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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,249 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,249
Reviews: 521
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 30
Gots: 168 | 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: 1,249 | Reviews: 521
Photo of goblue3509
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a one finger head which disappates to skim with a small amount of lacing. The aroma has a nice caramel backbone with piney hops and dark fruits. The taste is of caramel malt and sweet malt for a backbone there are hints of dark fruits, the middle and back have a nice hop kick of piney and earthy hops to really round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated with a creamy finish. The drinkability is good, it is well balabced and a fairly easy drink. Its complex enough that it keeps u interested.

Photo of bennetj17
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, coppery amber hue, light haze, faint wispy foam that barely forms a head. The carbonation is somewhat lively in tiny streams. Caramel malt nose with a hint of roast. The smell is also quite fruity, perhaps raisin and raspberry.

Starts out with a heavy maltiness and then starts to brighten up, becoming more fruity toward the back. In the finish the grassy hop balance becomes more apparent with a dry and lightly bitter touch. I like the doughy, cinnamon roll-like sweetness. It almost seems like this beer would have to be stronger (ABV) to accomodate this, but fortunately it's not - at least by American standards. Solid carbonation, with a light silkiness to give a somewhat fuller mouthfeel.

I'm quite intrigued by the Highland beers I've tried so far. They seem to have a flavor profile that doesn't immediately give what you'd expect for the style brewed. This results in something both unique and refreshing. The Gaelic Ale has a perfect balance of rich malts and zesty hop bitterness. The complexity of the malt is much more that you get from a typical amber ale. I found it highly drinkable. Recommended...

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

This is my favorite American Amber/Red Ale so far. It pours a rich reddish brown with a generous head. This beer is wonderfully malty and creamy, with enough hops to balance it nicely. It is full flavored and rich, but not overly heavy. The smell is very malty with hints of caramel and nut. A very balanced red ale.

Photo of DefenCorps
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thagr81us really tossed in a ton of beers as extras in our recent trade. Thank you, Calton.

Served in my Founders 10th Anniversary glass, Gaelic Ale is clear amber with copper highlights. A dense, light brown head is present, receding to a disk leaving some lace. Solid.

The nose is decent. Plenty of caramel with brown sugar and a little toffee. There really isn't a lot else going on here, some hop character is present, but this is mostly just sweet.Hops are mildly chalky. The palate opens with a moderate bitterness with some citrus hops with more pith-like bitterness than flavor. Again, there's a moderate malt character as well, with a hodgepodge of caramel, brown sugar and toffee, all rather muddled. There's a moderate sweetness on the finish, along with a rather surprising coffee note. A touch of citrus as well, there's some bitterness present. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this is decent on the palate. Decent stuff.

Photo of Rhynes2
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a few of these from a beer store in Kill Devil Hills as part of a mixed pack of Highland Brewing company. Pours a deep orange/red color with a fluffy inch tall head. Malt character was very well balanced with a few toasted malts hiding in the background. Hops were not to overpowering and gave a nice grassy touch to the brew. Very drinkable because i wanted to down a few more after this one was done. Not overly filling at all. Great Buy from Highland Brewing.

Photo of Brenden
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer last night at a popular bookstore here in Asheville, pairing it with a cheese and summer sausage platter while my friends had wine. I had the wine as well; I think the beer paired more effectively.

The beer pours a deep orange-red color. The soft off-white head had pretty good retention and left a film and soft, spotty lacing on the glass.
The nose is somewhat subtle. There's a malt backbone with some caramel sweetness, a pretty strong spiciness, and a much more alcoholic note than I would expect if the ABV is correctly listed.
The alcohol doesn't show up nearly as strongly in the flavor. What does come through in the flavor is a stronger hops presence to balance the malt. The spiciness is also still there. It's a pretty sturdy flavor.
There's a bit of creaminess up front that gives way to a crisp bite before a lingering dry, hoppy finish.
This one's not bad at all.

Photo of schoolboy
2.6/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was the first beer I tried from my Highlan sampler. I thought that I had made a mistake and would be stuck drinking twelve beers like this that I did not like.

I won't be kinds here since I ended up liking everything else in the sampler much more than this. It's boring and borderlinee funky. It's semi-creamy. Creamy isn't usually a good sign for an ale like this.

