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Fraoch Heather Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,048 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,048
Reviews: 705
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.07%
Wants: 53
Gots: 39 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,048 | Reviews: 705 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bighops
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this beer along side a couple Sam Adams so it was an interesting contrast. My first impression was the bottle. Very cool logo and artwork - it made me expect something celtic in nature. Poured up a dark golden, almost orange or maybe red but had very little head. What head it did have was lost quickly. The color still looked nice in the glass however. The aroma was easily classified as floral, sweet with a hint of malty... something. A bit fruity maybe. The taste was sweeter than I expected. With the strong floral scent, I often expect a balance of bitter hops, but this one wasn't that bitter. It felt not flat in my mouth, but the carbination was pretty weak - it somehow fit with the light body though. I enjoyed the taste, but not enough to drink a lot of it. I could see this being something of a desert beer. And I bet it would be good with a sharp cheese.

Photo of mschofield
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, orange-amber with a two finger white head, left webs of lacing behind.
Very floral aroma, malty and sweet, note of pine trees.
Sweet and floral taste, lightly toasted malt, a little fruity.
Dry and full bodied, an odd biting flavor note, the bitterness is mild.
This was one of the most floral accented beers I've had, it's rather unique.

Photo of inebrius
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I like my flowers without sugar.

I dig the whole history thing going on here, yet I pity those poor old bastards that only had the choice of swilling this saccharine goo. Nose of jam slathered buttermilk biscuits laid out among orchids and pecan turtles with a few star anise thrown about Martha style. Honey nutty chewy like those squirrel candies you could never get the friggin' wrapper off and then you finally did and your buddy started messin' with you and you both tussled on the summer clover and dry earth and in headlock slobbered your squirrel candy on the turf until you got in a good rib shot then tossed the soil sodden candy back into your mouth and maybe that tastes like Fraoch.

I like it. I probably won't ever drink it again.

Photo of donnebaby
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is a splendid brew. It pours a cloudy bronze, like thick honey. The head seems to naturally bubble off the body. The nose is sweet, flower-scented malts, unique. The taste was light and rich, with distinct flowers and blueberries. Light hops round it out.

Mouthfeel was lacking for me, pretty dead--but I've come to expect that from the Scottish beers I've had.

My overall impression of this beer was the taste of eating a fresh blueberry with it's skin peeled off, if you know that taste.

Photo of jlervine
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a lightly hazy yellow orange with a nice white head. The smell is incredibly malty and has a lovely sweet floral aroma. the taste is very nice - the malts remind me of a typical English style pale ale or bitter, and the heather seems to augment it quite well. This is a bit of herbalness in the finish that reminds you that this is not a typical English style pale ale or bitter, but the malt structure is quite solid with caramelized and pale malt flavors being predominant. Very smooth and drinkable, fantastic session beer.

Photo of woemad
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane.

Poured a cloudy orange-gold color. Head was white and disappeared quickly.

Smell was faint and consisted of floral and slightly piney notes. I haven't the faintest idea what heather is supposed to smell like, so I am unable to ascertain whether or not the smell is authentic.

The taste of this beer could best be described as easygoing. It is very softly floral tasting, like a pale ale with most of its hoppiness siphoned off somewhere. A sweet malt aspect lingers in the distant background. The finish is very dry.

This has an oily mouthfeel, but not much else. A bit thin for my tastes.

This is modestly drinkable, as there is nothing about it that is bad. Nevertheless, there is nothing particularly memorable about it either. I won't go out of my way to have this again.

Photo of francisweizen
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle. A light golden colour with a small white head that dies quickly. Aromas are of sweet scottish malts and the floral beauty of heather. Taste is very light, flowery, and heather-like. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery for my liking, but the drinkability was very, very good.

Photo of JackTheRipper
2/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured a dull reddish-amber color with zero head.

Smell: Faintly floral. Aromas are pretty hard to detect.

Taste: Malty sweetness up front with a bit of a heather taste to it.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is there, but in very low levels. Finish is clean.

