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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

974 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 974
Reviews: 687
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 40
Gots: 25 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 974 | Reviews: 687 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Certainly worth trying. I could probably handle a pint of this with a meal. A bit of peat moss in there, bitter, long dry finish. Citrus, honey,some malts. Barley in there. Understated carbonation. I wonder how this would be three years aged. Orange colour.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2005 02:27:32 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

10-14-2012 01:07:44 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a 1 inch white head that fades to a thin film on the top of the beer. Random patterns of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is very subdued overall. There is a slight malt aroma but I am not getting much else from this one. Taste is of malt and some herbal flavors. I assume that is possibly from the heather used in the beer but it's really not a floral taste. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly flat and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer. I have had some other beers of this style that are much better overall and with more of the traditional flavors I have read about.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 02:38:52 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

02-16-2014 14:04:00 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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

A: Pours a golden peachy color with some nice white lacing.

S: Lots of floral and herb notes. Bits of honey and caramel.

T: Very much like the smell with some extra sweetness. Nothing bitter about this coming from the hops, only a slight floral character.

M: Pretty thin and quite smooth. A little bit dry without any alcohol presence.

D: Interesting and quite drinkable. Nothing too awing about the flavor, but it was a nice brew to try.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 11:27:23 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucent butterscotch that fades to amber as it nears the edges of the glass. There are quite a few flecks and flakes swimming about, although the larger ones have become resigned to their bottom of the glass fate. The compact head is the color of lemon yogurt, is uniform in appearance, and is depositing very little lace. A vigorous second pour results in a much more interesting looking cap.

I don't believe I've ever smelled heather (at least I can't call up the scent memory right now), but there's nothing in the nose that is out of the ordinary or makes me think it's the heather talking. Revisiting the aroma after I've downed more than half the bottle--and after that violent second pour--I can appreciate the 'otherness', that portion of the nose that is undoubtedly due to heather. I just wish it was stronger.

Although the beer is milder than expected, the interestingness that I've been clamoring for has finally arrived. The flavor profile features a wonderfully soft, herbal, floralness that just has to be heather. The malt backbone falls into the bantomweight category and contributes little in the way of flavor. Also, there doesn't appear to be much hoppiness present. Question: are hops optional in a gruit or are they verboten? Answer: I don't know, that's why I asked the question.

The heathery flavor is a fraction too subtle, although it does flower with warming. Remember, there's no such thing as too much of a good thing; especially where beer is concerned. The mouthfeel is light-medium, which reinforces the ethereal, delicate nature of the beer. Fraoch Heather Ale is the fairy-like yin to Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale's druid-like yang.

Heather Ale is a keeper. Having said that, the aroma could be more compelling and the flavor more... uh... flavorful. These guys brew some interesting concoctions and deserve praise for brewing outside the box. Occasionally waaay outside the box. The price sticker reads $4.79. While it isn't quite worth that, I'm not sorry that I had the good sense to try this offbeat gruit.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2005 23:35:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color. It poured with a thin white head that quickly faded away into lacy patterns of bubbles. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: Floral aromas stand out in the smell; heather and rosemary stand out in particular and there are also some notes of sweetness.
T: Like the smell, the taste mainly consists of floral and herbal flavors and has a mild amount of sweetness.
M: It feels light-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink because the floral tastes are not very overpowering. I'm not sure if I could have more than one of these in a single sitting because of its mild amount of sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2010 23:46:41 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a nice head that displays decent retention and splotchy lacing

Smell: Bready, sprucy, herbal aroma

Taste: Biscuity opening with a sprucy herbacious character; herbal flavor builds into a bitter finish that is peppery and somewhat medicinal

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting and worth a try for the historical context; you can surely see why hops are an improvement on heather as a bittering agent

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2007 03:03:01 | More by brentk56
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

11-14-2012 23:24:15 | More by nmann08
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a hazy orange color beer with a small head and not much in terms of retention. Aroma is somewhat malty with some strange sweetness. Taste is also sweeteer then expected though it does not seem to come directly from added sugar but more derived from one of the other ingredient. Light spices also hit the palate at the end and again are hard to properly identified. Nice and enjoyable overall but would not necessarily seek this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2005 15:06:44 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pleasant break from hoppier and bigger bodied beers. Unusual in its content and complexities. Pours a slightly hazy orange-yellow color. Suprisingly good head retention from moderate co2. Very perfumy and floral to the nose. Slight malt sweetness, no hop detection. Flavors of mild sweetness, more like honey than malt. Heather tips make me feel like I'm chewing on rose pedals. Quite refreshing in its aromatics and honeysuckle flavor. Soft and delicate (almost powdery) to the palate. Finishes...er, fades into a thin sip. Very nice beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2005 21:07:10 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

01-19-2014 17:46:57 | More by acurtis
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +6.4%

07-11-2013 01:57:23 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle - $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Both "Feb" and 2010 are notched on the label.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, dark copper body with a smallish, frothy, white head.

