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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,188 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,188
Reviews: 501
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 28
Gots: 121 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,188 | Reviews: 501 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rallison
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark amber with a 1/2 finger head that mostly dies but leaves some lacing.

Smells bready with touches of caramel.

Taste is altogether mellow, but actually quite nice. Malt backbone has a fair amount of caramel, with a slight touch of smokiness. This reminds me very much of a sessionable Scotch Ale. Hop bitterness is slightly present in the form of balance. Not overly complex, but more complex than your average amber. Nicely done.

Mouthfeel is low to medium carbonation with good drinkability.

Recommended. I was not expecting too much from this, but this is one of the better ambers I have had. I like the smoky undertones in this one.

rallison, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of kimcgolf
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a surprisingly good amber ale, that slightly resembled an APA. Poured to a dark golden copper with thick off-white head that lingered well into the glass and left good lacing on the glass. Aroma was a hoppy fruit, mostly citrus, but with a sweet malty undertone. Mouthfeel was full bodied and slightly bitter, while the flavor accentuated the hoppy fruit of the nose.

This all led to a nice long bitter finish that was rounded out by the malty sweetness. A darn good beer.

kimcgolf, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Relatively clear rosy amber color with a pale tan thick head that retreats to a ring of bubles and some nice thick lace.
S: Pleasant malty aroma, with a little caramel and definite hop presence. Slightly bready, yeasty.
T: Very malty, full bodied beer and in general very pleasant to drink. Slightly sticky with persistent aftertaste of bready malt and a little hops. Caramel from nose is also present and finish has a little hop bitterness for balance. Carbonation is present but in background. Overall, not my favorite amber, but for what it is, very good. My favorite Highland brew I've tried so far.

yourefragile, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of cbleary
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

This is Highland's flagship ale and in my opinion their best. It poured with a pretty deep amber hue and a big appetizing head. The smell was very good, a great mix of bready malts and hops. The taste retains the breadiness of the smell with a good measure of Cascade and Willamette hops keeping it in check. I find this style to be tempermental and easy to mess up, but Highland has a brew to be proud of.

cbleary, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of joepais
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to ncvbc for being able to sample this one
Bottle poured into my pint glass produced a good two fingers worth of head that goes to a thick lace on top of a clear amber body

Aromas of sweet malts and light hops slight earthiness as well

Flavors of malts and delicate hops great balance on this one

Mouthfeel is great very easy to hammer this if you wanted to

A great drinking beer I'm going to go have a pizza with it right now will probable grab another one while I'm at it

joepais, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of jtm3
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice amber color. Decent head retention with nice layered lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt, touch of hops. Something else in there that I cannot quite detect...some sort of spice?

T: Smooth from the get-go. Light sweetness give way to a heavier malt. Getting a hint of fruit...and there is that spicy flavor again. Also getting a little cream soda taste out of it. Finishes with a bit of hoppy bitterness, that doesn't overwhelm or last too long.

M: Not as heavy to me as most people seem to think. More medium to me.

D: I give it high marks here. Seems to go down well. Once again, back to my cream soda comment.

Overall, nice, easy-drinking beer. Not overly complex, but enough is present to please the palate.

jtm3, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of avalon07
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a rich amber color and a fairly opaque texture. Didn't exactly have a huge amount head on it, but had a fair amount of lacing.

There was a sweet smell about this one. Hops, malt and something I couldn't figure.

The hops in this one seemed like the main component. There was a fruitiness about it, along with a malt flavor.

The mouthfeel was okay. There was a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, not too bad a beer. It isn't the most complex beer I've ever had, but it has a good bite and is surprisingly refreshing.

avalon07, Feb 20, 2008
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ncvbc for this stuff!
12 0z. bottle > 16 oz. SA glass.

This one pours out as a deep, reddish amber color with good carbonation and a one-finger, off-white head that dissipates pretty quick but has plenty of scattered covering left over, moderatly sticky.

Sweet malt in the nose, caramel, subtle fruity notes of raspberry tarts, hemp seeds, herbal and earthy hop notes way down.

This is a very malty brew for an American Amber style, Sweet toffee, fried dough-like maltiness that is bold, much bolder than the aroma. It's pretty complex for this style too, with a nice hoppy counter balance of fruits, lush red berries, raspberry tarts, earthy, leafy, but it's a sublime balance overall. The finish is an easy wheaty, herbal and alsmost zesty effect, really hardy at the end.

