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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

1,225 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,225
Reviews: 511
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 29
Gots: 146 | 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: 1,225 | Reviews: 511 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shertz
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from undated bottle into a Pint glass on a hot afternoon.

A- Two finger head, amber red in color. A few small bubbles run towards the top to join the foamy head.Nice lacing throughout.

S- Sugary malts. Some hops are around.

T- Very complex taste. Bready, oatmeal taste comes through at finish. Very malty, with floral hops fighting their way through. Very different, but good.

M- Oily start, numbing finish. Love that numbing finish!!

D- Average ABV leads to a nice possibility of drinking more than one which I would be more than glad to do. However, only have one. Will have to get a sixer next time I'm in the Outer Banks for the beach. Good stuff from good brewer.

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

Orange-amber colored with a light caramel head. This beer is translucent, but not cloud, which was interesting (the translucent part) considering how light the color is. Head does fade, but there's solid lacing. Smell was a combination caramel/brown sugar with a very faint bit of orange/citrus. Nice combo. Hops kick in with the taste but the maltiness doesn't die down either. Still mostly caramel, but also some roasted quality blended in..Solid balance. The hop bitterness is there toward to finish, but doesn't actually linger, which may make this beer seem too sweet for some. Nice medium mouthfeel. This is a beer that seems longing to be served on draft.

Photo of Gavage
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark amber in color with a one finger head that slowly falls. Nice lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramels and ripe fruit sweetness are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: caramel, plums, red grapes, and a decent bitterness level make up a simple flavor profile that is enjoyable and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Very short caramel and fruity aftertaste.

Drinkability: definite session ale here as several of these can be had in a single session. I had this on tap and it seemed quite fresh so the flavors were nicer than what you may get in an older bottle.

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.

Photo of NCSUdo
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy, murky amber. Very little head and what head was there quickly vanished.

S: Sweet smell. Malty up front with some caramel character. Not a lot of hop smell. Aroma seems nicely balanced but there just isn't enough hop in it. At times aroma seems to take on a burnt or roasted character.

T: Sweet taste up front with a nice caramel character, much like the aroma. Very malty. A little hop bitterness to finish it off with maybe a slight hint of "grassy" hops. A mild representation of the style I believe.

M&D: Medium bodied, landing on the lighter side of the medium spectrum. Nothing impressive. This brew wins points on the drinkabitility scale, however. I could easily drink a pint or 3 of this.

My 1st Highland beer. I was a little underwhelmed with it, maybe I was expecting too much, maybe I just picked up the wrong offering. Either way, I will visit this beer again and will certainly continue to try Highland offerings. This brew is very drinkable but is nothing spectactular.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to limesmut for this one!

Poured this into a pint glass.

Gaelic Ale pours a nice amber hue with a finger thick khaki colored head which dies down to a thin lacing pretty quick. Stickiness is spotty, but there. Smell is a bit weak, but a toasted nut malt seems to dominate the nose. A small bit of earthy hops seems to emerge as well. Taste was quite a surprise, but a pleasant one at that. Very nice caramel malt with a good balance of citrus hops which gives this one an overall sweet character to it. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Drinkability is definitely there, but the sweetness may take away from it after a few. Possible session beer. Thanks again to Sean for this one.

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

12 oz bottle pour to pint glass.
A: Hazy amber with off-white 1" head. Nice retention, very little lacing.
S: Sweet malts, caramels and very little hop notes.
T: Really nice balance. More hops appear, nice sugary sweet and caramel hops. Great taste.
M: Nice and smooth, no bitterness, alcohol is not apparent at all.
D: Great. This is a good beer that really goes down smoothly. Nice session beer, for sure.

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

Dark copper color with a nice red tint. Creamy off white head that holds nicely. Smell of bicuits and caramel with maybe a hint of figs. Taste is very malty but somehow manages to avoid being cloying. Finishes stong with some wood notes that hang around in a pleasant aftertaste. I'm impressed with this one.