Drinkability: I don't know if I got a bad bottle, the best before date is June 2005 so it seems like this beer should be pretty fresh. I'll review this beer again a few months from now, but as far as this particular bottle goes, I'm not impressed at all. If it weren't for this breweries Gooseberry and Wheat ale, I wouldn't even think about giving this beer a second chance. Not a good beer.

Photo of jahsausage
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Luckily the unique concept of this beer didn't lead to an overwhelming oddness ala many other fruit and spiced beers i've tried. This bottled version that I had was very flat in bubbles and head with a mid-amber hue.
It is very malty tasting, with a sort of smoked flavour, an initial "spark" of heather spritz on the tongue followed by a subdued malty finish. It must be admitted that this bottle cost more than some 6 packs but if I am ever looking to impress someone or just want to try some interesting again it would be well worth a shot.

Photo of Indybeer
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a hazy copper colored, with a smallish head and some fine lacing. Awesome floral aroma meets the nose. Taste starts out with some malt sweetness, finishes with a floral spiciness from the heather! Mild carbonation. Definetly different. But a throughly enjoyable and drinkable beer. Will be picking up a few more of these soon.

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with "Best by 2/01" date notch. Ah, a traditional Scots drink for the only holiday in the US with a Scots aspect. And an interesting brew it is. Mossy odor when I crack the bottle. Pours a hazy brown, about pale ale color, with a thin head. Taste has some sweetness without being cloying. They don't mention if there are hops at all (don't they need some to be allowed to call it "beer," so sweetness seems balanced by heather, giving it grassy notes and the dry finish, as advertised, plus a very faint citrusy aspect. Well-made relic of those days of auld lang syne.

Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost clear, orange amber color, with a short-lived white head that leaves a delicate ring of lacing. Nose has a floral bouquet with sweet malts in the background. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, crisp, and refreshing. Taste is, not surprisingly, unusual but quite pleasant. The heather bitters the toffee/caramel malt characters very well, resulting in a nicely balanced and very drinkable ale. If this is what the Scots drank 2,000 years ago, then they drank quite well.

Photo of beernut7
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really interesting concept for an ale which I clasped onto immediately. Pours a bubbly copper color with a very thin lace on the goblet. The malty aroma has tones of floral heather. The ale is very smooth and malty with a woven heather floral touch throughout. The body is refreshing with a moderate bitterness. Entirely well-balanced and easy on the senses.

Photo of dmarch
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours with a hazy orange-amber color with minimal head, even after a vigorous pour. Aroma is the only thing this beer has going for it. A very floral aroma from the heather. This is brewed with heather in place of the hops. This really needs some bitterness though. I has sweetness and the tangy heather flavor, but in my opinion I really miss the hops.

Photo of byrd
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking brew when poured. Decent frothy off-white head that reduces to a lace of tiny bubbles. Clear golden amber color. Floral aroma that is hoppy, but then again, not quite hoppy. Interesting use of something other then hops as a bittering agent. From what I’ve read elsewhere, there are no hops used in the brewing of this ale, just heather. Only a hint of malt in the aroma. Smooth brew with a medium mouthfeel and very light carbonation. Light bready malt notes with only a light sweetness. The finish has a mild bitterness that balances out the brew rather nicely. Due to the lack of hops, however, the bitterness is unique to this brew. The bottle says it has a dry winey finish. I didn’t observe this in the bottle I sampled. This was a good, drinkable brew, but did not stand out as much as I had hoped. Definitely worth a try though.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Off-white head sits atop a light caramel colored brew.
Aroma is very floral; rosewater comes to mind. Spice, fruit, toffee malt and an earthiness are also there.

Taste shows a toasty toffee malt backbone with some spice thrown in. The big player here is the floral character that makes this beer unique and interesting, but quickly became cloying to me. Again, rosewater comes to mind. Finishes fairly crisp and clean.

Mouthfeel a tad thin.
Drinkability: 1 of these is enough for me. The huge floral character began to turn me off as I neared the end of the glass.

Overall, this beer is unique and interesting. Definitely something you should give a try, but not one I'll be looking for again anytime soon.

