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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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 244
Photo of Onenote81
2.3/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

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Photo of nataku00
2.43/5  rDev -35.9%
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.

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Photo of emmasdad
2.43/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I should start by saying that I have enjoyed a number of the unplugged series beers, certainly appreciate the brewery tackling new styles, and generally enjoy smoked beers. All that said, I was barely able to finish the 3-4 ounce pour. Huge phenolic, smoky aromas. Medium bodied, with flavors of smoke, spicy rye and something reminiscent of nasty childhood medicine.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.76/5  rDev -27.2%
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 Buebie
2.8/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color is pale and shaded with brown. Head formed about half an inch off a rigorous pour into an oversized snifter.
A skim of a collar now resides.
Aroma is malt driven with wisps of smoke off the swirl of the glass.
It smells a little like turnout gear.
Taste is a mixture of smoked meat, large dosages of malt and bready rye flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium bodies with moderate carbonation.
For me the smoke didnt mesh well with the rest of the beer.
Although no heat was noticeable i=and it has a smooth highly drinkable flavor. I just dont like the pairing with the rye.

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Photo of homebrew311
2.8/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into NB Globe.

A: pours a deep amber, good clarity, almost no head, no lacing at all. Looks lifeless. Nice color.

S: overwhelming smoked malt character. The smoke is a strong hickory character reminiscent of bacon. Sweet malts sit beneath the smoke with notes of molasses. Things seem a little out of whack here, the smoke in know way complements the malt character.

T: very sweet on the front, notes of grape candy and molasses, it quickly takes a turn towards the intense smoke. The smoke is way too intense here. The sweetness in know way balances with the smoke. This tastes a little off putting.

MF: low carbonation, thick body

O: not really digging the combo here. Having difficulty detecting the rye. My biggest gripe is the lack of balance.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours deep amber/amber-brown with great clarity and surprisingly lively effervescence. Head is minimal, however, and has little retention and leaves no lacing.

S: Smoke notes, ranging from barbecued pulled pork to watered-down liquid smoke. The smoke really dominates the nose, but a bit of maltiness makes itself known.

T: Sweet malt threatens but smoke blankets it and puts it out. I think I described the smoke notes well enough already. Spicy rye does follow smoke and creates a fairly harsh synergy. Charred whiskey barrels has come to mind a couple times. As is the case with smoked beers, if you continually sip, the smokiness diminishes and other characteristics, especially a note of cherries and baked apples, become evident. Pause for a moment, then take a sip and smoke rushes in.

M: Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. A bit warming, too. A little lifeless/watery, though.

O: An odd drinking experience, alternatively enjoyable and jarring. I'm not sure I would revisit Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale. Mediocre drinkability.

Thanks ezrem for the opportunity!

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Photo of tikibeer
2.86/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep mahogany amber with a nice one inch head. Head settles out quickly leaving very little sign that it ever existed. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma is mostly smokey with a hint of sweetness.

My first sip hit me like a ton of bricks. Tons of smoke up front. After the first sip I was not impressed, actually disappointed. I was hoping for another big winner from New Glarus. I keep on drinking and feel like the smokiness is not over powering my palate as much, but I still get a smokey taste upfront, but it melts into sweet malt with a hint of smoke.

Medium body with very little carbonation.

Overall, not a big fan of this beer. Just too much smokiness. The more I drank of this beer the more I liked it, but it is still really intense.

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Photo of Brunite
2.86/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I start by saying that I am not a fan of smoked beers. However; being a huge fan of Rye Beer and of New Glarus...thought I would give this a try.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. Clear amber with anice head.

Smell: Can't get past the smoke. Smells like hickory bacon cooking. Not a favorite of mine.

Taste: Smoked bacon and liquid smoke taste predominate. Rye is faint and in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and an oily feeling in the mouth. Smoke or liquid smoke residue??

Drinkability: Not good for me. But; I'll give NG props for doing a good job for the style. My fault in thinking this would be more of a Rye beer and less of a smoked beer.

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Photo of Mississipping
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear but slightly dark amber brown with almost no head at all. A very thin khaki colored ring is really the only thing that appears on top of the liquid body.

S: Very, very strong smoked smell ... they got that part right for sure! There is almost nothing else there. This simply reminds me of smoked bacon, and lots of it.

T: They may have gotten them smell right, but the taste is not working at all for me. There is a bit of smoke in the flavor, but it tastes like bacon and Chloraseptic sore throat spray. It took me a minute to pinpoint the Chloraseptic taste, but once I figured it out, it clear that it is absolutely dominant. There's a bit of alcohol at the finish, which isn't helping much either.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lively on the tongue but somewhat prickly and slightly unpleasant. Finish is just a bit drying, but it's not overwhelming. Unfortunately, taking another sip of the beer doesn't remedy the dryness, nor does it quench thirst or desire for a good beer.

