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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
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: 163 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcallister
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got to admit one of the better looking pumpkin ales I've encountered. Rich, deep, nearly opaque amber, orange. A white head fades quickly and leaves a ring around the collar.

Nice balanced aromas. Pumpkin first and foremost as it should be. With the usual spices making the rounds although everything is slightly laid back. Nice mixture of malt as well.

Pretty good pumpkin but lacking depth. Dead on for pumpkin pie great flavors of pumpkin with the usual nice spices not overdone by any means. If not for the thin mouthfeel this would be one for the ages. Easy drinking.

mcallister, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been working my way slowly through this six-pack because it is such a rich and hearty beer.

Pours a rich auburn with a slight orange twist. Slight ead that evaporates to essentially a film. Nose is full of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Just like my Ma's kitchen whenever she makes a pumpkin pie.

Flavor is rich and bold and spices. Honestly, I am not sure if there is pumpkin or all the pumpkin pie spices are just tricking my mind to think that there is pumpkin in there. But anyway, the flavor is so rich and full that it coats the inside of my cheeks. Very sweet too. Full body that holds up well even as the beer warms. Such a nice example of the style

MuddyFeet, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of coasterfreak75
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a nice dark amber bordering on red with a good two finger head that quickly dissapated and left only a trace around the top of the beer.

The smell was heavy in pumpkin and spice. A strange mix of cinnamon, allspice, and a sweet smell like molassas. The pumpkin smell off-set the others just enough.

The drink started with a sweet kick in the teeth. The molassas and spices really never let up from start to finish. Somewhere in the middle of the drink was a hint of pumpkin flavor. The finish was clean and crisp.

All and all a good beer, well worth a try. This style is not my favorite but it's getting to be that time of year when this style is a nice break.

coasterfreak75, Sep 27, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fizzing head of yellowed foam rests over a clouded, burnt chestnut colored beverage - active carbonation. The head settles down to a broken, creamy ring. Smells like tasty pumpkin pie...spiced, toasted pumpkin, nutmeg...delightful! The flavor is well blended sweet pumpkiny goodness with yet more nutmeg. Well-rounded. Solid medium body could use a little more carbonation.

Want something to fit the fall season? Try one of these. I'll have to crack another few of these once the weather gets cool and the leaves change. Yum.

wedge, Sep 23, 2006
Photo of Enola
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ever notice how your taste buds change over time? I couldn't drink this beer in the past but now it is nice.

The color is a nice deep orange. There was a small head and no lacing. The smell is like grandmaw's pumkin pie. The taste is much the same. This beer highlights the pumkin very well. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a nice aftertaste of spice. I could drink this beer again. In fact, I may go out later to secure another sixer. A good effort by Cottonwood.

Enola, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of EPseja
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to doppelmeup for scoring me a sixer of this for Autumnal enjoyment!

Served from a 12oz. twist-off bottle in a spiffy Cottonwood pint glass at a bit above fridge temperature.

A - Pours a natural-looking hazy honeyed-amber color with rusty highlights and a slight viscosity. Light tan colored head rises to about an inch before falling off to a thin film atop the beer. Decent legs, but no lacing to speak of.

S - Nose is very squashy and organic, spiced with obvious cinnamon and clove, but in modest amounts. Also noted was a slight wet cardboard smell that surprisingly was *not* a detractor, since in my opinion, it also smelled like the inside of a carved pumpkin. There is also a crispness to the nose of this beer from the hops which are nicely tucked in the back.

T - A nice, medium bodied maltiness starts things off on the tip of the tongue with pumpkin pie spices hanging out in the wings. As the beer makes its way to the middle of the tongue, an interesting squash (pumpkin) tartness comes into play, adding a very "authentic" organic edge. Also noted at this point is a nice, pointed mincemeat pie flavor that adds a tasty edge. The back of the tongue brings a hit of hop bitterness, and puts the sweet malt notes in balance. The aftertaste is pumpkin pie-like in spice content, but not overly sweet.

M - Enters the mouth with a tongue-tingling carbonation, rising very airily to a puff in the mouth. Swallow is thick and slightly gassy in the belly. The mouthfeel gets better as the beer warms, but not enough to make a very big difference. Lots of burps from this one.

D - This is a very fine Pumpkin Ale that uses real pumpkin instead of simply tossing spices into the beer like others might. This creates a very different taste experience - one that is natural and fresh, loaded with craft-brewed character. If only the carbonation were better kept in check, this one would have a better head retention, creamier mouthfeel, and be much more drinkable.

