1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

71 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 71
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 12
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CampusCrew on 12-16-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 71 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle pours a hazy, almost murky, deep chestnut brown with a small tan head that quickly drops into a cap. Some spotty lace is left on the snifter.

Aroma is malty caramel,molasses, and toffee, highlighted by a distinct fruity character that seems to be dark berries. Earthy hops and some darker fruits add a nice touch.

Body is between medium and full, the carbonation moderate.

Taste opens with malty brown sugar and caramel. Fruity dark berry segues into darker fruits like raisins and joins with the earthy hop bitterness and peppery alcohol to provide a rather tasty ale. Finishes with a lasting earthiness.

Very drinkable old ale, and somehow suggests to me some characteristics of Highland's Tasgall and Gaelic ales.

merlin48, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of mothman
2.75/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into duck rabbit snifter.

Pours 1/4 of khaki head. Color is a rustic burnt brown.

Aroma: Caramel and bready malts. Some toffee. Dried fruits, plums, and raisins. Some sweetness. A bit of cherries. Not to bad, but not warming like an old ale should be.

Taste: Very barlywine like. All malt. Toffee, bready, caramel. Dark fruits, plums, raisins, dark cherries. A lot like the aroma. Not boozy or warming.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and fizzy. A bit high carbonation for an old ale. Medium to full bodied. Ends dry with some booze finally showing.

Overall, not a very good old ale. No where near hair of the dog style. Not to drinkable. A bit let down with this one. It tastes more like a barlywine than an old ale.

mothman, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a murky reddish brown color with very minimal head that collars around the glass. The aroma is very slightly sweet with some hints of spice. Nothing to special. The taste is pretty sweet up front with some fruit type flavors and an ending of bitterness. Slightly boozy. Not sure about his one. Caramel types as well. Overall, a beer I am glad I tried but nothing I would go out and grab again right away. Medium mouthfeel.

kbutler1, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a shaker. Pours a hazy deep reddish brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of malt and caramel. The flavor was of malt, subtle hop, and spices. It was light on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. I have been looking for this one for quite awhile and found it in the 'Bargain Bin' at Duckworth's and had to have it. The hop note present was a very welcome palate change from the spices and malt which made this one quite enjoyable. A must try if you can find it.

thagr81us, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ROBORB for sending a bomber of this Highland brew to the flatlands of Minnesota; this is the last bottle from a springtime brew swap.

Pour is a deep, verdant red, though I don't actually know what verdant means, it seems to fit. Smell is rich with dark fruit hearts, sweet malts...almost exactly how I'd imagine a fermented plum might smell on my countertop.

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale mixes genres oddly. Fruits are abundant, figs, raisins, plums, perhaps a hint of cherry & pear. Deep, sweet malts accent the fruity sweetness, but are offset nicely with a backdraft of bittering hops on the downside. The overall impression is of a fast, hard-hitting ale. Alcohol, hidden so well in these fast times, is out of the closet here.

Good, solid, beer. I feel like I should be enjoying this more than I am, because all the pieces are in place to make this a serious winner...but I just like it, don't love it. Why? Good question. No clue. Huh.

maximum12, Sep 11, 2010
Photo of wedge
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a totally cloudy dark mahogany under a short, but nicely creamy beige head. Spiced dark fruit aroma - raisin, plum, apple, black cherry - with a toffee and toasted caramel sweetness. Some bread and earthy hops too. Rich malt and fruitcake flavor. Toffee, faint grapefruit, raisins, spice, and a slick molasses sweetness. Full, beautifully smooth, chewy mouthfeel. I quite like this one...happy slightly-belated 15th!

wedge, Aug 02, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - nice look on the pour; darkish caramel, iced-tea color. A thin cover of dull white, not much there or in the lacing department.

Aroma - starts with a juicy, fruity smell, some background coffee support. Sets up light but still decent.

