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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale | Carolina Beer Company

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BA SCORE
86
very good
144 Reviews
Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced AleCottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company
North Carolina, United States
carolinabeer.com

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by aracauna on 09-18-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
144
Ratings:
173
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
15.1%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 173
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow! Stunning! This beer actually smells and tastes like pumpkin pie. I've never had a pumpkin beer that could actually do that. It pours a clear, crimson-tinted mahogany with orange and ruby highlights beneath a creamy head of light-tan foam. The head retention is fair, and it holds a short while before dropping to an average collar (no lacing). The nose is exactly like pumpkin pie with notes of sweet brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all-spice. The body is medium-full; and it's lightly zesty on the tongue with a fine-bubbled, median carbonation. The flavor, of course, is not nearly as sweet as real pumpkin pie, but the spices are present in just the right proportions. The maltiness beneath is sweet, and a touch caramelish; and its sublime bitterness acts only as a secondary to the spice in balancing the malt. It finishes with some residual sweetness that lingers stronger than the spice does; although the spice outlasts the malty sweetness. Still, it's not overpowering at all, and would make a satisfying addition to many dishes. A Thanksgiving dinner seems the most appropriate (whether with the meal or at dessert), but I think this could actually serve quite well in several other situations (Indian cuisine, for example). Really interesting, quite enjoyable, and surprisingly drinkable given the style!

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A few years ago I got into trying pumkin ales. I quickly decided it wasn't a style I cared for and haven't gone back to it until this beer. Got this as a bonus via trade. Wow, I'm now rethinking this style.

A - Cloudy orangish light brown, with a small off white head that quickly disspates.

S - Good pumkin pie.

T - Better than it smells. Pumpkin, gingerbread and nutmeg stand tall and tasty.

M - Medium body, smooth and clean finish.

D - Great after dinner beer. Not overly filling. Easy to drink a couple and relax.

11-01-07 - found another one of these in the cellar that I forgot about. Suffice to say it did not age well over a year. I'd recommend buying it fresh and enjoying it current. I know it should go without saying but having had tasted this I thought I'd footnote this review.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bartender suggested I taste the Pumpkin Ale before ordering a glass but I boldly declined and went straight for the pint. Surprisingly impressed. The smell, of course, was like cinnamon pumpkin pie with the taste to match (although at first the after taste is what impressed me the most). Enjoyed the flavor and aroma the entire time and so did my wife. However, this is not a beer I could enjoy all evening.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a SweetWater IPA shaker. Poured murky dark orange with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. There was no lacing evident throughout. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pumpkin, nutmeg, and graham cracker. The flavor was of sweet malt, pumpkin, and pie crust. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent for its style. Basically tasted like pumpkin pie without a doubt. I understand that this could be a love/hate brew, but I am on the love side. My idea of these styles of brew is: dessert in a glass... Yes please!

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Photo of towersfall
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours an opaque slightly cloudy orange with a quickly disappearing head.

Smell: An overly sweet pumpkin smell with a slight hint of spices. Smells like Thanksgiving.

Taste: Way more pumpkin (possibly from a puree) than needed with little or no spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body that's easy to down with a slightly under-carbonated feel.

Drinkability: This is balanced well enough for me to reach for it again next year but I may find it hard to finish multiples of these because of the strong pumpkin puree taste.

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Photo of Loki
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber/copper/auburn color with a big off-white head and great lacing.

Smell: Fresh baked pumpking pie with roasted malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and herbal scents. The aroma screems fall and begs to be paired with Thanksgiving dinner.

Taste: Starts with nicely roasted malt that smoothly slides to nutmeg and pumpkin with hints of cinnamon and hops. The pumpkin flavor holds the middle together and makes the transition from the sweet malt to the hops very pleasant. And I don't like pumpkin. Very solid body and smooth, clean finish. Very drinkable and begs to be paired with food. One of, if not the best Pumpkin Ale I've had this season. A solid return to a line that lost a step or two in the years past during the transition.

