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Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company

Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,015 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2015
Reviews: 677
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: 2,015 | Reviews: 677 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of stewart124


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy golden yellow. Just a bit of head.

A touch of sweet apple in the nose. Crisp malt and hay add something that reminds me of summer.

Light malt and just a touch of creamy goodness. Slight sweetness that could come from the corn. Hops are barely noticeable.

There is something comforting about this beer. So easy to drink. Obviously a staple for the brewery.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2012 00:38:57 | More by stewart124
Photo of jpohl


4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer of all. Goes down smooth but still has some body to it. Problem is that they only sell it in Wisconsin which is a problem since I live in AZ now. I had to bring about 6 cases out with me before I moved. The color is fine and the mouthfeel is smooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 21:23:57 | More by jpohl
Photo of tigg924


4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, high carbonation, straw gold in color, clear

Smell: straw, light funkiness and maybe a touch of apple

Taste: grass, straw, adjunct, and sugar

Mouthfeel: super light body, sweet with a touch of funk, medium-high carbonation

Overall: A nice summer beer, almost adjunct lager in style. This one is smooth and ejoyable but not overly complex. A nice warmer weather beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2012 16:53:35 | More by tigg924
Photo of rlee1390


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

A-Translucent cloudy yellow, not much carbonation, one finger head.

S-Bread, malt, some lemon and grass with slight spice.

T-Bread, very sweet, lemon, slight grass, bubblegum and no bitterness.

M-Light in body, good deal of carbonation and very crisp.

O-Thanks to a friend who brought back a 6pack for me, it was a solid brew. All my non-craft friends loved it.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 20:44:57 | More by rlee1390
Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping


2.68/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My respectful parents were nice enough to bring back a menagerie of New Glarus beer when they crossed through Wisconsin. Always nice to know people who travel and know you like good beer. Had three bottles of Spotted Cow in a sampler pack.

Well, the pour was a pale gold. Nothing unusual or multispectral in colour. All I expect from a cream ale. Somewhat of a murk to it. Very gentle murk.

Smells very light of fresh straw, a tad citrusy, sweet corn... all pretty light.

Taste: Light sweet corn kind of a taste which is nice, not unpleasant, a tad muted lemon... tastes like... well... beer, for lack of better terms. Has a bit of a cream of wheat thing going on. All the flavors are pretty well evened out all the way through.

The mouthfeel certainly saves the day and makes it a very clean but not entirely crisp beer which is cool. It lives up to it's cream ale style. Mouthfeel is probably the best cream ale mouthfeel I have had in a beer to date.

Overall nothing out of this world but I can definitely see why this is one of Wisconsin's most popular craft beers. It appeals to many crowds and is utterly non offensive. A winner for those who enjoy good beer and those who may have no idea what good beer is.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 02:42:46 | More by Misanthropy_Sipping
Photo of BigTuna

3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Spotted Cow pours a lovely golden-yellow with a finger and a half of head, and it laces nice as you sip.

The smell is yeast and bread with hints of banana and citrus fruits. I don't really get the corn or hop scents that others have noted. It's a delightful smell, not overbearing.

The beer tastes great. I get similar flavors to the nose, with a lingering sweetness that makes Spotted Cow sessionable as hell. Just a super-drinkable beer.

Mouthfeel is nice, but nothing special. The carbonation grabs your attention but seems to settle as you drink.

Overall, a fun, tasty beer. If you're looking for something to drink regularly, go for Spotted Cow. It does feel and taste a little thin toward the end, but the flavors stay intact for the most part. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 01:57:30 | More by BigTuna
Photo of CurtisPeacock

3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a light yellow color with a good white head that really flows up the glass. Small light head stayed atop the brew throughout the session.
Smell: Rich notes of hops, barley, grains and malts combine to create a very balanced smell.
Taste: A very crisp, tasty brew that is very drinkable. More of a session beer everyone can enjoy.
Mouth feel: Very creamy rich mouth feel with plenty of carbonation for a nice zest. Medium to light body also attributing to the session beer feel.
Overall: One of my favorite session beers to sit down and enjoy with friends. A very crisp taste and not overpowering if you are looking to drink more than a couple.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2012 21:53:06 | More by CurtisPeacock
Photo of scottfrie


4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into SA perfect pint. Thanks again, Jay!

