Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA - Arbor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPAArbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

150 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 150
Hads: 346
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 19.2%
Wants: 11
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Arbor Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernut7 on 07-30-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 150 | Hads: 346
Photo of lukeoberm963
1.87/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Had this beer from a friend that bought it to make up from a six pack that he drank that was mine while I was away. When I first saw it I thought "Oh No". The last time I drank it was from another buddy of mine. He had the amber and whenever you poured it the beer foamed up like CRAZY. The glass would fill with 10% beer and 90% head. You could not drink this beer, especially from the bottle (ugh). I figured, heck this isn't the amber, I'll give it a try. When I poured it it smelled ok. When I poured it I got almost the same result 40% beer and 60% head in the glass. I had to wait almost fifteen minutes until it was drinkable. When I did the flavor was a little malty up front with a lot of hop oil, citrus flavor. There wasn't much of I hop smack like I would expect with other IPA's so I was disappointed in that also. I would not recommend this brewery to anyone unless they prefer drinking their beer fifteen minutes and warmer that when they poured the sucker.

 972 characters

Photo of Mcculler
2.21/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy, muddy, amber - beautiful in sunlight but rather unappetising in artificial - with a large, lasting, off-white head. Unfortunately, the head might be the only good thing about this beer.

Smells faintly of bitter herbs, apple cider, slightly sweet malts, and old plastic.

Tastes like a decent IPA - mild grapefruit and lemon with a sweet malt backbone, except running through it is that bitter plastic off taste noticeable in the smell.

Strangely, perhaps interestingly, thick body with good carbonation.

Would be very drinkable without that plastic flavor. Might not make it all the way through this one. Haven't heard the best of things about Arbor brewing from relatively reputable sources. My first try of their beer does nothing to contradict the grapevine.

 780 characters

Photo of lnashsig
2.39/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into my Dfh snifter, a dark orange color that leaves a little bit of fluffy foam and some glass lacing. Smell- uh oh, there is something wrong here. I get a unpleasant grass flavor, mixed with a hint of...hot glue? Taste- unpleasant band aid scent, some toffee, some bitterness (but not apparently from the hops- I can't seem to find them anywhere!). This IPA is a disaster. Total drainpour, and I will not seek out again.

 429 characters

Photo of chugalug06
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Nice pour! Great white foamy head builds slowly. Brew is nice amber color

S - Very bland. Not too much on the surface of the scent. Some earthy tones. kinda a dirty scent...

T - Very unusual for an AIPA... Certainly not a west coast IPA... Very nice grape flavor.

M - DRY! Zero bitterness, but lots of off flavors. Carbonation is spot on.

O - Very disappointing. There's no date on the bottle, so i assume it's fresh from my last round of trades...

 457 characters

Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.56/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy and Copper-hued. A sloppy pour gives you two fingers of rocky, persistent head that's forming some decent lacing as the session progresses.

Getting a bit of citrus and peach with my first whiff, but this is not a very strong smelling IPA.

Mouthfeel is a bit thicker and full-bodied than I usually like to see from the single-IPA community.

There's a lot more flavor here than I expected based on the smell. It starts out promising, with some nice grapefruit and biscuity notes and the bitterness really makes a hard charge after a second or two. My problem with this beer is that the finish is a bit of a mess. The bitterness goes off the rails and combines with a surprisingly strong alcohol presence to leave a less than pleasant aftertaste. The completist may want to try this, but it's not going to get a repeat visit from me.

 842 characters

Photo of BMoney575
2.62/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Sampled on 2-6-09

Pours a huge foamy mess. Eventually settles to a cool cloudy orange color with a massive white head.

Smell is very citrusy, a little spicy, maybe a little on the old side. Lots of hops, you can smell the bitterness.

Taste is bitter, very spicy and lemony. Aftertaste is a little weird, kind of astringent.

Mouthfeel is terrible, huge carbonation detracts from the flavors and the experience as a whole.

Drinkability suffers from the awful mouthfeel.

Overall, somehow I expected a stinker.

 512 characters

Photo of david131
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on cask at the brewery/ restaurant.

A- Clear, golden liquid with absolutely no carbonation. There was a beautiful white head sitting atop the beer that did not seem to go anywhere throughout the entire drink.

