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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 51
Reviews by darklordlager:
Photo of darklordlager
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this up at the Cellar in Woodbury quite a few months ago...

Unusual looking plastic cork after the foil is taken off, wrestled off while twisting it...

Gusher! Wasn't ready for this one... definite bretty notes emanating from it as the foam started to come out. Luckily it had that plastic cap, as I just forced it back on until I got my glass underneath it.

A: Poured into a tulip a brilliant golden (with yeast sediment--to be expected with the disturbing opening/gushing). Beautiful 2" head of bright white bubbles recedes to a 1/2" with some nice stickage.

S: Smells bretty! (A pleasant surprise) Some barny-hay like funk, with a good amount of fruitiness. Nice herbal notes coming through as it warms up a bit (heather, I would imagine).

T: Herbal/spiced introduction, heather, honey, a bit woody. Leads into a very nice tart Brett character-citrus, light barnyard funk. The sherry definitely sticks out as it warms a bit. Nice and fruity/earthy. Finishes semi-dry.

M: High carbonation, well suited for it's character.

D: Fantastic! Even better than I was expecting...I didn't expect such a big brett-y character in here. Hides the alcohol exceptionally. If possible, I'll be picking up another one of these to see what it does in the future...

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More User Reviews:
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.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The biggest turn-off about this beer is the fact that it comes in a nice champagne bottle but has a plastic twist-off cork. Where's the presentation?

Pours a filtered bronze color with a fluffy, white head.

Smells like you poured whiskey into apple cider until it opens up, then it gets pretty interesting. Unlike anything i've ever tasted or smelled. Vanilla, oxidized apple cider, caramel, pie crust, sherry. It's liqueur-like.

On the palate, again, apple juice, vanilla, flowers, caramel, a little more whiskey and sherry come out as it warms. Light bodied without being watery and the 11% is hidden extremely well.

This is a very colorful beer in character. I'm not crazy about it, but I can't deny its quality either. Worth a try.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jon's bottle, found at the border in Michigan at a little store. I like this brewery and the styles, and this is their barleywine. COmplex with whiskey, bitterness, floral and a sour finish. A sipper, with a tad above average mouthfeel and carbonation right there. Mediium orange colour with some lace. Sherry in the aroma, and distinct in the first few sips.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split this with a friend at Tap and Table in Emmaus. I was surprised to find something more along the lines of an American wild ale or gueuze. It was distinctly sour with clean lemon peel, yet nicely balanced by sweet bready malt. There's a light herbal spice, but this beer has a relatively mild character for the strength, reminding me of an undercarbonated (but tasty) white wine.

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Photo of UTvolFAN16
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

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.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

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

Photo of Neffbeer
5/5  rDev +22.5%

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.

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Photo of sneth019
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 11% ABV. Bottle number 0951 of 7,500. No date.

Thanks to Johnmichaelsen for this trade from months ago!

A - Well, the settled sediment was roused by the plastic-corked beer (Really? Come on...) being a gusher. Surprisingly enough the dense cream head didn't last too long. Good coating of lace though. The beer is a sediment-filled, hazy golden yellow.

S - Strong aroma of white pepper and a myriad of spices. A light fruitiness compliments the brett-like while yeast aroma. The funk is totally welcome in this beer though as it adds very nicely to the mellow, smooth nose of whiskey.

T - Delicious spicy and herbal flavor. Mild wood compliments the wild yeast flavor and low hints of whiskey but none of the 11% pokes out at all. Fruity notes compliment the rest of the flavor well.

M - Medium-bodied for how much sediment is in it. Feels lighter than it really is with tons of carbonation and a lightly sour finish.

D - No trace of the 11% is just crazy. The flavors blend so well in this beer. A fantastic beer I wish I could have got more of since it's so limited. Easily drinkable to the point of being dangerous.

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Photo of jaydoc
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Mandark
5/5  rDev +22.5%

Photo of FreshHawk
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Tawny, whisky colored with an average sized, foamy, bubbly, white head. Average retention with a thin layer of bubbly lace.

S - Good amount of oaky and vanilla aroma with a decent herbal/spice aroma with heather being strong. Sweet citrus and some other fruitiness.

T - Strong herbal and woody tones in the taste. These were almost too strong for me, but they had enough balance not to be off-putting. Floral aspects were also fairly present with some citrus undertones. The whisky aspects tied in with the herbal and woody taste with some peat and vanilla coming out. Fairly well spiced along with the heather taste.

M - Medium body with a lot of carbonation. Very dry with a lot of bubbly carbonation as well with a definite drying finish.

D - A little heavy on the spice, herbal/heather taste for me to want to keep drinking it, but it makes a decent sipper to finish off a night. Not one I'd want to drink a lot of, but a nice beer to try and sip for a night.

Notes: Bottle 1635, bottled July 2009, Best Before 2019. Not entirely sure how I feel about this one. It was interesting and a nice one to sip, but the herbal, spice, and woody flavors were a little much. Worth a try if you can find it, but I don't know if I would want to get it again.

 1,260 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.

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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.

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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 david18
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this out of curiosity. It was on sale at the Pioneer Grocery Store and thought I'd try it. When I saw that it was an ancient herb ale I thought it would be even less like beer than it is. It was actually quite enjoyable.

Light pale color, a slightly fizzier carbonation (more like champagne), interesting herbal aroma and the flavor is like a typical spiced beer without a lot of the malt.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml, bottle number 2132 Bottled in 2009 Has a plastic cork??? First time I've seen this. Actually worried because i can smell the beer through the cork???

Thanks to finewinemike for sending me this

Fridge Temp into a Tulip Glass

A- Fake cork let out a huge hiss but no smoke. Pours a nice murky orange brown with a thin 1 finger white head with bigger bubbles like soap. Dissipates quickly leaving big bubbles around the edge of the glass and some spotty lacing. Also leaves some impressive legs on the side of the glass from the alcohol.

S- Strong whiskey aroma up front with some nice caramel malts blended in there. Definitely getting some oak and wood notes as well, maybe some vanilla. Has a slight spicey not to it, probably from the heather. Alcohol is definitely present in this one, almost tickles the nose as you whiff it.

T- Nice sweet lighter caramel malts up front that fade into a nice complex whiskey profile that blends really well with the beer. Definitely some spice in there from the heather but gets lost after it goes down and the wood flavors come out and the smooth alcohol take over. Has this crazy sweetness to it that I can't put my finger on. It's almost like bubbly champagne yeast or brett. Could just be the whiskey

M- Much lighter then expected and has a very bubbly mouth feel from the good amount of carbonation. Nice wet finish with a slight tingly feeling on the tongue like a sour ale.

Overall this is a very interesting and very well made beer that is definitely worth the money and a try.



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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

That's right. #1 Gruit coming at me. Picked this up somewhere in NJ. No idea which store it was. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

Pours a goldish-amber color. It's relatively clear and without much murkiness. Head is small and off-white and leaves behind some sparse and spotty lacing. The nose carries quite a bit of bread dough along with some earth and whiskey-soaked wood. Also quite a bit of tea, lemon, and heather as it warms up. The flavor really bits up the tea components and blends them fairly-nicely with the wood and whiskey, though not as well as the nose. Medium body with average carbonation and a smooth finish. Well done.

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