Unplugged Bourbon Barrel Bock | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Unplugged Bourbon Barrel BockUnplugged Bourbon Barrel Bock
Very Good
116 Ratings
Unplugged Bourbon Barrel BockUnplugged Bourbon Barrel Bock

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerBeing on 06-12-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 |  Reviews: 102
Reviews by jj21:
Photo of jj21
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at The Horse & Plow
Pours clear amber with a nice beige head that quickly disappears leaving a nice lacing. Aromas of malty, caramelly bourbon alcohol are somewhat overpowering, but not offending. Slightly burning. Flavor was, unexpectantly, somewhat sour and hot from the alcohol but very complex. Oak and vanilla are in the background and should come through nicely after this sits in the corner and mellows for a while. A bit too hot on the alcohol for me but shoul dbe outstanding in a few months. For right now, one was enough.

Update: Tapped the second barrel and it was fantastic after aging! Harsh alcohol has dissipated to allow Vanilla and caramel flavors.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This was a very problematic Unplugged for New Glarus for it came as a near replication of their previous Unplugged beer, Quad, and wasn't all that far off from Enigma. Sadly, it hasn't gotten much better with age. The aroma is great - big vanilla notes, spicy cinnamon, funky cherry, boozy malts, brown sugar, and molasses. The taste however gets bogged down because too much of a good thing, or rather too many good things in one bottle can ruin an otherwise great beer. The booze content is high and the sugar content is even higher. At times this drinks like a funky fermented molasses with a little grenadine. Carbonation is low and the body is ridiculously full, making this a tough one to down. At the end of the day, 3 oz of this in s snifter = good. 12 oz in one sitting = impossible. It's complex certainly, but it's too complex and all the different things going on just don't add together. Nice experiment but I won't be asking for this one again.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours into my glass a reddish brown with amber hints as well and a quarter inch of light tan bubbly head that quickly falls. Mild active carbonation. Aromas start out with rich deep caramel, vanilla and toffee tones. The bourbon/oak combo shines through as well. Visions of bourbon barrels being filled with beer dance in my head. There's a slight funky / tart yeast aroma lurking in the background here too. Sort of nutty as well. Quite nice.

First sip brings a somewhat sweet melange of caramel and toffee malt upfront. Lots of vanilla moves in with a woody, oaky flavor as well. Slight nutty aspect that rolls into bright bourbon flavors and brings a bit of warmth as it flows down. Dark fruits appear as it flows down along with a touch of yeasty funkiness that's just enough to grab your attention. Finishes a bit slick with lingering bourbon and dark fruit accents. Tasty beer for sure.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit chewy with a great punch of carbonation. Goes down smooth and packs a bit of a bunch. This brew is a tasty nightcap and I wouldn't mind seeing some more liquor barrel aged beers from New Glarus. Quite nice without going overboard on the bourbon.

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Photo of badbeer
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent amber color with a white head that quickly dissipates and leaves no lacing. The aroma gives me a wonderful scent of bourbon; vanilla and dark fruits beneath it, with just the tiniest bit of barnyard funk. Immediately I pick up bing cherries meshed with sweet caramel; bourbon flavors and some vanilla join in quickly and it finishes with a touch of oak. Lighter on the carbonation, but still noticeable; body is full and smooth. Alcohol is well hidden and this one has been improving since release. I look forward to trying this one many times along its journey.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a stemmed strange)

A- This beer has a deep copper-amber body that is crystal clear. There is a thick yellowish-white head that is supported by a tiny carbonation of bubbles.

S- The full bodied smell of wet oats has a softer dark smooth black malt smell behind it.

T- The taste of wet oak is supported by vanilla blended with a soft sweet dark caramel malt flavor that is a bit dry. There is a faint peat note that lingers just a bit at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizzy note at the finish that really cleans off each taste.

D- This beer is big on wood and vanilla that may bury a bit of the malt notes but there is nice depth in the barrel. The malts that come through really work well with the wood.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.66/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber with barely a head of off white that melts immediately to nothing...but who cares.

The aroma is pure bourbon oak barrel...totally delicious...mega oak. I love it. I could be very happy just inhaling this beer.

Amazing....the flavor is sweet amber malt (barely...and only for a millisecond), then light raisins and lots of oak, then an amazing hop drying at the end. Sip after sip yields the same thing. The hop drying at the end really is amazing. Everything works in this brew....as a 'double', it still has all of the balance and maturity of a single....wonderful

Aftertaste? Hard to say...I keep wanting another fresh sip...dry but with memories of bitter hops and oak.

I love this.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Homerbag for hookin this up.

