Cottonwood Almond Stout | Carolina Beer Company

43 Ratings
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Cottonwood Almond StoutCottonwood Almond Stout

Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with a variety of malts including Chocolate, Crystal, Munich, and Black Malt; and hopped with Eroica, Mt. Hood, and Northern Brewers hops- then finished with a touch of Real Almond Flavor.

Added by homersimpson on 03-10-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 42
Photo of jak
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

Brewers seem to love to mess with Stouts. Maybe because it's easy to hide things, like mistakes? Let's find out.

Opaque. Pitch black out of the bottle with a crowing head of coffee-colored foam that sticks and stays well. Heavy dose of almond oil dominates the nose and is reminiscent of flavored coffee and cordials, and has an odd nuttiness--like off peanut butter, which is a bit nasty, to be honest. A bit crisp up front with a tingly carbonation; rather light in body. Acrid beneath--a bit sharp, with a tangy burnt character. Citric-hop edge reinforces the acridness with a rindy smack. Malts are fairly one-dimensional, with little sweetness. Dry, bland finish, with a semi- abrasive nutty result on the palate.

Sorry, but almonds don't belong in beer--or at least not in this capacity. Their presence in this brew is far too dominating and distracting, and it just makes this really hard to consume.

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Photo of dudemuskie
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked a bottle of this up at a Charlotte, NC airport bar and was pretty excited to score a specialty local brew!

Appearance- Pours deep dark brown, nearly black with a thin beige head at about 1/2 finger. Head dissipates quickly. Low CO2 evident from appearance.

Aroma- Almonds front and center. Rich almond nuttiness mingles with malty sweetness and hints of chocolate/cocoa and dark roasty malts. Some subtle estery fruitiness. Hints of dark caramel and molasses.

Flavor- Starts off with almonds and a touch of fruitiness (almost like a chocolate cake laced with almond oil). Overripe strawberry fills the mouth with dark chocolate notes in middle. Finishes with roasty malt, dark chocolate, and soft earthy hop bitterness. Roasty and raisin flavors linger and hang heavy for a chewy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Low to Medium CO2, slightly chewy and definitely full bodied. Moderate residual sweet/stickiness.

Overall- Interesting stout! Tasty and unlike anything I have ever had. Almond flavors may be a bit overwhelming, making this brew a bit low on the drinkability scale. Nice roasty stout qualities and a fun brew to drink (one of)!

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Who are you calling nuts? Pours a midnight black color with some red hues around the edge. A soft tan head stays for some time but does dissipate to the edge of the glass and then disappear shortly after. Some minor viscous when swirled.

The nose is mostly malty but not very distinct. Some chocolate and crystal malt notes but limited. Some lactic notes that reminds me more of a milk sugar (than say oatmeal). Some hoppy notes with a light earthy and herbal note. No real almond or nutty aromas to speak of.

The taste is similar but there is a light nutty/almond taste on the back end. The malt comes out with more of a generic malty taste. Not overly sweet but some minor astringency backs up the malt. Some chocolate but most a crystal malt backing. The lactic notes come out in the taste as well. Mostly clean yeast with a hint of English Ale notes. A light butter note but not over the top. The almonds are light, would like a bit more taste coming out but are mostly in the finish.

The body is moderate to light. More than what the ABV indicates. Carbonation is limited. Overall a good easy drinking beer, but would like more almond notes overall.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 21 Sep 2008. Gift from Phil.

Poured into a shaker pint glass. Medium tight brown head. Opaque chocolate color. Lots of roasty aromas, coffee, toasted almonds, dark corn syrup, alcohol. Starts much drier than the smell, almost a burnt almond taste, cocoa and coffee flavors. Finish is bittersweet and roasty. Medium to heavy body.

Overall an easy drinking flavored stout.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.19/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black in color with a huge, frothy, thick and creamy tna head. Beautiful! Plenty of lacing to go around as well.

Aroma was a tad askew. It seemed that the prevalent aroma was Amaretto. By Amaretto, I mean that Almond and Cherry liquer. Lots of cherry to back up the touch of almond. A touch of fruitiness and a good dose of liquer sweetness; but mostly Amaretto. I suppose that is okay since this is an almond beer, but it seemed a bit over the top.

Almond flavor was a bit subdued. Some chocolate and some nuttiness, but definitely not overpowering. A nice, strong, coffee bite in the finish.

The coffee finish was the most endearing of the characteristics for this one. Mouthfeel is entirely too thin and watery. If you like Amaretto, this would be for you. Needs work on body and finish but the flavor is okay.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a tan head that sticks around for a while. Smells of roasted malts, cherries, nuts. Tastes of cherry, nuts, roasted grains, sugary syrup. Thick sweet body and mouthfeel. Ample carbonation. Interesting brew. I really enjoyed the novelty of the first few sips, but after a while the sweetness took over and made it less appealing.

