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Highland Gaelic Ale | Highland Brewing

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
531 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:
531
Ratings:
1,429
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
11.81%
 
 
Wants:
39
Gots:
288
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 531 | Ratings: 1,429
Photo of marvin213
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It's darker than I'd expect from a red--more brown than amber. A 1" head thins out to a still creamy-looking foam top. Lacing is impressive, but ultimately I'm put off by what I think is too dark a red, amber beer.

The smell is good and malty--guess that's why it's so dark, huh? I also smell the hops. Although I've been improving on my hop-type distinctions, I admit I can't distinguish Cascade from Willamette. I do acknowledge a complexity with the hop/malt balance.

It's a good beer. As I rate each of the characteristics here, I'm continually surprised by the maltiness of this beverage. I'm more familiar with Cascade hops...perhaps Willamette are significantly more subtle? Or maybe this beer just has a lot of malts. That makes it taste good, but I can't help but feel that this much malt is inappropriate for a red, amber ale. Are malts what make reds red? Maybe that's why the beer's so brown. Regardless, the beer basically tastes good--though in a complex way:)

Not a whole lot to the mouthfeel. Again the malts dominate and leave a sort of chocolatey taste on the palate, but I still feel that that's not what I'm supposed to get from a red ale. This beer is much different than other ambers--not that it's much better or much worse--it's like it's mislabeled. Still, it's not a stout. Maybe it's more like a dopplebock. Though I'm not sure what exactly it is in terms of style, it tastes good and the mouthfeel is better-than-average.

Drinkability is below average because the malts make this a relatively heavy amber ale. Not that I expect to drink reds on a hot summer day, but I don't expect reds to conjure up images of Willy Wonka. A good beer, but one of the first I've come across about which I've questioned the style.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours reddish amber, light white dollops of foam on top. Touches of lacing. Malty sweet. Caramel nose. Taste is the same, nicely balanced malt. Very light hop. Some residual bitterness. Some peat-iness too. Evenly carbomated.

Good beer.

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Photo of rangerred
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap.

Arrived a clear medium ruby with a thin layer of foam.

Smell was caramel malt with some hoppyness present. Also seemed to be a slight yeasty quality.

Taste was quite malty up front with caramel being a predominate flavor. A moderate hoppy bitterness soon took over and lasted through the finish.

A decent beer from highland but not really my favorite.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a nice true amber color, shades of copper, with a thin, one-finger cream-colored head on top, settling quickly into a soapy cap.

Nose is light, toasted caramel and a light dose of citrus hops underneath. Lightly fruity. Fairly restrained.

Taste is mellow - lightly toasty with a kiss of caramel, healthy tingle of slightly dank grapefruit. Finish is fruity, light bitterness, delicately balanced and eminently drinkable.

Mouthfeel is very middle of the road - medium in body, light in carbonation, moderately long finish.

Nice beer - balanced for pretty much any season, tasty and well made.

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Photo of bbeane
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a weak head that is gone in no time. Beer is a nice reddish amber color with some mild activity

S- Has a nice malty aroma, caramel, toffee, and some mild hoppy notes coming through

T- Caramel, toffee, slightly bready with some hinting hop flavor coming through. All the flavor ends kind of abruptly though. Where your hoping there a bit of bite in the finish, it just ends

M- Light carbonation, little slick... medium body

O- I'm starting to think it's hard to not make a decent amber ale. Almost every one that I've ever tasted had nice flavor and was a relatively worthwhile session beer... as is this one

CHEERS!!

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Photo of Agold
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice caramel color with a short white head that recedes to a bit more than a film. Leaves a bit of lacing, but not much. Very nice looking. Aroma is nice, biscuit, a bit of caramel, and some floral hops. Flavor is a bit nutty, mildly bitter, nice earthy, floral hops, very mild cocoa, but nothing outstanding. Good beer though. Mouthfeel is light with good carbonation, could be a bit fuller, but not complaining. Overall, nice beer. Really easy drinking and refreshing.

 487 characters

Photo of Prospero
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice deep amber color, almost ruby. The head is about 2-3 fingers but doesn't linger long with traces of lace. The nose is full of floral aroma and sweet like honey. This is where the Cascade and Williamette do wonders for the aroma of a beer. The taste was on the upper bitter end for an amber, but it while I thought it was well balanced with the malts, the bitterness lingered a little too long. A tiny hint of earthiness, spice and fruit came through in the taste making it a nice light-bodied, flavorful, semi-sweet amber with character. I'd say while it's drinkable for me, it may be a little complex for those seeking a session. But if you're looking for a unique amber, definitely give this beer a try.