D: This was almost a drain pour for me. I'm not done with the glass yet, so it might be half a drain pour, although, I'm going to try to put it down for my brother's sake, who very generously sent this to me without being able to try it himself. The dominant taste (Chloraseptic) and after taste (Band-Aid-ish) is just not pleasant. I really hoped this had been better.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
2.91/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured In: Snifter
Purchased At: Steve's Liquor (Madison, WI)

Appearance: The pour is a burnt umber and rufous color with barely a finger of head. The head retention is low as it dissipated quite quickly. There are a few rings of lace on the side of the glass as the beer lowered. The beer is fairly effervescent; the bubbles reaching for the air look like poppy seeds.

Smell: The smokiness comes out in the nose with notes of hickory, brown sugar, candied bacon and some spicy rye malt. Not what I was expecting, though meeting expectations isn't the qualifier for a great beer. However, as someone who isn't a big fan of smokey meats, the combination is a bit odd for me. It's a creative nose for sure, though I can't say it's something I'm particularly fond of. I haven't dived in to smoked beer too frequently, so I'm not sure what to compare it to, so I'll put the nose at average.

Taste: The smokey side of the beer comes out first with continued notes of hickory and candied bacon. The candied flavor shifts into letting the malt come out at the end of the tasting. The malt has a bit of rye spice. At the end of the tasting the smokey and candied bacon flavor starts to come out again. To be honest, I was hoping that flavor wouldn't come back so I could enjoy the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer, carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability: I'm doing my best to drink this with style in mind; unfortunately I don't have much to compare it to. This was definitely my least favorite unplugged beer from New Glarus. The malt rye malt choice was just fine, but the smokey flavors that come out were incredibly strong and overtook the rye flavor.

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Photo of Kelly88
2.96/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a red foiled bottle into my bruery tulip.

A- dark ice tea color with very dark copper. Slight quarter inch head fades to a crater of foam. Small bubble lacing surrounds the glass.

S- smoked meats come to mind. Sweet Swedish meatballs that is backed by some cherry and faint peat whiskey. The bacony aromas are very prominent.

T- cherry flavor tries to sneak in then is immediately covered up by Ham sandwich type flavors. A sort of strong goetta taste is mixing with a salty sweet Bacon omelet. Probably one of the strangest beers I have ever had to date.

M- I like the feel But the taste makes it seem kind of harsh for me. If it appealed more to me the medium body is very creamy. A slight tingle of sparkle on the way down.

Overall this brew is extreme as described on the bottle but a little much on the meaty side for we. No doubt exactly what the brewers intended just very strange.

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Photo of cosmicevan
2.97/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

big thanks to yeahnatenelson. enjoyed in my E snifter.

a - opened and poured a nice subtle semi clear brown with a reddish tint. head was thin and an off white bubbly, gone quick leaving just a ring.

s - good big roasted smoke. nice char. really just all smoky so much so that it is a bit rubbery even. great for the fan of smoke, not so great for the folks who don't dig smoke.

t - leads with rubber. aftertaste is band aides. i'm a huge fan of smoke but this might be a bit too over the top for me. i don't get anything that isn't peaty smokiness.

m - a bit thin, leaves a bit of a tingle.

o - overall, a bit of a one trick pony...this one is just smoke. so much so that it becomes a bit of a turn off. the smoke flavor is a bit rubbery and peaty and that's all that is there. should be called smoked smoke as the rye is wasted on this beer since it is hidden.

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Photo of maximum12
2.99/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As a certified rye freak, very excited to hear about this one & eager to give it a whirl; & hoping for more rye & less smoke. Glancing down the reviews quickly, I temper that expectation.

Pours an almost fire-engine red, deep enough that you could almost see your face (or thoughts, if you're so inclined) reflected back at you. Gorgeous. Smell is like a beechwood pork barbecue slaughterhouse. Exactly like it. All I need is the buzz of a few flies & Mike Rowe.

Unplugged Smoked Rye is, for my taste, cruelly heavy on the bacon. Smoked pork assaults the taste buds, with the curling campfire smoke of damp wood close behind; very heavy-handed. The rye can be teased out, gently, if one concentrates hard enough, as a whisper of indeterminate spice just at the end. Then I get pig in the mouth again.

Decent enough beer, but disappointed that the smoked malts completely obliterate anything else - especially the promised rye. A rare miss from one of the Midwest's best breweries.

