1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,023 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2023
Reviews: 678
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 14.05%

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Cream Ale |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 2,023 | Reviews: 678 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mwagner1018


4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pale amber/reddish color, slightly foggy (showing its unfiltered characteristic), very quickly diminishing thin head from tap.
S- Very nice subtle, refreshing, sweet and tangy.
T- Instant great satisfying, flavor, reminded me of several tasty Belgians that I have had many times in the past....fruity, light spice, bold, yet airy.
M- Full, yet light and nicely carbonated but not overpowering...good refreshing style.
D- Very drinkable, perfectly fit the nice mild/cool spring evening while I was enjoying this one!

Serving type: on-tap

05-19-2007 01:57:32 | More by mwagner1018
Photo of cgstarry


4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I have been a brewer for years and love farmhouse style ales. That is exactly what this beer is to me.

I first had it in Wisconsin on business and have made a few trips back across the border to stock up since!

Color is a cloudy medium straw thanks to all the healthy yeast in the drink. Head starts out dense and creamy but quickly dissipates. Not much lacing noticed.

Flavor is light but complex. Starts out like a nice medium bodied ale, then some hop bitterness, then it finishes sweet with hints of fruity bubble gum-like esters dancing on the middle of my tongue.

It has a hidden strength that catches up with you. The beer is so drinkable it's pretty easy to have that extra one or two! And that's a good thing!

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2008 00:31:45 | More by cgstarry
Photo of gdfan47


4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ok wow here it goes... im finally drinking an NG thanks to..Onenote81 for the beer trade
And NG's flagship beer!

A- pours a nice cloudy yellowy orange with a little off white head and very nice lacing
S-Corn, malt, a little hops
T- yacht rock smooth, malty but not overly malty a touch of hops and a little corn in the finish
M- really very refreshing, not overly complex just smooth and cold, great carbonation
D- I really dig it, a great session beer im liking it now when its cold out but I would love to drink this all day when camping or hanging out... also a great great gateway beer for people wanting to get into craft beer

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 06:11:29 | More by gdfan47
Photo of endincolorado


4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat hazy, pale gold with fine, floaty yeast and a bleached white haead. Nice white lace.

Fragrant aroma with light fruit, pale, crisp crackery malt, and a light, lemony citrus hops.

Light and crackery malt flavor alongside a crisp, lemony citrus. some slight herbal notes.

Light-medium body. Very satisfying. Refreshing.

A very refreshing offering from New Glarus. Extremely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 03:22:29 | More by endincolorado
Photo of 44ouncer


4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A perfect example that a beer doesn't have to be dark brown, brewed with pumpkin seeds (or some other gimmick) or hopped to the point of being undrinkable to be good.

Pours like a lager -- although with a slighty cloudy appearance. Golden yellow with a bright white head. Nice clean smell with a nice hint of hops. Wonderful taste. Light, bright and clean -- not overly hopped -- with a nice citrus edge to it. Terrific creamy mouth feel. A wonderful product.

Serving type: on-tap

05-06-2012 04:38:42 | More by 44ouncer
Photo of thinkinflicka


4.21/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First New Glarus poured into a pint glass

Pours a hazey yellow with a thin white head

Smeel is sight citrus, grassy with a tiny bit of funk

Taste is biscut malt, slighty floral with bit of fruit, clean and crisp with just a tiny farm house style funk to make it great.

Perfect mouthfeel for the style light and crisp.

This is the perfect hot summer day beer, i could drink a bath tub full of this. Its not quite a farmhouse not quite a cream ale, kind of a perfect mix of the two. This is a great beer that appeals to the masses i cant think of any one not likeing it.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2013 22:24:55 | More by thinkinflicka
Photo of jackndan


4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

New Glarus Spotted Cow: A wonderful “farm” ale, bottle conditioned, with yeast in the bottle. Appears to be a weiss beer, with a slight yeast/banana aroma. Very light tasting, with understated malts and hops creating a light citrus taste. Very easy to drink, very light and refreshing. This would be a wonderful beer in the summer, and very good all the time. Pick it up if you see it.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2002 20:17:07 | More by jackndan
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer so many times, I'm surprised I've never reviewed it. I grew up in WI, and whenever I get back home, this is the beer that is consummed ALL the time.

