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: 797 | Ratings: 3,464
Photo of woosterbill
4.34/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of Beerman777 into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear deep gold body with lively carbonation refreshing a finger of coarse white foam. Average retention and light lace. Decent looking beer.

S: Rich, sweet, malty/corny aroma prevails, with some smooth fruity notes backing things up. I can't imagine anything all that much better for the style.

T: Smooth, malty, and corny, with some definite fruity notes (apple and grape especially) and a bit of crisp hop bite on the finish. Again, while this isn't the most delicious beer I've ever had, it's far better than I'd ever expect from a cream ale. Deservedly popular in my former home of cheese-land.

M: Incredibly rich and creamy, with abundant, fine carbonation supporting a solid medium body. Excellent.

D: Since I've been giving this beer extra-high scores based on its exemplarity with its style, I suppose here it would only be fair to point out that its concentrated flavor doesn't make it the most easily quaffable of cream ales. Still, it's not at all a hard beer to drink.

Notes: While this is far from my favorite New Glarus brew (I could easily rattle off 10 that I prefer), it's still a truly tasty brew and one that I'm especially happy to find on tap at practically any half-decent bar in Wisconsin. It's fun to see corn used to enhance, rather than mask, flavor. Good stuff from NG, as usual.


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Photo of bubseymour
4.33/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

So my newest recruit as an eager young beer nerd into my inner sanctum of beer nerdery had his mother mule this beer back from Wisconsin all the way to Ohio, where he made the beer exchange and then he continued to mule the beer back to Maryland for sampling. I made him a good injun trade for a few Wisconsin brews (some world class beers and future home brews).

So on to the beer review (my first experience of anything New Glarus):

Appearnance is pretty solid. Nice light pale orange that borderlines on yellow but with a hazy, semi-translucent murkiness. Nice 2 finger milky head that holds retention fairly well. Excellent lacing on the glass.

Smell is quite delightful. Sweet and creamy. No noticeable hop presence.

Best way to describe the taste is smooth and "like butter". Slight sweetness and very malty. Carbonation is very light and the finish is very refreshing. Some lingering aftertaste that is a touch off is only way I can describe it.

Mouthfeel is usual something I don't count or consider much but this beer is truly about mouthfeel. Its slides down so easily and smooth and feels like butter on the toungue.

Overall - I truly can understand why this beer is the staple go-to beer in the state of Wisconsin. Its nothing over the top but easily any BMC drinker could switch to this one as well as be appreciated by craft beer nerds as well. I wish every state had a similar, fresh, local go-to beer of this caliber. Makes me want to go on a road trip to Cheese-head country.

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Photo of LarryKemp
4.32/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This unfiltered beer looked much more cloudy in the 12 ounce brown twistoff bottle than it did once I poured it into my glass. The beer poured a slightly cloudy bright yellow. The head was fluffy white and not long lasting but it left a little lace on the side of the glass. The aroma of malt jumps out of the glass and fills your nose. What a joy. It makes the anticipation much greater. The taste lives up to the aroma. A sweet maltiness grabs your tongue and lingers in your mouth. The mouthfeel is medium light and has a slight creaminess. This is a great beer for pleasure and for a session. Too bad my friend only brought me one. DAMN!!!!

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Photo of cradke
4.31/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: hazy straw yellow. thick fluffy head.

S: Floral. yeast and grain. light with honey and a distinct smell of daisys.

T: sweet grains. small hop profile. pleasant. esters and floral. clean aftertaste

M: light and pleasant. (a theme it seems) great carbonation. the taste profile spreads wonderfully over the palate.

O: a wonderfully pleasant beer. not mind blowing but great everytime.

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Photo of mjryan
4.31/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A cream ale. A corn laden, fizzy yellow beer with character. A north American classic. Thank you Wisconsin! Not sure what others expect when they dig into this beer. Big hops? No. Massive body? No. Bourbonbarrelfarmhousehorseblanketcohumuloneibublahblahblah? No. How bout an easy drinkin, well made, clean, unpretentious beer? Yeah, there ya go. Great stuff. Certainly has some elements of the much maligned American adjunct lager, but of course why wouldn't it? Drink with brats and cold diced potatoes mixed with mayo, yellow mustard and onions. Hell, drink it with Sunday breakfast and then with lunch. Drink it in a movie theater, its fun. A great beer all around and one that I would never turn down. Skol!

