New Glarus says:
“Our Imperial Saison captured a bold celebratory shout of apricot and peach in a bottle. Both bright and bold this is a lively truly living beer. Bottle conditioned with rare Belgian yeast and soured to illuminate its copper hued body. Ginger and Grains of Paradise promiscuously dance with Styrian Golding hops.”
New Glarus Unplugged Imperial Saison
Saison, 8.7% ABV
KARL: Cliffs Notes Version: We love New Glarus and drool over almost everything they do. Check the tags on the left side of your screen for confirmation. Now, onto the details.
This particular NG pours a nice, pillowy cloudlike head that dissipates slowly. Aromawise and tastewise, have you had the Berliner Weiss yet? You should have. Because it’s awesome. And it reminds me of this. It’s tart, it’s wheaty and champagne-ey. For this Saison it’s got just a touch of sour funk to it which I can memory-taste even to this moment and it’s making my mouth water. No joke. And no tail to this beer either – it’s there and it’s gone. The fresher version stays on the palate, as I recall, whereas this just disappears.
As Saisons go, I’ve never been a huge fan of the style (see also: the Bruery review we did a few weeks back). This one with a year on it is certainly plenty good, but if I had to pick I’d probably just defer to a fresh Berliner Weiss or a New Belgium Erik’s Ale.
RYAN: When Karl and I first cracked open this beer last summer we both took a sip and said, “WOW.” Flavors of peach, apricot and coriander popped on the palate. There was also just the faintest hint of tartness. That was the summer of ’09. Fast forward to 2010 and a year in the cellar has done this beer very well.
The New Glarus Unplugged Imperial Saison pours a lovely orangish, copper in color. The nose is clean with a touch of floral aromas; maybe some lavender.
On the palate this beer is very bright and crisp, spices – namely coriander – blend seamlessly with floral and grassy flavors. The flavors pop in and the fade quickly leaving little to no aftertaste. The biggest difference in the flavor of this beer is a sour tartness has become more prominent. It sat on the end of the bench when fresh but now that it is a year old it has moved up to 6th man.
It’s tough to taste a drop of the 8.7% ABV, it is very well hidden. And the carbonation is spot on.
This was a fantastic beer fresh and has gotten even better with some age. The tartness is really starting to shine and I’m excited to see the changes this beer undergoes over the next few years.
ANDREW: Another offering from New Glarus’ Unplugged Series? Don’t mind if I do!
The 2009 Imperial Saison poured a cloudy orange-ish color with big, light, fluffy head with lots of bright and citrus scents in the nose with hints of spice and yeast.
There was so much going on in the taste of this beer it was hard to keep track of everything. A ton of citrus, some funk as well with a heavy helping of tart and sour. This was a very easy drinker, and the
high ABV wasn’t really present at all the the nose or the taste.
RYAN: Wow. What a difference TWO years makes. When we first sampled this beer in 2009 the Imperial Saison popped with all things…Saison; it was sharp, it was vibrant and it was spicy. A year later a bit of tartness began to emerge. What are we left with after two years? A great beer that could stand up to years in the cellar.
The nose of the New Glarus Unplugged Imperial Saison is still pretty floral and somewhat fruity as well. The body of this beer has held up very well and still retains it’s boatload of spices; coriander and some parsley along with a touch of fruit – apples and pears.
Despite how refreshing that sounds, this beer will leave you parched. The finish is very dry and spicy.
I loved this beer fresh, I loved it with one year on it and I love it after two years in the cellar.
It appears this beer has a very long shelf life and a great deal of cellarability. So if you have some stocked away, rest easy, it’s progressing quite nicely.