Unplugged Smoke On The Porter - New Glarus Brewing Company
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 169 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by neonbrown82:
4.68/5 rDev +13.3%
This is easily the most stunning smoked beer I've ever had. I've tried and liked many smoked porters, and this is by far the cream of the crop, even including Alaskan Smoked Porter. Many thanks to Erdinger2003 for hooking me up, unexpectedly, along with 3 others in the Unplugged series. The gods of beer karma will certainly smile upon you.
The beer pours to a dark brown, pretty much black. A little bit of a ruby highlight shows through, revealing no active carbonation bubbles. It had a thick frothy head from a fairly aggressive pour, but it dissipated fairly quickly, leaving next to no lacing.
The smell is great. The beer makes excellent use of wood-smoked German rauchbier malt. Evidently they also used some applewood smoked malt that they smoked themselves, however the taste and aroma of Bamburg is very distinctive, and I can not taste the applewood over the birch. The smoke definitely takes center stage, but black patent and caramel malts are quite rich in this brew as well. A little bit of smoked meat flavor hangs on in the finish (but not off-putting as I sometimes find it in an actual rauchbier) along with a light and gentle noble hops crisp bitterness. I only wish I could get this in a large quantity, because I could cook some mean BBQ with it, as well as have it for a quaff during the meal. I am also craving some smoked gouda to go along with this.
The body is a bit on the thin side of just right for a porter. The carbonation is also a little more sharp than I would like. It kind of takes a little bit away from the otherwise deliciously creamy texture. On the other hand, the carbonation really makes the hops crackle even in their subtlety. There's just something uncannily drinkable about this beer. Not a hint of alcohol flavor. I think I could chug this, but instead I am savoring every last drop. The campfire nostalgia factor is definitely at play here, but it goes beyond that. It is just a fantastically well-crafted beer. I really need to make a trip up to Wisconsin for myself, already...
02-26-2008 05:26:13 | More by neonbrown82
More User Reviews:
4.05/5 rDev -1.9%
Appearance: Dark almost black brown with red hues and a healthy off-white head.
Aroma: Darn. I was hoping for a rauchbier but this isnt it. At least I was forewarned when the label said Smoke on the Porter instead of Rauchbier as previously advertised by NG. Thats not to say that this beer doesnt deliver. It does and I will say that I am pleased to see NG move away from barrel aged, funky, big beers. Ok, so to this beer Smoke on the Porter has a subdued but ever-present woody smoked aroma blended with cocoa powder and touches of fruit think grilled fruit. Very nice.
Taste: Dry and bitter chocolate balanced by sweet caramel completely wrapped up in smoke. Not off putting in the slightest, as many smoked and rauch beers are. One doesnt necessarily have to be a rauchbier fan to enjoy this. Light smoke flavor lingers for some time.
Mouthfeel: Well balanced. Creamy and smooth. Could use a little beefing up as the body is quite light.
Drinkability: Goes down quickly and easily, especially for the style.
Doesnt hold water against Alaskan but otherwise one of the best American smoked beers Ive had.
Update: 11-28-07 - The last couple of bottle I've tasted seem a lot more smokey and meaty than the first. Perhaps a couple weeks in the cellar helped those flavors develop? At any rate, I'm enjoying this beer more and more.
11-09-2007 16:44:39 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.5/5 rDev +9%
12oz. bottle date coded 3047 which I believe means bottled on the 304th day of 2007 which makes this beer a hair over 2 years old. It has been in my possession for almost that long.
Poured a deep brown into a tulip with a distinct lack of head during the pour. After the pour is completed the bubbles rise to the surace and create a half finger beige head that was quickly transformed into a ring of bubbles on the perimeter of the glass.
Aroma of roasted barley and coffee with a lingering smoke. Also has a little boozy sweetness reminiscent of a RIS which was surprising considering the gravity.
The taste is this full roasted barley explosion then it goes a little sweet. As the sweetness is taken away by the carbonation the smoke smacks you in the face. It is awesomely smoky and has this wonderful baconesque aftertaste. My uninformed wife's only comments was 'alright but tastes like bacon'. This description is fairly accurate since the label alludes to smoking the malt in a meat house with applewood. The smoke just sticks with you long after a sip and it is not at all unpleasant.
It drinks like a beer that is bigger than it is. With only 6.1% ABV it drinks like it is in the 9-10% range. Usually when that is said it is meant like it tastes boozy but this is nothing of the sort. It just has this residual sweetness that makes it seem like a big beer and almost forces you to savor this one in small sips. While this hampers the drinkability a little tad I love that it is forcing me to slowly enjoy the beverage and take it all in.
Oh man I am sad that this is my last bottle of this stuff. I picked up a 4-pack in my beer advocate infancy and enjoyed the other three before truly appreciating the style and intricacies. I am glad I have held on to this one for almost 2 years and can now have the proper experience. A wonderful smoked beer and here's to hoping that this one makes a return appearance on the NG lineup.
