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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Educational use only; do not reuse.

738 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 738
Hads: 3,120
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 6.61%
Wants: 235
Gots: 694 | FT: 18
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: 738 | Hads: 3,120
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 brewerburgundy
3.17/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, Bruery tulip, no freshness dating, and a thoughtful extra from Shango42.

Quite yellow in color, this beer looks bright and crisp. A head almost failed to form, though clean white bubbles ended up covering the top as the pour finished, quickly receding to a ring of large diameter bubbles.

The nose is rife with sweet corn and Pils malt like an all malt lager with just a little ale fruitiness, but also a lager-like cracker.

Flavor is right on the aroma's heels; sweet corn and elusive leafy hop. All is clean and unblemished other than I know New Glarus can do more.

The mouthfeel does find a sweet spot between tight, active bubbles and fizzing, light and substance.

While obviously executed excellently, Spotted Cow seems like a dumbed down craft beer. It reminds me very much of Simpler Times Pilsner from Minhas that can be had for $2.99/6 at Trader Joe's. (883 characters)

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.17/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this one before in a bottle and wasn't too impressed. At Applebees for a birthday party this looked like the best thing available. Pours a golden body with a small white head with okay retention and no lacing. Smells sweet with lots of cereal grain along with fruitiness. Taste is about the same as the smell, the hops add a small amount of bitterness but grain and fruitiness are still the dominant flavors. Strong carbonation that doesn't show in the appearance, almost too bubbly for me, got distracted from the taste. Pretty drinkable though, however not being a huge fan of the flavor I wouldn't drink a ton. (617 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.16/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A strangely cloudy yellow beer. Makes good head and retains though. Interesting funkiness to the beer, maybe its the rural Wisconsin thing, but it smells farmish.

Taste, unique as well, went from mild and easy to drink to having a recognizable presence of lemon and bitterness that migrated into minimal sweetness. At no time does it get challenging to drink but is appreciable for what it is. A suitable entry level beer. (424 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.16/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from the basement cooler.. brought home from coworkers who were in Minnesota earlier this year.. this is my last one.

Poured into my New Belgium goblet.. very pretty light gold.. good lacing and a 1" head.

Smell is clean.. low pale malts and an aroma that I can't put a finger on.

"Tastes like beer." Lingering maltiness with a very minimal sourness.. A slight corn flavor that is not offensive just present. Descent body and effervescent carbonation.. really pretty drinkable.

Spotted cow reminds me of a big-boned PBR... Nothing to Mooo about, but if it was available in Boise, I would probably still pick up a few every summer just to have around when I wanted something quaffable when working in the yard. (718 characters)

Photo of dancinwillie
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As part of my New Year's Resolution to review all NG's beers, might as well start with their flagship. I've had this beer many times, but not lately, and I hope to review it with an open mind.

Pours blonde and fizzy, with an almost nonexistent white head. Nothing special here.

Aroma is a bit more promising. Some yeast fruitiness, and a lot of (what I assume to be) that corn sweetness.

Taste, is pretty good really. Sweet, to be sure, but the yeast is really there as well. Some discreet lemon, and a very restrained funk, but not bad at all. A quaffable beer, to be sure.

Mouthfeel is thin, but for what this beer is, it works. Semi-dry finish, with a little of the aftertaste.

Overall drinkability, would be low for me in my everyday, drink whatever I want home life, but as far as going out to bars in Wisconsin, this beer is EVERYWHERE. If I'm ever at a bar, and they have nothing I want, they ALWAYS have this. And this is always better than most Macro Lagers, and least to me. A good beer for what it is. Wouldn't it be awesome if Dan released an Unplugged Imperial Spotted Cow?!!?? Anyway, Cheers.

Edit: I forgot one thing I really wanted to say. Drinking this beer from time to time is a good thing to do, because it pays the bills, making it easier for New Glarus to brew the award winning beers we all love so very much. Such a small price to pay... (1,368 characters)

Photo of beveritt
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label depicts a cow jumping over Wisconsin and mentions the use of flaked barley, malts, and corn. Described as "fruity and satisfying".

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, honey-colored yellow with no head whatsoever. Several streams of bubbles coming up.

Smell: Strong bubblegum and fruit smell.

Taste: Smooth and creamy, without the overpowering "cheap" flavor you often get with corn used as an adjunct. Almost no discernible bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to above average carbonation level, as expected from the style. Good body.

