Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

805 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 805 | Ratings: 3,488
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

 199 characters

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.

 467 characters

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.

 261 characters

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.

 372 characters

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.

 1,828 characters

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.

 1,007 characters

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.

 307 characters

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!

 316 characters

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.

 275 characters

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!

 363 characters

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.

 723 characters

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.

 341 characters

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.

 259 characters

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.....

 244 characters

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.

 730 characters

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

Had to try it while in state. Pours golden, creamy head, aromas of bread malt and faint hops. creamy mouthfeel with biscuity malt, balanced grassy hops. Clean finish, an excellent session ale.

 192 characters

Photo of KYGunner
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

As with any beer review its in the bottle of the beholder. My bottle was very carbonated with a harsh prickly feel. The flavor seemed washed out but presented some wheat like malt, obvious yeast tones, light pear and a crackery lager taste.

 240 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellow color with a finger width foamy head. Head retention and lacing are non-existent. Strong funky aroma with a pale maltiness. Pale taste with nice funky farmhouse taste. Light bodied. Low to moderate carbonation.

 235 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 1/27/15

A: Medium gold with some slight orange and straw tones, some honey around the edges - pours with a medium sized, white head, fades to a wispy cap, leave some streaks and spots of lacing

S: Lightly sweet, lightly grassy, with a mix of grains - pale malts, cereal malts, corn, and some lightly sweet bread - lager yeast and some light New Glarus yeast funk character - lightly grassy - light fruits, particularly apple

T: Grainy, lightly sweet, super balanced - great example of the style - pale malts, light grains, cereal grains, touch of corn, light bread - light, grainy sweetness - New Glarus yeast with a touch of funk and light fruit esters, apples, under-ripe bananas - lightly grassy and a touch earthy - dry finish

M: Really on the border between light and medium bodied, smooth with a crisp finish, medium carbonation, highly drinkable

O: You know you're in Wisconsin when...

This is the last New Glarus beer I will be reviewing for a while, and I saved this for last because it's such an icon. I heard rumors, but I didn't believe it until I saw it myself last fall: when you are driving on a major highway in Wisconsin, you see ads for restaurants, but instead of seeing pictures of a BMC product, you see a bottle of Spotted Cow. Among other factors, this has such a following because it's brilliantly mellow and stupidly easy to drink while still remaining interesting. It's not the best cream ale out there, but it is really worth trying.

 1,476 characters

Photo of Kimbo_slice17
5/5  rDev +37%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An absolute staple of WI.
Farmhouse ale with some serious biscuity notes. Hazy/cloudy appearance with a fluffy white head that sticks to your glass.
It's a shame you can't get it anywhere but Wisconsin.

 204 characters

Photo of Awolter
4.06/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great cream ale at a great price point. Crisp, very refreshing and incredibly drinkable. If you're ever in Wisconsin, pick some up! It's well worth the try.

 156 characters

Photo of Vogie
4.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled November 2, 2015.

Pours a lively straw color with 1 finger frothy white head that sticks around. Aromas are fruity and yeasty with maybe a hint of lemon. Taste is very yeasty, grainy, hint of corn, and a clean finish. Mouthfeel is light, champagne like carbonation, clean, and extremely refreshing.

Perhaps the best example of a craft conversation beer for the macro crowd. If you like Bud, Miller, or Coors then drink this beer. Its not complex but who gives a crap. One of my top session ales to have on hand. Thank god I have family in Wisconsin.


 575 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pour a clear light golden yellow with about half a finger of creamy white head. Head retains for awhile but leaves little lacing.

S: Aromas of sweet bready malts, grains, creamed corn, and some subtle fruit notes. Also has a very faint grassy hop presence.

T: Flavors of subtly sweet malts, cracker, grains, corn, and some subtle fruitiness, most notably banana and apple. Finishes creamy with a subtle earthy hop crispness.

M: Light bodied, with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy smooth feel with a crisp finish. Pretty nice but lacks depth.

O: A pleasant easy drinking brew. I'm not typically a fan of the style but I enjoyed this one. Would make for a great all day session type of beer. This is probably the Cream ale I've enjoyed the most out of any I've had so if your a fan of the style I would find someone is Wisconsin to hook you up. Overall a nice brew.

 913 characters

Photo of Moose90
3.19/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A — Pours a clear and bright pale yellow color into the glass, there is a bit of a creamy white head on top of the beer, but it doesn't leave much lacing behind it.

S — Smell is dominated by cereal grains and malts, and well, not much else, just a lot of sweaty light malts and grains, little bit of a grassy hop note.

T — Lots of light malt, light grain, barley, wheat, malt, not much else, little bit of a mild hop balance. Semi-sweet and creamy.

M — Light and easy going, could have a bunch of these.

O — OK overall, just very easy going, mild, and unassuming.

 577 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, light gold coloring, with a foamy, white head. Nose of toasted grains, with floral hops abundant. Flavors of toasted grains, floral hops highlights, and a buttery tone throughout. The body is light and dry, with subtle hops notes in the aftertaste. The finish is smooth and crisp. Easy drinker, that's for sure.

 372 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.