Highland Tasgall Ale | Highland Brewing

151 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by AlexJ on 08-26-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 182
Photo of tayner
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle

Poured rough into a glass and got a 3 finger off-white head that laced remarkably as it dissipated. below was a deep brown yet clear brown beer.

Smell was up front alcohol backed with sweet malts. not alot of hop in the nose

Taste was sweet roasted malts, brown sugar, and alcohol. as it warmed the flavors seemed to combine better and were not as individual as when it was more chilled.

Thick and rich without being too sticky.

easy to drink, even more so when it warmed up. I would definitely drink this one again if given the chance, only not quite as chilled at the start.

 597 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a chalice.

A tan head with good retention sticks to the sides of the glass on top of a dark brown, semi-opaque body. The aroma I'm greeted with consists of sweet barley & rye, earthy hops, and brown sugar.

The flavor profile is heavy on the malts, with molasses, toffee, and sweetened java. The body is medium, on the smooth side, and delivers a satisfying finish. Drinkability is decently good as well. Probably one of Highland's better beers, but not the best of the NC brewing circuit.

 503 characters

Photo of drperm
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps it was the atmosphere, the good friends, the excellent live bluegrass band, but I found this brew to be top-shelf and remarkable (wouldn’t Michael Jackson approve of those conditions??). Appearance: coffee, pure and simple. Almost no head. Nose: pleasant hops, caramel, and something I can only describe as Blue Ridge Parkway moss Taste: nectar of the gods, basically. Coffee, dark chocolate, and sorghum. Palate: perfect in every way. My only complaint is that is sneaks into being slightly hoppy for a Scottish Ale (Scots, after all, have a deep prejudice against hops, since they’re English!), but at the end of the day I’d gladly take this over many other pints.

 677 characters

Photo of charlesw
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, yeah. This is pretty close to what a wee heavy should be, I'd say. It might be a touch dark in the color and, well... I hate to say it but I can't really find much of a nose to it. Still... Pretty darned close to awesome. So, yeah, if I'm writing that then I need to modify my scores. Moment! Better? To be better still, for me, I'd want it to be a bit richer - thicker in the mouth. Still, very nice as it is!

Ah, right. Um. Hey! Got this thanks to the powerball bif (I should probably thank individual BAs, but, well. That's complicated, man!). Awesome!

 560 characters

Photo of YonderWanderer
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights. A half-finger of tan, dense foam forms and then dissipates quickly. Decent lacing on the glass. Some carbonation is evident.

S: A nice hit of roasted grains, followed by a hint of oak and whiskey, with a nice smokiness behind it.

T: A nice blend of malty sweetness with a solid amount of smoke as well. The wood and whiskey come through nicely as well. A slight hint of hops is evident, but is largely lost behind the other flavors. The alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Smooth and tasty, with a nice crisp mouthfeel.

D: This is a solid scotch ale, and quite enjoyable. I'd definitely drink it again. Very tasty.

 655 characters

Photo of CWiggins
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is very popular and can be found at almost local beer store in 22oz bottles. I've had it a few times over the past couple of years, but I'm just now coming 'round to a review.

Pours a dark, dark brown with chestnut accents. The tan head is dense; it doesn't last very long. A deep inhaling should reveal roasted grains, a bit of hops, and aromas of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and a slight bit of dark fruit. A distinct smokiness also wafts up from the brew.

Malts dominate the front of the taste. Afterwards, the smoky characteristic of whiskey shines forth and covers the palate with warm, butterscotch goodness. One can detect a bit of hops at the finish, but who cares?! The silky smooth aspects of the barely fruity center leave one feeling very satiated. The thirst has been slaked; anything after that is just icing.

It's not overly carbonated, which I certainly appreciate. The alcohol is noticable, but it isn't over the top. This is a great offering that will see anyone through the cold months.

 1,021 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber to brown-ish color with a tan head. Aromas of a sweet caramel and butterscotch maltiness. In the taste, sweet caramel maltiness. A smooth mouthfeel, with a mellow toffee-ish aftertaste. Balanced, and a nice malty sweetness, but not too over the top.

 268 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - black except for some ruddy red/brown around the edges.. Some modest strands of lace adorn the Belgian glass with no particular pattern. Thin lacing with a nice swirl pattern on top of the beer. A bubbly collar helps provide some lace fodder to the glass.

Aroma - a light roasty grain and smoked peat. Pleasant but fragile levels.

Taste - a fine malty start, sweet and a bit chewy, a mild smoky presence that is all whiskey and no smoke, but without an intensity that makes you feel like you're drinking actual whiskey. The beer character is preserved very well. Some tasty coffee tones in the background, and a warm alcohol wrapper. The flavors meld very nicely, the whiskey malt, coffee, and even a bare hop trace on the finish.

