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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

170 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 10
Gots: 7 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 170 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky 'autumn leaves' orange-bronze that virtually explodes with color when sunlight is permitted entry. The cap is toasted pie crust beige in color. Unfortunately, it's too soft and too unsticky. The upper surface is smooth and featureless and the glass is nearly devoid of lace. A better head-lace combination would have put the appearance into the Pumpkin Ale Hall of Fame for sure.

The nose smells more like freshly-baked pumpkin pie than the vast majority of pumpkin ales that I've had so far (all eight of them). There's a near perfect blend of the baked gourd itself, cinnamon and nutmeg, and beer. I'd have to smell this one in concert with Smuttynose Pumpkin to come up with an absolute favorite, but it's definitely a good 'un.

Still going strong on the palate. It seems to me that it must be hard to get the mix of flavors just right in a pumpkin ale. How else to explain the shortage of great ones? The brewers at Carolina Beer & Beverage have it mostly figured out because this is wonderful beer.

The malt backbone is just sturdy enough and provides a toasted, caramel-like flavor that reminds me, in some ways, of a marzen. I could use a little more malty sweetness, but everyone probably won't feel the same. The brewery's website describes the pumpkin flavor as 'faint', probably to avoid scaring off those who 'fear the pumpkin'. It isn't faint though. It's right up front and the beer is better off because of it.

A modest bitterness appears on the finish; yet more evidence that this isn't some overly sweet pumpkin alcopop, but a real, honest to goodness, finely crafted ale. Spices linger, with nutmeg slightly more prominent than cinnamon. The mouthfeel is a fraction lighter than medium (more malt please) and the carbonation is long-lived.

Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale deserves the medals that are so proudly displayed on the label. While it doesn't quite rise to the heights of my favorite version (Smutty), it's a commendable brew from a quality brewery. If I lived in the distribution area, CPSA would have an honored place in my fridge come autumn. Thanks to WOLFGANG for sending this terrific seasonal my way.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of pentathlete
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark orange with small quickly dissipating head. Opaque, with tiny bubbles and no columns. No table or lacing. Smell is pumpkin pie all the way...nutmeg, cinnamon, light clove. Delicious smell...should I float some whipped cream on this? Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose. Malty, spicy flavors fall short due to a watery thinness that belies the nose. Easy to drink and a fine beer to serve for a fall get together.

pentathlete, Oct 19, 2005
Photo of Winter
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brownish amber in color with a a tan head that disappeared. Sweet aroma of pumpkin pie. Cinnamon, nutmeg and pie crust all present. Truly smells like pumpkin pie in a bottle. Where's the Cool Whip? Mouthfeel is medium in body. Taste mirrors the nose and consists of pumpkin and cinnamon upfront. Nutmeg flavor emerges midway through. Malt in the finish is reminiscent of pie crust.

This is an excellent pumpkin ale. Probably my 2nd favorite behind DFH's Punkin', but this tastes more like pumpkin pie than theirs does. I wish we could get this around here on a regular basis.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this Fall treat!

Winter, Oct 11, 2005
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first pumpkin ale and it was something of a surprise - much better than I'd anticipated...

The brew poured a deep reddish brown, somewhere in the neighborhood of a dark amber ale... Thick off white head that stuck around for a bit but then completely disappeared. No lacing on the glass - it looked like I was drinking a cranberry juice.

The smell was incredibly inviting and perfect for autumn - somewhere between pumpkin pie and mulled cider. The nose was almost entirely cinnamon and allspice with a little bit of that pumpkin funk.

The taste was heavy on the malt - plenty of toasted bread notes with a faint hint of pumpkin followed by a strong finish of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. No hops notes that I noticed but the spicing provided plenty of zing.

Mouthfeel was okay but a little flat. It seems all the carbonation left in the head leaving only a slight tingle on the tongue. Slightly dry finish (so there must be -some- hops in there) and leaves a surprisingly clean palate.

