Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Spotted CowSpotted Cow
Very Good
Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 865 | Ratings: 3,787
Photo of StephenM
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12-oz bottle
Look: Hazy golden, 1-finger head dissipates quickly, slight lacing
Smell: Lemon, citrus rind, slight dank hop
Taste: Fruity, lemony, grapefruit rind, tart apple, followed with banana, melon sweetness, mild peppery and tea-like hops on back end
Mouthfeel: clean, medium carbonation, fairly dry finish
Overall: Pleasing flavor, refreshing, always worth picking up when in Wisconsin

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Photo of TeamMathis
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I would have never guessed this was a Farmhouse. I can smell it a bit, along with bright citrus, but I get no saison in taste. Honey, caramel malt, some spritzy lemon. Cloudy gold. Head becomes thin and hangs on the glass. It's an anytime, enjoyable ale.

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Photo of Squire
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy yellow gold color with white cap and lacing.

Aroma of sweet malt with floral hops.

Taste is sensational enough to realize why this Farmhouse Ale is so popular. Rich, caramel malt up front with a mild hop bite. Close to the finish I get something I can only describe as pleasantly fruity. It's bright, lively and a joy to drink.

Medium-full texture with balancing carbonation.

I honestly can't think of any food style I couldn't match this with and don't think I know anyone who wouldn't cheerfully drink it.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oc can poured into a pint glass shows a darkish, cloudy, straw colored body and briefly floats a 1/4in cap of white foam.

Aroma is caramel malty sweetness and the flavor matches, with a slight bitter hop bite at the front.

Overall, Wisconsin's all day drinker.

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Photo of Nesued
4.51/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Haven't had a Spotted Cow in quite a while. Wish I could get them. Great malt backbone with just a slight hop component. Easy drinker and a gem for those who can get them.

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Photo of dboivin
4.76/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding ale. One of my favorites by far! I used to live in Wisconsin, and always had access to it. Now in Michigan, anytime I go home my girlfriends uncle’s always ask me to bring them a case or two because I got them on the Spotted cow train and they don’t want to get off. Delicious beer and ever better on tap in a chilled glass

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Photo of cardfan212
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a glass. Drove through Wisconsin, I had to pick some up.

Look - Gorgeous cloudy gold body with a strong pillowy white head that cooled down into a thin layer of bubbles.

Smell - Slight malt sweetness with a bit of creamy tones. Everything is pretty mild though, it's not a strong scent at all.

Taste - A mellow creamy sweetness with tangy yeast character. No noticeable hop or major bitter flavors.

Feel - An appropriately fizzy carbonation. Drinks easily.

Overall - An alright beer that isn't challenging or all that interesting, but has no negatives. Can easily drink these throughout the night.

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Photo of Bondeaux
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

You gotta know what you’re getting into when you go for a Spottie. This is nothing fancy but it is absolutely best in class. The Cow is a balanced, drinkable ale. Are there more complex and flavorful beers available from New Glarus? Absolutely! But when the occasion calls for something accessible, there is no better beer than Spotted Cow. BEST. IN. CLASS.

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

Spotted Cow is famous. They are selling it at the Madison airport, as we leave Wisconsin, implying that it's like chile ristras in Albuquerque, or smoked salmon in Seattle.

But, truth to tell, it's a very middle of the road beer. It's a solid cream ale, with slight sweetness and no detectable hops. It really doesn't have much distinctive character at all.

Why is it famous? It's a memorable name, evocative of a big dairy presence in Wisconsin. Pure marketing genius.

Don't get me wrong. New Glarus is a great brewery. But they make much better beers than this.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Here it is, my first beer of New WisCANsin Beer Sunday (Week 686)! I received three (3) new CANs in a trade with Bert00 & I have been awaiting this ocCANsion to break them out. Today is also Game 3 of the 2018 NHL playovs between the PGH Pens & the PHL Flyers & a Navy buddy of mine is from Wisco. My dream is to earn a Po.D from the U of WisCANsin & it does not take much to get me to visit.

From the CAN: "Employee Owned"; "Only In Wisconsin"; "Drink Indigenous"; "Cask conditioned ale has been the popular choice among brews since before prohibition. We continue this pioneer spirit with our Wisconsin farmhouse ale. Brewed with flaked barley and the finest Wisconsin malts. We even give a nod to our famers. Naturally cloudy, we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle [?] to enhance fullness of flavors which cannot be duplicated otherwise. Expect this ale to be fun, fruity and satisfying. You know you're in Wisconsin when you see the Spotted Cow. Vielen Dank! [undersigned] Daniel & Deborah Carey".

