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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale - Carolina Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced AleCottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

144 Reviews
THE BROS
89
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 170
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | 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:
Beer added by: aracauna on 09-18-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 144 | Hads: 170
Photo of manleyphoto
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's shameful and embarrassing, I know, but I'm a squashist. That's right; I hate squash in all of its forms. Butternut, acorn, zucchini, they're no friends of mine. So why drink a pumpkin beer you ask? Well, Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale is generally regarded as one of the best of the bunch as far as spiced beers go. It's nearly Halloween, let's give it a shot.
It pours a pleasant hazy orange and the smell of pumpkin spice takes charge right up front. I get a whiff of that evil squash poking around in there, but mostly it reminds me of a great pumpkin pie. The taste is not quite as pungent as the aroma but a smooth malt body really carries the nutmeg and cinnamon spice well. I think the key to making a good spiced beer is having a good base beer to start with, and Cottonwood Pumpkin tastes like nice amber ale with the squash and spices woven in to make a flavorful but subdued drink.
I think once a year we should all put our petty vegetable hatred aside to enjoy something special, for me this is it. Come winter though, no gourd is getting anywhere near my drink. (1,075 characters)

Photo of cbleary
3.77/5  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. (526 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.17/5  rDev +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. (356 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
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. (791 characters)

Photo of Lothore
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Hazy and reddish orange with a thin head that seems to dissapate quickly. Some carbonation bubbles visible through the haze.

S- Deep pumkiny smell with a hint of spices. Smells like the canned pumpkin used to make pie. A bit understated but I like the fact that it smells more naturally pumpkiny than other ones I have tried.

T- Tastes thick and full of pumpkin. Not as spicy as I was expecting. The taste seems a little bland and toned down but for me, with pumpkin ales, that is a good thing. So often people try to spice up their pumpkin beers and it leaves them tasting so "fake", this was not the case with this one.

M- Crisp and of medium viscosity. This is where the beer really shines for me. I love how crisp it is without being overly carbonated.

D- Pumpkin ales that I have had in general aren't very drinkable but this one seems to be an exception. While I wouldn't want more than one of two in a sitting every once in a while, it is definitely enjoyable.

Thanks to brentk56 for the opportunity. (1,015 characters)

Photo of jdubjacket
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Acquired this in a trade with limesmut.

I first had this beer about 5 years ago. This was before I knew about good beer, and didn't know that you could make beer from pumpkins. This beer blew me away at the time, and I've been looking for it ever since. I got this in a trade with limesmut, and I must say that this beer is as good today as it was 5 years ago.

Pours a murky amber color with no head to speak of or lacing. Smells like pumpkin pie, cinnamon and spices. Tastes like it smells, only intensified. Very well balanced! The pumpkin and the underlying spices complement each other quite well. Mouthfeel is very smooth. It's slightly effervescent - but not too bad. I could drink these every day in the Fall if I had to. The season isn't complete until I get one of these, and I'm really glad I was able to pick up a sixer.

This is the best pumpkin beer of the season. Post Road & DFH Punkin' are good, but this is much better in my opinion. Now if only I could get my hands on some Southern Tier Pumking... (1,018 characters)

Photo of burnstar
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky brown with a niced sized head that sadly dissipates quickly. Aroma is spicy- kind of like spiced apple cider. Tastes rather tart. Pumpkin spices. Again some apple cider flavors which seem maybe a bit out of place. Medium mouthfeel. Moderately drinkable but I don't think I'd want to have a lot of this in one sitting. This is a decent pumpkin ale overall. (367 characters)

Photo of asabreed
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (1,387 characters)

Photo of adowney523
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (459 characters)

Photo of NCBeernut
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice orange that is just a tiny bit hazy. A small bubbly head forms and then quickly vanishes leaving a thin white ring. I have a hard time picking apart all the different spices in pumpkin beer, but this one definitely smells like it tastes for the most part. Cinnamon is definitely there, along with some other pumpkin spices. Maybe just a hint of vanilla (I didn't notice this until I saw someone point this out in another review). In my opinion, not overly spiced...actually just about a perfect amount. Pumpkin taste is genuine and fresh. A touch of hops rounds it out. A good session beer. Very nice offering from Carolina B&B. (642 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A generous pour, directly into the center of my Duvel chalice produces a a bright orange body with a good amount of carbonation to fuel a fleeting, tan head. Poor retention and lacing.