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Photo of DKight
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received from a friend who lives in Wisconsin, since this beer is all but impossible to find in Indianapolis.

Served in bottle.

For an ale it is very good. Perfect amount of malt to make it drinkable, yet set it apart from most ales I have drank. I prefer malty beers, and this is one of my favorite light malt beers.

Not much head when poured out of bottle, color is nothing special. Very drinkable and smooth, especially for a non-light beer. For anyone wanting to get into craft/micro-brews this is the beer for you.

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Photo of Brunite
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - The label recommends a few rolls of the bottle to incorporate the settled yeasts. I did so and poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy straw yellow with 2 fingers of white head after a moderate pour. The head dissipates rather quickly, leaving some lacing on the sides of the glass. Decent carbonation.

Smell - Slight bready malt, banana, pear, some sweetness from the corn. Very slight hops.

Taste - Similar to the nose. Very balanced. The taste is quite nice. The corn seems to add a distinctness as it is used as a flavoring ingredient and not as a cheap adjunct (as in BMC class beers). I have seen many reviews that state there is something in the taste that keeps them wanting another for days. I get that. There is also a very subtle lemon flavor that comes through more as the beer warms a bit. There is a lingering tasty flavor in this mellow light brew. Could it be that corn (as a flavor...not a filler) could be a semi-desirable thing? After all....who does not like corn?

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, decent carbonation, crisp clean finish.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink. Low ABV makes this a great session beer. Great summer beverage.

Overall - In all honesty...this was my second tasting. The first time was a little less memorable. The second time was the charm. Perhaps incorporating the yeast added enough to the flavor to make a difference. This seems a great version of this style. I once homebrewed an HB competition award winning cream ale that matches well with this beer. Glad I live at the WI border as I have a 30 minute drive to stock up on NG products. This will hit my regular rotation as a highly drinkable, light, crisp beer. A great crossover drink for BMC drinkers.

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Photo of pschul4
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz into fancy NG pint

A- Pours a straw yellow with a big fluffy white head that leaves some nice lacing

S- Nice fruit esters with banana and orange dominating

T- MMM just like the smell it comes through strong with banana and citrus. This is the perfect summer day beer

M- Light but what did you expect?

O- I wish I lived in WI just to drink spotted cow while doing lawn work. Excellent job NG

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Photo of jpohl
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite beer of all. Goes down smooth but still has some body to it. Problem is that they only sell it in Wisconsin which is a problem since I live in AZ now. I had to bring about 6 cases out with me before I moved. The color is fine and the mouthfeel is smooth.

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Photo of MAFC_Trainer
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours little to no head. Body is a light, pale, gold. Faint smell of crisp banana and yeast goes with its taste and a slight hint of fruit. Goes down smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation. Really great beer that as far I know is only sold in Wisconsin. I always find me a 6 pack of these when I'm in the state.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.29/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

When one reads the bottle, it says "made with a Wisconsin farmhouse yeast." Though I don't live in Wisconsin and have had this before through trades and as a prior homebrewer, this is a nice cream ale and not a saison. Anyone who has ever had this can tell you that the "Wisconsin farmhouse yeast" is due to the fact that this style was produced during Prohibition in farmhouses so they wouldn't get in trouble with the law.
After further ado, here's the rest why this is a cream ale.
Cream ales should be poured into pint glasses and that is what I did.
The appearance was a light straw golden yellow color with a thin white little head. A nice transparency allows a carbonation to be seen rising into the head.
The smell, let's just say, it's a Budweiser that is clean, clear-cut with a light playful sweet corn malt.
The taste was mainly sweet subjugating my taste buds with a clean sweet aftertaste and finish.
The mouthfeel was light on the body with a crisp sweet sessionable feel surrounding my tongue.
Overall, its a wonderful cream ale and often hard for some American brewers to re-create though some Irish ones are getting it right. New Glarus is the American company on their tales as far as this style goes.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.28/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light golden haze with a white head that settles into some faint lacing. The aroma is a light fruit-like sweetness with a hint of white bread. The smell is not strong, very subtle and inviting.

