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Cottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity - Carolina Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cottonwood Frostbite - High GravityCottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

50 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 9.92%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 12-06-2005)
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by assurbanipaul:
Photo of assurbanipaul


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with a tall foamy head. Aroma is hoppy, a good, strong pine and citrus blend.

Taste is a pale malt, toasty, biscuity, with a fair amount of hops riding on top. Not over-the-top bitter but a nice hop sweetness with citrus and resin. Some faint spices somewhere in the background. Finish is a little dry.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Very drinkable, very enjoyable, no hint of the alcohol content in the flavor (label says 8.5% ABV). Would fit very well into the DIPA category, why they wanted to call it a winter ale, I don't know. I could session this.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 08:03:49 | More by assurbanipaul
More User Reviews:
Photo of jak

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +4.4%

12-14-2011 14:55:59 | More by jak
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky looking light brown color with a very small light brown head and a little bit of lacing. Smells of malts and earthy hops. Tastes of earthy hops and a ton of malts, like the biggest malt bomb ever and a little hint of vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium and it have almost no carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 18:29:31 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of chaz410

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Doing this review partially from memory. Why you may ask, cuz I got this current bottle at Bloom in the "make your own 6 pack" section. So that being said I know this isn't the freshest it could be.
Pours a perfect amber hued transparent body and finger length white head.
Smells of sweet caramel, some toasted malts, biscuits, toffee, sharp piney hops lie under the malt along with a slight citric note.
Taste is heavy with thick caramel and some slight dark fruit notes with a very sharp piney hop character in the mid mouth and finish.
A semi smooth mouthfeel with some sharp hop notes and a clean alcohol hinted finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 03:44:56 | More by chaz410
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says brewed in Wilkes-Barre.

Deep copper pour with strong red to orange tints. 1-finger thick cream head that doesn't last. Laces well. Hazy, with some residuals in the bottom of the pour.

Strong, fruity nose. Cherries, raisin, grapes. Lots of dried fruit with bready malt support.

Strong fruit up front. Very sharp bite with metal notes. Getting roast malt and a decent hop, sour finish. Strong alcohol presence. Metallic flavors become more dominant as the glass warms. Slightly dusty and unfinished in the end.

Feel is surprisingly thin for the strength of the brew. Really could use more body.

Definitely a sipper. Not a great representation of the style, but not bad either.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 02:38:53 | More by beer2day
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely amber color, glossy and glassy with tons of bubbles rushing up to feed a light tan head that has quite the stamina. A beautiful thing to behold.

Unfortunately the smell is unremarkable. Light toasted grain, light whiff of alcohol...not much else. Nothing terrible going on, just nothing much going on, period. Doesn't represent the taste of the beer, that's for sure.

A good bit of depth in the taste that took me several different sessions to really get a grasp of. There's a mildly burnt maltiness giving a foundation to Frostbite, and then something like juniper berries mingling with pine and alcohol. A pleasant green/leafy bitterness takes hold in the finish, along with a resiny grip and big toffee presence that really crown the experience.

Superbly creamy when drunk at cellar temperature and no lower. Round, slick, buttery, creamy, creamy, creamy. Carbonation comes in just enough to give everything a healthy nudge. Very very nice.

I didn't expect much, as Carolina/Cottonwood recently seemed to have dumbed-down their once-great Pumpkin Ale. But this is good. My first one was underwhelming. The second and third in the coming week made me take more notice. This one is really doing it for me. At the right temp (ie. not wintry cold!) Frostbite's flavors come out full force.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 23:43:09 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of MillRat


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft at their outlet in the Charlotte airport (See my review of that location for more info.)

Carolina Beer Co. takes their Endo IPA and turns the volume up to 11, which is not a bad idea at all. Deep cherrywood brew supports a pillowy, persistent off-white head. On whiff convinces you the brewer's a hophead, playing from a left coast deck, with plenty of piney and citrusy aroma. The malt stakes a claim, too, with toasted bread and some apricot and plummy aromas.

Flavor plays true to the aroma, with the hops well-balanced between the bitterness and flavor, riding on a toasty malt base solid enough for the task. The yeast add a dark dried fruit dimension. The alcohol and yeast team up to keep the palate from succumbing to the wright of the substantial malts.

