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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,226 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,226
Reviews: 511
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 29
Gots: 147 | 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:
Beer added by: pezoids on 01-11-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,226 | Reviews: 511 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoso493
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.

Photo of jadpsu
4.41/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of RedBrewer83
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of kshankar
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.

Photo of farrago
4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of CharlatanSin
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of Beerisgood3
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice medium amber that has a slight cherry copper color. One finger light tan head which fades fairly quickly leaving a ring. Spotty lacing left as you drink.

S: Faint malts with a bit of pine. Very subtle smell.

T: Much better than the smell. A bit more hop presence than i expected in the first sip. A few sips in and you'll notice a strong malty finish. Malts tend to dominate the flavor more as it warms but you will be left with a finish just bitter/citrus enough to cut through the sweet and keep it in balance.

M: Good medium bodied beer that makes you want to take another sip. Goes down smoothly.

D: Easily a session beer.

Overall, a good beer. I would gladly drink these again. The BA grade will be lower than it should be simply because i did not rate the smell favorably as it was super subtle. Tastes good though.

Photo of GJ40
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass. No date on the bottle.

A - Amber in color with great clarity, a small tan head and well defined lacing.

S - Caramel and toast with the smallest hint of fruit.

T - A nice malt foundation with caramel, bread, biscuits and a mild sweetness. There's a touch of hop flavor, a suggestion of fruit and a mild bitterness. This is a well balanced beer that sticks to the basics and doesn't disappoint.

M - A firm consistency with a moderate carbonation that allows the flavor to come through.

D - This is an easy drinking beer that few could object to.

Photo of mullenite
3.64/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glassware - Imperial Pint

Appearance - Dark amber/red in color, which makes sense. Nice two finger white head that leaves a lot of really great lacing on the glass.

Nose - Sweet caramel aroma, lots of caramel actually. Pretty sweet smelling. There is some biscuit in the background but I'm not picking up any sort of hop aroma.

Taste - Tastes very similar to the smell, lots of sweet caramel and some biscuit in the background and a slight bit of alcohol in the finish. Again there are no discernible hops in the taste. Kind of a bad thing, I like my ambers a little bit hoppy at least. The beer tastes good none the less. (On subsequent sips I started to pick up some chocolate?)

Mouthfeel - Nice medium body with decent carbonation. Has a surprisingly dry finish for how sweet the beer is overall.

Overall - Pretty good, I'd buy it if I were out and saw it but I don't think I'd grab a six-pack of it. Even just a little bit of bitterness to counter that sweetness.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a hazy amber with an off white head that dissipates rather quickly.

S-Sweet, with some caramel. There are some malts and hops present.

T-Hops up front with a nice malty finish. Caramel and a hint of toffee are present. This beer is perfectly balanced, crisp, and refreshing.

M-Perfectly carbonated.

D-Very,very drinkable. It is a session beer all the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I am glad I bought a six pack and I will deffinitely drink this more often.

Photo of rockyfire
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer at the Lighthouse in Wrightsville.This beer is clear in body. Amber and Red in color. Off-white head is ok and pops butt does not last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by s light citric flavour. I wonder what hops they use. Flavor is malt with moderate hopping. Not a bad North Carolina beer.

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

Appearance: Poured a clear copper colored amber. One finger head with little retention. Visible carbonation. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Fragrance sweet and juicy hops, with a mild malt backing. Sweet citrus and cherry. Very fruity smelling (in a good way).

Taste: Definitely more malts in the taste than in the nose. Sweet citrus (grapefruit) hops with a strong backing of roasted malts. Very simple in taste, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth. Slightly filling.

Drinkability: A good solid amber ale. More hops in the nose than usual, but the taste is well balanced between hops and malts. A quality offering.

Buy Again? Yes

Photo of CBlack85
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours a nice amber/orange color with lots of copper highlights throughout. There is a nice off white head that disappears rather quickly, with a fair amount of lacing.

Quite a bit of malty sweetness at first with some hints of caramel, a little bitter hop aroma starts to come through as the beer warms.

Lots of caramel in the taste, much more in the taste than in the smell. Also, quite noticable, is the taste of spicy hops, lots of citrus in the overall hop presence. Well balanced, and just the right amount of carbination. Easy to drink.

Overall impression, is that this is a very nice, well put together beer.

Photo of nrbw23
2.07/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle or what but this one poured a hazy golden orange color. Also had quite a bit of floaters and a large amount of sediment at the bottom of my glass.

S- First thing I noticed was citrus hops and that was about it.

T- Citrus hops and a sour metal taste is about all that I'm picking up.

M- Medium in body and pretty much no carbonation.

D- Wow, couldn't finish this one at all. I hope I just got a bad bottle.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-the bottle pours a reddish amber color with a thin one finger of an off white head that has no retention and leaves no lace on the glass

S-very light nose, almost nothing there. what i do get is a bready malt with some caramel. also seems to be a note of pale malt in there with a little citrus.

