1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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

1,164 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,164
Reviews: 501
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.55%
Wants: 29
Gots: 108 | 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: 1,164 | Reviews: 501 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjl1209
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"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.

cjl1209, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

scottyshades, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of mwa423
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

mwa423, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very solid pour here. It's a reddish, deep ruby color with white head.
There is a little smell here, but not highly noticeable.
There is good amber spice here. Very smooth and the bit of bitter transitions into amber spice very well.
Very drinkable, and the amber stays with me for a bit on my tongue, which is great.

ThaBobfather, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of UA8
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reddish amber with with a thin tan head.

S- Leads with malts, a little background of dried dates and released alcohol.

T- Toasty malts lead the way a touch of floral hops on the mid-palate and finishes nice roasty with a slight nutty flavor.

M- Carbonation is moderate in a amount and soft in texture.

D- It's a touch rough around the edged but a very drink able brown/ amber I like this a lot.

UA8, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of drseamus
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Brilliant ruby body with visible carbonation. Tan head initially but it fell.

S: Decent aroma. Good malt with a bit of caramel.

T: Nice malt body but maybe a touch too much malty sweetness. Decent bitterness. It's kind of a cluttered beer.

M: Medium bodied.

D: Not a bad ale but the balance is off.

drseamus, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of drink1121
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Ale meets Scots Ale,in pretty much every facet.

A - Good looking beer. Nice Auburn brown/copper color with a 3 finger head. Good retention.

S - Toasted malt smell, which naturally smells a bit nutty. Caramel/toffee hints.

T - Tastes like it smells

M - Brown meets Scots again here.

D - I had 2. Thats about all I could have, but def enjoyable.

drink1121, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber/copper color with a small sirty white head. Nose is malt forward without a doubt. Taste os malty, taste much like a scitch ale than an amber. Hints of deep malts perhaps crystal, 2 row and hints of light cocoa, caramel and toffee. Some biscuity notes as well. Mouthfeel is nice, coating, light cocoa and toffee, Good indeed. Worth a shot.

barleywinefiend, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six-pack at Whole Foods in South Beach. Appeared a dark amber-red, not far from a brown ale, and with a white head. The beer drinks dry, yet it feels a bit heavy at the same time. The flavor has a mix of herbal and citrus hops with light toffee, caramel, and biscuit malts. Overall, it comes off light an American red ale with a twist. Well made and certainly worth a try.

tempest, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a wonderful clear orangish red. Light tan head with a low retention rate. Decent lacing.

S: some light hop aroma. Some outdoor wood notes, like a hiking trip to me.

T: malty, almost biscuity, but something is missing. Nice caramel malts. Moderately hopped. A little grassy.

M: easily drinkable. Very smooth and crisp. Good carbonation.

paulthebeerguru, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange, almost brown color. Very little in the way of foam, but leaves a thin collar around the edges most of the way through.

Smells fresh and delicious. Nose is a bit on the light side as I get some cereal grain sweetness and a touch of grassy hops.

Wow, this is an extremely tasty brew. Very smooth and creamy. Citrusy hop flavor is much more pronounced in the flavor. Has a nice corn flake touch to it that adds a bit of toasty complexity. A very nice beer that I would love to have access to on a regular basis.

twiggamortis420, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep and rich looking red. It has a nice off white head that leaves scant lacing.

Smell is caramel and toffee. Just a slight hop presence in the nose. Very nice.

Taste is where I was a bit let down. Some initial malt followed by a slight bitterness even sourness at some points.

Overall, this beer looks great and smells inviting. The mouthfeel is a bit watery for me and the flavors are not quite what the nose hinted at. Still a decent brew.

bluegrassbrew, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap on Twain's in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark red with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles leaving decent lacing.

Smells of very lightly toasted malts with faint citrus aromas. An earthy spiciness, a notch or two down from rye spiciness, comes out as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The malt is once again front and center, mainly sweet but with traces of the aforementioned spiciness. Again, light citrus flavors join in late in the sip before giving way to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation for the style make this go down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I finished one without a problem, and could have more than one of these in a sitting.

Overall I'm glad I revisited this beer, as when I had it from the bottle on numerous previous occasions it had a metallic taste that turned me off for a while. A new recipe or the fact that I had it from the tap make this beer a whole lot better. Worth a shot.

glid02, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of beer2day
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours redish with borwn and gold tints. Building head that lingered through the first half of the pint. Yeasty, slighty peaty nose with hints of citrus and spice.

Flavor is mainly domninated by malt as suggested by the nose. Slight bitters in the finish, some citrus, but nothing to get excited about.

Wish this was more of a scotch ale, but just not there.

beer2day, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Drew966
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Highland Gaelic Ale pours a reddish copper color with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I like the aroma, it's mostly malty. Toasted malt up fr;ont and at the end with a nice amount of hops in the middle. The mouthfeel is on the thick side, especially for this style, but I find it enjoyable. Pretty good.

Drew966, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of clayrock81
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light red/ruby tinted body with one-finger head and some lace. A mild sweet malt smell along with minor hop notes. Medium-bodied although it straddles being light-bodied, the malt notes and hops are subdued for a light, sweet sensation that gives the tongue a minor prick on the backbite. Caramel malts and citric hops are present but nothing overpowering. An alright red that I could have again.

clayrock81, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark amber with a small off white head. Not much retention with splotchy lacing.

Very malty, fruity, sweet scent. To be honest, there's not really a whole lot to the nose here.

Taste matches the nose, but the flavors take the main stage while the aroma takes the backseat. Sweet and very malty with a twang of hop bitterness at the very end. Dry finish.

Feel is very smooth. There's a nice creaminess. Medium body. Excellent balance. Quite drinkable.

Gyle41386, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of StarlightSeraph
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish-mahogany color, with a three finger pinkish-white head. Left scattered lacing, and 1/4 of an inch or so of the head lingered for the entire glass

Smell: A lot of things I wasn't expecting. Smells very sweet, with hints of gingerbread and cinnamon. Smells a LOT like a winter warmer as compared to a straight amber. I like it, though.

Taste: Wow. Sweet, bready - the gingerbread is very evident. Has a very crisp finish, but that gingerbread flavor lingers in the mouth for a long time. Only a slight hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. Leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high carbonation. *Slightly* thinner then I would have liked, but that's nitpicking.

Drinkability: Despite the sweetness/unusual flavors, it's a very easy drinking beer. This would make an outstanding base for a winter warmer, and has more flavor than any amber/red I've had so far. Outstanding beer.

StarlightSeraph, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of AgingWarrior
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange/gold color into my tulip glass. Aggressive pour produced about a finger of reddish tan head. Not much retention, but pretty good lacing.

Smells of malts and some fruity undertones.

Taste is malty but with a nice hop balance. After taste is bready or doughy.

Mouth feel is medium body and carbonation, well done.

Easy to drink, left me wanting another one.

AgingWarrior, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of jimsimply
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.

jimsimply, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of donkeyrunner
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

donkeyrunner, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of PEBKAC
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.

PEBKAC, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of Cylinsier
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.

Cylinsier, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of gabe23
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.

gabe23, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of waldoiverson
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

waldoiverson, Dec 26, 2008
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,164 ratings.