Aroma is definately packed with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, bready malts, and more cinnamon. Smells like that first bite of pumpkin pie.

The taste is quite good, with a smooth pumpkin-y note complemented by sweet vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg spices, and a slight touch of hops. Mouthfeel is about average: medium body with a great deal of carbonation and not much of a bite, but a smooth finish. Very easy to drink, especially with the low alcohol content. As far as pumpkin beers go, it's pretty solid. Then again, that's not saying too much. (729 characters)

Photo of brewshakes
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this beer in a mixed six pack of different pumpkin beers. I tried two Saranacs, two Pumpkin Heads by Shipyard, and two of these. It poured a pretty orange color with a foam head that quickly went away. The nose is really good with a nice pumpkin scent. The taste is nice with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Is a good fall beer, just not sure if I could drink a lot. (373 characters)

Photo of atsprings
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served a hazy deep orange with almost no head that quickly diminished to nothing. The aroma was of some pumpkin spice and deep caramel malts. The taste was dominated by pumpkin spice against some mild caramel malts. The beer was light bodied with slight carbonation and a decent spice bite. This beer is a decent local pumpkin ale, but not at the top of my list. (362 characters)

Photo of BeardedSquash
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (1,205 characters)

Photo of CpnYates
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is bar none, the best "pumkin" ale I have had to date.

I enjoy the fact that I can get the full range of Carolina brewing company beers about 30 minutes away at the Food City, so I have had experince with this brewery before. And like their other beers, this one is enjoyable and refreshing, beer after beer.

I poured this into a red wine glass... it was clean. Poured a nice cherry wood color.

Smells and tastes of pumpkins, spices, pie, cider, and a soy bean candle I had once.

No lacing, head no where to be found

I gave the drinkability a 3.5, but maybe a little higher on a colder night.

Good Beer (616 characters)

Photo of mortarit
3.22/5  rDev -16.6%
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. (593 characters)

Photo of willjansen
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (1,559 characters)

Photo of Big78CJ
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (2,064 characters)

Photo of hunteraw
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I figured this one wasn't going to get any MORE seasonal until like September, so I'd better drink it now! Thanks to ipa2xs for sending this one to me in the course of the No Name BIF.

Appearance: A dark orange/honey/amber color with red tints. Nice one or two finger off-white head. Some floaties poured in, despite a careful pour. From my own experience brewing a pumpkin beer this year, I sympathize - it's hard to get all of the pumpkin and spice out! Retention is fair. No lacing.

Smell: Lots of pumpkin aroma, acidic-smelling, with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice notes. The brown sugar makes it stand out from other pumpkin beers I've had.

Taste: Not as flavorful as the smell, I'm afraid. Acidic, with pumpkin, very minor caramel in the finish. Spices are balanced enough that no one in particular dominates. Finishes dry from the acidity. Very nice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light body, carbonation a bit on the high side.

Drinkability: Not the "perfect pumpkin beer" as described by some of the reviews, but very solid. Easy drinking with low alcohol, light body. Still a novelty beer, however. (1,118 characters)

Photo of blitz134
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (906 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A few years ago I got into trying pumkin ales. I quickly decided it wasn't a style I cared for and haven't gone back to it until this beer. Got this as a bonus via trade. Wow, I'm now rethinking this style.

A - Cloudy orangish light brown, with a small off white head that quickly disspates.

S - Good pumkin pie.

T - Better than it smells. Pumpkin, gingerbread and nutmeg stand tall and tasty.

M - Medium body, smooth and clean finish.

D - Great after dinner beer. Not overly filling. Easy to drink a couple and relax.

11-01-07 - found another one of these in the cellar that I forgot about. Suffice to say it did not age well over a year. I'd recommend buying it fresh and enjoying it current. I know it should go without saying but having had tasted this I thought I'd footnote this review. (798 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (603 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (937 characters)

Photo of shbobdb
3.62/5  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. (721 characters)

Photo of FenwaySquid
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with twist-off cap, no dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep burnt orange color. The head formed small and faded almost immediately into some lacing. Nice color, though.

Aroma: Sweet pumpkin and some cinnamon and allspice. Extremely pleasant.

Taste: Sweet pumpkin flavors mixed with some maltiness, it's tough to tell where one ends and the other begins. The spices stay in the background but compliment nicely.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp, carbonation was nice and lively.

Overall: An excellent version of the style. If you've never had a pumpkin beer before this a good one to make your first. (664 characters)

Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.