Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Unplugged Smoked Rye AleUnplugged Smoked Rye Ale
Very Good
Unplugged Smoked Rye AleUnplugged Smoked Rye Ale

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Smoke Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 245
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brown lager appearance, good clarity, almost a half inch of head, real mild notes of smoke in the aroma, even less brown malt roastness.

Taste was smooth, fractional hops, amazingly hid over 8%, wow, good at that. The usual toffee and caramel notes, executed quite smooth. Always a good beer around a fire.

 309 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

an oldie but a goodie at this point. no reviews here in over two and a half years, must not have been on the cellar radar back when it came out. lucky to have had a buddy of mine save one for a special occasion. what an interesting beverage, time has taken its toll, favorable in some respects, less so in others, i would have loved to taste this side by side with a fresh one, but it appears they are done producing it. malty dark brown in color, still some patchy off white head in the glass. smells like gourmet bacon and burning oil, some good some bad. some of the most intense smoke ever in a beer, coming almost at the expense of the rye malt i wanted to be there. but its meaty and fleshy and wintery, and it works with all the grain weight quite well. it tastes a bit like a tire fire, sort of acrid for awhile, never really getting sweet with rye taking up such a good chunk of the grain bill. hints of maple and almond and oxidation as it moves along, but the smoke is the dominant flavor agent by a considerable margin. smooth in feel, less bubbly than it looks, with a well hidden abv. i really like the overall flavor profile in the end, as my palate attenuates to it, i appreciate it more and more, but its one intense brew, maybe just past its cellaring peak. still cool to get to try some of these old relics from such a prominent operation. nothing out there quite like this...

 1,395 characters

Photo of davey101
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a teku glass. Typical unplugged appearance with the universal Unplugged label, red foil, and Smoked Rye Ale sticker on the neck. Looks like this is from early 2011.

A - Pours a clear dirty red body. The last oz. or so was pretty grimy with sediment. Fingers worth of off white foam. Really nice lacing and retention.

S - Nice balance between smoked malts and caramel sweetness. Maybe a touch of spice and fruit, but this is otherwise pretty much occupied by the smoke and its hard to pick out much more. Smells really nice though.

T - Smoked ham, BBQ sauce, alcohol, and soooome rye spice. Like drinking a beer with a shot of liquid smoke added. Its awfully tasty but holy hell does it get tiring and rich after a while. Mouth feel is rich and creamy. The alcohol creeps up in the end.

O - Not the most smokey beer I've had, but probably the richest and meatiest. This is a real winner if you liked smoked beers with notes of meat. After each sip I feel like I've been chewing on a bonfire.

 1,012 characters

Photo of GPHarris
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick bubbly and light tan head into a willi becher tumbler that settled to a thin ring of lace throughout. the body was a bright copper color.
s - very smoky but nicely done.
t - rye spice dominates but there is some balance with caramel malts too.
m - slick and slightly thin.
o - incredibly drinkable and another one of a kind winner from new glarus.

 377 characters

Photo of Dope
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy reddish-amber. Good sized, fizzy off-white head. Fades slowly, leaving decent lacing behind. Excellent retention.

S: Smells like someone left some rye bread in the toaster too long. A little fruitiness, raisins perhaps? And some caramel to sweeten it up. Quite a bit in fact. Cuts the acrid smoke nicely.

T: Quite sweet with caramel and some smoke and rye (duh). Sweetness fades a bit exposing a more acrid, bitter smoke but still nothing overpowering. Smoke is very meaty, like drinking barbequed beef. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Very accurate perception of that flavor, however.

M: Medium bodied, a little syrupy. Touch chalky from the char in the finish, too.

O: Very interesting beer. I'm not a fan of smoked beers but this one isn't too overpowering. Sweetness helps balance the smoke and the smoke has a strong meatiness to it to keep it from being so acrid and bitter. A lot of smoked beers taste like someone just poured liquid smoke into the bottle. This one is much better balanced.

 1,039 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.11/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle opened on 10.26.12.

A - Pours a very dark amber with a thin very light tan head. The head sticks around, then quickly moves to the edges.

S - Sweet, carmel, and some rubbing alcohol.

T - Sweet carmel, with a smokey finish.

D - Lower carbonation and a light body.

O - This was a sweet mess with a smoke finish.

