Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

1,211 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,211
Reviews: 506
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 29
Gots: 134 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,211 | Reviews: 506 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Prospero
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

Poured hard into a chilled glass, minimal head. Good carbonation, color of light amber with no cloudiness.
Smells of cider or something almost musty, but leaves you wanting another wiff.
Very strong aged taste with yeast and ginger after thoughts. I can't get enough, somewhat dry, but totally drinkable. Good beer..Looks like NC does it right! Thank you CBlack85

Photo of Spica66
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from thagr81us. Thanks, Calton!

A: Red/brown color with decent head formation and retention. Some lacing. Good level of carbonation.

S: Malty with some hops. Smells like a light Scottish Ale.

T: Excellent malt base, medium hops level. Some slight Scottish Ale caramel/spice type of notes.

M: Round, medium body. Proper level of carbonation.

D: This one disappeared quite quickly and I would not have hesitated to have another, were it available!

Photo of ZacHart
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: crystal clear, beautiful amber colored brew that produced a thick but wispy off-white head with light lacing.

Smell: aroma dominated by sweet caramel with hints of smoke and fruit.

Taste: malty but not overly sweet flavor dominated by bread crust and caramel, with hints of smoke, earth, and fruit. Hop flavor subtle but present enought to nicely balance the brew. Flavor reminiscent of a Scotch ale but overall more restrained.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin and highly carbonated, this beer doesn't really linger on the palate.

Overall: a flavorful yet highly drinkable session beer that's rightfully the flagship of Highland Brewery.

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

I had this one on tap at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub. It was served in a standard pint, the beer is a rusty/brown in color. There is minimum beige head. It has nice sticky lacing.

The beer has a nose of brown sugar and grains.

It is slightly sweet with nutty notes. This is a bit of brown sugar cookie of a beer.

The mouth is slick and well suited to the beer. It is an easy enough drinker, served a bit to cold but it improved as it warms.

Photo of beergod1
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful deep dark red color with medium foamy tan head. Aroma is very caramel sweet with a touch of citrusy hops. Flavor to me is lacking, of course I was told it was a Brown Ale, and I didn't believe him, so the Hops now make sense, now that I see it's a Red ale. some sweet caramel, some bitter hoppiness, but nothing that really stands out. Overall, not bad, but I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger and trade for these 5 different Highlander beers I just got for free from a friend.

Photo of Frosty80
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours light golden-brown. sits brilliantly clear light amber with a small fluffy cola-colored head

Smell: very mellow and clean maltiness with notes of caramel and restrained fruitiness. light hop character

Taste: excellent balance of malt and hops, with the scale tipped slightly to the hop side. good clean caramel malt with a tinge of fruitiness and a light bitterness and hop flavor. finish is mostly bitter and is slightly dry with just a little malt to round it out

Mouthfeel: medium body with moderate carbonation

Notes: excellent, light American amber

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

Pours out a nice ruby looking amber color, decent head forms quickly, then fades. Moderate lacing remains on my glass as the minutes pass. Has a very floral and malty sweet aroma to it, definitely some hoppiness going on in this red ale. Some piney, earthy hop flavor to start, bitter floral aftertaste that lingers around on the tongue nicely. This is a very malty tasting beer, quite bready and biscuity, with a pleasant sweetness and a very dry finish. The mouthfeel is quite thin, leaning towards the light-light medium body with a perfect level of carbonation. All in all, this is a good beer, very flavorful in the hop department, nicely done and easily drinkable.

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

#53. Highland Gaelic Ale. Looking forward to this Highland product, as the last Highland beer I had was excellent. I'm ready to see how this could go.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp.

(Appearance) Pours a two-finger depth fizzy head. Retention is average at best, and the head begins to die down rather quickly to a half-finger depth foamy cover, then later a hazy ring of foam. Lacing is not too bad, with some light streaking and average stickiness. Color is a dark orange, very clear and there is a substantial amount of carbonation throughout the glass. Not an outstanding appearance, but nothing here is particularly unattractive about this beer's look. 3.5

(Smell) Nose has a balance of sweet and bitter aromas. An arrangement of malty grains is paired with a slight caramel odor and some dark fruity tones. High tones offer what I expect to be some substantial hop content, creating a slightly more bitter edge. This beer has an appealing aroma, yet not very pungent one. 3.5

(Taste) A caramel sweetness at first taste doesn't hold back any of the hop flavor which pairs with the malts to create a really decent balance, slightly hop heavier. The piney, floral hop bitterness is more distinct, but not too strong. Finish pairs with a faint roasted and smoky taste. The beer is appealing for the most part, but tastes run slightly weak. Not a bad taste, however. 4

