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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

975 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 488
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 975 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of KentT


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent fruity, well balanced between hops and malt, easy to drink session ale. Delightful finish. Has a slight caramelly note. Rich and complex enough to be interesting but never dull. I recommend it very highly. And it is reasonably priced here in East Tennessee.

Serving type: growler

06-21-2012 01:28:16 | More by KentT
Photo of tjsmith910


4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Red amber mix with a 2-finger beige head with a good and relaxed lacing.

S: i rate all beers a 3 on smell due to the fact that I have no since of smell

T:. The malty ness and hoppiness mash up really makes this a very good beer. it is as the label says the perfect mix of hops and malty flavor.

M: not heavy not over powering. how about nearly perfect overall

O: Period, this beer is great. one of my top 5's. not just in style but over all. i enjoyed every aspect of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 01:24:03 | More by tjsmith910
Photo of mrfrancis


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber with a creamy, lingering off-white head.

S: Aromas of bread, caramel, sweet cream, and mild herbal hops are present on the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla bean, bread crust, sweet cream, lemon, orange rind, and herbs wash across the palate. The finish is pleasant and delicate with a nice balance of bready caramel malt and lemony, grassy, herbal hop flavors.

M: Medium-bodied, dryish, and relatively firm upon entry, but grows smoother and silkier toward the finish. Carbonation is active, imparting a refreshing, crisp mouthfeel.

O: A really solid amber with great balance. I can see why this ale has remained so popular over the years.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2012 15:36:12 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear red/orange with a thick, creamy white head. Great head retention, lacing is wispy and spotty.

S: Caramel and sweetbread, toast, a pleasant grainy scent, a vague and faint coffee scent, and muted grassy hops. Pretty much what you'd expect from the style, but nothing too exciting.

T: Wave of caramel up front. Bread crust and toast next. The slight coffee impression is here too. Touch of fruitiness and a very subtle snap of tartness. Hops contribute a sharp burst of unidentifiable citrus bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Grass and hay. Toasted grain. Starts sweet but ends dry with a toasted malt taste.

M: Light to medium in body, full and creamy. Carbonation is moderately sharp and creates a seltzer-like impression. Very slightly astringent.

O: More complex and well-rounded than the vast majority of reds out there. I enjoyed it and appreciated it, but most beer geeks would probably just gloss over it and move on.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2012 02:14:53 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of bum732


3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: Some caramel malt, toasty, slight fruitiness, herbal.

L: Crystal clear amber, white head that dissipates.

T: Sweet, light caramel malt. Medium low herbal bitterness leading to an additional caramel maltiness with some hop flavor. Fairly clean and simple throughout.

M: Medium light body, medium carbonation.

Ok, a little above average all around, solid classic amber ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 03:20:45 | More by bum732
Photo of mscudder


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A rough ruby hue with a tan head. Decent retention.

S - Heavy on the sweet biscuit. Some floral notes and a touch of caramel.

T - It is clear this is a beer based on a caramel malt. I feel the malts dominate the traditional red ale flavors: biscuit, toffee and some sweet floral hops. Interesting for sure!

M - Medium bodied but a sufficient amount of carbonation to set off the hops. The caramel makes it a tad chewy, which bumps this up to a above average.

O - This is not a bad beer, but I have seen all the elements which compose it in great lights. Not quite the beer for me, I prefer an amber from Bell's or perhaps even Smutty.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 06:37:32 | More by mscudder
Photo of buschbeer


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
Served in a nonic pint glass

A - It is a rusty orange color. I got two inches of beige head.

S - The aroma is sweet. I get some toffee and some biscuit.

T - The taste is toffee, caramel, and toast.

M - Moderate

O - This is a tasty brew. It kind of reminds me of Conways Irish Ale. Not quite as good, but would work as a poor man's substitute.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 18:01:22 | More by buschbeer
Photo of kell50

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being from North Carolina, Highland's Gaelic Ale is a must have! This review is from a bottle version consumed on 5/12/2012.

A: It pours a nice reddish/brownish/golden hue. Lively bubbles sit atop this nice looking red ale.

S: There's a nice balanced nose of sweet caramel malt backbone and with a slight floral hop aroma.

T: First sip reveals the nice caramel malts flavor, followed by fruity hops, and finishes with a nice malt kick.

M: Medium body and carbonation, with a light biscuity dryness.

O: I find this one extremely easy to drink. This beer is a solid example of a beer for all seasons. It's nothing overly fancy, but you're likely to tell all your friends about this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 14:22:15 | More by kell50
Photo of HopHead84


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Red tinged orange with an inch of dense beige foam.

S: Expressive caramel malt melds with earth and baked bread. Light pine and grapefruit notes linger in the distance. Lightly sweet.

