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Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

976 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 976
Reviews: 488
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.58%


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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Highland Gaelic Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 976 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh tasting (07/29/03): Fuller tan head, low carbonation, and sporadic lace. Hop aroma much more pronounced (light citrusy character). Hop flavor really comes through when fresh; balance leans hoppy vs. malty. Light bitter finish. Drink this puppy fresh!! very nice !
---
(old) Bronze-ish amber with a low light brown head. Nice balanced malty, fruity, and hop aroma. Rich malt flavor with a nice hop balance. Medium bodied (leans full).

Would like to try this along side Bert Grant's Scottish Ale... similar, but Highland is probably not as hoppy hence I'd label this one as a Scottish Ale...

Per label: "Cascade and Willamette hops"
Per H.B.Co. website: IBU: 32, Hops: Chinook, Willamette and Cascade

"99" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 04/08/03

"03" embossed on bottom of bottle
Tasted: 07/29/03

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2003 09:25:03 | More by RBorsato
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clear, reddish amber body is topped by a short but creamy head of off-white foam that holds quite well and maintains a thin lid throughout the glass, but leaves little more than some transient, spotty lace. Toasty and sweetish caramel malts and citrusy/earthy hops combine with a touch of yeasty fruitiness to lend a sweetened-fruit and malt character to the nose. The body is decidedly medium and it's very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning leaves it dextrinous, creamy, and smooth across the palate. The rich maltiness found in the nose returns in the flavor, but this time it's more toasty than "sweet" caramel, with a very subtle roasted edge and some low-level diacetyl. Its tempered with more earthy/mineral hop flavors than citrus; and a solid bitterness balances it quite nicely and leaves it rich and satisfying but still drinkable as the sweet malts are no longer able to become cloying. It can, however, build on the palate a bit with its fullness. Still, a splash of water, nip of cheese, or crust of bread can instantly take that down. Impressive!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2003 18:14:28 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Mosstrooper
Mosstrooper

California

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a sort of cloudy amber color with a small, thin whitish-tan head. The head is gone quickly, but leaves a bit of foam around the glass and floating at the top of the beer.

Smell: Sweet, toasty malt with hints of butter and a floral hop aroma rounding it all out.

Taste: Starts of buttery with a hint of apricot, finishing with a bitter, nutty hop taste and toasty malt.

Mouthfeel: Sort of "sticky", with a medium body. Balanced carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall this is a very nice ale and offers exactly what I expect from the style, though it may not necessarily be enough to be considered outstanding. A nice find at Kroger, and definitely worth it when shopping at a place like that.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 19:09:06 | More by Mosstrooper
Photo of mattsdenney
mattsdenney

Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into NB globe glass.

A: Medium amber in color, slightly hazy, thick looking, light brown thin head.

S: Dried cherry, fig, bread, honey, and sweet malt.

T: Great tasting beer. Strong taste of dried fruit, bready malts, and a nice hop balance. The backbone reminds me of a belgian style ale but it mixes nicely with the american amber flavor.

M: Thin, light, medium carbonation. Feel doesn't linger for long.

O: This is an amber ale with substance. Great on flavor but not overbearing in weight or feel. Will definitely buy again when I'm craving this style.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2012 23:04:34 | More by mattsdenney
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

And that's how it's done! Not settling for the syrupy sweet notion that most American brewers have created to represent the Amber Ale. Highland Brewing reaches into the depth of Irish history to create a characterful and fully malted version with a distinctive citrus hop kick!

Impressively poured, the beer simply glows with a deep and brilliant chestnut hue. Mahogany highlights cast through the body as more amber ones shine near the edges. Off white in color, its frothy head is sturdy and persistent, leaving lacy rings in its wake.

Deep aromas of medium toast, bread crust, elegant sweet malt notes, and deeply kettle caramelized notes that remind me of "Cracker Jacks" ballpark candy. Nutty with almond and peanut- the malt aromas are complex and rich without being sweet to the scent. But then there's hops: pithy citrus notes, sharp grass, and grapefruit peels give the ale a decidedly American attitude.

