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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 Brenden


3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer last night at a popular bookstore here in Asheville, pairing it with a cheese and summer sausage platter while my friends had wine. I had the wine as well; I think the beer paired more effectively.

The beer pours a deep orange-red color. The soft off-white head had pretty good retention and left a film and soft, spotty lacing on the glass.
The nose is somewhat subtle. There's a malt backbone with some caramel sweetness, a pretty strong spiciness, and a much more alcoholic note than I would expect if the ABV is correctly listed.
The alcohol doesn't show up nearly as strongly in the flavor. What does come through in the flavor is a stronger hops presence to balance the malt. The spiciness is also still there. It's a pretty sturdy flavor.
There's a bit of creaminess up front that gives way to a crisp bite before a lingering dry, hoppy finish.
This one's not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2010 13:43:08 | More by Brenden
Photo of schoolboy


2.58/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was the first beer I tried from my Highlan sampler. I thought that I had made a mistake and would be stuck drinking twelve beers like this that I did not like.

I won't be kinds here since I ended up liking everything else in the sampler much more than this. It's boring and borderlinee funky. It's semi-creamy. Creamy isn't usually a good sign for an ale like this.

I ended up drinking all of these from the sampler, and although Highland did redeem itself somewhat, this one did not work for me. No recommended.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2010 19:51:20 | More by schoolboy
Photo of jlindros


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

Got this interesting guy thanks to beandip.

A: A light fluffy 1/2 finger head fades slowly and leaves a decent lacing. Some haze in the orange reddish slight rose colored beer.

N: Some toasty malts, little bready, fresh pale malt aroma, very light spices almost, little earthy juicy hop aroma too, and slightly grassy hops too.

T: Starts with toasty malts, lots of fresh malty pale malt flavors, little bready and toasty, light grassy hops, little earthy flavors, slightly spicy, crisp ale flavors.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry with a slight sweetness, slight bitterness with a little grassy mild hop flavor, and some earthy flavors lingering. Crisp ale flavors also linger.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 23:06:44 | More by jlindros
Photo of htomsirveaux


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

12 oz. bottle tried 3 Dec 2007.

Small amber head. Well carbonated. Deep copper color. Aroma is light, sweet and resiney. Fairly sweet and caramel to start. Roasted nuts. Becomes a little drier in the finish. Medium body. Light alcohol.

Well balanced, easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 03:33:56 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

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

Poured into a pint glass. A very dark amber with a thin tan/orange tinted head that dissipated quickly but left decent lacing.

Aroma was extremely sweet with lots of caramel and a bit of citrus hops.

Flavor was nice -- lots of caramel sweetness combined with a good amount of bready Munich character. Solid bitterness to back it up. Nice beer.

Body was a bit thick with a good amount of carbonation gave this a very full mouthfeel. I thought this was a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 18:48:58 | More by mklinger
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into Stone nonic. Pours deep copper with one-finger off-white head that lingers. Maintained nice lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, slight fruit, and nuttiness. The flavor is comprised of smooth and crisp malt notes with a subtle nutty flavor mixed in. It has a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this is a very nice brew from Highland. It is quite drinkable and enjoyable. Worth a shot if you get the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2010 22:18:55 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Stigs


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

12oz bottle, served in a standard pint glass

A - pours with almost no head, just a small floating island of bubbles. the beer is clear, dark amber in color.

S - very sweet with an incredible amount of caramel malt, brown sugar, bit of cinnamon. rounded off a little at the end by some Cascade hops, but the malt dominates here.

T - caramel up front on top of a massive doughy/bready malt bed. some spices, cinnamon, black pepper, join in with some playful earthy hops. pretty good.

M - thin body, quite watery. carbonation is nice and playful, not overwhelming. works OK, but something a little more substantial would put this up another notch.

