Unplugged Cranbic Ale | New Glarus Brewing Company

319 Reviews
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Unplugged Cranbic AleUnplugged Cranbic Ale

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by alcstradamus on 10-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 319 | Ratings: 593
Photo of nrbw23
2.41/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours an odd slightly hazy pinkish orange color with a really thin white head. Head is gone in a flash and leaves no lacing.

S- Smell is cranberries for sure. A bit of funkiness here too. A touch of wood.

T- Wow puckering tartness and cranberry everywhere. A touch of wood but very tart over all. Reminded me of more of a wine cooler taste rather than a beer.

M- Very light in body and carbonation seemed pretty nice.

O- I can understand how people enjoy this, but for me I really stuggled with this one. Apparently I just can't handle the tart/sour flavours.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
2.53/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: decent color but head retention is very low with big bubbles, force carbonated
S: OK but too sweet and not enough sourness, very subtle oak
T: more of a wine cooler taste, sweet, ever-so-slight-oak, with very, very little sourness, disappointing for a lambic style, also interesting that cranberries are incredibly tart so I'm wondering what happened to all that potential for the sour/tartness?
M: cloying, too sweet, needed zing from sourness
D: drinkable like an alco-pop or wine cooler

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Photo of ehammond1
2.7/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2


Woodshop Classix
Anaheim, CA

Thanks for sharing this one Cavery!

Glowing cherry red and light auburn with perfect clarity throughout. The head is fairly large and slightly pink. Dotted lacing down the glass.

Bright aromas of cranberry and cherry leap from the glass, along with a grape-like sweetness.

I wasn't nearly as impressed with the flavor as I was the aroma. It tasted like cranberry/cherry butter or margarine with a somewhat artificial, stinging, sweetness. It wasn't for me, but fortunately everyone around me eagerly drank my share.

Thin to medium mouthfeel though a touch oily. Perhaps this added to me associating this beer with butter or margarine.

This one wasn't for me, though everyone nearby thought I was crazy for saying so. Oh well. More for everyone else!

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.84/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. From the beer exchange, courtesy of mattafett. Thanks Matt!

A: Pours a clear ruddy/pink hued copper body that momentarily develops a finger of off-white head. There is a small collar after collapse, with no lacing. Swirling pulls many bubbles out of suspension and produces a pretty decent (but again, short-lived) head. Quite nice for the style.

S: Tart cranberries with the slightest lactic sourness. Nicely oaky. Just the lightest hint of hay, must, and earth.

T: Fruit-forward to be sure, with a dominant, tart cranberry flavor that is supplemented by sharp lactic sourness. The mid-taste is still tangy cranberries rounded out by tannins and vanilla. A soft funky presence as the taste draws to a close, manifesting as must, earth, and rhubarb, with a semi-dry finish. I don't consider this a true lambic (not a lot of bacterial character), but this is worlds better than the Sam Adams attempt at the style.

M: This is drier than the NG Raspberry Tart and Belgian Red, but it still showcases the fruit nicely in an interplay of sweet and sour. Carbonation is restrained, giving a hint of bite and cleaning up nicely without interfering with the flavor.

D: New Glarus impresses me more and more with each beer. This is an outstanding fruit beer. I wish they'd stop labeling these things lambics / gueuzes, because those words invoke expectations of certain flavor profiles that just aren't found in their beers. A mediocre lambic or wild ale, an A+ (4.5 / 4 / 5 / 5 / 3) fruit beer.

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Photo of ronhocker
3.13/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

PIcked this up as I always do the latest unplugged beer upon release. To start off, this is probably the biggest let down from the unplugged series, close tie with the iced barleywine (which I am hoping years of aging will improve).

The appearance looks like champagne mixed with grenadine, works well in such a serving vessel. It is obviously filtered, I don't think natural settling can ever get a beer this clear.

Smell is as expected, some fruit, etc.

It tastes like a quickly made version of the Wisc Belgian Red, although there is more tartness in the fruit due to the cranberries. It has little to no lambic character, no wild yeast flavors present. I suspect this only has lactic acid produced and then added in to compliment the fruit. It is also quite sweet, implying it may have been backsweetened after filtering and pasteurization.

Overall it's ok, and I'm glad NG made it, but it is not one of there best offerings in the unplugged series - since I hold this series to be some of the best made beers in the U.S. (Imperial Saison, Berliner Weiss, Enigma, etc). Chicks will likely dig it.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Thanks goes to rudylaw for this one.