Light to medium feel, crisp, clean, decent bite that smooths out just as it goes down.

This is really very good for a style that is ofter mediocre at best. And the bagpipes, man you gotta love the bagpipes!

GratefulBeerGuy, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Pours a murky amber with a 1/2 finger width of off-white head that settles down into a thin layer of retention that left some decent lace. The aroma is caramel malts, toasted malts,light breadiness, and just the slightest pick up of hops in the back.

The taste pretty much matches the aroma profile. Caramel malt sweetness, roasted malts, and some light breadiness are nicely balanced by some lingering bittering hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice carbonated feel.

Very nice. I really liked the interaction of the roasted and caramel malts in this guy as well as the pleasant bitterness it ended with. A fine tasting and very drinkable Amber Ale.

Kegatron, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a nice amber color with a tan head

S - Is mostly of sweet malt

T - Is of sweet caramel malt upfront and has a nice hop finish

M - This is a medium bodied beer with a good level of carbonation

D - This is a very good ale that I really enjoyed this one a good taste this is worth trying sometime

armock, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +1%
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.

Sammy, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice ruddy amber color; slim head

S: Weak hints of earthy malt aromas

T: Abundant caramel malts balanced well with a variety of hops; the finish is relatively quick with a slight lingering of hops.

M: Decent medium bodied with abundance of carbonation

D: Good ale, would probably go good with a roasted turkey leg or soup in a bread-bowl. Personally prefer more aggressive flavor profiles but this would be fine as an escape from American Macros.

The Highland line is generally one of my favorites but this particular ale is closer to mediocre. Not bad, generally enjoyable.

SIRIUS2, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of bboven
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really think these new hoppier reds need their own style, but so it is.

Straight-up copper color, clear with a bi head and respectable lacing.

A surprising amount of hops in the aroma, biscuity and sweet malt also dancing around.

This one tastes more like a malty pale ale than an amber. The hops lay too prominent a roll to be true to style, but it's very tasty regardless.

Pretty spritzy carbonation lifts the flavor off the tongue pretty quickly. Pretty drying from the big hop profile.

Very tasty beer, just not a true amber. I buy this stuff a lot, usually on-tap and it never disappoints. Really good if you can't decide between a malty or hoppy beer.

bboven, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of czfreeman
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first highland brew. Lovely reddish brown color, retains a consistent two-finger head. lots of malts, maple, caramels,sugars on the nose. Fruits, predominatley apple flavor, sweet malts, slight caramel on the finish. Sweet on the initial mouthfeel but has a bit of a tart finish. Good flavor, but maybe a little sweet for my liking. A good offering of this style, not too hoppy and quite enjoyable.

czfreeman, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of tmitch75
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with toasty head and some lacing.

Smell is malty with some nuttiness.

Toasty caramel & nut flavor with sweet malt with a slightly hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied & smooth.

A very tasty beer that I will definitely seek out next time I am in the region.

tmitch75, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of BDIMike
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is pale reddish color. Small carbonation and a great sized head.
Smells awesome. Starts with a smell of malts and nuts. Smells of hops, sugars, and other sweet smells after.
Great taste. Hoppy at first. Balanced with a good caramel malt taste. Ends with a sweeter taste. Very well-rounded. Lots of flavor.
Mouthfeel has a nice thickness. Smooth going down. Not sharp at all.
Great beer. I did not expect this to be as good as it was. Could drink this one all day.

BDIMike, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of MMAJYK
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Nice amber in color with darker brown hues. This beer is non-transparent. Head is white and one finger, but has a little bit darker (off white) outline around the edge of the glass after a medium pour.

S- Buttery nuts and caramel are the first hits on the nose. After a swirl of the glass, I pick up some hoppy scents. There is a brown sugar, malty smell present too.

T- Tastes follow very closely to the nose, carrying over the nutty and buttery aspects. The malt is very sweet and very prominent in the taste. There is a slight biscuity taste here too.

M- The carbonation is low to medium and the thickness is on the thin side. Not my favorite aspect of this beer.

D- This beer is nice and smooth. The mouthfeel, to me, needs to be a little more crisp than dull like this one is. I feel it would be a little more enjoyable and refreshing if the carbonation was up a little.

Overall- This is a nice offering, but not on the top of my list. Of course, I am not too big on this style of beer either, but I was really excited initally with this one. Toward the middle to the end of this beer, I was let down. It was like it fell flat on its face after the first taste or two. BUT, I did like it, and I would definitely drink another.

