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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

1,110 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,110
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 24
Gots: 84 | 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: 1,110 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mooseisloose


3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

Next up in the highland variety pack tasting is this Gaelic Ale. Popping the cap the first smell is earthy hop tones then followed by sweet almost butterscotch smell. Pours to a deep transparent reddish brown with a multi size bubble head with lots of action. Head laces nicely upon receding. Taste is very earthy, peaty hops with a big malty backbone. Mouthfeel is solid. This brew approaches chewable. Definitely a different hop approach, much more earthy, with flatter bitterness. Tastes more like an English ale than an American ale to me but so be it, it is a very good beer.

08-08-2009 00:58:09 | More by mooseisloose
Photo of BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

A: A deep crimson amber with a creamy light caramel colored head that sticks around nicely. Retention is solid, as a relatively thick disc of cream sits atop throughout. Nice spots and sheets of lacing down the glass.

S: Caramel, brown sugar, light cinnamon and spice, some fruitiness (of the English-yeasty variety), and just a bit of citric hoppiness. Very nice aroma, but it could be bolder.

T&M: Well balanced. Whereas the aroma was sweet, the flavor is toastier. Cracker, light caramel, some diacetyl, a dry fruitiness, and some light citric and spicy hop flavor. Simple and nuanced, but still solid. Flavor falls off just a tad on the back end, but the finish is nice and lightly drying. Body is on the heavy side of medium, with a very fine, subdued carbonation that works quite nicely. This is a well-crafted red ale, for sure.

D: Definitely a session beer. Good flavor, but it's not over the top. Everything's in balance here, and in a very good way. I'll definitely look out for this one in local bars, stores, and the like.

07-23-2009 22:03:59 | More by BamaBeerBuff
Photo of FloppyDog

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Poured into a standard pint glass with a thin, fast-dissipating white head. It had a nice orange amber color to it as well.

The aroma was predominantly of spicy and floral hops with a slightly noticeable caramel background.

The taste began with floral hops up front, followed by caramel sweetness, and finished crisp and dry. It was fairly well balanced, although I prefer a slightly more malt driven version of the style.

The mouth feel was slightly prickly from the carbonation, with a medium-light body. It was easy drinking and went nicely with the bbq chicken pizza I was eating.

07-13-2009 21:00:51 | More by FloppyDog
Photo of mynie


4.13/5  rDev +8.4%

Dark, spritely red. "Iridescent" is one of the most misused words in the English language, but I swear this appears to fluoresce. It's really a very lively shade of red. I like it.

Smells more like a traditional red. Maybe a bit lighter on the hops than some, but the malt profile is a nice toasted caramel.

Tastes like it smells. Toasted caramel malts up front, sweeter near the middle with medium nodes of biscuit and jam, moving into a lightly bitter hops near the end. Decent hops, good balance, but they play second fiddle to the malt. And that is fine by me.

07-01-2009 05:00:59 | More by mynie
Photo of koopa

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

Bottle received in a trade with Elli. Thank you for the opportunity!

Appearance: Nice bronze meets ruby red budy with a 1 finger white crown. Not much retention but some lace.

Smell: I get a touch of malt with some willamette hops. The cascades barely even register in the nose although they probably contribute to an underlying hawaiian punch quality.

Taste: A surprising amount of hop bitterness up front and a very nice malt flavor. A bit disjointed for the style but I love hops so I'm getting into it.

Mouthfeel: on the light side of medium with a crisp finish. it is a touch too thin IMHO. With the malt being so delicous, I want a bit more body to compliment it.

Drinkability: very sessionable

06-24-2009 00:50:18 | More by koopa
Photo of Norfawkers


3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

A servicable scottish-american beer with a strong finish.

Appearance: An reddish-amber with an ample head and a decent lacing

Smell: Nearly non-existant

Taste: Slight smokey malt flavor with a hint of bitterness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Overall smoothness with an extended malty finish

Drinkability: Smooth enough for a meal and quite versatile. Try it with a haggis or some neeps and tatties...it's a spot on scottish ale.

