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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
86
very good

167 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 167
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 14.03%
Wants: 10
Gots: 6 | 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
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Ratings: 167 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Color is orange-caramel with a slight head. Nose is pmpkin spicing, sweet pumpkin, and a bit of brown sugar. Taste is pumpkiny with a bit of spice. Feel is medium and a bit creamy. Love the low ABV and mild flavors. This is a fairly sessionable pumpkin brew.

Thorpe429, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.9%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a caramel brown slightly cloudy body with a robust head and some lacing

Smell: Pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg dominate the nose

Taste: Starts out with a nice pumpkin flavor the provides a backbone for a fairly spicy kick; a slight hop bitterness joins on the finish but overall it is fairly sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but a bit fizzy

Drinkability: Overall, a very nice effort and one of my favorite pumpkin ales

brentk56, Nov 26, 2005
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 BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably as good as any Pumpkin Ale that I have ever tried. Seems like they start with a lightly colored English Pale Ale base, and added pumpkin character at a pretty good clip. Appropiately spiced to make this thing smell exactly (and taste very similarly) to actual pumpkin pie...with whipped cream. Decorated with all-spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Very delicious. Feels full and creamy, but not heavy. Lightly buttery and spicy feeling. A mild spicy bite in the throat, but to not the extent of all other pumpkin ales that I have tried.

BEERchitect, Oct 19, 2006
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 mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Then I moved onto this one. I love pumpkin ales, always have and I always jump at the chance to try new ones. Well I wish this one lived up to my expectations. Very light pour, nearly pale with a one finger head of white that was soon to fade off and leave nothing in its wake.

Aroma is lightly spiced but seems to be dominated by more grains and bready notes then are really needed. This carries over well into the flavor as the spices and pumpkin like notes are there, but are either too light or totally dominated by this grainy malt flavor. A slight bitterness in the finish and a very light body do not help the cause here at all for me.

Overall when compared to some of the others I have had recently it really did not hold up well for me at all.

mikesgroove, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
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 NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
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 Jason
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from NClifestyle, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma is of pumpkin (as one would expect), brown sugar, spices and caramelized malt.

T: It has a very sweet and bready taste of pumpkin and gingerbread, with caramelized malt, cinnamon and a touch of hops. The after-taste has me looking for a sip of coffee to wash down the pie, but then I remember that I’m drinking a beer.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation (I was expecting a bit less fizziness), finish is a little sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down easy, a little bit filling, especially if you drink it as a dessert beer after a meal, a good representation of style, there are others in the style that I would choose first.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
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 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 oline73
4/5  rDev +3.9%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of mothman
3.1/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours little head. Color is a ruby rust.

Aroma: Pumpkin, spices, cinnamon, cloves, and more. Malty.

Taste: More pumpkins and spice. Just like the nose. Earthy hops here though. Nutmeg.

Mouthfeel: Spiced, crisp. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with more spices. Dry.

Overall, a fairly typical pumpkin beer. Nothing out of the ordinary. Average. Okay drinkability.

mothman, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from hoppedup as part of the East Coast 6-Pack & Shirt BIF. Thanks for the opportunity. *Disclaimer: Not the world's biggest pumpkin or spiced beer fan, but I'll give everything a try once, at least when it comes to beer.*

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 2" pumpkiny tan head above the slightly cloudy orangey copper brew. Head lasts very nicely, with plentiful delicate lacing. Aroma is strongly of pumpkin and spices. Even if I'm not a big fan, hard to fault a brew for delivering what they advertise on the label... Taste is spiced pumpkin bread, with cloves and such coming on even stronger at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are what I would expect from the style, and could certainly be worse. As some would say, "Not bad, for a spice pumpkin beer."

ppoitras, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a deep cooked pumpkin flesh aroma with hints of sweet brown sugar. Perhaps a bit of nutmeg, but otherwise no real spiciness.

The taste consisted of a think pumpkin flesh mixed with brown sugar and a bit of molasses. Some nutmeg dryness. Again, not much in the area of pumpkin spices though.

The mouthfeel was full and coating.

Overall an authentic pumpkin flesh sweetness. However, there could be a bit more cinammon or allspice spiciness to balance out the flavor.

plaid75, Dec 21, 2006
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 BeerFMAndy
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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
Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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 twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright copper color with a medium-bubbled thin head that neither grows nor goes away with a continuous feed of bubbles, even from a non-etched glass.

Mmmmm, smells good. Real good. Sweet pumpkin pie nose that can be detected from 2 feet away. Not too heavy on the spices, mainly focuses on the pie and sweet caramely malts.

Smooth pumpkin flavors, nothing too drastic. I am a bit bummed that not much of the sweetness made it through to the taste. Easy drinking pumpkin ale that really delivers on the pumpkin aspect of the beer and does not go overboard with the spices. Has noticeable hops to keep it crisp and dry enough to warrent drinking 2 or 3 at a time. Overall, not too shabby and glad I have another bottle.

twiggamortis420, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong but not overwhelming, rather pumpkin-like and with strong spice overtones, particularly cloves. Color is a nice dark reddish amber; head is off-white and fairly thick but does not persist. Flavor is smooth and malty with a solid pumpkin overtone and spicy hints, so it is almost like drinking a liquid pumpkin pie. Perfect for the holidays.

Cyberkedi, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of RBorsato
4.9/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2002 version
---
Hazy unfiltered orangish brown with a low light tan head and good carbonation. Perfect blend of pumpkin and spices in both aroma and taste. Medium bodied and smooth.

Blows Post Road away and is also better than Buffalo Bill's. I was pleasantly suprised !!

2003 version
---
Hazy amber color (near dark brown). Huge pumpkin spice aroma and taste ! An unreal job with the spices - Excellent !


Bronze - 1999 GABF - Herb and Spice Beers

DOB (on neck): 10/01/02
Tasted: & 01/24/03

2003 version
Tasted: 12/16/03

RBorsato, Dec 16, 2002
Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a auburn tinted orange with one-finger head and some lacing. Nutmeg is what I smell most, but there is good dash of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, and maybe some bread/pie crust. Incredibly smooth and creamy were the first two adjectives to hit me. There is a substantial pumpkin flavor in this beer. It maintains a sweetness while balance the malts and hops so it isn't overly sweet and it has a crisp, relaxing finish. Medium-bodied but filling due to the carbonation. With the ABV low and the pumpkin taste not a killer (meaning you'd get sick of it after awhile), I could drink this all day.

clayrock81, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of whartontallboy
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Little worried about being disappointed by this one: it was my all-time fav during college, and I haven't had it in a couple of years.

Pours out a muted orange-brown with a big off-white head that quickly recedes into the brew. Nice bubbling carbonation.

Smell is pumpkin-laden, moreso than other pumpkin ales. It's tempered nicely by scents of nutmeg and cinnamon, with just a little hint of allspice, and a bready malt aroma. There's also a slight bitter hop edge.

Flavor is similar to the smell, lots of pumpkin-pie, but not cloyingly sweet. The cinnamon and allspice are at the front, but the the cinnamon's not too spicy or hot. The malt-doughiness is strong enough to stand up to the spices, and a little bit of hoppy bitterness rounds things out nicely.

Overall: Still the best pumpkin ale I've ever had by a wide margin. It's not cloying, doesn't taste like canned pumpkin, and doesn't have any acidic off notes. Just a wonderful drinking brew, and one of my favorites, regardless of style.

whartontallboy, Nov 29, 2005
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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
86 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.