All in all tasty and pleasant - I can easily see drinking this at holiday meals and gatherings. A good preview of the winter warmers to come and a tasty seasonal style.

[Thanks to mntlover for another interesting NC brew - proving once again that low ABV beers don't have to be boring]

RedwoodGeorge, Oct 05, 2005
Photo of buckiflyer
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Anoter 1.75$ bottle purchase from Total Wine and More. Poured a light orangish color, big head, much larger than I anticipated. Instant pumpkin and spice smell, fresh pumpkin pie. Average mouthfeel, smooth hop and punkin taste with a spice finsih, another nice pumkin offering.

buckiflyer, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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 blackie
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Dark, reddish amber in color. The off white head is short lived, and leaves a ring around the top of the beer.

smell: Smells strongly of pumpkin pie spices: nutmeg, brown sugar, cinaman. Some caramel aromas, maybe from the malt. Cannot pick up on too many hop smells.

mouthfeel: medium thin in body, on the high end of the medium carbonation range

taste: More of the pie spice form the nose, but muted in comparison. The initial spice flavors fade and some light caramel malts come in. Very light hop bitterness in the finish, as well as slightly watery.

drinkability: Good, but the aftertaste might limit me to about three of these. A nice pumpkin ale.

blackie, Sep 15, 2005
Photo of numenor1
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orangish red with a two finger head that reduces to nothing quickly. Smells of perfect pumpkin pie. Upfront is bready malts riddled with pumpkin, reminds me more of a really good pumpkin bread then pie, then midway the pumpkin spices catch on. Sweet for just a moment then ends with a nice blend of mild hops and pumpkin. Pumpkin lingering on. Very light bodied and mildly carbonated, quite nice. I would have liked a slightly heftier body. On cask this would rock.

numenor1, Sep 13, 2005
Photo of Caesar1pup
4.35/5  rDev +13%
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 dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
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 Luigi
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very rich amber color and a light tan thin lace for a head. The aroma is like pumpkin pie. Nutmeg, pumpkin seed, with sweet malts. The flavor is about the same. Sweet malts and pumpkin pie spice. A perfect balance of maltiness and spice. Goes down easy and taste great. This is a brew that I look forward to every fall.

Luigi, Sep 09, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
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 wcudwight
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark orange like a warm spiced tea. Decent head that discipated to a slight cover in about 30 sec. Excellent lacing covers the glass for the entire duriation of the beer.
S: Smells like a warm spiced tea of my wifes scented candles. I don't know if that description does it justice though.
T: Very unusual. I've never had another beer that taste like it. The spices really jump out at you, but I don't know what they are. Gets stronger and slightly metallic as beer warms.
M: Very thin. Carbonation bubbles in mouth. Fizzes like a soda.
D: Enough variance in taste to be a good beer, but as drinkable as a mainstream macro. I could drink a bunch of these really quick.

wcudwight, Sep 02, 2005
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite fruit/ veg beers. I havent had too many but this is one of my faves. Pours a cloudy amber with very little head and very little retention with no lacing. The smell is great; lots of spice aroma with cinnamon, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice. Tastes like pumpkin pie, which is a real treat. A very drinkable beer. I always enjoy many sessions of this beer around the holidays while hanging out with my family. Nice beer.

SaCkErZ9, Apr 09, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A ruddy and hazy pour with a medium white head that fades after a few minutes. Spices are easily evident in the aroma, smells like Thanksgiving: cranberry, allspice, some sweet malts and syrup.

Taste is dryer than the scent gives off. Mildly malted but without the bitterness of the hop bite; instead, it is replaced with a lingering spiciness of pumpkin pie, cinnamon and cloves with a very, very faint lemon. Some caramel and berry elements but not enough to turn it cloying -- surprisingly dry and reserved while remaining flavorful. Flavor triggers a memory of supermarket-brand generic cherry cola.

Mouthfeel is light and clean, well-carbonated. Smooth, no detectable alcohol taste, very drinkable. Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this one.

assurbanipaul, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy dark brown with an orangish tint. A tan head on top with decent retention.

