Wisconsin Belgian Red
New Glarus Brewing Company

Wisconsin Belgian RedWisconsin Belgian Red
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Style:
Fruit and Field Beer
Ranked #1
ABV:
4%
Score:
98
Ranked #294
Avg:
4.42 | pDev: 10.18%
Reviews:
1,047
Ratings:
3,737
From:
New Glarus Brewing Company
 
Wisconsin, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  1,187
Gots
  849
SCORE
98
World-Class
Wisconsin Belgian RedWisconsin Belgian Red
Notes: You hold the marriage of wine and beer. Belgian Red is a tapestry of flavor. This beer is brewed with whole Montmorency Cherries, Wisconsin Farmed Wheat and Belgian Roasted Barleys, lagered in oak tanks and balanced by Hallertau hops we aged in our brewery one full year.

Over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle makes this beer uniquely "Wisconsin." So unique, in fact, that we applied for a patent. Expect this beer to be ruby red, with a medium body that is highly carbonated and intense with cherry flavor and bouquet. Serve your friends Belgian Red in a brandy snifter or champagne flute and toast life with beer from the land of Wisconsin.
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Reviews: 1,047 | Ratings: 3,737
Reviews by BeerAdvocate:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

The evolution of beer took a huge step forward over ten years ago with this brew. It's unlike any other Fruit Beer to the extent that it deserves more than the Fruit Beer label. There are well over a pound of cherries in every bottle and it's lagered in oak tanks for a year. Not many American breweries are doing that now--let alone ten years ago.

Pours with a light, spritzy carbonation, and its murky burgundy color shows no light at all. Just a thin ring of lace from the fizz of the head. The aroma is heavenly: a nose full of cherries in cherry juice. Sweet-tart cherry bouquet. Underlying crispness in the slick, medium body. Big bang of cherry sweetness to start. A balanced tartness sets in with mild oak, earth and a pinch of maltiness. Layers of cherry unravel slowly to finally reach a faint biscuit finish.

One of the most complex beers in the US to date, yet still very approachable and drinkable. Excellent balance of sweetness to tartness. It's a beer worth driving to Wisconsin for, or at least finding a friend to ship you some. A mild yogurt cheddar cheese with tart apples sounds like a great pairing.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Murky, rust red with highlights the color of not quite ripe cherries. I expected the cap to be girlie pink, but it's actually simple beige in color. Large initially due to a generous amount of carbonation, the head is dense with a stickiness that promotes perseverance and lacing. Soapy, pocked sheets cover a good portion of the glass and stay for the duration.

This beer doesn't smell much like beer due to the all-encompassing aroma of sweet cherries. Forget malt, forget hops, forget anything that isn't pure, unadulterated essence of cherry juice. Thankfully, there are no medicinal (i.e. cough syrup) aromas present. Simply put, this is one of the best fruit beer noses that I've ever smelled.

I love it! Wisconsin Belgian Red tastes deeper and more hearty than most cherry beers. Along with the bright fruit flavor is a more earthy, muscular flavor that is more akin to dried fruit or fruit jerky than it is to fresh cherries or cherry juice. The degree of acidity is nigh on perfect. As noted in the nose description, there isn't a whole lot present that isn't cherry related, just variations on the theme and layers upon layers of flavor.

The body is full in the best sense of the word, with a lush, mouthfilling, thickly coating feel. The sugar content is high and limits drinkability for me. Unless I can get my wife to drink some (extremely doubtful) I won't be able to finish this big bottle in one sitting. Despite the note on the label ('highly carbonated') and the loud 'pffft' upon opening, I don't really appreciate an excessive amount of carbonation. The CO2 does its part to aerate the thick, syrupy body without calling attention to itself.

WBR seems to be a 'love it or hate it' kind of beer. I recognize that though it's beer in the technical sense, it doesn't much resemble beer in the classic sense. I've decided to judge it on its own merits with my enjoyment as the sole criterion. It's hard for me to imagine a fruit beer in general and a cherry fruit beer in particular that is more delicious than Wisconsin Belgian Red. I've waited quite a while to taste this one and I have to say that it has exceeded my expectations with room to spare.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a clear and thin looking dark-ish red, with a small fizzy head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like pure and unadulterated cherry- sweet Maraschino, and slightly tart, with a spicy finish, and the lightest amount of malt.

This is purely a vehicle for cherry goodness, It's got a better cherry flavor than actual cherry juice, given the somewhat invisible boosting from the malt backbone in the background. It's got just the slightest hint of tartness to it. There's barely any flavor that's not directly cherry-related, but that's ok, because the flavor is just dynamite as is.

This is light bodied, with a pretty intensely juicy mouthfeel.

New Glarus makes the best straight up fruit beers in the country, hands down. This is pretty absurd. It's what I imagine cherry heaven is like.

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Photo of dustin22martin
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. Like drinking cherry juice. It can get a little cloying towards the end, but oh my god is it tasty. It's that thing about too much of a good thing, but once you taste this beer it's hard to stop drinking it.

