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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

978 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 978
Reviews: 488
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%


Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 978 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of lewwjr
lewwjr

Virginia

4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my perspective, this is a nice combination of malt sweetness and hop balance that makes for a very refreshing brew. It pours a nice amber color with malt and hop overtones dominating the nose. My first thought was Pale Ale but after further review, it was definately an amber ale at heart. I like it. The nice smooth hop finish and sweet malts give you something to come back to.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2003 15:20:34 | More by lewwjr
Photo of ShawnB
ShawnB

District of Columbia

4.76/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My favorite beer. The perfect balance of easy-drinking and complexity.

Appearance: A beautiful red. One of the reddest beers I've ever seen. Pretty much transparent. The head isn't particular thick, but it lasts.

Smell: Mild, slightly boozy. Can detect the slight hoppiness present in the beer, as well as a strong malty scent.

Taste: My favorite tasting beer. Hoppy, but not overly so. A strong caramel, malty backbone that counteracts the moderate hops well. Has some of the strong flavors of a porter or a stout, but with the obvious taste and mouthfeel of a thinner ale.

Mouthfeel: If I have one complaint about this brew, I'd say it might be carbonated a little heavily. It is rather thin, but I prefer a thinner mouthfeel so that's fine with me.

Overall: I love this beer. Such a complex flavor profile, but nothing is overpowering. Really a must try.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 02:03:18 | More by ShawnB
Photo of strata39
strata39

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Highland Gaelic is my favorite beer, but I still want to review it. Absolutely the best beer I've ever had with food. Seeing a pint glass of Gaelic always makes me happy.

Nice creamy head in my 2009 Masters tumbler fades to a little outside line of bubbles. Looks like dark iced tea. Roasted malts dissolve to West Coast hops. Go ahead, have 2 or 3 of 'em.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 16:16:23 | More by strata39
Photo of FungusBrewer
FungusBrewer

Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Crisp and cool with a hop bite under the kilt. I'd sell my soul to the Blarney Stone to drink this brew above the fog--Spitting on Long-shanks while picking breakfast Haggis out of my dentures.

Smell: Sweet malt, nutty, clean.

Taste: Incredibly drinkable and well balanced. Light malt sweetness up front followed by an extremely pleasant hop aftertaste. Bright and clean flavors unadulterated by any heavy bread like notes, or unpleasant astringency. Stable from start to finish.

Appearance: Reddish-copper almost carnelian in color; clear with no haze. Medium head, medium carbonation.

It only took one Gaelic Ale before organizing a small militia amongst my neighbors to fight against big beer and praise craft brew FFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 05:06:52 | More by FungusBrewer
Photo of introvertedone
introvertedone

Tennessee

4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Gaelic Ale was presented to me at the Grey Eagle when it was in Black Mountain, NC in '95 or so. Since then it's been a long time love affair.

I've had this fine ale both from the tap and from the bottle. While I love them both I prefer the tap. It's a beautiful beer in appearance, aroma and taste. This would definitely be my everyday beer if I didn't enjoy trying out fine new brews.

The fine folks at Highland Brewing Company have a fine line of brews with this one being my favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2008 21:24:03 | More by introvertedone
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange, almost brown color. Very little in the way of foam, but leaves a thin collar around the edges most of the way through.

Smells fresh and delicious. Nose is a bit on the light side as I get some cereal grain sweetness and a touch of grassy hops.

Wow, this is an extremely tasty brew. Very smooth and creamy. Citrusy hop flavor is much more pronounced in the flavor. Has a nice corn flake touch to it that adds a bit of toasty complexity. A very nice beer that I would love to have access to on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 18:54:30 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of ZAP
ZAP

Minnesota

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean looking reddish/orange...not a lot of head....nose is fabulous...scottish ale type maltiness minus the smokey/peat smell...that is combined with a real fresh hop accent...great maltiness similiar to a lighter Scottish Ale....The hopping plays a secondary role but in a way really makes this beer as special as I believe it is....Mouthfeel is perfect...balanced...sweet but not overdone....a nice hoppiness lingers on the finish.....this is dandy...I am totally surprised as I did not know what to expect with this one....I would put this in my top 250 beers for sure...maybe top 100....( I don't have a list..I'm speaking in general terms)

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2003 22:11:18 | More by ZAP
Photo of homersimpson
homersimpson

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear reddish brown with a light tan head that lingers for a while
Floral hop notes with a sweet malt background
Medium body with decent carbonation, smooth mouthfeel
Smooth malty flavor is balanced by a citrusy Williamette and Cascade hop finish that lingers.
One of my favorite North Carolina brews. Great session beer. Get kegs of it for cookouts during the summer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2003 21:53:45 | More by homersimpson
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from NClifestyle, so a big “”Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty with a heavy scent of tea and a little bit of caramel and hops.

T: The taste is likewise, very malty. Sweet tea and caramel flavors are the most dominant. There’s a little bit of hops flavor in there, just enough to provide some balance to the sweetness, but they get stronger as the beer starts to warm. The after-taste goes back to the malt sweetness.

M: Very smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish especially for a beer as sweet as this one.

