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Fraoch Heather Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

966 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 966
Reviews: 685
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 41
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C. heather ale is probably the oldest style of ale still produced in the world. From an ancient Gaelic recipe for "leann fraoich" (heather ale) it has been revived and reintroduced to the Scottish culture. Into the boiling bree of malted barley, sweet gale and flowering heather are added, then after cooling slightly the hot ale is poured into a vat of fresh heather flowers where it infuses for an hour before being fermented.

(Beer added by: purplehops on 10-06-1998)
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Ratings: 966 | Reviews: 685 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by rickyleepotts:
Photo of rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

Arizona

3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

William, the beer manager at Total Wine & More in Scottsdale initially recommended this beer to me. After reading about it, the brewing process, and what all goes into it, I am if nothing else curious. I am excited to see how the heather flower affects the color, aroma, and flavor of this beer. I like words like "wirelike" and "dry finish" when used to explain this beer. I have no idea what to expect, but for that price (and that ABV) it better be good! I am sure drinking this will remind me of Europe, and it will make me want to go on a trip. Speaking of that, I am in need of a vacation. It's been too long! Where should I go?

I am excited to drink this beer, and we will actually be doing two beers today. It has been a few days since we reviewed a beer, and are excited to get back into the swing of things. We have a lot of good beers lined up, and I want to drink them all! Speedway Stout is one of them from AleSmith. I have heard nothing but good things about that beer. Anyway, let's see what the Heather Ale tastes like.

In the Glass: When I poured this, I could smell the dryness from the heather. When I think of heather, I think of tall thick grass on a golf course. That is what I call heather… some golf courses have high grass, think raptors from Jurassic Park, and most courses that have heather are links style courses. Makes sense this is a Scottish beer, as most traditional links style courses come from Scotland.

At any rate, Sheryl said, "This looks like orange juice." Hardly. It's cloudy, but looks more like a Blue Moon than orange juice. We have orange juice in the fridge if she wants to compare the two! The beer pours smooth, with a lot of bubbles, and a nice thin white head. Not much lace here, but my glass is really full. The bottle is 500ml. I can already smell this, so let's see what it smells like when I stick my nose in the glass.

Nose: I guess that is what the heather flower smells like. I always thought it smelled like grass, but what do I know? It has a nice dry aroma to it. It almost smells like sake. The beer has a really low ABV, though, coming in at only 5%. I bet this would be a good beer to pair with sushi. A second whiff has continued dryness and begs for a sip.

Flavor: William said this beer was good. He's right. It is good. But it's weird. Not in a bad way, but in a complex way. I have never tasted anything like this before. It has a mouthfeel of a beer (we will get to that) but it has a lot of flavors dancing across your palate. The flavor, to be honest, isn't that impressive. Once you get past the fact you are drinking a heather ale, with all the history that goes behind it, you don't really think about the ingredients or the flavor profile. It has a quick finish and practically no aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: When I was pouring this, I could tell there were a lot of bubbles. It isn't as carbonated as I had expected, and actually slides across the palate with a certain thickness that you wouldn't have guessed. The bubbles really hit toward the end/back of the palate, and as you swallow, you are left with the dryness that everyone talks about. I wonder if the flower is what is causing that…

Aftertaste: What aftertaste? There isn't much of an aftertaste here. The tongue is left dry, but I wouldn't call that an aftertaste. This is where the hops are supposed to be taking over, but since they don't use hops (or very few hops) in this beer, there isn't much bitterness.

Basically, this is a weird experience and an awkward flavor. I would order this again if I was eating, but only if there was good involved. I have a feeling this doesn't get better as it heats up, either. Just has a certain flavor that I would expect from a wheat beer that gets gross as it gets warm. Glad this was on the list, but I am not blown away. Has anyone tried this with food? (Oh, and the burp is horrible. It tastes like sour grapes.)

