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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Gaelic Ale on-tap at the The Urban Bar in the Old City of Knoxville, TN.

Appearance: amber-red color with a small white head
Smell: not very pronounced, maybe some hops?
Taste: excellent; some sweetness (maybe some caramel), but not overly done; a little bit of hops, but overall a great balance between the two; similar to a Sam's Boston Lager with less hops though, a little thicker, and a little sweeter
Mouthfeel: medium bodied; goes down real well
Drinkability: good, could drink a few in a night

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Photo of daliandragon
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at Whole Foods in Raliegh, a good source for local craft brew, although not always real cheap. Pours a dark copper with off white head that condenses to a cap. Nose is hefty dark malts with coffee and caramel tones, reminiscennt of a porter. Nutty and roasted tones inhabit the olifactory unit as well. Not a typical start for an Irish red, but that's ok by me.

Strong malt profile in the taste with deep, lasting coffee flavor tempered by caramel and a touch of Cascade hops at the front of the sip. Delicious, smooth, chocolaty aftertaste. Lots going on in this tasty brew, and none of it is like any Irish red I've ever had. Still, this is a quality, easy drinking brew with character and originality.

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Photo of dubman003
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent beer, but if Highland's Oatmeal Porter and Gaelic Ale were both available, I'd definitely do the porter. The Ale is not thick as a porter, obviously, but it has hints of the porter taste--a porter light, perhaps.

Even though the "style" is irish red ale, the gaelic is on another level of red ale excellence. It's distinct and should be the first thing you order when it's on the menu. Enjoy.

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

A 12 oz bottle served in a seidel mug.

A: The ale is a copper red with a 1.5 finger head.

S: The aroma is a cascade hop fruitiness, not too intense but pleasant.

T: The ale has an assertive taste of grapefruit hops up front that smoothly transitions to a malty biscuit flavor before finishing with the hops. The hops are a star in this beer, not too assertive but imparting a brilliant bitterness.

M: Surprisingly good mouthfeel. For an Irish red, I was expecting a strong malt character and restrained hops. This beer flips that around and does a good job of it.

D: Very drinkable with a nice hop flavor.

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

From a 12 oz. bottle.

A - reddish copper in color, slight chill/protein haze. Head is a very fluffy off-white. Retreats to a ring leaving good lacing. Retention is excellent.

S - tangy hop aroma, almost slightly sour. Some malt/caramel sugar and alcohol (although alcohol content is average). Hop aroma is floral.

T - slightly sweet beer, good caramel/toffee/rock candy malt sweetness with mild fruit like pineapple. Bitterness is average to a little below. Hop flavor is subdued, a little earthy and floral. Overall flavor of the beer is tilted toward the malt. Seems like there is a bit of diacetyl here, too.

M - body is moderately thin, carbonation average to low, smooth somewhat dry finish.

D - tasty little beer, flavor is a little "quiet," could use a little bigger body in all respects. Another solid offering from Highland, give it a try.

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Photo of rustymoore
4.23/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish copper with a thick robust head that leads to a good amount of lacing. Smells of spices and hops. A bit fruity as well. Taste is sweet with brown sugar and caramel with a strong hop presence. Very tasty. Will have to incorporate this brew into my regular rotation as well.

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

thanks goes to Ross from another site for this. Poured a nice copper with a big light tan head that left some good lacing. aroma, malts, brown sugar,I swear, cererly, hops, a nice sweetness. flavor, a nice caramel comes out than the hops and malts, brown sugar as it warmd got a touch of alcohol. this was a very drinkable beer could throw down a few of these. Thanks again Ross you ROCK ON

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