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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 dancinwillie
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super active pour, I should have known better. I only decanted around half so far, but it's lovely! Huge fluffy white head, with lemon yellow highlights. Dark peach colored liquid, and little geysers of carbonation are being released very rapidly.

Lemon is the first scent I pick up on. Also a light grassy note. I think another B.A. described it as champagne. I agree with that completely. Reminds me a bit of their Berliner Weiss, which I had earlier this evening.

My first drink is pretty tart up front, and very fruity. Pit fruits, peach and nectarine mainly, Although it almost has a plum-like quality about it. I had tried this beer right when it came out, and thought it was just decent. I should never have doubted New Glarus. It's damn tasty. I could have been drinking this for a few months. Damn. Oh well.
Some strong lemon and honey flavor, and a tiny taste of black pepper. Decently bitter, just enough to keep the flavor from tipping.

Medium to full bodied. Maybe just full bodied for the style. Sweet tart finish, and long. A little dry, but I think it could stand to be a little dryer. Small thing though really.

Drinkability level high. Feeling a bit of the alcohol and am about 2/3 into this glass. But this was the right beer for today, and it's definitely a crutch that keeps me up, while I pine for the awesomeness that was the Imperial Weizen. Cheers!

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a four pack of this the other day and I'm finally getting to sample it.

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass it looks amazing. It's a rich golden amber thats only lets the strong sunshine through. An inch of thick head that leaves a decent amount of lacing.Lots of bubbles continue to float to the top.

The smell is where it's at for me. It smells so fruity and spicy. There's hints of grass and apple.

The taste is slightly lacking for me. It's not bad but it has a hard cider thing going on. Almost champagne like. The fruity taste is there like a saison should but maybe the alcohol is a bit to present for my taste.

The mouthfeel is nice but a tad to carbonated for me.

This is a refreshing beer with decent kick. Not my favorite from NG but a solid offering.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew came to me in a trade with Masterski. Thanks for this and all of the great New Glarus brews.

The body is a cloudy, hazy golden color that has just a few, tiny particles of yeast that are barely noticeable. A big, white head has really good retention throughout the entire time I am drinking it. The head seems to just magically replenish itself. A decent amount of lacing is left behind also.

The smell is pretty good. Apricot and a touch of green apple pair with a good tartness.

Right up front a nice tartness comes through, that pairs with apricot and a little bit of both peach and green apple to provide a slightly sour, fruity flavor that is very nice. After the tartness comes a good coriander flavor and a bit of a spicy flavor. Just a touch of banana comes through also.

The mouthfeel could be a little lighter. Carbonation is moderate, and the dryness in the finish is nice.

Pretty drinkable beer. A great saison overall, one that I would have again any time.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice orange to light amber body with a delicious looking off-white cap.. superb lacing.

S: Horse farm funk, apricot, peaches, green apple, yeast and slight pepper in the back end.

T: Wow. As many here have said a surprisingly tart fruit profile (apricots and peaches)... I like it, it complements the funky/yeasty notes typical to the saison style... nicely spiced...

M: Light bodied.. good carbonation levels.. not as crisp as a finish as I'd prefer for the style.. refreshing

D: A delightful brew.. I don't know what an imperial saison is, but I like it! Many thanks to mnjeff for the trade!

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Photo of scaliasux
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Light orangish-amber. Quite cloudy. Thick white head that's very persistent.

Smell - Fruit is the primary aroma - orange, vague citrus. Also some floral hops, a little vague spiciness. Fresh smelling.

Taste - Fruit is present almost immediately. Sour orange or even lemon is the principal flavor. Malt, alcohol, and a little peppery spice present, but overshadowed by the fruit. Finishes quite dry. Not a huge fan of the style, but this appears to be a very good example.

Mouthfeel - Light to moderate.

Drinkability - Nice beer to sample in the summer. It has a freshness for the heat, but also a complexity for the drinker. Not a style I seek out, but well worth the try.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks incredible, like so many New Glarus offerings. The head is quintessentially Belgian: that tight, ultra-creamy, long-lasting look, with tons of lace to boot. Color is a hazy, near-murky apricot/peach.

Nose is vibrant, with ginger and lemon coming to mind quickly and apricot emerging more slowly. Not all that funky, the yeast seems to take a subtle role. The alcohol spikes out too much, even if it is 8.7%; gives a medicinal edge that overshadows the good stuff going on.