D - overall, a decent take on the style. malt heads will enjoy the loads of caramel, while hop heads should be pleased with everything else going on here.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 02:05:40 | More by Stigs
Photo of birchstick


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap a couple of years ago at Tyler's taproom in Durham, but didn't get a chance to review. A couple of years later I got the chance:

A - pours an amber red (hence the style) with a nice head

S - smells of sweet, caramel malts, as well as some bready tones. As I went in for another smell, I got hit with grains and some corn. There is a touch of grassy hops as well.

T - the taste follows the nose, with a couple pleasant surprises. It, as the nose suggests, starts off with a lot of caramel hops. These are cast to the side by a lot of bready/grainy malts (almost like a what bread taste). It finishes with a touch of spicy hops that fade to a nice, subtle toasted malt flavor. All of these flavors bland together really nicely to form a really flavorful, yet simple ale.

M - the body is more thin than medium, however it is a good feel for the style

D - Highland's Gaelic Ale is a really nice amber ale. Meets my definition of a session beer (albeit the abv is a little too high) _ nice flavor that doesn't destroy your palate, as well as being on the lower end of the abv spectrum. Well done Highland!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2010 02:40:53 | More by birchstick
Photo of IceTrey9785


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

Got a six-pack for $8.49 -- a beer from my native area? Why not?

A: I poured the ale into a standard English pub glass, light carbonation, and good lacing. A nice, creamy, froth remains on the top of the brew, but not as overwhelming as a Smithick's, for example.

S: Sweet caramel malts, perhaps a little dried fruit like raisins or prunes, but there is a noticeable hop bitterness, once you get past the sweet malt. I keep thinking of candy apples with this one.

T&M: Wonderful taste -- almost a weak coffee finish, preceded by caramel and toffee on the mid-palate. Some spice like nutmeg or brown sugar is also present. As the ale warms, there is a very distinct nutty finish, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Creamy texture, but relatively light to medium body. This is a great red ale for summer, just enough malty character, laced with fresh hops (rather faint), and superb drinkability.

I really like this beer. It is simple, smooth, and has some character, but I have to admit I'm not blown away. I think either the addition of more intense hops, or malt (or both) would really allow this ale to stand out. If you're looking for something other than a Yuengling on a hot day, this would be a nice alternative. I'd love to see the difference on-tap. Fantastic house ale...

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2010 14:48:47 | More by IceTrey9785
Photo of Schwarzwald


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

This is a good beer on tap. I have had the bottle as well and it's not so good. I really like a cold tap though. Great with pizza and the taste can hold up to rich food. It has a great orange-rust color with a lot of bitey carbonation. Give it a try on tap... a lot better than the bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2010 01:17:19 | More by Schwarzwald
Photo of branimal9

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my GF at Barley's Greenville 5/17/2010.

Reddish gold in color. Smells slightly malt-sweet with a kiss of hops. Toffee & floral hop bitterness in the taste. Finishes slighly dry. A nice, sessionable amber ale, and one of Highland's flagship beers.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 21:32:38 | More by branimal9
Photo of beerwolf77


2.8/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks goes to Erikkoppin for this brew. Poured into my pint glass the beer is a cloudy orange brown. A faint trace of off white head forms and fades simultaneously. A tiny bit of soapy lace.

The aroma is rather muted. Mild malt. Hints of caramel, apples, and a metalic like quality.

The flavor is about as average as the nose. Light malt and a hint of nuttieness. Slightly metalic and watery. Nothing real appealing.

Light body with average carbonation.

Overall a less than stellar brew. Just another average beer to lump in with all the other ones.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2010 23:57:44 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of Lukafer


3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Pours a slightly reddish amber, with a golden head. Smells slightly nutty with caramel malts. Tastes very malty, slightly metallic and pretty smooth with some alcohol at the end. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, but okay. Pretty drinkable, I could put probably 3 down.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 05:02:49 | More by Lukafer
Photo of rmolledo


3.13/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a Dark Amber Red with quick fading head.

S: Peatey. Malt. Caramel. Slight fruity aroma.

