1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,135 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,135
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 28
Gots: 95 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,135 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of micromaniac129
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%

A nice deep amber color with ruby highlites. It has a smallish beige head thats sticky leaving behind some spotty lacing. About average carbonation.
Aroma is mostly malts, sweet and caramel hops are on the lighter sideand have a very sutle citrus or floral bouquet.
taste is what you might expect. It's rich malty backbone with some citrus hops for balance. Hops are very sutle and maybe only a suggestive.
it has a medium mouthfeel and some bitter aftertaste.
A good malt forward beer.

micromaniac129, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of PierceMyers
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

It produced a small head and wasn't very carbonated. The color is a great clear red however, which makes for a solid appearance.

It was served colder than recommended which altered the initial flavor of the beer. Once it warmed up some I could really taste its finer notes which I could best describe as woody and caramel(ly). The amber aroma got stronger as well.

The mouthfeel got better as it warmed, but it seemed to run over the palate without wanting to stick around. The last couple ounces were very enjoyable, however, enough to make me alter my initial ratings.

The beer has a very great combination of flavoring and drinkability. The aroma is nice and the tones are solid as well. I didn't see to much of the bite that I read about, and a little more carbonation would have been nice. All around, I will buy it again. And make sure to serve it around 45 degrees!

PierceMyers, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of csiewert
4/5  rDev +5%

Overall I am not normally a red ale or amber fan, but this beer really turned me on to the style. The beer pours a reddish amber color with a finger of foamy head that retained ok and left some lacing. The aroma had notes of caramel malt, bread and a good amount of hoppiness. The taste starts with the caramel and bread maltiness and then becomes slightly bitter and hoppy. This really is the pale ale / IPA man's amber. The mouthfeel is nice and balanced and the flavor lingers just the right amount of time. Overall a great beer.

csiewert, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Settles into an amber color with a fizzy head that doesn’t stick around very long.

S: Smells sweet like maple syrup, a bit of spicy cinnamon, and bready malts. Put it all together, and it’s a lot like french toast, really.

T/M: Tastes of mild citrus hoppiness, some syrup sweetness and bread malts in the finish. There is a medium amount of carbonation making this beer decently light and quite refreshing.

I don’t know if this beer epitomizes old Scottish tradition, but if so, then I’m feeling pretty Gael…

TheBeerAlmanac, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

The beer is light orange, with a mild haze. The head is a finger or so thick, leaving a fair amount of lacing upon the glass. The nose brings malt, some sweet caramels, and some vanilla. The flavor is reminiscent of cream soda with some malt flavoring. I happen to like cream soda, but this isn't my favorite quality in a beer. The feel is creamy and smooth, with a growing sweetness. Not a repeat for me.

Huhzubendah, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of Btrue121
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

Appearance is a good burnt red
Smell is pretty faint, only small downfall
Taste is a toasted caramel biscuit. Havent never had that, but this is what it would taste like. More amber, than red.
Mouthfeel is smooth, a little thick sweetness and some thinning hop bitterness(slight) to end. Smooth.
Overall i will buy this beer again, not from a "wow its good" but just to have a "good" beer. Not my favorite, but i can say this; i hope one day i can brew some beer this good. So therefore i definitely enjoyed it. Recommended, at least to try my beer friends.

Btrue121, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
2.98/5  rDev -21.8%

Another bottle shared by Lunch, thanks! You are suppose to be a red ale? oops. I thought something totally different.

Beer is reddish I suppose, mostly clear with an offwhite head of small bubbles, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, mildly caramel, not much of it there.

Beer is sweet and medium in body, the back is moderately bitter, finish is not dry. Overall a below average tasting ale. I won't have it again.

drabmuh, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%

Thanks to Lunch for sharing this beer. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head and a thin collar on the way down. THe nose carries an average amount of bready malt with a touch of caramel in there. The flavor has a light sweetness along with some bread crust and a bit of toast. Light caramel there and some very light hops. Light body with average carbonation; finish is slightly-dry and bitter. Decent enough, though nothing I'd go out of my way for.

Thorpe429, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of JayS2629
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

A very nice, drinkable beer. I could drink a lot of this. Leans to the malty side but hops makes itself known. Great balance.

