Pale Ale | Highlander Brew Co.

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Pale AlePale Ale
18 Ratings
Pale AlePale Ale

Brewed by:
Highlander Brew Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Duplicate of

Added by grub on 10-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by ThatWineGuy:
Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I spotted these at the Burks Falls LCBO enroute to the cottage and picked up a few to sample since I'm always interested in local craft brews.

Pours a lustrous auburn / mahogany colour which struck me as anything but a "pale" ale ... although biegaman informed me that the origin of the term "pale ale" had something to do with most beer being very black, so this would be viewed as pale in historical terms. In any event, it's not a bad looking beer in the glass with a half finger tan head and a bit of sheet lace to start out with but not much retention and a lack of carbonation overall.

Nose is sweet caramel and hard candy with a hint of molasses. Taste is also on the sweet side with caramel and toffee and generally agreeable although the finish is a bit sharp and abrupt. Medium body satisfies but could use more carbonation and maybe a bit more hops. As it is, though, quite drinkable and hard not to like; with a few deficiencies addressed, this could be quite a novel brew.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of mintjellie
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tawny brown with tight and dense off-white head. The head is retentive to the bottom of my glass and laces spottily. Toffee and brown sugar aroma with floral accents. Mildly sweet with a nice toasty malt flavour with a little bit of butter. There's some juicy orange to be found as well, with a spicy and tea-like finish. Moderately bitter and very balanced. Medium-bodied with low, soft carbonation. Feels smooth and slick. This is a good beer all-around.

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Photo of Stocean1
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a two finger frothy off white head upon a deep amber body, decent retention with some thick sticky lacing.

S - some caramel malt, earthy hops, dark fruit

T - Taste is sweet caramel malt, with a slight cocoa note, some dark fruit (reminds me of a scotch ale), mild earthy hops.

M - Light to medium bodied with some carbonation, this is a lightly bitter brew, with some lingering bite and dryness. Relatively smooth and easy drinking.

O - a tasty offering from South River that really does not seem like a pale ale, seems more like a combination of an ESB and a scotch ale. Definitely worth grabbing again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a nice thick white foamy head with good retention and some very good lacing. Aroma consists of grain and dry cereal notes with light hoppy dry bitter notes. Taste is also a mix between some caramel malt with dry bitter notes and some unrefined cereal notes. Body is about average for style with great carbonation. There some unrefined grain taste that didn’t really do it for but at least they were offset by some of the caramel note and the dry bitter finish.

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Photo of ThinkAgain
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of SebD
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice golden/copper/amber color to it. It has a nice off white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of alot of sweet caramel, toffee, oak, roasted malts and some earthy hops. Smells quite nice.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a roasted malt character with some caramel, toffee and some citrusy and earthy hops giving it a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of grub
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

got this one from icemachine. thanks peter!

500ml bottle. sampled oct 12/09.

pours pale brown with fiery orange highlights when held to the light. a thin ring of light tan bubbles surrounds the glass and leaves just a few spots of lace.

aroma is nice. buttery toffee. light caramel. multi-grain bread and biscuit. a bit of apple and other fruit. light alcohol. earthy. hint of smoke.

taste is nice. lightly toasted multi-grain bread. bit of biscuit and cracker. light alcohol. a bit nutty. earthy. caramel and butterscotch. fruity. hint of roast. light smoke.

mouthfeel is ok. medium-light body. zero carbonation.

drinkability is ok. too much butter and fruit and not enough carbonation. with proper carbonation the other flaws might be less noticeable, but as it stands this one needs some work.

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Photo of Derek
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Copper with a light tan head, no retention but a hint of leg/lace.

S: Buttery caramel, dark fruit, brown sugar, hint of orange zest.

T: Plenty of dark fruit, buttery toffee, hints of burnt caramel, earthy orange hops, slight pear & cotton-candy fruity esters. Good bitterness.

M: Moderate body has a light residual sweetness; carbonation is fairly low.

D: A good drinker.

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Photo of Viggo
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle, thanks to icemachine for hooking us up with some of these.

Pours a clear orange/amber, very thin white head forms and disappears almost immediately, not very good retention, no real lace, just a couple of thin bubbles. Smell is alright, floral and biscuit, caramel, pretty malty, butter, brown sugar, light citrus, tea hoppiness. Taste is similar, tea, lemony, floral, some citrus, biscuit and toasty malts, caramel/butter, slightly herbal bitterness, nice finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with very low carbonation. Drinkable but nothing special, an alright pale ale. Thanks Peter!

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Photo of ericj551
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Highlander Pale Ale pours a red brown with a nice head that lingers as a thin layer. The aroma is toasted malt, toffee and caramel, with hints of chocolate. The flavor is malty upfront with some bready yeast flavors. Toffee and caramel are followed by some earthy hops and a nice rounded bitterness. There is a biscuity nuttiness that lingers in the finish.

