Cottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity | Carolina Beer Company

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Cottonwood Frostbite - High GravityCottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity
Very Good
50 Ratings
Cottonwood Frostbite - High GravityCottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity

Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GCBrewingCo on 12-06-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 |  Reviews: 49
Reviews by bjohnson:
Photo of bjohnson
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to blackie for including this in my ba anniv. package.

A: Pours a reddish copper color. Nice creamy looking one finger cream colored head.
S: Floral hop notes with a hefty spicyness. Slight pine notes also in there. Sweet characteristic to the aromas.
T/M: Caramel malt notes mingle well with a molasses like flavor. Spicy with an excellent hop profile. Grapefruit plays a large role along with a nice dose of pine. Nice balance between the two profiles. Rather smooth on the palate with a dryness towards the finish. Spicy aftertaste with a long bitterness. A tad earthy. abv is noticeable by the spiciness.
D: An interesting brew, but a strong ale? Smells like a strong ale, but I'm not sure of the flavor. Still a good brew.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a slightly hazey deep amber with foamy off0white one finger head that is gone pretty quickly,big brown sugar and molasses aromas overtop of citrusy hop incredibly balanced.I think this brew is near perfect inits big malty sweetness molasses,brown sugar with a hefty dose of citric,piney hop wich really finishes the beer off nicely dry.I really enjoyed this beer I wish a local watering hole would pick up a draught account of this beer,well done.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice amber color with mild cloudiness. Nice off white head that left some mild lacing.

Smell: Nice piney hops with a strong hint of citrus. Some cherry, light chocolate, heavy caramel malt are also present.

Taste: The caramel malts come through first with the citrus and cherry coming across the palate. The finish is the piney hops and the chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp. The carbonation nicely balances the hops.

Drinkability: This a nice crisp and good tasting beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely amber color, glossy and glassy with tons of bubbles rushing up to feed a light tan head that has quite the stamina. A beautiful thing to behold.

Unfortunately the smell is unremarkable. Light toasted grain, light whiff of alcohol...not much else. Nothing terrible going on, just nothing much going on, period. Doesn't represent the taste of the beer, that's for sure.

A good bit of depth in the taste that took me several different sessions to really get a grasp of. There's a mildly burnt maltiness giving a foundation to Frostbite, and then something like juniper berries mingling with pine and alcohol. A pleasant green/leafy bitterness takes hold in the finish, along with a resiny grip and big toffee presence that really crown the experience.

Superbly creamy when drunk at cellar temperature and no lower. Round, slick, buttery, creamy, creamy, creamy. Carbonation comes in just enough to give everything a healthy nudge. Very very nice.

I didn't expect much, as Carolina/Cottonwood recently seemed to have dumbed-down their once-great Pumpkin Ale. But this is good. My first one was underwhelming. The second and third in the coming week made me take more notice. This one is really doing it for me. At the right temp (ie. not wintry cold!) Frostbite's flavors come out full force.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, lugged by blackie from the southland

i think that having the words "high gravity" on the bottle are slightly tacky, but whatever...cottonwood was one of the first microbreweries i got down on when i was younger

appearance: pours a deep garnet/amber color into the snifter, foamy light khaki head, moderate lacing....certainly looks like a full flavored brew

smell: strong piney hops, deep twisted citrus aromas, cherry, light chocolate, heavy caramel malt

taste: better than the aromas indicated i think...deep and woody, heavy piney hops, cherry, citrus, alcohol, cherrys lightly dripped in chocolate...a surprisingly good effort from cottonowood. i like the woody/pine flavors in this one...strongly bitter

mouthfeel: medium-full body, rather smooth

drinkability: pretty drinkable for the abv

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly murky dark amber with a huge, frothy tan head that retains well for a beer of this magnitude. The aroma is quite hoppy with a big citrusy and pine resin character, as well as some fruity esters and some caramel malt. The flavor starts off with a big citrus and pine hop character, followed by some toasted bread and caramel, fruity esters and warming alcohol. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, and the alcohol makes itself known but drinkability is pretty good. Certainly an improvement for CBB over most of their cottonwood line, but not particularly impressive.