Pours a hazy gold with about a 2-finger head on it. This goes away very quicky as it sounds like I just poured a cola, all fizzy and popping. Just leaves a ring around the edge, but absolutely NO lacing whatsoever. Weak. Smells like sweet corn and slight citrus. Nothing much there.

This isn't the most complex of brews, for sure, but man is this good! Maybe it's the sentimental value to me, but I love this beer. Just a perfect smooth, yet crisp, mouthfeel. Sweet and malty flavor, with just the faintest of bites at the end. Slight bready aftertaste. Drinkable? I submit that it is. I seriously could drink this daily for the rest of my life and be happy. This is the quinticential 'summer-hanging out-lawnmower-bbq-chillin' beer out there. Recommend.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2009 22:02:19 | More by Onenote81
Photo of pweis909


4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first encounter with this beer was on-tap and a real downer, but now I rather like it. It was at a pizza joint in WI, and I just thought it seemed like fizzy yellow beer. Maybe it was bad taps, or the order got mixed up, or it didn't go well with the food (least likely, in this case), or maybe I just have a renewed appreciation for clean beers.

A= transparent gold, no lasting head
S= grainy malt.
Taste, see aroma. Hopped to balance sweetness but no aroma/flavor hops
M = Subtle body, but not watery.

Don't let the label fool you into thinking of this beer as a farmhouse ale, as in the Belgian sense. It is perhaps most closely related to a cream ale, as BA suggests, and I'll suggest that it could be the best one out there.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 23:34:25 | More by pweis909
Photo of xerotime


4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back a few when I was in WI just recently. Pours a slightly hazy pale straw color with a white 1 finger head that faded quickly. In the aroma I'm picking up a graininess balanced with citrus. Taste is more of the same with a slight yeast character. Mouthfeel is medium body with a medium high carbonation. Overall a great summer drinker. Well done NG!

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 12:24:33 | More by xerotime
Photo of bbb099


4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pale golden color, slightly hazy. Not too much head but decent amount of lacing.

S - Sweet and creamy malt with tiny amount of grains.

T - Light and sweet. Hints of corn and milk.

M - Good amount of carbonation. Light bodied.

O - Could use a little more head retention and slightly watery, but it's a great light lager and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 02:54:06 | More by bbb099
Photo of WolfsbaneBloom


4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a beautiful four fingers of rich, bubbly white foam over a bright pale yellow body. Relatively clear despite the claim that it's bottle conditioned with yeast. Looks amazingly fresh and mouth-watering.

Smell: Bready/crackery malt, grain, corn, white pepper, and a light fruitiness from the yeast.

Taste: Follows the nose. Grain, crackery malt backbone, corn, a light lemony sweetness, and just a touch of a white pepper-like spice.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, dry, crisp, tingly, and refreshing.

Overall, New Glarus certainly makes more interesting and flavorful beer than Spotted Cow but it's easy to see why this is their flagship beer: anybody can drink it. Simple, clean, light, and refreshing. This is the kind of beer you want handed to you after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. This is the kind of beer you want a whole cooler full of at a backyard BBQ. This is the kind of beer you want to drink outside with the sun shining behind it, illuminating its beauty. Understated, delicious, and utterly satisfying. One of life's simple pleasures.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 00:50:16 | More by WolfsbaneBloom
Photo of Aaron_Ramson


4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thick fluffy head sitting on a light gold body. Scent of sweet hay and grassy hops. Taste is sweet and fruity; apple, pear and grape with undertones of masa and corn husk. Close to no hop flavors detectable, and very appropriate for style. Thin bodied and fully carbonated, light yet completely satisfying. Definitely a session beer for all seasons, lucky to get my hands on some all the way here in Southern California. God bless bottle trading!

