Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 520
Hads: 1,350
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 220 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,350
Photo of malvrich
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Stella glass
bottled July 15, 2014
ABV is actually 5.6%
A: Hazy copper/amber color with a tight beige head some of which refused to pour out of the bottle. Head lasts a few minutes with nice lacing. Fair clarity.

S: Mostly getting caramel and toast.

T: Fruit. Nuts. Orange zest and burnt toast. The sweetness from the smell is thankfully absent.

M: Lighter bodied perhaps, than it looks. Refreshing with zippy carbonation.Dry tart finish leaves you wanting more.

O: This is very good amber ale. Maybe the best I can think of. Highland has a hit and at $8/6 it's a no brainer! Extremely good.

 628 characters

Photo of denver10
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours amber with a nice off white head. Aroma is caramel and toasty, grapefruit, a little floral, and pine. Flavor follows suit with a nice balance between malt and hops. Smooth and sessionable, especially for an amber ale. A crisp, active mouthfeel. Overall, my into to Highland and I am very pleased seems to veer the line between what I consider an amber and red (in a good way). Will have to check out some of their other stuff, especially their oatmeal porter.

 465 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass
Aroma- Has a nice caramel and malt aroma.
Appearance- pours a murky copper color with a small off-white head.
Taste- Has a malt, hops and fruit flavor with little aftertaste.
Palate- A light to moderate bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Has a dry finish.
Overall- A better than average American Amber/ Red Ale. I would drink this again.

 390 characters

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

Highland Gaelic Ale has a relatively thick, cream-colored head, a mostly clear, bubbly, copper appearance, and good lacing left behind. The aroma is of slightly citrusy, caramel malt and bread crust, and the flavor is of sweet, syrupy, caramel malt, and pleasantly bitter hops. Mouthfeel is medium, and Highland Gaelic Ale finishes semi-dry and highly quaffable.


 368 characters

Photo of marshmarsh
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

my first highland brew

a- mahogany with cream lacing

s - wood and yogurt? weird bt its what i smell

t - wood and hoppy
with a roasted creme bruoee aftertaste

m - moderately full

o - very complex with earthy roasted and perfect amount of hop notes

 251 characters

Photo of droomyster
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany body with dense, craggy head of tan foam with excellent retention and lacing. Aromas are very rich in toasty malts, earth, ether, and autumnal leaves. Extremely flavorful in ways that remind me of some oktoberfests: very malty and big on the toasty notes. Sweet toffee up front, toast and browned biscuits on the midpalate, before giving way to almost tea and bitter walnut skin-like flavors on the finish. I like this a lot and plan to make a part of my fall lineup.

 490 characters

Photo of slym
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I tried this when I got a sampler-pack at the local market and really liked it. It pours a nice copper colour but isn't heavy in any way. A nice bread-y smell comes after the pour (weak head, small and fizzled fast with no lacing, though) and you get a nice maltiness, hops inthe background, but it tastes lighter than the colour suggests, I'd bet due to being more carbonated than most ales.

Overall, I really like this. I will definitely buy it again.

 454 characters

Photo of peteanddaze
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I wanted to love this ale because Highland Oatmeal Porter and Stout are so so good, but I didn't prefer it at all. Having spent so many happy months drinking Scottish ales in Scotland, maybe I am spoiled. I just did not find this ale to be rich and tasty, but just very average. I will try it again at some point to be fair and to make sure I am not missing out on something really good.

 387 characters

Photo of ShawnMN
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm from Louisiana , a really close friend brought me a party pack of the Highland brewing company. I enjoyed this, for an amber/red ale. I have a dark beer preference but enjoy a refreshing caramel malty lighter beer with good body on occasion. It was right on

 261 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a vibrant, slightly hazy, amber-copper coloring with a low profile, clingy, filmy, off-white head. Aromas of toffee sweetness, caramel and nut sweet, roasted notes, and subtle earthy notes. Flavors are roasted and richly sweet forward, with toffee and caramel creating a tangy sweet blend. Hints of roasted notes, honey, wood, and thistle help round out the palate. The body is smooth and light, with a tangy sweet and roasted aftertaste. The finish is slick, smooth, with a sweet linger. Solid brew; well balanced and tasty.

 578 characters

Photo of CarolinaCraft
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've moved to North Carolina a little over a year ago from Rhode Island and have been introduced to MANY great beers in and around the state. There are many different types that I like for many different reasons. While I am out on a mission trying the many craft beers in the state I keep finding myself coming back to this one. It is also a favorite of my wife as well and is kind of our go-to beer. It never fails in its consistency of great color,smooth malt taste and clean finish. This beer hits on all the marks for me.

 525 characters

Photo of bluedognever
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original Review 5-11-2014

Poured from a bottle into a frosty mug. It's a nice deep rich amber color with a soft, thick beige head. Rich taste without being heavy feeling. Biscuit and caramel with a slight hint of citrus. A very slight hop finish - just right. After a few minutes, head is mostly gone with some lacing.

This may be the best beer I've had in a quite a while

Added 6/13/2014

I discovered that I had another bottle of this. Rather funny but it paired extremely well with Mexican food - a very nice balance with the cilantro, peppers, tomatoes and other seasonings.

 582 characters

Photo of Foyle
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 2" off white head with moderate lacing. Color is amber and slightly cloudy with moderate carbonation
Aroma: very pleasant aroma with biscuit and caramel malts plus a noticeable hop spice Mouthfeel: closer to medium than light body, finish is dry and refreshing.
Flavor: caramel, some citrus peel, whole wheat bread, a bit of raisin.
Overall: This is my favorite offering from Highland. Gaelic Ale to me is an outstanding beer. It is complex enough that it can taste quite malty or quite hoppy depending on what I am pairing it with. It is not too strong to be a session ale either.