MMAJYK, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of mmmbeer
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pint on-tap at the Red Drum Taphouse in NC. It arrives a clear chestnut, with low carbonation and a half-inch of khaki head that leaves decent lacing. Smells earthy and smoked, fruity, with some caramel, light hops, and a dash of currants. It is a fairly malty beer, with earth, caramel, toffee, and toasted notes, barely balanced by herbal/minty and grassy/spicy hops that impart a medium bitterness. Nearly full on the palate, smooth and coating, with light carbonation and a medium finish. Overall a tasty brew, and well-balanced despite the large amounts of malts.

mmmbeer, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of LittleBreeze
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11/20/2007 Beer Thirty

Thanks stopbarking for sending this one.

Nice clean, flavorful and uncomplicated beer. I detected citrus and earthy aromas. A touch of brown sugar.
Fizzy. In this season of RIS, fizzy was a surprise. Thin head.

Mouthfeel wasn't there for me. Thin...Lacks body
Easy enough to drink several.

LittleBreeze, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of jokelahoma
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quaffed a pint at Old Chicago in Wake Forest, NC

This one came to me a pretty little tawny brownish-red pint, with a fairly decent sized and very sticky head that laced like grandma's doilies. Nice and appetizing to look at.

The aroma was very malty, with a lot of dark fruits and a bit of buttery toffee coming to the front. It smells really sweet, and yet nice and roasty/toasty. Surprisingly mouthwatering nose, to mix anatomical references.

The taste isn't as sweet as the nose suggests, as the roasted malts seem to balance the sweetness with the faux bitterness they provide, even in the absence of much in the way of hoppiness. In other words, this isn't terribly hoppy to say the least, but the chocolate malts with their bittersweet dark chocolate flavors seem to keep everything well in line. The enticing toffee aroma doesn't ranslate to the taste, thankfully, as there is no buttery diacetyl flavor here at all. This is definitely a malt-forward beer, as the style would dictate, but roasty enough and with just enough bitterness to make it well balanced. Quite nicely done, really.

The mouthfeel leans toward the heavier side. Certainly not an imperial stout, but heavy enough to be substantial. This adds to the complexity of the beer, and is a nice fit for the style.

This one drinks bigger than what it is, and that's a compliment. It's not overly sweet or caramelly, as far too many ambers or red can tend to be, but neither is it too roasty, like a stout with a serious pigmentation problem. This is a well balanced, fruity, malty, chocolatey beer. Well made, and worth trying.

jokelahoma, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of shivtim
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange/brown with a dense foamy head. Leaves some lacing too. Nose is simple sweet malts and some alcohol. Taste is mild hops with molasses sweetness, some spice, and toasted malts at the end. Mouthfeel is good and drinkability is pretty good too.

shivtim, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bboven for this one.

Pours a nice amber color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy white head, some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, slight bitterness, and a good dose of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice above average amber ale.

Wasatch, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of Vancer
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice frosty sent via the CEO / Old farters BIF from unclejedi.

Deep orange amber brew, with a massive ivory head. Almost hard to control this volcano of head, which left thick lacey rings.

Aroma checked in with a woody pine, plus some citrus. And for a bottled beer, this sure seemed like a cask ale – smooth and warmly conditioned without a lot of excess carbonation. Sweetish caramel nicely submits to a well balanced hop finish, with a dose of grapefruit tossed in.

Very good drinking beer, glad to have had the chance.

Vancer, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of Durge
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one of my experiences at Tyler's Tap Room in Durham, NC. This poured a dark brown-copper color with a decent head and great lace throughout. It had a mild but nice chocolate malt aroma. The taste brought more sweet malt goodness with touches of caramel and butterscotch quite evident. There is a more subtle hops presence which brings in a dry grassy quality in the finish. I even detected a slight fruit highlight, like melon maybe. Very active carbonation and quite drinkable for this style. Definitely recommended for a try and I will enjoy again.

Update 07/30/08: A dark copper color ale with a solid off-white head and some goodly gobs of lacing. The aroma is a mild malty cereal deal, hard to nail down and not particularly strong. The flavor is much more definitive in great malt character with some clove and raspberry/cherry and chocolate. Really complex and fun to drink. Well carbonated and not heavy in alcohol so it is easy drinking for the style. Medium feel, maybe even a bit light for this type of brew but very enjoyable. Definitely try this one as something easy to like and a little different. Malt is the theme and it's a good one.

Durge, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 25, 2007
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,188 ratings.