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Cranberry Special Ale - Sand Creek Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Cranberry Special AleCranberry Special Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

56 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.02
pDev: 17.55%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sand Creek Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DaPeculierDane on 10-17-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BruChef:
Photo of BruChef
3.25/5  rDev +7.6%

BruChef, Mar 09, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
1.95/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Call it a kiddy cocktail, call it a Shirley Temple, call it a 7-up and grenadine…just don’t go calling it a beer.

Appearance: Neon pinkish red. Glowing. Very thin pinkish white head. Kind of cool looking.

Smell: Grenadine.

Taste: See first sentence of this review.

Mouthfeel: dido

Drinkability: Not unless you’re 4-years old. Is this what they mean by kid’s beer I wonder?

Notes: This was formerly made by Pioneer Brewery, which is now Sand Creek.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of cmwilliq
3/5  rDev -0.7%

cmwilliq, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of richkrull
3.25/5  rDev +7.6%

richkrull, Nov 29, 2013
Photo of ggaughan
3.33/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My friend picked up a six pack of this for $2 in Chicago so I was not expecting much but was pretty suprised that it was decent. The beer poured a deep amber/red color with thick off white head that led to some good lacing on the glass. The aroma was mainly of cherries but there was a wheat smell in there as well. The taste was mainly of sweet cranberries but had a touch of bitterness that rounded this beer. I could not see myself having more than maybe 2 of these but it was different and worth the try.

ggaughan, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of Garrett82
3.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Garrett82, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of pmcadamis
1.6/5  rDev -47%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A - Hazy blood orange color with a nice thick two finger khaki head that leaves lots of crusty lace on the glass. Head retention is really nice, and I'm impressed with the long lived head and pretty lace.

S - Cereal grains... Cheerios cereal to be specific. Not a whole hell of a lot going on here. I definitely can't detect any fruit. This smells like maybe some sugary fruit loops, but less fruity.

T - This is initially tart and acidic with puckery cranberry notes jumping off the starting gate. At midpalate the tartness fades into a sweet Fruity Pebbles and Fruit Loops grainy/sugary note. Sour cherry candy, pixie stix, and canned cranberries. Sour battery acid.

M - Tart beyond belief. This is acidic, sour, and mouth puckering. Light bodied and fizzy like a fruit flavored seltzer water.

D - This only avoided the drain because I handed the pint glass off to my wife to apparently loves this stuff.

pmcadamis, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.65/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sand Creek's Cranberry Special Ale is made with real Wisconsin cranberry juice.

It pours a hazy deep-chestnut body with a crimson cast beneath a frothy head of tan that settles to a thin creamy lid. The retention is good, and it leaves some very nice smears and streaks of lace at the outset of the glass.

The aroma offers a welcoming combination of sweetish, toasty and richly caramelish malt with juicy cranberry.

In the mouth it's smooth and creamy with a medium body and fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation.

The flavor is exactly as the nose suggests, and it's surprisingly malty, toasty, caramelish, and "round" - almost worty. The bitterness is limited, and it's pretty sweet, but the delicate tanginess of the cranberry cuts through it nicely. It finishes just semi-dry with a soft light-caramel maltiness that fades readily.

Interesting, rich, and enjoyable, this "Special" ale would probably be nice on it's own, albeit it a touch too sweet, but it becomes something entirely different with the cranberry juice added. It's probably worth trying for those who like a lot of malt, and even for those who shy away from fruit beers

NeroFiddled, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of dirtylou
3.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, Steve's-University, bought with no expectations

appearance: pours into a tulip which appears frivolous....body is a light amber color, tinted orange...light beige head

smell: sweet syrupy aroma, sugary...no way to distinguish cranberry from the crowd with a slight cold

taste: lots of sugary fruit sweetness...apple, cranberry and other berry flavouring. Its not particularly offensive to me as it was to others. its a medium ale with a high sweetness level

mouthfeel: medium

drinkability: alright

dirtylou, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of sleephowl
2.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden/Amber color with 1/4" head off of pour. Minimal head retention.

