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Highland Gaelic Ale | Highland Brewing

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BA SCORE
86
very good
535 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:
535
Ratings:
1,447
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
19.42%
 
 
Wants:
41
Gots:
298
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 535 | Ratings: 1,447
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.

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

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Rich amber coloring, head minimal but decent lacing. Not much carbonation apparent.

S: Strong malty notes coming from nose with a little English funkiness too.

T & M: Nicely balanced, not a malt bomb with the hop notes coming through. Nice crispness on finish, light to medium bodied.

D: Quite drinkable, a nice twist on the style.

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

Nice red color, clear and glowing. No head, no lacing. Nice color, but need more carbonation.

Biscuit notes in the aroma. Some caramel. Filled with malty sweetness.

Taste is similar to aroma, but malty sweetness is complimented by some hops bitterness. Not spectacular, but still pretty tasty. And very drinkable. I would make a good session beer for me.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber and is relatively clear. Sticky white head floats atop. Smells of toasted malt and smoked peat. I'm glad I knew to expect some hops, because they are definitely noticed. Thankfully, not overpowering (wouldn't fit the style). Caramel, smoked peat and other complex malts are upfront with the piney hops balancing nicely. The malt lingers longer than the hops.Flavor of iced tea as it warms, as well. Clocks in at 5.8% ABV.

I'd say this is more of an Amber Ale than it is a Scotch Ale. It's tasty, has good balance, and is on the hoppier side of the spectrum.

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

12 oz bottle.Poured a dark amber color with a moderate head, that quickly faded leaving a fine ring of lacing on the glass. Aroma is hoppy with muted malt. Taste is slightly sweet, with a slight bitterness on the tongue. It finishes clean, with just the right amount of carbonation. This is a good session beer. I could sit and drink alot of these easily. Thanks Loki!

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

12 oz bottle in a basic pub glass

Appearance: ruddy, copper brown with plenty of bubbles and a thin-to-near-naught white head. On the dark side of translucent.

Nose: Sweetish caramel roasted malt leads into mild hops.

Taste: Not unpleasant burnt-malt-with-hops sensation. A little on the sweet side but the bitterness comes through at the end. It's got "session beer" written all over it, if a bit on the strong side at 5.8%

Palate: Spritzy and fun. Pair with food for sure -- it will cut through all kinds of oil and fat and leave you refreshed.

Overall: A great flagship ale from a strong local brewery. Equally satisfying as a session beer and an all-around food companion. Perfect with pizza; try with other Italian fare as well!

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

Cloudy orange/brown with a dense foamy head. Leaves some lacing too. Nose is simple sweet malts and some alcohol. Taste is mild hops with molasses sweetness, some spice, and toasted malts at the end. Mouthfeel is good and drinkability is pretty good too.

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Photo of bum732
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: Some caramel malt, toasty, slight fruitiness, herbal.

L: Crystal clear amber, white head that dissipates.

T: Sweet, light caramel malt. Medium low herbal bitterness leading to an additional caramel maltiness with some hop flavor. Fairly clean and simple throughout.

M: Medium light body, medium carbonation.

Ok, a little above average all around, solid classic amber ale.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 12oz bottle like the one depicted. Served in a standard pint glass, it had a clear dark amber color, large random clots of carbonation, and a modest vanilla colored head that slowly imploded to leave a ring and light wispy lace.
The nose had a hearty caramel malt aroma, a touch of peat and a counter-march of herbal and sprucy hops notes. The toasted malt flavor lead things off, chased with a drizzling of toffee for a sweet start. Then a faint peaty smoke flavor came across. The finish had a building spruce-infused bitterness that clung to the tongue. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth, and a bit syrupy.
Overall, I had a bit of a tough time with this offering from Highland Brewing. I guess I've had other amber ales where the flavors have meshed better. Still, this isn't bad; just nothing all that exciting.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy dark amber color with a nice head that dissipates quickly. Nose includes flowers, toast, some citrus, and cooked veggies.

The flavor is slightly sweet and grainy with a nicely balanced hoppy zing. Primarily, the flavors I get are toast, marmalade, and a touch of citrus. The flavors don't really last though and the finish is a bit mild. Still, what flavors there are tend to be balanced and refreshing. There's also a sizeable punch of cascade hops. I used to homebrew and know cascade when I taste it (it was practically all I could get at the time). It's unmistakeable.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- nice clear reddish brown with a foamy buff head, good retention, some ok lace.

