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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 CBlack85
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

This beer pours an amber copper color with a very active off white head that never quite goes away.

A very unique sweet aroma. I couldn't place any real pumpkin but very pumpkinish? definately hints of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Gets me ready for Thanksgiving dinner

Sweet, very noticable pumpkin flavor, smooth, very nice...complex

Good enough to add to my regular seasonal rotation.

CBlack85, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of farrago
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very active and frothy head or cream white, the bubbles pop at such a rapid rate that it fizzes down to the surface in no time, no lacing. Deep amber red color, filmy sort of translucency but you can still see through it decently, more copper orange around the rims. The nose is crisp, however, light, the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg spices jump out at you, the pumpkin isn't too sweet, mild citrus touch as well, throws in a pinch of brown sugar on top. In the mouth it's medium-bodied with broad and fluffy carbonation, the orange and lemon citrus more present and you get edgier clove and ginger notes alongside sweeter cinnamon and allspice. As in the nose, not too much sugar or caramel dolloped on the pumpkin, retains a natural freshness. Once the fizz subsides, and that's pretty much at the finish, it displays a more creamy mouth feel. Avoiding excess sweetness good but the carbonation gets a little annoying.

farrago, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
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 StarlightSeraph
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish-amber, with a three-finger slightly off-white head that slowly subsided. A very minimal amount of lacing.

Smell: Not so much pumpkin, but pumpkin pie. Nutmeg, allspice, hints of ginger and cinnamon. A sweetness I couldn't place.

Taste: The pumpkin is much more evident in the taste than the smell. There's an initial sweet bite, with the pumpkin flavor coming through. Cinnamon and nutmeg are especially present behind it. Left a nice, cinnamony aftertaste. Kind of watery though, overall.

Mouthfeel: Decently thick, and nicely carbonated.

Drinkability: The sweetness to this one that I just can't place is kind of a turn-off - it's almost cloying initially, and while it quickly subsides, each sip starts off that way. I have had this on tap before, and I remember it being MUCH better. Still not a bad pumpkin ale out of the bottle, but nothing spectacular, either. The sweetness makes it difficult to drink more than one, and there are plenty of other pumpkin beers I'd rather have.

StarlightSeraph, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of hellbilly
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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 CrellMoset
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of dkachur - thanks! Poured into a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a dirty reddish body, halfway to brown, that color's that's opaque of its own accord unless you hold it up to the light. The one-finger tan head bubbles up quickly and fades rather quickly as well, leaving only a thin, sheen and a sudsy collar. The carbonation is incredibly fast and plentiful, as well.

Aroma: This beer's best aspect, in my opinion. Very doughy, roasted malts, with brown sugar and caramel sweetness mingling with ginger and nutmeg. Fairly authentic, moderately pungent, and well-balanced.

Taste: Much meeker than the nose would suggest. The malts are still roasted, yes, still brown-sugar like, yes, but they're watery, thin, husky almost. The spices are similarly muted. There's also a fair amount of tart, lemon-like notes which seem sort of out of place. The pumpkin also seems sort of muted, in the background, hidden by the tartness and the general neutrality of it all.

Mouthfeel: A relatively thin body with tons of carbonation yields an overly crisp, uneven, effervescence mouthfeel, complete with that slightly uncomfortable enamel-stripping feel that comes from having too much tart acidity.

Drinkability: A decent stab at a pumpkin ale, though nothing to write home about. The tart acidity seems out of place, and everything's just too faded in the mouth. Amp things up a bit, though, and you'd have a really solid, drinkable beer, low in abv% and with a great balance of flavors.

CrellMoset, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of Poser
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
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 Monkeyknife
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SaCkErZ9 for this bottle.

Poured from the bottle a cloudy orange amber color with one finger of small-bubbled beige head.

Aroma is like a whiff of pumpkin pie. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and biscuit make it happen.

The taste is not as bold as the aroma. Watered down with just a hint of cloves and cinnamon.

Thinner bodied and moderately carbonated.

A pretty good pumpkin ale from Cottonwood but I wish the taste had the punch I found inn the aroma.

Monkeyknife, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of ncbeermonger
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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 Mauerhan
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich dark orange into my pint glass. a flash of head appears and is gone as quickly as it came...(nickel for every time i heard that one) tiny lacing.

smells awesome. pumpkin spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, possibly some cloves. along with the flurry of spices i get some nice malt characters.

taste follows suit. earthy spices play with the senses while the sweetness of the malts follows close behind. the flavors of this beauty meld together great. whoever created this beer made sure of that.

mouth is medium bodied. between the spice and the carbonation its like a symphony on my tongue.

drinkable yes. but im not sure i could put back more than two of these in a row. but this would be great for special occasions.

Mauerhan, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of craytonic
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle at Mac's Speed Shop before the Q arrived.

Smell - Fresh pumpkin pie.

Taste - Delicious. Once again pumpkin pie, more pumpkin than spice. I get cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, caramel, allspice. Nice balanced malts & hops.

Mouthfeel: Great medium body, not too heavy or light. Nice pumpkin finish.

Very drinkable, I look forward to the next one! Not a common sentiment for these sorts of beers. I would love to speak to a brewer about how it is made.

craytonic, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of CAP1868
2.63/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Poured a light hazy orange about what you'd expect from a pumpkin ale, had a small head but it didn't last

S- Smelled of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg

T- Tasted way to light and fruity for me, when you read "spice" on the bottle I thought spicy, not fruity. Just didnt do much for me.

