Unplugged Imperial Stout | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Unplugged Imperial StoutUnplugged Imperial Stout
40 Ratings
Unplugged Imperial StoutUnplugged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Winter on 11-25-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 37
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of coldmeat23
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of Beertracker
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of woodychandler
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

My cellar continues to reduce in all new and unexpected ways. I truly have no idea what is down there any more and by the end of summer, I hope to have the bulk of it finished off.

From the bottle: "'Some people paint, some sing, others write ... I brew' - Daniel Carey"; "A few times a year we will cut Dan loose to brew whatever he chooses, uncensored, uncut, unplugged. Always handcrafted, the bottle you hold is brewed for the adventurous soul. This is a very limited edition and we make no promises to ever brew this style again."; "Imperial Stout"; "Fourth in our series this is Dan's 'Unplugged Imperial Stout'. This beer is handcrafted for you with the same care that English brewers used when they brewed Imperial Stouts for the Russian Royal Family. Thiis is a strong beer brewed with lots of black barley. Back home, that makes this beer ans excellent candidate for lying down in your beer cellars."; "Thanks for S[sic]upporting the Arts. (undersigned) Daniel & Deborah Carey".

This seems to have held up really well! Lots of carbonation still evident and I got just under a finger of deep-tan head with moderate retention from my pour. Color was a solid black, allowing zero light penetration. Nose smelled of dark chocolate, charcoal, smoke, raisins and plums. Mouthfeel was unexpectedly thin, but the tastes of dark chocolate and dried dark fruits were really good on the tongue. Finish was very chocolaty with some smokiness at the extreme finish. This held up really well and was the first of the three NOT to come with a twist-off cap, which may have led to the early decline of the previous two.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

deep dark brown, essentially black with a large tan colored head. Nice slow retention left behind copious amounts of side lace. Smell was full of roasted coffee, chocolate, and an almost Brandy like aroma. Very thick with a bit of a sweet note to it. The taste followed along almost exactly. Very full bodied, rich and creamy feel let you really enjoy the bold dominating flavors of dark chocolate and coffee and the long finish helped you find some of the more subtle hints of a hoppy finish. Just the smallest touch of an alcohol warming, but nothing that really took you over

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Photo of kbutler1
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 2003 I believe. Pours a deep black color with a very minimal head, swirling causes a tan head to form. Dark grain type aroma with a touch of dark fruit, very un-imperial stout smelling. Medium mouthfeel and light than I would have expected for this style. The taste is very mild as well with no real strong tastes of coffee, roast, or dark chocolate. I get a slight soy taste and smell as well. Not a beer that I would recommend at this point. More like a dark lager than anything.

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Photo of mothman
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7 year old RIS... sweet

Poured into darkness snifter.

Pours a very light layer of tan head that fades down fast. Color is black.

Aroma: It smells like grains. Chocolate and caramel grains. It is malty but that is it. Not a lot here. Smells like cereal. Some light coffee flavors.

Taste: The taste is identical to the aroma. Chocolate and caramel grains. It is has some molasses showing. A touch of oxidation shows, but not a lot. Malt and that is it. Not much here.

Mouthfeel: Bland and lifeless. Not very much carbonation. Light bodied ris. Ends dry with hints of alcohol showing and some raisins.

Overall, 7 years might be a bit too much time on this beer. Didn't have a big ris flavor. Not a lot here really. For being 7 years old, it wasn't bad by any means though.

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Photo of badbeer
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out black, but brown around the edges. Head was a very light tan color, that had good retention and left decent lacing. Smell was malty, mostly sweet with very little roastiness. When agitated I get cocoa and a hint of dark fruit. Taste is sweet and almost creamlike, light cocoa that blends quite well, maybe even some molasses, and some roastiness, but not until the finish. Low carbonation with medium body and a somewhat dry, finish. Very drinkable for a high gravity stout, definitely one of the better ones I've had recently.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a small head with some retention, but not much. Color is black enough to not let light through, but just a small amount on th every edges. There is a lacing that looks ok. Smell is slightly roasty with some dark fruit flavors. Taste is good, not too many characters that I can taste, it's almost like a Guiness Draught only much better and with smaller amounts of head and breadiness. The mouthfeel is slightly carbonated making the feel more crisp. The body is light, but overall I would drink this again.

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Photo of mattcrill
2.58/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one.

Aroma: Dark wet grains, some sour yeasty funk. Maybe a bit of maple syrup. Pretty bland.

Appearance: This is an RIS? I've seen darker porters. Dark brown (that's stretching a bit even) with cola edging. A robust tan head with tight bubbles.

Flavor: Reminds me of Sam Adams Black Lager. It's got some dark grain bitterness but it's missing the roasted barley. It's also missing the fruitiness and occasional alcohol backbone you expect to find in a good RIS. It's almost a dark lager in that it is pretty neutral tasting but has the dark appearance.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin bodied, lower carbonation, and slightly astringent.

