Williams Brothers Brewing Company

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Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #37
Ranked #44,569
3.56 | pDev: 13.2%
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom
Notes: From the Gaelic "Groseid", Since at least the 16th century Scots monks and alewives brewed indigenous drinks from cereals, wild herbs and ripe fruits. Tibbie Shiels green Grozet was immortalised by such Scots literati as Sir Walter Scott, Jas Hogg. (The Ettrick shepherd) and Robert Burns whoconsidered it a most convivial drink. Brewed with lager malt, wheat, bog myrtle, hops and meadowsweet then secondary fermented with ripe Scottish gooseberries.
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Reviews: 331 | Ratings: 465 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of octortus
octortus from Canada

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 mL Bottle. ABV 5%.
Appearance: pale gold, half finger, off white, soft carbonation, slightly veiled, broken cap remains, ok retention, spotty lacing.
Aroma: citrus hops, gooseberries, floral, wheat, herbal, fruity (apples, slightly tropical).
Mouthfeel: Medium body, hop bitterness, off dry finish, slick,
Flavour: citrus hops, unbalanced, slight gooseberries, tart berries

Review: 99

Dec 26, 2019
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Jtee from Canada

3.44/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From a 330ml bottle served straight from the fridge at 8 degrees Celsius into a white wine glass. Best before date: 08/2018.

Look: The beer pours a brilliant deep gold with 2cm of puffy, white head that dissipates into a craggy cap within 2+ minutes. Exceptional lacing and mediocre retention.

Smell: Medium-light strength and sweet. The nose is dominated by a berry-like fruitiness and some floral notes. Digging deeper there's a faint, generic metallic minerality along with pale malts, and subtle yeastiness. The aroma is quite nice and pleasantly delicate, but it lacks some punch (yes, delicate can still have punch).

Taste: Follows the aroma with moderate strength and good balance. Same notes as the nose – fruity and floral with bready-toasty pale malts. Low to moderate bitterness with a slight adjunct quality. The finish is short and quite balanced with faint intensity.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Crisp with a relatively dry finish. No apparent alcohol warmth or astringency.

Overall: Williams Brother's Grozet is balanced and blessed with good looks but it falls short in terms of aroma and flavour. My main issue with this beer is that I have to dig really deep in order to find something to say about it. Visually-speaking it's stunning but otherwise sort of underwhelming. There's an adjunct-quality that really comes through in the finish that also bothers me slightly. It's certainly different and for that reason I say it's worth a try. If I had to choose between their Fraoch and this, I'd go with the former.

Dec 04, 2017
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VoxRationis from New York

2.89/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Decanted into conical pint.
A: Pours the amber side of golden, minimal head.
S: Little nose, mostly light malts and hay. Didn't detect the fruit.
T: Some gooseberry evident; perhaps a little peat. Little bitterness, more of an herbal taste/aftertaste.
M: Light bodied, not particularly effervescent.
O: Really underwhelmed.

Jun 07, 2017
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Hanglow from Scotland

3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear gold, small head

Light floral, sweet aroma. some ripe fruit there

Herbal flavour, some gooseberry coming through. Slightly medicinal. Herbal bitterness. I think there's good reason hops became the brewers bittering weapon of choice over bog myrtle. It is thankfully light here though, typical Williams Bros deft touch

It's an interesting beer but not really one I'd want to go back to

Apr 27, 2017
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puck1225 from Texas

3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

An interesting beer. Poured into a chalice from a bottle. Virtually no head and very light lacing. It poured a pleasant pinkish gold color and was a bit cloudy. Distinct berry fruit smell and taste. The taste improved with warming. Interesting herbal flavors emerged. Probably not one I would buy a lot, but happy to have tried it.

Jan 01, 2016
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Svingjo from Canada

3.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of the Historic Ales of Scotland mixed pack - Pours a crystal clear bronze like deep yellow, like your average glass of apple juice. It's covered by a very thin white head that pretty much disappears right away. The nose kind of smells of apple juice as well. There is also pear, sweet malt and a floral finish. The taste is quite yeasty, along with straw and green wheat. There is a bitter berry edge to the taste which lingers for quite a while. The body is in medium range. The bitterness is a bit overwhelming for my taste. Glad I got a chance to try it though.

Nov 28, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: It pours brilliant pale gold under a 2” white foam cap with a very fine bead that gradually drops to a thick, lacy film. S: Wheat, berries and a faint wild aroma rise from the beer. T: The gooseberries and the wheat interact in interesting ways with some spiciness and a faint wild taste. F: Medium body and carbonation. O: An unusual yet refreshing and easy to drink beer.

