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Unplugged Imperial Saison - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Unplugged Imperial SaisonUnplugged Imperial Saison

Educational use only; do not reuse.

188 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 188
Hads: 233
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 49
Gots: 10 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 188 | Hads: 233
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

New Glarus- Unplugged Imperial Saison

A- Very cloudy white tinged orange with a thick billowy head. Too foamy and heavy lacing.
S- Sour and tart fruit rinds; orange and lemon with a nice touch of apricot, peach, and pear. Slight spicy peppery aroma too.
T- Sour/ tart fruit. Peaches, apricots, lemon, apple, and pear come through big and bold thick yeasty and spicy pepper, poppy seed, banana, and clove.
M- Thick tangy ripe fruitiness with a sour and slighty dry bitter coating on the tongue.Very tart.

Overall- Although I'm not a Saison fan, this was quite enjoyable. Any more funky and I wouldn't like it.

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Photo of John_M
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled over at Dyan's place the other night.

The beer pours a dark gold color with good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is very impressive, with brown sugar, honey, plum, cherry and chocolate... maybe some lime as well (not exactly an aroma profile I typically encounter in a saison). While the flavors generally replicate the nose, they're not quite as impressive and intense on the palate as what I got on the nose. Still, there's plenty of flavor in this medium to full bodied beer, although I did get a bit of alcoholic bitterness in the finish. Nevertheless, drinkability is very good in this beer, with the alcohol fairly well dialed down.

Interesting beer, and one I wish I could have tried when it was a bit younger (am assuming the flavor profile has maatured and changed just a bit since its release).

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

Thanks to a very generous trader for the extra! Had this earlier tonight, from notes.

Nice pillowy foam atop a semi hazy dark-orangey brew. Pretty fluffy head of about 3 fingers initially, fading to a nice cap. Appetizing.

Smells great too... some fruitiness esters and spice. Lemony with some crackery malt and a grainyness to it. Good amount of spice here.. not peppery really, more floral in a way, maybe white pepper? A little bit of warming alcohol through the back as it warmed. Excellently expressive yeast.

Taste is full and considerably robust. A little more residual sweetness here than a lot of saisons. Having said that, it's got this great tangy wheat/juicy lemon thing going on with just the slightest bit of tartness. Some apples and that spice again in the finish. It really works well with the spices and malt profile.

Firm carbonation helps lift some of the robustness and booze in this brew. Though, as this warmed the ABV became surprisingly apparent... I would drink this one closer to 40-45 to help accentuate some of its brighter flavors.

Definitely a very well crafted beer. I'll tell you, they have some great yeast over there. I look forward to trying more from New Glarus, and I haven't been disappointed yet!

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Photo of pdoran10
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out with an overwhelming amount of head even when I pour a 12 oz. bottle into an oversized pint glass. Almost overflowed the glass. Really exciting appearance!

The smell is funk, spice, a hint of banana. Very inviting. The taste is right away sour. As it warms in my mouth I pick up the complexity of flavors of spice, belgian yeast, and a bit of banana. The sour is a bit overwhelming up front though. The mouth feel is smooth with a bit of sediment. Just right for a saison. The sour edge to this beer, make it a bit overwhelming and I don't think I could have more than one or two.

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Photo of everetends
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Stoked to give this beer a go. I have to thank kpruim01 for sending this my way with incredible generousity. Served up in a snifter.

A: Pours golden yellow to orange like copper, depends on where it is sitting in the glass and how much light is hitting it. Held to the light. Held to the light, we have more of the same going on in here. We have a bit more of the yellows coming out. The body is nice and hazy with a medium amount of carbonation moving around in here. The pour got me a little over a finger of white, foamy head. Falls to about half a finger and throws up some chunky lacing on the glass. Nice and sticky. This is a good looking brew.

S: The apricot is coming out nicely in this nose. Lots of clean apricot aromas coming out. Little bit of orange and tangerine making themselves known. Lots of fruit coming out in here. There is a bit of pepper kicking around in here with a touch of ginger. Really nice earthy hops coming across, nice and grassy. Little bit of yeast making itself known. Barnyard is nice and light, just a touch of wet hay and sweat in here. Really nice aromas.

T: Yet again we start out with a lot of fruit. Starts with a light, nice and fresh apricot flavor. Behind that some sour peach makes an appearance. Citrus rounds out the fruit with some orange and lemon and orange peel. A little bit of ginger bite along with some peppery spiciness as well, very tame though. The flavor doesn't hold much as far as barnyard flavors. A little bit of tartness might be covering up anything barnyard. All the sour that comes out is a bit grape like and comes in on the very backend. Just a touch of sour at the end but nothing crazy. Yeast is very light but also keeps on the backend as well.

