Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Unplugged Smoked Rye AleUnplugged Smoked Rye Ale
Very Good
245 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 245 |  Reviews: 157
Reviews by crossovert:
Photo of crossovert
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the lesser-hyped unplugged beers. I love smoked beers, I am a bit indifferent on the rye part.

It pours a clear reddish brown and absolutely struggles to form a head, thus is has the exact appearance of cola to me.

The smell is great though, it has a thick smokiness with a lot of campfire smell, there is some fruitiness as well, at almost smells like apples underneath, and there is of course some standard malts that bring a hint of caramel.

The flavor is pretty great. It has a balance of smokiness and sweetness that works well. It reminds me of a smoked doppelbock. It has the smoke, but with a nice crisp, slightly fruity, but mostly malty and bready backing. There are hops in here too that provide a little bit of cut to the sweetness.

This is an excellent easy drinker form New Glarus, the label says to sip slowly, but I can't help quaffing it.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fully transparent reddened bronze with next to no lacing and minimal visible carbonation.
Aroma: Charcoal Ash. Liquid smoke hickory. Bacon.
Taste: Boozy. Liquid Smoke drenched and paprika coated, smoked short ribs. Sweet finish of burnt caramel. Bready.
Mouthfeel: Smoky. A beer like this reminds me that one could almost add "smoky" to the list along with bitter, sweet, salty, savory, etc... Although savory (or umami) also fits this beer well. Medium bodied, balanced, with quite a bit of alcohol presence. Warming is accentuated by the smokiness.
Drinkability: Pretty good considering the style. I'll gladly finish this one and have another. Not really for sessioning though.
Overall a very enjoyable beer. Surprisingly it is able to hit you in the face with smoke while maintaining some balance.

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Photo of weatherdog
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

It pours a crystal clear deep chestnut brown with a minimal tan colored head. The small head dies rather quickly and the beer from then on looks rather lifeless in the glass.

The aroma is of a medium firm maple sweet smokiness. It's intense but not overwhelming like a Schlenkerla. The classic smoked meat is an obvious comparison. Towards the end I'm picking up some harsh phenolics like a plastic and vinyl.

The taste unfortunately starts out with the vinyl this time and then transitions into the meaty smokiness. A little bit of sweetness then comes in and I can really pick up some rye flavor at the end. Smoke intensity is once again firm but seemingly restrained. It would be really enjoyable had the phenolics been toned down. My wife, who is much better at describing beers than I, said it tasted like 'maple syrup running down a shower curtain', perfect description.

Mouthfeel is crisp and clean, medium body and medium low carbonation. The smoke doesn't linger for to long and drinkability is well above average for a smoked beer.

I think this bottle may be a bit off, as I've had it before and the phenolics were not present and the smokiness seemed more intense and I really loved this beer. Those bottles were from a 4-pack purchased right at the release and this bottle was recently purchased. This bottle wasn't off enough to warrant me not reviewing it but memorable enough for me to make a note. I did pad the scores a little bit to average with my previously drank bottles. I will edit this review if I open another bottle and it's much better.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Severstad for this brew.

Pours into my glass a deep amber bordering on cola with a quarter inch of white bubbles that quickly becomes a ring at the top of the glass. Great clarity. Aromas start with...bam! Big meaty smoke all over the place. Reminds me of a smoldering campfire in the summer. Beneath it lies a somewhat spicy crisp malt body with caramel accents. Earthy as well.

First sip brings semi-sweet malts upfront with a mix of caramel and spicy rye. Smoke kicks into high gear and rides across the palate, big, meaty and earthy. A touch fruity with a hint of sweetness on the back end. Rye and smoke linger on the finish. An intriguing ale to savor!

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Good steady carbonation. Makes for a pretty good sipper. Overall this is a unique brew...smoke heavy with tasty rye in the mix. If you're a fan of smoked beers you'll probably like this, if not you should likely stay way. Cheers to New Glarus!

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Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of 77apm
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of Jason
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with that fancy red foil to denote that this beer is part of their Unplugged Series. No freshness date.

No pssst when the cap what pulled off though showed enough carbonation to produce a healthy looking lace on top of the dark tawny brew. Thick smokey nose dominates, some fruit and spicy rye make their way to the aroma though. Smoothness is on top of this thick creamy body, big and mellow. Sweet malt base with that trademark spiciness from the rye gets lathered up real good with a big dose of smoke. Caramel and toasted bread within. Modest hopping. Warming alcohol has some hints of some vague ripe fruit but stays clean. Smoke flavor stay and lingers, maltiness holds its own though. The 8.5% abv is pretty tame but does grow sip after sip.

