Unplugged Smoke On The Porter - New Glarus Brewing Company
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 169 | Display Reviews Only:
4.97/5 rDev +20.3%
Smoke on the Porter (SOTP) pours nicely into my official New Glarus logo pint glass, which I stole fair and square from a pub during my college days. A deep brown to black brew, it pours with a nice, half inch fizzy head that slowly dissipates, leaving a surprisingly lively and picturesque tan trace that clings to the side of the glass throughout the session. As I alluded to already, the aroma is overwhelming amounts of wood smoke. The description on the bottle says that Dan Carey was inspired to make this brew after inhaling smoke house aromas from their New Glarus neighbors, Hoesly's Meats. New Glarus uses Wisconsin barley that is cold smoked with apple wood by the Hoesly's. On top of that, Carey uses dark malt smoked in Bamberg (that's in Germany for the geographically challenged) to create an aromatic experience that would put Smokey the Bear on high alert. The huge apple wood smoke fragrance subsides just enough to detect various hints of chocolate, roasted nuts, and a tinge of coffee. The slightest bit of dark fruit also comes through at times.
The flavor is surprisingly tempered in the smoke department when compared to the overpowering aroma; it's smoky for sure, but not to the extreme. Nice, smooth flavors of wood smoke initially hit the tongue, but are quickly joined by a plethora of other tastes, most noticeable being dark fruit (tart apple, black cherry, and raisin) and dark chocolate. I detect some roasted nuttiness as well, sort of the beer equivalent of "chestnuts roasting on an open fire." I think the key for making a heavily smoked brew that still tastes good to those of us who tend to avoid heavy smoke is this method. Not only is apple wood a mild wood that adds flavors both sweet and smoky, but having a maker of smoked meats handle the barley means that it's handled with better care and precision than it likely would be in a brewery. While I'm assuming this has an ABV well over 8 percent (I'd guess it's in the 9-10 percent range) and thus could be considered an "imperial porter," the mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and the body is not so thick that it overwhelms. Nigel can't drink like he used to, but I finished a four-pack over the course of an evening without any ill effects, other than a very strong ashy aftertaste.
03-28-2008 02:13:34 | More by Newglarusguy
4.83/5 rDev +16.9%
a: pours a deep dark black/brown color that is not transparent at all when held to the light there is a tan head that doesnt dissapear, lasts the entire time i sipped on this.
s: deep roasted smokey malts no hop presence but the smokiness of the malts really balances the sweetness
t: deep roasted smoky malts little hop presence but like in the aroma the smokiness of the malts balances the sweetness an extremely good tasting beer
m: full bodied beer that has little carbonation
overall, this is an amazing brew
03-31-2008 20:32:17 | More by happygnome
4.83/5 rDev +16.9%
Thanks to someone for giving this in a trade.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark black, almost coffee color with the slightest tea colored highlights. Tan head of enourmous size and depth. Really sticks around for quite a while and the lacing is unbelievable.
Aroma is quite smokey; almost like smoked sausage. I wouldnt say the smoke is overpowering but it is certainly noticeable and very much welcomed. The slightest bit of fruitiness in the nose as well.
Oh wow. So smooth and silky and creamy and smoky on the palate. The smoke is beautiful; the perfect amount. A touch of fruitiness and a little more coffee underneath as well. Possibly a touch of dark cherry too. Absolutely wonderful!
This was a real beauty. This is probably my favorite smoke beer of any kind. AK Smoked porter is good and Stone Smoked Porter is good, but this is the best of all of them. So easy to drink. Damn near full bodied and good as shit! Thanks again to the trader whose name escapes me.
11-17-2008 18:19:09 | More by SaCkErZ9
4.78/5 rDev +15.7%
Pours a a dark chocolate color with a medium tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin covering.The nose is a thick malt and smoke. The flavour is superb; rich in malt and smoke with a slightly hoppy and smokey finish. It feels rich and velvety in my mouth and goes down very smoothly for a smoked beer.