S- Very subtle hops with a solid malt backing. Not much going on here. The lack of carbonation really hurt this beer.

T- The taste was just like the smell. No matter how long I washed this beer around my mouth, it was hard to get much out of it. Carbonation would have helped show off some of the hops.

M- Very creamy. Served at a good temperature. It could have been that I was searching for more flavor, but I did not have a problem letting this beer wander my palate.

D- I was not wowed, but I am curious to try this beer in its carbonated form. From what I got out of it though, it was a good run of the mill IPA, nothing more.

 865 characters

Photo of SportsandJorts
2.76/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: a lightish yellow, almost strawy color. a tad too clear. white head that doesn't really stick around

Smell: citrusy hops all day. not bad but i really like a lot more dimensions in my beer

Taste: opens up more with both citrus and breadiness, but very unbalanced and just plan not very tasty to me

Mouthfeel: way too bitter. extremely sticky

Overall: I love Arbor Brewing. This beer just does not do it. It could use a unique dimension or just more balance rather than being a citrusy tangy bitter bomb.

 519 characters

Photo of southsider
2.82/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving size was 12 oz in pint glass.

A- Hazy coppery gold with a 3 finger thick head that eventually collapses to a thin film. Small bits of coppery sediment are in suspension and on the foam.

S-Typical hoppy smell at pour quickly diminishes.

T-Piney,resiny bitter hops at beginning with moderate carbonation.Watery middle,I was expecting some spicy notes. Not really picking up the grains at all. Sharp lingering bitter finish.

M-light to moderate slightly watery mouthfeel.

D- Pretty disappointed because local relatives raved about this beer.I've had many finer examples of this style. Perhaps the sediment and quickly fading smell reveal a beer past it's prime or improperly stored. Will try again next visit on tap if possible.

 738 characters

Photo of gmfessen
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a clear golden-orange color with a massively huge, dense, off white head. The smell has a hint of spice which I wouldn't normally associate with an IPA. That being said, I have a hard time distinguishing the hops as anything but spicey. The flavor also reflects the spicey phenol flavor which seems out of style. For an IPA, I'm not really impressed. There isn't any in your face hops about this one, although it is decently balanced and drinkable there isn't anything spectacular about this brew. The mouthfeel is fairly light in body and the carbonation is also on the lighter side.

 634 characters

Photo of flowerysong
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Impossible to pour. Excessively foamy white head. Excellent retention, though.

Smell: Subdued piney hops.

Taste: Pale malt, high hops bitterness, floral and pine hop flavour. Some pithy citrus as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, highly carbonated; feels heavy.

Drinkability: Not really there. Decent taste profile buried under a muddled mouthfeel.

 355 characters

Photo of Cresant
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. No bottling or best by date. The body was a dull golden that had a bit of sediment causing haze. There was a light tan head that settled to a film.

The smell was apple skins and a little sour rag. Floral. It became more pungent as it warmed. Organic hops, lightly spicy.

The taste was hops oils that lingered. Not really that bitter but hops oils. A bit like sucking on a penny. Earthy "dirty" hops flavor as it warmed. Spiciness. Subtle malts.

The mouthfeel was adequately zesty with a medium body/density.

 571 characters

Photo of malty
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've been sitting on the bottle for about 6 weeks now, no BBD seen or any other freshness stamp for that matter. It’s a distributor sample, so I'm guessing it’s still very fresh (?).

Pours a glowing amber orange with micro suspended particles. Loose and patchy off-white head that’s 1/8" at the edges.

Nice earthy and pulpy hoppy nose. Sweet malts twinkle between the hop presence giving me hope for what’s to soon come.

Very bitter tongue curling hops attack the edges of my gullet. Very sharp and gritty, taking no prisoners. Salty and mineral flavors appear at the finish. Nice biting dryness.

Mouthfeel is a bit weaker than medium bodied. Fine carbonation that gallantly tries to the body from waning, but cannot hold-up the overall watery construction. Nice dry finish.

Drinkability is so-so right now. I hope I'd feel differently in Mid-July (?).

Overall an unmemorable IPA. The attack of the first flavors were aggressive and pointed, but everything else after that seemed to sag and unravel. I won't be buying this on the shelves but would retry on tap.