S- Slight sweet malt smell with a hint of cranberry. The cranberry smell is not overwhelming.

T- Once you get past the cranberry taste there is very limited flavor. The cranberry taste actually lingers much longer then expected, considering the initial lack of flavor. Overall a tart beer.

M- A light mouthfeel with a slightly oily sensation. The subtle tartness causes a brief pucker reaction.

D- The drinkability has more to do with the lightness then the actual taste. I probably wouldn't drink more then two of these beers though because of the tartness and the acidity.

While, this beer isn't a home run, it is a nice effort by Sand Creek. I applause the use of cranberry, especially considering its prevalence in WI.

sleephowl, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.03/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed April 9, 2005. On tap at the Gitchee Gumee Brewfest 2005. I would have expected a more enticing aroma from a fruit beer, but it wasn’t there, instead a light tangy wasp drifted up. The flavors were nice, dominated by a very strong plain wine flavor and finishing with a sugary port complex. Interesting, but not desirable. Doesn't do much of job acting as beer.

CharlesDarwin, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of jdkitchi
3.25/5  rDev +7.6%

jdkitchi, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.9/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint. No date or info.

A - Pours lightly hazed with a touch of red color to an orange-amber base. The head is fizzy and shy apparently. It disappeared pretty quickly leaving a subtly tinted white ring of foam.

S - Next to no aroma, especially cranberries. There is a faint malt presence in the back and, this could be my mind tricking me, a hint of fruit. Extremely subtle though.

T - Thankfully the flavor exhibits....flavor. A medium dry tart flavor is prominent from the cranberry juice but doesn't impart a lot of actual cranberry flavor. The aftertaste carries a bit though. Otherwise the flavor consists more of mild grainy malts with a tart splash.

M - A tart kick in the mouth with a bit carbonation spritziness and a light body. A tad thin though.

D - Hmm. First of all, I wonder what type of "juice" it's made with. Wouldn't real cranberries be better? Second, upping the malts for some balance and flavor would help too. Not bad but a pretty mediocre fruit beer.

BeerFMAndy, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of PEBKAC
2.95/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Another Pitmonkey special. I just love fruit beers. I was just plain suckled on Juicy Juice & apple sauce growing up. :)

Basically no head off of this one. Just to make sure I pour it all out, but get nothing but a little pond scum & lace on the rim. Body is about the color & consistency of tea with a little chill haze with an errant bubble here & there.

Smells a lot like a Euro lager, with big bready malt notes, but not so much with that rusty, almost citrusy character. Just to make sure that's it, I take a sniff off the bottle & get a mix or orange & cranberry juice. So I guess it is just that subtle.

Taste initially is a very soft & faint raspberry-ish character tasted in a lot of browns with added fruit juice. Slightly tart, slightly crisp, & with a pinch of sour, you would honestly guess something besides cranberry in there. The middle to end is salty & absorbent, with crackers, & hints of yeast. The beer is laced with sour notes, but I just can't pull cranberries out of it. None of that rindy bitterness cranberries have, or even loads of added tart sugar(if you wanted to go in the Ocean Spray direction) It tastes alright, but I was in a real mood for cranberries. It just tastes too much like a watered down frambozen. Too yeasty at the end also.

Carbonation is thick & is probably the biggest help to the taste of the beer. Yeastiness was a factor that I didn't like. Caught a few black flakes(skin?) at the bottom which are always fun, but I didn't taste anything coming from them. Beer was still light enough to slurp down, & didn't show any signs of regret.

I came in expecting a big shock to my palate, but finished it feeling a little sleepy. The beer just needs either half a cup of sugar or some dark malts & I'm on the bandwagon. Till then, my ass is hurting sitting on this fence.

PEBKAC, Apr 23, 2008
Photo of twbrewer
2.9/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a amber color with a very small/thin head with no lacing.

S-It had a very faint smell of cranbrries but nothing else,no hops no malt.It did have a off metallic smell,disappointing.

T-If allowed to warm there was a very light hint of cranberries and a touch of light malt.Nothing like I was expecting.

