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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,082 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,082
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 22
Gots: 70 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,082 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AgingWarrior


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange/gold color into my tulip glass. Aggressive pour produced about a finger of reddish tan head. Not much retention, but pretty good lacing.

Smells of malts and some fruity undertones.

Taste is malty but with a nice hop balance. After taste is bready or doughy.

Mouth feel is medium body and carbonation, well done.

Easy to drink, left me wanting another one.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 22:25:21 | More by AgingWarrior
Photo of merlin48


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper/red body with a small, but lasting, beige head. Scattered lace patches the glass. The color is almost radiant in appearance, very attractive.

Aroma is very malty, with lots of toffee and caramel on the nose. Herbal hops and a definite note of spruce provide a delicate balance to the bouquet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slight syrupy character.

Thicker on the palate than I initially thought, with a bigtime maltiness highlighted by toffee and caramel. Plenty of herbal hops bitterness, with spruce pine in the forefront. A note of smoked charcoal appears out of nowhere, and adds additional complexity.

This is a very tasty, nicely balanced Scots/Irish style red ale that I'm becoming quite fond of. Very well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2004 20:31:51 | More by merlin48
Photo of Jon


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highland's Gaelic Ale pours a deep amber color with a short-lived white head. Smell is of citric Cascade hops at first, accompanied by a lingering malt aroma. Taste is more on the malty side, but the balance the hops provide is appealing. Pretty smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. Easy drinking, it's not hard to quaff more than a few of these. A pretty solid amber ale all the way through.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2002 10:42:26 | More by Jon
Photo of Dodo2step


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Skeeordye

A- pours a nice ruby red orange color that looks quite clean and crisp. A nice fluffy one finger red brown head coats the top of my beer and leaves a lattice lacing on the glass.

S- aroma is weak but i get hints of brown sugar and sweet malts. some caramel and/or toffee rounds it out.

T- a nice caramel and toffee type of taste. Its like it was caramelized with the brown sugar. very sweet and somewhat hoppy to round out the taste buds.

M- sweet and hoppy but in a good way. the complement each other quite well. smooth and crisp just like the way it appears.

D- a nice smooth clean beer. This is one you could pound back a sixer in a few hours but anymore than that and you would feel like you ate an entire 3 course meal. very filling beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 18:24:12 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of JayS2629


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice, drinkable beer. I could drink a lot of this. Leans to the malty side but hops makes itself known. Great balance.

Its a caramel amber color with a creamy white head that fades fast and leaves spotty lace. Smell is of brown sugar, biscuits, caramel, and grassy, herbal hop nose with a touch of sweet chocolate. The taste is mellow, smooth caramel. Bready malts, and clean hop finish of grass and earthy hops. A touch of sweet chocolate makes this interesting. It is very well balanced between the malt and hops. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 02:38:55 | More by JayS2629
Photo of cktison


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pour to pint glass.
A: Hazy amber with off-white 1" head. Nice retention, very little lacing.
S: Sweet malts, caramels and very little hop notes.
T: Really nice balance. More hops appear, nice sugary sweet and caramel hops. Great taste.
M: Nice and smooth, no bitterness, alcohol is not apparent at all.
D: Great. This is a good beer that really goes down smoothly. Nice session beer, for sure.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2007 13:09:51 | More by cktison
Photo of jtm3


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice amber color. Decent head retention with nice layered lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt, touch of hops. Something else in there that I cannot quite detect...some sort of spice?

T: Smooth from the get-go. Light sweetness give way to a heavier malt. Getting a hint of fruit...and there is that spicy flavor again. Also getting a little cream soda taste out of it. Finishes with a bit of hoppy bitterness, that doesn't overwhelm or last too long.

M: Not as heavy to me as most people seem to think. More medium to me.

D: I give it high marks here. Seems to go down well. Once again, back to my cream soda comment.

Overall, nice, easy-drinking beer. Not overly complex, but enough is present to please the palate.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2008 00:43:39 | More by jtm3
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from limesmut and mikesgroove, thanks for the opportunity guys. Pours a deep amber color with a nice size dirty white head that stick around a bit and laces the glass all the way down. Aroma is caramel malty with some citrusy hops in there as well. I smell loads of caramel and some mineral in the background. Tastes malty, caramel and hops round it out nicely. Maybe a touch sweet. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, medium body that finishes quite dry but lingers with bitterness in the finish. Decent brew for an American amber, I'm not sure what makes it a Gaelic Ale though. There are better brews out there, but this one is pretty good, I'd drink one if it was offered to me.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2008 22:20:22 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

A: The beer is a rusty deep orange and red color. Head is 2 fingers of off-white to really light tan and sticks around a while. Good looking beer.

