Fraoch Heather Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Fraoch Heather AleFraoch Heather Ale
Very Good
1,165 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,165 |  Reviews: 725
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Certainly worth trying. I could probably handle a pint of this with a meal. A bit of peat moss in there, bitter, long dry finish. Citrus, honey,some malts. Barley in there. Understated carbonation. I wonder how this would be three years aged. Orange colour.

 257 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a 1 inch white head that fades to a thin film on the top of the beer. Random patterns of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is very subdued overall. There is a slight malt aroma but I am not getting much else from this one. Taste is of malt and some herbal flavors. I assume that is possibly from the heather used in the beer but it's really not a floral taste. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly flat and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer. I have had some other beers of this style that are much better overall and with more of the traditional flavors I have read about.

 671 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Heather ale is very interesting. It's light in color pouring a golden yellow color with a soapy white head. The beer is very smooth on mouthfeel and light. The flavors are herbal and very floral. The heather gives the beer a bit of a spice thats pretty interesting a different from most ales out there. I love the historical quality of this beer. Very cool stuff.

 367 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color. It poured with a thin white head that quickly faded away into lacy patterns of bubbles. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: Floral aromas stand out in the smell; heather and rosemary stand out in particular and there are also some notes of sweetness.
T: Like the smell, the taste mainly consists of floral and herbal flavors and has a mild amount of sweetness.
M: It feels light-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink because the floral tastes are not very overpowering. I'm not sure if I could have more than one of these in a single sitting because of its mild amount of sweetness.

 722 characters

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

A pleasant break from hoppier and bigger bodied beers. Unusual in its content and complexities. Pours a slightly hazy orange-yellow color. Suprisingly good head retention from moderate co2. Very perfumy and floral to the nose. Slight malt sweetness, no hop detection. Flavors of mild sweetness, more like honey than malt. Heather tips make me feel like I'm chewing on rose pedals. Quite refreshing in its aromatics and honeysuckle flavor. Soft and delicate (almost powdery) to the palate., fades into a thin sip. Very nice beers.

 543 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Full disclosure: I don't have any idea what "heather" is or what it might taste like. 1 pint .9 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded silver pressure cap acquired at Whole Foods and served into a flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average. Product of Scotland. 5% ABV confirmed. Best before: November 2013. Imported by St. Killian.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger biege colour head of fair cream, decent thickness, and above average (~4 minute) retention. Body colour is a translucent semitransparent pale copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Light even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. It's generally appealing. There are no overt flaws, but there's nothing unique or special.

Sm: Quite pleasant, actually. Pale malts, a bit of crystal malt, lovely floral hops, pale grains, sweetness, nectar, flowers, mint, and herbs. I'm rubbish at plucking out specific herbs, but I do know there're herbs here. Sorry to state the obvious. Love the rich flowery notes. A bit milky. A mild strength aroma.

T: Hm. Tasty stuff. Quite floral (in terms of both hops and herbs). Some minty grassy notes in there too. Honey. Pale malts form the body. It's grainy and grassy throughout, yet surprisingly drinkable. I guess I expected some kind of weirdly herbal spicy undrinkable stuff, but I'm pleasantly surprised with it. A touch of lactose. Milky. Reminds me of a weird saison in a way. Balanced and flavorful. I quite like it. There isn't a whole lot of complexity here, but it's pleasant and enjoyable.

Mf: Smooth, smacky, and wet. Good thickness for the flavour profile. Good carbonation.

Dr: A very drinkable little beer for nights when you want something a little different. I'd get it again in the right mood and at a good price. Sessionable. It's a nice change of pace and I can see why it's potentially the most known example of the style.


 2,125 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of superspak
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, best by Aug 2012. Pours a hazy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of honey, biscuit, pepper, herbs, light fruit, flower petals, earth, and yeasty spiciness. Some pretty nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of biscuit, honey, caramel, toffee, citrus, floral, clove, herbs, grass, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of honey, caramel, toffee, biscuit, and herbal spices on the finish for a bit. Great balance of malt and spiciness; with a nice and robust malt backbone for a 5% beer. Medium carbonation and body; with a nice and creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with barely any warming noticed after the finish. Very smooth and easy to drink. Overall this is an excellent herbal ale. Great flavor balance and highly enjoyable to drink.

 919 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a light orange color with a small, bubbly, cream colored head. No lacing.

S - It smelled of grains and very floral. Also, notes of pine and citrus.

T - It tasted of pine and grasses. It had a spice flavor reminiscent of nutmeg.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was pretty good. Only the second beer of this style that I've had, but I enjoyed it.

 400 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a nice head that displays decent retention and splotchy lacing

Smell: Bready, sprucy, herbal aroma

Taste: Biscuity opening with a sprucy herbacious character; herbal flavor builds into a bitter finish that is peppery and somewhat medicinal

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting and worth a try for the historical context; you can surely see why hops are an improvement on heather as a bittering agent

 492 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a hazy orange color beer with a small head and not much in terms of retention. Aroma is somewhat malty with some strange sweetness. Taste is also sweeteer then expected though it does not seem to come directly from added sugar but more derived from one of the other ingredient. Light spices also hit the palate at the end and again are hard to properly identified. Nice and enjoyable overall but would not necessarily seek this again.

 449 characters

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev 0%

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

Pours a light white head. Color is a hazed golden orange.

Aroma: Sweet and sour. Apples, bananas, pears, apple sauce, and some spice. Pretty fruity.

Taste: Odd mix of fruit. It is like a fruit cocktail. Grapes, pears, apples, juice. It has an old taste to it, if that makes any sense. Fruity and sweet with some honey.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshing. Lighter bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, an odd beer, but kind of good. Just unique. I really wouldn't want to drink too much of this.

 521 characters

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

Appearance- Hazy, dark golden color. Nice sized head, pretty creamy.

Smell- Sweet aroma, floral and fruity. I'm guessing the majority smell here is the heather.

Taste- Initially sweet with a mildly tart finish. Similiar in taste to their Grozet Gooseberry. I definently notice an herbal taste underneath the sweetness.

M.F./Drinkability- Smooth feeling on my tongue. Not quite as high on my drinkability scale as Heather Ale Ltd's other products. I could see this getting a little boring after a few bottles.

 518 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle dated “best before” April 2012. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a dark golden-yellow with a smallish off-white head. Head dies back to a ring and partial coat within a few minutes but leaves some lacing. There’s a small amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle; I added this mid-taste, producing a slight amplification of the fine flavor.

For once, the description on the label of this beer’s sensory properties seem on target. It "has a distinctive floral aroma” and a “dry wine-like finish”. Malt is clearly evident in both aroma and taste, but not quite as rich or pronounced as the “full malt character” on the label might lead one to expect. Floral throughout, including the aftertaste, this beer leans towards sweet, which seems in keeping with the floral flavor profile. Still, it smells sweeter than it tastes. The rather light and dry mouthfeel also work integrate nicely to produce a very refined and distinctive sensory experience from an ancient ale.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +6.7%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 1,165 ratings