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:
293
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 533 | Ratings: 1,435
Photo of 0tt0
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, reddish amber with an creamy off-white head. Nose is of caramel and bread with a light honey-like sweetness faintly in the background. Flavor is remarkably balanced: Caramely, rich malts dominate with a nice hop tingle. The hops, however, don't get lost at all. The finish is long and lingering.

The real star of the show, though, is the mouthfeel. Its medium-full and creamy and pushes what is clearly a good beer into another realm. Terrific on a cool fall evening.

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Photo of IceTrey9785
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a six-pack for $8.49 -- a beer from my native area? Why not?

A: I poured the ale into a standard English pub glass, light carbonation, and good lacing. A nice, creamy, froth remains on the top of the brew, but not as overwhelming as a Smithick's, for example.

S: Sweet caramel malts, perhaps a little dried fruit like raisins or prunes, but there is a noticeable hop bitterness, once you get past the sweet malt. I keep thinking of candy apples with this one.

T&M: Wonderful taste -- almost a weak coffee finish, preceded by caramel and toffee on the mid-palate. Some spice like nutmeg or brown sugar is also present. As the ale warms, there is a very distinct nutty finish, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Creamy texture, but relatively light to medium body. This is a great red ale for summer, just enough malty character, laced with fresh hops (rather faint), and superb drinkability.

I really like this beer. It is simple, smooth, and has some character, but I have to admit I'm not blown away. I think either the addition of more intense hops, or malt (or both) would really allow this ale to stand out. If you're looking for something other than a Yuengling on a hot day, this would be a nice alternative. I'd love to see the difference on-tap. Fantastic house ale...

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Photo of ThePopper
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful, dark copper color; nice foamy head.

S: Malt notes, with a whiff of pine.

T: An amber-style ale with nice caramel and malt notes, very subtle hops, and tones of vanilla and sassafras.

M: Rich and smooth.

O: A very drinkable, high-quality ale, with more malt complexity and full flavors than a pale ale. On par with the very best ambers – highly recommended.

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Photo of dmbsteve
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a one finger off-white head that quickly dissipated to a thin layer. Left decent lacing.

Smell is malty - sweet and bready. Not much hop aroma, although both my nose and taste could have been a bit off after drinking a couple of hoppy IPA's earlier in the session.

Taste is, again very malty. A sweet tinge stays on the tongue for a while. Small amount of bittering hops. I had actually thought this was a scotch ale because of the malt character (and the name), until I looked it up on AB. Either way, it tastes good.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side which is strange. I expected more body in a malty brew like this. However, it was served in a cold mug so that probably attributed to the lighter perceived body.

Overall a tasty and very sessionable beer from what I think is one of the Southeast's better craft breweries.

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Photo of Schwarzwald
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer on tap. I have had the bottle as well and it's not so good. I really like a cold tap though. Great with pizza and the taste can hold up to rich food. It has a great orange-rust color with a lot of bitey carbonation. Give it a try on tap... a lot better than the bottle.

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Photo of mbrown26
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Was drinking from a bottle, so impossible to tell. Going to have to get a six pack soon and edit my review.

S: From the bottle there were a lot of malty notes.

T: Tasted very nice with a nutty taste that a nice hop bitterness at the end. I'm not a hop guy, but this one wasn't overpowering at all. Had a nice balance. A quality product.

M: Carbonation was just right.

D: Easy to drink and well worth it when you can find it. Fortunately, I'm in Asheville, and this one is an easy find for me.

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Photo of knm
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured hard into a chilled glass, minimal head. Good carbonation, color of light amber with no cloudiness.
Smells of cider or something almost musty, but leaves you wanting another wiff.
Very strong aged taste with yeast and ginger after thoughts. I can't get enough, somewhat dry, but totally drinkable. Good beer..Looks like NC does it right! Thank you CBlack85

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Photo of PierceMyers
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It produced a small head and wasn't very carbonated. The color is a great clear red however, which makes for a solid appearance.