Mouthfeel - incredibly smooth, a crisp carbonation level. The beer practically pulls itself into the mouth.

Drinkability - extremely friendly for an 8% brew. A good stash of these will see you through the bitterest winter. Or a milder one, too.. ;-)

 997 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bboven for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a deep dark brown color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy tannish head, some small islands, oil slicks, and sticky lacing around the edges follows. The nose is malty, roasted, chocolate, and toffee tones. The taste is slightly sweet, malt, slightly roasted, good tones of chocolate/toffee. There is a nice warm feeling from the alcohol in the finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, this one goes down pretty easy, definitely recommended.

 486 characters

Photo of srrn
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a style I'm getting into recently. This one pours cola brown, minimal head with an aggressive pour. The foam is tan and there is some lacing. I'm not getting much in the way of smell, typical of the style but faint. Mouthfeel is good, just the right amount of carbonation to smooth out the maltiness. Taste is typical of the style, maltiness, figs etc. Where this brew shines is the aftertaste, it grows in complexity after the swallow, first a bit of porter like coffee note and bitterness then a bit of bitter chocolate. It seems to end on bitter hops. This seems to be a wee heavy with the characteristics of their oatmeal porter thrown in. I really enjoy it. My bottle is a bomber, I've never seen a six of this.

 724 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruddy copper with a slight off white head. Smells nicely sweet, dark malts and caramel
Taste is really sweet, smooth and mellow, with buttery caramel, raisins, figs, a kind of bready profile in the middle, balanced by some well placed hops that add a nice piney, grassy aftertaste.
I'm beginning to build a respect for well crafted Scotch Ales and this is a fine one. Thanks to meechum for the trade.

 416 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I cannot believe I actually waited this long to try a Highland Tasgall. Something I walk by at the store everytime I go in, but take for granted and nver buy. It figures. So this time I bought one and went for it. I was very happy I did..

A - Poured a deep dark brown, almost black in color, totally and completly opaque. A huge tan colored head, at least two inches in height towered over the top on the glass, and reluctantly settled after a few minutes to a nice layer of lace that glazed over the top of it. Very thick residual side glass lace all over this, looked thick.

S - Aroma was very sweet. Lots of caramel and a decent touch of coffee, enough to be truly noticeable. A light europ hoppiness could be smelled way in the back, but this was primarily a thick sugar laden ale of sorts, damn fine smell.

T - The taste was very unigue. Again very sweet with tons of malt in it. A nice dry finish lingered long after the last sip. A noticeable amount of hop was there but was completly bitch smacked by the malts in this. A nice touch of alcohol was definatly present in here. It was not overwhelming by any means, but was definatly noticeable. Very full flavor. Definaly a sipper but not too heavt at all. Well rounded and very balanced in its approach and finish.

M - Very thick and creamy. Was suprised this was a Wee Heavy as it had a very creamy feel to it. Was exceptionally smooth and dessert like almost.

D - Really nice, this was a fine sipper and a very very enjoyable beer. Definalty one to keep on hand at all times. A true winner for sure.

Overall I really liked this and what was the biggest dissapointment was that I had passed it soo many times before. I will definatly be picking this one up again. A damn damn good beer.

 1,762 characters

Photo of meechum
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark with a medium body poured to a nice thick head that took a good while to fall to great lacing down the side

S - Good chocolates and malts with a bit of caramel

T - Good taste a bit heavy alcohol taste in the middle but giving way to roasted malts and chocolates

M - Medium feel in the mouth with little carbonation, I am taking is more indicative of the style.

D - A very good beer with a higher ABV. This was a good beer as an after dinner brew. I would like to keep some on hand. Overall I thought it was a very good beer

 545 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Soft mahogany brown, fairly thick, with a nice thick capping of lightly sandy browned foam about a finger high in girth. Stays lightly present on top with a milky skim and lots of sheeting lace sticks well across the glass.

Aroma is a wee light for a wee heavy with some roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit sweetness, and some dark brown sugar. It's seemingly more like a big chocolatey porter for a nose. But what's there is pleasant, just not in porportion to what it could be for Wee.

Taste is much, much better however, again, closing in on a porter-like character with fairly big roasted malt flavors and lots of chocolate tones. Nice additional notes tend to sneak in with some brown sugar, darker caramel sugars, fudge, coffee, and a touch of dark fruityness of raisins and figs. There is only the smideonyiest of smidgeons to peat or smoke wrapped in the chocolate late in the finish. Flavors last for great length and make for a very nice tasting experience. Keeper of a finish, wow. It lays out a thick layer of the roast and chocolate for everything else to land on.

