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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of hardysf
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

easy drinker. Corn flavor. Would be confused for a macro in a blind taste test. I was excited to try a new glarus beer, but this was a let down. Upon review, this isnt one of their well liked beers though. Im guessing the analogy is Goose Island 312 beer.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pale yellow with a thin head.

Smell is neutral and a bit sweet, corny.

Taste is the same. Nothing remarkable here.

Very clean mouth. Very carbonated.

I'm pretty indifferent on this one. Easy to quaff but not my first choice of style.

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Photo of wdberkley
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an awesome grass cutter beer. Light, refreshing, and pretty damn tasty! New Glarus makes many great beers, and this is a very good example of a cream ale.

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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 Jmurphy919
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very smooth and easy to drink. This is one of those beers that you can drink all day long and never get sick of. Being from Illinois people rave about this beer since they can't get it in Illinois. What they don't realize is that NG makes a ton of other amazing beers that are just as good, if not better than Spotted Cow.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

usually stop for a pint of this when I'm trekking through the cheese state, but this time it is from a single into a willi becher. pours a beautiful slightly hazy soft gold with a 2 finger pillowy white head that subsides fairly quickly and leaves spotty lacing. smells slightly fruity (apples, bananas), some hay, and some crackery malts and graininess. Taste follows, but it isn't quite as nice...there are some kind of sourdough-like dimensions here that are kind of interesting, but don't entirely work for me. The mouthful is soft, carbonation is medium, body is substantial. It is what it is...very well made (expected from NG), at certain times it really hits the spot, but when push comes to shove, this is good for the style but not great (though it is a style that doesn't seem great that often).

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Photo of 98green
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Made a trip up from Chicago road trip to grab some New Glarus. I'm not too familiar with the cream ale style, but for my palate this is a nice upscale version of a BMC macro. Smell is slightly sweet and either adjuncts or esters. Taste is similar, with some corn reminders. Some interesting yeast flavor to with a light floral flavor. Feel is pleasant. Probably not worth a special trip just for this one, but you gotta try the local favorite when you get the chance

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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 OmahaKF
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smell is of cream, King's Hawaiian sweet bread, and White Rabbit milk candy. Taste is sweet bread - basically a creamy lager. Easy drinking, but did not live up to the hype.

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Photo of Extol
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - gold in color. Smell - typical cream ale smell, light straw smell. Taste - mmm. Really good. Smooth and creamy
Sessionable. Overall - this is a very solid cream ale.

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Photo of kbwalters
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured cold into a tulip glass. Bottled on 9/1/15.
Look = 3.75 Pours a cloudy golden straw color with 1 finger of crisp white head that fades to a light ring. Below average retention but solid dense lace left behind.
Aroma = 3.75 Yeasty, spicy, banana and light cracker sweetness.
Taste = 3.5 Light sweetness, biscuity malt, a hint of banana but otherwise bland.
Feel = 4.0 Light bodied with medium carbonation, fizzy but a little creamy too.
Drinkability = 4.25 Pretty easy drinking, probably its best characteristic.
Overall = 3.75 Easy drinking everyday ale, otherwise a little lacking in several categories.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Tiny head, with a lively head consisting of a bunch of small bubbles. The head dissipates quickly, as does most of the initially heavy carbonation. A fizzy yellowy look.

Subtle taste of bananas, with a great feel. Very sweet and incredibly drinkable. This would be on the top of my list of recommendations for a non-beer drinker.

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

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 7/10/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy bright golden yellow color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of lemon, cracker, corn, white bread, pear, apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and restrained fruity yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, cracker, corn, white bread, pear, apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light herbal/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, cracker, corn, white bread, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and robustness of pale malt, earthy hops, and restrained fruity yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness. Very clean flavors after the finish with the restrained yeast fruitiness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly creamy/bready/grainy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 4.8%. Overall this is a fantastic cream ale style. All around awesome balance and robustness of pale malt, earthy hops, and restrained fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of martinfletwood
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very good beer for an ale. I find most "ales" pretty basic, but Spotted Cow is a few steps above basic. With all the diverse flavors out there I find it difficult to drink boring old "ales", but if you're into them, give this one a try. Would drink again, but wouldn't go looking for, but that's just my taste.

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Photo of farrago
4.21/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid finger’s worth of bright white foam, even surface, tiny and tightly woven bubbles, retention is okay at best, the lacing is stronger than expected with thick streaks and good staying power. The liquid is mildly gauzy, golden color that is closely to orange than dilute, loosely arrayed large bubbles are active. The creamy vanilla and cola bean scents present in the nose without dominance, pastry flakes and cereal, cherry to banana fruit scents, the graininess firms up and stiffens the dissolve in the nostrils, overall just smells kind of like “old school” beer. Medium-bodied, not soft but you feel all the round contours and the creaminess is both textural and in flavor. Whipped cream, vanilla and yeast to baking dough, tastes like Dr. Brown’s cream soda. As in the nose, the grain and bread stiffen by the finish and lend punctuation. Retains the cherry, banana, white grape fruitiness. Every now and then you find a metallic, spring water note. The carbonation broadens the palate coverage more than prickles. Even as the sweetness lingers it feels balanced. Comes off as highly sessionable and easy to drink, well done.

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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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