Its a caramel amber color with a creamy white head that fades fast and leaves spotty lace. Smell is of brown sugar, biscuits, caramel, and grassy, herbal hop nose with a touch of sweet chocolate. The taste is mellow, smooth caramel. Bready malts, and clean hop finish of grass and earthy hops. A touch of sweet chocolate makes this interesting. It is very well balanced between the malt and hops. Very drinkable.

JayS2629, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of nickthetick
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

A: pours a clear dark amber into an American shaker glass with a thin white head that leaves spotty marks on the glass.

S: sweet malt and toasted bread greet the nose and are accompanied by a light hop note.

T: a lot like the nose and the hop flavor is unidentifiable but there is a distinct peat flavor.

MF: a bit thin from what I expected and medium effervescence.

O: I probably wouldn't pick this one up again.

nickthetick, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of BuzzLitebier
3.58/5  rDev -6%

This beer had a nice dark red/caramel color and malty nose, but it surprisingly didn't have the taste to back it up. It was also on the thin side for me. It wasn't what I expected based on what I had heard about it, but it would still make a nice session beer nonetheless.

BuzzLitebier, May 21, 2011
Photo of KTCamm
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours reddish amber, light white dollops of foam on top. Touches of lacing. Malty sweet. Caramel nose. Taste is the same, nicely balanced malt. Very light hop. Some residual bitterness. Some peat-iness too. Evenly carbomated.

Good beer.

KTCamm, May 20, 2011
Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

12 oz bottle at 45 degrees into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: It pours brick-red with a finger of off-white head that holds and laces okay.

S: Strong caramel, light peatiness, and some chocolate.

T: Again, the strong caramel takes president with peat, chocolate, and toffee mixing in.

M: The carbonation is a little low with a slightly syrupy palate.

O: This is a decent hybrid of Amber Ale and Wee Heavy.

bucklemyshoe, May 18, 2011
Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +5%

Consumed at 2011 LEAF Festival, just a few miles form the brewery.

A - Pours a beautiful clear amber with a very ample and remarkably creamy tan head. Fine carbonation is visible.

S - moderately good aroma of toasted malt and a trace of hops.

T - Nicely balanced mix of caramel and other malts with a hint of toasted bread, but has a fine lasting hop finish.

M - very creamy, but with a medium to medium/high carbonation level -- a great combination.

O - excellent for style. Easy recommendation, even for beer aficionados, but particularly for newcomers to craft beer. (verified on sept. 16, 2011 -- pairs great with chocolate.)

chinchill, May 17, 2011
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%

Nice red/orange, semi-transparent brew with a finger of tan foam. The foam settles into a nice top-layer and leaves lovely lacing on the sides of my Sierra Nevada pint glass.

The aroma is brown sugar, caramel and hops. This is a great smelling beer. The taste leans toward the malts, but the hops are there. I think the brewers at Highland really balanced this red ale perfectly. I've been looking for something a little less hoppy for a change of pace. This and my last review, Sweetwater Georgia Brown really have hit the spot. I'll give this one a slight nod as it's not as sweet and the hops are a little more noticeable throughout, but particularly on the after taste. Don't get me wrong, this will not knock you over with hops but it uses them extremely well.

The mouth feel is medium and not too carbonated. A tad more carbonation might help this beer some, but perhaps not. I'm really splitting hairs here.

This is a great beer, and one I'll come back to again.

airheadmtrcycle, May 15, 2011
Photo of dmbsteve
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours amber with a one finger off-white head that quickly dissipated to a thin layer. Left decent lacing.

Smell is malty - sweet and bready. Not much hop aroma, although both my nose and taste could have been a bit off after drinking a couple of hoppy IPA's earlier in the session.

Taste is, again very malty. A sweet tinge stays on the tongue for a while. Small amount of bittering hops. I had actually thought this was a scotch ale because of the malt character (and the name), until I looked it up on AB. Either way, it tastes good.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side which is strange. I expected more body in a malty brew like this. However, it was served in a cold mug so that probably attributed to the lighter perceived body.

Overall a tasty and very sessionable beer from what I think is one of the Southeast's better craft breweries.

dmbsteve, May 11, 2011
Photo of Soonami
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Highland Gaelic Ale is the first beer I've had from the Asheville brewery and it is not a bad beer but definitely not a great beer either. This is deep burnished copper with almost no head, despite the rough pour. I think that any beer especially an American hopped amber should have the carbonation and head to bring up the aroma. The bee smelled mostly malty, with a bit of fresh hops, but mostly just grainy malts. The taste was mostly the same dominated by a biscuity malt and balanced only by a modicum of hoppiness. I think that this style (and not the double) should have an assertive hop character with grapefruit and tropical flavors and medium-high bitterness, which I find lacking in this beer.

