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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,017 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2017
Reviews: 677
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
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Ratings: 2,017 | Reviews: 677 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jredner


2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mild grain and light alcohol in the aroma. Hazy yellow color. No head. Cool and refreshing with very little taste. Mild malty sweetness in the aftertaste. It is actually pretty dang thirst quenching though extremely un-flavorful. Not bad tasting just not much of anything tasting. It makes you take big gulping sips.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 08:01:58 | More by Jredner
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 loren01


3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very light straw color, almost like a bud/miller light. Very small head that dissipated very quickly. Minimal carboation observed.
S: Smell is pretty fruity, very strong citrus smell. Pretty complex smell to it.
T: Taste is pretty sweet. I can't really detect any hoppiness to speak of. There is also some slight tartness to the taste maybe like a sweet berry flavor.
M: Mouthfeel is pretty well balanced, goes down pretty easily.
D: I could see myself drinking quite a few of these on a hot summer day. It seems like its more of a light Belgian Wit or something rather than a Cream Ale though.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2006 08:17:42 | More by loren01
Photo of shbobdb


3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When Wisconsin beer drinkers reach for a good beer, they reach for New Glarus Spotted cow . . . it is a holy grail of sorts. Only, it's a dumb, mass-produced holy grail.
It pours a murky pus-like yellow with delicate, tiny little bubbles that both nicely lace the beer and provide an excellent mouthfeel.
The taste . . . it's good. Sweet, corn adjunct, mixed with yeast and a lot of yeast esters, as is New Glarus's wont and no hop presence whatsoever.
I'm not gonna say this is a bad beer, but it is an awkward one. It exists in the nether region between BMC and complex craft brews. It appeals to the former with aspects of the latter and is priced accordingly. But, while sweet and very drinkable, if I wanted a beer like this, I'd grab a Miller. Oh, it's better than Miller to be sure, but not enough to really warrent the price.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 19:44:06 | More by shbobdb
Photo of nortmand


4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours straw yellow and cloudy with some white head.

Smell is grass and bready malt.

Sweet-tart flavor, with some noble hop balance and a bit of malt.

Refreshing and summery, a very drinkable beer, but would become world class with a bit of wheat or rye.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2005 05:26:49 | More by nortmand
Photo of badbeer


4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spotted Cow pours a cloudy pale yellow with 1/2" of head that quickly dissipates. Smell is predominantly of yeast and corn. Taste is much of the same, the corn is noticeable as well as the unfiltered yeast, pretty well balanced. Full bodied, light on the tongue, perhaps a little undercarbonated. Very drinkable, great session beer. This beer does no special tricks, it is what it is and what it is, is a great beer to spend an afternoon with.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2005 00:36:43 | More by badbeer
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A ruddy orange color, similar to dried apricots. Head is white and fizzy; retention is poor to mediocre.

Smell: Yeasty, like rising bread, with a smooth, sweet malt aroma. Corn is also detectable. Subtle marzipan/amaretto tones match beautifully with an orange-pineapple citric quality. A quiet but complex nose.

Taste: Not as appealing as the smell. There is a prominent acidic spiciness that I don't care for, similar to a white onion. Other than that, though, the beer is pretty good. Smooth malts, a touch of corn flakes, and of course, that unfiltered yeast round out the flavor, with a corny sweet finish that gradually turns dry and sour.

Mouthfeel: Mostly rough and prickly on the palate, but there is a crispness to it that helps offset the beer's sweetness.

Drinkability: This beer is really popular in Wisconsin, and it's good, but not as good as everyone hyped it up to be. I'm a little disappointed but I still think this is a fine beer, and I look forward to trying more from New Glarus.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 09:30:53 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of DaPeculierDane


3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is not a cream ale nor is it a Saison. It’s a Wisconsin Farmhouse Ale. Can we get that added as a style on BA?

Spotted Cow is available everywhere in Wisconsin and I dig that because it’s chill enough for my swill chugging friends to get into. It’s also a brew that is just adored by beer drinking females who might otherwise be drinking miller lite or worse…alchipops.

About 5 years ago bars around here started serving the cow with a lemon as if it was a Heffeweis. I don’t get it. I think that lemon ruins this beer and shy away rom it when possible.

The cow is sweet, the corn is just barely noticeable, there is absolutely no bitterness. Slightly bready, grainy, and with just a touch of lemon and orange.

Generally a great session beer but nothing too special. This has become the quintessential Wisconsin micro but don’t go expecting something spectacular from it. It’s really more of a micro for the masses then anything else.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2005 19:48:06 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of slyke


3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A colleague and I were talking beer and Spotted Cow came up. I'd sampled it somewhere and remember it being pretty good.

Fast forward to the weekend and I head out on a sunny October Saturday to view the fall colors. I get to Wabasha, Minnesota and remember an off-sale place in the town just over the bridge in Wisconsin, cross the bridge and come home with a sixer of Spotted Cow.

