Unplugged Imperial Saison | New Glarus Brewing Company

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 Sammy
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Steven's bottle, aged from over 3 years. Great yeasty aroma, revealing a red grape. Fresh, invigorating, a sipper.Earlier:Jon's bottle. Aroma is yeasty, orange, spice. Orangy colour with siginificant white foamy head. Medium plus mouthfeel,easy drinking. Soursih fruity citrus yeasty taste, with orange residual taste. Smooth, New Glarus fruity citrus interpretation of style.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must first respectfully say that I am not a fan of New Glarus beer. I recently went through Wisconsin and tasted every New Glarus I could find and disliked all of them. I admittedly did not have any of the Unplugged series. I've now tasted other Unplugged and thought that they were clearly superior to the regular brews.

This one pours a dark copper tinted amber with a white head.

Nose is a big assertive orange that goes to orange spice with undertones of candi sugar, peaches and green bananas.

Mouthfeel is rich, bold, bright cream and very appealing.

Flavors are all big assertive full and rich orange spice with bright citrus tones. Flavors are delicious and you want more and more. There is an "almost sour" "almost tart" character.

Finish is all citrus spice with sweet wild yeast undertones.

Very drinkable; a really remarkable brew with an amazing flavor profile. Best New Glarus I've tasted. I could put this in my top 10 beers if a second and third bottle mirror this one.

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Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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

Alright, my last beer of the night (while I can still type). I've been on a Saison kick tonight and left this one 'til last.

The pour has a lot of promise. A froathy golden-orange-amber color (let's just call it rusty) forms a foamy and steadfast medium white cap on the beer and lingers for the session while lacing all the while. A very nice look though the color seems a bit dark.

Blended aromas of intense tropical fruits, malted barley, and spicy phenols are bold yet restrained. A lightly vineous and alcohol twinge hits the nose and hints toward astringency and tartness.


Sorry, that was the first sip and it hit a lot of key areas of the mouth quite unexpectedly. Flavors however are a nice and controlled blend of peaches, pineapples, mangos, kiwi, berries, pears, apples, white grapes, lemons, limes... the list goes on. Still all the fruit character is either just ripe or tart- leading to acidic notes in the flavor. Thought the fruity character of the yeast dominate, there is a firm malt component that delivers a soft bready flavor and a nice caramel note that is not commonly found in Saisons. Still, peppery and spicy and expected- cumin, corriander, curraco, white pepper, paprika, and clove can all be identified in the taste.

The beers acidity and bitterness combine in a wierd way and make the initial shock of the beer a bit overwhelming. But that soon settles (or either the beer has tamed me well), then the beer takes on a firmly malty and bready texture that keeps it from complete dryness. The acidity of the beer keeps the focus on the fruits and does help to clean and crispen the beer in the finish. The spicy textures and alcohol help to amplify the dryness, yet there's a sugary feel there that can't be ignored.

Ultimately a good Saison that fits the Farmhouse culture with it's stern control and unpredictable clumsiness. Probably as nice of a Saison as found in the States. Still, there's a something that authentic Belgian Saison holds that's just missing here...

Thanks Opethsprite!

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Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dave for the quick beer swap yesterday!

Poured the single into a Duvel tulip. There was about a finger of white foam that started to lace, but it didn't really stick, save for a few little spots. A swirl brought the foam right back into action. The color was nice, a bright sunset orange with good clarity. Peaches and hefe banana in the nose, with a light sweetness and mild spice. Grains of paradise are listed on the label, so that could be the spicy element.

Smooth wheaty feel, much like the Imperial Weizen & Crack'd Wheat. Much more fruity flavor, with big peach and mild lemon tartness. The more I sip, the more I dig it...definitely growing on me. Very mild hop presence in the aftertaste, the label mentions Styrian Goldings. Somewhat phenolic, with a juicy initial feel that dries out in the end. The tart bite melds well with the fruit element.

Another solid one-off from New Glarus...

