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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

1,119 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,119
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 26
Gots: 86 | 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: 1,119 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

02-13-2008 14:41:46 | More by Kegatron
Photo of maleman


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

12-31-2009 20:06:32 | More by maleman
Photo of djeucalyptus


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

05-03-2009 07:15:25 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of Globetrotter


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

10-18-2004 03:30:55 | More by Globetrotter
Photo of jokelahoma


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

11-01-2007 00:11:47 | More by jokelahoma
Photo of Sjburns17


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

01-01-2012 19:00:09 | More by Sjburns17
Photo of KentT


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

06-21-2012 01:28:16 | More by KentT
Photo of lewzer99


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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

10-01-2012 22:09:09 | More by lewzer99
Photo of Stimack

New York

3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

04-26-2005 02:17:50 | More by Stimack
Photo of ATPete

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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!

06-11-2008 23:20:20 | More by ATPete
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

04-18-2008 02:01:59 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of brewcrew76


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

07-30-2007 01:58:14 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of bboven


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

01-19-2008 03:34:47 | More by bboven
Photo of AgingWarrior


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

01-18-2009 22:25:21 | More by AgingWarrior
Photo of Washuffizi98


3.96/5  rDev +3.9%

08-16-2014 07:33:37 | More by Washuffizi98
Photo of merlin48


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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

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

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

09-07-2013 23:33:20 | More by jkrich
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,119 ratings.