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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

1,210 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,210
Reviews: 505
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 28
Gots: 132 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,210 | Reviews: 505 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
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
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
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
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
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
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
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
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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

12oz bottle, served in a pint glass. Thanks to 67couple for the sample.

A - clear, copper color with a quick falling beige head that left a little lacing.

S - noticable Williamette hop earthiness in the aroma.

T - rich malty flavor and sweetness is balanced out with mild bitterness.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation feel.

D - good drinkability.

Photo of burnstar
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty dark red with a small to medium head that leaves nice lacing on the surface and sides of the glass. Aroma is mild and malty. Caramel. Bready maltiness. Toasty. Not overly sweet. Just the right amount of hops to balance things out. Medium bodied. This is a really solid beer. Definitely one of the better American ambers I've had in a while.

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

Pours a great deep ruby color with good initial head (goes away quickly), and some slight lacing. Decent malty aroma, but it's not very strong. Great taste, a nice deep, filling malt flavor with little hints of a scoth ale thrown in, along with a very slight butterscotch flavor. Goes down very smooth, if a little thick. An excellent beer.

Photo of phishgator
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. The deep amber and nice foamy head are a great presentation for this beer. There is only a mild carbonation. The cascade hops come right through in the nose, very distinctive. The taste is has a slight burnt characteristic. There is a balance of hops and malt, but then on the back end there is an astrigent taste. The body is mild, which allows for a lot of drinking, but after two I'm ready to move onto bigger and better.

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

12 oz bottle in a basic pub glass

Appearance: ruddy, copper brown with plenty of bubbles and a thin-to-near-naught white head. On the dark side of translucent.

Nose: Sweetish caramel roasted malt leads into mild hops.

Taste: Not unpleasant burnt-malt-with-hops sensation. A little on the sweet side but the bitterness comes through at the end. It's got "session beer" written all over it, if a bit on the strong side at 5.8%

Palate: Spritzy and fun. Pair with food for sure -- it will cut through all kinds of oil and fat and leave you refreshed.

Overall: A great flagship ale from a strong local brewery. Equally satisfying as a session beer and an all-around food companion. Perfect with pizza; try with other Italian fare as well!

Photo of jwc215
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Photo of bikehorn
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: chestnuty, cherry colored almost, pretty light tan head

Smell: fresh grainy bread, maybe apple as well

Taste: malty, bready and ended with a twist of hops - a little too bitter for me

Mouthfeel: medium bodied

Drinkability: not so good for me, too malty and i didn't like the hops chaser at the end. for all the bready smells i was hoping for a little fuller-body and a little less bite

Overall: not quite what i was expecting, but mostly a good beer, with a little kick

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It comes out of the tap a rich, translucent mahogany with a fine-bubbled tan head. Aroma is mainly malty with a hint of spice. Flavor is rich and malty and has a strong spicy undertone. This ale's texture is smooth, but it goes down with some sass and zing.

Photo of kcillini77
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
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 gpcollen1
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a lovely amber red into my nonic. Head rises and sticks around for a bit prior to drifting away. Aromas lightly sweet and hoppy - lots of subtle balance. Hits the mouth with a robust malty sweetness that ushers in the carbonation and cleansing mildly dry hops.

Quite a nice drinker with enough flavor to keep you interested. Light and dry on the hops makes me happy here and there and this one works well.

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

got this one from Loki in a recent trade. thanks kip!

12oz bottle. sampled march 15/08.

pours deep ruby red, crystal clear, with a small yellowish tan head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves some spotty lace.

aroma is good. big biscuit and bread malt. bit of alcohol. light caramel sweetness. bit of orangey citrus.

taste is good. toasted multi-grain bread. biscuit. bit of alcohol. medium-low bitterness level. touch of caramel. light earthy hops. touch of smoke hiding in the background.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. medium body.

drinkability is good. well balanced. solid malty base. good stuff.

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.

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.

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.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,210 ratings.