The body is just above medium, nearly full, with lightly chewy acpects and heavy silken fudgeyness and chocolate silk pie creamyness. The roasted chocolate notes add nice feathery touches of both roasted chocolate bitterness and dryness to equal the delicate softness as it fades into the finish where it lasts and lasts and lasts with tone and flavor.

A solid wee heavy, perhaps a bit more like a huge chocolate porter or stout, but damn good to drink none-the-less.! Yum!

 1,563 characters

Photo of khiasmus
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a finger of tan head that dissipates to a ring in a few minutes, and leaves a tiny bit of lacing.

S- Dark malt, roasted barley, molasses, warm alcohol, peat, maple, chocolate. Smells excellent, one of the best scotch ale noses I've experienced.

T- Molasses up front, and tons of malt, followed by some peat and dark roasted grains. Finish is long, with some acridness and lingering sweet malt, as well as a hint of alcohol.

M- Smooth, thick and creamy, low carbonation, and a long, slightly astringent finish that leaves some residue on the tongue.

D- Very good. IMO, one of the best scotch ales in America.

 638 characters

Photo of saintwarrick
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark, deep brown with a malted chocolate like head. Aroma is sweet, brown sugar and caramel and dark chocolate. Taste is outstanding and incredibly sweet - it's not a bitter dark chocolate, but also not quite milk chocolate in the taste either; it is in the middle. Reminds me of chocolate syrup on an ice cream sundae. This is a very thick beer, chewy and lip smacking in its sweetness. You may be able to use this as fondue, I'm not sure. Probably the sweetest wee heavy I've had. There is a nice, underlying bitter aftertaste as it goes down, real smooth. Reminds me more of a stout in some way. But all in all a great beer, perfect for dessert.

 666 characters

Photo of kingjames1
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not that familiar with the style (only had one other Scotch ale), so I'm not sure what to compare it to. It pours a cloudly,opaque coca-cola amber, with a sticky, tan head. The nose is good, but weak. I smell chocolate, coffee, and bready malts (I can tell that this is a sister of their black mocha stout).

The taste is better than the smell, with the roasted malts being balanced with tangy hop bitterness. How to describe...coffee, for sure, bitter dark chocolate, some oily pine resin, molasses, pumpernickel and a hint of cherry. Very interesting ale. Leaves a distinct after taste in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is nice, balancing the oily aspect of the beer with good carbonation.

very drinkable and enjoyable. A 22 oz is enough, but its a good amount (at least for little ole me).

recommended - give it a try.

 827 characters

Photo of EPseja
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 22oz. bottle in a Duvel tulip at just below cellar temperature.

A - Chestnut brown with brick highlights in the pour that become lost in the dark opaqueness of the filled glass. Pushes up a medium density, creamy tan head that crackles with energy and hangs around for awhile. Eventually drops to only a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is not very evident.

S - Heavily caramelized malt notes with streams of molasses and subtle hints of peatiness. Chocolate and cocoa overtones with an overlying hoppiness that adds an interesting crispness.

T - For as malty as this is, the hoppiness jumps in almost immediately to quell any sweet overkill. Still, the chocolatey malts dominate up front, just without the sweetness. Rounds out nicely in the middle, with an obvious alcohol character that thankfully does not burn. The back of the throat brings a well measured bitterness that leads all the way down into your now glowing stomach.

M - Substantial and thick on the way in, rising to a creamy oceany lather in the mouth. Viscous and throat-coating swallow, with a slight touch of gassiness in the belly.

D - This is a Scotch Ale with some serious constitution, both in alcohol and in taste. A slight twist is presented with the generous use of hops, but it turns out well overall. A very enjoyable take on one of my favorite styles, even though I think this one would have benefitted from a tiny touch more sweetness.

 1,447 characters

Photo of bort11
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from ncvbc for the BA Anniversary Bomber BIF

22 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Mild tan head the recedes fairly quick, but has a nice filmy lace with legs. Color is a dark malty brown with ruby red highlights in the center and caramel brown tinge at the edges.
Smell is little weak. It does have a sweet brown sugar note, a little bit of caramel. Taste really steps up where the smell did not. It has a sweet caramel malty body with a subtle hint of smokey spices and fruits. A very mellow hops bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel has a solid medium body. Very enjoyable. I was able to finish the bottle on my own with no problems.

 660 characters

Photo of Big78CJ
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wish I had some of my aged gouda with this beer. The bros say it pairs nicely with the style and I can only imagine it would be great.

This beer is rather dark with some ruby/auburn highlights around the top and bottom of the glass. Very sweet malty aroma, maybe some caramel notes.

