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Unplugged Imperial Saison - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Unplugged Imperial SaisonUnplugged Imperial Saison

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

228 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 49
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Atron67 on 05-10-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 228 | Reviews: 187 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Steven's bottle, aged from over 3 years. Great yeasty aroma, revealing a red grape. Fresh, invigorating, a sipper.Earlier:Jon's bottle. Aroma is yeasty, orange, spice. Orangy colour with siginificant white foamy head. Medium plus mouthfeel,easy drinking. Soursih fruity citrus yeasty taste, with orange residual taste. Smooth, New Glarus fruity citrus interpretation of style.

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber color. A bit dark for a normal saison, but what the hell--this one is from Wisconsin. Nose brings forward some really nice characteristics with a bit of light malt plus some earth, caramel, light fruits, and some mild hay. The flavor is a bit sweet and not nearly as dry as many saisons. Good fruit notes and nice malt. Medium body with good carbonation. This was quite the tasty brew and I'm disappointed that I finally ran out of these; hopefully it gets brewed again.

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of GRG1313
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must first respectfully say that I am not a fan of New Glarus beer. I recently went through Wisconsin and tasted every New Glarus I could find and disliked all of them. I admittedly did not have any of the Unplugged series. I've now tasted other Unplugged and thought that they were clearly superior to the regular brews.

This one pours a dark copper tinted amber with a white head.

Nose is a big assertive orange that goes to orange spice with undertones of candi sugar, peaches and green bananas.

Mouthfeel is rich, bold, bright cream and very appealing.

Flavors are all big assertive full and rich orange spice with bright citrus tones. Flavors are delicious and you want more and more. There is an "almost sour" "almost tart" character.

Finish is all citrus spice with sweet wild yeast undertones.

Very drinkable; a really remarkable brew with an amazing flavor profile. Best New Glarus I've tasted. I could put this in my top 10 beers if a second and third bottle mirror this one.

Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a rather large head that leaves quite a few shards on the way down

Smell: Sure wasn't expecting a sour stone fruit and ginger aroma, but that's what I got (should have read the label first)

Taste: Fruity, at the outset, with a growing tart character that becomes truly sour by mid-palate; stone fruit (apricot and peach), with a spicy herbal character character; after the swallow, the sour fruit character develops nicely, leaving the herbal elements to grow in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: Expecting a Saison, I was worried that something was wrong for the first few sips, but after reading the label and understanding more of the brewer's intent, I grew to really enjoy this beer; more of an American Wild Ale, in my book but you can call it what you like

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alright, my last beer of the night (while I can still type). I've been on a Saison kick tonight and left this one 'til last.

The pour has a lot of promise. A froathy golden-orange-amber color (let's just call it rusty) forms a foamy and steadfast medium white cap on the beer and lingers for the session while lacing all the while. A very nice look though the color seems a bit dark.

Blended aromas of intense tropical fruits, malted barley, and spicy phenols are bold yet restrained. A lightly vineous and alcohol twinge hits the nose and hints toward astringency and tartness.

...eeek...

Sorry, that was the first sip and it hit a lot of key areas of the mouth quite unexpectedly. Flavors however are a nice and controlled blend of peaches, pineapples, mangos, kiwi, berries, pears, apples, white grapes, lemons, limes... the list goes on. Still all the fruit character is either just ripe or tart- leading to acidic notes in the flavor. Thought the fruity character of the yeast dominate, there is a firm malt component that delivers a soft bready flavor and a nice caramel note that is not commonly found in Saisons. Still, peppery and spicy and expected- cumin, corriander, curraco, white pepper, paprika, and clove can all be identified in the taste.

The beers acidity and bitterness combine in a wierd way and make the initial shock of the beer a bit overwhelming. But that soon settles (or either the beer has tamed me well), then the beer takes on a firmly malty and bready texture that keeps it from complete dryness. The acidity of the beer keeps the focus on the fruits and does help to clean and crispen the beer in the finish. The spicy textures and alcohol help to amplify the dryness, yet there's a sugary feel there that can't be ignored.

