Highland Gaelic Ale | Highland Brewing

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BA SCORE
86
very good
533 Reviews
Highland Gaelic AleHighland Gaelic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pezoids on 01-11-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
533
Ratings:
1,435
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
19.42%
 
 
Wants:
39
Gots:
295
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 533 | Ratings: 1,435
Photo of bobbyc881
4.48/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour leaves a thick, tan head over a deep orange-red beer. Clear. Aroma is sweet breads and malts, caramels, and a slight citrusy hop presence.

Taste begins sweet and smooth. Caramelized malts dominate. Very balanced hop flavors follow shortly after. Leaves the palette sticky. Again, extremely smooth. Malt focused, but enough hops to not overwhelm.

Great body. Thick mouthfeel compared to most reds/ambers -- which seems to play better with the malt-centered flavors. Carbonated well. Highly drinkable beer. Certainly one of my go-tos. One of the best locals around.

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

Acquired via trade from NClifestyle, so a big “”Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy deep amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty with a heavy scent of tea and a little bit of caramel and hops.

T: The taste is likewise, very malty. Sweet tea and caramel flavors are the most dominant. There’s a little bit of hops flavor in there, just enough to provide some balance to the sweetness, but they get stronger as the beer starts to warm. The after-taste goes back to the malt sweetness.

M: Very smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish especially for a beer as sweet as this one.

D: This beer is quite tasty, very easy to drink and not too filling. It’s simplistic, as is the style, but very enjoyable. I think it’s an excellent representation of the Irish Red style.

When I first started on BA, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to try this beer. That just shows you the power of trading. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Looking forward to the other two Highland beers that I got in the trade and then trading for more.

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

Clear reddish brown with a light tan head that lingers for a while
Floral hop notes with a sweet malt background
Medium body with decent carbonation, smooth mouthfeel
Smooth malty flavor is balanced by a citrusy Williamette and Cascade hop finish that lingers.
One of my favorite North Carolina brews. Great session beer. Get kegs of it for cookouts during the summer.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice red/orange, semi-transparent brew with a finger of tan foam. The foam settles into a nice top-layer and leaves lovely lacing on the sides of my Sierra Nevada pint glass.

The aroma is brown sugar, caramel and hops. This is a great smelling beer. The taste leans toward the malts, but the hops are there. I think the brewers at Highland really balanced this red ale perfectly. I've been looking for something a little less hoppy for a change of pace. This and my last review, Sweetwater Georgia Brown really have hit the spot. I'll give this one a slight nod as it's not as sweet and the hops are a little more noticeable throughout, but particularly on the after taste. Don't get me wrong, this will not knock you over with hops but it uses them extremely well.

The mouth feel is medium and not too carbonated. A tad more carbonation might help this beer some, but perhaps not. I'm really splitting hairs here.

This is a great beer, and one I'll come back to again.

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Photo of bv74550p
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer at several places around Savannah. If you are looking for it on tap try Molly Mcpherson's or the Crystal Beer Parlor.

The beer is a deep red/brown and is completely opaque. Great head retention about two fingers.

Malt is good. Hops suprised me very much in this beer, but it made it very smooth and nice to my IPA liking. With this beer it pretty much smells the same as it tastes.

Definitely a great session beer where you should drink at least 3 to appreciate it.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to muddyfeet. He plays a great santa.

A- Thin light tan head on a deep pretty clear amber body.
S- Big caramel malts with a grassy and piney hop to it.
T- Very well balanced. The malts come through with a nice caramel flavor. The hops provide a great balance for it and isn't to bitter. Has a light bitterness to it that lingers into the aftertaste though.
M- Medium body with low to medium carbonation.
D- Very nice easy drinking beer. Nothing to complex or strong. Great for a beer to sit and relax with, making it a great every time beer.

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Photo of beldin96
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Highland Gaelic Ale is a great amber. The Ale has a great nose. On the nose it has some light malts, with some very light floral. The mouth feel is very light, but with lots of flavor. The Gaelic Ale has a good balance of malt and hops, not one overpowering the other. It finishes very clean and crisp. At 5.8% ABV is could be a good session beer.

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Photo of Daytonbeerguy
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

May not be ground shattering but is a very good selection to pair with food and is extremely drinkable and good for meeting with friends and shooting the breeze.

