Unplugged Imperial Saison | New Glarus Brewing Company

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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.

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Ratings: 235 |  Reviews: 188
Photo of Strix
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy pale orange.

Smells of alcohol, grains, and peaches. Interesting.

Flavors come off muted on this. Alcohol makes itself known, with a blend of peaches, bananas, pineapple and spices. Lacking the complexity I was hoping for.

Mouthfeel slick. Feels a bit watery, but maybe that's the muted flavors.

This was pleasant enough, but didn't quite live up to expectations. Flavors seem to be slurried together and it comes off a little watery. I'll age a couple of the others, maybe it will improve with time.

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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 rtepiak
3.72/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an american style saison done right with a complex arrangement of fruit esters in the american fashion... by imperializing. orange and nearly clear without murkiness and breadiness really. upon popping a collection of fruit, apricot, peach, apple, lemon, with a lace of alcohol and sweet cane bubble gum. a mild banana. palate of pepper and mint. a subtle tart. the hop and fruit character is in no way that of a formal saison. the take is interesting... and a step in a good direction but there is something very base about the range of this beer as you get down the glass.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy, head that follows it, hazy orange. If I drink too much of this beer will I turn orange?

Smells like an arsonist poured sweet vinegar on a barn with green apples.

Taste wakes you the fuck up, green apples, sweet and sour, champagney like alcohol. Is this you baby, or just a brilliant disguise?

Chaka fear fire, but drink beer.

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Photo of younger35
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer at Casanova's on my way back to Chicago from Minneapolis. Crazy what they'll make imperial now a days. Excited to try this though. Drank from a crystal wine glass since I'm moving and it's the only glass not packed.

Appearance- Pours a lightly yellowish orange with a small fizzy head that is off white and disappears rather quickly. Not a speck of head is left leaving the beer not looking much like beer.
Smell- Very fruity and slightly spicy with (like the bottle says) notes of peach and apricot with flecks of pineapple and tart green apples. A bit of yeast adds more spice and a bit of earth. Slightly sweet smelling as well as a soft bready malt hides in the background.
Taste- Starts with a green apple like tartness that is not exactly puckering but a sharp wake up call for sure. Slightly bitter in the back of the mouth with a light bit of fruit consisting of pineapple and lemon. The yeast might add a bit of earthiness but nothing crazy. Maybe even a hint of grass but not a peep out of the alcohol. After reading a few reviews I thought it would be more prominent.
Mouthfeel- Light and crisp with some sharp champaign like carbonation.
Drinkability- Very tasty and quite easy drinking. Its not exactly what I expected and I'm surprised to see grains of paradise in here. But good none-the-less. Glad I picked up a four pack.

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Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy orange color, very close to the color of orange marmalade, with a huge white head. The head was so large I had to wait for it to settle down before pouring the rest of the beer into the glass. The lacing is sticky and clings to the side of the glass.

Smell - Nice aroma of lemons, oranges, apricots, and peaches. Also had the aroma of ginger and yeast.

Taste - This is the stuff! Lemons, oranges, apricots, peaches, ginger, and some spices add up to a great flavor. The beer gets more of a peppery taste as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, well carbonated, sweet, almost leaves a "sticky" dry feeling in the mouth.

Drinkability - Without a doubt, this is highly drinkable. Another great effort from New Glarus.

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Photo of wryepicures
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy golden tan, fluffy white persisting head that leaves a lacy film.

Initial smells of sparkling wine, grass, fruits (apricots, peach, grape), floral notes, hops, barnyard. Gets a nice funky smell as it opens up.

Taste: Fizzy sparkling champagne, peaches, pears, grapes, apples. Grass, floral hops, and crisp sour flavors coat the palate. Some fresh aromatic herbs come thru, gingery spices liven up the palate. Sour finish that works well with overall tastes.

The alcohol isn't heavily present, making this very drinkable. Full flavorful mouthfeel, not coating or slick, no lingering bitterness.

Excellent mixed style, very drinkable, and very well done. I will begin hoarding this one.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to snojerk321 for bringing this. Pours hazy dark orange with a white head.

The aroma is of lemons and apricots. It's a little peppery, with notes of ginger. The alcohol is pretty noticeable but it seems to work. The flavor is fruity: lemons, apricots, and oranges. The ginger is interesting, adding a unique spiciness to the flavor. The alcohol is very strong and it's slightly distracting.

The beer is light bodied with ample carbonation.

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Photo of br3wmeister
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Large fluffy white head with good retention and moderate lacing. The beer is a light orange color.

S- Very bold fruity aroma with a nice touch of spice. Peaches apricot and a hint of banana. Honey and earthy spicy yeast aroma as well.

