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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 520
Hads: 1,351
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 220 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,351
Photo of wmthorne
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A gift brew from a friend moving to Asheville. Great gift

Poured into a chilled mug. Pours a very rich amber color with little head. Nice lacing.

Very light carbonation in the mouthfeel. I taste caramel immediately.

This is quite a drinkable beer. The label mentions "hop bitterness" but I really don't get that until much later in the aftertaste.

This would be a great fall brew on a crisp morning sitting and setting up at a tailgate.

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Photo of bluedognever
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original Review 5-11-2014

Poured from a bottle into a frosty mug. It's a nice deep rich amber color with a soft, thick beige head. Rich taste without being heavy feeling. Biscuit and caramel with a slight hint of citrus. A very slight hop finish - just right. After a few minutes, head is mostly gone with some lacing.

This may be the best beer I've had in a quite a while

Added 6/13/2014

I discovered that I had another bottle of this. Rather funny but it paired extremely well with Mexican food - a very nice balance with the cilantro, peppers, tomatoes and other seasonings.

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Photo of dataskatt
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite American Amber/Red Ale so far. It pours a rich reddish brown with a generous head. This beer is wonderfully malty and creamy, with enough hops to balance it nicely. It is full flavored and rich, but not overly heavy. The smell is very malty with hints of caramel and nut. A very balanced red ale.

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Photo of tctruffin
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a rather limited cream colored head that disappated quickly. Not too much aroma; just a slight cascade hop presence. Taste is where this ale shines. Got some roasty caramel notes from the malt with earthy citrus hops on top. The Gaelic does a good job of unifying these disparate flavors. In the mouth, it's a bit stickier than called for, but that doesn't make any less drinkable.

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Photo of rockyfire
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer at the Lighthouse in Wrightsville.This beer is clear in body. Amber and Red in color. Off-white head is ok and pops butt does not last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by s light citric flavour. I wonder what hops they use. Flavor is malt with moderate hopping. Not a bad North Carolina beer.

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Photo of DesertRat
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Personal preference, but the malt starts too strong. It finishes very well and the aftertaste is great. For a red ale, it is above average and is definitely enjoyable. I feel like the carbonation is high, similar to a pils, but not overwhelming. Definitely a beer worth buying. Pair it with a cabbage based meal and see if you turn green.

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Photo of xybreeder
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very nice amber/orange color, little to no head with slight lacing.

S - Honey, caramel, slight hop aroma, but mostly malt aromas.

T - Malt on the front, hops on the back, slight bitterness lingers. Caramel and grapefruit seem to dominate the flavor profile. Very nice & balanced tasty brew.

M - Medium body, carbonation seems good despite the missing head.

O - A nicely balanced brew, that is very drinkable. Could use just a little less bitterness on the back-end, besides that, it's a fine tasting brew!

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Photo of introvertedone
4.57/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

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Photo of ShawnMN
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm from Louisiana , a really close friend brought me a party pack of the Highland brewing company. I enjoyed this, for an amber/red ale. I have a dark beer preference but enjoy a refreshing caramel malty lighter beer with good body on occasion. It was right on

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Photo of jimsimply
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark amber with a small, taupe head.

S: Light caramel notes, little hop aroma.

T/MF: Balanced for the style. I had had two chewier beers earlier in the day, so it felt light in my mouth. Fits style, but left me feeling less than happy. Carbonation not overpowering, but pleasant.

D: Easy drinking ale.

I'm a fan of Highland, but this isn't my favorite of their offerings. Still, not bad.

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Photo of FungusBrewer
4.61/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Crisp and cool with a hop bite under the kilt. I'd sell my soul to the Blarney Stone to drink this brew above the fog--Spitting on Long-shanks while picking breakfast Haggis out of my dentures.

Smell: Sweet malt, nutty, clean.

Taste: Incredibly drinkable and well balanced. Light malt sweetness up front followed by an extremely pleasant hop aftertaste. Bright and clean flavors unadulterated by any heavy bread like notes, or unpleasant astringency. Stable from start to finish.

Appearance: Reddish-copper almost carnelian in color; clear with no haze. Medium head, medium carbonation.

It only took one Gaelic Ale before organizing a small militia amongst my neighbors to fight against big beer and praise craft brew FFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM!!!

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Photo of Dudeletter
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Amber love and southern addiction is the Highland Brewery. Their beer is from Asheville, NC and the locality promises the freshness of the sample. The beer is on the hoppy end of the spectrum, but the mellowness of a well crafted amber permeates through the hopped nature of the beer. The beer’s cascade hops add a citrus freshness to add punctuation to the malty caramel taste. The carbonation adds a baked bread, almost a toasted desert bread scent to the nose of this wonderful beer.


