Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
157 Reviews
Unplugged Smoked Rye AleUnplugged Smoked Rye Ale

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerwolf77 on 01-17-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 244
Photo of rgmachot
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

LOVE this beer! A fan of the unplugged creative brews and this one takes the prize. It tastes like a delicious reuben sandwich to me. Smokey meat, toasted rye bread, a little krauty and some sweet dressing sauce in there too! Not something you want to sit down and drink a six pack of, but a de-freaking-licious little sipper right here.

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Photo of monkeyonmaibock
4.92/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

We poured this beer from a bottle into a pint glass. The color was a dark copper with a finger of off-white head. The nose was exceptional with a deep smoked bacon aroma. The flavor was very impressive as I recall telling my friend it was as if we were drinking liquid bacon. The mouthfeel was good with a slight carbonation on the tongue. I would've drank this beer all night if it weren't for the fact we only had one four-pack.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.8/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep bronze body. Thin dirty white head. Lace is minimal. Aroma is campfire smoke and smoked jerky. Also a sweet malty aroma. Great aroma. Awesome flavor as well. This is definitely in the Aecht Schlenkra range. Right up there, and that is high praise. Meaty malt flavor and smoky bacon like flavor. It really is an incredible blend and deserving of a 5. At 8.5% a/v, the alcohol is not noticeable. This is incredibly flavorful and drinkable. Dan does it again. I'd love to see this become a seasonal.

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Photo of Fartknocker
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Copper color with quite bit of suspended solids. Essentially no head.
S- The smoke smell dominates the aroma.
T- Again, the dominant flavor is the smoke with a hint of rye spiciness. You can practically taste the charred wood used in a malt smoking process.
M- Smooth, basically no carbonation.
D- Very similar to Aecht Schlenkerla. May not be 'to style', but damn good.

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Photo of ZAP
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off I am stunned at the ABV...no hint of that at all...drinks like a session beer...The flavor has a nice smoked meats impression, along with almost a candied maltiness (sugary)....a bit of floral aroma and just a hint of spiciness on the finish. The rye lays dormant on my buds....not a big rye impression but the smoke is pretty strong and dominates in a sense...

The more I drink this the more the sugary maltiness really seems to blend nicely with the smoke..almost a doppelbock sweetness with a smoked element....again, not noticing much from the rye.

Quality, enjoyable beer where the smokiness is strong but not overwhelming..

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Photo of woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Style tick #99.

A: Clear dark copper body under a finger of fine tan foam; mediocre retention, light lace. Gorgeous color, but a bit underwhelming in terms of head.

S: Smoke dominates the aroma (predictably), with delicate cherry-wood notes joining the straight campfire. Beneath the smoke is some lovely rye malt sweetness and spiciness, as well as a bit of dark fruit. Complex, aromatic, and lovely.

T: Smoke shows up right away, but is quickly joined by deeply flavorful rye that's bready, spicy, and even a bit tart, as it evinces a vaguely raisin-like fruitiness. Woody smoke dryness finishes things out. Alcohol does shows up noticeably on the finish, which is about the only flaw I can find in this lovely beer.

M: Thick and rich, with a nice amount of fine, late-developing carbonation. Despite its heft stickiness is kept to a minimum. Perfect for such a big beer.

O: I enjoy smoked beers on occasion, but usually find their one-note approach boring after a while (even in great examples like Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche). This beer, happily, combines the authentic smokiness of Bamberg with greater depth of maltiness than usual, and the rye really seals the deal with some terrific complexity. This definitely isn't a brew for the faint of heart, but if you like smoke and you like rye, you'll love it.


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Photo of scaliasux
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Medium dark amber. Clear and bubbly. Fairly thick light brown/tan head.

Smell - Actually fairly mild. What's there is definitely smokey. Maybe a little light malt as well.

Taste - Smoke taste is obviously the immediate taste - a little jarring for those of us who haven't had one of these before. Once you learn to get past the smoke, this actually has a pretty sweet medium roasted malt flavor. Melds well into a rich, sweet roasted taste. Not picking up much in the way of hops.

Mouthfeel - Creamy. Very pleasant.

Drinkability - It took halfway through the second one of these for me to have any appreciation. Now I'm thinking of setting in a store.

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Photo of crossovert
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
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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Photo of flexabull
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of jj21, thanks again!

Pours a solid brown color with a small white head that fades quickly.

Aromas are slightly bready, definite hints of rye, then a nice smoked salmon campfire aromas that sits in the background.