It was served colder than recommended which altered the initial flavor of the beer. Once it warmed up some I could really taste its finer notes which I could best describe as woody and caramel(ly). The amber aroma got stronger as well.

The mouthfeel got better as it warmed, but it seemed to run over the palate without wanting to stick around. The last couple ounces were very enjoyable, however, enough to make me alter my initial ratings.

The beer has a very great combination of flavoring and drinkability. The aroma is nice and the tones are solid as well. I didn't see to much of the bite that I read about, and a little more carbonation would have been nice. All around, I will buy it again. And make sure to serve it around 45 degrees!

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Photo of holtonwes
4.63/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Pours a lovely transparent dark amber with an offwhite head with fairly good retention and lacing
Smell: bready, nutty, hints of caramel, some raisin or fig
Taste: Same as smell, a little bit of hoppiness in the middle, but a lovely malty caramel finish
Feel: Smooth and velvety
Overall: one of my favorite beers, and growing up around Asheville, one of my favorite beers. Tastes like home!

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Photo of dubman003
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an excellent beer, but if Highland's Oatmeal Porter and Gaelic Ale were both available, I'd definitely do the porter. The Ale is not thick as a porter, obviously, but it has hints of the porter taste--a porter light, perhaps.

Even though the "style" is irish red ale, the gaelic is on another level of red ale excellence. It's distinct and should be the first thing you order when it's on the menu. Enjoy.

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Photo of cjl1209
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"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." Website says Chinook hops too.

A - Medium brown/cola color with a very small tan head. Surprisingly nice lacing considering the lame head.

S - Intense floral scent with light malt notes

T - Finely balanced just like advertised. On the tongue expect plenty of roasted malts while giving a good mouth swirl will yield a nice hoppy bitter characteristic. Bitterness lingers after you swallow and the malt flavor returns.

M - Smooth with light carbonation. Not exactly creamy but a bit heavier than expected.

D - This brew is easy drinking. However I could see the hops being a bit much after several of theses if you're not a fan of bitterness.

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Photo of wmthorne
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A gift brew from a friend moving to Asheville. Great gift

Poured into a chilled mug. Pours a very rich amber color with little head. Nice lacing.

Very light carbonation in the mouthfeel. I taste caramel immediately.

This is quite a drinkable beer. The label mentions "hop bitterness" but I really don't get that until much later in the aftertaste.

This would be a great fall brew on a crisp morning sitting and setting up at a tailgate.

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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 dataskatt
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my favorite American Amber/Red Ale so far. It pours a rich reddish brown with a generous head. This beer is wonderfully malty and creamy, with enough hops to balance it nicely. It is full flavored and rich, but not overly heavy. The smell is very malty with hints of caramel and nut. A very balanced red ale.

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Photo of tctruffin
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a rather limited cream colored head that disappated quickly. Not too much aroma; just a slight cascade hop presence. Taste is where this ale shines. Got some roasty caramel notes from the malt with earthy citrus hops on top. The Gaelic does a good job of unifying these disparate flavors. In the mouth, it's a bit stickier than called for, but that doesn't make any less drinkable.

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Photo of rockyfire
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer at the Lighthouse in Wrightsville.This beer is clear in body. Amber and Red in color. Off-white head is ok and pops butt does not last long. Big malt in aroma backed up by s light citric flavour. I wonder what hops they use. Flavor is malt with moderate hopping. Not a bad North Carolina beer.

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Photo of DesertRat
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Personal preference, but the malt starts too strong. It finishes very well and the aftertaste is great. For a red ale, it is above average and is definitely enjoyable. I feel like the carbonation is high, similar to a pils, but not overwhelming. Definitely a beer worth buying. Pair it with a cabbage based meal and see if you turn green.

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Photo of xybreeder
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very nice amber/orange color, little to no head with slight lacing.

