Thumbsucker | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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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.

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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 86
Photo of lou91
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
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 -7.2%
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 -15.1%
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 +5.7%
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 +11.7%
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 +14.8%
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 +4.1%
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 -4.8%
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 +7.7%
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 +2.9%
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%
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 +19.6%
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 +9.8%
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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Photo of Beersignal
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared this beer with a few friends... just being a good BA!

Poured almost coal black with no highlights to speak of due to the darkness of the liquid. A dark brown thick foam head formed and lasted nicely.

Smells were sweet and herbal, noting a predominance for... dill of all things. But it was not unpleasant. In the back you could find traces of blackberries and currants which added to the complexity. The dill aromas were really strange though, but nice.

This was a full bodied beer, very consistent and firm. You percieved thickness with every sip as if you were drinking carbonated espresso (not as powerful however). The flavours were well balanced between the malt and roasted bitterness and a subtle fruitiness complimented the notes of chocolate that surfaced throughout the experience. Really tasty.

This was a great desert beer where one bottle goes a long way with friends. Will hopefully be able to acquire more this year.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

In my area, this is one tough beer to find. It pours an ink black color with a dark tan creamy head that dissolves slowly to a thick ring around the beer. A few spots and clumps of lace stay on the glass.

The aroma is filled with roasted malt. There are strong notes of raisins, cherry's, nuts, molasses and rum mixed in. Each sip of this full bodied beer is very smooth on the palate with just a hint of a gentle fizz on the tongue. The flavor begins with some cherry notes. Molasses and roasted malt with a hint of chocolate move in at the middle and it finishes with a slight nutty (hop?) bitterness. There's a smoky roasted malt flavor in the background holding it all together.

This is a full flavored beer that's best sipped slowly. I thought the flavor was great, but for the price and difficulty I had in finding a bottle I can get a similar taste from other Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
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 SheepNutz
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep reddish black color with one finger of dark tan head. A bit of lacing. The smell is rich in burnt malt and lots of molasses. A little bit of a dark fruit character. The taste is sweet with chocolate and a little coffee. A hint of alcohol on the finish. The mouthfeel is incredible. It really coats the lips and entire mouth. The drinkability is fairly good for 7.8%, maybe a little too much alcohol flavor coming through. Damn it's good though.

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Photo of clvand0
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Extremely cool bottle. Pours an extremely dark color with a tan head that quickly dies off. Thick aroma of dark sweet fruit and some chocolate and coffee as well. Complex. The flavor has a lot of chocolate and coffee, but also has a subtle sweetness from the dark fruits. Very very good example of the imperial stout. One of the best I've had.

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Photo of koolkat
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beers pours a nice deep blackness with a very brown head. The taste is reminiscent of a burned toast dipped in coffee. The maltiness of this beer is incredible. The finish is cleaner than expected with no residual roasted flavor lingering on the tongue. The hops are rather subdued, but really only for this age of over hopped monsters. I easily finished the 750 and wanted another.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer departs the bottle black, with a half finger of dark tan head that falls to coat the beer. The nose starts with a blast of dark earthy figgy fruit that moves into chocolate notes. The flavor is wickedly good. Its a nice roasted dark flavor, but the aftertaste is out of this world. Its a great chocolate aftertaste that keeps changing as you sit between sips. The mouthfeel was a nice thick and smooth one, very good as well. Another beer that I think everyone at the tasting could have drank all night. Once again, our hats off to SheepNutz for this treat.

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Photo of MJR
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
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 aracauna
4/5  rDev -4.3%
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 dansteino
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
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 shapudding
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
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 NEhophead
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Champagne bottle straight from the brewery.

1" brown head that sticks around for a few minutes that eventually leads to intricate and cascading lacing. Very dark appearance; almost pitch black. Looks very hefty.

Chocolate, almonds, and coffee aromatics. Very malty nose that isn't too sweet. The aromas are very bold and promise good things.

A complex dark chocolate flavor followed quickly by roasted hazlenuts and almonds. I even detect some darker fruit in here; maybe a dark cherry flavor. The flavors are all very bold and hold their own. The syrup quality is dead on for a thick, great imperial stout. There's also a warming alcohol that accompanies a nice bitterness at the finish.

Well balanced considering how many flavors are at play and there is a nice bitterness in the finish to balance the stout's malty character. Very smooth.

This is one of the better tasting imperial's I've had in a while, but it's not one that I could drink all night. It truly feels like eating a five course meal in terms of how heavy the stout is. A great treat to try and to go back for more. Definitely worth seeking out during the few months out of the year in which they release it.

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Thumbsucker from Magic Hat Brewing Company
4.18 out of 5 based on 86 ratings.
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