Cranberry Special Ale | Sand Creek Brewing Company

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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

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Ratings: 63 |  Reviews: 39
Photo of BruChef
3.25/5  rDev +8%

Photo of Srabe
2.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Soneast
2.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of Lemke10
3.45/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 6-pack of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $8.19 in Fall of 2011.

Poudly claims on the front of the bottle "made with real Wisconsin cranberry juice." Pours a reddish brown color with a thin head. Scent is mostly that of cranberries and earthy grains. The cranberry flavor is quite evident in its flavor. It is nicely compliemented by the malts and wheats used as well. Taste finishes a little tart and dry. The taste is better than average but I can also see people saying this beer is too fruity for them. I like the taste but I find the texture to be a little to thin where more carbonation is needed. A nice fall season beer from Wisconsin cranberries. Fall doesn't get much better in Wisconsin!

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.46/5  rDev -18.3%
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 Blended
3.96/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: reflects the tasty wine-beer chimaera that it is. slight rosy tint suggests at fruit within.

S: mmm cranberry.

T: hyper tart cranberry without being lambic. it's till an ale, folks, and tastes mighty like one. missing the ale mouthfeel though, showing its wine-like character.

M: homemade cider & thincheapwine have a baby.

D: guzzle-icious.

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Photo of MadtownBrewboy
1.41/5  rDev -53.2%
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 homebrew311
2.81/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of kbutler1
2.71/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of VerbingNouns
2.68/5  rDev -11%
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 beerwolf77
2.68/5  rDev -11%
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 sweemzander
2.68/5  rDev -11%
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 billyzoom666
2.51/5  rDev -16.6%
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 BeerFMAndy
2.88/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice.

It is light orange color with a decent white head, no retention or lacing.

The aroma is very light and fruity but no cranberries.

The taste is super light with fruit flavors. Really nothing that stands out.

Mouthfeel is light.

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Photo of sleephowl
2.9/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of drizzam
2.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a cloudy amber/orange with an off white head. Head retention was average, leaving a slight lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Slight cranberry smell, but not what I would expect from a cranberry brew. I can smell a yeasty sort of scent as well.

T - I seem to taste a grainy cereal taste with a slight cranberry undertone on the sides of my tongue. It seems rather one dimensional in my opinion, especially since I drank this right after a Delirium Nocturnum. The more it warms up, the more the cranberry seems to come out.

M & D - Mouthfeel is thin and watery in my opinion, it does finish dry and sweet though. I don't think I would drink too many of these in one sitting. I'm not sure what the ABV is, but I would guess it's close to or under 5%. Not terrible, but I think another brewery might be able to do a better job with this particular flavor attempt.

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Photo of Vancer
3.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Cranberry ale pours a hazy amber with tinges of copper. She be capped with a foamy eggshell that's leaving a nice ring of lace in the Sammy freebie glass.

Subtle hints of the cranberry are present in both the aroma and quaff. Not at all overpowering as some fruit beers may be. Good push of malt keep this one interesting and drinkable.

I'm surprised and pleased with this one - I'd recommend it to the crossover crowd or for someone looking for a light and tasty session brew.

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.64/5  rDev -45.5%
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 demcorhip
2.93/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of tedsox31
3.28/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is a light copper color with a small white head that quickly dissipates and leaves minimal lacing.

The smell is yeasty and sweet. There is a definite presence of cranberries, along with a touch of malt. I detect no hops from the scent.

The taste is very fruity. I really enjoy the cranberry flavor, but I think that for my taste, it could use a bit more tartness. By itself, the taste of cranberry is a bit one-dimensional.

The mouthfeel is light and carbonated. It is a bit thin, although this is not a bad thing. Overall, it is a nice beer to have with a light meal. Just don't expect a lot out of it.

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Photo of wheatyweiss
3.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler.

Pours a medium copper with little head and active carbonation. Head settles to a thin cap.

Nose is wheat and malt with a slight hint of berries.

Taste is similar to a whit with the addition of sweet cranberry flavor. There is a mostly wheat and sweet flavor, not able to detect much in the way of a hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and the carbonation is slightly harsh, but it drys the beer out somewhat. The sweetness would be cloying without it.

Good beer, kinda surprised me it has notes of a white ale but it's a little more sweet and sour. Interesting to say the least.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.96/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jlukasi for the freebie... again.
Brewery websites says this beer is 5% abv.

I really like the perfect medium to deep amber/copper color of this beer. Pretty good bubbling too with a half island of foam at the top of this beer. Smells a bit like the trademark tartness of the cranberry blended with some dry pale and crystal like malt flavors blend a little biscuit to the cranberry. The taste is a well blended cranberry fruit character with a great maltbill. Plenty of dry malts that go well with the tart cranberry. The palte is dry and tart. But just agreat combination of the two. This is coming from a guy who used to abhor cranberries till now.

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Photo of PEBKAC
2.96/5  rDev -1.7%
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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Photo of RedBaron
3.36/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Perhaps not the freshest sample, as this 12oz. bottle has been sleeping in my beer fridge for about six months now, but it's still a pretty decent beer.

Appearance: A pretty light red color, with a well-defined and sustaining white head.
Smell: Smells like Cranberries are vying for your aroma attention. They're trying real hard to compete with, as opposed to waltzing with, the infused malts.
Taste: A malty and cranberry refreshing delight. No discernible hop character.
Mouthfeel: Starts cranberry sweet, then morphs into a decent malty middle, but finishes kinda weak. Not sure if this was the intent, but if so, I'd rather it be a tart taste, ala Berliner-style beer, versus a sweet "hey, waddya want anyways?" finish.
Drinkability: Ya know what? This beer reminds me of the kind of fruit beers I was trying during my college days 15-odd years ago. They're nowhere near the league of lambics; they're certainly not a Berliner-style tart beer; but, hey, it is what it is. I probably won't buy this beer again, but for a little Wisconsin brewer with competition coming in left and right, it's decent.

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Cranberry Special Ale from Sand Creek Brewing Company
3.01 out of 5 based on 63 ratings.
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