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Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA - Arbor Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

287 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 287
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 10
Gots: 15 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beernut7 on 07-30-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 287 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.03/5  rDev -18.1%

"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.

12-23-2007 15:04:31 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of enfield249


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%

A - Pours a cloudy copper, with lots of particulate matter. Slight ring of foam.

S - As soon as I opened the bottle, I could smell this beer. That is very uncommon for me with my weak nose. Strong floral spice smell.

T - The taste is primarily citrus, with some strong underlying bitterness. Also a very small amount of malty sweetness.

M - Medium, about what I would expect from a IPA.

D - Overall a very good IPA. The smell was really awesome, and very forward which is nice. I would drink this beer daily if money and time permitted.

12-19-2007 23:45:42 | More by enfield249
Photo of Dogbrick


4/5  rDev +8.1%

Cask sample at the brewpub: Slightly cloudy orange color with a medium thick and rocky off-white head that has fair retention. Sheets of lacing. Aroma of citrus and hops underscored by a pleasantly sweet malt. Medium-bodied and moderately bitter with hops, grapefruit and a nice malt base. The finish is hoppy and lasting. Overall this is a good cask IPA.

10-09-2007 19:16:39 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of Dansting


4.53/5  rDev +22.4%

Bottle. Poured a very murky copper color with a thick white head and the most sediment I've ever seen in a beer (which is a positive for me). Strong lacing. Aroma is very hoppy and citrusy. Mouthfeel is very nice. Flavor is a rush of hops and grapefruit. Bitter finish. This beer was a lot better than I expected. Solid beer.

09-20-2007 04:11:51 | More by Dansting
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev +5.4%

Orange-amber appearance with two fingers of white head. Leaves a touch of lacing on the glass as the beer goes. Looks how an IPA should. Nose is slightly sour, but otherwise is subtly bitter with very light toffee malt. Flavor is very bitter with strong floral hoppiness. Light sourness shows up again. Body is medium and well carbonated. I've had a number of Arbor beers and they seem to almost all have a fairly strong sour presence (with the possible exception of the Bliss). I'm not sure if that's on purpose or not, but it seems strange for most of the styles. In any case, it wasn't too strong here, so this one's okay (although if I were going for a local IPA I'd probably stick with the outstanding Crooked Tree IPA or Two Hearted Ale).

08-27-2007 16:26:56 | More by soupyman10
Photo of jspruit


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%

I have heard of this brewery from Ann Arbor, but havent ever had the chance to try any of their offerings. It was an easy choice for me to try this one once I saw it in the cooler.

Poured from the bottle in a dark copper/orange hue with a large bubbly white head that stuck around for quite awhile. Some sediment appeared in the bottom of the glass and stuck around for the entire performance-fine with me.

Smells great-a strong yeasty IPA that makes this style of beer so attractive to me. A bit of citrus and malty character makes this an IPA with some extra flavor that I really enjoy. There is some bitterness and hops flavor and I think that overall it is really well balanced and full of body.

Overall I think that is a great beer that goes down well and has plenty of flavor and not too hoppy for an IPA so it can be a real session beer for me. I will definitely try this one again and anything else from Arbor Brewing too!

08-13-2007 21:39:39 | More by jspruit
Photo of sweethome


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%

Pours an unfiltered hazy orange/gold almost copper color. The nose is of citrus primarily - a bit muted for the hops I see now laying in my glass.

Hop attack - upfront bitterness of grapefruit. Nice hop flavor and just enough malt to let the hops run. Slightly watery on the tips. The finish is grassy, some grapefuit still - very long bitter finish that keeps you chewing on it.

Tasty effort from a brewery that just started bottling rather recently.

07-27-2007 04:18:43 | More by sweethome
Photo of mattcrill


3.8/5  rDev +2.7%

Aroma: Light citrus. Orange and grapefruit on the front. Lemon rind in the middle. Clean citrus flavors throughout.

Appearance: Cloudy brick red pour with a sudsy white head. Looks bottle conditioned given all the floaties and hop chunks.

Flavor: Hop bitterness up front...powdery and resiny. Some background crystal malts but mostly hop bitterness throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry and clean.

Overall impression: I would like to see more hop aroma and flavor. Seemed to be all hop bitterness and I was hoping to see more fresh hop aroma. Well crafted but it seemed unbalanced towards the bitterness.

07-16-2007 01:32:39 | More by mattcrill
Photo of jasonpeckins32


3.45/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

06-16-2007 19:43:34 | More by jasonpeckins32
Photo of Reed415


4.13/5  rDev +11.6%

A - Pours a copper orange color, a white head, Tons of sediment

S - Piney Hops in the nose

T - All the major flavors represented Dominated by piney hops

M - Medium Bodied, light carbonation

D - Is relatively high because it is not overly bitter. Great Beer.

06-06-2007 19:18:13 | More by Reed415
Photo of kohoutek


4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

In the past few months the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti has been upping the production of Arbor offerings. Many of them are finding their way into the bottling line. I am a huge fan of the Sacred Cow served on cask at both of their pubs. I decided to try this bottled version.

