Auld Asheville Vintage Ale | Highland Brewing

Auld Asheville Vintage AleAuld Asheville Vintage Ale
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
Photo of welldigger888
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
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 CampusCrew
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Kickbacks

appearance: deep dark dark brown, but not nearly ebony.

smell: liqour aroma, much like a brandy with strong alcohol aroma

taste: not how it smells at all. heavy hopped and zero alcohol taste, very smooth and almost sessionable. at 9.5 I was surprised....

mouthfeel: medium to full bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and one of kind. Stlye was difficult. I would ahve put it an english barleywine but I had to respect their label. Maybe an Imperial Old ale. new BA stlye?

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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 carolinahophead
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Highland Brewing Company's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale.

Appearance : Poured a lovely brown color. Reminded me of a British brown ale.

Aroma : This brew has a winter woodsy bouquet with some light roast malt present. Nice spices are there along with some european hop aromas.

Taste : What a wonderful smooth taste with holiday red fruit combined with a long finish.
Nice bitterness leading to the balance of this ale, can't even notice the 9.5 % alc.

Mouthfeel : Medium body and well balanced. This would be great with a hearty meal during the long winter nights. It gets better the longer you leave in your mouth.

Oveall : This is definitely a holiday treat. Get one to drink now and then another one to let age. Thanks Highland for 15 years and hope there more to come. Congrats !

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Photo of atsprings
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel snifter pours a crisp dark copper with a decent lasting eggshell head that very slowly diminishes to a ring as I let the beer warm. Aroma is loads of burnt caramel malts, molasses and slight dried fruits. The taste is a very complex blend of caramel, molasses, bitter cocoa, dried fruits, leather and cinnamon among many others. The beer is somewhat heavy bodied, but a very enjoyable sipper, especially as it warms close to room temperature, a meal in of itself. This is a very enjoyable beer, a worthy release for their 15th anniversary!

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Photo of callisbeers
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my trusty chalice. Nice reddish/brown color, small head, very little lacing. I was expecting to be blown away by the "I am a high alcohol beer, smell my alcohol" smell but that was not the case. As everyone else has mentioned, flavors of caramel, hops, blah, blah, blah... they all just worked well together. I don't know if it was the 3 days of school being cancelled due to the 5 inches of snow we received 4 days ago but I just loved this beer. Everything seemed just right.

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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 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 Hojaminbag
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one comes to me from Mikesgroove. Thanks a lot Mike!

Auld Asheville Fifteenth Anniversary Vintage Ale has a hazy mahogany body with about one finger of tan head that has OK retention, but leaves some nice lacing behind.

The aroma is great. Full bodied malts are bursting with sweetness and toffee, with some wood in the background. The hops add both spicy and grapefruit aromas, but they take a back seat to the malt here for sure.

My first sip of Auld Asheville Vintage Ale surprises me with the amount of hops. A good grapefruit flavor comes through in the beginning, and a bit of bitterness lingers in the aftertaste and the finish. A bit of a spicy hop character comes through in the background of the middle. Between the hops Auld Asheville Vintage Ale is packed with malts, just like the aroma suggests. Lots of sweetness that is mostly toffee flavored with some light chocolate notes. The malt makes this beer taste rich in just the way an old ale should. The yeast brings a bunch of fruity esters highlighted by cherry. There is a good bit of a woody flavor from the yeast also. Auld Asheville Vintage Ale is complex, balanced, and only shows the alcohol as a touch of warming in the finish and aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is big and chewy, with moderate carbonation. Just right.

This is my first beer from Highland brewery, and I am very impressed. One of the best Old Ales that I have come across, and it is dangerously drinkable considering the ABV (although the alcohol does push its way through in the finish).

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The tartan-printed bomber bottle is presented cellar-cool accompanied by a small Duck-Rabbit snifter, and upon the decrowning and the ensuing pouring, the dark brown vessel yields a brew that is brightly-clear and fiery cherry-amber in color. A short collar of self-replenishing pale ecru foam decorates the surface of the liquid and freckles the sides of my glass with sticky dots of lacing.

