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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: 1,351
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 220 | 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: 1,351
Photo of ThePopper
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, dark copper color; nice foamy head.

S: Malt notes, with a whiff of pine.

T: An amber-style ale with nice caramel and malt notes, very subtle hops, and tones of vanilla and sassafras.

M: Rich and smooth.

O: A very drinkable, high-quality ale, with more malt complexity and full flavors than a pale ale. On par with the very best ambers – highly recommended.

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Photo of mattsdenney
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into NB globe glass.

A: Medium amber in color, slightly hazy, thick looking, light brown thin head.

S: Dried cherry, fig, bread, honey, and sweet malt.

T: Great tasting beer. Strong taste of dried fruit, bready malts, and a nice hop balance. The backbone reminds me of a belgian style ale but it mixes nicely with the american amber flavor.

M: Thin, light, medium carbonation. Feel doesn't linger for long.

O: This is an amber ale with substance. Great on flavor but not overbearing in weight or feel. Will definitely buy again when I'm craving this style.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

a - dark reddish brown w/ 1 finger head

s - very sweet and malty. Lots of caramel / brown sugar scents

t - easy to drink, no hop pressence, lots of caramel. Sort of like a bock style

m - very watery and thin

o- an average beer , decent flavor, sessionable but a little lacking in body

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Photo of McNealc31
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber and is relatively clear. Sticky white head floats atop. Smells of toasted malt and smoked peat. I'm glad I knew to expect some hops, because they are definitely noticed. Thankfully, not overpowering (wouldn't fit the style). Caramel, smoked peat and other complex malts are upfront with the piney hops balancing nicely. The malt lingers longer than the hops.Flavor of iced tea as it warms, as well. Clocks in at 5.8% ABV.

I'd say this is more of an Amber Ale than it is a Scotch Ale. It's tasty, has good balance, and is on the hoppier side of the spectrum.

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

On tap at Carrboro Beverage Co.

Nice amber pour with a small head. hm...

Definitely a malty red. Toffee and caramel come to mind, but they fade away into a grassy malty thing.

Very sweet and full bodied. Hints of toffee caramel accent what seems like a light Scotch Ale. Very smooth and full bodied. This would be my go-to if it were available in more places. Plus Rally Drum Red from Great Lakes is just plain better.

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

My first Amber love and southern addiction is the Highland Brewery. Their beer is from Asheville, NC and the locality promises the freshness of the sample. The beer is on the hoppy end of the spectrum, but the mellowness of a well crafted amber permeates through the hopped nature of the beer. The beer’s cascade hops add a citrus freshness to add punctuation to the malty caramel taste. The carbonation adds a baked bread, almost a toasted desert bread scent to the nose of this wonderful beer.


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Photo of soulfly1492
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Dark and roasty for an amber. Sweet crystal malt. Medium sweet caramel and bitter American hops.

Appearance: Medium copper. High clarity. Head is light brown, decent retention and tons of lacing.

Taste: Sweet malt with a bitter side, some Munich perhaps. Bitter floral and pine hops, little citrus character. Mildly toasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Somewhat oily, the finish is dry. Very little carbonation, but enough to be detectable.

Overall: On the roasty side of things. Not exactly pleasant and/or savory. Not memorable in other words.

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Photo of KentT
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of tjsmith910
4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of bum732
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of mscudder
3.59/5  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.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of kell50
3.85/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of Arborescence
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of xybreeder
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
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!

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Photo of socon67
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of soju6
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of Agold
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of papat444
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of wowbagger
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

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