T: Like the aroma, the flavor is malt centered, focusing on baked bread, biscuit, faint caramel, and toasted notes. There's a low earthy bitterness with a light apple fruitiness. The finish exhibits a stronger apple presence with the complex bread and toasted malt notes carrying through to an ultimately dry, earthy, and lightly bitter ending.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, sticky, and dry.

Overall: An enjoyable malty red ale. Smooth and easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 03:30:15 | More by HopHead84
Photo of argock


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass goblet. 02/06/12 etched at bottom of front label. Single purchased at Ingles Market (Boone, NC) for $1.49.

A: Clear orange-amber with a robust 2-finger rocky beige head with good retention and ample lacing.

S: The aroma is bready and caramel with some citric orange/grapefruit hops.

T: I really like the toasted malt, bread crust flavor with a mild caramel note. The maltiness really makes this a very good brew. The citric hops are prickly bitter with a bit of floral thrown in there. I wish the hops were a bit stronger -- if they were this would give Red Rocket and other highly-hopped red ale a run. I know Highlands was going for a more mid-style amber ale and they did a very nice job.

M: A coating but not heavy feel with medium-feel and active but not overdone carbonation.

O: This was a pleasant surprise and I would love to see more Highland brews in VA. Glad I took advantage during my trip over Spring Break.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2012 03:30:30 | More by argock
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got a pint of this beer at the Yardhouse in Palm Beach Gardens. I hadn't had this beer yet, and I was looking to get something completely new.

This is a pretty good amber beer. I like the very malty smell. The flavor had some very good scotch presence. It wasn't exactly scotch, but it was like a scotch feel/taste. It had some very strong flavor, which I found satisfying.

This beer was really good. It was a much better as a follow-up to Monk in the Trunk.

I liked my beer, but that was a pretty expensive trip. Yardhouse checks can get high quickly.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2012 01:58:58 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of Arborescence


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Darkish amber. Pours a medium head of medium thickness, creamy.

Aroma: Malty sweetness, nutty, quite mild.

Taste: Quite bitter, but in a good way. Some lingering hops in the aftertaste. Not a terrible amount of depth, but quite decent; a working mix of malt and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, some carbonation

Overall: Fairly robust beer, and certainly quite drinkable. Not a bad choice for a starter beer of the evening, or just a good solid beer to have in the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 01:20:14 | More by Arborescence
Photo of xybreeder


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very nice amber/orange color, little to no head with slight lacing.

S - Honey, caramel, slight hop aroma, but mostly malt aromas.

T - Malt on the front, hops on the back, slight bitterness lingers. Caramel and grapefruit seem to dominate the flavor profile. Very nice & balanced tasty brew.

M - Medium body, carbonation seems good despite the missing head.

O - A nicely balanced brew, that is very drinkable. Could use just a little less bitterness on the back-end, besides that, it's a fine tasting brew!

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 02:12:21 | More by xybreeder
Photo of socon67

New York

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours copper with a slight white foam. Some mild lacing. Good clarity, and some carbonation noted.

S - Smells of caramel, fresh grains (wheat), and some mild malts.

T - A good balance of sweetness and refreshing grain. Not all that noteworthy, but it is an enjoyable amber.

M - Crisp and refreshing, this is a good drinking beer that has a sweet finish.

O - A decent Amber that is typical of the style. I'd be happy to have this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2012 23:05:08 | More by socon67
Photo of soju6


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a dep amber color with a nice head that fades to lacing.

S: Aroma of caramel, malt sweetness with a bit of citrus and pine.

T: Starts with a malty sweetness and some grain. There is some citrus that peeks through from time to time. There is a nice bitterness and a clean finish.

F:Medium body, smooth and somewhat creamy. Nicely balanced. Has nice character.

O: Goes down easy, good amber ale. Worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2012 11:57:49 | More by soju6
Photo of Agold


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice caramel color with a short white head that recedes to a bit more than a film. Leaves a bit of lacing, but not much. Very nice looking. Aroma is nice, biscuit, a bit of caramel, and some floral hops. Flavor is a bit nutty, mildly bitter, nice earthy, floral hops, very mild cocoa, but nothing outstanding. Good beer though. Mouthfeel is light with good carbonation, could be a bit fuller, but not complaining. Overall, nice beer. Really easy drinking and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 20:55:34 | More by Agold
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a haul of beer my parents bought me on their way back from Florida.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, bottled 10/05/11.

Appearance: Body is a nice mix of orange and amber. A voluminous head that slowly recedes yet hold strong at 2-3 fingers. Spidery lacing glues itself to the glass.

Smell: Resiny hops mixed with caramel malt, tangerine and orange.

Taste: Tea-like bitterness (discreet) with a strong caramel overtone as well as a biscuity side. Earthy hops but malt controls this. Plush fruit as well.

Mouthfeel: Low lying bitterness that tapers off as it warms. Overall nice feel.

Overall: Not a standout but i ended up liking it. Definitely a viable option as compared to bland beers.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 12:25:41 | More by papat444
Photo of wowbagger


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear red. Not much aroma, some hop.