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Photo of Loki
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle

Poured a light amber color with an inch and a half head. This beer left ribbons of lacing throughout the sampling. Quite impressive for a lighter style beer.

Aromas of mostly roasted malt, with hints of caramel and floral-citrus hops, but very hidden behind the main malt body.

Tastes of lightly roasted sweet malt, much like a like Scottish style ale. Subtle caramel flavor with a delicate hop finish that seems just enough for balance, but not for a truly hoppy flavor. Beautiful and unique, definitely deserving of flagship status. Medium body with light carbonation that goes down smooth is crisp, clean, and very, very drinkable. A great beer.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.41/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this at the local Wal-Mart. Rarely do I purchase beer at Wal-Mart. But this was one I had never had so I thought I would add it to my "beer diary".
Pours a hazy amber/orange with a tan loose head that has only average retention and lacing that is a bit better than that.
Wow, when it comes to aroma. Malts lead with chocolate licorice or caramel along with breads and some pine nut hops. Enough there to fill the nose.
Taste is sweet but with an enjoyable bitter bite at the finish.
Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy. A nice surprise.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I lived in Western North Carolina for 2 years and this was certainly my favorite local brew. Can't add much more to what has been said already except that I know it is brewed with a healthy dose of Special B malt. That is apparently the source of this beers excellent and unique malt flavor.

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Photo of John
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Don't let the amber ale style throw you off. This is quite a unique offering indeed. Malts impart the perfect level of sweetness and deep amber color. Full bodied and balanced exceptionally with Cascade and Willamette hops.

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Photo of bluedognever
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original Review 5-11-2014

Poured from a bottle into a frosty mug. It's a nice deep rich amber color with a soft, thick beige head. Rich taste without being heavy feeling. Biscuit and caramel with a slight hint of citrus. A very slight hop finish - just right. After a few minutes, head is mostly gone with some lacing.

This may be the best beer I've had in a quite a while

Added 6/13/2014

I discovered that I had another bottle of this. Rather funny but it paired extremely well with Mexican food - a very nice balance with the cilantro, peppers, tomatoes and other seasonings.

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Photo of rnd6510
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Ingles in Arden, NC. Beer had been bottled about a week and a half earlier.
Poured it into a standard pint glass. An aggressive pour yielded a two finger head. Left nice lacing if I might add.
Smell is a little sweet. It smells just as good as it tastes.
Goes down as smooth as yohoo. Smooth toasty malts with a hint of caramel.
Just enough of a hop bitterness finish to balance this beer out.
I am a huge fan of the Gaelic. It should be even better on a crisp fall day.
This is a beer that I keep all the time in my fridge.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to my trusty Cigar City snifter. No bottling or freshness date visible.

Appearance (4.0): Beautiful pour, a very nice red-amber color with a light khaki head, maybe one very fat finger thick, fading to some splotches on the top, a ring on the edge of the glass, and moderate lacing. Clear body, nice and red.

Smell (4.0): Nice mix of light caramel and mildly sugary-sweet malts, blending well with some tropical hop fruitiness—smells faintly of fresh, ripe pineapple. Bready malts in the back.

Taste (4.5): Just-barely-sweet, bready malt base quickly followed by some grassy hop bitterness, mixing smoothly with a slightly astringent quality coming off some mild toast in the barley here. Very nice, smooth transition with distinct phases. Grassy / herbal bitterness from the hops sustain in the finish, relatively pronounced on the grassy side. Yeast note has the feel of an English bitter, like an ESB.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Dry finish, medium-bodied in the middle with a nice, slightly creamy effervescence on the front end. Nice mouthfeel, for sure.

Overall (4.5): I’m definitely impressed with this beer. Red Ales usually aren’t my thing—I can dig super hoppy American Amber / Red Ales like Nugget Nectar, but I generally don’t derive much joy from Irish Reds, for instance. This is pretty tasty, though. Nice mix of Old and New World takes on the Amber / Red category. Definitely not the Nugget Nectar hop bomb type of AA/R, it leans more towards the Irish side of things. Maybe because of that, I bet this would be killer on cask, too. Surprised by how much I liked this, actually, especially after not liking the Oatmeal Porter very much. Nice work, Highland.