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Photo of tigg924
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: minimal head, high carbonation, red in color, clear

Smell: sweet cherries and fresh fruit

Taste: sweet and tart cherries, light cinnamon. The cherries are layered here so there is excellent depth of flavor.

Mouthfeel: super light body, sweet with a touch of tartness, high carbonation, prickly

Overall:This sets the new bar for me in fruit beers. I love the depth of the cherry flavors. This one is borderline wine-like, but still has some beer flavor. The fruit seems natural and not in any way artificial. When I am back in Wisconsin next year, I will bring back several. One of my favorite beers in any style.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: deep ruby to wine red.

S: bowl full fresh cherries

T: cherries. Slight tartness. This is amazing

F: smooth velvet. So soft and finishes like a whisper of a thrill

O: this is wonderful in every way.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25 oz bottle poured into snifter.

Pours a deep, dark cranberry color with a pinkish off-white head of 1 finger.

Aroma is mouth-watering, full of cherries and cherry preserves, cherry sucker, and cherry sours.

Flavor is explosive and intense! So many facets of cherry here. It's like a cherry filled cherry. Cherry pucker, cherry sours, cherry sucker, with plenty of sour elements of funk as well.

Feel is puckering and tart, squeezes your mouth of every last salival drop. Nice finish.

Overall, a cherry-lover's beer. The hateful reviews are the stuffed shirts of the beer community. Fabulous sour, tons of cherry flavor, unbelievable saturation of pure cherries and an almost incomprehensible feat. New Glarus is simply unmatched in their fruit ales. End of story.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.52/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9 fl oz. Green glass. Red wax-ed over iconic branded pry-off cap. Good label design. Courtesy of the very generous Duff27.

Served cold into a Cantillon flute at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live as a Belgian red ale per the label, though its obvious fruit component is a big factor.

Allowed to come to temperature as it warms.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1.5 inches wide. Pinkish white colour. Nice complexion. Not real thick or full. Retention is nice - round 4 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Clear vibrant deep red. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's a nice looking red ale, but it's not stunning or unique. I recall the other New Glarus fruit beers looking brilliant; this pales in comparison.

AROMA: The dominant cherry is nice, but some North American drinkers will definitely note medicinal cough syrup character. Powdered white sugar. Very tart, to its benefit. The tartness plays well with the cherries - as least here in the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is average.

I find no oak character, roasted barley, wine, or hop notes (as mentioned on the label).

It's appealing overall, but I worry it will be medicinal.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Cherry rightly dominates, and is complemented beautifully by the soft powdery mouthfeel. The tartness plays off the cherry, delivering a gorgeous one-two punch of synergistic flavours, but I can't help but wonder if some souring bacteria additions would really set this off in a direction I'd love. It's beautifully balanced, though it does flirt with what some North American drinkers will associate with a medicinal or cough syrupy taste.

Balanced as it is, it's not the most intricate brew, and doesn't boast the level of nuance and subtlety that the other beers in this series do. Still, it's a lovely build for a fruit ale, and I'd definitely call it gestalt. That said, the ostensible Belgian character is lacking; nothing about this screams Belgian yeast.

I also find no oak - which is a missed opportunity - and no roasted barley (Belgian or otherwise) or overt hop character.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, boasting perfect carbonation, an ideal light to medium body, and perfect heft and weight on the palate for this kind of beer. It's sticky, sure, but not syrupy - which helps it avoid the pitfall of a medicinal cherry taste to me. Acidity is well above average.

Well put-together and enjoyable to drink.

The mouthfeel exceeds the taste in quality, and its excellent execution helps make the beer more expressive. Nice pairing of texture to taste.

OVERALL: It's a lovely albeit simple fruit ale from New Glarus that is devilishy easy to drink and pretty high in quality. That said, it's not the world-class offering the other New Glarus fruit beers are, and there are missed opportunities for increased intricacy and subtlety. I'll love putting this bottle down, but I don't think I'd buy it again if I had access to other better New Glarus beers. It's disappointing if only because I expected greatness given the brewery, but it's still a hell of a fruit ale, and always tastes like a beer - never a candy or fruit soda. Easily one of the better genuine fruit ales brewed in the U.S.A.

Enormous thanks to Duff27 for this long-time want.

Low B (3.52)

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Photo of BadBadger
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a truely an amazing beer. It pours a dark color with red hints of the cherries contained within the beverage. The head was more than descent and lasted long enough to enjoy. The smell was an olfactory delight. Yum, the taste was absolutely amazing: first thoughts are of fresh homemade cherry pie. While rather pleasantly strong, the sweetness is nicely balanced by the hops. This is a beer to enjoy with friends after a nice meal. Enjoy!

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Photo of tpd975
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Holy shit did I love this beer. Got two of them in a trade and the best thing is that I have another.

A: Pours a nice reddish brown kind of color. Nice bubbles rising to the top. Can't wait to taste.

S: The definition of cherry. Ton of sweet cherry aroma. There is a malty biscutiy aroma in the background, but man this smells like I cracked open a jar of cherries.

