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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
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Ratings: 975 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A red ale with a touch of roasted malt that makes it on the Scottish heritage given Highland's theme. It's in the aroma, and the aroma gives off a booziness far behind its ranking. Quite malty and cinammoney and medium plus mouthfeel, with hop bitterness rounding off the finish.Reddish brown colour with white foam covering.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 04:21:48 | More by Sammy
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 mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

Poured a dark amber/reddish hue with a nice cream colored head. Smell was sweet caramel malts with a hint of a corn or grain in it. The taste was very much sugary malts with again a bit of a grain or earthy back to it. Very nice actually. This is very nicely carbonated and goes down smooth. A good beer from Highland, this could easily be an all night beer as it is light and tasty!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 01:48:42 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a fluffy egg shell colored head that leaves nice splotches of lace

Smell: Biscuity caramel malt aroma with some piney undertones

Taste: Lays down a nice biscuity caramel backbone which underlies some woody and earthy hop flavors, mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweet malt flavors re-assert themselves but the woody dryness keeps them in check

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the best NC session brews out there; nice all around

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2007 23:40:36 | More by brentk56
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 Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Lunch for sharing this beer. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head and a thin collar on the way down. THe nose carries an average amount of bready malt with a touch of caramel in there. The flavor has a light sweetness along with some bread crust and a bit of toast. Light caramel there and some very light hops. Light body with average carbonation; finish is slightly-dry and bitter. Decent enough, though nothing I'd go out of my way for.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2011 21:50:23 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

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

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a very light amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that slowly faded away and left lacy patterns of bubbles.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of floral and grassy hops and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste has a slight amount of bitterness and a bit of sweetness along with flavors of caramel and toasted malts. There is a good balance between the hops and malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with some crispness. There is a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Drinking a few of these in a single sitting wouldn't be that difficult because it isn't that filling and doesn't have a high alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 03:12:24 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, reddish-brown body with an ivory-colored head.

Smell: There's a light caramel maltiness to the aroma as well as notes of flowers and citrus. Some spice in there, too.

Taste: Flavor of toasted grains with a soft caramel sweetness. Citrusy hops with a subtle spiciness. Mild bitterness on the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Highland's given us a pleasant, easy drinking amber, which is awfully decent of them.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2007 19:47:07 | More by ChainGangGuy
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 NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

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

A clear, reddish amber body is topped by a short but creamy head of off-white foam that holds quite well and maintains a thin lid throughout the glass, but leaves little more than some transient, spotty lace. Toasty and sweetish caramel malts and citrusy/earthy hops combine with a touch of yeasty fruitiness to lend a sweetened-fruit and malt character to the nose. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning leaves it dextrinous, creamy, and smooth across the palate. The rich maltiness found in the nose returns in the flavor, but this time it's more toasty than "sweet" caramel, with a very subtle roasted edge and some low-level diacetyl. Its tempered with more earthy/mineral hop flavors than citrus; and a solid bitterness balances it quite nicely and leaves it rich and satisfying but still drinkable as the sweet malts are no longer able to become cloying. It can, however, build on the palate a bit with its fullness. Still, a splash of water, nip of cheese, or crust of bread can instantly take that down. Impressive!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2003 18:14:28 | More by NeroFiddled
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 TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

Acquired via trade from NClifestyle, so a big “”Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty with a heavy scent of tea and a little bit of caramel and hops.

T: The taste is likewise, very malty. Sweet tea and caramel flavors are the most dominant. There’s a little bit of hops flavor in there, just enough to provide some balance to the sweetness, but they get stronger as the beer starts to warm. The after-taste goes back to the malt sweetness.

M: Very smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish especially for a beer as sweet as this one.

D: This beer is quite tasty, very easy to drink and not too filling. It’s simplistic, as is the style, but very enjoyable. I think it’s an excellent representation of the Irish Red style.

When I first started on BA, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to try this beer. That just shows you the power of trading. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Looking forward to the other two Highland beers that I got in the trade and then trading for more.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 23:01:52 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured brown with 3+ fingers of tan head. Great lacing & above average head retention.

S: Bready with seet malt & a hint of maple syrup

T: Cakey with herbal & piney hops up front. Roasted malt comes to the fore as this warms along with grapefruitty & piney hops. Finishes with loads of caramel & earthy hops

MF: Medium-bodied with a little slickness & low carbonation

Drank really easy, colud session on this, no problem!

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 20:51:59 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another bottle shared by Lunch, thanks! You are suppose to be a red ale? oops. I thought something totally different.

Beer is reddish I suppose, mostly clear with an offwhite head of small bubbles, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, mildly caramel, not much of it there.

