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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 520
Hads: 1,350
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 220 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,350
Photo of nrbw23
2.07/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or what but this one poured a hazy golden orange color. Also had quite a bit of floaters and a large amount of sediment at the bottom of my glass.

S- First thing I noticed was citrus hops and that was about it.

T- Citrus hops and a sour metal taste is about all that I'm picking up.

M- Medium in body and pretty much no carbonation.

D- Wow, couldn't finish this one at all. I hope I just got a bad bottle.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.3/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

served in a 22oz brown bottle with a crimped cap into a tulip glass.

Deep rich amber color,hazy, with a 2" frothy white head with good retention and lots of tiny bubbles stringing from the sides of the glass.

The aromas were on the faint side,mostly fruity tropical fruits,light toasty malts with some nutty carmell.

Fruity tastes that are sour/tarty,faint malt tastes of carmell/toffee with a bit of nuttiness. Finished with a dry tart finish.

Light to medium body,grainy,on the rough side. Had a hard time finishing the bottle. Liked the two other beers i tried from this brewery this one was nothing like the two others i had tried.

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Photo of ElGordo
2.57/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep orangish-red with a very small head and minimal lacing. I'm actually wondering if the bottle was somehow damaged, the carbonation was so low. Aroma of roasted malt and light caramel. Palate is dominated by malt, with a flourish of light sweetness before a sharp bitterness on the finish. Overall I'm not a huge fan, but I'll have to try this one again. The bottle must have been old or damaged or both.

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Photo of schoolboy
2.6/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was the first beer I tried from my Highlan sampler. I thought that I had made a mistake and would be stuck drinking twelve beers like this that I did not like.

I won't be kinds here since I ended up liking everything else in the sampler much more than this. It's boring and borderlinee funky. It's semi-creamy. Creamy isn't usually a good sign for an ale like this.

I ended up drinking all of these from the sampler, and although Highland did redeem itself somewhat, this one did not work for me. No recommended.

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Photo of nickthetick
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: pours a clear dark amber into an American shaker glass with a thin white head that leaves spotty marks on the glass.

S: sweet malt and toasted bread greet the nose and are accompanied by a light hop note.

T: a lot like the nose and the hop flavor is unidentifiable but there is a distinct peat flavor.

MF: a bit thin from what I expected and medium effervescence.

O: I probably wouldn't pick this one up again.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.74/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A clean cooper/amber beer. Has a small creamy off white head with some lace. The aroma was a bit of sweet malt with a caramel note. There was a salty seaweed aroma in the back ground. The flavor starts with a bit of sweet malt with a hint of smoke in the background. The finish has a quick promise of hops and then its gone. The label says " a wee bit different". That difference did not capture me.

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Photo of Fcolle2
2.77/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Gift from my family in their trip to NC. $3.75 price tag on a 22oz I don't know whether to be amazed or scarred.

Pours somewhat dark amber in color with some slight hues of copper and red. Head is about 1 finger and retains nicely also leaving some lacing.

Smell is about $3.75. Sweet corn like malt is forward and not appealing. Some herbal hop aromas are present but very light.

Taste has a good light caramel malt flavor before a more corn like grainy sweetness dominates the midsection and persists into the after taste. Aftertaste is bitter but not in a hoppy way.

Mouthfeel is light for the appearance, light carbonation.

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Photo of portia99
2.81/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a muddy, yeast particulate laden brown body with a meager attempt at forming a head. What is there falls quickly leaving behind a loose collar.

S - Quite malty, molasses, brown sugar and caramel. Some toastiness too. Strangely I get a bit of a chlorinated pool water type aroma in here too...not especially pleasant.

T - Definitely malt forward, especially caramelly...a bit of metallic hoppiness mixed in. Molasses touches towards the finish. Hop bitterness balances out the sweet malt fairly well...a bit toasty and dry towards the finish.

M - On the thin side of medium bodied - starts out mildly sweet and finishes rather dry and biscuity. Balance is good. Carbonation is medium level, fizzy and tingly.

