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
highlandbrewing.com

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:
1,439
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
19.69%
 
 
Wants:
40
Gots:
296
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 533 | Ratings: 1,439
Photo of DeaconsBrew
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very drinkable and food-friendly. This is a go-to red ale as it is now readily available in my area. Stirs up a craving for brats or sausage sandwiches. I keep this in a wine cooler at 50 degrees and the flavors and subtle complexities really come out at that temp.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful, fat-bubbled, deep-ruddy red-amber ale, I find myself unfortunately not as impressed with the remainder of this Highland flagship than I expected to be. It has a very mild, slightly malty odor, but that'd be forgivable if the flavors weren't also so excessively mild. Besides being a bit thin in texture, Gaelic Ale is quite lean on the flavors I expect from a well-crafted amber: the malting is clean, but doesn't do much to make its presence felt besides a bit bite on top of its moderately sweet substructure; and the overall impression is certainly a little less than the "rich malty body" promised on the label. Meanwhile, the hopping is nice, but largely straightforward: not a lot of fragrance or florality, with the Cascade and Willamette primarily serving to ripen the sweetness a bit with some grassy bitter notes.

It's a fairly drinkable beer—though I wouldn't quite call it "sessionable," despite its fairly light body, since the sweetness outweighs the crispness, respective to Gaelic's malt elements (and malt is the crucial component of an amber, as far as I'm concerned). But, as stated, it's a little disappointing, given that I've liked other products from Highland, and this is their ur-product. I've been told that on draft it better matches its promises, both in terms of official description and critical profile, but I suppose I'll believe that when I taste it; from the twelve-ounce bottle, it was decent, but underwhelming.

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Photo of JohnnyI
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

With a bearded bag-pipe player set against the mountainous backdrop of Asheville NC gracing the label, how can this lose? Filled on 10/7/14. The beer pours with a bright amber clarity, and a rocky manilla head. 2 fingers of foam recede, leaving lavish lacing on the glass. The nose is dominated by biscuity malts. Tart cider-like notes and piney hops battle for second fiddle. The flavor delivers caramel sweetness, and a buttery toffee that reminds me of an English ale. However, the tangy hop bite quickly takes over, washing away the malts and leaving only nice toasted grain in the finish. The mouthfeel is a tad watery, with tame carbonation, though it doesn't detract from the experience. This brew achieves a very respectable balance. A classic American Amber, true to the style. Nothing earth shattering, but a delightful and well-crafted treat from the Tarheel State.

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Photo of Harvest06
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very food friendly, well rounded amber ale with slight sweetness, medium body and dry bitter finish. Its less hoppy than many west coast amber ales but more hoppy than many east coast red ales.

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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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Photo of jman42
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Deep orange color with moderate head
Malty aroma typical of an amber
Nice taste but nothing stands out
Clean mouthfeel
Nothing outrageous stands out but I really like it. Could drink a bunch of these

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks, Darren.

A: An opaque bronze. An off-white one-finger head that dissipates fast. Filmy lacing.

S: Caramel, bourbon, leather.

T: A barrel of caramel with cherries. A nice malty base. Smooth, sweet. Chocolate enters the scene late with a peat-y finish.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. A dry finish.

O: A terrific ale, one I'd drink again.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into a mug. A gift from my cousin Joe, Thank you!
The beer pours a clear amber color with an eggshell white colored head that is creamy and sticky with clingy tightly packed lattice on the glass after each sip. Aroma is caramel with a bit of grainy malt. HInts of herbal hops in the background. Nose is not strong and it takes some pretty serious sniffing to get the scents right.
First sip reveals very fine and tingly carbonation. Average body and smooth texture make for a very drinkable brew.
Flavor is similar to the nose, with some grainy malt and a bit of toffee. Finish moves to hops with that same herbal almost tea leaf flavor coming through the sweet malt. No hints of any booze and the beer finishes clean with just a little lingering hop profile. A well balanced and highly drinkable brew. Well done.

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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 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 ordybill
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass
Aroma- Has a nice caramel and malt aroma.
Appearance- pours a murky copper color with a small off-white head.
Taste- Has a malt, hops and fruit flavor with little aftertaste.
Palate- A light to moderate bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Has a dry finish.
Overall- A better than average American Amber/ Red Ale. I would drink this again.

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

Highland Gaelic Ale has a relatively thick, cream-colored head, a mostly clear, bubbly, copper appearance, and good lacing left behind. The aroma is of slightly citrusy, caramel malt and bread crust, and the flavor is of sweet, syrupy, caramel malt, and pleasantly bitter hops. Mouthfeel is medium, and Highland Gaelic Ale finishes semi-dry and highly quaffable.