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Photo of tiger88
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep brown-black into the glass with minimal tan head. Smells a little sweet. You can smell the almond/ammareto aroma upon first whiff. Taste is pretty close to the smell. Sweet chocolate dominates the palate with a lingering sweet aftertaste. A little too much aftertaste for me. Mouthfeel was average. Not too dense and not too slick. No filmy residue. OK to drink but only one. The taste dominates the tongue a little too much.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours black (with some ruby highlights arounds the bottom)and 1 1/2 fingers of creamy tan head. A nice thin layer of retentions yields some decent lacing. The aroma is sweet chocolate and vanilla notes, coffee and yes, a earthy smelling roasted almond presence.

The taste is more chocolate sweetness, as well as some caramel notes, that opens up into a fairly prevelant taste of roasted almonds, that(along with some light hop notes)ends things with a bit of bitterness in the fin. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a bit too much carbonation that gives the overall feel more of a sharp pop as opposed to the smoother creaminess that I enjoy in a Stout.

Eh, this wasn't too bad. I really liked that this did indeed have a good bit of almond character that helped mellow things out a bit but that body just didn't work well at all with the flavors for me. Perhaps I got an overcarbonated bottle? I'd be interested to try this on tap for a comparison.

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Photo of Strix
3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with a small and quickly dissipating head.

Smell is quite intriguing. Coffee, burnt/roasted flavors and nuts.

Unfortunately, the taste doesn't quite live up to the smell. Coffee, and roasted nutty flavors are present. However, I think it's the mouthfeel that drags this down. Undercarbonated for me, and weak mouthfeel means despite a delicious smell and ambitious flavor characteristics, this feels like old coffee or flat pop.

An interesting brew, but didn't quite live up to what it could have been for me.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.3/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on-tap at Woods on South (Charlotte) in a pint glass.

The beer was dark brown in color with a mocha head that was light and carbonated. The beer gave off a heavy malt aroma. Appeared to have a strong coffee flavor but was a bit over carbonated. It was not so easy to drink and left a unpleasant bitter aftertaste. I only had one and I am not sure if I would try again or not. Certainly better stouts on the market.

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Photo of scott
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Dark with nice clarity. Minor carbonation, thusly minor head and lacing. Recall of past Easter Sunday chocolates (Nestle Almond). Easy to drink, but nothing beckoning me to hit this up again. Milk stout with a nice nutty aftertaste. Recommended.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark, near black on the pour with a thick creamy head of approximately 1/2" in depth. Color was off-white to light brown and reduced to an uneven creamy layer after several minutes lasting for most of the drink. No real lacing, just a smattering of clingy bubbles.

S: Intriguing mix of earthy, nutty aromas with hints of vanilla (almond?). Seems to have a touch of alcohol on the nose, sort of strange for a gravity this low.

T: Complex flavors of smoky, malty peat with an interesting flavor that is probably the almond, giving it an interesting ability to blend and mellow the other flavors - much like vanilla. Very earthy and nutty, but with hints of coffee as well. The overall profile is mostly dry. Finish is relatively quick but with a longer linger of that smoky, malty, earthy taste.

M&D: Relatively full bodied in the mouth but not all that heavy. The light carbonation helps deliver a sort of creaminess that is pleasant. I don't know if I could get used to this flavor mix or not. It isn't bad, but I wouldn't call it good either. As for drinkability, I wouldn't turn one down but I wouldn't go out of my way to look for this again either.

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Photo of Pencible
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured pitch black with dark tan head, looking more ominous than I expected. It had a bold smell of coffee with striking almonds, and some earthy malt. It tasted like sweet almonds and milk mixed with mocha with slight bitterness. It was thick with no carbonation and a mild aftertaste. Overall this had a very well executed flavor, and was a great change of pace. My only complaint is that it could have used a bit more bite in the finish.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours out a nice thick looking near black liquid, not quite opaque, with a mocha/caramel head that retreats pretty quickly with minimal lacing.
S: I really like the smell a lot, then again I love amaretto. Rich malty, nutty, liquor like smell, unexpected for a beer but nice. My favorite part of the beer.
T: Nice smooth, relatively thick body with light carbonation. Toasted malt flavor, not overly sweet as there is slight balancing bitterness. Milk chocolate is present and the nutty almond flavor is not quite as strong as the smell. Something is just a little too brash for me to like this beer more. I enjoyed drinking it and think its a nice beer for a lighter stout, but I still expect a stronger stout flavor. Quality wise I put this around the same place as Yard's Love Stout, though obviously not the same beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Midnight black with slim scarlet highlights along the bottom edge of the glass... but only when bright sunlight is permitted entry. The caramel colored cap has a light creaminess about it and looks decent as it deflates. Minimal lace is a bit of a letdown.

Almond Stout smells like a mixture of bittersweet chocolate and amaretto. It's different and is a bit odd coming from a glass of beer, but I like it. In fact, I like it so much that I wonder why other brewers haven't done something similar. Points for originality and for quality.

Things don't work out so well on the taste buds because the beer isn't even close to being as big as it looks and smells. That wouldn't be surprising if the 4.1% ABV was accurate. The CBC website lists it as 6.0%.

The flavor is still pretty enjoyable even though it isn't as roasted and as chocolate malty as it should be. More malt would improve things mightily and would fill out the body/mouthfeel besides. I'm still reminded of amaretto, or even almond extract. A splash of black coffee is present as well.