Taste: Man oh man that is a yummy scotch ale. I have become quite the fan of this style. Roasty caramel notes run through the nostrils and the taste buds. The sweetness is fantastic and really compliments the malty lip-smacking feel. I think it could use a little more creaminess and maybe even more caramel and chocolate notes.

The beer is very creamy, just like a good wee-heavy. So I gave this beer nearly perfect marks for its style. I didn't go all the way because I believe in every dimension they could use a bit more refinment, just not much.

I wonder if this available in Athens...

Updated Review:

Yes, it is available in Athens on occasion.

I got some of this beer poured out for my by Oscar Wong, owner of Highland Brewing Co. He gave us a custom tour of the brewery (including free beer-related give aways) while on our first stop of the Brews Cruise. Both highly recommended, as is the beer.

 1,210 characters

Photo of NCSUdo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served from a 22 oz. bottled poured into a pint glass

A: Dark brown with some ruby shades along the sides of the glass. Big creamy tan head that slowly went down but continued to cover the top. Head showed a lot of stickiness on the glass

S: Sweet smell up front, finishing with a chocolate character. Faint roasted aroma in the finish with some hints of citrusy hops.

T: Sweet taste up front, finishing with a mild chocolate taste. Some hoppy bitterness in the finish along with a roasted character but both tie into the mild chocolate finish rather then standing out on their own.

M&D: Extra-medium bodied, wouldn't quite call it thick. Little carbonation. For an 8% brew, the drinkability is excellent. Hard to believe on first look that this brew could border on a session beer,but it is extremely close.

One thing I noted with this brew was that upon my last pour, there was a brown "spot" in the otherwise tan head. Almost like when mixing milk and chocolate syrup, you end up with that brown "spot" in the middle of the top. Anyways, this brew is really drinkable for an 8% alcohol content. This is my second Highland brew, and it seems like drinkability may be there calling card above all else.

 1,219 characters

Photo of bjohnson
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to blackie for sending this along for my ba anniv. package.

Pours a very murky swamp like dark brown with reddish hues. Thin one finger off white head dissipates rather quickly leaving big bubbles on the edges of the glass. Big dark fruit notes of grapes, figs, and prunes. Sweet cherry, caramel, and molasses aromas also. Extra heavy sweetness.

Sweet caramel malt and slight molasses notes. Dark fruit of grapes and figs lather the taste buds. Sweetness lasts well into the aftertaste. Residual sugary sweetness left on the lips. Thicker to full bodied with a coating mouthfeel. Prickly carbonation adds to the enjoyment on the palate. Packs a punch with the higher abv, but it goes completely unnoticeable. Definitely another nice one from Highland--everyone I've had has been good so far.

 805 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany in color, with a thin off-white head. The head disappeared very quickly.

Citrusy and toffee-like in the aroma. Slightly roasty, but overall a big malty nose.

Caramel and dark toffee flavors, a bit of dark fruit as well. Very warm, malty and inviting. I did not pick up and peaty or smoky flavors. More fruit comes out as it warms. A bit of citrusy bitterness.

Full bodied, with a lower amount of carbonation. Alcohol is hidden very well, as this was very easy to drink. Very nice.

 498 characters

Photo of KevBrews
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark maple, with a beautiful caramel latte head

Smell: chocolate and hops in nos, a warm malty roast character; overall, reminiscent of frothy hot chocolate

Taste: creamy mouthfeel, not as malty as aroma would suggest; I had trouble pulling out individual flavors--not the pronounced malt bite, hops, or peat that I had expected (although, as it warms, some of these flavors start to peek out), but smooth, smooth, smooth and very drinkable--probably too drinkable for the 8% ABV

Mouthfeel: full, creamy

Drinkability: easy to drink (too easy, given ABV?); it's probably more of a porter than a scotch ale, but this beer goes down so easily, it's hard to quibble with; along with the Endo IPA and the Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy, one of my favorites from the group of NC beer

 792 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An update to my 4/1/07 on 8/2/09
I let this one sit a spell...the caramel character was more pronounced and a salty butterscotch note came out that was impressive...A real sweet drinker. It'd be hard to pick between this and Imperial Kashmir as to my favorite Highland brew.

Almost opaque brown color with a full finger light tan head that is pretty tight but fades to light lacing fairly quickly.

The smell is primarily an earthy light roasted chocolate malt with subtle caramel character.

The mouth feel has a bit of a bite from the hop and carbonation. Its on the lighter side of medium body. Finishes with a similar kick as the first, but slightly bitter and lingering.

The flavor is uncomplicated. Dark malt caramel chocolate. I'm getting a slight warming from the 8% ABV, but for the most part it's hidden. I'd say that its far less smoky than the Scotch Ale style.

Where are the Warrior Poets when you need them?

 924 characters

Highland Tasgall Ale from Highland Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 182 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.