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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.
very good

1,023 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,023
Reviews: 694
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 45
Gots: 31 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Fraoch Heather Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,023 | Reviews: 694 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_Beeryman
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

John_Beeryman, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of Soterios
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Soterios, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of SamKetchum
4.44/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The history behind this ale is fascinating. The bottle tells the story of the oldest Scottish Ale, dating back to 2000 b.c. At the initial sip it is sweet with distinct floral overtones. A slight twist of hops then appears, followed by light earthy malts- giving the beer its character. The aftertaste is slightly nutty and is strangely chalk like. Very good overall, a testament to the 4000 years its been brewed. I'd definitely go another.

SamKetchum, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

$ 2.79/11.2 oz (330 mL) bottle at Vintage Estates in Boardman, OH
Bottle best by Aug 2015 at 45 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma somewhat woody and herby
Head average (4.5 cm), white, frothy, slowly diminishing to 3 mm layer
Lacing good – broken rings and stalactites of small bubbles
Body light yellow, clear
Flavor light, slightly sweet, somewhat herby; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

I don’t know what heather smells or tastes like, not having been in Scotland in at least a decade, so I don’t know whether the herbiness is the typical heather aroma/flavor or not. I do know that this is an interesting if somewhat innocuous beer. I would like to find this on tap sometime.

Ozzylizard, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of Cloaked_Phantom
3/5  rDev -20.2%

Cloaked_Phantom, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of andrewdanks
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

andrewdanks, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of Andy_Luft
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Andy_Luft, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of randylangford
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

randylangford, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of sammyg832
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

sammyg832, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of wimteiss
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.

wimteiss, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of JMS1512
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

JMS1512, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

KAF, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of vrbulldog22
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

vrbulldog22, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of doktorhops
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.

doktorhops, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of Sad_Spirit
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Sad_Spirit, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of makivele
4.25/5  rDev +13%

makivele, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of BrooklynPanch
4/5  rDev +6.4%

BrooklynPanch, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of puboflyons
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.

puboflyons, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Georgiabeer, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of jharris0624
4/5  rDev +6.4%

jharris0624, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of patre_tim
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.

patre_tim, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of jak
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

jak, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of mrcraft
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

mrcraft, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of chaskins11
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.

chaskins11, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of DarrenBrule
5/5  rDev +33%

DarrenBrule, Jun 16, 2014
Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,023 ratings.