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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 hellbilly
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

bottle from emacgee.
clear and coppery brown... almost the color of raw pumpkin pie batter (?) with a very short lived natural cotton hued off white 'head'.

the aroma is of 'real' pumpkin pie... true cooked pumpkin meat, definite nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, caramel and floral hoppiness.

bitter nutmeg leads the way on the tongue... followed by caramel, a much more toned down pumpkin flavor than the aroma lead me to believe, some vanilla richness, floral hops and a very spiced finish. ginger powder noted in the aftertaste.

light to medium body with a prickly mouth feel from high sharp carbonation. it does soften a bit when it warms.

not bad... it just lacks a bit of richness and depth of flavor...8/3/6/3/15/3.5

hellbilly, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of jsdunlop
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I look forward to Cottonwood's arrival each fall here in NC, kinda lets me know Fall's arrived...finally getting around to reviewing this one so here it goes:

Pours out as a darker orange with lots of carbonation and a nice fluffy white head that recedes fairly quickly down to some minimal lacing on top. Smell consists of a blast of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some raw pumpkin, not quite as intense as some others out there on the "pumpkin pie" spices, but definitely smells delicious. Next comes the taste, which along with the drinkability, are the key elements of this brew. What I enjoy about this beer is the fact that there is a slight pumpkin bitterness that hangs around with your standard run of the mill holiday spicing, nothing too overwhelming going on here, light on the malt side with a spice note similar to that of a rye beer. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with an abundance of carbonation and sort of a slick aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Drinkability is extremely high, unlike other bold tasting pumpkins out around this time. This would be a great beer for the cool fall evenings, but at the same time, it is light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day out in the yard...might go ahead and grab a case to test that theory out next summer

jsdunlop, Oct 29, 2010
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 kneeland
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found a 6 pack of this on clearance in February, score! I've never had pumpkin ale this time of year, it actually makes me think it's autumn.

I'm not picking up on the spices, but yet the flavor is almost overbearing. The added pumpkin taste is nice though, not too much, not too little. So in other words, this isn't my favorite pumpkin ale, but it's in the top few.

The pour is a nice golden orangey color. The head works well enough. Overall, a pretty good little beer.

kneeland, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of Norfawkers
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A little too much of the gourd to go back for a second helping

Appearance: Opague, cloudy; minimal orange-amber head

Smell: Pumpkin pie

Taste: Faint spicy, pumpkin bread

Mouthfeel: Bitter with CO2 up front, a bit sour

Drinkability: It has a touch of rotten at the end making this a once-and-done beer. It looks better than it tastes.

Norfawkers, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of cosmo4u
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

cosmo4u, Oct 29, 2012
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
Photo of BeerBeing
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown glass longneck generic bottle, multicolored label

Appearance: clear mahogany-orange color, smalloff-white head, no lacing

Smell: spices, pumpkin, kinda cherry (?), malt

Taste: medium body, crisp mouth feel, good balanced spiciness, some hops, minor pumpkin. toasted maltiness

Notes: very good, pleasant and refreshing brew

BeerBeing, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of Sivad
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Sivad, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of gabe23
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy, honey colored brew with a dense off-white head. It fades quickly to a thin cap with no lacing.

S - Very pleasant spicy aroma. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pumpkin with a gentle caramel sweetness and a touch of earthy hops. Not really very beer like, but nice.

T - Cinnamon and ginger up front, with a mild pumpkin flavor following. Fairly sweet but with ginger bite that balances things out at the finish.

M - Fairly thin with moderate carbonation.

D - This is a unique take on the style, and one that I'll try again. The spices are a bit strong and linger on the tongue, so I doubt that I'd ever drink more than a couple at a time.

gabe23, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of Big78CJ
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I buy lots of this beer every year and cellar it all year so I never run out. I encoutered it a few years back in a mixed six-pack of "holiday beers" and then had a friend mention that he throws "Pumpkin Parties" every year in Asheville, NC (original home of Cottonwood). I accompanied him to a party and drank on a keg of pumpkin all night...it was great!

