Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

516 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 516
Hads: 1,315
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 9.42%
Wants: 31
Gots: 206 | 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: 516 | Hads: 1,315
Photo of japcmiller
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Amber color, lightly carbonated. A little cloudy but a lovely color that is very inviting.
Smell:
Roasted malts, hops, caramely from the malt most likely. Gives me a hint of roasted pecans and brown sugar. Very crisp and clean smell.
Taste:
The taste starts with a very roasted malty sense, and then progress to a very hoppy taste that moves into a bitter tone and finished with that bitterness. Doesn't finish clean but has a fantastic taste that makes it a very drinkable beer. Finishes sticky, lingers in the mouth.
Mouth:
This beer lingers in the mouth leaving a very sticky almost barky feeling in the beer. It doesn't take away from the beer but I feel it adds to the malty charicteristic of the beer.
Drinkability:
I really enjoy this beer and have had it on multiple occasions. I think it really represents a good example of the American Amber Ale Style. It is not a "clean" beer but a lovely malty and hoppy beer. Has great drinkability. (966 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber-red color under a tight off-white head. Balanced aroma of sweet caramel malts and citrus and floral hops. Great hoppy flavor...a mixture of sugary tea and citrus that doesn't get too bitter. A rich maltiness rounds it all out nicely. A little dryness in the finish makes me practically chug the whole glass. Firm, medium body. I can't believe I've never rated this one. It's pretty darn tasty. (399 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite everyday ale.Nice clear amber color pours with nice head that almost vanishes. Smells wonderful malty sweet with slight hops aroma. Taste is smooth and sweet with slight tingle of hops at the back on the way down. Light carbonation smooth wonderful to drink. Great amber ale my favorite, love the Cascade and Willamette Hops flavor use them for my homebrewing.If you live in North Carolina area have to try it, just leave me a six at the store. (456 characters)

Photo of Dithyramb
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled multiple times on tap in Wilmington. Served in your standard pint glass.

Poured a clear, brownish dark amber with a fluffy off white head. Nice retention and lacing.

The aroma is mostly roasted malts, but there is some citrus and floral hops tossed in as well.

A great tasting beer. Not too malty, but not too hoppy. This beer really rides a fine line, and does so excellently. An initial rush of malt gets toned down nicely with the hop background. Goes down crisp and smooth.

A very nice session brew, worth having several. (547 characters)

Photo of MrHolland
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany red with a thin off white head into my pint glass.

Smell - Has a citrus hop front to it not really much of anything else.

Taste - This is a pretty hoppy beer and is very balanced with the malts. Bitter hops at first then has a malt sweetness to end with.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and clean, soft on the palate with ample amount of carbonation.

I really enjoy this brew.. One of my first of this style and will deff. be revisiting. (463 characters)

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy amber with an off white head that dissipates rather quickly.

S-Sweet, with some caramel. There are some malts and hops present.

T-Hops up front with a nice malty finish. Caramel and a hint of toffee are present. This beer is perfectly balanced, crisp, and refreshing.

M-Perfectly carbonated.

D-Very,very drinkable. It is a session beer all the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I am glad I bought a six pack and I will deffinitely drink this more often. (481 characters)

Photo of mwa423
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very nice ruby red color with very little head that dies down quickly

S - Typical malt smell, though not overpowering like many of this style tend to be.

T - Lots of malt to go along with the aroma, with a wee bit of hop bite at the end. There is also a caramel aftertaste. Very good!

M - Very smooth, goes down extremely easy, makes you want the next sip!

D - Easily sessionable, if I could get more of this in Ohio, I would put it in regular rotation. (469 characters)

Photo of wmthorne
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A gift brew from a friend moving to Asheville. Great gift

Poured into a chilled mug. Pours a very rich amber color with little head. Nice lacing.

Very light carbonation in the mouthfeel. I taste caramel immediately.

This is quite a drinkable beer. The label mentions "hop bitterness" but I really don't get that until much later in the aftertaste.

This would be a great fall brew on a crisp morning sitting and setting up at a tailgate. (443 characters)

Photo of CIBoy10
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark orange or amber brown with a head that leaves quickly. Lacing stays around on top and clings nicely. Smell is bready and malty. Taste is awesome! Clean and refreshing ale with a hint of hoppiness. This is a taste that I think many people would enjoy (ala Sweetwater 420). Feel is superb. Clean, refreshing, and tasty. The three headed combination I prefer. Overall I would gladly drink this again - one of the more superb sessionable craft beers I've enjoyed. Cheers! (481 characters)

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hazy,deep plum color poured from 12oz brown bottle into New Belgium snifter. The head is a single finger and thick, though it dwindles in a minute or two leaving behind a descent amount to lace. There is freshness dating on the bottom ridge of the bottle. The aroma is initially sweet with alcohol quick to be noticed. There is an initial caramel malt flavor complimented by the advertised dry hop finish. The sweet maltiness is effectively balanced by the hop bitterness resulting in a nice dry finish. There is a pleasant dry fuit sweetness with a balance with hops. This is an even bodied brew that is in feel typical of its advertised style. Overall this is a good interpretation of style.