Photo of bjohnson
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

thanks to blackie for the chance to try this offering.

Pours a perfect hazy reddish amber color with a one finger white head that keeps nice retention. Fluffy head hangs onto the sides mostly. Figs and dark fruits hit the nose first. Sweet malt notes give this brew a nice base aroma. Spicy hops mix well with the sweet caramel malt.

Malts seem to rule the base of this brew. Sweet caramel and biscuit malt flavors. Smooth on the palate after an initial carbonation blast. Slight bitterness that continues into the finish, but it's not very prevalent. Thin body to this brew--almost watered down in my opinion. It wants to be more thick than it is, but it just doesn't have the legs. A session brew that didn't wow me as the mouthfeel isn't very good--too thin. Highland does good things, but this may be the most pedestrian of their offerings.

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

Served a crisp deep ruby amber with a thin frothy head. The aroma was mild with caramel malts and citrus hops. The taste was a good balance of caramel malts and citrus hops, the beer was light and crisp. This is a very refreshing beer and definitely makes for a great session.

Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a fluffy egg shell colored head that leaves nice splotches of lace

Smell: Biscuity caramel malt aroma with some piney undertones

Taste: Lays down a nice biscuity caramel backbone which underlies some woody and earthy hop flavors, mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweet malt flavors re-assert themselves but the woody dryness keeps them in check

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the best NC session brews out there; nice all around

Photo of ikats
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice red color, clear and glowing. No head, no lacing. Nice color, but need more carbonation.

Biscuit notes in the aroma. Some caramel. Filled with malty sweetness.

Taste is similar to aroma, but malty sweetness is complimented by some hops bitterness. Not spectacular, but still pretty tasty. And very drinkable. I would make a good session beer for me.

Photo of ski271
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium-dark ruby color with a touch of amber and a small, off-white, milky, quickly-diminishing head. The smell has a good balance of toasted malts and citrus and piney hops. Brown sugar sweetness in the nose and taste. Caramel, grainy bread and doughy yeast. It has a medium body, dry texture and low carbonation. Smells better than it tastes, but it’s still refreshing and above average.

Photo of nriech
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep hazy copper. Lots of head dissapating quickly. Lots of carbonation.

Smell: Citrus and hoppy. Obvious flavors coming from the type of hops used. Caramel and alcohol are present also.

Taste: The hops actually are blended in nicely. Almost like an extra hoppy ale but not so far as an IPA. Very easy to drink. No alcohol taste present. Good balance on the aftertaste with fruit and malt. A good choice.

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice amber color with a slight haze. There isn’t a lot of head and no lacing. The smell was caramel and malty with a hoppy freshness. The taste is malty with a nice hop balance. The mouthfeel is full without being heavy. The carbonation is noticeable. This is a smooth beer which is quite drinkable.

Photo of Conrad
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovely colour to this one. A rich copper/gold with a thin off-white head that settled quickly and left a medium lacing.
Smell was hard to pick up on at first. I had to bury my nose in the glass to identify them. But then I discovered a nice balance of toasty malt and floral hops. Maybe a bit of citrus or pine.
Taste was the winner. An amazing balance between malts and hops. A very well built beer. The taste is just plain good beer. No pretentions of grandeur. You don't have to wax poetic on the comples flavours because there ain't none.
Body is medium, with a clean dry finish. Very nice on the palate. the bitters don't remain long, which encourages going back for another slurp.
Drinkability is my favourite category. This one wins hands down. It goes down smooth and easy. This is a good session beer. Maybe a six pack with a platter of junk food in front of the TV to watch the game of your choice.

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

got this via trade! Gotta love BA!

A - Rich ruby red, with a thin off-white head.

S - Nice malty smell, caramel and a little floral hops.

T - Similar to smell. Nice caramel flavors with just enough hops to keep it from being too sweet.

M - Medium body, decent carbonation. Finishes clean.

