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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

518 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 518
Hads: 1,335
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 31
Gots: 216 | 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: 518 | Hads: 1,335
Photo of clemtig76
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow - what a great looking beer! Pours a beautiful deep amber/mahogany color with a thick tan head. Good head retention as well as some sticky lacing. Sweet malty caramel like aroma with just a little citrusy hops in the background. Taste is a near perfect balance between the rich, sweet malts and hop bitterness. My first Highland beer and certainly not my last.

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Photo of BeerNoobNC
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with very little foam head. Very unique flavor. More hop character than a lot of amber ales but same sweet caramel malt flavor. Very good and unique taste. Highly recommended, even from someone that is not a big fan of this style.

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Photo of taigor
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Poured dark amber color with thin head that quickly dissipated leaving light lacing around the glass.

S - Malts, caramel and almonds.

T - Malts dominate followed by sweet caramel, toffee, honey with a slightly bitter dry nutty finish.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation.

O - Very good ale from Highland that's a bit unconventional but very tasty. I would highly recommend it.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my co-worker Drew for rocking this out to me from his trip back home for the holidays. The urge to try came from remembering our favorite college session beers.
Pours a very beautiful amber with a fluffy two inch head. The lacing looks like a paint splatter on the glass. Not much going for it in the smell area. Slight malts, tiny willamette scent. Eh. The taste is interesting. The bigger the mouthful, the heavier the taste. Very nice malt background with a fat burst of hops. The flavors mix together quite well. (Beats out my old amber session beer, Fat Tire.). There is almost no carbonation on the mouth, I have one more 12oz. so I'll see if it was a bottle defect. Other than that, very smooth. Super easy to drink. I could throw down a sixer (if I could get it here in SF.)

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Photo of Foyle
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 2" off white head with moderate lacing. Color is amber and slightly cloudy with moderate carbonation
Aroma: very pleasant aroma with biscuit and caramel malts plus a noticeable hop spice Mouthfeel: closer to medium than light body, finish is dry and refreshing.
Flavor: caramel, some citrus peel, whole wheat bread, a bit of raisin.
Overall: This is my favorite offering from Highland. Gaelic Ale to me is an outstanding beer. It is complex enough that it can taste quite malty or quite hoppy depending on what I am pairing it with. It is not too strong to be a session ale either.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to Rob!

pours deep amber and copper. light fluffy white head with great retention. nice lacing left on the sides.

scents of rich malts and sweet caramel with light floral hops

taste is bold with a very vibrant malt backbone supported with floral and bitter hop flavors. a nice bitterness left behind that carries a malt profile.

a bit light but very smooth

this is one hell of an amber. very rich and vibrant all around. very easy to drink and very enjoyable. low ABV means this is a GREAT sessionable beer.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tumbler.

Full, glowing amber in color; faint hue of auburn with noticeable carbonation. Creamy, slightly off-white head with stable retention. Ringed, thin lacing with good strength down the tumbler.

Semi-sweet toasted malts; light in aroma with lightly burnt floral hops. Faint hints of citrus, but not much. The yeast is fresh and the hops smell as if they're wet.

Fresh, wet hops; bright floral, but not exactly bitter. Fresh, clean yeast; no mustiness. Semi-sweet, completely balanced toasted malts. No detectable diacetyl notes or heavy-handed bitterness. Smooth, toasted with pleasant, subtle hints of spicy hops.

Medium bodied; smooth. The toasted malt character is practically creamy and nearly unobtrusive.

A highly quaffable, moderately hopped ale. Not a monumental brew in flavor, but balanced, delicate, and pleasant.

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Photo of DrJay
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one poured a dark amber with good clarity, topped by a thin off-white head. My associate and I became certain that there was a very slight greenish colour to the head, but I didn't feel completely certain. I guess it could have been the lighting. Head retention was decent and was assisted by the constant formation of CO2 bubbles.

Smell: An excellent balance of sweet maltiness and citrus/floral hop character.

Taste: This one was balanced towards bitterness, but still had a good malt base with some nice sweetness provided by crystal malts. The hop flavour was mostly citrus with a little floral and grassy character as well. It also had a very pleasant, long, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good smoothness of body, but the carbonation was a little strong.

Drinkability: Another success from Highland Brewing. Too bad I need to find a new source for these samples...

12 oz. brown bottle with no freshness date or abv listed.

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Photo of Drew966
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Highland Gaelic Ale pours a reddish copper color with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I like the aroma, it's mostly malty. Toasted malt up fr;ont and at the end with a nice amount of hops in the middle. The mouthfeel is on the thick side, especially for this style, but I find it enjoyable. Pretty good.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium amber with a frothy tan head. Aroma is light, with clean and toasty malt.

