunity to sample this one at our blind stout tasting the other night.

Appearance: Beautiful looking fluffy head and motor oil-like in appearance. Slick looking lacings get left down the glass. Pretty impressive looking.

Smell: licorice, anise, and alcohol all dominate in equal proportions. This smells like a big ass brew.

Taste: Alcohol first, dark rum soaked fruit follow up, and a nice cocoa aftertaste. I must admit, the alcohol is a bit overpowering and starts to detract from the taste after a bit.

Mouthfeel: full bodied and slick. No carbonation probably due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: Suffers a lot in my book just because the alcohol is so dominate. I had a 6 oz. sample. I can't imagine throwing down a whole bottle of this stuff. I'd be wrecked for the night!

Notes: Good but damn! It's not as unbalanced as the Czar but it's more towards that end. A well done and complex brew but the alcohol makes it a bit much for me. I rated this as one of the lower ones of the 6 that we sampled so maybe it's reputation keeps it up there but I think there are better stouts to be had out there.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml wicked looking bottle courtesy of PPoitras...thanks Pete!

Pours an obsidian black, no light...nothing...
Wonderful head, dense, creamed-coffee color. Nice lacing as well.
Smell is dark chocolate, coffee, very roasty. Perfect for an IS.
Taste is absolutely wonderful. Dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, a little bit of burnt sugar. Perhaps some molases? And through all of that, just a little bit of hop bitterness comes through. You can barely taste the alcohol in this one...but at only 7.8% abv, it's kind of on the mild end for an imperial stout.
Mouthfeel is just great, not too slick, not too smooth.
Overall, this is one of the better, if not the best, Imperial stout I've had. It's exactly what I would look for in an IS. This is the first beer that I've given straight 5's to, some folks may not be keen on this particular beer, but like I said, this is EXACTLY what I want out of an Imperial Stout...I would go broke buying up all of this if I could.

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Photo of rousee
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark purple/black color-1mm head of tan, moderate lace on glass.

S-Malty dark chocolate with raisins and plums. Vinous like aspects and alcohol is fairly evident.

T- Almost barley-wine esque but still malty enough to be a stout. There are dark burnt wood and bitter chocolate notes with some dark fruit finish. These are plums, dark grapes, and dark cherries with almond hints too. Gives a warmth on the throat and chest similar to a bourbon.

MF-slick and somewhat quenching. Slightly salty and has a puckerish feel also.

D-extremely smooth and easy to drink. Perfect for cold weather. Exremely hearty and robust.

My favorite Magic Hat offering to date.

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