Heather Ale
Cambridge Brewing Company

Heather AleHeather Ale
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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #111
Ranked #40,945
3.65 | pDev: 14.25%
Cambridge Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Heather AleHeather Ale
Notes: World Famous Herbal Beer with Handpicked Fresh Heather Flowers
Brewed with imported Scottish floor-malted barley, fresh hand-harvested heather flowers are 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.
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 94 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours orange amber with a dense creamy white foam head. Smells like flowers, heather, sweet gale, mild lavender, cinnamon-esque spice, hints of sweet leathery funk, toasty bready malt, and floral earthy herbs. Tastes like mild lemon citrus fruitiness, cinnamon-esque spice, fresh flowers, heather, sweet gale, mild lavender, toasty bready malt, sweet leathery funk, with floral earthy herbs. Feels medium bodied, creamy with moderate smooth carbonation. Overall a real nice herb and spice beer with heather flowers, sweet gale and lavender.

Jun 26, 2020
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SABERG from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, from 2019 into the test glass.
A - Lite amber color, excellent clarity. Gentle carbonation puts on a trance inducing steady dance. A thin ring wraps an archipelago of tiny islands.
S - Heather, leads the way other botanicals chime in, lavender, sage, rose hip, lemon verbena. This is like a florist shop, so many layers all very nice.
T - I certainly get the lavender and heather, add in some red raspberry, red wheat, just a kiss of tart fruit. A gentle touch of mixed culture maybe? Lots of back and forth on this front, Excellent tension adds depth.
M - Medium in body, sweet start, then a slide toward the the tart side ever so slightly. Finish is similar to young Riesling.
O - A very good gruit, the total package is so enjoyable, Lots of flavors riding and impressive aromatic. Clean , crisp and loaded with twists and turns in the best way. Pair with a soft runny cheese and enjoy

Nov 17, 2019
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nickfl from Florida

4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Other than being a bit murky and ugly, it is a nice beer, and by FAR the best gruit I have ever had. This is a style that all too often tastes muddy and harshly herbal, but this is bright, refreshing and fruit. A very pleasant surprise!

May 08, 2016
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metter98 from New York

3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear light amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with s short white head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of heather are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of heather.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this to be an enjoyable gruit beer as the heather aromas and flavors are featured rather well, but aren't overpowering in any way.

Serving type: bottle

Dec 06, 2015
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irrevjim from Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

look; muddy golden bronze, 1/4" head disappears quickly, thin soapy lacing that goes away quickly
smell; thanksgiving fresh herb seasoning packet, soup carrots? a mild hint of chicken or beef broth
taste;aforementioned herbs, grass, a little earth, hint of soup, like caned soup but not in a bad way at all, and just a hint really
feel; perky medium light with medium light carbonation, a tiny bit acidic at the finish
overall; a really cool scottishish gruit, interesting and enjoyable

Nov 15, 2015
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Tone from Missouri

3.59/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, gold color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of pale malt, sweet malt, herbal, hint of alcohol, hops, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, slight sweet malt, slight herbal, hint of hop, hint of yeast, and a hint of alcohol. Overall, weak appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

Aug 10, 2015
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had tried the revival of Zero Gravity's gruit at the Brattleboro Vermont Brewers' Festival in June, and being half Scottish I was interested to try this.'

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a stemmed tulip glass.

a: Clear amber with a finger thick white head which receded to thin patchy surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Spicy floral.

t: Quite spicy and floral flavor forward over a medium malt base. Later more grassy vegetal notes become as priominent as the spiciness.

m: Light. Minimal carbonation tingle.

o; An interesting and spicy gruit, light and flavorful.

Aug 03, 2014
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wedge from North Carolina

3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber with a loose head that fades to a slim ring around the edge. Sweet heather and lavender floral aromas with fresh herbs, grass, and a festive, almost cookie-like toast and spice. Flavor duplicates the nose almost exactly. Prominent earthy, spicy floral notes and sweet toasty grain with an added slight lemony tartness. Kind of soapy by nature, but in a good way. Medium bodied, slick, and lightly carbonated. Glad to see this is about as good as I remember it from several years ago.

Nov 10, 2013
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tastybeer from North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Almond gold and muddy. Tiny head and a ring of retention

S: Very interesting kind of dank aroma. Wet flowers, spice, and beef stew herbs. Carrots, other root veggies, and cookie malts. Perhaps sherry. Very different and pleasantly so.

T: Spicy, floral, and juicy. Herbs and root teas. A bit of cranberry-like tartness and a touch hickory-meaty. Soft but evident bitterness accompanied by creamy dryness.

M: Liquidy with a gradually building powdered spice texture....like nutmeg or cinnamon perhaps.

