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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,022 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2022
Reviews: 678
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 14.05%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,022 | Reviews: 678 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of weeare138


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2005 13:28:15 | More by weeare138
Photo of mattcrill


3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2005 22:31:09 | More by mattcrill
Photo of redmosquito


3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2005 17:43:12 | More by redmosquito
Photo of Dithyramb


3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2005 13:56:31 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of CRJMellor


3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2005 03:04:01 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of clvand0


2.85/5  rDev -23%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2005 16:11:58 | More by clvand0
Photo of kmpitz2


3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2005 00:48:54 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of spottedcowman


4.83/5  rDev +30.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2005 00:25:08 | More by spottedcowman
Photo of Dogbrick


3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 18:25:53 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2004 22:15:39 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Redrover


3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2004 22:57:40 | More by Redrover
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh


2.83/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2004 01:57:16 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of Magery


4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2004 22:52:20 | More by Magery
Photo of Brian700


3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2004 05:52:34 | More by Brian700
Photo of nomad


4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like the previous review of this beer says, within the style of Cream Ale the Spotted Cow is very good. Drinking Gennessee Cream in college back east, its hard for me to think of a Cream Ale that could be made with care and artistry. Proof that any style is tasty if done well...

Pours a lightly hazy but glowing soft gold, quite alluring in fact, with a billowing head. Soft, fluffy, bilious - truly cloud-like. Looks like a summer thirst quencher.

Smells fairly moderate in general, but compared to most cream ales it does shine with artisanal touches. Scents of mashed corn, wheat, and pale malts swirl together to form a cornucopia of farm smells. This beer does come from Wisconsin, so...

Tastes of all the grainy aspects of corn and wheat with a great pale malt base. Barely sweet, and incredibly soft and easy on the palate without being bland. Little to no hop bite and possesses a small dash of creaminess toward the finish.

This beer goes down like a report on the various grains possible to a Midwestern brewer. A tasty drinker and a good choice for a flagship brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 13:40:13 | More by nomad
Photo of brewQ


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Within its style, this is a wonderful beer.
NOTE- I had it on tap, which I think is much better than the bottle.

Color is bright and clear gold.
Poured with a 1.5 inch fluffly white head.
A sweetness and roundness of flavor that well exceeds the macro versions such as Little Kings and Genny screamers.

Really a nicely balanced brew- and I am not one to wax about basic pilsners. Clean finish and excellent drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2004 21:30:02 | More by brewQ
Photo of jahred


3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to incongruity for volunteering thos beer, which pours a cloudy, yellow-brown color with lots of floating yeast bits and a yeasty sludge remaining on the bottom of the glass. A frothy white head disappears rather quickly.

The scent is light - sweet wheat and veggies. The tasty is slightly more fruity, with corn notes and a creamy, fruity aftertaste. Not a bad beer - it went down easy, but still not something I want to drink often.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2004 03:32:50 | More by jahred
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy straw colored brew which is fitting since it is basically a total "farm" ingrediant beer. This one is made with corn and without trying it, that may seem a little odd. This is by far one of the most refreshing beer that tastes good anytime of day or year. There are not too many beers that top this as far as an introductory beer to those who are BA deprived. Wonderful ale that is a staple in my neck of the country.
I have however noticed this beer starting to slip in quality. Maybe my BA senses are just coming through, but this is no doubt a good session beer, but its individuallity cannot hold itself in the light of greatness.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2004 00:38:46 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of Boto


2.95/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle: The pour was a bit of a suprise: it is a bit of a hazy, light golden color, with a large white head. The head dies down quickly, but it does look like a Belgian Wit. There is a bit of a wheat nose to the beer. Also, I get some spiciness and citrus, albeit faint. It has most of the taste characteristics of a Wit, but it is a thin and watery version of one. OK, but it should be more potent. Just average.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2004 03:29:37 | More by Boto
Photo of GreenWBush


2.55/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Graciously brought from Wisconsin by a non-BA friend.

12 oz. bottle.

This beer pours out a frightengly canary-neon yellow, with a tiny bit of yeast haze. The head is quite creamy, but only leaves a light notch of lacing. My friend took a whiff and proclaimed it smelled like "Grandma's bedsheets", then noted that if presented to him without identification, he wouldn't know if it was piss or pop. Hmm.

