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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Educational use only; do not reuse.

747 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 747
Hads: 3,159
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 28.77%
Wants: 243
Gots: 726 | 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: 747 | Hads: 3,159
Photo of Jnashed
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

12oz bottle poured into a Samual smith glass

A) light yellow, clean . Initial frothy head that quickly dissipates.

S) slight fruit and a slight sour smell

T) crisp, slightly fruity . Yeasty with lots of pleasing malt overtones. Like a good piece of sourdough bread. Except lighter and crisper

M) creamy wonderful feel. Moderate carbs. Really nice.

O) solid satisfying beer. If you want a crisp but complex beer on a summers day but are not into Gose or something like that, this is the way to go.


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Photo of sth550
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. $7.50/6 pack at Copp's grocery store.

Appearance: Big, white head when first poured gives way to a thin lacing and a translucent copper color. Looks like a typical American Lager only richer.

Aroma: Malty and a hint of citrus and hops. Very clean and refreshing smell.

Taste: Pretty light for a craft beer but the taste is similar to the smell: Malts, yeast, grain, and some citrus and hops. According to the label there's a touch of corn added to the mix as well, but it's hard to detect. This is probably the best-tasting beer I've had with this light of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy; after all, it is a cream ale. Light carbonation going down. The creaminess enhances the sweet malty flavors and it finishes clean and refreshing.

Overall: Definitely my go-to beer when in Wisconsin. It tastes great and is very easy to drink while being leaps and bounds above most American Lagers, including New Glarus' own Totally Naked. The relatively low ABV also allows you to have more than one without too much effect.

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Photo of higherbrow
4/5  rDev +9.6%

For a Wisconsite, Spotted Cow is the default craft beer. It is easy pleasing, and very accessible, with a very clean flavor. While this is rarely any beer enthusiast's favorite beer, as most beer enthusiasts lean towards a more robust style, this is my favorite beer to provide to a broad audience of beer enthusiasts, beer drinkers, and beer novices alike.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.3/5  rDev -9.6%

From notes on 12/5/13

I’ve always thought this was a nice gateway beer. I know many people in Wisconsin who would say this is there first full flavor beer. Overall, I think it is pretty good. Pours like a normal lager. Golden in color. Big white head. The aroma is kind of yeasty and citrus fruits. Fairly bitter tasting. Really has flavor all around the tongue. Would recommend anyone visiting the south west area of Wisconsin to not only visit the New Glarus Brewery, but also the town itself, as it is a charming Swiss like town.

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Photo of stakem
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. The brew appears a clear pale yellow color with a white cap leaving spotty lace.

The smell is quite muted but very faint citrus emerges along with some bready grain across the back.

The flavor is somewhat sweet and bready with an alcohol fruity ester to break up the monotone character.

This is light bodied and boasts moderate levels of carbonation. An easy drinking brew and just ok per style. No thrills, forgetable beer but serves a purpose for the flavor challenged drinker.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.41/5  rDev +20.8%

Appearance: Pours with a bold yellow color with some light accents of orange. Half a finger of very rich head on the pour which was regenerated while drinking. Active carbonation is spot on for the style. Rich rings of lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: Sweet malts with accents of biscuit and dough jump out right away. Touches of orange peel and lime dance ever so lightly on the edges of the aroma. Refreshing barley and grains liven up the back end. Butter, cream, and light toffee pull this beer full circle.

Taste: That flaked barley is really what sets this beer off on the right foot. Creamy, decadent grains pack a rounded flavor on the front of the palate. Light fruity hops greet the drinker mid body then are washed away by continuous waves of sweet malts. Some grassy hops clean off the palate and balanced malt on the back end just keep you coming back for more.

Mouthfeel: Easily one of the most drinkable beers out there. Sweet malts and bright buttery texture are balanced out by some crisp hop notes. Carbonation is everything it should be.

Overall: This used to be a beer I mocked due to its folklore-ish type popularity. But now approaching it with an open mind, it is easy to see why this is such a popular beer by the masses, and should be equally popular with geeks. A perfectly executed cream ale should be highly drinkable with creamy decadent malts and a splash of hops, which is exactly what the cow brings. No longer will I discredit this beer because everyone loves it, which was a ridiculous thing to do in the first place, but instead enjoy it often for its truly wonderful characteristics.

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Photo of UnionMade
3/5  rDev -17.8%

If this weren't in a New Glarus bottle, I'd assume it was a local brew like Grain Belt. A little darker in color, with way better head retention. The lightness and malt favor of the corn is readily apparent, and drinks as such. I kinda hate to say it, given how awesome New Glarus is, but I got a lot of High Life/PBR similarities from this one. Appearance is awesome, but falls short on flavor.

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Photo of Zach136
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed 7/1/14, reviewed from notes.