Drinkability: Not one I thought I would like, based on the characteristics of the style, but this is, as usual, another quality beer from New Glarus. (785 characters)

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12-15-19
Cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Cloudy dark yellow, 1/2 finger of foam, very little carbonation but is present

S - Smell citrus notes, more hop aroma then malt

T - Light bodied brew, heavy on the malt aftertaste even though I couldn't pick it out as much. Sweet tasting

M/D - A decent brew but not too overpowering except for the malty aftertaste, Pretty light on the tongue. I could indulge myself with more than 1 at a sitting. The brew didn't blow me away but enough to have me come back for more (524 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 objectivemonkey
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a orangish straw gold with a half finger of head that lasts about 7 seconds, and little bubbles sticking to the glass which lend to the nice carbonated yet creamy mouth, but a little odd for looks. Not much aroma, grassy and malty with some corn, just enough to barely detect. Taste is a little odd, sweet malts are evident, but there is this wierd tart fruit in there, though I couldn't quite pin it down. Honestly, not really impressed by this beer, nor can I understand its populartiy. Oh well, more for you 'Sconnies. (527 characters)

Photo of jar2574
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There's nothing wrong with this beer but nothing outstanding either. It pours with a thin head and a yellow color. Not much smell to speak of. It's a very mellow beer, pretty smooth. Nothing noticeable in the taste. No hops to speak of, some malts I suppose, but very muted. Mouthfeel is smooth and drinkability is high. You could have several. A good inoffensive session beer. (377 characters)

Photo of tatoodkelt
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a load a buddy visiting from Chicago brought with him. He raves about this one and I havent had a cream ale in years so here goes...

Consumed 9/4/09- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Pale yellow, lightly hazy with a fluffy white two finger head. Virtually no lacing other than a ring around the glass. Little streamers of carbination.

S- Light fruits and a mild malt presence.

T- Grassy, corn, lightly toasted malt, very faintly hopped. no one flavor stood out but it seemed nicely balanced.

M- Very creamy and smooth, carbination was hardly noticable.

D- Pretty easy to drink, would make a great session beer. Nothing really that flipped my switch but I'm glad I tried it. (714 characters)

Photo of orfeu
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as part of a mixed sixer trade with the mighty nflmvp -- big thanks, Steve! I really like the brewers' claim on the label that this is a "Wisconsin farmhouse ale". Seems as appropriate an appellation as any for a Cream Ale brewed with corn and flaked barley. Pours a hazy golden color with an active, short-lived, snow white head. Nothing too complex in the aroma: soured bready grains with a bit of grassy hop scent on top of a slightly sweet-smelling caramel malt quality. Sort of like an uninspired Pale Ale. Earthy bready flavors become apparent at first sip, rounding out into a sweetish malt taste punctuated with mildly spicy and grassy hops. Candy corn and vanilla sweetness arrives at the finish, highlighting the sort of sticky mouthfeel of this beer. Medium body seems a little thick for the flavor profile, thereby setting back the drinkability. Certainly not a bad beer, and I get the sense that it pays many of the bills so that we can enjoy such world class offerings as the Wisconsin Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. Nothing I'd seek out again, but certainly happy for the opportunity to have tried it. (1,126 characters)

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap, served in a pint

Appears a pale golden color with a milky body. A frothy off white cap bubbled up and receded rather slowly.

Toasted grains and undercooked white bread hit me off the bat with some tropical fruits quickly in tow.

Very dry and crisp. Light bodied with a residual sweetness. Flavor profile is similar to the smell. Toasted grains and doughy yeast with a juicy fruit sweetness.

Very easy to drink, low abv. Easily sessionable, however I am not a huge fan of the flavor profile. (502 characters)

Photo of vishneda
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a mug.

Pours out looking like a very thin beer. The color is a light pale yellow with moderate cloudiness. There is a thick foam head about a half finger thick which quickly fades. No lacing.

The aroma up front is like juicy fruit, even out of the bottle. A very sugary smell. A small hint of herbal hops and maybe a little sourness from the yeast, but this is very light. Pretty pedestrian on the overall scent.

The flavor is not as sweet as the aroma would lead you to believe. Now it does have sweetness, and there really isn't an awful lot of bitterness to balance that out. However, there's just not a great deal of flavor going on here. There is some substance to the overall blend; juicy fruit flavors with hints of yeast and corn and maybe a touch of grassy herbs. However, the overall impression I got was that it was a watery beer.

I'll give it this -- Spotted Cow is drinkable. I can imagine it as a great lawnmower beer. The watery profile and light body help it go down easy, and the mild carbonation makes it feel pretty smooth. If the brewery set out to make an easy going beer with broad appeal I believe it hit the mark with this beer. (1,182 characters)

Photo of palliko
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is a typical pale fizzy beer, not much foam. Aroma is citrusy, tart but mild. Initial taste has minimal hops and malt, some fruit, in the middle, but the finish is crisp and clean. No great shakes, but a decent beer for a hot afternoon. This was a gift shipped from Wisconsin to Colorado, and I am grateful for a chance to taste the products from another state. (372 characters)

Photo of popery
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to deliriumfest for tihs beer.

