1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,137 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,137
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: 1,137 | Reviews: 499 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheEclecticGent
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!

TheEclecticGent, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of csmiley
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.

csmiley, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of wedge
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.

wedge, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of n00tz
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.

n00tz, Oct 22, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
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.

RblWthACoz, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of craytonic
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

craytonic, Oct 09, 2008
Photo of ncvbc
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.

ncvbc, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of Nipitato
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.

Nipitato, Sep 30, 2008
Photo of introvertedone
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.

introvertedone, Sep 25, 2008
Photo of lackenhauser
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.

lackenhauser, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
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.

johnnnniee, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
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).

Jwale73, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of dedrinker
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.

dedrinker, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of ckeegan04
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.

ckeegan04, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of bv74550p
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.

bv74550p, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of hustlesworth
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.

hustlesworth, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
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.

Georgiabeer, Aug 28, 2008
Photo of ectomorph
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a little aggressively, this brew pours a nice amber/mahogany color with slow fading head leaving thick lace on the glass.

S - Malt breads are picked up in the front, with a mild bitterness at the end.

T - Malty and sweet balanced with a mild hop bitterness. Some nice bread notes here.

M - Medium body and nice carbonation, very nice.

D - Very high drinkabilty. Could be paired with anything foodwise.

ectomorph, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clean copper color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweet maltiness and balanced with a small hop. In the taste, a dryer malt, and almost a bit peet like. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry maltiness in the aftertaste. A ballsy ale, feels big, a nice flavor for a ale.

OWSLEY069, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright hop splash and then chewy chocolate rich roast malt. Great roast with balancing hop edge.

Deep, deep caramel color with slight yellow highlights. Good head, mild retention.

First sip finds a thick and malty brew with surprisingly boisterous level of bright hoppage. Excellent roast flavors - heavy on the coffee and chocolate with a good, pure malt character. Tart, citric hops with floral and herbal perfume. Good bit of finishing hop bitterness that gets louder with warmth. Also a little roast bitterness - just a dry, woody edge. Subtle coffee, chocolate, and like roast flavors persist through the finish.

Confusingly, the piper in the picture is holding a boastful mug of some lighter color brew than the one that came out of my bottle. He ought to be drinking what I am, for it is uncommonly good.

MrHungryMonkey, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of Strix
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice solid ale here.

Some sweetness of toasted malts present.

Very bready and toasty. A slight hop finish. Pleasant, yet not too far out there. Would be a good gateway beer to get Bud drinkers to step up.

Mouthfeel medium-bodied.

Certainly worth a try. Everything I've had from Highland has been pretty good.

Strix, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of TheDeuce
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Highland Gaelic Ale...

Appearance-Deep dark red color, residual sticky lace, fairly nice appearance.

Smell- malty sweetness, some hops and alcohol, nothing crazy but nothing off hand.

Taste/Mouthfeel- malty sweetness upfront, some hops, something else I can't quite detect, lots of carbonation. Smooth and active going down, what is that slight off flavor?

Drinkability-a fine amber ale, not exactly refreshing but would be good in a pub.

Overall-a malty sweet version of the amber ale style. A fine beer with an interesting off flavor, I wonder what that is. Either way, an ok beer.

TheDeuce, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of nem2006
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It is a hazy, deep amber color with a good head that dissipates throughout the beer.

There is the slight sweetness of the toasted malts.

The taste is sweet at the start and finishes with a nice smooth bitterness from the hops (Cascade and Williamette).

This is a smooth, medium to full bodied beer with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness.

nem2006, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark amber color with a light tan head. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and a touch of smoke. The taste is sweet malt with some caramel, smoke and some hops in the finish that helps balance this one out. Overall, Highland Gaelic Ale is a pretty decent brew that I wouldn't mind drinking again. Worth a shot.

cjgator3, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of aubuc1
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a clear brownish amber with a tan two finger head

I can smell hops, malt, and a molasses type of smell.

Tastes lightly hoppy with a bready/malty taste.

Very dry, sharp feel.

Good beer, something in there I can't quite get my arms around.

aubuc1, Jul 02, 2008
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,137 ratings.