Highland Tasgall Ale | Highland Brewing

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Highland Tasgall AleHighland Tasgall Ale
Highland Tasgall AleHighland Tasgall Ale

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 182
Photo of Jadjunk
3.81/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"A scotch-style Ale named from Norse mythology, combines the heritage and tartan of our brew team. The roasted barley and chocolate malt lend a bold flavor to this delicious dark beer. The increased hop level is a modest departure from a true Scotch-style Ale and we hope that you agree - this is a beer worthy of the name Tasgall, "Cauldron of the Gods". Brewed in the style of a Wee-Heavy Scotch Ale. This beer was previously brewed in the fall by Highland and available in 22 oz. bomber and draft formats, but seems to have been put on indefinite hiatus.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Highland pint glass. Served above 52º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy, crisp tan-white head over a deep hazy medium brown body, very dense. Carbonation is sporadic and light. Retention is average at best, and lacing is spotty and thin. 3

(Smell) Medium roasted malts, light molasses, unsweetened cocoa, licorice and toasted nuts make up the build of the aroma, fairly well-preserved if this beer just happens to be 2+ years old. Hops have faded if they were ever present to begin with. A bit of thin alcohol is detectable but hardly a distraction from the remaining aroma. Overall the aroma is smooth and favorable. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Tasty molasses with a hint of biscuit and light roasty malt, peat smoke and licorice up front. Sweetness is modest and doesn't overwhelm the palate, any imperfections due to the age of this beer are virtually imperceivable. A dash of char and smoke linger in the finish. Sessionable and flavorful. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is mildly viscous, smooth and smoky. Carbonation adds some smooth silky frothiness, keeping the texture simple and enjoyable. Body is medium for a Scotch Ale and medium+ overall. Alcohol presence is moderate. 3.75

(Overall) It's truly a shame that I haven't seen or heard from this beer since I stumbled upon a single 22 oz. bottle of it about a year ago, and all mentions of it have been removed from Highland's website upon the latest changes. A fairly sessionable Scotch Ale that undoubtedly would harness more flavor benefits at a fresher age, but plays fair with the peat smoke and roast flavors. A highly quaffable and reputable Scotch Ale if there ever was one. I await its humble return. 3.75

Highland Brewing Company's
Tasgall Ale

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Photo of Chaney
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of this style. However, this one gets good reviews and is currently #17 here on BA.

I picked this up at an awesome liquor store while on vacation a few months ago right outside of Nashville, TN.

Served in an Olde Hickory shaped-glass.

A: Poured a moderately brown, yet cloudy color, with only a slight, whispy head that was basically just a mere ring around the brew.

S: Not the sweet, sugar bomb I was thinking this might be. Pleasant surprise for sure. Understated, yet I could still tell this was a Wee Heavy. Caramely and malty.... yes!

T: I totally dug that this was a hoppier example of the style. I got that right away. Actually, I could almost detect a pale ale or amber imbedded in the caramel malt bomb.

M: Not too sugary at all. Bright and refreshing... which is not something I usually use to describe a Wee Heavy. No lacing left of the glass whatsoever.

O: I was actually dreading reviewing this one and was putting off doing so. Can't imagine why.... This is a very nice beer.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dull hazy brown with a sticky tan head and a decent lacing. No dating on the bottle.

S: Aroma of butterscotch, roasted brown malt, some sweetness, and raisin.

T: Wow, a very robust scotch ale, more than I was expecting. There are a lot of BOLD flavors coming out of here, coffee, bitter earthy hop profiles, rich malty kicks and a biscuity whole wheat honey bread loaf mixed with rye and some gingerbread.
There is a weird medicinal taste to this as well that I have had before in a friends homebrew. I don't know if it is from a delayed fermentation or too hot? This is pretty smooth except for a sharp cloying finish that is what I think to be an off flavor.

M: Medium body, high carbonation.

O: Definitely worth a shot, one of my favorite style beers, and I have had this sitting in a fridge for about 6 months now waiting.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 8/12/11; split with MbpBugeye

Thanks to PDXHops

Pours a flat brown and settles dark with about a 1/3rd inch head. The foam skims out quickly. A few spots of lace.

Pretty nice aroma - lots of smooth malts. Caramel, butter toffee, sweet bread and a hint or two of raisin. A bit earthy on the peripheries, too. The hop profile is minimal, at least in the nose. It has a bit of an earthy hoppy flavor though. Simple, yet tasty. Bread, raisins and a touch of caramel. Medium-full body. Moderate carbonation; lively enough. The only downside is that it has a coating feel.

