Unplugged Old English Porter | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Unplugged Old English PorterUnplugged Old English Porter
288 Ratings
Unplugged Old English PorterUnplugged Old English Porter

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by emerge077 on 08-10-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 288 |  Reviews: 217
Reviews by botham:
Photo of botham
4.29/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. pours a deep chocolate brown with amber highlights and one finger of tan head that retains for a minute or so and leaves light lacings.

aroma is of chocolate, with a distinct sourness that is mixed in with a lightly meat-like note. there is a touch of roasted malt behind the chocolate, along with an overall character that is lightly sweet. very unique in the nose.

taste is more of the same with a more distinct sour note that works curiously well with the chocolate note. again, there is a meat-like note behind the sourness, but it dissipates as the brew warms a bit. overall, this is basically a chocolate flavored sour, without much roasted malt character.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly sharp from the sour note. very drinkable with a pleasant finish of palate-cleansing sharpness.

drinkability is good. this is a very unique porter, without much of a roasted quality. it ends up as little more than a sour with some chocolate added, which is quite pleasant on the palate. pick this one up if possible, but don't expect it to taste like a porter. cheers!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

obviously this one is pretty old, we unearthed a dusty bottle from a friends cellar and dug in. amazing how well this has held up, especially considering the low abv. it presents itself now far more as an english old ale or even yorkshire stingo than as a porter. more of a crimson color than a dark brown, and just a thin airy bubble layer on top, dissipating rather abruptly. smells awesome, sour dark fruit notes like are commonly found in a flanders red type, but some nice chocolate malt and sweet toffee notes balancing it out. caramel and oxidation are also present, but its not a flaw here, almost makes it seem like a well aged barleywine, but the abv is so low. the flavor is a lot like the nose, remarkable how sour it is. good lactic development, but still really smooth from all the toasted grain and lack of bubbles. surprisingly, its nothing like any porter ive ever had. i understand the base to be a blend of a sour red type with a porter, which makes a little more sense, but with all the time on it, its evolved into something else entirely. one of my favorite beers from a weekend filled with shiny pennies. if anyone still has a bottle of this laying around their basement someplace, now is the time!

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Photo of dirtylou
4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

another installment of the New Glarus Unplugged line...hands down the most consistently exciting rotation in the USA

appearance: ripped off the red foil with glee and poured into a moderately size chalice...cola-amber body, somewhat clear, thick creamy tan head with strong retention

smell: there is definitely a roasty character here - cocoa, lots of smoked malt, some definite tartness starting to come through

taste: i wont regurgitate the background on this beer - go out and read about it...hats off to NG for not being scared to blur styles and challenge palates. this beer is silky smooth with a great acidic tartness...the cocoa and smoked malt are there but not in the way you expect - very vinous feel to this one with a strong woody aftertaste and very interesting

mouthfeel: very smooth, moderate tartness yet still very smoky and malty

drinkability: great

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
1.91/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

If this was marketed as a sour brown I would get it. I wouldn't like it, but I would get it.

As an "Old English Porter," I am flat mystified. It isn't old. It isn't English. It isn't a Porter.

I know the label claims that the Brits used to drink this stuff back in the day but I just don't buy it. Maybe it's possible that the rag collectors, match sellers, and night soil men of the late Dickensian era were forced to sip on such a foul beer out of abject poverty. Maybe... but I'm not going to drink it.

Appearance: Ultramirky deep dark almost purple brown with an eggshell white head.

Aroma: Rotten cherries, cocoa, vinegar, and faint smokiness.

Taste: Hints of cocoa and coffee grounds try as they might just can't escape the overwhelming flavors of rot and vinegar. We're not talking clean vinegar here either. I'm talking about putting some raisons in a glass, pouring some apple juice on them, leaving them on the window sill for a week, and seeing what happens sort of vinegar. It just tastes foul and wretched. A touch of sour cherry shines through on occasion.