First sip... Whoa! Smoky goodness! Light cream and hints of rye bread are at the front of the flavors. The beer then gets a wonderful blast of smoke, charred wood, campfire, and smokehouse flavors meld very well with the light creamy and spicy rye flavors.

Mouthfeel is quite good, very smooth and full.

Overall? Wow... I'm very impressed! The Smoke on the Porter I tasted a few weeks ago was great, this is even better. I think New Glarus needs to start making smoked beers on a regular basis, becauss they are phenomenal.

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Light amber with a faint haze. Half finger head faded to a wisp rather quickly.

S- Lots of hardwood smoke with an underlying caramel malt sweetness.

T- No matter how you look at it, this is a malt bomb, but it is most certainly not boring. Sweet caramel, spicy rye, and smooth smoke come in that order and stay in pretty good balance. Finishes dry and smokey.

M- Medium/full bodied with a nice smooth carbonation.

O- A great beer. Unique yet approachable, tasty to the end. The rye malt makes this more than your "regular" smoked beer.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
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 vtblackdog
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - deep clear copper with a medium creamy head.

S - a beautiful smokey oak woodiness balanced with a malty background.

T - the same great smokey but not too over the top.

M - It has a good mouthfeel with an unanticipated thinness.

O - This a great brew that I could make a regular if it was available to me.

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Photo of mrand01
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought a single 12oz bottle of this at Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $2.59 in Mar. 2011.

Pours a medium brown color with rather less carbonation than most beers. The scent will be like roses to those who like to grill out. Almost reminds me of the smell of bacon. Has a good full flavor to it that again reminds me of the taste of a good swine dish. Obviously has a rye taste as well. Is very complex and hard to describe. An absolute most try, especially when grilling out.

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Photo of crewfan16
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a red foil covered bottle and poured into a New Glarus pint glass. Let me start with saying I dont know that I have ever had a beer in this style before, but am excited for another one of New Glarus' unplugged series.

a-pours a dark amber, not quite brown but close color with a nice 1/2" head. really a great looking beer

s-such a strange scent, something not offputting, but very different. i cant tell if its smoked, charred wood, or if it is actually smoked meats. really a delicious smell, just not something I would expect from a beer

t-reminds me initially of smoked meat again, but the taste sort of levels out and some malts come into focus, as well as some biscuity yum. actually a little sweetness right at the end on the back of the palate.

m-not a heavy feeling beer, but really drinkable. good balanced carbonation really lets the beer jump around on your tounge. the alcohol is really not detectable IMO and its actually quite smooth.

overall, im reviewing the second bottle of the 4-pack and I can honestly say it has grown on me a bit. At first, it was slightly off-putting to smell smoked meat in my beer, but once I got used it it, it was very tasty. An incredibly interesting beer from the New Glarus unplugged series. Not a session beer, but really tasty.

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Photo of jegross2
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber color, with no head whats so ever. The smell is a bit sweet, and smokey, smells like a sizzling breakfast being cooked. This beer tastes like a sweet smokey bacon, smooth and not overpowering. Nice carbonation. OVerall one of the most intresting and differnt beers I have had, but it works, and I like it, would get again.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a thistle (it's smoky:)

Pours a dark ruby/copper rust with a non-existent head that recedes to a cap (very unusual for a NG ale, must be high ABV). Clarity is pretty good for an ale.

Aroma is sweet smoke. Sweet malt and sugar. Vanilla creeps into the middle and sits well with the sugar. Candy sugar and yeast bring the finish, rounding off with grassy grain, spicy and peppery.

Taste opens with sweet malt and smoke, holy shit it's hickory, or heavy oak or apple. This beer is a smoke bomb. Middle brings sweet candy sugar and more smoke. Finishes slightly dry, with a huge kick of smoke and a smallish hop or rye rider with a bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full and rich, creamy and the carbonation is awesome. Oiliness on the tongue is easily achieved with this amount of smoke.

Drinkability is good for an after dinner sipper.

As much as I love smoke (competition BBQ guy) this one is almost over the top. Now for me saying almost, I'll opine that the majority of drinkers will find this overpowering. The smoke overpowers any hop or rye presence. That being said this is a unique beer that has a sweetness giving body and a HUGE smokiness that I like. It's an acquired taste, you'll love it or hate it.

I could drink a lot of this beer, but sadly I believe I am in the minority.

I'll also add that if this isn't a scotch ale I'll eat my hat AND shorts.

