Auld Asheville Vintage Ale
Highland Brewing

Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
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English Old Ale
4.02 | pDev: 11.19%
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 73 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DVMin98
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From 2009. Color is caramel. Smell is mild oxidation. Caramel. Taste follows along. Mild oxidation and caramelly. Thin to medium bodied. Overall, this aged pretty well. Glad to have tried it

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head murky mahagony with a lavender hue. Nice lacing.

S: sweet dark fruit, mostly cherry and strawberry. Mild caramel malts.

T: tart and slightly sour dark fruit with more plum and raisin differing from the aroma. Chocolate malts, sherry wine notes and some toffee.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: More like a Belgian dark strong but less yeasty. Fairly complex and nicely drinkable.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer served in a snifter. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin brown head. Wispy head. Low retention, low lacing. 

Aroma is sweet and biscuit malt with a strong yeast aroma. Odd aroma though. 

Beer is sweet and big in body. Decent I guess. Odd on the finish. Not a great beer. It is OK but not really loving it. 

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Re-review April of 2011

Pours a slightly hazy ruby red with a creamy light tan head. The nose has a bright bruit flavor of apple and pear with some herbal spice but a hint of a metallic twang. The taste falls off hard, the fruitiness is still there but clear oxidation creates a strong note of paper and cardboard. Carmalized brown sugar adds the malt balance on a medium body falling off with a light carb in the back. Too sweet and a bit heavily oxidized.

Review 3/5/10

A-pours a deep reddish mahogany color. A tanned head with one finger of it. Little retention and head

S-the nose is very sweet but a little light. A light caramel and bready malt seems to set a foundation for malty sweetness in the form of dark fruits. Some dark cherries, ripe plum, notes of rum raisin.

T-this is a malt explosion. Hint of toasted biscuit and caramel are the foundation in which the malt sweetness builds off of. Some cherries start off, ripe plums, rum soaked raisins. There is actually a light hop presence with a touch of citric and bitter hops at the finish.

M-very smooth and syrupy with a nice medium to full body. Its wet and juicy with very low carbonation in an absolutely perfect way. It finishes wet and firm not giving in.

D-this is a very solid old ale. This is actually becoming a favorite style, although they all are, right? It’s a little boozy but had some great balance for the style. Great dark fruitiness and a nice little hop presence.

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Photo of welldigger888
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice cooper garnet hue with a cream head that lays down to leave an island of head and light lace.

Velvety smooth caramel maltiness and a solid noble type aroma. Good graininess that has a very smooth alcohol burn.

WOW, this elixer is SOOOO smooth. With the caramel goodness and earthy spiced hop that has a nice grain. The beer is smooth and highly quaffable for the abv.

Spot on for the english old ale style, Full flavored goodness.

3 yrs in the cellar has been very KIND to this fantastic brew.

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jeez, it's been a while since I've put any notes up, so tonight seems like a good opportunity to do so. I received this in a trade almost 2 years ago and figured it's got to be near it's prime, and if it isn't I don't care, if it's past, I don't care. I'm just looking forward to a good beer. Review is from notes taken on 9/1/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a deep, murky, caramel brown; starts with a full 1 finger, light tan head that begins to fade quickly; as noted, the body is fairly dark and murky, nearly opaque due all of the sediment; head eventually dissipates to a thin and incomplete and creamy wisp and leaves a few blobs and strands of lacing hanging around.

Smell: Smell is solid -- lots of rich caramel maltiness with a touch of spice to it; bit of alcohol. Nose is quite robust and strong, and really starts to hit me once I get the bottle cracked.

Taste: The taste is great as well -- I would easily compare to Old Stock with a couple of years on it, but perhaps not quite as hot. Lots of the same rich caramel notes, with the spiciness included -- reminiscent of a warm baking spice like ginger; a faded and mild hop presence is there and has a bit of an English Barleywine aspect to it; slight warming presence of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is between medium and medium/heavy; mild carbonation that still holds enough strength to be present and smooth; a thin, slightly oily and sticky coating is left all over the mouth, but particularly the roof; belly is left a little warm from the alcohol.

Overall: I wish this was a beer that was available at least seasonally and in my area. I think it's a solid representative of the style and there isn't a damn thing wrong with it.

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Photo of crossovert
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

15th Anniversary ale.

It pours a deep rubyish brown with a foamy tan head.

The smell is rich and malty. Mostly caramel with a hint of cocoa. There is some notes of port and dark fruitiness.

The flavor isn't bad. It is smooth and malty. There is a bit of off-flavor at first but it mellows out. There are notes of pine and chocolate along with caramel and dark fruits.

This is a surprisingly good brew. It isn't too alcoholic like I was fearing, I aged it for awhile and it was a one-off so if you are still holding on to it you are holding on to something that will probably get better with more age.

