Friday, March 30, 2012

Beer Review: New Glarus Thumbprint Barley Wine (2012, fresh)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes.

Cost: $10.99 for a four pack.

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