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Photo of uwmgdman
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours brilliantly clear amber-copper, almost bacon colored with a thin white head that quickly diminished. The aroma is intensely smoky--bacon like with some hints of clove, possibly from the yeast. The flavor much like the aroma is intensely malty, smoky bacon and spicy rye. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with just a bit of prick from the carbonation. After the swallow the beer finishes just a bit dry, so the sugar is doing its job, with hints of bacon and clove lingering on the palate. Overall this is a tremendously flavorful beer, that is complex and not for the faint of heart. If you like smoked foods you'll likely love this beer, if you do not, you will not like it. I'm glad I've got 3 more to slowly enjoy.

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Photo of billab914
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into my Three Floyd's glass. It poured dark copper in color with a thin white head barely covering the top of the beer. The head faded and clung to the edges of the glass where it left some moderate lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a nice smoke presence to it. It's a very rich, smooth smoke flavor that I'm really liking. I get a little of the bready, rye flavors mixing with a sweeter, malty, slightly caramel like flavor. The smoke steals the show for me though.

The taste starts off with more of the malty, sweet flavors with a touch of the caramel to it. Midway the smoke really starts to come out and intensifies right through the finish. Again I'm loving the smoke, it's very flavorful but yet smoother then most smoky beers.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is on the lower side. I really loved the smoke flavor to it. It was definitely one of the smoothest beers with a big smoke presence I've had. Fantastic beer overall and pretty close to the best smoked beers I've had. I'm not sure if I like it better then Smoked Porter but it's close.

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Photo of emerge077
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a tulip it pours a saturated dark amber. Sharp clarity, with a finger's width of foam floating on the surface. Random spotty lace remains inside the glass after a few sips.

At room temperature, definitely porky. Sweet delectable smoked pork products, mmm-hmm. Sweet and dry smoke dominates the nose, though it's not super pungent, it's definitely front and center. Second bottle (chilled) I didn't get the porky aroma, but it was a sweet smoke that dominated.

Rich malt sweetness, phenolic peat smoke, lasting woody campfire notes. As an Islay lover, this is right up my alley. The smoke lingers for a good while, balanced by a honey malt sweetness. Earthy, smouldering piles of leaves. Lingering bitterness as well, though it fades quickly into a smoked out, ashy finish. Body is a bit light, reminding me of more of Shlenkerla Helles with a metric ton of smoke than the hambeast that is Urbock. The abv is dangerously camouflaged. Apple wood, hickory, extra woody and dry smokiness pervades all else. You'd better like smoked beer to get down with this...

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Photo of tavernjef
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat muted tone of copper with a slim, active, firmly foamed crown of dark beige. Not much lace sticks, a few thin strings and sporatic spots decide to grab at the glass.

Lovely aroma of sweet tangy smoked meat and bready malt. Much like a fresh jerky of beef or dark turkey.

Taste is tamed down compared to the aroma as it's much more balanced and toned within its tang of meaty fresh smokeyness while the bready slick malt keeps it oily and lucid. The rye notes are toasty way in the background but there with a semi crispness around the edge of the overall tangy smokey meat tone.

A very well balanced medium body with a slick, oily, creamy, boldness of firm malt and tangyness that builds gracefully with its smokeyness and rye noted crispyness.

Another damn solid effort in the Unplugged series at NG. Keep 'em coming!

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Photo of Jason
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
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 pokesbeerdude
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of levifunk, into a NB Globe.

A: Nice chestnut brown in color with an off white head that disappeared as quickly as it came to be. Excellent clarity. Pretty nice looking beer, even without a head.

S: Smells like peat smoked malt, a little bit of brown malt, kinda reminds me of a nice brown ale with some definite smoke. Slight bit of caramel. Not too shabby.

T: Really nice here, great smoked flavor, I get a bit of peat as well as some hardwood smoke as well. Nice little bit of caramel and vanilla in there. Brown malts, and a bit of a rye flavors, but the smoke and caramel is a nice combination.

M: Nice amount of body to this one, light carbonation, and fairly sticky. A bit of boozey warmth on the finish.

O: Nice beer, I really enjoyed the smoke and the bit of different graininess and body that the rye adds. Sweet and smokey is slowly becoming one of my favorite flavor profiles. Nicely done!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle shared with Tony (ahalloin), thanks again.

A: Pretty light brown with gold highlights and some lacing.

S: Very outdoors-y smell with a lot of smoke like an open campfire and a layer of meat like ham (on rye). Very nice peat and a little-little heat in the nose as well.

T: Huge smoky taste, lots of charred malt and the rye is really an amplifier for the smoke and char. Nice meat flavors too. Also, a touch of brown sugar to top it all off.

M: A little thinner, but the smoke helps make it interesting still.

Overall a nice beer, but would be very hard to drink in large amounts for me.

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Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 244 ratings.
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