Overall impression: Nothing off her but nothing that would make me call this an RIS either. Would probably do better as a brown porter or a Southern English Brown Ale. Worth a try but there are many other top examples of an RIS that you should sample first.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours somewhat thin into the glass but a nice dark brown practically black. No head to speak of; just the barest of collars on the glass even after a reasonably aggressive pour.

The nose is a sweet caramel with big notes of vanilla and raisin. Some pretty obvious alcohol sweetness in the aroma as well.

The flavor is sweet but not overly so with rather pronounced vanilla and fruit notes along with a light touch of roasted grain bitterness. Even a bit of mellow hopping at the end of the sip but just a faint echo.

The beer is much lighter bodied than I'd have hoped for - it's still medium bodied but there's no real presence to the beer. Carbonation is barely evident and the finish is a little cloying.

This is a pretty tasty 'big' stout but compared to many of the outstanding examples of the style this one comes up pretty average. It's got a lot of flavor but the body is sub-par.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, sadhanna's

not sure how old this is, its been retired for a while

appearance: very dark, almost black, bubbly chocolate brown head and some spotted lacing. pretty strong looking imp stout

smell: roasty, faint cherry fruity aromas, cocoa powder, nice hints of smoke and coffee as well, raisin

taste: cocoa powder, sweet dark fruit, raisin, chocolately and roasty, somewhat sweet. some hop bitterness definitely present, defined smoke flavors. This isn't bad but not the best unplugged by any means.

mouthfeel: quite smooth and silky, some hop bitterness in the aftertaste

drinkability: pretty drinkable for the high abv

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Photo of ecoboy
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

C'mere my little retiree! Time to take you off the shelf and see what your made of.

My, you are a dark one, and your head retention spanks Samuel Smith's back across the pond. Aroma of prunes and chocolate plus whole hosts of other notes is admirable. Trouble is, should your mouthfeel really be so thick and cloying, when I expect a slippery oiliness (Garrett Oliver is the first guy I read who mentions "tar" like it's a good thing; ain't enough tar and licorice here for my take) from your style? Yes, your power and complexity is evident, and you would be wonderful with sweet rich desert. I get the roasty and espresso. But I want acidity and more bittering, too.

Some folks are going to love this take on the style. I say it's enjoyable, but lacking.

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Photo of 12vUnion
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one of the fine Unplugged series. Since it's 'retired', I'll give it brief review.

It pours a little thick and a deep, dark brown. About what you'd expect from a stout. Not the thickest or the darkest, but it is what it is. It certainly doesn't take anything from it.

It smells of roasted grains, plenty of chocolate and even some fruity, maybe cherry smells. I would have expected a pretty smoky, coffee like taste form the smell. It smells somewhat sweet even. Very pleasant.

The taste threw me off a little. It's certainly a stout. But I'm not sure where to place it in the land of imperials. It would make a very fine stout, but it's not as gripping as I've come to expect from most imperial stouts. It starts a little roasted. The roasted malt is close to being almost bock. Sort of roasted, sort of green. Not too strong and pretty smooth. The middle is full of sweetness. It has a great middle. Some cherry flavor in there and more chocolate. It has a little different malt in there. It finished by fading slowly to black. Sort of a alcohol/hop twinge, but really nothing special. It hangs out for awhile before leaving your tongue. It's a pretty smooth transition.

The mouthfeel is smooth. Not really and sharp bumps in there. It speaks right before the middle, but doesn't jump out and bite you. It's pretty easy going. That's both good and bad. I expected a stronger, rougher flavor coming from an imperial. But what does it matter. It's a fine brew all the same. There's no ABV listed, but I'll guess around 8. I'd be surprised to see it any higher than that.

All in all a darn good stout if you can find it. Pretty good if you like your stouts without the strong coffee/smoke/roasted flavor. It's in there, but not accentuated any. Very easy going down.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison.

My first beer from New Glarus' "Unplugged" series, I've been on a porter and stout kick of late and the pretty red foil over the cap must have caught my eye. Pours a dark black with garnet tones with a minimal off-white head that disappears quickly. Nose is quite bitter, more hoppy than I would have thought with burnt chocolate and coffee undertones. Taste is more of the same, with a grapey, wine-like alcoholic bite at the end. Not exactly what I was expecting from a stout, but interesting nonetheless. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with decent carbonation. The alcohol went straight to my head with this one, I don't think I could have more than a couple but I think this would be a decent warmer on a winter day. Not outstanding but a solid offering from New Glarus.

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Photo of shippos
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a dark brown almost black color witha a thin skimp head. sweet oily and sugary aroma. coffee at first in the taste with some mocha qualities, has a non-stylistic mouthfeel to it...light bodied, maybe better classified as a coffee stout. has a slight roasted bitterness coming through in the aftertaste.