There just isn't enough going on with this beer for me. Everything about it is so light and airy. It's not bad looking, but it's very light, mildly hazy. The head dissipated rather quickly. The aroma is a tad lemony and a lot of light malt. The flavor is even tamer. I don't hate it, and it's possible that this beer is quite good very fresh. It's certainly not a bad beer. I would have preferred it served a bit colder, and it's certainly not difficult to drink. There are no real off flavors. I don't know if corn is as an adjunct grain in this beer, but it has a similar bland favor to corn. (633 characters)

Photo of rkinsella
3.14/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Light hazy straw color. Poured into a "beer clean" glass with a proper pour...very little head, and gone in just a couple minutes.
Almost no lacing.

Smell had a little grain, a little malt sweetness, bit of fruit, but very little of anything else.

Taste was slightly better than average. Way on the light side. Subtle sweetness, minimal hops. The part I liked the least was the seltzer water like finish.

Mouthfeel was decent, medium carbonation.

Very drinkable, and on the right day, it could be very refreshing. I've just had much better beers from New Galrus. I'm a little surprised this is their flagship. I really wanted to like it. But just average to me. (666 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew pours a clear straw color. The head is two-fingers in heigth and recedes rather quickly into sparce lacing. The aroma is of yeast, and corn. The taste is not unlike the aroma, very corny. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and is somewhat silky. Overall, this beer isn't bad, but I don't see why so many people think it is so great. (363 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An easy drinking, pleasant enough light ale (quite lager tasting) with an underlying character of corn throughout.

The appearance starts with a medium froathy pour, releasing a light but dense white head with good retention and light lacing. The beer carries a modest haze.

Aromas of light crackers, wetted grains, wheat-like malt, and creamed corn. Herbal and grassy hops play lightly in the background. Lightly sulfury.

Flavors of corn, raw barley, and grain husk round out in a lager-like way. A bit more rich, the beer has a briney, yeasty taste that keeps the grassy hops in check. Finishes with that unmistakable corn taste.

Creamy and almost rich, the beer holds onto its weight until the very last second when the hop bitterness ushers in a mild crisp and dry finish.

Because Cream Ales are supposed to have a corn-like character, this beer fares reasonably well. But it's one of those mystery beers that have a cult following by swill drinkers who think they have the best beer in the world. (1,006 characters)

Photo of Holland
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: straw color with a thin head that continues to reproduce itself all the time.

S: sweet malt smell, slightly acidic

T: sweet malt, slightly acidic like the smell, and has a great light malty aftertaste.

M: best part - it somehow feels creamy and crisply carbonated at the same time.

O: not complex, but it's well made. There aren't any flaws in it. Thanks to Treebs for the extra. (389 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale straw yellow, slight cloudiness with two finger white frothy head. Good lacing.

Smell is yeasty and bread like.

Tastes lightly like fresh yeast, light and clean. Some wheat taste. Like a light hefeweitzen. Not a much flavor going on here. Slightly, dare I say, watery.

Medium carbonation, thin feeling.

Light easy to drink beer. With the lack of flavor here, not something that I would want to drink very often.

This is not my style of beer so maybe their are some better options out there, but I can live without this one ever again. (552 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
3.12/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A Golden yellow pale color. A frothy foam of yellowish head stuck to one side of the glass. Not stick or lacing.

S - A sweet corny smell jumps out with faint fruity elements.

T - This is a crisp and clean brew that drinks more like a session lager. Nothing really special about it so I'm surprised it was so highly acclaimed.

O - Meh. I'll pass next time. (363 characters)

Photo of OddNotion
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade, thanks syrupjoe!

Appearance: Poured into my DFH Signature Glass. A one half finger white head appears and very quickly recedes into a light lacing around the glass. Under the head is a straw colored opaque liquid. Nothing out of this world.

Smell: Not impressed at all on my first inhalation. It is grainy and reminds me of Bud Light. I sincerely hope that it gets better as the beer warms and I will rate accordingly. As it warms I catch a little bit of fruitiness but a grainy scent still owns the smell.

Taste: Much more appealing than the smell. I was worried that this beer would not be good. However, this beer is nice and light and fruity. Reminds me of a kolsch, a good kolsch at that. Very sessionable beer. The grains from the smell do transfer over to the taste.

Mouthfeel: While the carbonation is not over the top by any means the mouthfeel of this beer is almost like a soda. Very strong almost burning tingle. A little thin but that is expected for the style.

Overall: It is good. Worth a try, I feel like I say that about 90% of the beers I drink. Nothing out of this world but I am glad I had the chance to try a New Glarus offering. Much better than any macro, however it does remind me of an adjunct lager, which I guess is expected given the description of the style. (1,325 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.11/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is straw colored, just like my lawn. A large white head was on top, but it settled to a thin skim.

S - I get some grain and grass. It reminds me of an American adjunct.

T - It has a lot of those adjunct qualities in the taste as well.

M - It has a certain creaminess to it.

O - I was excited to try a New Glarus beer; however, this is not one to be excited about. (419 characters)

Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 738 ratings.