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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 520
Hads: 1,349
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 19.16%
Wants: 32
Gots: 220 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 520 | Hads: 1,349
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.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Clear amber brewed tea appearance with minimal khaki head. A foamy halo rest on top leaving the occasional leg of lace behind.

S: Toasted italian herb and cheese Subway bread, toasted caramel and orange juice and bitter orange peel.

T/M: Toasted caramel, bready malt, orange peel and spicy pippali pepper. Finishes dry with lemon zest and toast. Prickly moderate body. Once the beer warns it starts to have a metallic aftertaste to it. It's not bad but does throw it off a bit.

O: Well balance and simple. An easy drinking ale to throw back after a long day of work. The spicy kick at the end really makes this. Without it I think it would be dull.

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Photo of BuzzLitebier
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a nice dark red/caramel color and malty nose, but it surprisingly didn't have the taste to back it up. It was also on the thin side for me. It wasn't what I expected based on what I had heard about it, but it would still make a nice session beer nonetheless.

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Photo of denver10
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours amber with a nice off white head. Aroma is caramel and toasty, grapefruit, a little floral, and pine. Flavor follows suit with a nice balance between malt and hops. Smooth and sessionable, especially for an amber ale. A crisp, active mouthfeel. Overall, my into to Highland and I am very pleased seems to veer the line between what I consider an amber and red (in a good way). Will have to check out some of their other stuff, especially their oatmeal porter.

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Photo of mscudder
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A rough ruby hue with a tan head. Decent retention.

S - Heavy on the sweet biscuit. Some floral notes and a touch of caramel.

T - It is clear this is a beer based on a caramel malt. I feel the malts dominate the traditional red ale flavors: biscuit, toffee and some sweet floral hops. Interesting for sure!

M - Medium bodied but a sufficient amount of carbonation to set off the hops. The caramel makes it a tad chewy, which bumps this up to a above average.

O - This is not a bad beer, but I have seen all the elements which compose it in great lights. Not quite the beer for me, I prefer an amber from Bell's or perhaps even Smutty.

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Photo of JayAre46
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to louisb for this extra. pours a brilliant transparent amber with some ruby hues very striking color. the head is white and produced one finger from the pour and quickly fell but shows great retention. the aroma is very subtle of apple covered carmel, grain minimal hops and some toasted aspects. maybe some cinnamon spice as well. the taste has that same apple covered caramel to it then goes into sweet spice and malt character with a touch of hops with almost no bitterness. alcohol is not present. the mouth feel is medium, very clean with a moderate amount of carbonation and is refreshing. overall this is well made brew lacking the hops or it could be outdated, no date found. anyway i would look at this as a gateway craft brew for individuals wanting to get their feet wet. thanks again louis

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Photo of Norfawkers
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

Pours a nice dark crimson with a smallish eggshell head. Nice lacing, little retention. Smells hoppy and a little bit like fig. I'm miffed on the fig but it smells good. Nice hop to malt balance here with the fruity malt coming out slightly ahead. Grassy in it's texture and body. Nice little citrus hop burn in the finish. Solid, yet different amber.

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

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!

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

On tap at Mellow Mushroom in Durham;

The draft version of this beer arrives with a clear garnet body alive with numerous trickles of active carbonation capped with a thin white head that leaves a little lacing. The drink smells and tastes much sweeter and spicier than the bottled version, with less carbonation and a stickier mouthfeel. A little slick and sticky. I preferred it in the bottle, where it seemed less sweet and much hoppier.

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

I had this one on tap at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub. It was served in a standard pint, the beer is a rusty/brown in color. There is minimum beige head. It has nice sticky lacing.

The beer has a nose of brown sugar and grains.

It is slightly sweet with nutty notes. This is a bit of brown sugar cookie of a beer.

The mouth is slick and well suited to the beer. It is an easy enough drinker, served a bit to cold but it improved as it warms.

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Photo of beergod1
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful deep dark red color with medium foamy tan head. Aroma is very caramel sweet with a touch of citrusy hops. Flavor to me is lacking, of course I was told it was a Brown Ale, and I didn't believe him, so the Hops now make sense, now that I see it's a Red ale. some sweet caramel, some bitter hoppiness, but nothing that really stands out. Overall, not bad, but I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger and trade for these 5 different Highlander beers I just got for free from a friend.

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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.

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

What an interesting concept - an Irish Red Ale made with Pacific Northwest hops. The brew pours a beautiful amber red with a thinish off-white head. Very little lacing after the head dies off to a thin white ring.

