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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

1,138 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,138
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 28
Gots: 95 | 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
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Ratings: 1,138 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 12oz bottle like the one depicted. Served in a standard pint glass, it had a clear dark amber color, large random clots of carbonation, and a modest vanilla colored head that slowly imploded to leave a ring and light wispy lace.
The nose had a hearty caramel malt aroma, a touch of peat and a counter-march of herbal and sprucy hops notes. The toasted malt flavor lead things off, chased with a drizzling of toffee for a sweet start. Then a faint peaty smoke flavor came across. The finish had a building spruce-infused bitterness that clung to the tongue. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth, and a bit syrupy.
Overall, I had a bit of a tough time with this offering from Highland Brewing. I guess I've had other amber ales where the flavors have meshed better. Still, this isn't bad; just nothing all that exciting.

Boilermaker88, Jul 06, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper/red body with a small, but lasting, beige head. Scattered lace patches the glass. The color is almost radiant in appearance, very attractive.

Aroma is very malty, with lots of toffee and caramel on the nose. Herbal hops and a definite note of spruce provide a delicate balance to the bouquet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slight syrupy character.

Thicker on the palate than I initially thought, with a bigtime maltiness highlighted by toffee and caramel. Plenty of herbal hops bitterness, with spruce pine in the forefront. A note of smoked charcoal appears out of nowhere, and adds additional complexity.

This is a very tasty, nicely balanced Scots/Irish style red ale that I'm becoming quite fond of. Very well balanced.

merlin48, Jun 14, 2004
Photo of Bierguy5
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle poured a deep reddish/copper color with a white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly. There was a fair amount of lace present in the glass, as was a great amount of tiny bubbles making the way to the top of the glass. The smells was toasted, almost to the roasted point, along with a slightly woody smell. Nice caramel flavor in the malt, with a modest amount of hop bitterness, but still balanced. Nice dry finish. Seemed a bit too carbonated, but I would say it was a pretty decent brew. I would not pass this one up if offered.

Bierguy5, May 18, 2004
Photo of hobbes2112
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Mellow Mushroom in Chapel Hill, NC.

This came a nice dark gold hue with a 1-1.5 finger head of varied bubble size. The smell was hoppy and floral, mixed in with toasted malt. Really sharp when cold, but as I ate I let this one warm up a bit. The taste warm is very smooth and the hops seem to pull away from the other tastes, in a good way.

A great tasting beer that needs to be served a little warmer than I got it. Try it if you can!

hobbes2112, May 12, 2004
Photo of coasterfreak75
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am quickly becoming a fan of Highland Brewing Company. I just had two of their other beers at Barley's Taproom and Pizzaria in Knoxville, Tennessee. I picked up a six pack of this on the way home. This offering did not let me down.

The pour was a dark amber/copper with a good half inch head that quickly dissapated into a dark lace around the top of the glass.

The smell was very spicy with a light floral overtone.

The taste started with a sweet malt kick, medium hops in the middle and a clean, sweet finish. The smell was misleading as to what the taste was going to be. When I first smelled it I thought it was going to be a hop head's dream, but I was wrong. The hops are noticeable, but not overpowering. Plus they don't linger around after the drink.

All and all a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would go well as a session beer or with dinner.

coasterfreak75, Apr 07, 2004
Photo of genaro
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once poured it is a nice amber/ruby color. The aroma is very fragrant. The taste is smooth. A good blend of flavoring hops with the malt (some caramel and sweetness). According to the label the hops used are Cascade and Willamette.The finish is just a little dry. All in all a very flavorful and enjoyable beer.

genaro, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of ElGordo
2.55/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep orangish-red with a very small head and minimal lacing. I'm actually wondering if the bottle was somehow damaged, the carbonation was so low. Aroma of roasted malt and light caramel. Palate is dominated by malt, with a flourish of light sweetness before a sharp bitterness on the finish. Overall I'm not a huge fan, but I'll have to try this one again. The bottle must have been old or damaged or both.

ElGordo, Jan 23, 2004
Photo of Indybeer
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.Poured a dark amber color with a moderate head, that quickly faded leaving a fine ring of lacing on the glass. Aroma is hoppy with muted malt. Taste is slightly sweet, with a slight bitterness on the tongue. It finishes clean, with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a good session beer. I could sit and drink alot of these easily. Thanks Loki!