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Photo of Chadbrew
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours out sort of hazy and brown with a big cap of tan head. I swear it looks like a piece of pumkin pie in a glass. Smells like it too. I detect plenty of spices and some sweetness. The taste is nice and bitter sweet with a solid spice presence but nothing overwhelming. Lots of body definately matches the spice.
This is sooo easy to drink. Not too much of anything but plenty of all. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is very well balanced.

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Photo of Mauerhan
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich dark orange into my pint glass. a flash of head appears and is gone as quickly as it came...(nickel for every time i heard that one) tiny lacing.

smells awesome. pumpkin spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, possibly some cloves. along with the flurry of spices i get some nice malt characters.

taste follows suit. earthy spices play with the senses while the sweetness of the malts follows close behind. the flavors of this beauty meld together great. whoever created this beer made sure of that.

mouth is medium bodied. between the spice and the carbonation its like a symphony on my tongue.

drinkable yes. but im not sure i could put back more than two of these in a row. but this would be great for special occasions.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been working my way slowly through this six-pack because it is such a rich and hearty beer.

Pours a rich auburn with a slight orange twist. Slight ead that evaporates to essentially a film. Nose is full of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Just like my Ma's kitchen whenever she makes a pumpkin pie.

Flavor is rich and bold and spices. Honestly, I am not sure if there is pumpkin or all the pumpkin pie spices are just tricking my mind to think that there is pumpkin in there. But anyway, the flavor is so rich and full that it coats the inside of my cheeks. Very sweet too. Full body that holds up well even as the beer warms. Such a nice example of the style

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Photo of AlexJ
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour produces a rich, lightly clouded sunset- orange brew with a creamy beige head that leaves some lace patchwork on the glass.

Sweet spicy aromas of warm pumpkin pie, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove, along with vanilla, mild piney hops, and caramel.

Flavor is rich and desert-like, with a well rounded malt entry, developed pumpkin tones shadowed by warm and sweet spices. Authentic tasting. Enough hops in the finish to provide roundness. Pleasantly sweet without being sugary. Very natural tasting and surprisingly easy to drink.

Like most of the Cottonwood brews, it is a bit light in body, not chewey enough. Finished like a slice o'pie, making me wish I had some good vanilla ice-cream to go with it. I like this better than most of the pumpkin beers I've had so far.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong but not overwhelming, rather pumpkin-like and with strong spice overtones, particularly cloves. Color is a nice dark reddish amber; head is off-white and fairly thick but does not persist. Flavor is smooth and malty with a solid pumpkin overtone and spicy hints, so it is almost like drinking a liquid pumpkin pie. Perfect for the holidays.

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Photo of tommy78
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got it straight from the tap. Immediately, I smelled a pumpkin aroma. Colour is a brownish/orange tint. As soon as I tasted it, a pumpkin flavor mixed with spicy hops hit my tongue. It reminded me of having pumpkin pie, except in alcoholic, liquid form. A good feel to the beverage, though it was hard for me to drink it consistantly. I had to take a couple of sips of h2o in between to cleanse the pallet. Good fall beer to have.

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Photo of BeardedSquash
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'll start this by saying that my judging for Pumpkin beer's rides a different train than it does for purity law beers. I sought this one out during my last visit to Charlotte because I remember it being the best out of the lot.

A" Pours an active amber orange, with a 1/2-inch head that doesn't stay long, but rims the edges before it leaves.

S: Cinnamon and nutmeg up front, with a bready undertone. No hops present.

T: This is what I like, a mouthful of pumpkin pie. I can almost taste the pumpkin meat (this is not figurative), and the spices retain their supportive role from the nose. The grains shine through slightly, but take a fresh baked crust aspect. All the sweetness finishes dry and satisfying. This is what a pumpkin beer is supposed to taste like.

M: This is the only area I would really work harder on. Active body and a low-medium mouthfeel. I would like to see a big full mouthfeel to accompany the whole "pie" feel this thing gives off.

