Gaelic Ale
Highland Brewing

Gaelic AleGaelic Ale
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American Amber / Red Ale
Ranked #73
Ranked #21,781
3.83 | pDev: 11.75%
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Very Good
Gaelic AleGaelic Ale
Notes: A deep amber colored American ale, featuring a rich malty body. Cascade and Willamette hops add a complex hop flavor and aroma. This ale is exceptionally balanced between malty sweetness and delicate hop bitterness.

Hops: Chinook, Willamette and Cascade

32 IBU
Reviews: 555 | Ratings: 1,549 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Singlefinpin
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've drank this beer on many, many occasions, bottles, and tap.
Appears amber, with a nice foamy tan head that lasts.
Smells lightly bready, floral.
Taste follows the nose, with enough bitterness to keep my interest.
Mouth feel is medium for the style.
Overall, this is a very nice beer that I would definitely order again.
The brewery is definitely worth a visit.

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Photo of mthelm85
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

In 2019 I find that it's not too often I come across a really well done brown ale. I know this is classified here on BA as an American Amber, but I think of it as more of a traditional (English) brown as the hoppy character is quite subdued (which I like). I don't review beers very often but I was so pleased with this beer that I decided it deserved it! I highly recommend this beer if you like a good brown ale.

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Photo of Buckeye55
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish amber clear color with a small but sustained head.
Takes a more cultured nose than mine to tell you what'sgoing on there.
Has a smooth taste, medium mouth feel and just a hint of bitter at the finish. I like this brew, just not as much as some of Highland's other offerings.
Rates an 7.5 out of 10 on the would you like to sit down with a 12 pack of this brew scale

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Photo of ArchimedesSox
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper color, 1/2 inch off white head, good lacing
S: Bread, bisquet
T: Sweet caramel, transitions to bread then a little bitterness from a some hops, really nice flavor
M: Medium to light
O: Really good malty beer. Visited the brewery when I was in Asheville and met the founder. Really nice guy and he has some really great beers.

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Photo of hottenot
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really hits the spot when you want a true Ale.

Highlands Brewing is one of the first and their Ale is still one of the finest.
Nice blend of malt and hops. With a little lean towards the hops.

Curious because Ale wasn't originally brewed with hops.

Still, a great tasting Ale that may or may not, be Gaelic.

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Photo of mj24053
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really solid beer. This one gets overlooked a lot by me because it's been around so long, as Highland was one of NC's first microbreweries. Malty, biscuity taste. Carbonated. Hops are there but they blend in nicely. Good balance of bitterness. Really great beer.

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Photo of Reef
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle dated 8/20/18
Dark copper, clear, hard to raise more than a few mm head.
Bready, along with light floral aromas.
Hops win out over the malt, a little nutty taste.
Light bodied, what little head first appeared sticks around with good lacing. Dry finish.
A little thin and lackluster for an amber ale. Not bad, just average.

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Photo of Speartron
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Caramel and sweet mix of hops on taste. Nose tingling sweetness on the nose. Nice amber alert colour, a bit watery but a oily lingering bitterness. Bitterness lingers but is not overwhelming. Very drinkable

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Photo of lastmango
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber with a one finger tan head that dissipated quickly. Light caramel aroma. Caramel forward with tart hops on the end. A bit of a watery finish. Hops linger on the tongue. Medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of Tridentric
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Love this pleasant easy drinking ale. Great to look at and smell when poured. Smooth tasting and nicely hopped. A little caramel coming thru after first swig. Great everyday beer.

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Photo of Alan_Bats
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L- great color for an amber. Head dissipates quickly.
S- caramel notes are forward and hoppiness in the back
T- starts with a nice sweetness and hoppiness balance but then turns a little too sweet. The finish is stellar with a toasty malt that lingers.
F- a great medium body and moderate carbonation are perfect for an amber.
O- this is a solid beer. Perfect for a flagship beer and highland should be proud. Other than a little too much sweetness, the beer has nice balance and the sweet/toasty/hoppy profile is nice. Could drink everyday.

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Photo of BigGold
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had at The Lounge, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, poured from 12-oz. bottle, stamped “FILLED 12/27/17,” into clear plastic beer cup, and had at The Shrimp Factory, River Street, Savannah, on draft into clear plastic pint beer go cup.

The expected caramel malt sweetness of this hugely aromatic amber ale is nicely balanced by hop bite in the finish.

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Photo of chitoryu12
3.19/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Look: Dark, crystal clear amber with a finger of frothy white head.

Smell: Very light citrus and not much else.

Taste: Bitter hops intermingle with hops. Not a ton of complexity.

Mouthfeel: Average in every way.

Overall: Pretty typical bitter amber ale. Nothing too special.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes 12/7/14: Pours a clear deep amber producing 2.5 fingers of beige, frothy, somewhat lasting head that leaves wispy, webby lacing. Aroma is toasted and lightly buttered pumpernickel, pale malts, with hints of roasted nuts, caramel and herbal hops. Taste is similar to the nose but sweeter and with much more hop character than expected. The bitterness is nicely balanced with the roasted maltiness. Honey and brown sugar join the caramel on the sweet side with flora/herbal and resinous hops in the bitterness profile. Finishes faintly dry and peppery but sweetly bitter which develops into a piney but sweet dark tea like bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and moderately carbonated; silky, lightly prickly and a little chewy. One of the better amber ales outside of the amber imperials.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
2.72/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Every now and then I come across something that I really think I will like...and then after the first try, I realize I was wrong...

