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Cottonwood Frostbite - Carolina Beer Company

Not Rated.
Cottonwood FrostbiteCottonwood Frostbite

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

40 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-06-2003)
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by avylover:
Photo of avylover


4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thick brown translucent color with a nice frothy head. Nice lacy rim around the head. Smells of citrous hops right away, dominating the scent.Smells like a buquet of flowers!! The taste is not exaclty what i'd expect from a winter ale. Hops dominate until the last drop goes down, then some malts come forward at the end. Great taste, just not what I expected for the "style" I bit like SN celebration, only hoppier (is that possible?) Some spices i'm not familiar with detected. A good winiter beer for hop heads like myself.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2003 16:16:41 | More by avylover
More User Reviews:
Photo of jak

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

11-08-2012 20:53:40 | More by jak
Photo of pchalk

4/5  rDev +5.3%

04-04-2012 01:08:59 | More by pchalk
Photo of SkunkWorks

New York

2/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Review from notes. On tap, served in a pint glass.

Look: copper color with a thin layer of white foam at the top. Some carbonation bubbles are visible floating from the bottom of the glass. Looks like a run of the mill IPA.

Smell: very resinous but not much else. A bit of alcohol perhaps but not much in the way of malt. The hop bill doesn't smell complex or particularly inviting.

Taste: dreadful. Like the smell, it is quite resinous and the alcohol is a bit too strong. This is an American IPA but the alcohol content is more like a DIPA but it doesn't have the flavor to hide it. Furthermore, in the finish I am left with a bizarre aftertaste that I can't really determine what exactly it is. Its almost like a metallic, mineral flavor. Perhaps something is wrong with the water they are using.

Feel: feels like a DIPA, medium bodied, lots of bitterness, not much malt balancing it, and that unpleasant aftertaste I was talking about above that lingered in my mouth for far, far too long. Alcohol is obvious which is a poor quality for a pale ale of any type.

Drink: because of the qualities listed, this is hard to drink. I struggled to finish my glass and if I was at home rather than out, I would've probably drain poured.

Overall, I would avoid this one. Maybe it was dirty tap lines, but since it was at a brewpub run by the brewer, I am not pulling any punches on this. Perhaps the worst pale ale of any type I've had to date, which speaks very poorly of this brewery. As a homebrewer, I know how easy these are to make to taste somewhat palatable so if this is the best they can do, I will not be giving them any other chances.


EDIT: Since my review, this beer's style descriptor seems to have changed from American IPA to Winter Warmer. Even as a winter warmer, this beer was disgusting.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2011 21:26:01 | More by SkunkWorks
Photo of kneeland

North Carolina

2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

One of the best looking beers I've seen. Pours a gorgeous dark copper brown ale, with a lovely foam head that sticks around.

It doesn't come off like an IPA very much, but I can taste it a little. The taste is pretty average, too much malt, it overpowers the spices in it.

The mouthfeel is highly disappointing. It feels like it's still coating my entire mouth minutes after sipping it.

On a sidenote, I found a large broken piece of glass in my 6 pack. I'm sure this is pretty rare, but just be careful.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 22:23:46 | More by kneeland
Photo of jrallen34


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a pint glass...A medium caramel, a light tan head, poor retention and lacing...A very malty caramel with a hint of hops, not strong enough but decent...The taste is also very malty to start but then hops do start to present, especially on the finish. A bitter but alcoholic finish is slightly distracting.

A malty but decent ipa.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 18:18:05 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Haybeerman


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear orange/amber color. Poured a 2 finger tan head with good retention. Laced in thin rings.

S: Citrus and pine. A little malt character. Alcohol.

T: Caramel malt up front and more assertive than mose. Floral hop character follows; pine and citrus. Warming alcohol.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warm and dry, but clean.

D: Smooth and clean. ABV is fairly well disguised.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2010 02:31:42 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one really snuck up on me, I really did not know what to expect going into it, but I came out seriously loving this one. Pours out a dark amber color with a nearly brown shade to it. Nice head of off white reaches up to around two fingers deep while it settles down giving off a good bit of lacing in its wake.

Aroma is deep hops, lots of resin and citrus notes here for sure. Really just a really full and quite floral air coming off, but it was when I took the first sip I was blown away. Deep citrus notes are crushing the taste buds here. Orange, pineapple, deep grapefruit, really just dark though with a deep malt back bone that did not really balance it as much as it thickened up the profile a great deal. Medium body was well carbonated and bordered on thick at times, really pushing the envelope here as to what I was expecting. Smooth and obnoxiously dry finish just sealed the deal for me.

