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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale - Carolina Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced AleCottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

163 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 10
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Pumpkin Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: aracauna on 09-18-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Loki:
Photo of Loki
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber/copper/auburn color with a big off-white head and great lacing.

Smell: Fresh baked pumpking pie with roasted malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and herbal scents. The aroma screems fall and begs to be paired with Thanksgiving dinner.

Taste: Starts with nicely roasted malt that smoothly slides to nutmeg and pumpkin with hints of cinnamon and hops. The pumpkin flavor holds the middle together and makes the transition from the sweet malt to the hops very pleasant. And I don't like pumpkin. Very solid body and smooth, clean finish. Very drinkable and begs to be paired with food. One of, if not the best Pumpkin Ale I've had this season. A solid return to a line that lost a step or two in the years past during the transition.

Loki, Oct 29, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great color,looked unfiltered,smelled like a nice spiced pumpkin pie or bread(coul smell it all day without even takin a sip.)Pumpkin pie spice came through on palate very well,cardimum,cinnamon?Had nice malty texture and didnt fill me up after 4 of them.Cottonwood for me is the best bottled ales to get here in this area.

oberon, Feb 03, 2003
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep magenta color with hints of orange and a two finger head. I'm picking up a nice pumpkin pie nose with cinammon and nutmeg. Pumpkin cider....damn this smells good...brings me back to the holidays!

Pumpkin puree mashed up with a heaping helping of cinnamon, nutmeg and a sweet maltiness. All of the spices work well and don't overpower the pumpkin flavor...a delicate balance is achieved that is not often found in pumpkin ales. Damn good.

Mouthfeel is creamy and goes down easy. A smidge more body would kick this up a notch...but I can't complain. If I had access to this brew I'd have at least a sixer on every Turkey Day. Just a tasty, easy drinking brew....yummy. Many thanks to merlin48 for being nice and sharing :-)

orbitalr0x, Jan 11, 2005
Photo of blitz134
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy, murky brown-orange brew. Off-white head with a slight orange tinge to it. Head was an inch of loose foam to start with and finished in a thin dense layer.

Smell is strong of pumpkin spices, gingerbread. Definate pumpkin flesh underneath. Smells as I think a pumpkin beer should. Pretty inviting.

Flavor is slightly different but still pretty good although it is a bit light. Pumpkin flavors and biscuity malts form the base then a good mix of spices come in again similar to the smell. The spices hold on in the finish and linger for a bit.

Mouthfeel is maybe medium bodied. Carbonation levels are good, not too crisp. Flavor coats the mouth alright, but I'd like the flavors to hold on a bit longer.

Good drinkability for the pumpkin brews I've had. This one tastes alot like pumpkin pie to some extent. I'd have this seasonally, but probably have a hard time drinking it all the time.

blitz134, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist off bottle with no bottling date on the label.

Appearance: Hazed orangey brown with a decent thin lacing.

Smell: Spices and some cooked pumpkin in the nose, slight fermented twang and toasted malt in the aroma.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Ample crispness with a wet malty palate, most of the balancing flavor comes from the spices with a faint backup of hops. Ghost like pumpkin flavor becomes hidden by the toasted malt character throughout. Light twang in the dry finish.

Drinkability & Notes: Most spiced beers have that quality of only being able to drink one, this one actually is good enough to where I wanted more. Excellent balance between the spices and malt.

Jason, Sep 21, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 version pours a clear, copper body with a two finger, beige head that quickly falls away. Patch lacing is sporadic. Aroma has some vegetal fresh pumpkin that I don't recall from the 2004 edition, but adds a fresh pumpkin character missing in the other pumpkin ales I've tried. All the pie spices are prominent in the aroma, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Malty toffee and spicy hops are also assertive, such that the pumpkin and spices compliment, rather than overwhelm the aroma. Very nice. Mouthfeel is light to light medium bodied, with higher carbonation than expected. Taste mirrors the aroma, but is more complex. Vegetal pumpkin is very appealing and well executed here. The pie spicing is aggressive, but folds nicely into the malty toffee/caramel and spicy hop profile. This one is the best pumpkin ale I've tried, and eclipses Cottonwood's 2004 version. The fresh pumpkin presence is amazing here, but this ale is executed so well that it is actually very drinkable. Well done!

merlin48, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of kingjames1
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, you should know that I am not a fan (yet) of this style. In fact, my first sample of the style I could hardly finish.

This pours a rich, dark amber, which is very appealing, though the head and lacing disappoint a little. The smell is very good, for a pumpkin spiced ale. In fact it smells just like pumpkin pie, no kidding (though only slighty weaker in aroma). Taste is pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, slight brown sugar (malt sweetness?), and just a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is decent, but slightly watery. I don't know if that is inherent to the style?