This beer epitomizes the very reason I like variety sixers and 12-packs. If you come across something you don't like, not to worry, it's only one and you'll be done with it soon enough. But every now and again I outsmart myself. I decide to pick up a six-pack of something I think will be good only to discover I now have five other bottles or cans to choke down - this is the very problem that now faces me with this Highland Gaelic Ale.

Don't get me wrong, it started off quite impressive. The red-based liquid with its orange and yellow highlights make for something quite appealing to look at, but the moment I put my nose up to it I knew something had gone awry. Why was it I couldn't smell anything? It was unremarkable to the nose as it was appealing to the eyes. Mouthfeel was considerably carbonated, but it did have nice medium-body to it. This unfortunately could not overcome the tinny taste of the brew, though it had some spices from the hops they used, it wasn't enough for me to get past. Though not a terrible beer, this is something I'm going to pawn off on guests over the course of this year...

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Photo of spectru
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark coppery amber with a nice creamy foamy head; The aroma is not strong, but nice. Good flavor but not at all strong. A nice beer; glad I found a six at my local store

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Photo of SmokySignals
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First tried at the brewery on the tour, and have since enjoyed many of these...
Pours a rich red-orange-amber, and can achieve a nice off white head.
Malty, caramel and somewhat fruity aromas; cherry, prune...a nice smell.
Balanced malty, caramel / brown bready malt, subtle hop flavors are balanced really nicely for many types of days or occasions.
I tend to want more carbonation, but somehow this brew has a repeatable appeal, and can easily be enjoyed many times. Satisfying, sessional, clean, not heavy...Bingo!
Overall, this is a must try for and it totally destroys Killian's or any Yuengling.
This beer is like a chameleon; it can be many things, depending on the day, the glass, the temp, etc...KILLER VERSATILE BEER
I dub thee - Asheville Tweet Tea!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark reddish amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate mahogany colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with light to moderate aromas of grassy + citrus/grapefruit pith hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel sweetness and just a hint of nuttiness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of grassy + citrus/grapefruit pith hops which impart a light to moderate amount of bitterness which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp with a hint of thinness/wateriness.

O: Easy to drink with the lower, well hidden alcohol and less filling so I could easily have a couple in a session. Well constructed, well balanced between the malts and the hops and not overly sweet like some others in the style.

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Photo of Trailboss76
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

** Very pleasant dark amber, tea-like color. Well carbonated, fairly foamy, frothy head. Subtle aroma. Not terribly bitter, relatively smooth, subtle hints of caramel. Not overly pronounced in any particular direction but not weak - a good smooth drinker.

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Photo of ikapaMK
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Literally the first beer I'd ever tried. Because of its strong flavour, I didn't like it then, though I'd be willing to give it a try again, now that I've learned more how to appreciate beers

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours crystal clear and copper in color with an off-white, half finger head. Fair retention, resulting in a thin, broken layer of surface suds. Not much for lacing outside a few minuscule spots.

Smell - Aroma hits on a good amount of caramel, with a bit of slightly earthy, slightly fruity character.

Taste - Follows the nose. Plenty of caramel that's almost overridden by the hop character that exhibits character of spice, some citrus, slight floral and earth elements. Finishes much the same, but with a bit of toastiness. All in all, a well balanced ale.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with fair carbonation. Slightly slick texture with a somewhat dry finish; easy drinker.

Overall - A very solid, but not spectacular amber. No real weak points, but it simply doesn't stand out. They say it's their flagship, and that makes sense. It's an easy drinking brew with a flavor profile that should work well enough for most consumers.

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Photo of SlappyMcGee
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drinking straight from a 12 oz bottle.

Didn't bother smelling it much to make any decent comments. Nice mouth feel and good golden, slightly red amber color. It has a nice main flavor with a slight hint of caramel and a good bit of malt. My only complaint is that it has a slightly offputting aftertaste. I'd definitely drink it again, but not on a regular basis.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish amber color with off-white colored head. Caramel malts, bread, floral notes, and some light hay on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with decent maltiness.

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Photo of Korbynlehr
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Such a pleasant surprise. This ale has a dark color I liken to just lighter than coke. Little to no head. The nose is deceiving as it has little to nothing as far as a nose. Taste is all beer with a late caramel hint....very little caramel though. Overall this is a great ale.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Due South in DC 5/16/16.

L: One finger head with little retention. Beer is indeed an amber sliding into red, like a fall maple leaf. (poetic, look at me!)

S: Clean smell, lots of caramel malt. Maybe some mulling spices?

T: Malt-forward, only a little sweet with caramel presiding. Bready. Piney, bittering hop aftertaste hangs around a bit too long.

F: Light bodied, light to medium carbonation. Decent construction. Balance so-so, but not bad. Crisp and clean.

O: Very nice example of the style, enhanced much by freshness. Looking forward to trying more of their beer.

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Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 1549 ratings