06-14-2009 03:06:05 | More by Norfawkers
Photo of philipquarles


4/5  rDev +5%

12 oz bottle. Pours a slightly hazy amber with a creamy tan head. Dissipates to leave a nice cap and good lacing. Smells of nice caramel malts; sweet and with just a hint of yeasty spice. Impressive thick caramel maltiness; medium bitter hop character in the background gives it a slightly dry finish. As full-bodied as it is full-flavored. Pretty pleasant overall.

06-02-2009 02:45:06 | More by philipquarles
Photo of wmthorne


4.33/5  rDev +13.6%

A gift brew from a friend moving to Asheville. Great gift

Poured into a chilled mug. Pours a very rich amber color with little head. Nice lacing.

Very light carbonation in the mouthfeel. I taste caramel immediately.

This is quite a drinkable beer. The label mentions "hop bitterness" but I really don't get that until much later in the aftertaste.

This would be a great fall brew on a crisp morning sitting and setting up at a tailgate.

05-28-2009 00:15:09 | More by wmthorne
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -18.6%

Grabbed a pint of this for lunch. Came out a deep amber gold with very little head on it. Lacing was absent as well. Smelled roasty and sweet.

Mouthfeel was thin and wet. Disappointing. Flavor was a big let down as well. Very malty and sweet. Finishes like toasted brown sugar. There was very little bitterness in this at all. Pretty bland overall. I was sorely disappointed with this beer as I've heard good things. I'll give the bottle a try and see if it is any better...

05-26-2009 19:46:50 | More by Onenote81
Photo of donmonkey1


3.15/5  rDev -17.3%

Appearance: Nice brownish amber color, small brownish white head with some lacing. Decent carbonation.

Smell: sweet licorice/molasses malt

Taste: Definate hop bitterness with a floral taste and some yeasty, bready molasses.

This beer has a solid, unique character. It's respectable, but as far as drinking a lot of them, it's really not my cup of beer.

05-25-2009 13:58:33 | More by donmonkey1
Photo of nickfl


3.53/5  rDev -7.3%

A - Two fingers of white head on an amber-brown body with good clarity. The head doesn't stick around long, but there is nice lace.

S - Moderately dark malt character with light caramel and a hint of toffee. Some slightly fruity yeast with light sulphur.

T - Rich, moderately sweet malt with notes of toasted grain and toffee. The flavor darkens towards the finish with some plum notes and increasing toffee character.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A reasonably drinkable, malty beer. There is very little hop character and while the beer remains balanced due to a surprising level of dryness. Unfortunately this robs the beer of complexity and causes the toasted malt character in the finish to become cloying.

05-21-2009 06:41:51 | More by nickfl
Photo of Gish

South Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -2.1%

Ahh, I've had this one on tap many times but I actually bought a bottle for once.

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Dark amber with a modest head and good lacing.

S - Malt sweetness with spicy herbal undertones.

T - Highland Gaelic has a rich toasted and nutty flavor profile. In fact it seems a bit maltier than what I've had on tap. However, the hops do come out and balance it fairly well. I would personally like a bit more of a hop presence though.

M - Medium bodied and not very carbonated.

D - A great session beer that we are lucky to have in this area. Props again to Highland!

05-19-2009 01:19:25 | More by Gish
Photo of strata39

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +22.8%

Highland Gaelic is my favorite beer, but I still want to review it. Absolutely the best beer I've ever had with food. Seeing a pint glass of Gaelic always makes me happy.

Nice creamy head in my 2009 Masters tumbler fades to a little outside line of bubbles. Looks like dark iced tea. Roasted malts dissolve to West Coast hops. Go ahead, have 2 or 3 of 'em.

05-18-2009 16:16:23 | More by strata39
Photo of PorterLambic


3.93/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a clear, reddish-brown. Tan head 1/2 " high with decent retention and good lace.
Smell is good malt, some hops/floral, caramel, slight hint of vanilla & smoke.
Taste is more hoppy, lighter malt,some alcohol, floral, slightly burnt caramel, coffee. Nice balance.
Medium-full body, smooth, slightly chewy with a nice fade out. Effervescence is not strong at all. A very good brew.

05-12-2009 01:31:54 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of hooliganlife


4.05/5  rDev +6.3%

thanks to Rob!

pours deep amber and copper. light fluffy white head with great retention. nice lacing left on the sides.

scents of rich malts and sweet caramel with light floral hops

taste is bold with a very vibrant malt backbone supported with floral and bitter hop flavors. a nice bitterness left behind that carries a malt profile.

a bit light but very smooth

this is one hell of an amber. very rich and vibrant all around. very easy to drink and very enjoyable. low ABV means this is a GREAT sessionable beer.

