Fraoch 20th Anniversary Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Company

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Fraoch 20th Anniversary AleFraoch 20th Anniversary Ale
74 Ratings
Fraoch 20th Anniversary AleFraoch 20th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jgasparine on 10-28-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 51
Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For the world's premiere gruit makers, year twenty is a big- one worth celebrating by making the classic ale that put Scotland on the beer map. Aged in scotch whisky barrels for extra measure highlights the culture of the bog and the flavors that come from it.

Deep within its tawny gold hues, a faint misty haze rises to crown the glass with a wisping, soapy froth. Rich peat, whisky, oak and campfire fill the nose with its earthy perfume. To taste however, the ale is surprisingly delicate with trickles of caramel, toffee and dark fruit.

Though laying on the tongue with great finesse, the ale isn't without high complexity. Its soft caramels and butter pecan saturates with the soft, honey-like delicacy of mesquite. Smoked sweetness rounds into a gentle winy taste of red grape, light vinous tartness, rich prune, date and fig. Its whisky-soaked oak has a weathered leather character with sweet and fruity tobacco following it up.

Medium-bodied yet trending light, soft and powdery, the dry and weathered oak with a peaten undertow keeps the flavor abundant on the finish, but without the weight or sweeter body that's associated with whisky, caramel or fruit. The aftertaste of smoky port, peppercorn and sherry echo long after the sweetness evaporates.

 1,263 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Shared by Richard on 1-14-12.

29 characters

Photo of Bung
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of KYGunner
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The nose is a lot like a Barleywine with dark fruits and decadent chocolate malts, but there's a bit of earthy peat and perfume to set it apart.

This drinks like a port with alcohol laced prunes, dates and other dark fruits. This is a very smooth sipper.

 255 characters

Photo of IMFletcher
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PassMeAZima
3.52/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jaydoc
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Hohnbaum
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of Chinookie
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had been saving this one in the cellar since 2009. Bottle #0997 of 7500.

Foamed up a bit upon opening but fortunately had a glass handy to avoid wastage. Immediate aroma of floral and crisp apple cider.

Poured into snifters; beautiful dark gold with a loose foamy white head. Aroma gave away the sour notes in the taste, but also smacked of wood and funk.

Bracing sour upon tasting, but progressed along with wood and sour mash notes.

An excellent beer to pull from your cellar in the summer. Refreshing and worth the wait. After five years, the funk and sour keep up. Nice all around.

 589 characters

Photo of DarrenBrule
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of ubufan2112
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a mini snifter. Plastic cork is strange.

Appearance - Deep orange with a fleeting white head. Nothing after a few moments.

Smell - Whoa, it's weird. Some acidity. Lactic. Malty and sweet. Whiskey. Oak. Crazy.

Taste - Again, it's all sorts of strange. Whiskey comes through. Still a bit of tang to it that I didn't expect. Oaky. Malty. Herbal. Very strange.

Mouthfeel - Sweet, low carbonation. Some tang, but not anything I'd call sour. Some booze.

Overall - Someone likened it to a whiskey sour. Probably an oversimplification, but an apt descriptor.

 581 characters

Photo of UTvolFAN16
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of emerge077
3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks to be the 2009 vintage, marked down on a seasonal shelf in MN.
Carefully poured in a taster glass, it has some clarity but there are random floating chunks in suspension. Lasting ring of foam with arcs of lace in the glass. Maintains some froth during the whole glass.

Tart with a musty cellar funk to it. Apple notes remind me of sherry, could be from the cask.

Tart with a middling sherry sweetness, almost tangy. Fuller feel, savory with a pervasive tangy fruit taste. Lower carbonation. Unusual, not sure if its worth the price tag at this point. If you love sherry and tart old ale, this might be up your alley.

 624 characters

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by 2019. $20.99 Bottle was a gusher and lots of particles in suspension.

