Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

very good
245 Ratings
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 245
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.

 542 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

another in the unplugged lineup i was happy to be able to finally get ahold of. poured into a pint glass.

the pour was a nice burnt amber color with a decent amount of clarity in it that was soon filled with carbonation bubbling to the top. nice head of off white caps it at around one inch. aroma is light campfire, roasted malts, hints of bark, caramel, light earthy hops. all nicely put together. very light feel, but it seemed to work in this case. clean flavor with a smooth after taste that again seemed to work quite nicely. clean smoked flavor, lots of earthiness with a light finish that had a touch of roasted oak on the tongue.

 639 characters

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.

 1,289 characters

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle complete with red foil capping. Part of NG's Unplugged Series. Poured into a goblet.

Pours a dark amber color with a moderate head. Pungent campfire smoke nose with hints of spicy rye and fruit.

Opens big with a thick and creamy body, a sweet malt foundation and characteristic rye spicing. Assertive notes of dry smoke and peat moss follow. Caramel malt and toasted bread surface with traces of subtle hopping and ripe fruit. As it warms, the smoke flavor lingers on the palate. An acquired taste to be sure, but its robust smoked flavor imparts a unique character that's perfect for sipping. Definitely worth a try -- be sure to let it warm for optimal flavor. Cheers!

 693 characters

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.

 359 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Transparent, deep amber body with a thin light tan head.

S - Oak, smoke, whiskey, and pungent plum.

T - There's only a hinting of smoke here. It offers a very mesquite character to the flavor that I'm not used to having in a brew. It has a strong malty base with an almost Belgian flavor palette.

M - The body is thick with a dryness made prevalent with the smokey character.

~ This is certainly a sipper folks. While the stats may not show it, I would recommend this beer to friends. It has a uniqueness that all beer lovers should seek out. Find yours as soon as you can.

 582 characters

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.

 1,145 characters

Photo of GallowsThief
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from my man ChugginOil (thanks as always!). Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A – Poured out a reddish brown if not a touch clear. Hard pour still only got about a 1 inch off white head with no retention to speak of at all.

S – Woo smokey! This has a massive smoke smell making you reminisce about a campfire you’ve sat around at some point. It’s potent.

T – A lot like the smell I get just a ton of smoke like flavors here. It is a mix of a bacon taste melded with smoked sausage. I feel like I am drinking a barbecue. There is a bit of vanilla in the mix but barely anything gets by the smoke.

M – Medium bodied with very light carbonation. Little tingly to finish.

O – I am not a huge fan of smoked beer but this one is solid. I think it represents its class well. You know what you are getting when you pop the cap and you get a full on smoked flavor assault. I could go for one of these with a big rack of ribs.

 971 characters

Photo of ommegoose
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddish amber. Actually rather close to the Snowshoe ale. Good clarity with some visible carbonation. Head retention and formation was poor on this pour.

Smoked Bamburg malts lead the nose, but it seems to have more malt body than those beers do. Not much rye to speak of.

Big malt really balances out the smoke. I think that at this abv it's the strongest smoked beer I've had. The sweetest too. Definitely not a Schenkerla-style smoke grenade. Rye is not all that noticeable, but if it's just here to help with the feel, then it did its job. I think I would have preferred a drier, smokier ale, but this should appeal to those who don't love smoked beers.

The feel is very full and smooth, the carbonation is right. Doesn't taste as big as it is either.

Pleasantly easy drinker. The rare smoked beer that I could drink two or three of in a row.

 852 characters

Photo of StLThrash
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this from UHRHAN after his microbrewery tour to the great North!

Poured from a beautiful red foil topped 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - Amber / mahogany in color. Slight 1 finger off-white head which dissipated to a nice cap. Minimal lacing.

S - Lots of smoke. Couldn't tell if I was drinking a beer or checking on my pork out in my smoker. A little bit of biscuity malt in there as well.

T - Again, the smoke hits you up front, but follows with a bit of sweetness. A little bid of toast and caramel.

M - Definitely a sipper. I couldn't drink more than one of these at a time.

Overall - not my favorite style, but an interesting one. I'm glad I got to try it.

 682 characters

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!

 1,110 characters

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.

 535 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Richard.

A: The beer pours an amber/mahogany color with an off-white head.

S: Very, very smokey. A bit of salt and meat, sort of like bacon, with a definite toffee undertone. A little bit of nuttiness and a mild chocolate aroma. Not much rye in the nose.

T: Like with the nose, a dominant smoke quality to the beer. A hint of dark fruit, along with some more meat and salt. Also as the nose indicated, there is a bit of toffee and nuts.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

O: Not bad, but the smoke is really overpowering and you have to really reach to find anything else.