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 21:48:00 | More by rickyleepotts
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4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

07-14-2014 00:54:49 | More by randylangford
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wimteiss

New York

4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A really really great Viking Style Pale. The Williams Bros are known for their super light mouthfeel and herbal flavors. Out of the whole lineup, the Fraoch Heather is my favorite. The pour is a clear amber, but the lack of head or lacing was originally concerning. Smells of sweet grasses and light florals. The taste... is.. spot on. Crisp and clean, Heather comes in for a quick kiss of herbs, sweet malt, and an earthy essence. She finishes quickly and leaves you refreshed, but wanting more. Thirst quenching, tasty, easy to drink. Definitely will drink again.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2014 23:19:15 | More by wimteiss
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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

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doktorhops

Australia

4.4/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Well, well: Fraoch Heather Ale, at last we meet - I have been wanting to sample this brew ever since I started reviewing beers and heard of the Scottish Gruit style. As I have always had a fascination with ancient history the idea of trying one of their original beers (Fraoch has been brewed for over 4,000 years) has managed to burrow its way into my soft grey matter like those brain worms from The Wrath of Khan. Now it's finally time to feed my brain worm.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a St Feuillien chalice.

A: Presents with a hazy light Tangelo body and white soap bubble lacing that dissolves into a ring around the glass.

S: Flowery and fruity with a honeyed malt base. The flower notes are camomile and honeysuckle. The fruit notes are overripe pear and nectarine. A very pleasing aroma, quite sweet but nonetheless enjoyable.

T: Hmmm, it's different, in a great way - flavour is honey dominant without being overly sweet - if you wanted to taste a beer with the essence of honey this nails it. Those overripe pears and the flowery heather also round out the palate. The finish is a light medicinal herb bitterness with a dry vinous touch.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation.

D: The more this brew warmed up (I had it in the freezer - it was ice cold) the more spice flavours came out, such as mulled wine spices. Also the after taste was nothing like any other brew I've tried - a bit of herbal funk. This was a unique experience, however if I have better access to this beer it would easily find a place amongst the regulars - an excellent drop, air do shlàinte!

Food match: Roasted pig on a spit with a honey-glaze, roast carrots, potatoes and fennel - your typical medieval fare for an ancient ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2014 06:23:04 | More by doktorhops
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3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

07-01-2014 17:23:05 | More by Sad_Spirit
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4.25/5  rDev +13%

06-30-2014 17:51:00 | More by makivele
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New York

4/5  rDev +6.4%

06-29-2014 01:52:09 | More by BrooklynPanch
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puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped Jan 2015. Sampled on June 27, 2014.

The pour is a cloudy looking pale yellow with a modest white head that fades.

The aroma is full of herbal notes and flowers. Perfumed up with a malt mixture hanging out in the background.

The body is light to medium.

The taste has a thin grainy character but the herbal spices really define this beer. I will have to assume that the unusual flowery flavor comes from the heather flower, which I am not entirely familiar with. This most definitely has a unique quality to it.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2014 23:04:36 | More by puboflyons
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Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

06-24-2014 02:48:30 | More by Georgiabeer
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Missouri

4/5  rDev +6.4%

06-23-2014 01:16:55 | More by jharris0624
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patre_tim

China

3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Light filtered copper, highly carbonated, a two finger off white head. Foamy lacing, leaves the glass lookin like the icing on a gingerbread house.

S: Caramel sweet flowery smell, light and fragrant, perhaps some honey, and malt, some vanilla.

T: Light, herbed and malty. Getting lots of green herbs, as well as a flowery taste which I suppose to be heather. Smooth, crisp, finishes with a little bitter aftertaste from herbs but minimal and faint.

M: Light, foamy but moderate to high carbonation.

O: Similar to the Gooseberry wheat ale by the same company, in texture and somewhat in flavour, but more gentle and relaxed, not as intense. Would go well with haggis I reckon. Love the history, good flavour, but not really grabbing me, unless I can find out more about this unique brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2014 01:09:49 | More by patre_tim
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North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

06-21-2014 21:22:02 | More by jak
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California

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

06-19-2014 17:35:20 | More by mrcraft
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chaskins11

Ohio

4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this after a weekend camping trip to the Isle of Eigg in Mallaig. Really cool label and a style of Scottish beer that has been around for thousands of years. Great beer with floral notes, earthy feel on the palate. Surprisingly smooth with a good finish. Hoping I can find this when I return to the U.S.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2014 22:01:03 | More by chaskins11
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DarrenBrule

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +33%

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jewellrunner

Missouri

4/5  rDev +6.4%

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Bf_89

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +6.4%

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Florida

5/5  rDev +33%

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Missouri

4.25/5  rDev +13%

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United Kingdom (England)

3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

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Australia

3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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Serving type: bottle

05-31-2014 08:50:37 | More by admiral
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Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 966 ratings.