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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: 1,352
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: 1,352
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +5%
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

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Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unionturf for the opportunity to try this one. 12oz. bottle served in my SA Sensory pint. No freshness dating indicated on the bottle. Poured a deep, translucent amber with a one inch, frothy, off-white cap that almost crested the lip of the glass. Head eventually settled into a thin, broken skim with only a few spatterings of lacing preent during the tasting. Nose was malty with a light floral hops aroma in the background. Taste follows nose. Very malty with a toasted caramel character. Maybe even an earthy/peat-like quality in there. Mouthfeel is between light and medium with a hint of carbonation and a nice, unexpected creaminess. Excellent drinkability; so flavorful and easy drinking with more malt than hops coming out (just the way I like it).

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.23/5  rDev +11%
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.

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

Another one of my experiences at Tyler's Tap Room in Durham, NC. This poured a dark brown-copper color with a decent head and great lace throughout. It had a mild but nice chocolate malt aroma. The taste brought more sweet malt goodness with touches of caramel and butterscotch quite evident. There is a more subtle hops presence which brings in a dry grassy quality in the finish. I even detected a slight fruit highlight, like melon maybe. Very active carbonation and quite drinkable for this style. Definitely recommended for a try and I will enjoy again.

Update 07/30/08: A dark copper color ale with a solid off-white head and some goodly gobs of lacing. The aroma is a mild malty cereal deal, hard to nail down and not particularly strong. The flavor is much more definitive in great malt character with some clove and raspberry/cherry and chocolate. Really complex and fun to drink. Well carbonated and not heavy in alcohol so it is easy drinking for the style. Medium feel, maybe even a bit light for this type of brew but very enjoyable. Definitely try this one as something easy to like and a little different. Malt is the theme and it's a good one.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-the bottle pours a reddish amber color with a thin one finger of an off white head that has no retention and leaves no lace on the glass

S-very light nose, almost nothing there. what i do get is a bready malt with some caramel. also seems to be a note of pale malt in there with a little citrus.

T-the taste is also very light and brings pale malts with a touch of caramel giving way to a hint of citrus that is over taken by bitterness in the finish

M-has a nice medium body and is slightly syrupy with a slickness at the back of the throat

D-great mouthfeel on a rather pedestrian tasting beer.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy deep orange, almost brown color. Very little in the way of foam, but leaves a thin collar around the edges most of the way through.

Smells fresh and delicious. Nose is a bit on the light side as I get some cereal grain sweetness and a touch of grassy hops.

Wow, this is an extremely tasty brew. Very smooth and creamy. Citrusy hop flavor is much more pronounced in the flavor. Has a nice corn flake touch to it that adds a bit of toasty complexity. A very nice beer that I would love to have access to on a regular basis.

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Photo of ZAP
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clean looking reddish/orange...not a lot of head....nose is fabulous...scottish ale type maltiness minus the smokey/peat smell...that is combined with a real fresh hop accent...great maltiness similiar to a lighter Scottish Ale....The hopping plays a secondary role but in a way really makes this beer as special as I believe it is....Mouthfeel is perfect...balanced...sweet but not overdone....a nice hoppiness lingers on the finish.....this is dandy...I am totally surprised as I did not know what to expect with this one....I would put this in my top 250 beers for sure...maybe top 100....( I don't have a list..I'm speaking in general terms)

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Photo of Immortale25
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Florida Beer Co. tapered glass. Base of bottle says Filled 02/19/14.

A- Pours a reddish dark amber color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that doesn't retain long before dropping to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and random specs of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Sweet smelling cereal grain malt that carries with it a slight hop presence bringing light notes of pineapple and grapefruit.

T- Flavor is less unique with some standard bready malt and a faint hop bitterness. A bit of caramel sweetness.

M- Also standard. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- I like that this contains a bit more hops than your average amber but it still falls short of greatness.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: Clearish amber with a steady stream of small bubbles. A nice finger of head leaves behind nice lacing. A pretty beer, but nothing exceptional.

S: Quite nice! Fruity, floral, bready/malty, and just a touch of hops. Mm, the finest-smelling amber ale I can call to mind at the moment.

T: Tasty and unobjectionable. A clean, toasty taste, full of malts, with a minimal bitterness that manages to round off the flavour quite nicely. The aftertaste is lightly drying.

M: 'Clean' is all I can really say. It leaves little trace after departure, save the aforementioned dryness. Incredibly easy to drink.

O: An excellent ale that fails to achieve greatness only because it is so easygoing and...average, but I mean that word in the best sense. A great casual drinking beer; recommended.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My thanks to johnrobe for sending this to me. This was pretty good, deserving of this brewery's "flagship beer" status. Pours a deep amber color with a medium and foamy light tan head. Aroma of malt and caramel. Medium-bodied with an assertive malt flavor and a touch of hops. Finish is sweet but not overly so. Not bad at all.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber with a creamy, lingering off-white head.

S: Aromas of bread, caramel, sweet cream, and mild herbal hops are present on the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla bean, bread crust, sweet cream, lemon, orange rind, and herbs wash across the palate. The finish is pleasant and delicate with a nice balance of bready caramel malt and lemony, grassy, herbal hop flavors.

M: Medium-bodied, dryish, and relatively firm upon entry, but grows smoother and silkier toward the finish. Carbonation is active, imparting a refreshing, crisp mouthfeel.

O: A really solid amber with great balance. I can see why this ale has remained so popular over the years.

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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 RBorsato
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
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

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Photo of tavernjef
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper pumpkin color. Carbonation is steady. A smooth, firm, evenly placed, dark beige cap of medium stoutness is roofing it. Great retention too. Keeps a generous whipped foamy coating the entire glass through. Sporatic sticky thickly set lacing in flimsy sheeting.

Pleasantly clean but fairly subdued aroma of earthy woody hops with a brisk under sweeping of husky toasty malts. Very light fruity hints emerge as it warms.

Nice little taster here. Toasty with a rounded out fruity nudge of malts. Mild hoppy finish with leafy earthen hop tea noting off into a fluffy spicy drying aspect and gradual fade into a return of red apple skin fruityness. Extremely light citrus

Crisp and bold medium feel with a smooth carbonation and flow. Good subtle flavors, tones, and dryness makes for some fine drinkin'. A pretty solid red ale, which are few and far betwwen.

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Photo of mynie
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, spritely red. "Iridescent" is one of the most misused words in the English language, but I swear this appears to fluoresce. It's really a very lively shade of red. I like it.

Smells more like a traditional red. Maybe a bit lighter on the hops than some, but the malt profile is a nice toasted caramel.

Tastes like it smells. Toasted caramel malts up front, sweeter near the middle with medium nodes of biscuit and jam, moving into a lightly bitter hops near the end. Decent hops, good balance, but they play second fiddle to the malt. And that is fine by me.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked this up a little less than a month ago when in NC. poured into my blue point snifter. poured a deep shiny crimson red with a off-white frothy head that was gone quick leaving spotty lacing. smell and taste are somewhat bland, with a subtle mix of caramel toastiness. very easy drinker, but a bit watery. very unassuming and unoffending, but certainly not attention grabbing. the most noticeable thing about this beer is how even the taste is. ambers can be a turnoff if they are too aggressive and this one is pretty likeable.

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

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this one. It pours a cloudy amber color. The head is one inch in height, bright white in color, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma of caramel, toffee, and grapefruit. The taste is like the aroma, and very sweet. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is a decent beer, but it is nothing special.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, clear copper color with light lacing on top, mild carbonation.

S - Smells of baked bread crust, caramel, and citrus hopping.

T - Very well balanced. Starts out with bread crust up front, some toasted malts, and ends with a very mild citrus bitterness, not much, just enough to bring the sweetness back into check. I'm having a hard time picking anything else out on the flavors because it's so $#@% mild.

M - Medium body and a little watery. Bread crust and toasty grain lingers in the mouth at the very end.

D - Average.

Very balanced it is, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as everyone else.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

It's Gaelic by name and hails the Highlands, if we trust the bagpiper on the label, but it's an American Ale. Chinook, Cascade and Willamette hops bring forth 32 IBUs--which means balance.

Pours with a gentle carbonation that leaves a bit of foam and a bubbly lace that sticks to the glass. Deep crimson amber hue has a slight haze to it. Malty nose with suggestions of caramel and freshly baked bread, with hops bringing some citric and mild pine to the aroma. Sublime, creamy, smooth mouthfeel; solid medium body with a reserved carbonation. A big mouthful of maltiness up front--caramel, toasted grain, bread crust. The malt character is more than enough to make the hops seem smaller than they actually are; quick spikes of citric and herbal hop bitterness and flavor come through. Maltiness lingers with a toasted grain flavor that melds well with the faded hop aftertaste. Finishes semi-sweet.

A beer like this makes North Carolina shine within the robust American craft beer scene. A slow-grilled dry-rubbed pork loin with baked sweet potatoes is a perfect pairing.

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Photo of papat444
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a haul of beer my parents bought me on their way back from Florida.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, bottled 10/05/11.

Appearance: Body is a nice mix of orange and amber. A voluminous head that slowly recedes yet hold strong at 2-3 fingers. Spidery lacing glues itself to the glass.

Smell: Resiny hops mixed with caramel malt, tangerine and orange.

Taste: Tea-like bitterness (discreet) with a strong caramel overtone as well as a biscuity side. Earthy hops but malt controls this. Plush fruit as well.

Mouthfeel: Low lying bitterness that tapers off as it warms. Overall nice feel.

Overall: Not a standout but i ended up liking it. Definitely a viable option as compared to bland beers.

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

appearance: thin white head, copper in color

smell: There is a nice balance of malt and hops. Plenty of fruity caramel type malt sweetness comes through, and some fresh hop aroma provides some balance. Very nice aroma for a red.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is around medium and the body the same, with a slight slickness left behind on the tongue.

taste: Very much like the aroma in terms of balance. The malts are well offset by the hops, which contribute bitterness as well as flavor. One of the more bitter reds I''ve had, and well done.

drinkability: limit of about 4 for me

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