Malty-rich to start, the beer explored toasted character of crusted bread, nuts, toffee, and rounded grain sweetness. Its delicious taste is penetrated by the aggressive citrus hop flavors of vibrant white grapefruit peels and pith, acidic oranges, and biting lemongrass bitterness that intensifies as the beer finishes. Yet, the beer retains a remarkable balance in the end.

Medium bodied to start, the creamy beer lightens considerably as it traverses across the tongue- leading to a malty-dry finish with high hop dryness, light alcohol warmth, and a toasty starch texture.

Gaelic Ale is a terrific ale that's all-things- Amber, Irish, and Red. It rewards the palate but never overwhelsm. Its remarkably balanced and embraces boldness. It's simply what American Amber Ales should be- and not just around St. Patrick's celebrations only.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2005 14:58:47 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of TastyAdventure
TastyAdventure

Kentucky

4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - deep amber 1 finger head. Clear. Looks great

S- didn't send much time here but it's a great balance of malty and hop aromatics

T - big maltyness with mild caramel and smooth sweetness. Hops provide perfect balance, but more than just bittering balance. Williamette and cascade go great together. Flowers, spice, mild citrus. "Rounded"

M - it's a little watery, slick. Could be better, but makes it a nice session beer.

Session beer you say?? Yes! This is MY new favorite session beer. Grab me a six pack on the way to the party please!

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 00:19:29 | More by TastyAdventure
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dulled scarlet red appearance. A good sized fluffy off white head forms on the surface. Retention is pretty good. After a few minutes, a nice little film is still present as well as a good sized collaring. Lace is quite bountiful. Nose is rich with caramel maltiness and laced with some PAC10 hop character as well as spiciness. Pretty good aroma. This seems like a hop lovers amber to me. It does have a nice firm crystal malt backing, but the hop tones are a bit exotic for an amber. I personally like them. They are citric and lemony....rind-like and piney. What an interesting take on the style. And this comes from an East Coast brewery. Excellent. Body is a little better than medium and the mouthfeel is appropriately carbonated.

Thanks for the unique amber AKSmPort

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2003 04:12:58 | More by Bighuge
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice frosty sent via the CEO / Old farters BIF from unclejedi.

Deep orange amber brew, with a massive ivory head. Almost hard to control this volcano of head, which left thick lacey rings.

Aroma checked in with a woody pine, plus some citrus. And for a bottled beer, this sure seemed like a cask ale – smooth and warmly conditioned without a lot of excess carbonation. Sweetish caramel nicely submits to a well balanced hop finish, with a dose of grapefruit tossed in.

Very good drinking beer, glad to have had the chance.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2007 13:04:13 | More by Vancer
Photo of tjsmith910
tjsmith910

Florida

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Red amber mix with a 2-finger beige head with a good and relaxed lacing.

S: i rate all beers a 3 on smell due to the fact that I have no since of smell

T:. The malty ness and hoppiness mash up really makes this a very good beer. it is as the label says the perfect mix of hops and malty flavor.

M: not heavy not over powering. how about nearly perfect overall

O: Period, this beer is great. one of my top 5's. not just in style but over all. i enjoyed every aspect of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2012 01:24:03 | More by tjsmith910
Photo of hobbes2112
hobbes2112

Texas

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Mellow Mushroom in Chapel Hill, NC.

This came a nice dark gold hue with a 1-1.5 finger head of varied bubble size. The smell was hoppy and floral, mixed in with toasted malt. Really sharp when cold, but as I ate I let this one warm up a bit. The taste warm is very smooth and the hops seem to pull away from the other tastes, in a good way.

A great tasting beer that needs to be served a little warmer than I got it. Try it if you can!