S: Nice balanced character - sweet and matly for a quick second - bread and maybe some toast. Then comes a well proportioned hoppiness. Pine and light citrus. Well done.

T: Surprisingly hoppy at first then calms down to a nice balance. Has some light fruits throughout the middle there, but mostly citrus peel and some light piney notes. Bready malt holds it altogether. Nothing really stands out, just a solid beer with a good kick.

This is a super drinkable and flavorful beer with a great amount of balance. I could drink this all day in any season, but really reminds me of fall.

Well done Highland

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2013 22:25:17 | More by BucBasil
Photo of Matt1516

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A surprising pour: Dark amber with a small to medium foamy off-white head. Slight lacing through the session. Hoppy smell with breadiness.

Great creamy mouthfeel. Lots of caramel and hops in the taste, fresh bread and sour malts. Semi-sweet aftertaste with a touch of dryness.

One of the better red ales I've had of late.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2011 02:26:30 | More by Matt1516
Photo of jkrich


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. freshness stamped bottle: beautiful and clear, deep red with a foamy, beige head that slowly dissipated.

The aroma solidly emphasized the malt profile: sweet and malty with some hints of spicy hops.

Very nice and refreshing flavor that is well balanced by the cascade hops. The flavor is sweet and slightly fruity with a gentle hop bit at the end. The malt profile never becomes cloying even as the ale warms in the glass.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky with a light to medium body. The carbonation is not overpowering yet keeps the ale refreshing and zesty on the palate. While the palate is coated with the malty sweetness, there is a pleasant, lingering bitterness.

This ale reminds me why I always enjoy trying the amber ale style; you never know how the brewer will interpret this vague style. This is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 23:33:20 | More by jkrich
Photo of birchstick


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap a couple of years ago at Tyler's taproom in Durham, but didn't get a chance to review. A couple of years later I got the chance:

A - pours an amber red (hence the style) with a nice head

S - smells of sweet, caramel malts, as well as some bready tones. As I went in for another smell, I got hit with grains and some corn. There is a touch of grassy hops as well.

T - the taste follows the nose, with a couple pleasant surprises. It, as the nose suggests, starts off with a lot of caramel hops. These are cast to the side by a lot of bready/grainy malts (almost like a what bread taste). It finishes with a touch of spicy hops that fade to a nice, subtle toasted malt flavor. All of these flavors bland together really nicely to form a really flavorful, yet simple ale.

M - the body is more thin than medium, however it is a good feel for the style

D - Highland's Gaelic Ale is a really nice amber ale. Meets my definition of a session beer (albeit the abv is a little too high) _ nice flavor that doesn't destroy your palate, as well as being on the lower end of the abv spectrum. Well done Highland!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2010 02:40:53 | More by birchstick
Photo of burnstar


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty dark red with a small to medium head that leaves nice lacing on the surface and sides of the glass. Aroma is mild and malty. Caramel. Bready maltiness. Toasty. Not overly sweet. Just the right amount of hops to balance things out. Medium bodied. This is a really solid beer. Definitely one of the better American ambers I've had in a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2008 01:56:20 | More by burnstar
Photo of OKCNittany


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a one finger off-white head with good retention leaving plenty of lacing. Body was a slightly chill-hazed copper.

S: Toasted and caramel malts in the nose with a touch of hops. It prefer it a bit stronger.

T: What was lacking from the aroma is present in the taste, as the rich toasted and caramel malts are (at least somewhat) balanced by just enough bitterness from the grassy hops. It's a bit malt heavy and quite tasty.

M: Medium-plus body with soft carbonation, providing a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Finish was slightly dry with a lasting aftertaste.

D: While I generally prefer my red ales to be hop heavy, this was still enjoyable, drinkable, and very well done.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 02:18:47 | More by OKCNittany
Photo of Dogbrick


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My thanks to johnrobe for sending this to me. This was pretty good, deserving of this brewery's "flagship beer" status. Pours a deep amber color with a medium and foamy light tan head. Aroma of malt and caramel. Medium-bodied with an assertive malt flavor and a touch of hops. Finish is sweet but not overly so. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2003 19:36:43 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of JudgeRoughneck


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This classicaly-colored Irish red has a big head that quickly vaporizes but leaves a nice lacing. It offers up quite fresh aromas of sugary malt, earthy and fruity hops, wood, light spices, and fresh baked bread. Great balance of deep malt sweetness, metallic dryness, hop bitter, and fruitiness. Fruity hop finish makes this one a bit different. Mouth and gut feel are both just a tad heavy, but I'm sure I could still do some damage to this.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2006 00:44:21 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of nem2006


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It is a hazy, deep amber color with a good head that dissipates throughout the beer.