The mouthfeel is the biggest disappointment. It's light (without being watery) and is slightly too harshly carbonated. More malty guts and fewer bubbles would have increased each of the final three scores by one notch.

The idea of an almond (extract) flavored American stout is intriguing. While Cottonwood Almond Stout isn't the best example in the world, it's definitely on the right track. Bottom line: it's almond enough, but it isn't stout enough. Thanks brentk56.

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Photo of quasimoto
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Its black like all other stouts and a beautiful light tan head that foamed up nicely. The aromas are of slight roast, chocolate, and some really sweet candy like flavor. Apparently that is the almond that is in there, but it really does seem too sweet like a donut, but not as tasty. The taste turns really residually sweet from the almonds, and turns this beer south for me. It's all candy-ish and for me it's not drinkable in multiple sittings.

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Photo of hellcatsjg
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Looks like a typical stout. Dark black beer with a slight bit of dark brown head that rings the beer for most of the glass.

Smell: Coffee is most prominent with a slight bit of nuttiness behind it.

Taste: The almond is not very strong to begin with. First few sips brind a standard stout with slightly less flavor than expected. As you go, the almond flavor makes its presence known. Unfortunately, as with some fruit flavored beers, the flavor seems artificial. The flavor goes from not being there to being too much.

Mouthfeel: Slightly watery and thin. I like my stouts to have a more full body than this one. The almond flavor is a bit too strong in the aftertaste as well.

Drinkability: This beer was a bit of a let down. The overpowering and artificial aspects of the almond flavor take away from this one. The idea of almond flavored stout does have a good amount of potential and I'd like to see the style done again with a better almond flavor.

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Photo of srrn
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours oil black with an impressive head. I smell cherries more than anything (I know this is the almond) the taste is the same with a bit of toast and hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth. This is not a beer I would drink more than half a bottle of, It would however be very nice to have a bit at the end of a meal, definately not a quaffing brew.

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Photo of atsprings
2.85/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep opaque black with a thin off-white head that diminishes to a thin layer. Aroma is a somewhat weak blend of roasted malts and roasted nuts with some burnt caramel and chocolate. Taste is almost nonexistent, some roasted barley and almond flavor is present, but it all tastes very watered down. The beer is light, but a little over carbonated. This one was a huge disappointment as I remember enjoying it two years ago.

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Photo of kb199
3.94/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass; dark brown, almost black hue, fading to brown at the head. Lots of head, but virtually no retention or lacing.

Smells of coffee with sweet undertones. Tastes sweet at first, which fades into a coffee/chocolate body, finishes with a hint of almond.

Thin body, but remarkable drinkability.... hell, I could drink four or five...very dangerous. A very good selection from my beer of the month club.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.31/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a black, with brownish hues, under a small brown head. No lace, hardly any retention.

S: Smells of some chocolate covered nuts, some sweet almond/amaretto and some hints of roasted malt in the backgroud. Even some vanilla sprinkled in.

T: Some creamy/chicory type sweetness up front, ending in a mildy roasted malt and bitterness. Almond flavor springs up afterwards with some other non-almond types of nuttiness. Hints of chocolate here and there too.

M/D: Carbonation is a bit high, body is full but slightly thin. Drinkability, however, is exceptional. A 4.10% stout that smells and tastes like a familiar liqueur? Count me in. I'll will definitly be picking up a sixer of these next time I'm out.

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Photo of brentk56
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dense black color with a foamy beige head that leaves a few shards of lacing dancing around the pint glass

Smell: Charred wood, day old coffee and some nuts (but more hazelnut than almond)

Taste: Opens with a German black bread flavor with a distinctive sour element picking up by mid-palate (almost like nut skin sour); after the swallow, the malty flavors dominate, with a little chocolate and almond rounding it out; sour nut skins in the finish, too

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A real mixed bag that differs from sip to sip; not unpleasant but could have a more distinctive almond character

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Photo of banjojon
3.81/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into a frosted mug
initial 2in of dense head in a choc milkshake color
very dark, thick color
after 2 mins head is down to 1/2 in with good lacings

nutty, choc, licorice, coffee

like the aroma
rather crisp mouthfeel with little aftertaste
flavor lingers on lips a tad but not on the palate
would probably be better at room temp

i could see keeping a sixer around
definitely tasting the almond

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Photo of daliandragon
3.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The head dissapated awfully fast to count for much so I was a little concerned about that. The nose takes over right away, and is loaded with appetising almond flavor and backing cherries. Also vanillla and some other nut notes. Sweet and very tasty, if not at all like a stout or even a beer; if my eyes were closed I'd swear I was smelling butter pecan ice cream. Color is close to jet black.

Taste is a letdown after that money shot on the nose. Token almond flavor, and some roasted malt, but litttle else really hits home and it ends up being a tad empty. Mouthfeel thins out after the initial taste and aftertaste is almost nothing. Too bad, I now assume the nose is generated artificially because I can't taste most of those flavors at all. Where did they go? Back to the drawing board...

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Cottonwood Almond Stout from Carolina Beer Company
3.56 out of 5 based on 43 ratings.
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