Ultimately a good Saison that fits the Farmhouse culture with it's stern control and unpredictable clumsiness. Probably as nice of a Saison as found in the States. Still, there's a something that authentic Belgian Saison holds that's just missing here...

Thanks Opethsprite!

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a hazy orangey color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of spicy peppery yeast with some fruity ester and a lightly tart and quite dry malt base - not sure I am totally enjoying this strange mix. Taste is also a strange mix between light dry and tart notes with some funky fruity ester and a light lingering peppery yeast notes - not the most balanced mix. Body is above average with good carbonation. I can't say I really enjoyed this one with way too many thing happening at the same time but not really balanced between each other.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Polished persimmon with Champagnesque carbonation. All those bubbles have created and are sustaining a massive crown of ecru colored foam that is soft and pillowy. Even though there isn't much stickiness, and therefore little classic lace, several streamers of suds do appear on the glass.

The aroma is as interesting as the ingredients list. That is... very interesting. It's orchard fruity and spicy and slightly sour. The aromas become even better defined and more well-integrated (a seeming paradox) as the beer gains a few degrees. Like almost all of the Unplugged brews, this should be outstanding stuff.

In addition to Belgian yeast, Mr. Carey used lactobacillus for a sourish slant. He also used ginger and grains of paradise to complement the spiciness of the yeast. Styrian Goldings hops round out the list of published ingredients. And the result is... this isn't one of my favorites from New Glarus, but it's good beer nonetheless.

The only change I would have made is the bacteria... as in leaving it out of the kettles. The tart tanginess seems out of place and keeps me from fully enjoying the bubblegum esteriness of the Belgian yeast and the malt-hop, sweet-bitter contrast. That said, it all works pretty well within the loose framework of the style.

As the label suggests, tart apricots are one of the flavor profile's major players. We also have sourdough bread, lemon and orange zest, ground ginger and warm clove. Grains of paradise adds a certain pepperiness, though I never would have been able to identify it if blinded. The beer is sweetish early and finishes tart, acidic and drying. It's quite the rollercoaster ride over and around and through the taste buds.

The alcohol is buried very well, yet it still provides plenty of big beer power and intensity. Despite initial fears, IS doesn't feel overbubbled. It's definitely Belgian ale sparkly, but it doesn't have the expansive creaminess that is needed for the next highest score to be granted.

In the end, this is an immensely interesting ale whose flavor profile can only be described as kaleidoscopic. There are other NGBC brews that I like more, but Unplugged Imperial Saison is a more than worthy addition to a craft beer series of releases that is up there with the Scratch beers from Troegs as best in the U.S.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh yes, another in the unplugged series bites the dust. The newest release, I have to admit I was a bit giddy when this one hit the front porch. Served chilled and poured into a goblet, this one was consumed on 05/20/2009.
 
The pour was magnificent. Rich golden amber in color with a large head of white on top that reached a height that was easily in excess of three inches. Settling down, very reluctantly this one left a huge coating of white all along the sides and the bottom of the glass, making it nearly transparent and opaque as it went forward. Light haze and cloudiness made it really look the part. As I go in I pick up nice notes of peach and banana, hints of a light grassy note and a touch of spice to go along with it. Really nicely done here as it served to really served to hide the ABV quite well. Light grain hints bouncing around now as well. Very smooth, very gentle flavor here. Nicely done again I have to admit. All ABV well masked as light peach, grassy and herbal notes take center stage here. Smooth, well carbonated and really just a very nice sipper.
 
Overall I thought this was excellent, really a very well done example of a style, taking to the next level. I have to give them credit as I have always been impressed with the unplugged series and this just continued it along.

Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brad for sharing this beer.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed golden-orange color with a rather large white head.

S: Lemon zest is the most prominent aroma on this beer. It's got an almost lemon drop candy aroma to it with all the sugary sweetness. Some yeast and a light spiciness with some oranges.