02-25-2008 03:10:36 | More by Atricapilla
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
4.72/5 rDev +14.3%
A: snifter. pours an abyss-like color, impenetrable to light. nice light khaki color head. medium retention with mild lacing.
S: huge roasted malt aroma. some chocolate, coffee, with a hint of smoke. some sweet/tart cherries in the back.
T: smoked sexual chocolate. some serious ham flavors. nice roasted malts, great chocolate notes.
M: smooth, creamy. perfect carbonation level. medium-bodied.
D: could drink a sixer easliy for breakfast with some canadian bacon.
09-19-2008 06:46:23 | More by paulthebeerguru
4.7/5 rDev +13.8%
12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Massive and extraordinarily resilient brown rocky head resides over a pitch black beer. After a couple minutes the head finally sinks enough to finish my pour. Beautiful.
Wow, this aroma is amazing. Thick earthy/meaty smokiness takes charge, but also a hint of roasted malts, caramel, and chocolate.
Unlike the aroma, the chocolate and other dark malts take charge here. Light touch of hoppy bitterness that I can't quite place. The name of the beer aptly describes the flavor; it is definitely a very solid porter with the smokiness excellently complimenting the rest of the flavor. Somewhat more subtle than other porters I've tried, but still extraordinarily complex and very pleasant. I honestly don't know how they could improve on this flavor.
Very solid medium body, but for porter standards it feels a little light. Carbonation is also at a medium level Very smooth and silky. Easily drinkable and I would definitely recommend. This is probably one of the 10 best beers I've ever tried.
02-01-2008 23:46:45 | More by Phocion
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
4.68/5 rDev +13.3%
Thanks to Junnila for this nice extra in our trade:
A - Pours a deep brown with some ruby brown highlights. The head is one finger high, tan, and thick with a moderate disipation.
S - Smokey hickory and coffee...Suprisingly more hickory smoke than apple wood like the bottle says but their might be some sweeter malts masking the smell given that hickory is a sweeter wood.
T - Tastes like it smells hickory and some hints of dark roasted coffee and a slight espresso twinge at the end.
M - Light and smooth with good carbonation and an aftertaste that reminds me of summer BBQ.
D - Great beer that I could drink anytime and wish is wasn't a limited release. Can't wait to see how it complements a big plate of ribs.
03-24-2008 19:23:42 | More by turbine2475
4.65/5 rDev +12.6%
For porters not being my favorite style is was a good surprise. It poured a little thicker than a normal porter and had a little less carbonation in it. The head was small and a light tan color. The nose was where this beer really took off. Right off the bat the smoke poured off. Also a huge sweet dark malt smell with some dark caramel. Those came out more as the beer warmed up. In relation to the smoke flavor, I got a fat peppered bacon or some kind of a meat aroma. Even a little bit of rubber smell. The smell of the this beer made me more hungry then thirsty. The taste followed through with a big finish. The smoke is over the top but balanced out buy the malt so much that it makes of a great combo. Kind of a hard beer to match with food because of all the great flavors going on but 2 of these would make a great substitute for dinner.
07-08-2008 01:15:26 | More by RoBotGod
4.6/5 rDev +11.4%
I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.
A= This ale poured a very dark brown with faint cola colored highlights around the edges. The light tan head poured about 1" and left a lot of lace down the glass.
S= The malt aroma was mostly sweet but with a touch of roast in there too. The smoke was muted and fixed pretty deep in the middle of things.
T= This beer started out with a short burst of sweet malt then morphed into a faintly bitter blend of grain husk, roasty chocolate, and earthy hops. The smokiness kicked in around halfway and carried this into a superbly smooth finish.
MF= Slightly to the heavy side of medium bodied with a silky smooth mouth feel despite a decent amount of carbonation.
D= Very drinkable and dare I say sessionable. This was an outstanding smoked porter with a modest amount of smokiness. Without a doubt one of the best I have ever had (and I have had some good ones!).
