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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

975 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
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: 975 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of hopsaplenty
hopsaplenty

Virginia

3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle, no date info, but bottle bottom inkjetted with 5149 B-11355.

Foggy bronzed orange. Popping, tall head of small and medium khaki bubbles that slowly settles to a frosting spread of fine bubbles. No carbonation streams. Caramel malts and fruity sweet hops with just a touch of grapefruit rind tartness. There is a slightly sweet malt character that bridges to the fruit and slightly peaked citrus hop finish that lingers for the blink of an eye. This is balanced to the point of equilibrium, but nothing stands out. There is no carbonation present which gives this a bland, flat mouthfeel that is not appealing. Medium to light body, but overall the mouthfeel was sub par. Merely mediocre, balanced, but neither the malt nor the hop component were distinctive. The missing carbonation did this one in.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 14:08:31 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of AaronMcDonald
AaronMcDonald

Illinois

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

Pours a deep amber color with about 3/4" head that quickly fades. Smell is earthy but with a hint of freshness. The malt is the first thing I noticed when drinking but some fresh hop flavor hit me at the end. Very high drinkability. Could definitely drink several of these. This is my first Highland brew but will have to check out more.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 21:14:22 | More by AaronMcDonald
Photo of wcudwight
wcudwight

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby red with golden hues. 1/2" head quickly recedes to a spotty rim atop the beer.
Smell is earthy and flowery. Reminds me of spring time on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Taste is well balanced with some heavy maltness and a nice earthy and floral hop finish.
Mouthfeel is light bodied, but I think it is meant to be for this particular beer.
Well balanced, but still complex. Low in abv and light to medium bodied. The perfect session beer.
Yet another fine offering from Highland Brewing.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 05:14:32 | More by wcudwight
Photo of rodrot
rodrot

North Carolina

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

Poured a deep reddish ruby color with a nice one inch head that left some sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma was malty with just a little bit of a hop/pine smell. Taste was very malty and caramelly at first and ended with a good dose of hop spiciness in the finish. This beer was very smooth in the mouthfeel and easy to drink. Definitely a good session beer and I'm glad it was available on tap. The other choices were all bland macros in the particular pub I was visiting.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2006 11:26:28 | More by rodrot
Photo of jabocu
jabocu

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep amber/mahogany color with a thick tan head. Good head retention as well as some belgian lacing. Sweet malty caramel like aroma with just a little citrusy hops in the background. Flavor is nice caramel malts, spices of clove and a little pepper, and earthy hop bitterness. My first Highland beer, but I hope to try many others.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 01:26:05 | More by jabocu
Photo of Oxymoron
Oxymoron

Colorado

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

Scottish delight. Poured a mostly brown clear color with some reddish hues. A good off white head that stuck around and created swirls. Ok lacing as well.

The smell is a little sudsy and some lighter notes of malt. Not much of an overall smell really.

The taste has a spicy malt flavor. The malt is basic but limited caramel flavor, but at the end there is a spicy almost peppery finish to it. The hops are mild but some bittering hops are noticeable. A touch of earthy and piney flavors. There is a little bit of citrus finish but very subtle.

The body is mid to light. Some wispy flavors that aren’t exactly watery but close to it. Very easy to drink but could use more malty caramel flavor. Nice enough to enjoy in the Scottish hills of North Carolina.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2006 15:54:10 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of doppelmeup
doppelmeup

North Carolina

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

Had this on tap at a local drafthouse.

Good looking beer. Nice head, not a lot of lacing. Dark, amber color.

Smelled good, hints of smokiness and hops, similar to a scotch ale.

Taste was good. Pretty good body to the beer. Lots of malt, kind of smoky flavor, again, similar to a scotch ale.

Not overly carbonated. Went down pretty easily.

Not sure if I would order this again or not. It wasn't a bad beer, but there are lots of other beers out there that I've liked better than this one.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2006 03:39:19 | More by doppelmeup
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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

Beautiful orange-bronze with a healthy dose of brick red. The cap is pale caramel in color, a perfect match for the beer beneath, and is firmly creamy with a multitude of surface bubbles and pits. There's no shortage of glass coverage either (several chubby rings eventually show up at mid-glass). Highland brews quality beer and their appearances, along with everything else, never fail to impress.

The nose is a little lacking, both in terms of power and in terms of personality. It's maltier than it is hoppy, with a brown sugary caramel malt presence and a subtle, spicy hoppiness. I get the sense that there's something good going on, but I need more to go on.

There's definitely no shortage of goodness where the flavor is concerned. I'm not a huge fan of Irish red ales, but this one is very much to my liking; possibly because it tastes exactly like what I think beer of this style should taste like. Toasted caramel malt still leads the way and puts me in mind of fruit marmalade and apple butter slathered brown bread toast. Dee-licious.

There's a fair amount of spicy, citric hop flavor without a lot of attendant hop bitterness. The hop bill is a 'should be impressive' combination of Chinook, Willamette and Cascade, but the brewers have apparently decided not to make their Irish red taste like an IPA. Can't say that I blame 'em. There are plenty of hops to go around, even though they defer to malt throughout the entirety of the mouthful.

