Fraoch Heather Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,084 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,084
Reviews: 715
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 51
Gots: 56 | 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:
Beer added by: purplehops on 10-06-1998

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,084 | Reviews: 715
Photo of rpenterics
4.66/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great because I said so

Photo of Tdenham
2.63/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Unfortunately not for me! Was really looking forward to this but too heavy on the carbonation and left a strange metallic taste on the tongue.

Photo of twosheds
2.64/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Kind of a peach color with a thin white head. Not a very appealing color for a beer, but I'm keeping an open mind on this one.

Smells kind of like dried fruit and some malty sweetness. It smells a bit sour

The taste is very light and hard to nail down. Kind of fruity and kind of sour. I kind of get the floral profile, but it's not what I expected.

I wanted to give this beer a chance since it's a unique style, but I was not a big fan of it. This is the only fraoch I've had, so I can't really say that it's bad for the style, but in general doesn't appeal to my taste.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is golden in color maybe light copper. Yeah, more light copper color. The head is white and frivolous. It disappear quickly. On the smell, its fruity, some sugar and a little sour. Nice smell. The intensity of the smell is medium.

In the mouth, its somewhat sour but the taste is quite light. Almost watery. Not much taste here. Its very timid on the taste side.

Effervescent. Light body in the mouth.

Overall, a good beer.

Photo of Svingjo
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This ale poured hazy golden colour with a thin white head. The nose is really subtle, maybe some corn and malt but not much else. There is some sweetness on the tongue, maybe caramel and malt, as well as a bit of graininess. Not much else. I don't really even get the heather that it's said its made with. Reminds me a bit of a standard light lager and I was expecting something a bit more floral.

Photo of fscottkey
2.84/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: [3.75] Light gold to straw color. Beer is transparent and forms a small 1/2 finger head. The bubbles on the head are medium sized with some larger ones on the top. The head dissipates quickly. The bottle lists the ABV at 5.5% and the best by date (MAR 2016).

S: [2.75] Has the smell of an American Adjunct Lager. Sweet corn type smell.

T: [2.75] The taste follows the nose but with a dab if spice up front. The bottle says it has heather flower - maybe the taste I am getting is heather flower? (never really had a heather flower before).

M: [3.00] It is a tad watery and has medium carbonation. There is a lingering taste on the palate that is nice.

O: [2.75] Nothing to make this one stand out. It is just okay at best. I had some hopes for it to be a winner but it is not doing it for me. The nose and the taste are just slightly different than Bud (that is not a compliment).

Photo of hansavijaticar
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells and tastes not far from light perfumy lager. Disappointing. Check out Williams' March of the Penguins though - one of the best stouts I've tried.

Photo of mothmanscott
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost clear deep straw/pale gold producing a rapidly diminishing, foamy, white head that leaves streaks, strings, webs & motes of lace. Aroma is pale malt, honey, faint nuts, grain, floral/herbal & a hint of sourness. Taste is light but not watery: malt, honey, floral, caramel, fruitiness with a grain, herbal, floral, dry finish. Aftertaste is dry, fruity & floral. No hops in it and no hop character. I have no idea what heather smells or tastes like so I have no basis to determine if I detect it in either the nose or mouth. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation, light but silky & juicy becoming becoming very dry at the end. Unique & oh so drinkable.

Photo of thommo_nk
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice to try a historic brew, not bad, just ok.

Photo of ShanePB
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Looks and smells decent; taste isn't offensive but not much to it. Certainly something to give a non-beer drinker.

Photo of dangriff
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Nothing bad about this beer but it does not have a lot of character. It almost taste like a light beer

Photo of DaveBar
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a mixed 4pk called Historic ales of Scotland. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well but pours no head or any film at all. Cloudy and gold colored

S- Not a lot here. Not much at all. Some berry hints but not much of it

T- Pretty usual which is a nice break but not a beer that has anything to remember. Just a water, alcohol and sugar mix. Mead like

M- Dry and crisp

O- Not much cup of tea. Don't much care for it. Guest material.

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with....... Boiled hot dogs with various mustards, sauerkraut on a nice whole wheat bun.


Photo of 57md
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark straw in color. Earthy nose. Grainy and mild. Interesting from a historical perspective but that’s about it.

Photo of JamieDuncan
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm Scottish, my sister's name is Heather for the "heather on the hill." I really wanted to enjoy this beer. But I did not. I love that they tried to revive this style but I did not care for it. Gave it some bonus points overall for uniqueness.

