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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Educational use only; do not reuse.

736 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 736
Hads: 3,112
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 13.5%
Wants: 235
Gots: 686 | FT: 17
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 736 | Hads: 3,112
Photo of soulgrowl
3.49/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (1,025 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (964 characters)

Photo of slyke
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (1,089 characters)

Photo of aquatonex
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (465 characters)

Photo of ryantupy
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (274 characters)

Photo of HopHeadKen
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (497 characters)

Photo of unklesyd
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
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! (910 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (353 characters)

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.92/5  rDev +8%
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. (1,372 characters)

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
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. (912 characters)

Photo of jimbotrost
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (298 characters)

Photo of battlekow
3.34/5  rDev -8%
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. (880 characters)

Photo of longarm
3.09/5  rDev -14.9%
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. (509 characters)

Photo of beveragecaptain
2.55/5  rDev -29.8%
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? (413 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (699 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (436 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
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! (625 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dogbrick for giving me a chance to try this beer.

Presentation: Bottle states that it gives a nod to Wisconsin farmers by adding a hint of corn...I am afraid. Otherwise a standard 12 oz. twist off bottle poured into my Cubbies pint glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy yellow color with a sudsy white cap. Carbonation cascades through the body. I remain afraid as the appearance is quite macro-like.

Smell: Yeasty funk with a touch of orange or coriander. A touch of sweet corn and some cloves. Kind of leaning towards "Belgian-like" in it's smell. Now I am encouraged.

Taste: Mild notes of citrus, coriander, orange peel, yeast, and a touch of biscuits and grain. Nothing overpowering and it seems to blend together very nicely.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and prickly due to the carbonation and hints of clove and coriander.

Drinkability: This is a quaffer's delight! It went down great after my workout. Certainly wouldn't make this a regular but it is smooth, easy drinking. A finely crafted and not "over the top" beer.

Thanks again to Dogbrick and I look forward to other's from New Glarus (1,120 characters)

Photo of redmosquito
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice golden straw color with almost no head, even after a slight shake in an attempt to rouse carbonation. The aroma is malty, bready and creamy, then yeasty, fruit and spice. The flavor is sweet malt, wheatlike in nature, and the yeast has some really nice character. I don’t think I would classify this as a cream ale. The beer is very bitter at all which may result from the additional sweetness provided by the undercarbonation. Overall this is a good easy drinking summer beer, that I would like to re-rate when I have one that is fully carbonated. (562 characters)

Photo of Dithyramb
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Milky, pale straw appearance with no head. Very slight hints of lacing on the side and no carbonation within the brew itself. Appeared pretty limp for a bottle conditioned brew.
Lemon and farm funk aroma.
From the description on the bottle and the smell, I thought originally that this would be a saison. Flavor didn't match. After looking it up, it does seem to fit very well with the classic cream ale. Basically, no hops in there to speak of, with a sedate malt profile. Flavors of citrus, wet paper, and dry popcorn.

Mouthfeel was light, with no harshness, but not smooth and creamy either. It should have possibly been sampled during the hot summer months. This would probably work better as a lawnmower brew.

Drinkability gets an average. I wouldn't knock people over to try it, but I wouldn't shun it either. (824 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy golden, almost looks like a shandy. Small dull white head appears then poof . . it's gone.
Aroma is sweet and sugary, with some corn, pale malt, grassy hints and definite lemony notes.
Flavor is dominated by a citrus sugary taste that increases as it progresses through the palate. Light grass notes also shine through.
Mouthfeel is medium to light with lots of carbonation to glide the sweetness through. Very flowery hop with no discernible bitterness.
Drinkable but almost seems like a wheat better suited for a hot summer day rather than a cold winter night. (577 characters)

Photo of clvand0
2.88/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this one. I like the name. This one poured a clean yellow color then took on a lot of cloudiness because my dumb ass didn't realize it was bottle conditioned. Oh well, I don't mind some yeasties. Small head that dies off quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass. The aroma was very subtle, but had a slight grassy and grainy character. Not what I was hoping for. The flavor wasn't what I was hoping for either. There is very little, if any, of the cream character I'm used to from other brands of cream ales. It has a slightly tart citrus thing going on (lemon?) and that same grainy feel from the aroma. Not so much my thing here. (662 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
3.22/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've had this before, but its been over a year. It pours a slightly hazy yellow color with a small ring of head. The nose is somewhat lemony, a little grainey. The flavor is pretty weak, with a slight zesty lemon and honey in there, but the flavors are really just weak. The feel is smooth and creamy, ith a slight carb. Not a bad beer by any means, but far inferior to anything else I have had from this brewery. (413 characters)

Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.