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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: 1,349
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
Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,349
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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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.14/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice ruddy amber color; slim head

S: Weak hints of earthy malt aromas

T: Abundant caramel malts balanced well with a variety of hops; the finish is relatively quick with a slight lingering of hops.

M: Decent medium bodied with abundance of carbonation

D: Good ale, would probably go good with a roasted turkey leg or soup in a bread-bowl. Personally prefer more aggressive flavor profiles but this would be fine as an escape from American Macros.

The Highland line is generally one of my favorites but this particular ale is closer to mediocre. Not bad, generally enjoyable.

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Photo of donmonkey1
3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Nice brownish amber color, small brownish white head with some lacing. Decent carbonation.

Smell: sweet licorice/molasses malt

Taste: Definate hop bitterness with a floral taste and some yeasty, bready molasses.

This beer has a solid, unique character. It's respectable, but as far as drinking a lot of them, it's really not my cup of beer.

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Photo of rmolledo
3.17/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a Dark Amber Red with quick fading head.

S: Peatey. Malt. Caramel. Slight fruity aroma.

T: Alot more mellow than the smell suggests. Malty. Peaty After taste. Sweet Finish.

MF: Lightly carbonated. Thick mouth feel.

D: A rather uneventful scottish style ale (regardless of what the bottle says, this tastes like an american style scottish ale). Nothing to write home about.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, clear copper color with light lacing on top, mild carbonation.

S - Smells of baked bread crust, caramel, and citrus hopping.

T - Very well balanced. Starts out with bread crust up front, some toasted malts, and ends with a very mild citrus bitterness, not much, just enough to bring the sweetness back into check. I'm having a hard time picking anything else out on the flavors because it's so $#@% mild.

M - Medium body and a little watery. Bread crust and toasty grain lingers in the mouth at the very end.

D - Average.

Very balanced it is, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as everyone else.

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Photo of match1112
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: slightly hazy reddish brown body. an inch of off white creamy foam settles leaving a small amount of lacing.

s: lightly toasted bready malts, touch of floral hops in the background.

t: sweet bread and toast. hops are almost not there. just a touch of spice on the finish.

m: medium body, creamy, carbonation is spot on.

o: very drinkable. very well balanced between the malts and hops. just nothing about it makes it stand out against the others in the same category.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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