Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,303 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,303
Reviews: 532
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 30
Gots: 198 | 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: 1,303 | Reviews: 532
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

The taste, as well, is weak but when you catch it, its 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 but at its present form it is just above average.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of BucBasil
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

A: The beer is a rusty deep orange and red color. Head is 2 fingers of off-white to really light tan and sticks around a while. Good looking beer.

S: Nice balanced character - sweet and matly for a quick second - bread and maybe some toast. Then comes a well proportioned hoppiness. Pine and light citrus. Well done.

T: Surprisingly hoppy at first then calms down to a nice balance. Has some light fruits throughout the middle there, but mostly citrus peel and some light piney notes. Bready malt holds it altogether. Nothing really stands out, just a solid beer with a good kick.

This is a super drinkable and flavorful beer with a great amount of balance. I could drink this all day in any season, but really reminds me of fall.

Well done Highland

Photo of barczar
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear light amber with a frothy one inch khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of holy lacing.

Nutty, toasty, slightly sweet caramel malt and floral hops form the aroma.

Flavor reveals sweet, caramel malt at the base, becoming slightly toasty, dry, and a touch bitter at the finish. Floral hops are evident throughout. Nutty, toasted malt add complexity. There's a hint of citrus at the base.

Body is moderate to slightly watery, with moderate carbonation.

Malt is definitely dominant, with bready, roasted caramel notes surfacing throughout. Slight bitterness at the finish rounds out the flavor profile well. Malt complexity is somewhat lacking, though, as well as hops for an amber. There's a metallic tang that is offputting.

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

Deep amber color I can barely see through. Not much head. Subdued malty nose. Bready caramel taste up front with a sharp hop kick in the middle with a malty finish. Pretty tasty and well balanced. Dry light mouthfeel highly carbonated. Overall a good beer.

Photo of drmystery
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

im starting to think highland brewing cant get their shi-stuff together.

their year round beers are, to be frank, underwhelming. especially this beer. to me it tastes like burnt hops...i do like the roasty characteristics of stouts and porters but in an ale im expecting it to taste, well, ale-y; i like those citrusy and hoppy smells and flavors from a good ale.

this beer looks good-it has a nice reddish/copperish/brown apperance. it smells good-nice hops and malts and all that.

but as soon as i taste it, it just tastes like burnt hops. that burnt taste is either from the amount of malts they use-this beer has 5 different types of grain and 3 types of hops., or from not enough hops. i am no "hophead" by any means, i just think this beer is too malty and not hoppy enough for what it is.

overall, i think this beer-and just about every other highland beer is underwhelming for the style it is. i think people tend to overhype this beer when its just an average beer. its not nasty, but its not great. i think this beer is like the guinness of asheville/nc because people come up to asheville and drink it because its one of the more popular beers here, just like how people go to ireland and drink guinness even though its an average beer. im not saying highland brewing are gimmicky, im just saying their beers are overhyped and just average.

Photo of craft_shannie
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark hazy amber; minimal head; no lacing.
S: mostly bready malts, some caramel; slight citrus pine hops.
T: good balance of malt and hops; follows nose - bread, some caramel sweetness, slight piney citrus. dry, balanced and minimal bitterness.
M: crisp, clean; medium carbonation
O: picked up a sixer in nashville as i have heard very positive things about highland brewing. i was a bit underwhelmed with this particular style. solid american amber, but nothing all that spectacular.

Photo of acsprouse
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: red amberish. Little cloudiness. white creamy head with a little lacing.

S: malts, bready, toasty, slightly sweet with a floral hop scent well in there (smells great)

T: malty, the taste follows the nose as far as maltiness. The hops fall short and so does the taste.

m: medium body yet slightly on the thinner side. Nicely carbonated. Very very drinkable.

o: highly drinkable. Well balanced blend of malts.the hops are lacking but ehh thats not always bad. Its not bad.. its good.. but its not great. I do urge you guys to try it.

Photo of FungusBrewer
4.61/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Crisp and cool with a hop bite under the kilt. I'd sell my soul to the Blarney Stone to drink this brew above the fog--Spitting on Long-shanks while picking breakfast Haggis out of my dentures.

Smell: Sweet malt, nutty, clean.

Taste: Incredibly drinkable and well balanced. Light malt sweetness up front followed by an extremely pleasant hop aftertaste. Bright and clean flavors unadulterated by any heavy bread like notes, or unpleasant astringency. Stable from start to finish.

Appearance: Reddish-copper almost carnelian in color; clear with no haze. Medium head, medium carbonation.

It only took one Gaelic Ale before organizing a small militia amongst my neighbors to fight against big beer and praise craft brew FFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM!!!

Photo of Flounder57
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a small head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a copper color beer with great clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bready and caramel malts, tangerine, grapefruit, and other citrus aromas. Smells nice.

Taste: A lot of oat and bready malts, followed by some caramel malts, bitterness, and a bit of citrus hops.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, smooth, medium bodied, and medium to high carbonation.

Overall: A nice amber/red ale. I have hoppier versions from other breweries, but this one firs the suit. Top bad I can't get my hands on another bottle anytime soon.

Photo of match1112
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: slightly hazy reddish brown body. an inch of off white creamy foam settles leaving a small amount of lacing.

s: lightly toasted bready malts, touch of floral hops in the background.

t: sweet bread and toast. hops are almost not there. just a touch of spice on the finish.

m: medium body, creamy, carbonation is spot on.

o: very drinkable. very well balanced between the malts and hops. just nothing about it makes it stand out against the others in the same category.

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - An amber red with cloudiness and 1 finger of head. Slight lace left on the glass. Looks good!

S - Lots of sugar, molasses, and brown sugar. Huge maltiness in the nose.

T - Malts kick in up front. Like the smell, sweet, sugar and caramel. Nicely balanced with some bitterness at the end.

M - Light bodied and fairly well carbonated.

O - A very drinkable amber ale. Well balanced, and good.

Photo of SLeffler27
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A three-inch, gold tinted head is frothy as it slowly turns to pancake batter consistency while dropping spotty lace on a fisheye pint glass. Ample carbonation clings to the glass beneath a clear, copper brown beer.

The aroma is biscuity with malt, toffee, tea, and a dash of lime in the background.

This is well balanced with a malt backbone and some brown sugar. Whole wheat bread with light hop flavors and light hop bitterness are followed by toasted grains, some nuts and a modest, lingering finish.

The watery texture and medium body contain modest carbonation and no sense of alcohol, with a light astringency in the finish.

This is a good everyday beer, perhaps best with a sandwish. I suggest roast beef on rye.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,303 ratings.