Overall a very solid offering here from Carolina. By far one of the best I have had from them and it really took me off guard. A highlight for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2010 00:16:58 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of ThirstyBird


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wilwfu for providing the sample for this tasting.
Poured from 12oz. bottle into pint glass.
A - Pours a rich deep amber color with a nice lumpy 2 finger tan head that sticks around. Nice lacing.
S - Quite a bit of malt on the nose some hops though they aren't real strong. Some caramel
T - Like the smell, Malt up front followed by a nice hoppy cripsness/bitterness. Some toffee and a bit of spice. Pretty nice.
M/F - Medium body. A little sticky and the carbonation is a bit high.
D - Decent winter warmer. Pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 01:55:48 | More by ThirstyBird
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 12 oz bottles into a Duvel snifter a crisp dark copper with an abundant two-finger eggshell head that lasts and leaves beautiful lacing. Aroma is a decent amount of pine hops and slight caramel malts. The taste is a decent blend of said pine hops and caramel malts. The beer is on the light side of medium leading me to wonder if this beer is actually 8.5%, N.C. law requires any beer over 6% state its ABV, and this beer does not, plus it does not remind me of the beer I had two years ago. Either way, this is still an enjoyable hoppy beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 03:44:15 | More by atsprings
Photo of chaz410

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was consumed from a bottle bought in one of the many harris teeters in charlotte.

Pours a dark brown with little head unless poured fast. If it isn't poured gingerly it almost spills it's white head everywhere.

Smells spicey with sweet caramel and alcohol. Kinda enticing yet warning sort of smell.

Taste is very spicey with lots of roasted malts and caramel hints. Herbs like corriander come to mind. Slightly herbal finish with lots of bittering hops.

Not for everyone but one of my favorites from cottonwood

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 03:21:20 | More by chaz410
Photo of hopdog


3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade with The_Beer_God (thanks!).

Poured a medium brown color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of toasted nuts, citrus, and had a light evergreen aroma to it. Tastes of citrus, pine, and toasted malts.

Notes from: 12/29/06

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2009 14:20:45 | More by hopdog
Photo of JasonA


3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

thanks for the extra marvin ...

Pours a translucent light carmel. Solid 2 fingers of dissapating head. Thick after reduction. Ample lacing present.

Light hop, some ABV. Crisp, fresh. Maybe foamy?

Light hops, light bittering hops, something in the finish. Somethings missing. Piney finish.

Balanced and certainly dont feel the ABV.

Somethings missing in this brew. Hop character isnt over the top, and the ABV isnt very warming. THough the void isnt filled with malt. Considering its a 'winter', i was looking for some spice, none found though.

meh, ill move on from this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 19:26:10 | More by JasonA
Photo of Vancer


4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tasty treat received via the CEO / Old farters BIF from unclejedi !

Into a tall pilsner glass went this amber oak brew – topped off with a nice 1” ivory head, lacing all the way down the slender glass.

A spicy aroma mixed with caramel greeting my beak, possibly even some black pepper in there. Quaff was a heart warming sharp and biting woody herb, this one reminded me of a spicy IPA.

Full and filling, I could go for a sixer in the fall whilst sitting my arse on the deck, or the easy chair watching football.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2007 12:30:08 | More by Vancer
Photo of Atron67


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a darker slightly red amber with tannish head that was pretty large, however didnt last long, nor leave much lacing
S- piney hops pretty much, some light malt characteristics can be noted, however its a pretty solid pine
T- A spicey malty taste covers the beginning, the alcohol is pretty low key, a rather low key hop flavor based off of the nose, however it is there, relatively balanced but still pretty strong, clean finish
M- medium/light body with a sharper carbonation
D- its a pretty solid beer, goes down smooth with a clean finish, ide drink more if i had more

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2007 00:58:32 | More by Atron67
Photo of JMD71


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Warriorsoul for this. Sampled & reviewed 1/20/07:

Ap: Medium pour rseults in a solid finger of head. Deep ruby/copper color with good carbonation throughout. Nice lacing. Almost looks like cognac....

Ar: Deep malty aroma with slight candied fruit notes. A bit oxidized. Slight medicinal undertones. Advertised as a 'Hoppy Winter Ale" but no hops present in aroma that I can detect. Could be an older bottle in which the hops have calmed.

Ta: Nice bite! Surprisingly hoppy & bitter after little hop aroma. Good malt body which balances well the hop bitterness. Caramel apples in brandy....

Mo: Medium body with crisp finish due to good carbonation. Slight astringency. Again, this bottle could be old as it was from a trade.

Dr: Very drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden by the bittering hops & balanced by the sweet malts. Good presentation.

Comments: This was a surprise for me. I was expecting a traditional 'winter ale' with spices, etc. but this was more of a IPA (as categorized on BA) or a mild barleywine. Very nice surprise & quite tasty. Thanks Warriorsoul!