A: Pours a murky rudy brown color with a very short lived, thin off-white head that disappeared into a faint collar that left almost no lace.
S: Fruity, sweet and dry notes of red fruits, oak, light earthy funk and a bit of sweat.
T: Sweet fruits with a decent cranberry flavor followed by ambiguous citrus and red berries. There is a bit of gritty dry oak tannins and fruit skins as well. The finish is very sweet, almost syrup like, and the finish is lightly tart with flavors of cranberries.
M: Sweet, syrupy and slick mouthfeel, tingly carbonation and a medium-full body.
O: Much sweeter with less cranberry than expected. Pretty simple and syrupy.

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Photo of gatornation
3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours an amber/pink color with almost no head with minimal lacing the smell is fruit almost wine/champagne smell..the taste is tart and fruit forward i do taste the cranberries it is very tart there is no/little presence of hops or malts..alcohol is high for a lambic @6.0 but i dont detect it.the mouth feel is very tart and sour ill try this but wont buy it again..not my thing NG is one of my favorite breweries and will try everything they put out.. this one however is one and done for me IMO

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Photo of Nachojon
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Very interesting looking beer. Looks like a Rose Champagne with less carbonation.

S- Smells like sweet cranberry juice.

T- Just too sweet for me. Not enough tart, well really it's just not tart. Regular cranberry juice has more bite. It's so sugary. It tastes like cranberry juice, soda water and simple.

M- Sugary tongue feel like Mountain Dew. This is not a good thing.

O- Very unimpressed. Reading the label makes me like it less. It's not a lambic, sorry.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.27/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

A - Pours a clear light reddish-orange with the smallest white head, almost just a film on the top.

S - Strong fruit tones, cranberry of course and some slight wheat pokes through.

T - Funky fruit, cherry, cranberry, and again some wheat.

D - Sweet, low carbonation.

O - Fruity and sweet, not much funk.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from glazeman -- thanks, Scott!

a - pours a deep copper color with a slight ruby hue, one-finger white head with retention around the collar and very light lacing, fairly cloudy

s - sweet red fruit, strawberry, cherry and (apparently) cranberry, strong cinnamon component, not much at all by way of tartness or funk in the aroma, light caramel

t - lightly tart red cherry and cranberry up front closely followed by a burst of red fruit sweetness, the sweetness is a bit cloying without much tartness to balance it out, finish is lingering mostly sweet cranberry flavor with light tartness and notes of cinnamon and brown sugar, alcohol isn't very evident

m - medium-to-light-bodied, moderate-to-low carbonation, sweet finish, not much alcohol warming

d - this bottle is a chore to get through, the cloying sweetness just overwhelms this beer and the palate, the cranberry taste is there, but it is a bit too masked

Pretty disappointed in this offering from a brewery that I typically love. Perhaps this would be better to me if it were better attenuated, but as it is, the overwhelming sweetness really hinders this beer from being something very good. That said, the more I drank, the better I liked the taste.

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Photo of PrinceDarren
3.32/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This tastes like what it is - fermented cranberry juice. My grandfather used to make cranberry wine back in the 1970s and this has some similarities to his experiments in his Beloit, WI cellar (I recently drank one of his bottles that had aged for over 30 years. We miss you Grandpa Ray!)

As far as lambics go, I'm not the biggest fan. I've had enough to tell the difference between those that are high quality and those that are not. New Glarus typically excels at this style. Their cherry Belgian Red, for example, is top notch. This one just tasted too much like plain old ocean-spray cranberry juice cocktail.

It lacks complexity and purpose. Some of you lambic fans may have a different opinion and might find that you like it very much. For me, it was an average-to-above-average beverage that just "is what it is" - a cranberry lambic style ale. Perhaps I should serve it colder next time...

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Photo of tewaris
3.34/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A part of what was known as the Unplugged series earlier, Cranbic belongs to the Thumbprint series of New Glarus' experimental and specialty beers. 2011 release poured into a Surly pint glass.

Pink hued, and brilliantly clear, Cranbic pours with a light rosy head that is pedestrian for Lambics, and that minuscule head leaves soon too leaving some patchy lace. Aroma hints at the sourness to come, along with some funk that I didn't notice at earlier tastings. Lots of spice (clove and cinnamon).

Tastes fruity tart with strong notes of spice, and surprisingly only a hint of cranberries. Maintains its beer roots instead of tasting like cranberry soda. The finish is tart and long with some funk at the back. Quite acidic overall, and more so than many a Gueuze in my opinion!

Well carbonated, very crisp and very very refreshing. And yet it doesn't settle as well as a similar beer would sit with this weather because of the spicy notes that remind me of a Winter Warmer/Christmas beer :/

Overall a beer that is above average for fruit beers and at an unbeatable price! (~$10/4-pack)

Appearance 2/5; Aroma 3/5; Taste 3.5/5; Mouthfeel 4/5; Overall 3.5/5

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Photo of vacax
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a pinkish orange color with a fizzy one centimeter white head. The head disintegrates rapidly. High clarity. Aromas of buttery, sweet malts mix with some tart cranberry, cinnamon, and a big dose of wood. Tastes of butterscotch, spicy oak, and a tart cranberry balance on the midpalate. Salty buttered popcorn on the finish. Diacetyl level is a major flaw. Luscious medium body with a smooth, creamy carbonation, however the mouth is left salty instead of puckered. Pleasant enough to drink a bottle of this, but a sore disappointment.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark pink (somewhere between pinkish purple and brown) with a light pink head that fades quickly and leaves no lacing.

S - Cranberries it is, with some hints of vanilla. A weird combination to be sure, but not off-putting. None of the funk/tart I was expecting, but I'm not disappointed.

T - This is like no other brew I've ever had, let alone any lambic. Indeed, there is not even a hint of funk or tart. In fact, the beer is actually quite sweet, with a strange combo of cranberry, sweet malts, and seemingly even a trace of vanilla and dare I say mint. Very, very complex to be sure, I'm just not convinced that all the disparate parts go together very well.

M - Pretty thick, especially for the style - although I'm not sure how well this fits into the category.

D - This was a very interesting beer, but not one I'd seek out again. Definitely couldn't stomach more than 1 in a sitting.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice coppery color, with a good rocky white head. Aromas of tart cranberries, pale wheat, cherries and white zinfandel. Flavors of wheat, Belgian yeast and cranberries. Not all that sour, with all of the tartness being contributed by the cranberries. Drinkable and refreshing, but not one I'd drink a lot of.

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Photo of jegross2
3.44/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Cran-bic Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company. Full disclosure upfront: not a fan of sours generally.
Score: 84

2011 vintage bottle served in a New Glarus flute and enjoyed on 04/23/12.

Appearance: Pours a cider color with a thin layer of bubble head that quickly dissipates into a pencil thin ring around the glass. Minimal lacing, poor retention. 3/5

Smell: Tart cranberries, granny smith apples and a little white grape. Hawaiian punch and little sweet vinegar sour aroma too. Nice sweet-and-sour aroma. 3.75/5

Taste: Tart, sweet-and-sour cranberries and grape upfront, with a light yeasty twang, subsides into a funky/sweet cranberry flavor on the back half. I like how the beer starts, but I do not like how it finishes so funky. Decent puckering effect. Very straightforward and one dimensional. The funky finish gets a little less funky as the beer layers. Has a light sweet rice vinegar and cranberry linger -- less crisp than expected given its effervescence. 3.25/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, lively carbonation. Champagne-like mouthfeel. Very prickly on the tongue. Sweet, sugary and dry. 4/5

Overall: Certainly not a bad beer; this is one of the better fruit beers I have encountered. However, an off-puttingly funky finish really ruins what would have otherwise been a really solid beer.

Recommendation: Fans of Smirnoff Ice will probably love this. I'm sure sour fans will also like this one a lot too.

Pairings: Apple walnut salad with balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Cost: $2.99 for a 12 oz bottle or $10.99 for a four pack.

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Photo of Lunch
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a 12oz. bottle, obtained via trade with kbutler1 as a generous extra (thanks man!), into my Rogue Santa's Private fluted goblet at the appropriate temperature (12/25/09). This is my first real trip into the world of lambics and I appreciate Kevin sending me one that seems to be a great example of the style.

A: Pours a rather golden amber with some intense ruby hues capped of with a one finger head which dissolved rather quickly leaving some spotty lace.

S: Certainly is a cranberry lambic as the nose is dominated by tart cranberries and some slight red-wine vinegar perhaps.

T: The cranberry theme continues and is actually rather tasty in a pleasantly tart way. Rather sweet and tart, but not overly so. The is also a great degree of sourness that really lingers in and after the finish.

M: Rather light-bodied and tingly creating a refreshing feel.

D: For me the tart and sourness hold this back and 12oz. was just fine for me. I'm sure that those with more developed palates as it pertains to lambic would have a much higher degree of drinkability.

Overall this was certainly a surprise as I have given very little thought and consideration to lambics, but I am quite appreciative that Kevin sent along such a seemingly prime example. Perhaps not exactly my cup of tea at the moment, but certainly a style I will put a bit more weight behind in the coming months. Thanks again Kevin for the opportunity to try this.

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Photo of hardy008
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pale pink color with a small off white head with poor retention and no lace. Smell is tart cranberries and some oak. The taste is not as tart as the smell, there is some sweetness balanced with the tartness which I am glad for. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Has a somewhat "sticky" feel to it. The drinkability is pretty good.

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Photo of Erish
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. No best by date apparent.

A: clear pink/light amber color, the fizzy head disappears almost instantly with no cap and almost no lacing.

S: overripe, slightly fermented fruit aroma, cranberry tartness rises up above the other fruit aroma, overall a slightly funky and fruity olfactory experience.

T: tart, but not supremely puckering, the fruit seems more like apple than cranberry to me, but there is a definite cranberry tartness, there is plenty of yeasty funkitude in the middle along with an almost meaty sort of wild funk, the finish is drying with a residual bit of mulling spice flavor.

M: light to medium bodied, crisp texture, abundant carbonation.

O: Interesting. It is more cider than beer, but it is interesting.

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Photo of WJVII
3.47/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a flute as suggested, this brew has a light red color similar to a blush wine. The head is light and settles to nothing. The aroma is full of cranberries and has a slight woodiness. The taste is oddly mild to the point of being unappealing. Maybe I am being critical as it is an unplugged and I have come to expect more from them. This is lacking a certain sour punch to it and is very thin and even light on the cranberry flavor. This one misses the mark and for the price there are better unplugged selections.

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Photo of warnerry
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear red-tinged copper with only a collar of head and no lacing.

S - Cranberry dominates the nose, with only small earthy funk presence. The is both tart and sweet aromas.

T - A reasonable tart cranberry taste up front quickly transitions to sweet. Not overwhelmingly sweet, but I would have like a more pronounced tartness throughout. Very faint funky yeast presence. Not a bad flavor, but a bit too much like a cranberry soda.

M - Medium, slightly sticky mouthfeel

O - A pretty good beer, but a bit too sweet and lacking complexity. I would love to see a more traditional dry, tart, funky lambic that utilized cranberries, as is it seems like a flavor combination that could be incredible.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an Allagash chalice.

Appearance - As it pours, it looks a golden body with a reddish tinge. The more than goes into the glass, the darker it gets. By the end it's amber with a pinkish hue and almost no head.

Smell - Cranberry and some tartness. No funk or anything else reminiscent of a lambic.

Taste - Tart cranberry that builds a bit before giving way to a sweet fruity finish. I don't really know I would be able to distinguish it as cranberry from just a sour cherry. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Wisconsin Belgian Red.

Mouthfeel - As a lambic or any other wild, the mouthfeel is far too sweet. As a fruit beer, it's nice. Light and fruity. Nice on a hot day.

Overall - Not really a wild ale... and especially not a lambic, despite the name and the description from NG. Still a nice beer.

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Photo of abecall98
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very bright pink. Light lacing, some bubbles going on there.

S - Sweet, and light malt. Biscuity. Faint cranberries come through.

T - Starts off sweet, then slight tart, fruity esters of cranberry come in the finish. A slight offputting aftertaste of overwhelming sweetness follows the taste.

M - nicely carbonated, however, just slightly thin in the finish.

D - Would rate this higher, but the aftertaste isn't the most pleasant. Something probably with the wheat I am kinda tasting in the aftertaste? Not sure, I just wish it wasn't there. I am happy to have tried this however.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What a pleasant surprise, totally not into these lambics, but can recognize when one is decently made. Plus, you really can't ever beat a New Glarus brew. Almost always tasty.

Very pink, sweet, sour experience all rolled into one. Might be something cool to have in the beer fridge for when the ladies come over, but its almost too good to be that kind of drink.

This was one of my first forays into something that was fruited and sourish. Not a lambic per se, but hey, it opened my eyes.

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Photo of hawks10
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into my New Glarus champagne flute...

Pours a pale, almost tan-ish orange with subtle hints of red, a thin cap of off-white head forms and recedes into a haze...

Slightly tart shot of fruit at first but smell quickly becomes dry, oaky and slightly musty. There is a certain, almost buttery/creamy vanilla smell that overpowers most of the fruit component...

Initially quite sweet and fruity, almost too sweet. Loads of fruit and creamy vanilla. A buttery creaminess, something I also smelled, shows up strong in flavor as well. Thankfully a bit of cranberry bitterness cuts down the sweetness in the finish, but not enough. Some oak shows through in the end, slightly drying the flavor out as well, but still this beer is sweet, through and through. Zero hops.

Fruity, sweet, creamy and smooth. Low carbonation and medium bodied...

Not bad, but a too sweet for me. Creamy and buttery, both in smell and flavor, too much. Would have liked some more tart/bitter cranberry component to the beer as well as some more lively carbonation to open things up a bit...

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Unplugged Cranbic Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 593 ratings.
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