Highland Gaelic Ale | Highland Brewing

BA SCORE
86
very good
1,468 Ratings
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:
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.

Hops: Chinook, Willamette and Cascade

32 IBU

Added by stirgy on 01-11-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,468
Reviews:
538
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
11.81%
 
 
Wants:
43
Gots:
314
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,468 |  Reviews: 538
Photo of dbrauneis
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark reddish amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate mahogany colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with light to moderate aromas of grassy + citrus/grapefruit pith hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel sweetness and just a hint of nuttiness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of grassy + citrus/grapefruit pith hops which impart a light to moderate amount of bitterness which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp with a hint of thinness/wateriness.

O: Easy to drink with the lower, well hidden alcohol and less filling so I could easily have a couple in a session. Well constructed, well balanced between the malts and the hops and not overly sweet like some others in the style.

 1,225 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice to look at, with dark amber color and decent head. Only a hint of malt but plenty of hops. Carbonation lasts well. Does have a nice beery smell when you sniff the glass, but not much nose as you sip and exhale.

Anemic malt with a hint of roasted flavors. Hops give very little to the aroma and leave a dishwatery aftertaste. I'm not sure what they're after with this beer. There are so many better amber ales, I can't believe this one should rate in the top 20.

 468 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark, reddish-brown body with an ivory-colored head.

Smell: There's a light caramel maltiness to the aroma as well as notes of flowers and citrus. Some spice in there, too.

Taste: Flavor of toasted grains with a soft caramel sweetness. Citrusy hops with a subtle spiciness. Mild bitterness on the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Highland's given us a pleasant, easy drinking amber, which is awfully decent of them.

 483 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.01/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful orange-bronze with a healthy dose of brick red. The cap is pale caramel in color, a perfect match for the beer beneath, and is firmly creamy with a multitude of surface bubbles and pits. There's no shortage of glass coverage either (several chubby rings eventually show up at mid-glass). Highland brews quality beer and their appearances, along with everything else, never fail to impress.

The nose is a little lacking, both in terms of power and in terms of personality. It's maltier than it is hoppy, with a brown sugary caramel malt presence and a subtle, spicy hoppiness. I get the sense that there's something good going on, but I need more to go on.

There's definitely no shortage of goodness where the flavor is concerned. I'm not a huge fan of Irish red ales, but this one is very much to my liking; possibly because it tastes exactly like what I think beer of this style should taste like. Toasted caramel malt still leads the way and puts me in mind of fruit marmalade and apple butter slathered brown bread toast. Dee-licious.

There's a fair amount of spicy, citric hop flavor without a lot of attendant hop bitterness. The hop bill is a 'should be impressive' combination of Chinook, Willamette and Cascade, but the brewers have apparently decided not to make their Irish red taste like an IPA. Can't say that I blame 'em. There are plenty of hops to go around, even though they defer to malt throughout the entirety of the mouthful.

The finish is gorgeously balanced and is much more extended than anticipated; the better to enjoy the wonderful flavor that much longer. Highland hasn't let me down yet when it comes to body/mouthfeel, and hasn't here. The mouthfeel is easily the equal of the flavor and is a perfect fit for it.

Gaelic Ale just might be the best Irish red that I've had yet and is another wonderful example of the brewing brilliance on display down in the Tar Heel State. This one is a keeper, but then these guys only brew keepers. Slainte!

 1,996 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured brown with 3+ fingers of tan head. Great lacing & above average head retention.

S: Bready with seet malt & a hint of maple syrup

T: Cakey with herbal & piney hops up front. Roasted malt comes to the fore as this warms along with grapefruitty & piney hops. Finishes with loads of caramel & earthy hops

MF: Medium-bodied with a little slickness & low carbonation

Drank really easy, colud session on this, no problem!

 434 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have heard about this brewery for a couple of years but have yet to find any their beers offered in New England. I found this one at a restaurant in Atlanta.