12-05-2009 03:50:34 | More by weatherdog
4.53/5 rDev +9.7%
Given to me by my good friend Brian - thanks. This is my first New Glarus and an unplugged is not a bad way to start.
A: Very active drink - it could barely wait for me to pour it. Nice dark almost black. Redish mahogany around the edges against the light. Some active carbonation visible. Poured a nice 1.5 finger, soft, creamy off-white head. Great lacing.
S: Great nose. Coffee, chocolate, oak, smoke and caramel. Can't go wrong.
T: Lovely big malt taste. Some caramel sweetness but a nice burnt toasted essence. Bit of a coffee bitter aftertaste - not very hoppy. I haven't had much experience with smoked porters but I can imagine how they can easily be overdone or unauthentic in taste. This is well done in my very limited experience.
M: Creamy and smooth. Nice amount of carbonation to keep it lively. Medium/light body. The mouthfeel seemed to degrade throughout the drink - started to feel thin toward the end.
D: It's a simple drink (or at least deceptively simple) and well balanced. Just slipped down. I couldn't consume it fast enough. I would have been happy to consume a few more right on the spot too! Maybe I can beg Brian to give me another? Is this really 6.1 ABV? Makes me want to dig into New Glarus and see what else they have for me!
10-30-2008 04:15:36 | More by sgoodship
4.22/5 rDev +2.2%
Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.
New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Unplugged series is where the owner/brewmaster gets to go out on a limb. What is brewed generally is outside the box and beers from this series may or may not be brewed again. Both smoked Wisconsin malt and smoked malt from Bamberg Germany were used to brew this beer.
Dense mass of hasty cascading bubbles form three fingers of rocky tan head, the lacing from this is epic. Creamy dark cocoa, mild char and even smokiness in the nose, very aromatic. Creamy and smooth with a depth of crispness in the medium body. The smoky character stays true with an even keel of complex flavor throughout. Hops are very mild, the malt really shines with a soft cake-like sweetness within. Suggestions of dark-roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate come to mind. A long road of slowly fading smoke and roasted malt in the end.
No doubt, the balance of this smoked porter is unsurpassed. You know it's there but it never comes over the top and that sets it apart from the rest. When Bostonians think of beers like this, fresh-shucked oysters come to mind--both shellfish and fatty fish like salmon will do well for a pairing.
08-01-2010 14:13:14 | More by BeerAdvocate
4.28/5 rDev +3.6%
Pours into my glass an extremely deep, dark brown that edges towards black with a inch of creamy, bubbly light tan head atop the brew. Thick patchy lacing all the way down the glass. Aromas start off with big, slightly roasted dark malts immediately swept up by a strong smoke aroma, akin to a wood smoke campfire! Visions of yummy smoked meats come to mind. Touches of chocolate and a bit of coffee lurk underneath, but the woody smoke aroma lingers on.
First sip brings a nice dark roasted malty body upfront that quickly moves into dense smoky territory. Again, wood smoke comes to mind along with smoked meats. Notes of chocolate and coffee with a mellow fruity aspect move through as the brew goes down. It finishes off with a touch of bitterness and lingering smoky aftertaste. Good stuff!
Mouthfeel is solidly medium bodied with a smooth creaminess all the way down. I found this brew really enjoyable to drink and actually quite refreshing as well. Overall, a solid, tasty smoked porter from New Glarus. I enjoy the smoked beers and this one definitely ranks up there. Would like to see more brewers take a stab at the style.
06-10-2008 01:09:24 | More by orbitalr0x
4.08/5 rDev -1.2%
A: Pours a dark, chocolate brown with deep red highlights. Very little in the way of foam (light tan) that disappears quickly. Looks oqaque and rich.
S: Smell is dominated by smoke. A very pleasant smoke aroma. Can also pick up some oak?
T: Sweet and malty upfront, maybe some chocolate malt. Finish is all smoked malt flavor. The smoke lingers for a long time and gets a little bitter. Overall, an enjoyable flavor.
M: Medium/Full. Start is less than finish for me.
D: Goes down ok. I could see myself having maybe 2 at one sitting.
Another good beer from New Glarus. I liked this one much better than the last "Unplugged." (Bourbon Bock) Recommended to anyone that likes Rauchbiers.
12-14-2007 05:04:48 | More by FatheadBrew
4.35/5 rDev +5.3%
Pours a very dark brown/black with dark red when tilted to the light. Head is a light tan color that retains well and leaves some nice lacing. Smell is roasty, with some smokiness (though not much) and has hints of sweet cherries. Additional bottles I have had have given me a fresh, juicy bacon aroma; would be great with breakfast. Taste is roasty right at the start, leading into a little bit of sweetness from lactose followed by a lighter fruitiness (pear-like?) and of course has a lingering smoky finish. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body and on the lower side of carbonation. Good beer, I'll have to try it again in something other than a pint glass.