M- Decent mouthfeel, medium bodied but the taste just doesn't do it for me

D- You could easily drink quite a few of these but I must refrain from doing so.

UPDATE- I think I got skunk beer when I bought this. I tried this brew on 9/12/09 and it was excellent. I would give it an A-

CAP1868, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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 LiveaHoppyLife
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. I went to Appalachian State, which is where this beer began. Cottonwood Brewery was the best, and it was very sad to see Boone lose it. Especially to Carolina Beer Company!
The flavor of this pumpkin ale is very different than any others out there. They truly have figured out how to create a liquid, alcoholic pumpkin pie! The only pumpkin ale I've had that is close to this flavor is Dogfish Head Punkin'.
Give this beer a try. I don't recommend any food with it, because the flavor is so complex you really should devote your entire palate to it.
This beer is fall only, not year round as stated above.

LiveaHoppyLife, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of PatrickJR
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Deep amber/red with a slight haze. Nearly three fingers of head rise with decent retention. No lacing.

S - Perfect! Cinnamon and nutmeg are the most obvious spices, but there's a huge amount of actual pumpkin pulling through as well with a slight sourness. A hint of toasted malt as well. Very well balanced and big on the pumpkin aroma.

T - The cinnamon and nutmeg (with perhaps a bit of clove in there?) take hold first with a mild malt sweetness in the background. A small toasted flavor starts drying things out and then there's a big hit of sour pumpkin. Sourness lingers in the finish. Nicely balanced and great focus on the pumpkin.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.

D - A great drinking pumpkin ale without the high ABV of some others. This is a very focused and balanced effort and the emphasis on the pumpkin flavor is perfectly executed. A top-notch pumpkin ale right up there with the big boys. It also manages not to become too sweet or bitter as others of the style.

PatrickJR, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Quite a deep amber - quite a bit darker than many others of the same style. Head fizzled up quickly and dramatically, but drops just as swiftly.

S: A big pumpkin pie aroma... plenty of spices, but the pumpkin is there as well (rather than being drowned out in spices, as can happen!) A nice, toasty malt aroma adds a pleasant touch.

T: Pumpkin and spice... plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. Quite sweet compared to others. It gets a little close to being TOO sweet, and maybe just a little tart, but a pretty tasty beer. A bit of a 'smokiness,' but without truly tasting smoky - that doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but I can't quite find a description to match what I'm thinking on that matter.

M + D: Wet... slippery... a little touch of dryness. A mellow carbonation tingle. Low alcohol makes it incredibly sessionable. It COULD get a little too sweet, but I'd risk it. A surprisingly decent take on the style, really.

Proteus93, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of Strix
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy dark brown-orange with a decent head.

Smells nearly exactly like pumpkin pie.

Tastes pretty much like pumpkin pie too, with a long pumpkin pie aftertaste. Not a lot of beer flavor, but if you like pumpkins, and pumpkin pie, and spices, this has it.

Mouthfeel a little thin.

This was my first pumpkin beer, and it's not a style I'm particularly enamored with. I wouldn't want to drink 2 of these, but it was an interesting experience - this definitely captured the flavor of pumpkin pie.

Strix, Sep 24, 2008
Photo of kaleidoskope
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a big fan of fruit/spiced beers, and this is without a doubt the best pumpkin ale I've ever had. I'm in NC, so mine is always fresh. I think the bad reviews might be the result of people getting year-old bottles from shady sellers.

Appearance - Hazy burnt orange with about a quarter-inch head that dissipates quickly. I've not seen another pumpkin ale quite this color before.

Smell - Just like pumpkin pie! It's very strange, but in a good way.

Taste - Sweet, yet very fresh-tasting. The spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger) come through stronger than the pumpkin, in contrast to the aroma, which is much more pumpkin-heavy.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation (more than I'd prefer, to be honest). Tickles the throat on the way down.

Drinkability - Quite good. As much as I love fall seasonals, especially pumpkin ales, I'm generally tired of them by December. This, however, I could drink year-round.

kaleidoskope, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of vtfan77
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark orange-red with a small head that is gone in a flash.

S- Well, this is definitely a pumpkin ale. Big pumpkin pie aromas here, with the pumpkin and nutmeg and... whatever else there is in pumpkin pie. It just smells like pumpkin pie, ok? Besides that, there's not a whole lot else.

T- A little sweet upfront with a touch of malt, but then it's all pumpkin pie. No hops to speak of, and the finish is lacking in any sort of bitterness. Don't get me wrong, it's a good flavor and I definitely like it. It just needs a bit more beer character. Still, not bad at all.

M- Thin mouthfeel with a low level of carbonation.

D- I'd have a couple of these in a sitting for sure. However, any more of that and the spices might get on my nerves. I don't think I could make a session out of it.

This is a tasty beer for sure. It's pretty much like drinking liquid pumpkin pie. The only problem was that there wasn't enough beer character. Had the pumpkin pie been complemented by a strong malt presence, it could have been great. Still, a tasty beer and a good seasonal. Recommended for pumpkin pie fans.

vtfan77, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of manleyphoto
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

manleyphoto, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of cbleary
3.78/5  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.

cbleary, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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 Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
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 Lothore
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Lothore, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of jdubjacket
4.53/5  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...

jdubjacket, Nov 01, 2007
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
87 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.