Soonami, May 04, 2011
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%

If you like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, then you'll like this beer - both seemed nearly identical in appearance, smell, and taste. Gaelic Ale is a tad darker (a dark cooper) with a bit less head and lacing, and the scent was weaker. The taste is nicely balanced, with a light grapefruit flavor from the hops. A good beer, but nothing that stands out as exceptional.

DeltaGolfSierra, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of atomicbeer
4.38/5  rDev +15%

Draft pint at Sine Irish Pub at the Pentagon City Mall. Red copper color arrived with 1/2 inch white head. Malty sweet fruit cocktail (candied peach, pear, cherry, and orange) aroma with a kick of grapefruit hops. Fruity taste with grapefruit zest. Remarkable balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. Really enjoyable!

atomicbeer, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of dball
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

The Gaelic has been a favorite drinking beer of mine for a long time. It is my favorite brew from Highland in Asheville. It pours a deep golden color with a burgundy tint. The head is light and fluffy and the beer laces lightly on the glass. The smell is average and carries a solid blend of hops and malt. Drinkability is missing from the scale these days and I think that is one of the strengths of the Gaelic. It has a slightly bitter feel but a smooth malty finish. I think it is a solid go to beer for entertaining and for good afternoon hang. Delightful despite it not being an "A" beer.

dball, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of babaracas
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%

Pours a clear dark orange with one finger thick white head, a few splotches of lace left on the glass. Smell: predominantly toasted grain with some caramel, hopping is leafy with a little citrus peel. Taste: toasted grain, caramel, kind of a graham cracker thing going on, a little grapefruit and spicy hopping with an earthy finish. Medium bodied, caramel, apple, and earthiness in play at the finish.

babaracas, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%

Bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a nice true amber color, shades of copper, with a thin, one-finger cream-colored head on top, settling quickly into a soapy cap.

Nose is light, toasted caramel and a light dose of citrus hops underneath. Lightly fruity. Fairly restrained.

Taste is mellow - lightly toasty with a kiss of caramel, healthy tingle of slightly dank grapefruit. Finish is fruity, light bitterness, delicately balanced and eminently drinkable.

Mouthfeel is very middle of the road - medium in body, light in carbonation, moderately long finish.

Nice beer - balanced for pretty much any season, tasty and well made.

JohnQVegas, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of TheStig
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%

Pours a deep, translucent and reddish caramel color with a fast receding head and no lacing. A soft, sweet smell of cool, wet forest wafts up, but is very subtle. Gentle, bittersweet notes interlaced with oats and a very minor yeast taste. A proud hoppiness pulls through entire tasting experience, but is not overly strong. A hearty, honey-like sweetness exists as a subtle base. Fair carbonation and an overall lightness produce an enjoyable mouthfeel.

Thank god this comes in a six-pack, because it's a very tasty, very drinkable beer.

TheStig, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of Prospero
3.58/5  rDev -6%

Pours out a nice deep amber color, almost ruby. The head is about 2-3 fingers but doesn't linger long with traces of lace. The nose is full of floral aroma and sweet like honey. This is where the Cascade and Williamette do wonders for the aroma of a beer. The taste was on the upper bitter end for an amber, but it while I thought it was well balanced with the malts, the bitterness lingered a little too long. A tiny hint of earthiness, spice and fruit came through in the taste making it a nice light-bodied, flavorful, semi-sweet amber with character. I'd say while it's drinkable for me, it may be a little complex for those seeking a session. But if you're looking for a unique amber, definitely give this beer a try.

Prospero, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

A: Pours almost a garnet color with a small off-white head. The head itself is fast receding with no lacing.

S: A nicely balanced nose of sweet caramel malts and hops.

T: Upfront flavor of sweet caramel malts, followed by fruity hops, and finishes malty, although a bit bitter.

M: Medium body and carbonation, with a slick and lean texture.

D: I find this one very easy to drink. Nothing too fancy that it's easy to down before you realize how many you've had.

BrewCrew2010, Feb 28, 2011
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,135 ratings.