Fraoch Heather Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

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Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale
Very Good
1,170 Ratings
Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale

Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

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.

Added by purplehops on 10-06-1998

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Ratings: 1,170 |  Reviews: 725
Reviews by Flashyspoons:
Photo of Flashyspoons
5/5  rDev +33.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of mojohawk21
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of beerhunter13
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of Zakk
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of kaimcm
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. first heather ale ive had, no idea what to expect. also have no idea what heather tastes like.

A: hazy, murky, dull, and dark honey color. tons of floaties, very little head, minimal stick. kinda looks like a green or similar tea with honey.

S: Vinous aromas but slightly sour, pretty herbaceous.

T: Very reminiscent of green tea, though the finish isnt as tannic and dry. Smooth with virtually no bitterness to be found. a touch of honey and spice. coating malt body.

M: light but refreshing, nice carbonation level.

D: an interesting and welcome change. Would pair well with more herbaceous foods.

had with some stilton and salami. the cheese was to rich and overpowering but the salami added a much appreciated spice to the beer.

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Photo of -DF-
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle into a chalice style glass.

A: Gold with an orange hue and a light haze. Head was thin and filmy with a nice ring of white. Little to no lacing.

S: Light herbal flower aroma as you might expect, but I also had hints of what smelled like honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.

T: An interesting array of herbs and spices in a mostly dry taste. Clearly some sort of light or pale malt with relatively low sweetness giving it an interesting though complex lightness. I thought I could taste the heather more than I could smell it, which isn't a bad thing, in fact makes it interesting to try to pick out the flavors. The whole thing sort of reminds me of a fermented herbal tea. Kinda cool.

M&D: The body & mouthfeel for this is rather light with a dry finish. The linger is nice with some herbal bittering. Carbonation is tricky too as it doesn't appear to be very carbonated but the abundance of small bubbles seems to work well with the dry finish, accentuating it. This is a very different sort of brew but I really think I like it and would definitely have it again.

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Photo of lateralundertow
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JasonA
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks again babe for another wonderful xmas present.

Pours golden dark almost transparent brew. Im seeing little carbonation, no head. Cant even rate lacing here.

Something amazing sweet, yet aromatic. Must be a spice, but I wouldnt know where to begin. Taste will give me more, but with the no carbonation and sweet smell it would make me think a fermentation and bottle condition gone bad. Ill tell you though, that spice smell is wonderful. Im also getting butterscotch, which I forget is which yeast by product.

Nothing like the smell. Some bitter, light hop character. Little piney citrus. Sweet is there, though lots of light malt.

The carb is there thankfully, though the body is extremely light. Little body, like a pilsner, almost straw-ish. Hope its not corn.

While I find the style interesting, the delivery of the beer can only be rated as average. The best part being the interesting spice smell.

Not sure I would go back to this. It does have scottish appeal, but Im sure there are better offerrings available.

 1,031 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of warnerry
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 8/29/10; no freshness date

Pours golden brown with very little head. Initial pours yields a burst of carbonation on the sides of the glass.

Smell is slightly sweet malts with some floral aromas.

Again, mostly biscuity malt up front, but some nice slightly bitter notes on the finish. Pretty dry on the finish.

Bright and light mouthfeel, great for a hot summer night. Carbonation level is light to moderate and feels just right.

Very easily drinkable; the floral notes are not strong enough to reduce drinkability. Wouldn't want to have this every day, but a nice ale with an interesting story behind it.

 620 characters

Photo of Todd
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 330ml brown bottle with a very Celtic style label. "Brewed in Scotland Since 2000" is stated several times on the front and back. Best before Feb 2001 is clearly marked.

Appearance: Rich golden in colour with a thin white froth for a lace.

Smell: Floral, herbal, sweet and nectar-like.

Taste: A flash of thin, sweet pale malts up-front that quickly dries with a herbal (tea-like) flavour from the heather. Leaves a wonderful after-taste. This ale also warms in the belly, slightly.

Notes: For its uniqueness, we highly recommend this ale. As a beer, it is remarkable, extremely drinkable and refreshing. "Fraoch" is Gaelic for Heather. This is one of the oldest ale styles brewed in history (from heather flowers and Scottish malt).

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Photo of R_Kole
4.5/5  rDev +20%

Photo of shapudding
2.68/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light and clear golden with a small amount of creamy white bubbly head that reduced down quickly to the sit in the edges only. Scents of apple cider, clean and fresh, white grapes, maltines...

Surprising taste, you expect sweetness after the scent, but there is none. Maltiness, very dry on your tongue -but it leaves your mouth wet...

Im not overwhelmed by this one. There is just something in the flavor that I just can't place that turns me off. Maybe it is the heather flowers, don't know.

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Photo of generallee
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2oz or 330ml bottle into a pint glass. The back label has a very clear best before date (month and year) notched out. The date notched was Feb. 2010 and it was sampled on 6-10-09.

Appearance: It has a golden honey colored body with a lightly hazy appearance. There is not much of head, just a small light foamy covering that fades out to nothing quickly. There is no lacing to mention at all.

Smell: The aroma has an interesting full floral bouquet with some honey like sweetness, some light grain notes and fresh salty sea air.

Taste/Mouth: There is an odd dry grain with a hint of mineral flavor like sea air and a solid floral character throughout. Underneath there are some sweeter malt, honey and buttery notes that mix with the floral heather notes. The floral notes build up to the finish and add a pleasant bitterness and dryness to it. The palate is slick and smooth with light carbonation and a light to medium body.

Notes: This is a very interesting flavored beer with a very interesting history to the style of the beer.

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Photo of Jason
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of tigg924
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: murky orange yellow low carbonation and no head

Smell: sour fruit, earth, pepper, and lavender notes

Taste: pepper, lavender, and some wood in the finish

Mouthfeel: crisp and dry with a small sweet spot

Drinkability: I could have a six but this is an aquired taste. This is my favorite in the Scottish ales pack I have. This does have pronounced lavender notes as well as some other florals--and I like lavender so it is a plus.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tall lager glass. Looks like honey - golden yellow and slightly opaque. A thin white head survives throughout - excellent retention.

Nose is floral and sweet, very pleasant. Notes of heather, berry and honey.

Initially sweet with notes of heather and honey, but finishes with a malty, peaty bite. Very satisfying. A touch of grassiness and apple to the finish as well. Interesting to taste a brew without any hop character...

Medium body, lower carbonation. Similar mouthfeel to a barleywine.

A great brew; unique and enjoyable. I can certainly detect a uniquely Scottish character to Fraoch. Although it will likely be a while, I'm looking forward to having it again. A must try!

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Photo of andrewdanks
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Marius
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Photo of Hugh37
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Swedes21
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341 ml served in a chilled glass

Appearance - beer pours a cloudy amber colour with about one finger of head. The head is a nice fluffy white in appearance with several air pockets. Appears to be some decent lacing. The carbonation levels are hard to tell, but you can find small streams.

Smell - I found the smell to be very clean and direct. There are earthy tones that dominate this smell as well a slight hop base. You can pick up sweet hints, not 100% sure where they are generated from.

Taste - Like the smell, very clean and crisp taste to the beer. There earthy tones are picked up right away. There is not much aftertaste either, overall clean.

Mouthfeel - decent carbonation levels add to the grass/earthy tones. Not much different than the taste, just clean and straight forward.

Drinkability - Clean tasting crisp beer. There is not anything more to it so no point in going looking for it. Enjoyed it, good way to end my night.

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Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 1,170 ratings