Cottonwood Low Down Brown Ale | Carolina Beer Company

119 Reviews
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Cottonwood Low Down Brown AleCottonwood Low Down Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stirgy on 07-26-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 131
Photo of thagr81us
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured a deep reddish-brown with a one finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, chocolate, and tobacco. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, raosted malt, a hint of chocolate, and tobacco on the followthrough. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was not a very good brown ale. I wouldn't go as far to say that is was horrible, but the tobacco aspect I got just killed this one for me. Personally I wouldn't suggest this to anyone.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from the tap with a beige haze layer and collar, over an optically clear aged-copper-brown body. No visible carbonation.

S- Mild maltiness with a very mild earthy hop aroma. Slightly husky. Overall a weak nose.

T- Moderately malty up front with a touch of roastiness. This is met with a bit of huskiness in the middle which echoes through the finish. No hop bitterness detected on the palate.

M- Thin body with a pervasive, prickly carbonation. Definitely force-carbonated. No EtOH detected, nor astringency.

D- Goes down easy enough- I could enjoy a couple of these in a row on a lazy fall afternoon.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- A clear dark brown. Thin head that is so so on retention and lacing.
S- Smell is of malt and nutty aromas. Some fruit aromas as well.
T- Same here. Nuttyness and malt.
M- Thin and undercarbed.
D- This was merely a so so brown ale for me. It just never really kicked into gear. I don't mind simple flavored beers, but when it is simple and the mouthfeel is lacking, the beer suffers.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty brown color with a think white tan head and very nice lacing. Smells of sweet malts, brown sugar, and floral hops. Tastes of balanced malts, hops, roasted barley, and brown sugar notes for a great depth of flavor. Mouthfeel is very nice with a nice smoothness. Drinkability is high.

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Photo of jampics2
2.66/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Charlotte airport Carolina Beer Company restaurant. I guess this place doesn't actually brew their own beers anymore, but instead contracts them out. Still, it was better than the selection at the Fox Sports Café, and we got some food. The place was nice, and the other beer we tried was better than average. However, I thought this just fell short of the mark.

Brought to the table in an oversized pint glass, this beer looks great. It is mahogany with brown and caramel edges. It has great head retention and decent lacing.

Too bad it's all downhill from there. The smell is decent, but nowhere near best in the genre. It's got a mild roast that gives some chocolate notes along with some acidity and nuttiness. Slight earthy hops make their presence known as well. Also a touch of a metallic tinge makes the nose just average at best.

The taste is a disappointment. That metallic tinge in the nose becomes very distracting right off the bat. At first I thought it may be an infection, but I actually think it's just a bad, acidic nuttiness that I can't stand in beer. Not nearly sweet enough, the caramel malt struggles and it's missing a touch of roast that makes brown ales identifiable. Hops have left the building. Really, really not a good taste here.

It's highly carbonated and not hefty enough for the style. Light, watery, and bubbly. This beer started nicely but went downhill in a flash when I got to the most important part - the taste. Very disappointing and not only do I not want to ever try this again, I'm hesitant to try anything from this brewery. I thought after a week drinking Caribbean beer in Jamaica that anything American would make me happy. This made me miss Dragon Stout even more.

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Photo of confer
3.12/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice chestnut brown, it couldn't hold a head.
S- The smell is the best thing about this beer and maybe set me up for the letdown on the taste and feel. The smell is caramelly, and warm.
T- For a brief second the flavor is there and then it just disappears into nothing but water.
MD- The feel is also to watery for the style. It goes down easy but I doubt I would drink this one again.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.07/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass on 12/22/09

Dark brown; burnt highlights. One finger head dissipates at a moderately slow rate. Thin layer of retention. Lacing is minimal; just one medium-sized patch.

Earthy aroma with a decent hop character; well-blended. Toasted malts & hints of dark bread. Nutty undertones. The nose has a penchant for subtlety.

Hops are at the fore offering both modest bitterness & a spicy kick. Sturdy malt backbone: dark bread; toasted malts; maybe a hint of caramel; roasted nuts. It has an odd, almost tart flavor on the finish - not sure what that's all about.

Leans more toward full bodied than medium. Carbonation seems two-fold; prickly upfront, then smoothing out toward the finish. Lingering notes of toasted malts & nuts.

Not bad; on the whole it's a pretty decent beer. The tartness seems really out of place to me, though.

Note: At the time of review I wasn't familiar with infected beer; now it makes me wonder...

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Photo of armock
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the bar thats in the middle of all the terminals at Charlotte airport.