A: Pours a very lightly cloudy lemon color with a crazy frothy bone white head that really frothed up with the pour. After it settled and I was able to fill my glass a thick foam sat atop the liquid until the final sip.
S: Light notes of spicy hops, flaked barley, dry grains and clean malts. Yeast adds another layer of peppery spice as well. Light, spicy, and crisp.
T: Follows the nose with crisp and creamy flavors of cracked grains, pale malts, herbal and spicy hops and dry yeast. Slightly fruity. Very flavorful for being so light. Finish is peppery and the aftertaste is slightly sweet.
M: Super creamy moutfeel from all that ample carbonation, drying and refreshing, with a medium body.
O: Not a bad brew. Clean, crisp, light and refreshing. Thanks again, jbck109.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2012 02:19:58 | More by scottfrie
Photo of TX-Badger


4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An offering from New Glarus Brewing Co. that I have had on many occasion while living in Madison. Finally decided to review it.

A - The Spotted Cow has a faint hazy yellow gold color, mainly due to the yeast left in the bottle. It also poured a very white fluffy head, about an inch that dissipated at an average pace.

S - On the nose I get light fruits, a little citrus from the hops, barley malt, yeast, and the unmistakable hint of corn.

T - On the palate I got exactly what I smelled on the nose, and that hint of corn on the finish adds a distinct sweetness, but not too much.

M - Medium-bodied on the palate, carbonated very well while conditioned in the bottle.

O - A fantastic offering from New Glarus. Each time I have a Spotted Cow, I understand more and more why this beer is their staple. It i a fantastic Wisconsin farmhouse ale with an unmistakable character. I do like it much more on tap than in the bottle, but it doesn't detract from this great brew. Great from start to finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2012 02:01:00 | More by TX-Badger
Photo of daledeee


3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A six pack brought back for me.

Pours like a lager. Light gold with medium head.

Smell. I gave this a 3.5 just because it smelled fresh. Nothing much to say.

Taste is slightly grainy with a hint of lemon and pepper(not much of either). Slightly overcarbonated which left me rather dry in my mouth. You wouldn't go wrong sitting around drinking a bunch of this, but not distinctive.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2012 02:00:27 | More by daledeee
Photo of Bitter_Echo


3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this on trade and have this sometimes when I visit WI. Pours a slightly cloudy light lemon drop yellow, not very fussy or foamy either. Nose is clean and subtle, like the beer I drank in college 25 years ago. Nose has some floral notes, and malt and grain and some breadiness. Taste is lemony, and citrus and grains in good balance but as expected, not really that hop forward (I'm missing more bitterness volume...next up must be an IPA), but satisfying nevertheless. Mouth-feel is refreshing, alcohol is light, carbonation is more muted, finer and not at all scrubbing. Overall a very good brew and respectful of the style, but I'd reach for their moon-man if I were in a buying mood.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 22:25:34 | More by Bitter_Echo
Photo of TheCondor


3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up from a relative in Nebraska, relatively low expectations. Side poured with medium vigor from a bottle into a Boulevard pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a pale golden yellow color with a dismally soapy tiny head that rapidly dissipates leaving no sign of lacing. Pretty pitiful in the appearance category.

Smell - Sweet corn, a bit of malts, a faint fruity essence. Very subdued smell, not that that is a bad thing, as long as the taste comes through strong.

Taste - A fairly rich creamy maltiness with a touch of grains, grassiness, and even a hint of fruits. A little more complex and quality than the nose or presentation. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, slightly Grainy finish, heavily carbonated.

Overall - worth trying one time. I wouldn't buy it again! I may or may not drink it again. I can't get it where I am, so not a big deal. It's not a bad beer, just not real great either. Spend your hard earned money elsewhere if you are looking for a thrill. If you get tthis free, drink it!

