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New Glarus Unplugged Enigma 7.0% (2006)

Serve in Snifter, Tulip, Tumbler


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RATINGS: 440   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.93/5   SEASONAL: Series   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
A Complex and intriguing original. The mystery began with wild yeast spontaneously fermenting a rich treasure of malted barley and whole cherries. Unlined oak casks breathe deep vanilla hues and chords of smoke into this sour brown ale. Our Master Brewer has forged a smooth garnet tapestry that defies description. Wander off the beathen path.
2006 vintage - 7%
2010 vintage - 5.5% (separate entry)
You can tell the vintages apart as the 2010 bottles have the © symbol to the left of the UNPLUGGED banner while the 2006 does not.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
kmweaver (3207) - Petaluma, California, USA - OCT 13, 2006
12oz bottle courtesy of Monger. Thanks James! Pours a dark brown, slight tints of red and yellow at the edges, light head formation with poor retention and decent lacing. The aroma suggests whiskey - beautiful, balanced sour-mash whiskey with some acidity and funky cherries; a bit of uncharted territory here... You can also catch some of the oak and vanilla in the nose. Medium-to-full mouthfeel, showing a vanilla toastiness, oak wrapped around sour/tart cherries, (hints at a flemish sour influence), light acidity, similar base profile to their Unplugged Cherry Stout (esp. the overripe cherry character) except with a greatly improved malty core (instead of just oak and cherries) and a well-balanced sourness. As muzzlehatch noted, LET THIS SIT... once it breathes, it opens up into something else entirely. I was disappointed at the first sip, but give it a few minutes, ten minutes. Think of the children! Give it some time. Long, layered finish showing funked cherries, a sweet malty core, reserved tartness, and a hint of smoke. Another excellent, challenging beer from Dan Carey.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
muzzlehatch (4773) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 12, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 29, 2008 12 oz bottle from Steveís in Madison (Mineral Point Road, Oct 2006) sampled at cellar temperature from a Corsendonk glass. A smallish tan head decays rapidly atop the deep muddy caramel body....oaky caramel and funky brett combine with light piquant cherry essence and hints of oregano for subtle pleasures.....tartness dominates the body throughout the tasting, sour cherries and oaky sherry touches are the key with the muted yeast mostly adding complexity to the marvellously full body....sour apples and a bit of acrid smokiness/tobacco make for a lip-smacking but challenging finish....to me this is closer to the Sour Brown than to any of the other fruit beers, though I like it a bit better, the malt is fuller and I think it goes down easier. At the finish after about a third of the bottle, touches of bitter chocolate show up, as if we needed anything more to be assured of Dan Careyís greatness....PLEASE NOTE I find that this beer takes longer than most to breathe; my appreciation (and rating) went up a lot more over the course of the bottle, slowly consumed, than it usually does. Iíd personally recommend letting it sit in the glass 10 minutes before tasting. 8/4/9/4/17 4.2

(May 2008) bottle from same batch, 1.5 years of age. The funkiness has really developed in this, the nose is as cheesy and bacterially weird and wonderful as anything I can remember, while a mineralic quality (lime, iron) merely adds to the already considerable complexity towards the finish. The body has not thinned out at all though the carbonation is a touch diminished....truly a rare and wonderful beverage at this point, and nearly on the level of the ambrosial Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. I wish I had more left....