Pours a deep amber/orange/brown color with ruby highlights and a nice white head that is sort of tough to evoke, and doesnt hang around too long, but does leave a slim white foamy skim on the surface.

The nose has a lot of caramel and toffee, clear bourbon, and german malt. Not catching anything wild here.

Taste follows with great caramel and toffee flavor, rich maltiness, sweet without being cloying. The bourbon presence is known, and some wild flavors peak their head out here. Sort of a very slight tartness, almost a sour cherry. Slightly flemish, but so subtle that seems like a bad comparison.

Mouthfeel is quite good, certainly thick for the style, but this is too be expected for something that is gonna be sitting in barrels. This is no barleywine, but do not expect the crispness of your average bock, as this one is thicker, and a bit slicker. Good ample carbonation.

Drinkability is quite good here, as i am guessing this is in the 7 - 8% realm. The bourbon is not overbearing, and the mouthfeel is not too thick. Sweetness isnt cloying or difficult.

Overall this is a very well made beer from the unplugged series. The flavors (Which anyone in there right mind would not have thought to co-mingle) of the bock, bourbon, and slight brett presence really really work well together here, to produce and smooth and tasty beer. Very complex, but the complexities are easily recognized and appreciated. Wasn't expecting much from this beer, and was most certainly plesently suprised. Great brew.

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Photo of cokes
3.47/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Magenta-muddled amber with a disappearing ashy lace.
Cinnamon hits the nose so hard, you might begin to believe this was mulled. Beneath it are vapors of toffee, anise, carob, vanilla, damp cement, and especially black cherry. It's an inviting aroma, and I would call it hugely unique if it didn't smell like, oh, the last 3 or 4 Unpluggeds. The computer that I'm typing has more odors akin to a bock than this beer does (and that's my faults, I guess). Still, I like it for the most part.
It rides into the mouth with a slickly sticky cherry concentrate. Oak pops up and attempts dryness, but never succeeds, though it is much woodier now with the barrel's additions of burnt coconut, caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla. Brett adds funk on the edges, all full of mildew and cobwebs and dampness. The finish is a Roman Candle of rapid fire cinnamon booze blasts, and strongly suggests a shot of Schnapps rather than a beer, let alone a Bock of any sort.
It's clingy in the mouth, but actually a bit thin in texture. The lack of active carbonation lets this sink into the recesses of the teeth to piss off dentists of the world (or not, as it keeps them employed). If it wasn't for the boozy finish, this would be like chugging watery maple syrup.
In some ways this is a perfect nightcap or digestif. And actually, I like it more than my rating suggests, but it comes across as a virtual clone of their Belgian Quadruple. The trifecta of Bock, Brett, and Bourbon Barrels makes this a real head-scratcher.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium-tinted beer, with some head. Great bourbon aroma, with cotton candy there - it's corn you know. Smooth above average mouthfeel corn bourbon sourness that is carmel, malted down. Satisfying aftertaste of vanilla. Alcohol warming. Very drinkable.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

picked up a 4pack somewhere, probably at Steve's - University

It appears people are slow to start reviewing this one...

appearance: traditional unplugged label and red foil...many great beers have been under that foil. Pours into a snifter - body is a somewhat cloudy strong amber mahogany shade, minimal head with just a light white lace around the rim. looks innocent enough

smell: vanilla and oak, light bourbon, toffee, strong malt structure...nice sweet bock aroma

taste: At this point, i consider this beer good but not great. There are some good things going on here - the bourbon and oak are smooth and not over powering, the vanilla is nice and the booze is mellow. There is that "brett" yeasty, sour/tart characteristic that turns this beer into kind of a mess. the effects seem to not contrast well to me

mouthfeel: pretty smooth, but tart

drinkability: pretty good

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Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of tempest
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Basically there's a balanced and pleasant bourbon flavor with toasted oak and a little bit of bock in the background. It seems like the beer is a little too weak to stand up to the barrel again. Still, as a fan of bourbon beers, I found this sufficiently delicious. Thanks to New Glarus for trying this out.

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Photo of cliff1066
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade thanks to badbeer, consumed on the Caltrain on New Years Eve out of a clear plastic cup (hey, I couldn't risk my good glassware). Looks like this bad boy was released in June 2007, making it 2-1/2 years old. The age has done it well it seems.

Pours a somewhat cloudy brown color with a two-finger beige head and good retention.

Aroma is bourbon, wood, caramel malt, and some vanilla.

Flavor is very nice and complex with lots of caramel and toffee as well as some apparent Munich malt, lots of oaky flavors, vanilla, sherry, and of course bourbon. A little oxidized from age, but I think this helps the beer more than it hurts it. There is also a little bretty tartness in there, which works well.