M: Medium in body which has a nice slickness to it. ABV has a really big presence to it. Very not saison like. Huge amount of heat just sitting on the back of the throat and really warms you up. This is a beer to warm you in the winter (so says the label) so it is absolutely making that happen. Carbonation is a little prickly or it might be just before prickly. Aftertaste is that sour grape and a touch of residual peach.

D: This is a sipper for me which seems to be unlike other folks impressions. I am getting some serious heat and warmth out of this beer which is crazy because there is no booze in the aroma or flavor. Its a weird sensation. Still a very nice beer that has a lot of flavors kickin in here. We have fruity sweet, tart and sour all moving around in here. Very enjoyable and glad I had a shot at it. Tasty stuff.

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Photo of garbercury
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Beerwolf77 for the opportunity to try this one...Thanks Todd!!! Cracked this one during the Olympic Hockey matchup between US and Canada, great game so far.

A---Poured into Unibroue snifter with a quickly dissipating three finger head. Not a lot of lacing retention. A golden-orange color.

S---Pears are the thing that really stick out to me, you can also smell the alcohol in it, good smelling beer.

T---Fruity esters--pears, apples? There is a deeper, more hearty flavor to this that is unusual for most Saisons.

M---Not too thin, medium body.

D---Interesting brew and interpretation of this style. The alcohol is certainly up front in this one, I am feeling the ABV and the "imperial" part of the deal. Solid brew.

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

Thanks goes out to beerwolf77 for this one.

Pours a nice cloudy golden orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, very nice huge thick foamy white head, with tons of thick sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some yeast notes, spice, citrus, pears. The taste is malty, yeasty, tart, spicy, with some citrus/pears. Medium body, highly carbonated brew. Drinkable, a tasty one at that.

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

Clear, light amber with a white, thin head. Lots of bubbles rising and a good amount of lacing.
Smell is bananas, citrus, belgian yeast, and some slight malts. Faint aroma of figs as well. Very nice.
Taste is more like a dark belgian ale. Somewhat tart and spicey, with dark, fruits.
Nice and crisp up front, and nice and dry on the finish.
Quite drinkable. Tasty, with a well-concealed ABV.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.91/5  rDev -28.1%
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.

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

12 Fl. Oz. bottle covered in foil. Poured into Koningshoeven Goblet.
A: Cloudy pumpkin brown. CO2 trails released around goblet. Highly effervescent. Half inch bubbly head. Lacing left all around the goblet.
S: Pronounced banana aroma immediately after opening. Orange peel, coriander, and lemon.
T: Bright citric tones, super bitter body, and a very mellowed out linger. After a couple of sips more spice becomes apparent. Lemon leads in bitterness and rounds out with faint bananas.
M: High pCO2. Very light on tongue. Somewhat chalky.
D: Alcohol is covered well and it is full of flavor

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another awesome score at The Brat Stop in Kenosha, WI! Picked up a 4 pack on the way through...along with a ton of encased meats and delicious cheeses!! This has been tucked away in my fridge for a while, about 5 months now.

Appearance- Pours very pale orange with brilliant golden highlights. Some yeast from bottom of bottle hazes it up a little. Tight creamy white head builds and does not go anywhere! Loads of beady bubbles continuously rise from the bottom of the glass. Leaves behind an entire sheet of lacing top to bottom! Beautiful!

Aroma- Excellent sweet Saison aromas with floral, light lemony citrus, slightly powdery, subtle yeasty spices. Now that it has aged for a while, it almost has a hint of sourness.

Flavor- Tingly CO2 prickles the tongue and makes way for a citrusy, slightly herbal, and mildly spicy start. Malt complexity and warming alcohol round out middle as it all comes together in an almost candy-like finish. A touch of sour really makes this brew awesomely refreshing. Nice herbal hop, soft yeast spice, moderate sourness, malt complexity, and alcohol fusion in the finish make for a dangerously drinkable and enticing brew...

Mouthfeel- Very effervescent, high CO2, light bodied but rich with complexity. Slightly dry finish with a moderate sourness (maybe from aging?). Low residual sugars.

