Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA | Arbor Brewing Company

very good
151 Reviews
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Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPAArbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA

Brewed by:
Arbor Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beernut7 on 07-30-2002

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Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 372
Photo of DrainBamage
4.91/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark copper color with a thin lace of head. Smell is hoppy and has grapefruit aromas. It goes down bitterly and is moderately carbonated. Taste is incredible. Doesn't get much better than this. Drinkability is perfect for an IPA. This is by far the best Arbor Brewing beer (out of bottle) that I've had and a top notch IPA.

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Photo of masey222
4.88/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was a pleasant surprise. It pours a pale amber and is filled with tannons. It is pretty "fizzy" and has a thick wet frothy head that laces the side of the glass well.
The smell is pleasant, filled with grapefruit and rich citrus notes, and has a nice overtones of tobacco and nutty malt. but it lacks a the pungency I enjoy in a good IPA.
After sipping it fills your mouth with a bright spicy citrus hop flavor, that is really tasted in the finish. Its sweetness from the malt really is a pleasant contrast to the bright hops. All-in-all it is one of the more well balanced IPA's I have ever had.
It has the perfect consistency for an IPA and its carbonation freshens up the experience.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing offering from Arbor Brewing. On Cask. Totally world class. I cannot say enough about this IPA. Pours from the hand pulled cask to a rich golden cloud of beer heaven, that settles to a royal orange / gold color with a small head of creamy foam. Aromas of fresh sour citrus, hops, and floral notes. Taste was exceptional. Totally amazing. Lots of citrusy-fruits and rich hops, with some bread maltiness and a touch of a yeasty like quality. Hints of cooked veggies and grains. Wow. Mouthfeel was smooth, creamy, oily, utterly amazing. Drinkability? Are you kidding me?! This is one of the best beers i've ever had! World Class. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of ahartmurmur
4.69/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I tried this beer at a local bar's 'Brewer Night' when the people from Arbor were at the bar. It was a good time.

It was a cloudy gold in the big 25oz mugs at the local bar i love so much. (Crunchy's for anyone interested).

I was in a college bar so my smell was screwed by the ambient smell. there was definitely some citrus hops coming through though.

Started out with a strong balanced bitterness and finished with the taste of grapefruit as if to remind me that i wanted to have another drink.

Full mouth feel, not disappointing in the least.

One of the best beers I've had and that may be due to my fondness of IPAs or my fondness for fresh beer. Either way i could have had a couple more if i didn't have classes in the morning.

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Photo of beernut7
4.62/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This great cask ale has a beautiful copper color and a hearty caramel aroma. Hints of oak and espresso make me wish I lived much closer than 800 miles from this brewpub. Just awesome.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from the hand pump at Arbor Brewing on 10/11/04. It was served with a creamy head typical of hand pumped beers atop an orange to amber colored beer. The aroma was hoppy and fruity. The flavor was complex and sweet wih notes of apple, apricot, and layered hops. The middle has a touch of raspberry as well. The ending is malty and clean. The beer has a medium body with excellent creaminess. Bottomline is that this IPA is excellent and would be a daily drinker if I lived close by. Not over hopped and very well done.

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Photo of Big_Neezy
4.56/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There should be two categories for Sacred Cow IPA: from the bottle and from the Ann Arbor taproom. I had it from the Ann Arbor taproom. The reason for this is that when you get a pull of it from the Ann Arbor taproom, it is served at cask temperature which is a fluctuating 10-15 degrees warmer then you would get from a refrigerated bottle and in my opinion, the one true way to enjoy this beer. Otherwise, pour it into a glass and let it sit for 10 minutes.

A: Rusty, golden color with a modest head.

S: You get classic IPA smells of orange and grapefruit peels. Citrus blossoms and bread notes.

T: At 80ish IPUs, it's got some bitter to it but the malt finishes nicely making for a great IPA. Long in flavor, but not an after taste, that properly develops on the palette.

M: Nice medium body which makes for defining characteristics to develop and for ease of drinking. More than a session IPA but still permits you to enjoy a couple.

O: Sacred Cow IPA should be considered one of the benchmarks for what a traditional American IPA should taste like. Great jumping off point for those just getting into IPAs. If you have the means to enjoy a glass from the A2 location, then please do.

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Photo of Raime
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours copper with a monster three finger head. No lacing.

S - A good mix between grapefruit and malt. No hop presence.

T - Hop resin, grapefruit, strong malt, lemon, wheat, mango, hops hops and more hops. Delicious.

M - Creamy, medium to heavy carbonation with a medium body.

O - Overall, I thought that this was a wonderful IPA. Certainly better than what the rating average would have you believe. I would definitely buy this stuff again.

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Photo of Dansting
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured a very murky copper color with a thick white head and the most sediment I've ever seen in a beer (which is a positive for me). Strong lacing. Aroma is very hoppy and citrusy. Mouthfeel is very nice. Flavor is a rush of hops and grapefruit. Bitter finish. This beer was a lot better than I expected. Solid beer.