Yeah, a sipper ... smokiness is big but never goes over the top. While not the most drinkable brew it definitely comes across as one of the most flavorful.

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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).

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of glid02
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Dan – thanks!

Pours a copper-brown color with a tan head that leaves solid lacing.

Smells of heavy caramel malts with hints of toastiness and good amounts of spicy rye. Also present are good amounts of smokiness and mild amounts of floral and herbal hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as balanced. Smooth caramel malts with hints of darker toasted malts up front are joined quickly by moderate amounts of meaty smoke. Midway through spicy and earthy rye flavors work their way into things before they’re pushed aside by earthy hops that carry through to a moderately bitter ending. Mouthfeel is OK, with a lighter body and decent carbonation.

Overall this was a fairly well done beer, the smokiness didn’t overpower things and the rye had a chance to shine. Worth a shot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has a thin wisp of yellowish tan head supported by a clear slightly dense brown body with a red hue in the light. There is a gentle carbonation.

S- There is a soft plastic band-aid aroma that grows as the beer warms and a light caramel malt underneath. As the beer finishes with a hint of rye spice but it wrapped in the band-aid.

T- The plastic band-aid flavor is full and dominates with some spicy rye hint to follow and a dry caramel malt note that is a bit softer. The finish has a plastic band-aid that sticks to my tongue.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel has a soft fizz and an alcohol warmth that comes through as the beer warms.

O- The smoke is all plastic band-aid with everything else hidden and it was tough to get through a full bottle. I like a good smoked flavor in beer and food but this is all chlorophenols and it is to much.

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Photo of richkrull
3.27/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Picked up a single at Riley's Wines of the World in Madison. Poured a dark amber brown color. Not much head on it. I feel like it has a smokey fruit smell to it. Taste is heavy heavy smoke flavor. Tough to get past that flavor upfront. It's not bad, just may not be for me. Medium bodied beer, not much carbonation to it either. It was worth a try, but not sure that I'll be picking this one up again.

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Photo of cokes
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear bronze bodied with a low-crowned, off-white head that quickly gathers towards the edges. It laces well every time the glass is shifted.
Big time, cured pork/bacon aroma, with campfire, and hickory smoke wafts. It drifts a bit phenolic at times, as burnt band aids occasionally come to mind, less so as it warms. Caramelized brown sugar adds depth, but this is a smoke bomb, aroma-wise.
There is a dichotomy of tastes, all seemingly occurring at once. Smoke and sweet, with a ripple of sour deep within. Woody and apple-y. Campfire and brown sugar. Bacon and toffee and smoked almonds and raspberries. It's like a smoked hard cider, and probably a spiked one, with an incongruent vinegar note. Hops add just a drying herbal note late. Rye threads in and out throughout, and doesn't seem specifically important, thought it's noticeable here and there, with concentration.
It sits, fat, glassy, and a bit flat-seeming. It's a big, smoky, gorilla of a beer. It's curious sweet-tart/smoky balance adds depth intrigue, but doesn't exactly aid drinkability. And I don't think this was intended to be consumed in bulk.
It's a fun arsonist's nightcap.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to northyorksammy for the box of Wisconsin brews! Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Spirit Sippers snifter.

Clear rust liquid with a hint of burnt orange capped with a small active beige head. A thin collar remains as the head fades away. Delicate sandy lacing and viscous legs.

Heavily smoked malt notes - on par with Aecht's rauchbiers - suffuse the nose. Some fruit and toasted malt come across as well.

Low but pervasive smokiness throughout the flavor profile, accompanied by apples, toast, and layers of malt. Gentle peppery rye notes emerge in the finish. Rich yet docile. The turbinado comes out as a vague molasses/toffee/burnt sugar combo in the finish.

Somewhat creamy yet light-bodied overall with modest carbonation.

A unique smoked beer - a bit fruitier/sweeter/softer than most rauchbiers, but still deeply savory.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Matt (mtunnell) for this one. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger coarse off-white head with poor retention. Beer is a clear, dark amber. Lacing is non-existant. Not much to look at.

S: Nose is abundantly aromatic and smoky. Notes of maple syrup, logan, smoke, and bacon. Unique but very appropriate for the style.