Overall a good beer that keeps you interest and does not wear out its welcome. A well-crafted 8.5% ABV beer in never going to qualify as a session beer, but this at least invites a second round.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2011 00:14:37 | More by MillRat
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color, bordering on mahogany; three inches of ecru head just sit there and leave strands of lace

Smell: Brown sugary malts dominate, though there is a piney element underneath

Taste: Although the brown sugar malts present themselves first, providing an almost cookie dough character, the piney hops jump out by mid-palate; fusel alcohol flavors linger underneath and become more prominent after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: It has been a while since I tasted this beer and the old version was before pop the cap; can't say that I am really fond of it, however, as it lacks balance and the fusel alcohol is a real problem

Just to clarify, I think the original version should be retired (back in 2006, perhaps); every review since then should be for the high gravity version.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 04:19:30 | More by brentk56
Photo of Wolfpack2005

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep reddish-brown color with an off white head that lingers.

S-Nice sweet fruity smell, also pick up a light malt aroma.

T-Taste opens up with a light/sweet malty flavor. Then the hops come through with a citrusy bitterness. Beer finishes off with a fruity and sweet alcohol flavor and im detecting notes of tart apple. Leaves a dry bitter taste in your mouth that lingers.

M-Medium body and medium carbonation, and for the style very crisp and dry.

D-Pretty easy drinking beer considering the 8.5 ABV. Not my favorite winter seasonal but one i would consider buying again, especially at the $8.99 price point.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 01:25:43 | More by Wolfpack2005
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed Cottonwood Frostbite on-tap a number of times, but only now have I secured a bottle to kick back with, and I am interested in how it will compare. This is the exact same brew as Carolina Beer Company's "Frostbite", a duplicated listing here on BA, and definitely IS NOT an "American IPA" as alleged in the other posting. I've chosen to review this beer under its "High Gravity" listing because I think that the desgnation sounds malt liquory and decidedly more ghetto than does the regular version of this beer, so out comes my pint willibecher glass and off goes the cap. Pfft!

A brisk pour reveals a sparkling clear bronze body and unleashes a towering three-plus finger-deep wallop of soft beige foam atop. The spongy head slowly relaxes into a rocky, pitted, misshapen moonscape that deposits fine, creamy, interconnected rings and webs of lacing onto the glass.

The smell is toasted malt-savory and citrus-floral with spicy hops and a mild, mellow caramel sweetness. A waft of cooling alcohol hints at the potent abv lurking in the brew.

Spicy, bitter hops lead an over-the-top assault, fueled by drying alcohol, rumbling hell-bent-for-leather over the rim of the glass and into the gullet of... well, me. Charge! The gingery, peppery palate-punch is supported by mild, silky dryish malts and a lingering cereal-syrupiness that sticks to all oral surfaces. Alcohol is a defining presence, and while it cools the palate, it does not do so at all upon its smoldering arrival in my belly. A twist of citrus oil drifts in to ratchet up the bitterness another notch.

The drink is fullish in body with excellent carbonation and superb feel. Very drinkable despite a kickass and noticeable ABV. Easily one of my favorites from Carolina Beer Company.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 13:35:40 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from unclejedi courtesy of the Little Guy BIF, so big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramel, brown sugar and some citrus.

T: The taste is pretty decently balanced with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus sweetness coupled with a strong hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty and there's a mild alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice kick, this is one of those beers that blurs the boundaries between barley wine and IPA, which makes it a strong and flavorful beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 01:47:45 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at the Woods on South restaurant in Charlotte, NC.

Appearance: Mostly clear, copper body topped by a fizzy, craggled white head.

Smell: Aroma predominately of peaches and citrus fruits. Some pale malts in there as well, as is a touch of grains.

Taste: Pale maltiness with some sweetness and a slight graininess. Fruity, sweet alcohol kick. Moderate, lasting bitterness. Dry finish with the taste of citrus husks.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: The drinkability is fine enough for it being 8.5%. That doesn't mean I'll be having another, though!

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2008 02:12:59 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of PhageLab


2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served in a standard pint glass. The barkeep told me this was an imperial IPA, ummm, it certainly was not. I see that mine is the first '08 brew review, and I'm curious as to whether or not they changed the recipe, because what I just drank doesn't sound too much like the rest of these descriptions, oh well, here goes...

A - Dark bar: dark brew, I can only guess that this is a deep oak brown coloration. Small bit of head, good retention, and spotted lacing.

S - Pungent alcohol/malt nose. Some roasted cherry like aroma near the end.

