Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,299 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,299
Reviews: 531
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 30
Gots: 195 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,299 | Reviews: 531
Photo of kcillini77
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

Thin head that doesn't stick around very long.

Smell is hoppier than I would have thought. Some sweet toffee-like malt is in there too.

Taste is toffee, caramel, and a little earthy flavor, followed by a little bit of bitter from the hops.

A well balanced beer.

Perhaps a little overcarbonated, but there's a lot to like here.

Photo of gerite
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Average one to two finger head with a thick cloudy copper color with good lacing throughout. Only the slightest bitterness with a smooth malt taste. Very little carbonation. The mouthfeel is full and robust with just a hint of hops. A very enjoyable well balanced beer that gets better with every sip.

Photo of MrHolland
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of branimal9
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my GF at Barley's Greenville 5/17/2010.

Reddish gold in color. Smells slightly malt-sweet with a kiss of hops. Toffee & floral hop bitterness in the taste. Finishes slighly dry. A nice, sessionable amber ale, and one of Highland's flagship beers.

Photo of dball
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Gaelic has been a favorite drinking beer of mine for a long time. It is my favorite brew from Highland in Asheville. It pours a deep golden color with a burgundy tint. The head is light and fluffy and the beer laces lightly on the glass. The smell is average and carries a solid blend of hops and malt. Drinkability is missing from the scale these days and I think that is one of the strengths of the Gaelic. It has a slightly bitter feel but a smooth malty finish. I think it is a solid go to beer for entertaining and for good afternoon hang. Delightful despite it not being an "A" beer.

Photo of JonMich13
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Nice deep amber, small whitish head and lite lacing.

S = Sweet smell of caramel malts, very lite notes of hops.

T = Delicious sweet caramel malt dominates the palate. There is some lite hop bitterness that tries to come about, but the balance is heavily in favor of the sweetness. A little better balance on the back end would do this one some good.

M = Nice medium to slightly thick mouthfeel.

D = This one is definitely an easy drinker. I could easily go 3 or 4 deep.

Solid brew from an underrated brewery.

Photo of shertz
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from undated bottle into a Pint glass on a hot afternoon.

A- Two finger head, amber red in color. A few small bubbles run towards the top to join the foamy head.Nice lacing throughout.

S- Sugary malts. Some hops are around.

T- Very complex taste. Bready, oatmeal taste comes through at finish. Very malty, with floral hops fighting their way through. Very different, but good.

M- Oily start, numbing finish. Love that numbing finish!!

D- Average ABV leads to a nice possibility of drinking more than one which I would be more than glad to do. However, only have one. Will have to get a sixer next time I'm in the Outer Banks for the beach. Good stuff from good brewer.

Photo of BrewnZ
2.9/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this at Barley's Tap house in Knoxville, TN.

Deep copper colored beer with white head, hops and crystal malt in the nose.

Medium bodied with big crystal malt flavor, then spicy American hops running up the back. Finishes with lingering crystal malt flavor. A decent if, but not really exciting beer.

Photo of homersimpson
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear reddish brown with a light tan head that lingers for a while
Floral hop notes with a sweet malt background
Medium body with decent carbonation, smooth mouthfeel
Smooth malty flavor is balanced by a citrusy Williamette and Cascade hop finish that lingers.
One of my favorite North Carolina brews. Great session beer. Get kegs of it for cookouts during the summer.

Photo of thatguy3579
3.85/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of marshmarsh
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

my first highland brew

a- mahogany with cream lacing

s - wood and yogurt? weird bt its what i smell

t - wood and hoppy
with a roasted creme bruoee aftertaste

m - moderately full

o - very complex with earthy roasted and perfect amount of hop notes

Photo of AlexanderSelby
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a nice head and serious lacing. Smell is slightly underwhelming, compared to the rest of it's traits. I avoided this beer for a while because of the Gaelic name, assuming it were Wee Heavy Scottish Ale - which it is not. This is an American style amber/red. However, Highland Brewery does, after all, stylize itself after traditional Scottish breweries, so it is impossible to be completely rid of that malty influence. The result is almost perfect: an American well-hopped amber that warms and smooths itself out with sweet, bready malts. Flavor is caramel and honey-ham with a prevalent earthy hop bite.

This insane balance is both this beers high-point and set-back. The character is neither a hoppy and bitter nor smooth and malty, which is pleasing balance, but it is also a bit underwhelming. Deciding which way to think about this beer is a little like deciding between two really great movies you want to watch: once you settle down and pick one, you miss the other.

