Cottonwood Frostbite | Carolina Beer Company

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Cottonwood FrostbiteCottonwood Frostbite
Very Good
40 Ratings
Cottonwood FrostbiteCottonwood Frostbite

Brewed by:
Carolina Beer Company
North Carolina, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-06-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 |  Reviews: 38
Reviews by avylover:
Photo of avylover
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thick brown translucent color with a nice frothy head. Nice lacy rim around the head. Smells of citrous hops right away, dominating the scent.Smells like a buquet of flowers!! The taste is not exaclty what i'd expect from a winter ale. Hops dominate until the last drop goes down, then some malts come forward at the end. Great taste, just not what I expected for the "style" I bit like SN celebration, only hoppier (is that possible?) Some spices i'm not familiar with detected. A good winiter beer for hop heads like myself.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was something different for a winter ale.Nice copper color wirh frothy/rocky read,never thought of a hoppy winter aleIt says hoppy winter ale on the package but this tasted like and IPA in some ways.Bitter but with a little malt background,nice to try something new for the winter.

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Photo of JMD71
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Warriorsoul for this. Sampled & reviewed 1/20/07:

Ap: Medium pour rseults in a solid finger of head. Deep ruby/copper color with good carbonation throughout. Nice lacing. Almost looks like cognac....

Ar: Deep malty aroma with slight candied fruit notes. A bit oxidized. Slight medicinal undertones. Advertised as a 'Hoppy Winter Ale" but no hops present in aroma that I can detect. Could be an older bottle in which the hops have calmed.

Ta: Nice bite! Surprisingly hoppy & bitter after little hop aroma. Good malt body which balances well the hop bitterness. Caramel apples in brandy....

Mo: Medium body with crisp finish due to good carbonation. Slight astringency. Again, this bottle could be old as it was from a trade.

Dr: Very drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden by the bittering hops & balanced by the sweet malts. Good presentation.

Comments: This was a surprise for me. I was expecting a traditional 'winter ale' with spices, etc. but this was more of a IPA (as categorized on BA) or a mild barleywine. Very nice surprise & quite tasty. Thanks Warriorsoul!

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Photo of JasonA
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

thanks for the extra marvin ...

Pours a translucent light carmel. Solid 2 fingers of dissapating head. Thick after reduction. Ample lacing present.

Light hop, some ABV. Crisp, fresh. Maybe foamy?

Light hops, light bittering hops, something in the finish. Somethings missing. Piney finish.

Balanced and certainly dont feel the ABV.

Somethings missing in this brew. Hop character isnt over the top, and the ABV isnt very warming. THough the void isnt filled with malt. Considering its a 'winter', i was looking for some spice, none found though.

meh, ill move on from this one.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying this one in a Cottonwood Ale pint glass...thanks to AlexJ for both.
Pours a hazy, dark brown with some light able to penetrate...a glorious creamy tan head sits on top and sticks around for a bit and also produces some serious lacing, covering the sides entirely.
Sweet aroma up front...subtle detection of black cherries and raisins.
The taste is less sweet and as stated on the bottle, quite hoppy.
Very little spice, but a solid malt backbone to accompany the dose of hops in this offering.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, the carbonation is a tad high and goes down with no effort.
I'd enjoy a fresher bottle, but this one was another decent offering...would like to try it on tap.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz amber bottle. Per the label, the freshness dating is printed on the neck, but I sure couldn't find it.

Poured a beautiful dark brown in color with a super-thick layer of light tan head. Superb lacing of the glass with distinct rings. Aromas are spicy, with definite citrus and pine shining through. This is labeled as a "hoppy winter ale" and they aren't kidding. A tasty hop dominance, mixed in with some wintery spices (nutmeg, some cinnamon), supported by a sweet caramel undertone. Finishes with a smoky aftertaste that was as unexpected as it was flavorful. Mouthfeel is on the thin side but this is still a quaffable beer.

Notes: Call me crazy, but this really reminded me of a highly toned-down Arrogant Bastard. The color, nose, and flavor really made me think of Stone's magnificient creation, albeit a watered down version of it.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep dark amber brown hue with a frothy caramel tan head leaves thick rings of lacing beautiful color and overall appearance. Aroma: Hop bitterness comes in pockets of deep pine cone and mild citrus notes with a big caramel malt profile. Taste: Mix of chocolate notes and caramel malts with a pine cone frivilously hopped brew sitting in front of me my mouth waters not bad at all. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied even carbonation not bad at all. Drinkability: Decent hoppy brew out of the Carolinas showing much promise for craft beer down south, excellent.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rich and mahogany in color with a foamy beige head and a hoppy aroma. The taste is rich and warm, with a nice bitterness and an almost smoky element in the finish.