T: Alot more mellow than the smell suggests. Malty. Peaty After taste. Sweet Finish.

MF: Lightly carbonated. Thick mouth feel.

D: A rather uneventful scottish style ale (regardless of what the bottle says, this tastes like an american style scottish ale). Nothing to write home about.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2010 00:02:51 | More by rmolledo
Photo of speter

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours translucent orange/amber with one-finger tan head that left impressive lacing.

S: Average amount of sweet malt, but little else. I suppose the Gaelic designation means "No hops here."

T: Clean, American ale, without any fruity esters or hop character to speak of. Lightly sweet throughout. Overall, not a complex beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation that leads to a nice mouthfeel when swirled in the nonic. Medium body and a fairly creamy head.

D: This is a lawnmower beer if ever I've had one. Lightly sweet, little hop bitterness or aroma and refreshing carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2010 19:31:33 | More by speter
Photo of alleykatking


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

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Poured amber/orange color. Half finger light tan head that dies down to nothing after a couple seconds. Spot lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malts in the front end of the aroma. Some light bready malts in middle with some light earthy hops in the back end of the aroma.

T- Light oxidation in the front end of this beer. Caramel malts follow after the light oxidation. Bready malts come through in the middle. Muted sweet alcohol taste in the back end of the beer. Also, muted bitter hops in back end but very faded.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation good for the style. Light oxidated taste left on the palate with some bready malts left in the aftertaste. Clean tasting other than the light metallic taste in the beginning.

D- This was a average drinker which isn't a bad thing. I would gladly buy a sixer of these if they were here. Would recommend as a good intro into craft beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 06:59:08 | More by alleykatking
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Poured out a clear, amber/orange color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of bready, sweet caramel with a citrusy kick.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel and grains with a grassy/mossy hop profile.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer with a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a nice ale. My first Highland brew and I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 22:19:39 | More by zeff80
Photo of jrallen34


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

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours an extremely dark amber, probably as dark as you can get before it becomes brown. Slight clearness to it. The head and lacing are both light.

The aroma is very light some rye and a little skunk.

The taste is a little better than the aroma but there is some lingering skunk. It starts out pretty boring then brings some rye and a light hop finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 01:10:31 | More by jrallen34
Photo of zoso493

North Carolina

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a nice ruby red without a trace of haze to it. It has a foamy two-finger head that makes it's way quickly down the glass, leaving some slight lacing as it does.

Smell: This one has a very subdued smell and it's tricky to pull out many individual scents. You can tell that there are more malts in the nose than hops, with the malts being primarily toasty/buttery and the hops having a grainy character.

Taste: The lighter, toasty malts are definitely the primary flavor in the taste, with the hops providing a nice, spicy bittering finish. It's a not a hugely bold beer but it pretty smooth and drinkable.

Mouthfeel: This one is a little on the thinner side of things but I'm willing to forgive that since the beer is past it's best buy date by about a month and is still exceedingly crisp.

Drinkability: This is a pretty drinkable brew as it's very light and low in alcohol. I would definitely by a sixer of these to drink on a cool autumn's night.

Overall, this is a nice take on the style, though it's very much a subdued beer. Because I'm in North Carolina, I sort of took for granted that I'd be getting a fresh beer but now that I'm looking I see it's been past it's prime by about a month. Still, I've had this beer several times before and I've always enjoyed it. This is definitely a brew worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2010 05:37:37 | More by zoso493
Photo of jadpsu


4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this at the local Wal-Mart. Rarely do I purchase beer at Wal-Mart. But this was one I had never had so I thought I would add it to my "beer diary".
Pours a hazy amber/orange with a tan loose head that has only average retention and lacing that is a bit better than that.
Wow, when it comes to aroma. Malts lead with chocolate licorice or caramel along with breads and some pine nut hops. Enough there to fill the nose.
Taste is sweet but with an enjoyable bitter bite at the finish.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy. A nice surprise.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2010 21:50:25 | More by jadpsu
Photo of RedBrewer83


3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into tulip...