A: light brown/amber color, gusher with lots of particles in suspension, huge creamy/frothy head, great lacing
S: clean, spritzy with a bit of sourness (CO2?), full nose with spicy qualities
T: clean, spritzy with slight sourness, herb qualities, highly drinkable and very refreshing, taste belies ABV of 11%, has almost a gueze quality
M: very smooth, refreshing

 442 characters

Photo of AngusOg
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of maximum12
2.97/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A wonderful tradition has begun in the house: my lovely wife goes out each Christmas & buys me 4-5 beers that I haven't had, & would probably never, imports. I look forward to it every year, & this is the first of the 2012 haul. 750ML bottle split with my wife (see how that worked out for her?).

First, the weird, hand-denting cork. Ahh. Towel stops the burning. Pour is...whoa! Gimme the towel back! Slow motion overflow & I have to suck a little off the top before I can grab a glass. OK, pour is light orange, cloudy, with enough sediment to cause a choking concern. Nose is very nice, light whiskey, pear, apple, almost a champagnesque vibe to it.

Fraoch 20th Anniversary Ale is great right up I take a sip. Heather, I presume? The bizareen of heather hits the palate like a jab: did I just ingest the Sound of Music? As close as I can come is this tastes like flowers, tea, harsh lemon. Whiskey is faintly heard in the distance, but grows as it warms. Heather & whiskey don't mix so well. Half a bomber of this is tough to swallow, so to speak.

Truly odd. The primary flavors of heather & whiskey aren't very complimentary, & that makes it hard to drink more than a few ounces. Mediocre is a word twisted into a pretzel to describe this beer, but. well.

 1,276 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle 0315 of 7500

Don't know how this was stored prior to it being in the fridge at work for 6+ months...

A lot of big flakes of sediment in the bottle - none of which was poured out. Poured it into several 6oz stemmed glasses and ample, spritzy carbonation. A little bit of lacing and a tiny swirl/collar of suds stayed the whole time. The color is a brilliant gold, hazy, with a touch of coppery hue.

Moderately vibrant floral (heather) scent with a touch of perfumy alcohol and a subdued undercurrent of old, musty fabric (cotton, burlap, etc).

The taste had some fascinating complexity - about 3-4 stages of dramatic flavor development. Floral esters are detected immediately and shine briefly, quickly followed by a mildly tart and sour, lightly metallic flare, trailed by a marginally longer stand of a sort of tenuous apricot-pineapple-mango (take your pick) fruity quality backed by a feather-weight, honeyish malt and, lasting long into the finish, it all drops off to reveal a surprisingly-bold, oxidized, just about cardboard /dry sherry flavor. Rises up like it's gonna explode, but falls short of the need to spit it out. And, you might not realize this comes in a 11%...

Through several sips, the palate adjusts to what's going on and the brew ends up coming across like a heavily-oxidized champagne. Not incredibly fruity, but enough. Pretty darn dry as well. Quite an intriguing drink. Wish their standard Froach had nearly the same complexity. I wouldn't guarantee every bottle to taste like this one.

 1,525 characters

Photo of thebouch01
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Founders shaker pint glass.

Bottle #2471/7500. Apparently this one saw a second wave of distribution...? Regardless, it pours a clear sunset orange topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises ripe citrus fruits (so intermingled that it's impossible for me to pick the mass apart into its constituents), toffee, and a melange of vaguely herbal spices/spicy herbs (likely some combination of flowers, herbs, spices, and assorted plants and whatnot). A mild twinge of whiskey pierces in there at times, but never does it hang around very long. The taste brings in more of the same, painting one strange panorama of flavors ranging from tangy fruits, spices, mild whiskey, and earthy flowers, though not in that order (in fact, order be damned!). It's not bad, but it's a bit much at times, to the degree that I have been forced to call this flavoring "confusing" for lack of a better term. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick feel. Overall, an interesting beer, one that shines more brightly than its naked counterpart and is generally tasty and deserves a high rank in its style, but one that comes across as too confusing (there's that damn word again...) for me to wanna return for future drinking.

 1,256 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ceetee26
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

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Fraoch 20th Anniversary Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 74 ratings