O: This is pretty interesting. Spiced and herbal all over. It's like seasonal fall cookies meets beefy stew all topped with a flowery bouquet and a dash of white cooking wine.

Nov 10, 2013
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ColdOneKev from North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a bright bronze with a thin white head that almost disappears immediately.

S - Toasted grains, pepper. lemon zest

T - Ginger, pepper, nutmeg, lemon grass

M - Bubbly light, lingers on the palate, so maybe it is thicker than I think.

O - Very interesting, my first foray into the gruit style. I enjoyed this, I would recommend it. I don't see myself buying it again though.

Oct 20, 2013
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cbutova from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Dive Bar, Worcester. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pint glass pour out of the tap with a dark bronze-golden body with just a slight haziness. Small foamy white cap falls fairly quickly to a small ring. Lacing is sparse.

S- Interesting mix of sweet toasted malts, caramel, dark red fruits and a pronounced floral and herbal spicy note. Brown malts, toasted nuts, lavender, flowers, nutmeg and lemon zest tea all come to mind.

T- Reminds me of a pumpkin ale in a way actually, with the toasted malts and spices. Sweet caramel malts, toasted nuts, cracked cereal grains, big honey and flower petals all combine into one flavorful sip. Wheat, light lemon and grassy herbal hints as well.

MF- Medium bodied overall with a creamy, foamy texture. Fluffy moderate carbonation and a light bitterness from the spicy hops (and maybe flowers/spices too). Somewhat watery.

I like how the toasted malts, spices and apparently flowers come together. It reminds me of some pumpkin ales but also has an added complexity not seen in those.

Sep 24, 2013
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Maxwell from Massachusetts

4.54/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dirty golden brown color, almost like honey or a light cream soda. The head is massive and creamy white with big rocky soap bubbles that leave foamy, clinging bits of lacing on the glass. The beer’s body is fairly clear with a nice light haze murking the body enough that this beer is not entirely translucent. On the nose, this beer smells sweetly herbal with a good grainy kick. The herbs pack a lovely cornucopia of spices onto the nose, moving from minty to spicy, to everywhere in-between. The beer almost smells like a super spicy hefeweizen, as it has some awesome banana and clove esters lying as the backbone of this beer. The smell is quite enticing. On the tongue, the beer tastes like a liquefied and refreshing spicy bread with light touches of banana. The heather shines in the beer, obviously… leaving an almost minty tingle on the mouth. The beer begins with light grainy bread with a faint touch of banana esters, before it opens into an herbal wonderland that starts more spicy, moves towards grainy, then bursts with big cooling herbal mint flavors before rounding itself into perfect balance of all of the different flavors listed. The aftertaste is of light tingly herbal mint (heather?) with a touch of grainy bread. On the mouth, the beer feels light to medium in body with a certain congealing feeling to it as it stretches out over the tongue. The beer is supremely refreshing and clean feeling, though the strong herbal flavors in the middle of the taste do place a slight graininess on the tongue. The mouth is left clean with some nice little puddles on the sides of the my tongue begging for more of the beer. Overall, this beer is supremely tasty, and another excellent example of the burgeoning American Gruit scene. Bready, complex, refreshing, rejuvenating… my list of descriptions for this beer could go on and on. This is a delicious success from the stellar CBC, and definitely a beer you should try.

Jan 05, 2013
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Chico1985 from Massachusetts

3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kevin for sharing this mysterious ale. Copied from notes from last week. This was Batch 1/Aug 2012 bottling.

Pours into a snifter a hazy copper orange with quite a bit of dusty sediment floating about. White head retains nicely with some good lace left behind.

Scent reveals lemon, grass, floral notes. light and outdoorsy. Good strength.

Taste is similar but opens things up a bit more. Floral, wheat/breadiness, lemon, some toffee and sweet malts, hints of vanilla. Kind of reminds me of very solid a summer wheat ale.

A bit overcarbonated but a decent mouthfeel. Light-medium body, refreshing, lots of flowers but not overpowering.

I am definitely unfamiliar with this style, and went into it only knowing it as "an ale brewed with heather flowers", but I thought this was great. Floral is not over the top, this would make for a great summer ale.

Nov 19, 2012
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charlatan from Scotland

3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wetherspoons real ale festival in Inverness. Light gold colour beer with a medium head and a honey and heather nose. It feels oily on the tongue in a fairly pleasant way. It begins with honeylike sweetness and a slight creaminess before turning more bitter and finishing with the other heather. Importing heather to Scotland seems more ironic than coals to Newcastle but this was worth it.

Nov 17, 2012
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light fizzy head rises up to almost 1 finger before fading back quickly, with very little lacing, over fairly clear golden brown tan color.

Nose erupts with tons of heather, almost pure floral heather in the aroma, light floral spices, quite aromatic, a very light toasted malt, touch of sweet malt.

