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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,069 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,069
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 22
Gots: 64 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,069 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mixedbrewer


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

On tap this poured a nice amber color with two finger head and slight lacing.

The aroma is of spiced bread, almost like graham crackers.

This beer is just spicy enough. It has a nice sweet and bready taste with a good mouthfeel. It goes down easy with a clean and pleasant finish.

Recommended try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2010 17:57:14 | More by mixedbrewer
Photo of elniko


3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Rich amber coloring, head minimal but decent lacing. Not much carbonation apparent.

S: Strong malty notes coming from nose with a little English funkiness too.

T & M: Nicely balanced, not a malt bomb with the hop notes coming through. Nice crispness on finish, light to medium bodied.

D: Quite drinkable, a nice twist on the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 19:57:42 | More by elniko
Photo of Seanibus


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

Pours a clear amber with a slight head. The aroma is spicy and malty, with cinnamon and gingerbread. The flavor is crisp and malty, with a spicy gingerbready burn, and a strong dark bready malt bite. There is a quite a bit of spice - pepper and cinnamon - and wood in the flavor, with a hop sting in there nonetheless. There is an earthy, slightly peaty finish. The mouthfeel is prickly and lively.

A delicious Scottish-inflected ale but with an American twist.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 00:16:23 | More by Seanibus
Photo of feelmefoam

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had Gaelic Ale on tap at the only bar in the tiny town of Hot Springs, North Carolina, right on the Appalachian Trail. I was up there with some friends enjoying a cabin they'd rented and we frequented this bar for a few nights, and they had several Highland beers on tap.

Gaelic Ale pours a bright, fresh honey amber color with plenty of carbonation running up into a finger of light caramel head that had some really nice retention and left some beautiful lacing around the glass.

The nose consisted mainly of caramel malt and some light spicy, citrusy hops. It smells good, but I need just a bit more intensity from it.

The flavor mirrors the nose, but has a bit more presence. Crisp sweet caramel malt and some light fruitiness balanced by a spicy, citrusy blend of hops on the tail end of the flavor, but the bitterness is just right for a red ale. Good stuff.

The mouthfeel is a notch below medium, smooth and crisp, thanks to a moderate amount of carbonation. A tasty beer for a fall night in the mountains.

I'm becoming a bigger fan of Highlands as I try more of their beers, especially when I can foray up into North Carolina and get them pretty fresh. Another solid offering from a brewery that's growing on me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 03:33:39 | More by feelmefoam
Photo of mactrail


3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice to look at, with dark amber color and decent head. Only a hint of malt but plenty of hops. Carbonation lasts well. Does have a nice beery smell when you sniff the glass, but not much nose as you sip and exhale.

Anemic malt with a hint of roasted flavors. Hops give very little to the aroma and leave a dishwatery aftertaste. I'm not sure what they're after with this beer. There are so many better amber ales, I can't believe this one should rate in the top 20.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 03:20:13 | More by mactrail
Photo of mbrown26

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Was drinking from a bottle, so impossible to tell. Going to have to get a six pack soon and edit my review.

S: From the bottle there were a lot of malty notes.

T: Tasted very nice with a nutty taste that a nice hop bitterness at the end. I'm not a hop guy, but this one wasn't overpowering at all. Had a nice balance. A quality product.

M: Carbonation was just right.

D: Easy to drink and well worth it when you can find it. Fortunately, I'm in Asheville, and this one is an easy find for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 06:03:23 | More by mbrown26
Photo of beerdown77

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite Highland beer by far. It is well balanced beer. Different than Kashmir and St. Theresa, it doesn't have a metallic taste. It is slightly darker than you would expect. It pours almost brown. In addition to the hops and malt, it has a little bit of what you would expect from a brown ale...maple?

It's packed with flavor, but not too heavy or chew-spitty. Simply put this beer exceeded my expectations and is a must try if you ever find yourself in Ashville, NC.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2010 16:20:17 | More by beerdown77
Photo of ghebel


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

A - Pours Amber/Copper color with an off-white, orange 1/4 inch tight bubbled head. Leaves lacing on the glass on the way down to a thin ring.

S - Caramel malts dominate. Spicy, citrus and earthy hop aroma in the background.

T - Sweet and bready malts up front. Moderate bitterness that lingers after swallow.

M - Moderate body. Moderate carbonation bite. Some resinous dry hopped-like sensation coating in the mouth. Warm swallow.

D- Drinkable. I would buy six pack.

Overall - Enjoyable beer. Malts up front with balanced, background hop profile.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2010 22:52:45 | More by ghebel
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

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

Pours a dark red brown color with a tan head and a little lacing. Smells of malts and some hop aroma. Tastes sweet with a strong hop flavor for a well blended smoothness. Mouthfeel was smooth with a crisp, clean finish. Drinkability is really decent.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2010 15:59:34 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of klikger


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

12 oz served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A - Orange-red ale, decent off-white head, and fair lacing.