D: This beer is quite tasty, very easy to drink and not too filling. It’s simplistic, as is the style, but very enjoyable. I think it’s an excellent representation of the Irish Red style.

When I first started on BA, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to try this beer. That just shows you the power of trading. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Looking forward to the other two Highland beers that I got in the trade and then trading for more.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 23:01:52 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of bobbyc881
bobbyc881

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour leaves a thick, tan head over a deep orange-red beer. Clear. Aroma is sweet breads and malts, caramels, and a slight citrusy hop presence.

Taste begins sweet and smooth. Caramelized malts dominate. Very balanced hop flavors follow shortly after. Leaves the palette sticky. Again, extremely smooth. Malt focused, but enough hops to not overwhelm.

Great body. Thick mouthfeel compared to most reds/ambers -- which seems to play better with the malt-centered flavors. Carbonated well. Highly drinkable beer. Certainly one of my go-tos. One of the best locals around.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2008 23:04:19 | More by bobbyc881
Photo of bv74550p
bv74550p

Georgia

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer at several places around Savannah. If you are looking for it on tap try Molly Mcpherson's or the Crystal Beer Parlor.

The beer is a deep red/brown and is completely opaque. Great head retention about two fingers.

Malt is good. Hops suprised me very much in this beer, but it made it very smooth and nice to my IPA liking. With this beer it pretty much smells the same as it tastes.

Definitely a great session beer where you should drink at least 3 to appreciate it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2008 16:43:09 | More by bv74550p
Photo of John
John

New York

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't let the amber ale style throw you off. This is quite a unique offering indeed. Malts impart the perfect level of sweetness and deep amber color. Full bodied and balanced exceptionally with Cascade and Willamette hops.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2002 10:08:11 | More by John
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to muddyfeet. He plays a great santa.

A- Thin light tan head on a deep pretty clear amber body.
S- Big caramel malts with a grassy and piney hop to it.
T- Very well balanced. The malts come through with a nice caramel flavor. The hops provide a great balance for it and isn't to bitter. Has a light bitterness to it that lingers into the aftertaste though.
M- Medium body with low to medium carbonation.
D- Very nice easy drinking beer. Nothing to complex or strong. Great for a beer to sit and relax with, making it a great every time beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2006 04:05:10 | More by BlindPig
Photo of beldin96
beldin96

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Highland Gaelic Ale is a great amber. The Ale has a great nose. On the nose it has some light malts, with some very light floral. The mouth feel is very light, but with lots of flavor. The Gaelic Ale has a good balance of malt and hops, not one overpowering the other. It finishes very clean and crisp. At 5.8% ABV is could be a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 21:23:58 | More by beldin96
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
airheadmtrcycle

Georgia

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice red/orange, semi-transparent brew with a finger of tan foam. The foam settles into a nice top-layer and leaves lovely lacing on the sides of my Sierra Nevada pint glass.

The aroma is brown sugar, caramel and hops. This is a great smelling beer. The taste leans toward the malts, but the hops are there. I think the brewers at Highland really balanced this red ale perfectly. I've been looking for something a little less hoppy for a change of pace. This and my last review, Sweetwater Georgia Brown really have hit the spot. I'll give this one a slight nod as it's not as sweet and the hops are a little more noticeable throughout, but particularly on the after taste. Don't get me wrong, this will not knock you over with hops but it uses them extremely well.

The mouth feel is medium and not too carbonated. A tad more carbonation might help this beer some, but perhaps not. I'm really splitting hairs here.

This is a great beer, and one I'll come back to again.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 07:03:49 | More by airheadmtrcycle
Photo of Loki
Loki

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle

Poured a light amber color with an inch and a half head. This beer left ribbons of lacing throughout the sampling. Quite impressive for a lighter style beer.

Aromas of mostly roasted malt, with hints of caramel and floral-citrus hops, but very hidden behind the main malt body.

Tastes of lightly roasted sweet malt, much like a like Scottish style ale. Subtle caramel flavor with a delicate hop finish that seems just enough for balance, but not for a truly hoppy flavor. Beautiful and unique, definitely deserving of flagship status. Medium body with light carbonation that goes down smooth is crisp, clean, and very, very drinkable. A great beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2003 07:35:37 | More by Loki
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
cerevisiaephilus

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I lived in Western North Carolina for 2 years and this was certainly my favorite local brew. Can't add much more to what has been said already except that I know it is brewed with a healthy dose of Special B malt. That is apparently the source of this beers excellent and unique malt flavor.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2003 00:42:35 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of Applesauce1
Applesauce1

Virginia

4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Gaelic Ale on-tap at the The Urban Bar in the Old City of Knoxville, TN.