The subtleness continues in the flavor, fruit, corn and bread all make brief appearances. Hops are non-existent. Body is light with good carbonation. A very refreshing drink.

I haven't had a lot of cream ales but this is the most interesting one I have ever tasted. There's a nice subtle complexity to it that I find interesting, I wish more brewers would try this overlooked style. I'm drinking this after an evening jog and I'm definitely enjoying it. It would also make a great crossover beer due to its lack of any aggressive flavors.

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Photo of StAnthony
4.27/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The cloudiness of this Wisconsin staple brew took me off guard, but it matched up with the full, yeasty mouthfeel. It seemed more like a bitter hefeweiss to me than a cream ale. Not really sweet at all from what I remember, but definitely smooth. Esters were easy to pick out, but not overwhelming (I don't like 'em too fruity). Pretty refreshing overall, but I was enjoying it during January in Chicago...I think it would go much better with July/August. I usually pick up a sixer of a New Glarus brew whenever I'm driving through WI (they don't sell it in IL anymore), and will no doubt buy this again after I've tried a few more of their offerings.

Definitely unique and worth a try.

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Photo of egrapplesberg
4.27/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2295 on twelve oz bottle. I'm thinking 229 day of the year. July/August. Not too old. Poured into snifter. Cloudy dark yellow with frothy 2 inch head that fades modestly. As I sip healthy spots cling to the glass and slide down leaving some stragglers. Smell is banana and some biscuit. Taste is similar. Drinkability is superb. Idk if it's because I just got off work but I'm loving this beer. Cheers!

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Photo of matjack85
4.26/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown bottle with a little story about the beer along the side of the label. The New Glarus website lists this beer as a farmhouse ale while BA calls it a cream ale. After tasting, I have to side with BA on this one. It's definitely a cream ale.

The beer poured a cloudy pear yellow color and made a 2-finger foamy white head that lasted awhile. Nice lacing.

Wow, this is one fruity beer. Smelled like opening a roll of Life Saver candies.

Bready malt backbone with lots of fruit flavors - lemon, pear, apple, and banana. Add some vanilla cream and there you have it. Nothing overpowering - more on the subtle side. The smell is stronger than the taste, but the taste is still good.

Smooth and creamy with only moderate carbonation. More medium than light in body.

Enjoyable and really easy to drink. I believe this is New Glarus's signature brew.

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Photo of mynie
4.26/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Try this one again, now that my pallete has aged.

A lifesaver at Miller Park.

Pours dark dark gold with a decent head, in spite of the best efforts of the young pourer to remove all vestiges of head.

Smells like dark malt, cream, and cinnamon. An excellent, crisp combination.

The smell doesn't entirely come through in the taste, as the cinnamon and malt are both subdued by the beer's intense creaminess. It feels nice, yes--it feels great, actually--but it drowns out the beer's flavor.

A great example of a mediocre style.

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Photo of sth550
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. $7.50/6 pack at Copp's grocery store.

Appearance: Big, white head when first poured gives way to a thin lacing and a translucent copper color. Looks like a typical American Lager only richer.

Aroma: Malty and a hint of citrus and hops. Very clean and refreshing smell.

Taste: Pretty light for a craft beer but the taste is similar to the smell: Malts, yeast, grain, and some citrus and hops. According to the label there's a touch of corn added to the mix as well, but it's hard to detect. This is probably the best-tasting beer I've had with this light of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy; after all, it is a cream ale. Light carbonation going down. The creaminess enhances the sweet malty flavors and it finishes clean and refreshing.

Overall: Definitely my go-to beer when in Wisconsin. It tastes great and is very easy to drink while being leaps and bounds above most American Lagers, including New Glarus' own Totally Naked. The relatively low ABV also allows you to have more than one without too much effect.

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Photo of Jnashed
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

12oz bottle poured into a Samual smith glass

A) light yellow, clean . Initial frothy head that quickly dissipates.

S) slight fruit and a slight sour smell

T) crisp, slightly fruity . Yeasty with lots of pleasing malt overtones. Like a good piece of sourdough bread. Except lighter and crisper

M) creamy wonderful feel. Moderate carbs. Really nice.