O - Weird pool water aroma detracts heavily here. Otherwise not bad...flavor is much better than the aroma, but still only really rates an average for me. Not undrinkable by any stretch, but not particularly satisfying either. Glad to try it, but likely a one and done for me.

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Photo of beerwolf77
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks goes to Erikkoppin for this brew. Poured into my pint glass the beer is a cloudy orange brown. A faint trace of off white head forms and fades simultaneously. A tiny bit of soapy lace.

The aroma is rather muted. Mild malt. Hints of caramel, apples, and a metalic like quality.

The flavor is about as average as the nose. Light malt and a hint of nuttieness. Slightly metalic and watery. Nothing real appealing.

Light body with average carbonation.

Overall a less than stellar brew. Just another average beer to lump in with all the other ones.

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Photo of BrewnZ
2.9/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this at Barley's Tap house in Knoxville, TN.

Deep copper colored beer with white head, hops and crystal malt in the nose.

Medium bodied with big crystal malt flavor, then spicy American hops running up the back. Finishes with lingering crystal malt flavor. A decent if, but not really exciting beer.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
2.9/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

With a bold amber color, it gives off fresh, crisp, roasted toffee malt with a very hoppy aftertaste within the malt. This piney hoppy aftertaste tries to disappear into a balanced state, but it clings to your mouth not wanting to let go. This is basically the Alley Cat from Lost Coast Brewing, but slightly more hoppier, less intertwined with the malt and hops and the hops don’t fall back into a balanced state before you know the bitter hops are there.

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Photo of bjohnson
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

thanks to blackie for the chance to try this offering.

Pours a perfect hazy reddish amber color with a one finger white head that keeps nice retention. Fluffy head hangs onto the sides mostly. Figs and dark fruits hit the nose first. Sweet malt notes give this brew a nice base aroma. Spicy hops mix well with the sweet caramel malt.

Malts seem to rule the base of this brew. Sweet caramel and biscuit malt flavors. Smooth on the palate after an initial carbonation blast. Slight bitterness that continues into the finish, but it's not very prevalent. Thin body to this brew--almost watered down in my opinion. It wants to be more thick than it is, but it just doesn't have the legs. A session brew that didn't wow me as the mouthfeel isn't very good--too thin. Highland does good things, but this may be the most pedestrian of their offerings.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - amber/red body, clear, small off white head.

S - vanilla, sweet malts. Not bad.

T - dry, kind of hoppy (pine). this is bizarre. Weird malt profile, funny bitterness.. not very keen on this.

M - thin, light, reasonable.

O (D) - this is a strange beer. Nose and tongue are not in line. I do not care for it.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a very pretty brew at all. A very deep amber hue and a little murky. Carbonation is medium/light and the body is full.
The nose has a bittersweet sence to it but shortlived and little else.
No crown to speak of, little lace and thin ring.
The taste starts to the malts and lingers until the hops kick in.
The malt presence is a burnt caramel like thing.
The hops don't seem to play well with the malts, but worth a try.

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Photo of Jericho7x
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

New to beer tasting, so take this with a grain of salt.
SMELL = Honestly, smelled like a foot. Not a ripe, all day while running foot, but maybe like 2-3 hours in a sneaker. Did not like the smell.
LOOK = Carmel color with a cream colored head. Not thick.
TASTE = Bitter. Could not get too much other taste, but it did have a very slight sweetness at the end.
OVERALL = not for someone like me getting away from the mass-produced American beers. This would be for a more veteran taste.