Taste - sweet caramelly malts, good toasty component in there. Alcohol and hops combine for some spice and zap. Tasty but pushes the malts away a little before I'm done with them. Decent hop follow on the aftertaste, even and not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - good smoothness, yet the carbonation provides good balance, crisp enough to be an old ale without feeling gassy. Could have a little bigger body, but I like it.

Drinkability - a satisfying find from the Myrtle trip. Fresh or aged, I recommend.

brewdlyhooked13, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Auld Ashville Vintage Ale pours a hazy brown with an off white head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is kind of malty. The flavor has a definite fruity component and is a bit sweeter than I anticipated. Alcohol is definitely noticeable. All of which is appropriate for an old ale, so pretty decent, worth a try if you like this style.

Drew966, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of mntlover
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours rich dark brown hazy earthy with nice dark tan head that falls slow to a cap with some decent lacing for the abv level.

Aroma is wonderful rich sweet caramel, molasses even toffee hints nice sweet smelling. Some hints of fruit apples maybe with hints of earthy hops.

Taste is like aroma but not quite as wonderful. Loads of malts brown sugars, molasses like rich and earth peat notes. As sweet as it smells not cloying the rich malts are off set by hops earthy and grassy that are stronger then the nose lets on.

Mouthfeel is medium full with as much sweet malts happening you would think it would be fuller but not quite there. Carbonation is medium making it smooth and easy drinking for 9.5%.

Drinkability is great enjoying this one a bunch wishing I had more bottles already. Might be a little biased as I love Highlands but they do make some good brews.

mntlover, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely day up in the mountains that let me try a huge sample of some new NC locals. Always thrilled when a day works out like this one did.



Finally had a chance to try this one, and on tap none the less. Could not have been happier!

Nice pour, a good caramel color to it with a moderate amount of creamy off white head that capped the top rather nicely. Smooth, even settling produced a decent amount of lacing now as well. The aroma was caramel, toffee, touches of grasses and herbal hop notes, mellow and subdued. As it warmed a touch of butterscotch and roasted malt comes through as well. Carries over into the flavor nearly identically. Rich caramel and toffee, touches of sweetness and a light hop taste that just ever so slightly dries it out on the final sips. ABV seems well in check and does not really because any concerns either way.

Overall a pretty solid offering here. Nice to see them delve into this category as it is truly one of my favorites. Don't really see much aging potential here though, I would say get it now seems to be drinking about the best I could picture.

mikesgroove, Jun 07, 2010
Photo of ArrogantB
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle thanks to SincereNC, I always enjoy a good old ale or barleywine. This was definitely an old ale and the abv made it very easy to drink. Ruby color, smells fruity and tastes liek old ale should. Not quite thick enough for my taste as I prefer something like Old Stock but this was easy to kill the entire bomber. Overall, not a bad old ale at all and I was glad to have tried it.

ArrogantB, May 31, 2010
Photo of devilben02
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, murky, cherry-tinted brown color. Not much is discernable in the aroma, but the taste is a complex fruitiness. Rather than raisins and prunes, however, the flavor is almost berry-like with a fresh sweetness that is not overbearing or cloying. Smooth and quite drinkable, this one is an intriguing change-of-pace that serves as a good example of the flavorful distinctiveness that craft beer can provide.

devilben02, May 24, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle sent as an extra from a great trader! Cheers!!

Opened this on a Saturday night watching movies @ home with my girl. Poured into a New Belguim snifter, it looks nice but not great. Plum/mahogany color with little to no head. Light lacing.

Smell is great! For an old ale, this is exactly what I'm looking for. Malty with caramel and toffee, clearly some "old" characteristics giving a cherry pie or port wine aroma. Also some hints of biscuit and spice.

Taste is wonderful. Plum, raisin, figs, dates,malty sweetness giving it all a caramel base. I'm getting some apple or cherry pie in the taste too, perhaps the combo of the spices and the malt. This is awesome, well done!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbed for the style.

For almost 10%, this drinks quite well. A wonderful beer from Highland. Happy anniversary!

jampics2, May 19, 2010
Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

TimmyP hooked me up with this one. thanks tim!

