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Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 784 | Ratings: 3,338
Photo of Bootscraper
4.24/5  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.

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Photo of gdfan47
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ok wow here it goes... im finally drinking an NG thanks to..Onenote81 for the beer trade
And NG's flagship beer!

A- pours a nice cloudy yellowy orange with a little off white head and very nice lacing
S-Corn, malt, a little hops
T- yacht rock smooth, malty but not overly malty a touch of hops and a little corn in the finish
M- really very refreshing, not overly complex just smooth and cold, great carbonation
D- I really dig it, a great session beer im liking it now when its cold out but I would love to drink this all day when camping or hanging out... also a great great gateway beer for people wanting to get into craft beer

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
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...

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Photo of spointon
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy yellow gold with a 1/2" white head. The head sank to a 1/8" cap and left spotty lace down my glass.

S= Not a very pronounced aroma profile, but what I got was malty sweetness, raw bakery dough, and maybe some faint lemon.

T= Started sweet and pretty much stayed that way. Not much depth or character here, just a basic sweet malty brew with very little hop presence and no alcohol bite.

MF= Medium bodied (which was heavier than it looked and/or than I expected). Soft carbonation and lower alcohol gave this a smooth easy drinkability.

D= The smoothness and lower alcohol make this beer drinkable and ideal to session. I personally was not too enamoured of the flavor though, so I will not likely have this one again.

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Photo of prototypic
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This one pours a very light golden color. It's slightly hazy. The head is white, foamy, and about a finger and a half deep after a forceful pour. It dissipated quickly and left a very light, spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: The nose is underwhelming in terms of strength. There's just not a whole lot going on there. It is very earthy and grainy up front. It has an interesting vegetal scent that might be corn. There's a very light lemon scent that bumps it up a little above average. No hops are noted. Not surprisingly, alcohol is not noted either. Pretty ho-hum all around.

Taste: It's a little sweet on the first sip. It doesn't take long for a very strong grassy/grainy flavor to emerge. It's not a bad flavor, but isn't particularly good either. There is a relatively strong corn flavor present. Are we sure this isn't a lager? A very light citrus lemon is present. It's a very welcome flavor and tastes nice in this sea of averageness. That's perhaps its saving grace. Actually there's a toasted malt flavor that pops up afterward that saves it. No hop flavor is apparent. Alcohol is nowhere in the neighborhood. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and has a decently smooth feel. Carbonation is active, yet it retains a smooth feel. Drinkability is okay, but not exactly good. The flavor just isn't quite good enough to draw you back for more.

New Glarus really didn't impress me with this one. It's extremely reminiscent of a lager. I haven't had many cream ales, but I don't recall my prior experiences being similar to this. It's above averaage, but not by much. Suffice it to say it could use a lot of work in all areas. I wouldn't say it's worth seeking out.

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Photo of younger35
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up some of this at Woodman's in Kenosha. Gotta love New Glarus! Drank from my Port pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a light semi chill hazed yellow with a nice one finger creamy bright white head. Leaves a decent cap and collar along with a bit of lacing.
Smell- Fairly citrusy and doughy with hints of lemon zest, tangerine and light banana. The corn mentioned on the bottle does add a bit of familiar sweetness to the nose that only maize can lend. Nothing too exciting or mind blowing but a bit better than some other reviews leave you to believe.
Taste- Lightly sweet from the start with a very bready like maltiness that isn't all that exciting. I agree this is 'somewhat' macro like but it has a bit more flavor. The unmistakable sweetness of maize is present as well and not really much hop bitterness. I'm surprised that there isn't a bit more fruitiness in this after how citric the nose came across to me.
Mouthfeel- Fairly full body with a super creamy smoothness and very light zesty carbonation.
Drinkability- When I visited Milwaukee about six months ago I had a Bloody Mary at some random bar to start off my Sunday morning. They made it with a mixture of about half Mary mix, half Spotted Cow. It was one of the best Bloody Mary's I've ever had. I've been curious to what the beer actually tastes like on its own ever since. I probably enjoyed the Bloody Mary a bit more than the beer itself but either way it'd make a terrific session beer.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this in Baraboo, WI

Poured a golden color with a short head and good lacing.

Not much aroma

Mild apple and orange sweetness from the malt balanced by a mild bitter. Light body with Medium carbonation. Pallet clears quickly of tastes.

I view this as a refreshing, session beer but nothing remarkable.

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Photo of marcpal
2.61/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to maximum12 for sending this in a trade. Liking New Glarus so far.
12oz bottle poured into imperial pint glass
Bottle Graphics: 8/10. Like it.