This review concerns the bottles i picked up for cellaring this year:

Cellared for about 4 months so far:

Appearance: This beer is not much for giving head and when it does it doesn't stick around long. The thin (<.5") head that poure3d onto the beer dissolved within seconds. The whole beer is a murky orange, almost as if I were drinking pureed pumpkin juices. Some lighter orange-yelloe highlights are visible near the bottom of the glass.

Smell: As another reviewer noted the bottle does not have as strong a smell as the tap but there is definitely a strong pumpkin presence and even some nutmeg in the aroma. I also think i taste soem cinnamon riding on a wave of clove. This is very much like a cold pumpkin pie smells.

Taste: You can taste the pumpkin much more than you can smell it and thankfully much of the spice is muted. There is a definite clove spice and if you breathe in you can taste cinnamon. Many pumpkin ales tend to allow the spice to boldly go where no beer has gone before, or wanted to go. Cottonwood lets it take a backseat to the pumpkin itself. There is also something sweet in this taste...maybe molasses, honey, brown sugar?

Mouthfeel: I like the way this beer makes me feel like I'm drinking a pumpkin pie (without the thickness). The carbonation is not too strong but does well to spread the pumpkin flavor over the palate.

Drinkability: Ordinarily I would say a fruit beer is limited in how often and how many I can drink (and I like fruit beers), this one is an exception for me. I could see myself drinking this from a keg all night (and i have the pictures to prove it's possible).

Serving Type: 12oz bottle poured into 33cl Hoegaarden glass.

Big78CJ, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of Poser
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber with healthy head and decent retention. Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar aroma. A brown sugar stickiness up front with a crisp finish. No hops noticed but there is plenty of bitterness from the spices (which isn't a demerit). A little watery. Suffers from a common problem I have with pumpkins -- they taste like a light beer with spices added at the end. Slightly off in the aftertaste.

Poser, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of jabocu
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again MetalMonk!! This pours a rusty orange haze with almost no cap. Kinda makes me think of canned pumpkin as it slithers out of the can. Aroma is a wallop of cinnomon, nutmeg, and clove. The pumpkin is so discernable with the old vegetable pumpkin meat... like I just stuck my head in a real pumpkin. There is a backbone of caramel malt in the nose as well. By far the best pumpkin beer I have had hit my nose. The flavor is a little dissapointing on the spiciness side however. But the juicy fresh pumpkin flavor makes up for it. Earthy pumpkin and toasted caramel carry througout with a light cinnamon and nutmeg to make you think of a pie. Hops don't have much meaning in the brew, but just enough to give a hint of citrus on the back-end. Medium body, medium carbonation, and very refreshing. Very nice!!!!

jabocu, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of mortarit
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle.

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

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

Taste - Start with a pumpkin flavor; mid-palate the spices join in: brown sugar, ginger, mace; a bit of hops on the finish. I really can't sit down and drink a lot of spiced beer like these. One or two at the most.

Overall, a good pumpkin ale. Heavily spiced, but you really can taste the pumpkin. One of the better Pumpkin ales.

mortarit, May 17, 2007
Photo of kingjames1
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
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 ncbeermonger
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a dark copper color

Smells like pumpkin and cinnamon, outstanding!

tastes like pumpkin pie, far better than any other pumpkin beer I have ever had, I could drink a six pack of this no problem!

The mouthfeel is clean and crisp

This is a very drinkable pumpkin ale, if you can find it you should try it!

ncbeermonger, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of adowney523
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass from a 12 oz brown bottle bought in Durham, NC. Appearance is deep-amber and hazy. White head fades quickly but leaves some lacing.

Smells faintly of nutmeg and allspice with a hint of leather.

Hint of smoky and woody malt along with pumpkin and spice with good balance.

Moderate body with a semi-dry finish. Drinkability is above average.

Definitely worth a try. The smokiness makes for a not your average pumpkin ale.

adowney523, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of cbleary
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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 finepaws
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers. Had it at a fall rennaisaunce festival locally. 2 years running now. Couldn't get enough of it last year. Cleared the shelves at the grocery stores. Hate that it's seasonal. Even my "No Thank you, I don't like beer" friends loved this one! The color was a nice reddish/brownish/and yes, orange. Frothing with a pumpkin smell, my friends were a bit offended by the odor, til they tasted it too. You just don't expect pumpkin pie in a beer, yet there it is. We all just kept saying, wow! It was light, and very refreshing on a hot autumn day in the south, and yet warm and comforting on the cool ones. I can't wait for the fall, to get my paws on it again!