I ended up drinking all of these from the sampler, and although Highland did redeem itself somewhat, this one did not work for me. No recommended.

Photo of jlindros
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this interesting guy thanks to beandip.

A: A light fluffy 1/2 finger head fades slowly and leaves a decent lacing. Some haze in the orange reddish slight rose colored beer.

N: Some toasty malts, little bready, fresh pale malt aroma, very light spices almost, little earthy juicy hop aroma too, and slightly grassy hops too.

T: Starts with toasty malts, lots of fresh malty pale malt flavors, little bready and toasty, light grassy hops, little earthy flavors, slightly spicy, crisp ale flavors.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry with a slight sweetness, slight bitterness with a little grassy mild hop flavor, and some earthy flavors lingering. Crisp ale flavors also linger.

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle tried 3 Dec 2007.

Small amber head. Well carbonated. Deep copper color. Aroma is light, sweet and resiney. Fairly sweet and caramel to start. Roasted nuts. Becomes a little drier in the finish. Medium body. Light alcohol.

Well balanced, easy to drink.

Photo of mklinger
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. A very dark amber with a thin tan/orange tinted head that dissipated quickly but left decent lacing.

Aroma was extremely sweet with lots of caramel and a bit of citrus hops.

Flavor was nice -- lots of caramel sweetness combined with a good amount of bready Munich character. Solid bitterness to back it up. Nice beer.

Body was a bit thick with a good amount of carbonation gave this a very full mouthfeel. I thought this was a solid beer.

Photo of thagr81us
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into Stone nonic. Pours deep copper with one-finger off-white head that lingers. Maintained nice lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, slight fruit, and nuttiness. The flavor is comprised of smooth and crisp malt notes with a subtle nutty flavor mixed in. It has a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this is a very nice brew from Highland. It is quite drinkable and enjoyable. Worth a shot if you get the opportunity.

Photo of Stigs
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a standard pint glass

A - pours with almost no head, just a small floating island of bubbles. the beer is clear, dark amber in color.

S - very sweet with an incredible amount of caramel malt, brown sugar, bit of cinnamon. rounded off a little at the end by some Cascade hops, but the malt dominates here.

T - caramel up front on top of a massive doughy/bready malt bed. some spices, cinnamon, black pepper, join in with some playful earthy hops. pretty good.

M - thin body, quite watery. carbonation is nice and playful, not overwhelming. works OK, but something a little more substantial would put this up another notch.

D - overall, a decent take on the style. malt heads will enjoy the loads of caramel, while hop heads should be pleased with everything else going on here.

Photo of birchstick
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap a couple of years ago at Tyler's taproom in Durham, but didn't get a chance to review. A couple of years later I got the chance:

A - pours an amber red (hence the style) with a nice head

S - smells of sweet, caramel malts, as well as some bready tones. As I went in for another smell, I got hit with grains and some corn. There is a touch of grassy hops as well.

T - the taste follows the nose, with a couple pleasant surprises. It, as the nose suggests, starts off with a lot of caramel hops. These are cast to the side by a lot of bready/grainy malts (almost like a what bread taste). It finishes with a touch of spicy hops that fade to a nice, subtle toasted malt flavor. All of these flavors bland together really nicely to form a really flavorful, yet simple ale.

M - the body is more thin than medium, however it is a good feel for the style

D - Highland's Gaelic Ale is a really nice amber ale. Meets my definition of a session beer (albeit the abv is a little too high) _ nice flavor that doesn't destroy your palate, as well as being on the lower end of the abv spectrum. Well done Highland!

Photo of IceTrey9785
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a six-pack for $8.49 -- a beer from my native area? Why not?

A: I poured the ale into a standard English pub glass, light carbonation, and good lacing. A nice, creamy, froth remains on the top of the brew, but not as overwhelming as a Smithick's, for example.

S: Sweet caramel malts, perhaps a little dried fruit like raisins or prunes, but there is a noticeable hop bitterness, once you get past the sweet malt. I keep thinking of candy apples with this one.