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 05:34:35 | More by Aaron_Ramson
Photo of hochief


4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Spotted cow is a staple in my diet. a good full flavored beer with a sweet malt that just melts in your mouth. Poured into a pint glass this beer has a small amount of head with good looking lace, color is a nice light gold while being quite cloudy. I highly recommend this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2013 18:20:25 | More by hochief
Photo of robwestcott


4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the bottle a hazy sunshine yellow to a sun king shaped pint glass with a wisp of a short lasting head.

aroma of oranges and lemon rind and perhaps a bit of yeast.

fairly substantial for a cream ale, various citrus tastes melded together with a hint of earthy hops hiding in the wayback.

nice mouthfeel, thick and creamy, smooth with light carbonation.

very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2010 22:22:38 | More by robwestcott
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to zimmerbloke. Into bell's tulip.

Light golden yellow and a mild white head. 2 fingers settle quickly and there's some mild sticky lacing.

S- Fruit in syrup, pineapple. Mellow, though.

T- Sweet crisp malt, a bit of lemon and some apple sweetness. Very light and tasty. Simple, hard to describe.. but good. A very very faint dash of clove.

M- Crisp, clean, refreshing, finishes well. Good times.

O- A perfect session beer. Oh, how I wish I could get it on the regular. Fantastic stuff.


Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 00:40:28 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of matjack85


4.26/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown bottle with a little story about the beer along the side of the label. The New Glarus website lists this beer as a farmhouse ale while BA calls it a cream ale. After tasting, I have to side with BA on this one. It's definitely a cream ale.

The beer poured a cloudy pear yellow color and made a 2-finger foamy white head that lasted awhile. Nice lacing.

Wow, this is one fruity beer. Smelled like opening a roll of Life Saver candies.

Bready malt backbone with lots of fruit flavors - lemon, pear, apple, and banana. Add some vanilla cream and there you have it. Nothing overpowering - more on the subtle side. The smell is stronger than the taste, but the taste is still good.

Smooth and creamy with only moderate carbonation. More medium than light in body.

Enjoyable and really easy to drink. I believe this is New Glarus's signature brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 06:06:39 | More by matjack85
Photo of SafeAtFirst


4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light golden haze with a white head that settles into some faint lacing. The aroma is a light fruit-like sweetness with a hint of white bread. The smell is not strong, very subtle and inviting.

The subtleness continues in the flavor, fruit, corn and bread all make brief appearances. Hops are non-existent. Body is light with good carbonation. A very refreshing drink.

I haven't had a lot of cream ales but this is the most interesting one I have ever tasted. There's a nice subtle complexity to it that I find interesting, I wish more brewers would try this overlooked style. I'm drinking this after an evening jog and I'm definitely enjoying it. It would also make a great crossover beer due to its lack of any aggressive flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2007 04:18:10 | More by SafeAtFirst
Photo of StAnthony


4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The cloudiness of this Wisconsin staple brew took me off guard, but it matched up with the full, yeasty mouthfeel. It seemed more like a bitter hefeweiss to me than a cream ale. Not really sweet at all from what I remember, but definitely smooth. Esters were easy to pick out, but not overwhelming (I don't like 'em too fruity). Pretty refreshing overall, but I was enjoying it during January in Chicago...I think it would go much better with July/August. I usually pick up a sixer of a New Glarus brew whenever I'm driving through WI (they don't sell it in IL anymore), and will no doubt buy this again after I've tried a few more of their offerings.