The finish is gorgeously balanced and is much more extended than anticipated; the better to enjoy the wonderful flavor that much longer. Highland hasn't let me down yet when it comes to body/mouthfeel, and hasn't here. The mouthfeel is easily the equal of the flavor and is a perfect fit for it.

Gaelic Ale just might be the best Irish red that I've had yet and is another wonderful example of the brewing brilliance on display down in the Tar Heel State. This one is a keeper, but then these guys only brew keepers. Slainte!

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2006 15:12:09 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of MrHolland
MrHolland

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2006 02:08:36 | More by MrHolland
Photo of redelephantdane
redelephantdane

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance : dark orange, apricot colored and murky, one finger head that quickly dissipates leaves a little lace.

smell: light floral notes, some sweet fruit, grapes, berries.

taste: well balanced, bottle says a good amount of malty sweetness but i didnt really taste that much malt. little to no hops come throught, floral and balanced.

mouthfeel: smooth as hell, i could drink a sixer of these with out hesitation. flavor stays on the top of your mouth long after swallowed.

drinkability: real easy. fans of balanced beers will love this ale. drinking this beer brings me back to my parents garden, smelling all the flowers around me.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 19:09:12 | More by redelephantdane
Photo of MSchae1017
MSchae1017

Georgia

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

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from the bottle.

This beer pours a dark garnett-red with a frothy off white head that laces a little and leaves a bit of film the whole way down. The smells seems to be a mixture of pale and subtle roasted nutty malts. The taste brings back the same flavors present in the aromas however there is also a dimension of balanced subtle hoppiness that adds a slight bit of bitterness. There is a good amount of carbonation that combines nicely with some thickness that makes this beer have a good mouthfeel. Overall another good offering from the Highland Brewing company out of Asheville, NC

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2006 02:24:54 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of clemtig76
clemtig76

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 13:10:43 | More by clemtig76
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is pleasant and mellow. Glassy reddish/ruby color. Modest foamy head settles pretty quick from an aggressive pour. Carbonation is there but slow and steady.

Smell is primarily malty, which brings out an almost cherry Nibs candy aroma, with some obvious hop undertones. Aromas could be more out front, I don't have a cold or anything and I'm just not "feeling it". Flavor is full, satisfying, crisp and dry, with an unobtrusive hoppy snap. Mouthfeel is really nice. With the insane amount of beers and styles out there, some don't even feel like Beer with a capital B, but when you have this one in the mouth, you know it's the real thing.

Good stuff that you could enjoy a few of in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 22:44:55 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

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

A solid beer from Highland, courtesy of NClifestyle. A bit more hoppy than the customary Irish Red, more in line with the American amber. Poured a chestnut with amber highlights. Not a lot of head on aggressive pour. Hopping was firm, but not excessive for the style, with a hint of grass and mild herbal notes. Went just a bit acidic at the finish, which helped clean up.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 15:14:34 | More by Brent
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ

North Carolina

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

Draft pour produces a bright, copper amber brew with a small, but dense head of oatmeal hued froth, which leaves delicate lace as it disappears.

Aroma is predominantly sweet, roasty malts with touches of wildflowers, earthy hops, and a faint essence of citrus.

Flavor is mild and smooth with malty flavors on the fore and soft wildflower, honey, and English-tasting hops in the finish.

Body is medium, smooth and silky, with sift carbonation stemming from a constant stream of tiny rising bubbles.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2005 14:15:15 | More by AlexJ
Photo of beerhandy
beerhandy

Oklahoma

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

12 oz. bottle Pint glass
Apearance: Nice amber color with a quickly fading light tannish head
Aroma:Sweet malt and Caramel with some hop spicyness
Taste:I thought this was a scotch ale, the maltiness was dominate the hops drys up some of the sweetness but I didnt notice a big
PNW hop profile .
Drinkabilty: heck yea get you some!I think its a great amber that should appeal to most beer lovers

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 15:06:15 | More by beerhandy
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

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

appearance: thin white head, copper in color

smell: There is a nice balance of malt and hops. Plenty of fruity caramel type malt sweetness comes through, and some fresh hop aroma provides some balance. Very nice aroma for a red.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is around medium and the body the same, with a slight slickness left behind on the tongue.

taste: Very much like the aroma in terms of balance. The malts are well offset by the hops, which contribute bitterness as well as flavor. One of the more bitter reds I''ve had, and well done.

drinkability: limit of about 4 for me

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 03:21:18 | More by blackie
Photo of sinistrsam
sinistrsam

Maryland

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

The Gaelic Ale was served in a pint glass with a mediocre head and very impressive lacing. The color was a wonderful red-amber. I did my best to take in the bouquet and decipher what made it up, but couldn't get a good read. Maybe served too cold, maybe just a beer with mediocre aromatics.
The taste started off interestingly, somewhat bitter and quite hoppy, but quickly faded into a watery, tasteless beer. It had no tatse of being skunky or anything like that, but just finished with litle or no taste at all. The mouthfeel was also relatively flat, watery and uninteresting. it was a decent beer to have with friends but nothing very impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2005 20:10:29 | More by sinistrsam
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

And that's how it's done! Not settling for the syrupy sweet notion that most American brewers have created to represent the Amber Ale. Highland Brewing reaches into the depth of Irish history to create a characterful and fully malted version with a distinctive citrus hop kick!