01-02-2009 06:58:16 | More by spointon
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
4.53/5 rDev +9.7%
12oz bottle served at 50 degrees and poured into a fluted pilsner glass
A - Poured a very nice and thick dark brown with a very large tan colored head rising up above it almost immediately. Reaching a height of nearly three inches high before settling down, you could say this started out looking like a little bit more then just your standard porter. Nice retention, eventually letting it fade, but not before depositing a good amount of side glass lace that dripped down the sides of the glass until the very end of the session. Some small amounts of sediment located on the bottom of the glass, but not too much at all. Slight bit of hazelnut color around the bottom of glass, but otherwise, this one was essentially opaque.
S - First whiff gave off a very deep smoked aroma. Not the traditional large quantities of smoked meat almost that you see on some of these, this was almost like a light fruity smokiness, more than likely due to the wood that was used in the process. Very nice smoky aromas mixing in with a light coffee smell and even a touch of grassy and earthy hops that served to brighten it up just a tad. There were definitely some underlying sweet notes in here as well. Very complex smell and not as strong a some of the other smoked beers that I have seen; this one was rather nice and complex though with some underlying fruit notes really making it have a very full profile. Could not wait to take a taste of it to be honest.
T - The flavor was spot on. This was not so much a smoked porter in the traditional sense of it though. Rather it was more along the lines of a really good porter that had some smoke added to it. The original porter underlying it was still clearly evident with very deep notes of roasted malts, earthy grains, and a nice touch of chocolate. Layered on top was this nice light smoke flavor, not very heavy on it, just enough to accent it very nicely and allow some of the other flavors to still find their way through. There were some notes of caramel and vanilla as well that started to come up to the top as it warmed up. The finish was nice and smooth with a long drawn out hoppiness that really left you looking for another taste. The lingering flavor was a nice mix of bitter hops and a touch of smoke that really set this one apart from some others. Again this was not your Alaskan Smoked porter by any means; this was a different animal, and a very smooth mellow one at that.
M - Very smooth, this medium-bodied ale came off perfectly smooth. Big enough that you knew it was a porter, but at the same time, the carbonation kept it light enough that it still had a bit of a refreshing note to it and did not come of too terribly filling. Rich creamy in the beginning and finishes nice and crisp, not bad at all.
D - An absolutely sessionable smoked porter, this is the one you want to be able to throw down a couple of. There was a great carbonation profile, which kept it feeling light and alive throughout, and the flavors were excellent, not overwhelming you with the smoked flavor, but rather letting it breathe a little and letting some of the other flavors really start to stand out. Really quite excellent. No hint of alcohol at all, this was easily something you could knock back more then one of.
Overall I thought this was excellent. My first offering from New Glarus that did not come off with the fruit overkill. This showed me what they could do with a different kind of style and I was completely impressed to say the least. An excellent offering and something I look forward to being able to try again one day. I would definitely recommend this one if you can find it.
03-06-2008 18:11:48 | More by mikesgroove
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
4.5/5 rDev +9%
It reminds me of the coffee stout right off...maybe used the same malt and brewery, who knows. This is not as smoky as I have heard from some people. Pours a nice tan head that leaves a great lacing and a thin head. Black with some dark purple colors at the edges when held up to the light. Smell is a light roastiness with some breadiness and a light smoke that's not sweet or off flavored. Taste is smoky with roasty flavors tying into the smoke. The body is well balanced with a good base malt between the smoky/roasty flavors. Mouthfeel is a medium body with a smooth mouthfeel. Overall I enjoyed this beer very much and would like to have more.
11-25-2007 03:31:35 | More by Erdinger2003
4.5/5 rDev +9%
One of my new favorite brews, thanks to Phawk for the trade and a taste of my first New Glarus
Pours black as night, with a brown head that quickly disappears into the dark void.
Smell of smokey meats, malts, some hops discernible. There is also a sweetness to this beer I cant quite grasp, like Walter Payton breaking tackles in the backfield.