Indybeer, Jan 23, 2004
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, reddish amber body is topped by a short but creamy head of off-white foam that holds quite well and maintains a thin lid throughout the glass, but leaves little more than some transient, spotty lace. Toasty and sweetish caramel malts and citrusy/earthy hops combine with a touch of yeasty fruitiness to lend a sweetened-fruit and malt character to the nose. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning leaves it dextrinous, creamy, and smooth across the palate. The rich maltiness found in the nose returns in the flavor, but this time it's more toasty than "sweet" caramel, with a very subtle roasted edge and some low-level diacetyl. Its tempered with more earthy/mineral hop flavors than citrus; and a solid bitterness balances it quite nicely and leaves it rich and satisfying but still drinkable as the sweet malts are no longer able to become cloying. It can, however, build on the palate a bit with its fullness. Still, a splash of water, nip of cheese, or crust of bread can instantly take that down. Impressive!

NeroFiddled, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dulled scarlet red appearance. A good sized fluffy off white head forms on the surface. Retention is pretty good. After a few minutes, a nice little film is still present as well as a good sized collaring. Lace is quite bountiful. Nose is rich with caramel maltiness and laced with some PAC10 hop character as well as spiciness. Pretty good aroma. This seems like a hop lovers amber to me. It does have a nice firm crystal malt backing, but the hop tones are a bit exotic for an amber. I personally like them. They are citric and lemony....rind-like and piney. What an interesting take on the style. And this comes from an East Coast brewery. Excellent. Body is a little better than medium and the mouthfeel is appropriately carbonated.

Thanks for the unique amber AKSmPort

Bighuge, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of mntlover
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite everyday ale.Nice clear amber color pours with nice head that almost vanishes. Smells wonderful malty sweet with slight hops aroma. Taste is smooth and sweet with slight tingle of hops at the back on the way down. Light carbonation smooth wonderful to drink. Great amber ale my favorite, love the Cascade and Willamette Hops flavor use them for my homebrewing.If you live in North Carolina area have to try it, just leave me a six at the store.

mntlover, Nov 28, 2003
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.

homersimpson, Nov 06, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This unusual offering pours a dark amber with a fading beige head and threads of clinging lace. A malty aroma pushes forth and a trail of floral hops lingers, then fades. A sweet malt body is fairly substantial with some caramel and fresh bread tastes. There's a bit of grapefruit bitterness along with light peppery spices. A lightly peaty and mildly astringent medicinal taste can be detected throughout. The alcohol is noticeable, though not over-bearing. All in all a nice, different sort of beer.

BeerResearcher, Sep 10, 2003
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I lived in Western North Carolina for 2 years and this was certainly my favorite local brew. Can't add much more to what has been said already except that I know it is brewed with a healthy dose of Special B malt. That is apparently the source of this beers excellent and unique malt flavor.

cerevisiaephilus, Aug 21, 2003
Photo of Morris729
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish deep amber color with a tall and fluffy off-white head that clings to the sides of the glass as it fades into a creamy lace. Nose is dominated by toasted malts with additional notes of light floral hops. The same toasted malts are also the key players in the taste with flavors of sweet caramel and lead to a slightly chewy texture. Some faint hop bitterness is present towards the end but isn’t enough to balance out this beer. If you’re a malt lover, then I definitely recommend this brew. Thanks to Loki for the sample!

Morris729, Jun 21, 2003
Photo of stegmakk
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark copper with a tan medium size head...
Aroma is roasted malt and almost earthy kind of tones
Taste...mmmm...Roasty malt from start to finish HINTS of some hops to keep a balance...that same earthy presence is there but barely...I did not taste caramel or sweet or fruit (this beer is good and doesnt need those flavors in it)
Mouthfeel was nice and slick...I could drink a few of these...Thanks to Loki for this sampling

stegmakk, Jun 20, 2003
Photo of kindestcut
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another beer from my homeland courtesy of Loki. Thanks!

The Gaelic Ale pours a pretty clear amber. When poured, the head is just massive. Perhaps I poured a bit harshly but the head is just great...fluffy like a cloud. It's also slow to dissipate.

The aroma is really appealing without being overpowering...sweet, malty, hoppy in the faaaar distance. I know this is not going to be a bitter beer.

The taste is good...flavor is good...again, sweet and malty. A very slight beer. I really wish the carbonation was more active, or active at all. It's not totally flat but man, I think the head used up the entire allotment of bubbles! Points off for mouthfeel.

All-in-all a good beer. I enjoyed the Oatmeal Porter more but this is a very good effort.

kindestcut, Jun 18, 2003
Photo of Loki
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle

Poured a light amber color with an inch and a half head. This beer left ribbons of lacing throughout the sampling. Quite impressive for a lighter style beer.