 1,071 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger."

--Mark Twain

Chaotically bubbled tangerine that would put most Champagnes to shame. An exceedingly gentle pour netted an entire hand of beige froth that probably won't deflate in the next five minutes. Looks like I need to take a trip to the brewpub to see and taste this one at its best.

Even through all that foam, I can still appreciate an orange juice-soaked American hoppiness atop a pale malt base. At least I assume that primarily pale malt was used since I can't smell any caramel. Gotta be at least one of the 4-Cs, if not more than one.

It's fairly easy to tell that Sacred Cow IPA is good beer underneath all the bubbles. Or, more precisely, that it would be good beer if it was bottled properly. Decent flavor and bitterness is present, it's just that the mouthfeel brings the whole thing crashing down in a flurry of anemic fizziness.

There's still no hint of anything darker than pale malt... and there isn't a whole lot of that. More sweetness to offset the alpha acids would be great. The beer is only moderately bitter early and is impressively bitter late. Part of that has to due with the out-of-control carbonation, I'll bet. Earthy, bitter orange and dried apricot do what they can to rescue a flavor profile that clings to average like a drowning man clings to an inflatable doll.

It's a shame that it's no longer possible to see the scores for each individual attribute (edit: thankfully, letter grades only was a short-lived experiment). In case you were wondering, the mouthfeel gets a 2.0, also known as 'not impressed'. I think I've cataloged its faults well enough already without running through them again.

It's entirely possible (likely even) that this beer is a damn sight better on-tap than in the bottle. Since I've liked 2 of the 3 Arbor beers that I've had so far, I know they can do better. As I've experienced it today, however, this Sacred Cow is anything but USDA prime.

 1,957 characters

Photo of Dalem
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Someone really loves to kick up the carbonation! The softest pour (I learned with my first go round with an Arbor Brewing beer that ya gotta watch it) caused a huge explosion of foam in the glass. Like 4 ounces of beer and the rest a head flowing out an all over the place. Waiting about 5 minutes for it to subside somewhat it does leave quite a bit of lacing.
Hazy and dark orange in color with some unfiltered particles dancing around. Mild and earthy on the nose with a light scent of hops and malt. Surprised that with all the out of control fizz upon pouring that the brew itself has nice, creamy body. Spicy and dry in the taste with a tinge of sour apple and dried orange peels.

 687 characters

Photo of Connormick
3.07/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured from the bottle to a clean pint glass. The appearance was fairly beautiful, with a nice think head and an interesting tan/copper color.

The smell was a little lackluster. I didn't smell much hops, which is something I think a good IPA should showcase. I did smell some nice fruity blend however.

The taste had a little more hops than the smell, which is good. I also tasted various citrus and floral-like flavors. But the drink lacked a taste of focus in it's taste, everything just sort of blended together without anything sticking out.

The mouthfeel was really interesting. It was pretty sparkling and fairly carbonated. Some people may not like it, but I loved the tiny shock I got every time I went to take a drink.

Overall it's a pretty good IPA. I'm not really a fan of IPA, but this one appeals to me. If you're not a huge IPA drinker this may be a good introduction into it. It may not appeal to big IPA drinkers, however, because of the lack of a hoppy focus.

 994 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Pours a hazy, light copper color. White foamy head disappears pretty quick, leaving just a few patches of lace on the sides of the glass.

Some earthy and light citrusy flavors. A few caramel and fruity notes. Comes across more of an English IPA here for me.

A very light caramel malt is at the front, lacking depth. Some fruity flavors come in next, but nothing too dominating. Bitterness seems to be on the low side. Most of the bitterness comes across as earthy and floral.

Light body, with a low amount of carbonation. Seems more like an English Pale Ale tom me. Not very impressive.

 605 characters

Photo of GRPunk
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- It poured with a 2 finger, foamy/fluffy, off-white/cream head and a very hazy, golden/orange/brown body. It had medium carbonation and the head never dropped, leaving great sticy rings.

S- Initially it had a fruity aroma nearing sour apple with a some caramel coming later.

T- The flavor was hard to place. There was burnt caramel malts and definite hopping that gave a distinct grapefruit flavor. At the same time it had a tinge of sour.