T- This is a very fruity tasting beer, apricot and oranges in the flavor, good touch of tartness right in the middle and then some spicy earthy flavors come through. The alcohol is present int he flavor but not too bad. Some bitterness in the end that seems to dry your mouth out.

This is an interesting saison, I have never had one so fruity. I think an imperial saison is an awesome idea but this is not what I was really looking for, still a good beer just not as good as I had hoped.

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Photo of brdc
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle poured into a tulip.

Golden, hazy body, nice white head with good retention and lacing.
Aroma is very little saison, with a mostly fruity nose, appricot, peach, piney notes, some blubblegum - at times it even feels like a weizen, although it is obviously too spiced and strong for it.
Medium bodied, alcohol nicely hidden, it is mostly sweet with the same apricot notes, but drier than expected, and spicy.
A nice beer, but very far from a saison, and a quite peculiar combination of notes making a unique beer that might not please all.

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

Another fine bottle courtesy of Corey from the fine state of Minnesota in a recent trade. 12oz bottle poured into Weyerbacher tulip glass on a fine summer-work Friday.
Bottle Graphics: 5/10. Non-descript

A: Golden pale color with an enormous amount of head. The lacing is very nice and the bubbling is nonstop, literally.

S: Tartness of a good saison. Many saisons are imperial without calling themselves so and I think this is a good saison smell. A nice sparkling booziness with ripe fruits right up front including peach and pear.

T: Peach is the most direct of the fruits, some fresh cut apple earthiness. Dry like a good drink of the style should be that shows off the sweet tartneses. The abv is there but not annoying because it doesnt carry any of the sweetness.

Not exactly figuring out at first why this beer reminded me of Judge Smails in Caddyshack but eventually came to me: the carbonation and some taste of a peach flavored Fresca. Some sourness that finishes with the mildest of hops.

M: Dry and prickly, spritzy is the word that comes to mind. Completely clears out the palette after each sip. No change from cold to warm but tartness is the dominant.

D: Pretty fun to drink. I like a beer that is unique and very few saisons really grab a hold of me where I would ask for more but still give props to it for being well construed.

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

I picked this up on a recent beer pilgrimage through Wisconsin and Minnesota. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into my Allagash stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a mostly clear orange-gold color with a 1/2" white fluffy head. The head took about 5 minutes to settle into a thin cap. Decent streaky lace left behind on my glass.

S= Quite an interesting and complex aroma profile. I found everything from malt sweetness and funky barnyard, to the whole gamut of citrus (sweetness-tartness-fruitiness). A fair amount of other fruit notes were present too, including lemon rind and green orchard fruits like pear and apple.

T= Really a fast progression in each swallow. This took me from sweet malt to fruity ester to barnyard funk and into tartness in the blink of an eye. Some spiciness crept in midway and blended well with the alcohol pop that emerged in the finish. Tart but not too dry aftertaste that was super refreshing.

MF= Medium bodied with a nicely crisp feel.

D= Wow, this is a big flavored and intense ale. I really liked it a lot but would probably not do more than two in a night, and that's saying something!

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

Scooby was kind enough to send me a 4-pack that's reduced to a 2-pack within two days of it reaching me. Thanks, Bill!

A: Mildly hazy orange with a large off-white head with good retention, this beer is a looker. Plenty of carbonation.

S: Deliciously complex with citrus sweetness, peach, dusty barnyard, phenols, mild alcohol and green apple. A grainy bitterness is perceived. Aromatic spices with nutmeg and mace, and a touch of white pepper. The ginger adds a zing that's unmistakable. Awesome. I want to give this a 4.75, but since that's not an option, 4.5 it is.

T: Opening up with orange juice, peach as well as a mild lemony sourness, this beer is awesome. Spices appear mid palate with a little bit of allspice. Alcohol and phenols meld well, creating a juicy and warming character. Finishes tart and spicy. As it warms up, the ginger is a more apparent.

M: Medium bodied with full carbonation and a spicy finish, this beer is pretty good. I usually like my saisons dry, but this one is very nicely done.

D: This beer is a little too intense to session, a quality I desire in my saisons, but it still is a unique take on the style.

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Photo of bound4er
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Light orange to copper appearance. Thick, white puffy head that slowly recedes while leaving very good lacing.

S. Nose of lemon with a good shot of biscuit from the malt. Secondary aromas of spice, pepper and orange rind.

T. Tart lemon and apple flavors. Good cleansing acidity that leads to an almost mouth puckering finish.

M. More body than your typical saison but not overly heavy or plodding. Nicely carbonated - keeps me coming back for another sip.

D. Infinitely drinkable for nearly a 9% ABV beer. I can't wait for some hot weather to knock back a couple of these. I sound like a broken record saying this - another winner from NG!

