Today I went to the store to get some 400 pound monkey from Left Hand Brewing and saw New Glarus’ new thumbprint beer hit our shelves, so of course I had to pick it up. This is billed as a Belgian Dubbel with Chocolate, so technically this would fall under category 21a, Vegetable/Spice/Herb beer. It could also fall under category 23 as well. I will be judging it as category 21a since they did list the base style as a Belgian Dubbel.
Aroma: If there one thing New Glarus does well…..very well actually, it’s aroma’s in beer. Dan Carey really has a knack for adding that little extra. I didn’t even have to bring this beer to my nose, I could smell the chocolate off the pour while the glass was sitting on counter. It was the smell of rich couverture chocolate. But things don’t end there. Digging a bit deeper there is some fig and spiced raisins as well. As the beer releases some of the pent up chocolate energy, the fig and spiced raisins play so nicely with the chocolate, it borders on obscene. The spice notes (I get a touch of nutmeg) are probably derived from the yeast. (10 points)
Appearance: The beer is a deep amber with some great clarity. The tan foamy head is fairly thick and reduces to a thin layer as you drink the beer down. (3 points)
Flavor: The flavor is bit more subdued than the aroma, but the same elements seem to come to the table. There is a graham cracker-like undertone to the malt base that I did not get in the aroma. The chocolate flavor is not as pronounced as the aroma, but plays just as well with the dark fruity fig and spice. They used an interesting variety of hops I have not had, but I really don’t get anI have no real way of knowing, but I am guessing this beer at about 7% alcohol based on the fact I get a bit of alcohol in the flavor, but not a lot. If this beer is bigger than that, it hides if very well. (16 points)
Mouthfeel: For a dubbel, it feels a bit thin on the palette. The carbonation is nice and spikey. I don’t get any astringency. (3 points)
Overall: Overall, this is an outstanding beer. This beer would pair great with wild game or lamb, but would also do justice to a grilled steak. Pair it with some chocolate or fruit (cherry, fig, dates) desserts as well and you can’t go wrong. Rich and bold with not much in the way of being overly sweet. There is some sweetness in the front end, but it finishes dry and fairly spicy. The bitterness from the hops balances things quite well, I just wish I knew how much spice was coming from the yeast and how much (if any) from the hops. I may have to look up Segal Ranch hops. Not sure what they bring to the table. This is probably my favorite Thumbprint beer for the winter months. This beer just screams winter warmer to me. (8 points)
Score: 40 points out of 50, which is an A in my book.