Again, for the style (and my tastes) this is very drinkable. Cottonwood just might win me over to the style...but then again, there are many other seasonal beers out there I would drink instead (marzens, winter warmers and other christmas seasonals).

kingjames1, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of asabreed
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Semi dark and hazy from the yeast, though I didn't even pour. A more amber or copper color depending on what kind of light you're putting on it. Immediately frothy head sinks down not rapidly but more quickly than I expected, though the brew's still a bit cold.

Smell: Nice peppery pumpkin spice instead of the overly sweet variety. Citrus hops melds well with the cinnamon sticks, maple, and vanilla too. Not too sweet either, with a citrus hop sourness melding nicely with the spices. Quite nice, especially for this rainy fall day in Richmond.

Taste: Initial blast of citrus hops, pumpkin spice, lemon grass, and cinnamon. An odd but very nice combination. Being not too sweet, the flavors are melding nicely, letting the spice come out through the hops rather than the malt outdoing itself. Again, peppery spice melds nicely with the sweeter aspects of the malt, gingerbread, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, making it quite odd but really good, with a long, semi-sweet and sour finish.

Mouthfeel: A little slick and oily, with maybe a bit too much of a carbonation blast. Could be better, but doesn't influence the beer negatively really.

Drinkability: A solid, quite different, and easy-going pumpkin ale, especially nice, as I said, for this rainy day. Not a high alcohol content, very flavorful, and hard to put down overall.

asabreed, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer holds special nostalgic value for me, as it defined my fall of 2003, particularly the music I was heavily getting into at the time. I go back in time by just smelling it, revisiting the look, feel and sound of used vinyl records, the sounds emanating from the hi-fi, and that particular melancholy, bittersweet feeling exclusive to the onset of autumn. This tells you nothing about the beer, but I can't review the beer without mentioning it. I drank my share that autumn, and will continue to buy a case every season. Not just for nostalgic reasons, it remains the best pumpkin ale I've tried so far...but I'm far from having tried them all. I'm still looking for something to beat it.

This beer doesn't hold up well in the appearance department because the head pours out thin and doesn't hang around long at all. The color is a cloudy rust-brown, which is nice. No significant lace buildup.

Aroma brings a nice pumpkin-y smell, seems a natural enough aroma, and there's a layer of sharper spices, like a cinnamon/nutmeg mixture, coming into the nose.

The flavors are much like the aroma, with a milky, dessert-y satisfaction in the finish. Spicy and malty flavors abound (cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, butter), reminiscent of the traditional Thanksgiving pie, and even baked apple shows itself. Hops mingle in there offering adequate bittering. Just about the only improvement needed is a creamier mouthfeel. It's a bit over-carbonated, tingly and fizzy where the flavors clearly call for something smoother and creamier. [I like to let this beer warm a bit, which seems to diminish the bubbly attack quite a bit.]

I've tried 4 or 5 other pumpkin ales. Some were crap and some enjoyable, but so far this is the best I've had.

[Note to self two years later: Southern Tier, Elysian and Smuttynose have pumpkin ales that beat this one, hands down. But I still want no other pumpkin ale with my Manfred Mann's Earth Band vinyl than this one!]

Metalmonk, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of Caesar1pup
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’m in heaven! This is one of the best, if not the best Pumpkin Brews I have ever gotten my greasy grimy mitts wrapped around.

12 ounces of golden orange color with a good tan head. Aroma is incredible; nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, you’d think you were in the kitchen waiting for mom to pop this into a pie shell to bake in the oven.

The taste was very pleasing and the spices take front stage but do not completely cover the malt flavor. Real pumpkin in every bottle with a brewer not afraid to add the right amount of spices, what more could you ask for? How about another…..happily.

Caesar1pup, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow! Stunning! This beer actually smells and tastes like pumpkin pie. I've never had a pumpkin beer that could actually do that. It pours a clear, crimson-tinted mahogany with orange and ruby highlights beneath a creamy head of light-tan foam. The head retention is fair, and it holds a short while before dropping to an average collar (no lacing). The nose is exactly like pumpkin pie with notes of sweet brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice. The body is medium-full; and it's lightly zesty on the tongue with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation. The flavor, of course, is not nearly as sweet as real pumpkin pie, but the spices are present in just the right proportions. The maltiness beneath is sweet, and a touch caramelish; and its sublime bitterness acts only as a secondary to the spice in balancing the malt. It finishes with some residual sweetness that lingers stronger than the spice does; although the spice outlasts the malty sweetness. Still, it's not overpowering at all, and would make a satisfying addition to many dishes. A Thanksgiving dinner seems the most appropriate (whether with the meal or at dessert), but I think this could actually serve quite well in several other situations (Indian cuisine, for example). Really interesting, quite enjoyable, and surprisingly drinkable given the style!