D: One bite at a time. This is not a quaffer, but one to kick back and enjoy in the backyard as the leaves change. Finish the whole concept with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I think I'll review this one again when they get it on tap in town.

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Photo of clemtig76
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 12 oz bottle produced on 08/22/06 purchased at Green's in Columbia, SC. Pours a beautiful burnt orange/copper color with a thin tan head that quickly disipates. The aromas of clove, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinammon remind me of a freshly baked pumpkin pie. Just a little malt in the background. Tastes very much like it smells, malty with those wonderful pumpkin pie spices. Finish is slighlty sweet and warming. Very pleasant and refreshing. Would make a great tailgating brew.

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Photo of cracgor
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with a nice little tan head that quickly receeds to a thin ring around the glass with no lace. Smells so much like pumpkin pie. Spicy pumpkin pie. Makes me think I need whipped cream. So delicious tasting. They nailed pumpkin pie. It even has a little of the smooth texture I identify with the pie. Crap I need pie. This is the first pumpkin beer I ever tried, and I have always enjoyed it.

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Photo of mntlover
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy amber brown head small and falls quickly smells like pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon thanksgiving all over again. Taste is pumkin flavored malt with a touch of spice and hops thrown in for good measure. Nice medium bodied spiced beer glad I found some only have had three pumpkin beers this one probably the most enjoyable and drinkable good taste with out going overboard on the pumpkin.

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Photo of Winter
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brownish amber in color with a a tan head that disappeared. Sweet aroma of pumpkin pie. Cinnamon, nutmeg and pie crust all present. Truly smells like pumpkin pie in a bottle. Where's the Cool Whip? Mouthfeel is medium in body. Taste mirrors the nose and consists of pumpkin and cinnamon upfront. Nutmeg flavor emerges midway through. Malt in the finish is reminiscent of pie crust.

This is an excellent pumpkin ale. Probably my 2nd favorite behind DFH's Punkin', but this tastes more like pumpkin pie than theirs does. I wish we could get this around here on a regular basis.

Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for this Fall treat!

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Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a auburn tinted orange with one-finger head and some lacing. Nutmeg is what I smell most, but there is good dash of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, and maybe some bread/pie crust. Incredibly smooth and creamy were the first two adjectives to hit me. There is a substantial pumpkin flavor in this beer. It maintains a sweetness while balance the malts and hops so it isn't overly sweet and it has a crisp, relaxing finish. Medium-bodied but filling due to the carbonation. With the ABV low and the pumpkin taste not a killer (meaning you'd get sick of it after awhile), I could drink this all day.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Probably as good as any Pumpkin Ale that I have ever tried. Seems like they start with a lightly colored English Pale Ale base, and added pumpkin character at a pretty good clip. Appropiately spiced to make this thing smell exactly (and taste very similarly) to actual pumpkin pie...with whipped cream. Decorated with all-spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Very delicious. Feels full and creamy, but not heavy. Lightly buttery and spicy feeling. A mild spicy bite in the throat, but to not the extent of all other pumpkin ales that I have tried.

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Photo of brentk56
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a caramel brown slightly cloudy body with a robust head and some lacing

Smell: Pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg dominate the nose

Taste: Starts out with a nice pumpkin flavor the provides a backbone for a fairly spicy kick; a slight hop bitterness joins on the finish but overall it is fairly sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but a bit fizzy

Drinkability: Overall, a very nice effort and one of my favorite pumpkin ales

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky 'autumn leaves' orange-bronze that virtually explodes with color when sunlight is permitted entry. The cap is toasted pie crust beige in color. Unfortunately, it's too soft and too unsticky. The upper surface is smooth and featureless and the glass is nearly devoid of lace. A better head-lace combination would have put the appearance into the Pumpkin Ale Hall of Fame for sure.

