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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
Ratings: 976 | Reviews: 488 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dubman003
dubman003

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent beer, but if Highland's Oatmeal Porter and Gaelic Ale were both available, I'd definitely do the porter. The Ale is not thick as a porter, obviously, but it has hints of the porter taste--a porter light, perhaps.

Even though the "style" is irish red ale, the gaelic is on another level of red ale excellence. It's distinct and should be the first thing you order when it's on the menu. Enjoy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-04-2006 05:19:39 | More by dubman003
Photo of veech
veech

Tennessee

4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been a staple for me over the years because it's just damned good. A: Pours a tawny auburn with creamy light tan head. Solid carbonation and lacing persists. S: Carmelized malts dominate the nose with some hoppiness. T: Smooth with enough body to provide a sweet foundation that is evened out by a moderately hop laden finish for crispness. M: Slight viscosity with medium body D: Excellent flavor and medium body add up to a very drinkable smooth Irish Red. As with all Highland products, I would recommend this beer to anyone.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2006 01:32:21 | More by veech
Photo of rodrot
rodrot

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish ruby color with a nice one inch head that left some sticky lacing on the glass. Aroma was malty with just a little bit of a hop/pine smell. Taste was very malty and caramelly at first and ended with a good dose of hop spiciness in the finish. This beer was very smooth in the mouthfeel and easy to drink. Definitely a good session beer and I'm glad it was available on tap. The other choices were all bland macros in the particular pub I was visiting.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2006 11:26:28 | More by rodrot
Photo of doppelmeup
doppelmeup

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at a local drafthouse.

Good looking beer. Nice head, not a lot of lacing. Dark, amber color.

Smelled good, hints of smokiness and hops, similar to a scotch ale.

Taste was good. Pretty good body to the beer. Lots of malt, kind of smoky flavor, again, similar to a scotch ale.

Not overly carbonated. Went down pretty easily.

Not sure if I would order this again or not. It wasn't a bad beer, but there are lots of other beers out there that I've liked better than this one.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2006 03:39:19 | More by doppelmeup
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft pour produces a bright, copper amber brew with a small, but dense head of oatmeal hued froth, which leaves delicate lace as it disappears.

Aroma is predominantly sweet, roasty malts with touches of wildflowers, earthy hops, and a faint essence of citrus.

Flavor is mild and smooth with malty flavors on the fore and soft wildflower, honey, and English-tasting hops in the finish.

Body is medium, smooth and silky, with sift carbonation stemming from a constant stream of tiny rising bubbles.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2005 14:15:15 | More by AlexJ
Photo of sinistrsam
sinistrsam

Maryland

3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Gaelic Ale was served in a pint glass with a mediocre head and very impressive lacing. The color was a wonderful red-amber. I did my best to take in the bouquet and decipher what made it up, but couldn't get a good read. Maybe served too cold, maybe just a beer with mediocre aromatics.
The taste started off interestingly, somewhat bitter and quite hoppy, but quickly faded into a watery, tasteless beer. It had no tatse of being skunky or anything like that, but just finished with litle or no taste at all. The mouthfeel was also relatively flat, watery and uninteresting. it was a decent beer to have with friends but nothing very impressive.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2005 20:10:29 | More by sinistrsam
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 Enola
Enola

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Olde Hickory Taproom last night. It came out to me with a average sized head. It was a nice red tone. It had a good aroma as well. The taste was very close to Killian's. The drinkability was good as well. I could have drank several more. I would order another one of these in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2005 16:50:01 | More by Enola
Photo of finepaws
finepaws

North Carolina

3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a copper penny color with orange hues. Light foamy tan head with good lacing. Has a sweet malty smell, with a slight fruit back ground. Tastes are malty, bread flavors, with some spicey fruit background, raisins? Has a nice floral hop flavor. Smooth, slick mouthfeel. Somewhat watery, and thin. Would like to see more body to this beer. It's a good session beer to drink among friends.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2005 17:07:21 | More by finepaws
Photo of NClifestyle
NClifestyle

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Highland brewery has taken off over the last few years (at least here in NC), due to the quality beer they have produced, classics and seasonals alike. I recommend all of highland’s offerings, but their standard is the Gaelic ale. The brewery calls Gaelic an amber American ale, but BA says red Irish ale.
Gaelic ale is a smooth combination of hoppy bite and malt smoothness. Actually, while the beer does have some hop taste, the malt levels it out, giving you bitter tastes on the front of your tongue, with sweet hints at the back, flavors of caramel, and possibly apple and cinnamon arise. An easy drinking beer, Gaelic has a beautiful dark amber and ruby color. A nice tan head appears to start, but quickly dissipates, as the beer is not an overly carbonated affair. I always have a 6-pack of Highland’s Gaelic ale in my fridge. It’s a great beer for any occasion.
Cheers...

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2005 23:33:35 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of Dithyramb
Dithyramb

Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled multiple times on tap in Wilmington. Served in your standard pint glass.

Poured a clear, brownish dark amber with a fluffy off white head. Nice retention and lacing.

The aroma is mostly roasted malts, but there is some citrus and floral hops tossed in as well.

A great tasting beer. Not too malty, but not too hoppy. This beer really rides a fine line, and does so excellently. An initial rush of malt gets toned down nicely with the hop background. Goes down crisp and smooth.

