Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beer Review: Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale

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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