There's a puckery fruit thread running through this beer, more spice (ginger) and more fruit in the form of juicy, sweet, just slightly underripe peaches. Bouyant in the mouth, a springy balance of carbonation and creaminess. Nice that the yeast asserts itself throughout the flavor profile. A little tart in the finish, like young white grapes, and the alcohol lingers just a little too long, but I wouldn't call it cloying.

Fruity, yeasty, super-quenching. My only hangup is the too-present alcohol in smell and taste, but it's a minor complaint. There's tons to love about this beer, and it was a super-refreshing late-summer afternoon sipper.

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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 alcstradamus
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours a light, glowing copper color with a huge, billowing 3 finger head in my 16 oz. snifter. Nice lacing down the glass

S--Light yeasty aroma, with a bit of clove and orange peel. Mild, yet a complex mash of fruits is present just enough to make it interesting

T--Whoa, this one is more tart then I expected. Definitely tasty though. Tart apples, grapes, orange, and lemon mesh together and create a complex but not overpowering brew. I have yet to find a "sour" beer that I truly like, but this may be the one. Probably because it is not near as sour as others I have tried. Maybe this will be my gateway?

M--Medium bodied with a slight carbonation sting

D--Still doesn't have that "x factor" to make me really get excited, but a really solid beer that is for sure

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Photo of blackearth
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange with a white head. A rather vigorous pour into a snifter yielded a bit of yeast in the glass that made "legs" down the sides near the bottom. Aroma of grapefruit and alcohol. Full bodied with a spicy mouthfeel from the carbonation, very much like champagne. Sour finish with a touch of alcohol warmth. Nice beer, but you would only need to drink one in an evening.

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Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark orange color with a tall head that won't die. Nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus and peppery - some other fruits in there, but the orange peel is the dominant one. The most surprising thing about the flavor is the tart zing that it brings to the party. It almost has the remnants of a lambic tang to the end of the flavor, and I like it. There is a definite pepper and citrus character in the flavor along with a lingering sweetness. The texture reminds me of a chewy wheat based beer. It isn't thin, but it's not thick either - like I said, reminds me of a good wheat beer. The drinkability is quite good. Nice brew. I'm not sure about the 'imperial' part, as it's only 8.7% and most are around 7%-8%, but it's still quite good.

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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 JohnQVegas
4.7/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass, courtesy of Jason (MBABJJ) - huge thanks!

Pours pale copper, hazy with some gorgeous effervescence and a positively gargantuan off-white head. Head is just gorgeous - so dense and meringue-like, very long lasting and incredible 3D lacing. Took three pours to finally get the whole bottle in the glass. Just overall, a gorgeous beer - a bit more head retention would push this up to perfect.

Nose is fruity, a bit tart, apricots and peaches, some white grape, and some nice tangy wheat. Different, but I'm loving it.

Taste is big time tart and fruity - like nothing I expected. Lots of peaches, apricots, white grapes, with a fantastic light, fruity tartness that's really unlike anything I've found in a saison before. Very tangy. Some light yeasty breadiness in the body and towards the finish. Not really getting anything in the way of hops. There's definitely a white-wine character to this - juicy but a bit dry, with a light, fruity tarness. The very light lacto note just makes this beer. Very different, and very delicious. If I could buy a case of this tomorrow, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, very soft, medium-full bodied, juicy, with a light tartness towards the back of the tongue. Would be interesting to try this with a bit more carbonation, but the lightness really brings out the chardonnay aspects that I'm so into with this one.

Drinkability is phenomenal. Balanced but refreshing, never wearing on the palate, delicious, unique.

Note: 1-2 months after this posting, and the subsequent NG IS haven't stacked up to the first - the lacto has run wild, destroying what's left of the saison aspect. It's a bit of a mess at thi spoint, but I'll let my initial review stand. When I had my first, it was mind blowing.

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

and the saison trend continues...

a: westmalle chalice, pour gives a bubbly head atop a hazy orange-golden beer - gorgeous coloring, good retention

s: honeyed wheat malts, big presence of fresh and candied peach, candied ginger and moderate esters, peach-pineapple cake, grape juice concentrate, mild peppery-sweet spice from the grains of paradise, would be a bit on the sweet side for my preference but it's balanced with a touch of tart crabapple, a great blend of aromas

m: carbonation rides the high-medium border and may be a touch abrasive, body on the lighter side of medium

t: fresh peach juice upfront on a full wheat body, alcohol hits the stomach quickly after swallowing and a body-warming effect soon follows, candied lemon rind and peppery grains of paradise, white grape juice, moves quickly from the mildly sweet fruits and wheat to a tart finish of crisp herbal and citrus rind hops - meanwhile bypassing or cutting short much of the complexity found in the aroma, candied peach lingers

d: just fine, though a bit hindered by the evident alcohol

one of two carried down by dr. dirts on his Metro visit, the other will chill for a year or two

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Photo of akorsak
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to eyncognito for this foil-wrapped 12 oz bottle.