T: Opens very sweet. Maple syrup, logan berries, light caramel and brown sugar. Smokiness creeps up towards the middle and end like charred wood. Malt presence remains throughout. Campfire-y at the finish with an accented maple syrup and smoke aftertaste. Very robust. Tasty.

M: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Silky and oily in the mouth but nevertheless with some ragged edges. Bubbles are present going down but rather viscous and heavy. Finish is accented with a lingering aftertaste. A bit thick for the style.

O: Overall this is a very unique take on the smoked beer style. A bit heavier and more rich than most, Smoked Rye Ale packs a very flavorful punch. Wish it would be a little less on the ABV though... it'd be quite the session beer.

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

12oz single, un-hyped unplugged release

appearance: standard unplugged packaging, served in my delirium chalice, bright garnet body, healthy white foam that dissipates quickly to a small ring

smell: liquid smoke and lots of it, spicy rye loaf, candy sugar, booze

taste: so much for fruit beers, eh? applewood smoked bacon, liquid smoke, booze, smoked fruit, charred wood, spicy rye loaf. lovely little beer - highly complex and very drinkable

mouthfeel: smooth full body, oily

drinkability: higher than it should be

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Buddy brought home a bunch of beers from New Glarus. The Smoked Rye Ale poured a light amber with a faint haze. Half finger head faded to a wisp rather quickly. Smell included lots of hardwood smoke with an underlying caramel malt sweetness. Taste had malt some sweetness, spicy rye, and smooth smoke that stay in pretty good balance. Finishes dry and smokey. Mouthfeel was medium/full bodied with a nice smooth carbonation little too much ABV. Overall a decent beer.

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Photo of fiedler84
3/5  rDev -21.5%

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

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one

(A) Pours a clear reddish copper color with a thin head that lingers. Has a great even, deep hue to it that gets more brown when held up to the light.

(S) Smells sweet, definitely a good smokey base. Has the lighter malt aspect you get from rye. Slight meatiness to it.

(T) Has some apple and sweet smoke up front. Slightly sweet. Has a bit of wood character to it. The rye and smoke really add something to the ale base. Very good compliment. The alcohol is well masked as its almost 10% and you can't really pick up any of it.

(M) Well carbonated and lighter, but with full body. Hits the palate with a lot of flavor but doesn't kill your taste.

(O) Really well balanced with carbonation, flavor, and smoke. Not overly smokey and sweet like some smoked concoctions. NG Unplugged does not disappoint

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a small snifter. Pours a nice ruby red with a head that dissipated fast to a super thin ring. Pretty clear. No lacing.

Aroma of smoke up front. Very smoky almost meat aroma. There is a nice Cherry aroma you notice second. Little bit of sweetness.

Taste is ok. Mostly just malty and then has a smokiness left on your tongue. Little bit of that rye taste stays on your tongue as well.

Mouthfeel is fairly dry. Higher carb.

Overall not my cup of tea. Never been big on smoke beers any way. I've only really liked like one.

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Photo of kkrez
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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

Poured a nice clean amber with a thin white head.

The smell was dominated by a mild sweet malty smoke.

The flavor has a nice balance of slightly sweet and bready malts with a big meaty smoked flavor, a very subtle hop underlies giving it just a bit of bitterness. Still the big meaty smoke flavor takes center stage.

The mouthfeel is light yet a bit syrupy.

Overall I like smoked beers and this one is pretty well done, nicely drinkable.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark hazy copper color with a slight white head.

Smells heavily of tobacco and generously salted and smoked meat.

Holy shit, they aren't kidding when they say smoked. Smokey and salty ham is the first thing that comes to mind, followed by a spicy tobacco.

The body is light, but I think it plays well with this one because the flavor is so robust and overpowering.

This isn't my thing and it was hard going down, but I have to hand to to New Glarus. It's definitely unique and a well crafted beer, it's just not user friendly. I recommend it, though, for the open-minded.

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Photo of sjstraub
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of ddahlen
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel snifter with an extremely little amount of head.

On the nose I get quite a bit of smoke, it almost seems like I'm smelling a Hickory BBQ sauce. I'm having a hard time getting anything else on the nose with this one, the smokiness really predominates.

The taste has a great complex malty backbone with a smoky finish.

The mouthfeel is smooth and a bit on the heavy side, but definitely drinkable.

Overall, this is a super smoky beer. Not necessarily my favorite style, but I definitely respect this beer for what it is.

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Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 245 ratings