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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,224 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,224
Reviews: 510
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 29
Gots: 145 | 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
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Ratings: 1,224 | Reviews: 510 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dedrinker
3.29/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a handsome beer as far as your standard amber ale goes - deep, clear amber color with a light tan-yellow-ish head. I'm sticking my nose as deep down into the glass as I can go, and I'm not picking up much aroma - perhaps some mild caramel and nutty action, or maybe I'm just imagining it because my nose is all jammed into this thing. Thankfully it does have flavor and there is more of a hop presence here than in most typical amber ales. An almost sweet caramel malty taste followed by a bitter tang of hops. This went better with food - grilled chicken thighs seasoned with sage, oregano, basil, etc. and salt-n-peppa. I think this beer will go well with leftover Thanksgiving food.

Photo of ckeegan04
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep reddish-amber color with a two finger off-white head. Slowly fades to leave a thin layer on top and excellent lacing throughout.

S - Sweet biscuity malt aroma with hints of cany sugar. A light spicy hop note also exists.

T - Initial caramel sweetness with a light spicy/piney hop note coming through. Finishes with a toasted caramel taste.

M/D - Light to medium bodied, a touch on the thinner side of things. Not a remarkable brew but still a very solid session beer.

Photo of bv74550p
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

Photo of hustlesworth
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- nice clear reddish brown with a foamy buff head, good retention, some ok lace.

S- very toasty aroma with butterscotch, diacetyl, and an underlying nuttiness

T- toasty cereal grain flavor with some earthy hop bitterness

MF- medium body, medium carbonation, pretty standard.

D- easily drinkable, bought a single from a farmers market in NC.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this particular glass on-tap at the Brick Store Pub. A beautiful looking red ale- especially on draft. Coppery red with strawberry highlights, a nice 1 inch head that leaves some lacing. Very light aromas of somewhat bready malt, and a bit of yeasty tanginess. Deeper flavors than suggested by the nose. Bready malt with a touch of fruitiness and nuts and some citrusy hops. Not seemlessly integrated, but done pretty well nevertheless. The mouthfeeel is chewy and a bit sweet, but overall this is a pretty solid beer.

Photo of ectomorph
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a little aggressively, this brew pours a nice amber/mahogany color with slow fading head leaving thick lace on the glass.

S - Malt breads are picked up in the front, with a mild bitterness at the end.

T - Malty and sweet balanced with a mild hop bitterness. Some nice bread notes here.

M - Medium body and nice carbonation, very nice.

D - Very high drinkabilty. Could be paired with anything foodwise.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clean copper color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweet maltiness and balanced with a small hop. In the taste, a dryer malt, and almost a bit peet like. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry maltiness in the aftertaste. A ballsy ale, feels big, a nice flavor for a ale.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright hop splash and then chewy chocolate rich roast malt. Great roast with balancing hop edge.

Deep, deep caramel color with slight yellow highlights. Good head, mild retention.

First sip finds a thick and malty brew with surprisingly boisterous level of bright hoppage. Excellent roast flavors - heavy on the coffee and chocolate with a good, pure malt character. Tart, citric hops with floral and herbal perfume. Good bit of finishing hop bitterness that gets louder with warmth. Also a little roast bitterness - just a dry, woody edge. Subtle coffee, chocolate, and like roast flavors persist through the finish.

Confusingly, the piper in the picture is holding a boastful mug of some lighter color brew than the one that came out of my bottle. He ought to be drinking what I am, for it is uncommonly good.

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

A nice solid ale here.

Some sweetness of toasted malts present.

Very bready and toasty. A slight hop finish. Pleasant, yet not too far out there. Would be a good gateway beer to get Bud drinkers to step up.

Mouthfeel medium-bodied.

Certainly worth a try. Everything I've had from Highland has been pretty good.

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

Highland Gaelic Ale...

Appearance-Deep dark red color, residual sticky lace, fairly nice appearance.

Smell- malty sweetness, some hops and alcohol, nothing crazy but nothing off hand.

