Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,298 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,298
Reviews: 530
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 30
Gots: 195 | 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: 1,298 | Reviews: 530
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

This beer has been a staple for me over the years because it's just damned good. A: Pours a tawny auburn with creamy light tan head. Solid carbonation and lacing persists. S: Carmelized malts dominate the nose with some hoppiness. T: Smooth with enough body to provide a sweet foundation that is evened out by a moderately hop laden finish for crispness. M: Slight viscosity with medium body D: Excellent flavor and medium body add up to a very drinkable smooth Irish Red. As with all Highland products, I would recommend this beer to anyone.

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

Pours a deep redish copper color with a three finger width tan head. Smell is malty with a nice soft and rounded hop aroma. Taste has a nice maltyness well balanced with hops (cascade and at least one other). Mouthfeel is good, the beer's thinkness on the tongue is well balanced with its carbination. Good drinkability.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This classicaly-colored Irish red has a big head that quickly vaporizes but leaves a nice lacing. It offers up quite fresh aromas of sugary malt, earthy and fruity hops, wood, light spices, and fresh baked bread. Great balance of deep malt sweetness, metallic dryness, hop bitter, and fruitiness. Fruity hop finish makes this one a bit different. Mouth and gut feel are both just a tad heavy, but I'm sure I could still do some damage to this.

Photo of MattBrooks
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice head with good color and body. Has caramel aroma that blends nicely into the taste and a nutty, smooth, clean finish. I found it very easy to drink, with not a lot of aftertaste, but enough to get it by. Received in a trade, and I sure wish we could get it up here all the time.

Photo of rowew
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck. Nicely designed plaid themed logo, no freshness info.

Appearance: Clear red color with a nice head that leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Smell: Lots of caramel sweetness, with a bit of spicy hops.

Taste: Starts off sweet and malty - with caramel flavors dominating. The hops come in a bit later to balance things, but the sweetness just barely wins out.

Overall impression: Very nice amber - just a bit too sweet to be a session beer for me though.

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle, no date info, but bottle bottom inkjetted with 5149 B-11355.

Foggy bronzed orange. Popping, tall head of small and medium khaki bubbles that slowly settles to a frosting spread of fine bubbles. No carbonation streams. Caramel malts and fruity sweet hops with just a touch of grapefruit rind tartness. There is a slightly sweet malt character that bridges to the fruit and slightly peaked citrus hop finish that lingers for the blink of an eye. This is balanced to the point of equilibrium, but nothing stands out. There is no carbonation present which gives this a bland, flat mouthfeel that is not appealing. Medium to light body, but overall the mouthfeel was sub par. Merely mediocre, balanced, but neither the malt nor the hop component were distinctive. The missing carbonation did this one in.

Photo of AaronMcDonald
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber color with about 3/4" head that quickly fades. Smell is earthy but with a hint of freshness. The malt is the first thing I noticed when drinking but some fresh hop flavor hit me at the end. Very high drinkability. Could definitely drink several of these. This is my first Highland brew but will have to check out more.

Photo of wcudwight
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby red with golden hues. 1/2" head quickly recedes to a spotty rim atop the beer.
Smell is earthy and flowery. Reminds me of spring time on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Taste is well balanced with some heavy maltness and a nice earthy and floral hop finish.
Mouthfeel is light bodied, but I think it is meant to be for this particular beer.
Well balanced, but still complex. Low in abv and light to medium bodied. The perfect session beer.
Yet another fine offering from Highland Brewing.

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

Poured a deep reddish ruby color with a nice one inch head that left some sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma was malty with just a little bit of a hop/pine smell. Taste was very malty and caramelly at first and ended with a good dose of hop spiciness in the finish. This beer was very smooth in the mouthfeel and easy to drink. Definitely a good session beer and I'm glad it was available on tap. The other choices were all bland macros in the particular pub I was visiting.

Photo of jabocu
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep amber/mahogany color with a thick tan head. Good head retention as well as some belgian lacing. Sweet malty caramel like aroma with just a little citrusy hops in the background. Flavor is nice caramel malts, spices of clove and a little pepper, and earthy hop bitterness. My first Highland beer, but I hope to try many others.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Scottish delight. Poured a mostly brown clear color with some reddish hues. A good off white head that stuck around and created swirls. Ok lacing as well.

The smell is a little sudsy and some lighter notes of malt. Not much of an overall smell really.

The taste has a spicy malt flavor. The malt is basic but limited caramel flavor, but at the end there is a spicy almost peppery finish to it. The hops are mild but some bittering hops are noticeable. A touch of earthy and piney flavors. There is a little bit of citrus finish but very subtle.

The body is mid to light. Some wispy flavors that aren’t exactly watery but close to it. Very easy to drink but could use more malty caramel flavor. Nice enough to enjoy in the Scottish hills of North Carolina.

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

Had this on tap at a local drafthouse.

Good looking beer. Nice head, not a lot of lacing. Dark, amber color.

Smelled good, hints of smokiness and hops, similar to a scotch ale.

Taste was good. Pretty good body to the beer. Lots of malt, kind of smoky flavor, again, similar to a scotch ale.

Not overly carbonated. Went down pretty easily.

Not sure if I would order this again or not. It wasn't a bad beer, but there are lots of other beers out there that I've liked better than this one.

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

Beautiful orange-bronze with a healthy dose of brick red. The cap is pale caramel in color, a perfect match for the beer beneath, and is firmly creamy with a multitude of surface bubbles and pits. There's no shortage of glass coverage either (several chubby rings eventually show up at mid-glass). Highland brews quality beer and their appearances, along with everything else, never fail to impress.

The nose is a little lacking, both in terms of power and in terms of personality. It's maltier than it is hoppy, with a brown sugary caramel malt presence and a subtle, spicy hoppiness. I get the sense that there's something good going on, but I need more to go on.

There's definitely no shortage of goodness where the flavor is concerned. I'm not a huge fan of Irish red ales, but this one is very much to my liking; possibly because it tastes exactly like what I think beer of this style should taste like. Toasted caramel malt still leads the way and puts me in mind of fruit marmalade and apple butter slathered brown bread toast. Dee-licious.

There's a fair amount of spicy, citric hop flavor without a lot of attendant hop bitterness. The hop bill is a 'should be impressive' combination of Chinook, Willamette and Cascade, but the brewers have apparently decided not to make their Irish red taste like an IPA. Can't say that I blame 'em. There are plenty of hops to go around, even though they defer to malt throughout the entirety of the mouthful.

The finish is gorgeously balanced and is much more extended than anticipated; the better to enjoy the wonderful flavor that much longer. Highland hasn't let me down yet when it comes to body/mouthfeel, and hasn't here. The mouthfeel is easily the equal of the flavor and is a perfect fit for it.

Gaelic Ale just might be the best Irish red that I've had yet and is another wonderful example of the brewing brilliance on display down in the Tar Heel State. This one is a keeper, but then these guys only brew keepers. Slainte!

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,298 ratings.