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2012 03:16:57 | More by TheCondor
Photo of andrewjraab


3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 03:14:24 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of socon67

New York

3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Safe House in Milwaukee

A - Hazy straw color, no lacing of note. Plenty of bubbly carbonation.

S - A bit of a tasted grain scent, but that's about it. Not much else of note.

T - Nice creamy flavor. I like the malt taste to this. Feels rich for a light style.

M - Nice hearty flavor and impressive thickness. Feels heavier than its style.

O - Enjoyable beer tha it true to its style. Right up there with Sixpoint Sweet Action which is my other cream ale favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2012 16:52:43 | More by socon67
Photo of MaximalC


2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pale straw in color, slightly hazy, with bountiful carbonation bubbles. The aroma is mild, mostly grainy, with a hint of fruitiness and some hops. The flavor pretty much matches the smell, with no specific element really carrying the load. I fail to see how this manages to be the flagship brew of a very respectable brewery with many superior offerings in the stable. Maybe because it most resembles light beer? Regardless of the reason, this just doesn't resonate with me.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 01:01:19 | More by MaximalC
Photo of phishsihq


4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spotted Cow pours a hazy, honey-gold color, and is capped with a thin white head that provides a moderate amount of lace. Light aromas of caramelized malt, grain, and a touch of corn blend together to make a wonderful bouquet. On the pallet the brew starts out with a light breadiness with the corn again peaking out ever so subtly, before a malty sweetness melts into a restrained hop bitterness. Moderate amounts of carbonation and a medium body round out this Wisconsin-only treat.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2012 22:11:03 | More by phishsihq
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dunn for bringing this back from his travels.

A - bright yellow with a thin lacing of white head

S - cereal grains

T - lemon, cereal grains, a bit grassy

M - light, smooth, crisp

This is a smooth, easy drinking, light, refreshing offering that is perfect for sipping on a hot day. If I could regularly get my hands on this, it would be a good go to session beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 15:44:23 | More by tdm168
Photo of Hoptometrist


3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a shaker glass at the Old Fashioned in Madison

A- Poured a clear light pale yellow color with lots of streaming carbonation and soapy head that left some droppy lace

S- Grains, corn, some light citrus. Pretty aromatic

T- Big creamed corn and grain flavor with a nice citrus pop om the finish

M- Lighter bodied, prickly carbonation, a little watery on the finish

O- I can see why this beer is so popular, very drinkable and a unique session ale.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2012 03:43:04 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of tyleeis


4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is light golden but hazy, one finger head....looks amazing!

Smell isnt strong, lemony and slightly bready....

Tastes great! Sweet nice banana aftertaste and malty.

Smooth mouthfeel, med carbonation.

Could drink this beer all day all year around but in the summer is the best. A must have for the fridge.

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2012 01:53:48 | More by tyleeis
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.
4.8% ABV, 0162 printed on the neck.

A - Spotted Cow pours a shimmering golden yellow color that's got minor floating particles through it; hazy due to it's unfiltered nature. A tall, dense white head is always found on this beer, sticking lace to the glass as you sip away.

S - Spotted Cow exudes an up-front lemony-citrus aroma turned mellow with a cream and honey-sweet follow-up that moves into dry straw and a pale malt graininess. There's a touch of creamed corn in the aroma, but it's fitting considering it's use, a nod to the farming community.

T - Flaked biscuits are drizzled with honey and a drop of heavy cream before the ever-present straw and husk dryness follows through. Lemon citrus peeks out with a quick spurt of white grape flavor on the finish.

M - Spotted Cow miraculously blends smooth creaminess with heavy carbonated for a crisp finish with an overall medium-light body and low, dry citrus dryness to balance the sweetness out. Keeping everything in check and harmonious here is a perfect feat for the style, I must admit.