A - Slight hazy, gold body and a thin white head (4.00)

S - Bready with a hint of earthy/spicy farmhouse esters. (4.00)

T - More peppery-spice ester character. Light toasted malt, little-to-no hop character unless i'm mistaking some of the yeast esters (4.25)

M - Vibrant carbonation and light body makes for an extremely drinkable brew (4.25)

O - A truly well put together beer, I see why it's so popular in Wisconsin. (4.20)

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Photo of bubseymour
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

So my newest recruit as an eager young beer nerd into my inner sanctum of beer nerdery had his mother mule this beer back from Wisconsin all the way to Ohio, where he made the beer exchange and then he continued to mule the beer back to Maryland for sampling. I made him a good injun trade for a few Wisconsin brews (some world class beers and future home brews).

So on to the beer review (my first experience of anything New Glarus):

Appearnance is pretty solid. Nice light pale orange that borderlines on yellow but with a hazy, semi-translucent murkiness. Nice 2 finger milky head that holds retention fairly well. Excellent lacing on the glass.

Smell is quite delightful. Sweet and creamy. No noticeable hop presence.

Best way to describe the taste is smooth and "like butter". Slight sweetness and very malty. Carbonation is very light and the finish is very refreshing. Some lingering aftertaste that is a touch off is only way I can describe it.

Mouthfeel is usual something I don't count or consider much but this beer is truly about mouthfeel. Its slides down so easily and smooth and feels like butter on the toungue.

Overall - I truly can understand why this beer is the staple go-to beer in the state of Wisconsin. Its nothing over the top but easily any BMC drinker could switch to this one as well as be appreciated by craft beer nerds as well. I wish every state had a similar, fresh, local go-to beer of this caliber. Makes me want to go on a road trip to Cheese-head country.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled this evening on 8/6/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner flute glass.

Pours a hazy golden in color with a thin white head that settles down to just along the sides of the glass. A good amount of lacing was seen that stuck to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of sweet bread for the most part with a hint of hops. More going on with the taste of white bread, with some malt and a hint of floral and corn. Perfect carbonation and medium bodied. Easy to drink and goes down easy with no harsh or bitter aftertaste. A good brew!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(on tap at Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar - served in a pilsner glass)

A: poured to the very top, so without much foam... the color is a light khaki, liquid a good bit hazy, with what appears to be a some sediment floating about

S: bit of a nutty, toasted oat bouquet... no fruitiness, no hops of note... clean, woodsy note from the yeast

T: oat cookie... not oatmeal cookie, with the raisins and spices and all - just a simple, lightly toasty, slightly doughy malt flavor - kinda like chewing on a basic, cereal-like American 2-row - or maybe even low-sweetened Life cereal... it's good! the flavors are very mellow and clean... I can't be certain, but I might've got some of the corn in the finish - a mild sort of cornmeal... any hop flavor, if present, is merely in the background, providing a spec of balance

M: very light and clean, kind of like an adjunct lager with a mild grainy grittiness... a body bordering on watery... mellow carbonation, no sizzle

O: BA calls this a "cream ale", NG calls this a "Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale" - I can see both points of view - the closest thing I could compare this to would be a zwickelbier, but without the lemony and grassy flavors and rounder, fuller body I often get with those... drink this like your ordinary, everyman lager - I like it for what it is, it stands out

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Photo of bwood06
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - slightly cloudy and gold in color. 1 1/2 finger head. head is thick and dissipates slowly.

S - some sweetness to the aroma. ever so slight hint of hops. main note is of oats.

T - tasting of bread (not toasted bread, just regular white bread). slightly sweet malty flavor. slightly floral. hint of corn as well.

M - moderately viscous but with a clean finish. really no lingering aftertaste.

O - easy to drink with a great feel in the mouth. would definitely buy again.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. At long last I have come to review the legendary New Glarus Spotted Cow. Acquired as part of the mixed variety twelve pack, and gifted to me from my mom.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Pours a crisp, lightly hazy straw yellow colored body with about a finger and a half of foamy white head. Leaves behind some nice spotty lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The nose doesn't have much to offer, but it is still fresh and pleasant smelling. Crisp, grainy, & wheaty.

T - The taste follows the nose - crisp grain / wheat, light corn / husk type presence.

M - Very easy drinking. Smooth, crisp, clean. Light-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, while it might not be the most complex of beers it is straight and to the point. A simple, pure, fresh, clean beer. Crisp, smooth, and refreshing. It's easy to see why this is the top rated 'cream ale' on BeerAdvocate. Would definitely drink much much more of this if it was more attainable to me.

New Glarus Spotted Cow ---4/5.