Had this again in '05, what a let down. '04 has been the best so far, sad that it hasn't been matched since. Maybe '06 will make a difference.

finepaws, May 22, 2004
Photo of tommy78
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got it straight from the tap. Immediately, I smelled a pumpkin aroma. Colour is a brownish/orange tint. As soon as I tasted it, a pumpkin flavor mixed with spicy hops hit my tongue. It reminded me of having pumpkin pie, except in alcoholic, liquid form. A good feel to the beverage, though it was hard for me to drink it consistantly. I had to take a couple of sips of h2o in between to cleanse the pallet. Good fall beer to have.

tommy78, Nov 04, 2005
Photo of homersimpson
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep hazy brown with a pert beige head. Smells like thanksgiving day. Lots of nutmeg and spice. The taste is over the top though. Almost lambic-like, it is a wee bit on the sweet side. The pumpkin pie flavors override everything else and linger in the finish. Girls love it.

homersimpson, Oct 12, 2003
Photo of BeardedSquash
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'll start this by saying that my judging for Pumpkin beer's rides a different train than it does for purity law beers. I sought this one out during my last visit to Charlotte because I remember it being the best out of the lot.

A" Pours an active amber orange, with a 1/2-inch head that doesn't stay long, but rims the edges before it leaves.

S: Cinnamon and nutmeg up front, with a bready undertone. No hops present.

T: This is what I like, a mouthful of pumpkin pie. I can almost taste the pumpkin meat (this is not figurative), and the spices retain their supportive role from the nose. The grains shine through slightly, but take a fresh baked crust aspect. All the sweetness finishes dry and satisfying. This is what a pumpkin beer is supposed to taste like.

M: This is the only area I would really work harder on. Active body and a low-medium mouthfeel. I would like to see a big full mouthfeel to accompany the whole "pie" feel this thing gives off.

D: One bite at a time. This is not a quaffer, but one to kick back and enjoy in the backyard as the leaves change. Finish the whole concept with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I think I'll review this one again when they get it on tap in town.

BeardedSquash, Oct 05, 2007
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 towersfall
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an opaque slightly cloudy orange with a quickly disappearing head.

Smell: An overly sweet pumpkin smell with a slight hint of spices. Smells like Thanksgiving.

Taste: Way more pumpkin (possibly from a puree) than needed with little or no spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body that's easy to down with a slightly under-carbonated feel.

Drinkability: This is balanced well enough for me to reach for it again next year but I may find it hard to finish multiples of these because of the strong pumpkin puree taste.

towersfall, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of willjansen
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks fist of all to Big78CJ, the BA who introduced this beer to me and more recently gave me a couple of these to take back to Australia. Served from a 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Definitely a holiday favorite of mine...

Appearance: Initial nice head which quickly subsides to light lacing. Dark, somewhat cloudy amber - average carbonation.

Smell: Pumpkin Pie hands down. Smells a bit sugary with obvious hints of the basic pumpkin pie spices: clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. The smell makes you excited to dive in and taste it as few other beers do.

Taste: Basically tastes as it smells, but without the exepcted spice kick in the face... pumpkin flavor tucked in the middle with a dry, sourish finish leaving plenty of pumpkin and spices on the pallate to enjoy breathing for a few minutes. Interesting, but not exciting, play between the malt, hints of hop and the comparatively heavy spiciness - they seem to battle, but only shortly as the malt and hops quickly bow down to the spices - though it's understood that for this style, this doesn't necessarily mean it's unbalanced. Heavier spices would, however, quickly lead to imbalance.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium-heavy body with average carbonation - slightly oily with drying finish.

Drinkability - Considering it's a holidy spiced ale, it's extremely drinkable for the style despite the fact that it's probably meant for moderate consumption. I've managed to down a number of these in a sitting, but beware that the "pumpkin and spice" magic fades as your pallate numbs to the flavors.

willjansen, Mar 25, 2007
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.