05-11-2009 03:32:20 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of Dodo2step


3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

Thanks Skeeordye

A- pours a nice ruby red orange color that looks quite clean and crisp. A nice fluffy one finger red brown head coats the top of my beer and leaves a lattice lacing on the glass.

S- aroma is weak but i get hints of brown sugar and sweet malts. some caramel and/or toffee rounds it out.

T- a nice caramel and toffee type of taste. Its like it was caramelized with the brown sugar. very sweet and somewhat hoppy to round out the taste buds.

M- sweet and hoppy but in a good way. the complement each other quite well. smooth and crisp just like the way it appears.

D- a nice smooth clean beer. This is one you could pound back a sixer in a few hours but anymore than that and you would feel like you ate an entire 3 course meal. very filling beer.

05-09-2009 18:24:12 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of cnjohn19

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +10.8%

the more and more i taste beers from this brewery, the more and more i like them...their beer will not overwhelm you at first, but give it time, and don't give up on highlands...if nothing else b/c asheville is a hidden treasure...

pours a gorgeous red-orange...hold it up to the light and it becomes a deep red...the head is lacking for the most part and simply retreats over time...

a sweet smell of caramel, dark hard candy, and a tad mandarin orange...i think...malts dominate the nose...very balanced taste (almost too balanced for everything going on here)...a calm taste, malts def. shine through, with a slite piney hops aftertaste...very sweet, more than i was expecting, and i like it...the aftertaste takes a while to get used to, but once you do you grow to enjoy it...

at first the beer is very balanced, but upon swallowing it sharpens and becomes slightly bitter...i imagine the hops are coming through now...easy to enjoy several of these beers in the fall seasons...

the bottle reads: "a deep american amber colored ale, featuring a rich malty body. cascade and willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. this ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness."...overall, i think they nailed it...cheers to highland for this one....

05-09-2009 03:39:40 | More by cnjohn19
Photo of djeucalyptus


3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

pours a beautiful bright amber with hints of red. a creamy two-finger cream colored head has impressive retention, fading to a thin frothy cap that leaves beautiful lacing.

aroma is malty and earthy with hints of caramel and toffee. brown sugar and hints of hoppy spice... pepper and a bit of clove... but sugar and malt dominate. relatively neutral... not bad, but not stunning.

Taste is malt, caramel, and some hoppy spice. a bit peppery, a bit tangy, and then a bit of pine and a touch of citrus hops pull through. more malt, a hint of peat, a bit of smoked wood and more caramel. fairly sweet with a lingering roasted malt bitterness. Right on the line between 3.5 and 4... i'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

mouth is smooth, full bodied for the style, with beautiful creamy carbonation that makes this one a pleasure to drink. the carbonation carries across the spice nicely without being overwhelming, and remains soft enough to be creamy. a nice lingering bitterness hangs subtly.

all in all, one of the better ambers I've had. appearance is incredible, and flavor doesn't fall far behind. the delicious mouthfeel really makes it enjoyable, and just goes to prove that highland can make some fairly impressive brews. Nothing amazingly out of the ordinary, but a damn good amber.

05-03-2009 07:15:25 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of Shaw


4/5  rDev +5%

A lovely amber in color (surprise!) with a pretty little creamy head.

It smells lightly of biscuit malt and hops.

A nice biscuit and caramel flavor with a well-balanced hop bitterness and a nice hop flavor to boot.

Good, solid body.

Another winner from Highland Brewing. This one is full-flavored and nicely balanced. A good all-around ale.

05-02-2009 07:05:56 | More by Shaw
Photo of nocheinsbitte

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -6%

had this bier from a 12-oz bottle.

A: Pour a beautiful amber color that is a shade darker than a fest bier and not quite as dark as a stout. Nice head that lasts a good amount of time; good lacing.
S: unassuming, caramel smell that is not overpowering at all. Maybe they don't want to take away from the taste.
T: Malty, caramelish with good carbonation. Not as crisp as I thought or would like, but not bad. No after taste, a little watery.
M: When you combine no bad odor with a creamy caramel taste, it is good.
D: I could have a couple of these, but that is all.