T - Rubbing alcohol. This was like taking a shot of cheap liquor. I couldn't detect much of anything else, maybe a slight hop tinge, but not anything like what I was told or expecting.

M - Full bodied but rough on the palate. Feels like my mouth is being burned.

D - No. I'm not sure what this was supposed to be, or if the lines were dirty or the beer was skunked, but I'm sad to be the first negative reviewer. Shy away from this one, stick to their Endo IPA.

Edit - Ignorance on my part, of course it's the same brew as those reviewed in December.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2008 15:12:55 | More by PhageLab
Photo of mntlover


3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich ruby brown hazy mess with a small tan head that falls to clumped bubbles. Some splotches of lace left down the glass.

Aroma is real heavy caramel malts with a good hop infusion, herbal pine blend with malt perfectly. Got that old/strong Ale smell.

Taste hops medicine herbal quality the hints of grapefruit rind and sprinkling of pine needles. Strange how I notice hops first before the big caramel malt base pushes them to the back. This beer tastes big bigger then the 8.5 even though alcohol is only hinted at. Got that good strong ale flavor that is kick ass begging for a fire to sit by and sip all night long.

Mouthfeel seems lighter due to the hit of carbonation as soon as you sip it, would say a big medium with just a tad too much CO2. In fact the only real fault I can find with this brew.

Drinkability is good, don't know how I haven't tried this semi local brew till now. My bad, will have to put this on my must buy seasonal brew list from now on. Not earthy shattering but damn tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 17:03:26 | More by mntlover
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this little fella' as an extra in a trade with Enola. Thanks, Charlie! This is a really nice colder weather brew. I wish I would have waited a bit now before opening it. This would have been much better in say, mid-November. Nonetheless, poured a rather cloudy medium red bronze colour. A rather assertive pour resulted in a massive head that over-flowed from my pint glass making a bit of a mess at the computer table. Smell was great containg both herbaceous hops and clearly sweet and carmelised cereals. This was, as indicated on the bottle, a "Hoppy Winter Ale", but not even close to the type of hoppiness I was expecting. The hoppiness in this guy was much more earthy botanical than it was citrusy and resinous. A very pleasing discovery indeed! Taste is all sweet malts up front with loads of toasted cereal flavours and caramel, followed by a lovely earthy hop bitterness. I personally find this to be nicely balanced and very, very drinkable considering the 8,5%abv. A truly nice ale from Cottonwood. I'll seek this out in the future.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2007 00:21:23 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of MaltyGoodness


3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle thanks to mikesgroove

Pours a lightly hazed medium chestnut brown with a creamy eggshell head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is largely herbal hoppy, but a toasted nutty malt smell is also present.

Toasted nutty malt taste upfront leads into a herbal hop flavor and rather sharp bitter bite. The sharpness rides through the finish.

Medium body, decent carbonation.

Meh, an average attempt at a strong ale. Yes, I could drink it - but it's instantly forgettable. Wouldn't want another.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2007 03:17:52 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of stereosforgeeks


3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice amber color with mild cloudiness. Nice off white head that left some mild lacing.

Smell: Nice piney hops with a strong hint of citrus. Some cherry, light chocolate, heavy caramel malt are also present.

Taste: The caramel malts come through first with the citrus and cherry coming across the palate. The finish is the piney hops and the chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp. The carbonation nicely balances the hops.

Drinkability: This a nice crisp and good tasting beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 04:57:09 | More by stereosforgeeks
Photo of hunteraw


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ipa2xs for getting this one to me in a BIF.

Appearance: Poured an orangey dark amber with a two finger off-white head that exhibited good retention. Some lacing.

Smell: Hoppy (grapefruit character), with underlying caramel malts. Some fruitiness, the general profile is a bit reminiscent of a DIPA.

Taste: Wow, very interesting and hard to categorize. Nowhere near as sweet as a DIPA, but with a complex malt character. A bit of brown sugar compliments the malts, but the finish is acidic and bitter so it doesn't get cloying. Very good, very interesting. Resiny and grapefruit are the hop notes at play here.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Not what I expected - and certainly much better. I saw it was their winter ale and assumed it would be a spiced beer of some kind, not a hoppy strong ale. Drinkability is high.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 01:24:38 | More by hunteraw
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since I've moved here to the Tarheel State some six months on I've been pleasantly surprised at the development of the local beer scene, which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds all the time..not up there with Cali or Penn yet but on its way. Duck Rabbit, Highland, and the Mash House are just a few of the highlights. If there is an underperformer, it is the Carolina brands (particularly the repulsive and ubiquitous Carolina Blonde), although the Cottonwood line is generally solid. They may have started to hit their stride recently as this one appears to be a winner.