It poured a bright, hazy yellow color, but with a minimal head - even though I was using a clean glass. The smell is a bit grainy/corny with some lemony notes.

The corn is less pronounced in the taste and the taste is a bit fruity. The beer is pretty balanced at first, malty in the middle and finishes dry.

Mouthfeel is nice. The maltiness makes this beer have a "substantial" feel in the mouth. Not the thin "barley pop" feel of a macrobrew.

This is a very drinkable beer. I could waste away an afternoon sipping these. This beer might not be worth the 100-mile round-trip to Wisconsin on a weekly basis, bit it is a great alternative to macrobrews when on Bucky's side of the Mississippi.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2005 16:52:16 | More by slyke
Photo of aquatonex

New York

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A unique surprise...

Pours light amber with an orange tinge, not much head, slight lacing, and light carbonation. Smell is light with yeasts, hints of fruits. Taste is more pronounced than the nose, but still light and subdued. Mild yeasts, a lot of creaminess, light fruits. Very smooth mouthfeel. Creamy without being very heavy. A little overly light for my tastes. It's like cream soda without the fizziness or the sweetness. Or, a belgian without the oomph.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2005 02:04:04 | More by aquatonex
Photo of ryantupy


3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up on my way to the lake and enjoyed several of these fishin on the boat. It poured a very cloudy pale yellow color with little to no head. Smells milky and creamy and tastes very creamy and sweet with a nice mixture of hops. this one is a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2005 23:59:04 | More by ryantupy
Photo of HopHeadKen


3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vacationing in Wisconsin, and this was available on-tap at a tavern across from a cheese factory (go figure) in Knowlton.

The pour was hazy yellow with thin lacing.
Smell was sweet and mildly spicy.
Taste follows the smell, sweet and mildly spicy; I cannot detect the hops and there is no lingering hop bitterness or aftertaste.

I am told that this is one of New Glarus' most popular beers; My wife loved it, so we found a 'sixer' to bring home.

It is a good hot weather summer beer.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2005 16:06:48 | More by HopHeadKen
Photo of unklesyd


3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a huge fan of the cream ale style. There isn't a whole lot there, if you take my meaning. Thus, I didn't have high expectations for this one.

However, this is a good beer for a warm day swinging on a hammock.

The most notable characteristic of this beer is its soft mouthfeel and its soft taste leant by the flaked barley. Extremely low bitterness. This was actually the first cream ale I've ever had that actually tastes "creamy".

It speaks well of a brewery when they can do well even with a style of such "subtle" substance.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2005 21:01:02 | More by unklesyd
Photo of Dukeofearl


4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back by my ex-pat Wisconsin-Michigan buddy who went back "home" to spend a week "fishin' at da cabbin" with his Packer-lovin' family (thanks Jeff!).

Pours kind of slightly cloudy pale yellow, not much to look at. A small head went to nothing in no time- and I do mean nothing. OK, I count 10 bubbles on the side of the glass. Unimpressive.

Aroma, kind of sweet, and yes, milky. A faint beery-hoppiness that is very subtle, and somewhat pleasant. More than anything, the aroma reminds me of a warm, buttered English Muffin. That is pretty cool.

Flavor is malty, sweet, with a nice hop balance. This a nice round, but not full, mouthfeel, and has very very high drinkability, very refreshing. This is not a sipper, this is for gulping down a bunch. Good stuff. Too bad it just isn't nicer to look at! The real problem, though is my girlfriend stealing this from me while I'm trying to review it!

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2005 01:47:11 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of francisweizen


3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap in Milwaukee. This one is light golden with a small head of white that dies quickly, leaving no real lacing. Aromas are pretty basic, cream ale aroms. A bit of malt, a tinge of adjunct sweetness, and some background hops. Taste is similar with no real standout flavors and mouthfeel is in the medium range. Nothing complex, just a simple good DD.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2005 17:20:54 | More by francisweizen
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a slightly cloudy straw color with about a half-inch head at first pour. This head fell pretty quickly leaving nothing but a stagnant yellow liquid in the glass. The head fits the style, but the cloudiness suggests a beer that was brewed with wheat. They mention the cloudiness on the bottle being attributed to the yeast sediment, but I poured it off of that.

Aroma: There is a really raw bready aroma to this beer. There is a little hops noticeable, but it plays a supporting role to the malt. Some sweet corn is also a subtle component in the aroma.

Taste: Pretty flavorful for a cream ale. The bready malt notes are the key player in the flavor. They idle throughout the profile to finally leave the palate with a "wet" feeling to finish. I don't get a lot of corn or DMS in this beer. The beer is pretty well attenuated, but is not as crisp as some other examples of this style. I like this fact, as it makes the beer more refreshing.

