"The Wind Cried Mari..." Scottish Heather Ale
Cambridge Brewing Company

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Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
4.09 | pDev: 9.54%
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 25 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Thorpe429
3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Pours a nice moderate reddish-copper color with a good white head and a bit of spotty lacing as it goes down. The nose is quite floral with some heather and other turkey-rubbing herbs. Not necessarily my cup of tea, though not bad either. The flavor never really brings everything together all that well and it ends up more toward a carbonated alcoholic tea, at least in my book. There is a bit of cinnamon spice along with some other herbs. Mouthfeel is medium with a bit of sugar and moderate carbonation. It got better as I become used to its unusual nature, but I never got to the level of thinking, "hey, this is good."

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Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a glass with Sunday beerunch at the CBC and it was a great beer for my eggs benedict. I'll often say a beer tastes like bread, but none have matched the fresh whole-grain taste of this brew. The herbal additions match the seeds and spice of a craft-baked loaf (if that makes sense) and the light lavender with wildflower honey. This is one of the most interesting beers I've had in a while. Check it out.

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Photo of Pahn
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cambridge Brewing Company. Reviewed from notes taken on August 9th, 2010. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: No head or foam (don't expect much from gruit, as far as I know), though I assume there was one that dissipated before the waiter brought it to me. Amberish brown, hazy and kind of murky. Leaves tiny lacing spots.

Smell: Lavender and heather, along with some tea and bready malt. While it's very floral, it also has some interestingly savory notes. Smells great.

Taste: Starts slightly floral and spicy, then transitions to a beautiful, toasted finish that's a little reminiscent of pine nuts. Lavender and heather come back for the aftertaste. The sweet and floral start of the beer quickly starts to overlap and balance with the toasted part. Tastes at once like cookies, flowers, toast, and pine nuts.

While the flavor began to wear on me a bit near the end of the glass, I think this was more to do with my mood than anything else (I felt like a barleywine; like CBC's barleywine, Arquebus, actually, but I was so taken with the sample of this beer that I had to order a glass of it first). It does have a bit of a dessert quality to it that one might find unwelcome (I started to). Remains delicious though.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, with moderate, tingling carbonation. Clean finish.

Drinkability: I don't know if I could have more than one pint of this in a sitting, but I know that I would order it again when I (inevitably) return to CBC.

It's not perfect, nor is it a 5.0 in any category, but this *is* a special beer. Very distinct flavor, and very well done.

Incidentally, I paired this beer (and later a cask IPA) with CBC's cheese plate. If this were cheeseplateadvocate, I would give that one all 5s. Pricey at $9 for 5 slices of bread, 4 small cheese wedges (Brie--my favorite--and some kind of Jack if I recall), about 10 roasted nuts and a tiny dollop of fruit compote, but every bite was perfection. Went really well with the clean flavors of this beer and their IPA.

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Photo of charliedvrs
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours between an amber and a brown with an orange hue. Little to no head at all.

S - Very, very floral. True to the name, lots of heather as well as lavender and other spices and herbs.

T - Nothing like I've ever had before. Earthy floral galore with bits of spices the whole way, namely a feel of cinnamon. A slight mint leaf hint somewhere around the middle. Bits of sweet tea with honey. It's more difficult than usual to tell what you're smelling and what you're tasting as you bring the glass away from your mouth.

M - Carbonation and sweetness from the heather make a very interesting and satisfying feel. Medium bodied with a bit of a dry finish.

D - Very enjoyable and one I always look forward to. Love seeing a brewery think outside of the box when it comes to brewing a "summer" beer.

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Photo of u2carew
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A) Bronze in color. Just a thin head. Great lacing around the edge. Nearly completely clear.
S) Hello heather - but not too overwhelming. Other floral notes reminiscent of a normal hops aroma. There is also a tasty cinnamon sweetness that makes the aroma amazing.
T) Cinnamon sweetness from the front end to the middle. Then an earthy aftertaste. Mellow floral notes throughout.
M) Smooth. Creamy. Medium body. Nice CO2 tingle.
D) A very delicious beer. The flavor combination make this a fantastic brew.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light hazy amber with a thin white fizzy head.

Bold and complex aromas of woody tree bark (i think it was oak aged), florals, lavender, juniper, and dirt/soil.

Tastes as good as it smells with more herbal, floral, woodiness that is accompanied by grape. Medium bodied, light carbonation, dry.

