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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 288 |  Reviews: 217
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 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 UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to burnheartsMKE for sending me this one!

Pours a clear dark amber color with a 1 inch tan head that fades to a thin cap. Nice foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, peanut butter, wood, and a bit of sour funky aromas. Taste is of roasted malts, peanut butter, and slight wood/earth. There is a sour kick to this beer that I love. The beer has a good level of carbonation that makes for a smooth and somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a tasty recreation of an 1870s porter. The sourness in this beer is definitely not found in today's porters. It's interesting to see how beer has evolved over time if this is an example of how beer used to be.

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Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of kojevergas
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle acquired in a trade with the very gracious very generous Duff27. Label is fun, featuring a happy man holding up a stein. Old English Porter - Unplugged. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with foiled-over standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Identified as a "brown porter" on the label, a style purportedly popular in 1870s London. Brewed with floor malted English malts including pale ale malt, Mariss Otter, and a touch of smoked malt. Aged on toasted oak. Soured. Expectations are through the roof given the brewery - which I adore.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Paired with salted hard pretzels.

A: Pours a half finger refined beige colour head of nice cream, nice thickness, decent froth, and above average (~3 minute) retention. Head is soft and appealing, leaving an even layer of thin frothy lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Body colour is a vibrant understanted caramel amber-brown. No yeast particles are visible; it's nontransparent yet semitranslucent. No bubble show. Generally good, but it pushes the boundaries of the style - at least the English Porter style as I'm familiar with it. Though the style described on the label seems to be a different, more obscure one. In any case, it looks good and I want it in my mouth. Silky and luscious.

Sm: Boy oh boy. Lightly sour, evoking a berliner weisse. Gorgeous wild yeast and lovely acidity. Lacto bacteria, definitely. Beneath that layer is a curious mixture of biscuit malts, brown malts, and subtle oak wood. Certainly a unique aroma. Marvelous depth of flavour. Buried caramel. Incredibly good balance. I can't wait to try this. A mild strength aroma, but wow.

T: That's a tasty fucking beer. The perfect amount of sourness - light lacto, maybe a bit of other bacteria/wild yeast - is married to an ideal brown malt foundation with delightful creamy character and an ideal complementary floral hop character. I'm immediately confronted by its unmistakable mastery and balance. Whoever made this knows what the hell they're doing. Light stonefruit, maybe supple ripe sugarplum and cherry. A touch of cidery character; sour apple. Majestic subtle oak is present throughout, guiding the flavours. This is the most pleasantly sour - I mean mellow sourness, not confronting sourness - beer I've ever had. I'd bet anyone who claimed not to like sours would like this. Impeccable balance, good depth of flavour, and undeniable subtlety. This stuff is lovely. Some of the most well-integrated intentional oak character I've ever come across. Delightfully evocative.

Mf: Smooth, creamy, and wet. Soft. Delicate. Refreshing. Crisp and smack-your-lips luscious. Feels custom-tailored specifically to the flavour profile. Acidic. This is fantastic. Carbonation could not be more perfect. Thickness is perfect. Palate presence is excellent. Wow. I don't know that it could be much better.

Dr: I could drink this all night. Each sip demands to be savored. The complexity and subtlety feels effortless. I'm in awe. This is a real treat. Incredible stuff. Redefines the way I see porters, even if this particular type of porter is obscure. A ridiculously good offering from New Glarus. They're rocketing to the top of my radar as one of the best breweries in this country.


04.30.14: Truncated notes from a 2nd tasting. Thanks to Duff27 (yet again) for this 2nd bottle; I never thought I'd get to have this treat again, and it's a special occasion.

Served at fridge temp into a wine glass.

Head recedes inside 3 minutes.

Body is a dark brown with amber hues.

Sm: Prominent white oak with notes of vanilla. Some smoked character. Marshmallow. English pale malt. A pleasant subtle kiss of oxidation sets it off nicely. Sourness is quite subtle - about on-par with a berliner weisse or even a gose. Definitely a unique aroma.

T/Mf: Has a delightful subtle sourness, but is far from pucker-worthy. Gets more acidic as you approach the finish. White oak, English malts, marshmallow, a hint of mellow vanilla, subtle oxidation. This is just one of the finest subtly-soured beers out there. Loads of nuance and intricacy. It's refreshing too. The finish is amazing. More and more complexity emerges as it comes to temperature. Depth of flavour is incredible. What really does it for me is the perfect balance and gestalt build; you couldn't change this in any way without compromising the whole; it's very carefully done.

I could drink this all night - and I should be so lucky. One of New Glarus' finest offerings, and that's saying a lot. I've never had a beer like it. I'd love to see this style attempted by other breweries, but part of me doubts anyone else could really do it justice. This is just best in its class. I'd buy a case at $10 per 12 fl oz bottle.

Will age well for 3 more years.

High A-

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Photo of emerge077
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from the brewery, this is the latest release in the ever-reliable Unplugged series.