Medium-full body and smooth on the palate with a great long finish.

Drinkability is good for the style and ABV, which I'm guessing is in the neighborhood of 9%. Really like this one.

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Photo of russpowell
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from czoch75, cheers Clint! Review based on notes

Poured caramel with 2 fingers of tan head. Zero head retention & lacing

S: Much bourbon, fruittyness & then leafy hops as this warms

T: Sour mash, toffee & a bit of vanilla up front.
Leafy hops & apricot as this warms, plus honey & more bourbon. Finishes dry, fruitty with oaky bourbon, almost pulled 4.5

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation

Drinks alright, not much of a sour mash fan & really doesn't work in the doppelbock format IMO

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.71/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. from the brewery. Thanks to my wife for letting me drag her all the way ot there...

A - Decent head, light amber body...

S - I think what strikes me so much about this beer is how seamlessly the bourbon and bock qualities blend here. Vanilla is very pronounced, but goes so well with the natural sweetness from the bock. The fruits all work well. The alcohol is perfectly balenced. Nothing is out of place, its complex, but streamlined better than any other beer I've had recently.

F - More of the same in the mouth. Vanilla is very present in this sweet beer. Fruit, tannins and alcohol are balenced. There are some spicy hops in the finish, but does finish a bit sweeter than I would have prefered.

M - Round and silky, perfect for its style.

D - This is just one of the best beers I've had in a long time. An impressive bock, and a great example of how to balence barrel aging with the beer.

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Photo of bashiba
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark hazy amber with a light tan head.

The smell had a big sweet malty quality with some molasses and cedar.

The flavor is mild with a big sweet and fruity with a bit of oakyness and vanilla, but a bit of an off sweetness and a mild sourness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit thick and oily.

Overall its ok.

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Photo of Beertracker
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New Glarus UBBB pours up with a light carbonation that creates a low tannish white head that barely rings the slightly dull deep auburn-bistre brown body. The nose is quite complex with a wonderfully inviting rich melanoidin maltiness that's reminiscent of freshly baked Tin Vienna bread. There's just a hint of fruitiness, hop spiciness and a noticeable alcohol with traces of bourbon, oak, tobacco, vanilla and oxidation. The flavor is dominated by a rich, chewy melanoidin maltiness that is marked by a light spicy bitterness. The medium full-bodied finish is a touch syrupy with a cream sherry-like consistency combined with a chewy, grainy complexity. This finely crafted limited release offering from New Glarus puts an interesting twist on a continental favorite and comes highly recommended to all malt lovers. My only regret is not drinking a bottle sooner. Here's to live & "Unplugged!"

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle has been cellared for one year. Served around 50º in a snifter.

Deep and glowing, an almost cidery mahoghany tone.

Earthy, wet wood and bourbon aromas. I'm immediately reminded of Enigma, and wouldn't be surprised if a small portion of this beer was in the final blend of Enigma.

Very malty and fairly sweet, with richer bourbon and woody flavors throughout. Dry oak aftertaste, with some sour mash character. Faint cherry candy. Feels a little boozy, not really hot, but it almost drinks like an old ale without the syrupy sweetness.

Overall this was a pleasant sipper. Interesting to chart the lineage of the recent barrel-aged Unplugged beers, from the Sour Brown & Cherry Stout, then Belgian Quad, to Enigma, and finally this one.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Monger: Poured a light brown color bock with a small foamy head with limited retention and some lacing. Aroma is dominated by bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Taste is dominated by bourbon and vanilla notes with a good dose of malt and sweetness to balance the barrel. Body was about average with some medium carbonation. I appreciated the fact that the bourbon was not too hot and covered the whole taste and no explicit notes of alcohol were discerned. A bit one-sided overall but still an enjoyable beer from a fine brewer.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no dating info but since an Unplugged I know it's fresh. It was a clear amber color with barely any carb. It had a tiny head that disappeared in a blink of an eye. No lacing. The aroma was bourbon, oak, vanilla and brett. I almost never like the bourbon beers but the brett saved this one in aroma and taste. It really balanced it and kept you from thinking you were drinking a Jack Daniels with a head on it. Really goes down smooth. Right when you start to taste the bourbon, the brett kicks in and offsets it. Good mouthfeel as well. Glad I tried this one as I had pretty much given up on bourbon barrel beers. This one gets it right, for me, and I recommend if you can easily get - don't go out of the way. (4, RB-OAY, T, O)

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another one of the fantastic brews received from the super generous Abents. Thanks Adam! Poured into my Chimay goblet.

1/2" head dies quick leaving little by the way of lacing... the brew is crystal clear copper amber.