Mouthfeel: Hypercarbonated and utterly sour and without any hope of anything else coming through. I love sour beers but this just doesn't work. All of the porter aspects are overwhelmed by it. The wood notes are overwhelmed by it, and "it" doesn't bring anything along for the ride. Nowhere in this beer are found pleasant sour notes of lemon or dank hay, nor do we find interesting, though sometimes off putting notes of horse blanket or barnyard muck. All we get is rot for rot's sake.

Drinkability: Drain Pour.

One dimensional, offensive, and misexecuted.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of weatherdog
4.14/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

It pours a tad lighter than most porters with really deep transparent red borders. Small 1 finger head dissipates in less than a minute.

The aroma is dominated by the sour character in the beer. I'm picking up mostly vinegar with some tart cherry notes. I'm not picking up any malt as I would in a normal porter

The first thing that hits me in the taste is a strong vinegar acidic taste. It isn't very harsh or too acidic but has this kind of sweet/sour tang to it. Behind that I'm getting just a little bit of malt but barley any. It finished very dry compared to the upfront sweetness. It also seems a little thin for a porter but i understand the historic take on the style.

Mouthfeel is really good as the sourness doesn't offend and lingers longer than it should have. This beer drinks very easily as well. i could easily down several of these at a time without getting fatigued.

I had a few of these when it was first released and haven't had another until now. I think the character of the beer has changed greatly in those 6 of so months. I remember it being more porter-like with just enough sourness and vinegar to keep it interesting. The beer drinks now much like a full blown sour ale. I enjoyed both versions but I'm surprised on how fast the sourness took over.

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Photo of blackearth
3.15/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Purchased from the Hilltop Brewery in New Glarus, WI. Pours a dark reddish body with an off white head. Aroma of coffee, toast and sourness. Medium bodied, this has a sparkling wine mouthfeel, with an overall tart sour flavor. Not the best drinkability for me as I've not tried many sour beers. The label says that half the batch was soured, then mixed back with the other half. Based on the aromas I'd like to try the unsoured half on it's own.

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Photo of newk340
4.11/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a dark bergundy with a thin head and continuous carbonation.

S: an aged wine, nearly sour enough to have a hint of vinegar.

T: a quickly dissipating tartness, hints of oak and bitter malts round out each sip.

MF/D: surprisingly smooth for the amount of visible carbonation, gives off a tender warmth as it slides down the throat following the taste. gives a pleasing tingling sensation in the nostrils following each sip.

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Photo of bpfrush
3/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of boatshoes
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this as one of three awesome extras from Wisconsinbeer1 in a recent trade. I'm into all things tart, and I heard this one had a bit of a sour bite. Thanks again!

Appearance- Pours a medium shade of brown with a nice finger and a half of very smooth, creamy off-white head. Lively carbonation beading up the sides of the glass and great head retention for a porter.

Smell- Very interesting, a lactic tartness is immediately noticeable off of the nose. Comes across almost as smelling of tart fruits. However, this is backed up by a rich maltiness and mild roastiness also present in the smell.

Taste- Again, first thing I notice is a mild tartness to this brew. Unlike any porter I have ever had before. Very similar to the vinegar qualities of a flanders red. After the tartness comes rich malt, some roast, and a mild soda bread taste. Interesting flavor profile, and I am digging it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The creaminess and nice levels of carbonation were great on this one. However, I did think the porter was overall on the thin side, an effect which was actually increased by the tartness of the drink. That being said, this one did go down pretty easy and the tartness was interesting and pretty enjoyable.

Overall, definitely worth a try if you can get it and not like other porters you are likely to run across. Hope I can get my hands on more of this sometime.b

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.14/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Broke this guy out at the camping trip this summer with elrogish. Pours a lighter color than I've seen just about any porter, more amber than brown. Beige head, about .3" in height, not super impressive. Aroma was the tartest of any porter I've had, they really went for what I think historically went down, these things all had some various bugs in them, sometimes making the beer awful, sometimes a little sour, a little diacetylish in a good/indifferent way, and they probably blended some barrels to get the somewhat desired result. Aroma leans cherry, mild light cracker and biscuit like malt presence.

