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 pezoids on 07-26-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 119 | Ratings: 131
Photo of theWrkncacnter
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Pours a very deep, rich brown/amber; a little red if you hold it up to the light. Good two fingered head that fades to a nice ring with minimal lacing. Smell is deep, with rich, earthy, dark malts and a slight amount of sweetness. Taste is slightly sweet, with lots of toasted, coffee tasting malts. The flavor is very rich and deep and finished with a nice mild sweetness. Mouthfeel is good, but lingering sweetness makes me want to brush my teeth. Drinkability is good, very smooth and easy to knock back a few.

If someone handed this to me without any context I'd think it was a porter. The coffee malts seem more like the style of a good porter than a brown, but either way it tastes really good. A definite buy-again.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this one a little on the warm side and I think it really made the flavors stand out. Pours a ruby red dark brown color with a nice tan head that has good staying power. Smell of caramel malt, cocoa, a hint of nuttiness and faint bakers chocolate to give it a little bitterness. At first taste is malt driven but the bakers chocolate flavor seams to take over. If you really search for it there is a little bit of a nutty flavor. Also flavor seems very earthy. Mouthfeel is a little light up front. Finishes with a slight bitter aftertaste. Overall a slightly above average beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This pours out a chocolate/ruby brown, with a small tan head. Bubbles rush madly to the top, which comes into play (in a negative way) a little later.

Aroma is really nice, especially for a style I've always found hard to get much out of, smell-wise. A sweet nuttiness comes on strong, bringing with it hints of toffee, caramel, Ovaltine, and dark raisin.

Flavors aren't quite as exciting or varied as the aroma, with the expected nuttiness being there; also some caramel and cola.

Mouthfeel is ruined by the overcarbonation, which seems to be an issue with this brewer.

Other than the ultra-fizzed body, this is an okay brown ale that does even better if the chill is taken off a bit. Maybe let it sit a little before drinking. But if brown is indeed the new black, I'm still siding with black.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slow start to a good beer. This poured to a dark ruby-brown, with thin tan head that disspated quickly to little lacing. Aroma was very faint, and I could detect only a hint of malty chocolate...nothing impressive so far.

Surprisingly, this medium bodied beer had a very pleasant and full flavor of chocolate and toffee, almost like a fresh baked candy turtle. The flavor lingered over into a nice long smooth finish, amking this local beer much better than I first anticipated.

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Photo of akorsak
2.88/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The ale is a deep brown color with garnet highlights but no head.

S: The nose is slightly nutty with a bit of a metallic aroma.

T: The taste seems to lack the nuttiness that it should have. The flavor is bland, slightly metallic and finishes rather quickly. Hops bitter only and don't make a statement.

M: The mouthfeel is blah, not really doind anything.

D: The beer is not so hot, seeming to lack any really defining character.

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Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks CrWills.
Minimal head, brown in colour with ruby shine. Transparent. Nice looking. Good bold aroma, brown malt dominates. Peety, scotchy, maybe some chocolate malt or vanilla. Faded slowly but pleasant and tasteful. Mouthfeel thin, watery upfront - then carbonation kicks in and rounds it out. Biscuity finish. Fairly complete. Not even close to the English style of nut browns, more of an 'artificial' brown. These flavours were meant to stick out and acts a little too obvious. It's fair enough and I liked it, but its not a 'craft' quality beer.

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Photo of Sammy
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice brown colour with white head. Thanks crwills. Mollasses and licorice in scent and in taste.Malty, but not well malted, more sugary with fizzy carbonation. Got sick of it after first swallow. Another brown and not all that satisfying at that, more body needed.

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Photo of grub
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

tasting party sept 11/06 with northyorksammy, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer and mead. not sure of exactly who contributed what, so i'll just thank everyone.

pours a deep ruby red that's nearly brown with a big off-white head.

aroma is nice. malty. bread and biscuit. also a bit nutty.

taste is good. nice and roasty, and those bready/biscuit malts come through. still getting a bit of nut flavour too.

mouthfeel is ok. feels a bit thin, but not bad.

drinkability is pretty good. not too heavy, and fairly tasty.

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

Served in a tall pilsner glass @ Mellow Mushroom, Knoxville, TN.
A: Dark to medium brown with reddish hues when exposed to light. Low carbonation and minimal head and lacing
S: Nutiness pervades malty undertones T: A little less than the appearance would suggest, slightly hoppy finish to a mild malted nutty start. M: Thin and watery, not much there D: A little better than average. I enjoyed this beer more when I was in Grad. School and Cottonwood hadn't been bought out by the larger Carolina Beer. It seems to have been maco-fied (i.e. more bereft of taste)

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Photo of russpowell
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at a bar in the main concourse at the airport in Charlotte (3 hour wait for flight= ample oppurtunity to sample). Did have to let this one warm a bit

Poured light chestnut with a 1/2" offwhite head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Slight grainyness & not much else