Starts off with a deep marroon color and a thin cap of head. Nose shows balance, from pine and citrus hops to sweet malt with fig and fruit notes. Just wish it had a lirttle more octane. Taste has plenty of bluster, wiith heavy, alcohol laced malt flavors wrestling mighty, blistering hops for this beer's very soul. Texture is well carbonated initially but turrning oily at the finish. This is satisfying, and an excellent effort, but not quite up with the big boys yet. Still, worth a shot and definitely big time progress to even attempt something this ambitious.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2007 03:44:37 | More by daliandragon
Photo of bjohnson


3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to blackie for including this in my ba anniv. package.

A: Pours a reddish copper color. Nice creamy looking one finger cream colored head.
S: Floral hop notes with a hefty spicyness. Slight pine notes also in there. Sweet characteristic to the aromas.
T/M: Caramel malt notes mingle well with a molasses like flavor. Spicy with an excellent hop profile. Grapefruit plays a large role along with a nice dose of pine. Nice balance between the two profiles. Rather smooth on the palate with a dryness towards the finish. Spicy aftertaste with a long bitterness. A tad earthy. abv is noticeable by the spiciness.
D: An interesting brew, but a strong ale? Smells like a strong ale, but I'm not sure of the flavor. Still a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2007 22:10:40 | More by bjohnson
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a six pack of this after getting one in a managers choice bucket at Hi5 last week. I had gotten into the habit of walking right by the Cottonwood beers whenever I was at the store because lately I'd been generally unimpressed with their beers. This one opened my eyes. Great pour, a descent sized head that that leaves good lacing. Aroma is a great blend of piney hops and caramel malt, with a little alcohol but not to much. The alcohol is not to strong in the taste or mouthfeel as well. This beer almost tastes like a spiced DIPA, sort of half DIPA half Winter warmer. Very drinkable on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2007 06:35:32 | More by atsprings
Photo of SaCkErZ9


4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had this beer tons of times but I just found out I havent reviewed it. So here it goes. Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Clear, dark amber beer with a one finger sized white head. Nice retention and nice lacing as well.

Aroma is mostly piney hops. Fresh cut grass. A nice malt backbone with some breadiness, caramel aromas. I thought this was a DIPA but I guess it is categorized as a strong ale. Some light pepper spiciness as well.

Flavor is strongly piney with caramel notes. A slight bit of chocolate near the finish. Bready and doughy.

Not quite full bodied. Nice carbonation, near perfect. Somewhat dry finish that goes down the gullet nice and smooth. If I could mix an american amber with a american IPA, this would be it. A nice beer. One of the best from Cottonwood aside from the Pumpkin. Certainly worth a go.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2007 00:43:58 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of nriech


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from Enola
Appearance: Appears to be a dark amber with decent head that didnt stick around too long. Lacing is thin.

Smell: Lots of hops and a little alcohol with a touch of malt. Something else kind of strong smelling there but not able to put my finger on it, sort of dirty.

Taste: Sort of like cascade hops flavor with the citrusy hops flavor but not as grapefruity. Malt is present but barely, just downing under the hops. A little sweet but the alcohol wasnt noticable in taste. Good body.

Would drink again, very nice for a strong ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2007 21:04:19 | More by nriech
Photo of Cindirene

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from tap dark amber with really nice head which clings to the class with nice lacing - Smell is really balanced malty with no particular hops standing out - Taste is malty with rreally nice hops coming in and stabilizing taste - Mouthfeel is full bodied with great balance - Drinkability in spite of ABV is really good - Hard to detect that much alcohol which means it can be dangerous

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2007 02:51:44 | More by Cindirene
Photo of Jredner


3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly spicy and fruitcake accented caramel malt aroma. Medium hop presence gives it a faint pine/grapefruit note. The body is murky brown and holds a creamy and lasting tan head that is a full thumb thick. Somewhat hoppy fore...milder malt notes beneath, but thinnish and without much range or ceoncentration. Mostly a thin IPA really.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2006 18:04:16 | More by Jredner
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Cottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity from Carolina Beer Company
86 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.