Overall, a good bier but not a great one. I do recommend it; do yourself a favor and try this bier. Prosit!

04-30-2009 23:16:56 | More by nocheinsbitte
Photo of JonMich13

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

A = Nice deep amber, small whitish head and lite lacing.

S = Sweet smell of caramel malts, very lite notes of hops.

T = Delicious sweet caramel malt dominates the palate. There is some lite hop bitterness that tries to come about, but the balance is heavily in favor of the sweetness. A little better balance on the back end would do this one some good.

M = Nice medium to slightly thick mouthfeel.

D = This one is definitely an easy drinker. I could easily go 3 or 4 deep.

Solid brew from an underrated brewery.

04-26-2009 12:39:28 | More by JonMich13
Photo of marvin213

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -4.7%

It's darker than I'd expect from a red--more brown than amber. A 1" head thins out to a still creamy-looking foam top. Lacing is impressive, but ultimately I'm put off by what I think is too dark a red, amber beer.

The smell is good and malty--guess that's why it's so dark, huh? I also smell the hops. Although I've been improving on my hop-type distinctions, I admit I can't distinguish Cascade from Willamette. I do acknowledge a complexity with the hop/malt balance.

It's a good beer. As I rate each of the characteristics here, I'm continually surprised by the maltiness of this beverage. I'm more familiar with Cascade hops...perhaps Willamette are significantly more subtle? Or maybe this beer just has a lot of malts. That makes it taste good, but I can't help but feel that this much malt is inappropriate for a red, amber ale. Are malts what make reds red? Maybe that's why the beer's so brown. Regardless, the beer basically tastes good--though in a complex way:)

Not a whole lot to the mouthfeel. Again the malts dominate and leave a sort of chocolatey taste on the palate, but I still feel that that's not what I'm supposed to get from a red ale. This beer is much different than other ambers--not that it's much better or much worse--it's like it's mislabeled. Still, it's not a stout. Maybe it's more like a dopplebock. Though I'm not sure what exactly it is in terms of style, it tastes good and the mouthfeel is better-than-average.

Drinkability is below average because the malts make this a relatively heavy amber ale. Not that I expect to drink reds on a hot summer day, but I don't expect reds to conjure up images of Willy Wonka. A good beer, but one of the first I've come across about which I've questioned the style.

04-25-2009 00:40:48 | More by marvin213
Photo of cjl1209

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

"A deep amber colored American ale, featuring a rich malty body. Cascade and Willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. This ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness." Website says Chinook hops too.

A - Medium brown/cola color with a very small tan head. Surprisingly nice lacing considering the lame head.

S - Intense floral scent with light malt notes

T - Finely balanced just like advertised. On the tongue expect plenty of roasted malts while giving a good mouth swirl will yield a nice hoppy bitter characteristic. Bitterness lingers after you swallow and the malt flavor returns.

M - Smooth with light carbonation. Not exactly creamy but a bit heavier than expected.

D - This brew is easy drinking. However I could see the hops being a bit much after several of theses if you're not a fan of bitterness.

04-13-2009 02:03:51 | More by cjl1209
Photo of scottyshades


4/5  rDev +5%

A solid offering from Highland Brew Co.
A: Pours an amber/rose color that produces a nice bright head (off-white) that leaves nice lacing along the glass

S: Interesting nose...malts dominate the hops, but the hops are still there...Caramel, molasses, spicy, and earthy

T: Toasted malts, caramel, hops, brown sugar, spices, and again, an earthy note

MF/D: A little bitter in my opinion, finishes smooth and clean

04-13-2009 01:15:19 | More by scottyshades
Photo of mwa423


4.33/5  rDev +13.6%

A - Pours a very nice ruby red color with very little head that dies down quickly

S - Typical malt smell, though not overpowering like many of this style tend to be.

T - Lots of malt to go along with the aroma, with a wee bit of hop bite at the end. There is also a caramel aftertaste. Very good!

M - Very smooth, goes down extremely easy, makes you want the next sip!

D - Easily sessionable, if I could get more of this in Ohio, I would put it in regular rotation.

04-08-2009 21:56:53 | More by mwa423
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,110 ratings.