T: Slight hints of nuts& choclate up front followed by grainyness. Finshed dry & slighlty oaky & astringent

MF: Thin & slightly overcarbonated. sure doesn't feel like 5.4 abv

Had this on draft before & didn't impress. Drank okay, just a very simple brown IMO. Works in a pinch

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Photo of andrewm190
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pretty suprising beer for me. the taste is really different from what i was expecting. There seems to be a very strong apple taste, which is odd and different from what i would normally taste in a beer. Honestly, i think that the taste is pretty good, but not terrific. However, I think this is more a reflection on my personal preference than the quality of the beer. I have rated the taste pretty hight because i think it was a ballsy effort and they pulled it off pretty effectivly. I like any beer that goes for an off the wall kind of taste. Not one of the all time greats but I would have not problem picking up another 6 pack of it at the store. i recommend it.

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Photo of John1985
4.09/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours with chestnut brown color and a nice half inch head which dies down quickly, very little lacing. Wonderful bready chocolate malt aroma, flavor has a mild bitterness up front that slides into a distinctly chocolate malt flavor. Smooth finish that begs for more. A very good effort, this is not my favorite style but I would seek this out again. Recommended

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Photo of crwills
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My family brought me back a six pack of these from Hilton Head, as well as a six pack of Thomas Creek Pilsner.

Poured this brown ale into a Hobgoblin pint glass. It's... brown! With some red highlights. Very clear, with no clouds or residue. 1/2" bubbly head fades relatively fast and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is burnt brown sugar, almonds, cashews, some mild smokiness, and some maple syrup sweetness. A tiny bit cloying, but that's OK.

Taste is a surprise -- many of the elements from the aroma disappear and are replaced. Mainly chocolate and roasted nuts, with some woody notes. Fall fruit undertones as it warms up a bit.

Aftertaste is tangy, supported by moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is slickly coating. Good body, overall.

The better of the two Carolina brews I've tried -- makes a great barbecue beer!

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

Had a few pints at the Charlotte NC airport. Deep rich dark color. Cant give it an exact shade because of the opaque plastic cup. Medium size tan head that fades to a covering of the glass. Good lacing (given that it was in a plastic cup). This is a good tasting English ale, much more flavorful than Newcastle. It has a distinct cocoa/chocolate flavor, but the predominant flavor is smooth maltiness. As a hop-head, I find some malty beers a bit chalky tasting. This one is very smooth and easy to drink. The mouthfeel is rich. I had to limit myself to three because of my schedule and the fact that I only had a hour long flight. This would be a great session beer. I will seek this one out again the next time I pass through Charlotte.

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Photo of clemtig76
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle. No freshness date found. Pours a light reddish mahogany color with a thin off white head. Just a little lacing clings to the glass. Wonderful aroma, nutty, sugary sweetness with a little toasted caramel malt. Taste is a lot like Newcaste, but less sweet with a more pronounced malt profile. Mouthfeel is a little thin but nonetheless a highly drinkable brown ale from a local brewery.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.09/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a bad little brown here - by nature they're so unassuming that if one stands out it's a pretty good sign you've got a good brew on your hands...

The pour is a medium brown with an off-white head. Not much foam to speak of even with a vigorous pour. Still there was moderate lacing on the glass throughout the drink.

The nose was very good - a light combination of sugary sweetness and complimenting smoky notes.

The flavor was equally well balanced; while this was a reasonably sweet brown ale it was well tempered by the roasted flavors. The primary flavors were carmelized sugars - caramel, brown sugar and molasses are all present but there were clear flavors of coffee, toast and dark chocolate to balance out the sweetness. Little to no hop bittering in the flavor.

Mouthfeel was good - for an ale bordering on 'sweet' it was surprisingly light bodied with ample carbonation to lighten the palate. Lingering aftertaste of coffee bitterness finishes each sip nicely.

All in all a nice brown ale... I often find the more average Browns to be rather lacking in craft or personality but this was a clean, well balanced brew that made a very favorable impression...

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Photo of Smittysguinness
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MrHolland for the bottles on a recent trade.

This is, especially taste-wise, better than what I'd expect out of a standard British Brown Ale.

It poured into the pint glass a nice deep brown, with exceptional clarity. It had a thick head that dissipated quickly to about 1/4 inch, and stuck around. No lacing, but that was probably more my glass then the beer; the head belied that it would have left much better lacing.

I smelled toasty malt underneath a strong caramel smell, as well as a fruity ester that was more prunes than anything else.

The taste was, again, more than I expected it to be. It reminded me a bit of Tom Payne brown ale. It had an initial almost chocolate taste that immediately became plum and prune and ended on a nice grain note. Very balanced.

The carbonation had an American Light Lager feel to it; light, tiny bubbles but quite fizzy. It added an overall lightness to the beer instead of the normal near-flatness I would have expected. It feel slick and smooth nonetheless.

In terms of drinkability, I will absolutely track this beer down again. It had all of the great characteristics I hoped for, all in a great balance. Easily a session beer if I could get many many more bottles!