A: Hazy dehydrated pee yellow. Very cloudy with a filmy head that left thin veil of lacing. Nothing too impressive.

S: Quiet in the aroma with something cornlike and grainy. I have to say, I expected much more to start this one out. I had some stronger things earlier in the night but this just fell to the wayside. I find it odd that the fruit is really the dominating aroma.

T: Still not anything that rocks your world but sugary flavors give this some character. It has a corn flavor that hits at first but as it finishes off, the cream finally comes on. It is unique but buttery flavors pop out.

The bottle claims it to be full of flavor. I have to beg to differ.

M: Carbonated but moderate through and through. Like the aroma, quite bland. The dryness of the fruity flavor is unpleasant.

D: This isn't the best New Glarus, nor the tops in terms of cream ales. Don't hate it, don't particularly like it. Bottom rung cream ale. Glad I had the chance, this is a terrific brewery- noone can bat a thousand.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in SS08 from Mymrnngjckt.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a hazy lemon yellow with just a bit of a bright, white head that disappeared very quickly. After pondering the aroma for what seemed about 20 minutes, it finally hit me. Hot, fresh, ground corn tortilla chips. Man, it was like a sledgehammer upside the brain. I knew I recognized the smell; I just couldn't place it, then all of a sudden. Bam. This beer smells like corn, and tastes very much like sweet corn. There was almost no discernable hop presence. The mouthfeel is light and a bit dry. I would rather have this as a local easy drinker then the BMC stuff we get around here. This could very easily become a lawnmower beer if it was locally available.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

This pours a hazy yellow/pale gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is both sweet and hoppy. The malt shows up mostly as bread. I like this nose.

The taste is mostly bready malt with light lemon citrus bringing a touch of bitterness and I can taste a touch of spice and yeast. Interesting.

The mouthfeel is just below medium and the carbonation is also medium.

Drinkability? It sure is easy enough to drink so I think it's a good one to session on. Btw, head retention is very good and there's lots of nice lacing.

Bottom line: A good brew here. 'nuff said.

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Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a fizzy, orange, golden/yellow color with a fizzy, small, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled of yeast, clove, gains and wheat.

T - It tasted of light caramel malt, grains, clove and some yeast. It really tasted like an american pale wheat ale.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. A light bodied beer.

D - This is a nice cream ale very sessionable and easy drinking.

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Photo of kingothewoods
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a little on the yellowish side with not much head and not much carbonation. Very sweet smells which are the malts - kinda like homemade bread. Slightly smooth and easy to drink with the aftertaste of a little hint of hops in there. This is a beer I would call a summer brew that you have at a neighbor's barbecue party.

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Photo of Buebie
2.92/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Thanks to HogwildLiquore for this extra.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
Color is a bright somwhat hazy unfiltered yellow. 2 finger fizzy white head that quickly fades. Leaving some bubbles and not much of any retention. Lace is spotty and thin.

Grassy hops at the knose, corn, some crystal smelling grains, hay, and sawdust.
Pretty mellow and thin at the nose. Just a touch of alcahol on the nose.

Flavor is lacking on this. Sweet upfront. Some small grassy hops, thin watery mouthfeel, getting just a bit of creamy help from the abundance of carbonation.
No alcahol warming.
Finish is crisp and clean with a dry corn husk linger. Just a touch of dried hay hppieness.

Great for a lawnmower, but not my style. Not much from the flavor department.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Glowing an attractive golden color, cloudy with conditioning yeast. White head, low retention; relatively quickly reduced to almost nothing.

S-A citrusy hop smell initially, followed by a bready maltiness.

T-A bitterness with some light hop flavor. Moved on to sweet, with almost buttery flavors, with cornish undertones. Some fruitiness and yeasty flavors. This beer tasted very bright, if that makes sense. Balanced, with neither malt nor hop flavors extremely strong.

M-Medium-high carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. Feels creamy in the mouth and smooth going down.

D-Very drinkable. A flavor profile that isn't astounding, but very pleasurable to drink. Have had many Spotted Cows in the past, and will surely have it again in the future (when I'm in WI).

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Photo of dstc
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color with a white head that falls to just about nothing. Thin lacing.

Clean mildly sweet aroma. Slight fruits and citrus in the nose.

Mild sweet malts in the taste. Grains and corn present like a typical WI brew but with a slight fruit finish. Nice.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Nice easy drinking beer. Well done.

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Photo of shroompod
3.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color. Good head , some lacing.

Aroma is vaguely sweet , not much going on.