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Photo of drmystery
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

im starting to think highland brewing cant get their shi-stuff together.

their year round beers are, to be frank, underwhelming. especially this beer. to me it tastes like burnt hops...i do like the roasty characteristics of stouts and porters but in an ale im expecting it to taste, well, ale-y; i like those citrusy and hoppy smells and flavors from a good ale.

this beer looks good-it has a nice reddish/copperish/brown apperance. it smells good-nice hops and malts and all that.

but as soon as i taste it, it just tastes like burnt hops. that burnt taste is either from the amount of malts they use-this beer has 5 different types of grain and 3 types of hops., or from not enough hops. i am no "hophead" by any means, i just think this beer is too malty and not hoppy enough for what it is.

overall, i think this beer-and just about every other highland beer is underwhelming for the style it is. i think people tend to overhype this beer when its just an average beer. its not nasty, but its not great. i think this beer is like the guinness of asheville/nc because people come up to asheville and drink it because its one of the more popular beers here, just like how people go to ireland and drink guinness even though its an average beer. im not saying highland brewing are gimmicky, im just saying their beers are overhyped and just average.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Highland Gaelic Ale...

Appearance-Deep dark red color, residual sticky lace, fairly nice appearance.

Smell- malty sweetness, some hops and alcohol, nothing crazy but nothing off hand.

Taste/Mouthfeel- malty sweetness upfront, some hops, something else I can't quite detect, lots of carbonation. Smooth and active going down, what is that slight off flavor?

Drinkability-a fine amber ale, not exactly refreshing but would be good in a pub.

Overall-a malty sweet version of the amber ale style. A fine beer with an interesting off flavor, I wonder what that is. Either way, an ok beer.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aug 4, 2009

12oz. bottle. Pours dark amber with a small off-white head.

Aroma is piney hops.

Flavor is caramel malts up front and piney hops on the finish. Some molasses, brown sugar, and spice as well.

Mouthfeel is creamy with medium carbonation.

This one got MUCH better as it warmed. When cold, it was quite dull and 1-dimensional, but came to life as it warmed in the glass.

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Photo of rockyfire
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer at the Lighthouse in Wrightsville.This beer is clear in body. Amber and Red in color. Off-white head is ok and pops butt does not last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by s light citric flavour. I wonder what hops they use. Flavor is malt with moderate hopping. Not a bad North Carolina beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lunch for sharing this beer. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head and a thin collar on the way down. THe nose carries an average amount of bready malt with a touch of caramel in there. The flavor has a light sweetness along with some bread crust and a bit of toast. Light caramel there and some very light hops. Light body with average carbonation; finish is slightly-dry and bitter. Decent enough, though nothing I'd go out of my way for.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another bottle shared by Lunch, thanks! You are suppose to be a red ale? oops. I thought something totally different.

Beer is reddish I suppose, mostly clear with an offwhite head of small bubbles, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, mildly caramel, not much of it there.

Beer is sweet and medium in body, the back is moderately bitter, finish is not dry. Overall a below average tasting ale. I won't have it again.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-the bottle pours a reddish amber color with a thin one finger of an off white head that has no retention and leaves no lace on the glass

S-very light nose, almost nothing there. what i do get is a bready malt with some caramel. also seems to be a note of pale malt in there with a little citrus.

T-the taste is also very light and brings pale malts with a touch of caramel giving way to a hint of citrus that is over taken by bitterness in the finish

M-has a nice medium body and is slightly syrupy with a slickness at the back of the throat

D-great mouthfeel on a rather pedestrian tasting beer.

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Photo of speter
3.09/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours translucent orange/amber with one-finger tan head that left impressive lacing.

S: Average amount of sweet malt, but little else. I suppose the Gaelic designation means "No hops here."

T: Clean, American ale, without any fruity esters or hop character to speak of. Lightly sweet throughout. Overall, not a complex beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation that leads to a nice mouthfeel when swirled in the nonic. Medium body and a fairly creamy head.

D: This is a lawnmower beer if ever I've had one. Lightly sweet, little hop bitterness or aroma and refreshing carbonation.

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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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Photo of Onenote81
3.12/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed a pint of this for lunch. Came out a deep amber gold with very little head on it. Lacing was absent as well. Smelled roasty and sweet.

Mouthfeel was thin and wet. Disappointing. Flavor was a big let down as well. Very malty and sweet. Finishes like toasted brown sugar. There was very little bitterness in this at all. Pretty bland overall. I was sorely disappointed with this beer as I've heard good things. I'll give the bottle a try and see if it is any better...

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.