The taste of this beer is subtly dignified. Smoke flavors turn to hoppy, chocolate sweetness which gives way to a lingering burnt cocoa taste.
Great mouthfeel which fills up every corner of your mouth, medium carbonation, just a well balanced beer that doesnt overwhelm, but slowly envelopes your sense of taste.
Deep purple has smoke on water, but New Glarus has a fire in this guy, I want more.
06-01-2008 07:54:04 | More by Murchmac
4.5/5 rDev +9%
I'm pretty unfamiliar with the Unplugged series and this was thrown my way in a trade a while back. I really was impressed and need to try some more of the series based on this.
12oz bottle poured into imperial pint.
Bottle Graphics: 8/10. Simple.
A: Black, not much more to say. Cream soda head.
S: I guess I should have thought about it by the name, but the abrupt smoky flavor was a surprise and a great one at that. Roasted smoke flavors alongside a fresh bbq meal. Wow.
T: The smoke on this is awesome, simply awesome. It is like vanilla coating a toasted and smoky marshmallow platter. Unlike many porters, its not burnt or overkilled by chocolate.
M: A little bit watery but shit, the smoothness and great smoky texture in the back of the mouth made up for it.
D: As the first trip into the unplugged series combined with usually thinking porters are all the same, this was great. Would love to have as my standby porter.
Rauchbier meet porter. Porter meet rauchbier. They become good friends in this treat.
12-27-2008 17:55:40 | More by marcpal
British Columbia (Canada)
4.5/5 rDev +9%
The Bamberg Rauchmalt in this American Porter is a marriage made in heaven!
A: Black licorice colour with a light tan head, not much retention, but some nice lace.
S: Smokey, dark bread, sausage-like spicing, woody, chocolate.
T: Pleasant spicy-smokiness, dark rye bread, wood, nuts, slight licorice & fruitiness, good bitterness.
M: Well-attenuated moderate body is smooth, with a hint of chalkiness.
D: Very drinkable for a Rauchbier, very good for a porter.
An all-around great beer.
06-27-2008 01:05:53 | More by Derek
4.5/5 rDev +9%
Small capped bottle poured into a pint.
Black, with a foamy cocoa head, which holds reasonably well and leaves some lacing.
The aroma is good, and it keeps improving as it warms up; initially more of a standard porter, with roasted malts, particularly coffee, but some coffee too, evolving then into a more clearly smoked, oaked, firewood aroma with some hints of smoked meats.
Easy to drink, medium bodied with a decent carbonation, the flavor also evolves from unsweetened coffee to a clearly smoked pattern.
This is more delicate than the powerhouse rauchbiers, but is still very nicely crafter, one of the best smoked beers I found around here.
05-10-2008 21:29:40 | More by brdc
4.5/5 rDev +9%
Pours black in color with dark auburn highlights only visible at the bottom of the glass. Tan head is reduced to a surface covering. The nose is smoky and exhibits aromas of caramel, chocolate malt and cocoa. Full-bodied and smooth mouthfeel. Dark toasted malt upfront. Smoked barley follows and carries into the long finish. Nice maltiness throughout overall. Finish is slightly on the dry side. Another amazing offering in the Unplugged series.
06-28-2008 14:14:23 | More by Winter
4.5/5 rDev +9%
To me there are two types of smoked beers....either a fleshy, meaty smoked bacon style which is enjoyable or a woody campfire like smokiness....this one falls in the later category...
The smoke is woody and complements nicely a fantastic porter base...the things I like most about this is the porter seems to be the main player and the smoke improves the overall flavor.
The porter aspects are perfect...roasted malts..a bit of cocoa...the body is medium to full and rounded and creamy...
All-in-all, this has to be one of the better smoked porters out there...I just drank an O'Fallon smoked porter and I love that one too but that is a different beast...more of the smoked bacon and meats....this is probably a little better overall and certainly a different style of "smoke"
01-19-2008 05:55:57 | More by ZAP
Unplugged Smoke On The Porter from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.