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Photo of malvrich
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Stella glass
bottled July 15, 2014
ABV is actually 5.6%
A: Hazy copper/amber color with a tight beige head some of which refused to pour out of the bottle. Head lasts a few minutes with nice lacing. Fair clarity.

S: Mostly getting caramel and toast.

T: Fruit. Nuts. Orange zest and burnt toast. The sweetness from the smell is thankfully absent.

M: Lighter bodied perhaps, than it looks. Refreshing with zippy carbonation.Dry tart finish leaves you wanting more.

O: This is very good amber ale. Maybe the best I can think of. Highland has a hit and at $8/6 it's a no brainer! Extremely good.

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Photo of beerhandy
4/5  rDev +5%
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

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Photo of redelephantdane
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of beldin96
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Highland Gaelic Ale is a great amber. The Ale has a great nose. On the nose it has some light malts, with some very light floral. The mouth feel is very light, but with lots of flavor. The Gaelic Ale has a good balance of malt and hops, not one overpowering the other. It finishes very clean and crisp. At 5.8% ABV is could be a good session beer.

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Photo of maki88
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


12oz bottle poured into a tumbler. Enjoyed at home.

A: Rich amber color with a thick, off-white head. The head lingered and laced well. This definitely looks like an ale, and the bold appearance suggests some of the strong scents and distinguished taste of this brew.

S: Sweet and malty, while also somewhat toasty, with hints of caramel.

T: A rich flavor. Smooth at the start -- lighter than expected, actually. The taste lingers pleasantly in the mouth. I'd say that this ale has a distinct flavor, but not an over-powering one. Compared with other ales, this one's taste is notable for its bold but drinkable character.

M: Medium-bodied, but perhaps on the lighter side of "medium." Certainly not too light for an ale, but there seems to be room for it to be a bit more robust here.

O: A solid ale, above average but not incredible. It is definitely drinkable and enjoyable, without some of the overpowering flavors of other ales. I'd enjoy it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out.

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Photo of lewwjr
4.8/5  rDev +26%
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.

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Photo of ZacHart
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: crystal clear, beautiful amber colored brew that produced a thick but wispy off-white head with light lacing.

Smell: aroma dominated by sweet caramel with hints of smoke and fruit.

Taste: malty but not overly sweet flavor dominated by bread crust and caramel, with hints of smoke, earth, and fruit. Hop flavor subtle but present enought to nicely balance the brew. Flavor reminiscent of a Scotch ale but overall more restrained.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin and highly carbonated, this beer doesn't really linger on the palate.

Overall: a flavorful yet highly drinkable session beer that's rightfully the flagship of Highland Brewery.

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Photo of KentT
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent fruity, well balanced between hops and malt, easy to drink session ale. Delightful finish. Has a slight caramelly note. Rich and complex enough to be interesting but never dull. I recommend it very highly. And it is reasonably priced here in East Tennessee.

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Photo of Jericho7x
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

New to beer tasting, so take this with a grain of salt.
SMELL = Honestly, smelled like a foot. Not a ripe, all day while running foot, but maybe like 2-3 hours in a sneaker. Did not like the smell.
LOOK = Carmel color with a cream colored head. Not thick.
TASTE = Bitter. Could not get too much other taste, but it did have a very slight sweetness at the end.
OVERALL = not for someone like me getting away from the mass-produced American beers. This would be for a more veteran taste.

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Photo of cruzbay
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle, and has a surprising red color, with little head.
The initial taste was sweet and malty, not overpowering or overly bold. The finish was a light grapefruit taste but did not last too long. Overall it had both the malt and hop flavors associated with an ale, but they were light, which makes this beer enjoyable for the taste, and drinkable.

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Photo of EvilPumpkin
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep ruby red with a nice thick off white head that retains well till the bottom of the glass with a little lacing.

S: Strong malt with a noticeable sweetness and a very slight hop spice at the very tail end.

T: Very similar to the smell. The malt comes through sweet initially followed by a nice bready flavor. The hops follow with a slight spice and then a clean bitterness that lingers for a bit.

M: An initial creaminess is broken by a moderate level of carbonation that dances on the tongue until the beer is swallowed.

D: Highly drinkable. A well rounded beer balanced nicely between malts and hops as well as creaminess and carbonation. If I lived around here I could definitely use this as a basic session standard.

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Photo of japcmiller
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of Goukbeergals
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.