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Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hard pour produces a caramel color topped only by a scant head - doesn't have much staying power, either, though it does leave a fireworks-like trace of spots behind

Smell: Dried dark fruit, with prune, fig and date elements and a hint of burnt caramel

Taste: Dried dark fruit, up front, with the burnt caramel arriving by mid-palate; somewhat oxidized, at this stage, but there is an intriguing hint of woody bitterness on the finish, though the fruit and caramel shine through

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, with moderate carbonation and a bit of warmth

Overall: Drinking just a little past its peak, right now, but has a wonderful range of dried fruit flavor

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of cmurren25. Pours a hazed copper color with a small sheen of light tan bubbles.

Nose is very sweet and caramely malty. Some toffee and light smoke as it warms.

Taste is very caramely - almost burnt. Salty hop remnants at the end with another pop of smoke. Pretty soft on the palate. A bit of oxidation is here and the hops have long since faded. Seems like it is kinda stuck somewhere in between a Scotch Ale and an Old Ale, just does not quite do it for me. Highland brews seem to be either a love it or 'meh' experience for me and Auld Asheville definitely falls in the latter category. A bit too sweet for me.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a North Coast snifter. Thanks to Joe, Matt, Wil, Justin, Jay, Aaron, and Alex for the assist! Honorable mention goes out to Skiba!

A: Pours a murky caramel/chestnut brown with some fleeting foam that left sticky lace behind.

S: Dark fruit, toffee, nuts, bread, dark chocolate covered cherries, and some earthy/spicy hops.

T: Loads of sweet malt, fruit, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol.

M: Slick and satisfying, but I found myself hoping for a bit more roughness, either from more hops or more apparent alcohol.

D: A nice example of the style. Thanks to Wil for sharing this.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bmanning for opening up this bottle. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours crimson with a nice light tan head and good lacing. Good retention as well. The nose is really nice with of touch of sherry-like oxidation. Dark fruits and a nice sweetness there as well. Caramel and cherry notes in there, too. The taste is not quite as complex and there is a good amount of bitterness. Medium body and a touch of booze. Slightly creamy. Really nice overall with an incredible nose.

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Photo of beer2day
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy caramel brown with faint head. Not much in the way of lace, but not surprising for the style.

Caramel malt and apricot in the nose. Lots of it, too. Very earthy, almost dusty.

Apricot over caramel in the taste profile. Dusty finish, but with a fruit sweet-tart flavor from those apricots.

Cloudy, hazy feel lends a lot of body to the glass.

Easy sipper.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm glad to get a chance to try this roughly a year after it's release...I always thought this would be a great beer to cellar but forgot to pick up a bottle before they disappeared from shelves. Pours a hazy amber with a thin tan head. The aroma has big sherry notes upfront, along with caramel and toffee, caramel apple, fig and plum, a hint of cocoa and some faded floral hops. The flavor is similar with big sherry notes initially, along with molasses and toffee, dark fruits, caramel apple, vanilla, rum, oak, some fading piney hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is spot on for the style and drinkability is very good. I thought this beer could really improve with some age on it and it's looking good so far.

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Photo of PDXHops
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. Dark mahogany body with some ruby highlights. Minimal lacing from the modest light tan head.

Nose is a little woody, a little boozy, a little fruity. Pleasant, if not overly complex. There seems to be more development in the flavor department (year-old bottle). Butterscotch and toffee are fairly strong, and a tobacco quality is emerging. A vague spiciness. Too fizzy with the carbonation and, while certainly boozy, it's not really warming.

Overall impression: Given the modest cost, I'll try this again in another year or so if I run into a new bottle just to see if it improves. Nothing to seek out. Disappointing offering from a generally solid brewery.

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Photo of nick76
2.68/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is sweet and has quite a bit of cardboard. The appearance is brown with a medium head that falls fast. The taste is like the aroma and not very good. The palate is average for the style. Overall I am not that impressed with this beer and it is not a bad beer. It's just not that good.

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Photo of merlin48
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle pours a hazy, almost murky, deep chestnut brown with a small tan head that quickly drops into a cap. Some spotty lace is left on the snifter.

Aroma is malty caramel,molasses, and toffee, highlighted by a distinct fruity character that seems to be dark berries. Earthy hops and some darker fruits add a nice touch.

Body is between medium and full, the carbonation moderate.

Taste opens with malty brown sugar and caramel. Fruity dark berry segues into darker fruits like raisins and joins with the earthy hop bitterness and peppery alcohol to provide a rather tasty ale. Finishes with a lasting earthiness.

Very drinkable old ale, and somehow suggests to me some characteristics of Highland's Tasgall and Gaelic ales.

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Photo of mothman
2.73/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into duck rabbit snifter.

Pours 1/4 of khaki head. Color is a rustic burnt brown.

Aroma: Caramel and bready malts. Some toffee. Dried fruits, plums, and raisins. Some sweetness. A bit of cherries. Not to bad, but not warming like an old ale should be.