Taste/Mouthfeel- malty sweetness upfront, some hops, something else I can't quite detect, lots of carbonation. Smooth and active going down, what is that slight off flavor?

Drinkability-a fine amber ale, not exactly refreshing but would be good in a pub.

Overall-a malty sweet version of the amber ale style. A fine beer with an interesting off flavor, I wonder what that is. Either way, an ok beer.

Photo of nem2006
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It is a hazy, deep amber color with a good head that dissipates throughout the beer.

There is the slight sweetness of the toasted malts.

The taste is sweet at the start and finishes with a nice smooth bitterness from the hops (Cascade and Williamette).

This is a smooth, medium to full bodied beer with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Photo of cjgator3
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark amber color with a light tan head. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and a touch of smoke. The taste is sweet malt with some caramel, smoke and some hops in the finish that helps balance this one out. Overall, Highland Gaelic Ale is a pretty decent brew that I wouldn't mind drinking again. Worth a shot.

Photo of aubuc1
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a clear brownish amber with a tan two finger head

I can smell hops, malt, and a molasses type of smell.

Tastes lightly hoppy with a bready/malty taste.

Very dry, sharp feel.

Good beer, something in there I can't quite get my arms around.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Mellow Mushroom in Durham;

The draft version of this beer arrives with a clear garnet body alive with numerous trickles of active carbonation capped with a thin white head that leaves a little lacing. The drink smells and tastes much sweeter and spicier than the bottled version, with less carbonation and a stickier mouthfeel. A little slick and sticky. I preferred it in the bottle, where it seemed less sweet and much hoppier.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint-sized pub glass.

Appearance: A deep copper color with a solid two-finger white head. Marvelous lacing.

Smell: A pleasant mix of floralness, caramel, and roasted malts.

Taste: There is a frontrunner of hoppiness that is somehow not bitter, immediately followed by a maltiness that I can only describe as tasting like roasted caramel. This maltiness is the defining characteristic of this beer, yet that floralness lingers always on the outskirts of the palate, providing a good balance.

Mouthfeel: Neither very carbonated nor flat. It leaves a good aftertaste.

Drinkability: This is a great session beer. Its sweetness is never cloying, and its alcohol content is low, so it's very easy to drink a lot of these. So drink up!

Photo of Walker8810
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

deep amber in color with a thin head of foam. delicious sweet aroma of molasses. smooth even mouthfeel. well balanced, deliciously sweet taste on top finishing with a mild hop bitterness. very smooth and very drinkable. could drink this beer all day. an excellent example of an amber ale.

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

12 oz bottle.

Big shout out to my buddy Mike for hooking me up with a 5'er (yea i said 5'er) of this after his recent trip to NC. It pours a brilliant ruby brown color with a big brown and white spotted head, awesome sticking/lacing. Nice nose of wood, chocolatey sweet malts, some spice and some cherry and other fruit notes. Mostly malty, semi sweet malts at that, pretty crisp fruity feel to it, a bit of smokey wood chips and tobacco, a touch of citrus and hop bitterness upon the finish. It leaves a very woody, malty, bitter aftertaste, im loving it, this may turn some people off though. After it sat for a while the aftertase became a bit metallic, not very offensive. Good medium mouthfeel, decent complexity, light carbonation and pretty damn easy to drink. Good beer!

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

From my limited notes of the summer 07 road trip.

Pours an amber color with a decent sized head, a little patchy lacing.

Smell is a good balance between malt and hops, some earthiness.

Taste starts out malty then is nicely balanced by the hops, not overly hoppy, some citrus elements.

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

Bright copper in color with a tight off-white head. Good retention and a nice amount of lace is left behind.

Aroma of toasted and caramel malts with a touch of hops. A well balanced nose that is neither sweet or hoppy.

Balance is the theme in the flavor as well. Rich with toasted and caramel malt, and some toffee yet balanced but hop bitterness. Hops are herbal and grassy and blend well with the malt sweetness. Citrus and honey round things out. Finishes slightly dry.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Gentle carbonation enhances the mouthfeel. Great session beer with enough flavor to keep you interested. Can easily stick with this all night.

