Unplugged Imperial Saison | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Unplugged Imperial SaisonUnplugged Imperial Saison
235 Ratings
Unplugged Imperial SaisonUnplugged Imperial Saison

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Atron67 on 05-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 235 |  Reviews: 188
Photo of CoolJosh
2.14/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Very nice copper orange, with a nice chill haze that completely vanishes as the beer nears room temperature. A nice soft white layer of head sits on top.

The smell is very off-putting. Very skunky orange. As it warms an astringent cherry scent rises. The skunkiness is the predominant characteristic.

The taste is terrible. The heat shows through way too much. An astringent orange matched with a rough grainy texture makes this a near drain pour. I'm not interested in seeing this one age, or trying it again anytime soon.

You want an imperial saison? Get in touch with a bier gotter home brew club member and ask them for their Killa Gorilla. That is a great example of what this style should taste like.

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Photo of PEBKAC
2.25/5  rDev -44.4%

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 treyrab
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks for this as an extra! I love New Glarus unplugged series, so I was real happy when I saw this. Cooled and poured into a tulip glass...

A: Popped with a loud hiss and poured into the tulip. Clearer than crystal orange - yellow - peach color with a nice one finger white head that sticks around, but then recedes to absolutely nothing five minutes later.

S: Very, very in your face with artificial orange, tons of pepper/spice, ethanol, coriander, and lemon. Really intense smell, but all over the place.

T: Wow. Completely out of balance and harsh. The flavors of ethanol, artificial orange, lemon, and immense spices are not blended at all and are just bouncing off the glass. Very harsh flavors that are hard to get down.

M: Very, very high carbonation. I know the style is a bit higher, but this is too high I think.

Overall, I am glad I tried this, but a sip was all I needed to say that I won't be trying this again.

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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 Reaper16
3.01/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to GbVDave, who gave this to me as an extra!
12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass.

Pours a darkish, honeyed orange color. It has enough clarity to make out the carbonation torrents jutting upward to the head but you cannot see all the way through the body. Three huge fingers of off-white foam form loosely on top, with thick, horizontal clumps of lace left after it. This looks like a Double/Imperial IPA in many respects. It is a bit too dark to be really pretty but that is nitpicking.

There is a lot - A LOT - of aroma coming up out of this glass. Apricots & white grapes come to mind immediately. I can pick out something that approximates honeydew melon. Juicy Fruit brand bubblegum is evident. The malt is light and biscuity. A touch of alcohol provides some warmth and, unfortunately, makes for an aroma that can seem like a wine cooler. I may have described a lot of scents but don't mistake them for complexity. While different discernible scents, they all hit the same note -- sweetness. It smells good for what it offers, but it brings none of the drying hop aromas or funky yeast aromas that good saisons have.

Sour peaches make up the bulk of the taste, washed away by a flush of, like, pilsner malt taste. Because of the sourness, this has a slightly vinous quality. I don't want to overstate the sourness -- this is sour in the way that, say, a Lindeman's sweetened Lambic is sour: kindasorta. This beer would be way too sweet if not for that tartness that hits at the start of each sip. And as long as I am making the comparison, I'd rather drink a Lindeman's Peche than this. Bottom line: this doesn't taste much like a saison to me. Perhaps I am too forgiving, but I'm rating this as average because it is pretty balanced between sweet and sour and spices and malt.

I like the mouthfeel of this for the purposes of expressing its flavors. It is briskly carbonated and medium-bodied, which benefits all of the fruit tastes. As far as drinkability goes, this is below average for me. I don't much care for wine coolers, and this can taste an awful lot like one. Add to that its massive (for the style) ABV% of 8.70 and you have a not-so drinkable "farmhouse ale."

Imperial Saison. Interesting experiment, but if this beer is any indication then you really can't brew an Imperial Saison that still drinks like a true saison. I've had saisons of similar ABV% that were much more complex (Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux, nearly anything Fantome) and earlier this evening I had a saison that was more complex that happened to be half of the ABV% of this beer (Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire, 4.5%). I liked this beer a bit more than my score indicates but that doesn't take away from the fact that New Glarus' Imperial Saison is likely not something that Saison fans will fall in love with.

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Photo of KCHopHead
3.05/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark orange. 2 finger head. Little lacing.
S - Fruity, spicy, esters.
T - Woah! Tart sourness, be carefull not to get too much on the sides of your tounge. :) Past the overlly sourness you can get the farmhouse saison yeasty tastes that is full of esters and good balance of alcohol.
M - Well balanced and good carbonation for style.
D - I could only stand so much of the gobstopper tastes. I could only drink one of these.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review from backlog 2010

Looking forward to trying this one.

