Auld Asheville Vintage Ale | Highland Brewing

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Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
Very Good
72 Ratings
Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CampusCrew on 12-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 |  Reviews: 61
Reviews by silver0rlead:
Photo of silver0rlead
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great to see this arrive in Greensboro,I snatched a few of these up today.Poured into a snifter a deep mahogany with a sticky one finger off white head that held well.Wow big juicy fruit in the nose along with some port-like fortified notes,there is a slight woodsy element that comes thru that compliment the sweetness well.Sweet dark fruit and alcohol play a big part in the flavor profile,there is also a woodsy/spicey flavor that really comes out as the beer warms along with some leather.Its warming,chewy,and a sipper,everything a Old Ale should be.A fantastic Fifteenth Anniversary beer,perfect for a cold winter day like today.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Auld Asheville Vintage Ale. 9.5% alcohol. Poured into pint glass.

A- Pours a dark amber colored fluid with excellent quarter inch off white head that stays around for a bit leaving almost every part of the glass covered with lacing. Sticks like pine sap... beautiful.

S- Very discriptive scents of hops upfront that consist of pine, orange, prunes, dates, raisens and grapes. Mild alcohol esters breakthrough in the backbone. Carmel malts and toasted oak.

T-M- The flavors of this beer are one in a dozen. First and formost is the hop presence of prunes, dates and figs... fresh off the vine! An oak chip burt malty backbone that allows you the experience of barleywine style malting. Fruity alcohol esters that dance on the buds taunting you to drink more even with the massive 9.5% alcohol level. Rich yeasty creamlike feel only allows you to enjoy the flavors as well as the texture of this Old Ale.

D- I can only express the feeling of drinking a Heavenly beer with this amount of alcohol once and here it is. Everything you want in a beer at a almost hidden alcohol presence that is barleywine like in flavor and screams class.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a 0.5l glass.

Pours dark brown, translucent, with a very modest off white head that went to a thick ring of bubbles within minutes.

Aromas are largely malty with some hints of dark fruit and a touch of alcohol coming through.

Flavors are heavy of slippery malt, or at least that's what comes to mind while this glides over the tongue. There's a slickness to the mouthfeel that isn't unpleasant, but seems to enhance the malt medley and yeast esters. Finishes with some warming on the way down that just seems appropriate somehow. I dig it.

I found this very drinkable but, be careful, it will catch up to you relatively quickly at 9.5%. Very good.

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Photo of merlin48
4.09/5  rDev +3%
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 kingjames1
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, dark mahogany, with thin, sticky head. Smells great - rich malts, raisins, hints of chocolate, rum and alcohol. Tastes the same with an added dimension of hops in the finish. Nice balance. With a delicate carbonation, the it very sippable. Nice by the fire on these cold nights. A unique, and appealing twist on the old ale style - another notable offering from Highland Brewery.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy dark amber color with a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of mild caramel, indistinct spices, and earthy hops, in that order. As it warms the nose sweetens just a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Muted caramel malt flavors up front give way to earthy spices and hop flavors midway through the sip. A bitterness kicks in right afterwards and intensifies through the ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

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

Overall one of the better beers I've had from Highland. A nice, solid beer that doesn't have any real flaws. Worth a shot.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - split and shared on christmas day

purchased up at brawleys in charlotte

appearance: poured into a pint - murky, muddy amber-mahogany body, light beige head with light retention

smell: interesting mix of tropical and passion fruits, caramel, piney hops, booze

taste: bright tropical fruits, passion fruit, chewy caramel, lingering booze/bourbon, piney and tropical hops. very interesting beer - honestly dont see what age will do to this. i like it, but think the reviews will level out a little over time

mouthfeel: smooth and creamy, lingering hop bite

drinkability: good

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to cdflem!

pours deep deep ruby red with brown accents. light cocoa cream head that quickly gives way, light retention. beautiful color.

deep cherry up front. floral and citrus hops. deep sweet caramelized malts in the thick. a hint of booze.

again, deep, and complex. hints of zesty hops, crisp citrus and light floral notes through out. very hoppy! deep malts with a sweet twist that although is sweet, not once becomes overwhelming. hints of dark cherry and dark fruits.

pretty middle of the road. not too thick, not dry, nice balanced carbonation.

i would drink his over and over. the ABV is a bit high but there is really no trace of booze. so far everything i have had from highland, has been pretty amazing.

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Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours a great clear reddish-brown color with a lasting off-white head.

Aroma is sweet caramel, spice, and honey. Smells pretty nice.

Flavor is very sweet but good. Caramel and toffee, sweet honey, and resinous hops.

Somewhat syrupy on the palate with medium-full body.

