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Unplugged Imperial Saison - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Unplugged Imperial SaisonUnplugged Imperial Saison

Educational use only; do not reuse.

228 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 228
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 49
Gots: 9 | 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:
Beer added by: Atron67 on 05-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 228 | Reviews: 187
Photo of alcstradamus
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours a light, glowing copper color with a huge, billowing 3 finger head in my 16 oz. snifter. Nice lacing down the glass

S--Light yeasty aroma, with a bit of clove and orange peel. Mild, yet a complex mash of fruits is present just enough to make it interesting

T--Whoa, this one is more tart then I expected. Definitely tasty though. Tart apples, grapes, orange, and lemon mesh together and create a complex but not overpowering brew. I have yet to find a "sour" beer that I truly like, but this may be the one. Probably because it is not near as sour as others I have tried. Maybe this will be my gateway?

M--Medium bodied with a slight carbonation sting

D--Still doesn't have that "x factor" to make me really get excited, but a really solid beer that is for sure

Photo of blackearth
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange with a white head. A rather vigorous pour into a snifter yielded a bit of yeast in the glass that made "legs" down the sides near the bottom. Aroma of grapefruit and alcohol. Full bodied with a spicy mouthfeel from the carbonation, very much like champagne. Sour finish with a touch of alcohol warmth. Nice beer, but you would only need to drink one in an evening.

Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark orange color with a tall head that won't die. Nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus and peppery - some other fruits in there, but the orange peel is the dominant one. The most surprising thing about the flavor is the tart zing that it brings to the party. It almost has the remnants of a lambic tang to the end of the flavor, and I like it. There is a definite pepper and citrus character in the flavor along with a lingering sweetness. The texture reminds me of a chewy wheat based beer. It isn't thin, but it's not thick either - like I said, reminds me of a good wheat beer. The drinkability is quite good. Nice brew. I'm not sure about the 'imperial' part, as it's only 8.7% and most are around 7%-8%, but it's still quite good.

Photo of Fartknocker
3.19/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a globe glass
A- Dark amber/golden color, I like to put a few drops of water in the bottle to pick up the remaining sediment which clouds and encirles the glass
S- faint citrus/malt smell
T- Combo of beer and citrusy wine cooler, emphasis on wine cooler
M- depending on pour (large head vs little head), much effevervesence from glass bottom
D- So so

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass, courtesy of Jason (MBABJJ) - huge thanks!

Pours pale copper, hazy with some gorgeous effervescence and a positively gargantuan off-white head. Head is just gorgeous - so dense and meringue-like, very long lasting and incredible 3D lacing. Took three pours to finally get the whole bottle in the glass. Just overall, a gorgeous beer - a bit more head retention would push this up to perfect.

Nose is fruity, a bit tart, apricots and peaches, some white grape, and some nice tangy wheat. Different, but I'm loving it.

Taste is big time tart and fruity - like nothing I expected. Lots of peaches, apricots, white grapes, with a fantastic light, fruity tartness that's really unlike anything I've found in a saison before. Very tangy. Some light yeasty breadiness in the body and towards the finish. Not really getting anything in the way of hops. There's definitely a white-wine character to this - juicy but a bit dry, with a light, fruity tarness. The very light lacto note just makes this beer. Very different, and very delicious. If I could buy a case of this tomorrow, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, very soft, medium-full bodied, juicy, with a light tartness towards the back of the tongue. Would be interesting to try this with a bit more carbonation, but the lightness really brings out the chardonnay aspects that I'm so into with this one.

Drinkability is phenomenal. Balanced but refreshing, never wearing on the palate, delicious, unique.

Note: 1-2 months after this posting, and the subsequent NG IS haven't stacked up to the first - the lacto has run wild, destroying what's left of the saison aspect. It's a bit of a mess at thi spoint, but I'll let my initial review stand. When I had my first, it was mind blowing.

Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

and the saison trend continues...

a: westmalle chalice, pour gives a bubbly head atop a hazy orange-golden beer - gorgeous coloring, good retention

s: honeyed wheat malts, big presence of fresh and candied peach, candied ginger and moderate esters, peach-pineapple cake, grape juice concentrate, mild peppery-sweet spice from the grains of paradise, would be a bit on the sweet side for my preference but it's balanced with a touch of tart crabapple, a great blend of aromas

m: carbonation rides the high-medium border and may be a touch abrasive, body on the lighter side of medium

t: fresh peach juice upfront on a full wheat body, alcohol hits the stomach quickly after swallowing and a body-warming effect soon follows, candied lemon rind and peppery grains of paradise, white grape juice, moves quickly from the mildly sweet fruits and wheat to a tart finish of crisp herbal and citrus rind hops - meanwhile bypassing or cutting short much of the complexity found in the aroma, candied peach lingers

d: just fine, though a bit hindered by the evident alcohol

one of two carried down by dr. dirts on his Metro visit, the other will chill for a year or two

Photo of akorsak
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to eyncognito for this foil-wrapped 12 oz bottle.

A: The is a darker color, more amber than not with an orange sunrise glow. The pour generated a finger of head that left small patches of lace.

S: The nose is beautiful, sweet with peaches as the dominant aroma. Golden delicious apple is also evident. In any other context, this is a fruit beer but here is transcends fruit. Bitter anise and candi sugars remind me that this is no fruit brew.

T: While the nose is awesome, the taste struggles to live up to the high bar. The fruits are strong, dominating the front of the sip with a peacn and apricot sweetness. The yeast strain has created a licorice flavor that contrasts with the fruit. Tartness becomes more pronounced as the ale warms, creating a full taste that is almost too intense. Peach and banana (!) flavors linger just after the funkiness passes.

M: The mouthfeel careens from sweet to funky and back to sweet all in the course of one sip. The sweet finish is a big highlight.

D: The 9% price tag is well hidden but the funky yeast is almost too much to really enjoy. The peach and apricot flavors make me want more though.

Photo of koopa
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received as an extra from brian23456 who has been a great trader!

Appearance: Burnt orange with a 1 finger white crown that rapidly dissipates. Some lacing left behind.

Smell: A world of apricots, peaches, hops, and spices. Grains of Paradise, Ginger, Styrian Golding Hops, etc.

Taste: Sweet dough, peaches, apricots, etc. A bit of a citrus zing in the beginning that gives way to a more rounded fruityness and a sweet but bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Really great mouthfeel here. A touch towards the light side of medium bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: All day all summer!

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

The label claims something about Unplugged Saison capturing a "shot of apricot and peach"; that much is true, I can attest because I've paired the beer along side some apricots and indeed the colour resemblance is uncanny. (It's also about as transparent as an apricot, too). I have to deduct points, however, for the dismal lack of head (or outline even). But the beer is still charming, its colour dwindles like that of a summer sunset.

There seems to be a little more resemblance to fruit in the appearance than there is in smell. Although I do note a little curdled fruit (not necessarily peaches or apricots but just about any orchard fruit really) the aroma inevitably belongs to the yeast and spices. It is a fragrant bouquet, spicy and lightly floral with very exotic elements. It's a peculiar blend of scents that is not really quite like anything I've smelt before, in a saison or otherwise.

Which is not surprising given I've never had a beer that was brewed with traditional farmhouse yeast *and* injected with Lactobacillus bacteria *and* spiced with grains of paradise *and* seasoned with ginger. (Like many complex ales, this is also bottle-conditioned to boot). Altogether these ingredients make for a beer that is less unusual than it is tasty. I doubt it was simple to balance these flavours, but hot damn it worked!

How does it work? I don't know, that I'll have to leave up to the brewer to explain (man! Dan Carey is good!) Why does it work so well? Simple, because no part of the palate goes overlooked. This malt offers only light flavours of toasted straw but it is sturdy enough to make each mouthful feel full and quenching. The spices impart exotic, herbal, spicy, distinct flavorings that compliment the excess of fruity notes (citric, tropical and orchard).

