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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: 1,355
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.42%
Wants: 32
Gots: 221 | 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: 1,355
Photo of Shiloh
2.99/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a very pretty brew at all. A very deep amber hue and a little murky. Carbonation is medium/light and the body is full.
The nose has a bittersweet sence to it but shortlived and little else.
No crown to speak of, little lace and thin ring.
The taste starts to the malts and lingers until the hops kick in.
The malt presence is a burnt caramel like thing.
The hops don't seem to play well with the malts, but worth a try.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours and clear orangish tan color with a fluffy white head on top. This beer has very nice color but very poor head retention.

Smell: The aroma is sweet and malty with notes of tangerine and spices.

Taste: This beer has a bery nice and complex flavor. There is a crisp and raw maltiness that dominates. The malt brings a slight bready and grainy flavor. There are notes of raosted caramel and can alcohol flavors that is not warming. It also slightly sandy sweet and milky. Despite what it says on the label there was really no hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It's a bit sharp on the palate and slightly watery as well giving it a light body.

Drinkability: Tasty and I would definately recommend it.

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Photo of DrJay
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one poured a dark amber with good clarity, topped by a thin off-white head. My associate and I became certain that there was a very slight greenish colour to the head, but I didn't feel completely certain. I guess it could have been the lighting. Head retention was decent and was assisted by the constant formation of CO2 bubbles.

Smell: An excellent balance of sweet maltiness and citrus/floral hop character.

Taste: This one was balanced towards bitterness, but still had a good malt base with some nice sweetness provided by crystal malts. The hop flavour was mostly citrus with a little floral and grassy character as well. It also had a very pleasant, long, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good smoothness of body, but the carbonation was a little strong.

Drinkability: Another success from Highland Brewing. Too bad I need to find a new source for these samples...

12 oz. brown bottle with no freshness date or abv listed.

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark crimson with a smallish eggshell head. Nice lacing, little retention. Smells hoppy and a little bit like fig. I'm miffed on the fig but it smells good. Nice hop to malt balance here with the fruity malt coming out slightly ahead. Grassy in it's texture and body. Nice little citrus hop burn in the finish. Solid, yet different amber.

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

Standard 12 oz bottle that looks just like the picture. Very little label info, other than identifying the type of hops used (Cascade adn Williamette). I kind of like the bagpipe player holding the big mug of beer with the Scottish (or are they the Smokies?) mountains in the background.

Pours a slightly hazy copper with interesting internal strands under a two finger beige head that is creamy smooth and slow to fade. Very nice lace on the glass. Good strong English hops aroma, crisp and clean. Well carbonated and substantially bodied mouth that is a bit sticky. Good barley malt opening with a touch of caramel. Nice crisp hoppy bite accompanies. Mild bitter aftertaste. This is a very good rendition of a British ale.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorite North Carolina beers that I first tried in the mountains and was glad when I saw it available in Charlotte. A very drinkable amber that can be enjoyed all evening. Floral scent with flavor to match, not too hoppy. Great Irish Red. Nice frothy head and lacing around the glass . . . would like to see it in the stores as well.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a full, light brown head that sits atop a clear deep amber-ruby beer. The aroma is sticky with malt notes and a hint of herbal, grassy hops as well. The aroma is quite intoxicating, with its sweet caramel malt notes. The taste is malty as well, though it is not as sweet as the aroma suggests, and it has lots of toasted malt notes. This is almost quite dry in its maltiness, perhaps there is a hint of smokiness as well. The finish is quite drying with its mix of toasted, cracker, roasted, and smoke malt flavors. This is a solid enjoyable beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table a deep amber with a golden hue and a small bubble long lasting head which laced the glass.

The aroma was malty with caramel and slightly spicy hops.

The flavor was deeply malty with a nice hop bitterness backbone to balance the malty nature of the beer.

The finish was malty yet dry with well done and lasting hop bitterness. The body was medium.

