Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,302 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,302
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 30
Gots: 197 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,302 | Reviews: 532
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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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..

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,302 ratings.