To really top matters off, the Lactobacillus imparts a subtle hint of funky tartness, one that really makes this over the top refreshing. Saisons brewed with only farmhouse yeast - distinctive in its own right - can be funky, tart or fruity, this beer is all that plus a certain indefinable quality. The carbonation is effervescent and this could not be pairing any better with my plate of nuts, dried and fresh fruits and pungent (!) Belgian cheese.

I wish all the New Glarus Unplugged offerings were widely distributed year round releases. Every single one I've had has been a creative, delicious, impeccably brewed specimen - pieces or art, really. Although I sometimes stay awake at night thinking about the Quadruple, the Smoked Rye Bock, the Enigma or Imperial Weizen, I have a feeling that no summer will now ever be complete without at least one bottle of the Saison. Thanks Alex!

Photo of bennetj17
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep orange, with thorough haze. Massive foam (over an inch thick) tops it off, holding very steady. I could tell alot of carbonation escaped when I popped the cap. Nice lacing. The aroma seems very atypical for a Saison. It is very pungent with a floral sharpness, somewhat medicinal. I get alot of tangy fruit notes, mostly apple and citrus. Interesting.

Intensely tangy, almost tart flavor, with apple, lemon, and grapefruit notes. It does get a little sweeter toward the finish, but basically it leans toward sour. Alcohol is not detected. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side, with a slight foaminess helping out the body.

Overall I was not impressed with this beer. It certainly is unique, but I didn't expect a heavier version of a Farmhouse Ale to taste like this. I love sour beers, but this one lacks the funk, and is more of a straightforward sour apple that is fairly astringent. Where is the classic earthiness?

Photo of ZAP
3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Original review from a couple days back was a 3.1...upping the taste from a 2.5 to a 3.0 and drinkability from a 2.5 to a 3.0..I have finished the four pack and it actually grew on me a little...the peaches and apricots are there....still too sour for me and for a saison but this is OK...

I'm probably in the minority on this but I am not a big fan on this. I understand most saisons have some tartness but the tartness on this overwhelmes everything else for me..

A sour apple sourness...some funky almost barnyard notes...spritzy champagne feel to the carbonation and body...

Aroma has just some mild apricots and peaches but that is not noticable on the flavor...maybe a little black pepper on the taste but not much more than the tartness/sourness and yeastiness..

Sorry just too much sourness and tartness for a saison...

Photo of brewcrew76
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange with big fluffy white head that leaves pillows of foam and sticky lace behind.

S - Peach and apricot with a touch of spicy yeast, somewhat sweet but with a slightly sour twang also present. Grassy with a bit of banana.

T - Peach and apricot, ginger which is more noticeable as it warms, spice, sweet but tart with a little funk, banana and lingering fruits.

M - Medium body with a good amount carbonation and a lingering tartness.

D - Another interesting take on a style from NG. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was the third of my four bottles, two I drank fresh, this one has aged a few months, the next one I will not be drinking for about a year i think.

A: 4 finger white head with small, creamy looking bubbles. Light golden beer with lots of active carbonation. Zero lacing. The head does go away pretty quick.

S: Spicy with a clear Belgian funk. No hops, and only a bit of maltiness.

T: A strong, creamy citrus dominates, it reminds me of Flat Earth's Belgian Pale Ale. But it is a yeasty citrus, not a hoppy one. There is still no hops to be found. Other notes I would include are bitter sweet and a bit metallic.

M: Very smooth and creamy, it's heavy for the color.

D: Alright, but takes some getting used to.

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

pours a golden orange color with a big head that dissipates really fast to a nice fresh looking head and ring the smell is apricot and melon , lemon and other fruitful gems along with a yeasty Belgium taste/strain ...the taste is tart and assertive in both fruit and spices the mouth feel is tart sweet and fruity it hits the taste buds right away it is very drinkable @ 8.70 abv..although not my favorite NG offering still a great one to try NG never disappoints ...an outstanding brewery... try this one if you are a fan of their wheat's and hefewiezens and dunkels a solid offering but not one that i would have more than 1 of in a night... recommended

Photo of cvaypai
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a chimay goblet.