The only discernable odor on the nose is corn. I choose to use odor because if I wasn't rating every beer I got my hands on, I wouldn't have even tried it. I can't get over how bad this smells; I look for some malts, some sweetness, even a touch of hops - to no avail.

Actually, this one doesn't taste too bad at all. It sort of seems like a strange love-child between macro-swill and Guinness. It is quite nice on the mouthfeel, almost enough to disguise the heavy-handed corn influence. If you put this on Nitro, Macro lovers could do some serious damage. Still, just not enough going on here to interest me in another.

I've had worse. Maybe this beer is just an attempt at ramping-up swill drinkers. I'll try others by the brewery. I could also understand having a place in your heart for this - if I grew up on it, it might be a good fall back.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2004 17:50:24 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of RBorsato


3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange color with a low white ring for a head and low carbonation. Tart yeasty Belgiany aroma ... a bit horse-ish. Flavor is similar to the smell. Light-medium bodied (leans light) and refreshing with a crisp Saaz-ish hoppy finish.

A beer I'd put more into the Saison/French Ale category ... nice and refreshing.

Per label: Farmhouse Ale. Flaked Barley, WI malts, and a hint of Corn.

Tasted: 12/31/03
(M. Shusterman)

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2004 20:43:02 | More by RBorsato
Photo of ngandhi


3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When first introduced to good beer, I thought this was a bad hefe or a typical American wheat. Months later, I feel unsatisfied when I drink Spotted Cow. I once thought it was as good as beer could be. Today, dozens of bottles later, as I finally sit with one to write a review, I learn that it's a "cream ale," a style I was unfamiliar with.

On first impression, this has all the components of a very weak traditional amber ale. The malt focus is well beyond the hops with a light breadiness from the yeast. On the nose, I smell some light/medium caramel malts and a touch of adjunct -- a bunch of honey in the background. The finish, however, is inordinately crisp (mellower as it warms). A very mild hop bittering reminds me of pilsener beer as does the prickly carbonation.

Lo and behold, the BJCP specs for a "cream ale": "Low hop bittering. Low maltiness; however, grainy sweetness from corn may be present. . . . Adaptation of American light lager. Fermented like an ale, followed by cold condition or a blending of ale and lager beers" (BJCP Style Guide, http://bjcp.org/styleguide03.html).

Besides its miserable head retention, Spotted Cow is precisely what a cream ale ought to be.

The malty nose marries very well with a lightly adjuncted honey sweetness -- like a microbrewed PBR. The faintest of bubblegum and banana finish. Autumnal golden body. Easy drinking and, perhaps, the best introduction for macro drinkers to the wonderful world of beer.

Relax, relax.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2003 21:12:23 | More by ngandhi
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Someonce once urged me to try one, and declared it "the best". So now I have, but that claim speaks more about them then it does aobut this.
Appearance: a clear pale yella hue, with a slight, soon vanishing white head.
Nose is mee, softly citric, a tiny bit sour.
Smooth on the palate, though not entirely without flavor. Practically no hops no speak of, just adequate enough malt, vestigal fruit notes whisper briefly.
Finish is brief, non-descript. Body is light to the point of invisibility. A very fragile, meek little beer.
Would be a decent choice for a "lawnmower" brew, maybe, when complexity and challenge are not in the order.
Not a bad beer, but not much, either.
Thanks to cokes for helping me try it out!

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2003 22:06:36 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of DrunkMcDermott


3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is described on the label as a "farmhouse ale," and indeed it seems more like a French than a cream ale. Nice looking head dissipates quickly, leaving a hazy, strawlike body. I get nice effervescence and a grapefruitty, almost sour taste. They get some props for not only admitting to using corn, but giving a reason: "We even give a nod to our farmers with a little hint of corn." Corn seems to be the source of the sweetness more than the malt. Hop finish is there, but not distracting. A very pleasant experience.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2003 14:14:07 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first impression was that this beer is a wheat - the nose hints of wheat, it has a light, cloudy amber color and it tastes like a wheat. Not as intense as a true wheat, carbonation is light, starts as a mix of malt and hops and finishes fairly smooth and sweet. Moderate head that leaves little lace. The brewer has barley and corn in it so I don't know where the wheat overtones come from.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2003 22:32:41 | More by jdhilt
Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,022 ratings.