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Photo of Backer2004
2.98/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Cottonwood Frostbit 2004 vs. 2006 A comparative study:

Thanks to Tom from the Carolina Brewmasters who gave me both bottles last week. I'm not sure if others have done this, but I will be drinking both of these side by side to compare and contrast (I do have too much time on my hands tonight).

The biggest change other than its increase from 6 to 8.5% ABV is that it is considered a strong ale vs. an IPA from before.

Appearance: Almost exact same dark copper color, a little hazy for the HG and a bit thicker lacing.

Smell: More hop character and overall stronger aroma (vs. alcohol) with the 2004 (which smells great)

Taste: Somethings up with the 2004 this time, unlike when I had this on draft. It's aging process has a mix of bitter herbs and bourbon. The HG could use a little time on it to mellow a bit. Can definitely see the stronger alcohol vs. hoppiness IPA quality in the HG. The more I drank, the more burnt flavor came out. I kept saying to myself, "it can't be that bad, but it really wasn't good"

Mouthfeel: The extra hoppiness really sparkles on the tongue for the HG. Something still tastes wrong with the 2004.

Drinkability: I'm not even going to be able to finish the 2004, it may have been skunked, which is too bad for this review. The HG may take a while to finish. Update: didn't even finish the last of it.

I probably will either let a nother bottle sit for a while or try it out of the draft because I like Cottonwood, but this time was not impressive.

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Photo of Jredner
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly spicy and fruitcake accented caramel malt aroma. Medium hop presence gives it a faint pine/grapefruit note. The body is murky brown and holds a creamy and lasting tan head that is a full thumb thick. Somewhat hoppy fore...milder malt notes beneath, but thinnish and without much range or ceoncentration. Mostly a thin IPA really.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber, almost burgandy in color with a thick frothy 3-finger head, Head eventually recedes to about 1/2" and holds it's shape through-out the session. Smell is of caramel malts, some peat and piney hops. Alcohol also noticable in the nose. The beer has a big caramel malt back-bone, with hop bitterness on the back end. Not flavorful hop bitterness though, just bitterness. Nice warming alcohol finish. Frostbite does not hide the alcohol particularly well, but it does present the alcohol in a nice way. The beer is drinkable, but one is enough for me.
Overall this is the best beer I've had from Cottonwood since Carolina B&B took them over. A nice beer that I will drink again in the winter to thaw out a frozen palate.

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

appearance: The pour into my snifter creates a tan, .5" head. The color of the beer is a reddish, medium mahogany.

smell: The smell is a blend of resinous, cedary hops and a dark malt sweetness. Some dark fruits, maybe some date and raisin, are present.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is just above medium and the body a light medium.

taste: The malty sweetness is the dominant character, though the hop bitterness is considerable. Nothing complex or great, but a solid taste.

drinkability: The EtOH seems well hidden, though evident on the nose after warming. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fine beer courtesy of NClifestyle. Unfettered by the old abv state limit, the brewery has cranked this beer up to 9%, and it now fits the winter warmer style. Boldly hopped, with a crisp citrus hop aroma. Tight, almost creamy head. The flavor profile is a bit sharp - generously hopped, with a bit of rough around the edges character. Alcohol was prominent, but meshed surprisingly well with the rough hops. A little age might settle the hops down and let some malt emerge, but, even brash as it is, it is enjoyable now.

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Photo of mntlover
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich ruby brown hazy mess with a small tan head that falls to clumped bubbles. Some splotches of lace left down the glass.

Aroma is real heavy caramel malts with a good hop infusion, herbal pine blend with malt perfectly. Got that old/strong Ale smell.

Taste hops medicine herbal quality the hints of grapefruit rind and sprinkling of pine needles. Strange how I notice hops first before the big caramel malt base pushes them to the back. This beer tastes big bigger then the 8.5 even though alcohol is only hinted at. Got that good strong ale flavor that is kick ass begging for a fire to sit by and sip all night long.

Mouthfeel seems lighter due to the hit of carbonation as soon as you sip it, would say a big medium with just a tad too much CO2. In fact the only real fault I can find with this brew.

Drinkability is good, don't know how I haven't tried this semi local brew till now. My bad, will have to put this on my must buy seasonal brew list from now on. Not earthy shattering but damn tasty.