EPseja, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of CWiggins
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A brief but thick head appeared when I poured this beer into my Duvel glass. The dark copper color is attractive, and bubbles continued to rise from the abyss of the glass for several minutes. Although the head left rather quickly, a modest bead of light tan foam hung around for quite some time around the perimeter. It left a nice wash of bubbles on the side of the glass as I turned it up to take a whiff.

The smell is rather impressive. It's not the least timid, filling my nostrils with pumpkin bread, spices, and hints of clove and nutmeg. Nice!

I had great expectations for the taste, as the last pumpkin beer I tasted was darn great. This one isn't as full flavored, so I was a bit disappointed–at first. After several sips, however, I began to appreciate what it had to offer. One tastes a bright citrus on the front, followed by pumpkin and spice. The finish lingers forever; even after two or three minutes have passed I can still feel and taste a slight bitterness along with bread and spice. Tasty!

It is definitely a beer of medium body, and the carbonation, while heavy up front, quickly fades as the intense flavors consume the mouth. The finish is nice and dry.

CWiggins, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of doppelmeup
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is like pumpkin pie in a bottle! This should be the standard from which all other pumpkin ales are measured, IMHO!

Poured a deep, pumpkin color into a pint glass. Not a great head, and minimal lacing. Very nice coloring.

Aromas of pumpkin pie spice and fresh pumpkin. Allspice predominates with side notes of ginger and cloves. Not much in the way of hops or malts, but I wasn't really expecting any of those aromas.

Taste was exactly what I would think a pumpkin ale should taste like. Mild spiciness with pumpkin flavor, but not overly sweet or cloying. Just an overall nice flavor. Without a doubt the best pumpkin ale I have had.

Light, slightly fizzy mouthfeel keeps this beer refreshing, yet it still has a rich, full body. A beer of this style could risk being slightly overpowering, but Cottonwood balances the flavors and mouthfeel perfectly, IMO.

Very drinkable pumpkin ale. An excellent brew for the Fall when evenings start cooling down. I drank this with a bowl of beef stew and it was an excellent choice of beverage. Highly recommended.

doppelmeup, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of WeisGuy
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a - deep copper/burnt orange, medium tan head with little retention, little lacing, hazy

s - great pumpkin pie/bread smell, instantly makes me think of thanksgiving, cinammon and clove, normal pumpkin pie spices

t - malty up front with lots of pumpkin flavor, clove, cinammon, lots of ginger as well

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation

d - very drinkable, especially with the low abv, could definitely drink several of these

This is my first pumpkin ale, and it was a good one in my opinion. This is exactly what I was hoping the style would be. Not something I'd drink everyday, but a good change of pace beer for a fall day.

WeisGuy, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of ppoitras
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
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 BeerBeing
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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 whartontallboy
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
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 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 Chadbrew
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours out sort of hazy and brown with a big cap of tan head. I swear it looks like a piece of pumkin pie in a glass. Smells like it too. I detect plenty of spices and some sweetness. The taste is nice and bitter sweet with a solid spice presence but nothing overwhelming. Lots of body definately matches the spice.
This is sooo easy to drink. Not too much of anything but plenty of all. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is very well balanced.

Chadbrew, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of tommy78
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
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 mmmbeer
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz with no freshness date. I poured it like a hefe to get all the unfiltered goodies out. The body is an opaque raspberry/brown with some sediment and a 1 finger yellowish/tan head that doesn't leave lacing but a thin blanket of foam remains throughout. It looks like a dank IPA. Soft pumpkin pie aroma - real pumpkin pie with a light spicing of nutmeg and cloves. Tastes like pumpkin pie also. Nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin, a bit of cinnamon... some sweetness and the malts/hops of the beer make faint appearances in the second half. The body is medium and fairly smooth but the carbonation is a bit sharp at times. Overall it's very tasty and I wish I had a slice of pie to pair it with.

mmmbeer, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of cracgor
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with a nice little tan head that quickly receeds to a thin ring around the glass with no lace. Smells so much like pumpkin pie. Spicy pumpkin pie. Makes me think I need whipped cream. So delicious tasting. They nailed pumpkin pie. It even has a little of the smooth texture I identify with the pie. Crap I need pie. This is the first pumpkin beer I ever tried, and I have always enjoyed it.

cracgor, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
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 +0.8%
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 +5.9%
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 +1.6%
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 +4.7%
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 +3.4%
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 blackie
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
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
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.