1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,137 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,137
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 28
Gots: 95 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,137 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brauseboof
4/5  rDev +5%

brauseboof, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of sevenmoist
4/5  rDev +5%

sevenmoist, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of nwatson
4/5  rDev +5%

nwatson, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of archero
4/5  rDev +5%

archero, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of JordanHageman
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer for the first time tonight with dinner and I gotta say I enjoyed it. It had a good sweetness balanced with a tale end hop bitterness. Made for a good ale. A good ale but not my favorite I've had. I'd drink it again if it was available to me. Enjoy!

JordanHageman, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of Metalmonk
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is pleasant and mellow. Glassy reddish/ruby color. Modest foamy head settles pretty quick from an aggressive pour. Carbonation is there but slow and steady.

Smell is primarily malty, which brings out an almost cherry Nibs candy aroma, with some obvious hop undertones. Aromas could be more out front, I don't have a cold or anything and I'm just not "feeling it". Flavor is full, satisfying, crisp and dry, with an unobtrusive hoppy snap. Mouthfeel is really nice. With the insane amount of beers and styles out there, some don't even feel like Beer with a capital B, but when you have this one in the mouth, you know it's the real thing.

Good stuff that you could enjoy a few of in one sitting.

Metalmonk, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of tdm168
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a nice copper-amber but no head. Nose is malty with mild hops and fruits. Taste is caramel malts up front with a nice fruity sweetness too. There is just enough hops in the finish to lend balance to this beer. Medium bodied and very smooth.

I think this is a very good beer. I come back to it again and again when I want something rich, balanced, and highly drinkable.

tdm168, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Pours a murky amber with a 1/2 finger width of off-white head that settles down into a thin layer of retention that left some decent lace. The aroma is caramel malts, toasted malts,light breadiness, and just the slightest pick up of hops in the back.

The taste pretty much matches the aroma profile. Caramel malt sweetness, roasted malts, and some light breadiness are nicely balanced by some lingering bittering hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice carbonated feel.

Very nice. I really liked the interaction of the roasted and caramel malts in this guy as well as the pleasant bitterness it ended with. A fine tasting and very drinkable Amber Ale.

Kegatron, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of maleman
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. no freshness dating noted on bottle.

A - a cloudy dark amber with a one finger head that receded quickly into a thin cap. thin, clingy lacing.

S - very heavy sweet malt aroma with a bit of chocolate, or coffee.

T - toasted malt that belied the sweetness in the nose. the coffee/chocolate tones continue coming through. a good bit of piney resin in the aftertaste.

M - medium-bodied. average carbonation. tasty finish.

D - this brew was given as a christmas gift but ended up being one of the best gifts i received! nice job by this small brewery in asheville. will purchase more of this brew when i'm in the area again.

maleman, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of djeucalyptus
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a beautiful bright amber with hints of red. a creamy two-finger cream colored head has impressive retention, fading to a thin frothy cap that leaves beautiful lacing.

aroma is malty and earthy with hints of caramel and toffee. brown sugar and hints of hoppy spice... pepper and a bit of clove... but sugar and malt dominate. relatively neutral... not bad, but not stunning.

Taste is malt, caramel, and some hoppy spice. a bit peppery, a bit tangy, and then a bit of pine and a touch of citrus hops pull through. more malt, a hint of peat, a bit of smoked wood and more caramel. fairly sweet with a lingering roasted malt bitterness. Right on the line between 3.5 and 4... i'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

mouth is smooth, full bodied for the style, with beautiful creamy carbonation that makes this one a pleasure to drink. the carbonation carries across the spice nicely without being overwhelming, and remains soft enough to be creamy. a nice lingering bitterness hangs subtly.

all in all, one of the better ambers I've had. appearance is incredible, and flavor doesn't fall far behind. the delicious mouthfeel really makes it enjoyable, and just goes to prove that highland can make some fairly impressive brews. Nothing amazingly out of the ordinary, but a damn good amber.

djeucalyptus, May 03, 2009
Photo of Globetrotter
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard 12 oz bottle that looks just like the picture. Very little label info, other than identifying the type of hops used (Cascade adn Williamette). I kind of like the bagpipe player holding the big mug of beer with the Scottish (or are they the Smokies?) mountains in the background.

Pours a slightly hazy copper with interesting internal strands under a two finger beige head that is creamy smooth and slow to fade. Very nice lace on the glass. Good strong English hops aroma, crisp and clean. Well carbonated and substantially bodied mouth that is a bit sticky. Good barley malt opening with a touch of caramel. Nice crisp hoppy bite accompanies. Mild bitter aftertaste. This is a very good rendition of a British ale.

Globetrotter, Oct 18, 2004
Photo of jokelahoma
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quaffed a pint at Old Chicago in Wake Forest, NC

This one came to me a pretty little tawny brownish-red pint, with a fairly decent sized and very sticky head that laced like grandma's doilies. Nice and appetizing to look at.