Photo of lespaulrocker
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes:

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Poured a deep copper/amber color, very little head, minimal lacing. Aesthetically pleasing, but I wish there was more head and lacing.

S: Bread, caramel, spicy and citrusy hops.

T: Lots of malts, caramel, grain, and bread. Citrus and bitter hops. Grain and semi-sweet finish.

M: Creamy and smooth. Medium body.

D: Medium drinkability.

Good beer. I'm a fan.

Photo of Gish
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ahh, I've had this one on tap many times but I actually bought a bottle for once.

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Dark amber with a modest head and good lacing.

S - Malt sweetness with spicy herbal undertones.

T - Highland Gaelic has a rich toasted and nutty flavor profile. In fact it seems a bit maltier than what I've had on tap. However, the hops do come out and balance it fairly well. I would personally like a bit more of a hop presence though.

M - Medium bodied and not very carbonated.

D - A great session beer that we are lucky to have in this area. Props again to Highland!

Photo of FloppyDog
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of wowbagger
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear red. Not much aroma, some hop.

Good and hopy red, a little dry but not too much. Some sweet notes. Coats the tongue nicely and has some sharpness at the back of the mouth.

Overall, a very solid amber ale. Hopier than most reds, but still quite good. I'd definitely recommend it.

Photo of cktison
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pour to pint glass.
A: Hazy amber with off-white 1" head. Nice retention, very little lacing.
S: Sweet malts, caramels and very little hop notes.
T: Really nice balance. More hops appear, nice sugary sweet and caramel hops. Great taste.
M: Nice and smooth, no bitterness, alcohol is not apparent at all.
D: Great. This is a good beer that really goes down smoothly. Nice session beer, for sure.

Photo of DanThomas
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright brown, coppery, color with a bit of red. Thin white rim of foam, leaves a little on the glass. Cloudy

S - Rather sweet, almost like brown sugar, caramelized apple, rye. I really like the smell.

T - Brown sugar definitely, caramel, some malt base to it, especially as the beer has warmed. Don't notice hops until the finish, as they cleanse the palate very well (exactly what hops are good for).

M - Very nice. The aforementioned hop finish is refreshing, good level of carbonation.

D - Overall, excellent. Would go well with several different foods, and I would enjoy a nice session evening with this beer. Great job Highland!

Photo of lewzer99
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
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

Photo of weaf
4/5  rDev +5%

highlands always delivers great quality beer.

Photo of TheStig
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, translucent and reddish caramel color with a fast receding head and no lacing. A soft, sweet smell of cool, wet forest wafts up, but is very subtle. Gentle, bittersweet notes interlaced with oats and a very minor yeast taste. A proud hoppiness pulls through entire tasting experience, but is not overly strong. A hearty, honey-like sweetness exists as a subtle base. Fair carbonation and an overall lightness produce an enjoyable mouthfeel.

Thank god this comes in a six-pack, because it's a very tasty, very drinkable beer.

Photo of 0tt0
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, reddish amber with an creamy off-white head. Nose is of caramel and bread with a light honey-like sweetness faintly in the background. Flavor is remarkably balanced: Caramely, rich malts dominate with a nice hop tingle. The hops, however, don't get lost at all. The finish is long and lingering.

The real star of the show, though, is the mouthfeel. Its medium-full and creamy and pushes what is clearly a good beer into another realm. Terrific on a cool fall evening.

Photo of IceTrey9785
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a six-pack for $8.49 -- a beer from my native area? Why not?

A: I poured the ale into a standard English pub glass, light carbonation, and good lacing. A nice, creamy, froth remains on the top of the brew, but not as overwhelming as a Smithick's, for example.

S: Sweet caramel malts, perhaps a little dried fruit like raisins or prunes, but there is a noticeable hop bitterness, once you get past the sweet malt. I keep thinking of candy apples with this one.

T&M: Wonderful taste -- almost a weak coffee finish, preceded by caramel and toffee on the mid-palate. Some spice like nutmeg or brown sugar is also present. As the ale warms, there is a very distinct nutty finish, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Creamy texture, but relatively light to medium body. This is a great red ale for summer, just enough malty character, laced with fresh hops (rather faint), and superb drinkability.

I really like this beer. It is simple, smooth, and has some character, but I have to admit I'm not blown away. I think either the addition of more intense hops, or malt (or both) would really allow this ale to stand out. If you're looking for something other than a Yuengling on a hot day, this would be a nice alternative. I'd love to see the difference on-tap. Fantastic house ale...

Photo of dmbsteve
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of Schwarzwald
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,299 ratings.