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Photo of pootz
3/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Poured a deep burnished copper with ruddy highlights, smallish cap poor retention, modest lacing, moderately carbonated.

Aroma is typical Brit: Toffee, toasty Marris malt over some leafy goldings.

Thin palate.

Toasty caramel malty in front, minimal hop balance, wet thin body, light bittering in the finish, Too sweet for a Pale or ESB, Not enough body for a wee heavy.

With brand new brewing equipment they should do better than this 2 dimensional off style ale. Mildly interesting but needs work.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautifully clear and dark amber. Head is limited, but a surprising white colour.

Aroma is malt-forward, with an unexpected oak and peat smokiness. This translates into the tastes of a caramelized malt sweetness with an unexpected, underlying earthiness. Very malt forward, but personally I’d have classified this as a scotch ale rather than a traditional "English pale ale". Bittering hops are present, but finish is not as dry or lingering as many.

Unfortunately the "best before" field on the label is totally blank, so although I only purchased the bottle this weekend, I have no idea how long it might have been enjoying the LCBO logistics system...

Worth trying - good for northern Ontario!

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Photo of biegaman
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There can be only one... and this Highlander certainly looks unique. Despite what its name indicates, the beer is rather dark and sits with a lovely, rich brown suede tone. When it concedes clarity it does so while relinquishing lovely auburn highlights against the light. The head is thin over the beer but quite abrasive to the glass; lacing is everywhere.

The aroma is about as fragrant as curry and, for my palate, every bit as sumptuous. This perspires a plethora of flavours: tea leaves, flower petals and citrus rinds, toffee and brown sugar. It is, almost literally speaking, 'sugar and spice and everything nice'. The maltiness makes its dominance clear although a soft-spoken hoppiness can still be heard.

That hoppiness, in the taste, turns out such words as 'dead leaves' and 'winegums', both of which are spoken with soft floral and fruity accenting. The malts, big and burly, impart an exceedingly buttery taste (perhaps unintentional?) which also contributes plenty of earthy dark fruits, toffee and biscuit flavours and a brown sugar/molasses-sweet finish.

I am pleasantly surprised by how much hoppiness transpires especially considering, as mentioned, just how brawny and dank the malts are. Apart from that vaguely floral quality, they also convey a very tea-like component, a bitterness that is at once both brisk and refreshing. It also does well to restrain that predominant toffee/brown sugar sweetness.

I've had a number of samples of this beer and all seemed to be widely varied in terms of flavour and quality, which is understandable considering this is still a new brewery and they've probably yet to work out the recipe and their equipment. But they've made enough of an impression for me to say, with confidence, that once they sort through the kinks, this may just be one of Ontario's most flavourful, sessionable bitters.

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Photo of Ralphus
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this as part of a trade from iceman and even though it's hardly a pale ale - it's a very nice treat!

Pours a rich reddish brown.. there's nothing pale about this ale. It's a full on english style bitter. An offwhite head flourished to the top but receded quickly leaving nothing but some lacing at the top of the glass.

The smell is a gem.. lots of soft sweet fruitiness and a touch of caramel. I hesitantly took a sip expecting be dissapointed by a weak palid attempt but instead rich, rich flavour engulfed my mouth. Loads of caramel malt followed up with fruitiness and a nice dash of hoppy bitterness towards the end. Lovely.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth and quite right except for missing a tiny bit of carbonation. I was worried drink-ability would suffer given the rich flavour, but this stuff goes down fast. I only have one more and I'd love to crack it open right now.

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Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of aletale
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a pint glass...

The pour reveals an ale of an impressively deep copper colour. Equally impressive was the three fingers of beige/white head that slowly retreated to about a finger and lingered around nicely. Medium carbonation was observed.

On the nose we have some nice stiff malty notes that seem to blend in nicely with delicious smelling hops. This is shaping up to be an impressive English style pale ale...

The taste exceeds all expectations I had for this beer. The front is a complex mix of (dark) fruits, toffee and roasted malt flavours. This is balanced off with a perfectly hoppy, bitter finish.

Living in North Bay, I was very surprised (and impressed) to see such an impressive beer being made so close to home. This will most definitely be a repeat purchase for me, and one of the best examples of an English style pale ale brewed in Canada.

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Photo of peensteen
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up in Huntsville.

Amber colour, slight whit head, some lace left behind. Smell is malty with notes of toffee and caramel, sweet notes stick out the most, lightly hoppy at points. Taste is all malt up front, lightly bitter, hoppy with some citrus present in the finish. Mouthfeel isn't bad, a touch watery, med-high carbonation. Not an outstanding brew but its not bad a couple tweeks would help this.

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Pale Ale from Highlander Brew Co.
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 18 ratings