Appearance - Golden/orange, lots of bubbles streaming upwards, 2 finger frothy head that dissipates rather quickly but retains at about 1 finger.

Smell- Belgian yeast and bread, sweetness and fruity aromas detected.

Taste- Extremely sweet with some sour taste to it, peach and apricot detected. Even a bit of orange? You can tell it is a saison due to its belgian flavor, still apparent. I like it.

Mouthfeel- Stings the tongue, but not really in a good way, pretty sour and sweet, carbonation is good.

Drinkability- One is enough for me, just wanted to try it.

Photo of KBomb
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, NG Imperial Saison has a great murky orange/bronze body with a big sudsy head. Frothy lacing and bombastic swirling carbonation certainly make this a nice looking beer. The aromas are stellar. Its like a fruit salad: smells of fresh tangerine, green apple, and apricot. A little yeasty bread smell hides in the background. Taste is dominated by sweet and tart citrus fruit, with a very quiet note of mild earthy hops and grains. Big sour finish, but not unpleasant. Prickly high carbonation lifts and highlights tart flavors, medium-light bodied. In spite of high AVB, quite drinkable.

This beer is a treat! The big bold fruit flavors excite the palette without crossing the line. A more perfect beer might have a little more malt backbone, but its tasty nonetheless. It will be hard to pace myself with these. I'll need an excuse to return to WI for another pack!

Photo of BeerTruth
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another NG gem from flyingbison on TBS.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy bronzed orange with an aggressive three finger slightly off-white head which seems to stay forever. Decent amount of stick, wonderful looking beer. Aroma is to die for. A sweet bouquet consisting of pear, apple, mango, and floral scents. Underneath that is the bready yeast body with a a good dose earthy hops. No booze in the nose and for an almost 9% abv beer, that's a big plus in my books. Flavor is very similar, but with a good amount of spice. Lots of pear flavors with some ginger, peach, and nectarine as well. The earthy hops and alcohol sting emerge in the end with a bit of warmth that lingers on the tongue. Light fluffy body with a crisp bite from the strong carbonation which leaves the tongue tingling. Interesting saison, I have a feeling some folks won't enjoy this because of the high abv, but the flavors are complex and enjoyable. Definitely looking forward to seeing what some age will do to this one. Thanks again Steve!

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 2 finger head. Not much lacing left. Cloudy orange color. Nice 1 finger collar of foam lasted for almost entire glass.

S. Yeast, malt, spice, fruit, musty smell.

T. Very complex. sweet, sour, apricots, spices, peach.

M Light/medium bodied. Lots of carbonation. Somewhat of a sparkling quality.

D. A very complex and delicous beer. There is a lot going on with this one. Even with the higher abv I think I could put down quite a few of these.

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

Pours a cloudy pale orange.

Smells of alcohol, grains, and peaches. Interesting.

Flavors come off muted on this. Alcohol makes itself known, with a blend of peaches, bananas, pineapple and spices. Lacking the complexity I was hoping for.

Mouthfeel slick. Feels a bit watery, but maybe that's the muted flavors.

This was pleasant enough, but didn't quite live up to expectations. Flavors seem to be slurried together and it comes off a little watery. I'll age a couple of the others, maybe it will improve with time.

Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into La Choufe Tullip.

Pours a 2 and 1/2 finger creamy white head. After a few minutes the head is gone. No lace. Color is an extremely hazy bright, but dark pumpkin orange (of that makes any sense. Can't see through this one. Very appealing beer.

Aroma: Yeasty. Very tart/citrus (but not like an ipa citrus) smells are coming from this beer. I can definitely smell the apricots. Very interesting.

