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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

60 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 60
Hads: 71
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 11.36%
Wants: 14
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:
Beer added by: CampusCrew on 12-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 60 | Hads: 71
Photo of devilben02
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of jampics2
4.29/5  rDev +8.3%
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!

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Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
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

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Photo of steve8robin
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  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.

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +4%
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!

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Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
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).

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of CBlack85
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of Otsaika
3.96/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a malty burnt amber with a small tan head that fades to a small collar and light film of microbubbles

S - Nice and malty, but not roasted - just clean dark malts. Smells alot like a barleywine (Behemoth esp.) Could do for a stronger aroma. Some dark fruits come through as it warms - raisins mainly.

T - Very similar to the nose. Strong malt backbone, without much spice or nuttyness, or dark fruits. Some raisins, and figs but not much.

M - Pretty typical for the style, maybe a bit light

D - Not a great old ale, but nice to see whats out there

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Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

consumed on the eve of "Snowpocalypse" '10

a: tulip snifter serving, pours a nice little off-white head on a hazy reddish brown ale, average retention

s: toffee malt nose with an undertone of sour cherries and red wine tannins, tart apples and plum, nice earthy hop nose with a glance of spiciness and an intriguing tropical edge, sweet alcohol, brown sugars, delicate esters, great nose - not incredibly complex at first sniff, but there's much to be found upon further inspection

m: carbonation on the lower end of medium, body smooth and full with an almost buttery feel towards the middle

t: same toffeelike malt from the nose found here with sweet and sour fruits rolling around inside, brown sugars and butter join British malts in the middle with a powerful but welcome booze sting, a good dose of woody nutshell and an earthy hop flavor precede a delicate but lasting bitterness

d: quite easy for the elevated alcohol content

1/3 picked up from Bruisin'

6.28.2013 - One of two bottles remaining in the cellar, first since my original tasting. This one, to my astonishment, has held up very, very well. Lush flavors of plum, raisin, and caramel. Oxidation doesn't seem to have hit very much at all, and the carbonation remains intact. Pecan and traces of alcohol. A papery hop flavor and mild bitterness come deep into the finish. Very settled and well meshed. May give my remaining bottle a year or two more, until it can be shared. No scores changed.

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Photo of callisbeers
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my trusty chalice. Nice reddish/brown color, small head, very little lacing. I was expecting to be blown away by the "I am a high alcohol beer, smell my alcohol" smell but that was not the case. As everyone else has mentioned, flavors of caramel, hops, blah, blah, blah... they all just worked well together. I don't know if it was the 3 days of school being cancelled due to the 5 inches of snow we received 4 days ago but I just loved this beer. Everything seemed just right.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of mild caramel, indistinct spices, and earthy hops, in that order. As it warms the nose sweetens just a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Muted caramel malt flavors up front give way to earthy spices and hop flavors midway through the sip. A bitterness kicks in right afterwards and intensifies through the ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall one of the better beers I've had from Highland. A nice, solid beer that doesn't have any real flaws. Worth a shot.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.46/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Highland's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale has brewed to celebrate our tradition of brewing fine quality ales and lagers. This version of an English Olde Ale has a bold profile from fine British Malts, woodsy and estery aromas from traditional British Ale yeast, and bittering from Styrian Bobeck hops. The addition of Sterling hops provides a hint of spiciness in the nose. These flavors combined with a bright cheery redolence create a savory "Auld Ale" that will warm the dreareiest of winter nights."

A 22oz bottle is dispensed into a snifter. Cloudy and murky sort of raspberry chocolate colored beer emerges and is topped with a very small and slight, dirty brown head. This one almost looks like some sort of liquid chocolate drink one would find at a trendy nightspot.

Aroma was alcoholic and malty. Not much going on here.

