Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002

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Reviews: 805 | Ratings: 3,488
Photo of Czequershuus
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Finally got a chance to try this legendary brew from a neighboring state. This beer pours a very hazy straw with a large head. The aroma offers up dry hay and leaves, clove, vanilla, orange peel, low notes of burnt sugar, and that smell of the woods after a rain. The flavor is mild, with clove and orange peel up front, as well as nutmeg, black tea, roast corn, and crisp, biscuity malt. Overall this is a clean and easy beer, with an unusual complexity for a mass market beer of its sort - I see why there is such hype about this one.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours from the bottle a hazy gold with a thick and foamy white head. Aroma is grain, cracker, corn and a bit of fruit. A slight touch of sulfur. Taste is light grain, cracker and creamed corn with just a hint of lemon. A slight bitter snap. Mouthfeel is light to medium and well carbonated. Crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of BeerLovingSonofA
4.99/5  rDev +36.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yep, it's a 5. And it's my favorite beer of all time.
Chicagoan who makes the trek across the border just for this - it's that good.

It pours like a classic lager with a foamy, creamy white head that sticks to the glass as you drink it. Not cake icing cream but more of a corn cream mixed with biscuit. There is a fruitiness, melon and citrus/lemon flavor - albeit subtle. Not hoppy at all - sweet malt on the nose. Grains and grass. The aftertaste is better than any lager or pils I've EVER had. And yes, they do make other beers like Moon Man or Two Women, which are also GREAT. Also good to note they use fresh, natural ingredients and if you know anything about the brewery in New Glarus, this beer comes from a good place.

The quintessential, ultimate midwestern beer. It fits, it fits Wisconsin and the midwest. It fits the same way a double IPA fits San Diego. You can mow the lawn or tailgate with this. That kind of accessibility - without giving up an ounce of quality - is what makes this so special. Amazingly drinkable. Great paired with spicy food or pizza.

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Photo of jp32
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours golden in color with a very slight haze to it. Smells of grains, creamed corn, and green banana peel. It's flavor is mild and easy-drinking. No hop bitterness, just a subtle flavor from the barley grain. The beer is good, but the style just isn't my thing.

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Photo of TH28
2.94/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Aroma: Not picking up much of an aroma here, maybe a little biscuit. Smell a bit of sulphur. Appearance: Cloudy from the yeast. Thin, white head did not last long Taste: sweet and slightly citrus/fruity taste. No bitterness here. Tastes like a sweetened premium lager. Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy body. Low carbonation, almost flat. Overall: New Glarus makes some great beers, but this one doesn’t do much for me. Not much aroma or flavor here. Tastes like an extra sweet and creamy Lager

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Photo of FBarber
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden color with a thick sudsy white head. Thin remnant of the head lingers with some spotty lacing.

Smell is a subdued aroma of corn, grain, and general sweetness. Creamed yellow corn comes to mind ...

Taste follows the nose with a mild flavor of corn, grain, and barley. There is a sort of watery aspect to the beer flavors that is disappointing. No real hop character whatsoever - just malts. Again, notes of creamed yellow corn come to mind. Sweet yellow corn throughout.

Feel is light, crisp and very drinkable. Almost quenching. Medium carbonation.

Overall this is a light cream ale thats closer to an AAL than a well done cream ale. The flavors are too muddled and watery here. That being said, its a solid drinkable beer and I can see why its the most wide ranging seller from NG in Wisconsin. Its a GREAT craft beer to introduce macro drinkers into craft.

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Photo of Bloodbuzz99
3.05/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Somebody wrote Miller Lite on steroids ... That is exactly what it tastes like. Refreshing, goes down super easy, fairly satisfying- this is a tailgaters beer for sure. Wish it was available in the southeast.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy yellow with minimal head.

Aromas of light banana, lemon, and grass. This is almost a Saison, but it's too light to veer into that territory.

Lemon and grass come across in flavor, with corn and apple, all wrangled back into a lager like realm with light malt. Despite its lightness, what it does feature is all quite intense and flavorful.