Good and hopy red, a little dry but not too much. Some sweet notes. Coats the tongue nicely and has some sharpness at the back of the mouth.

Overall, a very solid amber ale. Hopier than most reds, but still quite good. I'd definitely recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 22:14:34 | More by wowbagger
Photo of DCon


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 12 FL. OZ. bottle of this from Ingles Grocery Store in Asheville, NC & added to my Mix-A-Six Pack for $8.88. Poured from the Red/Golden Labeled bottle w/ a Scottish character playing the back pipes into a 0,47l New Belgium Oversized Snifter Glass. Does not have a freshness date.

Aroma- Strong sweetness, maltiness, and caramel. Smooth and smells like its going to be an easy going brew.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that has average retention. Has a light amber colored body and is fairly clear. Leave thick lacing behind.

Flavor- Starts clean with light caramel and good amount of sweetness. Has a sweet finish too. Lightest hop flavor and no bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Bodied, Smooth, Clean, and has a sweet caramel aftertaste.

Overall Impression- Easy going brew with light character and all around nice amber ale. Could enjoy many of these back to back but definitely wish there was more hop and character to them. Above average overall and definitely know there are much better brews from Highland. How should I say this without be cliche? Session ale?

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 05:02:30 | More by DCon
Photo of tvv375ia


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-somewhat hazy burnt orange color with about a finger of head that fades quickly to a ring without much lacing

S-big bready malt up front then some carmel with a little fruitiness maybe apple or pear witha little citru hop on the finish

T-not quite as big as the smell but starts with some nutty malts and fruit like sweetness which is balanced by a mild hoppy finish

M-medium body with good carbonation

O-well balanced that really shows the style well

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 03:56:05 | More by tvv375ia
Photo of RedneckBeerz


4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Bell's pint glass and the brew is a clear amber (duh) color with a smallish off white head. There is thinnish sliding lacing on the glass.

The aroma is amber malts and hops (Cascade and Willamette according to the bottle).

The flvor follows the nose and it is very well balanced malt and hops bill with the bittering hops leaving a bit on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is a hint under medium with lowish carbination and a semi dry finish thanks to the bittering hops. This brew is spot on as far as style description goes and it is definately a great drinker that could easily be consumed all day long or untill one was face down in the gravel.

Although it's not that complex, it's an AAA, there's no need for it to be. Tipping my old worn out Dale Earnhart hat to you Highland Brewing, for a great American Amber !

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 04:57:36 | More by RedneckBeerz
Photo of ONUMello


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Transparent reddish-orange color. Next to no head.
S: Loaded with brown sugar and caramel. Some bread and just the tiniest hint of hops come through as well.
T: Slightly sweet with caramel and generic fruit notes. Then toasted malt and spice come through, with hops to round it out. Very balanced and pleasant.
M: Perhaps a bit thinner than I would expect but medium weight, nice overall.
O: Very drinkable, good balance. I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 21:15:01 | More by ONUMello
Photo of JayAre46


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to louisb for this extra. pours a brilliant transparent amber with some ruby hues very striking color. the head is white and produced one finger from the pour and quickly fell but shows great retention. the aroma is very subtle of apple covered carmel, grain minimal hops and some toasted aspects. maybe some cinnamon spice as well. the taste has that same apple covered caramel to it then goes into sweet spice and malt character with a touch of hops with almost no bitterness. alcohol is not present. the mouth feel is medium, very clean with a moderate amount of carbonation and is refreshing. overall this is well made brew lacking the hops or it could be outdated, no date found. anyway i would look at this as a gateway craft brew for individuals wanting to get their feet wet. thanks again louis

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 04:53:00 | More by JayAre46
Photo of Apellonious

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz from six at the Teeter.

A- amber with orange highlights, solid but clear, pours with just a thin lace .

S - Sweet smell, some nut/malt and fruit, slight alcohol.

T - there is a mild fruit sweetness, some malt chewieness, some light brown ale suggestions, with some hops on the back end. Noting some vanilla. I am going to go out a limb and say Fat Tire was modeled after this beer.

M - great balance and carbonation, a tad watery.

O - this review is long overdue ( was reviewed on another beer review site a while back). This has been one of my "go to" beers for many years. Definitely recommended. An amber ale with some additional complexity while being highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 22:42:19 | More by Apellonious
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked this up a little less than a month ago when in NC. poured into my blue point snifter. poured a deep shiny crimson red with a off-white frothy head that was gone quick leaving spotty lacing. smell and taste are somewhat bland, with a subtle mix of caramel toastiness. very easy drinker, but a bit watery. very unassuming and unoffending, but certainly not attention grabbing. the most noticeable thing about this beer is how even the taste is. ambers can be a turnoff if they are too aggressive and this one is pretty likeable.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 03:53:41 | More by cosmicevan
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.