A: The is a darker color, more amber than not with an orange sunrise glow. The pour generated a finger of head that left small patches of lace.

S: The nose is beautiful, sweet with peaches as the dominant aroma. Golden delicious apple is also evident. In any other context, this is a fruit beer but here is transcends fruit. Bitter anise and candi sugars remind me that this is no fruit brew.

T: While the nose is awesome, the taste struggles to live up to the high bar. The fruits are strong, dominating the front of the sip with a peacn and apricot sweetness. The yeast strain has created a licorice flavor that contrasts with the fruit. Tartness becomes more pronounced as the ale warms, creating a full taste that is almost too intense. Peach and banana (!) flavors linger just after the funkiness passes.

M: The mouthfeel careens from sweet to funky and back to sweet all in the course of one sip. The sweet finish is a big highlight.

D: The 9% price tag is well hidden but the funky yeast is almost too much to really enjoy. The peach and apricot flavors make me want more though.

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

Bottle received as an extra from brian23456 who has been a great trader!

Appearance: Burnt orange with a 1 finger white crown that rapidly dissipates. Some lacing left behind.

Smell: A world of apricots, peaches, hops, and spices. Grains of Paradise, Ginger, Styrian Golding Hops, etc.

Taste: Sweet dough, peaches, apricots, etc. A bit of a citrus zing in the beginning that gives way to a more rounded fruityness and a sweet but bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Really great mouthfeel here. A touch towards the light side of medium bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: All day all summer!

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

The label claims something about Unplugged Saison capturing a "shot of apricot and peach"; that much is true, I can attest because I've paired the beer along side some apricots and indeed the colour resemblance is uncanny. (It's also about as transparent as an apricot, too). I have to deduct points, however, for the dismal lack of head (or outline even). But the beer is still charming, its colour dwindles like that of a summer sunset.

There seems to be a little more resemblance to fruit in the appearance than there is in smell. Although I do note a little curdled fruit (not necessarily peaches or apricots but just about any orchard fruit really) the aroma inevitably belongs to the yeast and spices. It is a fragrant bouquet, spicy and lightly floral with very exotic elements. It's a peculiar blend of scents that is not really quite like anything I've smelt before, in a saison or otherwise.

Which is not surprising given I've never had a beer that was brewed with traditional farmhouse yeast *and* injected with Lactobacillus bacteria *and* spiced with grains of paradise *and* seasoned with ginger. (Like many complex ales, this is also bottle-conditioned to boot). Altogether these ingredients make for a beer that is less unusual than it is tasty. I doubt it was simple to balance these flavours, but hot damn it worked!

How does it work? I don't know, that I'll have to leave up to the brewer to explain (man! Dan Carey is good!) Why does it work so well? Simple, because no part of the palate goes overlooked. This malt offers only light flavours of toasted straw but it is sturdy enough to make each mouthful feel full and quenching. The spices impart exotic, herbal, spicy, distinct flavorings that compliment the excess of fruity notes (citric, tropical and orchard).

To really top matters off, the Lactobacillus imparts a subtle hint of funky tartness, one that really makes this over the top refreshing. Saisons brewed with only farmhouse yeast - distinctive in its own right - can be funky, tart or fruity, this beer is all that plus a certain indefinable quality. The carbonation is effervescent and this could not be pairing any better with my plate of nuts, dried and fresh fruits and pungent (!) Belgian cheese.

I wish all the New Glarus Unplugged offerings were widely distributed year round releases. Every single one I've had has been a creative, delicious, impeccably brewed specimen - pieces or art, really. Although I sometimes stay awake at night thinking about the Quadruple, the Smoked Rye Bock, the Enigma or Imperial Weizen, I have a feeling that no summer will now ever be complete without at least one bottle of the Saison. Thanks Alex!

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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 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 brewcrew76
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange with big fluffy white head that leaves pillows of foam and sticky lace behind.