Taste has some light malts, a little sweetness, light toasty malt and a light wheat like flavor. Then pure heather, light floral spices and plenty of heather and aromatic spices. little floral with some bitterness, more bitterness from the herbs and I don't think any hops. A touch of a grainy sweet malt. Finish is drier but not too dry, little gritty and abrasive, little grainy malt, plenty more heather and herbal flavors, light bitterness.

Mouth is med to a bit lighter bodied, little abrasive dry finish, good carb.

Overall pretty good, plenty of heather and herbal flavors and aromas, light malt base, fairly floral, light but decent bitterness, a dry and weirdly abrasive finish.

Nov 03, 2012
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jonb5 from England

3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted at the JDW real ale festival. Half pint, bronze colour, clear, small head, retention ok. Slightly strange rubbery aroma, almost latex like. Tasted like a lemon left in the fridge too long, hints of salt, carrot and mineral, watery finish. No real carbonation, quite smooth, thin texture. Different to most other beers I've sampled, similar to the Gose style.

Nov 02, 2012
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy honeygold color. Fat bubbles rise to further build the rather white head. Head is about a quarter inch high. The head is very reluctant to leave stains upon the glass.

S-Mashed peas and Gerber baby food. Lavender bath soap. Nose is quite vegetal. Floral with coriander. I have smelled this aromatic component before and I am struggling to define it.

T-Tastes like I ate flower petals. Herbal and perfumey (non-hop derived). Well malted. A sweetened earthy flavor. God, it is quite difficult to describe. Tastes like an amalgamtion of multiple bathsoaps. Rosemary, flower petals, moss, anise, soot and spinach.

M-Light bodied, but its nearing on medium bodied. Bubbles are plentiful but soft. Despite the crazy flavor, it goes down easy. Not dry, not bitter.

O/D-I was perplexed by this brew. Wasn't a huge an, but I would still regad this as a "must try". It's cool, and unique, but it isn't that easy to agree with. Regardless, I can tell this was well made. God forbid I try an "Ancient Herbed Ale" from a lesser brewery. Odd but awesome?

Oct 04, 2012
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Wasatch from Colorado

3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to portia99 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Batch: 01
Bottled: August 2012

Pours a nice hazy dark orange color, very nice carbonation, with a one-finger fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slightly yeasty, with some nice spice notes. The taste is pretty nice, malty, some yeast/flower notes, nice touch of spices. Medium body. Overall a pretty nice brew, my first from this brewery. Thanks Bill!

Sep 23, 2012
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thick head with lots of lumpy lace. Cloudy with an orange-amber color.

Wow, there's an unbelievable amount of lavender and other flowers to the nose. In the background is cinnamon, clove and white pepper. Very strong aroma but inviting.

The spiciness is strong on the tongue. There's a thin body with an above average carbonation. Lots of pepper to the swallow. Long aftertaste. Works well with Mexican food, but this is an unusual offering for people who expect the "usual".

Sep 15, 2012
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mdfb79 from New York

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this last weekend at the brewpub in MA for about $4ish. Bottl is batch 1, bottled 8/3/12. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a hazy orange-amber color with one finger of slightly off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of grains, spices, herbs, flowers, floral hops, earthy notes. Load of spices in the nose; interesting but nice.

t - Tastes of grains, herbs, spices, pepper, flowers, earthy notes, bready malts, floral hops, dough. Spices seem to work a little better here with the grain/bread than it did in the nose; a step up for me.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink at 5% ABV.

o - Overall an interesting, pretty good beer, though I could see people not liking it. If definitely has a lot of a herbal/spicey taste to it, though it works pretty nicely and none of it is bad. Definitely not something you'd drink a few of or would want to drink all the time, but cool to try and well made.

Aug 26, 2012
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New bottle from CBC labelled simply "Heather Ale", dated August 2012 with 5.0% ABV.

A: Pours a hazy orange with a medium sized fizzy white head. Fades fairly quickly, leaving only moderate lacing behind.

S: Instantly get tons of floral character (of course). Lavender and...rosemary? Bready with a touch of honey. Finally a hint of herbal tea. A very pleasing, crisp and refreshing aroma.

T: Very spicy up front. This is a terrible review because I can't figure out half of these flavors. Lots of spices and herbal flavors. Even a bit earthy. It's again, very crisp and refreshing. In the middle the malt is mostly bready and I again get a hint of honey in there. Ends with a little lavender flourish and some more spices.

M: Medium bodied, not as light as you'd expect for a 5% ABV brew. Smooth.

O: A refreshing, aromatic and tasty brew. Perfect for summer. Drinkability is quite high as it's not too heavy or overpowering. I really enjoyed this unique style.

Aug 21, 2012
Heather Ale from Cambridge Brewing Company
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 94 ratings