11-13-2007 03:17:51 | More by badbeer
4.28/5 rDev +3.6%
Thanks to angrypirate06 for sharing this beer.
The beer pours black with a tan head. The aroma is strong smoke and roasted malt. The flavor is a meaty BBQ smoke with some roasted malt. The smoke is the predominant flavor but it doesn't overpower. Medium, slightly creamy mouthfeel and low carbonation.
03-17-2010 03:26:37 | More by Mora2000
4.2/5 rDev +1.7%
(Served in an American pint glass)
A- This beer has a dense black body with a thick yellowish-tan head with a big bubble carbonation.
S- This beer has a black roasted malt aroma with a coffee roasted malt note followed by a light salty smoke smell and a faint damp peat quality.
T- The black roasted malt is big and followed by a soft cola note and a soft smoked meat flavor. There is a lighter caramel malt taste that increases as the beer warms. There is a soft bitter black malt and smoke tartness at the finish.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture.
D- This beer is a good solid porter first and that is supported by a nice salty smoke undertone. The smoke is a great flavor and doesn't have the band-aid peat flavors that many smoke beers do.
12-30-2007 16:22:45 | More by rhoadsrage
4.4/5 rDev +6.5%
Thanks to Homerbag for the trade.
Pours a deep black with ruby tones and a very stable and creamy light tan head that leaves ok lacing. Nose is smoked malts and roast, peat. Taste follows with good smoked and roasted malt flavor. A nice vanilla creaminess through the middle. Ample carbonation. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy, great viscosity. Drinkability is very nice for the style. Overall I am quite impressed with this one. The smoke element is right in between subtle and obvious. So if you dont like balls out smokiness (AK smoked) but you want more than some wussy microhint of smoke (stone smoked) this is perfect for you. A good and interesting brew. Glad I have a couple more of these to enjoy.
08-14-2008 01:58:20 | More by AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5 rDev +7.7%
Since this was named as an Unplugged Release circa early Spring of this year ('07), it has been listed as "Rauch" on New Glarus' website (and still is, at least as of yesterday). When I found out it was actually a smoked porter, I felt downright betrayed. On the other hand, I've been bandstanding for NG to cease the barrel-aged wild-yeast Unpluggeds out of their numbing sameness. Ultimately, I got met half way, up front.
And I'll concede a little too, as my deflatedness over the smoked porter instead of a true-styled Rauch is short-lived once a glass of this sits in front of me.
It pours opaque, the darkest cola-brown possible, and basically presenting as jet black unless held to a strong light. The tan head is tight and short, but longstanding as a fluffed collar.
The nose is where smoke always shines...or smolders brightest. And it does here with campfire, cured ham, and cocoa powder.
Into the mouth, there's a deep roasted nut, and dilute coffee essence up front, as it ventures sweeter towards hot cocoa just prior to the smoke. Then the smoked applewood and Bamberg malts usher in campfire stories, fireplaces, burn barrels full of newspaper and autumn leaves. Meatiness is subtler, but smoked beef brisket drips out near the end. But this never truly ends, and the linger is noteworthy unto itself. After the sips, as late October smoke still swirls around the mouth, a sweetness is found anew with a burnt vanilla flair, and a revisit to marshmallowed cocoa.
Medium light in build, carbonation is low, slow and steady. This modest build reflects the beer itself, and ensures this as a drinker and very sessionable and food-friendly. It could easily overpower, and it doesn't. It shows restraint without feeling restrained.
For those of us in Wisconsin that can't track down a steady supply of Alaskan's version, this is a very worthy replacement...while it is available.
A triumphant return to form for the Unplugged lineup. My initial misgivings seem utterly foolish now.
12-10-2007 09:00:20 | More by cokes
4.03/5 rDev -2.4%
This is about smoked, not about porter. There are some porter tastes, but all I get is beautiful smoke and woodiness, that carry you. Very lovely drinkability, backed by an understated sweetness and a little chocolate. Another great unplugged, another great WI state beer. Thanks Phys21ca.
03-22-2009 02:35:44 | More by Sammy
4/5 rDev -3.1%
12oz single, scooped a 4pack from somewhere around here
appearance: pours into a great dane imperial pint glass, big chocolate-mahogany body with a creamy tan head and pretty strong lacing
smell: roasty and chocolatey, beefy smoke currents, creamy caramel malts - nice nose on this porter
taste: creamy and delicious...beef jerky and smokey undertones compliment the strong malt structure...dark chocolate and very roasty
mouthfeel: creamy and medium-light body
12-16-2007 23:03:10 | More by dirtylou
4.15/5 rDev +0.5%
12oz bottle shared at a tasting. Thanks to whoever brought this - unfortunately I lost track by this point.
Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head that fades to a film.
Awesome smoky and roasty aroma, with hints of meat in there. Maybe a little chocolate. Smells pretty much like you'd want it to.
Flavor is also great and smoky with roasted malt, smoked meat, toffee, and dark chocolate. Really interesting and good beer.
Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and lasting smokiness.
Drinkability is high. What do you know, New Glarus brewed another great beer. These guys are definitely one of my favorites nowadays.
01-11-2010 18:52:29 | More by nickd717
4.22/5 rDev +2.2%
12 oz bottle, Porter tasting.
Brown-black, thin ring of white foam.
2008. Fruity cherry pipe tobacco smokiness on the nose.
Vanilla, more restrained smokiness but very nicely integrated. Very pleasant mild fruitiness balanced by smoke. Excellent effort, as usual.
11-24-2010 22:22:50 | More by kenito799
4.72/5 rDev +14.3%
Got this one from czoch75, cheers Clint!
Pours a chestnut tinged mahogany with 2 fingers of tan colored head. Good lacing & very good head retention
S: Mesquite notes & hints of vanilla
T: A bit of smoked ham, vanilla beans, roasted malt, & dryness up front. Some faint herbalhops surface as this warms, along with mocha, fainter smokeyness, plus nioe vanilla presence. Finishes with roasty grain, a touch of peppery rye?? & chococlate
MF: Smooth, medium bodied, low carbonation
Drinks super, easily on the best porters I've had in a long time!
12-10-2008 04:33:41 | More by russpowell
3.85/5 rDev -6.8%
A. Deep chocolate brown; opaque. Not much head and looks slick and oily.
S. Typical roast with the a light touch of campfire smoke. No hops just sweet malts. Creamy.
T. Light coffee and cocoa mixed with smoke up front followed by bittering hops that balance nicely. The finish is a little bit dry but the mouth is left with a light touch of sweetness.
M. Thin in the mouth and medium carbonation. Definitely lacks a little in body.
D. Not a session beer, but a great one to try. The smoke is a little much in the taste and light in the nose. I'd flip-flop that to suit my tastes, but who am I?
01-30-2009 17:38:22 | More by MMAJYK
3.83/5 rDev -7.3%
Look was Pitch black, tan brownish head, some lace.
Smelled of smoked wood, medium malt, burnt sugar, and oats.
Taste didnt have as much smoke as aroma. Has a mellow smokey taste that is very smooth with a cleansing, smooth mouthfell that would go great with BBQ. Leaves a very little hop bitterness in the finish.
Very good beer and sessionable, but not as exciting as I expected. Not sure of the ABV or price. I would love more smoke flavors in this brew.
12-18-2008 23:45:51 | More by cannabanaceae
3.95/5 rDev -4.4%
New Glarus is a ballsy brewery, and I like that. Take this beer, a lesser brewery would have released a bourbon barrel aged extreme what-have-you beer. But that ain't the way Dan rolls. This is a nice session beer that happens to be fantastically well done, with a hint of smoke for added complexity. It just works on being good, that's all. Nothing else. Unplugged is right, they are working on showing off their craft while other breweries play up their pyrotechnics and costumes. America needs more beers like this.
I will say that even though I do praise NG for having a lighter touch with their Unplugged beers, I think the touch here may have been a little too soft. The base beer is less a porter and more of a dry stout. It is just so light.
The carbonation is very light, just a nice prickle on the tongue. Then there is a quick hit of light roastiness that fades into just the right amount of smoke. Rauchbiers are too much for me, but the taste of ham worked well with the initial hit of roasted malt. A little bit of chocolate fades in-and-out in the finish and the smokiness fades into a light fruitiness.
It is a very good showcase of what smoked malt can do in a way that heavier-handed rauchbiers don't. That is great in terms of a "getting to know your malts" perspective. But I wish the base beer had a little more to it. Not in an ueber-imperial way, but just a more robust beer. There are any number of porters that I can name with more ooomph and a little of that ooomph would work with the smoke. Good stuff though.
07-18-2008 21:34:14 | More by shbobdb
3.98/5 rDev -3.6%
Pours black with a nice tan head that has good retention. Abundant amounts of lacing is left on the glass.
I smell smoked meat, wood smoke, but also I detect some dark fruit.
Heavy with flavors of smoke. Somewhat meaty with a lingering bitterness. Typical porter flavor qualities are there as well. Seems like it would be a very good porter even without the smoke elements.
Has a surprisingly thin body. Carbonation is low.
The intense smoke flavor limits the amount I would want to drink. Still a very good porter and worth a visit.
05-20-2008 22:48:48 | More by morimech
Unplugged Smoke On The Porter from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.