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Christmas Cranberry Ale

Classification: fruit beer, cranberry ale, holiday beer, christmas beer, extract

Source: Tracy Williamson (, r.c.b., 11/24/95

After brewing six successful ales with malt extracts, I decided to try something a bit different for Christmas. I had picked about 3 cups of cranberries just outside Halifax and since I don't particularly like them on their own...

The resulting brown ale is pretty good - but I wouldn't be posting this recipe if I hadn't received some praise from fellow homebrewers. Anyway, the cranberries are definitely noticeable but not overwhelming. They lent a distinctly sharp sourness and a bit of extra sweetness. If I were to do it again I'd use a different hop and possibly in larger amounts.



Brought 1 gal water to boil with crystal malt, removed crystal malt, Added amber malt, Boiled 45 min., added 1 oz. hops, boiled 15 min., added 1 oz. H-T hops, boiled 2 min.

Cooked cranberries separately, added to primary with wort and filled to 5 gal(US).

Now, I know boiling fruit releases the pectin, but I couldn't figure a way around the need to both pasteurize the berries and to break the skin. However, I can't detect any negative influences in my beer. By using a two stage fermentation, I was able to siphon off the beer and leave all the fruit pulp behind. The only thing really missing from the beer is a hop aroma - the H-T hops were just too mild for the cranberries....