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

1,069 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,069 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jimsimply
jimsimply

Georgia

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

A: Pours dark amber with a small, taupe head.

S: Light caramel notes, little hop aroma.

T/MF: Balanced for the style. I had had two chewier beers earlier in the day, so it felt light in my mouth. Fits style, but left me feeling less than happy. Carbonation not overpowering, but pleasant.

D: Easy drinking ale.

I'm a fan of Highland, but this isn't my favorite of their offerings. Still, not bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 17:59:35 | More by jimsimply
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

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

Thick, dark amber color with an average tan head. Some retention and sloppy lace.

Smells like toasty malt and cascade hops.

Tastes like toasted malt with a mild peat highlight balanced by grapefruit citrus hops. Like a Scottish ale dressed in casual attire for an easy night out. Very balanced: tastes complete.

trade via brentk56

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 20:56:58 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of PEBKAC
PEBKAC

New York

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

Hard drive data scraping is well worth the money, let me tell you. Priceless family photos, rebates & receipts, insurance forms, music, nah... kb after kb of old beer reviews. That's what it's all about. :D

Thanks to bboven, whether these beers sit well with me or not.

Rounded pint glass. Unusual, lop-sided, dough-colored milky head. Uniform lacing over a dirty amber, chill-hazed, iced tea-like body.

Caramel & spicy/tangy orange hop notes. A little dry bread crust & heavier then expected alcohol.

Taste isn't as big as the nose suggests. Slightly resinous/rindy hops, honestly in balance with the doughy malty. A lingering spicy citrus sizzles along with the enthusiastic carbonation. Astringency is at a minimum.

Easy.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 03:57:33 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

The appearance was appealing. A dark nut brown color with a thin but lasting head.

Smelled mildly of malts and hops with a good dark nutty aroma.

The taste was very pleasant and smooth. The hops were subtle which is what I like. It was slightly sweet but nothing like some of those sweet Belgian style ales.

Mouthfeel was good. Nothing special but pleasant and accompanied the taste and smell well. Smooth without too much carbonation.

Drinkability on this one is good. You could drink a few of these and enjoy all of them easily.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 19:08:22 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of gabe23
gabe23

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear dark amber with an off white head. Good retention and great lacing.

S - Caramel malt with some hops in the background. As with most Highland brews, it has a nice natural, earthy smell.

T - The taste matches the smell almost perfectly. Sweet caramel/brown sugar malt that is well-balanced with bite from the hops. The finish is nice and clean.

M - Medium body with plenty of smoothness. Not overly carbonated.

D - I love this beer, and I could drink a lot of it. I've become a real Highland junkie, and the Gaelic Ale is one of their better offerings.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 04:31:49 | More by gabe23
Photo of waldoiverson
waldoiverson

Texas

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

A: rediesh brown with inch of offwhite head
S: caramel malt with nice hop spice
T caramel with green citrus hop and slight alcoholic vapors
M smooth with a dry bitter bite
D really well balanced and the hop flavor is like smelling pellets but not overwhelming great stuff

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 18:16:08 | More by waldoiverson
Photo of nick76
nick76

Florida

3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma has rootbeer, caramel, malt, and a hint of hops. The appearance is amber with a smallish sized head. The flavor is sweet and closely matches the aroma. The palate is smooth. The finish is slightly bitter and cardboard like. Overall good but with imperfections.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 04:46:23 | More by nick76
Photo of Douglas88
Douglas88

Utah

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

Bottle thanks to tronraner. Pours a bright and clear amber color with a medium tan head. A sweet nose of rich caramel, some toasted malt and sugars. The flavor is also dominated by loads of caramel malts, some balance is achieved by a decent hop profile. A soft and fizzy mouthfeel. A light bitterness in the finish. Fairly earthy and nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 06:07:03 | More by Douglas88
Photo of TheEclecticGent
TheEclecticGent

Georgia

4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear amber/red into a pint glass from the bottle. Gaelic Ale has about a ½ inch thick tannish head that stays a while, leaving very good lacing on the glass as I drink it. The nose is a caramel malt with some spicy hop notes added in. The taste is a clean maltyness with a pleasant hop bite as the mid-note, ending with a bit of clean but biscuit flavor. Wow, very nice! It has a medium mouthfeel with a medium carbonation bite. It is a very drinkable beer. It is a mainstay as one of my session beers when it is available. Have not had a bad Highland beer!