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.37/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unplugged #2 for 2009

A-Golden burnt orange color with heavy carbonation and rocky white head. The foam settles to a decent layer and provides light lacing. Very nice clarity.

S-This is where this beer really shines. Big, in-your-face, Brettanomyces aroma. This is definitely the NG house strain of Brett with the heavy spiced cherry pie funk that I have come to love from Dan. Layers of aroma fill the nose with touches of vanilla, oak and subtle hops. Not the typical barnyard funk but so wonderfully fruity and complex.

T/M-Sharp and acid right up front with a dry fruity finish. The oakiness really comes through and it reminds me of a richly bodied chardonnay. Again, an evident cherry element comes into play like many of the other brett-spiked creations from NG. The high carbonation increases the acidity and adds dryness.

D-Easily drinkable for such a high gravity saison. The flavors meld so wonderfully that you just want more after each sip. I would love to see a toned-down version of this become part of their regular seasonal lineup.

This is unlike many of the saisons out there and is definitely not typical (i.e. Dupont) but I love where they took this. I cannot say it enough...New Glarus continues to impress me and may be one of the most solid breweries in the county, if not the world. Sorry for any of you outside of WI who cannot easily get at this treasure.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dave for tossing one of these my way after a recent WI run. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - Two and a half fingers of blonde foam with solid retention that settles to a thick cap with some solid lacing that coast the entire glass. Hazed semi-transparent apricot color with a nice glow to it and a few lazy bubbles visible.

S - This is one potent brew - I could smell it upon popping the cap. Tons of malted wheat, lemon, yeast, spices, peach, banana - it's almost like a cross between a saison and a hefeweizen in some ways.

T - Wow - I was not expecting this much sourness. It's much more sour apple, but there's also a fruity champagne character as well with a mixture of apple, peach, banana, and apricot. There's some persistent tartness to the aftertaste. This is one of the few beers I've had where the taste is really different from the smell, yet just as good. No obvious alcohol in either taste nor smell.

M - Moderate carbonation, with a little bit of a tingle on the top of the palate. Very viscous - this is not the refreshing summer saison, but something creamy and hearty instead. Very dry finish, with both stickiness and cotton mouth in the residual feel. I don't have much of a benchmark for "Imperial" Saisons, but this is very complex - I think I've written more for the mouthfeel on this one than 99% of my reviews.

D - The high ABV and moderate carbonation bump this down a notch. The thickness also makes it somewhat of a slow sipper for me. It'd probably take me a few days to get through a 4-pack, and I doubt I'd want more than one at a time.

Still, another winner from New Glarus.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a golden copper with a little bit of pale head that retreats quickly.

S: Peachy, spicy, and almost a gummy worm type aroma (I don't think I'm having a stroke). Aroma is similar to that of a sweeter champagne, no toast to it like you'd get from a dry.

T: Tart, fruit, and alcohol. It's very tasty, kind of like a fruity champagne. Finishes real dry.

M: Creamy, great carbonation. Heavy. Just wonderful on the palate.

D: I could probably drink a couple, but any more than that would be pushing it.

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Photo of brow1901
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Slightly hazy straw gold with a decent bright white head. The head fades fairly quickly but leaves decent lacing.

S- Interesting smells, dosen't really remind me of other saison's. Nice yeast smell like most saisons's but its just a hint in this one. White grapes stick out.

T- Pretty tart white grape taste, nice balancing sweetness in the finish. The tartness fills the place of the hops quite nicely.

M- Excellent carbonation, almost like champagne at times. Leaves the throat with a fantastic dryness.

D- Such a perfect beer for a warm summer night. My favorite saison ever! Great job NG!

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Photo of hwwty4
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BgVDave for the chance to try this one.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This a beer pours a hazy, molten golden with a massive rocky white head that leaves a sporadic amount of sticky lacing. While I was sniffing the beer during the pour, I was amazed at the amount of banana I picked up in the nose. It was very reminiscent of a good German Hefe minus the clove and bubblegum. After the banana, hay, a damp earthiness, peach, and just a speckle of medicinal herbs. Holy crap, the first sip throws me for a loop. This beer packs a massive secret. A huge citric tartness hits palate like a ton of bricks. I would have never imagined by the nose that this beer starts off so tart. Green apple, tart plum skin, banana, peach, vanilla, grass, with a rather herbal finish. The mouthfeel is dry leaving just a little residual sugar lingering on the palate. Also the dryness allows the tartness to cut straight through the palate. Absolutely wonderful. This is just another example of a great brewery doing great beers.