Taste, wow, just phenomenal amount of mild cherry sourness, with an easy, sessionable body to the beer. Falls somewhere in the realm of sour browns and flemish reds, it really doesn't have the usual porter body. The sourness is actually pretty clean and bright, not really that bogged down sour wood feel you get for some similar kind of beers. Maybe a real small percentage of chocolate malt in this one.

Overall, I really liked it, and wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a historical reclamation act like this in the future.

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Photo of brow1901
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown I would describe as mahogany. Off white head that has good retention and ok lacing.

S- Very roasty with hints of smoke. Some alcohol scents, also coffee notes. The roasted malts are over powering, but the beer tastes very different than it smells.

T- Tart and sour, very sour actually. The label said half the beer was sour fermented but I wasn't anticipating it to taste this sour. I don't know how accurate this beer is in creating porters of the 1830's but it certainly is interesting. I wish the oak and roasty flavors could shine with the sourness, but unfortunatly the sour is very overwhelming. Not really a bad taste, just very different than every other porter I've had.

M- Lighter than typical porters, lots of carbonation. Very refreshing for a porter.

D- Good beer, it always fun to try something that really pushes the envelope on styles. I don't think I would call this a porter if I didn't know what it was. Worth a shot buy a couple.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
A- This beer has a very dense deep brown body with a few off-white bubbles that form a small cloud of head. It is supported by a sea of microbubbles.
S- This beer has the aroma of thin aged balsamic vinegar with a slightly woody finish.
T- The sharp bright vinegar has some dark notes to it with a softer finish that has no bite to it. There is a soft woody brown malt flavor that comes through a bit as it warms and a vinegar bite starts to show up aswell.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a thin body and a slight astringency.
D- This would make a nice salad dressing but it is not to bitey like many lambics. There is no funk qualities and is a bit thin.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was not expecting a sour when I started. It helps to read the label. I never realized the history of this style or really that it even existed, as no one does it anymore. I am intrigued.

This is a medium brown beer with a red tint to it. A light brown head climbs to a finger and a half and retains itself well. It eventually fades to a foam of respectable thickness that leaves a good amount of lacing in patches along the way.
Here's where it gets interesting. Lots of tartness on the nose with a vinegar character, but not too much. The malts are there, particularly imparting the dry and crackery element. A touch of peat and smoke try to make their way through as well. Forget raspberry vinaigrette; if there was such a thing, it's more like tart cherry and green apple peel vinaigrette. The thing I'm really looking for is that the porter aspect isn't lost in the sourness. It's not perfect, but the brewer did a good job.
The taste follows suit, and this beer proves it's not a bad idea to use a darker, maltier style as a base for a sour. The difference in the flavor is that a touch more earth, light caramel sweetness and some woody dryness come out.
Carbonation is moderate in a medium body. A bit crisp and fairly smooth, drinkability is no issue for one who can stomach sours. As expected, there's a fair level of dryness.

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Photo of ZombPumpkin
4.26/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mdaschaf
3.47/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a light brown with a one finger tan head. Quick dissipation to a thin ring around the edges. Not much lacing.

S: Surprisingly sour...didn't see that one coming at all. Very fruity with raisins and cherries, some caramel, and brown sugar.

T: Was ready for the sourness after smelling it. Quite acidic, with sour fruits but there is also a roasted malt flavor. There is a slight nuttiness as well. However, it also does taste a bit oxidized.

M: Light to medium bodied, with slightly high carbonation. Strangely tart up front but smooth on the finish.

