Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

796 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: 796 | Ratings: 3,454
Photo of jjanega08
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A= pours a hazy yellow color with a two finger head that falls fast leaving just a thin layer on top with some but very spotty lacing
S= A lot like an Adjunct lager. A small amount of extra sweetness
T= Adjunct lager taste with a sweetness to follow it. Tastes an awful lot like Minnesota's grain belt premium only with an extra creamy sort of twist. Not bad... Very good actually. Still prefer GBP though.
M= Smooth and a little creamy
D= Very high. Not a bad beer at all. Tastes a lot like an adjunct lager only a little sweeter and some strange creamyness. Recommended at least once or when drinking quantity.

 612 characters

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a fizzly light lemon yellow hue with a good bit of suspended cloudiness. A half-finger fizzy off-white head hangs around for a minute before fizzling away, leaving behind just a bit of lacing. Looks exactly like a few other cream ales I've encountered, for better or worse.

aroma is fairly subdued and a bit muddled. bready malt, caramel sugars, a hint of corn, a hint of generic cereal grain, and a bit of honey. a hint of citrus fruit creeps in. I don't necessarily find the corn offensive... almost reminds me of honey cornbread.

aroma of sweet malt with a bit of cereal. oat and hints of corn. some bright citrus - lemony... and a bit of fruit - pear and tart cherries. a touch of hops, a touch of creaminess. honey and sugary... a bit sweet. but at the moment, it hits the spot.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy - exactly as a cream ale should be. the sweetness comes across a touch via a light syrupiness, but the ample carbonation helps cut through it. A touch thin on the whole, but again, the carbonation helps.

Maybe I was just really in the mood for a cream ale... maybe it hit the spot just right. but on the whole, I found this one really drinkable and enjoyable. Not the most complex beer in the world, and a few funky flavors, but all in all, I was pleasantly surprised. If someone wants to send me another bottle, I can see if I find another bottle as enjoyable.

 1,386 characters

Photo of ballewblake
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Almost no head after a few seconds. Even the ring around the glass is weak. Hazy golden body, nose is mild to boring, not much of anything coming through. First taste was mint. Weird. Heavily carbonated, full body, not a whole lot of flavors coming out, not much to really pin down here. Maybe some wheat malts?

 352 characters

Photo of julian
4.45/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark straw/orange color. Pretty murky, opacity is about 65-70%. Possibly unfiltered. Small decent 1/2 finger white head appears but doesn't stick around very long. Lacing is non-existent.

Smell: Awesome aromas of sugar, malt, and a sweet fruity aroma that I can't quite pinpoint. Corn adjuncts also present.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This is a fantastic beer. I absolutely love it. The taste is a beautiful blend of mellow fruity flavors, corn adjuncts, crystal malt, and a light hop presence. Carbonation is average to below average which is perfect for the style, and lends well to the drinkability. This is a very easy drinking, refreshing beer. Tastes great!

Drinkability: Very high. This is a delicious, highly re-drinkable brew for almost any occasion.

 764 characters

Photo of Thanby
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour, golden honey color with cloudy yeast, two fingers of foamy white head, retention and a little lacing. Smells of wonderful sweet wheat, honey, orange, and a little of the trademark banana in every wheat ale. Obviously North American yeast, hardly any Belgian nose that you typically find in wheat ales, but then again New Glarus has always been good at breaking traditions. First taste is smooth wheat and mild yeast, not quite as sweet as it smells but certainly not dry either. The citrus and honey come out after a moment, and linger just a little bit after the finish. Somewhere between light and medium body, wonderfully smooth, full and balanced flavor, and just all-round delicious. This has to be my favorite wheat ale so far.

 749 characters

Photo of jera1350
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale straw yellow, slight cloudiness with two finger white frothy head. Good lacing.

Smell is yeasty and bread like.

Tastes lightly like fresh yeast, light and clean. Some wheat taste. Like a light hefeweitzen. Not a much flavor going on here. Slightly, dare I say, watery.

Medium carbonation, thin feeling.

Light easy to drink beer. With the lack of flavor here, not something that I would want to drink very often.

This is not my style of beer so maybe their are some better options out there, but I can live without this one ever again.

 552 characters

Photo of CMW
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy yellow with a fluffy white head. Not much in the way of retention but there is some decent lacing. This looks very similar to a wheat beer.

S - Strong yeast, freshly baked bread, and just a touch of sweet spice.

T - The yeast dominates the taste. It provides a very bready note which is quite pleasing. There is a small amount of sweetness that mixes well.