Slight hop bite , mild corny sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp , and creamy.

Overall this is a pretty decent beer , probably my favorite Cream Ale (which isn't saying much).

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Photo of Wisconsin
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy and pours a nice head that sticks around for awhile

S - Nothing really stood out to smell wise

T - Smooth and hoppy, along with a bit of carbonation

M - Smooth, malty and some hops

D - I could drink this all day. In fact, I have in Madison before some football games.

Overall, if this beer is available on tap at a local bar take this any day over the Millers and Buds of the world. Just because this is New Glarus' most recognized beer doesn't mean they threw a bunch of crap in it.

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Photo of ajmoody76
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

buddy gave me a twelve ounce bottle. cloudy straw color. not much of a white head. looks ok.

light malts on the nose. some fruitiness. no off odors.

sweet and fruity. a little hop crispness. dry aftertaste.

not much carbonation. light to mid body. decent beer. i am new to cream ales. would like to try again.

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Photo of Rennpferd
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It poured slightly hazy and golden in color. It had a two finger head that shrank down to a lacing. There was a high level of carbonation.

It had an adjunct like scent. There was a lite scent of hops.

It was slightly astringent. The adjuncts that were used to lighten this beer came through and overpowered any malt that may have been used to brew it. There was a slight hop bitterness. It had a medium body that was smooth and creamy.

It is a really drinkable ale. It is very neutral yet not a watered down excuse for beer. I recommend this beer if you are buying for a large group and unsure of their tastes.

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Photo of mwilbur
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into cervoise.
A: Pours a clear golden yellow with slight fizz...very similar to apple juice in color.
S: Honey, faint hops, not much honestly.
T: Cream, honey, faint hops and malt.
M: Smooth and creamy.
D: Quite drinkable. A nice beer, but fairly bland. I swear this tasted better the last time I had this. Perhaps I'll come back to this review and amend in the future if future quaffs are different. Thanks to my wife for bringing this one back from Madison for me.

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Photo of thryn
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's pale cloudy gold and has a finger of fluffy white head.

Smell is pretty faint -- sweet bread, straw, milk.

It starts with minimal flavor, but then the grassy biscuits and creamy pastures come through. Um, seriously, cookies and milk come to mind, but it's light and drinkable and there's enough hop presence to give it some backbone. I like this beer.

It is genuinely creamy in the mouth, but I wouldn't call it highly carbonated. It's silky.

Drinkability is pretty good.

I had this on draft in Wisconsin and was a little let down, because I'd heard good things about Spotted Cow. The bottle restores my faith. Cream ale still isn't one of my favorite styles, but this is a good one for sure.

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Photo of atsprings
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wagenvolks for the freebie. Pours a crisp clear straw yellow with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is a a noticeable amount of sweet malts. The taste is a smooth malt kick that comes through stronger in the finish, but still overall a little on the bland side. The beer is certainly crisp and refreshing as it should be for the style. This one is certainly drinkable, but I'd take a Lagunitas Sirius over this one any day.

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Photo of kenito799
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint mug.

Softly hazy golden beer with a creamy white head, some spots of lacing.

This brew has not a lot of semll other than fresh. Flavor is very mild, soft, malty and grainy, just barely balanced with hops. The mouthfeel is indeed creamy and the beer is quite drinkable. On the boring side but well made.

Edit, re-review: had a bottle at the Milwaukee airport 10/09, and I was struck by just how creamy and perfect the mouthfeel on this brew is. The fresh subtle flavor fits perfectly. I have upgraded my scoring accordingly.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
2.71/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy, pale gold color with active carbonation and a frothy, one-finger head that fades quickly.

S: Sweet grain and yeast. Traces of malt. A faint hint of citrus.

T: Harsh and grainy taste profile that's somewhat reminiscent of Rolling Rock. Must be the "hint of corn." Notes of vegetal matter, biscuit and lemon citrus. Finish is bitter and astringently dry.

M: Medium-bodied and well-carbonated.

D: Honestly, I've never understood why this beer is so popular in Wisconsin. Never been a fan. After mulitple sessions, it's time to put this cow out to pasture.

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Photo of kwakwhore
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear light yellow pour. Smallish head.
Clean aroma with a light hop scent.
Taste is nothing over the top, just very easy on the palate with light maltiness and a ghost of hops in the finish.
Very refreshing beer to drink, this would be a fantastic summer beer.
I could see a drinking this all day.
This is a welcome change of pace from my usual hop centered beer drinking. If you are looking for an unpretentious, easy to drink beer, this one fits the bill.

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 784 ratings.