Aug 18, 2015
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DaveBar from Canada

3.66/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | 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 and pours next to no head that doesn't even leave a film within 1min. Cloudy and light like a Hoegaarden.

S- Lots of fruit here. Gooseberry galore. Super nice body

T- Bit of a bitter one but still good. Super fruity. Nice break from the everyday.

M- Dry and bitter. Not a fault of the beer, it's the fruitiness of the beer blend.

O- A nice beer. Enjoyable refreshing break from the everyday. Glad I have one more for the summer as this is a summer slugger on the deck

Food Pairing

This wonderful little beer that grows on you went well with....... Potato salad with green onion, radishes, mayo, salt and pepper. Mix in a few hard boiled eggs then top with a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper.


Jan 04, 2015
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ZorPrime from Canada

3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer color is pale yellow, a little bit cloudy with a very minimal head that disappear quickly. The aroma is fruity, some lavender. Nice fruity aroma very inviting. The taste is not very fruity. Its there, but very subtly. Woody, Earthy for the bitterness. Its bitter. Thin body. It warms the palate, the alcohol seems higher than 5%. A very nice beer.

Nov 29, 2014
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BeerDrinkersWorldTour from Northern Ireland

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Appearance. Very pale in the glass this beer raises a good head. It has a lot of small CO2 bubbles and holds its head well.

Smell. There is a smell of gooseberry leaves off the glass rather than gooseberry fruit, but it has a clean crisp smell that invites a taste.

Taste. Really very smooth for having gooseberry in the brew, this beer has a decent aromatic hop finish and a smooth early pallet.

Mouthfeel. A little dry as you would expect from the gooseberry but here is also a slight metallic note as well.

Overall. Really very pleasing and I can see why this beer was originally brewed to slick the thirst of the harvest workers. Fresh, light and crisp this is a really good drink. ‘A grand slooter fer yer drooth’ (A good drink for your thirst.)

Sep 03, 2014
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped Jan 2015. Sampled on June 26, 2014 so there is time left.

The pour is a very cloudy straw yellow color with a haze and a small white fizzy head.

The aroma is subtle by pleasing enough for the style. Biscuit malts, clean hops, and a citrus type character.

Light and refreshing body.

The taste has a kind of herbal quality to it along with the toasted biscuit malts and clean, crisp hops. Gooseberry and wheat they promise. Not sure how much of either I picked up but maybe I just could not distinguish. It did have a uniqueness to it.

Jun 27, 2014
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Highly filtered golden, highly carbonated, 2 finger creamy off white head, sustained head.

S: Light watery malt, almost aa lager type smell combined with watery sour smell, like a watered down juice drink for a child.

T: Very light and watery, medicinal, some sour notes of berry, some herbal notes like sage or some green leafy herb, malt kicks in near the end as well as a bitterness. Feels like someone went into some Scottish herb garden in a barren highland village, cropped up some herbs and added them to the brew along with some berries.

M: Very light and highly carbonated.

O: Loving the concept as described above. Great labeling on the bottle- Came with LCBO’s Ancient Scottish Ales Gift Wrap pack with 3 others. Drank in January 2013.

Jun 23, 2014
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Roughly blonde, in color. Some haze. A little bit of carbonation head sits on top, but not much. Gruits come in all shapes and sizes, I suppose. This one... looks like a beer.

I smell wheat and gooseberry fruitiness. Smells like Swedish jam and crackers. Has a British allure to it. Hints of stone fruits and aged hops. Not a whole lot going on.

Firm hop bitterness upfront with wheaty malts and English pale maltiness. Fruity, somewhat. Cloudberry, pear, and tart apricot. Somewhat toasty. Bitterness almost turns into creaminess, late in the drink. Body echoes nearly the same with some mushiness that the carbonation tries to prickle up. A decent beer to pair with food.

Jun 07, 2014
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Spesme from Canada

3.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Purchased 4-pack of Scottish historic ales from the LCBO. 1/4 is the Grozet, a gooseberry and wheat ale.

A - Light gold in colour with with minimal head retention.

S - Biscuity and meadow-sweet aroma with grassy and fruity notes. If I close my eyes I feel like i'm in a lush forest in the spring time.

T - The lager malts definitely come through. Slightly fruity flavour, although not as prevalent as I would have anticipated.

M - Crisp consistency with almost prickly carbonation and a quick finish.

