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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 520
Hads: 1,353
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 221 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,353
Photo of AlexJ
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft pour produces a bright, copper amber brew with a small, but dense head of oatmeal hued froth, which leaves delicate lace as it disappears.

Aroma is predominantly sweet, roasty malts with touches of wildflowers, earthy hops, and a faint essence of citrus.

Flavor is mild and smooth with malty flavors on the fore and soft wildflower, honey, and English-tasting hops in the finish.

Body is medium, smooth and silky, with sift carbonation stemming from a constant stream of tiny rising bubbles.

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Photo of Soonami
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Highland Gaelic Ale is the first beer I've had from the Asheville brewery and it is not a bad beer but definitely not a great beer either. This is deep burnished copper with almost no head, despite the rough pour. I think that any beer especially an American hopped amber should have the carbonation and head to bring up the aroma. The bee smelled mostly malty, with a bit of fresh hops, but mostly just grainy malts. The taste was mostly the same dominated by a biscuity malt and balanced only by a modicum of hoppiness. I think that this style (and not the double) should have an assertive hop character with grapefruit and tropical flavors and medium-high bitterness, which I find lacking in this beer.

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Photo of tone77
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts are present. Taste is hops up front, malts at the finish, a touch of caramel. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of khaki head that fades leaving patchy lace on the glass. Rising bubbles maintain a film of lace.

The aroma is quite malty with a buttery diacetyl note and sweetness like toffee or caramel. A hint of cheesy quality with minerals or metallic aspects and earth.

The taste is malty sweet like caramel before giving way to some fruity hop/alcohol component. It is faintly raisony before getting a bit mineral filled with carbonic or sulfur qualities.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering, that I could take it or leave it in the future but wolkd probably opt for the later.

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Photo of soulfly1492
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Dark and roasty for an amber. Sweet crystal malt. Medium sweet caramel and bitter American hops.

Appearance: Medium copper. High clarity. Head is light brown, decent retention and tons of lacing.

Taste: Sweet malt with a bitter side, some Munich perhaps. Bitter floral and pine hops, little citrus character. Mildly toasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Somewhat oily, the finish is dry. Very little carbonation, but enough to be detectable.

Overall: On the roasty side of things. Not exactly pleasant and/or savory. Not memorable in other words.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy, murky amber. Very little head and what head was there quickly vanished.

S: Sweet smell. Malty up front with some caramel character. Not a lot of hop smell. Aroma seems nicely balanced but there just isn't enough hop in it. At times aroma seems to take on a burnt or roasted character.

T: Sweet taste up front with a nice caramel character, much like the aroma. Very malty. A little hop bitterness to finish it off with maybe a slight hint of "grassy" hops. A mild representation of the style I believe.

M&D: Medium bodied, landing on the lighter side of the medium spectrum. Nothing impressive. This brew wins points on the drinkabitility scale, however. I could easily drink a pint or 3 of this.

My 1st Highland beer. I was a little underwhelmed with it, maybe I was expecting too much, maybe I just picked up the wrong offering. Either way, I will visit this beer again and will certainly continue to try Highland offerings. This brew is very drinkable but is nothing spectactular.

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Photo of zimm421
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Appears a clear dark amber color, with a light off-white, nearly tan, head. The head disappears fairly quickly, but leaves great lacing.

The nose is pretty laid back, with a bit of toasted malt, caramel and a little citrus sneaking through. The taste is very similar, heavy with caramel and toastiness, a little nuttiness coming through as well. Malt forward, as expected, but nicely complex and pleasant.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, barely sticky on the back end, and has good carbonation levels. Overall, this is a good amber ale, with nice complexities and good flavor. Nothing blows me away here, however, and was hoping for a bit more.

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Photo of TheStig
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, translucent and reddish caramel color with a fast receding head and no lacing. A soft, sweet smell of cool, wet forest wafts up, but is very subtle. Gentle, bittersweet notes interlaced with oats and a very minor yeast taste. A proud hoppiness pulls through entire tasting experience, but is not overly strong. A hearty, honey-like sweetness exists as a subtle base. Fair carbonation and an overall lightness produce an enjoyable mouthfeel.

Thank god this comes in a six-pack, because it's a very tasty, very drinkable beer.