This is a pretty good beer. I can only imagine how much better it would have been back in November, before it sat on distributor's shelves for months.

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Photo of bditty187
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky dried blood red-dark brown hue, the off-white head reached a finger in height and the retention was very good, it took a long moment before it noticeably faded. The subsequent lacing was quite pronounced. It is a fine looking brew. The nose intrigued me, it was hoppy with citrus & flowery notes that were paired with a kick of caramel malts in the background; it smells a little like Celebration Ale. The potency isn’t great but it gets the point across. Inviting. The palate largely matches the bouquet, the hops seem a little more restrained but they are obviously noticeable and quite tasty with their floral-citrus influences, the malt is toasty and more pronounced than I expected, it is not IPA-ish in nature. Yes, it is hoppy but not bitter or IPA hoppy. In fact this beer is like a better version of the new Winterhook Ale. That is fine by me! Maybe this beer is a Brown Ale meets an IPA bastard child? I should stop thinking and just call it tasty. Medium in body with a pretty big bite of carbonation, the mouthfeel is a little prickly. The aftertaste is largely hops with just a kiss of toasted maltiness like a Porter! This beer is unusual. Nothing really standouts flavor-wise but all of the subtle qualities blended reasonably well, true it is a little unbalanced towards the hops but it is workable. This is plenty drinkable and a worthwhile Winter Ale (I can’t really call this a “Winter Warmer” until North Carolina “Pops the Cap!”). Frostbite is definitely worth trying. Thank you Loki for the sample!

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Voluminous tan head that laced nicely. Hazed, dark amber beer.
Aroma of piney hops, dark fruit, and caramel malt.

Taste shows a hefty dose of piney, fruity hops. Dark caramel malt backbone provides decent balance, but this beer is about the hops. Dark fruit. A unique overall taste I liked.

Good body to the mouthfeel.

Overall, a good seasonal. Big thanks to AKSmokedPorter for tracking down this beer I was strongly seeking!

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Photo of Backer2004
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very excited to see this on tap tonight, but after ordering it, the bartendar told me that they only had pumpkin as the seasonal. She was wrong and I was happy. Since this is my first winter on, I'm just starting to experience the winter warmers. Very good qualities in all categories, however, everything was a step below Sam Adams' Winter Warmer. Nice little kick to it. However, the high today was 70 degrees so maybe I'll enjoy it even more ina few weeks.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red and nut brown color with an enormous, pillowy off-white head.
Aroma was a mix of nutmeg, roasted malts, a dash of chocolate and some powerful hoppy notes.
Flavor seemed to deviate from the nose. Darker roasty malts seemed to prevail in the pull between sweet and bitter. A distinctiveness nutty profile appeared mid-palate, which seemed a bit out of place.
Mouthfeel started out very full on the back half sort of lots its "oomph" and petered out sortof boringly.
Drinkabilty was above average but just missing a key few distinctive features to make this any more memorable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one really snuck up on me, I really did not know what to expect going into it, but I came out seriously loving this one. Pours out a dark amber color with a nearly brown shade to it. Nice head of off white reaches up to around two fingers deep while it settles down giving off a good bit of lacing in its wake.

Aroma is deep hops, lots of resin and citrus notes here for sure. Really just a really full and quite floral air coming off, but it was when I took the first sip I was blown away. Deep citrus notes are crushing the taste buds here. Orange, pineapple, deep grapefruit, really just dark though with a deep malt back bone that did not really balance it as much as it thickened up the profile a great deal. Medium body was well carbonated and bordered on thick at times, really pushing the envelope here as to what I was expecting. Smooth and obnoxiously dry finish just sealed the deal for me.

Overall a very solid offering here from Carolina. By far one of the best I have had from them and it really took me off guard. A highlight for sure.

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Photo of pchalk
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Cindirene
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The new Cottonwood Frostbite Ale is an 8.5% ABV double IPA unlike the old retired one - It has a solid citrusy nose, a crisp clean bite, and a full-bodied mouthfeel - When poured into a glass it forms an amber head which dissolves into nice lacing - This is definitely a brew to be tried

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Photo of RBorsato
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Copperish-auburn with a full tan head and massive amounts of sediment. Leaves good lace. Incredible citrusy hop aroma. Citrus hop flavor dominates leaving little, if any malt character. Medium-full bodied and creamy with a moderate bitter finish.