T&M: Wonderful taste -- almost a weak coffee finish, preceded by caramel and toffee on the mid-palate. Some spice like nutmeg or brown sugar is also present. As the ale warms, there is a very distinct nutty finish, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Creamy texture, but relatively light to medium body. This is a great red ale for summer, just enough malty character, laced with fresh hops (rather faint), and superb drinkability.

I really like this beer. It is simple, smooth, and has some character, but I have to admit I'm not blown away. I think either the addition of more intense hops, or malt (or both) would really allow this ale to stand out. If you're looking for something other than a Yuengling on a hot day, this would be a nice alternative. I'd love to see the difference on-tap. Fantastic house ale...

Photo of Schwarzwald
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer on tap. I have had the bottle as well and it's not so good. I really like a cold tap though. Great with pizza and the taste can hold up to rich food. It has a great orange-rust color with a lot of bitey carbonation. Give it a try on tap... a lot better than the bottle.

Photo of branimal9
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my GF at Barley's Greenville 5/17/2010.

Reddish gold in color. Smells slightly malt-sweet with a kiss of hops. Toffee & floral hop bitterness in the taste. Finishes slighly dry. A nice, sessionable amber ale, and one of Highland's flagship beers.

Photo of beerwolf77
2.83/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks goes to Erikkoppin for this brew. Poured into my pint glass the beer is a cloudy orange brown. A faint trace of off white head forms and fades simultaneously. A tiny bit of soapy lace.

The aroma is rather muted. Mild malt. Hints of caramel, apples, and a metalic like quality.

The flavor is about as average as the nose. Light malt and a hint of nuttieness. Slightly metalic and watery. Nothing real appealing.

Light body with average carbonation.

Overall a less than stellar brew. Just another average beer to lump in with all the other ones.

Photo of Lukafer
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Pours a slightly reddish amber, with a golden head. Smells slightly nutty with caramel malts. Tastes very malty, slightly metallic and pretty smooth with some alcohol at the end. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, but okay. Pretty drinkable, I could put probably 3 down.

Photo of rmolledo
3.17/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a Dark Amber Red with quick fading head.

S: Peatey. Malt. Caramel. Slight fruity aroma.

T: Alot more mellow than the smell suggests. Malty. Peaty After taste. Sweet Finish.

MF: Lightly carbonated. Thick mouth feel.

D: A rather uneventful scottish style ale (regardless of what the bottle says, this tastes like an american style scottish ale). Nothing to write home about.

Photo of speter
3.09/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours translucent orange/amber with one-finger tan head that left impressive lacing.

S: Average amount of sweet malt, but little else. I suppose the Gaelic designation means "No hops here."

T: Clean, American ale, without any fruity esters or hop character to speak of. Lightly sweet throughout. Overall, not a complex beer.

M: A decent amount of carbonation that leads to a nice mouthfeel when swirled in the nonic. Medium body and a fairly creamy head.

D: This is a lawnmower beer if ever I've had one. Lightly sweet, little hop bitterness or aroma and refreshing carbonation.

Photo of alleykatking
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes.

A- Poured amber/orange color. Half finger light tan head that dies down to nothing after a couple seconds. Spot lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malts in the front end of the aroma. Some light bready malts in middle with some light earthy hops in the back end of the aroma.

T- Light oxidation in the front end of this beer. Caramel malts follow after the light oxidation. Bready malts come through in the middle. Muted sweet alcohol taste in the back end of the beer. Also, muted bitter hops in back end but very faded.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation good for the style. Light oxidated taste left on the palate with some bready malts left in the aftertaste. Clean tasting other than the light metallic taste in the beginning.

D- This was a average drinker which isn't a bad thing. I would gladly buy a sixer of these if they were here. Would recommend as a good intro into craft beers.

Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, amber/orange color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. It left minimal lace.

S - It smelled of bready, sweet caramel with a citrusy kick.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel and grains with a grassy/mossy hop profile.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer with a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a nice ale. My first Highland brew and I enjoyed it.

Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours an extremely dark amber, probably as dark as you can get before it becomes brown. Slight clearness to it. The head and lacing are both light.

The aroma is very light some rye and a little skunk.

The taste is a little better than the aroma but there is some lingering skunk. It starts out pretty boring then brings some rye and a light hop finish.

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.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 1,249 ratings.