This beer pours with a beautifully deep orange hue and a foamy white head that is thick and persistently clinging to the glass. Small flecks of yeast and sediment meander through its depths. I love the character that the yeast lends to this beer.

This beer flows with aromas of caramel, Graham cracker, bready Munich malts and yeasty baguettes. Apricots, peaches and subtle hints of perfumed citrus rind add many layers to the malty backbone. The aroma hints that this is not a west coast hop smack down. It runs more in the vein of an American Pale.

The flavors are well integrated and balanced. A full, mouth filling combination of malts and fruits run from the biscuit malt and the subtle roasty melanoidins to the fruity, herbal hop finish. The bitterness and hop flavors remind you that this is an IPA. Geranium, devil's claw and turmeric root. A long resinous finish that lasts and lasts.

The mouth feel is a balance of some residual sweetness, subtle soft carbonation and sticky, juicy, hoppy fruit.

This beer drinks very well with no apparent annoying habits.

Overall, I think I prefer this beer on cask. It has some maturity in the bottle, which rounds out its character, but its hops become subdued in this aging process. The cask version is more hop forward and its lower level of carbonation makes it a bit more drinkable. However, the cask offerings are often a bit green.

02-10-2007 19:32:39 | More by kohoutek
Photo of david131


2.7/5  rDev -27%

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.

01-27-2007 16:29:07 | More by david131
Photo of alexgash


4.1/5  rDev +10.8%

Peachy copper with a slight yeast haze (this is a bottle-conditioned brew and I poured a little bit of yeast in on accident--I like the bottle-conditioning though!). Small, tight, off-white head. Aroma is loaded with juicy malts and fruits. Cranberries, butterscotch, juicy fruit gum, pineapple, fruit cocktail juice, and last but not least, pine sap/resin. Very nice. Toasted bitterness up front. Fruity malt sweetness follows. Apple and pineapple mix with caramel before solid pine and citrus hops take over. Finish is bitter with residual sugary sweetness. Good balance overall. Medium-bodied with slightly syrupy feel, before drying out in the finish. This beer has made a nice transition into the bottle. I still prefer it on cask at the pub, but this is a decent version.

12-17-2006 22:26:57 | More by alexgash
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

3.2/5  rDev -13.5%

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.

12-06-2006 03:30:41 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of waldowin


3.83/5  rDev +3.5%

Received from Gaisgeil in Brews 'N Tunes BIF

Pours a clear gold with hints of red. A white lacing appears on the pour, and fades to a thin ring with some islets. Bizarrely though, a decent amount of carbonation seems to be suspended in the beer itself, mixed in with some very fine particulate (yeast?).

Smells of Marris Otter, with a hint of sweet hops and grapefruits.
Tastes is bitingly bitter for a half second, before it fades into a sweetness of malts. Finish is slightly sourdoughy, and a bit drying. Leaves you ready for the next sip. Has just the right amount of carbonation and hops bite, without overpowering or thinning the beer.

If I had the luxury, I could see myself sitting down in front of a football game, and working my way through two or three of these with food. All in all, a solid autumn beer!

11-26-2006 10:10:33 | More by waldowin
Photo of woodychandler


4.05/5  rDev +9.5%

It took a while, but it obtained a big, fluffy, bone-white head after it settled. It was a really deep amber color with surprisingly little cloudiness, again, following settling. It had a floral, hoppy nose and the mouthfeel was light to medium with a great, hoppy bitterness on the palate. The finish was dry, hoppy, and lingering. Mmmm. Finally, it created beautiful, strata-like lacing.

08-29-2006 22:58:42 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Frozensoul327


4.75/5  rDev +28.4%

Amazing offering from Arbor Brewing. On Cask. Totally world class. I cannot say enough about this IPA. Pours from the hand pulled cask to a rich golden cloud of beer heaven, that settles to a royal orange / gold color with a small head of creamy foam. Aromas of fresh sour citrus, hops, and floral notes. Taste was exceptional. Totally amazing. Lots of citrusy-fruits and rich hops, with some bread maltiness and a touch of a yeasty like quality. Hints of cooked veggies and grains. Wow. Mouthfeel was smooth, creamy, oily, utterly amazing. Drinkability? Are you kidding me?! This is one of the best beers i've ever had! World Class. Highly Recommended.

06-18-2006 17:31:50 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +7.6%

Poured from the engine lighter copper with a creamy top,aromas werent as big as expected with piney vineous hop coming thru most.Flavors were very nice piney,herbal hops that just lingered nicely on the palate over top of a drier biscuity malt base.The hops just seemed to just hang there wich made me wanna drink more the low carbonation from the cask made it slide down oh so easy.It was a big seller with the locals with the cute barmaid wrenching on the pump all night,very well made.

05-07-2006 22:00:15 | More by oberon
Photo of ypsifly


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%

Purchased at the source as a growler. I kept it cool for the 20min ride home and drank within a couple hours. Currently on cask at the brewpub.