T: The flavor is pretty much exactly the same as lemon drop candies. Sweet sugar and more sugar with a bit of malt. A little bit of yeast and spice esters in there as well as some grass/straw.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: A pretty decent beer, but the sweetness was a little much for me.

Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dave for the quick beer swap yesterday!

Poured the single into a Duvel tulip. There was about a finger of white foam that started to lace, but it didn't really stick, save for a few little spots. A swirl brought the foam right back into action. The color was nice, a bright sunset orange with good clarity. Peaches and hefe banana in the nose, with a light sweetness and mild spice. Grains of paradise are listed on the label, so that could be the spicy element.

Smooth wheaty feel, much like the Imperial Weizen & Crack'd Wheat. Much more fruity flavor, with big peach and mild lemon tartness. The more I sip, the more I dig it...definitely growing on me. Very mild hop presence in the aftertaste, the label mentions Styrian Goldings. Somewhat phenolic, with a juicy initial feel that dries out in the end. The tart bite melds well with the fruit element.

Another solid one-off from New Glarus...

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep orange/gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick but spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, citrus, spices, caramelized malts, some Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very fruity and sweet with strong citrus flavors of orange and lemon up front. There's a little bit of spice in the background as well. Then some bready flavors of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character come in. The hops presence is very mild but provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty but overly fruity, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, for those that are used to Blue Moon and such, this is good next level but overall the fruitiness makes it just a decent beer.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a year aging, this one is still working and carries a bit of a boozy tone. There are nice dough and fruit tones, with some standard style sweetness there as well. Smooth feel. The booze on it and the part that kind of rests in your mouth to stay is a bit of a detractor, but this is still a nice enough one.

Photo of Slatetank
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to adamharbaugh for this, shared with tenderbranson69, tasted in a la fin du monde tulip.

The color of glowing peach in the glass w/ slight haze and thick 2 finger cream of pale beige w/ ultrafine beading. A slinky ring of lace clings on the glass and holds well. The smell is wonderful- stone fruit and slight tropical scents of papaya and pineapple w/ a mild spice ester and slight herbal note. The nose has some ginger which is complimented by some alcohol presence which is not a bad thing. The feel is fruity with a tanginess and very high carbonation w/ mild spice and a very dry finish w/ light tannic quality. A mild tinge of sourness is there which blends well with the subtle alcohol.

The taste is lovely with a papaya and peach blend up front and some ginger w/ lemony taste and mild spiced notes. The peppery tinge from the grain of paradise has a mild floral and the yeast gives a light pineapple taste with a hint of bubblegum. The subtle lemony notes add to the mild woodsy accents and golden pear tang in the finish. A seriously good saison, WOW, lots of fruit from the yeast! A beer I could drink anytime, a wonderfully good experience from New Glarus - exceeded my expectations.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of MasterSki
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dave for tossing one of these my way after a recent WI run. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - Two and a half fingers of blonde foam with solid retention that settles to a thick cap with some solid lacing that coast the entire glass. Hazed semi-transparent apricot color with a nice glow to it and a few lazy bubbles visible.

S - This is one potent brew - I could smell it upon popping the cap. Tons of malted wheat, lemon, yeast, spices, peach, banana - it's almost like a cross between a saison and a hefeweizen in some ways.

T - Wow - I was not expecting this much sourness. It's much more sour apple, but there's also a fruity champagne character as well with a mixture of apple, peach, banana, and apricot. There's some persistent tartness to the aftertaste. This is one of the few beers I've had where the taste is really different from the smell, yet just as good. No obvious alcohol in either taste nor smell.

M - Moderate carbonation, with a little bit of a tingle on the top of the palate. Very viscous - this is not the refreshing summer saison, but something creamy and hearty instead. Very dry finish, with both stickiness and cotton mouth in the residual feel. I don't have much of a benchmark for "Imperial" Saisons, but this is very complex - I think I've written more for the mouthfeel on this one than 99% of my reviews.