M- It had a lot of carbonation and hop bite.

D- Odd flavors make the drinkability less than it could be.

Overall- An odd flavor profile makes this less than expected. Overpowering grapefruit bitterness is too much. I actually drank a second bottle to make sure the first wasn't a fluke, but I think it was presented as it was meant to be.

 819 characters

Photo of tadowdaddy
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber, cloudy, great big off white eggshell head with good retention and good lacing.

S- Smells fruity, almost like a wheat beer. Lots of citrus, orange, and a tad bit of biscuity malt.

T- More like a hefe or wheat beer, not at all like an IPA. Could also be considered a fruit beer. It's not my cup of tea. No bitterness, just fruit, most especially orange and a bit of a malty taste as well.

M- Leaves the aftertaste of orange peel. Texture is good, but otherwise, not impressed.

D- Won't drink it again. I have 5 more and may be giving them away as gifts or extras in a trade. BLAH.. Not an IPA at all!

 616 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed on January 18, 2006. On tap at the brewpub. Cloudy orange, with yellow fringes. SIlky head of ivory. Buttery pine and floral aroma. Flavor is all hops, with no malt background. Mostly dissapointing. Straight metallic hop bitterness. With lime rind and oak. Finish is completely grassy. One dimensional.

 322 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A 12 oz bottle from Plum Market in AA (she's a whore).

A: The IPA is golden amber with a thick pea-soup haze. The narrower base of my glass glows with radiant orange while the mouth is a brown morass. 2.5+ fingers of white foam, requiring a break in pouring, leave a bit of lace behind.

S: A strong dose of citrus emerged on popping the cap. As the ale sat in the glass, more citrus wafted out, a nice aroma. Up close, the ale is oily, with grpaefruit sharpness that manages to crowd out all but the strongest of caramel.

T: That nice aroma is a deception! It sets the mind of with expectations that cannot be met. The hops, sure they are plentiful, are active but a little on the degraded side with a leafy vegetal flavor. Caramel malts, potentially a saving grace, instead steer the ale towards barleywine territory. And, I swear, the aftertaste has a bretty huskiness about it.

M: The mouthfeel, with its aforementioned huskiness, seems to miss the mark, especially in light of the nice aromas.

D: I didn't try this on tap during our AA, maybe I should have. A little long in the tooth I think.

 1,102 characters

Photo of beerphan
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> pint
no date

Pours a mostly clear deep oranged amber. Small thin head disappeared quickly and left zero lace. Carbonation is robust.

Nose: Sweet malts, some piney hops

Lots of sweet malts upfront, resiny light hops, and a stingy bitterness. Bitterness sticks around. Mouthfeel is quite thin and watery.

My brother bought this back from MI for me, and it maybe a little worse for the ware.

 410 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is a dark amber with gold highlights. Three inches of beige head lingers atop.

S - I get some floral hops that remind me of soap. I just do not get much on the nose.

T - I get some light caramel malt. Some bitterness grows the more I drink. It's not citrus or pine. Just a growing bitterness.

M - Medium

O - This is a weak ipa. I would be better labeled as a pale ale. I guess I could see it passing as an English ipa. It's not terrible, just not a great ipa by any means.

 531 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Cinnamon tea, honey amber, lots of cinnamon like particles floating throughout it, cloudy, some carbonation, 3 fingers of off white head which leave a fair lacing.

S: Cinnamon, cantelope, light pine, honey.

T: Honey, cantelope, light pine, dough finish. A little bitterness.

M: Medium slightly sticky body, medium low carbonation.

O: A very mild, tame IPA in my opinion. Its got all the flavours but borderlines on a fruitiness, and overall lightness of body and smell and taste that makes it unique.

 507 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy orange in color with red hints and not much head.

Mild nose. Hoppy but not citrusy or piney. Malty, almost creamy as well.

A bit on the mellow hoppy side, nothing powerful or overbearing, yet still an enjoyable IPA.

I find it somewhere between medium and heavy bodied. Strange, every sip seems a bit different than the previous one.

Excellent, no extreme citrus or bitter overkill. Highly drinkable.

 416 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA from Arbor Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.