The Crack! was nice & loud & I just could not CANstrain myself from an inverted Glug! This led to the quickfast formation of two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, bone-white head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5). Nose had an oddly surprising vanilla & corn sweetness to it, kind of like a vanilla milkshake, but the corn was also quite evident. Ah, sweet corn, especially in the summer. Mouthfeel was medium, but oh, so smooth! Miss MooCow is having an effect on me. The taste was quite sweet, more towards corn than vanilla, but still evocative of vanilla ice cream. It was sweeter & less sharp than Genny Cream Ale, which I CANsider to be the standard bearer of the style, but it was very pleasant. Easy drinking? Try crushable! This seemed to simply evaporate from my glass. Finish was sweet, but not sugary or cloying. This could easily be a lawnmower beer or the one to take to The Dells for an outing on the WI River. They have duck boats there! I CANnot wait to relocate to the Midwest.

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Photo of Brandizzleb2190
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Used to drink this a lot in college. Pick some up whenever I pass through Wisconsin. Straw-to-yellow color with lemon and floral scent. Crisp, light citrus, almost pilsnery flavor. Light-to-medium mouthfeel. A very tasty, drinkable, but not outstanding beer.

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Photo of leantom
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Dangerously drinkable. First New Glarus beer and it's shocking how crisp and refreshing it is. Here goes:

A: Nothing to marvel at. Pours a straw-colored, hazy yellow (not so hazy, however). Head and lacing are light.

S: Getting better. Lots of straw and lemongrass. Also a faint hint of lime. Besides the hops and malt, one can also detect the presence of biscuit from the baker's yeast. Practically pilsner-scented.

T: Good. Very much like a German pilsner. Flavors of straw, lemon, wheat, and bready yeast. I like it. However, there is somewhat of a corn aftertaste that's reminiscent of Bud Light.

F: Most wonderful thing about the beer. Smooth and crisp. Dangerously drinkable.

O: A good beer. Will have again. However, I wonder if it's worth the drive up to Wisconsin to obtain.

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Photo of scott_qua_scott
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I met up with an old friend from Madison, WI, and he brought me a six pack of this. Apparently you can only get it in Wisconsin--and apparently it's their state's staple beer.

Look: Pours a pale, hazy yellow with a lush head. It's not a great-looking beer, in my humble opinion, but it's by no means unappetizing.

Smell: Fruit! It's very sweet on the nose. There's something tropical going on here. Pineapple, maybe, or guava, or lime. The sweetness dominates, but it is inviting.

Taste: Up front, it's a sweet cream ale with a hint of fruit. Compares favorably with (and inspires fond memories of) a local beer, Bond Brothers' "Cary Gold" Prohibition Ale. There's a little bit of citrus or something mid-palate, almost like someone's squeezed a little lime into the bottle. The finish is mellow and biscuity, and beckons a second sip.

Feel: The cream ale aspect really shines through here; it's smooth and a bit viscous, with moderate carbonation. A real sweetheart in this department.

Overall: I know this is a famous beer in WI, and as an outsider, it strikes me as a great choice for a session ale with some local character. It's odd to me that something with this sort of fruity, refreshing character came out of a place known for near-perpetual dark winters. This would make a great beach beer! But, then, it would also go great with a variety of cheeses, so maybe Wisconsinites have New Glarus covered in any case.

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Photo of dnmyrick
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Being a Minnesotan, and living only about 90 miles from WI (the ONLY state in which this beer is available, by the choice of the brewery to NEVER have any of their products licensed for sale outside of WI!), I was expecting more from this beer. Around these parts, this beer has an almost legendary to the point of worship word-of-mouth reputation. It stands up as a pretty good cream ale. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing particularly outstanding about it other than the fact that it doesn't exhibit that harsh "feed corn" taste that some of the cream ales I have had do. All in all, a solidly good cream ale, nothing more.

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Photo of Volstead
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not exceptional or world class but worth trying. The Spotted Cow is a humorous and fun session beer with a mild taste, moderate lacing and faint esters of bready and a hazy coloration.

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Photo of aleigator
3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clouded golden color with a small, stable white head.

Smells of wet grass and a note of wet basement among rich straw. The beer remains a little subdued on the nose.

Has a very lively carbonation with a stony mineralic presence, together with a light body.

Tastes truly refreshing from the very beginning with white bread dough, a note of lemon zest, corn and soft, spicy yeast. Turns a little spicier during mid palate with a more pronounced mineralic presence and rich wheat. Finishes creamier with a mellow breadiness and slightly sweet toffee.

Has a simple, rustic character, like a saison dupont light version plus a nice, light note of lime. It does have a nice, smooth mouthfeel, but lacks a little in flavor intensity.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours with a hint of haze, golden yellow in color with a white, two-finger width head. Good retention results in a thin, consistent layer of suds across the surface. Fair lacing, with some broken lines and a a handful of small spots.