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Photo of aracauna
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beautiful, clear body somewhere in between deep amber and ruby. Off-white head is ok, but doesn't last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by citric hops. Flavor is nice toasty malt with the support of moderate hopping. Not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a bold and vibrant burnt copper color with a filmy head and lots of spotty lace. Nose is kind of malty and not much else. Flavor is surprisingly complex, but muted. I got some taosted grains, biscuits, and dark chocolate. Hops are very mild and are mot noticeable in the finish where they provide a slight bitter kick. Mouthfeel is thin and watery--not much to hold this beer together. Great brew to share among friends.

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Photo of Conrad
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovely colour to this one. A rich copper/gold with a thin off-white head that settled quickly and left a medium lacing.
Smell was hard to pick up on at first. I had to bury my nose in the glass to identify them. But then I discovered a nice balance of toasty malt and floral hops. Maybe a bit of citrus or pine.
Taste was the winner. An amazing balance between malts and hops. A very well built beer. The taste is just plain good beer. No pretentions of grandeur. You don't have to wax poetic on the comples flavours because there ain't none.
Body is medium, with a clean dry finish. Very nice on the palate. the bitters don't remain long, which encourages going back for another slurp.
Drinkability is my favourite category. This one wins hands down. It goes down smooth and easy. This is a good session beer. Maybe a six pack with a platter of junk food in front of the TV to watch the game of your choice.

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Photo of bditty187
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly murky reddish-brown, small beige head, fair retention, soapy, minimal lace. Pleasantly malty nose, it smells “thick,” somewhat sweet… lacks complexity though. Chewy malt provides a healthy foundation for the palate, lightly sweet; there is just enough hops influence, minor bitterness… light toastiness, caramel hints. Meager carbonation helps produce a rather full mouthfeel. As it warms, the hops grow in potency. This is a solid beer, a nice quaff… session brew material.

Thanks Loki!

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Photo of craft_shannie
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark hazy amber; minimal head; no lacing.
S: mostly bready malts, some caramel; slight citrus pine hops.
T: good balance of malt and hops; follows nose - bread, some caramel sweetness, slight piney citrus. dry, balanced and minimal bitterness.
M: crisp, clean; medium carbonation
O: picked up a sixer in nashville as i have heard very positive things about highland brewing. i was a bit underwhelmed with this particular style. solid american amber, but nothing all that spectacular.

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Photo of finepaws
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a copper penny color with orange hues. Light foamy tan head with good lacing. Has a sweet malty smell, with a slight fruit back ground. Tastes are malty, bread flavors, with some spicey fruit background, raisins? Has a nice floral hop flavor. Smooth, slick mouthfeel. Somewhat watery, and thin. Would like to see more body to this beer. It's a good session beer to drink among friends.

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Photo of craytonic
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a beautiful orange-bronze-velvet.

Nice nose, not very aggressive.

You can really taste the toasted hops.. A hint of citrus peel & earthiness. Needs more hops and malt, a little bland.

The mouthfeel is perfect, great body and perfect carbonation. My favorite thing about the beer

Finish is a little harsh for me, but not my favorite type of beer.

Good on-tap choice in NC

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle poured a deep reddish/copper color with a white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly. There was a fair amount of lace present in the glass, as was a great amount of tiny bubbles making the way to the top of the glass. The smells was toasted, almost to the roasted point, along with a slightly woody smell. Nice caramel flavor in the malt, with a modest amount of hop bitterness, but still balanced. Nice dry finish. Seemed a bit too carbonated, but I would say it was a pretty decent brew. I would not pass this one up if offered.

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Photo of KajII
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Pint glass]

The pour was a cloudy medium brown with a reddish hue and had an average sized (1-2 finger) off white frothy head that lasted a little while, leaving behind some residue that lasted throughout thus producing some excellent lacing that was left sticking to the glass.

The aroma was of a cookie like malt, a moderate dose of herbal hops and a mild sweet yeast with notes of caramel, toffee and had a slight nutty presence with a mild alcohol tinge.

It tasted slightly bitter with a hint of toffee and a slight nuttiness at first then became nice and malty and very lightly sweet with a note of caramel and a moderate hop presence at the end. The flavor stuck around for a nice long while, allowing for the flavor of lingering hops to be totally appreciated.

Mouthfeel was just a tad below medium in body and mildly dry in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice sweet malty brew with a nice emphasis on hops at the finish.

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Photo of KMcG
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this served from a pitcher. When poured into a pint glass, the head developed nicely. It was creamy, off-white, and pretty thick. The color of the brew is a clear, rich amber. 