S - Caramel malts, robust grains

T - Sweetness & dark caramel --> a touch of vegetation - peat? --> a little bit of hops on the end, but not enough. Tasty/inoffensive as a whole, though - the malt profile is solid and stands out from the majority of red ales I've had.

M - Medium-bodied; fine carbonation.

D - Good, not great. A little sweet to session, but it's the style, not the beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 22:30:39 | More by klikger
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last in a journey through the Highland flagship, captained by Ryan011235. Its been a weird and wild trip. I barely made it out the other end of this gauntlet.

A- Very small head with no retention or lace. I thought it might be getting flat, but now Im thinking its just a very low carbonated beer. The color of the beer is a deep, autumn brown.

S- Extremely weak nose, I cant get much of anything. I think I would rather have a beer that smells disgusting but is very strong than a nice smelling beer with no power to the aroma at all. That would at least gives you something to explore.

T- Well, after expecting the worst I am delighted to report that this is a very tasty beer. Very nice balance with the flavors leaning ever so slightly towards sweet, fruity malts. Nice and mellow, very unobtrusive and casual but delightfully tasty.

M- Low levels of carbonation and a surprisingly fuller body make a nice smooth beer.

D- Geez, I just caught myself gulping this stuff. Its not the best beer by a long shot, but for what ever reason, it drinks alarmingly easily.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 02:40:48 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of lespaulrocker


3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes:

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Poured a deep copper/amber color, very little head, minimal lacing. Aesthetically pleasing, but I wish there was more head and lacing.

S: Bread, caramel, spicy and citrusy hops.

T: Lots of malts, caramel, grain, and bread. Citrus and bitter hops. Grain and semi-sweet finish.

M: Creamy and smooth. Medium body.

D: Medium drinkability.

Good beer. I'm a fan.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2010 01:32:15 | More by lespaulrocker
Photo of tchenery


3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color looks good, maybe a bit lighter than I expected, but there's hardly a head on this one at all. A bit of white lace around the edge but not much.

It smells almost fruity and sweet. I'm picking up a bit of malt but not much.

The malt definitely comes through in the taste. It has a wonderful marshmallow toasty bread flavor with a touch of bitterness on the very end. I wish it had a big fluffy head with the flavor that it has.

Mouthfeel is extremely fine. Very smooth, very rich flavor profile.

Totally drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 00:29:37 | More by tchenery
Photo of jzeilinger


3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, clear copper color with light lacing on top, mild carbonation.

S - Smells of baked bread crust, caramel, and citrus hopping.

T - Very well balanced. Starts out with bread crust up front, some toasted malts, and ends with a very mild citrus bitterness, not much, just enough to bring the sweetness back into check. I'm having a hard time picking anything else out on the flavors because it's so $#@% mild.

M - Medium body and a little watery. Bread crust and toasty grain lingers in the mouth at the very end.

D - Average.

Very balanced it is, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as everyone else.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 23:31:43 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of thatguy3579


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear, copper toned, and with very little head.

S: Sweet like raisins and with some citrus.

T: A good citrus bite balances well with roasted sweetness which lingers.

M: Thin and lightly carbonated.

D: Lots of nicely balanced bitter and sweetness, which is not overpowering.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2010 19:07:16 | More by thatguy3579
Photo of BeerAdvocate


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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

It's Gaelic by name and hails the Highlands, if we trust the bagpiper on the label, but it's an American Ale. Chinook, Cascade and Willamette hops bring forth 32 IBUs--which means balance.

Pours with a gentle carbonation that leaves a bit of foam and a bubbly lace that sticks to the glass. Deep crimson amber hue has a slight haze to it. Malty nose with suggestions of caramel and freshly baked bread, with hops bringing some citric and mild pine to the aroma. Sublime, creamy, smooth mouthfeel; solid medium body with a reserved carbonation. A big mouthful of maltiness up front--caramel, toasted grain, bread crust. The malt character is more than enough to make the hops seem smaller than they actually are; quick spikes of citric and herbal hop bitterness and flavor come through. Maltiness lingers with a toasted grain flavor that melds well with the faded hop aftertaste. Finishes semi-sweet.

A beer like this makes North Carolina shine within the robust American craft beer scene. A slow-grilled dry-rubbed pork loin with baked sweet potatoes is a perfect pairing.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 18:23:32 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of RickS95


3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like the looks. It pours brown and cloudy, with particulates. The head is thin and doesn't last long, but lacing starts almost immediately.

Not a lot of smell, but I picked up some flowery hops and something similar to peppery rye bread.

The more sips I took, the more I liked the flavor. The malty flavors dominate. Also, I notice a rye bread taste as well.

It's a medium-bodied beer and the malts give it some smoothness and body. There's almost a sweetness to it, but not enough to make more than a cameo before the spicy bitterness comes thru in the finish.