D - I like my beers on the maltier side and this one worked great for me. Yes sir, may I have another?

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

Poured dark gold slightly rust colored from a 12oz bottle. Smells very hoppy with a strong whiff a citrus. Not much head and there is medium lacing. First taste…quite smooth but less hoppy than I thought base on the smell, but more hoppy than malty. I cannot wonder what this ale would be like on draft. Another fine showing from the folks at Highland!

Photo of flexabull
3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright clear amber color with a nice white head. There is some carbonation present.

Aromas are really faint. Just a hint of dusty sweet malts.

Flavors are pretty good. A bit of a bitter hop bite right on the front. Beer then settles in to dusty, creamy, and carbonated notes, then finishes quite dry.

Mouthfeel is above average, but nothing special. Finish seems a bit fleating.

Overall... pretty good. But not a beer that wowed me at all. It's very drinkable, and I could have another. But I wouldn't seek this one out.

Bottle courtesy of Loki.

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

Poured a dark amber/reddish hue with a nice cream colored head. Smell was sweet caramel malts with a hint of a corn or grain in it. The taste was very much sugary malts with again a bit of a grain or earthy back to it. Very nice actually. This is very nicely carbonated and goes down smooth. A good beer from Highland, this could easily be an all night beer as it is light and tasty!

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

Thanks to muddyfeet. He plays a great santa.

A- Thin light tan head on a deep pretty clear amber body.
S- Big caramel malts with a grassy and piney hop to it.
T- Very well balanced. The malts come through with a nice caramel flavor. The hops provide a great balance for it and isn't to bitter. Has a light bitterness to it that lingers into the aftertaste though.
M- Medium body with low to medium carbonation.
D- Very nice easy drinking beer. Nothing to complex or strong. Great for a beer to sit and relax with, making it a great every time beer.

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a medium amber with a frothy tan head. Aroma is light, with clean and toasty malt.

Taste is a toasty, bready pale malt with only a very mild hop bite. Some caramel sweetness tries to come through, although it never becomes overtly sweet. Finish is only very lightly bitter with a lingering crystal malt flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium, soft and dusty, very drinkable. Not much about this one stands out but it is perfect for a rather neglected and underappreciated style and would make a great daily fridge staple.

Photo of orfeu
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle provided by the almighty oberon, shipped to him fresh from North Carolina -- many thanks! Ever-so-slightly-hazy burnished copper with an effervescently noisy onionskin-hued head. Mild citric hop-tea scent (bergamot and bitter orange) with an earthiness atop some biscuity malt aromas. Doughy and toasty -- the before and the after of bread? -- malt flavors come to the fore at first, followed by some mellow lemon and bergamot flavors; leafy hop flavors through and through. Bit of biscuity taste at the back. Solid taste, for sure. Medium light body, eminently quaffable. I know Irish Red Ales are supposed to be easy-to-drink, but this one here just about defines sessionability. Very nice ale.

Photo of BrewnZ
2.9/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this at Barley's Tap house in Knoxville, TN.

Deep copper colored beer with white head, hops and crystal malt in the nose.

Medium bodied with big crystal malt flavor, then spicy American hops running up the back. Finishes with lingering crystal malt flavor. A decent if, but not really exciting beer.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from NClifestyle, so a big “”Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty with a heavy scent of tea and a little bit of caramel and hops.

T: The taste is likewise, very malty. Sweet tea and caramel flavors are the most dominant. There’s a little bit of hops flavor in there, just enough to provide some balance to the sweetness, but they get stronger as the beer starts to warm. The after-taste goes back to the malt sweetness.

M: Very smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish especially for a beer as sweet as this one.

D: This beer is quite tasty, very easy to drink and not too filling. It’s simplistic, as is the style, but very enjoyable. I think it’s an excellent representation of the Irish Red style.

When I first started on BA, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to try this beer. That just shows you the power of trading. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Looking forward to the other two Highland beers that I got in the trade and then trading for more.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,225 ratings.