The nose smells more like freshly-baked pumpkin pie than the vast majority of pumpkin ales that I've had so far (all eight of them). There's a near perfect blend of the baked gourd itself, cinnamon and nutmeg, and beer. I'd have to smell this one in concert with Smuttynose Pumpkin to come up with an absolute favorite, but it's definitely a good 'un.

Still going strong on the palate. It seems to me that it must be hard to get the mix of flavors just right in a pumpkin ale. How else to explain the shortage of great ones? The brewers at Carolina Beer & Beverage have it mostly figured out because this is wonderful beer.

The malt backbone is just sturdy enough and provides a toasted, caramel-like flavor that reminds me, in some ways, of a marzen. I could use a little more malty sweetness, but everyone probably won't feel the same. The brewery's website describes the pumpkin flavor as 'faint', probably to avoid scaring off those who 'fear the pumpkin'. It isn't faint though. It's right up front and the beer is better off because of it.

A modest bitterness appears on the finish; yet more evidence that this isn't some overly sweet pumpkin alcopop, but a real, honest to goodness, finely crafted ale. Spices linger, with nutmeg slightly more prominent than cinnamon. The mouthfeel is a fraction lighter than medium (more malt please) and the carbonation is long-lived.

Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale deserves the medals that are so proudly displayed on the label. While it doesn't quite rise to the heights of my favorite version (Smutty), it's a commendable brew from a quality brewery. If I lived in the distribution area, CPSA would have an honored place in my fridge come autumn. Thanks to WOLFGANG for sending this terrific seasonal my way.

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Photo of buckiflyer
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Anoter 1.75$ bottle purchase from Total Wine and More. Poured a light orangish color, big head, much larger than I anticipated. Instant pumpkin and spice smell, fresh pumpkin pie. Average mouthfeel, smooth hop and punkin taste with a spice finsih, another nice pumkin offering.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, you should know that I am not a fan (yet) of this style. In fact, my first sample of the style I could hardly finish.

This pours a rich, dark amber, which is very appealing, though the head and lacing disappoint a little. The smell is very good, for a pumpkin spiced ale. In fact it smells just like pumpkin pie, no kidding (though only slighty weaker in aroma). Taste is pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, slight brown sugar (malt sweetness?), and just a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is decent, but slightly watery. I don't know if that is inherent to the style?

Again, for the style (and my tastes) this is very drinkable. Cottonwood just might win me over to the style...but then again, there are many other seasonal beers out there I would drink instead (marzens, winter warmers and other christmas seasonals).

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Photo of wedge
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A fizzing head of yellowed foam rests over a clouded, burnt chestnut colored beverage - active carbonation. The head settles down to a broken, creamy ring. Smells like tasty pumpkin pie...spiced, toasted pumpkin, nutmeg...delightful! The flavor is well blended sweet pumpkiny goodness with yet more nutmeg. Well-rounded. Solid medium body could use a little more carbonation.

Want something to fit the fall season? Try one of these. I'll have to crack another few of these once the weather gets cool and the leaves change. Yum.

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Photo of jsdunlop
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I look forward to Cottonwood's arrival each fall here in NC, kinda lets me know Fall's arrived...finally getting around to reviewing this one so here it goes:

Pours out as a darker orange with lots of carbonation and a nice fluffy white head that recedes fairly quickly down to some minimal lacing on top. Smell consists of a blast of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some raw pumpkin, not quite as intense as some others out there on the "pumpkin pie" spices, but definitely smells delicious. Next comes the taste, which along with the drinkability, are the key elements of this brew. What I enjoy about this beer is the fact that there is a slight pumpkin bitterness that hangs around with your standard run of the mill holiday spicing, nothing too overwhelming going on here, light on the malt side with a spice note similar to that of a rye beer. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with an abundance of carbonation and sort of a slick aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Drinkability is extremely high, unlike other bold tasting pumpkins out around this time. This would be a great beer for the cool fall evenings, but at the same time, it is light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day out in the yard...might go ahead and grab a case to test that theory out next summer

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Cottonwood Pumpkin Spiced Ale from Carolina Beer Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 173 ratings.
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