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Wisconsin Belgian Red - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wisconsin Belgian RedWisconsin Belgian Red

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

944 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 944
Hads: 3,133
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 1,121
Gots: 677 | FT: 77
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 944 | Hads: 3,133
Reviews by Beer4B:
Photo of Beer4B
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Murky, rust red with highlights the color of not quite ripe cherries. I expected the cap to be girlie pink, but it's actually simple beige in color. Large initially due to a generous amount of carbonation, the head is dense with a stickiness that promotes perseverance and lacing. Soapy, pocked sheets cover a good portion of the glass and stay for the duration.

This beer doesn't smell much like beer due to the all-encompassing aroma of sweet cherries. Forget malt, forget hops, forget anything that isn't pure, unadulterated essence of cherry juice. Thankfully, there are no medicinal (i.e. cough syrup) aromas present. Simply put, this is one of the best fruit beer noses that I've ever smelled.

I love it! Wisconsin Belgian Red tastes deeper and more hearty than most cherry beers. Along with the bright fruit flavor is a more earthy, muscular flavor that is more akin to dried fruit or fruit jerky than it is to fresh cherries or cherry juice. The degree of acidity is nigh on perfect. As noted in the nose description, there isn't a whole lot present that isn't cherry related, just variations on the theme and layers upon layers of flavor.

The body is full in the best sense of the word, with a lush, mouthfilling, thickly coating feel. The sugar content is high and limits drinkability for me. Unless I can get my wife to drink some (extremely doubtful) I won't be able to finish this big bottle in one sitting. Despite the note on the label ('highly carbonated') and the loud 'pffft' upon opening, I don't really appreciate an excessive amount of carbonation. The CO2 does its part to aerate the thick, syrupy body without calling attention to itself.

WBR seems to be a 'love it or hate it' kind of beer. I recognize that though it's beer in the technical sense, it doesn't much resemble beer in the classic sense. I've decided to judge it on its own merits with my enjoyment as the sole criterion. It's hard for me to imagine a fruit beer in general and a cherry fruit beer in particular that is more delicious than Wisconsin Belgian Red. I've waited quite a while to taste this one and I have to say that it has exceeded my expectations with room to spare. (2,180 characters)

Photo of tigg924
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: minimal head, high carbonation, red in color, clear

Smell: sweet cherries and fresh fruit

Taste: sweet and tart cherries, light cinnamon. The cherries are layered here so there is excellent depth of flavor.

Mouthfeel: super light body, sweet with a touch of tartness, high carbonation, prickly

Overall:This sets the new bar for me in fruit beers. I love the depth of the cherry flavors. This one is borderline wine-like, but still has some beer flavor. The fruit seems natural and not in any way artificial. When I am back in Wisconsin next year, I will bring back several. One of my favorite beers in any style. (672 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9 fl oz. Green glass. Red wax-ed over iconic branded pry-off cap. Good label design. Courtesy of the very generous Duff27.

Served cold into a Cantillon flute at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live as a Belgian red ale per the label, though its obvious fruit component is a big factor.

Allowed to come to temperature as it warms.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1.5 inches wide. Pinkish white colour. Nice complexion. Not real thick or full. Retention is nice - round 4 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Clear vibrant deep red. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's a nice looking red ale, but it's not stunning or unique. I recall the other New Glarus fruit beers looking brilliant; this pales in comparison.

AROMA: The dominant cherry is nice, but some North American drinkers will definitely note medicinal cough syrup character. Powdered white sugar. Very tart, to its benefit. The tartness plays well with the cherries - as least here in the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is average.

I find no oak character, roasted barley, wine, or hop notes (as mentioned on the label).

It's appealing overall, but I worry it will be medicinal.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Cherry rightly dominates, and is complemented beautifully by the soft powdery mouthfeel. The tartness plays off the cherry, delivering a gorgeous one-two punch of synergistic flavours, but I can't help but wonder if some souring bacteria additions would really set this off in a direction I'd love. It's beautifully balanced, though it does flirt with what some North American drinkers will associate with a medicinal or cough syrupy taste.

Balanced as it is, it's not the most intricate brew, and doesn't boast the level of nuance and subtlety that the other beers in this series do. Still, it's a lovely build for a fruit ale, and I'd definitely call it gestalt. That said, the ostensible Belgian character is lacking; nothing about this screams Belgian yeast.

I also find no oak - which is a missed opportunity - and no roasted barley (Belgian or otherwise) or overt hop character.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, boasting perfect carbonation, an ideal light to medium body, and perfect heft and weight on the palate for this kind of beer. It's sticky, sure, but not syrupy - which helps it avoid the pitfall of a medicinal cherry taste to me. Acidity is well above average.

Well put-together and enjoyable to drink.

The mouthfeel exceeds the taste in quality, and its excellent execution helps make the beer more expressive. Nice pairing of texture to taste.

OVERALL: It's a lovely albeit simple fruit ale from New Glarus that is devilishy easy to drink and pretty high in quality. That said, it's not the world-class offering the other New Glarus fruit beers are, and there are missed opportunities for increased intricacy and subtlety. I'll love putting this bottle down, but I don't think I'd buy it again if I had access to other better New Glarus beers. It's disappointing if only because I expected greatness given the brewery, but it's still a hell of a fruit ale, and always tastes like a beer - never a candy or fruit soda. Easily one of the better genuine fruit ales brewed in the U.S.A.

Enormous thanks to Duff27 for this long-time want.

Low B (3.52) (3,340 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just a wonderful fruit beer. Thick and luscious like a true apple cider only pink. Loads of tart cherries and hints of spices. Smells great, tastes great. Feels like velvet on your tongue. Not overly sweet at all and therefore very drinkable.