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Photo of bertram
3.04/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color, with a minimal head; smell is medicinal, like a band-aid, with a heaviness of smoke; an amazing amount of this smell comes through in the taste, with the majority of the flavor being that of a burnt wood; this beer really leaves a lot of the taste behind on the roof of the mouth.

I wouldn't say this is a beer I'd drink regularly, as it's not really my "thing."

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

from sononma01.

This poured with no head, it doesn't seem under carbonated in the mouthfeel, but there is zero head on it. Very nice color, bronze and opaque. If it had any head it would be a 4 easily.

Slight smoked aroma over the rye. But nothing else.

Same as the aroma, slight smoked flavor, little bit of rye. For a big mouthfeel, this simply doesn't have a flavor to match.

Very nice mouthfeel, good bite up front, a bit of carbonation in middle that emphasises the rye flavors, and a crisp finish that is actual slightly ruined by the lingers smoked flavor.

It's a fine rye beer. Not my cup of tea, but fine enough.


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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.11/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

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Photo of cetherid
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured into a tulip


A brownish red color to this beer. Head was there initially, but is pretty much non-existent after a few seconds. It kind of looks flat.


Definitely smoke. A little more "liquid smoke" aroma than say some smoky BBQ. Some subtle maltiness and booziness in here as well but definitely smoke dominant.


Smokiness not as dominant in the taste as you get from the nose but definitely there. Pushing your way through that initial charred flavor, you get some slightly sweet malts with a little spice. I can't put my tongue on exactly what I'm tasting (maybe a little fruit) but it is somewhat pleasant. I'm not really a fan of smoked beers but this isn't too terrible.


light to medium bodied. Carbonation seems lacking in appearance but you can feel the bubbling on the tip of the tongue.


Just a little average to me. I'm trying to like smoked beers and this one seems like a good intro to them, but the smokiness seems a little too much like liquid smoke and it's a little too thin/watery. The base beer taste, along with the thin body seems like it would be a nice refreshing drink in the summer however.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

09/11/11- Review of 12 oz of this courtesy a kind trader.
A: Clear copper, thin cream head.
S: Smokey peppered bacon, rye bread... interesting orange citrus syrup.
T: Caramel smokiness, sweeter, green spinach hops, nice bread... cough syrup campfire with cranberry sauce. Interesting.
M: Creamier than expected and thicker, which is a good match for the taste.
O: Weird. Nice to try and well done, but not for a regular beer.

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Photo of UMNbeerhunter
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 12oz bottle into a town hall glass on 2/17/11

Pours and amber color with little head and no lacing.

Smells of smoke and roasted malts as well as some fruity tones.

Taste is not nearly as good as I expected. Zero hops and the smoke flavor is just off setting without any other complexity to this beer.

Mouthfeel is disappointing and the smoke taste sits in my mouth unfortunately because it doesn't taste all that great.

Drinkability is low. I really wanted to like this one but NG let me down on this one. Glad its an Unplugged series as this one should disappear.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.26/5  rDev -14%
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 richkrull
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
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 Kadonny
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: A medium brownish color with a one finger light brown head that leaves nice lacing but it does eventually recede.

S: Huge amounts of smoke, charred wood, spice, and some slight sweetness.

T: Wow, so dark and smokey. Under-smoked? No way. The heavy smoke flavors start with a large dose of charred wood. Like chewing on a half burnt piece of campfire wood. The rye only adds to the darkness and spicyness. Some slight sweetness tries to hold the beer together, but the heavy smoke and wood flavors just take back over. Finish is hugely smokey that lingers forever in your mouth. No hops detected at all.

M: Spicy, smokey, slightly alcoholic with lower carbonation. The finish lingers with smokey flavors (of course).

O: Too much smoke if you ask me. This beer needs more sweetness and maybe some touche of hops to round it out. The flavor just keeps beating and beating on your palate. I enjoy smoked beers, but not to this extent.

Glad I got to try this one as I always like to expand my beer horizons. As I said, I enjoy a smoked beer, but I need some more subtlety. The best smoked beer I ever had was Surly Smoke. That was blended perfectly so the smokey flavors did not trounce all the others. This one however was not that way.

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Photo of KeefD
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color with hints of mahogany, no head or lacing. Aroma campfire, caramel, and overall sweetness, but the smoke is much more subdued in the aroma than in the flavor. Taste is an interesting mixture of smokiness, apple cider, caramel, and just a touch of spicy rye that's fleeting. Also a strange medicinal character that I couldn't place. There's a bready, grainy finish to it, and all around it's very balanced between the sweetness and the smoke and is fairly drinkable for a smoked brew. Mouthfeel is medium, low carbonation. Decent brew, but probably my least favorite of the Unplugged series.

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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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