M - Very creamy with light carbonation.

D - In the summer time I would have no problem drinking a few of these. This is a very seasonable beer.

 523 characters

Photo of PDXHops
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for this one. 12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Looks OK. Hazy gold pour, white head is mostly big bubbles, no tight head retention, not much lacing.

Smells of hay, corn, a bit of citrus and general sweet maltiness.

This one would go down nice on a hot summer day. Kind of a grainy wheat character up front, backed up by some corn/malt sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and a general creamy flavor I can't quite put my finger on.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but OK. Carbonation is much lower than expected, but the finish is clean and drinkability is good.

Overall impression: Good session beer, not something I would seek out regularly. A cream ale can be a great beer (see Cape Kiwanda from Pelican). This one doesn't rise to that level, but it's not bad at all.

 806 characters

Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer so many times, I'm surprised I've never reviewed it. I grew up in WI, and whenever I get back home, this is the beer that is consummed ALL the time.

Pours a hazy gold with about a 2-finger head on it. This goes away very quicky as it sounds like I just poured a cola, all fizzy and popping. Just leaves a ring around the edge, but absolutely NO lacing whatsoever. Weak. Smells like sweet corn and slight citrus. Nothing much there.

This isn't the most complex of brews, for sure, but man is this good! Maybe it's the sentimental value to me, but I love this beer. Just a perfect smooth, yet crisp, mouthfeel. Sweet and malty flavor, with just the faintest of bites at the end. Slight bready aftertaste. Drinkable? I submit that it is. I seriously could drink this daily for the rest of my life and be happy. This is the quinticential 'summer-hanging out-lawnmower-bbq-chillin' beer out there. Recommend.

 926 characters

Photo of madtowndmb1
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me into craft brews. It's an east drinking beer, great for the newer beer drinkers. I don't see the appeal anymore, but for old-time sakes I'll have one. It pours a straw yellow, smells fruityish, with a little off smell in there. Very light flavor, little wheaty tasting. Not alot here. But it's still a good drinker for newbie's.

 357 characters

Photo of Soneast
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a semi-cloudy golden orange color with a 1/2 inch white head that has fair retention and moderate lace.

Aroma consists of a sort of graininess compounded by some fruitiness with a hint of citrus.

Flavor is fairly sweet, with the graininess making a presence again as well as some mild citrus notes.

This light bodied beer has a creaminess that is hidden in the appearance and aroma, however it does feel pretty good in my mouth. If it weren't for the sweetness I would find this beer to be much more sessionable. All in all not a bad offering from New Glarus and in Wisconsin this is available at literally every bar/grocery store/gas station/liquor store around, this is certainly a better option than it's BMC counterparts.

 734 characters

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

Spotted Cow, bottle courtesy of a friend. Split, with my portion poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: An incredibly hazy, pale amber body with a good one-finger of foamy, white, soft-looking head, cloud-like almost, that has good to above-average retention and leaves sticky wisps of lacing after it fades.

Aroma: Relatively sweet, but crisp and very fruity. There are also flourishes of light spice, nondescript, but almost cinnamony in places.

Taste: Sweet, mildly roasty, but always soft malts, with a definite sweet corny note (though it's not unwanted) and a handful of pleasant, well-balanced spices. Other stray light fruity notes (both tart and sweet) and a handful of earthy yeast notes become prominent as it warms. There's also, somehow, a creamy note here, though I don't know if that's just the name getting to me.

Mouthfeel: Soft and pillowy, relatively thin, but with a hefty amount of effervescence. Still somehow manages to be relatively even and - dare I say it - creamy.

Drinkability: Low in alcohol and reasonably tasty/aromatic. This one's an interesting beast, and is sort of hard to fit into any sort of style (making it hard to therefore, you know, rate to style). I enjoyed, it however, and wouldn't mind living in an area where this was the idea of a session beer.

 1,300 characters

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.

 2,085 characters

Photo of gdfan47
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ok wow here it goes... im finally drinking an NG thanks to..Onenote81 for the beer trade
And NG's flagship beer!

A- pours a nice cloudy yellowy orange with a little off white head and very nice lacing
S-Corn, malt, a little hops
T- yacht rock smooth, malty but not overly malty a touch of hops and a little corn in the finish
M- really very refreshing, not overly complex just smooth and cold, great carbonation
D- I really dig it, a great session beer im liking it now when its cold out but I would love to drink this all day when camping or hanging out... also a great great gateway beer for people wanting to get into craft beer

 635 characters

Photo of dancinwillie
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As part of my New Year's Resolution to review all NG's beers, might as well start with their flagship. I've had this beer many times, but not lately, and I hope to review it with an open mind.