S- very toasty aroma with butterscotch, diacetyl, and an underlying nuttiness

T- toasty cereal grain flavor with some earthy hop bitterness

MF- medium body, medium carbonation, pretty standard.

D- easily drinkable, bought a single from a farmers market in NC.

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Photo of botham
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tasting glass. pours a rich aber/copper color with a half finger of eggshell colored head. good retention and lacings.

aroma is of rich caramel malts and lightly breaded malts with a bit of crystalized sugars. lightly sweet in the nose.

taste is of lots of caramel malts up front with a mildly sweet character along with a very light finish of residual malts, dark and a bit of bready malts.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly sticky on the palate. nice finish of sticky, lightly sweet caramel malts.

drinkability is decent, but it ends up a bit bland without any real character to call its own. just another amber beer without any redeeming qualities. drinks easily though.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If you like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, then you'll like this beer - both seemed nearly identical in appearance, smell, and taste. Gaelic Ale is a tad darker (a dark cooper) with a bit less head and lacing, and the scent was weaker. The taste is nicely balanced, with a light grapefruit flavor from the hops. A good beer, but nothing that stands out as exceptional.

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Photo of nickfl
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Two fingers of white head on an amber-brown body with good clarity. The head doesn't stick around long, but there is nice lace.

S - Moderately dark malt character with light caramel and a hint of toffee. Some slightly fruity yeast with light sulphur.

T - Rich, moderately sweet malt with notes of toasted grain and toffee. The flavor darkens towards the finish with some plum notes and increasing toffee character.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A reasonably drinkable, malty beer. There is very little hop character and while the beer remains balanced due to a surprising level of dryness. Unfortunately this robs the beer of complexity and causes the toasted malt character in the finish to become cloying.

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Photo of gerite
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Average one to two finger head with a thick cloudy copper color with good lacing throughout. Only the slightest bitterness with a smooth malt taste. Very little carbonation. The mouthfeel is full and robust with just a hint of hops. A very enjoyable well balanced beer that gets better with every sip.

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Photo of tmitch75
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with toasty head and some lacing.

Smell is malty with some nuttiness.

Toasty caramel & nut flavor with sweet malt with a slightly hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied & smooth.

A very tasty beer that I will definitely seek out next time I am in the region.

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Photo of soju6
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served a dep amber color with a nice head that fades to lacing.

S: Aroma of caramel, malt sweetness with a bit of citrus and pine.

T: Starts with a malty sweetness and some grain. There is some citrus that peeks through from time to time. There is a nice bitterness and a clean finish.

F:Medium body, smooth and somewhat creamy. Nicely balanced. Has nice character.

O: Goes down easy, good amber ale. Worth a try.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MuenchenerKindl for this one. It pours a cloudy amber color. The head is one inch in height, bright white in color, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma of caramel, toffee, and grapefruit. The taste is like the aroma, and very sweet. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, this is a decent beer, but it is nothing special.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a one finger head which disappates to skim with a small amount of lacing. The aroma has a nice caramel backbone with piney hops and dark fruits. The taste is of caramel malt and sweet malt for a backbone there are hints of dark fruits, the middle and back have a nice hop kick of piney and earthy hops to really round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated with a creamy finish. The drinkability is good, it is well balabced and a fairly easy drink. Its complex enough that it keeps u interested.

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Photo of beerinator
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish brown clear with ruby highlights. Nice tan head with lacy retention.

Aroma: Malty sweetness. There are notes of fruit and maybe a touch of maple syrup.

Tastes: This beer is very malty. There is not very much bitterness in this beer. The sweetness carries through the taste. The finish is a slight bit dry with touches of bitterness but overall the malty slight nutty flavor carries across the tongue.

Notes: Good body. Solid beer but not too outrageous or anything. Just very drinkable.

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Photo of mklinger
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. A very dark amber with a thin tan/orange tinted head that dissipated quickly but left decent lacing.

Aroma was extremely sweet with lots of caramel and a bit of citrus hops.

Flavor was nice -- lots of caramel sweetness combined with a good amount of bready Munich character. Solid bitterness to back it up. Nice beer.

Body was a bit thick with a good amount of carbonation gave this a very full mouthfeel. I thought this was a solid beer.

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Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 1,447 ratings.
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