It pours into a Duvel tulip a high clarity reddish brown. There was a small head of creamy, light tan foam that sparkled on the sides when in the light. Spindly lace was left as it was sipped. Woody aroma with malt sweetness and a hint at coffee. Taste has a tart cranberry apple acidity, like a sparkling red wine, which makes an interesting twist on this historical style. Something in the mouthfeel, and buttery oak in the background reminds me of Enigma, which enhances it. Roasty and alternately fruity. Toasty, woody oak that lingers for a long time. The combination is pleasant and certainly creative. Definitely buy it when you see it!

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut color with a two finger head that leaves shards of lacing

Smell: Toasted brown bread with a hint of smoke and a growing balsamic vinegar aspect

Taste: It doesn't take long for the sour balsamic vinegar flavors to make their presence known - a hint of chocolate and brown bread and off we go in the sour direction, with a tart cherry element appearing as well by mid-palate; after the swallow, the tartness fades a little bit, with the chocolate and smoke elements increasing as a counterpoint, though the finish is still a bit puckery

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and a puckery character

Drinkability: I have tasted this a few times and always enjoyed it but never got around to reviewing it until now; just love the creativity of this brew, even if it is a harkening back to a style that was brewed in the 1800s

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light clear black color porter with a medium foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of tart notes and roasted malt is quite unique but very interesting. Taste is dominated by tart and sour notes with lingering notes of roasted malt. Very unique with loads of sour notes with are-off-setted by some roasted malt. Body is quite light with good carbonation. Not sure I would want to drink this on a regular basis but very glad I tried this one.

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Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Trumpster for bringing this to MN for me.

Poured into Rare Vos glass.

Color is a ruby hued caramel brown. Pours almost a finger of light tan head. Fades down quickly. No lace.

Aroma: this is very unique. It is kind of sour. Has some acidic notes to it. Smoked malts. Some caramel. Also some cherry and oak notes.

Taste: Wow, this is the neatest porter I have ever had. Starts out with some sour and acidic notes, then get some smokey malts and caramel. Pretty much just like the aroma. Then end is tart with fresh cherries and oak/vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel: A little tart, but a very calm beer. Medium bodied with a low to medium level of carbonation. Ends a little dry in the mouth.

Overall, a very interesting beer. I liked it, but there seemed to be a little too much acidic taste to it. I am excited to see what a little age does to this beer, but I have a feeling more of the acidic flavors will come out.

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

Another New Glarus unplugged beer shared by bring. Thanks a bunch, Barry. Beautiful clear garnet-brown with a dense off white head that leaves scattered lacing on the glass. Smells of bread toasting in the toaster, almost burnt, with a roasty undertone and a big malt vinegar character. Incredibly toasty on the palate with light caramel sweetness. Grainy with malt vinegar and tart cherries. Hints at oak in the finish with light tannins, but surprisingly clean with a mild toasty and acetic finish. I quite like this, though I can see why reviews are mixed, as the malt vinegar character is prominent. Thanks, Barry.

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Photo of jlindros
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had much New Glarus before, and got this one as an extra from KeefB. I can be a sucker for an Old English Porter if done right.

A: Semi rich but still slightly light creamy head with lots of big bubbles. A bright but darker brown color, like dark brown sugar, very clear, lots of caramel color and some reddish hue. Tons of light piercing this guy.

N: Holy <BLEEP>! What's with this nose? Its got some nice porter aromas like some sweet toasty malts and brown sugar. But the big kicker is the sour cherry fruit, sweet lambic and yeast! I get lots of balotin (I think) cherry, some raisin, sour fruits, some dough like aromas, and even some slight vanilla. I also get a strange aroma almost of glue like I used to huff as a kid, oh man, I'm already getting high thinking about it. Perhaps some grape wine aromas as well, like it was aged in chardonnay barrels or something.

T: Do I dare? I dare I dare! Wow again! It has that sour sweet cherry flavor to start, but it stays light as the English porter flavors start to take over. Some roasted malts, lots of bready qualities. More raisin qualities and smoked malt flavors. Some vanilla and oak. The sour cherry starts to fade away at first, but then comes back super rampant towards the end. Some rich creamy wood like roasted porter flavors that I get in typical English porters that I was expecting can really be tasted in the background, once I get past all the sour fruits.

M: Semi thick and creamy, lightly spiced, pretty good carbonation.

F: The sour cherry really comes through in the finish as well. It's pretty hot on the mouth surprisingly for only 5.5%. A slight earthy bitterness also rings our, but the sour cherry really hits. Some smoked malt starts to cut back through again, as if it's battling with the sour cherry.

Also, I'm now enjoying this with an Irish Porter Cheese and it's an amazing combination too!

Final thoughts: I get a lot of reminders of La Folie Wood Aged Beer, with more porter flavors and smoked flavors. A very good beer, no, an extremely awesome beer. I could drink this all the time! I can't believe it got such a low rating (B+ isn't that low but to what I thought of it). Perhaps most people aren't ready for a soured English porter, but I think it's amazing. Bravo! I'm going to get as much of this as I can now! Thanks so much Keith!