O: Different. I kinda liked it, but the metallic/oxidation took it down a bit.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Something quite entrancing aobut this beers look...could be the dark mahogany/rust color, not cloudy but incredibly deep and near-opaque...or the slight but creamy head, with the color of mocha froth, that leaves nice lace slashes on the glass. Beautiful.

Has a predominantly green-wood type smell, kind of acidic and vinous and not nearly as smoky/roasty as most porters. Roast opens up with warming, and once the nose gets used to the tart aroma of grape and young wood.

Flavor balances sour, earthy wood and roasty malts with a lightly tart finish, although it remains pretty dry. Some fruity sweetness comes in, like young/unripe dark fruit, and the feel is a slick, round light-to-medium with just the right amount of carbonation. Nice to have a drinkable, well-made porter that doesn't overdo the roast and offers something quite unusual in its place.

After recently meeting Magic Hat's Odd Notion Winter '09--a flawed attempt at some kind of sour/wild ale--this seems to do all the right things that one didn't. It's a tenuous comparison maybe, as the intentions weren't the same, but it just underscores how New Glarus hardly ever releases anything less than magnificent. This is an unusual, delicious and apparently loyal interpretation of an English Brown Porter circa the 1870s, and though I'm no expert on English brown porters from the 1870s, I'm damned glad to have tried it. And thanks a ton to GbVDave for sending it!

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to natasharai for backpacking this mother to the last frontier.

Pours an extremely light color for a porter. borderline amber ale ruby color. The head is light brown and dissipates very quickly leaving minimal lacing.

Nose is alot of vinegary lactic notes, english yeast and a bit of chocolate.

Well, this beer is depressing. Because half of it tastes like an excellent english porter. And the other half tastes like an infected batch of excellent english porter. Great chocolatey notes and bold english malt sweetness are fantastic on the palate, but are quickly raped by a lactic and vinegary flemish-like infection. The tartness isn't too bad, so its still drinkable, but oh man what this could have been. IF this was intentionally soured, then props for going for tradition, but man i just think it would be so much better without it. I wish i could give this taste a 4.5 and a 1 at the same time.

Mouthfeel is pretty much ideal, good viscosity and good english dryness.

Drinkability is decent, would be excellent if not for the infection.

Overall, an amazing porter that has been compromised by what is either the occasional lapse in QC, or a fun poke at tradition,(that you have to respect them for attempting, if it weren't for this we'd have no progress in brewing) that i just happen to disagree with a little bit. Still an enjoyable beer, even a half good one, but oh what an amazing libation it could have been. Frustrating. If flemish porter were a style, this would get an A, and i realize that may have been the brewers intent, but goddamn man, it would have been such a nice porter by itself.

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Photo of cokes
3.06/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany with a thin, lacy eggshell head.
The nose brings cocoa, and some light smokiness, along with sour raspberries and cherries. All told, it's a fairly modest aroma, given its specs.
It rolls onto the tongue, with bitter cocoa, and ground coffee. The tartness seizes immediately, and brings a large dose of lactic acid charading as lemon juice and sour cherries. The sourness remains long into the finish and masks all traces of wood aging, except for, perhaps, one tiny glimpse very late.
Thin it texture with a tiny, fizzy carbonation. The sour aspects are overblown, as it clings and stings the mouth and holds everything hostage.
Its akin to a glass of chocolate covered Sour Patch Kids.
One should approach this thinking of Lambic (specifically gueuze), or Flanders Red. I just wish the porter traits were given more room to breathe.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with mushroom cloud, that leaves a faric of white thick lace. Bold malty, and sour aroma. The mouthfeel is creamy. Taste is sourish, very different porter.Good sourness, almost like you take a red flemish.A little smoke in the aftertaste alone.

Had one month later with Mike Hancock. SOur elements ther, above average.

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Photo of Ssomnoremac
4.62/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Am I obsessed with this beer because it is so hard to find? I brought six back to LA with me quite a few months ago and now I'm down to one. I'm still convinced, tasting many other beers, that this is the finest sour beer I've ever tasted.