M-Very light bodied and good carbonation.

D-This was a average beer,not what I was expecting (being a fruit/cranberry beer).I thought it would be tart or sweet but it just had nothing that stood out.

twbrewer, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of MadtownBrewboy
1.35/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Musty, acidic, and a poor mouthfeel. In every sip the cranberry taste remains fully separate from the beer taste, and neither is compelling.

This is the first beer I've poured down the drain in almost two years. The aftertaste is ruining the taste of the beer I opened afterwards, and I've had most of that bottle.

MadtownBrewboy, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of Dovers
3.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Dovers, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of Jimboe
2.75/5  rDev -8.9%

Jimboe, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of battlekow
1.73/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Pours a dried blood brownish-red, with a little off-white head. Smells like iron and feet. Tastes fruity, but not in the sense of a real fruit, but like Twizzlers. Has a gross syrup-lined toasty finish, and the musty hints do it no favors. Cranberry Special Ale is special, all right, but in the same way the Special Olympics are. This is definitely a disabled beer.

battlekow, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of Srabe
2.5/5  rDev -17.2%

Srabe, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of billyzoom666
2.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Quick pour (due to me almost dropping the bottle) into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. There was a bigger than expected head on this beer, that although it went down, never fully went away. The lacing on this was awesome. Nicely done. As far as color went, this was a light brown color. I was able to see through it when I held it up to the light. Not exactly what I thought I'd see and it was pretty disappointing. As for smell, well, I could catch a little bit of sweet malt and just a small hint of cranberry. Not much there. This brew had just a little bit of bitterness to it, I think it may have been a byproduct of the cranberry as this wasn't hoppy in the least. There wasn't a whole lot of flavor overall. This beer is pretty light, it's almost like drinking a cranberry seltzer water. This helps the drinkability. You could probably put down 12 of these things. But would you want to? I love cranberries, they're probably my favorite fruit. Why can't I find a cranberry beer I love?

billyzoom666, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
2.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one.

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a decent off-white head that dissipated quickly. I thought this was cranberry? Was expecting a reddish color at least.

(S)- A light tart cranberry/cherry fruit profile in front of a woody-like dryness.

(T)- Pretty much like the smell only very subdued. A good acidity/tartness though.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Does not exactly scream cranberries though. Good tartness, but otherwise rather thin.

(D)- Just overall, a mediocre fruit beer that really does not have much actual fruits in it other than its acidity level.

sweemzander, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of krome
3.75/5  rDev +24.2%

krome, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of TMoney2591
2.42/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Enough smoke, time for some fruit, baby! This stuff pours a clear tawny-copper topped by a finger or so of dirty light tan foam. The nose comprises old cranberries, pomegranate seeds, old strawberries, light butterscotch, and a healthy twinkling of wet cardboard. Man, my nosehairs are kinda singed from that smell! The taste holds notes of unnecessarily tart cranberries, old blueberries, pomegranate seeds, light caramel, dry cardboard, and light graham cracker. Wow, this does not make my tongue smile in the slightest. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly slick feel. Overall, a sad bit of a fruit beer, one that kinda hurt to drink for a while. Boo this stuff.

TMoney2591, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of Pitmonkey
3.38/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first cranberry beer, I had no idea what to expect for style as it is just called Cranberry Special Ale.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dahls .4l tulip. It pours a hazy nut brown with a creamy off white head that thins but persists. I half expected it to be bright red.

The aroma is that yeasty, fruity smell I expect from Belgians, I don't detect cranberry, though it does seem tart (is tart a smell?).

The cranberry is very subtle, I think I detected it 2 or three times on the first sip but then it flitted away chased by the malts. Returning to it, the tartness increases but remains mellow.

Aside from teh tartness teasing at the corners of the mouth, this ale is very creamy with a good amount of fine carbonation. It is extremely refreshing and nicely balanced.

I could see drinking a few of these. A real pleasant surprise for a first cranberry beer.

Pitmonkey, Nov 13, 2007
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Cranberry Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
72 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.