One of my favorites of the evening.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't have a lot of experience with this style, but this beer sure was tasty.

An amber shade, but not quite amber, a little darker. Very small white head.

Smells great. Immediate floral smell, what I assume is heather. Honey. Lots of tea aroma.

Taste follows the smell. If someone told me this was some kind of tea that had barley thrown in, I think I might believe them. Tastes like green or white tea with honey. Other spicy notes in there. Very nice.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability. Nice beer, very interesting.

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Photo of PEBKAC
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured fourteen ounces at a time into a teardrop. 5% abv; no one can tell.

Not quite amber, not quite red. Visibility is decent, but a haze settles over everything. Very little head, so don't worry, you're getting a full pour. Just order the pitcher already you cheap-ass.

Right off the bat, florals are everywhere. You don't even have to dip your nose in. Absolutely nothing like being ganged up on by the overeager saleswomen at Macy's. Squirting samples in your eye as you frantically run through the perfume department. Nope, not here. So much more level & invigorating. Nothing chemical or harsh about it. Taking a whiff as you're passing by the flower shop, stealing roses from your neighbor's garden(shhh!), soft incense as you wind down from a long day.

The lavender(more then anything else) stands out, as I have a little of it growing in the backyard. I have very little experience identifying heather, but can make out a crackerish sweetness, along with some aspects of red & white tea.

At the beginning, the taste is leafy & honey sweet, but the nose begins to interfere. So much with trying to identify what is on my tongue. It smells wonderful, but I can't make out exactly what it tastes like.

The carbonation is moderate to strong, amplifying its crispness & working the thin body to a constantly agitated state.

Even after three glasses, I still couldn't quite break it down. Take as long as you like. :)

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Photo of kaelingirl
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale amber red with a thin white head that fades quickly leaving little lace. Sweet herbal-floral aroma. The herbal flavor dominates with a slight chocolate like finish. Decent mouthfeel, pretty smooth. Interesting anddefinitely worth a glass or two.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just happened to be at the brewery while the guest speakers for the Night of the Barrels were enjoying CBC's offerings in the front corner, about 2 hours before the fest started. Also happened to meet a few bellow BAs (Warriorsoul and Zrrbrrt) who were also attending the NotB. Anyway, on with the review - according to the chalkboard, this is a 5% brew, spiced with heather and lavender flowers, and aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Not sure if every batch is aged in oak, but if they usually aren't then this is a nice surprise. It arrives a hazed amber with a half-inch head that reduces to nothing and doesn't leave much lace. The aroma is quite floral with hints of wood and wine wafting up. On the palate it is lightly sour, with a good floral element, notes of pale malts, and a definite chardonnay background, all on top of a drying, medium body that has medium carbonation and finish. It's a pleasant, refreshing, and very distinctive brew that helps to showcase some of the flavors in beer to which most of us aren't accustomed.

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Photo of dherling
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a dark, cloudy, brown beer with a copper edge. Small white head, dissapears quickly. Nose gives cinnamon, nutmeg, with clove an herbal finish. The taste is spicy and citrusy,that develops into a mollasses like sweetness before finishing with floral hops. Very crisp mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, finishes nearly bone dry.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.95/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Tasted On-Tap 10/01/05 at the CBC in Cambridge, MA.

Hazy golden color with an off-white ringed head. Flowery perfumey Heather aroma and flavor with the flavor being a bit soapy ... like one of those fancy soaps... maybe the lavender. Light-medium bodied and lightly creamy. One was enough..

Not bad and worth a try but this just must not be my style ...

Per CBC website:
Release Date: 22 August, 2005.
Brewed with imported Scottish floor-malted barley, fresh, hand-harvested heather flowers were added to the kettle during the boil along with sweet gale and lavender, with a further addition of fresh heather and yarrow to the conditioning tanks.
OG: 1.049 FG: 1.012 ABV: 5.0%

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bukowski's in Cambridge on 9/10/05. The beer poured a murky brown and had a filmy head on top. The nose was like waking up on a spring day and sticking my head out the window and breathing deep into the morning dew. It was refreshing. Reminded me of hiking around Scotland. The malts were slightly sweet on the tongue, but not sickeningly so. Heather was very subtle and herbal. The body is best described as hanging from the tongue like a wet blanket. Kind of like an herbal tea after it has gone cold. Soothing and relaxing.