The carbonation in this brew was perfect and was a nice compliment ot the overall character of the beer. The density of this brew was also in great balance, not thin and not syrupy. This is a good brew cold a well above average as it warms. The fruit and malt slowly builds with temperature.red with a meal much more than standin alone. (1,034 characters)

Photo of veech
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been a staple for me over the years because it's just damned good. A: Pours a tawny auburn with creamy light tan head. Solid carbonation and lacing persists. S: Carmelized malts dominate the nose with some hoppiness. T: Smooth with enough body to provide a sweet foundation that is evened out by a moderately hop laden finish for crispness. M: Slight viscosity with medium body D: Excellent flavor and medium body add up to a very drinkable smooth Irish Red. As with all Highland products, I would recommend this beer to anyone. (542 characters)

Photo of Applesauce1
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Gaelic Ale on-tap at the The Urban Bar in the Old City of Knoxville, TN.

Appearance: amber-red color with a small white head
Smell: not very pronounced, maybe some hops?
Taste: excellent; some sweetness (maybe some caramel), but not overly done; a little bit of hops, but overall a great balance between the two; similar to a Sam's Boston Lager with less hops though, a little thicker, and a little sweeter
Mouthfeel: medium bodied; goes down real well
Drinkability: good, could drink a few in a night (518 characters)

Photo of rnd6510
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Ingles in Arden, NC. Beer had been bottled about a week and a half earlier.
Poured it into a standard pint glass. An aggressive pour yielded a two finger head. Left nice lacing if I might add.
Smell is a little sweet. It smells just as good as it tastes.
Goes down as smooth as yohoo. Smooth toasty malts with a hint of caramel.
Just enough of a hop bitterness finish to balance this beer out.
I am a huge fan of the Gaelic. It should be even better on a crisp fall day.
This is a beer that I keep all the time in my fridge. (542 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my trusty Cigar City snifter. No bottling or freshness date visible.

Appearance (4.0): Beautiful pour, a very nice red-amber color with a light khaki head, maybe one very fat finger thick, fading to some splotches on the top, a ring on the edge of the glass, and moderate lacing. Clear body, nice and red.

Smell (4.0): Nice mix of light caramel and mildly sugary-sweet malts, blending well with some tropical hop fruitiness—smells faintly of fresh, ripe pineapple. Bready malts in the back.

Taste (4.5): Just-barely-sweet, bready malt base quickly followed by some grassy hop bitterness, mixing smoothly with a slightly astringent quality coming off some mild toast in the barley here. Very nice, smooth transition with distinct phases. Grassy / herbal bitterness from the hops sustain in the finish, relatively pronounced on the grassy side. Yeast note has the feel of an English bitter, like an ESB.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Dry finish, medium-bodied in the middle with a nice, slightly creamy effervescence on the front end. Nice mouthfeel, for sure.

Overall (4.5): I’m definitely impressed with this beer. Red Ales usually aren’t my thing—I can dig super hoppy American Amber / Red Ales like Nugget Nectar, but I generally don’t derive much joy from Irish Reds, for instance. This is pretty tasty, though. Nice mix of Old and New World takes on the Amber / Red category. Definitely not the Nugget Nectar hop bomb type of AA/R, it leans more towards the Irish side of things. Maybe because of that, I bet this would be killer on cask, too. Surprised by how much I liked this, actually, especially after not liking the Oatmeal Porter very much. Nice work, Highland. (1,721 characters)

Photo of atomicbeer
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pint at Sine Irish Pub at the Pentagon City Mall. Red copper color arrived with 1/2 inch white head. Malty sweet fruit cocktail (candied peach, pear, cherry, and orange) aroma with a kick of grapefruit hops. Fruity taste with grapefruit zest. Remarkable balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. Really enjoyable! (316 characters)

Photo of meechum
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from the brewers at Highland..since this is a fairly easy brewer for me to get a hold of has become my go to brewery of choice.. I haven't met a beer from their place I haven't totally enjoyed.