Pint at Barley's in Knoxville. I doubt it is an Irish Red Ale, more of a bastardized Oktoberfest. Very malty and well accomplished.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 12oz bottle like the one depicted. Served in a standard pint glass, it had a clear dark amber color, large random clots of carbonation, and a modest vanilla colored head that slowly imploded to leave a ring and light wispy lace.
The nose had a hearty caramel malt aroma, a touch of peat and a counter-march of herbal and sprucy hops notes. The toasted malt flavor lead things off, chased with a drizzling of toffee for a sweet start. Then a faint peaty smoke flavor came across. The finish had a building spruce-infused bitterness that clung to the tongue. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth, and a bit syrupy.
Overall, I had a bit of a tough time with this offering from Highland Brewing. I guess I've had other amber ales where the flavors have meshed better. Still, this isn't bad; just nothing all that exciting.

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Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper/red body with a small, but lasting, beige head. Scattered lace patches the glass. The color is almost radiant in appearance, very attractive.

Aroma is very malty, with lots of toffee and caramel on the nose. Herbal hops and a definite note of spruce provide a delicate balance to the bouquet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a slight syrupy character.

Thicker on the palate than I initially thought, with a bigtime maltiness highlighted by toffee and caramel. Plenty of herbal hops bitterness, with spruce pine in the forefront. A note of smoked charcoal appears out of nowhere, and adds additional complexity.

This is a very tasty, nicely balanced Scots/Irish style red ale that I'm becoming quite fond of. Very well balanced.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle poured a deep reddish/copper color with a white foamy head. The head disappeared rather quickly. There was a fair amount of lace present in the glass, as was a great amount of tiny bubbles making the way to the top of the glass. The smells was toasted, almost to the roasted point, along with a slightly woody smell. Nice caramel flavor in the malt, with a modest amount of hop bitterness, but still balanced. Nice dry finish. Seemed a bit too carbonated, but I would say it was a pretty decent brew. I would not pass this one up if offered.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Mellow Mushroom in Chapel Hill, NC.

This came a nice dark gold hue with a 1-1.5 finger head of varied bubble size. The smell was hoppy and floral, mixed in with toasted malt. Really sharp when cold, but as I ate I let this one warm up a bit. The taste warm is very smooth and the hops seem to pull away from the other tastes, in a good way.

A great tasting beer that needs to be served a little warmer than I got it. Try it if you can!

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Photo of coasterfreak75
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am quickly becoming a fan of Highland Brewing Company. I just had two of their other beers at Barley's Taproom and Pizzaria in Knoxville, Tennessee. I picked up a six pack of this on the way home. This offering did not let me down.

The pour was a dark amber/copper with a good half inch head that quickly dissapated into a dark lace around the top of the glass.

The smell was very spicy with a light floral overtone.

The taste started with a sweet malt kick, medium hops in the middle and a clean, sweet finish. The smell was misleading as to what the taste was going to be. When I first smelled it I thought it was going to be a hop head's dream, but I was wrong. The hops are noticeable, but not overpowering. Plus they don't linger around after the drink.

All and all a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would go well as a session beer or with dinner.

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

Once poured it is a nice amber/ruby color. The aroma is very fragrant. The taste is smooth. A good blend of flavoring hops with the malt (some caramel and sweetness). According to the label the hops used are Cascade and Willamette.The finish is just a little dry. All in all a very flavorful and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of ElGordo
2.57/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep orangish-red with a very small head and minimal lacing. I'm actually wondering if the bottle was somehow damaged, the carbonation was so low. Aroma of roasted malt and light caramel. Palate is dominated by malt, with a flourish of light sweetness before a sharp bitterness on the finish. Overall I'm not a huge fan, but I'll have to try this one again. The bottle must have been old or damaged or both.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.Poured a dark amber color with a moderate head, that quickly faded leaving a fine ring of lacing on the glass. Aroma is hoppy with muted malt. Taste is slightly sweet, with a slight bitterness on the tongue. It finishes clean, with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a good session beer. I could sit and drink alot of these easily. Thanks Loki!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, reddish amber body is topped by a short but creamy head of off-white foam that holds quite well and maintains a thin lid throughout the glass, but leaves little more than some transient, spotty lace. Toasty and sweetish caramel malts and citrusy/earthy hops combine with a touch of yeasty fruitiness to lend a sweetened-fruit and malt character to the nose. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning leaves it dextrinous, creamy, and smooth across the palate. The rich maltiness found in the nose returns in the flavor, but this time it's more toasty than "sweet" caramel, with a very subtle roasted edge and some low-level diacetyl. Its tempered with more earthy/mineral hop flavors than citrus; and a solid bitterness balances it quite nicely and leaves it rich and satisfying but still drinkable as the sweet malts are no longer able to become cloying. It can, however, build on the palate a bit with its fullness. Still, a splash of water, nip of cheese, or crust of bread can instantly take that down. Impressive!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dulled scarlet red appearance. A good sized fluffy off white head forms on the surface. Retention is pretty good. After a few minutes, a nice little film is still present as well as a good sized collaring. Lace is quite bountiful. Nose is rich with caramel maltiness and laced with some PAC10 hop character as well as spiciness. Pretty good aroma. This seems like a hop lovers amber to me. It does have a nice firm crystal malt backing, but the hop tones are a bit exotic for an amber. I personally like them. They are citric and lemony....rind-like and piney. What an interesting take on the style. And this comes from an East Coast brewery. Excellent. Body is a little better than medium and the mouthfeel is appropriately carbonated.