 596 characters

Photo of beerwolf77
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for picking this up for me. I'm not a big fan of spending money on beers I know I'm gonna hate. That being said this review is to STYLE not TASTE.

A: Dark chestnut hue. Small amount of light khaki head fades quickly and leaves flecks of soapy lace.

S: Wow. Smoke city. This smells like a load of meat being smoked over wood chips. With a hint of BBQ sauce. I'm going to assume this was what Dan was shooting for.

T: Thankfully not near as smokey as the nose. Mild smoke flavors mesh nicely with the rye and roast malt. Just a hint of fruit comes through after each sip finishes.

M: Medium to light body with low carbonation.

O: Well this style turns me off big time. However I was able to see my way through a half pint and appreciate what NG was doing.

 782 characters

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.

 1,293 characters

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.

 430 characters

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

Up here in Northen WI sippin' on some locals.

This pours a dense amber ruby color with less than a fingers worth of khaki colored head. Spotty lacing. The nose is campfire smokey. Like pit BBQ. Had some ribs along with this brew to compliment. The taste is also very smokey and mesquite like. A little booze heat is noticed but not much. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a creamy texture. Moderate carbonation. Def. a sipper. Very bold smokehouse characteristics make this one great for grilled food.

 504 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to burnheartsMKE for sending me this one!

Pours a crystal clear iced tea color with a 1 inch off-white head that becomes a film on the top of the beer. Decent rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of smoke, band aids, malts, and spicy rye. Reminds me of a mix between a campfire and smoke smells that come from certain smoked foods. Taste is very smoke forward much like smoked meats or cheeses. There is a malt/rye taste and a bit of fruitiness after the smoke flavor fades. The label says this one is fermented with Turbinado sugar. There is a hint of the flavor from this type of sugar but very little sweetness. The aftertaste is mainly fruity on the palate. Beer has a mild carbonation level that makes for a prickly but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice smoke elements. However, I am not too sure I would be able to have this one too often.

 909 characters

Photo of ddahlen
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

 565 characters

Photo of JoshVandy
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Shout out to Andy (DoctorRock) for throwing this in.
355mL bottle into a Bruery snifter.

A- Pours a reddish brown ruby color with about a 1 finger off white head that lingers for a while after the pour before dying down. Minimal lacing.

S- Smoky maple notes come though, with bacon and sweet maple syrup underneath there as well. I really like this, as it's very unique and interesting.

T- Sweet maple and brown sugar up front, followed by a lot of interesting smoky bacon flavor, and more smoke in the finish. Tastes a lot like it smells, which in this case, is a good thing. Very nice.

M- A touch over-carbonated for my liking, which detracts from the interesting flavor profile. Thin and light in the texture.

O- A very interesting beer that definitely has a super unique and delightful smell and flavor. I wish the this beer looked more appealing and felt better in the mouth. Worth a try regardless.

 909 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

 1,148 characters

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.

 577 characters

Photo of BasementBer
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Red to brown hue. Poor head retention and a low brown finger of head.

S: This characteristic is fantastic to me. I am Vegan, so this is a bit wierd for me, but its smells like pork roast...and I like it. Hickory smoke with cherry notes.

T: You can really taste the wood, but also the deep thickness of the malt and that specific sugar used. Ive only had Jaggery in beer that was slightly comparable. Mild bittering finish with the boozy character.

M: Tingles. Its a thick wash on the palate and that smoke almost opens your nasal passage. Leaves a dryness in the cheeks.

D: Very nice beer with a special character and understandable that its not brewed that often. Lets keep it that way cause i cant drink many.

 718 characters

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!

 933 characters

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

A big thanks goes to jawzman for the opportunity to try this.

A: Clear amber, ruby in color. About a finger of off-white head. Leaves some film and a large ring around the rim. Some lacing.

S: Out of the bottle, lots and lots of smoke, meaty in nature. Once it airs out a bit, the smoke dies down and you do get that band aid type smell. I know this'll sound weird, but I kind of like it. If you stick your nose down in there, you may be able to notice a little of the rye spiciness and just a hint of alcohol. Not terribly complex, but good none the less.

T: Good smokey flavor balanced out by the malt sweetness. Smoke, breadiness, slight rye spice and just a little alchohol. I tried really hard to find the hops in the taste, but wasn't successful.

M: Medium bodied, almost creamy. Leaves a slight tingle and burn.

O: This one is a sipper to be sure, but very enjoyable. If you're into smoked beers, this is one that you should certainly seek out.

 957 characters

Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 245 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.