T-the taste is also very light and brings pale malts with a touch of caramel giving way to a hint of citrus that is over taken by bitterness in the finish

M-has a nice medium body and is slightly syrupy with a slickness at the back of the throat

D-great mouthfeel on a rather pedestrian tasting beer.

Photo of elgiacomo
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aug 4, 2009

12oz. bottle. Pours dark amber with a small off-white head.

Aroma is piney hops.

Flavor is caramel malts up front and piney hops on the finish. Some molasses, brown sugar, and spice as well.

Mouthfeel is creamy with medium carbonation.

This one got MUCH better as it warmed. When cold, it was quite dull and 1-dimensional, but came to life as it warmed in the glass.

Photo of MrStark
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance is a farily amber with hints on orange and an off white one finger foamy head with good retention and lacing.

Smell consists of slightly sweet malts with a bit of hops thrown in as well.

Taste is nice blend of toasted, almost caramel malts with a hop presence in the finish. While not the most complex flavor it is pretty well balanced and tasty.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a good amount of carbonation leaving a little bite on the tongue.

Drinkability is great! Its a tasty brew that goes down easy and would make for quite a nice session beer. I look forward to having quite a few of these in the future.

Photo of maleman
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. no freshness dating noted on bottle.

A - a cloudy dark amber with a one finger head that receded quickly into a thin cap. thin, clingy lacing.

S - very heavy sweet malt aroma with a bit of chocolate, or coffee.

T - toasted malt that belied the sweetness in the nose. the coffee/chocolate tones continue coming through. a good bit of piney resin in the aftertaste.

M - medium-bodied. average carbonation. tasty finish.

D - this brew was given as a christmas gift but ended up being one of the best gifts i received! nice job by this small brewery in asheville. will purchase more of this brew when i'm in the area again.

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

Attractive red-amber color with a thin beige head.
Rich caramel and biscuit malty smell with noticeable pine hop and another particular aroma that I can't put my finger on.
Flavor matches the aroma for the most part with full sweet malts - toasted biscuit and a little bit of roasted malt flavor - which are nicely complemented by a touch of bitterness from the Cascade hops. Finish is long and sweet with just a bit of floral spicyness. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied.
I have had this beer on tap a few times before and was not impressed. But poured out of the bottle, I was pleasantly surprised with this beer and found it not to be another one of those bland, boring Amber Ales. Definitely interesting enough to enjoy a few in succession.

Photo of thain709
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured your typical amber body with some reddish tints...a cream, one finger, off white head formed and slowly fell into spots of a cap but a solid ring...decent lacing

S - The malts stand out because the are sweet and slightly roasted...but the hops are not overlooked as the provide an earthy backbone

T - The taste mirrors the nose...a sweet, caramel malt bill up front with some hints of roastiness...the middle provides a light buttery biscuit flavor but just very faint...the ending of this beer is pleasant...it's a tad bitter from the piney hops...the hops are then taken over by the malts and in rushes a finish of chocolate...you then get a slight bitterness from the cocoa beans and hops

M - Medium bodied...smooth and creamy with a nice finish

D - This was my first offering from Highland and I am very pleased...I wish I could get this around here regularly...a good malty yet slightly hoppy amber...I'm looking forward to more from Highland

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark amber color with an epic foamy head that sticks around for some tiem. Nice lacing.

Smells hoppier than expected. Great malty nose among the hops.

The taste is very nice. The malt is great with some nice sweet notes. Not as hoppy as the nost, which is a shame, but still a little bitter on the finish.

The beer is nicely balanced in the mouth. Nice creamy feeling.

Very drinkable. Too bad the store I found this in only had individual bottles and no sixers.

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

A: Deep ruby red with a nice thick off white head that retains well till the bottom of the glass with a little lacing.

S: Strong malt with a noticeable sweetness and a very slight hop spice at the very tail end.

T: Very similar to the smell. The malt comes through sweet initially followed by a nice bready flavor. The hops follow with a slight spice and then a clean bitterness that lingers for a bit.

M: An initial creaminess is broken by a moderate level of carbonation that dances on the tongue until the beer is swallowed.

D: Highly drinkable. A well rounded beer balanced nicely between malts and hops as well as creaminess and carbonation. If I lived around here I could definitely use this as a basic session standard.

Photo of stoutfiend27
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

a-deep amber red color...classifies the style except for the lack of head however there is decent lacing and nice bubbles

s-malts dominate up front...a little caramel and the slightest hops in the finish

t-malty bread up front..a tad bit of caramel in the middle..hops finish this brew out quite nice and linger on the tongue a bit..

m-creamy smooth makes this a really nice drink...fluffy and a tad slick...slightest bit of stickiness from the hops

d-could have a few of these a night and not regret it..

Photo of 0tt0
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, reddish amber with an creamy off-white head. Nose is of caramel and bread with a light honey-like sweetness faintly in the background. Flavor is remarkably balanced: Caramely, rich malts dominate with a nice hop tingle. The hops, however, don't get lost at all. The finish is long and lingering.

The real star of the show, though, is the mouthfeel. Its medium-full and creamy and pushes what is clearly a good beer into another realm. Terrific on a cool fall evening.

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,226 ratings.