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Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of billab914
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. It poured caramel brown in color with a bubbly, frothy, khaki colored head to it. The head settled to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and left a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a very intriguing sour chocolate flavor to it. I get some sharper, acidic notes to it, along with some sweeter, milk chocolaty, porter characteristics. Interesting aroma for sure.

The taste starts out with a sharp, acidic bite with some moderate sourness and funk to it. More towards the finish, some of the porter character comes out with just a bit of chocolate to it. A little more of the funky, sourness comes out in the finish as well. It feels overly sharp and acidic overall though.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side with carbonation being on the higher side. Overall, it was an interesting beer but I didn't like it as much as the other Unplugged beers I've tried. Just a little too sharp and acidic with the Porter character being a little too hidden. Cool to try though.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to Barrythebear for this bottle.

Pours a dark brown color with a bit of an off white head. The nose immediately shows something different. I have to ask myself whether this is infected or whether the sourness was intended. After looking over BA and NG's website, I can see it's the latter. Really turned out well. Some roasted malt and chocolate plus some finely-tuned espresso and a bit of cherry. Bitter, slightly tart coffee and cherry notes come through in the taste as well. Good feel with the slight sourness. Great idea and well executed.

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Photo of russpowell
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from Schmittymack, cheers Dan!

Pours an effervescent orange tinged chestnut with 3+ fingers of khaki colored head. Good lacing & minimal head retention

S: A bit of roasty malt, coffee & oakyness

T: Bready, leafy hops & a touch sourness & apples up front, plus a touch of chardonnay. fruiityness battles with sour & just bit of smokeyness as this warms along with tart cherries & a whisper of vanilla. Finishes dry, tart with much cherry, leather & oak

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation. a touch slick

Drinks pretty good, would've rated this higher as a Belgian styled porter, if you like em tart or sour, this is your huckleberry

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Photo of nathanmiller
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a brown color with a reddish tint.

s - Smells of fruit malts, and a bit sweet. Also some roasted malts.

t - Tastes the same as the nose; fruity and roasted malts and sugar, with some rye and a sour funk to it.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A nice porter, with some funky sourness to the taste. Glad I got to try this one.

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

Tree bark brown with dark pumpkin peel highlights and several fingers of sandalwood colored cream. The foam has a great deal of character as it melts and is beginning to grace the glass with all sorts of interesting lace patterns.

After reading about the beer's origins on the New Glarus website, it smells like Mr. Carey hit his target in the bull's eye. And that target was 'what porters tasted like in the 1870s'. Toasted, nutty, and overripe apple fruity are uppermost, with a malt vinegar undertow that should be interesting on the palate.

Unplugged Old English Porter won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's damn good beer if you understand and appreciate the historical roots of the style. It also helps if you like sour ales and if you have an adventurous streak when it comes to beer.

More than one year in the bottle was a concern going in, especially at 5.5%, but acidity has allowed this brew to age gracefully. In fact, one of its strong suits is that it doesn't taste aged at all. Chances are, any bottles you're sitting on should be good for quite some time.

Similarities to a Flanders oud bruin are obvious. And yet, OEP pulls off the 'sour English Porter' thing with ease. The flavor is akin to brown bread soaked in apple cider vinegar and red wine, then coated with a thick layer of sour cherry preserves. Hints of oak are appreciated. Too bad the small percentage of smoked malt doesn't make more of an impact.

The mouthfeel is right where it should be for the ABV. It's big enough to be pleasurable and the bubbles are well-buried, yet still noticeable. This is good, solid beer all the way around and right through the middle.

Unplugged Old English Porter is not a beer that would sell well if released on a regular basis, since most beer drinkers would be put off by the sourness and acidity. On the other hand, beer geeks with an appreciation for history will find a hell of a lot to like. Thanks Eric.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part of the massive project of reorganizing all of the beer in the house, I found this gem last night and realized I had never tried it. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 03/05/2010.

The pour was nice, nicer then i thought it would be honestly with a nice drk brown color, little light shining through reveals some light red highlights. A big head of light tan comes up now, maybe three fingers in height before settling and leaves a ton, literally a ton of lacing down the sides of the glass, really well recieved I have to admit. Aroma is sour, vinegar and caramel mixing, an odd aroma, but pleasant. As it warms the sourness backs off a touch and is replaced more with a subtle, but noticeable roasted malt presence. Rich, creamy feel to it, agan fuller then I thought it would be for some reason as the vinegar and sour flavor melds with brown sugar, hints of woody and grassy notes and a nice, even profile, nothing ever really getting overwhelming.

All and all, this one really sat well with me. I could see how someone could be taken aback by the sourness but it was the intention and taken with that perspective I really think it works quite well. A very nicely done beer I have to admit.

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