Smell: Big, spicy, fruity smell. Notes of raisin, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple, pumpkin pie, and pine/evergreen.

Taste: This beer starts out surprisingly roasty in flavor. I did not expect that, but I liked it. Most pumpkin ales focus on the pumpkin and forget the good malty base. In this case I think they exhibit soem good creativity using a darker malt for the base of this pumpkin ale. The beer is sweet with a soft malt profile, notes of apple and spice. The flavor is not as enticing or bold as the aroma though. It's a bit watery at the end. Good flavor up front but hte ending is just empty of flavor. Still, this is a very well done and creative beer.

Mouthfeel: Good feel on the palate, mice coating without being syrupy or uncomfortable, clean after taste since the ending is so watery.

Drinkability: This beer really tastes like a spiced brown ale to me, which is a good thing. Good malty and roasty base makes it a good beer overall, not just a good pumpkin ale.

BrewMaster, Feb 12, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
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 shippos
2.6/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

courtesy of clvand0

poured a deep red/orange and an off white head that faded to a rim around the glass. cinnamon and mutmeg in the aroma with some butter and hints of squash. prickly carbonation followed by a muted a weak mouthfeel, bit on the thin side with some cinnamon and nutmeg aftertaste. no that bad but there are other better pumpkin beers out there.

shippos, Jan 10, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour produces a rich, lightly clouded sunset- orange brew with a creamy beige head that leaves some lace patchwork on the glass.

Sweet spicy aromas of warm pumpkin pie, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove, along with vanilla, mild piney hops, and caramel.

Flavor is rich and desert-like, with a well rounded malt entry, developed pumpkin tones shadowed by warm and sweet spices. Authentic tasting. Enough hops in the finish to provide roundness. Pleasantly sweet without being sugary. Very natural tasting and surprisingly easy to drink.

Like most of the Cottonwood brews, it is a bit light in body, not chewey enough. Finished like a slice o'pie, making me wish I had some good vanilla ice-cream to go with it. I like this better than most of the pumpkin beers I've had so far.

AlexJ, Dec 31, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
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 clvand0
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to merlin48 for giving me this beer. Pours a dark amber color with a moderate head that has nice retention and leaves a little lacing on the glass. Lots of pumpkin in the aroma - well balanced with the spice and the actual pumpkin. The flavor is very nice with a lot of pumpkin. I was pleased that the spices were much weaker than the actual pumpkin flavor. Very nice pumpkin ale. Right on par with my top pumpkin ale - Dogfish Head Punkin (2003 version).

clvand0, Nov 24, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer is dark for a pumpkin in my mind. The beer pours a amber ruby color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is full of pumpkin. Not a lot of spices, just enough to balance it out. As it sits, the spices come out more, but give it a swirl, and the pumpkin takes over again. The flavor is really heavy on the pumpkin and lighter on the spice. A nice nice beer. The feel is maybe a touch thin...just a touch though. Drinkability is very good on this beer. I could sit down to a few of these, and thats a lot to say for a pumpkin ale.

kmpitz2, Nov 24, 2004
Photo of danadeny
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark redish orange, nice off white head, good carbonation. No smell at all, disapointing. Taste is very subtle, little spice, but raw pumpkin flavor is different from other pumpkin ales i've had. This one focuses on the pumpkin flavor and not the spice or a pumpkin pie flavor. A little fruity too.

danadeny, Nov 18, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy crimson coloration, full haze, 1/2" cap of eggnog-hued head.
Aroma: soft, sensuous, spicy...like putting your nose right up to a pumpkin pie. Nutmeg and cinnamon, bright and pleasant, a little hot.
Light on the palate, very mellow, rich with malty flavor. Brisk, tiny hop bite greets the lips and fades fast, just enough to tickle the tongue. Body's about medium, finish is sweet, if slight.
A decent brew, I can stand a few of these.

feloniousmonk, Oct 29, 2004
Photo of ncbrewerbun
1.83/5  rDev -52.5%
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
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.