Thanks for the unique amber AKSmPort

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Photo of mntlover
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite everyday ale.Nice clear amber color pours with nice head that almost vanishes. Smells wonderful malty sweet with slight hops aroma. Taste is smooth and sweet with slight tingle of hops at the back on the way down. Light carbonation smooth wonderful to drink. Great amber ale my favorite, love the Cascade and Willamette Hops flavor use them for my homebrewing.If you live in North Carolina area have to try it, just leave me a six at the store.

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

Clear reddish brown with a light tan head that lingers for a while
Floral hop notes with a sweet malt background
Medium body with decent carbonation, smooth mouthfeel
Smooth malty flavor is balanced by a citrusy Williamette and Cascade hop finish that lingers.
One of my favorite North Carolina brews. Great session beer. Get kegs of it for cookouts during the summer.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This unusual offering pours a dark amber with a fading beige head and threads of clinging lace. A malty aroma pushes forth and a trail of floral hops lingers, then fades. A sweet malt body is fairly substantial with some caramel and fresh bread tastes. There's a bit of grapefruit bitterness along with light peppery spices. A lightly peaty and mildly astringent medicinal taste can be detected throughout. The alcohol is noticeable, though not over-bearing. All in all a nice, different sort of beer.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I lived in Western North Carolina for 2 years and this was certainly my favorite local brew. Can't add much more to what has been said already except that I know it is brewed with a healthy dose of Special B malt. That is apparently the source of this beers excellent and unique malt flavor.

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Photo of Morris729
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish deep amber color with a tall and fluffy off-white head that clings to the sides of the glass as it fades into a creamy lace. Nose is dominated by toasted malts with additional notes of light floral hops. The same toasted malts are also the key players in the taste with flavors of sweet caramel and lead to a slightly chewy texture. Some faint hop bitterness is present towards the end but isn’t enough to balance out this beer. If you’re a malt lover, then I definitely recommend this brew. Thanks to Loki for the sample!

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Photo of stegmakk
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark copper with a tan medium size head...
Aroma is roasted malt and almost earthy kind of tones
Taste...mmmm...Roasty malt from start to finish HINTS of some hops to keep a balance...that same earthy presence is there but barely...I did not taste caramel or sweet or fruit (this beer is good and doesnt need those flavors in it)
Mouthfeel was nice and slick...I could drink a few of these...Thanks to Loki for this sampling

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Photo of kindestcut
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another beer from my homeland courtesy of Loki. Thanks!

The Gaelic Ale pours a pretty clear amber. When poured, the head is just massive. Perhaps I poured a bit harshly but the head is just great...fluffy like a cloud. It's also slow to dissipate.

The aroma is really appealing without being overpowering...sweet, malty, hoppy in the faaaar distance. I know this is not going to be a bitter beer.

The taste is good...flavor is good...again, sweet and malty. A very slight beer. I really wish the carbonation was more active, or active at all. It's not totally flat but man, I think the head used up the entire allotment of bubbles! Points off for mouthfeel.

All-in-all a good beer. I enjoyed the Oatmeal Porter more but this is a very good effort.

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