Overall- Delightful saison that really packs a wallup! Perfect in the summer, and a great winter warmer if you are in the mood for something different. After reviewing my initial tasting notes from 5 months ago, the biggest differences are that the head retention and lacing have increased, the fruitiness in the aroma and flavor have subsided slightly, the sourness/tartness has definitely diminished over time, and the malt complexity has melded together a bit more as individual malt flavors of biscuit and grainy notes mellow out. I would recommend having this fresh! The fruitiness in it is outstanding fresh in this brew!

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Photo of jrallen34
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark gold with a little orange. It has crazy carbonation bringing about a finger off-white head that has great retention and lacing. The head itself is nice and creamy.

The aroma is pretty light, smells like any other saison.

The tatse is awesome, not at all what I was expecting and not at all like a saison. It starts out pretty sweet, actually is a little sour and finishes better, very complex.

The feel is ok, decent drinkability.

Probably, one of my favorite saison's, mostly because it doesn't taste like one.

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

Huge thanks to an overgenerous natasharai who hand delivered this and many others to the last frontier.

Pours a nice almost amber light orange hue with slight haziness and a huge fluffy white cauliflower head that retains extraordinarily well and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is somewhat tart with notes of peach and potpourri, slight green apple and a little hay.

Taste follows with large belgian yeast profile and a fairly profound hoppiness. There is definitely some green apple notes, peach also comes out. A slight tartness is there, but its more of a subtle berlinerweisse-like tartness rather than blatant bugs. Absurdly dry on the finish. Some floral notes in the aftertaste, and the light fruits come out again.

Mouthfeel is nice and bubbly, appropriately carbonated for the style. Viscosity is right around where you'd think it would be for an "imperial saison". Insanely dry finish.

Drinkability is pretty damn good. The abv really doesn't make an appearance, and aside from a little more thickness and a touch more sweetness you wouldn't even know this was imperial.

Overall, a very nice beer. Certainly a unique, yet authentically oriented adaptation of the style. I like where the tartness sits here, and i also love how dry the finish is despite the fact that this one is a bit beefier than your average saison. Would be interesting to see how this one ages, but i can't see it going for much more than a couple of years. Another good one from NG, they continue to appease on a regular basis.

Thanks tash!!!

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

Holy out of control carbonation! I opened the bottle to a loud hiss and poured into my glass, getting a nice 5 finger head. Let's hope there's nothing wrong with this brew.

A - Once the head settled and I was able to view the brew, I noticed a brew with a very cloudy dark orange color. The head was foamy at first and became more fluffy over the next several minutes, eggshell white in color, and it left a white foamy wall of lace down the inside of the glass.

S - Citrusy aroma consisting of what I perceive to be a combination of oranges and apples. Not overly aromatic but smells tasty.

T & M - Tart citrus flavors, it seems to end with a bit of an apple juice flavor. The 8.7% ABV is fairly well masked, I can just perceive the warmth as I drink this brew. Medium bodied and really creamy. With the initial burst of carbonation I would have expected this to be a lot more coarse.

D - I really have enjoyed this beer! If not for the higher ABV I would have given this a 4.5. If you don't mind a higher ABV brew, this is a tasty number you could drink all night. As always, I'm impressed with what New Glarus puts out. Highly recommended!

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Photo of DiabolikDUB
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Bottle into Pint glass.

Pours a cloudy orange with a couple fingers of very slightly off-white, fizzy head that quickly dissolves into a nice layer a top the glass that actually appears somewhat creamy which seams odd considering my first look. The aroma is mandarin oranges, lemon verbena, cream and yeast. The flavor is sweet, slightly tangy fruit, bitter orange peel, spices, yeast and a little alcohol. Its medium bodied with a prickly presence of carbonation. This beer was slightly tart and full of fruit. I really enjoyed the aroma more so than the flavor although it was all good.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Exceptional deep cloudy golden look, with massive fluffy head, off white with great lace.

The smell has big fruit notes of pear, apple, and apricot. A bit spicy as well. Really good nose.

I would call this a huge fruit bomb, with balance, a long finish, not sweet but lacking any funk here that I prefer in this style. Big mouthfeel and effervescent carbonation make it overblown in the mouth. Very unusual for this style but I would take this as a sessionalbe beer if possible, no sign of the relatively abv.

What can I say, this is a great beer, off style, but still wonderful.

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Photo of nickd717
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade.

Pours a hazy golden color with a massive white head that lasts an eternity.

Aroma is Belgian yeast, apple and light fruit, funk, and pale malt.

Flavor is pale malt and lots of yeasty funk and citrusy tartness. Some apple juice on the finish. Decent but maybe a little strange.