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2008 22:11:34 | More by TheEclecticGent
Photo of csmiley
csmiley

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you to mikesgroove for this Highland selection

A - Pours a murky amber color with some hints of brown thrown in for good measure. The beige head topped out at just under half inch and didn't stick around for too long. Lacing is minimal.

S - Quite malty in the nose. Some caramel and bready aromas really dominate. Nuts and granola finish it up. Hold on, I think there are some hops in there too but they are VERY mild. Alcohol is nowhere to be found. Aroma is simple yet nice.

T - Starts out with caramel and toffee. Could be some brown sugar mixed in as well. Bread flavors push through around midway (crust and whole grain). Hop bitterness definitely rounds out the flavor. Touch of lemon and grapefruit. Hop flavor is pretty mild and doesn't get in the way of the malt.

M - Medium bodied with carbonation that is just right. Finish starts out sweet but a lingering bitterness from the hops holds out for a while longer.

D - Dinkability is really good. This would make for a great session brew. There is more than enough going on in this beer to keep it interesting and it is simple enough to put away all night long. Alcohol is hidden behind the flavors pretty well which just adds to the overall drinkability. Kudos to Highland for a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2008 02:32:36 | More by csmiley
Photo of wedge
wedge

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber-red color under a tight off-white head. Balanced aroma of sweet caramel malts and citrus and floral hops. Great hoppy flavor...a mixture of sugary tea and citrus that doesn't get too bitter. A rich maltiness rounds it all out nicely. A little dryness in the finish makes me practically chug the whole glass. Firm, medium body. I can't believe I've never rated this one. It's pretty darn tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 00:04:31 | More by wedge
Photo of n00tz
n00tz

Georgia

4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nice amber body, w/tall dirty blonde head. Fairly active inviting carbonation

S - Clearly defined cascade hops presence, detectable sweetness in the malt.

T - Very unique in the sense that it starts with the hoppy floral tast and bridges into a malty sweet flavor

M - Medium bodied ale with a clean finish

D - This is a great beer once it reaches about 50 degrees fahrenheit. I'd love to grab this again next time I need a growler fill at Riverside and they have it available.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2008 05:00:50 | More by n00tz
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a clear brownish amber with a thinner creme head. Nose is apply malts. Real leafy robustness. Flavor is thick malts. Touch of sweet apple tones. Leafy and earthy character. Smooth and sweet, but robust and a nice profile. Smooth, slick liquid feel. Just a slightly lower carbonation on things. Very drinkable. This beer on cask would probably be great.

Thanks to michaeld23 for this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2008 23:59:44 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of craytonic
craytonic

District of Columbia

3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a beautiful orange-bronze-velvet.

Nice nose, not very aggressive.

You can really taste the toasted hops.. A hint of citrus peel & earthiness. Needs more hops and malt, a little bland.

The mouthfeel is perfect, great body and perfect carbonation. My favorite thing about the beer

Finish is a little harsh for me, but not my favorite type of beer.

Good on-tap choice in NC

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2008 00:10:26 | More by craytonic
Photo of ncvbc
ncvbc

North Carolina

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

Pours a deep amber with reddish hues and a medium head with good retention and lacing. Smell of caramel malt, light fruit, and spicy, earthy hops with a light citrus. Taste is much of the same and adds a toasted bread to the mix. Very well balanced and quite flavorful, more so than from the bottle it seems. Good lighter body with solid carbonation and just the right amount of bitterness to counterbalance the sweetness of the beer. A session Amber if there ever was one.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2008 21:13:09 | More by ncvbc
Photo of Nipitato
Nipitato

Massachusetts

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

Purchased a bottle at Chips Wine and Beer Market in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

A: Nice dark amber hue. Very clear. Off white head with good retention.

S: A good melange of citrusy hop aroma with some light and subtle malt aroma. Some caramel in there.

T: Also a very good balance between caramel malt and a west coastesque grapefruty citurs hop flavor. Nice lingering aftertaste.

MF: Medium full creamy mouthfeel with a tingling light carbonation.

D, notes: This is a good drinkable red.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2008 19:26:55 | More by Nipitato
Photo of introvertedone
introvertedone

Tennessee

4.55/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Gaelic Ale was presented to me at the Grey Eagle when it was in Black Mountain, NC in '95 or so. Since then it's been a long time love affair.

I've had this fine ale both from the tap and from the bottle. While I love them both I prefer the tap. It's a beautiful beer in appearance, aroma and taste. This would definitely be my everyday beer if I didn't enjoy trying out fine new brews.

