Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Spotted CowSpotted Cow

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729 Reviews
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Reviews: 729
Hads: 3,071
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 13.5%
Wants: 234
Gots: 646 | FT: 16
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: 729 | Hads: 3,071
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)

Photo of spottedcowman
4.8/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer, as you can see by my username is my all time favorite. I live about 80 mi. south of the Wisconsin line, and go to Woodman's right across the line on 94 at least once a month to get a couple of sixers. Introduced to it originally on tap, and was hooked immediately. The taste and drinkability are one of a kind, even with the hint of corn, it seems to actually accentuate the taste, which is unlike all of the other corn-fed macrobrews out there. The cloudiness and small amount of yeast make it appealing to the eyes, as well. I guess if it is any consolation, its a good thing that I have to drive to get it, otherwise I would be broke and drunk all of the time with this brew around. Cheers! (704 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a lightly hazy pale golden color with a very thin white head. No real lacing. Aroma of hops, fruit and grain. Light-bodied and crisp, with some corn taste. There are also hops and malt flavors. The finish is clean and lightly fruity. Not a bad Cream Ale. (267 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brightly foggy lemon-gold with ethereal swirls of liquid smoke. The soft, yet dense, head of bone white foam displays a rumpled, hummocked surface interspersed with divots as the larger bubbles burst. A small amount of wispy white lace finds its way to the glass.

Spotted Cow smells distressingly like a macro lager with sweetish grain as the focal point. It must be that 'little hint of corn' as noted proudly on the label. The nose isn't offensive, not even a little, but neither does it thrill me or make me excited about tipping the glass up. Let's hope the flavor picks up the ball and takes off running.

The flavor has indeed picked up the ball... and sets off at a slow limp. This is interesting beer to say the least. It tastes like a much more flavorful, sweeter version of a BMC lager in ale form. I've had a few other cream ales and none of them tasted like this; not that I can recall at least. It is nicely malted in a untoasted pale malt kind of way.

Again, sweet grain is dominant and is coupled with a mild fruitiness, although I may be reaching on the fruit. There's very little hop presence, either in terms of flavor or bitterness, just as the style demands. The finish is short and sweet and the mouthfeel is characterized by under-the-radar carbonation. Might this be a malt liquor in low-ABV disguise?

Spotted Cow is a rather unique brew. I imagine that New Glarus sells a lot of it, but as we all know, there's no correlation between popularity and quality (except, in many instances, an inverse correlation). I don't hate The Cow, but I don't really like it either. Thanks all the same to Skidz for the bottle. (1,646 characters)

Photo of Redrover
3.42/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown longneck with no freshness dating.

The beer pours a hazy darkish yellow. Nice initial head the completely disappears and does not even leave a skimming. No lacing either.

The smell reminds me of a souped-up lager more than an ale. Lots of grainy aroma (corn) and not much else. Still it smells fresh and clean.

The taste is slightly sweet and a bit fruity. Nothing bad, just nothing that leaps out either. The fruit reminds me of plum and bit of mango. Stays sweet as you work through the glass.

Low levels of carbonation, I think they could elevate this a bit and improve the beer. Still a very easy drinking beer that is easy to pair with anything except spicy food.

If I’m going to have a Cream Ale from Southern Wisconsin, I would seek out the offering from City Brewery before this one. However, I will not pass this one up if offered. (873 characters)

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
2.82/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy, yeast-induced hazy apple juice in color. Precisely zero head at all. F-L-A-T. Aromas of fruits mixed with some sweet corn. Flavor is rather bland. There's some citric sweetness up front, followed by a soft caramel note, and ends with a sour note. Thin mouthfeel and the strangest thing at the very end: it was as if someone just flipped off the taste switch. Just like that...everything disappears on the palate. Odd. Not very drinkable as it really did nothing for me.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this bottle. (522 characters)

Photo of Magery
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of Brian700
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a straw yellow. The nose on this beer is respectable in that it is original and somehow seems to tie it right in to Wisconsin with its corn-like and grainy aroma. Imagine a good "drinking all night" beer that was just a little creamier than usual. It is lightly carbonated but that doesn't seem to take anything away from its mouthfeel. Overall I think its a good beer but it's nothing to be disappointed about if they don't sell at your local grocier. (468 characters)

Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 729 ratings.