The Cranberry Lifecycle, Part II: The Tasting

Posted on January 27th, 2011

And so the weeks went past and the waiting grew to be almost too much to bare, but at long last, the Crandaddy Braggot was ready to drink! As you may or may not recall my good friend Kyle and I brewed up a cranberry braggot from the book “Extreme Brewing” by Sam Calagione recently. The brew fermented for almost a month and then was bottled and left to condition and carbonate for two weeks. The results were surprising.

We experienced a problem during bottling whereby we were not able to properly filter the brew. This left room for a great deal of sediment to fall into the bottles. However, none of the sediment was yeast or hops. Rather some bottles simply ended up with a shocking amount of cranberry bits. Our workaround is to serve the brew to our friends in a glass (as all good drinks should be enjoyed) and run the braggot through a small sieve during the pour.

This may sound very disappointing, but I assure you in comparison to the end result, this is only a minor setback. The brew was very tart and malty with very fruity notes and a hearty amount of sweetness throughout. The finish is quite sharp and boozy, but it doesn’t discourage you from the next sip. We’ve found that the colder the brew is served, the better. While warmer temperatures tend to bring out the true character of the flavors in most beers, in this instance, due to the sharp, almost tannic mouth feel, enjoying this one cold helps make for a better sip.

Overall I really enjoyed how this brew came out but can easily see ways in which it could be improved. I hope to be able to take these lessons and apply them some day, but there are many more beers to brew before then. Not to mention the almost prohibitively expensive cost of brewing up the Crandaddy Braggot. What are some good lessons you’ve learned from experimental brewing? Share your expertise in the comments. Happy brewing!

  • This looks good, I haven’t read extreme brews but I might take a look at it. I have made a few fruit wines before now where I have had a lot of sediment and fruit pulp, you can (if you can be bothered) transfer to new bottles and leave all the sediment behind.