T: 5* no doubt about it. Huge cherry flavor like I have tasted in no other brew. There is some cinnamon in there as well. God I love cherry pie but would trade the best one on earth for another bottle of this beer. There is some cinnamon in the background, and finishes with a bit of tartness.

M: Perfect. Medium to light bodied and refreshing. I shared this bottle with 3 others and to be honest I wish I had saved it all to myself.

D: The most drinkable beer ever. I would drink it until they scraped me off the floor. I may move to Wisconsin just to have a steady supply of this beer.

Overall: I have come across many beers that I love Westy 12 and KY Stout most notably. This one here is a whole different matter. It's pure sex in a bottle. I love this beer. The aroma, the flavor, the enjoyablity is off the scale. New Glarus, YOU RULE!!!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the bottles provided to me by Hwwty4 in the 08 Secret Santa. Thanks for a chance to try this beer Bill.

A reddish colored body. From different angles of light I can see amber, copper, rust, a red wine color and just plain red. I'll settle on a heavy amber with red wine coloring mixed in. Small light red colored head that disappears quickly without leaving any lace to show that it was ever there in the first place.

Huge cherry aroma here. Sweet, tart, real-not-artificial cherry smell. A little bit of malt sweetness comes through, but only to be beat back again by more cherry. No sense in trying to get a lot of complexity out of this nose, it's almost all cherries and I like it. Wonderful in fact. The type of beer the entire room smells and for the most part appreciates.

Well, after the aroma there certainly isn't any surprise as to what the dominant flavor in this beer is...it's cherries. Once again big real-cherry notes dominates overwhelmingly,but this time in the flavor instead of the aroma. Of course the smell is still there with every sip you take, enhancing your taste of the beer. It fills your mouth with all sorts of sweet and tart notes. Underneath the cherry, if you care to investigate any farther, there are some other fruit notes. I notice some very faint mixed berry flavors in there (could be my imagination though, who knows?). Also a sweet backbone helps to balance this beer, keeping it from being cloying or overbearing. A tasty beer for sure.

The mouthfeel on this one is great. Light, thin body with a ton of carbonation. Makes it feel and even taste a little like a cherry soda or some sort of flavored champagne. Holding this beer and working it through your mouth wil also give you a slight puckering sensation.

Pretty drinkable beer, but something you will mostly sip because of the big flavor. I finished the whole bottle myself, but it didn't go quickly.

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Photo of mpetersen
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Centennial
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of daveytheformer
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with a thin bubbly off white head that quickly fades to very light lacing and spotting.

Smells like apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon and cherry coke.

Tastes very sweet with an ever so slight cherry tartness. Not mouth puckering by any means. More apple cider comes to mind.

Mouthfeel is medium with lots of carbonation.

Overall is pretty good but maybe a touch too sweet for me.

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Photo of Zuidman
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of 1Sundown2C
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of xdtfx
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of justforrazors
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of TooGood
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium reddish Amber with 2 inch quickly dissipating head leaves minimal lacing. Smell is tart with cherry notes. Taste is total tart cherry juice with a nice bubbly feel. Great fruit beer!

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Photo of dlorton0844
3/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of woodychandler
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Transcribed from undated notes, likely early-2010.

This bottle dated back to Summer 2004, I believe. The pour was lacking any sort of discernible head. Color was a deep red with a slight cloudiness. Nose was like standing in a cherry orchard in the summer and taking a deep breath. I was transported back to the days of my late grandmother's lattice-top cherry pies or making preserves in the early fall. I had some cherry preserves from Traverse City, MI while I was stationed on Diego Garcia that were intense, but this beer ... Holy Cherry, Batman! This left no room for survivors. To say dry would be an understatement. Arid! And cherry! Breathtaking! Mind blowing! Forget other mind-altering substances and put some of this in your peace pipe and smoke it.

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Photo of malcontent
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yup, it's red. A mall amount of head but it dies in a hurry. Good lacing however.

Cherries!!! Totally one-dimensional but absolutely enticing.

Yeah, it's completely delicious. Very sweet without any notion of cloying-ness. The very essence of ripe cherries; dark sugar, crisp tartness and the feeling of being outdoors in the late summer. Lame? Go to Hell.

Feels great in body and crispness; just a touch of slickness on the finish.

It's a fruit beer, so what? It tastes so good and is absurdly easy to drink. This the first beer that worries me about having my kids get into and starting a habit. So good.

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Photo of Slynger
3.78/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep and cloudy red-orange color with a beige head that is tinted red.
Smells of . . . well, cherries. Not fake in the least, but fresh, slightly sweet and lightly tart cherries.
Tastes pretty much like it smells. Straight up cherries. Cherry pie sweetness along with very fresh, tart cherries, and that's about it.
The Mouthfeel is nice and full, but leaves some sugar coating on the teeth.
This is an interesting offering. If you like cherries it is probably pretty tasty. I don't have a strong opinion of them either way so this creation (it isn't really beer-like) just seems interesting to me. I will say that it does have a very real cherry flavor to it that is far from artificial, or medicine-like. It's well done, just not for me.

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Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 3737 ratings