Thin ring of foam over dark orange. As this is casked, not much lace but that is expected.

The nose is very citric and piney. Almost all hops with just a hint of malty sweetness. Almost balanced, but I do like the hop aromas.

Tastes piney and citric as well. This time, however, there is more malt flavor and which gives the taste much more balance than the nose. Nice dry bitter finish.

Given this is a cask ale sampled from a growler, the mouth is a bit thin yet the flavors make up for it. The drying almost puckery hop profile takes up most of the slack from the missing carbonation. Very good when sampled from the hand pull.

The best aspect of this beer is the strong hop flavors. I really like the strength of the flavors and how well they match up with the plate of sharp cheddar, blue and even muenster cheeses I paired this with.

05-01-2006 18:30:57 | More by ypsifly
Photo of Crosling


3.73/5  rDev +0.8%

Sampled on cask @ Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Golden color with a very small and quickly diminishing above foam. Bursting cascade aroma, spicy, peppery and grapefruity with hints of orange hinds. Pretty vibrant smelling. Bracingly bitter with an extremely dry hop assault. Piney and resiny, with a touch of toasted malt. Pretty delicious, though not balanced and the body could be improved.

03-20-2006 22:08:33 | More by Crosling
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +19.7%

I had this handpumped from the brewpub.

A: Golden-bronze with a white head. Nice retention, awesome lace!

S: Plenty of citrus from the Cascade hops; bready malt.

T: Quality pale malt, with a pleasant abundance of Cascade hops. Not as bitter as most IPA's; perhaps it's more of a strong APA?

M: Lightly carbonated; moderate body is creamy, and slightly acidic in the finish.

D: Great!

From their website:
"Sacred Cow Cask Conditioned I.P.A
A West-coast style India Pale Ale with an over-the-top cascade hop presence that gives it a spicy nose, citrusy ruby-red grapefruit palate, and a dry, floral, hoppy finish. I.P.A.s are big strong ales, heavy on both the alcohol and the hops. Unlike conventional ales which go from fermenter to serving tank fully carbonated and under pressure, cask ales leave the fermenter flat, and are transferred to a cask along with unfermented malt. In the cask, the ale goes through a secondary fermentation which leaves it gently carbonated. Stored and hand pulled at cellar temperature (53 - 58 degrees). 6% ABV. "

03-04-2006 19:37:18 | More by Derek
Photo of macpapi


3.93/5  rDev +6.2%

Arbor Brewing had this beer on cask when I last visited. Used to drinking the normal draft version, so this was a bit different, but enjoyable nonetheless. This standard I.P.A. has a nice amber/light orange appearance, with an impressive puffy white head and very good lacing. The smell is a bit on the light side. There are certainly notes of floral hoppiness along with a citrus aroma. None of them are terribly strong though. The taste is evenly balanced between hops and citrus. It is not overwhelmingly strong, but very pleasant. There is a bit of a bitter kick on the back of the tongue, that helps make this otherwise highly carbonated (casked) beer full in the mouth. Has a nice bit to it. Overall, I've always been quite impressed by this beer. To my mind it is Arbor Brewing's best. Reliably tasty, but not overly amped up, it is a great brew to enjoy for the night when visiting this brewpub.

12-04-2005 14:04:57 | More by macpapi
Photo of Gaisgeil


4/5  rDev +8.1%

Pours a medium brown in color with a creamy cask head. Mouthfeel is very silky being from cask. Nose is very hoppy, a bit piney and herbal. Taste is very nice, very strong hop bitterness, but well played out, not overly bitter, just about right. There is a nice malt backbone under there, but clearly the hops are the star of the whole affair.

Being on cask the mouthfeel and drinkability is very high.

Well crafted and very enjoyable.


09-19-2005 01:40:36 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of xgrigorix


4.05/5  rDev +9.5%

Cask conditioned, presented in a shaker pint.

Medium amer hue, solid 1" of off white foam. Head retains very well.

Smell is thick with orange & pine - I can't wait.

Very respectable American style IPA. Sweetness pops right up front, some neat grain flavours play around, and then the whole thing dries out, and the hops take over. Great floral notes hide in among the over the top citrus & pine. Medium bodied, gentle carbonation. Quite good.

07-21-2005 17:15:38 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of granger10


4.38/5  rDev +18.4%

Review from notes

This Arbor offering poured a glowing orange color with a creamy white head that fades after a few sips. Aroma is lighter than most IPA's yet I still get grapefruit bitterness and an acidic twang. The body on this beer is really smooth and rounded as well as medium in thickness. The flavor play very well off this. Fruity sweetness begins the flavors but is soon rounded out by a floral hoppiness. The hoppy flavors grow more intense and bitter with a piney edge to them but get rounded out by a nice sweet yeasty flavor. Finish is not dry but almost creamy. Very nice all around, a great cask IPA.

07-19-2005 11:50:35 | More by granger10
Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA from Arbor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.