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Photo of Cindirene
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from tap dark amber with really nice head which clings to the class with nice lacing - Smell is really balanced malty with no particular hops standing out - Taste is malty with rreally nice hops coming in and stabilizing taste - Mouthfeel is full bodied with great balance - Drinkability in spite of ABV is really good - Hard to detect that much alcohol which means it can be dangerous

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Photo of MillRat
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft at their outlet in the Charlotte airport (See my review of that location for more info.)

Carolina Beer Co. takes their Endo IPA and turns the volume up to 11, which is not a bad idea at all. Deep cherrywood brew supports a pillowy, persistent off-white head. On whiff convinces you the brewer's a hophead, playing from a left coast deck, with plenty of piney and citrusy aroma. The malt stakes a claim, too, with toasted bread and some apricot and plummy aromas.

Flavor plays true to the aroma, with the hops well-balanced between the bitterness and flavor, riding on a toasty malt base solid enough for the task. The yeast add a dark dried fruit dimension. The alcohol and yeast team up to keep the palate from succumbing to the wright of the substantial malts.

Overall a good beer that keeps you interest and does not wear out its welcome. A well-crafted 8.5% ABV beer in never going to qualify as a session beer, but this at least invites a second round.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since I've moved here to the Tarheel State some six months on I've been pleasantly surprised at the development of the local beer scene, which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds all the time..not up there with Cali or Penn yet but on its way. Duck Rabbit, Highland, and the Mash House are just a few of the highlights. If there is an underperformer, it is the Carolina brands (particularly the repulsive and ubiquitous Carolina Blonde), although the Cottonwood line is generally solid. They may have started to hit their stride recently as this one appears to be a winner.

Starts off with a deep marroon color and a thin cap of head. Nose shows balance, from pine and citrus hops to sweet malt with fig and fruit notes. Just wish it had a lirttle more octane. Taste has plenty of bluster, wiith heavy, alcohol laced malt flavors wrestling mighty, blistering hops for this beer's very soul. Texture is well carbonated initially but turrning oily at the finish. This is satisfying, and an excellent effort, but not quite up with the big boys yet. Still, worth a shot and definitely big time progress to even attempt something this ambitious.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from unclejedi courtesy of the Little Guy BIF, so big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramel, brown sugar and some citrus.

T: The taste is pretty decently balanced with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and citrus sweetness coupled with a strong hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty and there's a mild alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice kick, this is one of those beers that blurs the boundaries between barley wine and IPA, which makes it a strong and flavorful beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle thanks to mikesgroove

Pours a lightly hazed medium chestnut brown with a creamy eggshell head that thins. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is largely herbal hoppy, but a toasted nutty malt smell is also present.

Toasted nutty malt taste upfront leads into a herbal hop flavor and rather sharp bitter bite. The sharpness rides through the finish.

Medium body, decent carbonation.

Meh, an average attempt at a strong ale. Yes, I could drink it - but it's instantly forgettable. Wouldn't want another.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from hoppedup as part of the East Coast 6-Pack & Shirt BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" tan head above the cloudy reddish/dark amber brew. Dense head lasts well, with heavy, slow-falling, foamy lacing. Aroma is strongly of piney hops, with a bit of a vanilla undercurrent, and alcohol apparent. Taste is a quick shot of malt sweetness, quickly overcome by pine hops again, and closes with a dominant alcohol presence. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good, and increase as the glass empties. A bit over the top for me, but an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Enola
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a semi cloudy deep brownish orange. There was little head. The smell is very sweet and hoppy. This beer has a good smell to it. The taste is of bitter hops and like stated above, like a good ESB. The mouthfeel has a lasting bitterness. The alcohol is very well hidded. You would not know it was higher ABV unless it was printed on the bottle. The drinkability is good. I would watch out though because this beer is deceitfull in the alcohol department. A good beer I will look forward to finding again.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Copper-auburn color with a nice full tan head, lots of suspended sediment, and decent lace. Strong citrusy hop aroma with notes of alcohol. Nice citrus hop and big malt balance compared to the standard Frostbite -- maybe a bit strong in ABV though. Full-medium bodied with a strong but balanced malt bitter finish.

Pretty good but I say bring back the old version which was much easier to drink regularly.

