Brew-View: Cranberry “Cray-Cray” Blonde Ale

Cranberry Blonde ale

Cranberry “Cray-Cray” Blonde Ale

I brewed this just in time for our apartment’s holiday party and what a success it was! We ended up going through 5 gallons in under 2 hours with about 20 people drinking.

I have to admit that my previous fruit beers have not turned out nearly as good and have been downright terrible. Needless to say i was a little hesitant about this one. I ended up using a dram of cranberry extract and about a half of frozen cranberries straight in to the keg about 2 days before serving.

Sight:

It had that beautiful golden tint to it that was almost crystal clear — Due to some annoying chill haze it would’ve been perfect!

The head retention was usual for a beer with this many light malt in it. I was still adjusting the CO2 valve to try to perfect it when i poured this particular glass. With a little adjustment and pouring a little more vigorous, I think it would be perfect.

Smell:

Hello cranberries! I was afraid that I over did it on the cranberries when I first sniffed it because it definitely kicks you in the face. It quickly subsides and isn’t as bad as the first couple smells. If it wasn’t Christmas time, then I think it might be a little much. ‘Tis the season!

Taste:

Slight tart as first, but has a very smooth finish. This is no drinking beer, but I think it’ll go nice with the holiday festivities that we have coming up post Christmas. (I typically spend Christmas with my family on New Years since I have such a large family.)

Overall Impressions:

I honestly like this beer and will definitely make it next season. I’m not too much of a fan of fruit beers– much less cranberry and I was wanting to make a chocolate mint stout, but I had already done a couple darker beers and needed something lighter to be able to serve my residents and friends. I brewed a coffee stout yesterday which will have to coaxed me over until next year… hopefully i can fit it in next year.

Lessons Learned:

Perhaps 1 dram is a little much though the bottle is rated for 1 per 5 gallons of beer. There really isn’t much in that tiny bottle and I was surprised that it had that much of a punch.

During the brew process, I sparged past the 1.010 runnings rule of thumb and might have extracted a little bit of tannins. I’m thinking with this along with not cold crashing properly and rushing to serve it before the gelatin could have a chance to work.

I think that this beer would go very well with some cedar
chip that I have an I’m considering siphoning off a gallon or so and adding those to get that wood barrel aged taste.

9/10 Would brew again!

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