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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

974 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 974
Reviews: 488
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%


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
Ratings: 974 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Loki
Loki

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2003 07:35:37 | More by Loki
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly murky reddish-brown, small beige head, fair retention, soapy, minimal lace. Pleasantly malty nose, it smells “thick,” somewhat sweet… lacks complexity though. Chewy malt provides a healthy foundation for the palate, lightly sweet; there is just enough hops influence, minor bitterness… light toastiness, caramel hints. Meager carbonation helps produce a rather full mouthfeel. As it warms, the hops grow in potency. This is a solid beer, a nice quaff… session brew material.

Thanks Loki!

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2003 12:56:31 | More by bditty187
Photo of PhantomVodoo
PhantomVodoo

Ohio

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a light tan head.
Aroma of caramel malt with a fruity hop undertone.

Taste shows toasty, caramel malt flavors . Fairly smooth. Hops balance this one nicely with a Juicy Fruit flavor. Slight citrus notes. Finishes well.

Good mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.

Overall, I like this one. A good, balanced beer with a nice flavor and some character.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2003 13:19:51 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of ZAP
ZAP

Minnesota

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean looking reddish/orange...not a lot of head....nose is fabulous...scottish ale type maltiness minus the smokey/peat smell...that is combined with a real fresh hop accent...great maltiness similiar to a lighter Scottish Ale....The hopping plays a secondary role but in a way really makes this beer as special as I believe it is....Mouthfeel is perfect...balanced...sweet but not overdone....a nice hoppiness lingers on the finish.....this is dandy...I am totally surprised as I did not know what to expect with this one....I would put this in my top 250 beers for sure...maybe top 100....( I don't have a list..I'm speaking in general terms)

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2003 22:11:18 | More by ZAP
Photo of Boto
Boto

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich amber in color, with a little head. Nice malty aroma, with a bit of hops in the background. There is a decent medium bodied malt flavor, with a nice finish of hop bitterness, although not overpoweringly so. Overall, a pretty decent brew. I could sit and drink alot of these!

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2003 11:45:46 | More by Boto
Photo of philipt
philipt

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dare I say the best NC craft brewery? I'm not going to say that, but Highland does offer some "write home to mom" styles, and the Gaelic Ale is among those.

The Gaelic Ale is a deep copper in color with an average sized head. Nothing particularly impressive to view. I find that hops are the dominant quality of the aroma. Quite piney and citrusy to smell. Taste is initially of malt then quickly followed by intense hop presence. Very IPA-ish and definitely contrary to the sweet, malty Scottish style I expected (being named Gaelic and all). Do not interpret as disappointed, but rather surpried. I like hops. It has a sweet and spicey flavor, followed quickly by the pine-like hop characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2003 17:43:14 | More by philipt
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh tasting (07/29/03): Fuller tan head, low carbonation, and sporadic lace. Hop aroma much more pronounced (light citrusy character). Hop flavor really comes through when fresh; balance leans hoppy vs. malty. Light bitter finish. Drink this puppy fresh!! very nice !
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(old) Bronze-ish amber with a low light brown head. Nice balanced malty, fruity, and hop aroma. Rich malt flavor with a nice hop balance. Medium bodied (leans full).

Would like to try this along side Bert Grant's Scottish Ale... similar, but Highland is probably not as hoppy hence I'd label this one as a Scottish Ale...

Per label: "Cascade and Willamette hops"
Per H.B.Co. website: IBU: 32, Hops: Chinook, Willamette and Cascade

"99" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 04/08/03

"03" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 07/29/03

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2003 09:25:03 | More by RBorsato
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
OldFrothingSlosh

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highland Brewery's flagship beer. "Just a wee bit different."

Presentation: 12 oz amber bottle with a happy bag-pipe-toting lad on the label. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper color with minimal white head. A minimal white lace sparsly laces the glass.

Smell: For a pale ale/bitter classification, there was a lot more malty sweetness in the nose that expected. A twist of citrus hops are present, too.

Taste: Mostly malty sweetness with a little bit of bittering effect from the hops. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Low-medium body and a fairly creamy texture.

Drinkability: I liked this more as it warmed. There was an aftertaste I just can't figure out that was on the unpleasant side. Not one that I'd ask for again, but drinkable in its own right.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2003 16:37:23 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color here is a dark ruby, but there is no head that I can report. Aroma is sweet and fruity. Malt is huge in this ale, hops have a small role, but still, the body is full, and the mouthfeel generous and tasty. Much more flavorful than other ales I've encountered recently. Worthy to associate itself with Irish reds. Thanks to Uglyradio.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2003 02:20:08 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My thanks to johnrobe for sending this to me. This was pretty good, deserving of this brewery's "flagship beer" status. Pours a deep amber color with a medium and foamy light tan head. Aroma of malt and caramel. Medium-bodied with an assertive malt flavor and a touch of hops. Finish is sweet but not overly so. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2003 19:36:43 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy, orange copper color topped by a generous tan head. The head fades to a layer of film interspersed with pillows of foam. A sheeting lace is left on the glass. The aroma is strong roasted malt, with caramel and a touch of peat. A bit of fruit and fresh bread smells are also mixed in. Hops are not discernable. The taste is very appealing, with the strong raosted malt dominating, but with a decent smoked peat component. A hint of sweetness and carmelized sugar chimes in as well. A bit of bitterness lingers on the finish, but it is faint enough to make one wonder if it is hops or just bitterness from roasted malts. The aftertatse reveals a bit more of a pine note, verifying that there really is a low level hopping in this brew. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy, with mild carbonation accentuating the buttery feeling on the tongue. The drinkability is very good, and I wish I had more than one of these beers. It is an excellent brew that I will purchase again.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2003 16:13:15 | More by aaronh
Photo of johnrobe
johnrobe