O - Not overly impressed, but it is a very subtle drink - not one feature dominates. With that said, I expect this to be my least favourite in the 4-pack, mainly because it is brewed with lager malt, which I don't have a good palette for. With that said, others may come to a different conclusion.

Jan 14, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada

3.16/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The last beer as part of the Williams Bros. 4 pack Sampler Pack. Served chilled.

Appearance - Clear pale mixture of golden and off-orange hues. Only 1/2 finger of frothy head with only Ok retention. Some bubbles rapidly rise to the surface.

Smell - Aromas of low-hanging fruit and rather floral. Tok a few whiffs and could get much more than that.

Taste - Quite fruity with a palpable dry taste and dry bitterness to the beer. Again well-disguised as I wasn't able to pick up much more than that.

Mouthfeel - Medium-low carbonation, dry finish and very soft feeling in the mouth as with other in this style. A bit fizzy feeling despite lower carbonation (although this works in favor of the beer here).

Overall - For whatever reason, I just didn't really enjoy this, one of those situations (to me at least) where the sum of the beer was less than the individual components. I think this is a beer worth revisiting, as I feel that I might evaluate this differently in the future, but i definitely found it to be the weakest beer of the sampler pack.

Jan 06, 2014
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notchucknorris from California

3.05/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear pale golden color with a 1/2 finger white head and good lace. Lots of visible carbonation in the glass.

S: Earthy and a touch musty with an evident ripe berry and fruit backbone. Kiwi, red currant, gooseberry and some wet hay. An almost fruit leather note in there as well.

T: I don't know, kind of just tastes like a weak wheat ale. Underwhelming to say the least. Light slightly sour wheat note that kind of just dies. Some grain, chalky yeast and, yeah, off-tasting wheat. That's about it. Damn it.

Nov 20, 2013
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kemoarps from Washington

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

So I picked this up kind of on a whim when I went to the beer store (the best kind of store there is).
Pours a hazy thick orange/amber colour. more bubbles than really head, if that makes sense.
I can't decide how I feel about the aroma on this one. Theres a decidedly fermented characteristic to it that I take to be from the gooseberries. Some herbs and a touch of spice on the back end, but the pervasive characteristic is almost musty. Kind of reminds me of when I worked at a vineyard. Actually, that's the best description I can think of: musty fermented berries and white grapes. There's a hint of sweet somewhere in there as well.

It is sweeter than I expected, with honey being the first thing that hits me, then that musty white grape note comes back. It's sweeter on the tongue than on the nose, and the musty fermented aroma gives way to a fruitier flavour. I actually find myself kind of enjoying it, at least moreso than I expected.

The taste is a little... not quite watery, but trending in that direction (p value not within significance), but I can't say it's thin because it actually has a medium to chewy body, which I find quite appealing. After smelling it, I was concerned that this would be kind of stale and brackish on the tongue, but it's actually quite crisp and refreshing. I find myself pleasantly surprised, and would certainly consider it again.

Nov 10, 2013
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WGO from England

3.01/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Opalescent lager and lime in colour. small off white head.
Lime, gooseberry & bubble bath on the nose.
Dry lager background with a fruit twist.
Mouthfeel soapy and oily.
Not my type of thing. Comes across a bit medicinal.
Best when served really cold.

Oct 15, 2013
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

2.94/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a golden amber color. What head is formed is rather miniscule (much less than a finger high), and what little is there fades quick anyways. Lacing is sparse and thin-looking.

S: Rather wheaty and crisp. There is a touch of fruit, but one has to really bury their nose in the glass to find it. On the plus side, at least it doesn't seem like it will cloy...right?

T: There's a decent wheat flavor to start. Soon after, a fruity note briefly pops up before getting swallowed by the crisp bite. Maybe there's a touch of spice on the aftertaste. Crisp? Yes. Easy drinking? Yes. Interesting? Nope.

M: The initial feel is fairly sweet, which is thankfully saved with high carbonation and a crisp bite. Can't fault it for going down easily. Only thing is that it's a bit heavy in texture.

O: I don't get much difference between this and a typical fruity wheat ale, but at least this better than some of the crappier examples of the style. Due to the fact that it's kind of pricey for what it is, I probably won't get this again.

Sep 05, 2013
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Murrhey from Washington

3.32/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a mason jar in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- One finger and a half white head with middling retention atop a golden, slightly hazy body. Looks awfully nice.

S- Crisp aroma, lager smell. Clean.

T- Tastes clean and light fruity. Nice flavor, not complex though. Slightly tart.