Smell: Earthy, vaguely bready pale malt nose with herbal, floral, zesty heather and sweet gale scents.

Taste: Pale malts with a touch of toffee sweetness. Very slight bready quality. Taste of honeysuckle. Sans hops, so we find a spicy, floral, herbaceous quality midway to balance things out. You want to know something? Fairly modest, understated heather taste. Truth be told, this one really reminds me slightly of a pumpkin ale. Meager pinch of dried lemon peel. Also a small dash of white pepper and lingering taste of honey on the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: If you're up for a little more honesty, then here it is: I've always generally avoided this one. But, I find it surprisingly refreshing and very easily drinkable. Maybe I'll give that Alba a try one of these days.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2009 01:18:55 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

03-11-2013 04:21:04 | More by spycow
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4/5  rDev +6.4%

11-16-2013 02:42:05 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had heard about this ale,and saw it at the local specialty store.Was pleasantly suprised didnt like the smell but had a nice fresh flavor,never had a beer with that kinda flowery-like taste,best way I could describe it.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2002 09:00:29 | More by oberon
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Heather ale is very interesting. It's light in color pouring a golden yellow color with a soapy white head. The beer is very smooth on mouthfeel and light. The flavors are herbal and very floral. The heather gives the beer a bit of a spice thats pretty interesting a different from most ales out there. I love the historical quality of this beer. Very cool stuff.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 01:02:35 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Surly shaker pint glass.

The fifth entry in SwillFest 2011. It pours a clear light russet-amber topped by a half-finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises toffee, dark greens, light cocoa, brown sugar, and plenty of wet grass. The herbal-ness is strong. The taste brings in more of the same, though the chlorophyll content is significantly diminished (thankfully). The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda creamy feel. Overall, not that bad, really. I remember having this years ago and nearly retching with every sip, but such a reaction was nowhere to be found here. Makes me wonder what it's doing here as part of SwillFest...

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 19:16:58 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a light orange color with a small, bubbly, cream colored head. No lacing.

S - It smelled of grains and very floral. Also, notes of pine and citrus.

T - It tasted of pine and grasses. It had a spice flavor reminiscent of nutmeg.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was pretty good. Only the second beer of this style that I've had, but I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2008 19:16:37 | More by zeff80
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - One finger of white foam on a clear, golden body. The head quickly settles to a thin film and leaves behind little lace.

S - Malty/ grainy aroma with notes of floral honey (heather, I guess) and herbal hops.

T - Grainy flavor with some floral notes and mild, herbal hops. Grainy, slightly watery finish with a lingering medicinal note.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - Reasonable drinkability, but hardly inspiring (especially at $5 for a 12oz bottle). Reminds me of an average quality German pilsner; herbal but not particularly crisp or refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 00:47:54 | More by nickfl
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very spicy with some hops, fruit and light malts.

T: The taste is dominated by a floral & minty spiciness from the heather element and has some light flavors of fruit and hops in the background. The malt character is on the thin side but provides some substance. The after-taste is spicy and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, it's a decent beer but for me the flavor just prevents me from wanting to drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2008 02:55:56 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mild, but has a slight edge on the tongue. It is brewed using heather flowers and scottish malt, so you get a light petal texture/flavor across the palate. This is another connoisseurs beer, best enjoyed by someone who can appreciate it's complexities. Also bestenjoyed when fresh.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 02:53:58 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed with a thin white lace. Nice use of the heather, perhaps a bit over carbonated for my liking. The sweet heather flavour plays well of the dry malt character.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2002 10:44:09 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"It looks pretty," said the young clerk, scanning my bottle, "is it good?" Good only begins to describe this beauty, and while the label is among the best designs in the world of beer, prettiness continues on every aspects of this classic ale.
Color is a rich orange, and the head is moderate, off-whitish. Aroma is refreshing and upliftingly lovely : honey, foremost, and flowers, roses, herbal, vegetal, fresh, and sweet. Light in body, but full in flavor, incomparably smooth in taste. Perfect balance. Solid malt, less hops, but the heather and honey flavor make up for lack of hoppiness, and make for a perfectly delightful beverage.
The taste is so light, sweet, and utterly ethereal, this belongs in a class of it's own. Lovely, full texture, honey, citrus shining through with every sip! Perfect with food, dessert, or when you deserve a reward for being an exceptional example of humankind.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 15:30:30 | More by feloniousmonk
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Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 974 ratings.