There is the slight sweetness of the toasted malts.

The taste is sweet at the start and finishes with a nice smooth bitterness from the hops (Cascade and Williamette).

This is a smooth, medium to full bodied beer with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 20:17:39 | More by nem2006
Photo of Stigs


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a standard pint glass

A - pours with almost no head, just a small floating island of bubbles. the beer is clear, dark amber in color.

S - very sweet with an incredible amount of caramel malt, brown sugar, bit of cinnamon. rounded off a little at the end by some Cascade hops, but the malt dominates here.

T - caramel up front on top of a massive doughy/bready malt bed. some spices, cinnamon, black pepper, join in with some playful earthy hops. pretty good.

M - thin body, quite watery. carbonation is nice and playful, not overwhelming. works OK, but something a little more substantial would put this up another notch.

D - overall, a decent take on the style. malt heads will enjoy the loads of caramel, while hop heads should be pleased with everything else going on here.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 02:05:40 | More by Stigs
Photo of bucklemyshoe


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 45 degrees into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: It pours brick-red with a finger of off-white head that holds and laces okay.

S: Strong caramel, light peatiness, and some chocolate.

T: Again, the strong caramel takes president with peat, chocolate, and toffee mixing in.

M: The carbonation is a little low with a slightly syrupy palate.

O: This is a decent hybrid of Amber Ale and Wee Heavy.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 13:33:12 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of donkeyrunner


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick, dark amber color with an average tan head. Some retention and sloppy lace.

Smells like toasty malt and cascade hops.

Tastes like toasted malt with a mild peat highlight balanced by grapefruit citrus hops. Like a Scottish ale dressed in casual attire for an easy night out. Very balanced: tastes complete.

trade via brentk56

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 20:56:58 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of jwc215


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade.

Pours orange amber with a thin white bubbly head taht retreats into a ring, leaving spotted lacing.

The smell is of caramel with a light citric fruitiness.

The taste is of a maltiness of an Irish Red with a subtle fruity citric hop backing. Malty sweetness rounded by a bitterness in the finish. An Irish Red with an American hop twist - Interesting and tasty.

Lighter side of medium-bodied, with soft to medium carbonation, this is a well-balanced amber ale that is very quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2008 03:31:25 | More by jwc215
Photo of Mojo


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are beers that just get your attention because they are strong and powerful and there are beers that get your attention because their qualities are a little more understated. This beer is the latter. It pours a beautiful copper with a large taupe head and substanstial lacing left over. The smell is pine, citrus, grasses and bread. Mouthfeel is good with just the right amount of carbonation. Taste is very sweet on the front seamlessly giving way to some subtle hoppiness on the finish. This was my first beer from this brewery and if this one is any indication of the overall quality, then I will certainly want to try more.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2012 02:55:18 | More by Mojo
Photo of zeff80


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, amber/orange color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of bready, sweet caramel with a citrusy kick.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel and grains with a grassy/mossy hop profile.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer with a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a nice ale. My first Highland brew and I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 22:19:39 | More by zeff80
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked this up a little less than a month ago when in NC. poured into my blue point snifter. poured a deep shiny crimson red with a off-white frothy head that was gone quick leaving spotty lacing. smell and taste are somewhat bland, with a subtle mix of caramel toastiness. very easy drinker, but a bit watery. very unassuming and unoffending, but certainly not attention grabbing. the most noticeable thing about this beer is how even the taste is. ambers can be a turnoff if they are too aggressive and this one is pretty likeable.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 03:53:41 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of ONUMello


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Transparent reddish-orange color. Next to no head.
S: Loaded with brown sugar and caramel. Some bread and just the tiniest hint of hops come through as well.
T: Slightly sweet with caramel and generic fruit notes. Then toasted malt and spice come through, with hops to round it out. Very balanced and pleasant.
M: Perhaps a bit thinner than I would expect but medium weight, nice overall.
O: Very drinkable, good balance. I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 21:15:01 | More by ONUMello
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.