Definitely unique and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2006 21:49:12 | More by StAnthony
Photo of Bootscraper


4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My home state's very own New Glarus has really been making a name for themselves over the last few years. Their most common brew, Spotted Cow, is a favorite of mine and typically what I bring to parties or purchase when hosting my own, because I happen to think it is an exceptional beer that just about anyone can enjoy. Therefore, I thought it was about time I gave the New Glarus namesake a proper review.
Served at about 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to Melvins' "Houdini".
Sat in my glass as borderline yellow to pale gold, and a little cloudy (letting it sit for bit resulted in some stringy yeast hanging from the top... one indication that this is an unfiltered beer). Right after the pour, there was pretty much no head at all. This was pretty disappointing. Whatever lacing managed to stick around clung to my glass pretty damn well, but it desperately needed some creamy foam to supply it.
The smell modestly pierced the air as soon as I cracked the bottle open. The grainy aroma was mellow and crisp like a lager, and also slightly sweet like lemon.
The taste is a very sweet wheat flavor. Towards the finish, the wheaty end becomes more prominent , and the hops also start to come out just a tiny bit, which sticks around for a very slight aftertaste. The sweet end is mild and rich, presumably the corn that went into this bottle (?). All of said transitions and complexity are quite acute though... all in all, it's a very mellow, and very well balanced, beer.
In the mouth, this beer glides by very very smooth, but also a little fizzy & tingly. I love the carbonation levels, and am quite surprised this beer couldn't kick up more of a head. It was pretty light-bodied, yet was fairly creamy... end even became pleasantly syrupy at the finish (despite how dry it might seem at first on the lips). Combine that with the fact that I just finished my 2nd one and am still not buzzed, and it makes for one hell of a drinkability.
I highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a mild cream ale, or if you are just looking for an all-around general drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 23:57:07 | More by Bootscraper
Photo of cooch69


4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Spotted Cow pours a hazy deep and slightly bright yellow. It had no head, instead just some remaining patches of lacing.

The nose was grainy with a bit of pears in it.

Taste was a real husky graininess and pretty refreshing. A little lemon in the finish as well as a bit of a doughy bread.

This brew is a relly good session ale. It goes down smooth and is really tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 01:47:40 | More by cooch69
Photo of mjryan


4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A cream ale. A corn laden, fizzy yellow beer with character. A north American classic. Thank you Wisconsin! Not sure what others expect when they dig into this beer. Big hops? No. Massive body? No. Bourbonbarrelfarmhousehorseblanketcohumuloneibublahblahblah? No. How bout an easy drinkin, well made, clean, unpretentious beer? Yeah, there ya go. Great stuff. Certainly has some elements of the much maligned American adjunct lager, but of course why wouldn't it? Drink with brats and cold diced potatoes mixed with mayo, yellow mustard and onions. Hell, drink it with Sunday breakfast and then with lunch. Drink it in a movie theater, its fun. A great beer all around and one that I would never turn down. Skol!

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2011 03:03:51 | More by mjryan
Photo of cradke


4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: hazy straw yellow. thick fluffy head.

S: Floral. yeast and grain. light with honey and a distinct smell of daisys.

T: sweet grains. small hop profile. pleasant. esters and floral. clean aftertaste

M: light and pleasant. (a theme it seems) great carbonation. the taste profile spreads wonderfully over the palate.

O: a wonderfully pleasant beer. not mind blowing but great everytime.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2013 04:21:05 | More by cradke
Photo of LarryKemp


4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This unfiltered beer looked much more cloudy in the 12 ounce brown twistoff bottle than it did once I poured it into my glass. The beer poured a slightly cloudy bright yellow. The head was fluffy white and not long lasting but it left a little lace on the side of the glass. The aroma of malt jumps out of the glass and fills your nose. What a joy. It makes the anticipation much greater. The taste lives up to the aroma. A sweet maltiness grabs your tongue and lingers in your mouth. The mouthfeel is medium light and has a slight creaminess. This is a great beer for pleasure and for a session. Too bad my friend only brought me one. DAMN!!!!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2003 16:05:11 | More by LarryKemp
Photo of jneiswender


4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a sample glass.

A-golden, yellow body, some haze. Thick, white sponge head.

S-metallic, mineral like, some earth.

T-SOOO creamy! like liquid donuts, a nice hop touch makes it not too sweet.

M-very light, well carbonated, far from dry

D-great session. really really tasty. I could drink this all night.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 01:21:37 | More by jneiswender
Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,023 ratings.