This was easy to drink and it would be easy for me to drink these all night.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2010 03:13:40 | More by RickS95
Photo of DanThomas


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

A - Bright brown, coppery, color with a bit of red. Thin white rim of foam, leaves a little on the glass. Cloudy

S - Rather sweet, almost like brown sugar, caramelized apple, rye. I really like the smell.

T - Brown sugar definitely, caramel, some malt base to it, especially as the beer has warmed. Don't notice hops until the finish, as they cleanse the palate very well (exactly what hops are good for).

M - Very nice. The aforementioned hop finish is refreshing, good level of carbonation.

D - Overall, excellent. Would go well with several different foods, and I would enjoy a nice session evening with this beer. Great job Highland!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 21:54:39 | More by DanThomas
Photo of robwestcott


3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the bottle a copper brown to a sun king shaped pint glass with an ultra thin very short lasting bubbly head.

aroma of earthy hops, brown sugar and caramel.

earthy hops definitely in front, but subtle enough to allow other flavors through. toffee, sweet malt, brown sugars, a nice amber.

medium carbonation, smooth, slightly bitter after.

very drinkable

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2010 19:53:50 | More by robwestcott
Photo of gopens44


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

A - Coppery brown, about a 2" initial head that relaxed to about 1/2" or less throughout the rest of the beer. Good color though.

S - Pretty simple with a nice hoppy aroma

T - Again, nice hop taste with a hint of caramel.

M - Pretty basic, good carbonation and presence.

I like this one as n every day drinker. Not too adventurous, but good to drink with a lot of the food that I cook. I'll be keeping at least a few of these in the fridge at all times.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2010 14:50:01 | More by gopens44
Photo of goblue3509


3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a one finger head which disappates to skim with a small amount of lacing. The aroma has a nice caramel backbone with piney hops and dark fruits. The taste is of caramel malt and sweet malt for a backbone there are hints of dark fruits, the middle and back have a nice hop kick of piney and earthy hops to really round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated with a creamy finish. The drinkability is good, it is well balabced and a fairly easy drink. Its complex enough that it keeps u interested.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 23:42:54 | More by goblue3509
Photo of bennetj17


4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, coppery amber hue, light haze, faint wispy foam that barely forms a head. The carbonation is somewhat lively in tiny streams. Caramel malt nose with a hint of roast. The smell is also quite fruity, perhaps raisin and raspberry.

Starts out with a heavy maltiness and then starts to brighten up, becoming more fruity toward the back. In the finish the grassy hop balance becomes more apparent with a dry and lightly bitter touch. I like the doughy, cinnamon roll-like sweetness. It almost seems like this beer would have to be stronger (ABV) to accomodate this, but fortunately it's not - at least by American standards. Solid carbonation, with a light silkiness to give a somewhat fuller mouthfeel.

I'm quite intrigued by the Highland beers I've tried so far. They seem to have a flavor profile that doesn't immediately give what you'd expect for the style brewed. This results in something both unique and refreshing. The Gaelic Ale has a perfect balance of rich malts and zesty hop bitterness. The complexity of the malt is much more that you get from a typical amber ale. I found it highly drinkable. Recommended...

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2010 06:39:46 | More by bennetj17
Photo of dataskatt

North Carolina

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

This is my favorite American Amber/Red Ale so far. It pours a rich reddish brown with a generous head. This beer is wonderfully malty and creamy, with enough hops to balance it nicely. It is full flavored and rich, but not overly heavy. The smell is very malty with hints of caramel and nut. A very balanced red ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2010 18:58:45 | More by dataskatt
Photo of DefenCorps


3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thagr81us really tossed in a ton of beers as extras in our recent trade. Thank you, Calton.

Served in my Founders 10th Anniversary glass, Gaelic Ale is clear amber with copper highlights. A dense, light brown head is present, receding to a disk leaving some lace. Solid.

The nose is decent. Plenty of caramel with brown sugar and a little toffee. There really isn't a lot else going on here, some hop character is present, but this is mostly just sweet.Hops are mildly chalky. The palate opens with a moderate bitterness with some citrus hops with more pith-like bitterness than flavor. Again, there's a moderate malt character as well, with a hodgepodge of caramel, brown sugar and toffee, all rather muddled. There's a moderate sweetness on the finish, along with a rather surprising coffee note. A touch of citrus as well, there's some bitterness present. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this is decent on the palate. Decent stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2010 23:03:21 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of Rhynes2


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

Picked up a few of these from a beer store in Kill Devil Hills as part of a mixed pack of Highland Brewing company. Pours a deep orange/red color with a fluffy inch tall head. Malt character was very well balanced with a few toasted malts hiding in the background. Hops were not to overpowering and gave a nice grassy touch to the brew. Very drinkable because i wanted to down a few more after this one was done. Not overly filling at all. Great Buy from Highland Brewing.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2010 14:18:41 | More by Rhynes2
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.