Tennessee

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew looks stunning in the glass...a clear deep reddish amber with a cream colored head that reduces to a cap. The smell is of caramel malt and a combination of fruity esters and citrusy hops....I can pick out some grapefruit, pineapple, maybe grapes. There's a nice hops bite to this one and it continues to be quite fruity in taste. Some candy-nougat sweet malt comes up for support but lacks some oomph, IMO, which contributes to a slightly thin mouthfeel. Still the taste is pretty good and this would make an excellent session pale/amber ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2003 22:14:23 | More by johnrobe
Photo of lewwjr
lewwjr

Virginia

4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my perspective, this is a nice combination of malt sweetness and hop balance that makes for a very refreshing brew. It pours a nice amber color with malt and hop overtones dominating the nose. My first thought was Pale Ale but after further review, it was definately an amber ale at heart. I like it. The nice smooth hop finish and sweet malts give you something to come back to.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2003 15:20:34 | More by lewwjr
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany color,decent,had a musty somewhat fruity smell.A well-crafted brew like better on tap,its a little more fruity.Has a light touch of hops to finish it out,with no real lingering aftertaste.Highland is a nice brewing company have been to Barleys taproom to try many of theres on tap.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2003 14:03:16 | More by oberon
Photo of JISurfer
JISurfer

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great beer form the South! These guys know thier stuff about brewing. It's ashame though, that I can hardly find it here in Va. It is abundant down in my home state of SC. It's golden and has a little head to it, but that goes away after a few minutes. But the head doesn't necessarily make the beer and this prooves it. They have a good line of quality beers, so give 'em a chance if you can.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2002 02:15:31 | More by JISurfer
Photo of inebrius
inebrius

Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2002 08:17:16 | More by inebrius
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beautiful, clear body somewhere in between deep amber and ruby. Off-white head is ok, but doesn't last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by citric hops. Flavor is nice toasty malt with the support of moderate hopping. Not a bad beer at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2002 00:38:19 | More by aracauna
Photo of tigerpaws
tigerpaws

South Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very average amber ale, not the best but worth drinking again. Nice malty taste, not much aroma and very good appearance. Its a good beer for the novice who drinks mass produced crap...............CHEERS

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2002 11:57:42 | More by tigerpaws
Photo of John
John

New York

4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2002 10:08:11 | More by John
Photo of Goukbeergals
Goukbeergals

Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color I can barely see through. Not much head. Subdued malty nose. Bready caramel taste up front with a sharp hop kick in the middle with a malty finish. Pretty tasty and well balanced. Dry light mouthfeel highly carbonated. Overall a good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2013 06:40:56 | More by Goukbeergals
Photo of drmystery
drmystery

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2013 18:05:05 | More by drmystery
Photo of acsprouse
acsprouse

South Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: red amberish. Little cloudiness. white creamy head with a little lacing.

S: malts, bready, toasty, slightly sweet with a floral hop scent well in there (smells great)

T: malty, the taste follows the nose as far as maltiness. The hops fall short and so does the taste.

m: medium body yet slightly on the thinner side. Nicely carbonated. Very very drinkable.

o: highly drinkable. Well balanced blend of malts.the hops are lacking but ehh thats not always bad. Its not bad.. its good.. but its not great. I do urge you guys to try it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2013 06:37:09 | More by acsprouse
Photo of lewzer99
lewzer99

Georgia

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: on-tap

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

North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, dark copper color; nice foamy head.

S: Malt notes, with a whiff of pine.

T: An amber-style ale with nice caramel and malt notes, very subtle hops, and tones of vanilla and sassafras.

M: Rich and smooth.

O: A very drinkable, high-quality ale, with more malt complexity and full flavors than a pale ale. On par with the very best ambers – highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2012 21:07:21 | More by ThePopper
Photo of VncentLIFE
VncentLIFE

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Carrboro Beverage Co.

Nice amber pour with a small head. hm...

Definitely a malty red. Toffee and caramel come to mind, but they fade away into a grassy malty thing.

Very sweet and full bodied. Hints of toffee caramel accent what seems like a light Scotch Ale. Very smooth and full bodied. This would be my go-to if it were available in more places. Plus Rally Drum Red from Great Lakes is just plain better.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2012 21:51:48 | More by VncentLIFE
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 974 ratings.