Nose is spicy.. vanilla.. touches of cinnamon with pronounced toasty malts and only whiffs of caramel.

Malty sweetness up front reminds me of toast... maybe raisin bread toast.. subtle vanilla and maybe some cherry... really rich and well blended.. the body is sooo smooth with a light carbonation... finish is sorta an earthy leathery taste combined with the above cherry essence.

Interesting and certainly difficult to wrap my limited beer vocabulary around... I wish I had more for sure, but I would only ever pull them out to share and challenge the palates of my geek buddies. Thanks Adam for the chance to try this increasingly rare brew.


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Photo of jegross2
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Unplugged Bourbon Barrel Bock from New Glarus Brewing out of New Glarus, Wisconsin. I was lucky enough to win this 2007 release, a New Glarus tick I long ago gave up on, in a raffle recently.

Score: 88

June 2007 vintage bottle served in a Perennial snifter/tulip hybrid glass and enjoyed on 08/15/13.

Appearance: Pours a clean, but translucent copper color that is free of floaties or haze. Has a wisp of head off the pour that totally settles, resulting in a liquor-like appearance. Minimal head or retention. 3.25/5

Smell: Primarily vanilla and caramel in the nose. There's a little bit of oak and even less dark fruit too, but it is really just malty/sweet vanilla and caramel interacting pleasantly here. Unknown ABV, but not a whiff of booze. 4/5

Taste: Taste follows the nose, but with a little fizziness in the finish. Caramel upfront, followed by vanilla. Mild cherry and tobacco flavors in the finish. Dark fruit undertones. The flavor components here meld almost seamlessly. Some sherry-like fruitiness comes through towards the finish as this beer warms up. No negative oxidization character is present, which is surprisingly given the age of this brew. This bottle was clearly stored well. 4/5

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium bodied with very very low carbonation. This beer is not flat, though it is closer to undercarbonated than appropriately carbonated. That said, there is a little fizzy life in the finish that I did not expected given its headless, non-effervescent appearance. Malty sweet, but not cloying. 3.75/5

Overall: Acquiring older bottles often scares me due to the unknown factor and exponential importance of proper storage over time. I was surprised how well this beer was holding up given how over-the-hill the Unplugged Iced Barleywine was. While this beer is nothing overly complex, unique or epic in flavor, it is easy drinking and quite smooth. The sweetness here does not layer on the palate in a way that inhibits drinkability, and there is no booziness to speak of whatsoever. I am certainly glad to have finally ticked this one, but it is a not a must-try brew.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle. If you manage to find one these days, I doubt it will be that cheap.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received a few of these in trades recently and I am just getting around to trying one out this evening. I am doing my best to get my hands on all of the unplugged series, as I am finding them to be very interesting, and extremely challenging in terms of trying to isolate a single style. This one I was particular looking forward to trying. Your typical twelve ounce bottle with the red foil wrapping was served at a slightly chilled cellar temp and poured into the Terrapin Snifter, Mock Turtle.

Appearance - Poured a nice cloudy medium brown. A honey color trickled in and out of the appearance, brightening it up very nicely and really keeping it from looking too ruddy. Some nice light red tones as well. A small, maybe ne inch high head of white foam rose up over it, and quickly settled down leaving behind minimal lace, with no apparent carbonation.

Smell - The aroma was very interesting, albeit a little confusing. Lots of bourbon here, which is never a bad thing, hints of what was some sort of funky Brett tone at one time, but is now mostly just a hint of what it used to be. Slight caramel touch to it and lots of malted grains, a rather interesting, and very complex mixture of aromas, almost, but not completely obscuring the initial style.

Taste - The flavor followed along very nicely. Some nice light caramel in the main body as well as a touch of light fruit and a bit of vanilla. The bourbon was very well defined and a bit hot. I am not sure what the alcohol is on this one, but you can definitely taste every bit of it. The finish was loaded down with oaken and earthy malts and a ton of bourbon, leaving you with that long lingering bourbon flavor way in the back.

Mouthfeel. - It was a touch thin I have to admit. It really need a good bit more carbonation as this caused it too fall flat on the palate and never really let it take off the way it needed to. Should have been a bit fuller, but still not terribly bad, just a little slick.

Drinkability - This was good, I had no issue finish off the bottle after a bit of time, and it was easily drinkable, just a little confusing. A bit more carbonation would have made it go down much better.

Overall not bad at all, I thought it would have been al it better though I have to admit. Seems kind of overblown, like it really did not need to be forced, but it was. Still much better then your average beer and something I am glad I have a couple of to see how it advances.

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Unplugged Bourbon Barrel Bock from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 116 ratings