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is just between you and me, or on the “down low” as you would say. Pours a mahogany brown color with decent clarity. The head was a off white color that quickly dissipates to the edge and very little lacing.

The smell is light overall but nutty and roasted aromas are present. Some earthy aromas, from either the hops or the yeasty flavor.

The taste much more pronounced. A more noticeable roasted quality but very little on th nutty essence. Hints of toasted flavors are quelled in the background. A more prominent hop flavor is noticeable too. Mostly on the flavoring hops with a earthy almost chalky feel. There is a slight dry finish at the end with some sweet molasses finish.

The body is light for the style. I would have liked more of a malt taste but still very easy to drink. Carbonation is light but acceptable. Very easy session, and that's no secret.

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Photo of MrHolland
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can get a lot of Cottonwoods around my area. This one I poured into a pint glass with about a 1 inch head that disapates not too quickly. Has a dark brown color but when held up to light turns into a bright ruby red hue. Smells of roasted malts and alcohol. I am not a big fan of the style but this brew is pretty good. Taste of walnuts with a little hint of some butter but an above average brown ale taste to me. Goes down smooth with good amount of carbonation. Have a six pack gonna drink all of it.. mabey get some more in a couple of days and thats all for drinkability. Good ale, drink up.

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Photo of nickss
3.11/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Drank this in Charlotte airport.

Pours a gorgeous deep hazelnut brown with a generous 1/2" inactive cream-colored head.

Smells of malt and butter, but little else. However, as a qualifier, I am sitting in a cloud of cigarette smoke while drinking this, so aroma may be difficult to discern.. such is life.

Tastes like red oak, minus the excessive butteriness and fruitiness... also reminds me quite a bit of newcastle, only a bit more buttrery

Big creamy mouthfeel... not bad.... reminds me of butter.... like it tastes.

Not a bad beer, but unoriginal.... and while not as buttery as Red Oak, still entirely too buttery.

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Photo of blackie
3.31/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour into my imperial pint glass creates a .3" off white head that recedes gradually. The beer is a lighter mahogany in color.

smell: The dominant nutty aroma to this brown smells woody and aged. Also smells earthy. Any malt sweetness is very low, and the hops are slight.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lighter end of the high range, and the body a lighter medium.

taste: Nutty, woody, light sweetness...very dry. Hop bitterness is light. Somewhat boring. Kinda watery.

drinkability: Plain, but inoffensive and drinkable.

The code M1205 FL 1058 is printed on the bottle.

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Photo of TAMU99
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good - I'd recommend - same taste as a darker bock.
Appearance - slight hazy brown.
Smell - I served it a bit cold, but still not much there. A bit of hops, maybe some caramel?
Taste - Nice & balanced. mild hops to mild malt - hops last longer leaving a hoppy aftertaste (liberty/cascade hops?)
Mouthfeel - taste is slightly overpowered by carbonation
Drinkability - just above average. after one or two that fizz gets the better of the taste and it's just not worth it.

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Photo of NClifestyle
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Low Down Brown shows slightly cloudy in the glass, with a red-brown color. A 1-inch thick head rises above the brew, but drops to a thin layer atop the beer, with little or no lace on the glass. Nutty, malt aromas rise, with a hint of smoky chocolate and possibly toasted bread smell as well. The taste is a bit less nutty than the smell, with a caramel, almost bittersweet cocoa hint before moving into a dry hop flavor, slightly spicy. The flavors come further out to play as the beer warms. Low Down Brown is 5.7 ABV, and gives a glowing feeling. Really great smell and taste with this one.
Mouthfeel offers nice carbonation, with tingles of bubbles on your cheeks and tongue, but not too much to offend or burn. A medium beer in the mouth, but somewhat chewy, this one is smooth. Cottonwood’s brown has some sweet, some hop, some nutty flavor, and could be drank all night, a great session beer.


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Photo of RBorsato
2.86/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap 9/13/05 at Taste Of Carolina bar in the airport in Charlotte, NC.

Solid brown with a low tan head. Light roasty aroma with a touch of diacetyl. Surprising buttery flavor with hints of chocolate and roasted malts underneath. Light-medium bodied with a light roasty dry finish.

Whew ... had a much better experience with the bottled version -- hopefully this was isolated to the bar I had it at.

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Photo of cracgor
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown body with a tan creamy head that settles into a relatively well sustained sheet of froth with a little sticking. Looks Excellent.

Smell: A grassy, grainy, roasted malt. Very earthy in the smell.

Taste: Hits up front with huge nutty, medium roasted/grassy malt. Very good and what I expect. Ends with a bit too much fruitiness though. It has that sour flavor I associate with some roasted malt, and like. The fruitiness just overwhelms the other good characteristics of the beer.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied. Clean and refreshing. Nothing I don't like here.

Drinkability: all in all, it is a decent brown ale, but it just has an overwhelming fruity character in the taste. The only problem I associate with the beer is balance.

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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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