O) solid satisfying beer. If you want a crisp but complex beer on a summers day but are not into Gose or something like that, this is the way to go.


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Photo of xerotime
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back a few when I was in WI just recently. Pours a slightly hazy pale straw color with a white 1 finger head that faded quickly. In the aroma I'm picking up a graininess balanced with citrus. Taste is more of the same with a slight yeast character. Mouthfeel is medium body with a medium high carbonation. Overall a great summer drinker. Well done NG!

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Photo of cooch69
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Spotted Cow pours a hazy deep and slightly bright yellow. It had no head, instead just some remaining patches of lacing.

The nose was grainy with a bit of pears in it.

Taste was a real husky graininess and pretty refreshing. A little lemon in the finish as well as a bit of a doughy bread.

This brew is a relly good session ale. It goes down smooth and is really tasty.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to zimmerbloke. Into bell's tulip.

Light golden yellow and a mild white head. 2 fingers settle quickly and there's some mild sticky lacing.

S- Fruit in syrup, pineapple. Mellow, though.

T- Sweet crisp malt, a bit of lemon and some apple sweetness. Very light and tasty. Simple, hard to describe.. but good. A very very faint dash of clove.

M- Crisp, clean, refreshing, finishes well. Good times.

O- A perfect session beer. Oh, how I wish I could get it on the regular. Fantastic stuff.


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Photo of Bootscraper
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My home state's very own New Glarus has really been making a name for themselves over the last few years. Their most common brew, Spotted Cow, is a favorite of mine and typically what I bring to parties or purchase when hosting my own, because I happen to think it is an exceptional beer that just about anyone can enjoy. Therefore, I thought it was about time I gave the New Glarus namesake a proper review.
Served at about 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to Melvins' "Houdini".
Sat in my glass as borderline yellow to pale gold, and a little cloudy (letting it sit for bit resulted in some stringy yeast hanging from the top... one indication that this is an unfiltered beer). Right after the pour, there was pretty much no head at all. This was pretty disappointing. Whatever lacing managed to stick around clung to my glass pretty damn well, but it desperately needed some creamy foam to supply it.
The smell modestly pierced the air as soon as I cracked the bottle open. The grainy aroma was mellow and crisp like a lager, and also slightly sweet like lemon.
The taste is a very sweet wheat flavor. Towards the finish, the wheaty end becomes more prominent , and the hops also start to come out just a tiny bit, which sticks around for a very slight aftertaste. The sweet end is mild and rich, presumably the corn that went into this bottle (?). All of said transitions and complexity are quite acute though... all in all, it's a very mellow, and very well balanced, beer.
In the mouth, this beer glides by very very smooth, but also a little fizzy & tingly. I love the carbonation levels, and am quite surprised this beer couldn't kick up more of a head. It was pretty light-bodied, yet was fairly creamy... end even became pleasantly syrupy at the finish (despite how dry it might seem at first on the lips). Combine that with the fact that I just finished my 2nd one and am still not buzzed, and it makes for one hell of a drinkability.
I highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a mild cream ale, or if you are just looking for an all-around general drinking beer.

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Photo of hochief
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Spotted cow is a staple in my diet. a good full flavored beer with a sweet malt that just melts in your mouth. Poured into a pint glass this beer has a small amount of head with good looking lace, color is a nice light gold while being quite cloudy. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of Svyturys30
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great example of how a farmhouse ale should taste. I've had this beer probably a hundred times and enjoy it everytime. Has a color similar to shiner bock. As a nice foamy head that sticks to the sides of the glass and kelt recedes to the beer. When you smell it, it almost smells like a farm (corn stalks, hay, wheat)! When you have your first taste, I pick up hints of corn and a bit of hops to finish. Has a nice even texture when sliding off the back of your palate down your throat. Doesn't have any twist at the end, but a beer I like to drink on the back porch on an evening, while looking out at the lake. Would recommend this to anyone who likes farmhouse style beers. Cheers!

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Photo of Lembeh
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A great example of a cream ale this. It does a great job of balancing the hops and malt to deliver a easy drinking ale. On the nose and taste you get a lot of barnyard hay, as if you were drinking this on a farm. It really encapsulates the hardworking midwestern ethos well. A winner from Wisconsin.

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 3,464 ratings.
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