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Notes on beers in the style

Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Dogfish Head

750 mL bottle. Part of the Ancient Ales series. Cranberry, ligonberry, honey, birch syrup and herbs. A reddish hue to the copper colored body, and a lovely, medium bodied off-white head that has decent retention. A lot of clean fruit on the nose. Tastes are sharp and clean, with a nice touch of acidity balanced very nicely with some sweetness. A nice sweet and sour (no not that kind of sour) affair. The alcohol at 10% is largely almost completely absent up front. It finishes with a little...

Fraoch 20th Anniversary Ale

Many thanks go out to my Secret Santa for 2010, finewinemike for the chance to try this beer. This beer has been on my Wants list for quite some time, and having passed on it at least once in the store, I wondered if I would get the chance - many thanks, Mike. Bottled in July of 2009, this is described as being best before 2019. Expensive looking in as much as the beer comes with a heavy gold foil, a neck label stating that this is bottle #1971 out of 7800 all in a heavy, green glass, 750 mL...

Kelpie Seaweed Ale

500 mL bottle, $3.99 World Market, Atlanta, GA, USA. (All over the rest of Atlanta too). If you are wondering what a Seaweed flavored Ale drinks like, the answer is that (this one at least) drinks like a light bodied, brown ale without the malt. Pours Porter black/brown with a nice head and some decent lacing. A good fruity, alcohol type aroma that is frankly better than the taste. The body (or lack of it) lets this beer down. Thin and a little unsatisfying. A wee bit dry and earthy too....

Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale

Cloudy orange pour. Hazy and cloudy, like a poor quality iced-tea. No head and very little lace. Very sharp, lemony and refreshing all around. Reminiscent of some other beers from this brewery. The Heather ale and this one drink like bitter shandy - that classic mix of English Bitter and English Lemonade (7-Up/Sprite) to produce an easy drinking and very fresh and light tastes. Good beer - different - and worth a try.

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale

$2.49 single from Ziggy's in Chattanooga, TN, USA. Dark, dark mahogany pour with very little head or lacing. Alcohol and fruits are very strong in the nose, but the alcohol is not carried into the taste. Medicinal notes with grape skins. Berry tastes underpin the whole thing with some mild alcohol hanging around in the background. Light mouthfeel, dry and tart finish. Apparently best before April 2005. Oh well still drinkable.

Alba Scots Pine Ale

According to the label the spruce and pine sprigs were collected in May 1998. Best before the end of June 2006. Attractive light red/amber pour, good carbonation and as a result decent head and a small amont of lacing. Aroma is largely caramel malts, with a little nutty sweetness in there too. Taste reflects that, with the additional ingredients of sweetness and some floral character from the organic Pine additions. Drinks well below it's ABV, but a little too sweet even for my tastes (I like...

Fraoch Heather Ale

I approached this with some trepidation, half expecting some floral experience that I wouldn't like, or perhaps some very weird flavors that wouldn't sit well at all, but I was very pleasantly surprised. What I got was essentially something that looked, smelled and drank very much like a bitter shandy (half English Bitter, half English lemonade). Muted hop and sweet flavors combined, with a pretty dry finish to give a very unusual and refreshing combination. Light orange color (of diluted dark...