A - The brew pours a fizzy bright orange-golden hue, hazy, and is capped with a large pillowy white froth.

S - The smell is banana, bubblegum, clove, sour apple, metallic, peppery, and sweaty. The alcohol is too hot in the nose, and has a sort of Malt Liquor nuance that is less-than pleasant. It reminds me too much of Blue Moon Grand Cru, as much as I hate to say it.

T - The flavor is somewhat ripe and tart in comparison to the nose. Overripe banana, green apple, tart green grapes and a hint of that popsicle-y New Glarus character round out the fruity side, and the spicy side is grassy and with clove and herbal-lemongrass notes. There is a vague vegetal aspect that I am picking up on, but it is a mild objection. As it airs out some peach or apricot is noted, as is alcohol.

M - The feel is softly, yet steadily, effervescent; enhancing.

D - While I admit the drinkability of this brew is better-than-average, I am not blown away by the way either the flavor or the taste comes across. I prefer much of the regular lineup to this.

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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...

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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

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Photo of bobsy
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Shit! I just wrote my review on this (a very long and thoughtful piece) and then my browser crashed. Here's a truncated version, so you'll have to imagine my literary elegance

Pours as you would expect for the style - a hazed orange with a finger of bone-white head that showed good retention and lace. The nose is extremely interesting, and somewhat enticing because of its uniqueness. Lots of sour apple upfront, a decent fruitiness and a touch of funk in the tail. What the deuce? The flavour is completely dominated by sour apple to the point that I have to check some BA reviews to see if its supposed to be there. It is, and I'm not sure what New Glarus was thinking. Once the palate acclimatises to the mouth-puckering granny smith assault, you do detect a decent beer under there, and even some barnyard, leather and cider in the finish. Wow. Apple, apple, apple. Anyway, the body does manage to buoy things a touch, and while its fuller than expected, any heaviness is alleviated by a spritzy carbonation.

This is my first miss from New Glarus. Its still a decent beer, but far from being an excellent one. Its overwhelmed by the brute force of the sour apple, and while you can detect a decent saison structure underneath, its simply not allowed to shine. In fact this beer reminds me a lot of their raspberry tart. Weird but interesting all the same. Cheers to ritzkiss for pulling this beast out!

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Photo of botham
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a hazy apricot orange color with a finger and a half of light orange dense head that retains well and leaves no lacings.

aroma is full of yeasty esters up front with notes of apple and a touch of banana, along with a faint note of pear as the brew warms a bit. there is no funk or wet hay character to speak of, which is usually the defining note of a saison.

taste is of light yeast and fruit up front with a faint sour note and a finish of residual pale malts. the fruit notes follow the aroma, with a more subdued character on the palate. overall the profile resembles a belgian pale with a light sour note.

mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a yeasty character and a mild sharpness from alcohol.

drinkability is decent. this is a strong brew that presents its alcohol as if it was just another note alongside the yeast. decent for a saison, without the fresh and funky aura that makes saisons so unique and tasty.

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Photo of gford217
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with tons of bubbles streaming to the top and feeding a huge fluffy white head that shows excellent retention and good lacing.

The aroma is very sweet for a saison with a dominant fruit presence from the apricots and peaches. There is enough spiciness and Belgian yeast to balance the big fruit presence. A nice, laid back sweet saison aroma, which didn't properly prepare me for the taste...

...which really caught me off guard. The initial blast of sweet fruits is mixed with an interesting spicy orange sourness. There are some tart lemons and a hint of funk as well, but the taste is really overpowering and harsh.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very lively. Honestly, the alcohol shows through a bit too much for my liking and burns going down.

For once, I was not impressed with a New Glarus beer. The taste is just too hot and abrasive and doesn't come together at all for me. A rare disappointment.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.36/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a hazy golden orange color with a huge white pillowy head. Belgian and fruit notes in the head. Maybe some spice as well. Sweet, tart flavor that transitions smoothly to fruit with alcohol flavor. Fruit notes include something sweet (maybe the apricot and peach) coupled with apple. Alcohol is very prevalent in this one to me. Fairly light mouthfeel. An interesting beer.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.37/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Overwhelmingly hazy. Nice steady stream of bubble pour to the head from the middle of the brew. Very nice self sustaining white head. Not too much lacing. Pretty off for the style.

