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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

525 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 525
Hads: 1,375
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.42%
Wants: 34
Gots: 239 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States | website

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: 525 | Hads: 1,375
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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Photo of redelephantdane
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance : dark orange, apricot colored and murky, one finger head that quickly dissipates leaves a little lace.

smell: light floral notes, some sweet fruit, grapes, berries.

taste: well balanced, bottle says a good amount of malty sweetness but i didnt really taste that much malt. little to no hops come throught, floral and balanced.

mouthfeel: smooth as hell, i could drink a sixer of these with out hesitation. flavor stays on the top of your mouth long after swallowed.

drinkability: real easy. fans of balanced beers will love this ale. drinking this beer brings me back to my parents garden, smelling all the flowers around me.

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Photo of mactrail
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice to look at, with dark amber color and decent head. Only a hint of malt but plenty of hops. Carbonation lasts well. Does have a nice beery smell when you sniff the glass, but not much nose as you sip and exhale.

Anemic malt with a hint of roasted flavors. Hops give very little to the aroma and leave a dishwatery aftertaste. I'm not sure what they're after with this beer. There are so many better amber ales, I can't believe this one should rate in the top 20.

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Photo of jgurley
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a really nice deep clear amber with a thin head which leaves a little lace. Smell is slightly dry white grape, yeasty malt and a bit of hop. Taste is light, malty, dry, and a little hop bitterness on the finish. Slight chewed aspirin on the finish. Fairly thin mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Not bad, but not quite as big a beer as I prefer. I prefer their Oatmeal Porter, but I heard recently that they were gonna stop distribution here in Florida. Oh well..

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle, no date info, but bottle bottom inkjetted with 5149 B-11355.

Foggy bronzed orange. Popping, tall head of small and medium khaki bubbles that slowly settles to a frosting spread of fine bubbles. No carbonation streams. Caramel malts and fruity sweet hops with just a touch of grapefruit rind tartness. There is a slightly sweet malt character that bridges to the fruit and slightly peaked citrus hop finish that lingers for the blink of an eye. This is balanced to the point of equilibrium, but nothing stands out. There is no carbonation present which gives this a bland, flat mouthfeel that is not appealing. Medium to light body, but overall the mouthfeel was sub par. Merely mediocre, balanced, but neither the malt nor the hop component were distinctive. The missing carbonation did this one in.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Scottish delight. Poured a mostly brown clear color with some reddish hues. A good off white head that stuck around and created swirls. Ok lacing as well.

The smell is a little sudsy and some lighter notes of malt. Not much of an overall smell really.

The taste has a spicy malt flavor. The malt is basic but limited caramel flavor, but at the end there is a spicy almost peppery finish to it. The hops are mild but some bittering hops are noticeable. A touch of earthy and piney flavors. There is a little bit of citrus finish but very subtle.

The body is mid to light. Some wispy flavors that aren’t exactly watery but close to it. Very easy to drink but could use more malty caramel flavor. Nice enough to enjoy in the Scottish hills of North Carolina.

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Photo of tigerpaws
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very average amber ale, not the best but worth drinking again. Nice malty taste, not much aroma and very good appearance. Its a good beer for the novice who drinks mass produced crap...............CHEERS

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very solid pour here. It's a reddish, deep ruby color with white head.
There is a little smell here, but not highly noticeable.
There is good amber spice here. Very smooth and the bit of bitter transitions into amber spice very well.
Very drinkable, and the amber stays with me for a bit on my tongue, which is great.

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Photo of wowbagger
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear red. Not much aroma, some hop.

Good and hopy red, a little dry but not too much. Some sweet notes. Coats the tongue nicely and has some sharpness at the back of the mouth.

Overall, a very solid amber ale. Hopier than most reds, but still quite good. I'd definitely recommend it.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.29/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a handsome beer as far as your standard amber ale goes - deep, clear amber color with a light tan-yellow-ish head. I'm sticking my nose as deep down into the glass as I can go, and I'm not picking up much aroma - perhaps some mild caramel and nutty action, or maybe I'm just imagining it because my nose is all jammed into this thing. Thankfully it does have flavor and there is more of a hop presence here than in most typical amber ales. An almost sweet caramel malty taste followed by a bitter tang of hops. This went better with food - grilled chicken thighs seasoned with sage, oregano, basil, etc. and salt-n-peppa. I think this beer will go well with leftover Thanksgiving food.

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Photo of phishgator
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. The deep amber and nice foamy head are a great presentation for this beer. There is only a mild carbonation. The cascade hops come right through in the nose, very distinctive. The taste is has a slight burnt characteristic. There is a balance of hops and malt, but then on the back end there is an astrigent taste. The body is mild, which allows for a lot of drinking, but after two I'm ready to move onto bigger and better.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, reddish-brown body with an ivory-colored head.

Smell: There's a light caramel maltiness to the aroma as well as notes of flowers and citrus. Some spice in there, too.