Taste: Has the funky farmhouse taste. Very tart and sour beer. Yeasty and bready. A touch of alcohol. A very interesting saison.

Mouthfeel: Very sour and very tarty. Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Leaves a very tarty aftertaste. A little booze shines through after it is in the mouth for a bit. I like the sour aspect here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this saison. A real treat for a hot summer day. The sour/tart in this was awesome. I think I will cellar a bottle of two of these and see what happens to them. Good beer that is worth a try, however, one of these will do for me in a sitting.

Side note: this beer was good enough that as I sat outside drinking it, a bee tried to get his share of my treat :)

Photo of rtepiak
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an american style saison done right with a complex arrangement of fruit esters in the american fashion... by imperializing. orange and nearly clear without murkiness and breadiness really. upon popping a collection of fruit, apricot, peach, apple, lemon, with a lace of alcohol and sweet cane bubble gum. a mild banana. palate of pepper and mint. a subtle tart. the hop and fruit character is in no way that of a formal saison. the take is interesting... and a step in a good direction but there is something very base about the range of this beer as you get down the glass.

Photo of Murchmac
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy, head that follows it, hazy orange. If I drink too much of this beer will I turn orange?

Smells like an arsonist poured sweet vinegar on a barn with green apples.

Taste wakes you the fuck up, green apples, sweet and sour, champagney like alcohol. Is this you baby, or just a brilliant disguise?

Chaka fear fire, but drink beer.

Photo of younger35
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Casanova's on my way back to Chicago from Minneapolis. Crazy what they'll make imperial now a days. Excited to try this though. Drank from a crystal wine glass since I'm moving and it's the only glass not packed.

Appearance- Pours a lightly yellowish orange with a small fizzy head that is off white and disappears rather quickly. Not a speck of head is left leaving the beer not looking much like beer.
Smell- Very fruity and slightly spicy with (like the bottle says) notes of peach and apricot with flecks of pineapple and tart green apples. A bit of yeast adds more spice and a bit of earth. Slightly sweet smelling as well as a soft bready malt hides in the background.
Taste- Starts with a green apple like tartness that is not exactly puckering but a sharp wake up call for sure. Slightly bitter in the back of the mouth with a light bit of fruit consisting of pineapple and lemon. The yeast might add a bit of earthiness but nothing crazy. Maybe even a hint of grass but not a peep out of the alcohol. After reading a few reviews I thought it would be more prominent.
Mouthfeel- Light and crisp with some sharp champaign like carbonation.
Drinkability- Very tasty and quite easy drinking. Its not exactly what I expected and I'm surprised to see grains of paradise in here. But good none-the-less. Glad I picked up a four pack.

Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy orange color, very close to the color of orange marmalade, with a huge white head. The head was so large I had to wait for it to settle down before pouring the rest of the beer into the glass. The lacing is sticky and clings to the side of the glass.

Smell - Nice aroma of lemons, oranges, apricots, and peaches. Also had the aroma of ginger and yeast.

Taste - This is the stuff! Lemons, oranges, apricots, peaches, ginger, and some spices add up to a great flavor. The beer gets more of a peppery taste as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, well carbonated, sweet, almost leaves a "sticky" dry feeling in the mouth.

Drinkability - Without a doubt, this is highly drinkable. Another great effort from New Glarus.

Photo of wryepicures
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy golden tan, fluffy white persisting head that leaves a lacy film.

Initial smells of sparkling wine, grass, fruits (apricots, peach, grape), floral notes, hops, barnyard. Gets a nice funky smell as it opens up.

Taste: Fizzy sparkling champagne, peaches, pears, grapes, apples. Grass, floral hops, and crisp sour flavors coat the palate. Some fresh aromatic herbs come thru, gingery spices liven up the palate. Sour finish that works well with overall tastes.

The alcohol isn't heavily present, making this very drinkable. Full flavorful mouthfeel, not coating or slick, no lingering bitterness.

Excellent mixed style, very drinkable, and very well done. I will begin hoarding this one.

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