Appearance: amber-red color with a small white head
Smell: not very pronounced, maybe some hops?
Taste: excellent; some sweetness (maybe some caramel), but not overly done; a little bit of hops, but overall a great balance between the two; similar to a Sam's Boston Lager with less hops though, a little thicker, and a little sweeter
Mouthfeel: medium bodied; goes down real well
Drinkability: good, could drink a few in a night

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2006 05:38:15 | More by Applesauce1
Photo of jadpsu
jadpsu

Georgia

4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this at the local Wal-Mart. Rarely do I purchase beer at Wal-Mart. But this was one I had never had so I thought I would add it to my "beer diary".
Pours a hazy amber/orange with a tan loose head that has only average retention and lacing that is a bit better than that.
Wow, when it comes to aroma. Malts lead with chocolate licorice or caramel along with breads and some pine nut hops. Enough there to fill the nose.
Taste is sweet but with an enjoyable bitter bite at the finish.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy. A nice surprise.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 21:50:25 | More by jadpsu
Photo of meechum
meechum

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from the brewers at Highland..since this is a fairly easy brewer for me to get a hold of has become my go to brewery of choice.. I haven't met a beer from their place I haven't totally enjoyed.

On to the Gaelic Ale..

A - Poured a nice amber with red notes into a pint mug, poured aggressively with a great head that dissapates slowly with a nice sticky lace

S - You can smell some citrus hops smells along with the malts and some piney hops smells.

T - This was good..for me it started with a slight bite of hops up front moving quickly on to a long middle of malty taste with hints of biscuit then finishing with another hop bite that was just right

M - Creamy with middle carbonation

D - I had 3 before I knew it..this was a luxuriant beer and I enjoyed them very much..at 5.8% it's a little on the high side for a session beer..so I had to slow down but it went well with dinner and after

Notes: Like I said at the front of this review..I just love the offerings from Highland..this is no exception this was a great beer for a relaxed evening..If you have the opportunity to pick some up..it's a can't miss

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2007 14:12:51 | More by meechum
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber/copper color with a small sirty white head. Nose is malt forward without a doubt. Taste os malty, taste much like a scitch ale than an amber. Hints of deep malts perhaps crystal, 2 row and hints of light cocoa, caramel and toffee. Some biscuity notes as well. Mouthfeel is nice, coating, light cocoa and toffee, Good indeed. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 03:32:20 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of rnd6510
rnd6510

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Ingles in Arden, NC. Beer had been bottled about a week and a half earlier.
Poured it into a standard pint glass. An aggressive pour yielded a two finger head. Left nice lacing if I might add.
Smell is a little sweet. It smells just as good as it tastes.
Goes down as smooth as yohoo. Smooth toasty malts with a hint of caramel.
Just enough of a hop bitterness finish to balance this beer out.
I am a huge fan of the Gaelic. It should be even better on a crisp fall day.
This is a beer that I keep all the time in my fridge.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 00:59:51 | More by rnd6510
Photo of atomicbeer
atomicbeer

New Mexico

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pint at Sine Irish Pub at the Pentagon City Mall. Red copper color arrived with 1/2 inch white head. Malty sweet fruit cocktail (candied peach, pear, cherry, and orange) aroma with a kick of grapefruit hops. Fruity taste with grapefruit zest. Remarkable balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. Really enjoyable!

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2011 22:39:56 | More by atomicbeer
Photo of fmccormi
fmccormi

New York

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my trusty Cigar City snifter. No bottling or freshness date visible.

Appearance (4.0): Beautiful pour, a very nice red-amber color with a light khaki head, maybe one very fat finger thick, fading to some splotches on the top, a ring on the edge of the glass, and moderate lacing. Clear body, nice and red.

Smell (4.0): Nice mix of light caramel and mildly sugary-sweet malts, blending well with some tropical hop fruitiness—smells faintly of fresh, ripe pineapple. Bready malts in the back.

Taste (4.5): Just-barely-sweet, bready malt base quickly followed by some grassy hop bitterness, mixing smoothly with a slightly astringent quality coming off some mild toast in the barley here. Very nice, smooth transition with distinct phases. Grassy / herbal bitterness from the hops sustain in the finish, relatively pronounced on the grassy side. Yeast note has the feel of an English bitter, like an ESB.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Dry finish, medium-bodied in the middle with a nice, slightly creamy effervescence on the front end. Nice mouthfeel, for sure.

Overall (4.5): I’m definitely impressed with this beer. Red Ales usually aren’t my thing—I can dig super hoppy American Amber / Red Ales like Nugget Nectar, but I generally don’t derive much joy from Irish Reds, for instance. This is pretty tasty, though. Nice mix of Old and New World takes on the Amber / Red category. Definitely not the Nugget Nectar hop bomb type of AA/R, it leans more towards the Irish side of things. Maybe because of that, I bet this would be killer on cask, too. Surprised by how much I liked this, actually, especially after not liking the Oatmeal Porter very much. Nice work, Highland.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 02:26:30 | More by fmccormi
Photo of veech
veech

Tennessee

4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been a staple for me over the years because it's just damned good. A: Pours a tawny auburn with creamy light tan head. Solid carbonation and lacing persists. S: Carmelized malts dominate the nose with some hoppiness. T: Smooth with enough body to provide a sweet foundation that is evened out by a moderately hop laden finish for crispness. M: Slight viscosity with medium body D: Excellent flavor and medium body add up to a very drinkable smooth Irish Red. As with all Highland products, I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2006 01:32:21 | More by veech
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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 978 ratings.