On to the Gaelic Ale..

A - Poured a nice amber with red notes into a pint mug, poured aggressively with a great head that dissapates slowly with a nice sticky lace

S - You can smell some citrus hops smells along with the malts and some piney hops smells.

T - This was good..for me it started with a slight bite of hops up front moving quickly on to a long middle of malty taste with hints of biscuit then finishing with another hop bite that was just right

M - Creamy with middle carbonation

D - I had 3 before I knew it..this was a luxuriant beer and I enjoyed them very much..at 5.8% it's a little on the high side for a session beer..so I had to slow down but it went well with dinner and after

Notes: Like I said at the front of this review..I just love the offerings from Highland..this is no exception this was a great beer for a relaxed evening..If you have the opportunity to pick some up..it's a can't miss (1,154 characters)

Photo of BDIMike
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is pale reddish color. Small carbonation and a great sized head.
Smells awesome. Starts with a smell of malts and nuts. Smells of hops, sugars, and other sweet smells after.
Great taste. Hoppy at first. Balanced with a good caramel malt taste. Ends with a sweeter taste. Very well-rounded. Lots of flavor.
Mouthfeel has a nice thickness. Smooth going down. Not sharp at all.
Great beer. I did not expect this to be as good as it was. Could drink this one all day. (475 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber/copper color with a small sirty white head. Nose is malt forward without a doubt. Taste os malty, taste much like a scitch ale than an amber. Hints of deep malts perhaps crystal, 2 row and hints of light cocoa, caramel and toffee. Some biscuity notes as well. Mouthfeel is nice, coating, light cocoa and toffee, Good indeed. Worth a shot. (358 characters)

Photo of bluedognever
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original Review 5-11-2014

Poured from a bottle into a frosty mug. It's a nice deep rich amber color with a soft, thick beige head. Rich taste without being heavy feeling. Biscuit and caramel with a slight hint of citrus. A very slight hop finish - just right. After a few minutes, head is mostly gone with some lacing.

This may be the best beer I've had in a quite a while

Added 6/13/2014

I discovered that I had another bottle of this. Rather funny but it paired extremely well with Mexican food - a very nice balance with the cilantro, peppers, tomatoes and other seasonings. (582 characters)

Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I lived in Western North Carolina for 2 years and this was certainly my favorite local brew. Can't add much more to what has been said already except that I know it is brewed with a healthy dose of Special B malt. That is apparently the source of this beers excellent and unique malt flavor. (291 characters)

Photo of John
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't let the amber ale style throw you off. This is quite a unique offering indeed. Malts impart the perfect level of sweetness and deep amber color. Full bodied and balanced exceptionally with Cascade and Willamette hops. (223 characters)

Photo of jadpsu
4.41/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this at the local Wal-Mart. Rarely do I purchase beer at Wal-Mart. But this was one I had never had so I thought I would add it to my "beer diary".
Pours a hazy amber/orange with a tan loose head that has only average retention and lacing that is a bit better than that.
Wow, when it comes to aroma. Malts lead with chocolate licorice or caramel along with breads and some pine nut hops. Enough there to fill the nose.
Taste is sweet but with an enjoyable bitter bite at the finish.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy. A nice surprise. (543 characters)

Photo of Daytonbeerguy
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

May not be ground shattering but is a very good selection to pair with food and is extremely drinkable and good for meeting with friends and shooting the breeze. (161 characters)

Photo of Loki
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle

Poured a light amber color with an inch and a half head. This beer left ribbons of lacing throughout the sampling. Quite impressive for a lighter style beer.

Aromas of mostly roasted malt, with hints of caramel and floral-citrus hops, but very hidden behind the main malt body.

Tastes of lightly roasted sweet malt, much like a like Scottish style ale. Subtle caramel flavor with a delicate hop finish that seems just enough for balance, but not for a truly hoppy flavor. Beautiful and unique, definitely deserving of flagship status. Medium body with light carbonation that goes down smooth is crisp, clean, and very, very drinkable. A great beer. (684 characters)

Photo of BlindPig
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to muddyfeet. He plays a great santa.

A- Thin light tan head on a deep pretty clear amber body.
S- Big caramel malts with a grassy and piney hop to it.
T- Very well balanced. The malts come through with a nice caramel flavor. The hops provide a great balance for it and isn't to bitter. Has a light bitterness to it that lingers into the aftertaste though.
M- Medium body with low to medium carbonation.
D- Very nice easy drinking beer. Nothing to complex or strong. Great for a beer to sit and relax with, making it a great every time beer. (557 characters)

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 516 ratings.