A - Poured a brown color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of sweet grainy malt for the most part

T - Follows the nose starts with grainy malt has a bitter finish

M - This beer has a medium body with higher carbonation to it

D - I don't know why my experience is a lot different than others with this beer maybe the airport doesn't take care of its lines but mine was very average at best

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Photo of maximum12
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to ROBORB for dropping this as an extra into a recent box. I'd never even heard of this brewery before, always good to find something new.

Pours dark with only a glistening of mahogany around the edges. Smell is predominantly chocolate, sweet malt.

Low Down, what in the name of all that's English are you? English Brown Ale...a surprising note of tart, almost slightly fruits, like a Wisconsin Belgian Red gone haywire. Sweet malts rush in & keep the weirdness from running the show, but it's still there in the aftertaste. Ghosts of chocolate, a few other things, but it makes me wonder if this beer is infected, or if this is supposed to be a throwback to the 'sour' dark beers of the Olde Country.

I'm going to assume this is the way the brew is supposed to taste. There was recently a 'sour' porter out there that I found virtually undrinkable, but this one isn't nearly as grating, but the sour bite does cover up most of the other traits the beer might want to showcase. Great? No. Bad? No. Good? Pretty.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery's outlet in the airport in Charlotte. Nicely done, and a good take on the English style. Roasted malt flavor with some nuttyness and a hint of chocolate. There was a touch of sourness at the end. I couldn't tell if it was intentional, a touch of bacteria or perhaps the line needed a flush, but it was not off-putting and I actually liked it. A great compliment to the pulled pork sandwich they served.

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Photo of katan
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at CLT

A - Certainly a brown ale, very deep brown hues. Fairly opaque, but not hazy. Head formation was strong, and left alot of lacing.

S - Strong hints of caramel and crystal malts. Some bready yeast notes come through as well. Certainly a high malt beer.

T - Starts off with a very potent nutty malt flavor, supremely sweet. Only a light amount of hopping in the mid-stream, accompanied by only a small amount of bitterness. Finishes with a yeast breadiness. Zero negative artifacts detected.

M - Fairly strongly bodied. Clinging and sticky. Carbonation bite doesn't come through harshly. A hair clinging at times.

D - Very easy drinking. Manageable ABV. Not filling.

A solid brown ale.

A good airport beer selection for sure.

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Photo of stakem
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown color with more than a finger of slightly tanned head. Head doesn't retain very well at first and receeds to a thin lace on top of the beer however, that lace stays for quite awhile being reinforced by continuous bubbles. Nose is a roasty mix of burnt grain leaning towards smoke, malt and a bit of some zing in the finish that is somewhat sour. Taste is malty sweet with some chocolate and nutty character. Lingering taste of chocolate and malt turns a bit sour... Crisp finish, somewhat overly carbed and lighter than expected feel.

I have no reason to believe this bottle was mistreated but the sourness makes me think something might be wrong with it. I will have to get another sample and see.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bottle poured into a pint, quarter inch head that faded very quickly to a scant layer of lace, very deep dark brown coloring.

s- mild coffee, toasted biscuit, vanilla, milk chocolate, nougat, something else that i can't exactly put my finger on.

t- that mystery smell is back - damn i can't figure it out - it's almost a little bit tart, little bit bitter almost like a tart unripe peach. other than that - nutty, not as sweet as the nose, mild milk chocolate, the aftertaste is very enjoyable.

m- bit too thin for a me, borderline watery.

d- i had higher hopes for this beer, my parents pick up a sixpack of this during their trip down to south carolina, the rest of the sixer won't go to waste. i just wish i could pick up that interesting flavor.

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Photo of Cyrano41
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured brown with medium head, light lacing. The smell was mostly coffee to me.. Tasted of chocolate and coffee. Mouthfeel and drinkablity realy smooth. I like to build my own six pack of what ever catches my fancy or something I heard good reviews of in search of new and tasty brews. The name caught my eye the first time. After that the brewers work spoke for itself. I was very impressed and immediatly went to get some more of this one!

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Photo of Risser09
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a guinness pint - fridge - 2009

Appearance: A twist off cap whispers as I crack it. The beer pours a brown color with red highlights. A 1/2" light yellow/ivory head surfaces and shows a little bit of retention. Not much lace left behind.

Smell: Cereal grains, sweet brown sugar, nougat and toffee are all heavy aromas. Creme brulee would be the best way to describe the aroma, to a "T".

Taste: Barley malt that is sweet and sugary meets brown sugar. This is what true barley that is malted tastes like. I can't describe a shred of hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, brown, ale-like without and hop bitterness. Alcohol is well-hidden, and this is a smooth mouthfeel with no harsh aftertastes.

Drinkability: This is a very tasty brown ale. Lots of flavor and sweetness with a great, clean finish. A winner for sure.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear, dark brown with some red highlights. Small head, little lacing. Odd sweet and tar dark fruit smell overpowers any roasted grain scent. Taste is an off-tasting combination of tart fruit that once again overpowers a decent roasted malt profile that appears at the end. Medium bodied, unpleasant aftertaste - almost sour and tart. Maybe something is off, maybe just not my blend of flavors.