Medium body with high carbonation.

Drinkability is fairly high. Despite being odd, this is refreshing, with ABV well hidden.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A: Moderate pour yields a 2 finger coarse white head that dissipates rather quickly. Brew itself is a semi-cloudy orange-peach color. Lacing is near non-existent.

S: Farmhouse skunkines, spiciness, booze, and some sort of red fruit that I can only identify as faint cherries.

T: Starts off sharp tartness that dissipates slowly and really lasts through the whole experience. Booze is also apparent throughout and fades a bit, making way for subdued cherries, raspberries, and other red fruitiness. No real "ending" here as the flavors kind of just fade gradually.

M: Light to medium bodied, crisp, highly carbonated and coarse. Finish is very clean and semi-dry with near no aftertaste.

D: Pretty drinkable for a saison and exactly what I'd expect from New Glarus. A little fruit twist and the light mouthfeel makes this very enjoyable. Definitely worth seeking out and trying and in my opinion, yet another winner from the Wisconsin brewery.

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Photo of hrking
2.48/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Popped this one into a tulip and expected to be pleased like I usually am with most of the offering from New glarus..This one disappointed stepping away from the expected saison effervescence and delivering a strong hot alcohol phenol that came across hard to drink ..I consider myself an avid beer lover of most styles but maybe making this Imperial was stepping away from the style a little too much..

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- The gentle pour produces a big creamy light tan foam with an apricot colored crystal clear body with a sea of micro bubbles. S- The soft lemony note fades to a slight green finish but it is pretty clean over all.
T- This beer has a tart sour beginning with a lemony soft black pepper hint in the finish. There is a lemon hint that lingers after each finish. The tartness grows and a soapy note comes through in the pepper.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel wit a slight alcohol warmth that comes through as it warms up. D- Some big tartness with light lemon notes and a peppery note but not really any typical saison notes. Nice summery crisp drink with some interesting flavors.

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

Received in a trade as an extra, THANKS BarrytheBear! 12 oz bottle to Portsmouth tulip.

A: Hazy copper with a big fluffy white head.

S: Fruity up front followed by some spicy malt character. Very good aroma. Enticing.

T: Sweet fruit with a hidden alcohol zing. Light and drinkable throughout though. Well balanced.

M: Smooth with ample but appropriate carbonation. Dry finish.

D: Very drinkable with nicely hidden alcohol for 8+ percent. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Shared a few sips with a friend and wish we had more.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Steve's Wine Market (Madison, WI)

Appearance: Pours a beautiful copper and gold color with two fingers of cream colored head. I hold the snifter up to the light, and it's got a nice level of effervescence that keeps the head alive. Speaking of which, a handful of minutes later ,the head is still here, although it's reaching it's thinning point. The head retention is quite good. After taking a few preliminary sips, the lacing reveals itself. There's a few small, medium and large sized spots on the side of the glass. Next to the spots are a few streaks of lace that trickle their way down to the beer.

Smell: The side of the bottle is spot on. Notes of apricot and peach. I'm not picking up any of the ginger noted on the bottle, but I am getting some nice clove aromas. There's a little dash of sourness too. The fruitiness of the nose is more than I was expecting, but it's incredibly pleasant.

Taste: Some of the same notes listed in the nose, apricot, peach and clove. The sourness comes in to play as well. The level of sourness is fantastic, making this a different beer than I was expecting, but one that I want more of! The near 9% ABV is well hidden.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied beer and well carbonated. It was nice and crisp, which was expected given the style. The carbonation was spot on right after the initial pour.

Drinkability: If I see another bottle of this, I'm picking it up. Enough said.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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

I got this brew from eallured, Thanks Ethan!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

Murky orange/brassy color with a fluffy white head that wouldn't quit and left lace all over the place.
Banana, bubble gum and a bit of mustiness in the aroma.
Taste is similar to the aroma with dry bitterness on the finish.
Medium bodied with good carbonation.
Drinkable? - Yes!

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Photo of sweethome
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden color - nice white lacing throughout.

Nose is of apricot and a bit of apple cider vinegar. The sour comes through.

Full, fairly thick mouthfeel. Akin to a belgian barleywine....big alcohol, a hint of brett, sweet malts. Little yeast charachter. The spices are in back and add little.

A decent night ending beer, I think the sour detracts here - went along the line of quad with alcohol - then the sour just doesn't mesh for me. Seems as if they were trying to do all things belgian rather than taking a line and following it.

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Unplugged Imperial Saison from New Glarus Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.