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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

518 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 518
Hads: 1,335
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 31
Gots: 216 | 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: 518 | Hads: 1,335
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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of JordanHageman
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer for the first time tonight with dinner and I gotta say I enjoyed it. It had a good sweetness balanced with a tale end hop bitterness. Made for a good ale. A good ale but not my favorite I've had. I'd drink it again if it was available to me. Enjoy!

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

Appearance: Amber/copper; medium off white frothy head; good lacing

Aroma: Malty; light caramel; citrusy hops

Taste: Slightly sweet, caramel malt followed quickly by light citrus hops; a little thin, but smooth; finishes semi sweet with minimal hop bitterness. Overall decent; good session ale

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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

Pale amber hue there was a thick head that fleeted from view quickly.

The scent is a biscuity malt aroma and quite nice when you find it.

The taste is quite good. Biscuit malts, roasted, bready with a slight cracker aftertaste it is crisp but tends to watery.

Amp this thing up and it's a great ale.

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Photo of scvance
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, amber red color. Crystal clear, with a good half inch of very fluffy and creamy foam. Smell is malty sweet, with caramel and oak notes. Very slight hop aroma. Taste is well balanced, with a malty beginning fading to a nice lingering hop bitter finish. Medium body and carbonation, makes this beer very easy to drink. Smooth, and fairly thin mouthfeel. This is a good beer overall, however, Highland has several others that I prefer and will be sticking to over this one.

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Photo of Crimsonfloods
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pint glass

Nice amber/orange tinge on it. Creamy white head with a nice lacing.

Smells bold caramel and malt, almost an oaky sent in the background.

Taste is a fine balance between hops and malt, slight bitter.

Feels good, smooth relatively dry finish.

Pretty good overall, nothing too ground breaking.

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Photo of ShawnB
4.74/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My favorite beer. The perfect balance of easy-drinking and complexity.

Appearance: A beautiful red. One of the reddest beers I've ever seen. Pretty much transparent. The head isn't particular thick, but it lasts.

Smell: Mild, slightly boozy. Can detect the slight hoppiness present in the beer, as well as a strong malty scent.

Taste: My favorite tasting beer. Hoppy, but not overly so. A strong caramel, malty backbone that counteracts the moderate hops well. Has some of the strong flavors of a porter or a stout, but with the obvious taste and mouthfeel of a thinner ale.

Mouthfeel: If I have one complaint about this brew, I'd say it might be carbonated a little heavily. It is rather thin, but I prefer a thinner mouthfeel so that's fine with me.

Overall: I love this beer. Such a complex flavor profile, but nothing is overpowering. Really a must try.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Clear amber brewed tea appearance with minimal khaki head. A foamy halo rest on top leaving the occasional leg of lace behind.

S: Toasted italian herb and cheese Subway bread, toasted caramel and orange juice and bitter orange peel.

T/M: Toasted caramel, bready malt, orange peel and spicy pippali pepper. Finishes dry with lemon zest and toast. Prickly moderate body. Once the beer warns it starts to have a metallic aftertaste to it. It's not bad but does throw it off a bit.

O: Well balance and simple. An easy drinking ale to throw back after a long day of work. The spicy kick at the end really makes this. Without it I think it would be dull.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 518 ratings.