(Mouthfeel) A bit of a smooth start, but crisper on the finish. Some minor but not deterring tongue tingles from the hardly noticeable alcohol, I suppose. Intensity is pretty fair, the body is medium with a decent amount of flavor. Present but non intrusive hops and smoky finish leave the drink very slightly dry. Nothing bad about the mouthfeel. 4

(Drinkability) Pretty drinkable. I can certainly consume more than 1 and this wouldn't be a terrible drink to have on a more frequent occasion. Not as strong a brew as the Highland Oatmeal Porter, in my personalized opinion, but a good one as it is. Medium body and a pleasant mouthfeel could justify a moderate consumption rate and reason to enjoy or split a 6 pack between a pair. 4

Verdict: Pretty nice brew. Fairs not too intense on most levels and bolsters a closer balance of malts to hops without going overboard on either ingredient. Hop lovers should notice and appreciate the presence of good quality decent hops in fair amounts in this brew, while those who don't feel for hops shouldn't be turned away. Pretty nice, Highland did well with this. B+ (3.8)

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

Bottle with a date of 9-22-10, poured in a New Belgium globe glass.

Amber colored beer came out cloudy. After a while it had cleared up a bit. I got a little bit of off-white head, maybe a finger. Little lacing was seen. The aroma was predominantly of hops with citrus and floral qualities. After it warmed to room temperature, I noted some additional malt aroma.

The label on this beer says that it is "exceptionally balanced" between malts and hops, but I felt the taste of the hops were quite a bit more evident. Came across as hoppy/bitter, although that did give it a nice crisp bite. Body was medium, with a high amount of carbonation. The finish was bitter.

I felt this was a good beer, but could have used more malt characteristics to be in better balance as the style goes.

Photo of AlexanderSelby
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a nice head and serious lacing. Smell is slightly underwhelming, compared to the rest of it's traits. I avoided this beer for a while because of the Gaelic name, assuming it were Wee Heavy Scottish Ale - which it is not. This is an American style amber/red. However, Highland Brewery does, after all, stylize itself after traditional Scottish breweries, so it is impossible to be completely rid of that malty influence. The result is almost perfect: an American well-hopped amber that warms and smooths itself out with sweet, bready malts. Flavor is caramel and honey-ham with a prevalent earthy hop bite.

This insane balance is both this beers high-point and set-back. The character is neither a hoppy and bitter nor smooth and malty, which is pleasing balance, but it is also a bit underwhelming. Deciding which way to think about this beer is a little like deciding between two really great movies you want to watch: once you settle down and pick one, you miss the other.

Photo of nickthegun12
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance is a dark brown colored....with a white fluffy head and nice lacing...

smells sweet im guessing from the malts...can't smell too much of the hop profile...

taste is great very smooth and full bodied....lots of diff taste...i think its very well balanced....

nice non dry mouth feel....

great drink ability....def. a nice session beer

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my co-worker Drew for rocking this out to me from his trip back home for the holidays. The urge to try came from remembering our favorite college session beers.
Pours a very beautiful amber with a fluffy two inch head. The lacing looks like a paint splatter on the glass. Not much going for it in the smell area. Slight malts, tiny willamette scent. Eh. The taste is interesting. The bigger the mouthful, the heavier the taste. Very nice malt background with a fat burst of hops. The flavors mix together quite well. (Beats out my old amber session beer, Fat Tire.). There is almost no carbonation on the mouth, I have one more 12oz. so I'll see if it was a bottle defect. Other than that, very smooth. Super easy to drink. I could throw down a sixer (if I could get it here in SF.)

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a very light amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that slowly faded away and left lacy patterns of bubbles.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of floral and grassy hops and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The taste has a slight amount of bitterness and a bit of sweetness along with flavors of caramel and toasted malts. There is a good balance between the hops and malts.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with some crispness. There is a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Drinking a few of these in a single sitting wouldn't be that difficult because it isn't that filling and doesn't have a high alcohol content.

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

It has a bread like aroma with a slight hint of herbal hops. The body is a deep amber with average tan head but great lace. The body is full and has a normal amount of carbonation. There is a bitter but not too bitter taste with some malty bread like sweetness at first. It finishes with a some what herbal and roasted finish.

Photo of beldin96
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Highland Gaelic Ale is a great amber. The Ale has a great nose. On the nose it has some light malts, with some very light floral. The mouth feel is very light, but with lots of flavor. The Gaelic Ale has a good balance of malt and hops, not one overpowering the other. It finishes very clean and crisp. At 5.8% ABV is could be a good session beer.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of feelmefoam
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.

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.

Photo of mbrown26
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.

Photo of beerdown77
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.

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.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,211 ratings.