Beer is sweet and medium in body, the back is moderately bitter, finish is not dry. Overall a below average tasting ale. I won't have it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 13:18:11 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

A - Poured out a clear, amber/orange color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of bready, sweet caramel with a citrusy kick.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel and grains with a grassy/mossy hop profile.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer with a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a nice ale. My first Highland brew and I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 22:19:39 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

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

Got this interesting guy thanks to beandip.

A: A light fluffy 1/2 finger head fades slowly and leaves a decent lacing. Some haze in the orange reddish slight rose colored beer.

N: Some toasty malts, little bready, fresh pale malt aroma, very light spices almost, little earthy juicy hop aroma too, and slightly grassy hops too.

T: Starts with toasty malts, lots of fresh malty pale malt flavors, little bready and toasty, light grassy hops, little earthy flavors, slightly spicy, crisp ale flavors.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry with a slight sweetness, slight bitterness with a little grassy mild hop flavor, and some earthy flavors lingering. Crisp ale flavors also linger.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 23:06:44 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a full, light brown head that sits atop a clear deep amber-ruby beer. The aroma is sticky with malt notes and a hint of herbal, grassy hops as well. The aroma is quite intoxicating, with its sweet caramel malt notes. The taste is malty as well, though it is not as sweet as the aroma suggests, and it has lots of toasted malt notes. This is almost quite dry in its maltiness, perhaps there is a hint of smokiness as well. The finish is quite drying with its mix of toasted, cracker, roasted, and smoke malt flavors. This is a solid enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2004 18:52:51 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

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

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade.

Pours orange amber with a thin white bubbly head taht retreats into a ring, leaving spotted lacing.

The smell is of caramel with a light citric fruitiness.

The taste is of a maltiness of an Irish Red with a subtle fruity citric hop backing. Malty sweetness rounded by a bitterness in the finish. An Irish Red with an American hop twist - Interesting and tasty.

Lighter side of medium-bodied, with soft to medium carbonation, this is a well-balanced amber ale that is very quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2008 03:31:25 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a clear brownish amber with a thinner creme head. Nose is apply malts. Real leafy robustness. Flavor is thick malts. Touch of sweet apple tones. Leafy and earthy character. Smooth and sweet, but robust and a nice profile. Smooth, slick liquid feel. Just a slightly lower carbonation on things. Very drinkable. This beer on cask would probably be great.

Thanks to michaeld23 for this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2008 23:59:44 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

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

Appearance: dark amber in color with a one finger head that slowly falls. Nice lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramels and ripe fruit sweetness are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: caramel, plums, red grapes, and a decent bitterness level make up a simple flavor profile that is enjoyable and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Very short caramel and fruity aftertaste.

Drinkability: definite session ale here as several of these can be had in a single session. I had this on tap and it seemed quite fresh so the flavors were nicer than what you may get in an older bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2007 12:26:47 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

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

I have heard about this brewery for a couple of years but have yet to find any their beers offered in New England. I found this one at a restaurant in Atlanta.

Traditional neutral amber color. Mild head with no specific lace.

The aroma most closely resembles warmed milk to me. I don't detect any specific malts or hops but it is overall appealing.

The taste is better than most. I particularly enjoy the balance. There's a solid (lighter) malt base with a pleasant hop counterpoint--not really bitter or biting. The body is okay, but the carbonation seems to be a little high.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2009 21:26:13 | More by smcolw
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice to look at, with dark amber color and decent head. Only a hint of malt but plenty of hops. Carbonation lasts well. Does have a nice beery smell when you sniff the glass, but not much nose as you sip and exhale.

Anemic malt with a hint of roasted flavors. Hops give very little to the aroma and leave a dishwatery aftertaste. I'm not sure what they're after with this beer. There are so many better amber ales, I can't believe this one should rate in the top 20.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 03:20:13 | More by mactrail
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 03:32:20 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

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

Picked up a six-pack at Whole Foods in South Beach. Appeared a dark amber-red, not far from a brown ale, and with a white head. The beer drinks dry, yet it feels a bit heavy at the same time. The flavor has a mix of herbal and citrus hops with light toffee, caramel, and biscuit malts. Overall, it comes off light an American red ale with a twist. Well made and certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 01:26:14 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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

A 12 oz bottle served in a seidel mug.

A: The ale is a copper red with a 1.5 finger head.

S: The aroma is a cascade hop fruitiness, not too intense but pleasant.

T: The ale has an assertive taste of grapefruit hops up front that smoothly transitions to a malty biscuit flavor before finishing with the hops. The hops are a star in this beer, not too assertive but imparting a brilliant bitterness.

M: Surprisingly good mouthfeel. For an Irish red, I was expecting a strong malt character and restrained hops. This beer flips that around and does a good job of it.

D: Very drinkable with a nice hop flavor.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2006 22:09:47 | More by akorsak
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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.