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Photo of sprucetip
2.56/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From notes. Found this one passing through Charlotte airport. Pours clear, medium brown, red highlights when backlit. Moderate head fades fast but leaves some lacing. SMELL is vaguely roasty, almost sweet. Not complex, no legs. TASTE dominated by sour/astringent flavor, perhaps an "off" flavor? infected? dirty lines? Roasted grains barely poke through. FEEL thin side of medium body, benign texture, lingering sourness. OVERALL sour astringent flavor dominates. As noted above, perhaps a bad sample.

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Photo of nickfl
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - One finger of tan foam on a clear, amber brown body. Settles at a moderate pace and leaves little lace.

S - Light caramel malt and perhaps a hint of chocolate. Otherwise clean.

T - Malty, with lots of light caramel and a bit of roast character towards the finish. A little bit of citrus hop flavor in the finish and just enough bitterness to balance.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - A pretty nice, malty brown ale. The carbonation is way excessive, but not all that off-putting. The aroma is quite weak but the flavor is solid. Drinkable at an airport bar, but I wouldn't buy a sixpack of it.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the best beer I've had by Carolina Beer Company, but that's not saying much. This brown is OK. There were hints of roasted malts, the appearance was dark, on the border between brown and black, and the taste was palatable. I was able to drink it and I'm not a fan of dark beers. There was steady carbonation and nice head retention, some lacing on the glass (although I don't care about that, thought I would mention it). Overall, an OK beer.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a nice dark brown with red highlights. About 1 fingers worth of head, wonderful lacing and a thin head that stays during the entire session.

S: A Nuttiness with some malt and a touch of hops.

T: All the smells are in the taste.... the nuttiness is roasted with some toffee flavor, the malt is very roasted also and finishes with a touch of hops.... Aftertaste is a nice all around roasted malt.

M: Med bodied.... not a thick as I thought it should be... Little more carbonation than I'm used to. Still very pleasant.

D: Very smooth and very drinkable... not quite session but 2 with dinner would be very nice.

This is my first Cottonwood beer, I will look into their other brews.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark brown with a small head that didn't last long. The smell was mostly toasted malts and some nuttiness. The taste was similar to the smell, starting off with some sweet toasted malt that give way to a bit of roasted hazelnut in the finish. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some moderate carbonation. This is a pretty drinkable beer, a bit of a one-note beer, but it helps that the one note is pretty tasty.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic pint glass. Appears a clear medium chestnut color with about two fingers of fluffy light ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of hazelnuts, cocoa powder, mildly bitter hops, sweet caramel. About medium in both body and carbonation. Quite the drinkable English brown.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a mug.

A--Saddle brown with considerable red highlighting, which is weird. Head is about a finger and a half of off-white foam that retains decently but doesn't lace much.

S--Pretty good in this department, I felt. You get some faint cocoa powder underneath clear walnut and hazelnut tones, and even a faint whiff of like prunes or figs or some dark sweet fruit that's novel and intriguing. Let's taste this...

T--Not as interesting as the nose, mainly because most of the fruitiness that made the nose so interesting has been substituted with a sourness that's vinegary and kinda gross, in all honesty. That doesn't come on until the end, though. Up until then it's your solid brown profile of straightforward sweet caramel flavors backed by nutty bitterness, mostly walnuts but a little darker, more almondy type flavors, too. But that finish, man--just a buzzkill.

M&D--Mouthfeel's the typical thin, on the verge of being watery until the carbonation saves it. Overall they handle it well, I feel. Drinkability's not all that great as I don't want another.

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Photo of WesWes
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, roasted scent that boasts of crystal, and special roast malts. It's quite dry with a metallic aroma. The taste is average. It has a dry, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes sour with some lingering caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a pretty average brown ale. I'm not overly impressed with this one.

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Photo of nfr5069
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this beer as part of a beer of the month club. 12 oz bottle.

A: Twist cap, no freshness date. Pourd a nice dark brown, as would be expected. Light head that diminished quickly.

S: Maltiness, some sweet notes. Nothing overpowering or prnounced.

T: Lots of flavor up front. Strong malt character with some sweetness in the middle. Very tasty beer.

Mf: This beer was strong up front but then diminished quickly. There was no finish. Dropped right off. The start left me wanting more, but I was disappointed.

D: Beer is smooth, could definitely drink more. Perhaps a good session beer.

Not a bad beer, but not the best brown ale I have had. I would rank it overall good.

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Cottonwood Low Down Brown Ale from Carolina Beer Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 131 ratings.
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