NeroFiddled, Mar 09, 2004
Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, picked up a 6 pack in Raleigh

appearance: a nice rich orange/copper mix with a fluffy tan head and nice lacing. Compared to the last few pumpkin beers I have had this thing looks like a winner

smell: mmm, pumpkin pie, all sorts of traces of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. brown sugar aromas add a nice touch....wonderful

taste: well, this thing owns new holland ichabod, no question about it. it actually tastes like pumpkin pie with great hints of spices that came through in the nose coming through in the taste as well. The pumpkin and spice is balanced well in comparison to some other pumpkin ales. the pumpkin really gets to shine in this beer. bravo

mouthfeel: definately not too thin which was my beef with some others, nice carbonation, medium bodied, tickles the tongue

drinkability: just like i remembered, i can drink these all day long

congratulations cottonwood, while the brewery has changed greatly over the past years, this brew remains top notch for a pumpkin ale.

dirtylou, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Carolina Beer & Beverage purchase since the boycott ended a few weeks ago. Pours a slightly hazy deep amber with an almost pumpkin colored tint and a nice tan head that dissapates very quickly. Smell is of sweet pumpkin pie with hints of spices and vanilla, an incredible aroma for a pumpkin beer, bar none the best smelling pumpkin beer ive had. Flavor is similar to the smell: sweet pumpkin pie with hints of spices and vanilla and almost no detectable hops presence , almost like pumpkin pie a la mode...very nice but the sweetness detracts from the character slightly i think. Mouthfeel is creamy with moderate carbonation and a medium body. An excellent pumpkin ale, with extremely good drinkability...a tad on the sweet side but great regardless. I was worried about this one as the quality of the other cottonwood beers has definately declined in the past year but they seem to have at least gotten this one right.

silver0rlead, Sep 03, 2005
Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a somewhat murky amber with a finger width of off white foam that settled down into a nice light covering and left some decent lacing. Aroma is quite heavy on spicy cinnamon and nutmeg but there is also a fairly large sour pumpkin presence.

Spices aren't quite as dominate in the taste which gives way to a big pumpkin flavor, as well as some hop citrus. This mixed with the pumpkin, gives an almost sour apple cider type element to it. Mouthfeel is my biggest gripe, being thin, watery, and finishing with an acrid fizziness on the back of the throat.

This was kind of a middle of the road Pumpkin Ale for me. Decent taste and smell but the body just didn't impress too much. I could go back to this for one or two in a sitting but that's about it.

Kegatron, Dec 07, 2007
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark tan head. Amber to mahogany in color.
Bold aroma of nutmeg, pumpkin, and spice.

Taste shows a good dose of nutmeg and other spices. Seems to have the most pumpkin flavor of any of the pumpkin beers I've had. Solid malt backbone. Nice balance, but the spices really own the beer. Finishes pretty well, although the spice flavors linger a bit.

Good body to the mouthfeel.
Good drinkability as far as spiced ales go, but I don't think I would want to knock back more than a couple of these in one sitting.

Overall, a good pumpkin ale. Heavily spiced, but you really can taste the pumpkin.
Big thanks to AKSmokedporter for the bottle!

PhantomVodoo, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of Backer2004
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bartender suggested I taste the Pumpkin Ale before ordering a glass but I boldly declined and went straight for the pint. Surprisingly impressed. The smell, of course, was like cinnamon pumpkin pie with the taste to match (although at first the after taste is what impressed me the most). Enjoyed the flavor and aroma the entire time and so did my wife. However, this is not a beer I could enjoy all evening.

Backer2004, Sep 13, 2004
Photo of GabbyTapped
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

GabbyTapped, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a SweetWater IPA shaker. Poured murky dark orange with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. There was no lacing evident throughout. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pumpkin, nutmeg, and graham cracker. The flavor was of sweet malt, pumpkin, and pie crust. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent for its style. Basically tasted like pumpkin pie without a doubt. I understand that this could be a love/hate brew, but I am on the love side. My idea of these styles of brew is: dessert in a glass... Yes please!

thagr81us, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of cbleary
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed out of a 12oz bottle into a cold glass mug.

The beer looked great and light orange with a frothy but quickly dissipating head. Some nice lacing in the glass though.

Of the pumpkin ales I've had, this one tastes the most like an appetizing pumpkin pie. The spices are just right and it strikes a great balance in achieving a fun sweet pumpkin taste with out forgetting it's a beer. Even people who hate beer would drink this, and that's a compliment.