A very good American IPA.

Per C.B.Co. website: Centennial and Columbus Hops

DOB on neck: 11/25/02 Tasted: 01/17/03

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Photo of hopdog
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle acquired in trade with The_Beer_God (thanks!).

Poured a medium brown color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of toasted nuts, citrus, and had a light evergreen aroma to it. Tastes of citrus, pine, and toasted malts.

Notes from: 12/29/06

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Photo of sinistrsam
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This had a dark copper-brown, medium pink-orange head, with moderate lacing. It had a hoppy aroma, with hints of dark fruits, roasted malts, nuttiness and chocolate. It had a somewhat malty taste, with dry yeasty undertones. Nuttiness and plenty of alcohol.
It was smooth for being so bitter, but still unremarkable. It was very drinkable, and a good winter IPA.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me first say that I am not a big fan of the hoppier beverages. This one on the other hand is hoppy, but I really liked it. It was hoppy, but at the same time, had more depth to it. I detected hints of orange, lemon, oakiness, and hops. There is a hint of malts though. The appearance is stellar on this one. It's a cloudy red color with a reddish tan head to it. The head was super thick and lasted the whole drink! This I liked very much. All in all a great brew that I expected to be rather bland and average.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle. No freshness marking on the bottle.

Appearance: Murky, dark brown color with an uneven and thin tan head. The beer also has a slight red hue when backlit.

Smell: Caramel, floral hoppiness, toast, brown sugar, flaky pie crust.

Taste: Lots of hop bitterness up front followed by some sourness. It's roasty with some mild fruity esters. This beer is decently hopped but to the point of being unbalanced and strange. The maltiness that ends the beer is sweet and sticky but under represented to say the least.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied and slightly sticky.

Drinkability: Very thin and not much real flavor to get excited about. Mostly hops but it's not even a good hoppiness that one could get into. It tastes like something is missing.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear birch beer brown with ruby highlights, a nice off-white head and some lacing

Smell: Nice bready smell with hops in the background

Taste: Starts out with a bready, nutty brown ale flavor that is subsumed by the hops into a bitter finish

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy bodied with a modest amount of carbonation

Drinkability: A nice hoppy brown ale that is difficult to categorize; it sure isn't an American IPA and it is too hoppy to be a winter warmer; nevertheless, quite good

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Photo of kneeland
2.71/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

One of the best looking beers I've seen. Pours a gorgeous dark copper brown ale, with a lovely foam head that sticks around.

It doesn't come off like an IPA very much, but I can taste it a little. The taste is pretty average, too much malt, it overpowers the spices in it.

The mouthfeel is highly disappointing. It feels like it's still coating my entire mouth minutes after sipping it.

On a sidenote, I found a large broken piece of glass in my 6 pack. I'm sure this is pretty rare, but just be careful.

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Photo of beerinator
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber brown. Very dark tan frothy head.

Aroma: Very very strong vegital hop aroma. Definately has a heavy hop kick to the nose. It's hard to notice anything in the aroma other than the hoppiness.

Taste: Upfront roastyness. Not as sweet as many big hoppy beers. Dryer than expected. Coffee bitterness is present in the finish. Straight black coffee seems to bring the bitterness to this beer. It doesn't seem to be as hoppy as the aroma suggests.

Notes: Not entirely the way I remember this one from years past. It seems to be leaning more towards a brown in the taste category than it has in the past.

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Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tasty treat received via the CEO / Old farters BIF from unclejedi !

Into a tall pilsner glass went this amber oak brew – topped off with a nice 1” ivory head, lacing all the way down the slender glass.

A spicy aroma mixed with caramel greeting my beak, possibly even some black pepper in there. Quaff was a heart warming sharp and biting woody herb, this one reminded me of a spicy IPA.

Full and filling, I could go for a sixer in the fall whilst sitting my arse on the deck, or the easy chair watching football.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured deep brown amber. The head was deep tan and lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was hoppy, malty and complex. Very well done in that aspect.

The flavor was bitter with a chocolate flavor. Also present is slight caramel, but the bitterness and hop flavor rule the day.

The finish was dry bitter with slight chocolate. The body was medium.

12 ounce bottle. With a little better malt balance in the flavor the beer could have been a contender.

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Cottonwood Frostbite from Carolina Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 40 ratings