 321 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown, not thick, relatively good clarity going for it, considering the color is brown. Thin 1/4" head, doesn't stick around for too long. Aroma, mild smoke notes, thank you, not over the top, maybe some brown malt and cocao notes.

Taste, pretty smooth, yet has a zing to it, maybe some noble hops, maybe the better than average carbonation to help keep the beer from bogging down. Has as much bacon going for it as beers that claim to have bacon going for it, just that super mild meat aspect to it, but not big time like some traditional rauch beers I've had.

The rye doesn't have a spice component, comes off more like a more substantial wheat flavor here. Like crack'd wheat was smoked. Good mouthfeel, hides alcohol quite well, can't believe how strong this was when I read the abv here writing the review. A lot of 'thin' beers (i.e. not heavy stouts) can have troubles with hiding this amount of alcohol, not the case in this instance.

Caramel and toffee notes underneath making a smooth experience, but don't let that fool you into thinking there are no hops here, they're just in the right amount.

A favorite of mine for camping, one of my favorite smoked beers (not anywhere near a favorite style of mine).

 1,241 characters

Photo of jsanford
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark chestnut brown with a dense white head that settles to a slight ring, leaving behind some streaky lacing. Intense meaty smoke aromas dominate, almost like beer jerky, along with sweet caramel, fruity, spicy rye, and a touch of alcohol. Taste is right on with the nose, lots of meaty smoke, spicy rye, brown sugar, and malt. Really smooth and well-crafted, and one of the most Schlenkerla-esque Smoked Beers I've had from the States (huge compliment there). Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Overall a really solid Rauchbier-style brew, truly enjoyable.

 617 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


A: Pours a deep burgundy-tinted copper, with excellent clarity and a thin cap of off-white head. So-so retention and some lacing.

S: Smoke and a little spiced malt evidence in the background.

T: Smoke like smoked meat, not a whole lot else except a little maltiness. A smoke bomb. Slight sweetness on the finish.

M: Medium body and medium-light carbonation.

O: A little disappointing. It seems like they went overboard on the smoked malt and created a monster.

 474 characters

Photo of sauron681
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lost notes from 9-4-11

Pours a reddish gold color with a quick head that is thin and fizzy, with lots of carbonation. Smells of plums, raisins and a campfire. Medium Mouth feel, but not chewy.
Taste is very smoky, but hints of sweetness come thru as well. Light alcohol burn followed by more smoke. A very good pale ale base, and the smoked rye puts it over the top. It is not too overpowering, but lingers long after a drink, but somehow manages to turn into sweetness as well

 479 characters

Photo of samie85
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark copper color with a finger of off white head.

Mesquite smoke and bacon with some light rye notes.

Sweet and smoky residual smoke and no discernible bitterness.

Slick and medium bodied with light bitterness.

Pretty drinkable for a smoked beer; I'm not sure I'd buy it again, but am glad to have tried it.

 325 characters

Photo of gford217
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pours a dark, clear amber with a small, short-lived beige head which leaves some legs of lacing on the sides.

The aroma is all about the smoke, and it's mostly of the smoked-meat variety with pork coming to mind. There is a bit of smoked wood in there and an interesting ashy, peaty thing as well as some sweat fruit way back behind the smoke.

The taste is smoky as well, but the first thing I noticed is that it's much sweeter than the aroma with some apples and caramel malts up front. The smoke is present throughout but especially in the finish where the meaty smoke lingers.

The mouthfeel is smooth with soft carbonation and ashy and smoky on the palate.

I love a good smoked beer so I was pleased with this beer overall. I still don't think this sits on the Schlenkerla level, but it's just a notch below. Solid.

 836 characters

Photo of beergod1
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber pour with a small off white head that fades fast. Strong smokey aroma with bacon, more smoke, a touch of alcohol, and more smoke. Sweet malty caramel flavor filled with smoke and yes....Bacon.The spicy rye on the finish makes it even better. Very interesting, but after 1 beer, I had enough.

 303 characters

Photo of Onenote81
2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for another NG hookup!

Poured this one into a mug. Pours a cloudy rusty brown. This looks like I dipped my glass into the Yadkin River. Huh. Big smoky aromas - campfire, ham, bacon grease. Yowzas. Much smokier than I thought as it completely dominates the nose.