O - I'll be honest; New Glarus' money-maker, what I consider two steps away from a light beer, is not for me. I appreciate the beer for how well-crafted it is, which reflects in the review, but I appreciate the business behind it much more so; if it allows them to do all the other terrific beers I'm in love with, then so be it! With that said, Spotted Cow appeals to the masses wonderfully with it's fuller-than-light-beer but not-intrusive flavor and creamy, easy drinking body. They call it a Wisconsin Farmhouse Ale which fits with their "drink indigenous" theme (which I'm all for!) but I certainly wouldn't liken Spotted Cow to what people typically understand as a Farmhouse Ale or, Belgian Saison. But hell, it sells outrageously and people come from out-of-state to buy it by the case-load, so what do I know?

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 22:41:23 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of ONUMello


3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pale yellow color with a one-finger head that quickly settles.
S: Tons of malt/grain, just a bit creamy.
T: Cereal/grain and florals. Light and smooth.
M: Light but refreshing.
O: Simple & straightforward but well-made, this would be a good transition beer for those accustomed to macro-lagers.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 22:34:02 | More by ONUMello
Photo of buschbeer


3.1/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2012 16:16:02 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Humulus85


3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got me a New Glarus twelve-pack sampler when I went to WI for fireworks. Been looking forward to trying some of these. From a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazed straw yellow with some floaties. Produced a modest one-finger off white head that dissipated rather quickly but displayed some decent lacing.

Light in the nose. Some fruity esters from the yeast, some cereal grains and a hint of sweet corn. Subdued, but nice.

Fruity and floral notes upfront, nice clean pale malt backbone. Almost tastes like a standard adjunct lager that was fermented with farmhouse yeast.

Here is where this beer shines. Light in body, but with a creamy texture, perfect carbonation, and a clean finish. Super drinkable. A great choice for a sunny afternoon.

Overall this is a really tasty brew that is purposefully understated, but still with some intricacies. This would be a perfect beer to introduce somebody to the craft beer world. I can't say I'd ever go back to WI for a whole case, but I will definitely enjoy the other two I have. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 21:47:12 | More by Humulus85
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed golden yellow, long lasting cap of bubbles, some sheets of lacing. Scent brings shortbread like sweetness with faint watery fruit and creamed corn. Taste follows suit, not overly complex but full flavored for the style. Lighter side of medium, slightly slick and bubbly. One of the top beers in style due to its solid flavor profile. Good BMC alternative.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 13:58:10 | More by rfgetz


3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: New Glarus’ flagship beer pours a cloudy hay-gold with just under two fingers of pure white head that eventually settles to a nice looking white crust on the surface of the beer. The carbonation is minimal, as is lacing. There really isn’t much to say about the beer; it is quite plain and unremarkable.

Smell: The smell is unique, if also plain. Most of the nose is dominated by a creamy and sweet corn-tinged scent mixed with a healthy dose of wheat and moderate suggestions of malt and barley. Yeast is also present here, though not very strongly.

Taste: Initially the corn and sweet malts are very strong, but as they fade into the background, the deeper malt character and yeast force their way to the front. The aftertaste is a bit fruity (bananas and pineapples?), but not so sweet as to ruin the spicy bite that the yeast gives it. Again, the beer is unique, and taste is definitely where it excels, but it is not overly impressive in the grand beer scheme.

Mouthfeel: This one is best served cold to make it as refreshing as possible. It exceeds in the drinkability category and is thus a great session beer, especially considering its relatively low ABV. As mentioned in taste, the yeastiness gives it a great bite and makes up for the lacking carbonation. Not a lot else going on here.

Overall: Drinking the beer that New Glarus is known for turned out to be somewhat disappointing, but that shouldn’t discourage prospective drinkers from trying it, and those who have also been disappointed or felt indifferent should give the other great New Glarus brews a shot. Also worth noting is that the Cow really varies, sometimes from bottle to bottle, batch to batch, and certainly from tap to tap; some glasses are really delicious and deserving of a 4-4.5, but most are somewhere between 2-3.5, sadly. If drunk on the porch on a hot summer day, this otherwise mediocre beverage gains roughly .5-it is that refreshing. 13/20

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 22:26:02 | More by THANAT0PSIS
Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.