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Photo of nomad
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful hazy orange, this holy cow had gentle carbonation under a finger of tough foam that never receded, session after session. In an imperial pint its a pretty sight.

Estery as all hell, this IPA smacks of gorgeous citric fruit scents and fresh biscuity malt. Has a real husky feel from the high-alpha hops, the unmistakeable Cascades but this time they doesn't smell of the same-old grapefruit profile. More like sweet cones of oily hops.

Tastewise this beer was hugely fruity and nutty as soft peaches and lemons roll around with a bitter earthy flavor. Somehow its not a mouth-drying beer, in fact quite wet. Same contrast with the hops as they are big and aggressive yet smoothed out.

"Wow, this beer is a drinker!" says Alison. Yup, pretty much!

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Photo of wardough
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on Cask at ABC. One of the most balanced and drinkable IPAs that I've had. Serves a light copper into the 20 oz imperial pint glass (ABC still serves Imperials). Taste is wonderfully balanced between the bitter, caramel, sweet, and hop flavors. The cask made this much more drinkable and mouthfeel was beautiful.

If you're at the pub, don't pass up the Cask conditioned version. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy light amber color with a huge bubbly head that eventually settles to a creamy three finger cap; virtually coats the pint glass with lace

Smell: Orange blossom citrus with a hint of caramel

Taste: Immediate orange citrus flavor builds upon the underlying biscuity flavor; soft blend of the malt and hops after the swallow, with a slightly floral finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with soft carbonation

Drinkability: Distinctively different in its tremendously balanced character; just extraordinary on cask at ABC

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Photo of beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask at Arbor Brewing. The color was golden/copper, with a nice foamy white head. The smell was a strong grapefruit citrus hop. The taste was a very good citrusy, grapefruity hoppiness, with a good balance with the maltiness. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, this would be one I could drink very many of!

Simply an amazing IPA, and something I was glad to enjoy with trbeer once the festival ended. A very good citrusy blended IPA, and unlike most cask IPAs didn't lose much of the hop bitem and this would be something I would be pleased to have again!!!

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Photo of Derek
4.41/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this handpumped from the brewpub.

A: Golden-bronze with a white head. Nice retention, awesome lace!

S: Plenty of citrus from the Cascade hops; bready malt.

T: Quality pale malt, with a pleasant abundance of Cascade hops. Not as bitter as most IPA's; perhaps it's more of a strong APA?

M: Lightly carbonated; moderate body is creamy, and slightly acidic in the finish.

D: Great!

From their website:
"Sacred Cow Cask Conditioned I.P.A
A West-coast style India Pale Ale with an over-the-top cascade hop presence that gives it a spicy nose, citrusy ruby-red grapefruit palate, and a dry, floral, hoppy finish. I.P.A.s are big strong ales, heavy on both the alcohol and the hops. Unlike conventional ales which go from fermenter to serving tank fully carbonated and under pressure, cask ales leave the fermenter flat, and are transferred to a cask along with unfermented malt. In the cask, the ale goes through a secondary fermentation which leaves it gently carbonated. Stored and hand pulled at cellar temperature (53 - 58 degrees). 6% ABV. "

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Photo of ken3c
4.41/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had a few Sacred Cows and they were all good. This one was the best. Maybe it was how it was pulled or just that it was a good batch. I don't why but this one was the best beer I've ever had.

The bartender took her time pulling this fine beer in three stages. It was worth the wait. The large head was still growing when she set it in front of me, the fine bubbles still coming up from the bottom. The cloudy yellowish amber liquid revealed itself quickly. As I consumed this treat, waves of foam were left on the inside of the glass. One ring for every sip. It was beautiful.

The strong but not overpowering aroma was a very pleasant fruity/citrusy sense.

Very well balanced with sweetness to offset the bitterness. A wonderfull cascade of flavors with some fruits and malt. Bitterness shows up a little more in the aftertaste but as a high note.

I almost waited until the head subsided a little but I couldn't wait. I stuck my face in that mountain of foam and I can say that the facefeel was outstanding. The mouthfeel seemed a little thin but creamy and foamy.

The beer is very drinkable. When I'm at Arbor, I usually drink one of these first and follow it with something else. After this one, I had to have another Sacred Cow and it was just as good as the first.

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Photo of mchegash
4.36/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - 3.5/5
Deep orange, 1 finger of light-tan head. Almost no carbonation can be seen rising in the beer.

Smell - 4.25/5
Sweet honey, pine and very resinous hops. Nice aroma

Taste - 4.5/5
Drinks very smooth. The hops don't overpower, very well balanced. Flavors include honey, pine, resin, and other tastiness. This is a great-tasting IPA.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Super smooth, glides down your throat with incredible ease. Slightly fuller than medium body. A light-medium level of light-medium intensity carbonation

Overall - 4.5/5
This is truly a fantastic IPA. I know this beer probably isn't distributed much outside of Michigan, but if you can get your hands on some, I would suggest you try.