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Photo of atomicbeer
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pint at Sine Irish Pub at the Pentagon City Mall. Red copper color arrived with 1/2 inch white head. Malty sweet fruit cocktail (candied peach, pear, cherry, and orange) aroma with a kick of grapefruit hops. Fruity taste with grapefruit zest. Remarkable balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. Really enjoyable!

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Photo of meechum
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from the brewers at Highland..since this is a fairly easy brewer for me to get a hold of has become my go to brewery of choice.. I haven't met a beer from their place I haven't totally enjoyed.

On to the Gaelic Ale..

A - Poured a nice amber with red notes into a pint mug, poured aggressively with a great head that dissapates slowly with a nice sticky lace

S - You can smell some citrus hops smells along with the malts and some piney hops smells.

T - This was good..for me it started with a slight bite of hops up front moving quickly on to a long middle of malty taste with hints of biscuit then finishing with another hop bite that was just right

M - Creamy with middle carbonation

D - I had 3 before I knew it..this was a luxuriant beer and I enjoyed them very much..at 5.8% it's a little on the high side for a session beer..so I had to slow down but it went well with dinner and after

Notes: Like I said at the front of this review..I just love the offerings from Highland..this is no exception this was a great beer for a relaxed evening..If you have the opportunity to pick some up..it's a can't miss

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Photo of BDIMike
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is pale reddish color. Small carbonation and a great sized head.
Smells awesome. Starts with a smell of malts and nuts. Smells of hops, sugars, and other sweet smells after.
Great taste. Hoppy at first. Balanced with a good caramel malt taste. Ends with a sweeter taste. Very well-rounded. Lots of flavor.
Mouthfeel has a nice thickness. Smooth going down. Not sharp at all.
Great beer. I did not expect this to be as good as it was. Could drink this one all day.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber/copper color with a small sirty white head. Nose is malt forward without a doubt. Taste os malty, taste much like a scitch ale than an amber. Hints of deep malts perhaps crystal, 2 row and hints of light cocoa, caramel and toffee. Some biscuity notes as well. Mouthfeel is nice, coating, light cocoa and toffee, Good indeed. Worth a shot.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hazy,deep plum color poured from 12oz brown bottle into New Belgium snifter. The head is a single finger and thick, though it dwindles in a minute or two leaving behind a descent amount to lace. There is freshness dating on the bottom ridge of the bottle. The aroma is initially sweet with alcohol quick to be noticed. There is an initial caramel malt flavor complimented by the advertised dry hop finish. The sweet maltiness is effectively balanced by the hop bitterness resulting in a nice dry finish. There is a pleasant dry fuit sweetness with a balance with hops. This is an even bodied brew that is in feel typical of its advertised style. Overall this is a good interpretation of style.

The carbonation in this brew was perfect and was a nice compliment ot the overall character of the beer. The density of this brew was also in great balance, not thin and not syrupy. This is a good brew cold a well above average as it warms. The fruit and malt slowly builds with temperature.red with a meal much more than standin alone.

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Photo of veech
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has been a staple for me over the years because it's just damned good. A: Pours a tawny auburn with creamy light tan head. Solid carbonation and lacing persists. S: Carmelized malts dominate the nose with some hoppiness. T: Smooth with enough body to provide a sweet foundation that is evened out by a moderately hop laden finish for crispness. M: Slight viscosity with medium body D: Excellent flavor and medium body add up to a very drinkable smooth Irish Red. As with all Highland products, I would recommend this beer to anyone.

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Photo of Applesauce1
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Gaelic Ale on-tap at the The Urban Bar in the Old City of Knoxville, TN.

Appearance: amber-red color with a small white head
Smell: not very pronounced, maybe some hops?
Taste: excellent; some sweetness (maybe some caramel), but not overly done; a little bit of hops, but overall a great balance between the two; similar to a Sam's Boston Lager with less hops though, a little thicker, and a little sweeter
Mouthfeel: medium bodied; goes down real well
Drinkability: good, could drink a few in a night

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark orange or amber brown with a head that leaves quickly. Lacing stays around on top and clings nicely. Smell is bready and malty. Taste is awesome! Clean and refreshing ale with a hint of hoppiness. This is a taste that I think many people would enjoy (ala Sweetwater 420). Feel is superb. Clean, refreshing, and tasty. The three headed combination I prefer. Overall I would gladly drink this again - one of the more superb sessionable craft beers I've enjoyed. Cheers!

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.
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