Taste is a toasty, bready pale malt with only a very mild hop bite. Some caramel sweetness tries to come through, although it never becomes overtly sweet. Finish is only very lightly bitter with a lingering crystal malt flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium, soft and dusty, very drinkable. Not much about this one stands out but it is perfect for a rather neglected and underappreciated style and would make a great daily fridge staple.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got a pint of this beer at the Yardhouse in Palm Beach Gardens. I hadn't had this beer yet, and I was looking to get something completely new.

This is a pretty good amber beer. I like the very malty smell. The flavor had some very good scotch presence. It wasn't exactly scotch, but it was like a scotch feel/taste. It had some very strong flavor, which I found satisfying.

This beer was really good. It was a much better as a follow-up to Monk in the Trunk.

I liked my beer, but that was a pretty expensive trip. Yardhouse checks can get high quickly.

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Photo of TheSSG
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, soft, light head. Sweet malt dominates the nose. Lovely, almost ruby, red. Starts with an unexpected hop bitterness (didn't smell that) which bright and citric. Moves up into a medium bitterness, then becomes more like citrus rind as the malt comes through. The finish is a stupendous blend of malt and hop, though.

A nice blend of the two dominate takes on ambers; malty and hoppy.

Swirling the bottom bits in the bottle gave it a much nice hop aroma and flavor.
As it warmed, the malt just became more pronounced, so it just gets better.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look-This beer pours a crystal clear dark amber color that glints with a reddish copper hue in the light. The
head settles into a bready layer after settling.

Smell-It smells like oak, caramel, spices, fruits and such.

Taste-This tastes like sugar cherries, caramel, nutmeg/spices, fruits, and candied almonds. The alcohol comes at the end with the carbonation.

Mouthfeel-It feels smooth and medium-bodied. There is a pleasant coating on the tongue that reminds me of an oak bourbon barrel for cellaring barley wines and such although this one is just an ale.

Overall-I keep getting surprised by Highland Brewing. Although they can’t compete with Ommegang, they are still quite good though.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Settles into an amber color with a fizzy head that doesn’t stick around very long.

S: Smells sweet like maple syrup, a bit of spicy cinnamon, and bready malts. Put it all together, and it’s a lot like french toast, really.

T/M: Tastes of mild citrus hoppiness, some syrup sweetness and bread malts in the finish. There is a medium amount of carbonation making this beer decently light and quite refreshing.

I don’t know if this beer epitomizes old Scottish tradition, but if so, then I’m feeling pretty Gael…

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Photo of nriech
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep hazy copper. Lots of head dissapating quickly. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: Citrus and hoppy. Obvious flavors coming from the type of hops used. Caramel and alcohol are present also.

Taste: The hops actually are blended in nicely. Almost like an extra hoppy ale but not so far as an IPA. Very easy to drink. No alcohol taste present. Good balance on the aftertaste with fruit and malt. A good choice.

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Photo of csmiley
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you to mikesgroove for this Highland selection

A - Pours a murky amber color with some hints of brown thrown in for good measure. The beige head topped out at just under half inch and didn't stick around for too long. Lacing is minimal.

S - Quite malty in the nose. Some caramel and bready aromas really dominate. Nuts and granola finish it up. Hold on, I think there are some hops in there too but they are VERY mild. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. Aroma is simple yet nice.

T - Starts out with caramel and toffee. Could be some brown sugar mixed in as well. Bread flavors push through around midway (crust and whole grain). Hop bitterness definitely rounds out the flavor. Touch of lemon and grapefruit. Hop flavor is pretty mild and doesn't get in the way of the malt.

M - Medium bodied with carbonation that is just right. Finish starts out sweet but a lingering bitterness from the hops holds out for a while longer.

D - Dinkability is really good. This would make for a great session brew. There is more than enough going on in this beer to keep it interesting and it is simple enough to put away all night long. Alcohol is hidden behind the flavors pretty well which just adds to the overall drinkability. Kudos to Highland for a tasty brew.

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Photo of inebrius
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly mired amber nether a thin grasping head. Nose is alternately big toasty malt and floral hop. Nicely balanced mild roast malt back to citric hop front. A mite fizzy, but good.

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Photo of swid
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from North Carolina, my first beer trade, and my first "Irish" red...thanks NClifestyle for the bottle!