The aroma was very malty, with a lot of dark fruits and a bit of buttery toffee coming to the front. It smells really sweet, and yet nice and roasty/toasty. Surprisingly mouthwatering nose, to mix anatomical references.

The taste isn't as sweet as the nose suggests, as the roasted malts seem to balance the sweetness with the faux bitterness they provide, even in the absence of much in the way of hoppiness. In other words, this isn't terribly hoppy to say the least, but the chocolate malts with their bittersweet dark chocolate flavors seem to keep everything well in line. The enticing toffee aroma doesn't ranslate to the taste, thankfully, as there is no buttery diacetyl flavor here at all. This is definitely a malt-forward beer, as the style would dictate, but roasty enough and with just enough bitterness to make it well balanced. Quite nicely done, really.

The mouthfeel leans toward the heavier side. Certainly not an imperial stout, but heavy enough to be substantial. This adds to the complexity of the beer, and is a nice fit for the style.

This one drinks bigger than what it is, and that's a compliment. It's not overly sweet or caramelly, as far too many ambers or red can tend to be, but neither is it too roasty, like a stout with a serious pigmentation problem. This is a well balanced, fruity, malty, chocolatey beer. Well made, and worth trying.

jokelahoma, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of Sjburns17
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice deep copper color with a tan thick head that leaves good legs and stays.

S: some sweet malt/caramel, little bit of hops and almond, and a hint of bready.

T: Malty sweetness up front followed by a nice pairing of hops. Little bit of caramel

M: Medium body and light carbonation

O: very nice beer and well balanced. This is a good beer from highland. I would def recommend it to many. Very easy to drink.

Sjburns17, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of KentT
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent fruity, well balanced between hops and malt, easy to drink session ale. Delightful finish. Has a slight caramelly note. Rich and complex enough to be interesting but never dull. I recommend it very highly. And it is reasonably priced here in East Tennessee.

KentT, Jun 21, 2012
Photo of lewzer99
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a light copper color with a nice finger width head. Head lasts a pretty good while, leaving lacing.
S- alot of floral hippiness. A little bit of grape fruity citrus, and malty sweetness.
T- starts with a balance of hoppy bitterness and malty sweetness, then citrus. Finishes with a hoppy bite.
M- nice medium body. Very drinkable.
O- tasty. I would get it again

lewzer99, Oct 01, 2012
Photo of Stimack
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours to a red/amber color with a fair sized head that broke down quite quickly leaving very faint lacing along the side of the glass. The aroma seems to be mostly of malt that has a toasted and sweet smell. Can notice slight hop scent but it has a hard time breaking past the malt. The taste is heavy on the malt that leaves a somewhat sweet taste in your mouth, while seemingly having an ever so slight hop taste. This is a nice brew, one I would get again.

Stimack, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of ATPete
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Big shout out to my buddy Mike for hooking me up with a 5'er (yea i said 5'er) of this after his recent trip to NC. It pours a brilliant ruby brown color with a big brown and white spotted head, awesome sticking/lacing. Nice nose of wood, chocolatey sweet malts, some spice and some cherry and other fruit notes. Mostly malty, semi sweet malts at that, pretty crisp fruity feel to it, a bit of smokey wood chips and tobacco, a touch of citrus and hop bitterness upon the finish. It leaves a very woody, malty, bitter aftertaste, im loving it, this may turn some people off though. After it sat for a while the aftertase became a bit metallic, not very offensive. Good medium mouthfeel, decent complexity, light carbonation and pretty damn easy to drink. Good beer!

ATPete, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a pint glass. Thanks to 67couple for the sample.

A - clear, copper color with a quick falling beige head that left a little lacing.

S - noticable Williamette hop earthiness in the aroma.

T - rich malty flavor and sweetness is balanced out with mild bitterness.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation feel.

D - good drinkability.

JoeyBeerBelly, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of brewcrew76
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber with a thin white head the leaves a trail of frothy lace behind.

S - Caramel n altiness with some citrus hops in the back.

T - Caramel and toffee with a nice breadiness and some citrus hops.

M - Medium body, smooth and creamy.

D - A tasty and easy drinking red.

brewcrew76, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of bboven
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really think these new hoppier reds need their own style, but so it is.

Straight-up copper color, clear with a bi head and respectable lacing.

A surprising amount of hops in the aroma, biscuity and sweet malt also dancing around.

This one tastes more like a malty pale ale than an amber. The hops lay too prominent a roll to be true to style, but it's very tasty regardless.

Pretty spritzy carbonation lifts the flavor off the tongue pretty quickly. Pretty drying from the big hop profile.

Very tasty beer, just not a true amber. I buy this stuff a lot, usually on-tap and it never disappoints. Really good if you can't decide between a malty or hoppy beer.

bboven, Jan 19, 2008
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.

AgingWarrior, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Washuffizi98
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%

Washuffizi98, Aug 16, 2014
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.

merlin48, Jun 14, 2004
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.

Jon, Nov 02, 2002
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,137 ratings.