Impressively poured, the beer simply glows with a deep and brilliant chestnut hue. Mahogany highlights cast through the body as more amber ones shine near the edges. Off white in color, its frothy head is sturdy and persistent, leaving lacy rings in its wake.

Deep aromas of medium toast, bread crust, elegant sweet malt notes, and deeply kettle caramelized notes that remind me of "Cracker Jacks" ballpark candy. Nutty with almond and peanut- the malt aromas are complex and rich without being sweet to the scent. But then there's hops: pithy citrus notes, sharp grass, and grapefruit peels give the ale a decidedly American attitude.

Malty-rich to start, the beer explored toasted character of crusted bread, nuts, toffee, and rounded grain sweetness. Its delicious taste is penetrated by the aggressive citrus hop flavors of vibrant white grapefruit peels and pith, acidic oranges, and biting lemongrass bitterness that intensifies as the beer finishes. Yet, the beer retains a remarkable balance in the end.

Medium bodied to start, the creamy beer lightens considerably as it traverses across the tongue- leading to a malty-dry finish with high hop dryness, light alcohol warmth, and a toasty starch texture.

Gaelic Ale is a terrific ale that's all-things- Amber, Irish, and Red. It rewards the palate but never overwhelsm. Its remarkably balanced and embraces boldness. It's simply what American Amber Ales should be- and not just around St. Patrick's celebrations only.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2005 14:58:47 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
RedwoodGeorge

California

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

What an interesting concept - an Irish Red Ale made with Pacific Northwest hops. The brew pours a beautiful amber red with a thinish off-white head. Very little lacing after the head dies off to a thin white ring.

The nose is very Red Ale - plenty of fruit notes and distinctive yeast note reminiscent of my favorite English Pale Ales. Taste is the same - lots of deep rich malty notes, some plum and apricot and a bit of that yeasty 'twang'. Surprisingly, even though the brewer goes out of their way to point out the Chinook, Willamette and Cascade hops, they're really not that evident in this brew. Yes, it's certainly not a Fuggle / Golding blend but they've gone light enough on the hops that it's hard to tell just what they've used.

Mouthfeel is to style - not much bittering on the back end, low carbonation on a medium bodied brew, light oily coating on the palate with each finish.

All in all a drinkable brew - the folk at Highland have done a very nice job of using the proper yeast and feeding it the proper malts to get a very authentic Irish Red body. They deviate from the style by using PNW hops but seemingly don't have the guts to fully commit by really hopping it up. Still, I'd drink it again anytime...

[Thanks to mntlover for sending me this Asheville gem]

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2005 07:57:37 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of Enola
Enola

North Carolina

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

Had this on-tap at the Olde Hickory Taproom last night. It came out to me with a average sized head. It was a nice red tone. It had a good aroma as well. The taste was very close to Killian's. The drinkability was good as well. I could have drank several more. I would order another one of these in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2005 16:50:01 | More by Enola
Photo of swid
swid

Missouri

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2005 02:13:05 | More by swid
Photo of sabrills70
sabrills70

North Carolina

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

Pours a brilliant medium amber with a 1 finger head and good lacing. Aroma of an earthy malt with good caramel notes. Slight citrusy hop aroma. A nice earthy caramel malt with citrus and pine flavors. More hoppy than other Irish reds I have had. A nice example of the style. Try some if you get a chance.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2005 01:17:33 | More by sabrills70
Photo of rousee
rousee

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber as you would guess with a name of Gaelic ale. An Irish red style--ok fits that description to a tee. There is a nice 1 finger thick head. No lace. Smell is malt with some sourness too. Very straightforward malty taste with a woody character. There is some chalkiness too. Mouthfeel seemed thin at first but after a few sips seems to improve. Not exactly a style I am particularly into, but it is a fine example of what an Irish red should be. Ok for drinkability. I dont think I would want more than 1 or 2.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2005 21:59:48 | More by rousee
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

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

bottles bought at harris teeter in charlotte

appearance: see through amber, foamy head with decent lacing

smell: very malty, caramel, typical earthy highland scents, slight hoppiness in the nose as well

taste: very earthy, nice caramel, quite malty, subtle citrus/pine hops. This is one of the better irish red's out there...I have been enjoying this one for 3 or 4 years now

mouthfeel: medium, crisp, smooth balanced carbonation

drinkability: very sessionable

Highland is definately my favorite NC brewery, and this brew puts some nice NC mountain twists on the irish red category. I dig it

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2005 04:13:56 | More by dirtylou
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.