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Photo of weeare138
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to kmpitz for the trade of this one!

Appears black with a one finger tan head. Plenty of tan lacing. Smell is of sweet, dark fruit and toasted nuts with creamy malt.
Taste is a bit thin for the style but it's ok. I would've guessed this to have been more of a porter, or possibly a double bock gone awry. Creamy, toasted malt taste with an alcohol bite.
Mouthfeel is creamy with a slightly burnt taste that resonates.
Overall, a bit disappointed with this one, especially being that I've enjoyed everything else I've had from them.

It's ok, dog.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Pours out black with a brown head. The aroma is malty with a touch of coffee. Weak at first, but the aroma improves as the beer warms. Sweet, dark malty flavor. A little bit fruity. There is a chocolate flavor too. All the flavors are nice, but very subtle, probably too subtle. I like my imperial stouts fuller. An unexceptional version.

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Photo of sweethome
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown to black - almost opaque. Medium brown head. Roast malt nose, hint of coffee and chocolate. Full mouthfeel, coffee flavors fairly well pronounced. A good amount of carbonation is somewhat surprising for the style. The roast malt charchter kicks in late and leads to long finish of chocolate malts. Just enough hops to keep the sweetness in check.

A well made beer, but not of abundance. Probably closer to style than many american examples. Lacks the depth of flavor and complexity that my favorite imperials reach.

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Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with a small head that dies off quickly and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma has some coffee and dark malts as well as a little chocolate. The flavor is mostly chocolate and coffee mixed together. Full-bodied and easy to drink. Not sure what the alcohol is on this one, but it doesn't seem too high. Pretty good impy stout.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one is a very dark brown in color with a beautiful brown head that came up nicely and left a lot of lacing as it settled.

Smell – The aroma here is mostly roasted malt and maybe a bit of coffee. The alcohol is evident but very soft, not sharp. The burnt aspects of the bouquet make me think this is a bitter brew.

Taste – The taste is somewhat reserved as is the smell, but mostly this is clean roasted malt that is very burnt. There’s some sugary sweetness at the very end but not a lot.

Mouthfeel – This is probably bigger than medium-bodied and very, very bitter. The alcohol is very light and pleasing.

Drinkability – This is one of the lighter RIPs that I’ve had. It went down very well and didn’t take two hours to drink like a Stone or Rogue. I would definitely “buy again” if we had availability out here in the PacNW.

Comments – Thanks to my brother-in-law for carrying this on the plane. Yo, bro, stop stalling and get a BA log-on!

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a drk black with just the slightest hint of red present. Ring of white head forms and leaves moderate spotting of lace.
Aroma of chocolate, black currant, cola nuts, coffee, raisins. all notes seem to be very light.
Flavor is coffee and chocolate dominated with some secondary notes of root beer, brown sugar, cassis and resiny hops noted.
Mouthfeel is moderate at best, almost thin like a porter. Most likely too thin for style.
Drinkability is above average. Bit too thin for style and not as complex as I expected. Tad disappointing given N.G.'s other offerings.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for a while. It pours a nice black color witha finger of head that stays around rather well. The nose is chocolatey, slightly coffee, but not quite as deep as I would expect for an impy stout. The flavor is nice and full. A big blast of chocolate that quickly turns to a sweet coffee. I like it. The feel is the most lacking part of this beer. It need a bit more body to carry off the impy stout tag. Overall, I think this is a very nice beer, smooth and very easy drinking. Well worth a look. Glad I have 2 more of them.

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Photo of inebrius
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A striking yet subdued Imperial Stout more in the frame of classic than noveau. Dark caramel edged juice lies under a thin topography of scum. Aroma of Concord grapes and malted milk balls on a cedar plank greet the nose before a rush of creamy bittersweet chocolate addresses the buds. Perhaps I'm just a big beer wuss but I'll drink two of these before a half glass of the hard edged popular American Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. red-foiled top amber bottle courtesy of AKSmokedPorter and his recent foray into the Dairy State.

A: Pour reveals a inky black body with a very impressive brown-colored head that not only lasts but laves a soapy patchwork of lace on my St. Bernardus chalice.

S: Some notes of roasted coffee, smoke, cocoa powder. Nothing too over-the-top...it's all pretty muted.

T: Good mix of freshly-brewed coffee (with cream and sugar) up front, followed by a chocolate milk infusion, with a dash of charred oak, and finishes with residual sweetness. Surprisingly, there's only a little hop note present here.

M: On the thin side, even for a stout, much less an impy stout. Not nearly as creamy smooth as expected.

D: Too sweet. Not enough of the stout/impy stout qualities I'd like to see.

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Unplugged Imperial Stout from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 40 ratings