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Photo of branimal9
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my GF at Barley's Greenville 5/17/2010.

Reddish gold in color. Smells slightly malt-sweet with a kiss of hops. Toffee & floral hop bitterness in the taste. Finishes slighly dry. A nice, sessionable amber ale, and one of Highland's flagship beers.

 266 characters

Photo of PEBKAC
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard drive data scraping is well worth the money, let me tell you. Priceless family photos, rebates & receipts, insurance forms, music, nah... kb after kb of old beer reviews. That's what it's all about. :D

Thanks to bboven, whether these beers sit well with me or not.

Rounded pint glass. Unusual, lop-sided, dough-colored milky head. Uniform lacing over a dirty amber, chill-hazed, iced tea-like body.

Caramel & spicy/tangy orange hop notes. A little dry bread crust & heavier then expected alcohol.

Taste isn't as big as the nose suggests. Slightly resinous/rindy hops, honestly in balance with the doughy malty. A lingering spicy citrus sizzles along with the enthusiastic carbonation. Astringency is at a minimum.

Easy.

 730 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clean copper color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweet maltiness and balanced with a small hop. In the taste, a dryer malt, and almost a bit peet like. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry maltiness in the aftertaste. A ballsy ale, feels big, a nice flavor for a ale.

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Photo of Hopswagger
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Clear amber brewed tea appearance with minimal khaki head. A foamy halo rest on top leaving the occasional leg of lace behind.

S: Toasted italian herb and cheese Subway bread, toasted caramel and orange juice and bitter orange peel.

T/M: Toasted caramel, bready malt, orange peel and spicy pippali pepper. Finishes dry with lemon zest and toast. Prickly moderate body. Once the beer warns it starts to have a metallic aftertaste to it. It's not bad but does throw it off a bit.

O: Well balance and simple. An easy drinking ale to throw back after a long day of work. The spicy kick at the end really makes this. Without it I think it would be dull.

 657 characters

Photo of BuzzLitebier
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer had a nice dark red/caramel color and malty nose, but it surprisingly didn't have the taste to back it up. It was also on the thin side for me. It wasn't what I expected based on what I had heard about it, but it would still make a nice session beer nonetheless.

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Photo of denver10
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%

Pours amber with a nice off white head. Aroma is caramel and toasty, grapefruit, a little floral, and pine. Flavor follows suit with a nice balance between malt and hops. Smooth and sessionable, especially for an amber ale. A crisp, active mouthfeel. Overall, my into to Highland and I am very pleased seems to veer the line between what I consider an amber and red (in a good way). Will have to check out some of their other stuff, especially their oatmeal porter.

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Photo of mscudder
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A rough ruby hue with a tan head. Decent retention.

S - Heavy on the sweet biscuit. Some floral notes and a touch of caramel.

T - It is clear this is a beer based on a caramel malt. I feel the malts dominate the traditional red ale flavors: biscuit, toffee and some sweet floral hops. Interesting for sure!

M - Medium bodied but a sufficient amount of carbonation to set off the hops. The caramel makes it a tad chewy, which bumps this up to a above average.

O - This is not a bad beer, but I have seen all the elements which compose it in great lights. Not quite the beer for me, I prefer an amber from Bell's or perhaps even Smutty.

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Photo of JayAre46
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to louisb for this extra. pours a brilliant transparent amber with some ruby hues very striking color. the head is white and produced one finger from the pour and quickly fell but shows great retention. the aroma is very subtle of apple covered carmel, grain minimal hops and some toasted aspects. maybe some cinnamon spice as well. the taste has that same apple covered caramel to it then goes into sweet spice and malt character with a touch of hops with almost no bitterness. alcohol is not present. the mouth feel is medium, very clean with a moderate amount of carbonation and is refreshing. overall this is well made brew lacking the hops or it could be outdated, no date found. anyway i would look at this as a gateway craft brew for individuals wanting to get their feet wet. thanks again louis

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Photo of Norfawkers
3.59/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A servicable scottish-american beer with a strong finish.

Appearance: An reddish-amber with an ample head and a decent lacing

Smell: Nearly non-existant

Taste: Slight smokey malt flavor with a hint of bitterness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Overall smoothness with an extended malty finish

Drinkability: Smooth enough for a meal and quite versatile. Try it with a haggis or some neeps and tatties...it's a spot on scottish ale.

