Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Highland Gaelic Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale

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

517 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 517
Hads: 1,323
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 9.42%
Wants: 31
Gots: 212 | 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: 517 | Hads: 1,323
Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of khaki head that fades leaving patchy lace on the glass. Rising bubbles maintain a film of lace.

The aroma is quite malty with a buttery diacetyl note and sweetness like toffee or caramel. A hint of cheesy quality with minerals or metallic aspects and earth.

The taste is malty sweet like caramel before giving way to some fruity hop/alcohol component. It is faintly raisony before getting a bit mineral filled with carbonic or sulfur qualities.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering, that I could take it or leave it in the future but wolkd probably opt for the later. (714 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

The beer is light orange, with a mild haze. The head is a finger or so thick, leaving a fair amount of lacing upon the glass. The nose brings malt, some sweet caramels, and some vanilla. The flavor is reminiscent of cream soda with some malt flavoring. I happen to like cream soda, but this isn't my favorite quality in a beer. The feel is creamy and smooth, with a growing sweetness. Not a repeat for me. (443 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a nice copper-amber but no head. Nose is malty with mild hops and fruits. Taste is caramel malts up front with a nice fruity sweetness too. There is just enough hops in the finish to lend balance to this beer. Medium bodied and very smooth.

I think this is a very good beer. I come back to it again and again when I want something rich, balanced, and highly drinkable. (403 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark amber in color with a one finger head that slowly falls. Nice lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramels and ripe fruit sweetness are pleasant on the nose.

Taste: caramel, plums, red grapes, and a decent bitterness level make up a simple flavor profile that is enjoyable and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Medium bodied. Very short caramel and fruity aftertaste.

Drinkability: definite session ale here as several of these can be had in a single session. I had this on tap and it seemed quite fresh so the flavors were nicer than what you may get in an older bottle. (645 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a full, light brown head that sits atop a clear deep amber-ruby beer. The aroma is sticky with malt notes and a hint of herbal, grassy hops as well. The aroma is quite intoxicating, with its sweet caramel malt notes. The taste is malty as well, though it is not as sweet as the aroma suggests, and it has lots of toasted malt notes. This is almost quite dry in its maltiness, perhaps there is a hint of smokiness as well. The finish is quite drying with its mix of toasted, cracker, roasted, and smoke malt flavors. This is a solid enjoyable beer. (558 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Relatively clear rosy amber color with a pale tan thick head that retreats to a ring of bubles and some nice thick lace.
S: Pleasant malty aroma, with a little caramel and definite hop presence. Slightly bready, yeasty.
T: Very malty, full bodied beer and in general very pleasant to drink. Slightly sticky with persistent aftertaste of bready malt and a little hops. Caramel from nose is also present and finish has a little hop bitterness for balance. Carbonation is present but in background. Overall, not my favorite amber, but for what it is, very good. My favorite Highland brew I've tried so far. (648 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (384 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this particular glass on-tap at the Brick Store Pub. A beautiful looking red ale- especially on draft. Coppery red with strawberry highlights, a nice 1 inch head that leaves some lacing. Very light aromas of somewhat bready malt, and a bit of yeasty tanginess. Deeper flavors than suggested by the nose. Bready malt with a touch of fruitiness and nuts and some citrusy hops. Not seemlessly integrated, but done pretty well nevertheless. The mouthfeeel is chewy and a bit sweet, but overall this is a pretty solid beer. (522 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from limesmut and mikesgroove, thanks for the opportunity guys. Pours a deep amber color with a nice size dirty white head that stick around a bit and laces the glass all the way down. Aroma is caramel malty with some citrusy hops in there as well. I smell loads of caramel and some mineral in the background. Tastes malty, caramel and hops round it out nicely. Maybe a touch sweet. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, medium body that finishes quite dry but lingers with bitterness in the finish. Decent brew for an American amber, I'm not sure what makes it a Gaelic Ale though. There are better brews out there, but this one is pretty good, I'd drink one if it was offered to me. (691 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

5/8/2012

A: Red tinged orange with an inch of dense beige foam.

S: Expressive caramel malt melds with earth and baked bread. Light pine and grapefruit notes linger in the distance. Lightly sweet.

T: Like the aroma, the flavor is malt centered, focusing on baked bread, biscuit, faint caramel, and toasted notes. There's a low earthy bitterness with a light apple fruitiness. The finish exhibits a stronger apple presence with the complex bread and toasted malt notes carrying through to an ultimately dry, earthy, and lightly bitter ending.

M: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth, sticky, and dry.

Overall: An enjoyable malty red ale. Smooth and easy drinking. (696 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a vibrant, slightly hazy, amber-copper coloring with a low profile, clingy, filmy, off-white head. Aromas of toffee sweetness, caramel and nut sweet, roasted notes, and subtle earthy notes. Flavors are roasted and richly sweet forward, with toffee and caramel creating a tangy sweet blend. Hints of roasted notes, honey, wood, and thistle help round out the palate. The body is smooth and light, with a tangy sweet and roasted aftertaste. The finish is slick, smooth, with a sweet linger. Solid brew; well balanced and tasty. (578 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
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. (358 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle served in a seidel mug.

A: The ale is a copper red with a 1.5 finger head.

S: The aroma is a cascade hop fruitiness, not too intense but pleasant.

T: The ale has an assertive taste of grapefruit hops up front that smoothly transitions to a malty biscuit flavor before finishing with the hops. The hops are a star in this beer, not too assertive but imparting a brilliant bitterness.

M: Surprisingly good mouthfeel. For an Irish red, I was expecting a strong malt character and restrained hops. This beer flips that around and does a good job of it.

D: Very drinkable with a nice hop flavor. (621 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bboven for this one.

Pours a nice amber color, nice carbonation, nice fizzy white head, some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is malty and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, slight bitterness, and a good dose of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice above average amber ale. (302 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from GCBrewingCo as part of BIF 20. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head above the dark orangey amber brew. Head shrinks but still leaves something at the party, with average to good lacing. Aroma is sweet grains, with some fruitiness. Taste is dominated by the maltiness, with some light hops and fruit coming in at the end. Mouthfeel is great with all the malt smoothness, and drinkability is on the same page. Could be a regular drinker if it was local to me. (528 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts are present. Taste is hops up front, malts at the finish, a touch of caramel. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer. (253 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one poured a dark amber with good clarity, topped by a thin off-white head. My associate and I became certain that there was a very slight greenish colour to the head, but I didn't feel completely certain. I guess it could have been the lighting. Head retention was decent and was assisted by the constant formation of CO2 bubbles.

Smell: An excellent balance of sweet maltiness and citrus/floral hop character.

Taste: This one was balanced towards bitterness, but still had a good malt base with some nice sweetness provided by crystal malts. The hop flavour was mostly citrus with a little floral and grassy character as well. It also had a very pleasant, long, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Good smoothness of body, but the carbonation was a little strong.

Drinkability: Another success from Highland Brewing. Too bad I need to find a new source for these samples...

12 oz. brown bottle with no freshness date or abv listed. (962 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark amber color with a light tan head. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and a touch of smoke. The taste is sweet malt with some caramel, smoke and some hops in the finish that helps balance this one out. Overall, Highland Gaelic Ale is a pretty decent brew that I wouldn't mind drinking again. Worth a shot. (329 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red/amber colour, low head, no lace that I can detect. Smells of sweet malts, apples, little bit of hop aroma near the end. The taste is kind of sweet and malty, with a solid hoppy bitter finish. A nice tasting ale, very smooth and easy going, I would definately try this one again. Thanks DrJay. (310 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
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 (779 characters)

Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (1,036 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (417 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a rich amber color and a fairly opaque texture. Didn't exactly have a huge amount head on it, but had a fair amount of lacing.

There was a sweet smell about this one. Hops, malt and something I couldn't figure.

The hops in this one seemed like the main component. There was a fruitiness about it, along with a malt flavor.

The mouthfeel was okay. There was a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall, not too bad a beer. It isn't the most complex beer I've ever had, but it has a good bite and is surprisingly refreshing. (564 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottles bought at harris teeter in charlotte

appearance: see through amber, foamy head with decent lacing

smell: very malty, caramel, typical earthy highland scents, slight hoppiness in the nose as well

taste: very earthy, nice caramel, quite malty, subtle citrus/pine hops. This is one of the better irish red's out there...I have been enjoying this one for 3 or 4 years now

mouthfeel: medium, crisp, smooth balanced carbonation

drinkability: very sessionable

Highland is definately my favorite NC brewery, and this brew puts some nice NC mountain twists on the irish red category. I dig it (609 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy brown with a khaki head leaving decent lace.

Smell is sweet caramel malts, a hint of golden raisin, and herbal hops.

Taste is also nice caramel, a little bread pudding vibe, nice bitterness to balance the finish.

Mouthfeel is dry, medium bodied.

Drinkability is good, a a tasty amber, nice maltiness. (313 characters)

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 517 ratings.