The mouth was way thin for my liking. Carbonation level was low, and there just wasn't anything to back up these unique flavors. The smokiness pervades the flavors as well, as I feel like I am drinking the dregs from a can of ham. Actually, that may be about right as the body probably matches that as well. I can't pull any rye character from this one. No spiciness; bitterness is near absent. I am not opposed to smoked beers at all, in fact, I have enjoyed them at other times, but this one just downright fell flat for me. This might as well be called New Glarus Liquid Pig. Pass.

 874 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Victory goblet

A- pours a relatively transparent shade of a very dark amber with no head at all. The beer looks nice, but no head = no bueno

S- oh yeah, there's the smoke. And lots of it. It delivers on the name, at least

T- getting a tad bit of rye in front, and the finish is smoke...but mild smoke, not overwhelming at all. Pretty good

M- medium bodied

O- not bad at all, even as someone who isn't crazy about smoked beers

 458 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Appears a deep amber color with brown highlights, has a small tan collar, no real lacing. Smells of smoke (beechwood maybe? seems similar in smoke aroma to other smoked beers that claim to use beechwood, but I might be wrong) on top of a medium strength rye aroma. I can't tease out any other particular special malt or hop aroma from the nose. On the tongue, a veil of smoke flavor hits first, than gets pushed to the sideman spotlight by a caramel malt / spicy rye malt blend of flavors. The rather dry finish also provides with a lovely array of drawn out tannic elements. Body is on the heavy side of medium thickness, yet very smooth and creamy. I feel as though I should have used a snifter (and perhaps sported a fez / smoking jacket combo) rather than a pint glass. A very nice smoked beer that doesn't let the smoke bully all the other flavors and aromas off the stage. Well done!

 911 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Michael, beer served in a snifter because that's what I had in my hand. At the time of this review, this is the #21 beer on the Top Beers - Smoked Beer list.

Beer is clear, amber, with a wispy lazy white head of small bubbles, some lacing, low retention, low carbonation.

Aroma is smoke and more smoke.

Beer is medium to light in body, a little sweet up front and a dry smokey finish, not too dry but dry enough to emphasize the smoke. Beer is sort of one dimensional to me, the smoke dominates everything else, still decent though.

 542 characters

Photo of dcloeren
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joshua for sharing this bottle.

Review from notes...

Poured a crisp copper bronze with a finger of off white head.

Campfire smoke dominates the nose and has a nice backbone of caramel malt, spicy rye.

Taste followed the nose but more roasted and caramel malt upfront that quickly gets encapsulated by the smoke. The rye spices come into play about half way and finishes very smooth with a very slight bitterness.

Medium to light in body. Just enough carbonation to stay relevant.

I thought this beer was amazingly well done. The smokiness never took it over the top and all though it did dominate the beer it was very tasty.

 641 characters

Photo of jmarsh123
2.75/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours murky brown with very little head or lacing.

Very smoky aroma. Almost like apple smoked bacon. A little bit of caramel sweetness as well.

A brief bit of caramel sweetness at the beginning followed by an intense smoky bacon flavor in the aftertaste. A little bit of sugary sweetness as well.

Mouthfeel and carbonation are both on par for the style.

The smoke element is a little too strong in this. I like subtle smokiness, but this one overpowers most other flavors.

 476 characters

Photo of nataku00
2.43/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I've had this bottle for 7-8 months now after receiving it in a trade and tucking it away in a hidden place. Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a ruby red and amber with some dark cola browns, mostly clear with no head. Light alcohol legs and minimum off white foam from swirling, and a few tiny bubbles sticking to the glass.

Nose is very smokey, applewood smoked bacon like with that hint of burnt sugar sweetness or a wet camp fire. Can't smell any of the rye component as the smoked malts are dominating.

Taste is like drinking liquid smoke. Very savory tasting, smoked bacon and ham, with minimum amount of caramelized sugar sweetness. Not too much rye or sweeter malts in this either, as the smoked malts just continue onto a medium finish, with lingering smoked meats flavor on the tongue.

Light to medium body with a light tickle of carbonation. Beer is a bit difficult to drink as it is one dimensional in the smokiness. Too bad I'm not having some bbq as this might be a decent pairing. By itself, it really is one big smoke bomb of a beer. Really fatiguing smoky flavor that I struggled to finish off by the end of the glass.

 1,152 characters

Photo of Prostman81
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poors a nice, almost ruby color, with a slight brown tint. Nice malt aroma, no hop presence, and a definite wallop of smoke.