A good beer to have once or twice a year to celebrate the season.

cbleary, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of shbobdb
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Now, there has always been a huge problem for my taste: I love pumpkins. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, ect. But I've never really had a pumpkin BEER worth having again.

Until now.

It pours looking like a slightly fizzy, slightly transluscent piece of liquid pumpkin pie and smells just like mama used to make.

Mmmm, tastes that way too. I was (honestly) tempted to add a touch of whipped cream to the top of this beer (instead of a head, which it had very little of)

The mouthfeel was a tad thin, and I really think I could only drink one of these -- but, damn, it was really good. Doppelmeup passed this beautiful beer on to me telling me it was the best Pumpkin ale out there. He was right.

shbobdb, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Stubbie1
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice deep blood orange is the color of this brew. It is topped of with an off white head. Decent retention, fading to a thin but sticky lace.

Aroma is malt and spices. Nutmeg and cinnamon come to mind. Not overpowering but, more complementing the brew. It is not a slap in the face type of aroma. Ah yes, there is a hint of pumpkin in the middle of the malt and spices.

The flavor starts with a nice malt flavor. It is not to sweet from the spices but rather nicely balanced between the malt and spices. As this goes across the tongue, hints of the pumpkin come into play. What I thought was nice about this beer was the flavor after the swallow. It seems to me that is where a nice balance of spices are. There is no watery after taste like in some brews.

Drinkablilty is very good. There is enough going on in this beer not to get an overload of the senesces but enough to enjoy. Mouthfeel is smooth and not sticky.

Nicely done!

Stubbie1, Oct 25, 2003
Photo of philbe311
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

A - A finger of creamy and even, but fizzy, slight tan head... The head recedes slightly leaving a thick lacing much the same... Loads of moderate pace carbonation dance and rise throughout... A deep orangish bronze color which is slightly lighter at the bottom or the glass and much darker towards the top...

S - Highly spiced... Cinnamon and nutmeg dominate... Ginger snaps... Pumpkin... Pie crust... A wonderful autumn scent...

T - The taste is very similar to the nose... The spices dominate... Burnt pumpkin pie crust... However there is also a very strong malt backbone comprised of caramel and bread notes... Unfortunately, the actual pumpkin flavor seems very artificial...

M - Slight bite of carbonation on the tongue... Slightly creamy to start, but quickly give way to an odd slightly tart and unpleasant coating on the tongue... Medium bodied...

D - A respectable Pumpkin Ale with some definite positive attributes, namely appearance and scent. However, something is slightly "off" and the whole doesn't equal the sum of its parts... The mouthfeel is a real detractor...

philbe311, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a orangey color ale with a medium head that disappeared way too fast. Aroma is clearly dominated by some cinnamon. Taste is quite particular with a mix of cinnamon, what I think is pumpkins and some nice malt. Very warm feeling after a couple of sip, which I did, enjoyed during a cold winter night. Overall, considering this is my first pumpkin beer, I was enough enamoured that I wouldn’t mind trying some other ones.

Phyl21ca, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of ncbrewerbun
1.83/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Brown long-neck twist off bottle.

Based on the other reviews, I must have gotten a bad bottle (or six pack). This beer was bad from the get go. Could it have been left over from last year??

The beer poured a cloudy (chill haze) almost murky amber with a small quickly disappearing head.

Aroma was rotting vegetable -- sauerkraut...some vinegar. If you search past that, you can get some cinnamon and malt.

This beer was sour with some pumpkin and vegetable. Seemed infected.

While it was a drinkable beer, why? Life is too short to drink bad beer. I poured it out after tasting enough to make a thorough review.

(I have had this beer in previous years and it was much better. As bad as this beer was, I'm hesitant to try another.)

ncbrewerbun, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. No date or info.

Thanks to Onenote81 for sending this in a big surprise box!

A - Completely hazed over, this amber-orange beer had a moderately retained off-white head that ended in a lace-less thin pile.

S - The twist of the cap and following gun smoke wafting into the air released a burst of spicy pumpkin ale aroma. Ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice combine for a pleasurable pumpkin pie aroma. Bready caramel malts make up a good crusty-like base for the pumpkin.

T - Heavy on the spice as the aroma suggested, it's got a great conglomerate of spice dashed in. Nice pumpkin flavor and smooth maltiness. Never overwhelming.

M - A little on the carbonated side, this pumpkin has a medium-light body, smooth entry, and a sharp finish.

D - This is a good pumpkin worthy of drinking all fall long. Enjoyable and tasty! Thanks Jon!

BeerFMAndy, Nov 21, 2010
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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.