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Photo of cokes
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Translucent apricot-tan colored with a thick, gaseous rise of misty, milky, buttercreme suds with plenty of rise and stick.
Vinous, champagne aroma. Touches of peaches, apples, and kiwi. Funkier as the inhale deepens, with sawdust and wet concrete, then a small garden of pressed floral hoppiness.
Tart and grapey upon entering the mouth. This could readily pass for Champagne. Fruitiness stays in the grape realm throughout, but stretches a couple tendrils towards apple, pear, cherry, and peach. This sour fruit/Champagne persona is the bulk of the beer, but later nuances include driftwood, rosewater, honey, cedar, and ginger. And a small alcoholic smolder at the swallow.
It's tart and heavy, but not at all sticky in the mouth. The persistently active CO2 dissuades that. It's a fantastic base for this beer.
Interesting now, all fruit and champagne. It's just an infant. But I see greatness as this ages and deepens and grows.

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Photo of mynie
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Awfully dark, for the style: cloudy amber with a very nice white head. Nice, but not what I expect out of a saison.

Smells like a damn fine saison: tart, citrusy and a little funky with heavy nodes of lemon and champagne.

Tastes like a damn fine saison, though maybe a little too heavy. 7-Up, Champagne, pears. Near the end the yeast is very heavy and beery. It's a bold change from the crisp and refreshing, "might as well be soda" vibe that you get from most saisons. This is a heavy beer, not what you'd drink during a lazy summer lunch so much as what you'd drink several hours later, after dinner and sex, and well there's certainly a place in my heart for a beer like that.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a giant bordeaux glass.

Pours a medium honey, almost amber. Slightly cloudy with an effervescent head that recedes to a thick, thick cap. Laces nicely, and the head stays quite well. Looks like a Belgian.

Aroma is straight up Belgian, and a bit of weiss. Banana and clove. there is a bit of the brett in there, but not overpowering. Citrus and tart green apple on the nose. Hints of grape like sourness like a tart chardonnay. Slight aroma of booze, but it's not the predominant aroma at all; it's just there.

Flavor opens with the yeast flavor, like a Belgian strong there is bubble gum and malty sweetness. The malt gives way in the middle to tart and sweet flavors. Green apple, green grapes and sour candies. Lemon and herbal tea, like a lemongrass tea. There is a bit of doughiness there that I don't usually see with a sour, tart beer, but it balances the tartness to an extent. The freshness of the flavors is amazing. Not a bit of any flavor is cloying. Finishes tart, tart, tart, but not the predominant flavor. The dryness of the finish is what makes this beer seem so tart. Alcohol is there, hiding in the bushes, very well. And the booze is hiding well enough that you had better be careful with this one. Four would be a morning to remember.

Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly, like champagne. There is a body that is hard to pin down, but at the same time, it is bubbly and refreshing. The flavor and grain bill do not weigh this one down.

To sum it all up; perfectly to style despite the high ABV, this is a Saison’ to remember and I venture to guess a mark to judge others by. It's so damn refreshing that I want to drink it fast, but I know better. This beer will eat you alive and move on to the next sucker. You have been warned.

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Photo of Dibujob
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a lovely amber color with lots of thick, white foam. The body is cloudy in appearance and a steady stream of bubbles race from the bottom forming a dense head which laces the glass.

Smell: Nose is seriously tart, you can smell it from a foot away as soon as you pop the cap. There are hints of citrus fruits, apricot, and peach, but champagne was the first thought that came to mind.

Taste: The smell is a good indicator of what to expect. The flavor of apricot and tartness of sour apples is very prominent, again it reminds me of champagne or a dry white wine, but there is a noticeable malt character that balances the tartness. Finish is bitter and lingers, but not unpleasant. There is a boozy warmth throughout.

M: I've said it twice already but it really reminds me of champagne. I feel like it's dancing in my mouth, very carbonated.

D: INTENSE. I would not be able to drink more than one or two in a sitting, but not at all unpleasant. Very flavorful and interesting.

I have to say that I would be hesitant to even classify this as a saison as it is unlike any other I've ever tasted. It's delicious and brilliant, as I'd expect anything coming from Dan Carey would be, but it's considerably more tart and intense than any saison I've ever had. Delicious, keep up the good work, New Glarus!

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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.

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Photo of mnjeff
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to tulip.
A: Pours an brilliant, sparkling golden color, with a thick 1 finger head that dissipates quickly.
S: Very muted notes of grapefruit, a little boozy smelling.
T: Intense tart flavor followed by a mellow citrus aftertaste. A crisp hop finish rounds this brew out. Great balance between all the flavors, I can't pick all the fruit out. An impressive complex beer!
M: Medium body with many differing floral notes and clear sour tones.
D: A quite drinkable beer which is amazing considering the style. The higher ABV deteriorates from this ever so slightly.
Still a solid addition to the new glarus lineup, and an enjoyable beer.

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Unplugged Imperial Saison from New Glarus Brewing Company
4.05 out of 5 based on 235 ratings.
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