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2007 21:34:44 | More by JMD71
Photo of kmpitz2


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. This one pours a very hazy dark tea brown color with a finger of lightly tanned head that sits very well over top even after a little sitting around. This one is pretty hazy. Taking a nice sniff, there are notes of nice sweet caramel with a grapefruity and sweet hop, along with a touch of piney hop. Its good, but is not really doing anything to jump out to me or set itself apart from the pack. The taste is a lot more "dark" than I expected. Its not roasted or anything like that, but it is just more full than I expected. I get a nice earthyness from the hop, as this one is aged a little. The caramel is not as prevalent, but lightly sweet behind the hop. It finishes really mildly bitter, and slightly herbal. I enjoy the flavor on this one. The mouthfeel is thick, with a moderate carbonation. I like the mild bitter that clings on the finish. I think the aged hop flavor that took on a more earthy quality really works with the beer really well. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2006 00:09:27 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of sinistrsam


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This had a dark copper-brown, medium pink-orange head, with moderate lacing. It had a hoppy aroma, with hints of dark fruits, roasted malts, nuttiness and chocolate. It had a somewhat malty taste, with dry yeasty undertones. Nuttiness and plenty of alcohol.
It was smooth for being so bitter, but still unremarkable. It was very drinkable, and a good winter IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 18:49:04 | More by sinistrsam
Photo of CRJMellor


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red and nut brown color with an enormous, pillowy off-white head.
Aroma was a mix of nutmeg, roasted malts, a dash of chocolate and some powerful hoppy notes.
Flavor seemed to deviate from the nose. Darker roasty malts seemed to prevail in the pull between sweet and bitter. A distinctiveness nutty profile appeared mid-palate, which seemed a bit out of place.
Mouthfeel started out very full on the back half sort of lots its "oomph" and petered out sortof boringly.
Drinkabilty was above average but just missing a key few distinctive features to make this any more memorable.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 21:28:56 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of assurbanipaul


4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brown with a tall foamy head. Aroma is hoppy, a good, strong pine and citrus blend.

Taste is a pale malt, toasty, biscuity, with a fair amount of hops riding on top. Not over-the-top bitter but a nice hop sweetness with citrus and resin. Some faint spices somewhere in the background. Finish is a little dry.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Very drinkable, very enjoyable, no hint of the alcohol content in the flavor (label says 8.5% ABV). Would fit very well into the DIPA category, why they wanted to call it a winter ale, I don't know. I could session this.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2006 02:52:48 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a frothy, two and a half thick, tan colored head that sits atop a brilliantly clear, amber-red colored beer. Interestingly enough the aroma has notes of funky cheese. There are also notes of herbal hops and a soft fruitiness of citrus and perhaps some notes reminiscent of currants. As time goes on the funky cheese notes seem to drop out a bit.

The taste is lightly sweet with a touch of grapefruit, plus a bit of zingy herbal hops. The malt is fairly subdued underneath the hops; it is here though and contributes to the fruit character, perhaps contributing some notes of raisins. This is a nice hoppy beer, it is perhaps not as malty as I would like as it needs a bit more structure to make it a satisfying winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 19:13:51 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Cindirene

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The new Cottonwood Frostbite Ale is an 8.5% ABV double IPA unlike the old retired one - It has a solid citrusy nose, a crisp clean bite, and a full-bodied mouthfeel - When poured into a glass it forms an amber head which dissolves into nice lacing - This is definitely a brew to be tried

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 05:09:34 | More by Cindirene
Photo of warriorsoul


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying this one in a Cottonwood Ale pint glass...thanks to AlexJ for both.
Pours a hazy, dark brown with some light able to penetrate...a glorious creamy tan head sits on top and sticks around for a bit and also produces some serious lacing, covering the sides entirely.
Sweet aroma up front...subtle detection of black cherries and raisins.
The taste is less sweet and as stated on the bottle, quite hoppy.
Very little spice, but a solid malt backbone to accompany the dose of hops in this offering.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, the carbonation is a tad high and goes down with no effort.
I'd enjoy a fresher bottle, but this one was another decent offering...would like to try it on tap.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 01:19:22 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of BrewMaster


3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle. No freshness marking on the bottle.

Appearance: Murky, dark brown color with an uneven and thin tan head. The beer also has a slight red hue when backlit.

Smell: Caramel, floral hoppiness, toast, brown sugar, flaky pie crust.

Taste: Lots of hop bitterness up front followed by some sourness. It's roasty with some mild fruity esters. This beer is decently hopped but to the point of being unbalanced and strange. The maltiness that ends the beer is sweet and sticky but under represented to say the least.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied and slightly sticky.

Drinkability: Very thin and not much real flavor to get excited about. Mostly hops but it's not even a good hoppiness that one could get into. It tastes like something is missing.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2005 23:28:14 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear birch beer brown with ruby highlights, a nice off-white head and some lacing

Smell: Nice bready smell with hops in the background

Taste: Starts out with a bready, nutty brown ale flavor that is subsumed by the hops into a bitter finish

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy bodied with a modest amount of carbonation

Drinkability: A nice hoppy brown ale that is difficult to categorize; it sure isn't an American IPA and it is too hoppy to be a winter warmer; nevertheless, quite good

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2005 01:04:41 | More by brentk56
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Cottonwood Frostbite from Carolina Beer Company
85 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.