A: Pours a ruby hued amber with a very small two finger head at best that falls quickly to a thin cap and eventually a simple ring around the edge, lacing is average.

S: Aroma is dominated by a rich caramel malt, faint bread and very faint floral/grassy hop.

T: Flavor profile follows that of the nose, the malt dominates but nicely balanced and accentuated by a crisp hop presence that is both floral and grassy along with just a touch of citrus. This is a nice amber, not over hopped or over malted, nicely balanced.

M: Crisp medium body with active but smooth carbonation and a dry finish despite the heavy malt presence.

D: Goes down smooth and clean! Nice example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2010 23:32:18 | More by RedBrewer83
Photo of kshankar

District of Columbia

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

Amber with a white head..decent retention on the head. Good lacing all the way down.

Aroma is sweet caramel and some biscuity aromas. Hop presence is low.

Taste is sweet with a nice caramel profile and a biscuity malt backing. Very good

Mouthfeel is medium and well carbonated. Drinkability is high, could use some more hops though. Rather muted in that department. Otherwise, a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2010 04:27:20 | More by kshankar
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

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

About a finger's worth of tan head, mostly larger bubbles which dissolve swiftly, the lacing broad but also slides down quickly. Full on amber red with enough brown to darken it into near opacity, more brighter orange around the rims. In the nose there's a lot of interplay between the caramel, molasses and the pine, herbaceous hops, orange peel, milk chocolate, brush of peach and apricot fruit, long presence in your nostrils. Full-bodied and broadly set, as in the nose it's impressive for its sheer stature and weight. As a result, it is a good thing the carbonation is very active. The molasses, brown sugar, caramel sweeter upon mouth entry, the overall finish is dry. Very leafy, almost twiggy, the pine and orange, lemon citrus elements drier than expected. Here you get a touch of softer, creamier bread dough with a few lactose accents. Easily drinkable while in no manner simple.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2010 00:47:30 | More by farrago
Photo of Ryan011235


4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 12/10/09

10/20/09 etched on the bottle

A - Hazy, dark copper with highlights of burnt amber, crimson & rust. An aggressive pour resulted in but an 1/8th inch all but disappears quickly. Swirling causes this process to repeat with some bubbles clinging to the perimeter. Small spots of lacing line the glass.

S - Sweet caramel malt is most notable with a decent dry biscuit-like aroma as well. This is offset by modest hop notes; most evident as earthy & floral with just a few faint hints of citrus.

T - Thankfully the hops are more assertive here than in the nose. Floral hops greet the tongue & are followed by spicy bitterness - hints of pine & maybe tangerine. Still prominent is the malt bill which comes across as very toasted. Caramel, though, is still distinct.

M - Heavier side of medium bodied. It leans more towards the creamy end of the carbonation spectrum, though plenty of prickles are to be found on the front end. Bitterness lingers shortly on the finish.

D - Drinkability is awesome. This is a nicely balanced beer with plenty of good flavor. I do like that it is fairly hoppy. Easily recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 01:05:10 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of CharlatanSin


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

Many thanks to my father for picking up one of these on his road trip to N.C. Poured from the bomber into a pint glass. The beer poured a very nice amber with a definite red tinge. There's a solid, smooth, half inch white head that dissipates into a ring and leaves a tad of lacing.

The smell is caramel all the way, with maybe a tiny bit of bread. Not great, not bad. The taste, however, is very nice. The sweet caramel malt definitely dominates, but it's balanced by a nice hit of pine hop goodness. There's a faint hint of white bread. A little raisiny fruit as it warms on the finish.

The mouthfeel is pretty thick for the style, with carbonation on the low side. Smooth and fairly sticky. A very nice American amber that I could see gladly sessioning if I lived in the area. I like it better than the Duck Rabbit amber that my dad bought me on the same trip.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2010 01:21:44 | More by CharlatanSin
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.