S - Peach and apricot with a touch of spicy yeast, somewhat sweet but with a slightly sour twang also present. Grassy with a bit of banana.

T - Peach and apricot, ginger which is more noticeable as it warms, spice, sweet but tart with a little funk, banana and lingering fruits.

M - Medium body with a good amount carbonation and a lingering tartness.

D - Another interesting take on a style from NG. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of mdwalsh
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was the third of my four bottles, two I drank fresh, this one has aged a few months, the next one I will not be drinking for about a year i think.

A: 4 finger white head with small, creamy looking bubbles. Light golden beer with lots of active carbonation. Zero lacing. The head does go away pretty quick.

S: Spicy with a clear Belgian funk. No hops, and only a bit of maltiness.

T: A strong, creamy citrus dominates, it reminds me of Flat Earth's Belgian Pale Ale. But it is a yeasty citrus, not a hoppy one. There is still no hops to be found. Other notes I would include are bitter sweet and a bit metallic.

M: Very smooth and creamy, it's heavy for the color.

D: Alright, but takes some getting used to.

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

pours a golden orange color with a big head that dissipates really fast to a nice fresh looking head and ring the smell is apricot and melon , lemon and other fruitful gems along with a yeasty Belgium taste/strain ...the taste is tart and assertive in both fruit and spices the mouth feel is tart sweet and fruity it hits the taste buds right away it is very drinkable @ 8.70 abv..although not my favorite NG offering still a great one to try NG never disappoints ...an outstanding brewery... try this one if you are a fan of their wheat's and hefewiezens and dunkels a solid offering but not one that i would have more than 1 of in a night... recommended

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Photo of cvaypai
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a chimay goblet.

Appearance - Golden/orange, lots of bubbles streaming upwards, 2 finger frothy head that dissipates rather quickly but retains at about 1 finger.

Smell- Belgian yeast and bread, sweetness and fruity aromas detected.

Taste- Extremely sweet with some sour taste to it, peach and apricot detected. Even a bit of orange? You can tell it is a saison due to its belgian flavor, still apparent. I like it.

Mouthfeel- Stings the tongue, but not really in a good way, pretty sour and sweet, carbonation is good.

Drinkability- One is enough for me, just wanted to try it.

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Photo of KBomb
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, NG Imperial Saison has a great murky orange/bronze body with a big sudsy head. Frothy lacing and bombastic swirling carbonation certainly make this a nice looking beer. The aromas are stellar. Its like a fruit salad: smells of fresh tangerine, green apple, and apricot. A little yeasty bread smell hides in the background. Taste is dominated by sweet and tart citrus fruit, with a very quiet note of mild earthy hops and grains. Big sour finish, but not unpleasant. Prickly high carbonation lifts and highlights tart flavors, medium-light bodied. In spite of high AVB, quite drinkable.

This beer is a treat! The big bold fruit flavors excite the palette without crossing the line. A more perfect beer might have a little more malt backbone, but its tasty nonetheless. It will be hard to pace myself with these. I'll need an excuse to return to WI for another pack!

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another NG gem from flyingbison on TBS.

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy bronzed orange with an aggressive three finger slightly off-white head which seems to stay forever. Decent amount of stick, wonderful looking beer. Aroma is to die for. A sweet bouquet consisting of pear, apple, mango, and floral scents. Underneath that is the bready yeast body with a a good dose earthy hops. No booze in the nose and for an almost 9% abv beer, that's a big plus in my books. Flavor is very similar, but with a good amount of spice. Lots of pear flavors with some ginger, peach, and nectarine as well. The earthy hops and alcohol sting emerge in the end with a bit of warmth that lingers on the tongue. Light fluffy body with a crisp bite from the strong carbonation which leaves the tongue tingling. Interesting saison, I have a feeling some folks won't enjoy this because of the high abv, but the flavors are complex and enjoyable. Definitely looking forward to seeing what some age will do to this one. Thanks again Steve!

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 2 finger head. Not much lacing left. Cloudy orange color. Nice 1 finger collar of foam lasted for almost entire glass.

S. Yeast, malt, spice, fruit, musty smell.

T. Very complex. sweet, sour, apricots, spices, peach.

M Light/medium bodied. Lots of carbonation. Somewhat of a sparkling quality.

D. A very complex and delicous beer. There is a lot going on with this one. Even with the higher abv I think I could put down quite a few of these.

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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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