Overall impression - really nice beer all the way around. Definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

really pumped for this one...always a fan of a good scotch and have heard good things about this one.

a - opened the bottle and filled capt lawrence taster tulip. really nice deep plum. great shine and the head built to be about a finger of off tan. beer has a darker heart than the outskirts. really attractive, classic looking.

s - purple grape malts. plums and barley. crisp. fresh grape juice. soft and timid.

t - slam in the face with barley, grape, malts, finishing with grass. malty caramel. little watery. pretty earthy almost like an esb.

m - full and leaves a tea-like after feel.

o - overall, not bad. i had higher expectations based on what i had heard. i felt that it was a little watery. it was good, but there are many better scotches out there.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two fingers of tan head, creamy, lasting. Body is a hazy dark brown. Laces decently, too.

Smell is malt, some nut character.

Taste explodes with semi-bitter malt-- roasty, nutty (bitter hazelnut?), with some slight cocoa nuance. Not quite Skullsplitter, but similar take on the style. Trace of peat in the aftertaste.

Nice rich creamy mouthfeel.

Solid Scotch style, another winner from Highland.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.42/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Ryan011235

The color is a neutral red-brown with hints of purple. The head is short with not much lacing.

Caramel and lots of butterscotch. There is a lot of cocoa powder as well. A little hint of chocolate and coffee roast. Some grassy hops.

Grainy. Some toffee, some butterscotch and some dark cocoa. Grassy hops on the back.

The body is on the heavy side of medium. Carbonation could be toned back a little.

A decent Wee Heavy. Its got a lot of maltiness, which is good. I think the richness and fruitness could be pushed.

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Photo of PDXHops
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. Such a deep shade of amber you could just almost call it brown. The dense beige head hangs around for quite a while and leaves intricate patchy lacing up near the top of the glass.

Robust malty nose that surprises with pronounced chocolate character. Semisweet morsels and cocoa powder are rather strong. Tastes more or less as advertised. You’re unlikely to find a more roasty/chocolatey Scotch ale than this. Sure, there’s a ton of caramel malt, but I could see guessing a big stout or imperial porter in a blind tasting. Medium thickish bodied with a level of carbonation that somewhat cleanses the palate, but doesn't interrupt the lingering roasted and caramel finish. A surprising and satisfying beer that’s well worth seeking out.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Grant. Thanks again. Poured into a tulip. This one pours brown with a finger of slightly off white head. It settles with just a thin rim of lace.

Rich cocoa in the aroma with a little bit of a plumb aroma in the background. Nice caramel aroma rounds this one out. Light coffee flavors with a wheat bread kind of malt character to it. Caramel and some dark fruits sum up the pallet.

The body is a bit thin here but the carbonation is where it should be. Seems to linger on the palelt a bit though. Overall a well made beer and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.12/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ben for sharing! Poured into a goblet. Nice very dark color that appears black. There is a nice tan head that is enough to barely cover the body of the brew. Adequate lacing.

There is a nice caramelly malty aroma tha has just a touch of burnt aroma to it.

The taste is all malt and sweet caramel. There isn't much balance here; this is a sweet, slow sipper. Very tasty. There is a slight roasty after taste.

The body is medium to thick and has a nice carbonation to it that isn't over-powering.

This is tasty, nothing too special but well worth drinking for fans of the sweet sippers.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: brown tinted, single finger head. Murky, very dark with little light passing through.

S: a subtley sweet and earthy aroma.

T: very mild sweet start with roasty finishing taste. Musky and caramel notes.

M: thick,mild carbonation. Initially smooth with crisp finish.

O: Very drinkable for a Scotish ale.

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Photo of cbeer88
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a 20 oz imperial nonic. Thanks commis!

Appearance: Deep reddish brown. Thin caramel tinted white head, about a half finger. Nice lacing.

Smell: Brown sugar, roasted malts, and chocolate.

Taste: Chocolate, lots of caramel, roasted malts. Very malty, and very sweet, but there are some bitter hops in there too. Decent kick of alcohol in the flavor. Bold and complex flavors abound - nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, medium carb. Smooth and creamy. Generally pleasant.

Drinkability: Not bad - it's 8%, which is right on point for the style, so you probably don't want more than one bomber of this in a sitting. Otherwise it goes down easy, but the alcohol reminds you that it's there.