S - Honey, caramel, slight hop aroma, but mostly malt aromas.

T - Malt on the front, hops on the back, slight bitterness lingers. Caramel and grapefruit seem to dominate the flavor profile. Very nice & balanced tasty brew.

M - Medium body, carbonation seems good despite the missing head.

O - A nicely balanced brew, that is very drinkable. Could use just a little less bitterness on the back-end, besides that, it's a fine tasting brew!

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Photo of introvertedone
4.57/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Gaelic Ale was presented to me at the Grey Eagle when it was in Black Mountain, NC in '95 or so. Since then it's been a long time love affair.

I've had this fine ale both from the tap and from the bottle. While I love them both I prefer the tap. It's a beautiful beer in appearance, aroma and taste. This would definitely be my everyday beer if I didn't enjoy trying out fine new brews.

The fine folks at Highland Brewing Company have a fine line of brews with this one being my favorite.

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Photo of ShawnMN
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm from Louisiana , a really close friend brought me a party pack of the Highland brewing company. I enjoyed this, for an amber/red ale. I have a dark beer preference but enjoy a refreshing caramel malty lighter beer with good body on occasion. It was right on

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Photo of jimsimply
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark amber with a small, taupe head.

S: Light caramel notes, little hop aroma.

T/MF: Balanced for the style. I had had two chewier beers earlier in the day, so it felt light in my mouth. Fits style, but left me feeling less than happy. Carbonation not overpowering, but pleasant.

D: Easy drinking ale.

I'm a fan of Highland, but this isn't my favorite of their offerings. Still, not bad.

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Photo of FungusBrewer
4.61/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Crisp and cool with a hop bite under the kilt. I'd sell my soul to the Blarney Stone to drink this brew above the fog--Spitting on Long-shanks while picking breakfast Haggis out of my dentures.

Smell: Sweet malt, nutty, clean.

Taste: Incredibly drinkable and well balanced. Light malt sweetness up front followed by an extremely pleasant hop aftertaste. Bright and clean flavors unadulterated by any heavy bread like notes, or unpleasant astringency. Stable from start to finish.

Appearance: Reddish-copper almost carnelian in color; clear with no haze. Medium head, medium carbonation.

It only took one Gaelic Ale before organizing a small militia amongst my neighbors to fight against big beer and praise craft brew FFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM!!!

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Photo of Dudeletter
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Amber love and southern addiction is the Highland Brewery. Their beer is from Asheville, NC and the locality promises the freshness of the sample. The beer is on the hoppy end of the spectrum, but the mellowness of a well crafted amber permeates through the hopped nature of the beer. The beer’s cascade hops add a citrus freshness to add punctuation to the malty caramel taste. The carbonation adds a baked bread, almost a toasted desert bread scent to the nose of this wonderful beer.

http://www.dudeletter.com/?p=1000

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Photo of malvrich
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Stella glass
bottled July 15, 2014
ABV is actually 5.6%
A: Hazy copper/amber color with a tight beige head some of which refused to pour out of the bottle. Head lasts a few minutes with nice lacing. Fair clarity.

S: Mostly getting caramel and toast.

T: Fruit. Nuts. Orange zest and burnt toast. The sweetness from the smell is thankfully absent.
Delicious.

M: Lighter bodied perhaps, than it looks. Refreshing with zippy carbonation.Dry tart finish leaves you wanting more.

O: This is very good amber ale. Maybe the best I can think of. Highland has a hit and at $8/6 it's a no brainer! Extremely good.

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

12 oz. bottle Pint glass
Apearance: Nice amber color with a quickly fading light tannish head
Aroma:Sweet malt and Caramel with some hop spicyness
Taste:I thought this was a scotch ale, the maltiness was dominate the hops drys up some of the sweetness but I didnt notice a big
PNW hop profile .
Drinkabilty: heck yea get you some!I think its a great amber that should appeal to most beer lovers

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