Gaelic Ale pours into my pint glass a light amber color; it is slightly opaque. A 1/4" head forms and quickly dissipates. Moderate carbonation, little lacing. The aroma of this beer is very inviting – caramel and citrus mixed in with a pleasant mild sourness, with no particular smell dominant. Nicely balanced.

The taste of this beer can be described (in short form) as "Fat Tire, except sweeter"; however, this is an injustice to its balance of interesting flavors. The initial taste is sweet, with distinct caramel and slightly roasted notes; after a little bit, the distinctly citrus (but not overpowering) taste of the hops kicks in. The mouthfeel is fairly light, somewhat tart, and mildly dry. Finishes crisp and dry, with more tartness than sweetness.

This is a great example of taking a style and adding something just different enough to get your attention (the sourness) yet complimenting the other expected flavors quite nicely. All in all, a very tasty beer, and more than sum of its parts.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ncvbc for this stuff!
12 0z. bottle > 16 oz. SA glass.

This one pours out as a deep, reddish amber color with good carbonation and a one-finger, off-white head that dissipates pretty quick but has plenty of scattered covering left over, moderatly sticky.

Sweet malt in the nose, caramel, subtle fruity notes of raspberry tarts, hemp seeds, herbal and earthy hop notes way down.

This is a very malty brew for an American Amber style, Sweet toffee, fried dough-like maltiness that is bold, much bolder than the aroma. It's pretty complex for this style too, with a nice hoppy counter balance of fruits, lush red berries, raspberry tarts, earthy, leafy, but it's a sublime balance overall. The finish is an easy wheaty, herbal and alsmost zesty effect, really hardy at the end.

Light to medium feel, crisp, clean, decent bite that smooths out just as it goes down.

This is really very good for a style that is ofter mediocre at best. And the bagpipes, man you gotta love the bagpipes!

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle into a shaker glass

A- Poured a hazy dark orange color with creamy off-white head. Great head retention and left lots of chunky and sticky lace.

S- Citrus, pine, and lots of caramel maltiness

T- Citrus and piney hops balanced out with a big caramal malt backbone. Very balanced tasting beer.

M- Very creamy, smooth, and quite a bit of body

O- A really nice, easy drinking beer with a great creamy mouthfeel. Very balanced between the hops and malt.

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Photo of marshmarsh
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

my first highland brew

a- mahogany with cream lacing

s - wood and yogurt? weird bt its what i smell

t - wood and hoppy
with a roasted creme bruoee aftertaste

m - moderately full

o - very complex with earthy roasted and perfect amount of hop notes

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Photo of tvv375ia
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-somewhat hazy burnt orange color with about a finger of head that fades quickly to a ring without much lacing

S-big bready malt up front then some carmel with a little fruitiness maybe apple or pear witha little citru hop on the finish

T-not quite as big as the smell but starts with some nutty malts and fruit like sweetness which is balanced by a mild hoppy finish

M-medium body with good carbonation

O-well balanced that really shows the style well

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Photo of loren01
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured amber reddish color, good sized white head. Slight lacing down the glass
S: Sweet, malty/biscut scent. Hint of maple syrup
T: Sweetness up front. Caramel/toffee flavors. Plenty sweet, some might think too sweet....for me pretty tasty, just right in my book. A slight bit of hoppiness in the aftertaste
M: Medium bodied beer, smooth goes down easy.
D: Very good beer, if I could get this beer I would drink it quite often. I think I need to find a clone recipie so I can try making this beer cause I think it would go over pretty well with most everybody.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks, Darren.

A: An opaque bronze. An off-white one-finger head that dissipates fast. Filmy lacing.

S: Caramel, bourbon, leather.

T: A barrel of caramel with cherries. A nice malty base. Smooth, sweet. Chocolate enters the scene late with a peat-y finish.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. A dry finish.

O: A terrific ale, one I'd drink again.

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Photo of Thiestru
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint-sized pub glass.

Appearance: A deep copper color with a solid two-finger white head. Marvelous lacing.

Smell: A pleasant mix of floralness, caramel, and roasted malts.

Taste: There is a frontrunner of hoppiness that is somehow not bitter, immediately followed by a maltiness that I can only describe as tasting like roasted caramel. This maltiness is the defining characteristic of this beer, yet that floralness lingers always on the outskirts of the palate, providing a good balance.

Mouthfeel: Neither very carbonated nor flat. It leaves a good aftertaste.

Drinkability: This is a great session beer. Its sweetness is never cloying, and its alcohol content is low, so it's very easy to drink a lot of these. So drink up!

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 518 ratings.