Taste: Flavor of toasted grains with a soft caramel sweetness. Citrusy hops with a subtle spiciness. Mild bitterness on the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Highland's given us a pleasant, easy drinking amber, which is awfully decent of them.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful, fat-bubbled, deep-ruddy red-amber ale, I find myself unfortunately not as impressed with the remainder of this Highland flagship than I expected to be. It has a very mild, slightly malty odor, but that'd be forgivable if the flavors weren't also so excessively mild. Besides being a bit thin in texture, Gaelic Ale is quite lean on the flavors I expect from a well-crafted amber: the malting is clean, but doesn't do much to make its presence felt besides a bit bite on top of its moderately sweet substructure; and the overall impression is certainly a little less than the "rich malty body" promised on the label. Meanwhile, the hopping is nice, but largely straightforward: not a lot of fragrance or florality, with the Cascade and Willamette primarily serving to ripen the sweetness a bit with some grassy bitter notes.

It's a fairly drinkable beer—though I wouldn't quite call it "sessionable," despite its fairly light body, since the sweetness outweighs the crispness, respective to Gaelic's malt elements (and malt is the crucial component of an amber, as far as I'm concerned). But, as stated, it's a little disappointing, given that I've liked other products from Highland, and this is their ur-product. I've been told that on draft it better matches its promises, both in terms of official description and critical profile, but I suppose I'll believe that when I taste it; from the twelve-ounce bottle, it was decent, but underwhelming.

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Photo of nick76
3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma has rootbeer, caramel, malt, and a hint of hops. The appearance is amber with a smallish sized head. The flavor is sweet and closely matches the aroma. The palate is smooth. The finish is slightly bitter and cardboard like. Overall good but with imperfections.

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Photo of Crimsonfloods
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pint glass

Nice amber/orange tinge on it. Creamy white head with a nice lacing.

Smells bold caramel and malt, almost an oaky sent in the background.

Taste is a fine balance between hops and malt, slight bitter.

Feels good, smooth relatively dry finish.

Pretty good overall, nothing too ground breaking.

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Photo of peteanddaze
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I wanted to love this ale because Highland Oatmeal Porter and Stout are so so good, but I didn't prefer it at all. Having spent so many happy months drinking Scottish ales in Scotland, maybe I am spoiled. I just did not find this ale to be rich and tasty, but just very average. I will try it again at some point to be fair and to make sure I am not missing out on something really good.

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Photo of match1112
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: slightly hazy reddish brown body. an inch of off white creamy foam settles leaving a small amount of lacing.

s: lightly toasted bready malts, touch of floral hops in the background.

t: sweet bread and toast. hops are almost not there. just a touch of spice on the finish.

m: medium body, creamy, carbonation is spot on.

o: very drinkable. very well balanced between the malts and hops. just nothing about it makes it stand out against the others in the same category.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, clear copper color with light lacing on top, mild carbonation.

S - Smells of baked bread crust, caramel, and citrus hopping.

T - Very well balanced. Starts out with bread crust up front, some toasted malts, and ends with a very mild citrus bitterness, not much, just enough to bring the sweetness back into check. I'm having a hard time picking anything else out on the flavors because it's so $#@% mild.

M - Medium body and a little watery. Bread crust and toasty grain lingers in the mouth at the very end.

D - Average.

Very balanced it is, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as everyone else.

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Photo of rmolledo
3.17/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a Dark Amber Red with quick fading head.

S: Peatey. Malt. Caramel. Slight fruity aroma.

T: Alot more mellow than the smell suggests. Malty. Peaty After taste. Sweet Finish.

MF: Lightly carbonated. Thick mouth feel.

D: A rather uneventful scottish style ale (regardless of what the bottle says, this tastes like an american style scottish ale). Nothing to write home about.

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Photo of donmonkey1
3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice brownish amber color, small brownish white head with some lacing. Decent carbonation.

Smell: sweet licorice/molasses malt

Taste: Definate hop bitterness with a floral taste and some yeasty, bready molasses.

This beer has a solid, unique character. It's respectable, but as far as drinking a lot of them, it's really not my cup of beer.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.14/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice ruddy amber color; slim head

S: Weak hints of earthy malt aromas

T: Abundant caramel malts balanced well with a variety of hops; the finish is relatively quick with a slight lingering of hops.

M: Decent medium bodied with abundance of carbonation

D: Good ale, would probably go good with a roasted turkey leg or soup in a bread-bowl. Personally prefer more aggressive flavor profiles but this would be fine as an escape from American Macros.

The Highland line is generally one of my favorites but this particular ale is closer to mediocre. Not bad, generally enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
3.12/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a half finger of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Malty sweet with some caramel and cherry hints.

Taste: Malt is the dominant flavor with some sweetness that reminds me of caramel and some cherry as well. There is a hint of bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I had this while watching a Penn State game and it served its purpose well. It's good, but not very interesting.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 525 ratings.