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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

1,010 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,010
Reviews: 692
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 45
Gots: 29 | 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: 1,010 | Reviews: 692 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of jewellrunner
4/5  rDev +6.4%

jewellrunner, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of Bf_89
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Bf_89, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of Flashyspoons
5/5  rDev +33%

Flashyspoons, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of dradair
4.25/5  rDev +13%

dradair, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of endless1408
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

endless1408, May 31, 2014
Photo of admiral
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A light, easy drinking summer type ale. Different mouthfeel to a hop infused beer - lighter and less bitterness.

Taste: light honey, herbs, spice, light citrus and flora with grass.

Similar appearance, aroma and taste to a well crafted lager. Well balanced and subtle.

admiral, May 31, 2014
Photo of Kyle_Hanson
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Kyle_Hanson, May 31, 2014
Photo of rulisekmartin
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

rulisekmartin, May 30, 2014
Photo of Gottesverachter
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Gottesverachter, May 26, 2014
Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Latarnik, May 24, 2014
Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml served in a English pint glass.

A: Pours a clear yellow color forming a small, bubbled and white head. Low retention and only thin spotty lacings left in the glass

S: Sweet. Strong notes of herbs, blooms and honey. Deliciously spicy with a strong barley backbone. Notes of oranges and orange zest. Flowers... Some light notes of hops can be also felt in the end

T: Slightly sweet, as expected. Again, strong notes of honey and herbs. A bit fruity too, with notes of oranges, mainly. Very light hops bitterness, a very old ale, for sure. The barley backbone is a must. Delicious...

M: Light and a bit molasses body. Low carbonation. Sweet malts in the aftertaste

O: Good drinkability. A bit too sweet but, a classic old ale. My first Gruit Ale... Really recommended

eduardolinhalis, May 24, 2014
Photo of Iaido
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Iaido, May 23, 2014
Photo of MechMessiah
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

MechMessiah, May 21, 2014
Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,010 ratings.