Overall: This is a really good Wee Heavy. It's a widely made style with lots of boring bottles out there, but this guy stood out a bit from the pack. Worth seeking out if you're a fan of the style, or happen to be in the area.

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Photo of BirdsandHops
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown with reddish tints and two fingers of beige head that recedes into a thin cap with some decent lacing.

S: Caramel and vanilla at first followed by bubblegum and even a slight pineapple aroma. The finish has a touch a bready aroma with a touch of an alcohol smell.

T: Smooth, sweet caramel and vanilla followed by a slightly bitter yeast and bread flavor. The hops provide a little citrus and bitterness, but not much. Slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer manages to be sweet but not sticky or cloyingly so. It's nice and creamy instead and doesn't leave a sugary coating in my mouth. Very nice.

O: I have to say, this is probably the best beer I've had from Highland. I'm generally not a fan of them, but as Scotch ales go, this is quite good. It manages to avoid being a syrupy sweet mess like many, but is smooth, creamy, and sweet but not too much so.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my recently purchased Highlands pint glass.

4.5 A: Clear deep amber brown color. Two fingers of tan creamy/frothy head with very good retention and a good amount of lacing. Good here.

4.5 S: Grainy malts with ample amounts of caramel and toffee. A decent toastiness with some roastiness and hints of chocolate. Lastly, the thing that sets this apart is a pleasant herbalness. I'm not sure what heather smells like, but I think this might be it.

3.5 T: Taste is good, but it really doesn't compare to the appearance or nose. Lots of toastiness with a strangely noticeable burnt flavor. Grainy and bready malts. Again a good amount of toffee and caramel, but not much sweetness overall, at least not for the style. Also a reasonably noticeable bitterness. Whether this comes mainly from the hops or the roasted malts is up for question.

3.5 M: Medium to heavier medium body. A bit lighter than I like for the style. Good moderate carbonation. Could be creamier, but good smoothness.

3.5 D: Not a bad beer, but I expected this style to be perfected by THIS brewery. Anyway, worth a drink if you stumble upon it.

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Photo of haddon
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark cola color with a brown frothy head. lots of carbonation bubbles released throughout the glass. very traditional looking scotch ale.

smells sweet with malts: caramel, cola syrup, butterscotch & brown sugar.

tastes of caramel, smokey wood, dark chocolate and a nice lingering bitter aftertaste. very unique to catch the hop character in a wee heavy. start to feel the warmth of the alcohol as it comes to room temp. very nice.

full body. creamy and thick feel. good amount of carbonation mixed in. well-balanced. may be best part of the beer.

this is one of the more layered and complex scotch ales i've had. again, it seems that they added a little more hops than an average scotch ale. more body & depth than old chub. would put it up there with skullsplitter. will go back to this one.

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Photo of glid02
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of heavy toasted malts with hints of darker roasted malts. Also present are moderate amounts of light molasses and lighter amounts of toffee. Finally, earthy hops and very slight smoke waft in and out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately sweet toasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by large amounts of toffee and lighter amounts of molasses. Midway through the sip very slight amounts of smoke come into play before being pushed aside by earthy hops. The hops soon give way to the toasted malts which carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I didn’t have a problem finishing my glass and could easily have another.

Overall this beer had escaped me for some time but I’m glad I finally had the chance to try it. It’s short of exceptional but it is very good and is worth a shot.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottled March 4, 2011. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours dark brown with a decent sized tan head that leaves some spots of lacing and holds a light cap.

Aroma is caramel, brown sugar, some light peat/smoke, and some grainy, grassy notes. Moderate to good strength.

Flavor follows with more caramel, toffee, brown sugar, a hint of chocolate, some peat, some herbal notes, a bit of alcohol at the end. Mild sweetness, low bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, smooth, carbonation is on the low end.

A good Scotch Ale, but not the best I've ever had.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a big brown color with ruby highlights and a huge tan head and tons of lacing. Smells of malts, a little hops and tons of toast and brown sugar. Tastes much the same. A heavy sweetness from the malt and plenty of hops to cut through it. Brown sugar notes and toasted goodness in there as well as a little caramel. Mouthfeel is thick and nice. Drinkability is high.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderate brown color with a bit of a light tan head, though not much lacing. The nose is brown sugar, some toasted malt, and not too much else. The taste is about the same and ends up being quite bland. There's some semi-sweet malt and a bit of toffee. A bit of alcohol in the feel and a decent body. Well made, but not all that great.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber. Pours dark amber-orange, little haziness, off-white head. Rich caramel tones, and boy do you smell the earthiness of the peat. Nice rich full-body, deep sweetness, touch of bitter and then a dry earthy dirt-like finish (which is exactly what I wanted. Great Scotch ale and I'd love to get my hands on another bottle of this.