A very nice session brew, worth having several.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2005 12:30:23 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of John1985
John1985

Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red amber color iwth a quickly dissipating head. Fresh hoppy aroma, inital flavor had a brisk balanced flavor up front that gave way to a sweet malty flavor. Aftertaste was brief. This ale goes down smooth but is not very exciting. It was available at every restaurant I visited in Asheville NC. For flavor I would opt for the St. Therese Ale.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2005 16:04:50 | More by John1985
Photo of Backer2004
Backer2004

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorite North Carolina beers that I first tried in the mountains and was glad when I saw it available in Charlotte. A very drinkable amber that can be enjoyed all evening. Floral scent with flavor to match, not too hoppy. Great Irish Red. Nice frothy head and lacing around the glass . . . would like to see it in the stores as well.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2004 02:32:12 | More by Backer2004
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 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 homersimpson
homersimpson

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear reddish brown with a light tan head that lingers for a while
Floral hop notes with a sweet malt background
Medium body with decent carbonation, smooth mouthfeel
Smooth malty flavor is balanced by a citrusy Williamette and Cascade hop finish that lingers.
One of my favorite North Carolina brews. Great session beer. Get kegs of it for cookouts during the summer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2003 21:53:45 | More by homersimpson
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highland's Gaelic Ale pours a deep amber color with a short-lived white head. Smell is of citric Cascade hops at first, accompanied by a lingering malt aroma. Taste is more on the malty side, but the balance the hops provide is appealing. Pretty smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. Easy drinking, it's not hard to quaff more than a few of these. A pretty solid amber ale all the way through.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2002 10:42:26 | More by Jon
Photo of jbridge127
jbridge127

Kentucky

3.56/5  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!

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 02:31:41 | More by jbridge127
Photo of delta490
delta490

Virginia

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep clear copper with a moderately creamy tan head. The head has great retention and leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is malty with some mild earthy hops. The taste is very similar. There aren't any notes that lend themselves to ID, but it it is still an enjoyable quaff. It is not as thick as other ales, but it does make it a little easier drinking. This ale comes off better than the sum of its parts

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 16:52:13 | More by delta490
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 zimm421
zimm421

Ohio

3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Appears a clear dark amber color, with a light off-white, nearly tan, head. The head disappears fairly quickly, but leaves great lacing.

The nose is pretty laid back, with a bit of toasted malt, caramel and a little citrus sneaking through. The taste is very similar, heavy with caramel and toastiness, a little nuttiness coming through as well. Malt forward, as expected, but nicely complex and pleasant.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, barely sticky on the back end, and has good carbonation levels. Overall, this is a good amber ale, with nice complexities and good flavor. Nothing blows me away here, however, and was hoping for a bit more.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 20:39:48 | More by zimm421
Photo of watermelon
watermelon

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Date on the bottle says bottled on 8/27/13

A: Looks good, pours a copper amber with a healthy tan head that left little lacing.

S: Very malty scent. Not very complex.

T: Carmel malts up front with a slightly hoppy finish.

M: feels good nice full body with medium carbonation. Goes down about what I would expect from the style.

O: I like everything highlands makes and this is no exception. Nicely balanced beer at a great price.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 00:57:23 | More by watermelon
Photo of Fcolle2
Fcolle2

Illinois

2.74/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Gift from my family in their trip to NC. $3.75 price tag on a 22oz I don't know whether to be amazed or scarred.

Pours somewhat dark amber in color with some slight hues of copper and red. Head is about 1 finger and retains nicely also leaving some lacing.

Smell is about $3.75. Sweet corn like malt is forward and not appealing. Some herbal hop aromas are present but very light.

Taste has a good light caramel malt flavor before a more corn like grainy sweetness dominates the midsection and persists into the after taste. Aftertaste is bitter but not in a hoppy way.

Mouthfeel is light for the appearance, light carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2013 01:06:57 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of slusk
slusk

Virginia

3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a favorite of mine. It pours with a two finger light tan head that partially dissipates but a small head rides the beer to the finish. A nice amber/copper color. The smell is a bit piney with some citrus and bready notes, a nice balance from malt to hoppyness. The taste is of a nicely balanced red ale that dreams of being an IPA.

I applaud the use of Chinook as a bittering hop and it drinks as a nice session beer that straddles the divide between an ale and an IPA. It's a good session beer that will appeal to those who don't necessarily like the IPA hop smack. A medium mouth feel makes this a nice afternoon thirst quencher.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2013 17:55:21 | More by slusk
Photo of jkrich
jkrich

Indiana

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. freshness stamped bottle: beautiful and clear, deep red with a foamy, beige head that slowly dissipated.

The aroma solidly emphasized the malt profile: sweet and malty with some hints of spicy hops.

Very nice and refreshing flavor that is well balanced by the cascade hops. The flavor is sweet and slightly fruity with a gentle hop bit at the end. The malt profile never becomes cloying even as the ale warms in the glass.

The mouthfeel is soft and silky with a light to medium body. The carbonation is not overpowering yet keeps the ale refreshing and zesty on the palate. While the palate is coated with the malty sweetness, there is a pleasant, lingering bitterness.

This ale reminds me why I always enjoy trying the amber ale style; you never know how the brewer will interpret this vague style. This is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 23:33:20 | More by jkrich
Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 976 ratings.