RJT

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Photo of marshmarsh
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

my first highland brew

a- mahogany with cream lacing

s - wood and yogurt? weird bt its what i smell

t - wood and hoppy
with a roasted creme bruoee aftertaste

m - moderately full

o - very complex with earthy roasted and perfect amount of hop notes

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Photo of droomyster
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mahogany body with dense, craggy head of tan foam with excellent retention and lacing. Aromas are very rich in toasty malts, earth, ether, and autumnal leaves. Extremely flavorful in ways that remind me of some oktoberfests: very malty and big on the toasty notes. Sweet toffee up front, toast and browned biscuits on the midpalate, before giving way to almost tea and bitter walnut skin-like flavors on the finish. I like this a lot and plan to make a part of my fall lineup.

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Photo of slym
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I tried this when I got a sampler-pack at the local market and really liked it. It pours a nice copper colour but isn't heavy in any way. A nice bread-y smell comes after the pour (weak head, small and fizzled fast with no lacing, though) and you get a nice maltiness, hops inthe background, but it tastes lighter than the colour suggests, I'd bet due to being more carbonated than most ales.

Overall, I really like this. I will definitely buy it again.

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Photo of peteanddaze
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I wanted to love this ale because Highland Oatmeal Porter and Stout are so so good, but I didn't prefer it at all. Having spent so many happy months drinking Scottish ales in Scotland, maybe I am spoiled. I just did not find this ale to be rich and tasty, but just very average. I will try it again at some point to be fair and to make sure I am not missing out on something really good.

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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 GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a vibrant, slightly hazy, amber-copper coloring with a low profile, clingy, filmy, off-white head. Aromas of toffee sweetness, caramel and nut sweet, roasted notes, and subtle earthy notes. Flavors are roasted and richly sweet forward, with toffee and caramel creating a tangy sweet blend. Hints of roasted notes, honey, wood, and thistle help round out the palate. The body is smooth and light, with a tangy sweet and roasted aftertaste. The finish is slick, smooth, with a sweet linger. Solid brew; well balanced and tasty.

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Photo of CarolinaCraft
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've moved to North Carolina a little over a year ago from Rhode Island and have been introduced to MANY great beers in and around the state. There are many different types that I like for many different reasons. While I am out on a mission trying the many craft beers in the state I keep finding myself coming back to this one. It is also a favorite of my wife as well and is kind of our go-to beer. It never fails in its consistency of great color,smooth malt taste and clean finish. This beer hits on all the marks for me.

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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 Foyle
4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 2" off white head with moderate lacing. Color is amber and slightly cloudy with moderate carbonation
Aroma: very pleasant aroma with biscuit and caramel malts plus a noticeable hop spice Mouthfeel: closer to medium than light body, finish is dry and refreshing.
Flavor: caramel, some citrus peel, whole wheat bread, a bit of raisin.
Overall: This is my favorite offering from Highland. Gaelic Ale to me is an outstanding beer. It is complex enough that it can taste quite malty or quite hoppy depending on what I am pairing it with. It is not too strong to be a session ale either.

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Photo of jbridge127
3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The name of this beer sounds like it's straight out of an Elder Scrolls game. A crystal clear red/brown color. Smells of strong wheat. Tastes sort of like a cross between an Amber and a Wheat ale. The aftertaste is quite pleasant unlike some other beers I've had. I personally Loved it!!! I am always impressed with Highland's creations!!! Prost!

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Photo of delta490
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep clear copper with a moderately creamy tan head. The head has great retention and leaves some nice lacing. The aroma is malty with some mild earthy hops. The taste is very similar. There aren't any notes that lend themselves to ID, but it it is still an enjoyable quaff. It is not as thick as other ales, but it does make it a little easier drinking. This ale comes off better than the sum of its parts

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Photo of TastyAdventure
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A - deep amber 1 finger head. Clear. Looks great

S- didn't send much time here but it's a great balance of malty and hop aromatics

T - big maltyness with mild caramel and smooth sweetness. Hops provide perfect balance, but more than just bittering balance. Williamette and cascade go great together. Flowers, spice, mild citrus. "Rounded"

M - it's a little watery, slick. Could be better, but makes it a nice session beer.

Session beer you say?? Yes! This is MY new favorite session beer. Grab me a six pack on the way to the party please!

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Photo of zimm421
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Appears a clear dark amber color, with a light off-white, nearly tan, head. The head disappears fairly quickly, but leaves great lacing.

The nose is pretty laid back, with a bit of toasted malt, caramel and a little citrus sneaking through. The taste is very similar, heavy with caramel and toastiness, a little nuttiness coming through as well. Malt forward, as expected, but nicely complex and pleasant.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, barely sticky on the back end, and has good carbonation levels. Overall, this is a good amber ale, with nice complexities and good flavor. Nothing blows me away here, however, and was hoping for a bit more.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 1,439 ratings.
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