The smell is sweet and caramely with hints of bright, light citrus hops. 

The taste is toasty, malty, and sweet with a mild bitter bite of citrus hops at the end. 

This brew is medium bodied with mild carbonation.  It's easy drinking and not filling. 

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thagr81us really tossed in a ton of beers as extras in our recent trade. Thank you, Calton.

Served in my Founders 10th Anniversary glass, Gaelic Ale is clear amber with copper highlights. A dense, light brown head is present, receding to a disk leaving some lace. Solid.

The nose is decent. Plenty of caramel with brown sugar and a little toffee. There really isn't a lot else going on here, some hop character is present, but this is mostly just sweet.Hops are mildly chalky. The palate opens with a moderate bitterness with some citrus hops with more pith-like bitterness than flavor. Again, there's a moderate malt character as well, with a hodgepodge of caramel, brown sugar and toffee, all rather muddled. There's a moderate sweetness on the finish, along with a rather surprising coffee note. A touch of citrus as well, there's some bitterness present. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this is decent on the palate. Decent stuff.

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Photo of acsprouse
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: red amberish. Little cloudiness. white creamy head with a little lacing.

S: malts, bready, toasty, slightly sweet with a floral hop scent well in there (smells great)

T: malty, the taste follows the nose as far as maltiness. The hops fall short and so does the taste.

m: medium body yet slightly on the thinner side. Nicely carbonated. Very very drinkable.

o: highly drinkable. Well balanced blend of malts.the hops are lacking but ehh thats not always bad. Its not bad.. its good.. but its not great. I do urge you guys to try it.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a decent, on-the-darker-side amber colour with a mid-sized, slightly off-white head that mas low retention time and leaves a fair amount of residue on the glass.

The aroma is slightly toasted malt blended with a bit of caramel sweetness and some floral hops that lean toward the subtly fruity side at times.

The flavour has a nice balance between the toasted malt and the sweetness from not only a bit of caramel (slightly less noticeable here than in the aroma) but also from the hop notes, which lean a bit more toward a 50/50 floral/fruit balance here. Mouthfeel is on the lighter bodied side and has a fair amount of crispness to it, but also has a bit of smoothness as well.

This is a nice beer overall, it's just not one that stands out from the pack of not only the Highland lineup (or at least the four or five that I've sampled), but ambers/reds in general. That said if this is the worst thing a brewery has going for it than that's not a bad position to be in as this is still a good brew. Another nice once from Highland.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep and rich looking red. It has a nice off white head that leaves scant lacing.

Smell is caramel and toffee. Just a slight hop presence in the nose. Very nice.

Taste is where I was a bit let down. Some initial malt followed by a slight bitterness even sourness at some points.

Overall, this beer looks great and smells inviting. The mouthfeel is a bit watery for me and the flavors are not quite what the nose hinted at. Still a decent brew.

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Photo of bikehorn
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: chestnuty, cherry colored almost, pretty light tan head

Smell: fresh grainy bread, maybe apple as well

Taste: malty, bready and ended with a twist of hops - a little too bitter for me

Mouthfeel: medium bodied

Drinkability: not so good for me, too malty and i didn't like the hops chaser at the end. for all the bready smells i was hoping for a little fuller-body and a little less bite

Overall: not quite what i was expecting, but mostly a good beer, with a little kick

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Photo of drseamus
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Brilliant ruby body with visible carbonation. Tan head initially but it fell.

S: Decent aroma. Good malt with a bit of caramel.

T: Nice malt body but maybe a touch too much malty sweetness. Decent bitterness. It's kind of a cluttered beer.

M: Medium bodied.

D: Not a bad ale but the balance is off.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Poured amber/orange color. Half finger light tan head that dies down to nothing after a couple seconds. Spot lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malts in the front end of the aroma. Some light bready malts in middle with some light earthy hops in the back end of the aroma.

T- Light oxidation in the front end of this beer. Caramel malts follow after the light oxidation. Bready malts come through in the middle. Muted sweet alcohol taste in the back end of the beer. Also, muted bitter hops in back end but very faded.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation good for the style. Light oxidated taste left on the palate with some bready malts left in the aftertaste. Clean tasting other than the light metallic taste in the beginning.

D- This was a average drinker which isn't a bad thing. I would gladly buy a sixer of these if they were here. Would recommend as a good intro into craft beers.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.