D - The high ABV and moderate carbonation bump this down a notch. The thickness also makes it somewhat of a slow sipper for me. It'd probably take me a few days to get through a 4-pack, and I doubt I'd want more than one at a time.

Still, another winner from New Glarus.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled March 2010
A steady pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces almost four-fingers of lightly amber tinged, pale tan colored froth. The beer is a murky amber hue that shows golden-orange tinged, somewhat hazed, amber color and tons of streaming carbonation bubbles when held up to the light. The aroma smells quite strongly of expressive, floral peach. the fruitiness has a hint of tartness to it, but mostly smells sweet like flower nectar and perhaps honey-like notes. There is a hint of earthy phenolics and spiciness towards the finish of the nose, but mostly this smells like juicy-fruit bubble-gum and peaches. Perhaps a hint of clove and some cracker like grain notes are noticeable as this warms.

Somewhat dry, with a faint tartness as it first hits my tongue, the tartness picks up and becomes solidly noticeable, though not more than soft, as the beer finishes. Again, floral peach notes play a big role in the flavor, but there is not nearly as much perceived sweetness as was in the aroma. It has that grain-like quality that I associate with wheat. A touch of phenolics and some very earthy, perhaps pepper like note scent the finish as does a dry, ginger-like flavor and a hint of peppery alcohol. The tartness and the zippy carbonation help this beer to be quite quaffable; strangely the medium'ish body tends to negate the high level of carbonation

This is quite a nice beer; I really am enjoying the balance between floral, peach, hint of spice, wheat, subtle sweetness and light tartness. It can seem a touch phenolic, or perhaps it is also a mix of higher alcohols that come through, in the finish at times, but for the most part this is well in check. I do like that this "Imperial" is not overly sweet.

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of yourefragile
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle received in a trade long ago.

Pours a bright clear, golden copper with a massive and retentive cream colored head. Some legs and dots of streaky lacing. Aroma is fruity and mildly tart, mushy bananas, pear, clove and grass. Flavor is very fruity and tangy, like a hybrid hefe/saison. Not much funk or earth except for the dry grassy finish. Fruit is generally overly ripe and similar to a slightly past it's prime peach. Medium full body with soft carbonation and mild booze. Refreshing, yet robust; a very unique enjoyable saison.

Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to the random dude behind me in the bottle pick-up line at Dark Lord Day who traded with me for this 12oz brown bottle.

Poured into a goblet, it appears a hazed golden orange color with a finger of fluffy yellowish stained head comprised mostly of large bubbles. Constantly streaming bubbles of carbonation rise to the surface in support of the head that retains very well and seemingly climbs up the edges of the glass in a very ackward uneven pattern of lace that leaves the head with larger bubbles on the botton and a smooth silky layer on top...interesting. Aroma of this beer is quite fruity with a scent similar to a combination of pears meets grapes. Also evident in the smell of this beer is some maltiness and just a touch of some sourness and funk in the backend. Taste is tart with a bold amount of alcohol character upfront that leads through a warming body to a dry finish that is partially puckering and tart. Flavors of the alcohol are noted throughout the body along with a touch of some funky barnyard or hay flavors. The aftertaste of this beer resorts back to the pear and a bit of the barnyard flavors mixed with a peppery note partially accented by the dryness and boldness of the alcohol bite. Feel of this beer is light with a very lively, high amount of carbonation. Overall it was a good experience and I would love to try it again.

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark golden orange color with a frothy two finger white head that slowly settles into a thin crown. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy aroma with some funky saison yeast countered by some zesty spice, bread, alcohol and light fruit. Subtle grassy barnyard character with hints of apple, pear and peach balancing things out.

Creamy medi body with tight carbonation and a heavy spice presence up front. Hintsnof pepper, clove and and coriander followed by estery fruits, bread and alcohol. Well balanced and complex with a dry finish. Slightly tart with hints of apple, pear and light grapes with a touch of earthy hops toward the end of the palate. refreshing and deceptively drinkable.

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Unplugged Imperial Saison from New Glarus Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.