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a rather large head that leaves quite a few shards on the way down

Smell: Sure wasn't expecting a sour stone fruit and ginger aroma, but that's what I got (should have read the label first)

Taste: Fruity, at the outset, with a growing tart character that becomes truly sour by mid-palate; stone fruit (apricot and peach), with a spicy herbal character character; after the swallow, the sour fruit character develops nicely, leaving the herbal elements to grow in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: Expecting a Saison, I was worried that something was wrong for the first few sips, but after reading the label and understanding more of the brewer's intent, I grew to really enjoy this beer; more of an American Wild Ale, in my book but you can call it what you like

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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 zestar
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into La Choufe Tullip.

Pours a 2 and 1/2 finger creamy white head. After a few minutes the head is gone. No lace. Color is an extremely hazy bright, but dark pumpkin orange (of that makes any sense. Can't see through this one. Very appealing beer.

Aroma: Yeasty. Very tart/citrus (but not like an ipa citrus) smells are coming from this beer. I can definitely smell the apricots. Very interesting.

Taste: Has the funky farmhouse taste. Very tart and sour beer. Yeasty and bready. A touch of alcohol. A very interesting saison.

Mouthfeel: Very sour and very tarty. Medium bodied. Well carbonated. Leaves a very tarty aftertaste. A little booze shines through after it is in the mouth for a bit. I like the sour aspect here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this saison. A real treat for a hot summer day. The sour/tart in this was awesome. I think I will cellar a bottle of two of these and see what happens to them. Good beer that is worth a try, however, one of these will do for me in a sitting.

Side note: this beer was good enough that as I sat outside drinking it, a bee tried to get his share of my treat :)

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from pochman, courtesy of BA Secret Santa 2009 so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep orange/gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick but spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, citrus, spices, caramelized malts, some Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very fruity and sweet with strong citrus flavors of orange and lemon up front. There's a little bit of spice in the background as well. Then some bready flavors of Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character come in. The hops presence is very mild but provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty but overly fruity, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, for those that are used to Blue Moon and such, this is good next level but overall the fruitiness makes it just a decent beer.

 1,045 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber color. A bit dark for a normal saison, but what the hell--this one is from Wisconsin. Nose brings forward some really nice characteristics with a bit of light malt plus some earth, caramel, light fruits, and some mild hay. The flavor is a bit sweet and not nearly as dry as many saisons. Good fruit notes and nice malt. Medium body with good carbonation. This was quite the tasty brew and I'm disappointed that I finally ran out of these; hopefully it gets brewed again.

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Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a hazy amber orange color with a fluffy white one inch head filling the remainder of the glass. The head faded a bit but had had decent retention overall and also left some moderate lacing.

The aroma has some apple, pear and cherry fruitiness to it. It has a moderate tartness to go along with the fruit aromas, and a bit of citrus spice. I get a bit of sourness to it as well but not a lot.

The taste starts off with some of the tangy fruit like tartness found in the nose. The apple and pear flavors come out more at first and the finish has a bit more of the cherry flavor coming through. The sourness is there mostly in the finish and gives it a nice added complexity. The sourness came through more as it warmed up.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being on the higher side. Drinkability is good, especially considering the abv%. It had a pretty wide range of flavors to it making it a pretty complex and interesting beer. Id did feel a bit heavy and big though which made it a bit less drinkable. I guess that was the point of imperializing it though. Still a very good beer overall .

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Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

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.

 2,303 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahh yes, another in the unplugged series bites the dust. The newest release, I have to admit I was a bit giddy when this one hit the front porch. Served chilled and poured into a goblet, this one was consumed on 05/20/2009.
The pour was magnificent. Rich golden amber in color with a large head of white on top that reached a height that was easily in excess of three inches. Settling down, very reluctantly this one left a huge coating of white all along the sides and the bottom of the glass, making it nearly transparent and opaque as it went forward. Light haze and cloudiness made it really look the part. As I go in I pick up nice notes of peach and banana, hints of a light grassy note and a touch of spice to go along with it. Really nicely done here as it served to really served to hide the ABV quite well. Light grain hints bouncing around now as well. Very smooth, very gentle flavor here. Nicely done again I have to admit. All ABV well masked as light peach, grassy and herbal notes take center stage here. Smooth, well carbonated and really just a very nice sipper.
Overall I thought this was excellent, really a very well done example of a style, taking to the next level. I have to give them credit as I have always been impressed with the unplugged series and this just continued it along.