22oz bottle. sampled april 22/2010.

pours deep red-brown with just a bit of haze. a small tan head forms, dropping fairly fast and leaving spotty lace as it falls.

aroma is good. rich caramel and toffee. lightly toasted whole wheat bread and biscuit. light alcohol. earthy and woody. bit of vanilla. bit of date and fig.

taste is good. lightly toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. light cracker. bit of rye bread. caramel and toffee. light alcohol. bit of fruit - date and fig mostly. hint of smoke. light earthy character. medium bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. just under medium carbonation level.

mouthfeel is great. nice balance. good malty character. great depth. a tasty old ale that would probably be even better if it spent some time in the cellar

grub, May 10, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Extra in a recent trade. Let's see...

A: Iced tea colored with a tiny white head that quickly fades leaving no lacing on the glass. Decent.

S: Banana and booze upfront. Sweet malts and sugars in the middle with a hint of oak on the backend. Decent.

T: Hmm, kind of a strange blend of hops and malts. It seems like they don't work together well in this brew. Hints of banana, sugar, and caramel on the backend. Decent.

M: Nothing special here.

D: Goes down easy, but kind of like water. Good.

All in all, this is ok. Not much special going on here. Not worth hunting down. Many other old ales to try before this one. Eh, just eh.

steve8robin, May 08, 2010
Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left soapy lace on the glass.

S - It smelled very malty and sweet. Notes of toffee and caramel dominate with some mild citrusy hop presence.

T - Good toasty malts with a biscuit flavor. It has a good deal of dark fruit flavors, too, like plum and raisin. There was a subtle grapefruit hop kick.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a warming alcohol heat.

D - This is a very nice old ale. I'd like to try one with some more age on it.

zeff80, May 08, 2010
Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, big thanks to grub for sharing.

Pousr a cloudy orange/light brown, a bit muddy looking, some light reddish hues, medium sized light tan head forms and settles down to a thick and chunky ring, some big lacing on the glass.

Smell is nice, sweet and malty, lots of toffee, brown sugar, raisin, dark fruit, a bit of floral, alcohol, biscuit, very complex maltiness going on, good stuff.

Taste is similar, light sour fruit, brown sugar, toffee, sugary and fruity, candi, big malty middle, some alcohol, big grapefruit bitterness in the finish, good but not as nice as the aroma.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very smooth, alcohol is well hidden. A pretty nice old ale. Thanks Russ!

Viggo, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours a great clear reddish-brown color with a lasting off-white head.

Aroma is sweet caramel, spice, and honey. Smells pretty nice.

Flavor is very sweet but good. Caramel and toffee, sweet honey, and resinous hops.

Somewhat syrupy on the palate with medium-full body.

A pretty solid beer overall - really enjoyed it. Sweetness doesn't bother me as much as it does others, and I appreciate a beer like this for its complexity and general tastiness.

nickd717, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of jjayjaye
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red hued dark orange color with a full finger wispy off white head that fades quickly leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is rich toffee and sweet mildly roasted malt with butterscotch notes...similar in some ways to my favorite barleywines. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is a lighter medium body that's somewhat singular. Full flavored, the toffee roasted malt taste is quite nice. There is a slightly salty boozy note in the finish that lingers nicely. A really fine drinker. Many thanks to drunkmonk for the opportunity to consider this one.

jjayjaye, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one comes to me from Mikesgroove. Thanks a lot Mike!

Auld Asheville Fifteenth Anniversary Vintage Ale has a hazy mahogany body with about one finger of tan head that has OK retention, but leaves some nice lacing behind.

The aroma is great. Full bodied malts are bursting with sweetness and toffee, with some wood in the background. The hops add both spicy and grapefruit aromas, but they take a back seat to the malt here for sure.