Traditional neutral amber color. Mild head with no specific lace.

The aroma most closely resembles warmed milk to me. I don't detect any specific malts or hops but it is overall appealing.

The taste is better than most. I particularly enjoy the balance. There's a solid (lighter) malt base with a pleasant hop counterpoint--not really bitter or biting. The body is okay, but the carbonation seems to be a little high.

 580 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber/reddish hue with a nice cream colored head. Smell was sweet caramel malts with a hint of a corn or grain in it. The taste was very much sugary malts with again a bit of a grain or earthy back to it. Very nice actually. This is very nicely carbonated and goes down smooth. A good beer from Highland, this could easily be an all night beer as it is light and tasty!

 383 characters

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

The beer is light orange, with a mild haze. The head is a finger or so thick, leaving a fair amount of lacing upon the glass. The nose brings malt, some sweet caramels, and some vanilla. The flavor is reminiscent of cream soda with some malt flavoring. I happen to like cream soda, but this isn't my favorite quality in a beer. The feel is creamy and smooth, with a growing sweetness. Not a repeat for me.

 443 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from limesmut and mikesgroove, thanks for the opportunity guys. Pours a deep amber color with a nice size dirty white head that stick around a bit and laces the glass all the way down. Aroma is caramel malty with some citrusy hops in there as well. I smell loads of caramel and some mineral in the background. Tastes malty, caramel and hops round it out nicely. Maybe a touch sweet. Mouthfeel is quite creamy, medium body that finishes quite dry but lingers with bitterness in the finish. Decent brew for an American amber, I'm not sure what makes it a Gaelic Ale though. There are better brews out there, but this one is pretty good, I'd drink one if it was offered to me.

 691 characters

Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of khaki head that fades leaving patchy lace on the glass. Rising bubbles maintain a film of lace.

The aroma is quite malty with a buttery diacetyl note and sweetness like toffee or caramel. A hint of cheesy quality with minerals or metallic aspects and earth.

The taste is malty sweet like caramel before giving way to some fruity hop/alcohol component. It is faintly raisony before getting a bit mineral filled with carbonic or sulfur qualities.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is an ok offering, that I could take it or leave it in the future but wolkd probably opt for the later.

 714 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of WoodBrew
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of AlexFields
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Photo of tdm168
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a nice copper-amber but no head. Nose is malty with mild hops and fruits. Taste is caramel malts up front with a nice fruity sweetness too. There is just enough hops in the finish to lend balance to this beer. Medium bodied and very smooth.

I think this is a very good beer. I come back to it again and again when I want something rich, balanced, and highly drinkable.

 403 characters

Photo of rolltide8425
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear brownish amber with a thinner creme head. Nose is apply malts. Real leafy robustness. Flavor is thick malts. Touch of sweet apple tones. Leafy and earthy character. Smooth and sweet, but robust and a nice profile. Smooth, slick liquid feel. Just a slightly lower carbonation on things. Very drinkable. This beer on cask would probably be great.

Thanks to michaeld23 for this one.

 394 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade.

Pours orange amber with a thin white bubbly head taht retreats into a ring, leaving spotted lacing.

The smell is of caramel with a light citric fruitiness.

The taste is of a maltiness of an Irish Red with a subtle fruity citric hop backing. Malty sweetness rounded by a bitterness in the finish. An Irish Red with an American hop twist - Interesting and tasty.

Lighter side of medium-bodied, with soft to medium carbonation, this is a well-balanced amber ale that is very quaffable.

 536 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color here is a dark ruby, but there is no head that I can report. Aroma is sweet and fruity. Malt is huge in this ale, hops have a small role, but still, the body is full, and the mouthfeel generous and tasty. Much more flavorful than other ales I've encountered recently. Worthy to associate itself with Irish reds. Thanks to Uglyradio.

 338 characters

Photo of BeerOps
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dvmin98
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Highland Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 1,468 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe