Cranberry Special Ale | Sand Creek Brewing Company

Cranberry Special AleCranberry Special Ale
63 Ratings
Cranberry Special AleCranberry Special Ale

Brewed by:
Sand Creek Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DaPeculierDane on 10-17-2005

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of MadtownBrewboy
1.41/5  rDev -53.9%
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.

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.64/5  rDev -46.4%
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.

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Photo of battlekow
1.75/5  rDev -42.8%
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.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
1.96/5  rDev -35.9%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.46/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of Srabe
2.5/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of Soneast
2.5/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of billyzoom666
2.51/5  rDev -18%
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?

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Photo of SF_Posse
2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of sweemzander
2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of beerwolf77
2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks goes to BeerFMAndy for another random single.

Poured into my pin tglass the beer is clear golden amber with a solid two fingers of off white head. Not much lace but a nice cap has formed.

The aroma is sweet grain and just hint of tart cranberry. Just a hint of wood and vanilla in the background.

The flavor is fairly timid. Light sweet malt with a mild cranberry finish. Very watered down tasting.

Light thin body with light carbonation.

Overall not my thing. If one of the major components would grab the rains this might actually work. However as it stands it's just a bad experiment.

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Photo of VerbingNouns
2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

10 months in the fridge (free sample bottle from a Thanksgiving 2009 tasting)
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - Dark rosy orange with thin, bubbly, eggshell head. Dissipates quickly. Lots of fizzy bubbles rising throughout the glass.

S - Hoppy, grassy, slightly tart. smells strong.

T - Cool, slightly tart, no hops or tartness that I smelled. I can almost tell there is cranberry, but the taste is more like a macro cider than a special Wisconsin-grown cranberry ale. Somewhat disappointing, but still flavorful enough to enjoy. As it warms, it tastes like it might have higher ABV, but only fleetingly. It lies.

M - Starts off with a zing, then fades to water almost immediately. Watery.

D - Very easy going down. Not particularly interesting, but not bland, either. Probably wouldn't choose drink it again.

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Photo of timbro81
2.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Pitmonkey for the opportunity. Pours a slightly hazy orange/amber color. Head is not big but is consistent. Insane amounts of carbonation! Smells grainy and of cranberries with maybe a bit of toastiness to it. Light and bubbly in the mouth. There is a distinct fruitiness to it but it is hard to actually label it as cranberry. Finishes dry and with a dry, slightly stale grainy taste.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
2.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle. This beer pours out a ruby color with a small head. The aroma brings back bad memories of Sam Adams Cranberry lambic. Some cranberry in the aroma, but the aroma is mainly stale wheat. After taking in the aroma, I was not at all prepared for the flavor. I figured it would be just lightly cranberry flavored. In fact, the cranberry flavor is very strong. A little sweet and a little sour. I sort of enjoy it, but it's more like cranberry soda than beer. However, there are beer flavors lurking behind the fruit, and these flavors are not very good. It's the sour flavor of a wheat beer that is much too old. No hop flavor at all. I guess this beer is not as bad as it could have been, but I'll certainly never buy it again.

 739 characters

Photo of uwmgdman
2.7/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a clear, dark golden/light amber color with a very thin white head that disappeared as fast as it formed. The aroma is moderate-low grainy malt character with no hop aroma and a hint of fruit. The flavor has moderately malty, grainy character, a low amount of fruit flavor, and the beer is just a bit sour (not in a bad way). The bitterness is low and beer finishes rather dry with a hint of the fruit flavor showing through the malt. Carbonation was rather high and dry finish might have been a bit too much so. Overall the brew disappointed from a brewery from which I'm typically very pleased. Nothing really stood out as, wow that's good, but nothing was bad. I strongly suggest letting this one warm a bit before enjoying.

 742 characters

Photo of kbutler1
2.71/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Saw this in Hudson, WI and figured I would give it a try. Poured into a tulip glass. Pours a clear copper orange color with a slight reddish hue. Off white head slowly settles to collar around the glass. There really isn't a huge cranberry aroma in the nose but more German style octoberfest. Slight tart cranberry flavor turns sweet and drawn out. Medium/light mouthfeel. Overall, this isn't all that great for me. The cranberry flavor is there but is pretty muted. The aroma is pretty weak as well.

 508 characters

Photo of Jimboe
2.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of homebrew311
2.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: reddish hue, clear, amber, some white head upon pour, not much retention

S: notes of wheat malt, artificial cranberry..very muted, slightly tart

T: somewhat tart up front with decent cranberry character, wheat malt follows and the finish is quite artificial tasting.

MF: very light, medium carbonation

D: this beer is a bit "blah". When there are other great fruit beers such as Cranbic, this one just doesn't do it for me. This brew has a lot in common with Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic which IMO is not a good thing.

 524 characters

Photo of nsmartell
2.82/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From bottle to pint glass.

Appearance: Body is a very light amber, almost pale ale in color. It does have a nice beige head.

Smell: hint of cranberry.

Taste: a little cranberry and other berry and a little sweet.

Mouthfeel: medium-bodied

Drinkability: kind of dissappointed in this beer based on other sand creeks I have had. Would not consider this a session beer.

 430 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.88/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

 1,028 characters

Photo of twbrewer
2.88/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

 512 characters

Photo of sleephowl
2.9/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

 806 characters

Photo of KajII
2.9/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[Best served in a Flute glass]

The pour was a reddish orange with a huge pale white frothy head, that reduced to a small collar fairly quickly and had some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was light and mild with a slight biscuit malt and a funky sweaty yeast with notes of tart cranberries and candi sugar.

The taste was lightly sweet with a mild malty feel and a hint of candi sugar at first and then became a mild sweet sour with a mild note of cranberry towards the end. The flavor lasted only a short while with a mild fruity tart sweetness left behind.

Mouthfeel was light in body and had a dry watery texture with a fizzy carbonation.

Overall a mildly tart refreshing brew that would be great with a Turkey and Stuffing sandwich...

 740 characters

Photo of demcorhip
2.93/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been sitting on this since spring so its time to drink. It pours a murky looking bronzish brown with just a tinge of red from the cranberry. A one finger loose pale tan head formed on the pour and quickly dissipated, not even leaving a collar behind.

Whole grain crusty bread, a hint of cranberry, an underlying nuttiness, a somewhat strange yeasty aroma and a hint of leafy hops present.

Im surprised at how sweet this beer is with a pronounced honey like malt sweetness that dominates. Underneath the sweetness whole grain bready notes and a hint of cranberry try to avoid drowning. The weird yeastiness that haunts me is also present, along with a touch of leafy hops. I have some pure cranberry juice in the fridge right now, no sugar added. It is quite tasty once on gets past the intense sourness of the juice, and i can see how it could work very well in moderation incorporated into an ale. Unfortunately that is not what happened here.

Whats to say here, the beer is too sweet, and if it wasnt so light in body it would rapidly approach being cloying. Otherwise the hint of cranberry does work well with the underlying maltiness of the beer, and as such I feel that there is potential for this beer and other brews that could include cranberries.

This goes down easily enough, although it isnt particularly interesting and is fact somewhat disappointing. Its too washed out, overly sweet, and there is not enough emphasis on either malt or cranberry for the hope of redemption. If i had more than one the other would be used for cooking. Unfortunately this is just an almost interesting novelty beer, although it does have the potential to be much more with some major tweaking.

 1,691 characters

Photo of PEBKAC
2.96/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Cranberry Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.06 out of 5 with 63 ratings
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