My first sip of Auld Asheville Vintage Ale surprises me with the amount of hops. A good grapefruit flavor comes through in the beginning, and a bit of bitterness lingers in the aftertaste and the finish. A bit of a spicy hop character comes through in the background of the middle. Between the hops Auld Asheville Vintage Ale is packed with malts, just like the aroma suggests. Lots of sweetness that is mostly toffee flavored with some light chocolate notes. The malt makes this beer taste rich in just the way an old ale should. The yeast brings a bunch of fruity esters highlighted by cherry. There is a good bit of a woody flavor from the yeast also. Auld Asheville Vintage Ale is complex, balanced, and only shows the alcohol as a touch of warming in the finish and aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is big and chewy, with moderate carbonation. Just right.

This is my first beer from Highland brewery, and I am very impressed. One of the best Old Ales that I have come across, and it is dangerously drinkable considering the ABV (although the alcohol does push its way through in the finish).

Hojaminbag, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of SIRIUS2
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a 0.5l glass.

Pours dark brown, translucent, with a very modest off white head that went to a thick ring of bubbles within minutes.

Aromas are largely malty with some hints of dark fruit and a touch of alcohol coming through.

Flavors are heavy of slippery malt, or at least that's what comes to mind while this glides over the tongue. There's a slickness to the mouthfeel that isn't unpleasant, but seems to enhance the malt medley and yeast esters. Finishes with some warming on the way down that just seems appropriate somehow. I dig it.

I found this very drinkable but, be careful, it will catch up to you relatively quickly at 9.5%. Very good.

SIRIUS2, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of CBlack85
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours a beautiful deep amber/mahogany color with dark copper highlights. A very small tan head dissipates rather quickly leaving behind very little lacing.

Slightly sweet and boozy nose. Hints of cherries, plums, lots of dark fruits, and moderately spicy.There seems to be alot going on here. There is a very distinct burnt-ish, earthy aroma that is very inviting.

Much like the aroma the taste is slightly sweet and noticably boozy (not overpoweringly). A nice blend of fruity sweetness, and hoppy spicyness/bitterness. There is also a hint of a sour finish. Medium bodied and full of well crafted complexities. A little low on the carbonation, but overall very pleasing and easy to drink.

CBlack85, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Otsaika
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very deem Amber color, with not quite a half inch of head, very nice.

S: Very earthy, with maybe a hint of coffee?

T: Lots of flavors here. Figs, plum, and coffee come to mind first, followed by a bit of yeast, and a definite alcohol presence that isn't overpowering. Reminds me of Founder's Porter.

M: A bit thick, but goes down well.

D: Definitely a good beer, but not something I think I could drink more than maybe two of.

Otsaika, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale. 9.5% alcohol. Poured into pint glass.

A- Pours a dark amber colored fluid with excellent quarter inch off white head that stays around for a bit leaving almost every part of the glass covered with lacing. Sticks like pine sap... beautiful.

S- Very discriptive scents of hops upfront that consist of pine, orange, prunes, dates, raisens and grapes. Mild alcohol esters breakthrough in the backbone. Carmel malts and toasted oak.

T-M- The flavors of this beer are one in a dozen. First and formost is the hop presence of prunes, dates and figs... fresh off the vine! An oak chip burt malty backbone that allows you the experience of barleywine style malting. Fruity alcohol esters that dance on the buds taunting you to drink more even with the massive 9.5% alcohol level. Rich yeasty creamlike feel only allows you to enjoy the flavors as well as the texture of this Old Ale.

D- I can only express the feeling of drinking a Heavenly beer with this amount of alcohol once and here it is. Everything you want in a beer at a almost hidden alcohol presence that is barleywine like in flavor and screams class.

wesbrownyeah, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of aubuc1
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap

Poured a deep brown with a thin off white head.

Big roasty yeasty sweet with strong malt sweetness.
Taste is a somewhat sharp roasty smoky

Very good mouthfeel and very good drinkability.

I was excited to try this today at the lost kangaroo. It is a very good and different beer.

aubuc1, Feb 20, 2010
Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.