Light and frothy, easy to put down bottle after bottle in quick succession.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Here comes the New Glarus flagship beer. Clarity isn't huge on this one, its obscured, yellow 1/2" white head. Smells like rural farms without the feces. That sounds bad. You know, its grain and fresh air kind of vibe.

Taste evolves throughout the drink, smooth at times, then it takes on a mild lemon note and bitterness not from hops and often not seen with cream ales.

Its almost my least favorite New Glarus ale, but obviously quite a few people love it. Its everywhere.

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Photo of jasadewi
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Strong cloudy yellow color with small, quickly fading head.
S: Smells of barley malt and a general sweet smell.
T: A good amount of bluntly sweet malt tastes, that leaves almost no finish or aftertaste. Fairly sweet, with maybe a very slight note of lemon.
M: Very creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.
O: I was served this as THE Wisconsin beer to try at a wedding in Milwaukee. It was pretty decent, and my first real Cream Ale. It was a fine creamy, sweet beer. Yet, it didn't take me away, nor did I fully enjoy the texture. I prefer the other New Glarus brew I got try, but this is decent. It has a surprisingly similarity to some Witbiers.

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Photo of JRizzi
4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I just drank 8 over memorial day, and it was a real pleasure, no hangover.

Highly carbonated, like a blue moon with a less intense flavor and more carbonation

Probably my favorite hot weather beer

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Photo of Riff
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

So this review may be a bit off, poured from tap into 2L glass boot. Good times. Cloudy yellow pour with a small head to it. Bread smell, kind of like cracked peppercorn bread, just a hint of spice to it. Hit first with malt up front and transitioned to a little bitterness from the hops, did not longer terribly long. Feel was good, medium body and a little carbonation. All 2L went down pretty easily during a very memorable and fun evening. Would drink this again.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, cream, crackers. Taste is malts, grains, hints of cream, smooth and refreshing. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking beer on a warm night.

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Photo of Bartleby91
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Definitely the staple beer of New Glarus but a bit overrated. Nice hazy orange and yellow appearance. Aromas of corn, malt sweetness, and some fruitiness as well. Tastes are pretty similar with a lingering malt sweetness. Lighter mouthfeel with a lingering sweetness on the palate. Overall a solid drinkable brew but not as good as some other stuff from NG in my opinion.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm not quite sure how I never got around to reviewing this one, since it's practically mandatory to stock this in your fridge if you live in Wisconsin--it also happens to be one of my wife's favorite beers. No bottling code. 12 oz bottle poured right from the fridge into a conical pint glass.

L: Pours a cloudy, bright straw color--quite yellow, almost like it contains lemonade--with about a half-inch of loose eggshell head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring and almost nonexistent film. Mild and erratic lacing left on the glass. Moderate visible carbonation present.

S: Light cracker and bready malt notes are most prominent in the nose, along with a bit of stewed corn sweetness (an adjunct the brewers do credit). Subtle fruitiness--think mild melon and dry apple. Just a touch of grassiness and cracked pepper in the mix, as well.

T: Crisp cracker malt right up front, followed by a building astringency and subdued sweetness that lends the front and middle a subtle, dry cider-like quality. In that creamy middle, there are notes of bready malts, corn, cracked pepper, lemon, and more nondescript fruit (fleeting sense of that apple and melon from the nose). The close has a slight astringency and brief registry of grassy hop flavor. Pretty sweet finish overall.

F: Lighter-bodied and quite creamy, as one would expect. Nice level of carbonation on this one. There is that tartness/astringency present that livens up the whole experience pretty nicely. Clean-finishing and very easy to put away.

O: This beer has become something of a symbol for Wisconsin craft brewing. It seems to be the one beer that tourists from Illinois love to scoop up. I don't know that it could ever live up to the reputation that it seems to have acquired, but it is a very tasty cream ale that can be returned to again and again.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottling date.

Appearance: Pale straw color with good clarity despite the description on the bottle. Near white frothy head.

Aroma: Floury barley and not much else. Perhaps a touch of ale yeast character but pretty clean all around.