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2004 01:23:57 | More by hobbes2112
Photo of orfeu
orfeu

New Mexico

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle provided by the almighty oberon, shipped to him fresh from North Carolina -- many thanks! Ever-so-slightly-hazy burnished copper with an effervescently noisy onionskin-hued head. Mild citric hop-tea scent (bergamot and bitter orange) with an earthiness atop some biscuity malt aromas. Doughy and toasty -- the before and the after of bread? -- malt flavors come to the fore at first, followed by some mellow lemon and bergamot flavors; leafy hop flavors through and through. Bit of biscuity taste at the back. Solid taste, for sure. Medium light body, eminently quaffable. I know Irish Red Ales are supposed to be easy-to-drink, but this one here just about defines sessionability. Very nice ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 03:07:23 | More by orfeu
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured brown with 3+ fingers of tan head. Great lacing & above average head retention.

S: Bready with seet malt & a hint of maple syrup

T: Cakey with herbal & piney hops up front. Roasted malt comes to the fore as this warms along with grapefruitty & piney hops. Finishes with loads of caramel & earthy hops

MF: Medium-bodied with a little slickness & low carbonation

Drank really easy, colud session on this, no problem!

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 20:51:59 | More by russpowell
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table a deep amber with a golden hue and a small bubble long lasting head which laced the glass.

The aroma was malty with caramel and slightly spicy hops.

The flavor was deeply malty with a nice hop bitterness backbone to balance the malty nature of the beer.

The finish was malty yet dry with well done and lasting hop bitterness. The body was medium.

Pint at Barley's in Knoxville. I doubt it is an Irish Red Ale, more of a bastardized Oktoberfest. Very malty and well accomplished.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2004 01:23:29 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of cnjohn19
cnjohn19

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

the more and more i taste beers from this brewery, the more and more i like them...their beer will not overwhelm you at first, but give it time, and don't give up on highlands...if nothing else b/c asheville is a hidden treasure...

pours a gorgeous red-orange...hold it up to the light and it becomes a deep red...the head is lacking for the most part and simply retreats over time...

a sweet smell of caramel, dark hard candy, and a tad mandarin orange...i think...malts dominate the nose...very balanced taste (almost too balanced for everything going on here)...a calm taste, malts def. shine through, with a slite piney hops aftertaste...very sweet, more than i was expecting, and i like it...the aftertaste takes a while to get used to, but once you do you grow to enjoy it...

at first the beer is very balanced, but upon swallowing it sharpens and becomes slightly bitter...i imagine the hops are coming through now...easy to enjoy several of these beers in the fall seasons...

the bottle reads: "a deep american amber colored 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."...overall, i think they nailed it...cheers to highland for this one....

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 03:39:40 | More by cnjohn19
Photo of jbone78
jbone78

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tasted several of Highland's beers and I think only one was about par. The rest were above.

A- Pours light brown/red with a bit of a haze. Nice lacing head.
S- Nice malty smell. I can not identify malt smells.
T- The thing with Scottish ales is the malty taste, but the malty taste is always unique.
This one has a flavor of malt that has a tiny hop character that fades and finishes with maltness. I like.
M- light malt mouthfeel that is not all sweet.
D- Being an American beer fan, I will buy again!

-Bye

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2009 02:14:27 | More by jbone78
Photo of beerdown77
beerdown77

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite Highland beer by far. It is well balanced beer. Different than Kashmir and St. Theresa, it doesn't have a metallic taste. It is slightly darker than you would expect. It pours almost brown. In addition to the hops and malt, it has a little bit of what you would expect from a brown ale...maple?

It's packed with flavor, but not too heavy or chew-spitty. Simply put this beer exceeded my expectations and is a must try if you ever find yourself in Ashville, NC.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2010 16:20:17 | More by beerdown77
Photo of ThePopper
ThePopper

North Carolina

4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, dark copper color; nice foamy head.

S: Malt notes, with a whiff of pine.

T: An amber-style ale with nice caramel and malt notes, very subtle hops, and tones of vanilla and sassafras.

M: Rich and smooth.

O: A very drinkable, high-quality ale, with more malt complexity and full flavors than a pale ale. On par with the very best ambers – highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2012 21:07:21 | More by ThePopper
Photo of marlinsfan4
marlinsfan4

Maryland

4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the mixed 12 pack, one of the overall best ones in their IMHO. Beautiful amber color, nice frothy head. Hoppy aroma. Taste smacks you with caramel upfront, a nice sweetness balanced with hops and a good malt backbone. Finishes smooth and clean, just a great beer all around. A very common style but this is one of the better interpretations I've had, worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 23:27:18 | More by marlinsfan4
Photo of charlesw
charlesw

New York

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours, well, amber. A little on the orange side and yet dark. Small tan head that fades quickly to a lacing that completely covers and lasts forever.

Smell? Wow. Like, malts. A huge caramel nose - like, hmm, an Eku 28, you know what I mean?

Ah. Well, it's not a 10% abv beer so you shouldn't expect it to taste like the Eku... A pleasant amber session ale. Nice and easy on the tongue - no one flavor really shouts anything else down (well, you can just taste the aforementioned malts - but not overly so. Enough to know that they're there). Very very easy to drink... And, hey, it makes a great sorbet, too. Probably because it is so smooth and even... Really, with your buddies in the pub and pitchers of this, well, you're all set!

The body is on the lighter side of medium, but with the crisp freshness of the flavor that goes just fine.

Edit: Ok, ok, the taste is good and has been upgraded! Still, it's not a beer that I'd go out of my way to get - _for_me_ it's a very pleasant session beer...

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 21:26:25 | More by charlesw
Photo of rustymoore
rustymoore

Tennessee

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish copper with a thick robust head that leads to a good amount of lacing. Smells of spices and hops. A bit fruity as well. Taste is sweet with brown sugar and caramel with a strong hop presence. Very tasty. Will have to incorporate this brew into my regular rotation as well.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2006 21:51:05 | More by rustymoore
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pint on-tap at the Red Drum Taphouse in NC. It arrives a clear chestnut, with low carbonation and a half-inch of khaki head that leaves decent lacing. Smells earthy and smoked, fruity, with some caramel, light hops, and a dash of currants. It is a fairly malty beer, with earth, caramel, toffee, and toasted notes, barely balanced by herbal/minty and grassy/spicy hops that impart a medium bitterness. Nearly full on the palate, smooth and coating, with light carbonation and a medium finish. Overall a tasty brew, and well-balanced despite the large amounts of malts.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2007 18:51:11 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It comes out of the tap a rich, translucent mahogany with a fine-bubbled tan head. Aroma is mainly malty with a hint of spice. Flavor is rich and malty and has a strong spicy undertone. This ale's texture is smooth, but it goes down with some sass and zing.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2008 02:34:53 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of gabe23
gabe23

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 04:31:49 | More by gabe23
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, damn good looking beer out of the bottle.

Bright reddish amber color with perfect clarity. Nice white head that's about a finger and ½ thick. Slowly settles to a small cap.

Aroma is classic for Amber ale with some sweetness, but a nice toasted malt aroma. Bread crust.

Flavor is nice and deep. Toasted malt with a fresh fruity background. Then you get a nice hop bite. Really well balanced. For some reason I am really drawn to the toasty notes here. The aftertaste is a wonderful mélange of toasty notes and some hop bitterness. Nice bread notes.

Body is medium... Carbonation is spot on...

Wonderfully drinkable.

Nicely done!!

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2009 23:23:59 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of mbrown26
mbrown26

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Was drinking from a bottle, so impossible to tell. Going to have to get a six pack soon and edit my review.

S: From the bottle there were a lot of malty notes.

T: Tasted very nice with a nutty taste that a nice hop bitterness at the end. I'm not a hop guy, but this one wasn't overpowering at all. Had a nice balance. A quality product.

M: Carbonation was just right.

D: Easy to drink and well worth it when you can find it. Fortunately, I'm in Asheville, and this one is an easy find for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 06:03:23 | More by mbrown26
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 976 ratings.