M- Thin lager feel. Not bad at all.

O- Very crisp, tasty beer. Not much to say about it.

Aug 04, 2013
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pouring this out, something immediately seemed amiss - very little foam and/or evidence of carbonation. What foam formed, disappeared in short time. The bottle had a best-by of Oct 2010. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of these Williams herb ales relatively fresh. Is there a warehouse somewhere with pallets upon pallets of these beers just rotting? What are their sales reps doing?! I realize there's no urgency for distributors to move this but, c'mon, someone ought to be pimpin' these.

It's a pale sunset yellow-gold with a moderate haze. There's somewhat faint but certainly apparent spicy-herbal and -floral aromas, and they're really quite lovely. A bit exotic and unfamiliar - maybe with a quality of the types of aromas you'd get in middle-eastern cuisine? Definitely not hops and not exactly yeast-like.... Like a floral soap or some other item found in an old lady's bathroom.... Aged/oxidized, sweet, honeyish malt is also apparent, but sits in a degree of harmony with the herbs.

This aged malt, however, comes much more to the fore on the palate, and looms moderately prominent in the aftertaste - something I've tasted quite many times in old German bocks and lagers. The big, bold roundness of the body is another tell-tale sign of age, but here I'm finding a pleasant, very mild citrus-y tingle in the finish, while the body more or less drops off dry, leaving only minimal nectary residual viscosity on the tongue.

What really saves this from me dumping it out though is those exotic spicy (vaguely cinnamon) flavors somehow remaining after all this time - not that they're in great balance with the mature malt - they compliment enough to where this comes across almost like a weak mead, with a menthol-like spicy coolness lasting, threading through each sip.

... this was an old bottle though and I'll reiterate the fact that I would love to get a fresh one. Just gonna have to take a tour of the brewery, I guess.

Jun 20, 2013
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Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz

Pours amber gold, white film for a head.

Smells of honey, citrus and white grapes.

Tastes of wheat malt, light berry sweetness, and a twinge of bitterness not very hop-like.

Medium body with a light sting of carbonation on the tongue.

A good light ale, interesting flavor, worth trying for its uniqueness.

Apr 14, 2013
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jazzyjeff13 from England

3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of March 2013, so it's just out of date. Picked up cheap from Trembling Madness in York; I hope it's still in good condition. This is based on a Scottish gruit that includes gooseberries in the recipe (the label describes gooseberries as citrus fruit, which is a bit strange as they are actually a type of currant).

Poured into a straight pint glass. A rich amber hue with faint haze and medium carbonation. Yields a small head of white foam that lasts for a few minutes before settling. Aroma of nutty malt with hints of gooseberries, acidic fruit, grass/hay, faint caramel and subtle earthy yeast.

Tastes of mild caramel malt with a fruity sourness and a dry finish. Notes of tart gooseberries, grass/hay, faint nuttiness and earthy yeast. Well attenuated and acidic, with a delicate bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with a light body and a stimulating sourness. Carbonation could be a bit more spritzy. Slightly astringent, with an aftertaste of mild fruit and a hint of malt.

Pretty good - the light malt and restrained hopping complement the floral fruit flavours without overshadowing them. The label describes it as a brew designed to refresh, which the mild-tasting but sour gooseberry will certainly achieve. The lagering process adds depth to the beer's character. A decent effort that would go down well on a warm day. Worth sampling if you come across it.

Apr 07, 2013
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secondtooth from Indiana

3.57/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean amber, with limited carbonation and virtually no lace.

Nose is unusual and fruity, with a hint of sour somehow. Not bad.

Taste is fruit (gooseberry?) up front, with a follow-through of cereal grains. The finish ends up with a tinge of hops. But it's slight. Very moderate.

Enjoyable, and certainly not bad, just somehow underwhelming.

Mar 29, 2013
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OtherShoe2 from Massachusetts

3.46/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours pale gold with a scant white head -- but the lace this brew leaves is incredible in light of the lack of head.

Not much for aroma's sake. Some perfume and flowery notes, but hard to find.

This brew is better as it warms a bit. Malt is pleasant and has no corny.adjunct element. Palate clears from grainy note to some bitterness, then an herbal note. Not sure which herb, but it is there. The gooseberry barely appears, but it does work, in whatever respect it shows. Beer dries out, with bitter and malty notes.

Lighter bodied, ok carbonation.

Interesting for the style. Not a particularly great representation of the style, but it still works on its own. Worth a try.

Feb 02, 2013
Grozet from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 465 ratings