 596 characters

Photo of jbridge127
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The name of this beer sounds like it's straight out of an Elder Scrolls game. A crystal clear red/brown color. Smells of strong wheat. Tastes sort of like a cross between an Amber and a Wheat ale. The aftertaste is quite pleasant unlike some other beers I've had. I personally Loved it!!! I am always impressed with Highland's creations!!! Prost!

 346 characters

Photo of delta490
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep clear copper with a moderately creamy tan head. The head has great retention and leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is malty with some mild earthy hops. The taste is very similar. There aren't any notes that lend themselves to ID, but it it is still an enjoyable quaff. It is not as thick as other ales, but it does make it a little easier drinking. This ale comes off better than the sum of its parts

 419 characters

Photo of TastyAdventure
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - deep amber 1 finger head. Clear. Looks great

S- didn't send much time here but it's a great balance of malty and hop aromatics

T - big maltyness with mild caramel and smooth sweetness. Hops provide perfect balance, but more than just bittering balance. Williamette and cascade go great together. Flowers, spice, mild citrus. "Rounded"

M - it's a little watery, slick. Could be better, but makes it a nice session beer.

Session beer you say?? Yes! This is MY new favorite session beer. Grab me a six pack on the way to the party please!

 543 characters

Photo of zimm421
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Appears a clear dark amber color, with a light off-white, nearly tan, head. The head disappears fairly quickly, but leaves great lacing.

The nose is pretty laid back, with a bit of toasted malt, caramel and a little citrus sneaking through. The taste is very similar, heavy with caramel and toastiness, a little nuttiness coming through as well. Malt forward, as expected, but nicely complex and pleasant.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, barely sticky on the back end, and has good carbonation levels. Overall, this is a good amber ale, with nice complexities and good flavor. Nothing blows me away here, however, and was hoping for a bit more.

 704 characters

Photo of watermelon
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Date on the bottle says bottled on 8/27/13

A: Looks good, pours a copper amber with a healthy tan head that left little lacing.

S: Very malty scent. Not very complex.

T: Carmel malts up front with a slightly hoppy finish.

M: feels good nice full body with medium carbonation. Goes down about what I would expect from the style.

O: I like everything highlands makes and this is no exception. Nicely balanced beer at a great price.

 474 characters

Photo of Fcolle2
2.77/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Gift from my family in their trip to NC. $3.75 price tag on a 22oz I don't know whether to be amazed or scarred.

Pours somewhat dark amber in color with some slight hues of copper and red. Head is about 1 finger and retains nicely also leaving some lacing.

Smell is about $3.75. Sweet corn like malt is forward and not appealing. Some herbal hop aromas are present but very light.

Taste has a good light caramel malt flavor before a more corn like grainy sweetness dominates the midsection and persists into the after taste. Aftertaste is bitter but not in a hoppy way.

Mouthfeel is light for the appearance, light carbonation.

 633 characters

Photo of slusk
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a favorite of mine. It pours with a two finger light tan head that partially dissipates but a small head rides the beer to the finish. A nice amber/copper color. The smell is a bit piney with some citrus and bready notes, a nice balance from malt to hoppyness. The taste is of a nicely balanced red ale that dreams of being an IPA.

I applaud the use of Chinook as a bittering hop and it drinks as a nice session beer that straddles the divide between an ale and an IPA. It's a good session beer that will appeal to those who don't necessarily like the IPA hop smack. A medium mouth feel makes this a nice afternoon thirst quencher.

 641 characters

Photo of jkrich
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. freshness stamped bottle: beautiful and clear, deep red with a foamy, beige head that slowly dissipated.

The aroma solidly emphasized the malt profile: sweet and malty with some hints of spicy hops.

Very nice and refreshing flavor that is well balanced by the cascade hops. The flavor is sweet and slightly fruity with a gentle hop bit at the end. The malt profile never becomes cloying even as the ale warms in the glass.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky with a light to medium body. The carbonation is not overpowering yet keeps the ale refreshing and zesty on the palate. While the palate is coated with the malty sweetness, there is a pleasant, lingering bitterness.

This ale reminds me why I always enjoy trying the amber ale style; you never know how the brewer will interpret this vague style. This is one of the best.

 849 characters

Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of khaki head that fades leaving patchy lace on the glass. Rising bubbles maintain a film of lace.

The aroma is quite malty with a buttery diacetyl note and sweetness like toffee or caramel. A hint of cheesy quality with minerals or metallic aspects and earth.

The taste is malty sweet like caramel before giving way to some fruity hop/alcohol component. It is faintly raisony before getting a bit mineral filled with carbonic or sulfur qualities.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering, that I could take it or leave it in the future but wolkd probably opt for the later.

 714 characters

Photo of Mikecap
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a medium amber into a pint glass with a thin whitish head that fades quickly, leaving nice lacing.

Smell: Rather malty, with sweet notes and a bit of fruit in there . Not a ton comes to mind but solid smell overall.

Taste: Malt forward with caramel notes and a bit of earthy character from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation and a bit of creaminess. Pretty smooth and easy drinking.

Overall: This is a really solid Amber Ale and perhaps the best beer I've had from this brewery. Definitely worth trying.

 550 characters

Photo of DesertRat
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Personal preference, but the malt starts too strong. It finishes very well and the aftertaste is great. For a red ale, it is above average and is definitely enjoyable. I feel like the carbonation is high, similar to a pils, but not overwhelming. Definitely a beer worth buying. Pair it with a cabbage based meal and see if you turn green.

 338 characters

Photo of Dave1999
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent reddish amber with a white head.

The smell is dark fruits,plums and raisins.

The taste is malty with some of the dark fruits coming through.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall a great take on the style, one of my favourite Highland beers.

 292 characters

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.