Kind of sweet up front but followed with some hop bitterness. Big and chewy on the tongue. Full bodied like nobody's business. Not my favorite Highland beer but I can see the appeal.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to cdflem!

pours deep deep ruby red with brown accents. light cocoa cream head that quickly gives way, light retention. beautiful color.

deep cherry up front. floral and citrus hops. deep sweet caramelized malts in the thick. a hint of booze.

again, deep, and complex. hints of zesty hops, crisp citrus and light floral notes through out. very hoppy! deep malts with a sweet twist that although is sweet, not once becomes overwhelming. hints of dark cherry and dark fruits.

pretty middle of the road. not too thick, not dry, nice balanced carbonation.

i would drink his over and over. the ABV is a bit high but there is really no trace of booze. so far everything i have had from highland, has been pretty amazing.

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Photo of farrago
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head gets to about a full finger then drops down swiftly to an aggregation of larger bubbles around the rims, has enough stickiness to create broad, thin webs of lacing. Super-cloudy amber-brown with a semi-brightening copper tinge, mild switch to orange rust around the rims. The nose has a natural denseness to it, like sediment which has settled over time. Mix of Italian plum, blackberry, pear, red apple scents, allspice and nutmeg as well, violets, no real super-sweet notes, by the same token, nothing that comes close to attack of the hops from outer space, maybe some pepperiness as it drifts off. Medium to full-bodied, which is a way of saying it manages to stay limber given its inherent density. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg spice there but it's really the honey, molasses which gets it to cling to the mouth. The citrus and flowers are mute, more cola and cocoa powder. Not estery, fresh with clearly defined peach, pear, plum, cherry fruit and a certain raw nuttiness. Molasses, beeswax, brown sugar frame the finish but it's never too sweet. When you account for what is present as well as what is absent, this is a very competent beer which made a clear decision to err to the side of safety over planting a flag in the sand.

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Photo of Epicedion
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a big Sam Adams Octoberfest mug.

A: It looks like a very strong, mostly opaque tea. Brown and muddy. Thin head and little lacing.

S: Very deep, rich malt. Spicy and strong. It's kind of like pipe or cigar smoke in character, but cleaner.

T: Just amazing. There's that rich malt mixing with hints of bitter and spicy hops, a little citrus upswing here and there, and bitter and sweet fighting it out on the long finish. The flavors play extremely well as different aspects hit different taste buds at different times. There's zero trace of alcohol in this beer. It's pure goodness in a glass.

M: Just right.

D: Potent, but you'll wonder where it went.

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Photo of drperm
4.31/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tend to go for anniversary releases from my favorite breweries: they usually pull out all the stops, up the production care, and release a solidly enjoyable product.
Highland's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale is no exception: an Old Ale right up there with the best of them, I'm sure this one would age quite handsomely, but it's quite tasty young, too.

Ap: Strikingly resplendent: it looks just like an oloroso or a madeira, with just a mite of bubbles on the very top.

S: Rich malt. Very rich. Graham, vanilla, burnt caramel, dark hops, and a touch of something that makes me think of Christmas.

T: Wondrous depth here. Biscuit, pipe tobacco, spicy hops, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and a sweet-sour port finish.

M: Twangy, oily, not too syrupy.

D: A lovely in-front-of-the-fire evening sip. The large pint bottle is best split with friends, or over the course of a couple of nights. It's very rich and heady.

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Photo of scifan
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby brown with amber highlights when held to the light. Has a nice tall tan head on this one that leaves some real nice lacing as it calms.
Caramel and toffee dominate the nose with a nice woodiness in the background. Just a hint of spicy hops help to balance.
Taste is similar to the nose. Caramel, toffee, and a touch of smokiness start things off. But this is no malt bomb there are quite a bit of spicy hops to balance things out here. Not a hint of the 9.5% alcohol, its very well hidden. Nice full mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation. Great beer and a super way to celebrate 15 years of brewing in NC.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, dark mahogany, with thin, sticky head. Smells great - rich malts, raisins, hints of chocolate, rum and alcohol. Tastes the same with an added dimension of hops in the finish. Nice balance. With a delicate carbonation, the it very sippable. Nice by the fire on these cold nights. A unique, and appealing twist on the old ale style - another notable offering from Highland Brewery.

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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.