Pours blonde and fizzy, with an almost nonexistent white head. Nothing special here.

Aroma is a bit more promising. Some yeast fruitiness, and a lot of (what I assume to be) that corn sweetness.

Taste, is pretty good really. Sweet, to be sure, but the yeast is really there as well. Some discreet lemon, and a very restrained funk, but not bad at all. A quaffable beer, to be sure.

Mouthfeel is thin, but for what this beer is, it works. Semi-dry finish, with a little of the aftertaste.

Overall drinkability, would be low for me in my everyday, drink whatever I want home life, but as far as going out to bars in Wisconsin, this beer is EVERYWHERE. If I'm ever at a bar, and they have nothing I want, they ALWAYS have this. And this is always better than most Macro Lagers, and least to me. A good beer for what it is. Wouldn't it be awesome if Dan released an Unplugged Imperial Spotted Cow?!!?? Anyway, Cheers.

Edit: I forgot one thing I really wanted to say. Drinking this beer from time to time is a good thing to do, because it pays the bills, making it easier for New Glarus to brew the award winning beers we all love so very much. Such a small price to pay...

 1,368 characters

Photo of spointon
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy yellow gold with a 1/2" white head. The head sank to a 1/8" cap and left spotty lace down my glass.

S= Not a very pronounced aroma profile, but what I got was malty sweetness, raw bakery dough, and maybe some faint lemon.

T= Started sweet and pretty much stayed that way. Not much depth or character here, just a basic sweet malty brew with very little hop presence and no alcohol bite.

MF= Medium bodied (which was heavier than it looked and/or than I expected). Soft carbonation and lower alcohol gave this a smooth easy drinkability.

D= The smoothness and lower alcohol make this beer drinkable and ideal to session. I personally was not too enamoured of the flavor though, so I will not likely have this one again.

 818 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This one pours a very light golden color. It's slightly hazy. The head is white, foamy, and about a finger and a half deep after a forceful pour. It dissipated quickly and left a very light, spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: The nose is underwhelming in terms of strength. There's just not a whole lot going on there. It is very earthy and grainy up front. It has an interesting vegetal scent that might be corn. There's a very light lemon scent that bumps it up a little above average. No hops are noted. Not surprisingly, alcohol is not noted either. Pretty ho-hum all around.

Taste: It's a little sweet on the first sip. It doesn't take long for a very strong grassy/grainy flavor to emerge. It's not a bad flavor, but isn't particularly good either. There is a relatively strong corn flavor present. Are we sure this isn't a lager? A very light citrus lemon is present. It's a very welcome flavor and tastes nice in this sea of averageness. That's perhaps its saving grace. Actually there's a toasted malt flavor that pops up afterward that saves it. No hop flavor is apparent. Alcohol is nowhere in the neighborhood. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and has a decently smooth feel. Carbonation is active, yet it retains a smooth feel. Drinkability is okay, but not exactly good. The flavor just isn't quite good enough to draw you back for more.

New Glarus really didn't impress me with this one. It's extremely reminiscent of a lager. I haven't had many cream ales, but I don't recall my prior experiences being similar to this. It's above averaage, but not by much. Suffice it to say it could use a lot of work in all areas. I wouldn't say it's worth seeking out.

 1,712 characters

Photo of younger35
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up some of this at Woodman's in Kenosha. Gotta love New Glarus! Drank from my Port pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a light semi chill hazed yellow with a nice one finger creamy bright white head. Leaves a decent cap and collar along with a bit of lacing.
Smell- Fairly citrusy and doughy with hints of lemon zest, tangerine and light banana. The corn mentioned on the bottle does add a bit of familiar sweetness to the nose that only maize can lend. Nothing too exciting or mind blowing but a bit better than some other reviews leave you to believe.
Taste- Lightly sweet from the start with a very bready like maltiness that isn't all that exciting. I agree this is 'somewhat' macro like but it has a bit more flavor. The unmistakable sweetness of maize is present as well and not really much hop bitterness. I'm surprised that there isn't a bit more fruitiness in this after how citric the nose came across to me.
Mouthfeel- Fairly full body with a super creamy smoothness and very light zesty carbonation.
Drinkability- When I visited Milwaukee about six months ago I had a Bloody Mary at some random bar to start off my Sunday morning. They made it with a mixture of about half Mary mix, half Spotted Cow. It was one of the best Bloody Mary's I've ever had. I've been curious to what the beer actually tastes like on its own ever since. I probably enjoyed the Bloody Mary a bit more than the beer itself but either way it'd make a terrific session beer.

