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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

978 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 978
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: 978 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Holland


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: nice amber color, not much reddish hue but it was dark in the bar.

S: smells of bitter hops and a ton of caramel malt. Sweetness comes through.

T: This is about malt mostly, but the hops give it a bite.

M: medium body, crisp, yet smooth feeling due to sweetness.

O: very good amber overall, this had the sweet malt and hop crispness that makes an amber interested and multi-leveled.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2011 15:52:51 | More by Holland
Photo of KMcG


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this served from a pitcher. When poured into a pint glass, the head developed nicely. It was creamy, off-white, and pretty thick. The color of the brew is a clear, rich amber. 

The smell is sweet and caramely with hints of bright, light citrus hops. 

The taste is toasty, malty, and sweet with a mild bitter bite of citrus hops at the end. 

This brew is medium bodied with mild carbonation.  It's easy drinking and not filling. 

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2011 18:43:17 | More by KMcG
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

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

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a nice copper-amber but no head. Nose is malty with mild hops and fruits. Taste is caramel malts up front with a nice fruity sweetness too. There is just enough hops in the finish to lend balance to this beer. Medium bodied and very smooth.

I think this is a very good beer. I come back to it again and again when I want something rich, balanced, and highly drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

07-31-2011 15:11:52 | More by tdm168
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Consumed at 2011 LEAF Festival, just a few miles form the brewery.

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with a very ample and remarkably creamy tan head. Fine carbonation is visible.

S - moderately good aroma of toasted malt and a trace of hops.

T - Nicely balanced mix of caramel and other malts with a hint of toasted bread, but has a fine lasting hop finish.

M - very creamy, but with a medium to medium/high carbonation level -- a great combination.

O - excellent for style. Easy recommendation, even for beer aficionados, but particularly for newcomers to craft beer. (verified on sept. 16, 2011 -- pairs great with chocolate.)

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2011 14:50:13 | More by chinchill
Photo of dmbsteve


3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a one finger off-white head that quickly dissipated to a thin layer. Left decent lacing.

Smell is malty - sweet and bready. Not much hop aroma, although both my nose and taste could have been a bit off after drinking a couple of hoppy IPA's earlier in the session.

Taste is, again very malty. A sweet tinge stays on the tongue for a while. Small amount of bittering hops. I had actually thought this was a scotch ale because of the malt character (and the name), until I looked it up on AB. Either way, it tastes good.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side which is strange. I expected more body in a malty brew like this. However, it was served in a cold mug so that probably attributed to the lighter perceived body.

Overall a tasty and very sessionable beer from what I think is one of the Southeast's better craft breweries.

Serving type: on-tap

05-11-2011 17:03:39 | More by dmbsteve
Photo of atomicbeer

New Mexico

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2011 22:39:56 | More by atomicbeer
Photo of Redrover


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this one on tap at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub. It was served in a standard pint, the beer is a rusty/brown in color. There is minimum beige head. It has nice sticky lacing.

The beer has a nose of brown sugar and grains.

It is slightly sweet with nutty notes. This is a bit of brown sugar cookie of a beer.

The mouth is slick and well suited to the beer. It is an easy enough drinker, served a bit to cold but it improved as it warms.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2011 23:37:48 | More by Redrover
Photo of MTNboy


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

It has a bread like aroma with a slight hint of herbal hops. The body is a deep amber with average tan head but great lace. The body is full and has a normal amount of carbonation. There is a bitter but not too bitter taste with some malty bread like sweetness at first. It finishes with a some what herbal and roasted finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2010 11:39:02 | More by MTNboy
Photo of mixedbrewer


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap this poured a nice amber color with two finger head and slight lacing.

The aroma is of spiced bread, almost like graham crackers.

This beer is just spicy enough. It has a nice sweet and bready taste with a good mouthfeel. It goes down easy with a clean and pleasant finish.

Recommended try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2010 17:57:14 | More by mixedbrewer
Photo of feelmefoam

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had Gaelic Ale on tap at the only bar in the tiny town of Hot Springs, North Carolina, right on the Appalachian Trail. I was up there with some friends enjoying a cabin they'd rented and we frequented this bar for a few nights, and they had several Highland beers on tap.

Gaelic Ale pours a bright, fresh honey amber color with plenty of carbonation running up into a finger of light caramel head that had some really nice retention and left some beautiful lacing around the glass.

The nose consisted mainly of caramel malt and some light spicy, citrusy hops. It smells good, but I need just a bit more intensity from it.

The flavor mirrors the nose, but has a bit more presence. Crisp sweet caramel malt and some light fruitiness balanced by a spicy, citrusy blend of hops on the tail end of the flavor, but the bitterness is just right for a red ale. Good stuff.

The mouthfeel is a notch below medium, smooth and crisp, thanks to a moderate amount of carbonation. A tasty beer for a fall night in the mountains.

I'm becoming a bigger fan of Highlands as I try more of their beers, especially when I can foray up into North Carolina and get them pretty fresh. Another solid offering from a brewery that's growing on me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 03:33:39 | More by feelmefoam
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

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

Pours a dark red brown color with a tan head and a little lacing. Smells of malts and some hop aroma. Tastes sweet with a strong hop flavor for a well blended smoothness. Mouthfeel was smooth with a crisp, clean finish. Drinkability is really decent.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2010 15:59:34 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of thatguy3579


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear, copper toned, and with very little head.

S: Sweet like raisins and with some citrus.

T: A good citrus bite balances well with roasted sweetness which lingers.

M: Thin and lightly carbonated.