Per CBC website: A blend of Crystal Malts, Centennial and Columbus hops. Tops out at about 9% ABV.

'L2105' lasered on neck
Tasted: 02/10/06

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark maroon body, glowing hazily when light penetrates it. Head is large, fast fading, and settles to a nice creamy tan layer.

Smell: Clean hop aroma, grapefruit and carmel, lightly nutty. The smell is very inviting.

Taste: Very hoppy, roasted, nutty, slightly sweet and full flavored. Finishes a little drier than it starts. Slightly metallic aftertaste, very good, all-around. I like the style of beer, even though it isn't really like any style, close to Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale? Whatever it is, it is a very hoppy and full beer, and a good one, at that.

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Photo of PhageLab
2.61/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served in a standard pint glass. The barkeep told me this was an imperial IPA, ummm, it certainly was not. I see that mine is the first '08 brew review, and I'm curious as to whether or not they changed the recipe, because what I just drank doesn't sound too much like the rest of these descriptions, oh well, here goes...

A - Dark bar: dark brew, I can only guess that this is a deep oak brown coloration. Small bit of head, good retention, and spotted lacing.

S - Pungent alcohol/malt nose. Some roasted cherry like aroma near the end.

T - Rubbing alcohol. This was like taking a shot of cheap liquor. I couldn't detect much of anything else, maybe a slight hop tinge, but not anything like what I was told or expecting.

M - Full bodied but rough on the palate. Feels like my mouth is being burned.

D - No. I'm not sure what this was supposed to be, or if the lines were dirty or the beer was skunked, but I'm sad to be the first negative reviewer. Shy away from this one, stick to their Endo IPA.

Edit - Ignorance on my part, of course it's the same brew as those reviewed in December.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've enjoyed Cottonwood Frostbite on-tap a number of times, but only now have I secured a bottle to kick back with, and I am interested in how it will compare. This is the exact same brew as Carolina Beer Company's "Frostbite", a duplicated listing here on BA, and definitely IS NOT an "American IPA" as alleged in the other posting. I've chosen to review this beer under its "High Gravity" listing because I think that the desgnation sounds malt liquory and decidedly more ghetto than does the regular version of this beer, so out comes my pint willibecher glass and off goes the cap. Pfft!

A brisk pour reveals a sparkling clear bronze body and unleashes a towering three-plus finger-deep wallop of soft beige foam atop. The spongy head slowly relaxes into a rocky, pitted, misshapen moonscape that deposits fine, creamy, interconnected rings and webs of lacing onto the glass.

The smell is toasted malt-savory and citrus-floral with spicy hops and a mild, mellow caramel sweetness. A waft of cooling alcohol hints at the potent abv lurking in the brew.

Spicy, bitter hops lead an over-the-top assault, fueled by drying alcohol, rumbling hell-bent-for-leather over the rim of the glass and into the gullet of... well, me. Charge! The gingery, peppery palate-punch is supported by mild, silky dryish malts and a lingering cereal-syrupiness that sticks to all oral surfaces. Alcohol is a defining presence, and while it cools the palate, it does not do so at all upon its smoldering arrival in my belly. A twist of citrus oil drifts in to ratchet up the bitterness another notch.

The drink is fullish in body with excellent carbonation and superb feel. Very drinkable despite a kickass and noticeable ABV. Easily one of my favorites from Carolina Beer Company.

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Photo of Wolfpack2005
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep reddish-brown color with an off white head that lingers.

S-Nice sweet fruity smell, also pick up a light malt aroma.

T-Taste opens up with a light/sweet malty flavor. Then the hops come through with a citrusy bitterness. Beer finishes off with a fruity and sweet alcohol flavor and im detecting notes of tart apple. Leaves a dry bitter taste in your mouth that lingers.

M-Medium body and medium carbonation, and for the style very crisp and dry.

D-Pretty easy drinking beer considering the 8.5 ABV. Not my favorite winter seasonal but one i would consider buying again, especially at the $8.99 price point.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.97/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a murky looking light brown color with a very small light brown head and a little bit of lacing. Smells of malts and earthy hops. Tastes of earthy hops and a ton of malts, like the biggest malt bomb ever and a little hint of vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium and it have almost no carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

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Cottonwood Frostbite - High Gravity from Carolina Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 50 ratings