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Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another winner from Highland. I drank this 22 oz bottle by itself on a warm day after mowing the lawn. Probably not the best setting for a Scotch Ale, but a nice experience anyway. Poured into a pint glass, this is a dark murky brownish color. When held to a light, light comes through from the sides and bottom of the glass leaving a reddish hue. The center of the glass stays dark. The head is about 1 inch and hangs in there for a while, light tan color. There is some spotty lacing.

The aroma is very nice. Pronounced caramel malts..slightly sweet..very pleasant. The taste is more of the same, sweet caramel malt, a little wine like presence and some bitterness in the finish...kind of like a wheat bitterness.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp and smooth. Drinkability is good. This is a sipping beer. I could easily do another bottle today while tired from yard work and watching the Mets. If I had some cheese and other snacks...it would be even better. Very good beer!!!

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Photo of FallsDamBrewery
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich, dark brown/black color

Smell: Red wine, alcohol, steak

Taste: Very robust flavor, tastes like a medium rare steak

Mouthfeel: Smooth, heavy bodied, robust feel in the mouth

Drinkability: Surprisingly good drinkability for a heavy brew...this beer pairs wonderful with red meat!

Serving type: bottle

Side note: One of my all time favorite beers, and I am deeply saddened that this is just a limited release now instead of a year round production.

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Photo of morimech
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel color with half inch of tan head that has good retention before settling to a thin cap. A little spotty lacing is left on the glass. I had to really stick my nose deep into the glass to pick up anything in the aroma. What I did detect was toffee with earthy and floral hints. It smells good but I wish it was more easily picked up. The flavor consists of toffee and earthy elements. A bit more alcohol than what is typical. The body is really the best part of this beer. Medium body and silky smooth texture. I enjoyed this beer and is an easy drinker. Looking forward to trying more beer from Highland Brewing.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Back from an extended hiatus, Highland's Tasgall Ale served as their 2009 "Special Release", in history, a descriptor of a lights-out lineup of one-timers which in the past has included such limited edition goodies as "Imperial Kashmir IPA", and "Imperial Black Mocha Stout". The good news is that Tasgall Ale (named after "the cauldron of the gods" in Norse mythology) isn't just making a brief encore appearance-- the brew is back in Highland's seasonal rotation for good this time. Valhalla be praised!

The lightly-chilled 22-ounce bomber bottle pours a hazy hazelnut-tinted amber color and is capped with a finger-thick lid of fine-grained pale beige bubbles. As the crowning topper of foam relaxes, an impressive freckled web of lacing remains clinging to the inner walls of my Duvel tulip.

The aroma is sweetly chocolatey with a firm vinous whiff of dark caramel and candied dried fruit. A deeply-imbedded backbone of toasted-pecan nutty mellowness is augmented by notes of brown-sugary dates and succulent figs that supplement Tasgall's savory richness and aromatic sweetness.

The taste is caramel-sweet with a note of burnt toffee and an apple-like splash of alcohol fruitiness. Dusty cocoa, roasty dark chocolate, and a prickly smattering of molasses join together with more mild nuttiness, but even in concert the potently savory/sweet flavor components fail to prevent a vague whiff of earthy smokiness from softly drying the finish.

The drink is full-bodied and silky-smooth with quite a bit of lingering palate-stick and lip-smacking chewiness. Carbonation is unobtrusive and appropriate; the 8.0% ABV is well-managed and the beer highly drinkable. Lovely stuff for warming the belly of a chilly Viking on a blustery mid-winter day.

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Photo of Durge
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beauty is a dark mahogany color with a decent tan head and nice rings of lacing. The aroma brings bright cider and cinnamon raisin. I also note some nutty red wine. Really interesting and nice. The flavor is awesome, thick with molasses and sherry, a bit of nutty chocolate and nice herbal hop kiss. This is a full bodied brew with a very smooth feel. Finely carbonated. There are nothing but good things to say for this great Scoth ale, except it might not be suitable for sessioning, but for the style it's really not bad to pound for a few. Great beer.

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Highland Tasgall Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 182 ratings