Taste: Very barlywine like. All malt. Toffee, bready, caramel. Dark fruits, plums, raisins, dark cherries. A lot like the aroma. Not boozy or warming.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and fizzy. A bit high carbonation for an old ale. Medium to full bodied. Ends dry with some booze finally showing.

Overall, not a very good old ale. No where near hair of the dog style. Not to drinkable. A bit let down with this one. It tastes more like a barlywine than an old ale.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a murky reddish brown color with very minimal head that collars around the glass. The aroma is very slightly sweet with some hints of spice. Nothing to special. The taste is pretty sweet up front with some fruit type flavors and an ending of bitterness. Slightly boozy. Not sure about his one. Caramel types as well. Overall, a beer I am glad I tried but nothing I would go out and grab again right away. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a shaker. Pours a hazy deep reddish brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of malt and caramel. The flavor was of malt, subtle hop, and spices. It was light on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a very good brew. I have been looking for this one for quite awhile and found it in the 'Bargain Bin' at Duckworth's and had to have it. The hop note present was a very welcome palate change from the spices and malt which made this one quite enjoyable. A must try if you can find it.

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Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ROBORB for sending a bomber of this Highland brew to the flatlands of Minnesota; this is the last bottle from a springtime brew swap.

Pour is a deep, verdant red, though I don't actually know what verdant means, it seems to fit. Smell is rich with dark fruit hearts, sweet malts...almost exactly how I'd imagine a fermented plum might smell on my countertop.

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale mixes genres oddly. Fruits are abundant, figs, raisins, plums, perhaps a hint of cherry & pear. Deep, sweet malts accent the fruity sweetness, but are offset nicely with a backdraft of bittering hops on the downside. The overall impression is of a fast, hard-hitting ale. Alcohol, hidden so well in these fast times, is out of the closet here.

Good, solid, beer. I feel like I should be enjoying this more than I am, because all the pieces are in place to make this a serious winner...but I just like it, don't love it. Why? Good question. No clue. Huh.

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Photo of wedge
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a totally cloudy dark mahogany under a short, but nicely creamy beige head. Spiced dark fruit aroma - raisin, plum, apple, black cherry - with a toffee and toasted caramel sweetness. Some bread and earthy hops too. Rich malt and fruitcake flavor. Toffee, faint grapefruit, raisins, spice, and a slick molasses sweetness. Full, beautifully smooth, chewy mouthfeel. I quite like this one...happy slightly-belated 15th!

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - nice look on the pour; darkish caramel, iced-tea color. A thin cover of dull white, not much there or in the lacing department.

Aroma - starts with a juicy, fruity smell, some background coffee support. Sets up light but still decent.

Taste - sweet caramelly malts, good toasty component in there. Alcohol and hops combine for some spice and zap. Tasty but pushes the malts away a little before I'm done with them. Decent hop follow on the aftertaste, even and not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - good smoothness, yet the carbonation provides good balance, crisp enough to be an old ale without feeling gassy. Could have a little bigger body, but I like it.

Drinkability - a satisfying find from the Myrtle trip. Fresh or aged, I recommend.

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Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Auld Ashville Vintage Ale pours a hazy brown with an off white head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is kind of malty. The flavor has a definite fruity component and is a bit sweeter than I anticipated. Alcohol is definitely noticeable. All of which is appropriate for an old ale, so pretty decent, worth a try if you like this style.

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

Pours rich dark brown hazy earthy with nice dark tan head that falls slow to a cap with some decent lacing for the abv level.

Aroma is wonderful rich sweet caramel, molasses even toffee hints nice sweet smelling. Some hints of fruit apples maybe with hints of earthy hops.

Taste is like aroma but not quite as wonderful. Loads of malts brown sugars, molasses like rich and earth peat notes. As sweet as it smells not cloying the rich malts are off set by hops earthy and grassy that are stronger then the nose lets on.

Mouthfeel is medium full with as much sweet malts happening you would think it would be fuller but not quite there. Carbonation is medium making it smooth and easy drinking for 9.5%.

Drinkability is great enjoying this one a bunch wishing I had more bottles already. Might be a little biased as I love Highlands but they do make some good brews.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A lovely day up in the mountains that let me try a huge sample of some new NC locals. Always thrilled when a day works out like this one did.

Finally had a chance to try this one, and on tap none the less. Could not have been happier!

Nice pour, a good caramel color to it with a moderate amount of creamy off white head that capped the top rather nicely. Smooth, even settling produced a decent amount of lacing now as well. The aroma was caramel, toffee, touches of grasses and herbal hop notes, mellow and subdued. As it warmed a touch of butterscotch and roasted malt comes through as well. Carries over into the flavor nearly identically. Rich caramel and toffee, touches of sweetness and a light hop taste that just ever so slightly dries it out on the final sips. ABV seems well in check and does not really because any concerns either way.

Overall a pretty solid offering here. Nice to see them delve into this category as it is truly one of my favorites. Don't really see much aging potential here though, I would say get it now seems to be drinking about the best I could picture.

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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 73 ratings