Over the weekend I sat out on a lake in Northern Wisconsin and consumed a bottle that I had kept in a cupboard for at least three years. I was a bit nervous that the beer would have spoiled but it hadn’t. It tasted exactly as I remembered it tasting fresh from the brewery.

Moreover, the beer was a perfect pick for the colorful fall day. It feels very much like a homemade cider and this makes it fit naturally with changing leaves and fire pit conversation. (711 characters)

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tectactoe
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of ricke
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby red with a small off-white head that settles into a ring of lacings.

S: Lots of sweet cherries dominate. The cherry aromas are rather candy-like (guess that's what happens when you put so much cherries in the brew). Hints of grass and something in the line of cookies. Not a complex smell, and not very interesting, but my god does it smell like cherries.

T: The taste is way better than the smell. Sweet cherries up front (the cherries are still candy-like but not as much as in the smell). Notes of sweet malts. A gentle but noticeable tart note develops and is really welcome since it levels the sweetness nicely and really balances everything. Notes of cookies and earth. The finish is nicely dry and light with grassy notes and chemical cherries. Not very complex, but still with enough hints of other things than cherries to make it interesting and most importantly tasty.

M: Somewhat sticky in the mouth with a nice dryness in the finish. Medium body.

D: A good beer. The taste is better than the smell, thankfully. Impressive flavors considering the low ABV. I could really see this one working well as a dessert or coupled with dessert. But it's too sweet to drink a lot of. (1,196 characters)

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of MadScientist
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of brownbeer
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is always a treat. Thanks to Thirdeye11 for this one.

A- Bright cherry red

S- Like sweet cherry candy with graham cracker malt. Not too complex, just brilliance.

T&M- Soft and delicate. Sweet and slightly tart cherry at the same time.

D- Refreshing and delicious. The kind of beer my mom(or anyone who doesn't like beer) would and should drink. (358 characters)

Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of cjn40277
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep burgundy, red-amber with a tan-pink head.

S - Cherry, plain and simple. Great nose. Cherries and brown sugar. Very tart nose with this.

T - Very good with the cherry the huge star of course. Not as tart as I would have thought. And the grains add just the right backing to this. Just outstanding.

M - Medium body with mild carbonation and a slick finish.

O - Awesome brew from New Glarus. Never been to Wisconsin before but made sure I tried this before I left. Wish we could get this out East. (515 characters)

Photo of dacubz
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

The evolution of beer took a huge step forward over ten years ago with this brew. It's unlike any other Fruit Beer to the extent that it deserves more than the Fruit Beer label. There are well over a pound of cherries in every bottle and it's lagered in oak tanks for a year. Not many American breweries are doing that now--let alone ten years ago.

Pours with a light, spritzy carbonation, and its murky burgundy color shows no light at all. Just a thin ring of lace from the fizz of the head. The aroma is heavenly: a nose full of cherries in cherry juice. Sweet-tart cherry bouquet. Underlying crispness in the slick, medium body. Big bang of cherry sweetness to start. A balanced tartness sets in with mild oak, earth and a pinch of maltiness. Layers of cherry unravel slowly to finally reach a faint biscuit finish.

One of the most complex beers in the US to date, yet still very approachable and drinkable. Excellent balance of sweetness to tartness. It's a beer worth driving to Wisconsin for, or at least finding a friend to ship you some. A mild yogurt cheddar cheese with tart apples sounds like a great pairing. (1,168 characters)

Photo of Ben7773
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of newk340
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: BR has an opaque ruby red color upon pouring with a hint of brown hue to it when held to the light. Little to no head when poured into a champagne flute (poured during a celebration immediately following Dom Perignon... hopefully that doesnt mess with my review... haha)

S: one word: CHERRIES. the strong smell of cherries blasts the olfactory senses, invoking thoughts of a Wisconsin summer on a lake.

T: an explosion of cherries tingles the tongue while emitting undertones of beer and wine with a champagne finish.

MF/D: an intensely fruity beer with the smoothest carbonation possible (considering how much it has). not a fruit beer kind of guy, but i could practically be content with a case of this for the night. (725 characters)

Photo of skybluewater
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark cherry-red. Smells like cherry cobbler, or one of those cherry pies you ate as a kid. Taste is quite the same, a huge, massive cherry explosion. It also tastes a bit sour.

This is certainly an odd beer. It doesn't even taste like one even. I'm sharing the bottle with family, because I don't think I could drink a whole bottle alone. Nevertheless, this is quite tasty, certainly the bridge between beer and wine. (435 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a deep, vibrant cherry red that explodes in the light. A light, fizzy off pink head rises and falls. Looks nice in the glass for sure. Aromas start with a blast of bountiful sweet and tart cherry scents. Crisp, light malts lurk within. Reminds me of a fresh made cherry pie! Quite intoxicating and no holding back on the cherry here.

First sip brings a solid, crisp malt body upfront along with an instantaneous burst of sweet cherry flavor. As it flows down tart notes move in as well. Juicy, with a massive cherry fruit flavor. Cherry pie in a glass. Just an awesome fruit beer bursting with flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat slick with a touch of a syrupy quality to it from the residuals sugars of the fruit I assume. Quite an easy drinking beer that the girlfriend enjoys as well. I could probably drink the whole bottle though too! The top tier of fruit beers for me and one I always enjoy drinking. Worth a trip to Wisconsin - grab some Raspberry Tart as well. (1,005 characters)

Photo of blitz134
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of supa0525
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 944 ratings.