A pretty solid beer overall - really enjoyed it. Sweetness doesn't bother me as much as it does others, and I appreciate a beer like this for its complexity and general tastiness.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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 dvmin98
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
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 wedge
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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 mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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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Photo of ecmoon3
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

consumed on the eve of "Snowpocalypse" '10

a: tulip snifter serving, pours a nice little off-white head on a hazy reddish brown ale, average retention

s: toffee malt nose with an undertone of sour cherries and red wine tannins, tart apples and plum, nice earthy hop nose with a glance of spiciness and an intriguing tropical edge, sweet alcohol, brown sugars, delicate esters, great nose - not incredibly complex at first sniff, but there's much to be found upon further inspection

m: carbonation on the lower end of medium, body smooth and full with an almost buttery feel towards the middle

t: same toffeelike malt from the nose found here with sweet and sour fruits rolling around inside, brown sugars and butter join British malts in the middle with a powerful but welcome booze sting, a good dose of woody nutshell and an earthy hop flavor precede a delicate but lasting bitterness

d: quite easy for the elevated alcohol content

1/3 picked up from Bruisin'

6.28.2013 - One of two bottles remaining in the cellar, first since my original tasting. This one, to my astonishment, has held up very, very well. Lush flavors of plum, raisin, and caramel. Oxidation doesn't seem to have hit very much at all, and the carbonation remains intact. Pecan and traces of alcohol. A papery hop flavor and mild bitterness come deep into the finish. Very settled and well meshed. May give my remaining bottle a year or two more, until it can be shared. No scores changed.

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Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of CBlack85
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours a beautiful deep amber/mahogany color with dark copper highlights. A very small tan head dissipates rather quickly leaving behind very little lacing.

Slightly sweet and boozy nose. Hints of cherries, plums, lots of dark fruits, and moderately spicy.There seems to be alot going on here. There is a very distinct burnt-ish, earthy aroma that is very inviting.

Much like the aroma the taste is slightly sweet and noticably boozy (not overpoweringly). A nice blend of fruity sweetness, and hoppy spicyness/bitterness. There is also a hint of a sour finish. Medium bodied and full of well crafted complexities. A little low on the carbonation, but overall very pleasing and easy to drink.

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Photo of devilben02
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, murky, cherry-tinted brown color. Not much is discernable in the aroma, but the taste is a complex fruitiness. Rather than raisins and prunes, however, the flavor is almost berry-like with a fresh sweetness that is not overbearing or cloying. Smooth and quite drinkable, this one is an intriguing change-of-pace that serves as a good example of the flavorful distinctiveness that craft beer can provide.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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 mntlover
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
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 vertigelt1
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Travelling through Asheville, NC, had lunch at The Mellow Mushroom, and enjoyed a number of local brews. Had the Highland 15th Anniversary "Auld Asheville Vintage Ale" on draft, best selection of the afternoon.

It pours muddy and murky into the pint glass with barely a half finger of sandy head, leaving spotty lacing as it goes down. On the table, it's ruddy brown, against filtered sunlight, it reveals highlights of mohagany and burundy leather.

The nose carries sweet malts, dried dark fruits, alcohol, and some sort of nut, with a slight hint of grassy hops.

The nuttiness Is borne out in he taste. Somewhere between an English strong ale and a Scottish/red ale. The grassy hops definitely come out in the finish. Alcohol is there but not overpowering in the taste.

Mouthfeel is all over the tongue with the tingle of alcohol and slight fizz. A little thin but definitely not weak or watery.

Surprisingly smooth for a 9.5 ABV, this strong ale could easily deceive one into drinkIng more than one ought. I feel like I could drink more than a couple of these in succession. But the richness in taste belies it's alcoholic origins, to a pleasant warmng end.

The t

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Photo of GbVDave
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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 Epicedion
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a big Sam Adams Octoberfest mug.

A: It looks like a very strong, mostly opaque tea. Brown and muddy. Thin head and little lacing.

S: Very deep, rich malt. Spicy and strong. It's kind of like pipe or cigar smoke in character, but cleaner.

T: Just amazing. There's that rich malt mixing with hints of bitter and spicy hops, a little citrus upswing here and there, and bitter and sweet fighting it out on the long finish. The flavors play extremely well as different aspects hit different taste buds at different times. There's zero trace of alcohol in this beer. It's pure goodness in a glass.

M: Just right.

D: Potent, but you'll wonder where it went.

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Photo of CWiggins
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Sam's Quik Stop in Durham this week. Earth Fare in Brier Creek just received a case and should have in on the shelf in a day or so. At $4.99 a bomber it seems like a good deal, especially for 9.5% ABV ale.

It pours a dark brown with reddish highlights, and a decent head formed at first although it quickly dissipated into a rim-sticking group of dense bubbles with a few streams crossing the surface. The aroma is a bit stunted, but I notice hints of wood and spices; it's quite similar to many winter warmers I've enountered. The flavor is really superb; there is a nice fruity front that gives way to a woody, malty center, and the whole thing is capped off with a mildly bitter (but still malty) finish. The lingering aftertaste is chock full of the main flavors. It's not overly carbonated, and feels great on the tongue. At 9.5% it may not the best choice for indulging, but it's hard not to gulp it down.

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Auld Asheville Vintage Ale from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 72 ratings