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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,015 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2015
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: 2,015 | Reviews: 677 | Show All Ratings:
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 EddieTheTrooper


4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my opinion, this beer is the only excusable reason to venture up to Wisconsin. Creamy, sweet, and malty, smooth and well-balanced, the spotted cow is the crown jewel of New Glarus' catalogue (though I do like Stone Soup too). I just with this were more readily available in the Chicagoland area.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 00:13:18 | More by EddieTheTrooper
Photo of kristenrae8


3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer during a holiday gathering. It complemented several dishes. It's drinkability is average - If I was in Wisconsin I'd pick up a six pack of this.

Appearance: Honey colored, creamy head. Fair lacing. Also, due to being at a friends place - was drinking this out of juice glass. Take that for what you will.

Smell: It was hard to get my nose in the juice glass - but faint sweetness, no dominant hops or malt smells.

Taste: It's better than other things - low on the complexity scale - but that's not a bad thing - if you was a clean slightly sweet simple beer - this is a great choice.

Mouthfeel: A little thin.

Overall: This is a great beer to get someone who hasn't had anything other than bud light or pabst blue ribbon. In fact I would call this a great stepping stone beer. But once you know better- I don't know that you would like this beer any more than your average run of the mill pale. It is what it is - and that is fine by me.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2011 18:49:34 | More by kristenrae8
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 DarbyOGill


3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow with a okay head. There is also some decent head.

Smell: the nose is really fruity. It almost resembles the nose of a Trappist, but not as good.

Taste: I first get a nice strong malty taste, then a hint of hops, and finishes with a malty aftertaste. Not overly impressive, but definitely good.

Drinkability: These are pretty light and I could easily drink a whole six-pack. Good beer for parties or tailgating because everyone likes it and it's easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2009 01:40:39 | More by DarbyOGill
Photo of Cozuma


3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Light hazy golden color with a decent amount of soft foam for a moment that fades to a ring and small patches. Aroma is a very light biscuit like smell, it feels soft and easily drinkable. Flavor is light and malty and ever so slightly fruity they way you'd expect a cask ale to be. Overall a nice easy to drink light malty beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 11:38:43 | More by Cozuma
Photo of scottchesterhall


4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On the pour, it seemed a little dark for a farmhouse ale, but nice lacing and pleasant appearance.

Smell was mild, slight fruit on the nose, but not a lot there.

Taste was nice, well-balanced. Some wheat, nice solid malt, with gentle fruit and very understated balancing hops.

Mouthfeel was nice: pretty viscous and full.

Very drinkable beer...easy to have a few of these and they seemed to get better over time.

Nice beer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2010 04:19:02 | More by scottchesterhall
Photo of myspoonistoobig


3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade, though I've had this beer dozens of times back home in WI. 12oz bottle poured into my New Glarus pint glass.

Appearance: slight haze, golden straw.

Smell: pretty clean, hints of passion fruit or guava, but apart from that, nothing too special or memorable here.

Taste: light, perfectly drinkable, the malt comes through. I feel like I could drink this all night (and have on several occasions)

Mouthfeel: light, fizzy, slightly creamy. Just fine.

Overall: Don't get me wrong, I just love New Glarus beers, but my memory of this beer far exceeds what I'm experiencing now. This beer would be great for a barbeque with a bunch of people around who aren't too into beers or hops. I'll take it over a BMC any day, probably even Yuengling, but beyond that, I'll branch out.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2011 02:06:26 | More by myspoonistoobig
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 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 kittywamp


3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to standard pint. Yellow in color champagne like carbonation dances up from base. Smells like sweet malty goodness not bad. Taste is a little on the light side of things but no complaints. Overly carbonated in the mouth almost like a sprite that has been in the hot truck allday (I know that's a bad comparison as the sprite would be flat as hell but it feels about the same on the tounge). Highly drinkable despite its poor mouthfeel. I must say far better than any BMC out there.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 03:52:50 | More by kittywamp
Photo of CervezaMesa


4.93/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wisconsin's Finest beer and my favorite of all time! Its a little expensive but all worth it! I'm from North Illinois and we go to the border of Wis. to get this beer! The bros would die for this!

Corn taste, light body, best aroma ever for a beer and goes down real nice!

I have let all my friends try this beer and not one has said one bad thing about it! Cheers New Glarus Brewery for this wonderful beer!

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 17:56:02 | More by CervezaMesa
Photo of irishgurl4


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

Thanks to oreo for this. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

Pours a beautiful hazy gold with a minimal head that quickly retreats to the sides of the glass and loafs lazily on the surfaces.

Smells grainy and fruity. Just gave it a little swirl and it kinda reminded be of a dry white wine in a way.

Taste is fruity but nicely balanced by malt and hops (they're totally hidden but I know the little buggers are in there!). I definitely get the touch of corn in the finish/aftertaste.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It's nicely carbonated but maybe a little on the thin side in terms of body.

Very drinkable beer. This is definitely a warm summer day beer or a pizza beer. Today is warm and I'm eating pizza. Win!