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Photo of brewhiker
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

YARG! A light muddy-swampy appearance with very little head or effervencence. I was on lunch break so this was in the sampler glasses which I suspect does not do justice to the subtler bubbles. Definite floral (heather!) hints on the nose. A slightly astringent and peaty taste (like Islay scotch).

Not the prettiest brew, but damn tasty!

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Photo of taez555
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a clear amber body with a small white head.

The nose was a nice mix of spices and malt.

This beer is medium bodied with a beautiful clean fresh malt flavor. Mostly a smooth caramel malt from start to finish. The kicker to this beer though is the mix of spices. It’s almost a holiday assortment of spice. Fruits, cinnamon, potpourri, heather, and a mild flower mix. Really what’s amazing about the mix is how you don’t miss the hops at all. The other flavors just seem to fit perfectly.

This is really quite a beer. It sounds weird to say it has no hops, and you can taste that it has no hops. But… I know is that CBC Pumpkin was on tap, and it’s easily one of my all time favorite beers, and instead of ordering that, I ordered 2 rounds of this. A damn fine beer, you’ll come back for more.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at Redbone's

Pretty honey color with a low, bright white head that subsides to whitecaps on the surface and bits of lace on the sides.

Intriguing, brisk perfume with gingery tones that lingers all down the glass.

Sweet malt base under an odd herby, woody taste with musky aspects. Maybe some lavender. If I didn't know what it was I'd think it was off.

The aftertaste is much better, a long long finish, in which the sweetness fades, and the heather glows--a floral spicey resin that lingers on the lips.

After I got over the initial weirdness, it kinda grows on me. Interesting.

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Photo of mschofield
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-brown, topped with a white film, leaves thin rings of lace.
Cinammon, apple, heather, sweet aroma, other pie/baking type spices.
Sweet robust floral taste, pancake mix, musty, herbal note.
A vegetable type mouthfeel, medium body. low carbonation. Very original.

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Photo of PatandDavid
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderful style of beer, that unless you are drinking Fraoch, well, where the heck are you going to be able to drink this style of beer on tap in the USA? Pours a cloudy copper color, and the aroma has the fresh smell of flowers. It's medium bodied with very nice carbonation. I don't get any real sweet tastes from this, more of a flowery finish...I believe that there is also lavender in this along with the heather...a very interesting, refreshing, and unique beer. pat

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage sampled on tap at Anam Cara. Also sampled at the brewpub (ABV 4.7%).

This heather ale poured a cloudy, reddish-amber color with rich, white foam that was long lasting. The smell was biscuity malt, cinnamon, and a bit of a floral character (heather?). The taste was malty and floral with some cinnamon-like spiciness. Overall a rather mild heather flavor. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with medium body and low carbonation feel. Relatively clean, but with a biscuity aftertaste. This was a very enjoyable ale and left me wanting more.

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Photo of doerickson
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany coloring with a short off-white head. Spicy aromas. Mild carbonation. Spicy flavors as well; green tea and ginger stand out. When I hear "Scottish" in the name of a beer I think lots of malt, but this brew really isn't very sweet. An interesting pick--definitely different.

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Photo of StevieW
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, rich amber color with hints of bright orange. Thin, wispy, white head, didn't last long. Lots sweet floral aromas combined with subtle spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Taste is rich, creamy, malt start, then a sweet flowery, herbel finish. A spicy, pine nut, and herbal middle create a taste all it's own. The Heather is sweet, and noticable, but not overbearing. Medium bodied, crisp, very drinkable. If there was a category for originality it would score a 5.0 One of the more memorable beers I have had in a while.
Cheers to Jason, Todd, and Longstaff for meeting at Cambridge Brewing Co. during my recent vacation and having this wonderful beer.

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Photo of Todd
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark, murky, brown beer with orange hues. Not much head though.

Aroma is sugary, with herbal, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and of course a distinct dose of fresh heather.

Quite the sweet brew, but no where near sickly sweet. Flowery with a touch of lemon in the back. The spice explodes with a crisp carbonation, followed by grain and a dry finish and lingering heather.

Becoming an annual favourite of mine, the CBC heather ale is not to be missed!

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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good lace to start with a faint haze off the deep amber brew. A bit more rounded from the cask conditioning, the sweetness has held on very well and the spicing seems a touch lighter. Fruitiness is a bit livelier and the heather has melded well with everything in-between. All in all a interesting cask ale that I can quaff with no problem.

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"The Wind Cried Mari..." Scottish Heather Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 25 ratings