Photo of Shiloh
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a lot hoppier than I anticipated. Yet, the malty sweetness is prevelent at the end by a slight margin.
Full bodied with limited head, very tiny island lace and light carbonation. Deep golden hue and murky.
Aroma is lightly floral.
Minor syrupy finish...too bad!
Not a session brew...but acceptable.

Photo of canadianbarman
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

--long neck, 330 ml brown bottle, freshness date on back and cool looking Celtic label.
--Poured a cloudy, dark golden color. Had a good head that thinned to small, not much for lacing.
--had a sweet, floral aroma to it.
--taste was a sweet, almost spicy taste with a full malt body.
This was a very cool beer that I bought for a few reasons. I had tried one when I was in Scotland and wanted to try it again, and it was also an interesting beer to drink. I actually enjoyed this beer and would recommend you give it a try.
Thx

Photo of SetarconeX
4.72/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well now, this IS a unique little brew, isn't it? I must confess, I was a little uncertain about this one. Heather's a plant usually confined to new age scented candles, isn't it? Thought it might be a bit girly.

Boy, was I ever wrong! It's got an odd taste to it, which I would call citrusy, but I expect it's more the heather. Not sure, really. Never bothered to eat any heather before. Smells wonderful though. Looks wonderful. Feels wonderful going down. Citrus isn't quite what it is though. More herbal. Like Chamomile.

Great brew. Highly recommended.

Photo of ElGuapo
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A murky light copper colored brew topped in a mid-sized layer of off white foam that retains itself quite well. There are some big chunks in the bottom of the bottle. I may be chewing through them soon. The nose is filled with citrus aroma as well as a nice bouquet of spices. Definitely has the aroma of a meal. Reminded me slightly of Two Druids in the nose.

Medium body, crisp and a bit tingly on the tongue. Nice spices dominate. It is floral and a bit earthy. It is not as intensly flavored as some other herb/spiced beers, but it is definitely not lacking flavor. Some citrus notes here and there and just a bit of sweetness round it out. It is very drinkable, and even though it is dry, you could sit down with more than one. My mouth is sucked free of fluid at the end of a sip, and a nice smoky flavor lingers.

Photo of Ave
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pouring the color of old orange peels, that sort of burnished light ocher, this beer gives off a very pronounced floral & herb kind of yeasty aroma as a meagerly thin white head forms but then disappointingly dissipates. Lightly sweet & bitter upfront, moves to the floral malt end. Sweet dry finish, nothing remarkable or offensive left behind. Smells good, tastes ok, makes me want an Oberon. Would pair well with a dark greens salad with a big ol’ slice of camembert.

ave

Photo of xgrigorix
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Half liter brown bottle, freshness date notched on back label.

Pours a glowing medium gold colour. A thin white head pops up, and quickly recedes into the depths of this chill hazed amber liquid.

Sweet fruity aroma, that says "take a sip."

A bit sweet up front, with some bready flavours. It then goes very dry, and transitions into apples & herbs. Quite unique. Medium bodied in the mount, but somehow stays heavy on the tongue after swallowing.

Photo of Kwak
4.58/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a nice amber color not the purple heather they say but a nice showing.
A mild noise is following a strong head that lingers to almost stick to the side of the glass. A slightly heavy body is followed by a spicy fruity taste with a whiny finish and faint aftertaste that that just melts away.

Photo of clvand0
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Interesting beer. Pours a light amber color and has very little head or carbonation. The aroma is grassy and maybe a little floral. Tastes like weeds (heather). Not too great of a taste. Interesting, yes, but not very good. The drinkability was not-so-good and the mouth feel was about average

Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull, cloudy, reddish-earth color. Nice thick head that falls a little too quickly. The aroma is a mix of flowery-sweetness and fleeting hops. The taste is really remarkable. Its a mix of fruity sweetness and maltiness as well as a dry, tangy flavor. The finish is often marked with a powdery, astringent sensation. Surprisingly drinkable and very interesting.

Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,048 ratings.