The nose is very Red Ale - plenty of fruit notes and distinctive yeast note reminiscent of my favorite English Pale Ales. Taste is the same - lots of deep rich malty notes, some plum and apricot and a bit of that yeasty 'twang'. Surprisingly, even though the brewer goes out of their way to point out the Chinook, Willamette and Cascade hops, they're really not that evident in this brew. Yes, it's certainly not a Fuggle / Golding blend but they've gone light enough on the hops that it's hard to tell just what they've used.

Mouthfeel is to style - not much bittering on the back end, low carbonation on a medium bodied brew, light oily coating on the palate with each finish.

All in all a drinkable brew - the folk at Highland have done a very nice job of using the proper yeast and feeding it the proper malts to get a very authentic Irish Red body. They deviate from the style by using PNW hops but seemingly don't have the guts to fully commit by really hopping it up. Still, I'd drink it again anytime...

[Thanks to mntlover for sending me this Asheville gem]

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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

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice amber color with a slight haze. There isn’t a lot of head and no lacing. The smell was caramel and malty with a hoppy freshness. The taste is malty with a nice hop balance. The mouthfeel is full without being heavy. The carbonation is noticeable. This is a smooth beer which is quite drinkable.

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Photo of jbridge127
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The name of this beer sounds like it's straight out of an Elder Scrolls game. A crystal clear red/brown color. Smells of strong wheat. Tastes sort of like a cross between an Amber and a Wheat ale. The aftertaste is quite pleasant unlike some other beers I've had. I personally Loved it!!! I am always impressed with Highland's creations!!! Prost!

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Photo of elniko
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Rich amber coloring, head minimal but decent lacing. Not much carbonation apparent.

S: Strong malty notes coming from nose with a little English funkiness too.

T & M: Nicely balanced, not a malt bomb with the hop notes coming through. Nice crispness on finish, light to medium bodied.

D: Quite drinkable, a nice twist on the style.

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Photo of ikats
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice red color, clear and glowing. No head, no lacing. Nice color, but need more carbonation.

Biscuit notes in the aroma. Some caramel. Filled with malty sweetness.

Taste is similar to aroma, but malty sweetness is complimented by some hops bitterness. Not spectacular, but still pretty tasty. And very drinkable. I would make a good session beer for me.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber and is relatively clear. Sticky white head floats atop. Smells of toasted malt and smoked peat. I'm glad I knew to expect some hops, because they are definitely noticed. Thankfully, not overpowering (wouldn't fit the style). Caramel, smoked peat and other complex malts are upfront with the piney hops balancing nicely. The malt lingers longer than the hops.Flavor of iced tea as it warms, as well. Clocks in at 5.8% ABV.

I'd say this is more of an Amber Ale than it is a Scotch Ale. It's tasty, has good balance, and is on the hoppier side of the spectrum.

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

12 oz bottle.Poured a dark amber color with a moderate head, that quickly faded leaving a fine ring of lacing on the glass. Aroma is hoppy with muted malt. Taste is slightly sweet, with a slight bitterness on the tongue. It finishes clean, with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a good session beer. I could sit and drink alot of these easily. Thanks Loki!

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

12 oz bottle in a basic pub glass

Appearance: ruddy, copper brown with plenty of bubbles and a thin-to-near-naught white head. On the dark side of translucent.

Nose: Sweetish caramel roasted malt leads into mild hops.

Taste: Not unpleasant burnt-malt-with-hops sensation. A little on the sweet side but the bitterness comes through at the end. It's got "session beer" written all over it, if a bit on the strong side at 5.8%

Palate: Spritzy and fun. Pair with food for sure -- it will cut through all kinds of oil and fat and leave you refreshed.

Overall: A great flagship ale from a strong local brewery. Equally satisfying as a session beer and an all-around food companion. Perfect with pizza; try with other Italian fare as well!

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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...

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

Cloudy orange/brown with a dense foamy head. Leaves some lacing too. Nose is simple sweet malts and some alcohol. Taste is mild hops with molasses sweetness, some spice, and toasted malts at the end. Mouthfeel is good and drinkability is pretty good too.

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Photo of bum732
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: Some caramel malt, toasty, slight fruitiness, herbal.

L: Crystal clear amber, white head that dissipates.

T: Sweet, light caramel malt. Medium low herbal bitterness leading to an additional caramel maltiness with some hop flavor. Fairly clean and simple throughout.

M: Medium light body, medium carbonation.

Ok, a little above average all around, solid classic amber ale.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.