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Photo of granger10
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes

This Arbor offering poured a glowing orange color with a creamy white head that fades after a few sips. Aroma is lighter than most IPA's yet I still get grapefruit bitterness and an acidic twang. The body on this beer is really smooth and rounded as well as medium in thickness. The flavor play very well off this. Fruity sweetness begins the flavors but is soon rounded out by a floral hoppiness. The hoppy flavors grow more intense and bitter with a piney edge to them but get rounded out by a nice sweet yeasty flavor. Finish is not dry but almost creamy. Very nice all around, a great cask IPA.

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Photo of nmyers
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden with a hint of orange, a little cloudy, with very little head.

S- Hoppy with a touch of sweetness.

T- Nice hop flavor all the way through and a sweet, but bitter finish.

M- Medium bodied, with a slight but pleasant bitterness.

D- Very drinkable and I could see myself getting in trouble with this beer.

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Photo of DannyDan
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a copper color with a nice thin white head that maintains good retention and really nice lacing. The citrus, floral and pine comes through nicely in the nose letting you know this will be a beer worth drinking. The taste starts out with some citrus and pine hops and than get some sweet malts and more pine, citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, and little orange) and a hint of floral hops. The mouthfeel is smooth and dry, but pleasant to drink and overall one of the most balanced IPA's I have tasted. This is every bit as good as Stone, Loose Cannon, Avery, Sierra Nevada, Founders, Dark Horse and Mount Pleasant breweries IPA's. Highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good IPA.

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Photo of GJ40
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on cask in a tulip pint glass at Arbor Brewing Co while on a business trip to Detroit. I had just reviewed this in the bottle the night before and the experiences were completely different.

A - Golden and hazy. A moderate white head with good retention.

S - Fruity and floral hops. Very nice.

T - Bitter and citrusy with a nice grapefruit flavor. Not over the top (as I like them best) but good. Just enough malt to do its job. Very smooth and balanced.

M - Nice body and perfect cask carbonation.

D - It could do with a little more hops but still a very good IPA. This was much better than my bottle experience. I can't believe they came from the same recipe (I guess maybe they didn't).

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Photo of proc
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery during the Ann Arbor BA event. One of two beers that stuck out enough to rate from the evening.

A fine IPA. Poured out to a light brown to amber color in the glass. Aroma is that of hops and citrus. Taste featured grapefruit predominant with a very nice finishing dose of hops. Some IPA's are too big to be drinkable. This bucks that trend. Extremely easy to drink with hops that add taste instead of power.

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Photo of mentor
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving was a 12 ounce bottle obtained fresh from the Arbor Brewing a couple days prior to opening (July, 2004). The fridge-temp bottle poured a orangey-straw colored beer with a two finger head of fine bubbles. Some lacing stuck to the sides during the tasting. A ring of head remained in the beer while consumed over the course of a half hour.

Smells faintly hoppy, with citrus characteristics and some malt sweet with a possible crystal grain contribution. Taste is tame grapefruity citrus sweet with malty sweet blending quite nicely. A nip of apricot somes in late with the hop bitter...which is present, but not overbearing like an extreme IPA. There is an overall smoothness, not quite creamy, but refined. Medium bodied, which I find appropriate for the gentle play of flavors in this beer. A really nice offering. Amazingly, this bottle is better than the tapped beer I had at Arbor Brewing just a couple days ago.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on cask at the brewpub in Ann Arbor. It's got a hazy appearance, copper-amber color, frothy wet foam.

Nice aroma, grapefruit and other citrus notes, fresh and hoppy. This tasted really good too, you almost can never go wrong with a cask IPA. This one had the creamy and smooth body you'd expect, generally solid in every category. If I wasn't trying to hit other brewpubs in the same night I might have stayed here and ordered a few more, this really hit the spot.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.29/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into one of my pint glasses. This beer pours a fairly hazy/cloudy medium copper color with a nice off-white/tan head that is well over an inch thick when first poured. head eventually settles to a nice surface coating with a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Excellent lacing here too! Nice pine and citrus ho aroma followed by a bit of toasted malt. Has an excellent pine and grapefruit citrus, earthy hop bitterness upfront followed once again by slightly toasted caramel malt sweetness. The hop bitterness certainly dominates, and there is a good balance with the malty sweetness. Has a good crisp, frothy, somewhat prickly, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A very good beer that is spot on in pretty much all aspects for this style of beer! Too bad I can't buy this beer here where I live because I would certainly like to drink it again!


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Photo of Beaver13
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a cloudy brownish gold with a thin white head that quickly goes to a thin film.

The aroma is bright and fruity (lemon) hops with some grains in the background.

The flavor is fruity, piney and grassy hops with some grains and a good bitter finish that lingers in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and kind of watery.

Overall, it's pretty one-dimensiona and a bit thinl, but it's a very good IPA and one of my favorites from Arbor.

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Arbor Brewing Sacred Cow IPA from Arbor Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 372 ratings.
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