The fine folks at Highland Brewing Company have a fine line of brews with this one being my favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2008 21:24:03 | More by introvertedone
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

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

Reddish sort of hue to it. Nice lacing left on the glass. Moderate amount of hops in the aroma. Slight maltiness to it. Definate malty flavor with a slight caramel/toffeish flavor. Decent hop bite to it. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. I have lost my taste for an amber/red ale in my old age. This could help restore my faith.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2008 23:04:34 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

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

Received in trade from limesmut and mikesgroove, thanks for the opportunity guys. Pours a deep amber color with a nice size dirty white head that stick around a bit and laces the glass all the way down. Aroma is caramel malty with some citrusy hops in there as well. I smell loads of caramel and some mineral in the background. Tastes malty, caramel and hops round it out nicely. Maybe a touch sweet. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, medium body that finishes quite dry but lingers with bitterness in the finish. Decent brew for an American amber, I'm not sure what makes it a Gaelic Ale though. There are better brews out there, but this one is pretty good, I'd drink one if it was offered to me.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2008 22:20:22 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

Thanks to unionturf for the opportunity to try this one. 12oz. bottle served in my SA Sensory pint. No freshness dating indicated on the bottle. Poured a deep, translucent amber with a one inch, frothy, off-white cap that almost crested the lip of the glass. Head eventually settled into a thin, broken skim with only a few spatterings of lacing preent during the tasting. Nose was malty with a light floral hops aroma in the background. Taste follows nose. Very malty with a toasted caramel character. Maybe even an earthy/peat-like quality in there. Mouthfeel is between light and medium with a hint of carbonation and a nice, unexpected creaminess. Excellent drinkability; so flavorful and easy drinking with more malt than hops coming out (just the way I like it).

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2008 17:40:14 | More by Jwale73
Photo of dedrinker
dedrinker

Kansas

3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a handsome beer as far as your standard amber ale goes - deep, clear amber color with a light tan-yellow-ish head. I'm sticking my nose as deep down into the glass as I can go, and I'm not picking up much aroma - perhaps some mild caramel and nutty action, or maybe I'm just imagining it because my nose is all jammed into this thing. Thankfully it does have flavor and there is more of a hop presence here than in most typical amber ales. An almost sweet caramel malty taste followed by a bitter tang of hops. This went better with food - grilled chicken thighs seasoned with sage, oregano, basil, etc. and salt-n-peppa. I think this beer will go well with leftover Thanksgiving food.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2008 05:24:03 | More by dedrinker
Photo of ckeegan04
ckeegan04

Texas

3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep reddish-amber color with a two finger off-white head. Slowly fades to leave a thin layer on top and excellent lacing throughout.

S - Sweet biscuity malt aroma with hints of cany sugar. A light spicy hop note also exists.

T - Initial caramel sweetness with a light spicy/piney hop note coming through. Finishes with a toasted caramel taste.

M/D - Light to medium bodied, a touch on the thinner side of things. Not a remarkable brew but still a very solid session beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2008 01:16:45 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of bv74550p
bv74550p

Georgia

4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer at several places around Savannah. If you are looking for it on tap try Molly Mcpherson's or the Crystal Beer Parlor.

The beer is a deep red/brown and is completely opaque. Great head retention about two fingers.

Malt is good. Hops suprised me very much in this beer, but it made it very smooth and nice to my IPA liking. With this beer it pretty much smells the same as it tastes.

Definitely a great session beer where you should drink at least 3 to appreciate it.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2008 16:43:09 | More by bv74550p
Photo of hustlesworth
hustlesworth

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- nice clear reddish brown with a foamy buff head, good retention, some ok lace.

S- very toasty aroma with butterscotch, diacetyl, and an underlying nuttiness

T- toasty cereal grain flavor with some earthy hop bitterness

MF- medium body, medium carbonation, pretty standard.

D- easily drinkable, bought a single from a farmers market in NC.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2008 17:04:19 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this particular glass on-tap at the Brick Store Pub. A beautiful looking red ale- especially on draft. Coppery red with strawberry highlights, a nice 1 inch head that leaves some lacing. Very light aromas of somewhat bready malt, and a bit of yeasty tanginess. Deeper flavors than suggested by the nose. Bready malt with a touch of fruitiness and nuts and some citrusy hops. Not seemlessly integrated, but done pretty well nevertheless. The mouthfeeel is chewy and a bit sweet, but overall this is a pretty solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2008 18:53:16 | More by Georgiabeer
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.