First impression when drinking is the dominant smoke flavor. Like smoked bacon except more earthy. The smoke doesn't linger, and you can get a feel for more of the malt background, but each time you sip, that smoke just erases the palate again and puts itself firmly in place.

I rate the mouthfeel a 3....this, to me, is one heavy beer. I actually feel full after drinking just one, and then I don't want any more beer. I understand heavy beers have their place, but the heavyness along with the smoke are just too much in my opinion.

I appreciate the perspective from NG on this; the brewer wanted to make a smoke beer with rye (noted for its incredible body-enhancing properties, not its 'spiciness' as a lot of folks believe). They definitely nailed both aspects. However, this is just not something I'd drink again, or encourage the non-smoke beer initiated to try out.

 1,002 characters

Photo of jegross2
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company.
Score: 91

2011 vintage bottle served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber/dark mahogany color. Very hazy and opaque with lots of highlights around the core the beer's body. Pours a third a finger of head that completely settles save for a thin ring around the glass. The actual lacing of the beer is very average. 3.5/5

Smell: Big aromas of smoked, smoldering hickory woodchips. Incredibly peaty. The beer smells like I am sitting around a campfire, smoking meat for a BBQ! Very peaty. Spiced rye bread comes through as well. Toasted caramel malts too. 4.5/5

Taste: Tastes very similar to the aroma. Very complex, smooth and balanced. Front and finish is prominently smoked hickory and quite peaty. Definitely get some rye flavors too. Roasted caramel malts on the mid-palate. As the beer layers on the mid-palate, the caramel malts get a little sweeter. Some bready yeast on the mid-palate too. A little earthy spiciness. Alcohol is completely hidden; I was shocked to discover this one was 8.5% ABV. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light carbonation. Finish is slightly sweet. 4/5

Overall: I finally found a beer by New Glarus that I can not only say that I legitimately enjoyed, but also which stands up to a lot of its midwest microbrew counterparts. New Glarus certainly deserves a kudos for this one! I must try more brews in this style.

Recommendation: This is a ridiculously smooth, complex and balanced beer in both flavor and aroma. I recommend it all around.

Pairings: BBQ Brisket Sandwich on rye bread or, as I am eating it, a whole wheat bagel.

Cost: $2.99 for a single 12 oz bottle, or $10.99 for a four pack.

 1,722 characters

Photo of mrand01
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into a Duvel tulip. Shared with nicoco.

A: Pours with minimal head. A cloudy chestnut brown. Leaves a very thin ring of lacing that quickly fades.

S: Smoky & peaty, like a fine Islay single malt. Rye is hard to detect under all the smoke/peat.

T: Liquid smoke. Lots and lots of peat malt. The deceiving part is, this does not taste or feel as strong as it is. The taste hangs around for a while.

M: Medium bodied, at best, with minimal carbonation...just enough to be slightly prickly.

O: Well, if you're into smoked beers, but you're not in the mood for a stout, this would be right up your alley. Huge peaty taste, yet surprisingly drinkable.

 661 characters

Photo of nrbw23
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice, clear dark amber color with a fairly thin white head. Head has little retention and leaves no lacing.

S- Smell is pretty awesome. It smells like a smoked roasted ham sandwhich. A bit of sweetness, smoke, and meat.

T- Taste is a good mixture of sweetness and smoke a great balance. A bit of brown sugar, smoke and meat dominate. A great use of malts and a nice char taste.

M- Medium in body and a tad on the higher end in carbonation.

O- This is a very solid beer. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I'm just not quite sure how often I'd could drink this, and could not have a few of these in a row for sure.

 629 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In my Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche tulip. Thank you, Mike.

A beautiful clear beep amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing, this is a good-looking beer. The nose is moderately smoky with caramel, light brown sugar notes, a little vanilla and a nice, earthy, leafy hop character. A little rye is noticeable as well. Mildly fruity and mildly nutty as well. It's not as smoky as a rauchbier, but fairly smoky.

The palate is surprisingly boozy with a definite alcohol bite, coupled with a mild smoke character. There's a moderate sweetness with honey, sugar, toasted rye bread and caramel. Drying on the finish with a lingering bitterness, caramel and vanilla. Light in body with medium-high carbonation, this beer is decent. While not the best Unplugged beer I've had, I'm still enjoying drinking it. Critically, though, it's not terribly good.

 868 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 245 ratings