 1,317 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to adamharbaugh for this, shared with tenderbranson69, tasted in a la fin du monde tulip.

The color of glowing peach in the glass w/ slight haze and thick 2 finger cream of pale beige w/ ultrafine beading. A slinky ring of lace clings on the glass and holds well. The smell is wonderful- stone fruit and slight tropical scents of papaya and pineapple w/ a mild spice ester and slight herbal note. The nose has some ginger which is complimented by some alcohol presence which is not a bad thing. The feel is fruity with a tanginess and very high carbonation w/ mild spice and a very dry finish w/ light tannic quality. A mild tinge of sourness is there which blends well with the subtle alcohol.

The taste is lovely with a papaya and peach blend up front and some ginger w/ lemony taste and mild spiced notes. The peppery tinge from the grain of paradise has a mild floral and the yeast gives a light pineapple taste with a hint of bubblegum. The subtle lemony notes add to the mild woodsy accents and golden pear tang in the finish. A seriously good saison, WOW, lots of fruit from the yeast! A beer I could drink anytime, a wonderfully good experience from New Glarus - exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Brad for sharing this beer.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed golden-orange color with a rather large white head.

S: Lemon zest is the most prominent aroma on this beer. It's got an almost lemon drop candy aroma to it with all the sugary sweetness. Some yeast and a light spiciness with some oranges.

T: The flavor is pretty much exactly the same as lemon drop candies. Sweet sugar and more sugar with a bit of malt. A little bit of yeast and spice esters in there as well as some grass/straw.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: A pretty decent beer, but the sweetness was a little much for me.

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Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to the random dude behind me in the bottle pick-up line at Dark Lord Day who traded with me for this 12oz brown bottle.

Poured into a goblet, it appears a hazed golden orange color with a finger of fluffy yellowish stained head comprised mostly of large bubbles. Constantly streaming bubbles of carbonation rise to the surface in support of the head that retains very well and seemingly climbs up the edges of the glass in a very ackward uneven pattern of lace that leaves the head with larger bubbles on the botton and a smooth silky layer on top...interesting. Aroma of this beer is quite fruity with a scent similar to a combination of pears meets grapes. Also evident in the smell of this beer is some maltiness and just a touch of some sourness and funk in the backend. Taste is tart with a bold amount of alcohol character upfront that leads through a warming body to a dry finish that is partially puckering and tart. Flavors of the alcohol are noted throughout the body along with a touch of some funky barnyard or hay flavors. The aftertaste of this beer resorts back to the pear and a bit of the barnyard flavors mixed with a peppery note partially accented by the dryness and boldness of the alcohol bite. Feel of this beer is light with a very lively, high amount of carbonation. Overall it was a good experience and I would love to try it again.

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Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +23.5%

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

After a year aging, this one is still working and carries a bit of a boozy tone. There are nice dough and fruit tones, with some standard style sweetness there as well. Smooth feel. The booze on it and the part that kind of rests in your mouth to stay is a bit of a detractor, but this is still a nice enough one.

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Photo of liamt07
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Sammy, 12oz into a tulip - 2009 vintage.

Hazy orange brown, with a white head. Moderate retention and mild lace. Nose has huge berry notes, red grapes, yeast, some berry pie and a just a ton of fruit character all around. Taste has more berries and cherries, yeast character, some bready and crusty character, and just delicious fruits - almost like a berry pie. Medium feel, no alcohol. Has held up exceptionally well for 3 years on this, further asserts New Glarus as one of my favourite breweries going.

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