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
roccotool (26) - USA - OCT 11, 2006
The way a balance of flavor, malt, and hops ought to be. The cask flavor shows through surprisingly well and the finish isnít like CherryKool Aid, which is how other cherry beers taste. A surprising and enjoyable drink.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
JPDIPSO (5657) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 10, 2006
Lightly hazed umber liquid, with a smaller, but dense head of tan bubbles, with just a hint of pink. Fresh hewn Cherry-wood and oak overflow, while almonds, berries, raisins, plums and just a hint of mace parade on the edges. A touch sweet, but as a fruit beer, near perfect. Some significant heft, but still enough zip to move it along the palate. A tasting along side a sour brown will be documented in the future. Light tart cherries fill the mouth along with mild coconut milk, oak, cortland apples and hints of grains of paradise. Long spice linger. More notes to follow with the side by side with sour brown.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Adverse2Bitter (35) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 9, 2006
By the gods this is good stuff. So beautiful I had to go show my wife. Mahogany / red color with almost no head, The flavors are all over the fruit map. Cherry, apple, citrus and some oak aged qualities as well. The finish is razor sharp. No aftertaste or bitterness of any kind. Just a amazing brew. I just had a 750oz of the New Glarus Belgium red, I have to say, I like this better.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
JJClark (551) - Roscoe, Illinois, USA - OCT 9, 2006
Bottle straight from the brewery. Drove up and picked an assortment of NG brews. Pours a deep reddish mahoghany color with a small light tan colored head. Aroma of cherries and smoke. It has a hint of apples and vanilla as well. As iowaherkeye stated, it definately has a taste resemblance to the Unplugged Cherry Stout but the oak barrel aging is very noticable. It has a tart yet sweet and complex mouthfeel and finishes very smoth and dry. This is a very different beer from anything else I have tried. This is a very interesting brew.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
MikeHernandez (50) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 8, 2006
There is little head that is white in color and almost completely diminishes. The beer is a hazy reddish-brown color. I first taste a slightly smoky oak flavor followed immediately by the tartness of cherries and a sweet hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with average carbonation. It has a pleasant dry finish that leaves a lingering cherry tartness in the mouth. A truly unique and delightful beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - OCT 6, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 22, 2007 Rerate. From that same October bottling. Pours a hazy orange ruby with a one finger fading light beige head, staying strong as a thick ring and a thin film. Aroma of spicy and tart cherries, lots of caramel almost verging on butteryness, oak, and a fair amount of acidity. Big aroma. Oak is stronger in the flavor, which isnít to say it takes away from anything else. Still lots of cherries (spicy, sweet, and sour), loads of caramel that still almost takes on a butteryness (somewhat like the Unplugged Quad, though memory might not serve correctly). Not terribly sour, but there is some tartness and acidity to keep most Flemish Sour fans happy. Oaky finish. Light carbonation with a medium body. This is my favorite special beer that I actually have some of that I can drink every couple months or so. Old Rating FollowsBaloney! I wanted to be the second rating, but oh well. Picked this up today @ the brewery--I talked to Deb Carey on Wednesday, and she told me they had bottled all of these on Monday October 2nd--so that makes this beer 5 days old. Pours a hazy orange caramel with a tiny film of light yellow fizzy head. Aroma of sour cherries, sour apples, a fair amount of oak, and yet some nondescript sugary sweetness. I just realized that I pretty much copied 1FastSTi, but I did not, and I stay by my rating thus far. Also somewhere in there I got a tinge of cinnamon. I think it smells great, my girlfriend said it smells "weird." Taste reminds me somewhat of the Unplugged Cherry Stout, with lots of oak and sour cherries. Lots of acidity and sweet caramel/toffee--very nicely balanced--to a lightly bitter, dry finish. Medium to full bodied, light-moderate carbonation. This is pretty damn good, and Iím glad I made the trip up to NG. 8-3-8-4-17--4.0

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
1FastSTi (3360) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 6, 2006
Pours to a dark, lightly hazy, garnet colored body with a thin creamy white head. A nice lacing sticks to my snifter. The aroma is full of cherries, apples, light oak, some liquid caramel sauce, and I swear thereís juniper berries. The first sip starts off as sour cherries and apples, and turns into an extremely malty cereal. Additional sips point to creamy chocolate and vanilla. Nice oak yields lots of vanilla cookies and candy. Perhaps some caramel sauce and apples? The finish has lots of lingering toffee and Ferrero Rocher candies. So, imagine hazelnuts and nutella. And sort of a crisp rice. The palate is tart yet sweet and coating. Itís hard being the second rater of this beer. It surely is an enigma as Iíve never had anything quite like this. Mighty tasty and very unique. Thanks Dan Carey!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
jewedekind (450) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 20, 2005
UPDATED: MAY 3, 2006 From a Jeroboam-sized bottle at the Great Taste. Caveat emptor..it was late..Poured a thin off-white head over a coppery colored beer. Immediate smack of sour cherries. Then another smack of fruit. Apples, lemons and berries. Sourness explodes on the tongue. Woody notes of oak and nuts. An outstanding beer on a day of outstanding beers. Will we ever see this beer again?

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