Very fruity. Slightly bitter scent. Fairly metallic and cardboard scent. Not a sugar scent. Underlying light tartness. Decent, but not overly impressive.

Nice milky tartness, kinda peachy. Strong burn from the alcohol. Dry and horseblanket taste, very farm-y. Tartness is not nearly strong enough. Carbonation is high, but not overwhelming.

Not too sure what NG was shooting for with this brew. It seems confused, 1/2 way to a wild and 1/2 way to a Saison, there's no true style definition. I'm pretty sure Apricot made this brew into a mild turn-off... Somewhat recommended, but not worth a big hunt.

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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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Photo of number1bum
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to BeerTruth for hooking me up with a couple of these.

Pours a hazy, somewhat musty looking golden color with about two fingers of fizzy off-white head. This looks to be well carbonated and does keep a pretty full lace, but it's thin and there's no stick on the sides.

Smell is quite fruity but there are a few odd elements to it. There is some zesty lemon and maybe some peaches, but also some slightly sour green apple, which smells a bit like cider that has begun to turn, and even some banana. There is also some grain and spice, along with some funky, musty yeast. The apple and banana aromas are a bit odd, but it's not bad and there's a lot going on.

The sour green apple character shows up in the taste, as well, and I don't like it any better than I did in the nose. There are enough other good elements here that it's still pretty tasty, but the green apple is a bit of a turnoff for me. It's pretty funky overall and quite fruity like the nose - I'm thinking peaches and bananas again, along with a good dose of tart lemon. The tart lemon I like, the tart green apple I do not. Spicing is modest, although the yeast does seem to add a touch of spice as well as a musty quality.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation - it's quite spritzy, maybe a bit too much so. Pretty clean finish.

I had this about 3 months ago and recall thinking that it was pretty good, but in the intervening time until I'm trying it again it seems to have developed some funky fruit flavors that I don't recall. I'm not wild about the green apple flavor, in particular, which just plain seems out of place. It's not bad, but it's not quite my taste in saisons. Worth a try.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: A hazy orange color with a big white fluffy head. Nice lacing.

S: Very fruity with citrus and some sugar sweetness.

T: Wow, not expecting this. Very tart fruit flavors take over with peachy, lemony, mango maybe with some bready malt flavors. A bit of funk, but not enough in my opinion. Ever had a sweet tart? That's what this beer reminds me of. No sign of hops at all.

M: Slick, oily, coating and a hint of alcohol.

D: Fairly low, this beer wore on me.

I'll admit I'm not the hugest saison fan, but this one just wore on my as I finished the bottle. It was so tart with nothing to balance it out. I think the beer could have used some more yeasty funk or some hops, just something to cut the tart fruit. Sorry, just not a fan but glad I tried.

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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?

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.44/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The NG Unplugged series is pretty intriguing, and I found this name ("Imperial Saison") also intriguing. But what I got, while interesting and unique, was neither intriguing nor a great beer experience.

Appearance was a hazy brown body with a wispy light head. Aroma was a bit of funk and fruity yeastiness. Flavor was sort of two-fold - I got a touch Brett-tasting sour and fruity funkiness accompanied by a watery and slightly metallic mouthfeel. Unfortunately the watery component of the taste sort of outweighed the yeasty fruitiness. It's like this is the right idea, but just not quite there...the saison part of the taste wasn't intense enough for my liking, or there was something else in my bottle that didn't quite belong.

This was OK. I bought this as a single from Riley's Liquor in Madison, WI.

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Photo of Exiled
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of groovy24
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a cloudy bronze/orange color with a good two finger head that recedes slowly. Leaves a good bit of lacing.
S- As the bottle says, apricot and peach are pretty dominant. You can also pick up a bit of spice and a hint of alcohol.
T- The strong smell of peach and apricot doesn't translate into the flavor which is good. I can pick up some ginger and also some yeast. Pretty fitting for the style. The beer also ends with a nice amount of bitterness.
M- This is a medium bodied beer with a fair amount of carbonation that feels nice on the tongue.
D- The beer offers a nice little kick with good flavor. I wouldn't consider this a session beer because of the higher ABV but this is nice to sip on.

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Photo of thetomG
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a nice crisp amber color with a very large head that disappears within minutes leaving virtually no lacing up the glass. Smell is slightly tart but the flavor comes through with loads of super tart citrus elements. The finish is surprisingly boozy with a warming alcoholic finish inn the aftertaste.

Glad I was able to try this, but not my cup of tea...

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Unplugged Imperial Saison from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 235 ratings