Opinion: I am not the best reviewer of Cream Ales, as this isn't one of my favorite styles. I believe that this beer is one of the tastier examples of this style that I have tried. Most other examples get caught up in trying to supplement with the corn, so you end up with a beer that tastes like runoff from a bowl of grits...that isn't the case with this beer. It is a good one to give a shot.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 00:33:03 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of Golden2wenty1


3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had a picher at the Silver Dollar here in Madison. Spotted Cow is pretty much an institution here in SW Wisconsin, the kinda beer that you bring out when relatives or Busch Light drinkers are around to seem cultured. I remembered it being better than what I had last night, probably because I haven't tried it since becoming a BA and enjoying so many great beers.

Pours a golden straw color with minimal to no head. In the bottle it's much more cloudy and interesting to look at. Smells surprisingly macro and adjuncty - mostly wheat and corn. Taste is disappointingly the same, lots of corn and with a hint of cooked vegetables. Really not impressed by this stuff anymore. Maybe I've just been ruined by all the delicious complex dark beers I've been enjoying of late, but the ol' Cow just doesn't do it for me anymore. It's not BAD, but not something I would pick up a sixer of on my way to a party anymore.

Serving type: on-tap

07-23-2005 16:40:19 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of jimbotrost


3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased for $3.50 a 12 ounce bottle at Grant's Old Stage Station in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. Pours a hazy slightly cloudy gold. Some yeast aroma in the nose. Bottle conditioned ? Slightly fruity flavor but otherwise light and uneventful. Finish is somewhat chewy, aftertaste goes away very quickly.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2005 22:58:11 | More by jimbotrost
Photo of battlekow


3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer many times before, as it's by the the most popular micro, and one of the most popular beers period, in Madison. It was hard to objectively rate the appearance, since I know from experience that this beer is very inoffensive. However, if I had never had this before, and someone set a glass of it in front of me, I wouldn't exactly be chomping at the bit to drink it. It's a very cloudy light orange color that looks more like something from GNC than a beer. Doesn't really smell like much at all; tastes a little fruity and feels nice and creamy in my mouth, but that's it. In retrospect, I can see why this beer is so popular with my college friends in Madison--it's even better than a macro lager at tasting like nothing, and it has absolutely no bitterness. It tastes right off the bat like I've been drinking beer all night and can no longer taste anything.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2005 21:23:00 | More by battlekow
Photo of longarm


3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fizzy thin head. Straw colored and slightly hazy.

Slight adjuncts, possibly corn, in the aroma, but this isn't overwhelming. Hints of pineapple as well. No detectable aroma hops unless that's the pineapple.

Flavor relatively mild with slight bitterness on the finish. A little fruity and cloying, lemon-essence in there too.

Initially sweet it finishes relatively clean. Easy session ale and especially good in Summer. I've had it on tap as well and remember it to be better on draught than bottled.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2005 01:21:29 | More by longarm
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

2.55/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a hazy yellow color with no head at all. The aroma is slightly malty, but not at all interesting. The flavor is sweet, with no bitterness. There is some fruityness, like lemon and pineapple. Not at all creamy. Low carbonation. If there were some bubbles, at least it would have been easier to drink. I did not like this beer very much. It's available at almost every bar in Madison. Who drinks this?

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2005 23:06:03 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of orbitalr0x


3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pale golden yellow pour with a small bubbly white head that quickly falls to leave a ring around the glass. Sweet grains and corn waft up into my nose along with a light citric undertone. Some herbal spiciness is evident as well as some yeast. Nothing grabs my attention here.

First sip brings a crisp pale maltiness that exhibits sweet grain and corn flavors. As the brew makes its way down there's a light citric fruitiness along with just a touch of herbal hoppiness and hints of yeast. Nothing mindblowing..but a solid cream ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat creamy with a nice smoothness after each sip. An easy drinking cream ale that would go nice on a hot day. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2005 02:31:52 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of ppoitras


3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" white head over the slightly cloudy, light golden brew. Head,fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, and lacing is minimal. Aroma is light pale malt with a tinge of citrus. Taste starts with smooth pale malts, and closes somewhat crisply with a bit of citrus character. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, but without easy access of this one, it falls into the "why bother" category for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2005 20:54:45 | More by ppoitras
Photo of TastyTaste


3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very hazy, light gold color, with a sizable white foam head on top. Smell is corn and light floral hoppiness. Taste does have a little too much corn in it for my liking, but it almost fits in with the creamy and subtley hoppy flavors of this beer. I am having this beer at cellar or warmer temp. A lot better than I remember my first sample. A pretty good and interesting beer, try it for a very diffrent experience with corn in beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2005 01:09:00 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of weeare138


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to GV for this one! Shared w/ sckressler.

Appears nice and cloudy pale yellow as the last remnants of yeast pound into the glass. Pretty decent carbonation and a small white head.
Smells zesty with a hint of corn. Looks and smells almost like a wheat beer.
Tastes pretty good. Not a whole lot of hop definition going on in this one but I wasn't expecting that. Not really too sweet, or malty. Seems right for what they were aiming for. Definitely grabbed my attention with the lemony light taste that seemed just right after the sip. I could surely put back a sixer of these in the summer.

Finger licking good!

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2005 13:28:15 | More by weeare138
Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,017 ratings.