Photo of bobbyc881
4.48/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour leaves a thick, tan head over a deep orange-red beer. Clear. Aroma is sweet breads and malts, caramels, and a slight citrusy hop presence.

Taste begins sweet and smooth. Caramelized malts dominate. Very balanced hop flavors follow shortly after. Leaves the palette sticky. Again, extremely smooth. Malt focused, but enough hops to not overwhelm.

Great body. Thick mouthfeel compared to most reds/ambers -- which seems to play better with the malt-centered flavors. Carbonated well. Highly drinkable beer. Certainly one of my go-tos. One of the best locals around.

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

A: Poured a one finger off-white head with good retention leaving plenty of lacing. Body was a slightly chill-hazed copper.

S: Toasted and caramel malts in the nose with a touch of hops. It prefer it a bit stronger.

T: What was lacking from the aroma is present in the taste, as the rich toasted and caramel malts are (at least somewhat) balanced by just enough bitterness from the grassy hops. It's a bit malt heavy and quite tasty.

M: Medium-plus body with soft carbonation, providing a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Finish was slightly dry with a lasting aftertaste.

D: While I generally prefer my red ales to be hop heavy, this was still enjoyable, drinkable, and very well done.

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

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this one. It pours a cloudy amber color. The head is one inch in height, bright white in color, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma of caramel, toffee, and grapefruit. The taste is like the aroma, and very sweet. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is a decent beer, but it is nothing special.

Photo of Misfit138
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into my Guinness pint glass

A- Nice looking ale. Amber in color, much like a pale ale. Good two inch foamy head

S- The smell is good. In many ways reminded me of a barleywine for some reason. There is fruit in the smell for sure, I also detect honey and hops.

T- Much like the smell. Initially a bit sweet, with citrus and perhaps honey flavor followed with hops.

M- Good body to it considering its not a stout or even a porter. The carbonation is moderate.

D- I think this has potential to be a session beer, for me its a bit sweet to have too many of. Highland makes some good stuff, and this is certainly a good one as well. This is only the second time I had this and I remember liking it more the first time, but certainly good.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a decent, on-the-darker-side amber colour with a mid-sized, slightly off-white head that mas low retention time and leaves a fair amount of residue on the glass.

The aroma is slightly toasted malt blended with a bit of caramel sweetness and some floral hops that lean toward the subtly fruity side at times.

The flavour has a nice balance between the toasted malt and the sweetness from not only a bit of caramel (slightly less noticeable here than in the aroma) but also from the hop notes, which lean a bit more toward a 50/50 floral/fruit balance here. Mouthfeel is on the lighter bodied side and has a fair amount of crispness to it, but also has a bit of smoothness as well.

This is a nice beer overall, it's just not one that stands out from the pack of not only the Highland lineup (or at least the four or five that I've sampled), but ambers/reds in general. That said if this is the worst thing a brewery has going for it than that's not a bad position to be in as this is still a good brew. Another nice once from Highland.

Photo of NEhophead
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tumbler.

Full, glowing amber in color; faint hue of auburn with noticeable carbonation. Creamy, slightly off-white head with stable retention. Ringed, thin lacing with good strength down the tumbler.

Semi-sweet toasted malts; light in aroma with lightly burnt floral hops. Faint hints of citrus, but not much. The yeast is fresh and the hops smell as if they're wet.

Fresh, wet hops; bright floral, but not exactly bitter. Fresh, clean yeast; no mustiness. Semi-sweet, completely balanced toasted malts. No detectable diacetyl notes or heavy-handed bitterness. Smooth, toasted with pleasant, subtle hints of spicy hops.

Medium bodied; smooth. The toasted malt character is practically creamy and nearly unobtrusive.

A highly quaffable, moderately hopped ale. Not a monumental brew in flavor, but balanced, delicate, and pleasant.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,224 ratings.