Photo of ScentedHeathen
4.27/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A hop free beer, a wonderful beer, very subtle. at the first sip your tongue will most likely be confused, don't worry this is quite normal. this is most likely your first time drinking a hop free beer. the Heather flavor is Heavenly and sublime( if you don't know what heather is look it up) and the fog often mentioned in literature is still present(a sudden sleepiness caused by certain fungi that grow on wild heather). if drank with food stick to something mild that will not overpower the floral goodness of this brew

Photo of yemenmocha
3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is not far off from a Hefe-Weizen. Pale golden color, hazy, white head. Things differ thereafter. Clean nose, light citrus. Light malt flavor with delicate hops, clean, light, drinkable. Some light floral qualities noted. Beer is easily overpowered with foods.

Photo of garymuchow
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Crap, I hate having to re-add a review that I didn't save.
Anyway, a good looking beer with a large firm rocky tan head with dripping lacing. Body is a mostly clear amber of orange.
Tight aroma with an aqueous quality and soft flowery aroma. Unfortunately, a bit of oxidation on this bottle. A nice graininess appears as it warms.
Highlights for flavor are an interesting sweetness up front and an unique drying on the finish. Additionally there is a nice grittiness in the middle with a soft spiciness and herbal taste.
Quite thin emphasized by the low carbonation. However, drinkability is quite high.
This was good and interesting. I'll search for a fresher bottle next time.

Photo of Taybeh
4.15/5  rDev +11%

From a 330 ml bottle into an imperial pint glass
A: pours a dark brownish burnt orange with a nice 1 finger head, and lots of sediment
S: earthy flowers (heather?) with a tinge of dull earthy sweetness
T: thin grainy dry maltiness followed by herbal tea notes with some honey and flowery sweetness. really nice finish with a tiny spicy kick.
M: fairly lively for style, light, not much body, refreshing. even better as it warms a bit.
Overall, this is really good gruit. I'd drink it again, without hesitation.

Photo of ordybill
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 CL bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- I could smell the barley and a soft floral aroma.
Appearance- This beer is a murky golden color and has zero head when poured.
Taste- A rather basic brew, nothing very memorable but not bad.
Palate- This is a medium to light bodied beer with minimum carbonation and a crisp finish.
Overall- It was OK, I think I need to give it another try and see if I missed out on this.

Photo of findango
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

tastes of honey and florals, heather, slightly bitter finish.

Photo of Amalak
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%

Wheaty, feels like brett hops. Yellow with a good foamy white head. Sweet, caramel, but a strong rye feel underneath. Quite refreshing. A hint of lemon

Photo of Lukman
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Nice to get a decent unhopped beer with a pre-Reinheitsgebot recipe. Hops increases the production of estrogen in the body and the Church wanted to feminize people to make them more compliant, especially as the Inquisition was winding down. Hence, they forced the use of hops upon brewers; first in Germany, then everywhere.

Photo of WesMantooth
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First in this style for me, so going on description. Pours a hazy golden color. Small white foamy head. Smells kind of yeasty with some citrus (lemon maybe) and a sweetness I cant pinpoint. Taste is sweet and unique like Paw Paw fruit. Zesty citrus, honey, flowery or herb like, but not hops, and a solid malt base. Above average carbonation gives it a little bit of a crisp bite like champagne. Slightly slick/sticky aftertaste/finish. Otherwise, medium bodied. Not a favorite by any means, but pretty easy drinking and enjoyable. I would recommend trying just because it is very different.

Photo of sommersb
4/5  rDev +7%

Tasted On: 09-11-2014
Freshness: Best by 09-30-2014
Packaging: 500ml brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Nonic pint
Purchased: Single from Liquor Barn, Bowling Green KY

Average white head sits on the semi-hazy beer golden in color. Fair head retention and good lacing. The aroma is floral, plus has lemongrass and other tart, citrus smells.

Taste has a light malty flavor, with grassy notes. Also honey flavors, and is overall somewhat sweet. Light in body with a clean feel, the beer is low to moderate in carbonation. Finish is lightly sweet.

Very enjoyable, for a beer with no hops. Kudos to the brewery for recreating an ancient-style ale that you hardly ever hear of.

Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Appearance – Cloudy and light golden amber. There is good evidence of natural carbonation a decent head of tight whit bubbles which retains reasonably well and leaves really good lacing.

Smell – Nice leafy bouquet up front with hints of berry and citrus. There is also evidence of earthy malt smells on the mouth and mild boozy aroma.

Taste – There is a clear sharpness to this brew. The earthy malt taste comes through with a little mild citrus. No hop to speak of but it does have a woody character from the heather the flavour lingers longest on the very back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel – A little sticky and coating the back of the tongue there is no warmth and little evidence of the carbonation I expected.

Overall – An interesting brew if a little confusing. It has a long history being the oldest beer style still brewed in Europe (dates to 2000B.C). Flavour difficult to pin down and may be very hard to review for some. It is probably not the best Gruit I have had but it is still more than drinkable and I would not steer others away from it even if I personally would not rush out to buy another.

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Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,084 ratings.