Overall this beer is pretty good and I have to give it a noms up.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2010 01:13:04 | More by irishgurl4
Photo of boyfromthenorth


5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just had this smuggled in from Wisco and love it. Now, I get it . Their other beers are more unique and will get more accolades but this beer is fantastic. Sorry Oberon , can't touch this. This is so well balanced and yes, so funny to think that corn might add something unique but it might. Once banned from micros this adjunct imparts something unique. I wish one of the Michigan Micros would make something like this.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2011 16:18:35 | More by boyfromthenorth
Photo of AmyfaceNYC

New York

3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer is apparently only available in Wisconsin and seems to be beloved in the Great Lakes states. I really enjoyed it. It had a smooth, simple taste of farmhouse grains--easy drinking, not too fancy. I didn't really pick up any of the fruitiness the label mentioned. It was full-bodied with a well-balanced flavor. Somehow exactly how I would want a beer from a brewery in a tiny town in Wisconsin to taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 00:47:05 | More by AmyfaceNYC
Photo of Magery


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

This is a very good beer out of Wisconson. It is a great beer for a Saturday or Sunday full of buddies and football. I actually had this when my dad had tried it at a restaraunt when he was teaching a seminar at the University of Wisconson and thought I would like it and brought it back for me. Unfortunately I only get it once a year, but it is definately something I look forward to.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2004 22:52:20 | More by Magery
Photo of ManicD


3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From sampler 12 pack, bottle stamped 2486. Poured into a pint glass.

Pale orange/yellow cloudy appearance.

A white foamy disappeared almost immediately & left no lacing.

The beer has a pleasant orange citrus smell.

Very light flavors of sweet corn & strawberry bubble gum, orange/lemon with grassy hops. A bit sweet. Medium-light carbonation.

A refreshing and enjoyable brew if you're in the mood for this style.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 22:50:48 | More by ManicD
Photo of Joeynocturnum

New Jersey

2.63/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Received as an extra in a trade for some Belgian Red and some Raspberry Tart.

A- Golden yellow and cloudy one finger head.

S- Nothing really stood out, smelled similiar to an American pilsner.

T- Bland I was expecting more from this beer, nothing stood out. Maybe a little bit of hops but mostly a taste of wheat.

M- Nothing great here, not overly carbonated.

D- This was not palatable, it ended up as a drain pour. This was not drinkable for me, at least not tonight.

During the week I usually only drink one beer per night. This was the beer I cracked... took two sips maybe three and realize it was not worthy of being the one. Cracked open a Sinebrechoff Porter which was excellent and all is right in the world.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2010 02:52:46 | More by Joeynocturnum
Photo of beerguy04


3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a-grainy yellow with a light white head
s- a corny and hoppy smell with traces of other fruity aromas
t- i'd have to say a lot like how it tastes a hoppy taste with a slight fruity aftertaste
m and d- nice and creamy. goes down real good.

overall i'd say its not the best NG beer however, its nice to have over a macro brew when at the bar. and since its a lighter micro brew its a good first beer for those looking at other alternatives to macros.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2010 13:22:58 | More by beerguy04
Photo of TripT


4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites, this is a real quencher on hot summer days. Like others, I get the corn thing and the bread thing, and I guess I detect a hint of grassiness. To me, the overall appeal of this brew is that it's smooth and refreshing. It's not complex and it doesn't need to be.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2010 15:50:33 | More by TripT
Photo of Keeton


4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A close friend brought me this one from a friend of a friend out of Wisconsin with some pretty high expectations. I had heard of the spotted cow but this was my first sip.

I'm not sure about calling this beer a cream ale but I think I might of called it a pale but that's not my job.

I thought the nose and flavor worked perfect and matched the appearances well. light and refreshing but full flavor.

by the end of this delight I had several notes and all I was thinking was , how can I reproduce this beer. I will be spending some great time trying down the ingredients in this beer

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 06:03:57 | More by Keeton
Photo of olacub


3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice cloudy pour, small head that dissipates fast.

S: Grass, ripe oranges and a slight nuttiness that pokes through.

T: Light, but with a generous dose of citrus and bready malt. Very refreshing on an August afternoon.

M: Smooth and creamy.

D: Very drinkable. I could finish many of these sitting by the lake on a hot Summer day.

I know this beer gets ripped by some, but for what it is, I think it's very well made.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 19:37:15 | More by olacub
Photo of mbatley


3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris and Marcie for this one!

Pour true to the labeling with a cloudy, yellowy tint. Small head that lasted for only a little bit. Nice aroma of faint lemon, hops and a slight sweetness on the back end--faint but there.

Taste was good but I kept wanting more from it. Good flavors but only three/quarters of what I wanted. Glad it was a gift because I wouldn't buy again.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2007 01:00:45 | More by mbatley
Photo of DKight


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

Received from a friend who lives in Wisconsin, since this beer is all but impossible to find in Indianapolis.

Served in bottle.

For an ale it is very good. Perfect amount of malt to make it drinkable, yet set it apart from most ales I have drank. I prefer malty beers, and this is one of my favorite light malt beers.

Not much head when poured out of bottle, color is nothing special. Very drinkable and smooth, especially for a non-light beer. For anyone wanting to get into craft/micro-brews this is the beer for you.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 19:06:31 | More by DKight
Photo of gtp537


3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A very well done beer. I can see why it is an institution in Wisconsin. The beer pours a bit hazy, with a good amount of carbonation. The flavors linger on the tongue after a sip for only a moment. Overall, quite refreshing. This beer will drink well on a hot summer's day.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 01:14:22 | More by gtp537
Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.