D: Lots of nicely balanced bitter and sweetness, which is not overpowering.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2010 19:07:16 | More by thatguy3579
Photo of Schwarzwald


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer on tap. I have had the bottle as well and it's not so good. I really like a cold tap though. Great with pizza and the taste can hold up to rich food. It has a great orange-rust color with a lot of bitey carbonation. Give it a try on tap... a lot better than the bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2010 01:17:19 | More by Schwarzwald
Photo of japcmiller


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber color, lightly carbonated. A little cloudy but a lovely color that is very inviting.
Roasted malts, hops, caramely from the malt most likely. Gives me a hint of roasted pecans and brown sugar. Very crisp and clean smell.
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.
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.
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-22-2009 00:53:45 | More by japcmiller
Photo of FloppyDog

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass with a thin, fast-dissipating white head. It had a nice orange amber color to it as well.

The aroma was predominantly of spicy and floral hops with a slightly noticeable caramel background.

The taste began with floral hops up front, followed by caramel sweetness, and finished crisp and dry. It was fairly well balanced, although I prefer a slightly more malt driven version of the style.

The mouth feel was slightly prickly from the carbonation, with a medium-light body. It was easy drinking and went nicely with the bbq chicken pizza I was eating.

Serving type: on-tap

07-13-2009 21:00:51 | More by FloppyDog
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
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...

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2009 19:46:50 | More by Onenote81
Photo of PorterLambic


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, reddish-brown. Tan head 1/2 " high with decent retention and good lace.
Smell is good malt, some hops/floral, caramel, slight hint of vanilla & smoke.
Taste is more hoppy, lighter malt,some alcohol, floral, slightly burnt caramel, coffee. Nice balance.
Medium-full body, smooth, slightly chewy with a nice fade out. Effervescence is not strong at all. A very good brew.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2009 01:31:54 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of drink1121


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Ale meets Scots Ale,in pretty much every facet.

A - Good looking beer. Nice Auburn brown/copper color with a 3 finger head. Good retention.

S - Toasted malt smell, which naturally smells a bit nutty. Caramel/toffee hints.

T - Tastes like it smells

M - Brown meets Scots again here.

D - I had 2. Thats about all I could have, but def enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2009 14:35:21 | More by drink1121
Photo of glid02


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap on Twain's in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark red with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles leaving decent lacing.

Smells of very lightly toasted malts with faint citrus aromas. An earthy spiciness, a notch or two down from rye spiciness, comes out as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The malt is once again front and center, mainly sweet but with traces of the aforementioned spiciness. Again, light citrus flavors join in late in the sip before giving way to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation for the style make this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I finished one without a problem, and could have more than one of these in a sitting.

Overall I'm glad I revisited this beer, as when I had it from the bottle on numerous previous occasions it had a metallic taste that turned me off for a while. A new recipe or the fact that I had it from the tap make this beer a whole lot better. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2009 03:07:42 | More by glid02
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours redish with borwn and gold tints. Building head that lingered through the first half of the pint. Yeasty, slighty peaty nose with hints of citrus and spice.

Flavor is mainly domninated by malt as suggested by the nose. Slight bitters in the finish, some citrus, but nothing to get excited about.

Wish this was more of a scotch ale, but just not there.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2009 01:41:33 | More by beer2day
Photo of clayrock81


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light red/ruby tinted body with one-finger head and some lace. A mild sweet malt smell along with minor hop notes. Medium-bodied although it straddles being light-bodied, the malt notes and hops are subdued for a light, sweet sensation that gives the tongue a minor prick on the backbite. Caramel malts and citric hops are present but nothing overpowering. An alright red that I could have again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2009 18:22:48 | More by clayrock81
Photo of craytonic

District of Columbia

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

Appearance is a beautiful orange-bronze-velvet.

Nice nose, not very aggressive.

You can really taste the toasted hops.. A hint of citrus peel & earthiness. Needs more hops and malt, a little bland.

The mouthfeel is perfect, great body and perfect carbonation. My favorite thing about the beer

Finish is a little harsh for me, but not my favorite type of beer.

Good on-tap choice in NC

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2008 00:10:26 | More by craytonic
Photo of ncvbc

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with reddish hues and a medium head with good retention and lacing. Smell of caramel malt, light fruit, and spicy, earthy hops with a light citrus. Taste is much of the same and adds a toasted bread to the mix. Very well balanced and quite flavorful, more so than from the bottle it seems. Good lighter body with solid carbonation and just the right amount of bitterness to counterbalance the sweetness of the beer. A session Amber if there ever was one.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2008 21:13:09 | More by ncvbc
Photo of introvertedone


4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Gaelic Ale was presented to me at the Grey Eagle when it was in Black Mountain, NC in '95 or so. Since then it's been a long time love affair.

I've had this fine ale both from the tap and from the bottle. While I love them both I prefer the tap. It's a beautiful beer in appearance, aroma and taste. This would definitely be my everyday beer if I didn't enjoy trying out fine new brews.

The fine folks at Highland Brewing Company have a fine line of brews with this one being my favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2008 21:24:03 | More by introvertedone
Photo of bv74550p


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

I've had this beer at several places around Savannah. If you are looking for it on tap try Molly Mcpherson's or the Crystal Beer Parlor.

The beer is a deep red/brown and is completely opaque. Great head retention about two fingers.

Malt is good. Hops suprised me very much in this beer, but it made it very smooth and nice to my IPA liking. With this beer it pretty much smells the same as it tastes.

Definitely a great session beer where you should drink at least 3 to appreciate it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2008 16:43:09 | More by bv74550p
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 978 ratings.