Smell - Sweet, malty aroma. Soft, fruity esters. Faint, faint hop character... maybe some grass or earth?

Taste - Follows the nose. Mild sweetness. Moderate fruit pokes through mid-taste, hinting at apple sweetness and pineapple acidity in character. Finish hints at some grain and earthy hop undertones.

Mouthfeel - Light-to-medium in body with soft, bubbly carbonation. Velvety smoothness with a clean, easy finish.

Overall - Good session-type beer with just enough flavor while the body is smooth and quite quaffable. I could see why this would be a popular choice amongst the masses, but ultimately it's a bit tame for my tastes, so it's nothing I'd buy with any regularity. One of those beers that wouldn't stop me from buying a variety pack, for instance.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Described on the website as a "Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale", on the bottle as a cask conditioned ale, brewed with flaked barley and "the finest wisconsin malts". No ingredients or specs otherwise per the bottle or website.
Pours out to a hazy pale golden, forming a tall mousse like bone white head with beautiful retention ahndf solid lacing. Carbonation is ~2.75-3.0 or so. The nose is rather non descript, vague, simple and beer like with a touch of DMS and some corn character. No hop character in the nose. Mouthfeel is lightly sparkling, crisp, light bodied. Taste is very pedestrian, but well brewed. Very mild malt character, a little DMS, minimal hop flavor or bitterness, ending crisp and clean. A little seltzer-like. No off flavors or aromas for the style of cream ale. Don't think this is a saison when you read farmhouse.

A very pedestrian but well brewed cream ale, meant for the enjoyment of the masses with minimal hop, malt or yeast character. Worth a try as part of their line up but I would never choose to buy it considering their other amazing sours.

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Photo of brenn79
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, thanks bro- Pours hazy straw golden with a medium white head with decent retention. The Aroma is lemon, yeast, grassy. The taste is lemony, yeasty, banana, clove, like a thinner German style hefe, a session hefe, good beer.

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Photo of Spacebrew
4.74/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is awesome. I love cream ale, and this one is my new favorite. They only sell this in Wisconsin (stupid) so my wife picks it up on her way home from work for me. I live in northeast Iowa so it's not to far, but would be nice if I could get it here. The taste is incredibly smooth, not to sweet and not to bitter.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can purchased August 17 in Wisconsin, of course.

L: 2F+ head pretty good retention with cap and ring and some lacing. Beer is a semi hazy deep golden.

S: Lactose (shocking!) and bready, yeasty notes.

T: Very bready with dairy presence. Neutral finish. Lightly hopped.

F: Light to medium body and carbonation. Good construction and balance, even if final result is a little bit watery.

O: Decent cream ale.

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Photo of TPZEM
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep yellow color with a firm head. Lots of lacing here, but the head seems to die out after a bit. Smells of light grassy hops and a prescient malty corn. Tastes roughly the same. Nice taste after the swallow; light bitterness but more than anything that lightly sweet corn taste. Would recommend as a nice middle of the road cream ale.

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Photo of Dope
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure on the date, I think it says 6/15 but it's hard to tell.

A: A cloudy pale orange pour with a good sized thinly-bubbled tan head atop it. Good head retention. Excellent lacing with thin but solid walls of it.

S: Surprisingly fruity - mainly citrus. Very nice bready aroma with just a hint of toast.

T: Oh yeah, exactly what I was expecting. Some noble hops with some decent citrus and hints of banana. Pretty much pure malt otherwise though, a sort of doughy and bready mix that works really well.

M: Medium bodied, somewhat light but with a great soft and smooth feel.

O: Pretty much everything you'd want from a cream ale. Super smooth and soft, super drinkable, some hops but nothing overpowering and nearly no bitterness either. Very nice malt-forward flavor that really shines. Perfect for the style.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pretty bright, light golden slightly hazy color. Aroma, grass, lemon, cracker. Taste, cracker light grass, light banana. Very clean, zero bitterness. Buttery at the end too. Mouthfeel, nice and effervescent. Overall- yeah really digging this one.

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Photo of B-rett
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Hazy golden color. Thick, sudsy head that quickly dissipates.
S-Not much smell at all. Light yeast notes if anything.
T-Wheat, yeast, and malt. Very simple but refreshing.
M-It's called a cream ale for a reason! Cream and carbonation are blended well for a hearty yet easily drinkable beer.
O-From the name, to the style, to the overall taste, this is a Wisconsin beer through and through.
*WI native tip*
Spotted cow is 100x better on tap and is the best beer to pair with any spicy food (especially buffalo wings).

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 3,787 ratings