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Photo of AmericanPaleMale666
3.07/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A- little to no head and very minimal lacing, golden amber body that's cloudy but as the bottle says, this is presumably from "naturally occurring yeast left in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavor"

N - almost nonexistent sadly to say. I can pick up the yeast smell and subtle hops

M - light, carbonated, and a little creamy

T - kinda just tastes like a bud light.. I didn't pick up any complexity unfortunately

O - disappointed with this one but I still plan to make a trip to NG to try their sours and other brews

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Photo of rudzud
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice crystal clear golden yellow hue with a nice one finger white head that faded to leave creamy side lacing and a nice quarter inch blanket.

S - Aromas of light, sweet malts, lightly earthy hops, grains. Its actually pretty straight forward.

T - Taste is nice and sweet, good malts and grain base. Creaminess, faint corn flavour which is good, really really light fruity/floral/earthy hops going on. Very pleasant taste and well executed.

M - Mouthfeel is brightly carbonated, lightly creamy, super easy drinking.

O - Overall this was a solid representation of a cream ale. Only knock would be how lack luster the nose is.

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Photo of Beric
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into footed pilsner
Served: 4 July 2014

Appearance: Pours a pale, slightly hazy yellow with a huge two finger creamy white head. Huge carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass. Looks wonderful.

Smell: Doesn't smell like much. Sweet, sweet malts and a harsher earthy edge. Easily the least inspiring part of this beer.

Taste: Marvelous flavor for a beer that is supposed to be easy-drinking and not complicated. The beer has a sweet malt backbone, lightened by the use of corn but you can tell the corn is actually adding some reasonable amount of flavoring too, in a very good way. The beer has light hopping levels which adds just a pinch of flavor and bitterness on the back end. A very easy drinking beer that makes it wonderful to drink.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation with a light body.

Overall: If I needed a go-to summer beer, lawnmower beer, or party beer and lived in Wisconsin, I would buy nothing else. This beer is perfect for drinking in quantity when you want something lighter for yourself (and guests) and still be craft with decent flavor. A perfect beer for summer. Marvelous.

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Photo of Svyturys30
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great example of how a farmhouse ale should taste. I've had this beer probably a hundred times and enjoy it everytime. Has a color similar to shiner bock. As a nice foamy head that sticks to the sides of the glass and kelt recedes to the beer. When you smell it, it almost smells like a farm (corn stalks, hay, wheat)! When you have your first taste, I pick up hints of corn and a bit of hops to finish. Has a nice even texture when sliding off the back of your palate down your throat. Doesn't have any twist at the end, but a beer I like to drink on the back porch on an evening, while looking out at the lake. Would recommend this to anyone who likes farmhouse style beers. Cheers!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is light yellow with slight golden hues.

Smells like fresh wheat and the slightest hint of orange.

Taste is rather meh, but slight hints of wheat, malts, and cereal dominate this brew.

Mouthfeel is the only thing above average here. I can see why they call it a cream ale, very silky smooth, lightly carbonated but constantly fizzing head.

Overall an alright brew, would buy again but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clean yellow, with a beautiful virgin white head. Wispy, frilly lace. Lovely.

Nose is yeasty and malty.

Taste is sweet, malty and grainy. Hint of fruit is there, but it's subtle. This is well-done malt-forward cream ale, for sure. Very drinkable. Not a game changer, but a solid cream ale and better than many others I've had.

Fine session ale, here, yes.

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Photo of wnesseth01
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a growler
light yellow color, pretty clear, small head when first poured, very little retention with a very small amount of lacing

very light smell, dissipates quickly, grainy and slightly sweet, a little grassy

grain forward but not overly sweet, small amount of bitterness with no hop character, clean but still slightly fruity

a bit over carbonated, heavy mouth feel, nicely coats the tongue but not slick, finishes semi dry

overall this is a good beer, fits style nicely. I could drink a lot of this on a hot day but there really was nothing special that will keep me coming back

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Photo of BurdockBoy
3.02/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass. Not going to say a lot on this, except a little disappointed. Normally I love this brewery's beers, but this was just a little too bland and over carbonated for me. If you're used to more complex brews, please don't judge these guys on this one.

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Photo of kj8525
2.38/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A: gold with white head like a macro lager.

S: grassy not getting much else. Maybe a little grainy.

T: very average in the taste. A little bit of of sweetness up front. Otherwise grassy and watery taste. IMO pretty bland.

M: well carbonated but again watery

O: very average beer nothing too exciting here. If you like the macro stuff there isn't much deviation in this beer from those.

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Photo of AmyfaceNYC
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of Cozuma
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of ginsbus
1.44/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.5

This is a Wisconsin "classic" that brings shame to its state.

A - Yellowish, with a white head. This was the best part

S - Reminiscent of cleaning up after a party three days later. Stale malts.

T - Ever drink Budweiser? There ya go.

M - Clean, watery finish.

O - One of my least favorite beers. What's the hype about? I feel like it must be people who don't know beer that really just want to drink Milwaukee's best, but would like to feel classy at the same time. It's perfect for that.

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 747 ratings.