Taste: Straight up cream ale. A bit of malt sweetness supported by a light yet noticeable hop bitterness. Very clean flavor with no defects that I can taste. Finishes sweet followed by straight bitterness in the aftertaste. Good flavor for 4.8% ABV but not much depth. Still, can't knock a beer for following style guidelines.

Mouthfeel: Nearly medium in body, which is a nice surprise but could get cloying with some of the sweetness over time. Average drinkability with a smooth feel and medium carbonation.

Final Thoughts: Although I understand this is a pretty popular beer in WI, I didn't have high hopes for it. Turns out it's a pretty good cream ale and I could see myself crossing state lines to check out their other offerings. Would I drink it again? Sure.

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Photo of bbtkd
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New Glarus Spotted Cow. This is my last one, so note to self, self, pick up some sixes of this next time you go back home. This is an real excellent cream ale, and the label has a flying cow. Who doesn't love flying cows? When they eventually crash land, then you get to eat them. Flying cows are delicious.

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Photo of GregA135
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy yellow/straw color with a fluffy white head
Smelled more like a Saison than a cream ale
Once I tasted I could taste subtle hints of cream and some light amount of hops
Honestly I thought this was a great enjoyable beer! A light, crisp, easy drinking beer.
This would be awesome during the warm weather!

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Light golden color when poured. There is a bit of head, that did dissipate fairly quickly. The nose has a slight citrus flavor to it. The beer has a fairly light flavor to it. It has some malt to it. For what it i, it is a good beer, and I do recommend my fellow BA's try it.

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Photo of Umdrunner
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured hazy straw with very nice fluffy white head that laced well. Scent is a bit weak, mostly sweet malt with a little cream. Flavor is very satisfying. Flavor is malt forward with light citrus flavors that rounds out with a nice creamy backbone. Carbonation and mouthfeel are moderate and on point. This is the type of beer that goes perfect with all pub fare!

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3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Let me first say that I've had this beer many times before and each time I have it I'm reminded why just a solid cream ale when done right can be really good. It looks pretty much like an adjunct lager in the glass. With a solid poor I get almost more pillowy white head than I do body. The head doesn't last but a couple minutes at that height and they still down an inch of Rocky foam. The body is pale golden in color. Nose is crackery and includes some soft white fruit notes as well. Almost reminds me of a wheat ale. With first sip you get bready slightly sweet feel to it. So easy to drink yet enough character that it really keeps you drinking. Great at a BBQ or after a long day at work. Real easy to enjoy.

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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
4.63/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

All you motherfuckers can't appreciate a simple beer like Spotted Cow. Except for the mediocre aroma, this hit all the intended marks, and it tastes great. Creamy, deep, warm, and joyous, it brings you right back to that time when a beer like this one was revolutionary. You should be so lucky to have a beer like Spotted Cow to kick around.

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Photo of gee0001
2.35/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Would I buy it again? No. Lacks flavor. Not very lively on the tongue. Smells kind of musty.
An average beer at best.
Head: thick. Short lived. Some lace. White.
Taste: bland
Smell: musty smell
Not my favorite so I don't want to pe on with negatives.

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Photo of pkalix
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Miller Lite on steroids.
nice carbonation, slight haze.
relative funkiness to the brewer's interpretation of how he could improve upon the Big 3 (2-1/2?).
overall, kind of nice. looks super cool. smells okay, taste is funky but appreciated.....

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Photo of Beginner2
3.76/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pun is unavoidable, but this is New Glarus' cash cow. The big seller that made them grow.
(Sure, they have a nice margin on their world-class fruit beers.)
But to get to be in the Top 20 of craft brewers, you need volume and Spotted Cow was the biggest producer, primarily because it is a pleasant ale...easy to drink.

Would I buy a six pack of this beer?
No. I find it marginally interesting... largely because the style is unattractive with its high carbonation.
But, I do buy two samples every year when I buy New Glarus' sampler pack on our retreats to Wisconsin.
Pleasantly fruity, refreshing and most other good things of a popular beer.
Lesson: beer doesn't have to scream that it is distinct; it just has to be good.

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 3,488 ratings.
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