A: Reddish brown, not a lot of head or lacing

S: Raisins all over the place, and vinegar

T: Well balanced sour with raisins and smoked malt. Complex sweetness and malts follows the initial puckering. Every sip is this front-back thing which is so great all throughout. Can't see why this turns people off.

M: Probably my favorite mouthfeel beer. Sour, with champagne-like carbonation, but with a porter's malty viscosity. It really lingers in the mouth and has you coming back for more.

O: This beer, and the historical and chemical research behind it, is why this brewery is so fascinating. These people care, and that is why this beer is so remarkable. It is unique and good. If this was anything like the Porter the English drank in the 19th century, those were some happy people.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, Bruery tulip, and thank you, Craig, for this big time want.

This claimant to the historical moniker of Porter is a purple red-brown and surely transparent. It has a small frothy off-white head, eschewing the darker tones of modern interpretations here as well. Big frothy bubbles ring the top and haven't gone away.

The nose is undeniably acidic, with strong Balsamic character and some oaky vanilla which grows in intensity. It smells a bit wine-like.

Flavors begin tart and fruity and move towards something only slightly more recognizable to us modern Porter consumers. Brown malt forms a base and chocolate, oak, and vanilla are a part of this beer, but not at the forefront. These flavors follow the lactic tartness of green apples and smokey Balsamic to a moderately bitter and acidic finish. I think it's a subtle triumph. The warmer it gets the more prominent the vanilla.

The mouthfeel is on the thin side as you might expect. There is a little tooth coating from the acid and the carbonation is fine and rather prickly. Porter was remarkably like some Flanders sours if it was like this.

For some reason this is a beer I really wanted to try. In part I think that it's the history student in me. Is this really what Porter was like? If so, I say not bad, not bad at all. It's quite like the few Flanders sours I've had.

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4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into Duval tulip.
A:  a distant, but present flavor of cake. With an oak, cherry and cake on the tastes, this finds it's way to be a slow sipper to prolong the essences of the many flavors.

S: The presence of a oak and cherry bath. Medium intensity on the aroma.

T/M: The front is a blend of tart cherries and oak. A nice use of oak in the fermentation of is beer. The body holds a oak note throughout. The mouthfeel is a silky, tart note. On the finish this brew shows notes of cake batter. 

D: I do not find this to a beer that I would personally want to drink often, or many at the same sitting, but I do see it fit for a tasting or to try with friends at like the diversity in e many beer styles. All around good flavors and aromas, as well as the lightness on the way down, this gains respect in the drinkability category.  

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.14/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Huge thanks to mikesgroove for this surprising extra. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Gentle pour yields an upward creeping 1 finger coarse, grayish-light brown head with near no retention, dissipating into a group of bubbles atop the brew. Beer is a surprising, deep red amber. Lacing is stringy and spotty with little cling.

S: Toffee, caramel, the slightest hint of coffee and... get this... pungent sweet and sour cherries and raspberries. To the New Glarus guys... please keep doing what you're doing and put fruit in everything! Nose is very aromatic and incredibly enticing.

T: Extremely sour with a cherry tartness upfront. Has infection set in? I think so but the taste seems to match the nose perfectly and all the other reviewers mention this aspect of the beer. Toffee, caramel sweetness is barely there in the back. My palate never gets used to the sourness and it can't detect anything else. Acidic sourness is pervasive. Finish is more of the same and the aftertaste just warns me of what's to come if I take another sip.

M: Light to medium bodied, coarse, and more carbonated than it should've been. A bit watery in the mouth and not smooth or oily in the least. Finish is messy as is the aftertaste.

D: Every sip that I had to take to review this beer made me cringe and I usually love New Glarus offerings. Sourness is way too much here and it doesn't mesh well with the classic english porter flavors. Skip this. I couldn't get paid enough to finish this beer. A complete drain pour.

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Unplugged Old English Porter from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 288 ratings