 1,462 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this in Baraboo, WI

Poured a golden color with a short head and good lacing.

Not much aroma

Mild apple and orange sweetness from the malt balanced by a mild bitter. Light body with Medium carbonation. Pallet clears quickly of tastes.

I view this as a refreshing, session beer but nothing remarkable.

 307 characters

Photo of marcpal
2.61/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to maximum12 for sending this in a trade. Liking New Glarus so far.
12oz bottle poured into imperial pint glass
Bottle Graphics: 8/10. Like it.

A: Hazy dehydrated pee yellow. Very cloudy with a filmy head that left thin veil of lacing. Nothing too impressive.

S: Quiet in the aroma with something cornlike and grainy. I have to say, I expected much more to start this one out. I had some stronger things earlier in the night but this just fell to the wayside. I find it odd that the fruit is really the dominating aroma.

T: Still not anything that rocks your world but sugary flavors give this some character. It has a corn flavor that hits at first but as it finishes off, the cream finally comes on. It is unique but buttery flavors pop out.

The bottle claims it to be full of flavor. I have to beg to differ.

M: Carbonated but moderate through and through. Like the aroma, quite bland. The dryness of the fruity flavor is unpleasant.

D: This isn't the best New Glarus, nor the tops in terms of cream ales. Don't hate it, don't particularly like it. Bottom rung cream ale. Glad I had the chance, this is a terrific brewery- noone can bat a thousand.

 1,164 characters

Photo of hwwty4
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in SS08 from Mymrnngjckt.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours a hazy lemon yellow with just a bit of a bright, white head that disappeared very quickly. After pondering the aroma for what seemed about 20 minutes, it finally hit me. Hot, fresh, ground corn tortilla chips. Man, it was like a sledgehammer upside the brain. I knew I recognized the smell; I just couldn't place it, then all of a sudden. Bam. This beer smells like corn, and tastes very much like sweet corn. There was almost no discernable hop presence. The mouthfeel is light and a bit dry. I would rather have this as a local easy drinker then the BMC stuff we get around here. This could very easily become a lawnmower beer if it was locally available.

 757 characters

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

I got this bottle in a trade with russpowell. Thanks Russ!

This pours a hazy yellow/pale gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is both sweet and hoppy. The malt shows up mostly as bread. I like this nose.

The taste is mostly bready malt with light lemon citrus bringing a touch of bitterness and I can taste a touch of spice and yeast. Interesting.

The mouthfeel is just below medium and the carbonation is also medium.

Drinkability? It sure is easy enough to drink so I think it's a good one to session on. Btw, head retention is very good and there's lots of nice lacing.

Bottom line: A good brew here. 'nuff said.

 629 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a fizzy, orange, golden/yellow color with a fizzy, small, white head. It left no lace.

S - It smelled of yeast, clove, gains and wheat.

T - It tasted of light caramel malt, grains, clove and some yeast. It really tasted like an american pale wheat ale.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. A light bodied beer.

D - This is a nice cream ale very sessionable and easy drinking.

 390 characters

Photo of kingothewoods
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a little on the yellowish side with not much head and not much carbonation. Very sweet smells which are the malts - kinda like homemade bread. Slightly smooth and easy to drink with the aftertaste of a little hint of hops in there. This is a beer I would call a summer brew that you have at a neighbor's barbecue party.

 326 characters

Photo of Buebie
2.92/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Thanks to HogwildLiquore for this extra.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.
Color is a bright somwhat hazy unfiltered yellow. 2 finger fizzy white head that quickly fades. Leaving some bubbles and not much of any retention. Lace is spotty and thin.

Grassy hops at the knose, corn, some crystal smelling grains, hay, and sawdust.
Pretty mellow and thin at the nose. Just a touch of alcahol on the nose.

Flavor is lacking on this. Sweet upfront. Some small grassy hops, thin watery mouthfeel, getting just a bit of creamy help from the abundance of carbonation.
No alcahol warming.
Finish is crisp and clean with a dry corn husk linger. Just a touch of dried hay hppieness.

Great for a lawnmower, but not my style. Not much from the flavor department.

 760 characters

Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 3,454 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.