 428 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark crimson with a smallish eggshell head. Nice lacing, little retention. Smells hoppy and a little bit like fig. I'm miffed on the fig but it smells good. Nice hop to malt balance here with the fruity malt coming out slightly ahead. Grassy in it's texture and body. Nice little citrus hop burn in the finish. Solid, yet different amber.

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Photo of nocheinsbitte
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had this bier from a 12-oz bottle.

A: Pour a beautiful amber color that is a shade darker than a fest bier and not quite as dark as a stout. Nice head that lasts a good amount of time; good lacing.
S: unassuming, caramel smell that is not overpowering at all. Maybe they don't want to take away from the taste.
T: Malty, caramelish with good carbonation. Not as crisp as I thought or would like, but not bad. No after taste, a little watery.
M: When you combine no bad odor with a creamy caramel taste, it is good.
D: I could have a couple of these, but that is all.

Overall, a good bier but not a great one. I do recommend it; do yourself a favor and try this bier. Prosit!

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Mellow Mushroom in Durham;

The draft version of this beer arrives with a clear garnet body alive with numerous trickles of active carbonation capped with a thin white head that leaves a little lacing. The drink smells and tastes much sweeter and spicier than the bottled version, with less carbonation and a stickier mouthfeel. A little slick and sticky. I preferred it in the bottle, where it seemed less sweet and much hoppier.

 440 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this one on tap at Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub. It was served in a standard pint, the beer is a rusty/brown in color. There is minimum beige head. It has nice sticky lacing.

The beer has a nose of brown sugar and grains.

It is slightly sweet with nutty notes. This is a bit of brown sugar cookie of a beer.

The mouth is slick and well suited to the beer. It is an easy enough drinker, served a bit to cold but it improved as it warms.

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Photo of beergod1
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful deep dark red color with medium foamy tan head. Aroma is very caramel sweet with a touch of citrusy hops. Flavor to me is lacking, of course I was told it was a Brown Ale, and I didn't believe him, so the Hops now make sense, now that I see it's a Red ale. some sweet caramel, some bitter hoppiness, but nothing that really stands out. Overall, not bad, but I'm glad I didn't pull the trigger and trade for these 5 different Highlander beers I just got for free from a friend.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light red/ruby tinted body with one-finger head and some lace. A mild sweet malt smell along with minor hop notes. Medium-bodied although it straddles being light-bodied, the malt notes and hops are subdued for a light, sweet sensation that gives the tongue a minor prick on the backbite. Caramel malts and citric hops are present but nothing overpowering. An alright red that I could have again.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What an interesting concept - an Irish Red Ale made with Pacific Northwest hops. The brew pours a beautiful amber red with a thinish off-white head. Very little lacing after the head dies off to a thin white ring.

The nose is very Red Ale - plenty of fruit notes and distinctive yeast note reminiscent of my favorite English Pale Ales. Taste is the same - lots of deep rich malty notes, some plum and apricot and a bit of that yeasty 'twang'. Surprisingly, even though the brewer goes out of their way to point out the Chinook, Willamette and Cascade hops, they're really not that evident in this brew. Yes, it's certainly not a Fuggle / Golding blend but they've gone light enough on the hops that it's hard to tell just what they've used.

Mouthfeel is to style - not much bittering on the back end, low carbonation on a medium bodied brew, light oily coating on the palate with each finish.

All in all a drinkable brew - the folk at Highland have done a very nice job of using the proper yeast and feeding it the proper malts to get a very authentic Irish Red body. They deviate from the style by using PNW hops but seemingly don't have the guts to fully commit by really hopping it up. Still, I'd drink it again anytime...

[Thanks to mntlover for sending me this Asheville gem]

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Photo of jonziefle
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a clear copper colored amber. One finger head with little retention. Visible carbonation. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Fragrance sweet and juicy hops, with a mild malt backing. Sweet citrus and cherry. Very fruity smelling (in a good way).

Taste: Definitely more malts in the taste than in the nose. Sweet citrus (grapefruit) hops with a strong backing of roasted malts. Very simple in taste, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth. Slightly filling.

Drinkability: A good solid amber ale. More hops in the nose than usual, but the taste is well balanced between hops and malts. A quality offering.

Buy Again? Yes

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice amber color with a slight haze. There isn’t a lot of head and no lacing. The smell was caramel and malty with a hoppy freshness. The taste is malty with a nice hop balance. The mouthfeel is full without being heavy. The carbonation is noticeable. This is a smooth beer which is quite drinkable.

 319 characters

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 531 ratings.
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