Aromas of mostly roasted malt, with hints of caramel and floral-citrus hops, but very hidden behind the main malt body.

Tastes of lightly roasted sweet malt, much like a like Scottish style ale. Subtle caramel flavor with a delicate hop finish that seems just enough for balance, but not for a truly hoppy flavor. Beautiful and unique, definitely deserving of flagship status. Medium body with light carbonation that goes down smooth is crisp, clean, and very, very drinkable. A great beer.

Loki, Jun 10, 2003
Photo of bditty187
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly murky reddish-brown, small beige head, fair retention, soapy, minimal lace. Pleasantly malty nose, it smells “thick,” somewhat sweet… lacks complexity though. Chewy malt provides a healthy foundation for the palate, lightly sweet; there is just enough hops influence, minor bitterness… light toastiness, caramel hints. Meager carbonation helps produce a rather full mouthfeel. As it warms, the hops grow in potency. This is a solid beer, a nice quaff… session brew material.

Thanks Loki!

bditty187, May 28, 2003
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a light tan head.
Aroma of caramel malt with a fruity hop undertone.

Taste shows toasty, caramel malt flavors . Fairly smooth. Hops balance this one nicely with a Juicy Fruit flavor. Slight citrus notes. Finishes well.

Good mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.

Overall, I like this one. A good, balanced beer with a nice flavor and some character.

PhantomVodoo, May 16, 2003
Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean looking reddish/orange...not a lot of head....nose is fabulous...scottish ale type maltiness minus the smokey/peat smell...that is combined with a real fresh hop accent...great maltiness similiar to a lighter Scottish Ale....The hopping plays a secondary role but in a way really makes this beer as special as I believe it is....Mouthfeel is perfect...balanced...sweet but not overdone....a nice hoppiness lingers on the finish.....this is dandy...I am totally surprised as I did not know what to expect with this one....I would put this in my top 250 beers for sure...maybe top 100....( I don't have a list..I'm speaking in general terms)

ZAP, May 15, 2003
Photo of Boto
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich amber in color, with a little head. Nice malty aroma, with a bit of hops in the background. There is a decent medium bodied malt flavor, with a nice finish of hop bitterness, although not overpoweringly so. Overall, a pretty decent brew. I could sit and drink alot of these!

Boto, May 04, 2003
Photo of philipt
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dare I say the best NC craft brewery? I'm not going to say that, but Highland does offer some "write home to mom" styles, and the Gaelic Ale is among those.

The Gaelic Ale is a deep copper in color with an average sized head. Nothing particularly impressive to view. I find that hops are the dominant quality of the aroma. Quite piney and citrusy to smell. Taste is initially of malt then quickly followed by intense hop presence. Very IPA-ish and definitely contrary to the sweet, malty Scottish style I expected (being named Gaelic and all). Do not interpret as disappointed, but rather surpried. I like hops. It has a sweet and spicey flavor, followed quickly by the pine-like hop characteristics.

philipt, May 02, 2003
Photo of RBorsato
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh tasting (07/29/03): Fuller tan head, low carbonation, and sporadic lace. Hop aroma much more pronounced (light citrusy character). Hop flavor really comes through when fresh; balance leans hoppy vs. malty. Light bitter finish. Drink this puppy fresh!! very nice !
---
(old) Bronze-ish amber with a low light brown head. Nice balanced malty, fruity, and hop aroma. Rich malt flavor with a nice hop balance. Medium bodied (leans full).

Would like to try this along side Bert Grant's Scottish Ale... similar, but Highland is probably not as hoppy hence I'd label this one as a Scottish Ale...

Per label: "Cascade and Willamette hops"
Per H.B.Co. website: IBU: 32, Hops: Chinook, Willamette and Cascade

"99" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 04/08/03

"03" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 07/29/03

RBorsato, Apr 25, 2003
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highland Brewery's flagship beer. "Just a wee bit different."

Presentation: 12 oz amber bottle with a happy bag-pipe-toting lad on the label. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper color with minimal white head. A minimal white lace sparsly laces the glass.

Smell: For a pale ale/bitter classification, there was a lot more malty sweetness in the nose that expected. A twist of citrus hops are present, too.

Taste: Mostly malty sweetness with a little bit of bittering effect from the hops. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Low-medium body and a fairly creamy texture.

Drinkability: I liked this more as it warmed. There was an aftertaste I just can't figure out that was on the unpleasant side. Not one that I'd ask for again, but drinkable in its own right.

OldFrothingSlosh, Apr 11, 2003
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,138 ratings.