The aroma is quite fruity, with floral notes of pear blossoms, ripe plums, and fresh red apples mixed into a melange. The juicy fruitiness is backed with a savory, roasted-nutty, medium-dark kilned maltiness that is well-grounded by dry, earthy woodiness and highlighted with a dash of spicy green hops.

The taste is sweetly fruity with a notion of apple brandy-infused caramels drizzled with mild molasses. More tangy treefruit notes coupled with a palpable and warming alcohol presence offer a highly aromatic evaporative one-two punch that contributes to Auld Asheville Vintage Ale's savory liquoriness, and the effect fits the drink just perfectly. A darkly toasted quality reminiscent of the wonderfully mellow nuttiness detected in the aroma provides a firm, balancing backbone to the apple-and-pear-infused-spirit character. As the brew approaches room temperature, the fruit-factor fades quite a bit, leaving a note of muted caramel softening the sherry-like booze factor and pushing the nuttiness into a lesser role in the flavor profile.

The drink is on the lighter side of full-bodied and is graced with exceptionally fine carbonation. The 9.5% ABV brings quite a bit of belly-warming with it, making AAVA a super-fine sipper for a chilly early winter afternoon. A highly worthy brew from a crew I've come to expect nothing less from; excellent job Highland, and happy Anniversary to you!

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Photo of drperm
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tend to go for anniversary releases from my favorite breweries: they usually pull out all the stops, up the production care, and release a solidly enjoyable product.
Highland's 15th Anniversary Auld Asheville Ale is no exception: an Old Ale right up there with the best of them, I'm sure this one would age quite handsomely, but it's quite tasty young, too.

Ap: Strikingly resplendent: it looks just like an oloroso or a madeira, with just a mite of bubbles on the very top.

S: Rich malt. Very rich. Graham, vanilla, burnt caramel, dark hops, and a touch of something that makes me think of Christmas.

T: Wondrous depth here. Biscuit, pipe tobacco, spicy hops, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and a sweet-sour port finish.

M: Twangy, oily, not too syrupy.

D: A lovely in-front-of-the-fire evening sip. The large pint bottle is best split with friends, or over the course of a couple of nights. It's very rich and heady.

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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 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 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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Photo of jampics2
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle sent as an extra from a great trader! Cheers!!

Opened this on a Saturday night watching movies @ home with my girl. Poured into a New Belguim snifter, it looks nice but not great. Plum/mahogany color with little to no head. Light lacing.

Smell is great! For an old ale, this is exactly what I'm looking for. Malty with caramel and toffee, clearly some "old" characteristics giving a cherry pie or port wine aroma. Also some hints of biscuit and spice.

Taste is wonderful. Plum, raisin, figs, dates,malty sweetness giving it all a caramel base. I'm getting some apple or cherry pie in the taste too, perhaps the combo of the spices and the malt. This is awesome, well done!

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbed for the style.

For almost 10%, this drinks quite well. A wonderful beer from Highland. Happy anniversary!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red hued dark orange color with a full finger wispy off white head that fades quickly leaving spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is rich toffee and sweet mildly roasted malt with butterscotch notes...similar in some ways to my favorite barleywines. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is a lighter medium body that's somewhat singular. Full flavored, the toffee roasted malt taste is quite nice. There is a slightly salty boozy note in the finish that lingers nicely. A really fine drinker. Many thanks to drunkmonk for the opportunity to consider this one.

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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 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 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 beer2day
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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 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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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
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 avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber to an imperial pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of sweet malts, a little caramel and hops.

T: Tasted like it smelled. Sweet malt, a more pronounced caramel note and an underplayed hoppy finish. The alcohol wasn't as prevalent as I thought it might be.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A drinkable Old Ale. Very well-balanced.

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